I’m delighted today to welcome my very good friend Penelope Friday to the blog. Pen is one of the people who’s helped me hugely in my writing career – she was there right at the beginning, not only helping me believe in myself but also with the practical stuff such as how to find out where to send stories.
Like me, Pen writes both gay and lesbian fiction – she has two historical lesbian novels in print as well as more short stories and novellas than you could shake a very large stick at – and right now she’s celebrating the imminent release of her hot and steamy m/m collection All About the Boy from Nine Star Press.
Jamie: Pen, welcome to the blog!
One thing that’s always interested me is the intersection between romance and erotica – and the very broad spectrum both can cover. Anyone who’s read my books knows I tend as a rule towards the vanilla end of that spectrum – can you give us an idea of what flavours to expect in All About the Boy?
Pen: Thank you for having me (and saying far too nice things about me – people should take that with a pinch of salt!) But oh dear, *blushes* I’m afraid this is a little bit kinkier 🙂 I’ve written all over the spectrum, but this antho concentrates fairly firmly on domination and submission, and – well, the way that makes the characters feel.
I like to explore the bits of us that many people have but don’t admit to, or don’t feel they can admit to. This is quite a fun anthology for showing the ways this might work, in that it runs from someone finding out for the first time what they like to someone for whom submission is an actual lifestyle choice. So it also shows how differently things can play out. Kink isn’t just about sex, but about who you are – it’s not a ‘one size fits all’ thing, and exploring characters through kink is – well, different from the way you explore your characters, but hopefully still a valid way!
Jamie: As ever, you’re way too modest! I’d definitely agree that showing a character’s kinks is an excellent way to reveal them to the reader – stripped, as it were, completely bare! 😉 And I’ve always loved the idea of different “takes” on the same subject, giving it a good, thorough poke and prod… *g*
In the mainstream, kink is still quite a taboo subject – do you think the infamous Fifty Shades phenomenon has helped make BDSM more respectable, or at least more widely understood? Or do you worry that it’s just spread misinformation?
Pen: Here’s the point where I admit that I’ve never actually read Fifty Shades, so I am wary of making any comment about the accuracy or otherwise of its portrayal of BDSM (though I would add that people I respect have expressed concerns)… But on the other hand, it has brought discussion about BDSM out in the open, which I think is a good thing. Whether it was accurate or not (and one has to remember that fiction is – well, fiction – and not necessarily always supposed to be an accurate representation of real life), it has had a useful effect in that sense. And if it gets more people talking about safety in real life situations, then that has got to be a good thing, right?
Jamie: I think Fifty Shades is very much a fantasy idea of BDSM, for people who wouldn’t be into the lifestyle in real life. How much of a responsibility would you say you personally feel to “get it right” – with particular regard to “Safe, Sane, Consensual” – where BDSM is concerned? Do you think adult readers need to be warned “Don’t try this at home” if an author has glossed over real-life issues?
Pen: Even within BDSM, there are so many differences, though. I would be very wary of anyone, author or otherwise, who definitively claimed to have “got it right”, though obviously there are always the important safety issues. I am a fan of warnings in general (and there are some warnings given with All About The Boy). In this particular case, I’d prefer something along the lines of an acknowledgement such as “fictional representations of BDSM” rather than “Don’t try this at home,” personally, however. This is for two reasons. Firstly, it doesn’t ‘baby’ the reader in the same way – I tend to prefer to presume that adults are capable of making their own decisions. Secondly, though, I know that many lifestyle BDSMers – who would know perfectly well not to try certain things at home – would prefer not to read stories which don’t fit real life experiences, and it would work as an acknowledgement of that, too. I think All About The Boy is described as having ‘elements’ of BDSM: the stories are definitely fiction and should be treated that way.
But “getting it right”? Does any author ever get it all completely right?
Jamie: Excellently put!
Pen, it’s been great having you here – and good luck with the new release!
All About the Boy
Some men like gentle loving—others like to switch up the power. In P.A. Friday’s collection of stories, explore the raunchier, edgier side of lust—a space where domination and control can be the greatest turn-on.
From Stefan finding out the hard way just how straight he isn’t, Jake who has to learn to behave or take his punishment, to Kel juggling two very different lovers at his workplace, doing what you’re told has never been sexier.
Due out July 25th
COUPON CODE: Get 20% off preorder on NineStar Press website with coupon code “preorder” * (Good until release day)
P.A. Friday fails dismally to write one sort of thing and, when not writing erotica and erotic romance of all sexualities, may be found writing articles on the Regency period, pagan poetry, or science fiction. She loves wine and red peppers, and loathes coffee and mushrooms.
Usually, Jake liked to do as he was told. He obeyed Alessandro’s every whim and behaved impeccably—especially in the presence of his master’s friends.
It was not because he feared punishment that he did so, either. Far from it. It was because he loved the look on his master’s face when Jake was obedient. That expression of pride in his boy—in Jake—and the warmth of his smile. Jake would do anything for that look.
Still, there was one of Alessandro’s friends to whom Jake couldn’t take. No matter how many times he met the man, he didn’t warm to him—had, in fact, an instinctive revulsion towards him. In his presence, the temptation to disregard his usual obedience was always strong. It wasn’t the fact that Leo had once been Alessandro’s lover—Alessandro had had, and continued to have, any number of lovers. Indeed, with Alessandro’s permission, several had played with or been pleasured by Jake. But when it came to Leo, the rules changed.
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Check out Nine Star Press’s events calendar for information on additional blog stops for All About the Boy and other upcoming releases!