By Kim Dare.
The saying's been around for a long time - Never mind the roses, send me the thorns.
I've never been an overly romantic person - at least not in a conventional way. Which may seem like a strange thing for a romance writer to say. The thing is, in a slightly less conventional way, I really am as soppy as hell.
There are a lot of misunderstandings about BDSM and the lifestyle. Honestly, BDSM isn't just the things you see on TV when the cop shows want to increase their ratings by setting a murder in a sex club. There's love and romance and everything you could hope to find in the vanilla world - those things just happen to be expressed in a slightly different way.
Never mind the roses, send me the thorns. To me, this saying can mean a lot of different things to different people. Here are just a few of them.
It's about BDSM's similarities with the vanilla world - Thorns are as much a natural part of roses as the petals. Just because you pay more attention to a different part of the plant, that doesn't mean what you're doing is completely unconnected to what everyone else is doing. Love is still love.
The differences with that same world - it may be about the same things deep down, but a lot of BDSM doesn't follow vanilla conventions. The lifestyle does things a little differently, it reinterprets mainstream ideas and makes them it's own. It looks at the flowers and doesn't just tick a mental box that says 'yes, everyone knows that's romantic', it looks for something more personal to the people involved, some deeper meaning that may well appeal to something deeper down in a persons psyche.
I think it's also a statement of pride. Yes, it's tongue in cheek, but it's also a way of someone saying that they accept the part of them self that likes leather more than lace. It's a statement that it's okay for people to like the thorns.
I've been thinking about BDSM and romance for a little while now. A few months ago I, in my infinite wisdom, signed up to do a Valentine's story for Total-e-bound's My Secret Valentine collection. It was a spur of the moment decision. The title I put my name down for was Secret Service.
I write about kink. Service. I figured that would make it easy. But the Valentine's part had me stumped for quite a while. I think I re-wrote the whole story several times as a result - not a great thing when you sign up for an imminent deadline!
My characters fought back against every traditional Valentine's idea I tried to slip into the book. Neither of the men were interested in buying each other flowers, I can just imagine the look in their eyes if I tried to insert teddy bears carrying hearts!
Alistair and Sheridan are in love - They both know that at the start of the book. But they haven't found the right way to express their love for each other at that point. They haven't found what makes them both happy. That's what their journey towards their happy ever after is about in the book.
No, it's not a traditional Valentine's story, but it's their story and maybe it's also a story about finding out two men working out how to make thorns work for them.
Here's hoping that everyone out there has the Valentine's celebration that makes them happy.
P.S. Alistair and Sheridan's story, Secret Service, went on sale on Monday. It's a M/m, BDSM erotic romance. Here's the blurb, if you're curious -
What’s more important, their love for each other or their differing attitudes to kinky sex?
Alistair has made it very clear he isn’t into anything even vaguely kinky.
Sheridan knew he was in love with him the day he found that out, and then decided to stay with him anyway. Unable to ease his desire to serve at home, Sheridan volunteers at a club where he can secretly serve the patrons, and feed his submission, without upsetting Alistair by revealing that side of his personality to him.
When chance drags Alistair into that same club on Valentines weekend, Sheridan’s leather mask can’t keep his secret safe any longer. With his desire to serve out in the open, it’s not long before other secrets start to come out and they both have to make a choice.
Does Sheridan give up on ever being allowed to submit to the man he loves, or does Alistair take the risk of becoming the master his love has always wanted?
Just click on the cover on the right had side of the screen if you want to read an excerpt :)