Thursday, February 12, 2009

Send me the thorns

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.

Kim Dare.

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 :)


  1. Hi Kim,

    An interesting post. I've written a good deal of D/s over the years and what always strikes me as one of the bigger differences between that and vanilla, is the amount of trust involved. Vanilla couples can be very happy without having to go into the depth of trust needed by some alternate lifestyle couples. It's not a bad thing, it's just something that never enters into their relationship. You don't need to know you're partner will pull the plug if the thorns hurt too much. Right?

    You're right though, love is love, and we all have to find a way to make it fit us. Nice post and the book sounds extremely good.


  2. Secret Service sounds really good, Kim. I need to check it out ASAP.

    Thought-provoking post, interesting observations about the vanilla lifestyle.

    Happy Valentine's Day!


  3. I think I have to meet Alistair and Sheridan. :0)


  4. Hey Kim,

    I really liked your post! very interesting. Happy V-Day.


  5. Kim;

    I'm curious, the BDSM, is it part of your lifestyle also or is it mostly about writing? I'm curious how these things work in the real world.


  6. Hi Kim,

    Sorry I'm posting so late. Just got a chance to read the excerpt from Secret Service and immedidately put Alistair and Sheridan in my TBR stack. I can't wait to see how they're going to work out their situation.

    >>> Thought-provoking post...
    I agree, Jamie.


  7. Just being willing and able to admit to your lover that you're interested in kink takes a degree of trust. What if s/he decides that you're truly sick and leaves you - the person you love most in the world? I wrote about this fear in my Xmas novella, Tomorrow's Gifts.

    There's a flip side, though. Having a lover who understands and appreciates your desire to dominate or submit - and who is eager to satisfy that desire because of his/her own kinky nature - is possibly the biggest high in the world. One of the most romantic things that I've ever done was browsing around in a fetish store with my Dom. I was horribly embarrassed and terribly aroused. We were holding hands.

    Maybe a good way to spend Valentine's Day, in fact...!


  8. I LOVED Secret Service, Kim! Excellent story! BTW,reading this post, I laughed out loud at the thought of Alistair, Sheridan and heart toting teddy bears.

  9. Hi Jude - I think you're right that D/s relationships demand a lot of trust. I'm not sure if it is possible for a vanilla relationship to develope in the same way, but I've always kind of hoped it is. I'd hate people who aren't kinky to lose out on that connection.

    Hi Jamie - Thanks, I had a huge amount of fun writing Secret Service :)

    Hi Rhonda - Do let me know what you think of them if you do decide to meet them?

    Hi Chelle - Thanks for dropping in. Hope you had a great Valentines.

  10. Hi Garce - Yes and no, lol. No, I'm not living the lifestyle at the moment, simply because I'm single and not looking. But, yes - if I if I were in a relationship, it would ever be one that contained my interpretation of the lifestyle :)

    Hi Donna - don't worry about late. I'm always playing catch up with blogs :) Hope you like Secret Service if you do decide to read it.

    Hi Lisabet - I think it is a very common fear for a lot of people. Finding the fear is unfounded has to be a huge relief. Tomorrow's Gift was a really interesting take on it all.

    Hi Bronwyn - So glad you liked it. Lol, they really aren't teddy bear guys!


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