Welcome, Ladies and Gents of the Lair... I want to welcome you to week long party! Let the party continue...
Let's put together a warm welcome for Damon Suede!
What does your family think of you writing erotica?
They LOVE it! Seriously. I was raised by a very out, very political lesbian who devoured all manner of LGBT fiction. I grew up reading pulps and romances that she recommended, both straight and gay. My mom passed away in 2008, but she would have been trumpeting my books on billboards and late night television if she were still with us. As it is, her widow has named herself my unofficial publicist, pushing my books as anyone who will sit still long enough to give her an opening. J She hands out swag at hardware stores, put a banner up at our ranch, and reads aloud from the books at parties and dinners!
What would you tell a reader reluctant to read erotica?
Do you mean pornographic fiction or erotic romance? Because I think those are two points on a very wide spectrum. One person’s gonzo-porno is another person’s tender flirtation. First off I’d make sure to clarify terms with them before I stomped in with recommendations. J
Now I have a theory about this erotica/romance spectrum… in the simplest terms, erotica reduces characters to objects that lack an internal life and romance accomplishes the exact opposite, describing objectively beautiful bodies and bestowing the illusion of an interior life. The relative success of both genres depends on the reader encountering the degree of subjectification or objectification expected. Or to boil it down to a bumper sticker,erotica turns you on and romance turns you inside out.
With anyone curious but hesitant about looking at erotic romance, I’d let them know that their preconceptions of the genre might give them pause, but the books themselves are not what they expect. Skeptics seem to think that erotic romance is equivalent to porn, that any mention of intimacy is prurient or vulgar, and that sexuality is somehow corrosive of the social order. I’d encourage them to look around for recommendations to find an author with whom they’d feel comfortable. On the other hand, with someone hesitant to read flat-out porn, unless we had a sexual relationship, I’d say it’s none of my business what they do with their literature and their libido.
Erotic romance varies as widely and wildly as science fiction, fantasy, or mysteries or any other genre fiction. But hating all mystery fiction because you hated The Maltese Falcon when you were twelve seems a little myopic. Dismissing a book because you didn’t enjoy it is one thing. Dismissing an entire genre because you’ve ignored it simply closes off an entire world of characters and stories that might surprise and delight you in ways you hadn’t imagined.
Have you ever tested out one of your sex scenes on your significant other?
Oh HELL yeah. J Why do you think all my readers crow about the obsessive realism in my books? LOL
Is there any topic you find taboo?
Exploitation of children, the romantic eroticization of minors… it’s irresponsible and nauseating. My boyfriend is a federal investigator who spent eight years prosecuting kid cases (abuse and exploitation of children): horrifying, mindbending, soul-destroying shit.
Now, I don’t believe in censorship. I’m not talking about stories that use sexualized children to repulse the reader or shock the lethargic (Lolita, End of Alice, Zombie, American Beauty), I don’t mean prurient pulps that use crimes against minors as the ne plus ultra of cultural violations (Andrew Vacchs Burke novels, Morality Play, The Serpent Club), and I don’t even mind lurid bourgie porn that trots out sex abuse to make the moron majority feel superior. No. I mean romance fiction taking a soft focus look at the rape and exploitation of minors as if the crimes do not utterly ruin their victims, as if there is a world in which such blameless suffering is a fantasy that deserves defense.
I don’t mind edgy fiction, or freaky age-gaps, or kinky fantasy, or even shocking role play… but a fantasy that exploits and romanticizes crimes with actual underage victims is capital-E evil and deserves repercussion, not because it somehow causes such crimes, but because it minimizes them. Stealing and trivializing a child’s agony to make a buck is lower than rape. And if you don’t believe me, my boyfriend has some crime scene photos to show you.
What role do you think toys play in sex?
Depends on the sex. Depends on the people involved. Half the time people treat each other as toys, using someone else’s body as a hand to rub one out and then wiping them off soon as they’re finished. I think anything that helps people find their way to each other, that bridges the gaps between people can be powerful in the right hands, or pitiful in the wrong ones. As everything it depends on the context. But I don’t have a kneejerk prejudice about toys. They can be groovy.
Do you think food has a place in sex?
In fantasy great. In reality, not so much. I’ve used food in sex and had it be wonderful, but generally it’s messier than people imagine and only sexy as long as you can stay in the moment. Now, in fantasies, food is another thing that’s tactile, sensual, complicated, specific… so yeah it can be great.
What do you think of role play?
Love it when it’s intense and in the moment and feels authentic; hate it when it feels lame and scripted, or like a b-roll from a bad porno film. The best roleplay is always with adroit people who have enough imagination to inhabit the role deeply and interest to maintain the connection. The mutual performance should have the same heat and resonance of a great scene on stage, except that there’s not the same kind of audience, and you’re improvising almost exclusively. My best roleplaying memories have always been with very clever, very creative folks whose kinks run deep and intersect with my own in interesting ways. Still there is no greater moodkiller in the world than “yeah yeah do it harder stud” banalities swiped from a 1990s Vivid video. The one time that happened to me during sex I busted out laughing, which actually stopped the bullshit and led to a much better experience for both of us. J Clichés are death and they kill boners as easily as they slaughter genius.
Would you prefer to be the submissive or the dominant?
Depends on the other person, dunnit? J As that goes, I’m a classic switch. I’ve got a fair amount of BDSM experience and I’ve taken my licks and earned my leathers, if you know what I mean. But I’m not a lifestyle Dom or sub. And I can’t imagine being only one thing your whole life. It’s always about the vibe between me and the other person and the vibe evolves. The real secrets cannot be communicated. J
What’s your favorite ménage trios: M/M/F, M/F/F, M/M/M, or F/F/F?
Well, I’m a big homo, so three blokes. I’ve had a couple successful threeway relationships in my life, but finding the right balance is tricky and it takes a certain type of person times three. In fiction, it doesn’t matter as long as the relationship gets the necessary attention and the characters (and their feelings) seem authentic.
What do you think of orgies?
In life? They can be awesome if the organizers know what they’re doing. A blind free-for-all is generally grotty but they’re parties really. And have to be planned and managed as any gathering of personalities. The right combo? Heaven! J In books, I don’t think they’re that interesting. What I love in romance is seeing people connect. Hard enough to do with TWO, let alone 15. LOL And even if your two lovers are polyamorous, it’s hard to bring the reader along without losing the immediacy of the POV. All those bodies are distracting; actually that’s true about fiction and life as well.
What’s the spiciest thing you can think of right now?
A smile in a whisper. A throat kiss in the dark. A post-orgasmic sigh in a gravelly bass.
Unless you mean another kind of spicy, then I’d say a cayenne used as a urethral sound! LOL
What do you enjoy the most about being a writer?
Building worlds from the ground up. Unleashing three-dimensional characters to test the limits of the worlds. Articulating their stories sot that a reader submits to the fantasy. I think reading should be like dreaming… ineluctable and seductive. I constantly push for ways to make the dream more seamless and seedless, to keep the sand out of the sheets so that nothing wakes from the story before it’s finished.
When Hot Head first came out, I noticed the funniest thing about the comments. Four out of five people mentioned that they hadn’t wanted to start reading right away but as soon as they started they literally plunked down, abandoned their day and finished the 320 pages with Griff and Dante in a single sitting. So MANY people read the whole story in a single day, and many flipped right back to the front and read it again. THAT is what I want. J
What do you find the most challenging about being a writer?
Waiting. Writing empowers our imaginations, allowing us to build worlds so sturdy that others can inhabit them. But that deceptively godlike control has nothing to do with the nuts-n-bolts process of bringing a book to market. Everything takes time; most people read unbelievably slowly. Decisions take forever and committees take even longer. Sometimes the whole world moves like tar in winter. And you have to deal with it or find another job. Any collaborative artform (and that’s pretty much all of them) requires give and take to put a piece of work in front of an audience. And the minute a second opinion exists about a situation, everything takes ten times longer… with each additional opinion increasing the delay exponentially. As my agent used to say, you don’t have to love the process, but you have to learn to live with it.
What genre(s) do you write and why?
Contemporary, mystery, gothic, steampunk, fantasy, science fiction, rom-com… You name it, I’ve pretty much written it. The only genre I’ve never written in is Westerns and only because I’ve never been hired to do so.
Now in M/M I’ve only written Contemporary, Science Fiction, Historical Fantasy, and Steampunk… For scripts I’ve written in several genres because I got hired and the script came to me already situated in a given genre. In truth, I learned a valuable lesson from that stricture. Your voice exists in every genre, if you can find the point of cohesion and resonance.
So in M/M, I’ve written in the genres that the stories demanded. The story would present a given plot and cast of characters and the genre became obvious by default.
What's the one thing you wished you had known about the publishing world before you got into the biz?
Well, I’m a bad person to ask because I’d written for so long and in so many formats before crossing into romance. With regard to M/M especially, I wish I’d known how friendly and supportive the community is because I would’ve been writing gay romance a decade ago!! I’ve said it elsewhere, but the raw, rushing freedom afforded by writing romance has changed ALL my writing for the better. And unlike film or stage, which can be unbelievable petty and random communities, M/M romance (and by extension romance e-publishing) opened its arms wide and warmly from day one. Had I but known sooner, it’s have ten years of stories told. Time to get busy! J
Are you a plotter or panster?
Y’all are determined to make me seem like an evil taskmaster!
I am an adamant, dyed-in-the-wool plotter. I have to be in order to earn a living. As a screenwriter and playwright, I often get paid for a pitch, a treatment, a synopsis, an outline before I’m allowed to write a single word of the actual script. I’d never book a job if I could organize my thoughts about the story without sitting down to right the thing! LOL You do not reach a destination without context. And outline is only structured context.
Even more damningly, I’m a teacher. I’ve taught writing for well over a decade. The value of sitting down and simply puking on the page is that it doesn’t let students procrastinate. The “just get started” model became popular in the 1970s when fiction underwent radical changes. It’s great for getting children to write ANYTHING rather than nothing, but it’s actually a pretty rotten way to teach writers anything about craft. Anyone can type words on paper, but typing is not writing. Random clumps of unstructured prose will never become genre fiction. The outline is the way you write the book. The bottom line is that genre fiction (by definition) is structured. So we can either structure it before we get to work, or slog through blind and then go back to make sense of what we did.
Plotter: hands down, no bones. And really opinionated about it obviously.
Here’s the thing: and this is the part where people will get annoyed with me. I don’t believe in pantsers. I belive that some writers convince themselves that they are not outlining. I believe that some writers draft these long messy, muddled outlines that they call rough drafts. I believe that these “pantsers” have no choice but to go back and revise those messy outlines before the book actually gets written. But a Pantsers so-called “rough draft” IS an outline, a jumbled structure that wastes a lot of valuable time and energy. Outlining is part of craft, and craft is where professionalism starts.
If that sounds medieval, then tough shit. J I believe in apprenticeship and discipline. No amateur ever built a cathedral by winging it.
Some people can outline in their heads so they know where they’re headed. Some feel stifled by deadlines and drop dates and drive producers/publishers mad. Some folks hate thinking about their stories in abstractions, and so what I see as wasted time/energy is part of the creative crucible. That’s their business. Art is individual and we aren’t insects. LOL If that’s how the book has to come, then so be it, but anyone can learn to structuregenre fiction. And while many professional writers might start out as so-called pantsers, dealing with deadlines cures 90% of those cases, right quick. The other 10% are stubborn, brave souls.
Look: you get the book done by any means necessary. But if you want to do it again, do it well, do it for a living, I would advise that you learn the craft of getting it done efficiently or you will waste yourself and your talent on the oyster instead of the pearl.
Any advice you’d like to share with aspiring authors?
Being an artist is not a disability.
Write every day, no excuses. Professionalism counts. Treat it like a job or it will treat you like a joke. Manners matter. Throw away your TV. Make bold choices. The things about you that irritate people are often the things other people admire: every sword cuts both ways. Know who you are and practice being it. Be specific.
If you write for fame or fortune, you’ve made a terrible mistake about the nature of the job as they are the least of its rewards. Cultivate big eyes, a thick skin, and a full heart. Smile. Listen. Write about the things that matter to you. Nothing is worse than a flop you didn’t believe in. Challenge yourself every day, and challenge your readers every time. Get better.
Do you have any other hobbies that you enjoy?
I read like a maniac. I see a ton of theatre, which is partially work, but occasionally bliss. I love skiing, but I don’t have a lot of time for it lately. I go twostepping once a week and used to rodeo every chance I got. I collect tarot decks and orreries. I love hosting hilariously bad movie nights with my friends… and maintain a shocking library of sleazy and overproduced cinematic trash (everything from Showgirls to Body Rock). My boyfriend and I have Jane Austen marathons where we read a novel while drowning ourselves in every adaptation of that novel for film, television, or radio.
What inspired you to pen this sexy tale?
Grown Men grew out of a photograph posted at the M/M Romance Group at Goodreads. Their amazing mods set up a massive collaborative anthology project in which people could select a photo and propose a plot germ and writers picked a prompt. The prompt I chose was an odd one: a gigantic man easily 7¾ feet tall with his arm draped over another man easily a yard shorter... both muscular, uncircumcised, and sun-bronzed, standing on a beach under a tropical tree.
Romance needs an element of impossibility for the proper friction and heat. The two guys’ photoshopped size disparity was SO extreme and so impossible that it sparked something in my imagination. The image felt like a Sci-Fi story, but more contained than a space opera: something primal, but something a little… off world.
Out of that image and that imaginal friction, an entire HardCell Universe sprang up around me! I could barely keep up and loved what I learned. It’s set at a point in the future when massive corporations have scattered human civilization across planets and breed employees who must earn citizenship by life-or-death contracts. The only art form left is elaborate adver-tainments and human relationships have dwindled to fast-food convenience. Totally harsh and sexy. LOL Perfect for a swoony romance too!
The trouble was, the characters and the world took hold of me and wouldn’t let go. What started out as a simple two-hander rapidly ballooned beyond a length that suited a large collection of shorts. So I set the original story aside, and instead wrote its prequel for the anthology, a snarky compressed heist set in the same universe, but with different characters, a different situation. To explain two giants, they had to become twins, natch, J but of radically different temperaments. And the HardCell domination of the Universe kept growing and deepening. LOL
Seedy Business, the first HardCell “transmission,” wound up being about sperm piracy and illegal organ theft with a pair of world-class scumbags forced to un-scum themselves. The second “transmission” became
Grown Men and dwelt on terraforming and the threat of corporate assassination with a relatively sweet duo marooned on a planet ranching eel so they can earn corporate citizenship. And of course, like all science fiction, they poke at a lot of modern cultural assumptions, in sexy (and sometimes sweet) ways.
All because of a photo posted at random.
Here's the blurb from Grown Men:
Marooned in the galactic backwaters of the HardCell company, colonist Runt struggles to eke out an existence on a newly-terraformed tropical planetoid. Since his clone-wife died on entry, he’s been doing the work of two on his failing protein farm. Overworked and undersized, Runt’s dwindling hope of earning corporate citizenship has turned to fear of violent “retirement.”
When an overdue crate of provisions crashes on his beach, Runt searches frantically for a replacement wife among the tools and food. Instead he gets Ox, a mute hulk who seems more like a corporate assassin than a simple offworld farmer.
Shackwacky and near-starving, Runt has no choice but to work with his silent partner despite his mounting paranoia and the unsettling appeal of Ox’s genetically altered pheromones. Ox plays the part of the gentle giant well, but Runt’s still not convinced he hasn’t arrived with murder in mind.
Between brutal desire and the seeds of a relationship, Runt’s fears and Ox’s inhuman past collide on a fertile world where hope and love just might have room to grow.
This title is #1 of the HardCell series.
Okay... Your favorite time.... Giveaway Time!!!!
This will be the rule for all Giveaways this week...
All Giveaways will end Friday, November 18th at Midnight....
The winners will all be picked and announced....
Monday, November 21st!
Now time for Damon's Giveaway!
First Wave Winner’s Choice: Pick any one backlist book from Rachel Haimowitz, Aleksandr Voinov, L.A. Witt, Brita Addams, or Cat Grant (“Frontlist” books, i.e. Riptide releases and newest non-Riptide release, are excluded, as are the Courtland Chronicles).
What do I want from you.....
Well, you have to leave your email address ~ A MUST.
You have to be a follower of this blog ~ A MUST.
You must leave a comment or question for Damon ~ A MUST!
Grown Men is available at Riptide Publishing. http://www.riptidepublishing.
Email address: Damon@DamonSuede.com
Website URL: www.DamonSuede.com
FB Fanpage: https://www.facebook.com/
GLBT Bookshelf: http://bookworld.editme.com/
Manic Readers: http://www.manicreaders.com/
The Giveaway for Riptide:
From October 1 to December 31, Riptde authors and editors will set sail on a massive
Grand Opening blog tour!
We're gearing up for three months of games, prizes, interviews, chats, and scavenger hunts, and we'd love to have you along! At each stop along the tour, we'll be giving away great prizes - tons of books from our authors' backlists, swag by the boatload, gift ceritficates to All Romance Ebooks, and entries into the Grand Prize drawings for a Nook, a Kindle, and an iPad.
Go check it out!!!
And remember... Keep it Dirty, Smutty & Hussy!