Sunday, September 30, 2012

Now a True Angel

Ruben “Angelo” Riguero-Brito
November 1, 1984-September 30, 2012

Such a senseless death, a valiant soul who tried to break up a fight, shot in the heart in a Dallas parking lot. Like a comet that streaks vividly in the night then dies, he made a vivid impression on all and was gone at age 27.

I met Angelo at Ellora’s Cave’s first Romanticon in 2009. Wow! Gorgeous, hunky, shy, sweet, with a delightful Venezuelan accent. I fell in love. So I was ecstatic when Syneca, EC’s fabulous photographer and art director, asked if I’d like to pose for some photos with him. Is the Pope Catholic? Of course I said yes. (You can read more about the photo shoot here). And here’s the result (yes, my wrinkles were Photoshopped out).

By the 2010 Romanticon, Angelo had matured, his leadership skills honed, his stage presence electric. But more important, he had heart. He loved people (especially older women, he swore), loved to smile and joke and hug.

 He had a way of looking at you during a conversation that made you feel like you were the most important thing in his universe at that moment. And could that man dance! Had us all swooning and in lust.

In 2011 Angelo was chosen “2012 Alpha Caveman” by a huge majority of the attendees. He rehearsed all the Cavemen in the dance skits and you could see how much he loved to dance, both on stage and on the dance floor. And look at his expertise at twirling a flaming baton!

His sense of humor sparkled, especially when he and Caveman Rodney called Bingo numbers at our farewell pizza party. Angelo was beautiful inside and out. He loved life and was full of energy. And can you say charisma? The man had it in abundance.

You will be sorely missed,
cariño. May God hold you close.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

BDSM: Part III – All Hands On Deck at Paddles

In previous blogs I discussed some book-learning aspects of our BDSM Workshop for Writers hosted by Dr. Charley Ferrer. Now we get to the nitty-gritty: our visits to Paddles, the open BDSM club located in lower Manhattan, a thirty-block cab ride from the hotel.

Friday would be relatively quiet, Dr. Charley had explained, so we’d be able to explore the club’s features, ask questions, and talk with the owner as well as the sponsors of that evening, DomSubFriends, a New York City-based BDSM education/support group.

I didn’t know what to expect as we passed some of the ubiquitous scaffolding that seemed indigenous to New York City to reach an innocuous white door standing ajar, its inner surface painted simply “Paddles.”

I had written some mild BDSM scenes in my Ellora’s Cave books, but everything came from my imagination. This was the real thing.

My heart raced, my legs felt shaky as I descended an angled series of steep, narrow stairs to a true dungeon, complete with locked door and password. (The password was my name, which was one of eight on Dr. Charley’s list.) That password got my hand stamped, a welcoming smile from the attendant, and entry into a new world.

Dark. Musky with incense. A hard bass rhythm throbbing from hidden speakers. Folks wearing street clothes or leathers, milling around a small bar that served only water and soft drinks, murmuring greetings, getting acquainted or reacquainted.

In stark contrast to that everyday picture, directly opposite the bar a naked woman stood on a small stage, cuffed arms and legs stretched wide, her back to the audience. No model-slim figure, no silicone-enhanced chest, no salon hairdo, someone whose appearance wasn’t all that different from mine. My first reaction was, how would I feel in her place? Omigod, warts, cellulite and hysterectomy scars displayed for anyone’s eyes. Standing all alone. Awaiting her Master? For humiliation? Punishment? Delayed gratification?

No time to ponder. We were led to various points of interest:

The jail cell, where the ambidextrous Viktor waited with matching floggers to display his mesmerizing artistry on a willing subject or five. I was locked inside for a few uncomfortable minutes, absorbing the atmosphere.

The Chair, beams at shoulder level extending outward and sporting D-rings for binding arms to it, with an ingenious split seat on hinges that caused restrained legs to open wiiiiide.

Large wooden X’s, or Saint Andrew’s Crosses, up in the low-ceilinged loft and elsewhere.

Nooks and crannies and corners filled with devices, but no doors anywhere except in the restrooms.

On a long, padded bench with upright posts at the corners, I volunteered to be cuffed hand and foot (why not? I thought; at the time, only a handful of other players besides the intrepid eight populated the entire space). The thick, felt-lined leather cuffs were too large for me, and I easily slipped my hands through.

In retrospect, a submissive would probably have kept them where they were placed. Me? Not so much.

But before then, I did get antsy when Doctor Charley rucked my skirt up to my hips to uncover black bikini panties then undid the zipper of my top to show my fair-to-middling cleavage in the daring demi-bra I’d purchased from Purple Passion earlier that day. But hey, I was still overdressed compared to many.

It was my first BDSM experience. And I was determined to see it through. For research purposes.

And boy, did I experience. Doctor Charley bade me turn over onto my stomach, and I received my first adult spanking from a handsome young man. It was two or three minutes of fun. Tingly. Over too soon.

Wait. Did I say that?

Never mind. On to the flogging lesson.

A sweet-natured older man volunteered to be our target and eagerly placed his upraised hands on the cross. Dr. Charley demonstrated some techniques, including a how-to on the Florentine (floggers in both hands, much more complicated than the Double-Dutch jump-ropes of our childhood), then offered us each a turn at the volunteer’s back.

Trying to coordinate shoulder and wrist movement, keeping the impact rhythmic and fluid, and avoiding the lower back (kidney) area proved to be very tricky to us novices.

One of the most important parts of any impact scene, we learned (and put into practice), was periodically stopping to ask the subject if he was okay, assuring him we could stop whenever he said so while caressing his skin. And, bless him, he withstood all our fumbling efforts and appeared to enjoy it.

Cage at Paddles

Around midnight, Michael, the owner of Paddles, surfaced and answered our myriad questions about the club and the lifestyle. (The cage photo, from the Paddles website, is used with his permission.)

Then he took us next door to the private club Pandora, a warren of small rooms with lockable doors with red (occupied) and green (free) warning lights above, opening onto dim, skinny hallways. Guests at Pandora—high-powered career people who are averse to publicity, to having someone see their face— pay for the room and the services of a Dominatrix by the hour. Everything at Pandora is strictly private.

Some of the setups there:

A schoolroom with teacher’s desk, student’s desk-chair and chalkboard, and lots of paddles hanging on the wall.

A doctor’s examining room with all kinds of stainless steel implements, gurney and table, IV (enema?) bags and tubes, and a vintage wheelchair.

A padded “wrestling” room.

A medieval-looking chamber of horrors, including a rack, a dog cage, and a huge Katherine Wheel where the bound person can be turned upside down.

A Pilgrim-type stock with cut-outs that would hold head and wrists between two boards.

Our group’s favorite spot: an ancient Egyptian throne room, with soaring ceiling, a decorative throne up a riser of stairs, and pillars where Samson might have been chained after his haircut (except for the electronic suspension rig dangling above).

We left the club around two in the morning. As we stepped onto the street beyond the scaffolding, a taxi stopped right in front of us and discharged a fare heading into the club, which still throbbed with life. We grabbed it and headed to the hotel, weary and minds full of scenes for our books.

Don't forget to check out Kathy Kulig's blog; she'll be talking about Paddles and BDSM today, too. Next week’s blog: Saturday at Paddles, including waaay edgier play. Join me there, won’t you?

Monday, September 24, 2012

RomantiCon 2012 Is Almost Here!

Last year's Cavemen in their 10,000 B.C. costumes. Yum!

I’ll be attending RomantiCon 2012 on October 11-14 in Canton, OH. If you’re in the area, stop by on Sunday from noon to 4:00pm for the free BookFair to meet and chat with dozens of Ellora’s Cave authors who will be autographing any books you  purchase. Plus, the famous Cavemen will be in attendance. If you’re attending the entire Conference, look for me at these workshops:

Friday, October 11:
10 – 11am: A Man in the House is Worth Two in the Street! (Hosted by Cris Anson & Kaenar Langford) Members will work in groups to come up with clever ways to use dollar-store and household items to keep their man (or woman) in the house happy and titillated.

4 – 5pm: Book Reviews: Don't Call My Baby Ugly! (Hosted by authors Isabelle Drake & Cris Anson, reader Lori Avery & Two Lips reviewer Victoria) What do readers want/expect from reviewers? How are books chosen for review? Should authors read them, why or why not? And of course, what about those semi-dreaded, nonprofessional consumer reviews (on Amazon, Goodreads, blogs, etc., from anyone with fingers and an opinion?)

Saturday, October 12:
10 – 11am: Lube Your Mind! (Hosted by Cris Anson, Dalton Diaz, M.A. Ellis & Kaenar Langford) Join our talented authors as they play Mad Libs with their own sexy excerpts, and be prepared to get down and dirty while guessing EC titles during a scintillating game of Charades.

Look forward to seeing YOU there!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

BDSM: Part II – Misconceptions and Eye-Openers

This four-part series discusses the BDSM Workshop for Writers taught by Dr. Charley Ferrer in New York last month. Don't forget to check Kathy Kulig's blog for her own series about the weekend.

Used to be, I thought of BDSM as only whips and  handcuffs and dungeons. 

Heavy-duty metal cuffs
Now? I know that’s part of BDSM.

We all know BDSM includes bondage and discipline, dominance and submission (D/s), sadism and masochism. But I was a little surprised to see so much diversity in that all-inclusive term. BDSM is a category the way “human” is a category (quoting Dr. Charley here).

There are tons of books devoted to the subject, so this isn’t meant to be anywhere near comprehensive. I’m coming at this only from what I learned (and unlearned) during the BDSM Writers Workshop I took to enhance my erotic romances published with Ellora’s Cave.

Misconceptions such as:

·   BDSM clubs are sex clubs. Not true, at least if you’re talking about open clubs. No sexual penetration is allowed. Orgasms only as a byproduct, it seems, of the function (electrical play, flogging, etc.)

·   Any dominant person is automatically a Master. Wrong. You don't call yourself a Master, the title is bestowed on you in honor of your age, knowledge and experience, even in a D/s relationship.

·   The Dominant is a pervert, a sadist, an abuser who has to be in charge. Wrong. The “power exchange” is the most important aspect of the Dominant/submissive relationship. The submissive is in charge, based on pre-determined boundaries which the Dominant agrees to (but may want to push). The sub can always call a stop to the play. (A "slave" is somewhat different and may be the subject of a later blog.)

·   BDSM is a 24/7 proposition, a lifetime (or at least long-term commitment). Wrong. Many folks only want to play on occasion, and sometimes with only one or two elements, such as exhibitionism or voyeurism or wearing leather.

·   As soon as you enter into a D/s relationship, you get collared. Wrong. Giving or receiving a collar to the BDSM adherent is like a wedding ring. It is earned by mutual trust, commitment, communication and length of time together.

·   Male subs are weaklings. Wrong. It takes a lot of strength and courage to kneel before another person and offer your trust. Many high-powered executives—doctors, CEOs, investment brokers—feel the need to be submissive after a rough day at the office.

·   A “Switch” is bi-sexual. Those terms are not interchangeable. Bi-sexual means you are not averse to having sexual relations with both male and female partners. You are a Switch if you occasionally like to “top” (be dominant) as well as “bottom” (be submissive). If you are a true Dom or a true sub, you will never be a switch; it simply isn’t in your nature.

     And speaking of “topping”, Top is not a synonym for Dominant. A Top is most likely a sub who is performing a service to someone else, probably at the request of his/her own Dom.

 As well as correcting misconceptions, the weekend also brought some eye-openers:

·   Communicating is one of the most vital components of the lifestyle. Not only filling out a checklist so both parties know where they stand, but constantly asking, “Are you okay?” while the receiver is bound or blindfolded and being subjected to whatever they’ve agreed to. And every Dominant worth the name will insist on “safe words” that will stop the play – “Red” being the most prevalent because it’s a universal “stop” sign, and “Yellow” for “Wait, let’s take a breather, I’m not ready to stop but something is wrong…”    “No” and “Stop” are not safe words.

·   Every club will have a Dungeon Master or two, usually wearing some kind of ID (perhaps a neon vest like a school-crossing guard) who wanders around checking for distress or mishandling or safety (such as keeping watchers from being too close during knife play or making sure a fire extinguisher is nearby for fire play).  

Testing St. Andrew's Cross
·   BDSM covers a lot of kinks, not just D/s scenes. Tickling? Check. Spanking? There are parties where nothing but spanking occurs. Foot fetish? Sure, sounds logical, who wouldn’t want a foot massage? But boot fetish? Did you know there are serious groups devoted solely to bootblacking? Polishing a pair of boots with loving, sensual strokes, and having competitions to see who does it best? All part of BDSM.

·   Aftercare is every bit as important as the scene itself. Holding, cuddling, stroking the receiver, making sure he/she has water and sugar until s/he comes out of the hazy feeling and is able to walk, think, function again.

·   BDSM practitioners are, by and large, not only friendly but warm and loving and eager to discuss their experiences and answer questions. They also, it goes without saying, are comfortable in their own bodies and their nudity.

·   Dr. Charley proclaimed me an S.A.M. Apparently I’m a Smart-Ass Masochist. Only time will tell.

·   Of the seven other writer participants, I pegged a sadist, a couple of subs, a voyeur, a couple of polyamorists, and one I couldn’t typecast.

Most importantly, remember SSC: safe, sane, consensual. Every BDSM adherent subscribes to this. If they don’t, beginners should run, not walk, away from them. For stronger, harder (more experienced) "edge play", some adhere to RACK: risk aware consensual kink.

Next week I’ll be revealing some of my personal experiences at Paddles. Please come back.

Were any of my statements an eye-opener for you? Did I correct any misconceptions you had about BDSM? I'd love to hear from you.

Monday, September 10, 2012

BDSM: Part I, The Real 411

I'll be taking my sister to a university hospital for out-patient surgery on Wednesday and will be spending much of the day at the hospital without a computer. I'll respond to your comments as soon as I can.

In what was billed as an exclusive one-of-a-kind BDSM workshop specifically geared toward writers’ needs, eight intrepid erotic romance authors gathered at a New York hotel during a mid-August weekend to get first-hand information from renowned Sexologist Dr. Charley Ferrer.

We were not disappointed.

First, the vitae:

Dr. Charley, as she is known in the Community, holds a Masters in Counseling Psychology, a Doctorate in Human Sexuality, and certification as a Clinical Sexologist and Erotologist. She’s a TV/Radio host and producer, award-winning author and sex expert for Fox News Latino.

She has also “outed” herself as a practicing Dominant.

So she knew whereof she spoke.

It will take several blogs to cover our weekend and what we learned and experienced regarding the subject of BDSM, so please feel free to return to this site often.

An overview:

We met Dr. Charley’s assistant, Alison, who has been in a submissive relationship for about a year. Alison freely shared her experiences throughout the weekend. As well, Rev. Dr. Matthew Scrivens offered a session on Serial Killers and Mental Health Disorders to help us write more vivid villains. Dr. Matthew, who holds a Masters in psychology and Doctorate in religion, has worked with murderers, rapists and teen sex offenders. He’ll be guest-blogging here in the near future.

Over the next three full days, we

·   listened raptly as we were led through the course.

·   asked questions which were fully and honestly answered.

·   watched demonstrations of several forms of Edge Play, such as Electrical Play (also known as Violet Wand Play) and Needle Play.

·   visited Paddles, a public BDSM Club whose owner, Michael, took us through the adjoining private club, Pandora.

·   practiced flogging.

·   enjoyed excursions to Purple Passion (sex-toy store) and Leathermen’s Fetish Shop.

In future blogs, I’ll expound on how what I learned about the BDSM Community differed from what I “knew”  about misconceptions that creep into our writing, about what we saw and heard and felt at the Club.

But for now, let me put in a plug for Dr. Charley’s book, “BDSM for Writers”. She also wrote “BDSM: the Naked Truth”, geared to non-writers, as well as several other non-fiction books on the subjects of sensuality and sexuality.

Oh, and I can plug my fellow Ellora’s Cave authors who shared this mind-boggling weekend with me and are/will be blogging about their own view of things:

·        Kathy Kulig

·        Francesca Hawley

Please, feel free to comment on my posts. I’m new to blogging, so I welcome your thoughts and observations.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Toe-Dipping Virgin

My name is Cris Anson and I’m a virgin.

A blog-owning virgin, that is.

I’ve guest-written blogs here and there, but this is the first blog under my own name, and it’s part of my brand-new website.

What are my passions? I’m passionate about, well, passion. The man-woman kind. The man-man-woman kind. The man-woman-man…you get the idea.

I’m especially passionate about BDSM. I’ve been fascinated by the lifestyle and have been reading many wonderful books by authors under the Ellora's Cave Taboo icon.

Recently I spent an educational weekend at the first BDSM Workshop for Writers in New York City, with a visit to a real, live dungeon. This will be the subject of a series of future blogs beginning next week.

Please come back and discover what I learned and saw and experienced.

Meanwhile, since this is a blog full of firsts, here’s the first look at the cover of MERCY AND REDEMPTION, my forthcoming erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave.

Searching in an old cemetery for likely gravestones to illustrate her colonial cookbook, Mercy Howe meets two hunks who are tracing their ancestry. And sparks fly. Literally.

When Mercy casually touches Seth and Adam, her vividly erotic vision involving all three of them feels like a memory, not a dream, and awakens long-dormant sexual urges. With their kisses achingly familiar, she welcomes each in turn into her body. Then she spends a no-holds-barred weekend with both men in her bed and discovers an intimacy—and a past—that blows her mind.

Is she a slut, as she fears? Or are these three souls destined to rewrite their joint history from three hundred years ago?

So mark your calendar for some insights and opinions on BDSM beginning next week at Cris Anson’s Passions. And feel free to tell me what you think. I won’t bite. Unless you want me to.