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REVIEW: The Reluctant Dom by Tymber Dalton

Dear Ms. Dalton:

thereluctantdom300x450This is a very well-written book. You have strong, fully realized characters, an unique plot, a romance that is slowly developed and deeply felt, and a solid, believable happy ending. I think you have a lot of writing talent and a good eye for the genre. That said, this book made me feel dirty–not in a fun, sexy way, but in an unclean, depressing, angry way.

Seth’s best friend Kaden drops a bomb on him one day: not only is he dying of pancreatic cancer, but he’s asking Seth to step in for him as his wife’s dominant after he dies. Seth, who had no clue that his best friends were involved in BDSM, let alone in a 24/7 Master/slave relationship, is understandably blown away and completely weirded out. But he agrees, moves in with his friends, learns to be a dominant, slowly falls in love with Leah (or, rather, admits to himself and his friends that he’s always loved her), shares her with Kaden, watches Kaden sicken and die (the whole story takes about 18 months, I’d say, maybe a bit longer), after which he and Leah learn to live without Kaden and live happily married ever after. There are no surprises in this story and that’s as it should be. No miracle cures, no unbelievable emotions, no melodrama. Seth goes through very realistic feelings of grief and despair over his best friend’s illness, horror and outrage over the BDSM aspect of Kaden and Leah’s life that he is expected to learn and take over for, which changes to acceptance and understanding by the end of the story.   You obviously feel very strongly about explaining, even normalizing, the BDSM lifestyle to an interested but ignorant audience, when you say in your Author’s Note:

While this is a fictional story, the portrayal of a 24/7 M/s relationship is accurate. There is a rich diversity to "the lifestyle" that most people never know about because their information comes from BSDM fetish sites on the internet. Try to define normal, either in a vanilla or kink relationship, and it’s truly impossible.

You might be more "normal" than you think-

And if your whole plot set-up weren’t, to my mind, inherently offensive and dangerous, you would have done a great job.

But rather than normalizing or explaining BDSM, this book pathologizes it even more than the APA has by including sexual paraphilias in its DSM IV.   Because the only reason that Kaden and Leah are in a 24/7 Master/slave relationship is that it’s the only way that Leah has to access her emotions after her hideously abusive childhood:

Some people, for various reasons, need pain. They use it. It’s how they function, how they deal with their emotions. Some use it to help relieve intense emotional pain in an external way, some use it to feel like they’re connected to life again. [ . . . ] She needs things. It helps her cope. She doesn’t feel or express emotional pain like you and me. She needs safety and security. She needs someone who will care for and about her and understand why she needs-things. Someone she can put her full trust in. It’s how she’s made it all these years.

Leah used to self-mutilate to access her emotions, but Kaden put a stop to that by hurting her in a controlled, ritualized BDSM context instead. This is how she processes grief, anger, pain, fear, even sometimes happiness. Leah tells Seth toward the end of the book about the first time that Kaden spanked her when he discovers her self-mutilating after she promised she wouldn’t anymore:

“Then he grabbed me and spanked me. And when I looked up at him, he was just-well, sort of like you looked when you were trying to see how bad I was hurt. Horrified. I knew immediately he didn’t mean to do it. I knew he didn’t enjoy doing it.” She shook her head. “I think maybe that’s why I wanted him to keep doing it. Why I was able to promise him and keep it that time, mostly.”

Her voice dropped to a whisper. “He was the first person in my life who hurt me but he didn’t enjoy it. Do you think he just jumped into this with both feet? You know him. The only reason he did it was for me. Not because he enjoys it. Don’t let him fool you, he was just as scared as you are now. Probably even more.”

“He sure doesn’t look like it.”

“That’s twenty years of experience.”

Kaden isn’t doing this because he enjoys it. Oh no. Even though he admits that the sex is hot:

“It’s not about sex, either. That’s tied into it, but in our case it boils down to giving her what she needs to function. Some people are in it for the sex. Yeah, the sex is hotter for us because of this. I won’t lie, you’ll find it’s the hottest fucking sex you’ve ever imagined. But it’s not about the sex. It’s about fulfilling a need for someone.”

God forbid it be about getting off. No, it has to have a higher purpose than that.

Let’s perform a little thought experiment, shall we. A man, hideously abused during his childhood, feels that the world is spinning out of control. In order to calm himself, to access his emotions, and to act in a way that does not result in pure self-destruction, he needs to impose order on everything around him. In order to feel alive, he needs to make others around him hurt. What do we call this man? Sociopath comes to mind for me. What do we call his lovers? Victims? What about if it’s all consensual though — isn’t that the rallying cry of BDSM? Safe, Sane, Consensual, right? And these characters present as consensual, at least on the surface. But what if he manipulates his lovers into a virtual sexual slavery without them even being aware of what’s happening until they’re so far into it they can’t see a way out because they don’t want to cause him to spiral out of control? They do it because they want to please him, but they don’t actually like it.   I think we all would recognize that as abuse. In fact, it’s horrifying to us — or at least, to me. So why is it different in this instance? Why is it NOT abuse when it’s the “submissive” basically forcing her dominant with emotional blackmail into hurting her “for her own good”? Why is the dominant in this situation not seen as abused? Because dominants can’t be abused by submissives? I call bullshit.

And what about those who are BDSM identified who DO take part in BDSM activities solely because it gets them off, solely because they like to feel or inflict pain? Because despite what you purport to be trying to do, Ms. Dalton, the way you’ve constructed the characters in this book pathologizes  real sadists who really do like to hurt truly consenting partners; it pathologizes  real masochists who really do get off on being hurt by truly consenting partners. By having one of your characters say:

I told you, she’s not a pain slut. You’ll see people who put dozens of clothespins all over themselves, needles, hot wax, knife play, shit like that. She has no desire to do any of that. All she needs is the occasional grounding. That’s what the spankings are about.

You’re basically saying that it’s all those pain “sluts” out there who do “shit like that” who are really the sick ones. By justifying BDSM as therapy, for god’s sake, you pathologize anyone out there who just likes it withOUT justification, without a higher purpose, who might just be wired that way. After all, Kaden wouldn’t be a dominant if Leah didn’t “need” pain, and Leah wouldn’t need pain if she hadn’t had a fucked-up childhood, and Seth is forever whining about how he needs just to be vanilla now and then, that he’s only doing this for her and doesn’t really enjoy it. None of them are wired to be BDSM-identified and, in the world of the book as you’ve constructed it, THAT’S precisely what makes their practice of BDSM okay. Because they DON’T like it and it’s NOT natural for them, it’s okay.   Higher purpose, remember? And anything else — anyone who enjoys it because, yes, dammit, it’s about sex and fun and desire — anything healthy like that, is suspect. And that’s NOT okay, in my book.

So, some tips to other authors who hope to write BDSM:

  • BDSM is not and should never be used as therapy. That’s dangerous. If someone needs a therapist, they should see a therapist. If they can’t access their emotions, trust me, pain and submission are not the answer. Although this is obviously impossible to put in practice, only relatively healthy people should engage in serious BDSM play. And although authors like Joey Hill and Anah Crow show their characters using BDSM as a way to find their more authentic selves, they don’t use it as a way to avoid therapy, as explicitly stated in this book.
  • Cutting and self-mutilation do not indicate that a character is naturally a submissive. This is why I despise the movie  The Secretary, too. Self-mutilation has nothing to do with BDSM. For most submissives, BDSM-inflicted pain is completely different from other types of pain. Self-mutiliation and BDSM play might both release endorphins, but other than that, the experiences have nothing to do with each other. One is about loving connection with and complete trust in one’s partner. The other is about mental illness.
  • Submissives do NOT need a dominant to keep them in line in order to function in the world. Most submissives are incredibly strong, competent, completely normal people who just happen to get off on giving up control to their partner, something which does NOT infantilize them.   Depicting them as being completely lost without a dominant DOES, however, so knock it the fuck off.
  • Dominants are not interchangeable. One dominant is not as good as any other. A BDSM relationship is just like a vanilla relationship: all about attraction and compatibility.   If the thought that your husband might try to set you up with his best friend after his untimely death in order to keep you sane horrifies you, then why is it okay in a BDSM context? Hint: it’s not.
  • Both sides need to get off on the BDSM. Both sides need to agree to it and want to do it and get something purely *selfish* out of it. Neither side should be manipulating the other side into anything.   Having a character observe: “The truth was, most of what Kaden did, Leah had talked him into it even if it didn’t seem like it to others. He might have had the title and obviously the demeanor of her Master, but it was all because he loved her and tried to control and heal her pain the only way he thought he could.   Not because he wanted to dominate her,” does not make it all better and more acceptable. It makes the whole situation way way worse.

I’d be interested in reading some non-BDSM books from you, because, like I said, I think you’re a very talented writer. But please, don’t do the BDSM world any more favors like this book. With friends like you, we don’t need the legions of enemies we already have out there.

I have a really hard time grading this book. Purely mechanically, I’d give it a B- I think. Seth needs to get over himself a lot more quicker and Kaden’s OCD beyond-the-grave letters and DVDs are a bit much, but the characterization, relationship growth, and HEA are strong.   But as a whole product, the story gets not just an F, but an Epic Fail. I shouldn’t finish a romance feeling furious and degraded.

Sincerely,
-Joan/Sarah F.

This book can be purchased in ebook format from etailers carrying Lyrical Press books.

Sarah F. is a literary critic, a college professor, and an avid reader of romance -- and is thrilled that these are no longer mutually exclusive. Her academic specialization is Romantic-era British women novelists, especially Jane Austen, but she is contributing to the exciting re-visioning of academic criticism of popular romance fiction. Sarah is a contributor to the academic blog about romance, Teach Me Tonight, the winner of the 2008-2009 RWA Academic Research Grant, and the founder and President of the International Association of the Study of Popular Romance (IASPR). Sarah mainly reviews BDSM romance and gay male romance and hopes to be able to beat her TBR pile into submission when she has time to think. Sarah teaches at Fayetteville State University, NC.

88 Comments

  1. allison
    Feb 24, 2009 @ 12:21:05

    Definitely not on my TBR pile after this. I was intrigued but the segments quoted above make me turn this into a “no thanks”.

    It seems all too often that BDSM is either portrayed as “teh ebil” for proof positive that someone is a jerk or it’s completely misunderstood or completely misrepresented. I’m not sure which one is worse.

    I’d rather read a book about a happy and functional BDSM relationship between two equal parties.

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  2. Kimber An
    Feb 24, 2009 @ 12:32:20

    Does anyone care how many children rot in graveyards or languish in foster care because their parents got into this instead of real therapy?

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  3. Jill Sorenson
    Feb 24, 2009 @ 13:03:00

    I’m confused by the dual grade–I think you should just give it an F.

    I’ve read a few BDSM romances and enjoyed them (you can read my review of one here), but I still can’t understand a man wanting to hurt a woman “just because.” Is it safe to say that there are some people in this kind of lifestyle who do it for unhealthy reasons, as explored in this book?

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  4. vanessa jaye
    Feb 24, 2009 @ 13:05:52

    BDSM is not my thang, but this was a very interesting review, Sarah. Lots of food for thought.

    Does anyone care how many children rot in graveyards or languish in foster care because their parents got into this instead of real therapy?

    Not to be deliberately obtuse, but I’m not seeing the (implied) “clear” connection here?

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  5. Sparky
    Feb 24, 2009 @ 13:22:21

    Gah, as someone who enjoys BDSM I can’t say how much this annoys me. How many books always have the VILLAIN who’s into BDSM? or if the good guys are into it they’re damaged or broken or weak gaaaaaaaaaaah! drives me insane

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  6. Fae Sutherland
    Feb 24, 2009 @ 13:23:22

    @Kimber An: BDSM kills children now? Who knew.

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  7. Joan/SarahF
    Feb 24, 2009 @ 13:42:18

    @Jill Sorenson: I guess I was concerned that it’s my own biases about the type of BDSM that’s depicted that determined the Epic Fail. It’s not actually a badly written story, a la Barbara Cartland or this one. For all I know, there might be kinky people out there who act like this and for whom this is normal–I just haven’t met any of them and I feel that the BDSM as depicted in this book does the absolute opposite of what Dalton purports to want to do.

    And re: “I still can't understand a man wanting to hurt a woman “just because.”” One way maybe to understand it is seeing that it’s not a man wanting to hurt a woman, but rather a man wanting to hurt someone sexually and he just happens to be attracted to women. The primary sexuality there is sadist, not heterosexual. Does that help at all?

    @Kimber An: I’m with @vanessa jaye. I don’t want to respond until I know exactly what you mean. My point (or at least the one I tried to make) is that getting into BDSM like this is a bad thing. It’s my experience that what this book says about BDSM doesn’t actually happen.

    @Sparky: Yeah, I’m usually so happy that BDSM isn’t being used as the indicator of uber-villainy, that I’m like Jane with Asian h/h: the book automatically starts at a B. But then this happens. :(

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  8. Tymber Dalton
    Feb 24, 2009 @ 13:53:36

    *LOL* Well, at least it did inspire strong feelings in you one way or another. :) As a writer, positive or negative, that’s something. I do appreciate you taking the time to read and review my book. Not everyone can resonate the same way with a book as others do. And with this book receiving a wide range of reviews from high-fives (including from experienced BDSM practitioners) and now to this, it means I’ve struck a nerve of some sort. *LOL* And that’s a good thing! (At least I think it is.) That means different people are taking away different things from their reading of it. I think I prefer that than writing a boring book people forget a minute after they read it. *G* I respect your opinions even when I differ in mine. *G* That’s what makes the world a more interesting place! *LOL*

    You can find more of my books listed at http://www.tymberdalton.com

    My purpose wasn’t to explain how all practitioners of BDSM practice it, just how these three people deal with love, friendship, and grief within the confines of their relationship. Specifically, the depths of a friendship between two men, told from the point of view of a man about to lose not just his best friend, but a man he loves even deeper than that.

    Unfortunately, too many people think that everyone into BDSM are into beatings and whips and chains. Some are only into D/s, Dominance/submission, or Total Power Exchange. Some never get into that, but are only into S/m. It’s a rich diversity, and this was just one snapshot of three fictional people. Nobody practices BDSM the same way as others, it’s that simple. Everyone is different, as in the vanilla word. No two people are in BDSM for the same reasons, and people into BDSM practice it differently.

    There are also too many BDSM stories out there where the authors, frankly, obviously have no real-life experience with the BDSM lifestyle other than what they pick up on the internet. *LOL* Where BDSM is used merely as a sexual plot device for titillation, and the author has no true understanding of BDSM dynamics. Those books annoy the heck out of me because it only perpetuates the myth that everyone into BDSM is only in it for one thing — or the same thing — and that’s not the case at all. Far from it.

    This is not that kind of book, where the characters spank each other for laughs and giggles. And this was fiction *LOL* not a statement on how to obtain mental health treatment through BDSM. *G*

    Not everyone reacts the same way to a book or takes the same things away from it. I find it interesting that you also reacted negatively to “Secretary” and yet I seem to have taken away a totally different message from that movie than you did. So again, perceptions differ.

    Don’t forget that the APA also listed homosexuality as a deviancy for many years, only recently removing it from the ranks of “mental illness.” *LOL* Many people think they should also remove many consensual sexual acts from the APA diagnostic manual for this very reason.

    And as to your assertion that I painted all submissives with the same brush stroke, that’s a connection you’re making, not one I made. I never said she was submissive simply because she self-mutilated. And I never said that all submissives were like this. It was a confluence of things that happened to her throughout her life. There are plenty of people who are vanilla who are so bonded to their romantic partner that when they lose them to death they are adrift. This isn’t something limited to any one lifestyle demographic.

    I also find it interesting that you failed to acknowledge that I did portray Leah as a strong, independent woman outside of her relationship, with a husband who supported and encouraged her outside interests and who professed his pride in her accomplishments. (You did read the whole book, right? *LOL*) And as many real-life BDSM practitioners will tell you, it’s really the submissive in a relationship who has the final control, because they can always (in a SSC type of situation) call a stop to the activities. To me, that shows where the true source of power lays.

    Also, as far as dominant partners go, without revealing spoilers for other readers, I clearly addressed your concern there as well regarding her relationship with Seth. There are many people who are into the poly lifestyle, again, for many different reasons.

    Again, everyone takes different things from a book. Sometimes things not clear on a first reading take on different meanings. Sometimes life experiences influence points of view and interpretations. Everyone’s different. Life would be pretty boring if we all saw things from the same point of view! *LOL*

    Again, thanks for taking the time to read and review my book, and I hope others will read it with an open mind and make their own decisions about it. It’s a book I’m very proud of, a book I think takes a raw look at relationships, not just between a man and a woman, but between friends.

    Tymber.

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  9. Jill Sorenson
    Feb 24, 2009 @ 14:29:17

    Thanks, Sarah. I think that does help. That, and the mention of villains, reminds me of some study I read in college, about brain differences between heterosexual, homosexual, and transgendered (of either orientation) subjects. It helped me to understand that we are all born a certain way, and our environment can’t change it.

    It definitely annoys me when people make the claim that homosexuality is the result of abuse, or use it as a villain shortcut. Perhaps this is the same stance you have on BDSM. I wonder if there are brain differences with BDSM participants as well.

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  10. Anion
    Feb 24, 2009 @ 14:52:03

    I took Kimber An’s point to be that BDSM is not a replacement for real therapy, and that if people treat it as one you’re going to have a lot of hurt, confused, emotionally stunted people who aren’t getting the help they need in order to be good parents. In other words, implying that all a damaged woman needs is a good fuck is a recipe for bad parenting and badness in general, in addition to being insulting.

    Wow, Tymber Dalton. You know what? If a reviewer doesn’t get your work, that’s YOUR fucking fault for not making yourself clear. To imply that a reader or reviewer didn’t read the whole book or is somehow just not smart enough to get whatever your deep point was is offensive and rude. And I say that as someone who’s been reviewed many times; some good, some bad. *LOL*

    FFS.

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  11. Tymber Dalton
    Feb 24, 2009 @ 15:05:02

    Hi Anion,

    Well, again, opinions differ. I was simply pointing out some clearly stated themes that other reviewers and readers HAVE pointed out as positives about the book. When factually, things were clearly stated in the book. I just wanted to clarify that. I’m not even talking about “deeper themes” as much as I am clarifying a few points.

    So if other readers noted them and this reviewer didn’t…

    Take what you want and leave the rest. *G* I’m simply presenting another side to the story so hopefully others will read with an open mind and make their own decisions.

    That’s why I clearly stated everyone is different. Everyone takes something different away from a book based on their experiences. If someone was reading quickly or skimming through or from an emotionally different viewpoint it can definitely change how someone reads it. I know when a book hits my emotional buttons and I have a visceral reaction to it, I will frequently wait until I give it a second reading before I give it a review simply so I can try to see if it was me or the book. That’s just how I review.

    Personally, I think it’s great to get a controversial review! *LOL* (Maybe I’m just weird…could be! *LOL*) I’ve received bland reviews in the past, good and bad, where the reviewer didn’t take the time to explain themselves. I’d much rather get a poor review where I hit a nerve than a poor review where the reviewer didn’t explain themselves.

    Again, I think it would be a boring world if we all agreed with each other. *LOL*

    Tymber.

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  12. Nonny
    Feb 24, 2009 @ 15:54:17

    While I’d have to read the book in its entirety, based on your description of the story and the quotes you’ve given… my impression is entirely different. Speaking as someone who has been involved in the scene for several years, I actually have known people who did not find traditional therapy to help at all and found their peace through BDSM. That’s… really tricky, and I’ve known some people that it worked wonderfully for and others that it really hurt due to a dom that did not know what s/he was doing.

    I didn’t get that she was insinuating that people participating in BDSM for the purpose of getting off were “wrong.” Just that in her story, it was a different situation. Maybe it was something else in the story overall, but I honestly don’t see that from what’s been quoted, and I am the kind of “pain slut” her characters talk about.

    As for saying both people need to get off on BDSM, I don’t think that’s entirely accurate. There are things my partners have enjoyed that I have not been really into but did because I enjoyed pleasing them. In those cases, it wasn’t the BDSM that “got me off” so to speak.

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  13. Lorelie
    Feb 24, 2009 @ 15:56:24

    Tymber –

    I walked away from this post twice, resolved to not say anything but it turns out I can’t keep my yap shut. Do you have any idea that all the LOLs and Gs throughout your replies come across as incredibly condescending? I’m pretty sure you don’t mean that – what you’re shooting for is likely an “aw, shucks, I ain’t mad” type cheeriness, but it fails. Miserably.

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  14. Tymber Dalton
    Feb 24, 2009 @ 16:13:31

    Hi Lorelie,

    I’m sorry if that’s what you took from my posting, it wasn’t my intention at all.

    Unfortunately, email is an imprecise form of communication because it can be impossible to tell if someone’s being sarcastic or tongue-in-cheek sometimes without seeing/hearing them speak.

    My apologies if that was how it came across. I simply wanted to clarify a few points and clear up a couple of errors, that’s all.

    So yes, I was shooting for an “I’m not mad” attitude! *LOL* Because frankly, I’m not. Like I said, I think it’s great that a reviewer felt so strongly — negatively or positively — to write a review like this. And that’s a simple statement of fact. I normally don’t reply to unfavorable reviews. However, if a reviewer misstates things about my book in a review, I do feel it’s my responsibility to clarify. How others interpret that…well, I have no control over that.

    I also love a great debate! *LOL* I enjoy talking about books (not just my own) with people regardless of whether their opinion agrees with mine. We all have opinions, we all have experiences and perceptions that influence how we experience things. But…I do always like to make sure the correct facts are stated when talking about a book.

    I once got criticized by a fellow reader for negative review of a Feehan book. I said well, for starters, she got her facts wrong about racing wheelchairs and wheelchair athletes. I mean, I am the mother of a wheelchair athlete and it bothered me that she got her facts blatantly wrong. That reader was coming at it from an emotional point of view because I dared criticize a book she loved; I was approaching it factually from experience and knowledge.

    We’re all different.

    Again, no condescension was implied or intended in my prior posts, and my apologies if it was taken like that.

    Tymber.

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  15. Lori
    Feb 24, 2009 @ 16:38:22

    (You did read the whole book, right? *LOL*)

    My God, does that come across as snotty and condescending.

    Epic Fail to Ms. Dalton for her inability to handle constructive criticism of her work.

    Kudos to Joan/Sarah F for pulling off the split grade review. I appreciate your ability to separate your divergent views and present them in a coherent manner.

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  16. *sighs*
    Feb 24, 2009 @ 17:03:25

    Will authors NEVER learn??

    Joan/Sara F’s review put this book on my DNB list.

    Dalton’s Epic Fail in her response to constructive criticism put all of her work on my DNB list.

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  17. Tymber Dalton
    Feb 24, 2009 @ 17:06:14

    Hi Lori,

    Well I think it’s a valid question. As an author, frankly, I expect good and bad reviews because readers are vastly different. And again, as I’ve stated, I think it’s great that my work inspired such an emotional response. That’s my goal, to inspire an emotional response, especially in a book such as this.

    Let me state I am NOT trying to argue a better grade for the book. And I’ve never said that I am. A review is an opinion, good or bad. I’d rather have an emotionally-charged negative review for a book than a bland one.

    But if I get a review — good or bad — where there are factual misrepresentations or errors about what was in the book, then it does leave me to legitimately question whether or not the piece was read in its entirety. I had one reader reviewer I questioned about another book who admitted in fact they did give a low review to that book without finishing it, and based their review upon that partial read. So things they stated in that case in their review were, in fact, incorrect because they didn’t read the whole book.

    Again, I’m NOT criticizing the grade or the reviewer’s opinion here. As a writer, I expect reviews from across the board regardless of the book. It’s part and parcel of the territory. It’s just one opinion. And again, as I’ve already said, I think it’s great it sparked such an emotional reaction, even a negative one. They’re certainly entitled to it.

    I’m only addressing specific issues. And when there are fundamental misstatements or omissions of facts in a review about a book, then I think it’s a legitimate question ANY writer should ask.

    But if I’m going to fail, I’d rather fail epically! *LOL*

    Tymber.

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  18. azteclady
    Feb 24, 2009 @ 17:19:29

    Ms Dalton, is not what you say so much as how you say it.

    Repeating “I didn’t say *that*” while the implication of it is there? Not a good impression.

    And where one single review won’t persuade this reader one way or another, one incautious post by the book’s author can.

    No, it’s not fair. It’s just life.

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  19. Tymber Dalton
    Feb 24, 2009 @ 18:04:50

    Well, like I said, my intention was never to get the grade changed. Seriously, I’m not complaining about that. I’ve had good and bad reviews before, it’s part of the business. And I, in all honesty, seriously do appreciate that the reviewer took the time and was emotionally pulled into the book to have a strong emotional response. I think it’s great, even if it was a negative one.

    But apparently I haven’t had enough coffee or something today *LOL* and I’m not stating myself well. So, again, I do apologize, and I’ll stop while I’m ahead, or at least before I get further behind. I get caught up in a good debate. Seriously, no snark or condescension or anything else intended.

    I understand opinions differ. Seriously. Writing is a business, and I treat it as such. I don’t take it personally good or bad if someone likes or doesn’t like my writing. I’m a big girl. *LOL* I just strive for accuracy. And I don’t want to risk alienating people or come off sounding wrong, which I apparently already am to some. Again, I apologize. So saying that, feel free to email me good or bad, and I’ll be happy to debate or discuss or whatever. And saying that, I’ll now go shut my mouth before I stick a foot in it. *LOL*

    Tymber.

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  20. Lori
    Feb 24, 2009 @ 18:05:19

    Valid question? Oh please. Obviously, the reviewer read your book and provided a thoughtful, detailed analysis, deconstructing both her appreciation of your skills as a storyteller and her revulsion with your chosen storyline.

    The reviewer presented HER interpretation of your book, and from what I’m reading, her review is based on those interpretations. If she did not understand a point you were trying to make, that is not HER fault. If anything, that is YOUR failure as a writer to properly convey your message.

    Again, I'm NOT criticizing the grade or the reviewer's opinion here.

    Really? Could have fooled me. Bad authorial behavior is never pretty to watch, Tymber. Questioning a reviewer’s integrity isn’t going to win any fans. If you’re planning on staying in this field for the long haul, I seriously recommend learning how to accept constructive criticism.

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  21. Fae
    Feb 24, 2009 @ 18:07:04

    Tymber, as one author to another…walk away from this thread, hon. It’s not helping and it’s not going to. You said your piece, for good or ill, now I would just recommend letting it go. No insult meant at all, and I realize I don’t know you from Adam, just my advice.

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  22. joanne
    Feb 24, 2009 @ 18:13:14

    Will authors NEVER learn??

    Joan/Sara F's review put this book on my DNB list.

    Dalton's Epic Fail in her response to constructive criticism put all of her work on my DNB list.

    *sighs* Took my thoughts and made them PG13, so thank you.

    and:

    The book was not going to on my TBR pile no matter what the reveiw rating was.

    I don’t care what sexual preference a protagonist has —- bringing a third party into a relationship when one of the partners is dying — with instructions for their behavior, especially from beyond the grave —- closed the door on any interest I had in the story. The rest I leave to those of you who know what the lifestyle is about but I know that’s not a book for me.

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  23. Keishon
    Feb 24, 2009 @ 18:13:35

    Have to agree, all the *LOL* and *G* stuck between each sentence or paragraph didn’t come off well. Sometimes, as an author, it’s best to not respond at all if you find yourself using *LOL* and *G* all over the place. Just saying. *G*

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  24. Kaetrin
    Feb 24, 2009 @ 18:52:59

    I totally agree with Keishon. I thought it was just me at first!

    Wow Sarah, what a great review. Your comments struck a chord with me – there are a number of menage books for example where the “hero” has the “excuse” of childhood abuse for their desire to share their partner with a third. It has always seemed an unncessary device to me. I’d rather read the motivation from a different perspective. Something that expands on “I just like it”.

    Okay, totally off topic (and probably a really stupid question), but why do you have 2 names Joan/Sarah F? (Is it because you need a “J” name on DA?… for a while I wondered if you were actually 2 people sharing the reviews…. ) :)

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  25. *sighs*
    Feb 24, 2009 @ 19:01:55

    Yep, Keishon nailed it. If you feel the need to infuse your post with a myriad of *LOL*s and *G*s, that means you realize what you’re saying isn’t going to go over well, and you’re trying to soften the blow.

    It doesn’t matter if an author has a justifiable response to a reviewer’s assertions. In the long run, it doesn’t even always matter if the reviewer got a minor plot point wrong, got a major plot point wrong, or screwed up the entire course of the book. The more you argue, the more you look like a fool.

    One negative review isn’t going to have a great impact on sales. One instance of an author behaving like a nitwit probably will. That will draw far more attention than the review ever did.

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  26. Harriet
    Feb 24, 2009 @ 19:14:42

    A bit late in posting but I had to agree with other posters. After reading Dalton’s posts I have to say that the LOLs and Gs sounded really passive-aggressive. Maybe not the intention, but did not leave a good impression. I don’t think I’ll be picking anything up by this author in the future.

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  27. Nonny
    Feb 24, 2009 @ 19:18:43

    Ouch.

    Yeah, I have to agree with everyone else’s assessment regarding the overuse of *LOL* and *G*. Personally, I do use smileys a lot to “color” my message, because my voice doesn’t always come through in text without. I often speak very factually and some people take that as being harsh without the :) added.

    But… in this case, yeah, it does come across condescending or “trying too hard”. :(

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  28. Keishon
    Feb 24, 2009 @ 19:47:00

    It doesn't matter if an author has a justifiable response to a reviewer's assertions. In the long run, it doesn't even always matter if the reviewer got a minor plot point wrong, got a major plot point wrong, or screwed up the entire course of the book. The more you argue, the more you look like a fool.

    Yeah, I hear you. Even if the author disagreed with the reviewer, she could have stated her valid points without it coming across as, well, fake.

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  29. JC
    Feb 24, 2009 @ 20:05:34

    It’s funny, because Dalton’s message did not come as condescending to me. Perhaps overly cheerful, but being an overly cheerful person myself, I can see that is is just reacting to the review, and trying to get her own piece said.

    @Lori: In this case I’m not sure if it is the author’s fault that Joan/Sarah F came away with a certain kind of reading. An author does their best to steer the reader where they want them to go. At the same time, they must recognize that a reader enters a book with certain life experiences that color the way the read the book one way or another. Given that Joan/Sarah F felt the need to split the review into two different grades, I think indicates that she recognizes that the writing was done well, and the way she walked away from the book is because of something in the book that hit a personal note with her.

    @Jill Sorenson: I disagree. She gave a dual grade because the writing was competent but the subject matter made her go eek. I think it speaks to Joan/Sarah F’s sense of fairness that she wants to recognize the disparity of her reaction from a craft angle and from a personal angle.

    From a brief search of the book and reviews on Google (and when I say brief, I skimmed and it lasted all of a minute and a half, so this is no way an in-depth search) it looks like the book has received a fair amount of positive reviews, which means that the book did work for some people even if it didn’t work for Joan/Sarah F. By giving a dual grade she’s making a point to recognize that fact.

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  30. Joan/SarahF
    Feb 24, 2009 @ 20:27:13

    @Kaetrin: No, it’s just that I’m known by my full name (Sarah Frantz) on Teach Me Tonight and Romancing the Blog, but still wanted a J name for DA. All the cool kids have a J name! :)

    @Tymber Dalton: First of all, yes, I read the book, thank you very much. I think I’ll just leave it there without responding to the implied insult.

    Second, even in your response to me, IMO you’re doing precisely what I pointed out in the review: pathologizing certain aspects of BDSM:

    Unfortunately, too many people think that everyone into BDSM are into beatings and whips and chains.

    Why “unfortunately”? What’s wrong with that? By saying “unfortunately,” you’re implying that that version of BDSM is a bad thing, IMO.

    Third (and this probably isn’t going to go over well, but it still needs to be said), while you think you’re writing a unique story — and you are — you’re still writing within certain cultural conceptions of BDSM, whether or not you realize it. Unique story; narrative framing, not so much: the “BDSM as therapy” trope is a common view of BDSM (cf: The Secretary), as is the “sub who NEEDS an interchangeable dom to survive” (cf: Midway’s Woman in Chains linked in review). So while I was responding to your book in particular, I was also responding to these cultural tropes (just as much as you were) because I despise them and think they’re not only wrong, but also a really dangerous way to perceive BDSM. You obviously feel differently. And as you say, differences make the world go round, but I think this particular difference is dangerous and that you’re absolutely wrong.

    Which is not to say, of course, that people don’t act this way IRL. @Nonny obviously has different experiences, as do you. I’m not going to play dueling experience. Whether or not I know people who do this IRL, I think it’s wrong, dangerous, and demeaning.

    And this was fiction *LOL* not a statement on how to obtain mental health treatment through BDSM.

    The book explicitly says differently.

    Also, as far as dominant partners go, without revealing spoilers for other readers, I clearly addressed your concern there as well regarding her relationship with Seth. There are many people who are into the poly lifestyle, again, for many different reasons.

    While I understand the point you’re trying to make here (long-standing emotional connection between Kade, Leah, and Seth, etc.), the fact that Kade had made arrangements to pass Leah off to another dominant if Seth didn’t accept their proposition contradicts your point, IMO, and proves mine.

    Yes, there were positive themes in this book. You did a great job of depicting Seth’s absolute grief. But that wasn’t the point of my review. It is not my job to point out each and every thing that might be good about the book. I discussed in my first paragraph some of that. But, IMO, the bad completely outweighed the good.

    Once again, from Comment #11, please don’t disparage me with these half-innuendos about how closely I read your book or how long I let the review sit. You have no idea how long this review took me to write and how much work I put into it or how important it has been to me over the past week.

    Oh, and there’s a big difference between the submissive being able to call a halt to the proceedings, and having the entire relationship based on topping from the bottom. IMO.

    From comment #17: I don’t feel I misstated anything. Certainly there’s no “fundamental misstatement or omission of facts.” I know that you might think that I didn’t “get” the book: it’s only fiction, it’s only these characters you say. But that’s not now and is never true. A book is never “just” about the individual characters or the unique story. It’s about the society that produced those character and the story, it’s about the tropes used by and that use the characters and story, it’s about how people react to all of that. So I’m reacting. My reaction is not invalid, and it’s not a misreading.

    @Nonny:

    As for saying both people need to get off on BDSM, I don't think that's entirely accurate. There are things my partners have enjoyed that I have not been really into but did because I enjoyed pleasing them.

    Yes, but in this novel, the entire BASIS of the BDSM aspect of the relationship is founded on Kade not enjoying hurting Leah. That’s not BDSM.

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  31. Rebecca
    Feb 24, 2009 @ 21:15:29

    Obviously, this reviewer had preconceived notions when she chose to read and review the book. It should have never been done.

    Like I’ve seen many, many times – when a reviewer begins to quote from the story multiple phrases thrown together, it means they’ve set out to deliberately mislead the readers.

    I suggest you all try reading the story yourself and form your own opinion, and maybe do your own research. You’ll be surprised to learn how sheltered you all really are. And maybe then you’ll loosen up and realize your own hidden, or maybe not hidden inhibitions that has you so afraid of such a world that is so different from yours that you can’t help bash them.

    Quite frankly, I’m tired of hearing people saying this or that is wrong, people don’t do that for this or that reason but if they do, they need mental or medical help. Who are you to judge? You don’t know them. Get a grip!

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  32. JulieLeto
    Feb 24, 2009 @ 21:51:18

    Tymber, honey…repeat after me.

    “Thank you so much for reading my book. I’m sorry it didn’t work for you, but I appreciate you taking the time to give my work a try.”

    The. End.

    Joan/SarahF has stated her opinion about your book. Right or wrong, agree or disagree, you do no favors by arguing with her. Her opinion is her opinion! I know the temptation to start a dialogue is hard to resist…but RESIST YOU MUST. It serves no purpose.

    And Rebecca, all of us readers come to every book we read with preconceived notions…it’s called life experience and education. No one reviews a book with objectivity…it’s not possible. Art is about the subjective. Reviews are especially subjective. Just because someone doesn’t like a book that you liked doesn’t make you wrong and the reviewer right or vice-versa.

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  33. vanessa jaye
    Feb 24, 2009 @ 21:54:03

    I suggest you all try reading the story yourself and form your own opinion, and maybe do your own research. You'll be surprised to learn how sheltered you all really are. And maybe then you'll loosen up and realize your own hidden, or maybe not hidden inhibitions that has you so afraid of such a world that is so different from yours that you can't help bash them.

    “You all”?

    o_0

    Is this a specific/singular ‘you all’ like a southern ya’ll? Or a general *you* addressing every single commentator in this thread? ::scratching head::

    Choosing your words carefully and presenting your arguments convincingly without causing offense: Ur doin eet Rong.

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  34. Courtney Milan
    Feb 24, 2009 @ 22:04:16

    Obviously, this reviewer had preconceived notions when she chose to read and review the book. It should have never been done.

    You realize the antecedent of the “it” in the second sentence is “the book,” right?

    Which, I think, was Joan/SarahF’s point.

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  35. Kaetrin
    Feb 24, 2009 @ 22:13:28

    @ Rebecca

    I’m not sure we were reading the same review. I thought it was very well thought out and the fact that Sarah gave the book 2 grades shows she was well aware of any preconceived notions she brought to the review (and I agree with Vanessa Jaye, we all have them, in fact, see Jane’s recent post about that very thing).

    It was not my impression that Sarah went into the book expecting to hate it.

    In my opinion, Sarah’s review gives a very clear picture about what she did and did not like about the book. Those reading the review can decide for themselves if those things which bothered Sarah are big issues for them.

    I think it’s insulting to suggest that Sarah set out to “deliberately mislead” the readers. That’s not what DA is about and in any event, I don’t think you have any valid basis for making that suggestion.

    Finally, please don’t insult me by patronising me about “how sheltered” I am. Whether I am or not is none of your business. I am entitled to my opinion just as you are to yours. However, one doesn’t need to be rude to share that opinion.

    I take it you have read and liked the book. Do you, by any chance, know the author? Is there some reason you are responding so passionately to the comments listed? It is not clear to me why you have taken the review and the following comments so personally…

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  36. Rebecca
    Feb 24, 2009 @ 22:27:10

    I’ve bit my tongue for months when it’s come to reading the posts on this blog. When I finally let loose, the message flies over your heads and you have to pick on the way I talk in order to find a response to it. Immature.

    I will no longer be reading this blog.

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  37. Nonny
    Feb 24, 2009 @ 22:32:10

    Joan/Sarah:

    Just as a note, I didn’t mention my experience to try to invalidate your opinion, rather to say that I didn’t develop mine without experience. There’s a lot of “Well, what do you know?” that goes around the ‘net, so if I do have experience in a given area, I try to mention it. I wasn’t trying to imply that I knew more and thus your view was wrong.

    Mine is strongly colored by the fact I know people that probably would not be alive if they hadn’t taken that route. Dangerous, certainly. Wrong and demeaning, I don’t agree. But, hey, we don’t have to agree. :)

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  38. vanessa jaye
    Feb 24, 2009 @ 23:36:28

    @Rebecca – Your message was condescending and insulting.

    Pointing out the possible confusion & hyperbole inherent in your delivery was giving you the benefit of the doubt.

    the message flies over your heads and you have to pick on the way I talk in order to find a response to it. Immature.

    Nope. No doubt here. Message recieved: Unspecified and all inclusive general *You* are immature and stupid. Got it.

    Perhaps lurking is your forte. Letting loose isn’t working.

    And on that note, I think I’ll bow out of this one too, and go count my toes or summin. :-P

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  39. Harriet
    Feb 25, 2009 @ 01:12:16

    @Rebecca: I’d just like to point out that the decision to not read *this* particular book was due to the Author’s responses not the review which I think was handled well.

    I always approach reviews, whether on DA/SB or Amazon.com/Barnes and Noble or where ever with an understanding that opinions differ. There’s like *how* many reviewers on here to gave wide-ranging opinions on the *same* books? From As to DNF. I think there’s a post somewhere about that….

    I, personally, never go by what *one* person says and your implication that I am too meek or whatever to think without being “lead on” is insulting.

    OK, maybe staying a lurker will work better for me too… :)

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  40. Lori S.
    Feb 25, 2009 @ 07:07:28

    I will no longer be reading this blog.

    Ah, what a wonderful start to my morning…

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  41. Darlynne
    Feb 25, 2009 @ 10:51:28

    And I, having come late to the party, was going to thank SarahF for doing the nearly-impossible: writing a coherent, detailed and honest review about a book that angered and outraged her. I’m impressed with the skill that takes, especially to make me believe, as she did, that a B and an Epic Fail are not mutually exclusive. Well done.

    OT: I’ve wondered often about letters that had to travel around the world by ship and how important it would have been to get the words right. With months between one letter and another, the opportunity for misunderstanding seems huge, and people did not, to the best of my knowledge, use smiley faces to augment or explain their words.

    So I’ve decided: if the words I use require a LOL to remove the appearance of a rebuke or sting, or to further explain, then my words need work. Except in the most casual correspondence, I am now a LOL-free zone.

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  42. bam
    Feb 25, 2009 @ 10:58:52

    Outstanding! *g*

    Lolz. Also.

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  43. joanne
    Feb 25, 2009 @ 11:18:28

    Ah Darlynne, I fear you are right…. so in the spirit of Ash Wednesday (the Holy Day not the Elizabeth Taylor movie) I too will eliminate my use of LOL in postings.

    HOWEVER… and see, this is where I would have liked to use a LOL….. I am not giving up *grin*, *sigh* or my over-used !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    OT: the review was more then fair.

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  44. Michelle
    Feb 25, 2009 @ 11:19:20

    Wow, not only an author behaving poorly, but a public flounce as well. What is it lately-is there a full moon?

    A well written negative review does not mean:
    They didn’t really read the book
    It is a vast conspiracy to mislead readers or kill an author’s career
    They are just mean girls

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  45. Barb Ferrer
    Feb 25, 2009 @ 13:08:25

    Why do people feel the need to announce that they’re never, ever, never, never going to read a blog again *public flounce*?

    I don’ get it, but whatev.

    Sarah did a fairly remarkable thing here, in reading a book and being able to divorce her opinion of the writing and storytelling with the gist of the actual story, and giving cogent, reasoned, well-thought out statements with which to support her argument and her opinion.

    Y’see that? Hers. She’s but one reviewer and as so many others have mentioned, art’s a subjective thing.

    As for the author’s response?

    What Julie Leto said. Dude, life’s just too short. Not everyone is going to love your book. Be grateful it engendered a strong response and move along.

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  46. kirsten saell
    Feb 25, 2009 @ 13:25:29

    I thought the review was very thoughtful.

    And I didn’t think the author’s response was OMG-I-can’t-believe-she’d-be-so-stupid horrible, either–in fact, she did take pains to say she’d rather have a strong negatve review than a bland one, and that we all come to a book from a different starting point, mindset-wise.

    In this case, the fact that she tried to be so articulate only made the cringe-worthy aspects of her comments that more glaring. The plethora of *LOL*s and *G*s really worked to her detriment (I cringed at every single one, though I think she was really trying to make extra-sure she didn’t come across as angry), as did her “(You did read the whole book, right? *LOL*)”.

    And that unfortunate “unfortunately”. Personally, I think it is unfortunate if people believe BDSM is only about beatings and whips and chains, since that’s not all BDSM is about–at least not for everyone. Oh, how she must be lamenting the lack of that one little word now.

    I do think it’s ill-advised for any author to leave more than a “Thanks for taking the time to write such a thorough and thoughtful review. I’m pleased it evoked a strong response, even if that response was largely negative.”

    As for Rebecca’s public flounce, well, that isn’t going to help the author’s credibility at all–just the opposite.

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  47. Selene
    Feb 25, 2009 @ 13:55:50

    Good to see another BDSM review! Though *groan* it’s another one with the abuse trope. Why do only damaged, dysfunctional or Evil people get to be into BDSM?

    And, uh, authors would do better not to respond to reviews…

    Selene

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  48. Sparky
    Feb 26, 2009 @ 10:25:51

    I would just love so much to see a book where the couple engages in mutually consensual BDSM where:

    1) BOTH enjoy it

    2) Neither are evil (isn’t it so depressingly common that the villain is the kinky one?)

    3) Without any kind of childhood pathology, traumatic past, horrendous relationship etc etc etc. In other words where, under no circumstances, ios the BDSM a result of a “damaged” or “diseased” brain.

    But I never see it. Kind of depressing realy

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  49. Joan/SarahF
    Feb 26, 2009 @ 10:32:09

    @Sparky: Stephanie Vaughan’s femdom Cruel to be Kind, Anah Crow’s m/m Uneven (I have a review of that here at DA), Thom Lane’s m/m Dark Heart (ditto on review), Joey Hill’s femdom Natural Law and m/m Rough Canvas. Diane Whiteside’s The Switch is also not terrible. Unfortunately, I think that’s all I’ve got so far. Wish there were more.

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  50. Sparky
    Feb 26, 2009 @ 10:50:10

    Thanks :) I’ll add them to my to be read list – I live in hope :)

    My success to date has been in the purely ebook and internet variety. Never in print. Maybe if the selection is so few I should go digital :)

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  51. Selene
    Feb 26, 2009 @ 13:58:01

    Joan/SarahF said:

    Stephanie Vaughan's femdom Cruel to be Kind, Anah Crow's m/m Uneven (I have a review of that here at DA), Thom Lane's m/m Dark Heart (ditto on review), Joey Hill's femdom Natural Law and m/m Rough Canvas. Diane Whiteside's The Switch is also not terrible.

    I find it very interesting that there’s not a single heterosexual story with a male dom in that list. Hmmm…. coincidence? Is it rarer/harder to pull this off? It’s especially interesting as a lot of Romance (for good and bad) pushes the idea of the “alpha” male.

    Selene

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  52. MarnieColette
    Feb 26, 2009 @ 14:53:28

    I think kudos to you for giving a honest review. Since this is my first time visiting the blog I must say I am happily surprised not to see a recap with a its swell please go out and buy it blurb. As for the story, unfortunately BDSM genre isn’t my cup of tea in any form.

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  53. Joan/SarahF
    Feb 26, 2009 @ 15:24:01

    @Selene: I anyone can recommend truly GOOD maledom BDSM romance to me, I’ll love them forever (the romance part is important there). I’ve tried. I really really have, but it just doesn’t speak to me, or it’s just really badly written. Some of Joey Hill’s maledom romance is okay, but I just tend to think the men are jerks and the women doormats and I can’t handle it. Something with meat on it like Hill’s novels would be great, but even something as quick and as smart and as well written as K.A. Mitchell’s Collision Course would be great.

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  54. Anita C.
    Feb 26, 2009 @ 19:23:07

    My acronym ignorance, again, but the only two I know for LOL is:

    Lots of Luck
    Laugh out loud

    How is Tymber using hers? And, by the way, what’s *G* mean?

    Thanks for whoever takes pity and enlightens me.

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  55. Joan/SarahF
    Feb 26, 2009 @ 19:32:49

    LOL=Laughs Out Loud, or at least, I assumed so.

    In my experience, *G* means “grins.” I think these are what we’re all assuming, because they’re an attempt to diffuse any tension by “showing” that you’re smiling as you say something that might otherwise be construed as offensive.

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  56. Janine
    Feb 26, 2009 @ 20:05:16

    I also take LOL to mean “Laughing Out Loud” and *G* to mean “Grin.” *BG* is “Big Grin.”

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  57. Georgina
    Feb 26, 2009 @ 23:25:45

    It’s always enjoyable to see non-mainstream romances reviewed on Dear Author. I feel like I should post “Yay!” in every BDSM or m/m review just to show my support.

    (Now if we could just see some more f/f reviews — the good stuff seems even harder to find than m/m. Can we tempt you into some of those, Joan/SarahF?)

    The list of BDSM recs is much appreciated. I’ve read some and enjoyed them, and will have a gander at the others. I’ve never found a good male dom het romance either. The guys always seem awful, like the worst alpha romance hero run amuck, and I’m not really wired to let that slide. It’s interesting that people love Joey Hill’s Natural Law because Mac is an alpha male who’s also a submissive, but you never see it written in reverse. Where’s the alpha female who keeps her strength whilst being dominated? That’s a story I’d read.

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  58. Joan/SarahF
    Feb 27, 2009 @ 05:12:37

    @Georgina: Me too! That’s what needs to happen, but I think it’s just a lot less easy to do with our modern gender stereotypes.

    And if someone can recommend to me good F/f BDSM, I’ll look into it.

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  59. XandraG
    Feb 27, 2009 @ 17:05:43

    @Georgina and Joan/Sarah F – I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned before elsewhere on this blog, but Roxy Harte’s “Chronicles of Surrender” trilogy at Liquid Silver is a very emotional ride with a male Dom and a female sub, and no one, as far as I can remember, has horrid childhood emotional scarring. Or rather, pursues the BDSM in response to emotional trauma. Harte operates from the worldview that her BDSM characters are sexually and emotionally wired to want the BDSM dynamic, rather than approaching it because they are “broken.” Other stories of hers have subs exploring their dominant sides as well. I’ll add the disclaimer that Roxy and I are critique partners, but I think that if you enjoy Joey W. Hill, you’ll enjoy Roxy Harte, too.

    Back on topic–these are the kind of reviews I find most valuable as a reader–ones that clearly show the reviewer can evaluate writing and storytelling separately from the subject matter, and her emotional reaction to it. It’s extremely helpful to know that a story might or might not appeal to certain sensibilities, but that its technical merits are evaluated on their own strengths or weaknesses.

    As an author, this would be a review made of gold for me–even if I didn’t connect on an emotional level, I could still determine whether or not that was the fault of my writing skills. Or rather, how much of that was the fault of my writing skills.

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  60. Jane
    Feb 27, 2009 @ 21:09:53

    @XandraG Your Roxy Harte recommendations make me want to read the series.

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  61. SonomaLass
    Feb 27, 2009 @ 21:23:29

    LOL=Laughs Out Loud, or at least, I assumed so.
    In my experience, *G* means “grins.” I think these are what we're all assuming, because they're an attempt to diffuse any tension by “showing” that you're smiling as you say something that might otherwise be construed as offensive.

    That’s what I figured, too. As a communication specialist, I’m fascinated by the way people try to compensate for the lack of facial expressions and tone of voice in on-line comments. Sometimes they just make it worse. Moreover, sometimes it seems that the use of a few LOLs or *grins* replaces careful consideration of one’s actual words and how they might reasonably be interpreted.

    I recently saw a stand-up comedian who had a whole riff on how today you can say ANYTHING offensive or insulting, and as long as you follow it with “j/k LOL,” no one gets offended. He had some hilarous extreme examples. My teenagers and I had a long (and largely serious) discussion about it afterwards.

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  62. Nonny
    Feb 27, 2009 @ 22:06:08

    I’ll second the recommendation for Roxy. :)

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  63. Jane
    Feb 27, 2009 @ 23:35:57

    @Nonny I just went and read the descriptions and I just don’t know if it is for me. The descriptions make it sound like she leaves the hero and then goes off with another guy and then it turns into a threesome at the end.

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  64. Selene
    Feb 28, 2009 @ 08:36:34

    Joan/SarahF:

    Well, if you ever find a good maledom BDSM novel, I hope you’ll review it! I can’t recommend any either, I’m afraid. A lot of what I’ve read either falls in the Gor-similars with totally jerk heroes and annoying heroines (like Sharon Green’s novels), which in my opinion would make anyone feel justified not to want to read a “BDSM” novel ever again. Either that, or the novel only has some trappings of BDSM, but not any of its “spirit”.

    I did enjoy Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel’s Dart, where the heroine is a very competent submissive, but it’s not strictly speaking a romance novel but a fantasy.

    Selene

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  65. Jill Sorenson
    Feb 28, 2009 @ 10:47:57

    I can recommend Eden Bradley. I really liked Dark Garden, which features and female sub and male dom. And I LOVED Art of Desire, from the Hot Nights Anthology. The hero is a tattoo artist. It’s more light S&M than D/s, but very modern and hot.

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  66. Lynne Connolly
    Mar 01, 2009 @ 10:28:21

    I find it very interesting that there's not a single heterosexual story with a male dom in that list. Hmmm…. coincidence? Is it rarer/harder to pull this off? It's especially interesting as a lot of Romance (for good and bad) pushes the idea of the “alpha” male.

    Doreen Orsini’s “No One But Madison” (from Ellora’s Cave).
    Disclaimer – Doreen is a friend of mine, but it was “Madison” that originally made her a friend. We shared a publisher (we still do, but a different one), I read the book, loved it and wrote to her to say so.
    Doreen’s had some awful ructions in her private life recently, but she says she’ll be back writing soon. I hope so, because she’s planning to do another book in the Madison universe. It was the first BDSM book I read, is a book where the male is the dominant and I loved it.

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  67. Teddypig
    Mar 01, 2009 @ 19:28:43

    “The truth was, most of what Kaden did, Leah had talked him into it even if it didn't seem like it to others. He might have had the title and obviously the demeanor of her Master, but it was all because he loved her and tried to control and heal her pain the only way he thought he could. Not because he wanted to dominate her,”

    Obviously I need to read this book. Though I personally HATE stories that try and use crack pot pop psychology to explain the complex nature of a healthy BDSM lifestyle.

    There are several rules regarding safe, sane and consensual that from these quotes here (In black and white and no the writer does not get to reinterpret them after the fact) lead me to believe this has got to be a train wreck of a BDSM Romance. As a BDSM male bottom I would find it insulting to have anyone characterize BDSM bottoms as “sick” confused souls that coerce people emotionally into being their Tops. As I would also find insulting the idea that Tops that really “enjoy” BDSM must be opportunistic abusive people who could care less about the bottom.

    Sounds so far as if there might be an exploitive reason for using BDSM to provide the old “Hurt and Comfort” style fanfic treatment.

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  68. Karen Scott
    Mar 04, 2009 @ 09:35:50

    Ahhh, Tymber of the LOLS. Now some of the other Romanceland posts re excessive emoticons make complete sense.

    There are also too many BDSM stories out there where the authors, frankly, obviously have no real-life experience with the BDSM lifestyle other than what they pick up on the internet. *LOL*

    I very much doubt you were laughing out loud at this point.

    I also find it interesting that you failed to acknowledge that I did portray Leah as a strong, independent woman outside of her relationship, with a husband who supported and encouraged her outside interests and who professed his pride in her accomplishments. (You did read the whole book, right? *LOL*)

    Could it be that she doesn’t actually know what LOL stands for?

    Personally, I think it's great to get a controversial review! *LOL* (Maybe I'm just weird…could be! *LOL*)

    Dear God.

    So yes, I was shooting for an “I'm not mad” attitude! *LOL* Because frankly, I'm not.

    Yes, you clearly are quite mad.

    I'm only addressing specific issues. And when there are fundamental misstatements or omissions of facts in a review about a book, then I think it's a legitimate question ANY writer should ask.

    Perhaps you should quit whilst you’re behind?

    Like I've seen many, many times – when a reviewer begins to quote from the story multiple phrases thrown together, it means they've set out to deliberately mislead the readers.

    Wow, Rebecca, you must teach me how to read minds, that must be one very handy skill to have.

    Quite frankly, I'm tired of hearing people saying this or that is wrong, people don't do that for this or that reason but if they do, they need mental or medical help. Who are you to judge? You don't know them. Get a grip!

    Is this really about the review, or are you having a hard day sweetie? Come lie on the couch and tell us all about it…

    I've bit my tongue for months when it's come to reading the posts on this blog. When I finally let loose, the message flies over your heads and you have to pick on the way I talk in order to find a response to it. Immature.

    Who are you?

    I will no longer be reading this blog.

    Liar. I bet you’ll be reading it even more now, to see if anybody cares enough to beg you to stay.

    *Crickets*

    Moving on…

    Perhaps lurking is your forte. Letting loose isn't working.

    OK, this comment made me laugh out loud. *LOLOLOLOL*

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  69. Miki
    Mar 04, 2009 @ 21:35:38

    Once upon a time, a long time ago, I read a story that had a particular hot-button activity in it. The book was written by an author I had strongly enjoyed in the past, and I liked everything about the story but this particular action.

    So I cringed, paged to the end of the scene, and finished the book.

    I obsessed about it for awhile, and finally wrote this author to ask “Why?!” Or, at least, “why not” include a particular something that would have made it acceptable to me.

    She wrote back, bewildered, to say she had.

    And when I went back and looked, there it was. Right at the place in the story where I cringed and flipped to the end of the scene.

    So I was grateful to her (as well as very apologetic), that she didn’t just give me the standard “thanks for reading my book, sorry it didn’t work for you” line.

    I’m not saying that’s the case here. This is not a book I’d ever read. So I can’t speak to the accuracy of anyone’s comments.

    But I did want to rebut the idea that an author should never contradict or question the comments from a reader or reviewer. I think there are ways it can be done well and – true for at least in my case – the reader might be grateful to have the misunderstanding corrected.

    I tend to be vocal to fellow readers, and it’s very likely I would have bad-mouthed that book…and I’d have been wrong, wrong, wrong to do so.

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  70. Huitzilopochtli
    Mar 05, 2009 @ 02:33:25

    O.o

    Incredible.
    Just incredible.

    O.o

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  71. Doreen Orsini
    Mar 11, 2009 @ 21:04:20

    First, thanks Lynne. Now, about writing BDSM the right way. Before writing No One But Madison, I knew that I had to research BDSM. Not just reading about it, but real research. You can’t write about something that is a lifestyle where love joins hands with control and pain without understanding the people in that lifestyle. I went to meetings and clubs. I met the most wonderful, kind, and romantic people. They explained the whys and hows, the pitfalls and the dangers. I attended workshops with the hubby and even tried quite a few new ways to…ah…heat up the nighlife. What did I learn? That BDSM relationships are built on more trust than what most consider “normal” ones. The submissive must completely trust the Dom to give him so much power and control. The Dom is well aware that he is given a great gift in her trust. People think BDSM is about weaklings giving up control of their lives. The submissive is no weakling. The Dom and the submissive are both fully aware that full power lies in the submissives hands. That power is the safeword. One word and the scene ends. Everything the Dom does, it is because the submissive is permitting it, or rather offering the control as long as the Dom proves that he will not take advantage of that gift. BDSM is about love, trust, and the gift of control. I endeavored to show that in No One But Madison. Yes, there is a bad Dom. There are bad men in every lifestyle. But there are more good Doms in the book, ones who are determined to find the one hurting their submissives. The hero is not weak by any means because the weak man playing a strong Dom is a stereotype many see in their mind when they hear the word Dom. They are so wrong. In No One But Madison, both Drake and Madison are strong people mentally and physically. He never wants her to lose that strength. He is humbled when she relinquishes to him the control that she holds so dear.

    I’ve read many good BDSM romances, but I found so many more great BDSM romances during my research.
    Doreen Orsini

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  72. Joan/SarahF
    Mar 11, 2009 @ 21:29:15

    Thank you, Doreen. Exactly.

    I’m looking forward to reading your book, when I can find time to buy it and read it. :) And if you can recommend some other BDSM romances, I’m always up for that.

    May I ask, what made you interested in writing about BDSM in the first place? Curious about that, considering, as you say here, that you weren’t personally involved before you started writing about it.

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  73. Doreen Orsini
    Mar 11, 2009 @ 21:48:46

    I loved Cheyenne’s books, the Wonderland series. (It’s late and I’m tired, so I probably have that name wrong. Wonderlust?) Anyway, No One But Madison started in a funny way. I was writing my vampire novel and needed a break. An email arrived from an RWA chapter looking for erotic entries in a contest. I had three days to write the first ten pages and get it out. No One But Madison ended up being a Fab Five winner. Well, fourth of the five. I sent those ten pages out to an agent and thought I would finish my vampire novel while waiting for a response. The next day, I got a request for the full manuscript. So I delved into the research with a vengeance. I’ve always found the BDSM scene intriguing. When I started No One But Madison, I wanted to write an erotic romance based on that because shortly before writing it, I read an article that stated mixing romance/love and BDSM would be like mixing water and oil. Impossible, he said, especially in a book. That bothered me. How could there be so many couples and no love? I was determined to prove him wrong. I hope I did. Some people said that Madison and Drake stayed with them long after they finished the book. People in the lifestyle wrote to tell me they were happy that a “real” BDSM romance was finally written. That was more than I had hoped to achieve with this book.
    Doreen Orsini

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  74. Doreen Orsini
    Mar 11, 2009 @ 21:51:33

    Oh, I’d like to thank my fellow EC authors and others for sending me over 50 autographed books to raffle off at a fundraiser I held recently. Held in the memory of my daughter, the fundraiser raised over $7000 for a foundation that funds a rehab center. Thank you all. I never expected so many to respond!
    Doreen

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  75. DominaKarin
    Aug 26, 2009 @ 17:19:37

    This is a great blog and alot of comments. another good boot to read is Venus in Furs if you are a Dominant woman. I find all of this fascinating. I dont really get the comment about kids in foster homes or whatever, lol. It seems people would rather call something sick and twisted as opposed to learning about what they are calling sick before they actually pass judgment. Thia happens alot with taboo subjects.

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  76. Regina
    Aug 31, 2009 @ 09:14:30

    I actually loved ‘The Reluctant Dom’. I thought it was the best body of work I’d read in a long time. Kudos to the author. As for all the ‘LOL’s and G’s’ well, I’ve seen her write with them on many, many, many different websites and even emails I get from her automated newsletters. It’s just the way she communicates, I’d guess, from what I’ve seen in the past. So I didn’t think it was condescending.

    Also, to be perfectly frank, I did notice other authors criticizing Tymber Dalton and that is what made me the sickest. I realize you all have your opinions but… jeez. Jumping on a bandwagon because a popular reviewer said it makes me think you are trying to curry favor. Just my ‘Opinion’ and yes, that was condescending, if you need it spelled out. I have to wonder if any of the authors who criticized and sounded, yes, Condescending, have read the book and had something USEFUL to offer here.

    And no, if anyone is wondering, I’m not a friend of Tymber Dalton’s, I don’t know her at all. Yes, I read her books. I also read Jill Sorenson and loved her books, in particular, Dangerous to Touch. I can honestly say I’m just a reader who loved a book and wanted to express it along with my ‘Opinion’ on the comments here.

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  77. soami
    Nov 06, 2009 @ 00:43:17

    First, I have to say, I am loving your reviews Joan/SarahF… have spent half the evening in yours alone :)

    This is how I see this BDSM argument: There is a group of people that meet at the baseball diamond every Saturday. Two pitchers stand back to back and pitch simultaneously–one towards a batter at home plate, the other towards a batter on 2nd.

    Those of us who know the rules of baseball react with “holy crap, someone is going to get hurt… and by the way, this is NOT baseball.” Yet those who are playing insist it is: they’re on a baseball field, they use gloves, ball, bats, and they are playing a game they call ‘baseball.’ They’re not playing by the well thought out and documented rules of THE game and you can only hope the neighborhood kids don’t hear about this because not only will they try it this new way, they’ll start to come up with even more daring perversions of the game and trips to the ER will ensue. There are those who desire to keep the game pure, with good reason. There are those who will say I can do whatever and however I want…

    As for the *LOL’s* and *G’s*… I would imagine many were added after the first draft— without them, it would read more like strong/assertive but too many women equate that with ‘b****’ If unable to defend of your ideas with words, then simply say thanks for the review and let it go…

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  78. Sarah Frantz
    Nov 06, 2009 @ 04:30:48

    @soami: Fascinating analogy. But I like it! And glad I could while away a few hours for you!

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  79. J
    Nov 09, 2010 @ 11:32:09

    Wow – a year after the discussion ended – but this is the first time I’ve seen any sort of negative review for this book. I know over at Amazon, TD is a much beloved and recommended author. I read this book and thought it was amazing – interesting, hot, sad. This book is contstantly a 5* OMG recommended read – hate to think one review will stop a lot of people from reading it. Nope, I’ve no connection to TD or anyone else here – just popped in as I just discovered this site and was sure I’d open this and find nothing but glowing words about Reluctant Dom. Color me shocked! I don’t agree w/what the reviewer here said – I don’t think most people intereste in BDSM as anything other than a hot fiction read will really get their info from fiction books. People get into this sort of lifestyle for all sorts of reasons – so TD presented one. I didn’t get that she was saying anyone into this lifestyle for sexual only reasons were bad or pervs. But – you didn’t like it. Fair enough. And I will agree – I’ve seen TD postings in lots of places – she is quite liberal w/her LOL and *G* – and it is really annoying!!

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  80. Wupperelfe
    Mar 31, 2011 @ 19:07:48

    to Regina: Finally someone who doesn’t participate in this ridiculous bashing ;-P

    Dearest Joan/Sarah, you seem to get off on excreting vitriol ( I take it you call them … “reviews”?) and you are just as pitiful as any simple-minded board admin, in chatrooms and whatnot, soo thrilled that you are actually writing stuff that gets read (or not!). Too much spare time, also known as no social life whatsoever?
    If you can do so much better, why aren’t you writing any bestsellers?

    Much easier to write spitefully about a lifestyle that you – clearly – have no knowledge of; same goes with Psychology – every therapist worth his/her salt will inform you about the meaning of katharsis (ever heard of that, referring to BDSM? It is called “a spanking session”!)and how to get relief from extreme suffering using simple methods like said spanking and /or being tied-up. If you ever actually learned anything about BDSM, you knew about its supporting effects and I am not talking about sex because a D/s-relationship is so much more than just intercourse. Kaden is not simply looking for a new sexual partner for Leah but relying on the fact that there has always been mutual attraction between them. As he loves them both, he brings them together, simple as that.
    As you clearly never experienced the extreme relief from symptoms caused by emotional trauma using katharses and/or Psychodrama-based assistance in a session with a skilled Master who (and that is a fact!) GUIDES you lovingly and with compassion (BDSM in NOT always about sex, as Tymber described so perfectly!), you simply have no idea what you are talking about. There is the “scientific” method (basically taking prozac & Co. for the rest of your life, sometimes combined with cognitive behavioral therapy, given to you by an expensive therapist who could not care less about you!), and there is endorphines, produced naturally in your body, lifting you up and making you laugh after you exhausted your emotional barriers with tears, sometimes being comforted by restraints if being held by another is not your cup of tea !
    And last but not least – if it is not beyond you, check out which Master assisted Tymber with his knowledge! As he is not a wannabe dilettante, one could safely assume that Tymber*s “Reluctant Dom” is as authentic, individual and multi-faceted as D/s relationships generally tend to be.

    And maybe start “reviewing” something you actually know and understand – as you labeled a D/s-relationship “BDSM Romance” ??!!
    If you still don’t get that it is not merely about sex … !

    WupperElfe

    –> Tymber – keep going!! ;-) By the way, when is Tony’s story coming out??

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  81. Sarah Frantz
    Apr 01, 2011 @ 07:25:47

    @Wupperelfe: Wow, thanks. I appreciate your comment and your passion about this book. But…really, you know nothing about my experience in real life, both when it comes to understanding “catharsis” from a literary perspective and when it comes to understanding BDSM (which, by the way, is a catch-all phrase for many different activities across the kinky activity continuum). Trust me, I know what I’m talking about.

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  82. Annie
    May 10, 2011 @ 12:35:03

    I recommend a book called “Light Switch” by Lauren Gallagher, as a erotic romance/BDSM story where nobody has childhood emotional issues. ;) It won’t be for everyone – it has elements of BDSM, voyeurism-exhibitionism and poly – but I really loved it. The sequel, “Reconstructing Meredith”, is OK, but not as good as the first book.

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  83. Laddie
    May 12, 2011 @ 15:07:37

    I haven’t read this book but I do have a few opinions on the review and the comments made.

    1. I thought the review was fair and made some very good points. I especially agreed with the point about manipulating someone who does not enjoy BDSM into a relationship where they have to take on a role they’re not comfortable with.

    2. Mental illness is a tricky thing and, yes, if someone is self-mutilating then they are most likely mentally ill. Is it the safest thing for mental illness to be treated through BDSM? In my opinion, no. While it’s not the safest thing, I’m sure that someone somewhere has handled thier issues that way.

    As someone with a mental illness, I do have to say that if that route has worked for someone and they are at peace with themselves then more power to them. If they aren’t hurting anyone and their partner is okay with it then I’ve no right to judge them.

    It seems that some people have a problem with that type of scenario being written about because it casts the lifestyle in a negative light. If the subject is approached in a certain way I don’t think it would cast BDSM in a negative light at all.

    Everyone seems to be asking for a book where the characters have no psychological problems or illnesses. I believe I saw the words “damaged and “diseased” being bandied about. First, there are many mentally ill people who are not damaged or diseased. By simply putting a mentally ill character in the role of submissive it doesn’t suggest that all submissives are weak or have something wrong with them.

    The same way that there are plenty of strong, well-adjusted submissives out there, there are strong and well-adjusted people with a mental illness. I find it interesting that some of the people getting upset about others attaching a stigma to the BDSM lifestyle, have no problem feeding into the negative notions about the mentally ill. There seems to be a very strong vibe of “we don’t want you in our books”.

    To the person who wrote comment #80:
    Your view on therapy, medication and CBT is bordering on ignorant. The combination of therapy and medication has saved many lives and will save many more. Attitudes such as yours tend to put lives in danger. There are people who need to take their meds and need their talk therapy. It’s a horrible thing to see people like you who disrespect the psychiatrists and psychologists who are out there helping people. There are plenty of doctors who do care. You shouldn’t paint everyone with the same brush of negativity.

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  84. C.I. Bond
    May 15, 2011 @ 19:11:26

    I read this book as part of a challenge. I do have to agree that not having a therapist for the suicidal wife was out of character for the otherwise loving and control freak husband. I think it would have made more sense to have some past therapy that didn’t work or was too invasive the in the storyline. If you have ever been/seen someone on any of the “heavy hitters” like lithium you know that modern medical therapy does have a personal cost so opting to go with spanking would actually be less “life altering” than many medications. A long visit to a psyc ward or being with a Dom 24/7? It’s a question of the keeper isn’t it? We often face these questions, private school for my son or Ritalin and a student/teacher ratio of 35/1. The husband was basically looking for a keeper for his wife and would rather go with someone he knew than someone he didn’t… it is a rational choice.

    There is a quote that was missed.
    “The pain is to help her process emotions, especially painful emotions, when she’s over-stressed. If she gets off in the process, even better. They are totally different things, even though they’re related sometimes. If you did nothing but missionary with her for the rest of your lives and spanked her with your hand over your lap when she needed it, she’d be perfectly happy with that, too.”

    So basically spanking was enough, the BDSM wasn’t required they just enjoyed it. It wasn’t therapeutic just good, happy, kink.

    As far as how the character reacted about to people in the BDSM community who enjoyed pain, that is how a character felt, not necessarily how the author felt. If the attitudes of every character reflected on every author then how could they possibly create a villain without being arrested? Art isn’t the same as life.

    There is often a rather intense reaction from members of a sub-culture whenever they are portrayed as anything less than perfect. No, it isn’t wise to treat a serious psychological illness with BDSM any more than it is to treat clinical depression with alcohol but it happens. In any case this is a work of fiction not a public service announcement and the author is creating interesting characters whose views may or may not necessarily match her own. I could be flip and point out that someone who has difficulty telling fantasy from reality should seek therapy but this seems like a fairly volatile board so I would probably get flamed for the suggestion.

    In any case this story is pretty vanilla both in kink and in the approach to BDSM. If you really want a bee in your bonnet I would recommend As She’s Told which is much more intense, thought provoking, and still a great read if you enjoy being challenged.

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  85. Marian
    Oct 25, 2011 @ 22:04:00

    This is regarding post 84 and the writer’s mention of “As She’s Told” by Anneke Jacob. It really is a great read. If you are looking for an intense and thought provoking read, as stated by C.I. Bond, this will give you exactly that. Annecke Jacob also has a second book in publication…… “Owned and Owner”. I liked them both very much.

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  86. Does Fiction Have To Follow Fact? Does It Have To Instruct People On How They SHOULD Behave? | BVS Reader's Blog
    Dec 11, 2011 @ 15:44:43

    [...] another post at the Dear Author blog Sarah takes Tymber Dalton to task for her book The Reluctant Dom – a book I personally read, [...]

  87. story
    Oct 31, 2012 @ 08:01:19

    The idea that BDSM is abhorrent because its components derive from paraphilias in the DSM-IV is ignorant. The idea that there is only ONE TRUE way to cope with past trauma–through CONVENTIONAL THERAPY–is even more so.

    The DSM-IV is hardly an unreproachable biblical tool for mental hygeine. Until very recently the book cited homosexuality as a pathology, as well as cross-dressing. We are talking about a book that allows the APA to MAKE BANK–over $5 million PER YEAR–with its sales. The validity and reliability of its dianostic categories, its cultural biases, unnecessary medicalization and judgment of forms of human emotional experience, the polarizing of “normal” and “deviant”, and the power to label all forms of mental illness by an elite group of psychologists has all been WIDELY CRITICIZED over the years. The primary intent of the DSM-IV was to devise a classification system for medical coding, nothing more. Now it attempts to define every potential human behavior as a form of mental illness.

    The reviewer made no effort to really understand the point of the novel. It was quite clear that she has very narrow, pre-conceived notions of what is “normal” by using the review as a platform to paint bdsm as everything that is deviant from her life experience. She fails to truly understand why, for some, BDSM and an M/s dynamic, WORKS. She likens it to kink-sanctioned domestic violence based on an irrational need for control sated by a co-dependent partner hellbent on victimhood.

    The author also assumes that cognitive therapy is the ONE AND ONLY TRUE WAY to wellness. She fails to understand that cognitive therapy often fails. In particular, she fundamentally misunderstands the aspect of pain and its function in the lives of many-not merely those kinky. She assumes that people who enjoy pain, or utilize pain to relinguish emotional stress, are sick, malajusted people, and those who inflict it are dangerous sociopaths. However, most studies indicate that people who utilize pain often do so because it really does help them feel better. The period of intense relief from mental and emotional stress after a session of acute pain can last for days. Many use masochism cathartically, and through a session derive benefits rivaling 6 months of cognitive therapy. She also fails to realize that the limbic brains in many are HARDWIRED to sexually enjoy pain. An erotic interest that is non-normative is not automatically unhealthy or dangerous. The author was not pathologizing those who enjoy pain play in order to justify use of pain cathartically, but rather, putting them on a bdsm continuum.

    The reviewer misunderstands the role of a dominant in her curious assumption that Kaden’s “higher” purpose for inflicting pain on his lover is due to his need to hurt and control due to severe emotional experience. Many dominants who don’t ascribe as sadists will indulge their submissive in pain because a Dominant’s role does not end with his pleasure. He has a duty to provide and care for the submissive and give her what she needs to be strong in her submission to him and feel whole and healthy in herself. The reviewer also doesn’t fully grasp submission. She states,”Most submissives are incredibly strong, competent, completely normal people who just happen to get off on giving up control to their partner, something which does NOT infantilize them.” WRONG. Submissives’ desires are as individual as the submissive themselves. At least she finally concedes that submission, at long last, is not a form of sexual deviance after all. Many submissives are INCREDIBLY strong, independent in real life, and crave the relinguishment of control in a structured environment because it makes them feel SAFE and LOVED, rather than horny. The reviewer assumes that BDSM is merely about sex, and that those employing it do so solely to get off. In reality, many submissives ADORE erotic humiliation, punishment, objectification, severe sexual debasement, and even identify as a “little” (those attracted to a “daddy” dominant).

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  88. story
    Oct 31, 2012 @ 08:13:14

    I want to clarify that I used Male Dominance and female submission as this was the model used in the story. Of course, female dominants/male submissives, or same sex or transgendered couples, were not meant to be excluded in a form of heterosexism.

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