BDSM Without the Toys
When most people think of BDSM they often imagine rooms filled with a variety of equipment and gadgets, otherwise referred to as toys. There are floggers and gags, cuffs, chastity devices, cock rings in seemingly endless supply. Reading about our favorite characters using all their toys is fun and exciting.
However, there is a whole other side to BDSM. It’s a lifestyle and it’s an attitude. One doesn’t need all the ‘stuff’ to have great BDSM sex. First and foremost, BDSM requires willing participants, no one should ever be forced into it.
When I was writing the beginning of the Sentries series I faced a bit of a conundrum. My first obstacle was because in the world I was creating there weren’t going to be the selection of manufactured toys we have available today. I realized BDSM has probably existed long before we gave a name to it and catalogs of equipment came to life. So, in the case of Todd and Nick Ruger, their version of BDSM focuses on mind, attitude and emotion.
My next hurdle was that in the story Nick is an actual slave. He wears a collar designating his status and there are laws and rules of their society that governs some of his interactions.
Todd introduces Nick to a sexual Dom/sub and BDSM life. It’s something Todd enjoys and he hopes his new partner will enjoy it as well. As it turns out, Nick enjoys it very much. What Todd in actuality does, is offer Nick the freedom to explore his sexuality, something Nick had never done before. Being a naturally very curious person, Nick wants to explore this new part of his life to the fullest.
While they use some simple devices, cloth restraints, a feather, and a tether, as well as putting Nick’s collar to some creative uses that’s about it for their array of toys. Their BDSM is raw emotion and their imaginations. Instead of using a gag to prevent talking, Nick keeps silent from sheer self-control. Orgasm denial is not attained through a chastity device, but from willpower. Using the mind and emotion in place of BDSM toys is very powerful. The characters need to draw on each other and their desire to please their partner without artificial aid.
Like every healthy BDSM couple, they balance what they desire in bed with their day to day lives. They spend time learning what each other desires from their sex life and what they enjoy the most. Outside of their bedroom and despite how their society designates their roles. they are a true couple. They each have equal footing in their relationship. They depend on each other and often place their lives in the hands of their partner.
Todd may be an actual owner and Nick an actual slave, but that is only one small part of their relationship. They’re a team, a willing team in all aspects of their life. They’ve spent time learning about each other. As the series progressed their relationship grows and becomes stronger.
So, what's your opinion? Which do you enjoy better lots of toys and equipment with your D/s and BDSM or the simpler approach that focuses completely on two people?
Join the conversation to be entered into a drawing to win one ebook copy of the Sentries book of your choice. Or an ebook copy of For the Long Run, my other BDSM book, that one has lots of toys!
To enter the blog hop contest see the earlier post HERE.
I'll announce my winners Sunday evening US Eastern time.
Today is a special day for me, it was three years ago today the first book of the Sentries Series, Marked Yours was released! So, in celebration of that I am delighted to announce Tethered Pair (book #5 of Sentries) will be coming later this autumn.
I'll be posting excerpts and updates in my newsletter along with many other goodies including what does a riverboat have to do with the next Sentries book?
newsletter sign up: http://elizabeth-noble.us7.list-manage.com/subscribe/post?u=5b9a8ba3a29e49d14defa8788&id=98457588c9
A few weeks ago I was privileged enough to have Lex Chase interview me and post said interview on her blog. I'm reposting it here for anyone who didn't see it when it originally went up.
Dreamspinner Press author Elizabeth Noble may appear like an unassuming veterinary nurse, but in fiction she delights readers with post-apocalyptic worlds and the will to survive. Her new release in the long running “Sentries” series is the fourth volume called “Collared Souls” is due out April 3, and she elaborated on the next chapter in the characters Todd and Nick’s lives.
“The story takes place in the future, several hundred years after a natural disaster drastically alters society and things as we know it,” she said via email interview. “There is sex, monsters, horses, fights, betrayal, something for everyone. The series centers around Todd Ruger, a very special kind of hunter and his slave Nick. Bonded as children they become true comrades in arms, fighting side by side against foes both seen and unseen. Bound by love, they are mates for life, each willing to do what it takes to protect the other. Fourth in the series is titled ‘Collared Souls’ and our guys go back to the village where Nick was raised. There they not only discover personal history, but uncover a conspiracy that could determine the fate of a war.”
THE WORLD OF SENTRIESWhen it comes to the intricate worldbuilding featured “Sentries,” Noble maintains it’s not necessary to plot out every blade of grass, every star in the sky, or need hands-on experience in knife fighting. Wait. Knife fighting?
Noble offered the answer.
“I have a friend who is disturbingly good at things like knife and fist fights, so I have to credit her with making mine flow so well. Actually I’m afraid not to…,” she said with a laugh.
Senseless violence aside, Noble elaborated upon another kind of violence such as natural disasters and how they factor into “Sentries.”
“In order to make this sort of story line plausible I had to reinvent society and the world,” she said. “I did that, in part, by using the Wyoming Supervolcano. There is more to that particular part of the story and ‘Collared Souls’ gives us much more detail on the how and why things went the way they did including the evolution of sentries and how the slave industry was established. Basically, I had a good idea of the geographical location of the story, what it would be like in terms of climate and if there were any changes from how it looks now.”
Between just winging it and hoping for the best, and having ideas, Noble explained the difference.
“I had the basics of the society and added to that and developed it from there as the story progressed,” she said. “I worked out the generalities, and allowed the world to evolve as I wrote. Societies, people and planets are not static, they change. I try to allow that to happen in the creation of my worlds.”
Noble gave her biggest tip for authors new to building extravagant worlds.
“Know what you want and be flexible in the worldbuilding,” she said.
REDEFINING MASTERS AND SLAVESNobel maintains “Sentries” isn’t the typical Dominant/submissive book, and she went out of her way to make her own twist on Masters and Slaves.
She offers the origin of Todd and Nick, and well as the origin of “Sentries” as a whole.
“I was reading the posts on a LiveJournal community where people searching for a certain story, or type of story leave messages,” she said. “I read a post where someone was looking for a story featuring an arranged marriage between the two main characters. The very next thread was someone looking for a story about two people who knew from the time they were very young they were always meant to be together.”
You could say the rest is history, but Noble had some logistics to work out, she explained.
“My use of an Owner/Slave relationship is a bit different than most,” she said. “Todd, the owner, was forced into his role as a child. His slave becomes the center of his world, the true partner and family he’s always yearned for. Nick, the slave is smart, educated and prides himself on being an asset to Todd. The Owner/Slave system was one thing I did put a lot of thought into and had all sorts of details worked out beforehand. While there is a D/s relationship little of that is because one is an Owner and one is a Slave. It’s more of a result of the fact it’s something these guys like.”
She elaborated further on the twists and turns she made the standard Dominant/submissive model most readers know.
“As the series progresses it becomes more and more apparent that the roles each plays within their relationship have come about because of each man’s personal wants, desires and likes,” she said. “Their sexual relationship, as is most couples’, is independent from their jobs and place in their society. I think they would have the same sort of relationship if there was no Owner/Slave element to the story. There is a lot of variation on how slaves are treated by various people, not everyone has the same opinion and I try to show that.”
What does this mean for Todd and Nick? Noble continued.
“Nick wears a collar and has Todd’s initials branded into the inside of his wrists,” she said. “To him they do not symbolize captivity, but the partnership he has with Todd. Slaves receive varied and extensive educations in order to be an asset to their eventual owners. I think one aspect that sets them apart from other slave books, is Nick is very accepting and proud of his position. It is Todd who was forced into becoming an owner and struggles through the times he has to act as Nick’s master not his mate.”
THE FUTURE FOR NOBLE Noble says with her constantly full schedule, she lives by the productivity apps such as Microsoft OneNote on her smartphone to keep her on task. She lamented she almost never uses her phone to make calls. But what’s on her phone besides her life? Noble dished on her upcoming projects.
“I’m currently working on the fifth book of the ‘Sentries’ series, ‘Tethered Pair,’” she said. “Most of the book takes place on an old time riverboat. It’s definitely a guilty pleasure of mine to write that type of story. There are gamblers and demons to name a few things.”
But if that wasn’t enough, Noble says she’s also cooking up an urban fantasy series with Dreamspinner Press author Anne Barwell called “Sleepless City.”
“It’s an urban fantasy that involves vampires—good and bad—and some werewolves. We hope to start releasing them this year,” she said. “The first book, which Anne is writing is ‘Shades of Sepia.’ Anne is very nice to work with. She’s very open to ideas and we spend a lot of time in chat plotting and planning the series and our books. She and I both like paranormal books, movies and TV and the whole thing sort of blossom out of our mutual interests and tastes. We had many of those ‘I’d like to read a series like this’ sort of conversations. The idea of an urban fantasy with the vampires was hers, and I just sort of horned in on it.”
WHERE TO BUY all books available from Dreamspinner Press.
Anne Barwell asked me to write a bit on how I thought up my Sentries series. She posted this on her Blog back in March and this is a repost.
One of the questions I’m often asked is, where did my concept and use of slavery in my series the Sentries originate?
It’s sort of an interesting story, at least I think so.
The whole thing started one lazy afternoon when I was trolling through a community on Live Journal. In this particular community people post summaries of things they’ve read/watched, or would like to, to see if someone might know the fanfic/movie/book. One such summary caught my attention; it was basically about two people who grew up knowing they would marry and be together. Then I read the very next entry, which was someone looking for stories in general about arranged marriages. To complicate matters the one after that talked about wanting to find stories with slaves who were not abused.
That’s when my brain had an ah-ha moment.
Then my brain had to do some real work to meld those ideas, which are sort of opposites, into one story. I started with working out how all these ideas might work together. From there I stumbled over the idea of one of my MCs being a slave. One character being a slave allowed me to weave my three main concepts together nicely. Obviously, this wasn’t going to be set in our world today, so my next step was to do my world building homework and create a society that would also fit. I prefer scifi and future settings so that part was the fun part for me.
The more I planned, the more involved and intricate the development of both slaves and sentries became. In Sentries, the slaves are not captured people, but children bred specifically to be slaves. These children are highly educated so as to benefit their future owners.
In Collared Souls, Todd and Nick Ruger discover their roots, as sentries, and how the slave industry came into being. The men learn their ties to both sentries and slaves go back to their youngest days, as well as generations preceding them.
Making the character Nick a slave allowed me to do a few things with both the characters. It gave me the chance to have the characters know about one another, have some contact via correspondence, and still be somewhat unsure how their prearranged pairing would go once they were together. While they came from the same society, the culture and atmosphere each man grew up in, and was shaped by, was different. It was a meeting of opposites, taking them and turning them into a strongly bonded couple.
Slaves have certain advantages their owners do not. Nick uses the fact that to some people he’s invisible, a piece of property owned by Todd, nothing more, to allow him to develop covert skills of observation. Todd, of course, has his own unique talents, and the two complement each other incredibly well. Their lives intertwine and affect each other from the time each of them is a young child.
My biggest challenge was making the slaves and institution of slavery in my books different from others out there. Todd is not the typical slave owner. Nick isn’t forced into their relationship, Todd spends a great deal of time in the beginning of the series wooing his newly acquired slave. As the series progresses we see how these two very opposite men come to love and respect one another while doing a very dangerous job.
Their love for one another and their teamwork is highlighted in Collared Souls and is what carries them through the challenges thrown in their path and in the end brings Todd and Nick even closer together.
The most difficult thing about publishing is promoting, not because in and of itself it is a hard thing to do, but because I'm not good at 'tooting my own horn' so to speak.
I have four books out as of today, with a fifth on the way in a few month. Three of those are part of a series I have no problem talking about since I love it dearly!
Chained Hearts is the latest release and third in the Sentries series. It finds our guys deep in a war where battles take place on physical and psychic battlefields.
This series takes place in a future that has drastically changed, some for the good and some for the bad. The series revolves around the lives and love of our two heroes, Todd and Nick Ruger.
They are sentries, protectors against the natural and supernatural, keeping the good citizens of their world safe. Todd was born into a family of sentries, Nick was born a slave and bonded to Todd at a young age.
Through it all they become not only partners but a family.
Marked Yours starts their journey and cements their relationship.
Things in this society are not always what they seem, and that holds true for the owner/slave aspect.
While Nick is proud of who he is, and who he's owned and bonded to, Todd isn't thrilled to be an owner. That doesn't stop him from falling in love with Nick.
Together Bound chronicles maybe one of their most important missions and throws them into the middle of political intrigue and war.
They face a deadly and clever enemy that nearly tears them apart. In the end they both learn the meaning of loyalty and love, teaching them each what is important, and that is each other.
Sentries series is love, adventure and some good old-fashioned ass-kicking. I hope you'll join me on the journey and enjoy it as much as I love writing the story of Todd and Nick Ruger!
All three books in the Sentries series can be purchased from Dreamspinner Press, as can my other title, Strays.
This post is part of YAM's incredible week long Blog-a-thon. Please check it and all the other talented and wonderful contributors.
A half dozen years or so ago I moved. Not far, just a few miles, but far enough I had to switch cable companies. The new company was not only far more expensive, but in a word their service sucked. So, I got rid of them and went to online viewing or watching a show when the DVDs were available.
This led to me discovering, or in a few cases, rediscovering some great television. There were shows I’d started watching and then lost track of, so I went back and started my viewing from the show’s start.
One gem I rediscovered was an original show produced and aired on the SyFy Channel—one of my favorite viewing places—by the name of Warehouse 13 . This show appeals to me on multiple levels. One of the characters hails from my part of the world (mid-western USA) and there are references to Ohio in general and Cleveland in particular which simply tickle me.
The mix of characters is fun and they interact well with one another and the premise, while a treasure hunt, has an interesting and unique twist. Each episode is based around a hunt for what is called an artifact. These artifacts are imbued with some special power and connected to some historical figure or event. Once bagged in special purple containers the artifacts are safely stored in The Warehouse.
The manner in which these artifacts are created, used and tracked down is creative, interesting and entertaining. Warehouse 13 is one of those shows that is plain, good fun.
Those facts alone were enough to keep me watching episode after episode. Warehouse 13’s creators and writers do something else I rarely see on the big or little screen, or in print for that matter. They address some of today’s social issues, offering support and in such a lovely way it’s inspirational.
Using some entertainment medium is hardly a new and innovative means of commenting on the social issues of the day. That’s been going on since cave drawings. What makes Warehouse 13 unique, and in my opinion far more effective, is their presentation.
Some of the story lines revolve around a famous person or persons who were or are homosexual. In the most recent season, three, there was a gay man added to the regular cast as one of the federal agents working in The Warehouse. Often some part of the background includes things such as a banner for a GLBT convention.
Warehouse 13 supports, among other things, the GLBT community by making the fact some people in this world are born homosexual uneventful, commonplace and a matter of fact part of life.
I won’t go into the storyline of the added character that is a gay man, so no spoilers. What I want to focus more on is how the other characters perceived him. There was none of the nonsense of him having to prove even though he is gay he’s like everyone else. There are no gasps of horror from the others, there is almost no lip service given to the fact he’s gay beyond his announcement. The other characters are more concerned with the fact he can do the job, is dependable and skilled.
This guy is a member of The Warehouse team, he’s the new guy, a former police officer, and oh yeah, he’s gay. His being gay is treated no differently than aspects of the other characters’ lives. That is the most wonderful thing about this show, one character happens to be gay, another had mental issues, another is slow to trust, in short regular things about regular people.
That sort of mentality is something that appeals to me and inspires me. Why, in the various forms of entertainment does a homosexual person have to struggle and why does their homosexuality have to be the story?
Well, it doesn’t.
There are many gifted writers who tell wonderful, meaningful stories about what it’s like to be a boy or girl growing up homosexual and what it’s like to struggle with their sexuality. Many authors take readers inside the worlds of people coming to grips with the fact they are gay, how their families react, how their friends react, how their bosses react.
I’m not one of them.
My favorite types of stories, be they in print or on film, are those with action, or a good alien invasion, car chases and explosions. I like a plot that includes humor as well as angst.
I’d also like to see a world where the color of one’s skin or their sexual orientation or any number of other things people discriminate against no longer exists. This is the type of world Warehouse 13 tries to present.
While writing my first M/M book I made a conscious choice to create worlds and scenarios for my characters where the fact they’re homosexual isn’t the issue. There are other issues of course, but struggling to live lives together as a gay couple isn’t one of them. Being gay in my books is nothing more noteworthy than having brown hair; it’s who these men are.
The men in my books fight the forces of evil, go exploring and fight in wars, oh yeah and they happen to be gay. I feel that as a writer, that is something I should promote, a world where equality is reality.
I’d love to know your opinion, especially on Warehouse 13 and its version of subtle support and activism. If you haven’t seen the show, I hope you check it out. As for my books, well I hope you check those out too. Mention in your comments if you’d like to be entered in a drawing to win any one of my eBooks.
This way to my list of books and links to excerpts and reviews.
This post is part of YAM's wonderful week long Blog-a-thon!
This was originally posted on SJD Peterson's Blog for Author A-Z
Naughty or nice?
That was the question posed to me by SJD Peterson for her Authors A-Z month, what sort of gift would I rather receive, naughty or nice? I thought the answer might be more interesting if I asked the naughtiest nicest guy I know: Nick Ruger. So, I conned—um, invited Todd and Nick Ruger to join me in pondering that age old question: what sort of present is better, Naughty or Nice?
I thought they’d like meeting at a café for coffee. “Have a seat, guys, and thanks for helping with this.”
They settled in chairs across from me. Nick leaned over and tapped Todd’s arm, whispering, “She promised coffee.”
Nodding, Todd leaned back in his chair, casually dropped his arm over the back of Nick’s chair, fingers resting on Nick’s shoulder. “He’s got a point,” Todd said, looking at me.
“I did. I know you guys are as much coffee addicts as I am.” Good thing for me the coffee arrived just then, Todd has one serious stare.
“You’re the one who wrote us that way.” Nick took his coffee, inhaling deeply over it.
“Do you want to be alone with it?” Todd and I asked together.
Nick looked over the rim of his mug, shook his head and sipped his brew, smiling shyly.
“Okay, so you’re the one who wanted to do this, and it’s your name that starts with ‘N’, so…it’s ‘N’ day on this blog…” Todd said.
“Me?” Nick’s gaze shifted between Todd and I.
“Yes, Nick, you.” Todd sipped more coffee and watched Nick.
“Um…well Todd’s s given me some gifts. I love every one of them. There was a hunting knife he sent me when I turned sixteen, and then when I first went to live with him he’d gotten me a little carving of a bear. ” He touched the woven leather band around his throat. “My collar of course.”
“That wasn’t really what I had in mind.”
Todd set his coffee down, leaned forward, laid one arm flat on the table and dropped his forehead onto his arm. “Nicky, I don’t think that’s what she had in mind.”
“No.” Todd sat straight and shook his head.
“Oh.” Nick took another sip of coffee, looking thoughtful. “Oh! OH.”
Todd straightened. “Oh?” He motioned go on with one hand and reached for his mug again with the other.
“Me?” Nick ducked his head and looked up at Todd from under those adorably shaggy bangs.
“Your idea, your name begins with ‘N’, so yeah, you.” Todd leaned back, smiled and winked at me.
“Okay, well…in our apartment, Todd made me a whole room. He likes building things from wood, and recently he’s also made a—”
“Dude! No spoilers,” Todd said.
“That’s a spoiler? I can’t even give a little hint about what happened after we left the Chancellor’s Estate?”
“That’s a spoiler and that book won’t be out for another few months yet,” I reminded Nick.
Todd added, “No hinting.”
“My favorite gift from Todd that I can mention then is rope.”
“Rope?” I ask.
Spitting coffee out, Todd choked, gagged and coughed. “Rope?” Clearing his throat he dropped his voice an octave. “Rope?”
“Rope,” Nick repeated, smiling and nodding. “There are four sections about this long.” He held up both hands about two feet apart. “They’re really soft and very comfortable, you know around my wrists and ankles.”
Todd shifted a bit in his chair. “Oh geez.”
Ignoring his mate, Nick went on, “There is a longer section that can wrap around my chest, legs, shoulders…you get the idea. It’s…fun and gets the blood pumping.” He leaned closer to me and lowered his voice. “Don’t tell Todd I told you, but he’s really very romantic with all the kissing and licking, sometimes tickling, when I can’t move and just as much when I can.”
“I can’t believe you told her, hell, everyone all about the rope.”
Nick ducked his head, smiling softly. “You said since my name started with ‘N’ I had to answer. It’s really all your fault, Todd.” He eased closer to Todd and brushed a quick kiss over his cheek.
“So, I guess since shy, quiet Nick likes the rope best, and has a bit of kink going on, the answer to our question would be naughty?” I asked them.
“You have your answer, we had our coffee. It’s been lovely, thank you,” Todd said as he stood up and held one hand out to Nick, palm up. “C’mon Nicky, we have to…uh…do something important. Right now.”
“What?” Nick looked up, his face the picture of innocence until he glanced at me and winked. “Oh. OH. We have to go now, thanks for the coffee.” He took Todd’s hand, standing he whispered to Todd, “Did you bring the rope?”
Big thanks to SJD Peterson for kindly including me—well us—in her month of fun.
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