Thursday, March 20, 2008

Yes, Sir and Yes, Ma'am

by Dayle A. Dermatis and Teresa Noelle Roberts (aka Sophie Mouette)

Once again, the talented editor (and writer, but we’re talking about her editing genius here) Rachel Kramer Bussel has pulled together amazingly hot collections of erotic stories. This time, the focus is on dominance and submission from the sub’s point of view. Yes, Sir: Erotic Stories of Female Submission and Yes, Ma’am: Erotic Stories of Male Submission are packed with juicy tales of play and punishment, pain and pleasure.

And if you look at the tables of contents, you’ll see some familiar names…. What a shock, that Lusties and their friends might write about pain, pleasure, and power exchange!

Yes, Sir: Erotic Stories of Female Submission Table of Contents:
Introduction: Ready to Say Yes (Sir) by Rachel Kramer Bussel
“The Art of Darkness” by Alison Tyler
“Dear Professor Pervert” by Donna George Storey
“A Necessary Connection” by Debra Hyde
“The Editor” by Amanda Earl
“Ribbons” by Kathryn O’Halleran
“The Day I Came in Public” by D.L. King
“Lunch” by Elizabeth Coldwell
“When Penny Met Harry” by Stan Kent
“The Power of No” by Teresa Noelle Roberts
“In The Corner” by Sommer Marsden
“Stuck at Work and Late for a Date” by Chelsea Summers
“Running Wild” by Shanna Germain
“Pink is the Enemy” by Jocelyn Bringas
“Sitting on Ice Cream” by Lisette Ashton
“Under His Hand, I Blossom” by Nikki Magennis
“Make Me” by Rachel Kramer Bussel
“Body Electric” by Lisabet Sarai
“Reclaiming the Sofa” by Maddy Stuart
“How Bad Do You Want It?” by Gwen Masters

Yes, Ma’am: Erotic Stories of Male Submission Table of Contents
Introduction: “Giving It Up: Letting Her Rule” by Rachel Kramer Bussel
“Zero Sum Game” by Alex Mendra
“Secret Desires” by Ellen Tevault
“Tea for Three” by Lee Ash
“Exhibit A” by Chris Cooper
“A Different Kind of Reality Show” by D. L. King
“Secretary’s Day” by Rachel Kramer Bussel
“Wedding Night” by Dominic Santi
“Flash” by Alison Tyler
“It’s Cold Outside” by Stephen Elliott
“An Invitation to the Dance” by Sylvane Alistair
“Sticking with You” by L. E. Bland
“i 1t u 2 do sumfin 4 me” by George Cross
“Rope Burn” by A. D. R. Forte
“His Lady’s Manservant” by Andrea Dale
“Taming the Unruly” by Debra Hyde
“The Big What” by Michael Hemmingson
“The Mean Girl” by Teresa Noelle Roberts
“Connection” by Kristina Wright

In Teresa Noelle Roberts’ story, “The Power of No,” a newbie bottom who thinks she’s just enjoying new and different sensations discovers her sexuality is more complex than she realized while playing a new kind of game—orgasm denial:

“When you’re about to come, say ‘edge,’” he commanded. “I’ll let you know if you may. Now don’t move. I want to see how well you hold position. And don’t come without permission.”

Too nervous to laugh this time—and I was convinced, too anxious to need to worry about coming—I took a deep breath and waited for my ass to catch fire.
Instead, I felt the flogger glide across the skin of my back, a sensual caress. It didn’t feel like the stiff strands I’d been anticipating, either, but something softer, suede perhaps.

That bastard had switched floggers on me! I itched to turn around and see which he’d chosen. I hadn’t seen even a fraction of Enrique’s toy collection, and curiosity was trying to get the better of me. Those falls felt so velvety as they brushed across my back, making my skin twitch like a cat’s in their wake, sending shivers deep into my core. Maybe they were velvet, or perhaps fur? I wanted to know…

But I couldn’t make myself turn around.

I told myself it was because I didn’t want to spoil whatever game he was playing. I wanted to know, but I certainly didn’t want him to stop, and I risked that if I turned around, since he’d told me to told still.

That was what I told myself, anyway.

In Shanna Germain’s “Running Wild,” the wife in a marriage that’s going amuck meets a man who can help her get back in control by giving up some control:

“Saw you riding the barrels in Sisters last year,” he said.

“Yeah, what’d you think?”

He looked up, crooked grin a little higher. “Thought you could have given up some control, trust your mare a little more. She would have gone faster ’round that second barrel.”

I didn’t say anything. I’d finished second in that run, just behind the top rider in the state.

He hung the bridle up and wiped his hands on a rag.

“And I think you’re not standing there just to ask me what I think about your riding.”

I cocked my head. “Really? Why am I standing here?”

With his easy stride, he was at my head in a second. He put the flat of his hand against my cheek.

“Because you’ve been running wild all summer long, and you need someone to put some reins on you and put you in check.”

I tried to think, but his hand moved down, grasped the back of my head and held me in place.

“Who told you that?” I asked, once I could think again.

“Your husband,” he said.

I laughed. “Right.” Like he cared.

Bobby moved my head forward until his lips pressed against mine. He didn’t kiss me; he talked to me, moving his lips so I could feel every word like some kind of Braille.

“He didn’t hire me to break your horses,” Bobby said. “He hired me to break you. I’ve been waiting all week for you to get your ass out of bed and show up.”

I didn’t believe him, but it didn’t matter.

In “His Lady’s Manservant,” two actors working at a murder mystery weekend stay in their roles of lady of the manor and butler even after they’ve retired. Andrea Dale is one of Dayle Dermatis’s many pseudonyms.

It was when I was unlacing her corset that it struck me: as I essentially freed her, my actions were binding me to her whims. Not forced bondage by any means—it was entirely by my choice.

She lounged back on the bed, wearing only lace-trimmed bloomers and a matching sleeveless silk camisole and sheer stockings (probably not Victorian-period, but oh, so sexy), and told me to undress.

I shucked my clothes, again wanting to leave them where they fell but instead folding them neatly. Melina’s eyes never left me, even as she idly circled one nipple with her finger until the nub blushed dark and hard against the silk.

She was stunning. I wanted to worship her. When she beckoned me to her, I was thrilled that she hadn’t found me wanting.

At her command, I suckled her breasts through the silk. The fabric grew damp and see-through, and when I blew on it, she arched her back and mewled with pleasure.

I tugged her drawers down—they were damp, too, with her musky scent—and couldn’t resist running the silk across my turgid cock, the fabric excruciatingly soft between my fist and my sensitized flesh.

“We’ll have none of that.” Melina plucked the bloomers out of my reach. “You’re here for my pleasure.”

These collections are full of hot d/s sex. But as the excerpts show, they’re also full of emotion. Fear and catharsis, cruelty and tenderness interweave in complex ways. And one thing that’s clear in these stories is that submissives, whether male or female, aren’t frail little flowers (except when that scenario is amusing to all concerned). They’re fierce in their desires and needs and sometimes stronger than they realize themselves, even as they yield to someone who’s gleefully taken the power they offer up.

P.S: The winner of Niki Flynn's book Dances with Werewolves is Crystal Adkins. Congratulations Crystal! E-mail me your postal details to janinineashbless[at]fsmail[dot]net and we'll send you your prize.


Kate Pearce said...

Great excerpta! and I love the covers on these books!

Janine Ashbless said...

But a man on "Yes Sir" would have been nicer...

Not that I'm complaining. I have a feeling I'll be buying it anyway!

Mathilde Madden said...

I agree with Janine. (Well except that I am complaining.) These covers are weird. How come 'Yes Sir' features a female sub and 'Yes Ma'am' features a dominant woman? What does the theme of the collection have to be before we get a man on one of the two books?

I'm really tired of seeing these headless objectified women on *every* erotica collection these days. I'm not against objectification now and again - I just like equality. Even in d/s it has a place!

It really puts me off submitting to these type of anthologies.

Dayle A. Dermatis said...

The stories are really good, though...

Olivia Knight said...

Funny - when I read the post this morning (before a whirlwind caught me up and deposited me a long way from Kansas) I thought the same thing, and anticipated some objections. It caught me off-guard, actually - I saw the "Yes, sir" with that gorgeous bent over women, and thought "Oooh, yummy, what will the bloke look like on 'Yes, ma'am'?" And then it was a woman. Not so surprising. Which shouldn't detract at all from the fabulous words inside.

SO: if anyone would like to make their own improved covers, I've just scarred my fragile psyche for life by google-image-searching for "dominant man". Don't try this one at home, boys and girls. I suffered so you didn't have to.

Cut-out-and-stick dominant man for Yes, Sir

Submissive men was only slightly less traumatic, but I found this:

Cut-out-and-stick submissive man for Yes, Ma'am

Get those scissors and glue out!

Olivia Knight said...

P.S. And yes, the stories are fantastic. With so many Lusties and erstwhile Lusties, how could they not be? ;-) The prospect of this, especially, makes me go all shivery:

“Because you’ve been running wild all summer long, and you need someone to put some reins on you and put you in check.”

~quiver~ I think I just got in touch with my inner sub.

Mathilde Madden said...

Olivia you are a genius. My raging anger is somewhat soothed.

The sub man is wonderful. If Yes Ma'am had that cover I'd buy 18 copies! Thanks for proving that photos of men actually do exist.

Kate Pearce said...

Maybe I didn't notice it because we have a plethora of headless man titty covers in the romance aisle at the moment-I was quite glad to see a woman :)
Lovely images Olivia!

And yes, -that cowboy talk did something to my innards as well...

Janine Ashbless said...

I squealed so loud at those cut-out-n-keep pictures that Mr Ashbless had to have a peek. He said he was very impressed by your selfless dedication, Olivia.

TeresaNoelleRoberts said...

The dominant man doesn't do so much for me (I think because I have my own mental image and he's..well, older), but that poor tied-up boy is enough to make me find my inner domme, and I was pretty damn sure I didn't have one.

kristina lloyd said...

Top marks for effort, Olivia! But, uh, much like Teresa, I'm not so keen on your dom, sorry! He looks a tad submissive to me - I am looking down at him in his 'take me' pose and he's wearing some kind of terrible harness and as for his cock ... Well, I guess it proves that there aren't enough images of hot hard fuck-brutes - sorry, I mean of sexy men - to chose from. So anyway, this is my cover image for Yes Sir. Please! Can I?

I do find it odd and slightly depressing that these cover images are coming from Cleis Press, fabulous indie publishers who are championing edgy, queer sexualities, producing books on gender studies and who really ought to be a bit more clued up about what it means, politically, to keep on using women's bodies to sell erotica supposedly aimed at men and women.

Anyway, some good news: the super-fantastic Violet Blue has, this very day, in the interests of equality, launched Hot Boy Thursday over on Tiny Nibbles.

PS. Dayle, Teresa, you highlighted Kristina Wright in your Yes Ma'am table of contents - I guess cos you're highlighting Lusties past and present but, er, that is not actually me! My surname is Lloyd. And, um, I can't imagine ever writing a Yes Ma'am story - unless, say, some nasty fuck-brute in great big boots were forcing me to do it. Quick, quick! You have ten seconds to click on that image of me and Derrick before photobucket deletes it.

OK, so maybe it's not actually me. But a girl can dream, can't she?

Quick, there goes another image!

Madeline Moore said...

Grrrrrreat stuff. Love the stick up men, O. Maybe we could do a LB line of paper boy dollies? We could dress them up and dress them down and put 'em in a tux and put em in restraints and put a hood on 'em and everything.
Oh where is our store manager when we need her?

As I've said before, I don't care much about the covers. I like them to be lovely and I don't care if it's a man or a woman, or both, that makes it lovely...

This has been a lousy week to have my internet screwed up, and it still is - so wish me luck for Monday's post. Oh I'll get one me....

Alison Tyler said...

I like the covers, personally. And She’s on Top does show a sub male.

But I guess I’m confused by this topic in general. It seems the publishing world is catching up with a more modern outlook. As Kate says, lately quite a few covers feature hunky male torsos. In a pretty quick sweep of Amazon’s Top Erotica 50, these have males on the covers:

Soul Deep
Aiden’s Charity
Wolf Breeds
The Man Within
Brothers in Arms: Love Under Siege,
Brothers in Arms: The Courage to Love
Raine, Lord of the Satyr
Jacob’s Faith
Nauti Nights
Nicholas: The Lords of the Satyr,
Hidden Agendas
Every Frat Boy Wants It
Nauti Boy, Book 1
Demon’s Fire
Honk if You Love Real Men
Primal Heat

A slew of other covers feature couples:

Caramel Flava
Wild, Wicked & Wanton
Squirms, Screams and Squirts
Wicked Pleasure
Kiss of Heat

Fewer than 15 featured females only—including He’s on Top and Yes, Ma’am (way to go, Rachel)!

That’s a shift in a positive direction, right? Or am I still missing something?


kristina lloyd said...

Well, the thing is AT, much as I adore you and admire what you do, yes, I think your point (and Kate's not noticing) does miss something.

Because the Amazon torso list you give is primarily erotic romance covers (plus at least one gay title where you'd expect a nice chest). And men don't generally read genre romance so it's quite safe to put a semi-nekkid bloke on the front cover. It's not going to put off any potential consumers. It's safe there. It's all ladies doing their own thing. It doesn't matter. Let them knit.

However, smut is different. For god knows how long, smut has been aimed at men, consumed by men. I'm offended by the notion that, as a woman, if I want to get off I must have candlelight and a HEA. I want smut that speaks to me! And AT, your stuff speaks to me. It is about women desiring and it makes no apologies for that, makes no concessions to trad romance. Women can fuck without needing to be tricked into it, without wanting to run off into the sunset.

That, grimly, is pretty radical and new. And yet the covers this stuff is between often belong to decades past. They are still aimed at men's eyes.

Men on romance covers and women on erotica covers is sending out that tired old message: men like sex; women only like sex if it is centred around lurve and massage oils and sunsets at the end.

It seems publishers of erotica are too scared to use images of hot men for fear of upsetting their mainly male readership who would probably find it all a bit gay. I wish publishers would open it out and try and connect with women who like sex, who like men and who are OK about that.

Crikey, are there really so few of us that we are not worth targetting? That we are not worth considering in those marketing meetings they have? That we are, simply, not worth listening to?

That sucks.

Alison Tyler said...

I think you have a valid point, KL, and you always speak so eloquently. I’m much more of a bull in a china shop in debates.

The problem I really am having is something totally different. Being a boutique publisher is such a difficult job. For my imprint, I need to save up about $10,000 to create a book. (This is for printing, an advance to the editor, paying the artist, having the book typset, and covering fulfillment, storage, and freight fees.)

So what bothers me when people pick on indie covers in a situation like this is that we boutique publishers have such a difficult job from the start. We’re up against so many hurdles that it’s disheartening to have to defend ourselves to our own writers.

I think I would feel much more comfortable if this sort of issue came up in a specific “let’s talk about covers” post, where many different covers were shown and discussed, not all from any one publishing house.

On a post like this, which appears to be a promo for two Cleis books, I feel bad when the discussion turns sour.

Dayle A. Dermatis said...

"On a post like this, which appears to be a promo for two Cleis books, I feel bad when the discussion turns sour."

Agreed! So let's talk about the stories, or anthology publishing, or something actually related to what we as Lusties do: write, submit (ooh! do I mean stories or physically?!), edit, romp, etc.!


Dayle A. Dermatis said...

"PS. Dayle, Teresa, you highlighted Kristina Wright in your Yes Ma'am table of contents - I guess cos you're highlighting Lusties past and present but, er, that is not actually me!"

We didn't do the highlighting—Olivia did after I set the post to go live last night!

kristina lloyd said...

Olivia! I thought we were friends! But I guess I'll forgive you if you host my fuck-brute images on your server. And when you've done that, could you make Dayle a cup of cocoa? I think it's nearly bedtime across the pond. Then I'll have tea, please, cos I just got up. Thank you. There's a love.

So, I think a post on covers would be great! The idea that we should stick to discussing writing while publishers decide what's best for us reminds me of the way women were once told to keep house ('Darling, you're so good at it!')and not worry their pretty little heads about politics.

Surely the way in which our work is presented matters enormously and is part of what we do. It is an awful, awful feeling, as a writer, to have a story you are proud of packaged in an image that angers and offends you. It feels as if the work no longer belongs to you. It is painful.

And yes, I know indie publishers struggle; I know there are lots of arguments we could bring into play about economics, profit and risk but that is going off the point. Or perhaps it would actually prove the point of how deeply entrenched sexism and inequality is.

Post on covers anyone?

Mathilde Madden said...

I don't think it was wrong to bring up the weird discrepancy in these covers on this post. I think it would have been utterly bizarre if no one had said anything as it is so, so striking.

KL is right - the form basically goes that a man on the cover is only okay if the book is not aimed at straight men in anyway. i.e. books for women or books for gay men.

If straight men could be the target of the book in any way (even if women make up a large proportion of the readers and writers) - woman on cover. As ever straight men get their needs catered to first. And more often than not the image is of a sexaulised headless objectified woman. (and like I say nothing wrong with these things except when they are always and only happening to women!)

Yes Sir and Yes Ma'am are het books. All the stories are about male/female couples. I feel totally marginalised by these covers. It is totally wrong that this still goes on and comes from a publisher that positions itself as progressive. I've really had enough with these anthos that ignore me as a potential reader before I've even opened the book and I wouldn't want a book with a cover like this on my bookshelf.

I don't just think it's worth mentioning. I think discussion like this is what LB is all about!

Amanda said...

i love the cover. as a submissive female i completely put myself in the picture and imagine it's my bottom being spanked. i'm really happy to have this book, have read it all from cover to cover. my favourite story is Lisabet Sarai's Body Electric. there are very few stories that deal with viole(n)t wands, so this was refreshing. when i show my friends the books i'm published in, this one is the cover that gets the most attention so far, along with He's On Top. it's a really interesting point that covers like thge one used on Yes Sir might objectify women. i hadn't thought of that at all. in fact, for me the lack of face just emphasized the bum and made me relate to it. if there had been a face in the pic, i would have related less.

limecello said...

Loved the excerpts - wow. I'm fixating on the titles...