Annabel Joseph is a multi-published BDSM erotic romance author. She writes mainly contemporary romance, although she has been known to dabble in the medieval and Regency eras. She is recognized for writing emotionally intense BDSM storylines, and strives to create characters that seem real–even flawed–so readers are better able to relate to them.
Annabel publishes with Ellora’s Cave and Loose Id in addition to her own imprint, Scarlet Rose Press. She also writes non-BDSM erotic romance under the name Molly Joseph. Molly’s first novel, The Edge of the Earth, will be available in 2012.
Some of Annabel’s favorite authors are Laura Kinsale, Judith McNaught, Jo Beverley, Flannery O’Connor, Molly Weatherfield, and Anneke Jacob.
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I am so excited to share with you Annabel Joseph’s Guest Post!!!!
The Dark Dance of Master/slave Romance by Annabel Joseph
Oh look, I made a rhyming title. It wasn’t intentional…I was just trying to figure out a good way to describe the Master/slave relationship as it appears in books.
It’s a complicated task, putting an intimate, intense relationship like that onto the page. It’s so complicated that sometimes authors go for the cartoon version of Master/slave: cruel, unfeeling sadist cracking a whip and tormenting his hollow shell of a slave. I think they do that because it’s easy, or perhaps they’re just not that knowledgeable about the lifestyle. Maybe they do it because they’re focusing on the titillation aspect, which is fine. We all want to get turned on! Sometimes it goes the other way, where the Master is so solicitous toward his slave that you wonder who’s the top and who’s the bottom. When the Master is going out of his way to keep the slave orgasming on her velvet pillows, you’ve definitely crossed over into fantasy land.
And there’s nothing wrong with that, if it’s your fantasy. Same with the scary, hooded dungeon-master. If that’s your thing, you can find a plethora of books catering to it, but I personally think the best Master/slave books fall somewhere in the middle. The Master is authoritative and a little scary, but not inhuman; the slave is submissive but not an empty vessel covered in whip marks. In the best books, we don’t just see the mechanics of the BDSM scenes, but we get insight into what makes them tick.
In my Mephisto series, Molly (the slave) and Mephisto (the Master) are extremely devoted to their roles, but that doesn’t mean they don’t struggle with the same fears and emotions we all do. I wrote the first book, Club Mephisto, from the slave’s point of view, and the second, Molly’s Lips: Club Mephisto Retold from the Master’s point of view, so readers could experience what both of them were feeling as they participated in this dark “dance.” Readers will often write and tell me that they read a lot of Master/slave and TPE (total power exchange) books, but that the relationships and characters don’t feel as “real” as Molly and Mephisto. I’m proud of that because that was my goal.
To be honest, dark and edgy M/s erotica can be as romantic as any vanilla mass-market paperback you find in the grocery store checkout line. It’s all about understanding the characters and their motivations, and letting them be people, not just cartoons in black masks and chains. Whether a Master and slave play hard or soft, or silly or serious, I relate to them better if they seem authentic and if they’re connecting with each other on many levels.
When it comes to the Master/slave dance, it’s not about knowing the exact steps or doing them perfectly. It’s about gazing into each other’s eyes and feeling something intense, whether it’s fear, arousal, happiness, hate, or a combination of all those things.
Do you read Master/slave erotica or romance? Do you have favorite books and characters? What is your comfort zone when it comes to dark erotica—do you find most books are too soft for your liking, or too hard?
If you do enjoy Master/slave tales, I hope you’ll enter for a chance to win ecopies of my Mephisto series: Club Mephisto, Molly’s Lips: Club Mephisto Retold, and the romantic conclusion of the series, Burn For You.
Thanks so much, Debra/Book Enthusiast, for hosting me today!
Club Mesphisto Synopsis:
Molly is a 24/7 slave dedicated to serving her Master. When her Master’s business calls him away on a weeklong trip, he arranges to leave her in the care of Mephisto, the owner of a thriving local BDSM club. Molly is both excited and scared to be given over to Master Mephisto. His power and mysterious intensity have long compelled her from afar.
Molly finds herself immersed in a world of strict commands, pervasive sex, and creative torments. Over the course of a week, Mephisto strips away privileges Molly took for granted, and forces her to understand and acknowledge the depths to which she can be made to submit. But a surprising conversation the last day threatens Molly’s worldview, as does the strange closeness that develops between them. As the time of Master’s return draws near, Molly finds herself deeply and inexorably changed.
Publisher’s Note: this BDSM fantasy novel depicts “total power exchange” relationships that some readers may find objectionable. This work contains acts of sadism, objectification, orgasm denial and speech restriction, caging, anal play and double penetration, BDSM punishment and discipline, M/f, M/m/f, M/m, orgy and group sexual encounters, voyeurism, and limited circumstances of dubious consent.
Burn For You Synopsis:
When Molly loses her longtime Master, she feels lost, angry. Confused. She’s unsure of her future, even her calling to the BDSM lifestyle. She knows her Master always intended her to go to his friend Mephisto next, but their emotionally—and sexually—fraught history is still a confusion of desire and fear in her mind.
Mephisto wants to help Molly, but he doesn’t want to force her into service she’s not sure she wants. He owes it to Clayton to help her find happiness, but how? Molly and Mephisto advance and retreat from one another as they try to untangle their complex feelings for one another. More and more it seems their tense standoff will only end one way.
Molly’s Lips: Club Mephisto Retold:
When Mephisto’s friend Clayton is called out of town on business, he agrees to look after his slave for the week. But Molly isn’t your average slave. She and Clayton share a serious, full time dynamic. Mephisto feels a weight of responsibility he isn’t used to, and worse, an intense attraction to Molly, the partner of his friend.
Mephisto is determined to sublimate his inappropriate desires and provide a challenging and instructive week for the devoted slave. He subjects Molly to orgasm denial, speech restriction, scenes of erotic torment, even an orgy where she is made to service his friends. Along the way, he experiences unfamiliar jealousy, and deep cravings to possess her himself.
Throughout the week, he is also haunted by persistent questions. Is she happy being a 24/7 slave? Or is there another Molly trapped beneath her submissive, surrendered gaze?
If you’ve read Club Mephisto, you know this story from Molly’s perspective. Now, prepare to relive the experience from Mephisto’s point of view.
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