Writing respectful, honest, and accurate kink is one of those challenges that you end up looking for as a writer. It’s not one that comes to you, it’s one that you take on willingly, with energy, if you have any sort of empathy and respect for the people who practice it. Kink isn’t something that most people understand; they find kink practices strange or off-putting, and willfully fall into tropes about who practices kink and why. Even noting an interest in understanding various kinks gets you the side-eye from the more staid among us in the world, and an assumption that if you’re into reading about it, you must then be into whatever kink it is in real life.
Such is the way of the kink writer and reader. I just learned to shrug and roll with it.
However. If you choose to take on this challenge, and you are not of the kink persuasion yourself, how do you go about it?
Just like any other project: you read. You research. You find people you connect with and are willing to talk with you about the scene. You find how-to blogs and lifestyle blogs and send messages to the writers. You find out your friends are in a bit deeper than you thought and ask them to beta read your work. You ask questions over, and over, and over again. You listen. You take advice. You check your ego at the door.
Florentine, my novel starring Mahiro Seta, a practicing dominant, and Alex Breschi, an inexperienced novice, is the culmination of years of research into BDSM lifestyles. I’ve taken care that everything in Florentine is as accurate a representation of kink and kink lifestyles as I can make it. The scenes I wrote were based on real, accurate, and safe practices, and a full understanding that everything that is done between two partners in kink relationships must be safe, sane, and consensual. It must be discussed and understood ahead of time. Having trust your partner to be professional and caring enough, and skilled enough, not harm you is key. For example, a suspension bondage scene in Florentine was written after extensive research into best suspension bondage practices, because improper bondage can lead to debilitating injury or even death of the submissive.
He has Alex stand almost directly under the hardpoint, feet apart, and double-checks he’s not locking his knees. He picks up his first set of ropes, and the hemp slips through his fingers without a snag. He wraps the ropes around each other and across Alex’s chest, then around to his back, looping them together and across Alex’s body until there is a web of diamonds down Alex’s chest that will support him. Alex gives him heated looks from under his eyelashes as he works, and it makes Mahiro wonder, as they regard each other in the soft stillness of the playroom, if Alex is remembering their date Saturday night and its spectacular, crashing finish. Mahiro is, and each glimpse he gets of Alex’s body, of the hard and straining line of his dick, the shadow of muscle across his back, transports him to a dark and dingy alleyway and the taste of Alex’s skin under his mouth.
Mahiro tucks his fingers under the ropes and catches Alex’s warm glance. Each brush of his fingers now carries the weight of expectation, the expression of everything they can be together. Mahiro can feel the burn of arousal and affection under his skin as he drags that touch up and over Alex’s hips, the dip of his spine. Alex has charmed his way through all of Mahiro’s defenses, and the ropes he’s crossed over Alex’s chest could just as well be over his own heart.
But even as much as I researched, I let myself have one little slip – in the original draft, the ropes were red silk. “Absolutely not,” one reviewer said. “Silk isn’t stretchy enough for suspension bondage. You use hemp to allow for movement and less stress on the person.”
Got it. So my lovely, sexy red silk ropes are now red hemp, as those who know about these things explained to me how important it was. Does the idea of soft, silky rope sound nice? Of course it does. Is it potentially dangerous and honestly somewhat irresponsible to use in this context? Absolutely. So I changed it, and honestly, does it affect the reader’s experience? No. But it is more honest.
If you’re wondering what more Alex and Mahiro get up to, and how many (many, many) more scenes I wrote for them to explore the intricacies of a developing BDSM and eventually romantic relationship, please check out Florentine, available January 28 at Dreamspinner Press or Amazon.
I plan to release one link/picture a day of various toys/clothes/furniture from Florentine on Twitter starting January 28! Come follow me there, @Mazarin_Stone.
Check out Florentine today!
Mahiro became a professional figure skater for one reason—to be near the object of his lust from the time he was a teenager, Alex Breschi. But he never advanced far enough for Alex to notice him. Now Alex is retired from skating and working as a thriller author, while Mahiro gracefully bowed out of competition years before to become a successful app developer and practicing Dom in New York City.
Reality and fantasy collide at a penthouse play party when Mahiro meets his idol. Alex is researching a book, and he wants to learn more about the lifestyle. In fact, he wants to be trained as a submissive. By Mahiro.
Mahiro knows it’s a terrible idea. He’s hardly objective, and Alex is a novice. Still, all those years of longing shatter his reserve, and he cannot refuse to have the man of his dreams in his hands. Alex will certainly notice him now, and since Alex is returning to Russia in a few months, Mahiro can have some fun without divulging his past… or his obsession. What does he have to lose?
Just his heart.
Mazarin Stone has been a voracious reader since the age of four, but didn’t start writing until her thirties. She spent most of her life split between the sunny beaches of Florida and the cornfields of Indiana, until she got married and settled into life in Indianapolis. When she’s not battling her dog over nose-tweeting on her laptop’s touchscreen or shuttling her son to three different sports at a time, she’s an environmental scientist, amateur historian, Sherlock Holmes aficionado, baseball fan, and desperately obsessed with Victorian Era fashion and architecture. This is her first novel, and she’s excited to share her life’s second act with readers.
You can find her on Twitter: @Mazarin_Stone.