Today, Coffee-Fueled Erotica (and Willsin's World) are conducting a blog exchange. The first Katie & Willsin book, Patience, is appearing at Gregory Allen's blog, and we're handing our places over to Gregory. Take it away, GA!
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I feel daily amazed that, thanks to my publishers, Pink Flamingo and OC Press, my books are bought and (I assume) read and (I hope) enjoyed. For writers of erotica, writers of kinky erotica, and writers of female domination erotica, hearing from readers seems to be successively more rare. Which can be frustrating, but I value the privacy of my readers. What you write says something about you and what you enjoy reading says something about you, and understandably, not everyone wants that information about themselves all over the internet. (Otherwise readers would have to invent thinly-disguised pen names for themselves.)
When Bottoms in Love was due out, OC Press asked me if I knew anyone I wanted to review it. I immediately thought of Willsin Rowe, who I knew from Facebook, through a few lengthy discussions about some mundane subjects. (He, Jeremy Edwards, and I covered Rick Springfield's use of the word "moot," in "Jessie's Girl," likely as well as anyone ever has, as an example.) I'd also read his thoughtful review of Sharazade's collection of short stories, Transported: Erotic Travel Tales, so I was thrilled when he agreed.
I tend to play when I write. I'm on the surface of my stories, vicariously enjoying the sensations of my characters and their interactions with each other. I'm sometimes far into the revision process before the core values of my characters appear to me, sometimes not even then. For me, Bottoms in Love was a fun, kinky story. Carter's whiny reaction when he loses the coin flip and "has to" dominate his wife amused me. I don't think any man in real life or in the world of fiction has ever tried to make receiving a blowjob seem like such a selfless act. That is what I usually think of when I think of Carter.
Until I read this in Willsin Rowe's review: "Carter's desire to be a good husband complements his natural submissive tendencies." That nearly brought me to tears because it was so true of Carter and I hadn't even taken notice of it. Not only is Carter a good husband, but even more importantly, he has a desire to be a good husband. For all my failings and all my flaws, as a person, as a lover, and as a friend, that desire Carter possesses to be good is, I like to think, reflective of something good in me that it arose in my writing of him, and, I think, it's reflective of something good in Willsin Rowe that he noticed.
When Willsin offered me a spot on his blog, I wanted to write about how much his review of Bottoms in Love meant to me, as a proper thank you.
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Willsin's Review - Bottoms In Love by Gregory Allen
This slick story by Gregory Allen intrigued me as soon as I heard about it. Thankfully, the author delivers a package which lives up to the promise of the premise. It comes down to a question that's simple to ask, but that has many layers: what is a couple to do when they're both submissive?
For Carter and Lindsey, the answer is to take turns as dominant. Their roles on any given night are determined by the flip of a coin. The obviating nature of the selection process brought to mind Luke Rhinehart's classic "The Dice Man".
Lindsey and Carter seem to have a brilliantly symbiotic relationship. Even when dominating, they're arguably submitting. Indeed, the author tackles the issue of what domination truly is by giving us characters so averse to dominating. By accepting the role as dominant, as predicated by fate and the expectations of their partner, is that person actually being submissive?
As a male myself, I found that Carter's more pronounced reticence rang true. As it should be, the physical side is only a part of the dominance factor in the relationship. Consent is clearly given here, and the rough physicality is, in fact, beautifully layered. But it cannot be escaped that, for good reasons, society takes a very dim view of a man raising his hand to a woman. Carter's desire to be a good husband complements his natural submissive tendencies, all of which creates a poignant internal battle when it's his turn to dominate.
Though Lindsey is also a reluctant dom, it's interesting that she appears to have a greater ability to dissociate. I found this element actually served to normalize the relationship. It implied a slight power imbalance in the couple's relationship. This imbalance also shows up in glimpses when Lindsey acts as submissive; occasional small flashes of insolence or giddiness which Carter chooses not to punish.
But for me, there is a small passage which sums up the nature of this story perfectly. Carter, having given Lindsey her pleasure, expresses doubt over his effectiveness as a dom. He confesses that he only does to Lindsey what he would wish her to do to him.
Her reply, in context, expresses the heart of the story: "That's exactly how I do it."