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Please note that SLAVE's Erotic Review is on hiatus to catch up on reviews.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Adding some flavor to the vanilla.

The problem with kinky books is that they are usually very short. Same goes for unusual topics. It’s almost as if the general consensus was that people who like a particular fetish, or act will only read a book for its erotic content, while the “average reader” either wants vanilla, or some generic bdsm to flavor their romance novel. Should it work that way? Don’t kinksters deserve happy endings and full-on romance? Does puppy play, or shoe fetish somehow exclude butterflies in the stomach and moonlit walks? Of course not. Why would the romantic experience of a fire fighter and vet (who also happen to be shifters because why not) who meet at a hospital and make sweet love on their third date be more valid than the experience of a person with a disability fetish?

Me and my co-author share the belief that love is a universal experience and there is no need to push the ‘weird stuff’ into the ghetto because a well-written character will draw the reader in, as long as what the character likes is not too far out of the reader’s comfort zone. And from my experience, many readers do have the flexibility needed to enjoy reading about unusual things. But for that, a book needs proper plot and interesting characters, it can’t be just an erotic snippet with characters whose personality is narrowed down to their sex life.

At some point we started reading m/m romance books with disabled characters and were disappointed with what we found. Most of those books were short, the characters rarely did bad things, and whenever disagreement ensued, it was the result of a misunderstanding rather than a character flaw. Moreover, the conflict is almost always focused around the disability, as if it needed to be central to the character arch, in striking likeness to the way most gay characters are still portrayed on television. “Special Needs” is the result of a brainstorming session about what we would like to read instead. We wanted two cool, alternative guys to fall for one another, but without marginalizing the disability either, for obvious reasons.

Research completed our basic idea by introducing us to the world of disability fetishism and body identity integrity disorder. People who suffer of BIID often compare themselves to transsexual persons, because they too don’t feel their bodies look and/or work the way they should, only on a different level. From time to time, there are reports about people who severed their limbs on purpose, because they felt, those limbs didn’t belong on their bodies. Some of those people might be psychotic, but others could be BIID sufferers. We found the idea, and the accounts we read so fascinating that we decided to include this topic in the book, adding layers to the basic theme.

One of the main characters, Ryan is torn between the need to be loved and feelings of inadequacy. Unhappy with his body, he doesn’t dare to approach guys he is interested in. There are some who approach him, but having had bad experiences with disability fetishists before, Ryan is reluctant to date one again. Those who aren’t into wheelchairs per se, he immediately labels as thrill-seekers. As a result, he is still a virgin at twenty five, a very sexually frustrated virgin, I might add, and it’s still the least of his problems.

Ryan’s life changes when he employs someone new to help him with his daily activities, and he soon finds out that the worst caretaker ever might be just what he required. But in “Special Needs”, the main conflict does not focus on Ryan’s disability, so what could have been a HEA is just a prelude to the characters having to deal with difficult issues, some of which are their own fault.

Despite the unusual nature of Ryan’s problem, despite both the characters being far from perfect, this is primarily a love story about two men learning just how much they deserve each other. And that’s what counts, even if the story does include loads of kinky sex as well. Ryan and Liam’s story will be concluded in book 2, which will be out by the end of the year.

— Caretaking – You’re doing it wrong. —

Liam slept with his boss. Again. And lost his job because of it. Again. Set on changing his ways and tired of sleeping in his car, he applies for a job as a live-in caretaker, even though he has no experience in it whatsoever. He has a lot of practice in lying his way out of any situation though. Only problem is, his new boss – wheelchair bound owner of a sex hotel – is gay, cute, funny and oh, so fuckable! There is only one logical solution to Liam’s dilemma – pretending he’s straight. Brilliant!
When Ryan inherited his aunt’s B&B, he thought he’d hit the jackpot by changing it into a fetish sex hotel. Things didn’t go as planned though, all of his marketing efforts seem to fail, and the debt is mounting up. Being a wheelchair user doesn’t help in actively promoting his hotel, but his luck starts to change when he hires a new caretaker. Liam is open-minded, helpful and caring. All that Ryan needs from a caretaker to kickstart his business, but things would all be a lot simpler if he didn’t start crushing on his new employee. And even if, in some other dimension, Liam did return his feelings, how long can Ryan keep his fetish a secret?
The web of lies they weave around each other is more bondage than any of them enjoy.

“Special Needs” is book one out of a two part series.*
Genre: contemporary erotic m/m romance, dramedy
Length:  ~113,000 words
Themes (possible SPOILERS): disability, deception, alternative lifestyles, stalking, fetishism, tattoos, self-image issues, financial trouble, boss/employee
Erotic content: explicit m/m sexual scenes (possible SPOILERS: fetishism and medical role play)

“So what’s your kink, Ryan?” Liam asked good-naturedly, but turned his attention to Fay as she patted his shoulder with her mouth stuffed over capacity. She certainly liked the dinner.
Ryan chewed on his pizza, trying to get accustomed to the texture and crunch of onion pieces. He wasn’t completely sure about it, but showed Liam a thumbs up. “You should ask what doesn’t turn me on.” He swallowed the food and grinned. There was something about his new caretaker that made him feel comfortable around him. Liam seemed easy going and non-judgmental.
“Ho ho ho!” Liam leaned back in the chair, stuffing his mouth full of pizza, but that didn’t stop him from talking. “What’s your favorite room then?”
Ryan furrowed his eyebrows. The Kill Room was scary and sexy, but then the Psych Ward was so white and clinical that it sent shivers down his spine. He never had a chance to have sex with anyone in it, but it sure as hell didn’t stop him from considering it his favorite jerk off room. “The Psych Ward,” he decided in all seriousness.
Liam grinned. “That does sound kinky. Straitjackets and stuff?”
“Yup, and an exam chair, and disposable speculums. It’s the whole deal!” Fay licked her fingers, which looked particularly obscene because of her long, pink fingernails. Oh well, some habits die hard.
“That sounds promising.” Liam nodded, lost in thought.
“What? Is that your thing?” Rodney laughed. “It even has cushioned walls. I reupholstered the whole room myself.”
“Me?” Liam looked at the other man while chewing on another piece of pizza. “I’m into bondage, so I like most stuff that restricts my partner.”
Ryan stopped chewing, trying not to stare at Liam. Oh fuck. Oh fuck. Oh fuck. He would so get tied up by this guy! He knew it was just a useless dream, but damn... Those tats obscured by Liam’s top... he’d love to see them all. All sorts of fucked up fantasies started to pop up in his brain like ads on a porn site.

Special Needs is available on Amazon and Smashwords.

K.A. Merikan’s contact info:

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