Over the past year of being Jayden Masterson’s collared submissive, Catherine O’Chancey has worked through the mental terrors left behind by her old Dom — she thinks. To celebrate their collar-ing anniversary, Jayden organizes a special day, during which her final limits and fantasies will be realized. Will it prove to be more than she can handle? Can she endure the erotic onslaught her mind and body will experience and survive unscathed?
While Catherine faces dark shadows and pleasurable highs, Jayden finds his own inner strength being tested. He has come to realize that, somewhere along the way, Catherine has taken possession of his heart, mind, and body. Now he faces his biggest challenge ever; he must let go of all his submissives but one: his jewel, Catherine. Can he leave his philandering ways behind? Has he made the ultimate mistake by putting his jewel into the hands of others?
As part of the blog tour for A Divine Life, the second in the To Serve is Divine Trilogy, I decided to ask friend and fellow RenRom author, R. E. Hargrave about how she felt about trends in literature.
How do you feel about the sudden “trend” in erotica and BDSM books that have come onto the market?
Well, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t care or thought the trend was overrated, considering I do write erotica —BDSM erotica at that. Of course, from a career standpoint, I’m thrilled about the trend. Trending means selling after all, right?
Except . . .
I never set out to be a career writer. I don’t, in fact, expect to ‘get rich quick’ from my books. I discovered a passion for writing once I gave in and started putting my ideas down. The need to write has only grown with each day that has passed since.
What it boils down to, is that I love creating and sharing my worlds with people. When I read reviews stating that people enjoyed a story of mine, or that they ‘got’ what I was trying to do, it delights me to no end.
Case in point, allow me to share part of a recent review I got for To Serve is Divine, book one of The Divine Trilogy.
I love finding a really sexy BDSM story that isn’t glammed up to make it more of a contemporary romance with some kink to it. To Serve is Divine takes a realistic look into the erotic world, while dealing with the emotional and physical turmoil that Catherine (Erin) suffered and the healing that Jayden’s devotion brings her. Jayden was the epitome of the sexy, strong, practiced Dom, exactly what Catherine needed to help her return to the life that had both freed her and broken her. But when the boundaries started to be crossed and lines blurred, Jayden’s rules had both of them questioning if what they had was going to work out in the end.
This is a probable explanation for why I’ve not attached myself to a single genre; erotica just seems to be my primary one at the moment. It’s nice to have the freedom to write whatever I’m inspired to, without worrying about betraying readers who expect one thing out of me. Those who follow me, know that it’s always up in the air what my next ‘plot bunny’ will be.
For years, men have been able to buy their ‘girly’ magazines while women have had to pretend they weren’t interested in sex. Now, the anonymity afforded one by being able to purchase a book online, and then read it on a handheld device, paired with the increasing acceptance of all things sexual, results in a market hungry for the genre.
The bottom line is that woman ARE interested in sex, and are the more likely of the genders to purchase books. Where the trend becomes blurry, is in the quality of the books being churned out. Some are porn, plain and simple, and then there are the rare jewels; the ones that fall under ‘erotica’ as an art form.
I’ve spent a lot of time researching the Lifestyle and working really hard to include a storyline that is not second to the sex scenes. If reviews are anything to go by, I seem to be succeeding.
The perfect mix of sex, romance & just good old fashioned love story make this book a MUST READ. I could not put it down and am eagerly awaiting the next in the series. Bravo, R.E. Hargrave, for creating a world where limits are everything, but made to be shattered. ~A Divine Life ARC review~
In conclusion, to more specifically address your question about the erotica trend, I’d blame the current success of the genre on technology, and as much as I hate to admit it, the success of Fifty. Let’s face it, Ms. James’ windfall certainly shined a light on the BDSM world, and raised the curiosity of not just a country, but a planet. Publishers, writers, and readers alike can’t get enough right now.
I’ve stepped up to the trending plate with what I hope is a BDSM series that can stand on its own. One that has romance, a realistic portrayal of the Lifestyle (surprise, it’snot all about sex), and has the reader wanting to cheer on Catherine in her healing and Jayden in his realization that he is capable of love.
And now for an excerpt:
“So, how does that work? I mean, how does one draw the line between Master and husband?” Was such a complicated relationship possible? Could Jayden see her that way? Just thinking his name caused a funny feeling in Catherine’s chest. Her thoughts continued, now on overdrive . . .
No. Master didn’t do personal relationships. He’d said as much when they’d first signed their con-tract together. They’d both agreed to the understanding that this was nothing more than a sexual relationship. Hell, he was fucking two other people besides her that she knew of. If there were a chance that he wanted something more with her, he wouldn’t have handed her over to complete strangers today. Would he? Oh, God. Sir Jonathan’s offer to take Catherine on repeated itself in her memory, along with the knowledge that she had more sessions today with an unknown number of Doms. Was that what today was? Had the ‘inspection’ Sir Jonathan performed not been part of the scene? Was Sir Jonathan looking her over as a potential acquisition? What about Miss K offering to take her on back in February? Catherine’s stomach soured again.
“No. No, please, no. I — I can’t,” Catherine mumbled and began to shake.
Her world began crumbling around her, and panic took root. Catherine gasped for air, wrapping her arms around her mid-section.
“Erin! What’s wrong?”
Paige’s shriek snapped Catherine to attention, and she raised her watery eyes to meet her new friend’s.
“Paige,” Catherine started to cry. “He figured it out. I tried to be so good, so careful. He knows, and he’s going to get rid of me!” She thought she’d done so well at hiding her secret over the months, protecting her heart.
Paige had wrapped her arm around Catherine and was rubbing slow circles on her back. With a wince, Catherine became quite aware of every lash mark from Sir Jonathan’s whip. They now burned to her core when Paige’s soft hands brushed over them. Catherine flinched away from her.
“Shh, Erin,” she said in a calming voice. “Who knows what, sweetie? What are you talking about?”
Turning wide eyes on her, Catherine choked out, “Jay . . . Master. He knows I’ve fallen in — in love with him. I wasn’t supposed to. He found out, and now he’s interviewing me with strange Doms to get rid of me. I broke the rules and he —” she swallowed a sob, “he doesn’t want me anymore!”
R.E. Hargrave lives on the outskirts of Dallas, TX where she prides herself on being a domestic engineer. Married to her high school sweetheart, together they are raising three children from elementary age to college age. She is an avid reader, a sometimes quilter and now, a writer for Renaissance Romance Publishing.