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I Will Be Keynote Speaker at 2015 BDSM Writers Con in NYC!

I’m so excited to announce I’ll be the keynote speaker at the next BDSM Writers Conference!

AUGUST 20-23, 2015 in New York City!

What’s BDSM Writers Con, you say? Organized by Dr. Charley Ferrer in New York City, “BWC” has quickly become the top place for writers, editors, and readers of BDSM fiction, romance, and erotica to meet, connect, and learn. There’s a revolution on folks: with the explosion in popularity of BDSM within fiction, we have both tons of new people entering the BDSM community through literature, and we have essentially a whole new constituency within romance readership with kinky folk who are finally finding books where they’re represented! There is so much we have to learn from each other. As someone who has been writing erotica for over 20 years and who has been a BDSM community activist for over 20 years, I’ve had one foot in each of these worlds all along. Now they’re finally merging, and BDSM Writers Con seems like the ultimate place for that to happen!

Last year’s keynote speaker was the lovely Joey W. Hill (Natural Law, Ice Queen, etc.): having just met Joey at Authors After Dark, and having heard her speak so passionately and eloquently about BDSM in fiction there, I know I’ll have a tough act to follow!

From the BDSM Writers Con Website: “The definitive conference for authors & readers of Dominance & submission. BDSM Writers Con is for writers, readers and everyone who’s interested in exploring the world of Dominance and submission. There’s no other conference where you get to hang out with your favorite BDSM authors, meet new ones, and actually have fun learning and exploring with them.”

Registration is now open: http://bdsmwriterscon.com/2015-registration — and the “early bird” $200 special price is only good until October 15th.

What will I be doing at BWC? I’ll be delivering a keynote speech on Friday night, and I’ll be teaching two workshops that I am developing exclusively for BWC:

“A Dom Is Not Just an Alpha in Leather”
There are complex and valid reasons why female readers may choose to fantasize about a range of non-consensual scenarios in romance novels, from the classic “kidnapped into a sheik’s harem” to the currently popular “fated to be an alpha werewolf’s mate” and “met a billionaire who won’t take no for an answer.” But I feel it’s very important to distinguish between fantasy scenarios and depictions of real life. While the lines that are crossed in fiction may fall in a different place than they do in real life, acknowledgement that lines and boundaries exist is the first step. These fantasy archetypes are “safe” fantasies for women to indulge precisely because they are NOT real life. Where will our kinky heroes of the future fit in the pantheon of romance archetypes? And when it comes to real life BDSM, how do those archetypes present themselves in dungeon role-playing? In the real BDSM community, doms who come across as pushy assholes or stalkers rarely last. When asked what qualities they valued in a dom, subs I surveyed used words like nurturing, competent, and loyal. We’ll discuss the many flavors of dom and the many types of romance heroes whose kinky sides can be explored.

“Doms are from Mars, Subs are from Venus”
Some of you may have participated in my BDSM couples communication workshop “Tops are from Mars, Bottoms are from Venus.” I realized that the same issues that we get at in that workshop are crucial for writers trying to understand the D/s dynamic between their characters. BDSM fiction provides a unique opportunity to look deeply into the dynamic of communication and exchange of power that takes place between a dominant and a submissive. This workshop is aimed at writers and readers who want to understand that complex dynamic and how that understanding can enrich the stories we tell. Doms and subs have different modes of communication and sometimes even vastly different interpretations of what they say or do: in both real life and fiction it’s crucial to tease apart these differences and it’s crucial to convey to readers each character’s intent. Miscommunications take place between doms and subs all the time when they misread each other’s intentions: come learn some of the common pitfalls and breakdown points that BDSM practitioners struggle with in real life and use them to expand your own understanding of the dynamic and/or discover new conflicts to put your characters through.

Plus there will be booksignings, receptions and opportunities to meet and hang out. One highlight of the convention will be an outing to a BDSM/fetish club night. Awesome, no?

Hope to see you all there!


ceciliatan_133px_wideSlow Surrender CoverCecilia Tan is “simply one of the most important writers, editors, and innovators in contemporary American erotic literature,” according to Susie Bright. Her BDSM romance novel Slow Surrender (Hachette/Forever, 2013) won the RT Reviewers Choice Award in Erotic Romance. Her books often explores sex, sensuality, and sexuality, among them: Black Feathers (1998, HarperCollins), White Flames (2004, Running Press), and Edge Plays (2008, Circlet Press), The Prince’s Boy (Circlet Press), and The Hot Streak (2014, Riverdale Avenue Books). Her short stories have appeared in Ms. Magazine, Nerve, Best American Erotica, Asimov’s Science Fiction, and tons of other places. Tan was inducted into the Saints & Sinners Hall of Fame for GLBT writers in 2010, was a recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Leather Association in 2004.

Winners announced in the NLA Writing Awards for BDSM-positive writing

This past weekend the National Leather Association held its annual meeting of general membership at the Beyond Vanilla conference in Dallas. The winners of this year’s NLA Writing Awards were announced there!

I am a former winner of the NLA Lifetime Achievement award (2004), and my novel The Prince’s Boy was given Honorable Mention in the NLA Writing Awards. I have been serving as a judge in non-fiction for the awards ever since. We had some truly amazing and creative books in non-fiction this year: one of the most disparate and varied slates we’ve ever had. It was very difficult to judge some works against each other: it wasn’t even apples versus oranges, it was more like apples versus bicycles versus mailboxes. It’s wonderful to see so much publishing and writing on BDSM flourishing these days.

nla_awards_nonfic(Dallas, TX) — Here’s the official press release:

September 27, 2014: For Immediate Release

National Leather Association: International, a leading organization for activists in the pansexual SM/leather community, announced the winners for excellence in literary works in SM/leather/fetish writing published in 2013 at its Annual General Meeting in Dallas, TX September 26-28, 2014 and held during Beyond Vanilla. The judges received a greater number of nominations this year than ever before and judging in most categories was quite difficult with such exemplary pieces of writing.

With so many wonderful works coming in decisions were very difficult for the judges so there was a tie in the Non-Fiction Book category. Winners of the Geoff Mains Non-Fiction Book Award are John Huxley for The Artisan’s Book of Fetishcraft: Patterns and Instructions for Creating Professional Fetishwear, Restraints and Sensory Equipment (Greenery Press) and F.R.R. Mallory for The Kinky Feminist (self-published). Honorable mention in this category goes to Thom Magister for Biker Bar: Bikes, Beer, and Boys: A Playful Look at the Roots of the Leather Bar (Perfectbound Press)

nla_awards_covers_fictionIn the John Preston Short Fiction category, the winner is Peter Masters for “Imperfect Journeys” (self-published). Honorable mention for short story goes to D. L. King for “Mr. Smith, Ms. Jones Will See You Now” from the anthology Ageless Erotica, ed. Joan Price.

Winner of the Samois Anthology Award is Laura Antoniou (ed.), No Safewords (Circlet Press). Honorable mention goes to Sassafras Lowrey (ed.), for Leather Ever After: An Anthology of Kinky Fairy Tales (Ravenous Publications)

Pauline Reage Novel category winner is Laura Antoniou for The Killer Wore Leather (Cleis Press). The judges had were unable to select only one runner up so there was a tie for Honorable Mention in this category. Honorable Mentions go to Chris Bellows for The Blacksmith’s Daughter (Pink Flamingo Publications) and to Elizabeth Schechter for House of Sable Locks (Circlet Press)

The winner of the Cynthia Slater Non-fiction Article Award is I.G. Fredrick for “What Some Women Tops and Bottoms Have in Common” which appeared on October 12 in BDSM Book Reviews (www.bdsmbookreviews.com). Honorable Mention in this category goes to Janet Hardy for “My Tantric “Awakening” Turned Me Off Sex” which appeared March 15 in Salon (www.salon.com)

Nominations for literary works published in 2014 will open later this year. If you have any questions please direct them to the committee chair at nlai.awards @ gmail.com.

It’s Bisexual Visibility Week! The Bisexual Book Awards are now open!

I got the following press release from the Bi Writers Association today, announcing the opening of submissions for the Bisexual Book Awards. The small publishing company I run, Circlet Press, was a co-winner of last year’s Bisexual Publisher of the Year award, and most of my books feature bisexual characters (although some suffer from the same invisibility as bisexuals in real life… it doesn’t always come up!).

The Bisexual Book Awards are awarded annually and the categories include fiction, nonfiction, YA, biography/memoir, erotica, poetry, and speculative fiction (sf/fantasy/horror). From the press release: Continue reading →

Review: Beyond the Pale Motel by Francesca Lia Block

This ended up being less of a review and more of an essay on why I feel this book is a brilliant piece of modern literature that may go under-appreciated by critics.

I was lucky enough to get an advance reading copy of Francesca Lia Block’s new book Beyond the Pale Motel. Reading it turned me inside out. If you don’t want spoilers, the one thing I’ll tell you is that it’s by far the darkest of her books. It’s also heartrendingly, undeniably, a terrific work of fiction and one that lands smack in the middle of a moment in our culture when a lot of us find ourselves suddenly questioning the casual misogyny inbred in literature. This book stabs right at that Gordian knot with a bloody switchblade. Continue reading →

Daron’s Guitar Chronicles Re-Read: Join In Now on Wattpad!

dgc_1_wattpadVarious fans have told me recently that they wish they had started reading Daron’s Guitar Chronicles sooner. They feel like they kind of missed the boat on discussing the early chapters.

So here’s what we’re doing. I’m going to keep posting new chapters to the regular Daron’s Guitar Chronicles website, but starting TODAY we’re starting a re-read and re-launch from the very beginning on Wattpad!

Wattpad is a serial fiction site that has 25 million users, only 10% of whom are authors. Wattpad also has a social media aspect to it: you can vote for your favorite chapters and stories, become a “fan” so you’ll be notified when new chapters appear, etc.

A new chapter of Daron’s Guitar Chronicles will appear EVERY DAY on Wattpad until we’re synched up, after which I’ll just mirror the two new posts a week on the DGC site onto Wattpad, too.

So if you’ve been thinking about wanting to read my magnum opus about a gay guitar player trying to make it as a rock star in the 1980s, here’s a great chance to do so.

Making an account on Wattpad is free, and just like on the DGC site both I and Daron will answer comments addressed to us! So come and get started. To give people a running start, the first 30 posts are already live and we’ll start adding one a day from here on out! Jump in: http://www.wattpad.com/story/49160-daron%27s-guitar-chronicles

How The Line Between Fantasy and Reality Defines Consent

How The Line Between Fantasy and Reality Defines Consent: And Why It Matters
by Cecilia Tan

This blog post is prompted by two things that happened today. One, a male writer friend I respect a lot and who is clueful about many things including sexuality and feminism asked me: “Serious question: I’d love to hear your thoughts, as a kink-friendly feminist Asian woman, about racial fetishes. Blog post?”

The other is that right before reading his message, I had just gotten email from a reader who wrote: “Anything that makes violence abuse and torture seem more attractive, i.e. associating it with getting off sexually or glorifying in anyway, is keeping us from developing into a more enlightened society” and also “those feminists who think that rape portrayed in any format is okay are just shooting a cause in the foot.” This fan is someone that I met at a BDSM convention and their email to me says they’re okay with common consensual BDSM activities like bondage and flogging and spanking. What prompted their reaction was not the convention, but reading some of my fan fiction that featured “non-con” — non-consensual acts. (If you’re new to me: I’m a professional writer of erotica, romance, and sf/fantasy whose fiction often deals with BDSM. I also write fanfic for fun.)

You might think that someone who was okay with BDSM wouldn’t be able to make a statement like “Anything that makes violence abuse and torture seem more attractive, i.e. associating it with getting off sexually or glorifying in anyway, is keeping us from developing into a more enlightened society.” The point I’d like to make here is not that this particular fan is confused or a hypocrite, it’s to point out that this particular kind of hypocrisy is VERY COMMON. So common perhaps we should say it’s human nature, except then we’d have to accept it instead of trying to change it. And I’m trying to change it. My activism and my creative life for the past 23 years have been built on trying to change it, on the following basis: Continue reading →

Slow Satisfaction video chat with Cecilia Tan: archive

For those who missed the video chat I did last night to celebrate the launch of Slow Satisfaction, it’s now on YouTube! It’s one hour, includes me answering questions from readers, talking about my upcoming projects, talking about BDSM and romance, and at the very end I read a somewhat non-spoilery erotic snippet.

Slow Satisfaction Casting Call: who would play Karina or James?

Many people have asked me who I would cast in a dream movie version of the Struck by Lightning trilogy. When Slow Surrender first came out I had posted the following:

Well, my basis for my male main character is a young David Bowie, but he’s too old to play this role now by far! A contemporary actor who could pull it off… maybe Cilian Murphy if you lightened his hair?

The female main character, Karina, who narrates the story, is a little trickier. I don’t describe her in great detail since the book is from her point of view and I want the reader to be able to see herself in Karina’s shoes. I picture her as a small woman. A good fit would be Nora Zehetner (she played Eden on Heroes and Dr. Reed Adamson on Grey’s Anatomy).

Now that the final book in the trilogy is coming out (Slow Satisfaction) I figured it was time to put my Google-Fu to some use and look for more possible images.

Several readers have told me that in their minds, they’ve already cast Benedict Cumberbatch as James. He’s a versatile actor and I’m 100% sure he would excel in the role! I went hunting for an appropriate image.

The other actor I mentioned above is Cilian Murphy, who I just learned from Wikipedia was in a rock band before he turned to acting!

Cillian Murphy OIFF2012” by Odessa International Film Festival – http://oiff.com.ua/ru/2012-festival/photovideo/. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

You know who I think could pull off Karina’s cheeky personality really well, though? How about the now twenty-something Emma Watson?

Emma Watson: Look at that kinky little key on her necklace. Whose collar (or heart) do you suppose it unlocks?

Emma Watson: Look at that kinky little key on her necklace. Whose collar (or heart) do you suppose it unlocks?

Hm, especially since Emma is often seen in slightly kinky fashions, like the ankle chain high heels she was photographed wearing in New York City in 2012, in chain mail for the cover of Vogue, a barely-there black lace number, or the heavy chain necklace she wore in Marie Claire.

Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons

A few readers have told me that in their minds they’ve cast Benedict Cumberbatch as James. Something tells me Mr. Cumberbatch would have a lot of fun with the role. There’s probably no part he can’t play, though! Quite a talented man, Mr. Cumberbatch.

Okay, but what about the supporting characters?

constance_wu_eastsidersFor Becky, Karina’s roommate, I’d cast Constance Wu, an actress i discovered in the web series Eastsiders by Kit Williamson. (It’s a fab gay web series, watch it online here: Episode 1. Kit, the writer and one of the main actors in it is now on Mad Men.) Constance has also been in Torchwood, CSI, and various other shows and movies.

Harder to cast is Ferrara Huntington, the former starlet turned media-mogul’s wife, who is the antagonist in this story. Really, Ferrara is like everyone else in the story: looking for love. But she’s looking in the wrong places. I cast Monica Bellucci here, but I think there are many actresses between age 35 and 40 who could pull off the slightly menacing sensuality that Ferrara exudes.

What about you? Who would you cast if you were directing a movie of the Struck by Lightning books?

Some thoughts on success (as a writer)

Some thoughts on success.

If you want a concrete measure of how different this year was from every other year of my career, here’s one:

This was the first time I went to cons and did not worry about how much a burger cost.

I did a lot of cons this year. I went to romance conventions, science fiction cons, writers conferences, BDSM events, and more. And not once did I balk at ordering that overpriced but oh-so-delicious burger from room service, the one that makes my poor introverted, battered soul feel whole again after a day of being “on.” Sometimes it came with fries. Sometimes with sweet potato tater tots. Sometimes with avocado and bacon. It was always, always satisfying. And in that sense it was worth every penny. Maybe food tastes better when it’s not tinged with worry that I can’t afford it. Continue reading →

Slow Satisfaction BDSM Book Hooks! #MFRWhooks

No, I don’t mean suspension hooks, I mean delicious snippets from the book SLOW SATISFACTION! My latest BDSM romance, the final installment in the Struck by Lightning Trilogy, came out yesterday! Every week a group of romance writers all post a bunch of “book hooks” so check out links to all of them at the bottom of the post.

Spankings and bondage don’t make a person fall in love any more than candlelight and roses do.

    1. “Negotiation is fun. Contracts are dull.” (Said James while running a cane over Karina’s buttocks)
    2. “Spanking is only for those I love, not those I loathe.” -James
    3. “Spankings and bondage don’t make a person fall in love any more than candlelight and roses do.”
    4. “Any penalty he exacted if I failed would be as much fun as any reward for success. BDSM was win-win that way.”
    5. Karina: “So our safeword is ‘no?’” James: “It’s a perfectly good word, isn’t it?”
    6. “Oh fuck,” I said, and I meant it.

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Cecilia Tan's books on Goodreads
The Siren and the Sword The Siren and the Sword (Magic University, #1)
reviews: 16
ratings: 88 (avg rating 3.60)

Boys of the Bite: A Gay Vampire Anthology Boys of the Bite: A Gay Vampire Anthology
reviews: 9
ratings: 55 (avg rating 3.65)

The Velderet The Velderet
reviews: 11
ratings: 49 (avg rating 3.98)

The Prince's Boy: Volume One The Prince's Boy: Volume One (The Prince's Boy, #1)
reviews: 21
ratings: 49 (avg rating 3.88)