I'm wrapping up my own stories for Please, Sir and Please, Ma'am and reading the last few stories, before I hopefully wrap them up next week. I'm eager to get these anthologies wrapped up fast so I can move on, and am trying to figure out what my next steps would be.
But I did want to again share some thoughts on the nature of BDSM erotic anthologies and anthologies in general. I think it's the nature of themed anthologies that there will be overlap, but what authors submitting to my books need to understand (I obviously can't speak for anyone else) is that it's not just about picking the 20 best stories, but the 20 best stories that fit well together. This means that I'm going to have to reject some excellent stories, because they read pretty much like the next excellent story. Again, this is not about any specific story, but about what I've read so far as a whole.
Please, Sir and Please, Ma'am were always working, tentative titles for me, which I realize in retrospect I should've made clearer in the call, or even just said "Untitled BDSM anthology from sub's POV." Because that is what I was looking for, not the honorifics "Sir" and "Ma'am" plastered all over my books, as if there to satisfy some quota. That gets old very, very fast. Because the fact is, not all tops or masters or dommes or whatever you want to call it are going to be "sir" or "ma'am." That terminology isn't always right. Sometimes it's not so formalized, or there are other words, or actions, or ways of showing the submission/dominance.
I was looking for those other ways, for the feelings, the sensation of submission to the be the through line in these books, not the language. In some cases, it's there and it works. Some have perfected it, and the Sirs and Ma'ams come alive. I can envision them as people, individuals. But in many, it detracts, it makes them seem just like all the others, especially when I'm facing a giant pile of stories to read, and especially won't make sense with a different title. I'm thrilled with some of the stories, especially a few new-to-me authors, who gave me wholly original pieces that took me somewhere I never would've expected to go with this type of book, who took the theme and ran with it. As soon as I can, I'll share my introductions with you (probably by October).
I found this interview with a domme at the blog Yes, I'm a submissive man! that I liked a lot because it gets the point across that it's not a one size fits all fetish.
What's the greatest attribute a submissive man can offer?
The ability to communicate clearly and the willingness to learn. Ok, that's two, but they are equally important. I need to know what you are getting out of this experience and what is and is not working so that I can guide it accordingly. If you're allergic to dish soap I need to know that, if you love everything about service but can't get into that head space if I use your name instead of calling you "slave" I need to know that. Likewise I need you to remember the instructions I give and get a sense for how I like things done and then do them....
What turns you off about submissive men?
I like submissive men. They are the complement to my own sexuality after all. However, I am not a robot, nor was I sent down by central casting. There are many different parts to my life and being dominant or even just kinky is only one of them. I get turned off by submissive men who only see me as a step towards their sexual gratification. I'm a human being after all; don't start conversations with "may I kiss your feet mistress" until you know my name.
It's not about some stereotypical idea of what a Master or Domme is, but about individuals. Especially for the type of anthologies I'm editing, I need stories that will be varied and complex, and for me personally, as a reader and editor, I was longing for stories that got into the psychology as much as, if not more than, the kinky acts. I think/hope I have done what I set out to do, but we shall see once I hear back from my publisher in the fall. In the meantime, I have some hints about how to go about asking for what I want in my future calls for submission (I hope to do more kink-themed books in the future).
And I hope it's clear that I realize this is all easier said than done, which is why I'm scrambling to finish my stories for these books!