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In one way or another I’ve always suffered. I didn’t know why exactly. But I do know that I’m not so scared of suffering now. I feel more than I’ve ever felt and I’ve found someone to feel with. To play with. To love in a way that feels right for me. I hope he knows that I can see that he suffers too. And that I want to love him.

~Lee in “Secretary” (2002)

This book has been a long time coming — that is the way of books, even in this modern everything-now age. It’s one of the reasons I like them so much. I know she could have come faster, but some things are so much better when they take their time and get things just right.

I truly believe Bound by Lust is one of those books that’s just right. The idea for the collection arrived nearly two years ago. I sent a proposal to Cleis, and they said yes in the fall of 2010.

I did an open call for submissions and by the spring, I had hundreds of submissions. Some were from authors that I knew and had worked with before. Others were from authors I’d read but didn’t know. And still others were from writers I’d never crossed paths with before.

Choosing stories for a collection is one of those jobs that is sometimes difficult, but always extremely rewarding. A few months back, Kristina Wright (an editor and writer whose story, “Brushstrokes, appears in Bound by Lust) wrote this fantastic post about putting together an anthology from scratch. She explained the process better than I can, and from the sounds of it, she and I work very much alike.

For me, it went about like this:

  1. Reject all stories that don’t fit the guidelines or the theme. You’d be surprised how many stories I received that either didn’t include romance or BDSM. I also rejected anything that was negative about gender, kink, race or sexual orientation, or that had an anti-sex message. In addition, I rejected a few stories that were clearly fanfic (this was before 50 Shades of Grey, and we hadn’t yet realized that fanfic was the ‘wave’ of the future. Who knew?).
  2. Next I re-read all the stories and put them into three piles: NO (poorly written, no story, shallow characters, icky sex); MAYBE (most elements worked, but needed some editing) and YES (knocked my socks off right out of the gate).
  3. The next step is always the hardest: Figuring out which maybes to turn into yesses. This isn’t just a matter of quality, it’s also a matter of making sure the stories work together as a whole, that they cover a range of styles and subject matter, and that they don’t become redundant.

For Bound, they broke out something like this. I tried to get at least one story in each of these subcategories. I also looked at tense, point of view, and language style.
STYLE: Funny, sweet, dirty, bittersweet, stroke, serious, romantic.
SEXUAL ORIENTATION: Gay, bi, lesbian, hetero.
COUPLING: Established couple, new couple, open relationship, poly, married, three- and more-somes.
KINK: Puppy play, cross-dressing, fetish wear, bondage, spanking, training, exhibitionism, masturbation, dominance, submission. (In addition, I tried to make sure the gender roles were balanced, meaning there were both dominants and submissives in both genders).
LOCATIONS: Urban public, rural public, phone sex, workplace, sex toy store, play party, art gallery, bedroom, other parts of the house, backyard, church.

Once that was done (and it took me a fair amount of time), then it was a matter of ordering the pieces. Should Sommer Marsden’s sweetly sad and sexy piece start off the book? Would it be okay to follow it with Janine Ashbless’ delightfully dirty puppy play story? Should I end the collection with Vida Bailey’s delicious threesome piece or with Veronica Wilde’s tale of the “Devil’s Night”?

I believe, in the end, I found the perfect balance of raunchy, submissive, kinky, dirty sex and romantic love. But in truth, that’s all thanks to the authors, who wrote such beautiful stories of arousal and lust and love.

If you like BDSM-style sex between two or more people who have given each other their hearts, I hope you’ll pick up a copy of Bound by Lust, and support well-written, kinky erotica and romance (as well as all of the authors who are out there, fighting the good fight). And I’d love to hear what you think of it!

Kiss kiss bang bang, s.

~

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