About the Book:
Corporate Chastity: A Modern, Female-Led Romance flips the classic male-dominated corporate idiom on its head. The story is told from the point of view of a corporate professional whose life and career are shockingly altered when the company he works for is taken over by four stunning female corporate raiders. His long suppressed submissive sexual desires become the unavoidable hook to an entirely new career path. He is shifted to a “working from home position” under the strict monitoring of his demanding new boss. Control of even his sexual pleasure is quickly transferred to her by way of an elaborate metal chastity cage and a new world of rules and daily training.
Despite her emotionally distant, sexually focused management over everything he does, he grows to need and care for her in ways he never imagined possible. Her explicit desires bring his repressed passions fully to life, and he fears not being able to live up to her exacting standards. Ultimately, he is faced with a number of essential questions and choices: Can a virile, active man survive in a romantic relationship without sexual release? Can the aching pleasure of submission to a woman he yearns for overcome his most intimate physical needs?
Beyond her unyielding principles, he must deal with a series of tests deriving from an underlying agreement between the four business partners, three of whom are sexually dominant women—with very different tastes—while the other is a charismatic ball of unrelenting sexual energy who becomes an intimate part of his new life.
Can real romance blossom in such a strange and intense environment, and if so, what form will it ultimately take?
1: Tell us a little about yourself and what got you in to writing?
When I was 14 or so, I found an old typewriter in my parent’s basement. I loved the sound of the keys, the feel of the motion, and—even more—I loved watching a story emerge line by line upward from the spool. I discovered the simple act of typing presented two different experiences occurring almost simultaneously: typing my thoughts one letter at time was a creative act, manifesting my thoughts into a physical object, running concurrently with the experience of discovering a fully-formed new reality as it shifted upward at each pull of the carriage return.
Interestingly, I wrote my first erotica when I was 16 or 17. I didn’t know that’s what it was. I’d had this image in my head for a while, as teenagers do. When I started to type it, I remember how real it felt. I remember the story almost like it was a memory that happened to me, and the aesthetic from that feeling still informs my writing.
I majored in philosophy in college, and that was a discovery, as well. I was planning on going into psychology or physics. The first day of my Intro to Philosophy class changed all of that. By the second day, I was sitting in the front row essentially having a conversation with the professor. My classmates took to derisively calling me Socrates. Throughout my education, philosophy classes were the classes in which I was “that annoying guy.”
The two paths have merged: for me, each story I write is sort of free-flowing expression of a new way of thinking, a new way of looking at the world, a new set of procedures by which to understand and reach a previously unattainable goal.
Once I connected the idea of writing to the idea of pursuing a procedurally detailed understanding of how the world works, longer and longer stories have just flowed. Understanding the feelings that drive actions, the desires that must be pursued, and the specific steps that lead from one goal to another brings me back to the childlike joy of sitting in front of that old typewriter each time.
2: Do you have a favourite time and place where you write?
I write professionally in a non-creative field, hence the pseudonym for my erotica writing. I spend a great deal of time in front of my computer. I think by typing, likely as a result of how I learned to write. I don’t outline. I don’t organize. I just write. In my professional writing, I have done it long enough to be able to feel what goes where without pre-thinking anything. The same is true, to an extent, with my creative writing.
That being said, I work best on deadline. I purposefully sign up for all manner of short story competitions, so that I have absolute deadlines to meet. It’s amazing how efficiently a story comes out when I have only 48 hours to get it submitted. I love knowing that by the end of the weekend, I’ll have a whole new story to enjoy, a whole new world in my head.
Like every writer, there are times when I can’t find a direction right away. My solution to that classic “block” is to simply pick setting and start writing without any specific direction. I know my brain wants to tell a story. I just need to give it access to my fingers and let it get started. Almost always, once I let that process begin, I can see a full-fledged story emerge into my consciousness; I can almost always feel where it will end up even during the early paragraphs. It’s just a matter of weaving through the signposts and hairpin turns of life, emotion, and essential needs to get there.
When I get stuck in the midst of a story, I tend to solve the problem by way of dialogue. I think it’s my strength as a writer. Hearing my characters talk to each other tells me who they are, what they need, and how the plot needs to get them there. It’s also a great way to avoid the “telling instead of showing” problem (which is not to say that I throw difficult exposition into dialogue. It has to be organic, or it just sounds ridiculous).
3: Where do your ideas come from?
For me, feelings follow details. Every moment in life is a part of a journey to somewhere. Any journey can be interesting depending on how wide a lens you point at it, what you focus on, and how well you edit the documentary about it. I have written lengthy stories that cover just a few minutes, and incredibly short stories that cover weeks, even years.
I almost always start with a moment. A few words. A thought. Someone saying something. That beginning informs a world of possibilities to follow.
One thing I’ve learned to trust is that I’ll bring the narrative flight in for a safe landing. As a matter of perspective, I like to think I can find the poetic context in most moments and interactions. So often I find the ultimate irony and importance of the story when I write the last line. I may have to go back and add some elements, twist some dialogue, or alter the plot a bit to connect the dots most organically. But I’m often surprised how well it all fell together the first pass through.
That’s the part I love most: paying off that sense of where I thought the story might be going with that perfect ending that confirms I must have known what was going to happen all along.
We are human. Stories about our lives express an inherent humanity if we let them. I try to trust that. Then I edit the hell of it.
4: Do you have a plan in your head of where the story is going before you start writing or do you let it carry you along as you go?
I try to avoid having a plan. I might have a feeling.
I learn from the characters and first moments of the story where it will end up. It’s not so much a question of destiny as it is a question of the specific details of causation. Beauty appears from the complexity of the process, even where the process seems linear. Chronology is, of course, linear. We all move forward in time toward some moment we call an ending. It’s only an ending for that story. It may be the middle of another. It may just be a flash of a memory for a completely different story.
I love great intersecting plot stories: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern versus Hamlet, Beowulf versus Grendel, even The Wizard of Oz versus Wicked. I try to direct the energy of those fully formed competing narrative realities into my stories, where every character is the protagonist of their own life. I love those characters you pass by in a story that have so much going on you want to circle back and see where they ended up.
I try to trust that idea and let all those characters live full, rich lives on their own. I just point the camera of narration at a small window of time to capture a meaningful story. I try not to care about where it will end up, and I’m generally incredibly happy with where it did.
None of us plan our final days, where or how we will die. There’s no predetermined plot. Yet, all of us bungle through interesting, meaningful stories along the way. The closer I can write to that reality the happier I am.
5: What genre are your books and what drew you to that genre?
I write almost every genre, except horror. I don’t connect with horror at all. Horror hurts my soul.
My first published work was a sweet, romantic short story about furry animals, and my first full-length published novel was an erotic tale about female domination.
As I regularly do short story competitions, I am forced to try every genre. I am grateful to have found that outlet, and I am committed to it. The competitions, results, feedback, and stories I’ve written have taught me a great deal. I have discovered a few genres that I’m better at than I would have ever thought—political satire, for one. I’ve found that my personal focus on the procedural inner workings of life populates my satire with a light, unexpected tone that I really like. Who knew?
I do love comedy, especially romantic comedy. I spent time doing stand-up. That has helped me understand timing and tone more than I thought during those nights when I was bombing in front of tired audiences at last call. Most importantly, I learned that you have to earn funny. It requires so many elements to fit into place perfectly, and you have to pay it off exactly right. Wording is critical. Timing is everything. Context and tone define what kind of laugh you earned only if you did everything else right.
6: What dream cast would you like to see playing the characters in your latest book?
This is a bit of an awkward question in light of the context of my recent book. I just don’t see this story making it to the big screen, and that’s probably a good thing. Ultimately, I worry about trying to place any actors or actress into the context of my book without being disrespectful or overtly sexualizing them.
In my opinion, mainstream movies have yet to portray the BDSM or D/s lifestyle in any realistic or respectful way. The characters are almost always irredeemably flawed human beings who fall into “kink” for all the wrong reasons: misogyny, low self-esteem, attempted recovery from trauma, etc. The interactions are often mechanical and meaningless. The point of such movies is—almost always—pure titillation with little understanding or exploration of three-dimensional people. From my perspective, BDSM and D/s involve (or should involve) deeply intimate connections between two strong people who understand themselves in ways many people don’t.
Of course, I understand it is hard to capture that level of subtly in an erotic context presented for entertainment purposes. I’m not sure I’ve done great service to the idiom in my story. As erotica writers, we feel compelled to focus on the sexy parts, certainly. I’ve tried to provide a sense of real interaction and developing feelings within that context, but my book is ultimately a story about inappropriate erotic attraction and interpersonal control. So, my characters may only brush alongside a sense of reality, but no one wants to get bogged down in the tedium of the main characters’ small talk about their respective family dramas over dinner, especially in erotica.
I intend to continue to explore the best way to purse and express erotica, in both short and long form.
7: Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?
I read a lot. Not always fiction. My favorite days reading usually involve something light-hearted. I aspire to Douglas Adams. I love the tone, elegance, and playfulness of James Thurber. Robert Ludlum and Dan Brown are guilty pleasures. Aldus Huxley, Sinclair Lewis, and George Orwell inspired my understanding of satire. I love to sit back with a Malcolm Gladwell book and just enjoy thinking. I respect the classics, but I often fail in my attempts to fully appreciate them. Like Jazz or Blues, I wish I found them more enjoyable. I have been spending a good deal of time over the past years learning to play the piano, and I have yet to be able to cope with or understand either form.
My favorite author will always be Shakespeare. I have performed in a few plays and read many of the others. Performing opened the world of what he was saying in a way I’m not sure I would have ever understood just reading them. The poetry is engaging and the characters deep, flawed, and inspiring. The comedy works no matter the era. The expressions of pain reverberate through time. I believe that Shakespeare is present in so much of modern fiction as to practically be considered an element of the syntax of our language.
8: What book/s are you reading at present?
The Last Days of Ancient Sunlight by Thom Hartmann (non-fiction). I picked up the book out of respect for the tremendous metaphor of the title and have been drawn into learning far more than I wanted to.
9: What is your favourite book and why?
Animal Farm by George Orwell, for a very specific reason. I was able to experience the book at various stages of my life; each time with completely different meanings; each time it added something different to my view of the world. It’s astonishing how prescient he was, and how sad it is that his brilliantly told tale couldn’t have remained just an interesting story about clever animals.
It’s not the most enjoyable book to read, but I respect it as much as any.
As for pure joy in reading, I will always return to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. (The movie versions don’t even come close.) There is no way to fully appreciate and live in the deftness of Adams’ glorious language without reading his words again and again.
10: What advice would you give for someone thinking about becoming a writer?
I think everyone should be a writer. Even as a matter of economics, if you want to enhance your career path, the better you write the more options you have in most fields you pursue. Every job I’ve had (beyond working at the local dry cleaning store, being a waiter, or delivering newspapers), being able to write improved my job quality, income, and enjoyment. Even just being able to manage grammar enhances job prospects. (Yes. I still struggle, too.)
Throughout the slew of jobs I’ve held, I was almost always moved from having to do the awful parts of the job to being responsible for the more interesting parts of the job because I could express myself through writing.
I will always recommend spending time learning the language. Grammar is just a matter of practice and learning some basis rules. Being competent is doable. Being good at it is a life’s endeavor. Most jobs operate by way of computer or internet these days. You must write to function. When you do it well, you gain traction to control whatever career path you choose.
I now work exclusively from home as a writer. I can’t imagine going back to an office. I wish I’d paid more attention in school from elementary through graduate school. Maybe I’d have gotten here earlier. That’s really my only regret. There was so much amazing information I had access to, I wish I had watched more closely as it flowed by.
11: What are the best Social Media Sites for people to find out about you and your work?
Unfortunately, I am the last person to ask about social media. I’m not on social media in any way. I respect people who are good at it, but I absolutely am not. I remember being on Myspace and the first iteration of Facebook (it took me forever to get off that site). I could never understand what was going on. I am very specific in what I want to spend time reading, and I don’t need to know that someone I met years ago just brought brownies to their office. Unless those brownies are on my front doorstep, I really don’t get the alluring of that information.
That grumpy point of view notwithstanding, I get blogging. It’s very expressive and detailed. It is writing, and it is creative—plain and simple. I can also see how it creates a sense of community, business connections, and even occupational advancement. It’s just not for me. I am essentially an introvert. I can enjoy personal interactions in small, controlled bursts. Even just reading a response to a post of mine makes me anxious. Oddly, I experience great deal of joy in public speaking. But social media drains the life from my face, and nobody wants to be around for that.