If you’ve read any of my stories, then you know that I’m a big fan of BDSM and extreme power exchange fantasies. My characters typically find themselves pushed to the limit (and beyond) by hot, aggressive, muscular tops, men who take control and force their partners through some truly intense sexual experiences. Pain, bondage, humiliation – all of it is on the table when it comes to building these kinds of fantasies for my readers.
But are these stories romantic? I’ve had plots involving themes of captivity, blackmail, and coercion – are these really situations where authentic romance has any real chance of developing? It’s a question that I’ve struggled with as I’ve attempted to continue pushing the envelope.
I think that the answer is that they can be. I try and infuse a certain degree of romanticism into each one of my stories, so it’s there if you want it. Judging from the feedback I’ve received, not all of my readers do. Some simply want to explore their deepest, darkest fantasies, and don’t need the romantic element in order to find a story fulfilling. Others tell me that they think power exchange – even the edgier variety that I tend to dabble in – is already inherently romantic, as a submissive has no choice but to put an incredible deal of trust in the person putting them through their paces. And, of course, there are the readers who just can’t get into a story that’s missing some sort of traditional romantic connection.
The enjoyment of erotica is a subjective thing, so none of these readers are right or wrong, which presents an interesting problem for me as a writer. How do I write my particular brand of fantasy without alienating a significant portion of my readers? In the context of power exchange, too much romance can feel forced; not enough, and the story can feel unfulfilling.
These are some of the reasons that I decided to try and write an interactive erotic story. It’s called Charlie’s Night, and the premise is simple. On his eighteenth birthday, a confident but perhaps naïve young stud decides to give in to his most submissive fantasies and venture out to a legendary leather bar with hopes of meeting the dominant man of his dreams. The twist, however, is that YOU, the reader, gets to decide what happens from there by stepping into Charlie’s shoes and making choices for him at the end of each chapter, choices that hold a huge impact on the direction the story takes. The bar is filled with dominant men who all have their eyes on Charlie, and who all have their own specific motivation behind their interest in him. Who will Charlie trust, and how far will he go? It’s all up to you, and the possibilities are immense. And when it’s all done, all you need to do is go back to the beginning and make some different choices for an entirely new erotic experience.
By making this an interactive story, my hope is that there’ll be something for everybody. There’s romance, mystery, suspense, action… you name it – literally. Charlie can have the time of his life, or he can find himself in serious hot water, but no matter what choices you make, it’s a night he’ll never forget.
Of course, writing this story was a LOT of work. With about thirty chapters, a dozen unique endings, countless storyline possibilities, and over twice the length of any of my previous stories, making Charlie’s Night a reality was one of the toughest projects I’ve ever tackled. But I’m damned proud of the result, and have been thrilled to see so many readers enjoying it so much by taking the story into their own hands and deciding exactly how intense or romantic they want it to be. And now, I have a new answer for my original question: are my stories of power exchange really romantic?
Read Charlie’s Night. It’s up to you.
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