Please join us in welcoming author JA Rock today, on the tour for her latest novel, 24/7, book four in The Subs Club series. Enjoy JA’s guest post and then be sure to check out the giveaway details too.
And now, here’s JA!
Hi! I’m J.A. Rock, and right now I’m touring the internet talking about my latest release, 24/7—Book 4 in The Subs Club series. Thanks so much to the blogs that are hosting me on this tour, and be sure to leave comments on the tour posts for a chance to win a $15 Riptide Publishing gift card!
In 24/7, Gould wants extreme humiliation that occasionally crosses the line into degradation. He asks his partner, Kel, not just to embarrass him, but to truly break him down and make him feel subhuman. I gave a lot of thought to how I wanted to approach the kink in this book—how to make it accessible without shying away from the intensity Gould wants.
Humiliation can be a tough kink to get a handle on, because it goes against all that we’re taught about how loving relationships work. You could argue that the same goes for any number of BDSM activities that appear to mimic violence or abuse or power imbalance. But what makes humiliation play especially tricky is that the damage can be harder to gauge. Marks fade, but sometimes the pain of being called names or told you’re inadequate, useless, weak, etc. sticks around—even if it was all done in the context of a scene, a game. As Kel tells Gould, messing with someone’s sense of self-worth, no matter how well you know them, is risky.
Scientific research has suggested that humiliation is an unusually intense emotion—if not the most intense. It has the power to do long-term psychological damage, and often remains in the memory longer than other feelings. Gould admits early on that he experiences shame on a really intense level. The challenge in 24/7 was to have the humiliation walk the line between self-destructive and empowering. Plenty of confident, sound, happy people engage in extreme humiliation play. But for someone who’s grieving as deeply as Gould, it becomes hard to tell whether he’s finally claiming something he’s always needed, or whether he’s using kink to punish himself for what happened to Hal.
The big humiliation scene toward the end of 24/7 underwent a very different writing process from most of my sex/kink scenes. It was almost like shooting a movie. It took four days, and the first day was spent outlining possible activities, taking into account Gould’s specific triggers. The second was spent looking at the scene from Kel’s POV. How would she orchestrate it? How would she transition between activities, and how would she escalate the intensity so that the scene has a logical beginning, middle, and end? What’s her backup plan if Gould’s not responding well to one of the activities?
The decision to make the scene entirely nonverbal came pretty early on—it made sense for Gould, since he’d so quiet himself, yet is sometimes intimidated by others’ silences. But it also eliminated any humiliation that relies on name-calling, tone of voice, etc. Which meant getting creative about how they could communicate physically.
I wrote a first draft focusing mostly on the action, just to get it all down. Next, I went back and layered in the reactions—adding Gould’s internal monologue, as well as hints about what Kel’s feeling. Even though the scene’s from Gould’s POV, and part of what’s intense for him is that Kel’s not showing much emotion, I still wanted it clear in my own mind what Kel’s emotional state is as the scene progresses. Finally, I went through and smoothed it all out.
It was a really intense scene to write, and probably went through more revisions than any other scene in the book. But I loved that it pushed me out of my comfort zone as a writer and brought out new layers in Kel and Gould.
We started the Subs Club to make the kink community safer for subs. Except now the others are so busy chasing their happy endings, it’s like they’ve forgotten what Bill did to Hal and the fact that he got away with it. They used to think I was betraying Hal’s memory by hooking up with the owners of the club where he died. Now they don’t seem to care about any of it anymore.
Maybe I am sometimes angry with GK and Kel for giving Bill a second chance, but they’ve been mentoring me for a year now, and whatever else they’ve done, they make me feel incredibly safe. So I want to try something: I want to offer them my complete submission, 24/7. To serve the people who forgave Bill. That’s the way I want to hurt.
Except I’m starting to care about them in a way I never meant to—and I think they feel the same way. But after Hal, I don’t know if I want to be in love again. Because what I really need, more than anything, is to see Bill brought to justice. Even if I have to do it myself. Even if it means losing GK and Kel.
About the Subs Club series
After the death of their friend Hal at the hands of an irresponsible dom, submissive friends Dave, Kamen, Miles, and Gould band together to form the Subs Club—an organization seeking to expose dangerous local doms. The club slowly evolves as romances blossom, loyalties are tested, and tensions mount in a community already struggling for unity in the wake of Hal’s death.
From domestic discipline to knife play to fashion paraphilia, and from family drama to new jobs to first loves, the members of the Subs Club explore life’s kinks inside and outside of the bedroom as they attempt to let go of the past and move forward.
About the Author
J.A. Rock is the author of queer romance and suspense novels, including By His Rules, Take the Long Way Home, and, with Lisa Henry, The Good Boy and When All The World Sleeps. She holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Alabama and a BA in theater from Case Western Reserve University. J.A. also writes queer fiction and essays under the name Jill Smith. Raised in Ohio and West Virginia, she now lives in Chicago with her dog, Professor Anne Studebaker.
J.A. Rock is giving away $15 in Riptide Publishing credit. Leave a comment to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on June 11, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!