Tagged: Laura Antoniou

I Was Kinky Before Kinky Was Cool killer


“What’s the title of your book?” the nice lady at my synagogue asks.

“The Killer Wore Leather,” I answer.

“Leather? Like BDSM?” She annunciates each letter clearly, like spelling them out for a monogram or password. “Like that Fifty Shades thing?”

“Yes,” I say. “Exactly like that. But, funny.”

“Oh, I’ll have to get that. Harry! Write that down! The Killer (who) Wore Leather!”

Ka-ching! Welcome to my new world.

Twenty years ago, I had a gay male novel, (Musclebound) a collection of short stories about people all experimenting with kinky sex for the first time (The Catalyst, now titled Cinema Erotica) and was about to release the first in a planned trilogy of SM-themed erotic novels all based in a secretive, world-wide slave training and selling society called The Marketplace. I was also collecting erotic kinky stories by and about women for a collection titled Leatherwomen. Not all of these were under my real name – conventional wisdom at the time said 1) no one wanted gay male fiction written by a woman, especially not erotic fiction, and 2) writing about straight people having kinky sex was never going to get any writer anything but rolled eyes, scorn, and an occasional fan letter requesting panties, domination, or an earnest desire to find Jesus.

All of those things, I got, by the way. Rolled eyes, polite, “Oh, really?” comments when I admitted I wrote Dirty Novels, odd requests from socially awkward people and sure, even an occasional plea to find the light. Instead, I converted to Judaism, where I was recently invited to light the Sabbath candles because my new book – did I mention the new book, The Killer Wore Leather? – came out.

What a difference twenty years makes.

Of course, back then, the big reason why gay anything was in the news was because gay men were dying of AIDS. When kinky sex made the news, it was usually around some murder case. Anne Rice had just released Exit to Eden under the name Anne Rampling, but it didn’t make the book world explode like the more modern kinky bestseller(s) did, because 1) no social media, and 2) no e-books. The tepid movie they made that was sort-of-kind-of, OK-not-really based on the book just cemented it into obscurity.

These days, Rice’s smutty books, including her very, very naughty Beauty series, can be found on the shelves of Target. Under her better known name.

So, it’s a new world, a better world, both for the gays and for the kinksters, right?

Well, not so fast.

The sudden attention paid to the fact that readers enjoy a bit of the old handcuff and riding crop action in their tomes (or .mobi and .epub files) doesn’t mean anyone who has thrown in some bondage and a nod at concepts like safewords has suddenly rocketed up the bestseller list and is sitting back collecting the filthy lucre and ordering the pool boy to fetch them another mojito. In fact, although sales have gone up for a few of us, the economic theory of “one popular thing makes everyone else in that genre rich” has never worked. The years after Star Wars came out were full of space opera movies.

Name three.

OK, I can, because I’m a geek. But man, they sucked. Also, there were millions of fans who would rather spend their time and money seeing Star Wars AGAIN, or buying Star Wars books, Star Wars action figures, Star Wars bed sheets and Star Wars trading cards. Just as right now, there are millions of 50 Shaders who spend all their time pondering the casting of the movie(s), and buying trademarked, official Fifty Shades of Grey spanking kits.

No, really.

But that’s OK. I’m not bitter. OK, I’m a little bitter. But mostly, I’m fine. Because, ultimately, what those books did for me? Is let me tell that nice lady at my synagogue about my new book. And later, tell some more people that actually, yeah, I’ve been writing that stuff for over twenty years.

And even better, I get to move onto my next conceptual project, which is to get more writers to create characters who are kinky – without their kinkiness being the whole point of the story.

The Killer Wore Leather is a comedy murder-mystery, set at a leather contest. You don’t have to know what a leather contest IS before you read the book, you’ll find out. But under that, the book is also a sort of kinky, literary stealth bomb. Because the story is not about “kinky sex makes people into crazed killers!”

It’s a murder mystery where the killing takes place in a world where some people are kinky.

It’s not a “dark exploration into the forbidden world of …blah, blah, blah,” over-written hyperbole suggesting that anyone who does that sort of thing is a drooling, cackling lunatic planning to keep people in basement dungeons before disposing of them in some Dexter-esque fashion to be written about with glee by a tabloid website.

It takes place at a convention. Where people wear odd clothing, take odd-sounding classes, compete in things other folks didn’t even know had a competitive side, and then…go shopping.

Maybe the ultimate good thing that the 50 Shades Phenomenon has done is to let people just TALK about kinky sex and admit, yeah, it’s kind of titillating. Great. Sure beats having people talk about it only in the contest of an episode of CSI where the corpse was found in a leather hood.

But now, I want to demystify it. I want readers to see the human characters who are more than their kinkiness. To show that having sex is just one of the many things they do in their own special ways. Just as a lesbian detective might have been seen as daring and risky thirty years ago, maybe a lesbian detective whose lover just might tempt her into being a bit kinky in bed has arrived just at the right time.

And if not, I can always just keep writing my erotica, which I intend to do anyway. Because, like a lot of kinky people, I do want it all.


Just another character quirk

by Laura Antoniou, author of The Killer Wore Leather killer

I’m not a message writer; I subscribe to the Samuel Goldwyn school of using Western Union for such purposes. Although these days, I’d substitute Twitter.

Still, story elements serve a purpose, and there’s a reason I wanted to write my first mystery set within the world of leather/kink and BDSM. And it’s a very simple one.

When writers first put what we would call gay characters into modern stories and books, they were almost always villains or victims, and often both. They were predatory perverts and psychosexual fiends and freaks, or sad, lonely “inverts” whose search for love or lust eventually condemned them to a variety of deaths worthy of a couple episodes of Game of Thrones. They weren’t characters as much as they were caricatures, and badly drawn ones at that. The story was about how their identity and feelings and yearnings would eventually lead to a bad end.

Later on, they began to turn up as comic relief, or convenient foils for a heterosexual hero or heroine, cut off from any larger sense of identity or community – still often sad and lonely, if more likely to be bitter and sarcastic about it. They didn’t tend to have a story per se – they were relegated to plucky comic relief or corpse around which the lead players could gather and mourn before getting on to the real (and presumably heterosexual) storyline.

Then, in a madcap explosion of LGBT creativity, as people who WERE actually queer got more and more stories and books and films and TV shows made, the characters shifted to be more than “The Gay Neighbor” and “The Lesbian Nurse.” Now, they were fully fledged characters who happened to be gay – and their stories were the same stories expected on the shelves. Love and romance. Action and adventure. Coming of age, fantasy, mystery, thriller, horror, comedy and roman à clef – all the genres became inhabited by gay characters! And in all of those worlds, many of the stories started once again to be about the characters being gay. Only this time, instead of being killed, exposed, or left alone and mourning at the end, more happy endings began to show up. (Except, of course, for the bounds of AIDS-related fiction, especially pre-AZT.)

Nowadays, though, you’d have to search far and wide for professional stories that are all about how a lead character is gay. In our culture, being gay has become a character trait, like skin and hair color, ethnic origin, body size, profession, oddball quirk. A writer sitting at the keyboard just fills in the descriptors and there doesn’t need to be a “reason” why a character is gay, just as there doesn’t have to be a reason why they’re Dominican instead of Canadian. It can serve the story, or it can just be one of the many things about that character. We won. We’re so “normal” that a TV show about gay dads can be called “The New Normal.”

The Killer Wore Leather isn’t a “problem” story about kinky people. There have been enough of those! From dark, spinner-rack paperbacks describing a sexual underground any genuine kinkster would snicker at to an array of cop shows featuring stunning mistresses ordering their cringing submissives to slay rivals, to stories of sex games gone awry and serial killers lurking in the shadows waiting for naughty female characters to take the wrong chance…there is no shortage of cautionary tales about killer kinks.

And in the erotica and romance world, more and more writers are gleefully having their characters explore the modern world of safewords and negotiation, conferences and collaring ceremonies, leather, latex, lingerie and lovelorn perverts proud to call themselves such.

But on the more mainstream world – it’s time for the kinky to come out of the closet and not get punished for it (by dying or being menaced over and over again) – or making it the whole point of the story.

The Killer Wore Leather is a comedy/mystery. There’s been a murder! It just happens to have happened at a leather contest. And therefore, the natural suspects are also close to, or within that community. But the story isn’t why anyone is kinky, or how hard it is to be kinky in a vanilla world.

The story is how to catch a murderer at a weekend convention.

And if my detective, Rebecca, discovers something about her own past and these wild and wacky leatherpeople and what she and this world have in common, then she just might have a story in a future book about just how lovers navigate a kinky relationship – while one solves mysteries.



No Safewords: A Marketplace Fans Anthology edited by Laura Antoniou nosafewords

Link to buy


Story Rating: 5 out of 5 paddles

Sting Factor (kink): 5 out of 5



Formal manners in regard to slave and Master stories are something I have always had a fascination with. I fell in love with The Marketplace by Laura Antoniou the first time I picked up the book. I am still immersed within its pages and find myself treasuring each moment like a fine piece of chocolate. Mine. Mine. Mine. So, when I was given the chance to review No Safewords, a collection of fan stories about the world I had fallen so hard for, I snapped up the book like the greedy little book  junky I am.

No Safewords is a collection of fan based stories based in The Marketplace. Each one has a forward and introduction by Laura Antoniou, with reasons why she selected each piece. They are all different and I found that I didn’t want this book to ever end. The first piece in the collection is “A Thousand Things Before Breakfast” by Marie Casey Stevens. If you ever wondered what happens at a leather conference, here is your chance. This speech is what you would hear if you attended a meeting for those in the Marketplace world. Evocative, informative and educational, this little story takes you there in every way.

“If You Try Sometime” by D.L. King brings us an endearing character from the Marketplace series by the name of Robert. He is brought across the pond to be of service in London. His new Mistress is a stickler for formal manners and her reprimands are truly inspiring. The scene that is set evokes the grand manor style setting with maids, cooks and the like. This story looks at humiliation as a tool for training and was one of my favorites in the anthology.

“Coals for the New Castle” by Marie Casey Stevens is about a trainer that has left the Marketplace for a life on the outside. It gives a unique perspective, filled with kink, some pretty hot ink, a Sybian (oh I really want one now) and a story that will curl your toes. What happens when two lovers with a past decide to get married? How do you put Marketplace values into the home of a married couple, when you aren’t sure you are doing the right thing? Where does the soft world end and kinky real life begin? These are all things Magda and Julian face when they consider tying the knot. Thankfully they have a wonderful friend in Charlotte who will help them with their uncertainty. Hot, thigh clenching fun!

The last story in this anthology is the longest. “O, Promise Me” by Elizabeth Schechter is a trip through a historical Marketplace scenario that had something for everyone. When Thomas is requested to marry Eugenia and take her collar, all sorts of fun things happen. Kidnapping, rescue and an unlikely friendship emerge in the wicked wild land of Cairo. Here you will meet a Mistress with a sweet face and a sharp hand for discipline, a very eager lord who just happens to be a slave and a tale that will keep you up until the last page is read. (Or at least it did me. No sleep. More Marketplace!)

This collection of fan based devotion to the Marketplace series was truly inspirational. I absolutely loved each and every story. From nightmarish slave scenes in “Getting Real” by S.M. Li where a new slave wonders what the heck he has done to himself to “Delirious Moonlight” by Anna Watson, I can’t say enough good things. Every author did a superb job with crafting stories of slavery and masterful ownership that bring further life to an already wonderfully crafted universe. Ms. Antoniou should be very proud of this anthology. Kinky fun for everyone!

Reviewed by Erzabet


The Killer Wore Leather: A Mystery by Laura Antoniou killer

Link to buy


Story Rating: 5 out of 5 paddles

Sting Factor (kink): 2 out of 5


The current title holder for Mr. Global Leather is killed. Two detectives must navigate contestants, learning about the various lifestyles represented at the Mr. and Ms. Global Leather contest to find a killer.

I really liked The Killer Wore Leather as it had it all, suspense and lots of interesting characters and I happen to love to read murder mysteries. I did not want to put it down and actually stayed up a few nights reading until I couldn’t keep my eyes open. There were so many twists that I really wondered how the author would resolve the mystery but she did not disappoint with several characters that made strong suspects.

Anyone that has attended conferences or contests know how crazy it can get and the author did a great job showcasing behind the scene looks and also gave the reader an education in some kink.  Ms. Antoniou did it in such a way that those in the lifestyle will not find it redundant, as she was educating both a journalist and the detectives as the story progressed. All the characters came across realistically, showing that regardless of lifestyles, everyone is human with the same kind of jealousies, insecurities and confidence we find in everyone.

There were some lighthearted moments between characters and I loved the way she portrayed the two detectives. The interaction between them and the other characters were so true to life and I actually tried to anticipate what might happen, only to find I guessed wrong. Having law enforcement family members, I can tell you that the process, including all the tedious ones, were right on the money that the detectives followed.

I recommend this book for anyone that likes to read murder mysteries and will be reading this one again.

Reviewed by Iron Mistress