Tagged: Rachel Haimowitz

The Flesh Cartel byRachel Haimowitz and Heidi Belleau

http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/flesh-cartel-1-capture 

Story Rating: 3 out of 5 paddles

Sting Factor (kink): 1 out of 5

 Review: 

In this work of speculative fiction, people with enough money and the right connections can buy anything, including their own personal sex slaves. The Flesh Cartel is a super-secret, highly organized group that supplies these human cattle. They take people nobody will really miss and transform them into the perfect slave. “The Flesh Cartel” series follows two brothers as they are taken and processed through the cartel’s machinery.

Note that this is a serial publication. Serialization is the latest thing in ebook publishing right now, although it’s an idea as old as mass printing. Many of the great classic authors, like Dickens, originally had their works published in serial form a hundred years ago. Back then, printing a small chunk of a book at a time made it more affordable to the mass market. In today’s market, where most consumers are loath to pay more than 5.99 for a full length novel in ebook form, publishers are hoping that they’ll willingly pay 2.99 each for the same work in eight or a dozen installments.

In this first installment, “The Flesh Cartel #1: Capture”, we meet the two brothers, Mat and Dougie. They were orphaned and grew up in foster care. Mat is a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter and works as a bouncer to put Dougie through school, where he’s studying for his PhD in psychology.

For reasons which aren’t made entirely clear in this first installment, Dougie is targeted by the cartel, and Mat is taken as well when he comes home unexpectedly, interrupting the kidnappers. On the long drive to the processing facility, Dougie is repeatedly raped by his kidnappers, while Mat is held in a cage, helpless to stop it. The rape is not described in any great detail, but it’s probably what got this book taken down from Amazon.

Once they arrive at the processing facility, the men are separated, cleaned, checked and ‘documented’ right down to the length of their members as well as the strength of their orgasms. This first book ends with both the men well on the way to being broken, and being led off to their cells in the facility where they will soon start their training.

There’s really very little to this first installment. Half of it is taken up with a very short introduction to the two men, and then their kidnapping. We don’t learn much except that Mat is gay, Dougie is not, and the two care for each other a great deal. Mat, in particular, is fiercely protective of his younger brother. The kidnap and rape of Dougie is brutal, and there’s not much here to give excitement.

The second half of the book recounts the initial processing of the two. Depending on your kinks, there might be some interest here as the men are washed, examined and then stimulated to orgasm. It’s rather clinical and not very sexy. Aside from the rape, there’s no other sexual encounters related in this first installment.

The writing of “The Flesh Cartel” is generally very good. There are times when the description of a scene gets a little muddled, but generally not enough to take you out of the action. There are a couple of places where the narrative suddenly shifts to first person for a few sentences and then switches back to third person, which is a bit more jarring. The big question, of course, is whether or not this first installment pulls you in enough to want to read the next one. It’s a close call, but I’d have to say the answer is no, it doesn’t.

You can’t help but be curious about what happens to the men as they’re broken and trained to be slaves, but the authors haven’t done a very good job of really making us care about them enough to want to know what happens to them. The introductions to them and their lives is a little too brief, and even a little depressing. For most of the book, Mat and Dougie are treated as pieces of meat. You will pity them, but you won’t necessarily empathize with them enough to really need to know what happens to them.

Reviewed by Michael Joseph

 Power Play: Resistance by Cat Grant and Rachel Haimowitz

 http://www.amazon.com/Power-Play-Resistance-ebook/dp/B007SAFDFW/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1342243861&sr=1-1&keywords=power+play+resistance 

ASIN B007SAFDFW

Story Rating: 4 out of 5 paddles

Sting Factor (kink): 4 out of 5 

Review:

What happens when a strong man with hidden submissive tendencies comes across a powerful man who wants to dominate him?  What happens when the experienced dominant forces a vanilla man into submission without a shred of teaching?  Resistance is the answer.  Brandon is a stubborn construction manager who is picked up at a bar by the self made man, Jonathan.  Jonathan and Brandon’s chemistry is like lithium in water, explosive.  Jonathan chases Brandon and makes him an offer he can’t refuse.  Brandon needs the money and is willing to give six months of his life as a sexual slave to earn the money he needs to buy the construction company he wants.

This story is an intense BDSM story which clearly demonstrates how a BDSM relationship can turn so wrong.  It is stated over and over again that Jonathan is a much sought after Dom who trains submissives very well.  This may be the case.  Here’s the interesting thing.  He’s only ever trained willing submissives who are in the BDSM lifestyle and want to submit.  This key element is what makes this story so painful to read.  Brandon is neither versed in the lifestyle nor is Jonathan teaching him anything other than pain, humiliation and abuse. 

Jonathan’s domination style is very hot and a Dom I’d be willing to submit to for six months.  This is only because there would be negotiation up front and I would know what I’d be signing up to experience.  I would be a willing sub with known hard and soft limits.  The negotiation scene in this story is maybe two sentences.  There were no discussions of hard or soft limits.  All Brandon asked for was no blood.  This shocked me since Brandon doesn’t even want to be in the BDSM lifestyle.  Jonathan did nothing to prepare Brandon whatsoever.

Jonathan is also a Dom who is tired of playing with one sub after another.  He wants a relationship.  He wants what his friend has found – a soul mate.  He thinks Brandon is the one.  He wants Brandon as his 24/7 slave.  Never once did Jonathan explain what his expectations are and what he wants Brandon to do.  He expected Brandon to figure it out.  This is like teaching a blind person to paint a landscape he cannot see.  This entire travesty of a story is Jonathan’s fault.  At no point is this Brandon’s fault for the terrible abuse at Jonathan’s hands.  Yes, it was Brandon’s choice to stay.  He is stubborn; perhaps a bit too stubborn for his own good.

The reason why Jonathan couldn’t connect and find a submissive for life, is because he has built no relationship on trust.  To have trust, there must be communication.  Now, D/s people in the lifestyle have different opinions on what makes a good D/s relationship.  My personal perspective is, without open communication and trust, there will be no D/s relationship and there will be no TPE.  This story demonstrates my perspective crystal clear.  I hurt for Brandon.  He is betrayed over and over again by Jonathan.  Jonathan is not an evil or bad person.  He is an inept Dom for training a vanilla man who isn’t sure about BDSM let alone being kinky.

Jonathan’s response to Brandon’s inability to conform to his submissive expectations is to beat Brandon more.  The one time Jonathan offers open communication, he immediately punishes Brandon for his open honesty.  How is this not a slap in the face and kicking the guy when he is down?  How is this not abuse of power and a complete breach of trust?  The line Jonathan crossed beyond any realm of acceptable Dom behaviour, is when he beat Brandon to a point that Brandon relived flashbacks of his abused childhood.  That Jonathan was unable to apologize for this and felt he was still in the right; this caused me to lose all respect for him.  Jonathan at this point is the monster vanilla people think all BDSM Doms to be.  The vanilla folks would be right in this case.  Jonathan did turn into a terrible monster whose tactics are no different than prison guards for prisoner of wars. 

In Resistance, Jonathan’s worst flaws are exposed in high definition while Brandon is the collateral damage.  Not only does Brandon have to break the deal due to his starved body and physical damaged, he is now out of a job.  He took a leave of absence which meant he was immediately replaced.  Jonathan cheated Brandon out of a livelihood in addition to adding to Brandon’s emotional trauma and physical deterioration.  Jonathan left Brandon worse off after meeting him.  What Jonathan did was reprehensible and completely vile.  Jonathan deliberately set up Brandon to fail.  One could argue Jonathan did it unconsciously.  It does not matter.  Jonathan is the experience Dom who wanted a green behind the years sub.  It is Jonathan’s responsible to lead and guide.  Brandon has no idea what questions to ask and no one to help him understand.  The way Jonathan treated Brandon is similar to watching a two hundred pound man kicking a seven pound abandoned puppy with steel toed boots.

Despite my loathing of Jonathan, the BDSM scenes were pretty hot.  They are accurate in many senses.  It is sad that they were used in a negative way.  The tools and lifestyle are not the issue.  Jonathan and how he approached it was the issue.  This story clearly shows, that not all Doms are perfect and even the ones who are so experienced can really fuck it up.  Even after all this abuse, Brandon is the bigger and better man.  Jonathan doesn’t deserve him.  The ending of this story is a cliffhanger to the follow up book.  I am eager to read the next book to see how this train wreck can be salvaged.  This book is recommend for hardcore BDSM lovers who enjoy an emotional roller coaster punctuated by physical trauma which will make even the hardest of hearts weep.

Reviewed by Book Addict

Thank you for joining us on the Power Play: Awakening virtual release tour! *throws penis-shaped confetti borrowed from Anne Tenino* No party is complete without favors, so we’ll be giving away winner’s choice of one backlist book from Cat or Rachel to one lucky commenter from this blog at the end of the tour. We’ll also be giving away a lovely custom chainmail bracelet with a silver padlock clasp (handmade by the awesome Amara Devonte) to one lucky commenter drawn from all the tour stops, so follow along and party with us at each–you can earn an entry at every stop!

 Top. Dominant. Sadist. Submissive. Bottom. Masochist. Switch. Slave.

If you’re involved in the kink scene, chances are you identify as one (or more!) of these roles, which may or may not be mutually exclusive. A slave will bend over quite submissively to take his/her Master/Mistress’ punishment, though it would be a mistake to equate their obedience with masochism. Not all Tops consider themselves Dominant—in fact, I’ve known several Tops who enjoyed switching it up.

Not all sadists are naturally Dominant, either—which proves a stumbling block for Jonathan and Brandon, the protagonists of Power Play: Resistance and Power Play: Awakening. Jonathan’s definitely more of the former than the latter, though that doesn’t stop him from taking on the deeply submissive (but not at all masochistic) Brandon for a six-month contract.

Brandon’s a total newbie. He knows nothing of kink except what he’s experienced in Jonathan’s bed. He has plenty of questions, but no idea where to start, not that his instinctive fear and distrust (born from an abusive childhood) will let him. Jonathan, on the other hand, has trained subs before, but never one so green as Brandon. Still, they both think they can handle it until . . .

Cue inevitable train wreck.

But in fiction, just as in real life, it’s not necessarily true that a sadist needs a masochist to be happy and vice versa—even if both Brandon and Jonathan start out convinced otherwise. Once our boys dig themselves out and start talking to each other, a deeper bond emerges. Jonathan’s Dominant urges rear up fierce and protective in the face of Brandon’s submissive ones. He learns to balance his primary sexual identity—“sadist,” rather than “Dom” or “sub,” or even “straight” or “gay” or “bi” or “fluid”—with Brandon’s own needs and desires. He learns how to give Brandon the firm hand he craves to help him get out of his own proud, angry way and gain mastery over himself.

Brandon learns a thing or two, as well. He comes to accept, endure and even embrace pain for Jonathan’s sake—the ultimate act of love and submission, given how utterly un-masochistic he remains right through the end.

Perhaps the ultimate takeaway for Brandon and Jonathan—and for us as well—is that labels have their limits, and need and desire and sexuality and even gender are all as fluid as the blood running through our veins. And who it pumps for may have nothing to do with what we call ourselves or each other, but rather with what we do with and for our significant others.

Blurb:

Brandon McKinney is a man reborn. Newly awakened to the notion of consensual power exchange and the submissive urges inside him, he begs for a second chance from the man who opened his eyes to this world: Silicon Valley superstar Jonathan Watkins. But no birth is absent pain, and Brandon’s is no exception. He fears he’s not strong enough to see it through.

Jonathan knows better. He’s seen the iron core inside his new submissive, and the wounded heart inside him too. He means to teach Brandon to heal the one with the other. They have five months left on their contract, after all, and Jonathan has done more with less before.

It’s tough to stay objective, though, when you’re falling in love. Shame Brandon doesn’t feel the same. He’s only there for the three-million-dollar payout at contract’s end—a fact that Jonathan, nursing his own wounded heart, reminds himself of each day. For even as Brandon’s barriers break and his mind expands, even as he grows to love his place at Jonathan’s feet, he’ll never love life with a sadist—especially one who cannot escape the public eye.

About the authors:

Rachel Haimowitz is an M/M erotic romance author, a freelance writer and editor, and the Managing Editor of Riptide Publishing. She’s also a sadist with a pesky conscience, shamelessly silly, and quite proudly pervish. Fortunately, all those things make writing a lot more fun for her . . . if not so much for her characters.

When she’s not writing about hot guys getting it on (or just plain getting it; her characters rarely escape a story unscathed), she loves to read, hike, camp, sing, perform in community theater, and glue captions to cats. She also has a particular fondness for her very needy dog, her even needier cat, and shouting at kids to get off her lawn.

You can find Rachel at her website, Tweeting as RachelHaimowitz, chatting in the Goodreads forums, and blogging at Fantasy Unbound. She loves to hear from folks, so feel free to drop her a line anytime at metarachel (at) gmail (dot) com.

EPIC Award–winning author Cat Grant lives by the sea in beautiful Monterey, California, with one persnickety feline and entirely too many books and DVDs. When she’s not writing, she sings along (badly!) to whatever’s on her iPod shuffle, watches lots of movies, and fantasizes about kinky sex with Michael Fassbender.

Where to find Cat:

Website: http://www.catgrant.com
Blog: http://catgrant.blogspot.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/cat.grant
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/CatGrant2009
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1912055.Cat_Grant

 

From Between the Sheets to Between the Covers 

I love discovering great BDSM fiction. I also love great BDSM. No doubt these two things have a lot in common, but in the M/M romance genre, it’s surprisingly difficult to find BDSM fiction written by folks who live—and thus thoroughly understand—the lifestyle. There’s nothing wrong with glitterkink, or an author experimenting with handcuffs and blindfolds and a spanking, but when I’m in the mood for some kink, I want to sink my teeth into an in-depth psychological exploration of Domination and submission, sadism and masochism, and how all those very complex and not-always-complementary parts fit together in a relationship.

I do so love reading books like that. And it seems the best of them come from authors who are writing what they know.

I recently co-authored a 90,000-word Kinkapalooza with beloved friend and fellow kinkster Cat Grant. In part this pairing worked so well because she’s a sub and I’m a Dom. We’re both lifestylers and have been for a good long while. She’s a reasonably hardcore masochist. I’m an unreasonably hardcore sadist ;-) She’s a reluctant—one might even say belligerent—submissive. I’m a demanding but nurturing Dom. While we never played together in real life, we talked extensively about our backgrounds and our experiences, and found a great many of them migrating onto the page.

Much of the psychology of Jonathan (our deeply sadistic Dom) and Brandon (our not-really-at-all masochistic closeted submissive) came out of our real-life experiences. Neither of them are perfect by any means. Jonathan is in many ways the kind of Dom I am. He gleefully inflicts pain, but never ever neglects thorough and loving aftercare. He doesn’t hang on trappings like titles (“Sir” or “Master”) or shouting, but he quietly commands total respect. He loves his cane, and cages, and breaking boys fresh. He makes mistakes and isn’t afraid to admit it or apologize when he does.

Brandon is in many ways the kind of sub Cat is. He finds submission deeply challenging, and is resistant to it, but he craves it nonetheless. He doesn’t seek pain (okay, that’s not Cat at all, but bear with us :-p), but a well-placed smack or a forced deep-throat could make him come in his pants. He loves being bound, even if he can’t quite admit it to himself. He’s partial to Jonathan’s soft suede flogger, even if he can’t quite admit that, either.

It’s a fine and curious line, taking things from the bedroom to a manuscript. As authors we want to infuse a book with as much realism as possible, with as many moments of connection as possible—both between the characters and with the readers. Yet at the same time, it’s a fantasy of sorts: kinky boy meets kinky boy, kinky boy gets kinky boy, kinky boy chains kinky boy in basement . . . you know how it is. Real life doesn’t always work so neatly, but it certainly makes for an endless well of kinktastic inspiration.

Blurb:

Give me six months, and I’ll give you the world.


Brandon McKinney has scraped and sacrificed for what little in life he’s ever had. Though it’s been fifteen years since he escaped his father’s abuse, the damage remains. Trust seems as far out of reach as his dream of becoming an architect, and though he’s come to accept being gay, he can’t deny the shame and confusion he feels at other urges—the deeply-repressed desire to submit.

Jonathan Watkins is a self-made Silicon Valley billionaire whose ex-wife took half his money and even more of his faith. Comfortable as a Dominant but wary of being hurt again, he resorts to anonymous pickups and occasional six-month contracts with subs seeking only a master, not a lover.

When a sizzling back-alley encounter cues Jonathan in to Brandon’s deep-seated submissive side, he makes the man an offer: Give me six months of your life, and I’ll open your eyes to a whole new world. Brandon doesn’t care about that; all he wants is the three million dollars Jonathan’s offering so he can buy the construction company he works for. But he soon learns that six months on his knees is no easy feat, and shame and pride may keep him from all he ever wanted—and all he never dreamed he had any right to have.

You can read an excerpt and order Power Play: Resistance here.

About the contest:

We’re here today as part of the Power Play: Resistance Virtual Release Party. No party is complete without favors, so we’ll be giving away winner’s choice of a backlist book from Cat or Rachel to two random commenters from this blog at the end of the tour. We’ll also be giving away a classic Nook pre-loaded with six of our titles to one lucky commenter drawn from all the tour stops, so follow along and party with us at each—you can earn an entry at every stop! For a complete list of stops, please visit http://www.riptidepublishing.com/riptide-book-tours-news.

About the authors:

Rachel Haimowitz is an M/M erotic romance author, a freelance writer and editor, and the Managing Editor of Riptide Publishing. She’s also a sadist with a pesky conscience, shamelessly silly, and quite proudly pervish. Fortunately, all those things make writing a lot more fun for her . . . if not so much for her characters.

When she’s not writing about hot guys getting it on (or just plain getting it; her characters rarely escape a story unscathed), she loves to read, hike, camp, sing, perform in community theater, and glue captions to cats. She also has a particular fondness for her very needy dog, her even needier cat, and shouting at kids to get off her lawn.

You can find Rachel at her website, Tweeting as RachelHaimowitz, chatting in the Goodreads forums, and blogging at Fantasy Unbound. She loves to hear from folks, so feel free to drop her a line anytime at metarachel (at) gmail (dot) com.

EPIC Award–winning author Cat Grant lives by the sea in beautiful Monterey, California, with one persnickety feline and entirely too many books and DVDs. When she’s not writing, she sings along (badly!) to whatever’s on her iPod shuffle, watches lots of movies, and fantasizes about kinky sex with Michael Fassbender.

Where to find Cat:

Website: http://www.catgrant.com
Blog: http://catgrant.blogspot.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/cat.grant
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/CatGrant2009
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1912055.Cat_Grant