Thank you for joining Riptide on our 4th Anniversary blog tour! We are excited to bring you new guest posts from our authors and a behind the scenes insights from Riptide. The full tour schedule can be found at http://riptidepublishing.com/events/tours/riptides-4th-anniversary-celebration. Don’t miss the limited time discounts and Free Books for a Year giveaway at the end of this post!
Please welcome Amelia C. Gormley and Heidi Belleau to the tour.
A Collaboration of Like Minds
Imagine, if you will, the following exchange:
Author A: *sigh* I just finished writing my first trilogy and now I don’t know what to do with myself.
Author B: Come help me write a short!
Author A: Cool, you’re on. What’s it about?
Author B: A student and his professor and their kinky hijinks.
Author A: Ooooh. Me likey. What else?
Author B: Also this salesman he picks up in the dressing room of a menswear store.
Author A: Mmmmm. What if the professor was a total silver fox?
Author B: Yes! Good!
Author A: With a Scottish accent!
Okay, so planning THE PROFESSOR’S RULE didn’t go like that verbatim, but it was darn close.
Amelia: I like to think that Heidi and I coming together to work on this story was a meeting of very like minds, but I’m not sure that’s entirely accurate. While we definitely have some of the same kinks, we also have very different methods at times. Heidi is a total plotter complete with outlines, I’m absolutely a pantser and I wouldn’t know how to come up with a plot outline if someone had a gun to my head. So Heidi can totally blame me for the fact that TPR ended up having very little in common to her original concept.
Heidi: When I first started the first story of The Professor’s Rule, Giving an Inch, I’d envisioned it as the start of a series of interlinked shorts, and by short I meant, 2500-7000 words, all of them following the same couple: James and his older, dominant professor. In my mind, the whole thing was meant to be a PWP (“plot, what plot?” or “porn without plot” for those not familiar with fandom terminology), aka porn. Every short would explore a different sexual kink, and that would be it. Two guys having sex, over and over again, with various different flavours, for ten or twenty episodes or until I ran out of dirty things to write or lost my love for the characters. “The Professor” didn’t even have a name, and Satish was just “a salesman”, a one-off character there for this particular fantasy but then gone forever as James and his Professor moved on to, I dunno, pony play, or cross dressing, or exhibitionism.
And then Amelia came on the project and Satish became an actual character, and he and the Professor got names and backstories, and James found himself in the middle of a love triangle, and rather than separate shorts linked by characters, the series wound up telling one serialized, cohesive story. So basically, absolutely nothing I’d envisioned for it, but in all the best ways.
Amelia: One place where we really worked well together was in the method of actually writing. Working simultaneously in GoogleDocs doing a sort of “relay writing,” where we would hand the word-baton off to each other, definitely helped keep our narrative voice fairly consistent. Heidi, of course, has worked on many collaborations past and present using this method. My online/text-based role-playing experiences helped because a great deal of that happened much in the same way. It was my first time working on a collaborative story where each writer wasn’t each responsible for handling a specific character, but ultimately I feel that really gave us each more of an investment in all the characters.
Heidi: Amelia’s dogged determination to make my dirty stories into an actual romance meant that I had to address some flaws of the original story. For example, Satish’s role in the original story isn’t actually at all fair to or respectful of him from a real-world BDSM standpoint. It’s bad form, it’s hurtful, it’s bordering on non-consensual because Satish (while agreeing to sex with James) doesn’t realize the fact that there’s a third party involved. SO NOT COOL OR OKAY. Which works for a porny little short where you set aside ethics and feelings, but not so much when the glorified sex toy becomes a character and a human being. Suddenly the story had to grapple with the fact that what had happened with Satish really wasn’t okay, and that Satish would have a reaction to it, and in order for the story to be resolved in a satisfying way, he’d need to have that hurt addressed and healed.
It was a strange evolution, for me, but honestly gave me a chance to really stretch my muscles and deal with a conflict that I hadn’t intended on ever dealing with. Since I’m 100% a plotter, I normally set up every conflict with a perfectly clear vision of how it’s going to be resolved. This time I had to do a little bit of pantsing, because here was a conflict I hadn’t intended on being a conflict, that newly needed to be resolved in a satisfying way and I had absolutely zero idea how to accomplish that. What a rush!
Amelia: One thing that I’m particularly proud of, in the end, is how emotional the story became. Heidi’s a bit more hardened than I, but I’m not ashamed to admit I teared up a number of times writing Every Inch of the Way and To the Very Last Inch. Anyone who has followed my fan writings in the past knows that I just cannot do PWP (porn without plot) for the life of me.
I try, I really do. For example, one time I took a super-smutty kink-meme prompt and that was just supposed to be raunchy filthy fun, and I ended up turning it into a 220K AU full of angst and character growth. I can’t just have my characters having sex; they have to have sex that makes sense (this is especially true for my fan writings where characterization already has an established canon.) Anyway, I always end up going to the emotional place.
In this case, I think that really worked out well for us, because the background of James’s history of addiction and Carson’s concerns about the age difference between himself and James added so much to those final chapters, and playing mediator really cemented what Satish’s role in this V-shaped triad would be.
Heidi: It was fun, too, to write about the specific dynamic of these two very different men in a relationship with the same guy but not each other. Also to explore these concepts of consent and communication, of reconciling kinky sex with romantic desires . . . what started out as dirty, conscienceless “BDSM fantasy” wound up morphing into an actual exploration of people who practice BDSM and how our fantasies, if we choose to act on them, have real world impact and consequences that we have to grapple with and make work. I keep my interest in BDSM strictly in my imagination, so this was a whole other angle for me to have to conceptualize. And who better to learn from than someone who knows the real world kink scene as intimately as Amelia? The Professor’s Rule wound up taking me to school on the ins-and-outs of fantasy vs. reality in kink!
Amelia: So in the end I want to thank Heidi for inviting me along on that journey. It was fun and we totally need to do it again sometime.
Heidi: Agreed! Maybe we can write that 20-part PWP I was thinking of doing? How about a Sexy Plumber and a Horny House-husband?
Amelia: Of course! I would absolute love to work with you on a 360,000 word trilogy about a former science wunderkind fallen on hard times and now struggling to support his four little brothers and sisters while fighting the spectre of deportation, and a reclusive, heartbroken stay-at-home dad recovering from a failed marriage and fighting off the ennui of life in the suburbs. Hit me up!
When undergrad student James Sheridan set out to seduce his way into a better grade, he had no idea what he was signing on for. Professor Evander Carson wasn’t about to trade a good grade for sexual favors, but he was definitely willing to tutor his wayward pupil in far more than history.
By the end of their tumultuous relationship, James not only excelled academically, his sexual horizons had expanded to include pleasures—and agonies—the likes of which he’d never dreamed. But enough was more than enough, and James fled from his Professor, unsure of where his limits lay or if he had the wherewithal to set boundaries.
Two years later, a chance misdial puts James back in contact with his former instructor and brings all his old cravings back in force, leaving him yearning to kneel once again at his Professor’s feet. But James has a new life now, with new sexual and romantic prospects—most notably the charming menswear salesman Satish Malhotra. Still, the pull to return to Professor Carson is a powerful thing. Can James give in to it without giving up his newfound confidence and budding romance?
About Amelia C. Gormley
Amelia C. Gormley published her first short story in the school newspaper in the 4th grade, and since then has suffered the persistent delusion that enabling other people to hear the voices in her head might be a worthwhile endeavor. She’s even convinced her hapless spouse that it could be a lucrative one as well, especially when coupled with her real-life interest in angst, kink, social justice issues, and pretty men.
When her husband and son aren’t interacting with the back of her head as she stares at the computer, they rely on her to feed them, maintain their domicile, and keep some semblance of order in their lives (all very, very bad ideas—they really should know better by now.) She can also be found playing video games and ranting on Tumblr, seeing as how she’s one of those horrid social justice warriors out to destroy free speech, gaming, geek culture, and everything else that’s fun everywhere.
About Heidi Belleau
Heidi Belleau was born and raised in small town New Brunswick, Canada. She now lives in the rugged oil-patch frontier of Northern BC with her husband, an Irish ex-pat whose long work hours in the trades leave her plenty of quiet time to write.
She has a degree in history from Simon Fraser University with a concentration in British and Irish studies; much of her work centred on popular culture, oral folklore, and sexuality, but she was known to perplex her professors with unironic papers on the historical roots of modern romance novel tropes. (Ask her about Highlanders!)
When not writing, you might catch her trying to explain British television to her newborn daughter or standing in line at the local coffee shop, waiting on her caramel macchiato.
Connect with Amelia:
Connect with Heidi:
- Blog: heidibelleau.com
- Twitter: @HeidiBelleau
- Goodreads: com/heidibelleau
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Professor’s Rule series is being sold in a special discounted bundle by Riptide this week only. Check out the sale on this series and other bundles at http://www.riptidepublishing.com/anniversary-sale
To celebrate our anniversary, Riptide Publishing is giving away free books for a year! Your first comment at each blog stop on the Anniversary Tour will count as an entry and give you a chance to win this great prize. Giveaway ends at midnight, October 31, 2015, and is not restricted to US entries.
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