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Twenty years of TTWD

New Year is traditionally a time for looking back on the past twelve months and forward to the next year. In this post, though, I want to look back over the past twenty years. Because 2019 will mark exactly twenty years since I ‘came out’ as a spanko.

You’d think twenty years of being ‘out’ would mean twenty years of spankings, right? Especially as I’m still married to the same guy.

Well, no, actually. Of those twenty years, only four have involved spankings.

When I first told my husband about my fetish, back in 1999, we spent about a year dabbling, extremely unsuccessfully, with domestic discipline. At the time, I thought our DD failure was because he wasn’t into it. In retrospect I realise neither of us were.

All I wanted was to be spanked, something I’d fantasised about since childhood. In 1999 there wasn’t much information available online, but what there was focused on spanking within a DD relationship. Where the man was head of the household and made rules for the benefit of the relationship. And the woman submitted to those rules or got spanked (ohhh, yes!) for disobeying them.

With the benefit of hindsight, DD was not what I wanted or needed. I had no interest in being submissive. I didn’t want him to be head of the household. I just wanted spankings and thought DD was the only way to make them part of my life.

My husband humoured me for a while, but in the end told me he thought DD was a load of bollocks, and that he wasn’t doing it any more.

So that was it for DD (which I didn’t miss at all) and specifically for spankings (which I did).

Anyway, we were busy with family and work, and I accepted that spanking wouldn’t be a part of my life unless I looked for it outside our marriage – which I didn’t want to do. After Fifty Shades of Grey took off, I indulged my inner spanko by writing my own spanking stories. They were published first by the online magazine, Discipline & Desire, and then, after D&D folded, by Blushing Books.

If you’ve read this blog before, you’ll know that saleswise my spanking romances were about as successful as our attempts at DD. In 2016, as my books flopped while other authors’ spanking romances flourished, I ended up crying about it one night in bed. When my husband tried to cheer me up, I turned on him. “No wonder I can’t write successful spanking books, when I don’t have a husband who’s willing to spank me.”

“I can spank you if it’s what you really want,” he said. “If you think it’ll help.”

“But you didn’t like it before.”

“I didn’t actually dislike it…”

“But you said…”

“It was the punishment aspect I didn’t like. I didn’t think that was appropriate.”

“I’m not after punishment,” I admitted. “I don’t want rules I have to break to get spanked. I just want to be spanked.”

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So we started spanking again – a little shyly and warily at first as we both figured out our needs. But we gained confidence pretty fast and the last three years have seen us have lots of fun with TTWD in a way I’d never have believed possible a few years ago.

So that’s the looking back part of my blog. Now to the looking forward.

When I decided I’d no longer be writing spanking romances, I thought I’d keep this blog going as an occasional outlet for my ‘inner spanko’. But I’ve reached the point where I’m happy enough with my spanking life that I no longer need that outlet. So, from 2019,  I’ll no longer ‘be’ Bethany Leigh. I’ll keep this website and my Goodreads page, so people can find out about my books, but I shan’t be blogging, or reading and reviewing any spanking romances. It’s time for me to move on.

But before I go, a big thank you to anyone who’s ever read and commented on my blog, featured my books on their blog, or tweeted my books and posts.

And even bigger thanks to those of you who have read and reviewed my books. I’m very grateful.

I wish you all a very happy new year and hope all your spanking dreams come true. 🙂

 

 

 

 

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Saturday Spankings

#SatSpanks: The morning after the night before

Saturday Spankings-christmas paddles with hat

Hello and festive greetings!

As Christmas is fast approaching, I thought I’d share a snippet from a story I wrote a few years ago, called ‘The Season to Be Jolly’. It was published in the online magazine Discipline & Desire, then republished by Blushing Books in my anthology of short stories, A Cure for All Ills.

It begins with librarian Caroline waking up on the morning after the office Christmas party.

***

I felt terrible when the alarm woke me. My head ached, my mouth felt like the proverbial bottom of a bird cage, and my backside was throbbing.

Oh. My. God.

I killed the alarm and buried my head beneath the duvet. My backside was throbbing. What had I done?

I knew exactly what I’d done. I’d drunk too much wine at the regional libraries Christmas party. The party I hadn’t actually wanted to go to. My boss, Isobelle, had insisted I frock up and attend: “You need to put yourself out there, Caroline. You won’t get a promotion if people don’t know who you are.” I wasn’t sure I wanted a promotion – I liked my job as children’s librarian, doing story time and helping parents choose picture books – but Isobelle wouldn’t take no for an answer. “It is the season to be jolly, after all,” she reminded me.

And, oh yes, I got very jolly at the party. Usually, I drank very little, but I always imbibed a bit more at parties to give me some confidence for all that schmoozing. Especially now I’d moved to Melbourne from a small country town, and was surrounded by intellectual types who made me feel extremely unsophisticated. So, I’d tossed back the wine and, emboldened, chatted up a guy from one of the other libraries. An absolutely gorgeous guy, with short blond hair, chiselled cheekbones, and a love of science fiction and history. His name was Mark, and he’d just moved across to a library in our region, after working on the other side of the city.

“Ah, we’re seeing a different side to our Caroline tonight,” Isobelle said with a wink at me as she handed around mince pies. I grabbed a couple eagerly, intent on soaking up some alcohol.

“Another wine, Caroline?” Mark asked me when I’d eaten the last crumb of the mince pie.

I grinned at him. “Why not?”

***

If you want to see how Caroline went from another glass of wine to a throbbing bottom, check out A Cure for All Ills, which also contains six other, non-Christmas stories. It can be purchased here.

You can find the rest of my books here.

If you’re in the UK, all my books can be found here.

And you can enjoy the rest of this fun-filled blog hop here.

 

 

writing

When the fun fizzles out

Just before Christmas last year, I submitted a new book to my spanking romance publisher. Groomed was the first book I’d written for two years and I was so excited about it. It wasn’t a romance, but instead a domestic noir set in the world of spanking forums. I hoped it would strike a chord with spankos who’d experienced frustration at the gap between reality and fantasy when it comes to DD. I hoped readers would sympathise with Charlotte’s sometimes crazy efforts to turn her husband into the perfect spanking hero like the husbands her new friends online talk about.

When I submitted Groomed, I had a second book on the way. A more conventional spanking romance this time. I submitted Her Convict Constable early in 2018, before Groomed was published. Her Convict Constable was set in 1840s Australia and was a sweet romantic suspense featuring two characters who’d been transported as convicts for minor crimes. I was as excited about that book as I was about Groomed – more, probably. I thought that for the first time I’d truly nailed that tricky, but vital balance between romance, mystery and DD.

My previous books, published from late 2015 to mid 2016, hadn’t done well, but I put that down to the fact that most of the stories had been previously published on the now defunct Discipline & Desire website. Sure, other ex-D&Ders had had books do better than mine, but they’d been writing for D&D longer and were more established in the genre. I was still quite a newbie and two of my books had been anthologies of short stories, which never sell as well as novels.

On the positive side, my previous books had garnered some good reviews, despite the poor sales.

So, given Groomed and Her Convict Constable were much better books than my previous two novels and had never been published before, I expected them to perform better.

But they didn’t.

Sales were much, much worse.

In fact, just before Her Convict Constable was published, the publisher suggested I release it under a new pen name. Groomed had tanked so badly they thought it would be difficult to get any sales traction under the Bethany Leigh name.

I thought it worth a shot, but in the event Her Convict Constable performed so badly on release it made Groomed‘s sales look bloody marvellous.

I was devastated. These were two good books. The reviews for Her Convict Constable, in particular, were excellent. After all that writing, all the social networking, all the to-ing and fro-ing in the production stages, I was left with a handful of sales and a second pen name I didn’t want and would never use again.

As I reeled from watching two books flop within five weeks, a successful writer in the genre told me that spanking romance authors have to make a decision. They can write what they want to write and accept it may not lead to great sales. Or they can write what the market wants. (For some lucky writers, what they want to write and what the market wants is the same thing.)

That’s great advice for any writer in any genre.

But I realised it wouldn’t work for me for this genre. It was already clear that the books I liked writing sold too poorly for me to continue investing time in them. It was equally clear that given I dislike the type of books that seem to sell best (daddy books; dark non-con; books heavy on sex and spanking but light on plot), well, that wasn’t an option for me either.

I was in the wrong game, and am better off applying that advice to writing in other, mainstream genres.

But if you’re reading this and just starting out as a spanking romance writer, it’s worth taking that advice.

Writing DD stories can be fun.

Having your book published is exciting.

But seeing your book tank so badly that it couldn’t have done much worse if you’d left it on your laptop is no fun at all.

 

Uncategorized

It’s spring and my thoughts are turning to…

In the spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.

So wrote Alfred, Lord Tennyson in his poem ‘Locksley Hall’ back in the 1830s.

Well, it’s spring here in my corner of Australia and, as usual, when the warm sunny days come around after a long, cold winter, my thoughts turn to spanking (okay, to sex as well, but mostly spanking). I don’t know whether it’s the heat or the flowers blooming, but this is the time of year when I almost constantly crave being OTK. Fortunately, my husband is happy to oblige, though it can sometimes be a challenge to find the necessary privacy given school holidays also fall in early spring.

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Spanking is definitely a seasonal thing for me. I get really into it in spring and summer, but then as the chill of autumn sets in, I start to lose interest. The interest dies almost completely over winter. Then spring rolls round, and I’m obsessed with it again.

Looking back, most of my spanking romance stories and novels were written during spring. In spring 2015, I wrote Freedom. In spring 2016, I wrote ‘A Merry Little Christmas’ for the Blushing Books 2016 Christmas anthology, and also started writing ideas down for ‘Hot This Christmas Season’, which would become my contribution to the 2017 Blushing Books Christmas anthology. Last spring I wrote Groomed. Most of the stories in my two anthologies, A Cure for All Ills and Are You Sitting Comfortably? were written over spring and summer.

Spring and spanking … they go together for me.

Do you have a favourite OTK season?

Saturday Spankings

#SatSpanks: We had an agreement

Saturday Spankings

Hello! It’s Father’s Day here in Australia tomorrow, so I thought I’d commemorate it by sharing a snippet from a story about a family adjusting to surviving on one wage after becoming parents. This story is part of my collection Are You Sitting Comfortably?, which was published by Blushing Books a couple of years ago.

Almost every book I’ve read in this genre has featured a spendthrift wife or girlfriend, with a husband trying to curb it through spanking. Well, I’ve always been someone who’s careful with money, so I wanted to reflect one of the issues I had when I first became a mum and our household income was reduced. Talking to friends, I’m not the only one who reacted to not having my own salary the way Cate does in ‘Dressing Down’. Cate regards Chris’s salary as ‘his’ and misses her own income. While she accepts she needs to spend ‘his’ money on things for their baby, she won’t spend any of it on herself. Chris, noticing her lack of interest in buying new clothes she needs, starts to worry that she’s suffering from post-natal depression. He sits down with her one night to talk about what’s troubling her.

***

“Oh, come on, Chris! How do you expect me to regard your money as ‘ours’ when I used to have my own? I’d feel guilty buying clothes or books or cocktails with the girls with your money.”

“Oh, for God’s sake!” Chris said. “Before we had Elias, we agreed that you should give up work and I would keep us. Do you think I’d have agreed to that if I couldn’t afford for you to buy yourself a new dress or pair of shorts?”

“It’s not about whether you can afford it,” I said. “It’s about my own self-respect. I’ve always been financially independent. I’ve never asked anyone for money for a dress ever and I don’t intend to start now.”

“So you’re telling me that while I’ve been worrying myself sick about you, thinking you were depressed, all that’s going on is that you’re trying to prove to yourself that you’re still an independent woman by refusing to spend money on yourself that you think you haven’t earned?”

I shrugged. “I suppose so.”

“We need to discuss this properly. Let’s go inside.” Chris picked up the wine bottle and his glass. I picked up my own glass and followed him into the kitchen. Chris sealed the wine and put it back in the fridge. “Go and check on Elias,” he told me, “and then come through to the bedroom.”

I stiffened. “What do you mean?”

“You know exactly what I mean.”

Oh no,” I said. “Those days are over. We decided to stop that when Elias was born. We had an agreement.”

Chris nodded. “So we did. We also had an agreement that I would go to work and provide for the family while you stayed home and looked after Elias. By refusing to buy yourself the things you need with our money, you appear to have reneged on that particular agreement. So you shouldn’t be surprised that I intend to renege on the other.”

I looked at him. His voice and jawline were grim, but there was a sparkle of challenge in his eyes as there had been back in the old days. The days when he’d spanked me.

***

Are You Sitting Comfortably? can be purchased here.

You can find the rest of my books here.

If you’re in the UK, all my books can be found here.

And you can enjoy the rest of this fun-filled blog hop here.

areyousitting

reading, writing

Spanking romance without the smut? Bring it on!

When did you first start reading spanking fiction? And what it was like?

The first spanking fiction I read was back in the late 1990s, on Laura’s Spanking Corner. These were/are short tales about mostly naughty females being disciplined by their husbands, teachers, fathers or uncles for some misdemeanour or other. They weren’t the best written stories, many of them were full of spelling and grammar errors, but they were great for a quick read. The stories about BJ and her boyfriend Adam and friends Annie and Max, in particular, ‘hit the spot’ for me.

And that was it for me for reading spanking fiction for a few years. I didn’t even read Fifty Shades of Grey (though I did flick through it for the spanking scenes). But it was in the wake of Fifty Shades that I started writing my own spanking stories. I wrote a couple of short stories about a woman with an eating disorder and her eagle-eyed boyfriend who used spanking to try to help her get well. Although they were longer than the stories on Laura’s Spanking Corner, they were similar in that they were spanking stories only. I didn’t include sex scenes, just had a ‘fade to black’ post-spanking make-up at the end.

I sold these stories and several others to an online magazine called Discipline & Desire. As a contributor, I was given a free subscription to the magazine, and started reading some of the other stories. Some authors included sex scenes, but there were others who, like me, wrote naughty-girl-gets-spanked stories featuring mischievous, worrying, outrageous or downright bratty behaviour by the heroine who then got her come-uppance at the (very strong) hands of the no-nonsense hero. Not a sex scene in sight.

When D&D folded in 2015, Blushing Books republished my stories. I’ve since written a couple of new books, also published by Blushing Books. I continued to write the type of stories I enjoy – a mystery of some kind, together with a wilful heroine getting her bottom soundly spanked by an exasperated hero. If I included a sex scene, it wasn’t very detailed or graphic. And I didn’t include oral or anal sex scenes, which, I’ve discovered through reading other spanking romance writers’ work,  seem to be de rigeur for the genre. My books were very much romances and mysteries with spanking and not erotica. And they didn’t sell. Judging by the reviews, the people who read them seemed to enjoy them, but they didn’t sell many copies at all.

The truth is, things have moved on since the days of Laura’s Spanking Corner, whereas I haven’t. Most readers of spanking fiction want plenty of sex in there as well, but I just want a well-written, entertaining mystery or romance with a couple of good spanking scenes.

So that leaves me somewhat in no man’s land as both a spanking romance reader and a writer. It feels like the genre should be able to cover everyone’s tastes, from my ‘DD lite’ preference through to the dark non-consensual books that are currently on-trend. But the truth is ‘DD lite’ doesn’t sell well so savvy authors tend not to write it. (Well, maybe some ‘daddy dom’ books qualify as ‘DD lite’, but they’re not my bag either.) As a reader I’ve enjoyed several spanking erotica books (see my Goodreads page for my favourites, including books by Amelia Smarts and Libby Campbell, and my all-time erotica favourite, Kara Kelley’s Taking in Dani) but would be just as happy to read them without the smut. As a writer, well, my books simply don’t sell well enough for me to justify continuing to write ‘DD lite’, and I don’t have any desire to go down the smut road. But tastes in books change all the time. Maybe one day ‘DD lite’ will make a comeback. Bring it on, say I!

In the meantime, if spanking without the smut is just what you fancy reading, why not check out my books?

Bethany Leigh Promo