May 152015

I will present at Cornucopia in Nanaimo, BC, on May 23rd.

It’s been a while since I posted anything here, though I’ve been posting to my Pinterest board and have a queue of daily posts set up on my Tumblr. Most of my work on this project has gone into trying to get a literary agent for the book, via cold emails of my query or proposal.

I thought I had an agent for a while, attached to a major NYC firm who wanted to see my complete manuscript within hours of receiving my proposal. After a while, she said she wanted to start showing it to Canadian publishers. While this was exciting, I wasn’t sure how this procedure went. I asked her if this constituted her being “my agent”, and later asked for some kind of formal agreement. She sent me a one-page agreement which included words like “irrevocable” and did not include anything about getting out of the agreement. The sample agent agreements I had read all had some kind of escape clause. When I asked about this, she said that was their standard agreement, and they never had problems releasing a client. After wavering a bit, I pressed ahead and asked for some kind of addition to the agreement. In case something happened like no publisher deal after a year, and I could be released. Instead, she said she would “step aside” and let somebody else handle my book, as I obviously didn’t trust her at this early stage.

This was baffling. I didn’t expect a major NYC firm to operate on a handshake deal or refuse to include an escape clause. I’ve worked on and off in creative fields for many years, and it is important to make clear the ownership of material, and for the creator to retain as many rights as possible. Getting dumped by this agent is probably for the best, but it does put the project back to the beginning.

Apr 172015

An assortment of podcast episodes on the history or society and culture of consensual sadomasochism.

Masocast: Tara Indiana

An interview with a veteran professional female dominant, Tara Indiana, who talks about the changes in the New York prodomme scene since the 1990s.

CBC’s Ideas: Consent to Harm Part 1, Part 2

A two-part documentary on the idea of consenting to bodily harm, and the ramifications in BDSM as well as in sports and other realms. Includes an interview with Andrea Zanin of Sexgeek.

Stuff Your Mom Never Told You: The Professional Dominatrix

A short cultural history of professional female dominants.

On the Media: Safe Words

The second half of this episode is about the mobilization of the kink community in response to the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon.



Mar 192015


I will be one of the presenters at Kink Talks Back to Fifty Shades of Grey, an interview and Q&A gathering of kink-community people talking about the mass media phenomenon.

Time: 6pm-9pm, Thursday, April 9th, 2015.

Place: Room 1600, SFU at Harbour Centre, 515 West Hastings, downtown Vancouver BC

Sponsored by SFU’s Department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies

Admission: Free.

Fetlife Event , Facebook Event

Mar 022015

After literally ten years of work in writing, researching, and ordering obscure books via inter-library loan that have probably put me on some kind of watch list, I now have an actual complete first draft that is ready to show to potential publishers and agents. It weighs in at about 112,000 words. Likely I will have to trim that down for publication.

It feels good to be done, and weird to move onto the next phase of this project, which is trying to sell it to somebody. On Wednesday, I sent a proposal to an agent I’ve contacted before. I sent more cold proposals to agents I researched on the net. This is a whole new realm with new challenges, and I have no idea how this will work. Self-publishing is an option, but I would like to try conventional publishing first.

“Done” needs a certain qualification. I would like to cover Japanese sadomasochism, but I have yet to find good resource material in English. There’s also a gap like the early 20th century, but there may not be any research available. The current draft is intact, but certainly can be expanded upon.

I will continue updating this blog with interesting finds, ongoing research, and progress on acquiring an editor or publisher.

Feb 122015

As of this writing, Fifty Shades of Grey holds a 32% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, a 47 on MetaCritic, and a 3.1 on IMDB. Suffice to say, it won’t sweep the Oscars next year. I do predict it will do well at the Golden Raspberries. Its loyal fanbase will probably guarantee a commercially successful opening weekend and a lot of DVD sales, but I suspect it will do poorly in the long run.

I am a little disappointed we won’t see little CGI chibi versions of Dakota Johnson’s subconscious and inner goddess hopping around.

Continue reading »

Jan 152015

I haven’t updated this in a long time, in part because my energy has gone into actually working on the book instead of blog posts. The good news is that I’m getting close to having a complete rough draft of the entire manuscript, one that I can send to beta readers, agents and publishers. I completed Chapter 13 on the political/legal status of BDSM, weighing in at 10,300 words, which brings the total word count to over 100,000 words. All that’s left is the conclusion, which I’m currently banging my head against. Once that’s done, I can resume sending out proposals. (I’d like to do a chapter on the Japanese parallel evolution of BDSM, but that’s on hold until I can find more research material.)

I am presenting my History of BDSM talk at Westward Bound, a three-day conference presented by Metro Vancouver Kink. My presentation will be at 9am, Saturday, January 31st. I haven’t done this presentation in a while, and my ideas and knowledge has changed so much that I may have to start over from scratch.

I have another presentation later this year; more details later.

Better late than never: check out the Tyee article about Jian Ghomeshi affair and its link (or lack thereof) to the BDSM scene:

Sep 122014

I’ve completed chapter 9, coming in at about 9,000 words. Technically, I completed it again, but I reshuffled things around a bit. Chapter 8 is now about the relationship between BDSM and fascism/militarism. Chapter 9 is now about the early 20th century. Since so much of that is influenced by the aftermath of the Great War, and the forces that led to the next war, I decided to put it after the fascism chapter.

To be frank, I’m not completely satisfied with my work. This period was something of a gap in my research, between the relatively well-documented Victorian and post-WWII periods. I have a few leads, such as Edith Kadivec and William Seabrook, and a few documented cases (Percy Grainger and TE Lawrence, for example), but not enough substantial material. Nothing like the Munby-Cullwick relationship, and nothing to really tie it all together.

I’ve also cheated a bit and referred to questionable sources like the Spanking Art wiki on subjects like early French bondage photography studios and the life of Edith Kadivec.

However, the goal now is to complete a rough but finished draft I can show to prospective agents and publishers. The sections with dodgey sources can be edited or cut later.

As the project currently stands, the next two chapters cover the Internet Era (c.1990-2000) and the post-Internet Era (2000-), with an emphasis on the BDSM community as a political entity and the attacks against it. After that comes a foreword, an afterword, and possibly an appendix on Japanese sadomasochism. My current goal is to finish a presentable draft by the end of 2014, and I actually feel fairly confident that I can achieve that.

In the meantime, I am also editing the Master-slave history anthology.

Aug 142014
  • Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York blog has a post on the lost gay leather clubs of New York City, and what has replaced them. I was fortunate enough to visit Manhattan in 1997 and visit the Hellfire Club, the Vault, and a few other venues, all gone when I returned in 2005.
  • Researching William Seabrook, Man Ray and Lee Miller brought me to Silent Porn Star’s post on the psychosexual impact of the First World War, leading to masochism and even effeminization in the male psyche. You’d have to include the cult of Rudolf Valentino as a counter-movement towards a new masculinity.
  • Brian Donovan’s book White Slave Crusades: Race, Gender, and Anti-Vice Activism, 1887-1917 looks like an interesting account of woman-in-captivity fantasies.
  • More than 20 years ago, Wired ran a piece on then-obscure newsgroup
  • A biography of Edith Kadivec (or Cadivec), flagellant, author and child molester in the early 20th century. This is one of those frustrating articles that presents a wealth of detailed information, but no sources or author.
  • Likewise, this history of the House of Milan, producer of bondage magazines and videos, lacks sources and attribution.
  • A mention of the 1980 sadomasochism-themed issue of the art magazine ZG brought me tantalizingly close to this lost artifact. One of the few references I could find:

    Its central theme-sadomasochism-would be interrogated through conflicting inquiries into “violent images of sexuality” as they manifested themselves in film, fashion, art, and music. To my sixteen-year-old eyes (and mind), ZG`s “sadomasochism” issue was incendiary. It opened with “Mistaken Identities,” Dick Hebdige`s account-interwoven with a textual collage of contemporary news reports-of the brutal and sordid death of Sex Pistol Sid Vicious`s muse and partner in crime, Nancy Spungen.