Saturday, August 31, 2013


Today I'd like to talk about fetish, and what it's role is in enhancing and defining the BDSM experience.

I'm not talking at the moment about fetishes people have for feet or some particular activity. What I'm talking about is the stylistic trappings -- the crosses, the leather, the latex, the rubber, the pretty floggers. The toys. Yes, some of the toys are very well designed for their purpose, but they also do something else important. A toy is something you play with. BDSM is play. It can also be a lifestyle, of course. But fetish wear helps make it playful, even if it some of it seems very serious. Donning leather for an evening is a kind of ritual. It may help define the role one is about to play: Master or slave, Dominant or submissive. It can, obviously, signal to one's partner that one wants to play, or draw attention to what kind of play one would like -- why does that dress cover everything by my ass?
I think it serves another important function as well. I've met some people very into punching, and I'm not going to say their kink is not okay. They make sure they do it right, know how hard to hit, what parts of the body are okay and which need to be treated gently. It can be done safely. But for *me*, it's not a turn-on, because it looks like abuse. Do the same amount of impact to the same places on the body, with a flogger, and it looks like play. It is also a nod to the foundations of BDSM -- Safe, Sane, and consensual -- in a way that a fist or even an open hand is not. Fetish wear, of course, can be wonderful for some very sexy self-expression as well. Authors don't get a great deal of input into their covers much of the time, but we get some, and the two covers I've included with this post use unconventional clothing to really tap into the characters involved. I don't think Betsy from Dom and Domme could rock the slutty school girl look Amanda wears on the cover of Brat and Master, or vice-versa, but I think both indicate that someone is going to be having a whole lot of fun.

Friday, August 16, 2013


When I first wrote Roped In, my very first published romance, I was not a big fan of rope. I liked it in principle, loved the lines it made, and the marks it can make on skin. I loved its flexibility. But for restraining someone, it just seemed like it took too darn long. I found knots hard to memorize. My mind does not work well in three-dimensions, especially when things to under other things and then over and so on. Since I was doing more tying than being tied at that point, usually with someone who was not exactly long on patience, the time it took to tie the knots, plus the likelihood that I was going to tie them wrong and have to do it over, sucked a lot of the fun out of the experience. Velcro cuffs went on quick and easy and in a few seconds wrists and ankles were where I wanted them and staying there.

Rope, however, was perfect for Bruce, the hero of that book. He was patient, and all about being in the moment of doing bondage rather than rushing through to the end. That's the right mentality for rope, and I learned to adopt it myself well after I wrote the book. Giving or receiving, rope is a sensual experience. It feels lovely running across the skin (unless you run it across the skin too fast, then it's called rope burn.) There's a learning curve for knots, but that just means that a given tie is going to take longer -- and that means one is playing longer with the rope, and that's a good thing! Rather than rushing through it when I was doing the tying, I learned to take my time and enjoy the experience.

I've learned a bit more about types of rope. Nylon is nice and smooth, and doesn't leave marks, but can give you a nasty rope burn if you're too fast with it. Hemp is rough, and leaves marks. Cotton clothesline is cheap, but I don't like it on me so I don't really want to put it on anyone else. Bamboo Silk is heavenly and soft, but expensive and hard to find. Regardless, rope doesn't just feel sexy, it looks sexy... check out the cover for On Location. Kyle isn't a patient dom like Bruce, but he still has a way with rope because he likes the way he can make it as tight as he wants.

One of my pleasures is writing about submissives and Doms that are all different, and have different approaches to BDSM and their relationship. It's fun to figure out how they'll make it work. There's no one true way to do anything in BDSM, and I think that's an important message. There are times when a very fast restraint like handcuffs or Velcro is hotter than a long session tying knots. But I expect that more of my Doms and submissives are going to be do their bondage with rope, and fewer are going to be using Velcro cuffs, in the future.

Friday, August 9, 2013

My Favorite BDSM Romances

Today I wanted to take a moment to share some of my favorite books that other people have written,  books that, for whatever reason, I enjoyed and made me broaden my ideas as a writer. I always worry I’m going to leave someone out as I make a list like this, and I’m sure I’m doing that, but – that’s what the comments section is for. Feel free to chime in with your own favorites.


I got started reading BDSM romances largely because of Emma Holly. No one book stands out for me, but I’m going to go with Velvet Glove. It’s been a long time, and my memories are hazy, but this one is on my to-read-again shelf.


Raw Silk, by Lisabet Sarai, was another Black Lace book that really moved me. The author uses the exotic location of Thailand very well. I wouldn’t call it a romance, exactly, but it’s extremely steamy.


Natural Law, by Joey Hill, surprised me when I read it. I didn’t really want to read a Femdom romance, but it sucked me in and she proved to me that male submissives can be hot. I explored this space a little in In The Middle (amazon), and I don’t think I would have if I hadn’t read this book by the excellent Joey Hill.


Another one I really liked was Master of the Mountain, by Cherise Sinclair. I’d read her Shadowlands books (love ‘em!) and wasn’t sure I was going to be as enthused about a new series. But I ended up liking this book, and the series, even more. Her understanding of what BDSM is all about in real life really shines through in her books to create believable characters.


Caught, by Cassandra Carr, was another book that surprised me. It’s a quick read, and the pages start burning right from the beginning. I don’t know that I would want to submit to her hero, but he took my breath away – and that mixture of feelings was delicious.


I loved Eliza Gayle’s Midnight Playground. Two delicious heroes, and two is indeed better than one. This is probably my favorite BDSM Menage. This book also confronts issues of body image a bit more head-on than most, and Eliza does a really good job with that.


So... those are some of my favorites. If you’d like to comment on mine, or share some of yours, I’d love that. Always nice to add more books to my TBR list!


Friday, August 2, 2013


Hi, and welcome to my blog.

It's been a while since I had a blog of my own. I ran one on my own site,  for a while, using Wordpress, but it seemed to be the source of some security issues there and I ended up taking it down.

If you don't know me, My name is Sindra van Yssel, and I write erotic romance. My books have strong BDSM themes and usually a hot, dominant hero (or two!) and a strong, submissive heroine. I have published with Loose Id, Cobblestone Press, and Ellora's Cave.

This blog will talk about my books, it will talk about other books I love, the craft and business of writing, and real-life BDSM.

I'm going to use this initial blog post to talk about some upcoming projects of mine. First, On Location, the second book of my Submission Island tetralogy,  has just been published by Ellora's Cave. The third book, Please, Sir, is in the editing process and will be out sometime during the fall. The fourth one, as yet untitled, will feature Roger and I will be writing that later this year so I'm hoping I can have it in readers' hands sometime in 2014.

The third and final book of the Excess trilogy, Brat and Master, will be released by Loose Id on August 20. This book stars Amanda, who was in both Dom and Domme and in Blonde and Owner

I've written and submitted a fifth book in the Bondage Ranch series.

Finally, I'm in the process of writing the first book in a new, open ended series. The first one is titled Only if it Pleases You. I don't have too much to say about it at this point, but it's coming along nicely.