Prism Book Alliance® would like to thank Delphine Dryden for stopping by today. Please give them a warm welcome.
Title: Top to Bottom
Author: Delphine Dryden
Cover Artist: L.C. Chase
Genre: BDSM, Contemporary, Gay, Gay Fiction, Gay Romance, Romance
Release Date: 07/18/2016
Drusilla Stasevich wants to leave the past behind and start the next chapter of her life. Returning to her hometown to open her dream kink club, Escape, seems like the perfect solution. But it can be tricky making dreams come true—especially when the person you want to share them with isn’t around anymore.
Amie Templeton is no stranger to tough times. She’s learned to make it on her own, and doesn’t do relationships outside the kink world. When her ex Dru moves back to town, old feelings surface. But that’s fine, right, since Dru has just opened the hottest new kink club in town?
Dru and Amie want to get the distracting spark between them out of their systems. Instead, their intense play sessions fan that spark into a flame. As if Dru didn’t have enough on her plate, an anonymous saboteur threatens to push her new club out of business. It will take the help of everybody at Escape to set things right again, and a lot of trust for Dru and Amie to start working toward a new life together.
For most of my writing career, I’ve focused on m/f romance. This wasn’t a conscious decision on my part; it was more the natural outcome of my lack of interest in m/m, and my perception that most romance at the time I got started was m/f, and I wanted to be able to sell my books.
Later, I did branch out a bit. I wrote some m/f/f, and an f/f short, and I liked that dynamic. But for some reason—even though I’m bisexual myself, and currently in a relationship with a woman—I hesitated to write f/f. I felt uncomfortable, I think, representing something that felt so personal to me. As if my experience wasn’t enough to qualify me to write f/f. Bisexuals (particularly if they’re in hetero relationships, which I was for a long time) are often kind of excluded from queer communities, and may not even be known as queer in straight communities. So for a long time, I think I didn’t really feel “queer enough” to write a love story between two women. And the basic m/f love story is so iconic, so archetypal, in our culture, that I clung to it much longer than I should have. Boy meets girl; what could be simpler or better known?
TOP TO BOTTOM is the book where I pushed myself out of my m/f comfort zone and into the delightful world of f/f. And while I’m glad I did it—relieved and proud—I know that because the book is a female/female romance, it is likely not to sell as well as male/female or male/male. Thinking about the reality of that, the systemic cultural reasons behind it, is definitely squarely outside my comfort zone, even though I’m faced with it all the time in real life. So many readers seem almost squeamish about lesbian romance, or seem to feel that something is inherently absent in a relationship between two women. Or, sadly, they simply don’t get how the whole thing…works. And they can’t push past that—women, who in theory might want to identify with either female main character, can’t push past their discomfort with the lack of a male hero—to get to the truth of the story, which is this: it’s just another love story.
That was one of the main lessons I took away from crafting this book, and I’m chagrined that I didn’t realize it all along, or didn’t realize that it applies to fiction just as it does in real life: it doesn’t matter what the dangly bits are, or how the characters identify. That might impact how one or the other of them reacts in a given situation, or what the sex act looks like, but it doesn’t change the heart of the story. One person meets another person. Over time, and through obstacles, love takes hold of them both and doesn’t let go. In the end, they decide to be together because their feelings for one another are stronger than whatever stands between them. That’s all the story is; that’s all the story ever is, but it’s enough to keep us coming back time and time again. At one time, pretty much all the versions of it were m/f. More recently, we got an influx of m/m, and a lot of readers took to that. I’m interested to see if eventually, the same thing happens with f/f.
If I had trouble changing my mindset in order to write this book, I can only imagine the work some folks will have to do in order to enjoy reading it. It’s not easy, or comfortable, to examine yourself that way and acknowledge where you’ve been wrong-minded. But my own change gives me hope that as more f/f romance becomes available—and I am seeing more of it out there than ever before—more readers will start to challenge their own beliefs and preconceptions, examine their reactions, and open up to the possibility that the most important part of any romance isn’t the sex; it’s the love. And love is love is love is love.
To celebrate the release of Top to Bottom, one lucky person will win an ebook package of Dom Around the Corner and The Unicorn, plus a $5 Amazon gift certificate. Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on July 23, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info.
For the duration of the tour, Del is also giving away paperback copies of her steampunk books Scarlet Devices and Gilded Lily. Contact her via her website’s contact page, put your favorite mythical beast in the subject line and your name and address in the body. Limit to 20 people total, or until the tour ends.
About the Author
Delphine Dryden probably should have gone ahead and become an English professor like she planned. Instead, she took a detour through law school, another detour through the wonderful world of working in special education, and took an extra fifteen years to end up where she belonged: writing kinky romances.
Del’s writing has earned an Award of Excellence and Reviewers’ Choice Award from Romantic Times Book Reviews, an EPIC Award, and a Colorado Romance Writers’ Award of Excellence. When not writing or editing, she can be found binge-watching television shows with her girlfriend, playing tabletop games, and tweeting to excess.
Connect with Delphine:
One random commenter with thoughtful, relevant comments will win a $25 gift certificate each month in 2016.
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