Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Submission by Robert Cage and Kathryn Sparrow

TITLE: Submission
SERIES TITLE AND NUMBER: Submit for Redemption Book 1
PUBLISHER:  Storm Moon Press
RELEASE DATE:  April 17, 2015
GENRE:  BDSM Romance
TAGS: Gay, BDSM, Contemporary, LGBT, M/M, Military, Romance 

When Army Ranger Captain Everett Palmer enters gay BDSM club Cuffed Links, he is seeking brutal punishment for what he perceives to be an unforgivable failure: allowing an entire squad of men under his command to die while he worked to defuse a bomb at his base. Everett initially wants only pure pain, which professional interrogator and jaded British aristocrat Colonel Phineas Bainbridge is more than prepared to give. Their meeting, however, is not at all by chance.

Phineas has been contracted to coerce a false confession from Everett, implicating the captain in planting the bomb. Phineas has tortured many men in the past, but there is something different about Everett Palmer, a man whose sheer purity of soul causes the colonel to question his every selfish, devious act and legion of war crimes.

In Submit for Redemption: Book One – Submission, erotic romance and spiritual redemption come from the most unexpected places – from the seedy extremes of a smoke-laden, neon-drenched bondage den to the tropical, hedonistic pleasures of Phineas’ private Greek island.

On this unbidden psychosexual odyssey, Everett and Phineas find exactly what they don’t expect: a chance to redeem their troubled souls and fulfil their every romantic ideal. But the clock is ticking. The deeper Phineas falls in love with Everett, the harder it becomes to finish his assigned task. If he succeeds, the consequences may be far more explosive than he ever anticipated.

Ev watched Finny assume a fencing stance, legs bent, feet at a ninety-degree angle, weapon in hand. He did the same, telling himself he was studying his opponent, looking for weaknesses in his defenses, but he knew he was lying—he was gazing at Finny for the sheer pleasure of admiring the compelling lines of the imposing man’s body.

He’s like some kind of great cat, lithe and elegant, but with an underlying menace beneath the cool confidence—it just flips my switch. The sword seemed another extension of Finny’s hand, just like his whips and cigarette holders. Ev’s heart began pounding.

This could more than hurt. He could cause permanent damage, especially to my eyes.
“Uh, shouldn’t we have protective gear?” he asked.

Finny’s lips rose at the corners in a feral smile, and desire washed over Ev.

“My dear captain, are you not up to the challenge? Well, perhaps masks would be prudent.”
Finny strolled to the wall, pausing to admire himself briefly in his tailored white pants and matching light-weight jacket. He took a moment to remove his blazer, revealing a black silk shirt and white ascot tied artfully at the neck. The black reminded Ev of a jaguar, but that seemed too small to represent Finny. A lion would be closer, with its larger size and regal bearing, but somehow a lion seemed too average.

No, Finny would be something exotic. Then Ev saw it—the pocket square in Finny’s tossed jacket was black and white-striped. Yes, the man was a royal white tiger—a large, exotic predator that moved with deadly splendor.

Finny plucked down two fencing masks and tossed him one. Ev was so taken watching the black silk ripple and shimmer along Finny’s large biceps that he fumbled the mask before catching it.

When Finny approached him, Ev imagined he was being hunted by a wild animal. Goose bumps covered Ev, but he wouldn’t flee. He was eager to engage his tiger and regretted that even though their grappling would be at a distance. Ev raised his weapon in a proper salute.

Finny’s lips curved up as he returned the gesture in an exaggerated fashion. His blade made a whooshing sound as it whipped through the air.

He remembered a line from something he had once read: the beast roars its defiance with supreme confidence. Ev was coming to expect nothing less from the mighty man.

They donned their masks, assuming the En Garde position. Ev looked at a pixelated Finny through the crisscross pattern of the mask and noticed their weapons were on the same side. Finny was fighting left-handed. Ev wanted to laugh—just another way that Finny was part of the advantaged few. Why is this man giving me the time of day again?

 “What, Finny? Not going to start with your right hand and then make some clever remark about being left-handed, like in The Princess Bride?”

Ev could just make out the puzzled expression on Finny’s face through the mesh of the mask. “Princess Bride? There are no princesses here, my dear captain. Surely, you’ve realized that by now—fence!” Finny immediately started advancing on Everett’s position.
Ev retreated a few steps, watching Finny’s torso to judge his movements. He found himself almost too distracted by the broad expanse.

Pull it together Palmer. Where is that famous single-minded focus? He retreated a step and breathed deeply, centering himself, then extended his arm and tapped Finny’s blade in a beat, testing.

Finny didn’t react to such a heavy-handed jab—he only continued to advance.
Aggressive S.O.B. Ev grinned.

With stunning speed, Finny stepped in, beat Ev's blade, feinted, and then lunged, deftly scoring a hit on his torso.

“Halt,” Finny called.

The sting of the point striking through his unprotected workout clothes sent a buzz of desire through Ev as he straightened from his fencing crouch. “You got me, Finny. I guess that’s another bruise for my collection.” Ev wanted to rub the spot where the man had marked him, and he wasn’t sure whether it was from discomfort or pleasure.

Finny chuckled. “I do so like adding to your collection. En Garde.”

They took up starting positions and then Finny gave him “Pret, allez.”

This time Everett was better prepared. He might enjoy Finny marking him, but he was going to make His Excellency work for it. They had several exchanges of beats and parries before Ev scored his first touché on Finny’s sword arm. 

“Off target,” Finny snapped.

“What? Now we’re following the rules?”

“Yes—my rules.”

Finny assumed his stance and started toward Ev without waiting, smashing his blade in a strong beat to the outside, thrusting, and lunging to score on the center of Ev’s torso. Before Ev had time to register the delicious, stinging pain, Finny recovered from the lunge almost immediately and prepared to attack again.

We really are playing by Finny’s rules. Or he’s playing me, more like.

This time when Finny came at him, Ev defended himself by circling his blade around his opponent’s in a winding motion, tangling them together. Ev snapped his wrist, pulling the weapon from Finny’s hand and tossing it across the room.


Ev extended his blade toward Finny’s neck. “You were saying?” Ev couldn’t help the satisfaction that laced his tone.

Finny’s eyebrows rose.

“Yes, as I was saying, my rules.”

Finny reached up, grabbed Ev’s blade and tugged, pulling him in close. The heat radiating off of Finny’s body made Ev dizzy with want. Then, when he was off balance, Finny swiped a leg around his, knocking him to the ground and landing on top of him. Finny still had Ev’s blade in both his hands, now neatly across Ev’s neck like a garrote.

Ev struggled to catch his racing breath, his face inches from Finny’s, but blocked by the mask. The weight of Finny on him, dominating him, made his cock hard. Finny lifted his own mask slowly, and then removed Everett’s. The big man leaned in, pressing their lips together.

Hi everybody! I’m Robert Cage, one of the co-authors (along with Kathryn Sparrow) of Submission: Submit for Redemption, Book One. Thanks for hosting us today.

For me, music is an essential part of my daily life, especially as a writer. Music can lift my mood, calm me when I’m feeling stressed, and yes, even provide creative inspiration. It’s actually become an essential tool in my creative arsenal.

I’m a sensory writer. I have to have a clear picture in my head of a scene, not just for logistical and continuity reasons, but to bring it to three-dimensional life. Precisely defining how your characters look dictates many times how they should behave and what they should say in certain situations. I watch scads of movies and TV, in addition to reading, and I often “cast” actors in my head when writing (that’s another whole blog in itself).

At the same time, I ask myself what music (either score or source music) would be used if my book was a film or TV show. What music would add meaning to the scene without overwhelming it? Which musical cues would heighten suspense and drive the action? Which musical artists have sensibilities similar to my characters?

When writing our novel Submit for Redemption, I was faithful to this process, and by the time I was finished, I had over 40 songs in my head for various scenes in both Book One and Book Two.

In this blog, I’ll list just some of the tracks that inspired me during the writing of Book One (with links to them, so you can listen to or buy them) and offer some explanations as to why they fit specific scenes.

·         Out of My League from More than just a Dream (by Fitz and the Tantrums) — If SfR were a film, I’d probably start it off with something ominous. I picture a jeep driven by two men, dropping off a dazed and half-conscious Everett near his Kabul Army base. Dark and stormy night, right? Ev’s eyes begin to flutter and the Tantrums track starts up, almost in his head (“More than just a dream….”). As the first verse plays, you can still see the two men who dropped Ev off in the background, engaging in a violent argument, likely debating their own actions. After the first verse, right before the chorus, there’s what sounds like a huge thunderclap and in that space we go into Ev’s head completely—the memory of his first night at Cuffed Links, meeting Finny. We see Ev half-plastered at Cuffed Links, staring into the bar mirror, wondering what the hell he’s doing there, while behind him a wall of half-naked men dance and shimmy amidst cascading glitter and pink smoke. The chorus says what Ev might be thinking in flashback, about Finny: “You were out of my league/All the things I believed/You were just the right kind/Yeah, you were more than just a dream.”

·         Lonely Boy from El Camino (by the Black Keys) — This one’s especially vivid for me, and follows the above track. In another part of Cuffed Links, we see a large, masked leathered man wielding a huge bullwhip against a bound naked sub who’s cuffed to a metal pole in one of the corners of the club. His strokes are becoming more violent and his sub (who’s paying to be flogged) keeps egging his punisher on, as do the growing crowd of onlookers. Into this fray, enters Hector, Finny’s co-conspirator, housemate, and owner of the club. Hector raises his voice, attempting to get the Dom’s attention, saying something like “He’s here…now!” The leathered man turns right to the camera and removes his black hood, revealing Finny, panting, bathed in sweat, his expression that of a rabid animal. The four-bar guitar break in the Black Keys’ driving track is the moment I can see Finny revealing himself, making his onscreen entrance.

·         Super Bass from Pink Friday (by Nikki Minaj) — The minute Finny and Ev’s eyes lock at the bar—Finny in his white suit, Ev still handcuffed (from a near-assault by another patron that Finny averted), the chorus of Minaj’s dance-rap anthem soars euphorically: “You got my heartbeat running away/Beating like a drum and it’s comin’ your way….” Both men have no idea who or what they’re looking at, but they can’t stop looking. Whatever it is, it’s something somehow right, yet they can’t define it any further.

·         Can’t Feel My Face from Beauty Behind the Madness (by The Weeknd) — OK, I’m cheating here. I originally had a somewhat slinky seductive Jerry Harrison track (“AKA Love”) in the montage where Finny and Hector lead Ev on a somewhat wild goose chase back to Finny’s compound, Ev trying to keep pace with Finny’s Mercedes. But if I could do it over today, this scene would have to be set to the hip-shaking rhythms of the Weeknd’s phenomenal track about dark, inexplicable attraction.

·         Monster from The Fame Monster (by Lady Gaga) — Speaking of montages, I couldn’t think of anything better than Gaga’s over-the-top glam anthem. Face it, if Finny were a diva, he’d BE Lady Gaga! The scene in Book One where Finny whisks Ev from his compound (via helicopter) to a private plane bound for his Greek island is tailor-made for this track’s vigorous tempo as well as its slightly ominous lyrics (Finny really is something of a monster, devouring anything and everything in his path, as readers should know, at this point in the story at least). At the song’s bridge, I see Finny turning to the camera before entering the jet, waving to the Stratham doms and subs that are still on the tarmac. He’s got his sunglasses on amidst the Klieg lights, looking like a rock star.

·         Angeles from Either/Or (by Elliott Smith) — The late Elliott Smith’s derisive paean to the city of Los Angeles came to mind for the scene where Finny watches Ev frolic in the waves on their first morning on the Greek isle of Phineas. You can see all the conflicting emotions wash over Finny’s face (delight, lust, regret, fear, disgust for himself and what he must eventually do to Ev) as Smith’s lyrics neatly mirror both the pleasurable and the painful reasons behind Finny bringing Everett on this journey: “I could make you satisfied in everything you do/All your secret wishes could right now be coming true/Be forever/With my poison arms/Around you….” I can imagine the waves in which Ev is swimming turning to bright red, as seen through Finny’s eyes. Always gives me chills.

·         Heartbeats from Deep Cuts (by The Knife) — Lots of people have used this seminal track by Swedish alt-dance-pop duo The Knife to good effect, for good reason. It’s an addictive, elastic track with insightful, simply killer lyrics. I see it used in the fencing sequence (excerpted above) between Finny and Everett simply because of its mad parrying ping-pong rhtyhm. And the lyrics couldn’t be more apt, especially the bridge: “And you/You knew the hand of a devil/And you/Kept us awake with wolves teeth/Sharing different heartbeats/In one night.” Jose Gonzalez’s acoustic version is even more haunting.

·         Crew Cut from Max Baker (by the Tijuana Panthers) — For the longest time, I visualized some country hoe-down chestnut playing over the Blair and Clark stage sex show, but this Tex-Mex track from Long Beach CA rockers Tijuana Panthers more cooly fits the bill. I imagine a nice tall metal pole for Blair to straddle and swing around, greased and g-stringed, of course. Yee-haw is right.

I’ll probably be posting a complete list on my own blog soon, but for now, thanks for joining us.

Contact either Kathryn or myself on Twitter or by email. We live to hear from readers!

Robert: @robertcage2 on Twitter or
Kathryn: @KSparrowAuthor on Twitter or  

GIVEAWAY:  $25.00 Amazon Gift Card

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