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Today I’m debuting the very first guest interview in this series, which was conducted by J.P. Bowie, who I spoke to a few weeks back about his book, Nowhere to Hide. You can find that post HERE. For now I’ll you leave you to find out more about Cowboy Poet!

Ethan

COWBOY POET BY CLAIRE THOMPSON:

Tyler Sutton can run all he wants from his past, but he’s still got himself to contend with. Clint Darrow, the foreman on a West Texas bull ranch, hides his dominant sensual nature behind the laconic, quiet persona of a true Texas cowboy. When Tyler meets Clint, the sexy cowboy senses Tyler’s need for sensual surrender. Together they fire his dark submissive dreams into a flame of reality.

cowboy poet npJP: When you set out to write this story, had you been researching cowboy poets? I mean, I didn’t even know there was such a person (s).

Claire: I did, actually! My beta reader came across the term, I do believe (she is AMAZING with ideas!) and I started researching it and we thought, hey, that would be a cool idea for a story. A cowboy out in West Texas who is a poet at heart, with lots of secrets and poetic dreams… I did research the background of the genre (it’s been around since there have been cowboys, but sort of died out in the 1940s, but there was a resurgence in the 80s, with festivals and contests springing up in local bars and larger venues all over the country. Today it’s alive and well. Here’s a link for readers curious to learn more. http://www.cowboypoetry.com/rmwhatis.htm#Brief

JP: Talking about research, how do you know so much about bull sperm?

Claire: The sum total of what I know is found in the novel! Hurrah for the Internet! I wanted to add an interesting plot diversion (or Macguffin, http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/macguffin, if you want to use the technical term), so the theft of something valuable on a cattle ranch made me think of sperm. Go figure…

JP: You put a lot of emphasis on the difference between consensual BDSM and one person being overly dominant, or the other being too submissive. Can you expand on the fine line that you draw here?

Claire: I wouldn’t say the line if fine. I’d say it’s big and fat! A consensual D/s (Dominance and submission) relationship is a love connection, pure and simple. Yes, there may be, uh, unusual kinks in that connection, but at its heart, it’s a way of sharing and expressing love and attraction. Unfortunately, there are those out there who use the guise of BDSM to be bullies—to mask or subvert their own fear, hatred or self-loathing by lording it over someone either weaker than themselves, or someone who is searching for a D/s connection, but doesn’t really know that that entails. I have woven this theme into a number of my BDSM novels. Especially for the non-initiated, there is a lot of confusion about consensual, erotic BDSM versus abuse. One has as much to do with the other as a kiss versus a sock in the jaw.

JP: It’s made clear that Tyler is into pain, craves it as part of his sexual release. How common is this among those in the BDSM scene?

Claire: I’d say it’s very common indeed. In fact, my personal view is there are very few actually submissives—that is, they truly and only want to ‘serve and submit’ to another. There are certainly aspects of that in BDSM, but remember too what BDSM stands for. The M is for masochism, and it’s a very specific masochism, that is, seeking and finding pleasure through erotic pain. Pain is a misnomer in this case, or rather, it evolves into something different – a fusing of pleasure and pain, if you will, that transcends any erotic experience I can think of (I bet you can guess how I’m hardwired along the BDSM continuum, huh?)

JP: Um…yeah…When you finish a story like The Cowboy Poet are you tempted to continue the main characters’ stories in another book?

Claire: NO. I am not. I get done with a novel, and I’m like, PHEW! I’m done! But sometimes…after a while, a month or even a year, if the characters have continued to whisper in my psyche, and if enough readers have said, Hey! Where the heck is the rest of this dude’s story!, then I might give in and have a go at a sequel. But not too often. I’ve written over 50 novels, and the sequels can be counted on one hand. I like to move on! (I have a very short attention span. Luckily I type fast, so I can get through the story before my brain has moved on to something else!)

JP: Thanks Claire—we must do this again sometime!

Claire: Hey, this was fun. The questions were unique and original and I had lots of fun answering!

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Excerpt from Cowboy Poet:

The door opened onto a tack room, the warm smells of saddle leather and damp straw causing a sudden, sharp pain of longing for his own horse, left behind at the Double S. Beyond the room were the stables, and, as promised, a basket of carrots stood at the ready.

Taking two, Tyler headed toward the horses, one with a mahogany coat and black mane who stood regal as a king. Tyler offered the dark horse a carrot, which he accepted as his due. The other, a dappled gray, was pawing the thumb_Cowboy poet lgground nervously and tossing her mane, her large eyes rolling.

“Hey there,” Tyler said softly. “You must be Gracie.” He moved slowly toward her, his voice low and soft. “I know how you feel, Gracie. It’s scary sometimes, the things we don’t understand. But it’s just thunder. Clouds bumping. Nothing to be afraid of, here all cozy in this nice dry stable.” He reached toward her with a gentle hand, lightly touching her forehead with his finger, which he moved in a slow, easy circle. Gracie lowered her head, snuffling softly as she accepted the offered carrot.

“That’s true, what you said.” Tyler heard Clint behind him but didn’t turn around. He continued to stroke the horse’s velvet-soft head. “It’s scary sometimes, the things we don’t understand.”

Tyler didn’t reply. Clint continued. “Us cowboys, we grow up with this code, pounded into us from the moment we’re born. You gotta be tough. To be vulnerable, to need another person, is seen to be weak, and no self-respectin’ cowboy wants to be seen as weak. The way I see it, you and me, we was born with the deck stacked against us, seein’ as we’re already what you might call sexual outlaws—hankerin’ after our own kind instead of the opposite sex. For you it’s even tougher, at least on the surface, than for me. Because you’ve got this desire—this need—to submit to another person and to belong to him deeper than most folks will ever understand.”

“I don’t—” Tyler whirled toward Clint, ready to protest, but Clint silenced him with a hand and a word.

“Hush. Hear me out, Ty. Just listen for a little while, then you can tell me all the reasons I’m wrong.”

Tyler turned back toward Gracie, who nuzzled her soft nose against his hand. Fine. He’d let Clint talk, then he’d set him straight.

“I’ve been payin’ attention, Tyler. I know what makes you hot. I know what you need, maybe even better than you do at this point. But I also understand that it ain’t somethin’ that comes easy for a strong man.

“I think maybe you got the notion that what attracts you somehow makes you somethin’ less than a man. The power you have in the situation is in your willingness to trust yourself and your judgment of the man you choose to give yourself to.”

Tyler turned toward him. “Those are fine words, but I’ve been down this path before. I thought it was what I wanted—what I,” he hesitated, stumbling over the word, “…needed, but I was just fooling myself.”

He crossed his arms over his chest, refusing to let that whole horrible mess come washing back over him like a mudslide. “Something’s twisted inside me—something that yearns to be used rough and taken hard. But that doesn’t mean a man has the right to humiliate me or take what isn’t freely given.”

Clint stepped behind him, and strong arms encircled him. Clint rested his head lightly against Tyler’s back. “You been hurt, Tyler. Sounds to me like some kind of bully got ahold of you and took advantage of your nature. I’m right sorry that happened to you, but it’s got nothin’ to do with what you and I are sharin’ right now. You ain’t twisted and there’s nothin’ wrong with you. Let go of whatever shame it is you’re holdin’ onto. Shame’s like a rock, Ty. It weighs you down. Toss it away now—you don’t need it no more. Not with me.”

Clint lifted his head and kissed the back of Tyler’s neck, causing all kinds of mixed emotions to course through him. “As for me,” Clint continued. “I don’t hold much truck with any kind of disrespect. For me it ain’t about one person usin’ the other, or takin’ what he wants ‘cause he can. It’s about connection. It’s about trust. And trust can’t be demanded. It’s got to be earned.”

Clint pulled Tyler toward him. “Now come on, the rain’s let up and Gracie’s fine. Come on back with me to the bunkhouse and I’ll show you what I mean. If you can trust me, Tyler, I can help you get back that spark I know still burns inside you. I’ve got a single tail whip that will show you more than a thousand words could tell you.”

Tyler followed Clint back into the bunkhouse, his mind still rebelling, but his body ready, willing and eager. A single tail whip! Unbidden, unwelcome, the memory of Wayne with the riding quirt in his hand as he held Tyler against the wall, his pants around his knees, burst into Tyler’s mind. He’d nearly come just from the feel of the stinging leather raining over his body, something which had confused and upset him at the time.

How humiliated he’d been when, after the whipping, Wayne had jerked him around and pushed him to his knees. He’d nearly come from that whipping, but as usual Wayne had stopped too soon, too intent on having Tyler suck him off to pay attention to Tyler’s reactions.

The whip, Tyler came to realize later, much later when he’d escaped Wayne’s corrosive control, was merely a tool for Wayne. It was a way to get himself hard, and make himself feel superior. There was none of this poetry and connection Clint had hinted about. None of the passion and sweetness they’d shared the night before.

With Wayne, all too often Tyler had been left aching and on the edge, somehow certain there was more—there had to be more—and yet nearly always feeling as if the rug had been yanked from under him just before he’d achieved what his body and soul seemed to crave.

And yet even that, he was still ashamed to admit, was better than nothing. More than a lonely man who yearned for things he didn’t understand could hope to find on a solitary horse ranch in the middle of West Nowhere. And so he’d stayed with Wayne, for far longer than he should have. Would he be there still, if Wayne hadn’t forced the issue?

© Copyright 2010 Claire Thompson

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