My characters always have bad habits and vices. It’s a topic I find endlessly fascinating to write about and I’m remarkably tolerant of all manner of bad habits (probably because I have so many myself). However, in my latest novel one of my main characters turned out to be remarkably intolerant of his partner’s bad habits and set about trying to cure him via the method of domestic discipline and a side order of BDSM. Of course, Cosmo turns out to be incredibly resistant to Alasdair’s machinations, but it got me thinking about our vices and how we go about ridding ourselves of them.
One of my most frustrating bad habits (according to my husband) is an inability to pick up after myself and a blindness to dust and dirt. I tend to see the second as more of a blessing than a curse, and it’s the kind of thing that only really bothers him so I’m not too strongly motivated to work on curing that bad habit (especially as that would involve doing actual housework – ugh!)
The kind of bad habits that tend to get the most attention are the more obviously anti-social ones, like smoking, spitting and swearing. I consider spitting to be horribly uncouth and can’t imagine writing a character who likes to spit on the pavements, but the other two bad habits are fair game. Since becoming the parent of a young child I no longer swear much in real life, but sometimes I think that means all those repressed swear words come out through my characters. Cosmo and Alasdair both turned out to be pretty foul-mouthed at times. In BDSM literature, bad language is usually treated as something that needs to be disciplined out of a submissive. However, perhaps because of his own verbal quirks, Alasdair didn’t see the problem with this.
Smoking, on the other hand, was an entirely different matter. Now, I totally understand why smoking has become so taboo. It’s dangerous to health and I’ve lost two of my heavy-smoking relatives to lung cancer. However, despite all this I still smoke. Not often—I don’t even have a one-a-day habit, more like a one-a-week habit—but when I’m out socializing (especially if the drinks are flowing) I do love to have a rollie or two. This is why I’m always able to sympathise with characters who smoke. Smoking is deeply pleasurable. It eases your stress and gives you a great headrush. What’s more, nicotine has been proven to temporarily enhance brain power, so it really can make you more witty and charming.
Because of the sheer allure of smoking and Cosmo’s long-standing addiction, giving up the ciggies isn’t something that happens during the time frame of the novel (although it does make up the plot of the freebie short story, Screw the Fags). The only bad habit Alasdair gets anywhere near conquering is Cosmo’s slouching posture. I have to admit, this time I’m with Alasdair. I’m one of those weird people who actually loves straight-backed chairs and wearing corsets, and seeing other people slouch drives me up the wall! I don’t think I’d go to the lengths Alasdair does to correct the habit, but I am tempted to sometimes put books on youngster’s heads and order them to walk around without letting them fall. There must be a bit of the Victorian schoolmarm in me after all ;)
What’s your worst habit, and what do you think it would take to cure you of it? And which bad habit would you most like to cure in others?
Comment to win! Jo is offering a choice of a book from her backlist to one lucky commenter on this post, and all commenters throughout the blog tour will also be entered into a draw for the grand prize of a handmade suede flogger, to be announced on 25th February.
Also, watch out for the follow-up short story, Screw the Fags. To be available as a free download from Smashwords and All Romance eBooks this week!
Screwing the System
Forced to apply for a job he doesn’t want, Cosmo Rawlins has only one aim in mind: fail the interview and get back to making music. Except his attempt to shock the older, sharp-suited Alasdair Grant doesn’t have the desired effect.
Instead of getting thrown out of the office by flaunting an interest in BDSM, Cosmo finds himself on his knees, apologizing to the sexy, good-looking Top.
Alasdair has more important things on his mind than training a novice sub, especially a rebellious bad boy like Cosmo. But there’s something beneath the younger man’s defiant attitude that’s too intriguing to ignore.
As Alasdair takes Cosmo in hand—and for a wild ride on his Harley—he becomes obsessed with bending the young rocker to his will, both in and out of bed. Until he goes one demand too far, and Cosmo is gone in a cloud of dust. Forcing Alasdair to admit that earning Cosmo’s loyalty—and love—will involve the toughest challenge he’s ever faced.
Warning: This title contains an overbearing Top with a less-than-glamorous job, a rebellious brat who refuses to call him sir, and a total lack of high-end BDSM clubs or playrooms. Expect floggings over the kitchen table instead.
About the author:
English through and through, Josephine Myles is addicted to tea and busy cultivating a reputation for eccentricity. She writes gay erotica and romance, but finds the erotica keeps cuddling up to the romance, and the romance keeps corrupting the erotica. Jo blames her rebellious muse but he never listens to her anyway, no matter how much she threatens him with a big stick. She’s beginning to suspect he enjoys it.
For more information about Jo’s published stories, regular blog posts and saucy free reads, visit JosephineMyles.com