Friday, December 27, 2013

Guest Post, Giveaway and Review: Unrestrained

Unrestrained by Joey W. Hill

Please join me in welcoming Joey W. Hill to Debbie's Book Bag today. Joey is here to promote her book, Unrestrained. I hope you enjoy her guest post about the degrees of dominance and submission. The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of Unrestrained. See details at the end of the post.

Degrees of Dominance and submission…

Because of a difference of opinion that cropped up in reviews about the same story— my newest release, Unrestrained—I’ve been thinking recently about the degree of BDSM in my books. One reviewer felt Unrestrained was very light-handed; another felt it was hardcore and warned readers it wasn’t for the faint-hearted. Both were complimentary of the book, which I appreciated greatly.

This polar opposite opinion on the same book underscores what I was taught at the beginning of my writing career. When you write a story, if you want it to be an honest effort and an honor to your craft, you can’t write it for your audience, your publisher, your royalty check, et cetera (though I might keep a peripheral eye on those things, because electric bills must be paid, and the compliments of readers inspire a warm glow that keeps the creative fires burning – grin). 

Why is that? When I’ve been asked in the past if I ever make decisions about the degree of BDSM in my books based on my intended audience, the answer to that is no. The single determining factor of any element of my stories, including the BDSM content, is my characters. What they desire, and the path they must follow to get to the happily-ever-after they need. 

For me, Domination and submission are the orientation of my characters; BDSM represents the practices that they exercise to express those orientations. For some characters, pure psychological domination is what is needed. My submissive heroine might get weak-kneed and aroused from her Dominant hero simply telling her to sit down with a quiet, pointed look and “that” voice.  Another submissive protagonist might need to challenge his Domme in a way that results in her hog-tying him and zapping his privates with a violet wand, resulting in intense pleasure for both of them with the punishment and restraint. And that’s a random example, btw. I’m not saying male subs are always the ones who crave harsher treatment, because the most hardcore contemporary submissive I’ve had to date was female (Marcie in Hostile Takeover). 

As an example of the contrasts, I’ve posted an excerpt below. This scene is where Dale and Athena, my hero and heroine of Unrestrained, meet for the first time. Athena is at her usual BDSM club, watching a performance by a masked Dom (Dale). Athena served her husband as a Mistress because that’s what he needed, but now that she’s a widow, she’s discovering a deep longing to try the submissive side of things. 

While Dale is working with a submissive who needs higher levels of pain, I think Athena’s need for a very psychological form of Domination (at least at first) comes through during this scene. That’s the joy and pleasure of writing the BDSM romance genre. Every love story is so diverse, I never know exactly where we’re going to go until we’re there. It keeps things interesting. Hope you enjoy this glimpse of Dale and Athena!

WARNING: This is an erotic romance and the book and excerpt may contain materiel not appropriate for readers under 18 years of age. (Debbie's Book Bag!)

Follow this link for Joey's excerpt and the complete first chapter of Unrestrained.

Publishing Details:

Publication Date: 12/03/2013
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Berkley Heat
Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance
Pages: 416
ISBN-10: 0425260682
ISBN-13: 978-0425260685

(Received for an honest review from Berkley Heat)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound

Joey W. Hill on the WEB: Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads


From Joey W. Hill—author of the Knights of the Boardroom series—comes a novel of erotic games and power plays, in which an adventurous woman attempts to break down her own barriers…

Athena is an accomplished businesswoman in control of every aspect of her life. But since the death of her husband, she’s had the desire to explore submissive cravings she’s had for some time. Unfortunately, Athena is known as a Mistress, because that’s the role she’s always played.

Her type A personality was strong enough to serve her husband as a Domme because that’s what he needed. It’s not until she meets Dale, a retired Navy SEAL, that she attempts to discover what her own submissive desires are. But letting go of her control is not so easy.

Fortunately, Dale is an accomplished Master who can help Athena live out her fantasies. And as she slowly surrenders to his touch, both of them will learn more about the nature of love between Dominant and submissive, and how it defies all expectations.


Joey W. Hll is in arguably the queen of erotic romance. Her latest book, Unrestrained is nothing less than impressive. Hill's characters are strong willed and very comfortable in their own skins. They know what they want and how to get it. This novel focuses on the idea of submission and mastery in a way that readers of the genre may not have experienced before. The tables turn for main character Athena when she meets a new Dom, Dale. She goes from being a mistress to being a sub who is exploring her own inner desires. A great spin-off from Hill's Knights of the Boardroom series!

What I liked:

I've been reading erotic romance and BDSM books for quite some time. Most of them are your typical books of this kind, with sexy young characters who are either just getting acquainted with the lifestyle or fall into it rather accidentally. Not so with Joey W. Hill's latest book, Unrestrained. Unrestrained is definitely the horse of a different color. The main characters, Athena and Dale are not new to BDSM scene. Both are not youngsters, but adults who have lives and careers outside the BDSM community. Athena has long been a mistress in the boardroom and in the bedroom and Dale is retired Navy SEAL who is adept at mastery. I liked the fact that Hill gives us seasoned characters who have experience and know what they want and what they need. It was a good choice of characters and development.

Athena is a very capable woman. She knows how to accomplish things in her career and her life. She spent a wonderful marriage with a husband whose needs she lovingly accommodated, as his wife and as his mistress. She is well known in the BDSM community in that role, even after Roy succumbed to cancer three years ago. But now that he's gone she can't seem to adjust to taking on a new sub. When she meets master Dale, she begins to realize her inner desires to flip the script and explore her submissive side. I loved the fact that Hill allows Athena to learn about her own needs in this book. She isn't giving in to someone else or even giving up her control. She is in the drivers seat here all the way. She is just letting Dale guide her where she wants to go. A great character!

Dale is quite the Dom. A former Navy SEAL, and it is not conceivable that he would not be dominant. But there are so many other things about him that not what the reader would expect. He is a gardener, he rescues animals and he operates a junk yard. LOL...he's definitely an interesting guy. He has a softer side, but he needs that extra punch when it comes to his sex life. His drives are strong and unrelenting in his life and his bed. I thought he was a perfect match for Athena. She can be dominant but she doesn't need to be. He is dominant but he can be soft as well. Great counterparts!

What I didn't like: 

Club settings are common for BDSM books. They are places where doms and subs can meet and explore in a public venue. Club Surreal is a typical club of this kind. Sometimes I wish the setting could be a bit more diverse. It's that... "you've read about one club, you've read about them all" idea. You have a lot of clubs, resorts and that sort of thing in this kind of book, that I wish we could sometimes get away from. Certainly not a deal breaker though, this book was top notch all the way.

Bottom Line:

This book was exceptional. Joey W. Hill knows how to write erotic romance. Her characters are diverse and different. I liked the fact that they weren't young pups, so to speak and the fact that they were real people who needed a little something more when it came to the bedroom. Not all of us are able to explore our fantasies in this way, but reading Hill's writing, definitely hits the spot.

Unrestrained is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

About the Author:

Joey W. Hill’s erotic romances, both paranormal and contemporary, have earned a unique place in the genre with their memorable characters and exceptional emotional depth. She is the author of the Knights of the Boardroom series including Honor Bound and Controlled Response, and the Vampire Queen series including Taken by a Vampire and Bound by the Vampire Queen. A recipient of multiple Top Reviewer Picks from Romantic Times, Night Owl Romance, ParaNormal Romance Reviews, TwoLips and others, she has been nominated for the Romantic Times 2009 Career Achievement Award in Erotica.

Giveaway Details:

The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of Unrestrained by Joey W. Hill.

~ You must be an email subscriber to participate.
~ US Addresses only.
~ The deadline to enter this giveaway is Midnight EST, January 10th.

1. Please leave a comment describing how you feel about dominant and submissive behavior, pros and cons, good, bad, ugly, you decide.
2. Please fill out the FORM.


Joey W. Hill said...

Deb, thank you for the wonderful and thoughtful review! I appreciate you doing that and taking the time to share it with others. Thanks also for letting me talk about Unrestrained here today. Hope you and yours are having a wonderful holiday season.

Jars Schlegel said...

I love reading Joey Hill books. They were introduced to me through a friend at work and I am so glad we are OB nurse's and very open about everthing we discuss. I cant wait to read more of her work

Joey W. Hill said...

Jars, thanks so much for stopping by. You reminded me of a great group conversation I had at Lora Leigh's Reader Appreciation Weekend (RAW) with a group of ladies, two of whom were nurses. They kept us rolling with their stores, and you're right - they were very open about things! (grin) My thanks to your friend, and so glad you've been enjoying my work!

Oh, and depending on which series you've both been reading, there are free download novellas and shorts revisiting the series characters on the fan forum, access info at if you want to learn more about those (wink). I can't seem to stay away from my favorite characters!

Evanlea Author said...

I have enjoyed every one of Joey's books that I have read. I think my feelings in real life may be a bit different that what I am willing to read, but as long as the story is done well, I enjoy reading it. Not everyone looks at relationships the same and I enjoy reading about others preferences. I have read some bad dom/sub relationships - were it appears to be more about a power play and comes off more abusive than anything.

Tracy Nickels said...

I have read "just" about everyone
of your books The best one was taken By a Vampire. I'm a devote
fraidy-cat when it comes to describing the Dom and Sub relation ship. It scares me pure
and simple. If I would run the other way if I met one. I'm looking forward to reading this one <3

Joey W. Hill said...

Evanlea, thanks for that comment. I've done a couple blog posts about that very topic - about how what we read can often differ from our "real life" preferences, but I think that's all part of a very healthy fantasy life. I always use the pirate example - I might fantasize about being kidnapped and ravished by a handsome pirate captain, but the reality - being kidnapped by a violent criminal and trapped on a leaky boat eating worm-infested biscuits? (lol)

Of course the reality of BDSM relationships can often be as--or even more--beautiful than what is written in our books, but it is still very much a personal preference. But when we read, we can let our imaginations expand far beyond our realities (smile). Thanks for your great comment.

Tracy, thank you so much - I'm always so glad to have you as a reader and, as I said to Evanlea above, it's perfectly okay to go on the journey as a pure fantasy rather than a sought-reality. We all need escapism!

Carl Scott said...

I'm on the fence on the subject. A little bit of BDSM play is certainly not harmful but I worry about the problem of a descent into male misogyny. Not a healthy thing at all.
Still, we can't be afraid to explore.

justpeachy36 said...

Thanks for chatting with us Joey. It is always a pleasure to have you at Debbie's Book Bag.

I think it is so true that reading BDSM novels is in large part fantasy for most of us. Though I understand the relationships and how they can be beautiful or abusive given the circumstances and participants. I know there are some people out there, that require something "more" and for them this is a reality.

I prefer to stay in the realm of fantasy and watch from afar! But I am accepting of those who choose other forms of pleasure and believe that love can be manifested in many different ways.

Aza T said...

Love Joey's Knights of the Boardroom series and looking forward to reading all of the Nature of Desire series. Reading any type of romance novel, lets us live vicariously through the characters and maybe give us some ideas for our own bedrooms.

Joey W. Hill said...

Carl, the dominant BDSM role is just as appealing to many women -- and the submissive role appealing to many men -- which I think helps to point out that BDSM is at its heart a voluntary power exchange. When honored, that keeps it in a healthy realm. BDSM erotic romance can of course play on the edges in a way that reality can't always do without entering into those damaging areas, which may also be why reading it as fantasy is so appealing. We can go where reality can''t necessarily take us. Very good comment.

Deb, well said! And it's a pleasure to be here. Thanks for having me.

Aza, thank you, and that's very true. I've heard from a lot of readers that erotic romance has given them more confidence and inspiration in the bedroom, and I always love hearing that! :)

lag123 said...

I'm a little on the fence too. I enjoy reading it if there is a good plot I read one series where there was no plot at all and that was disturbing... Joey is a new author for me and I must look for some of her books.
lag110 at mchsi dot com

Joey W. Hill said...

Lag, hope you find my work worthwhile! If you visit my website, you'll find free Chapter One excerpts for all my books and blurbs/series descriptions, so you can see if they're your cup of tea. Happy reading!

Natasha said...

I love reading books about BDSM and it is great to fantasize about.
Thanks for the chance to win!

Renee said...

As long as the Dom respects the sub, I can read it. Respect is a must.

Anita Yancey said...

I don't care much for dominant and submissive behavior myself personally, but I love reading about it in books. Thanks for having the giveaway.


Lisa Salvary said...

I enjoy reading about dominants and submissives and the complexity of the psychological, emotional, and sexual aspects of the relationships. Pros: it seems more intense than vanilla relationships. There is much more focus on pleasure, limits, and aftercare. Cons: it can be a haven for abuse.

I appreciate the safe, consensual aspect of it if the dominant, at the very least, is trained. This is not something the inexperienced should be attempting with another inexperienced person. Floggers, whips, spanking, etc. require training, aftercare, and a knowledge of pain tolerance.

This is one reason I appreciate Joey W. Hill's bdsm books because she takes care to describe what is consensual vs abuse. I've read Natural Law and Ice Queen so far. I am intrigued by the level of understanding she shows about the journey to embrace submission as well as revealing the responsibility of dominance.

Dominance and submission isn't for everyone. It is not gender specific, which I appreciate as well. I'm grateful for fictional exploration of this controversial topic by authors like Joey W. Hill.

bn100 said...

Not really a fan of it