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More Original or Deliver What Readers Want? by @MarieSexton | The Heretic Doms Club Book Tour and $20 Amazon/BN GC #Giveaway | M/M #BDSM #Romance

Hello, everybody. I’m Marie Sexton. For those who don’t know me, I write gay romance. My first book, Promises , came out in 20...

Hello, everybody. I’m Marie Sexton. For those who don’t know me, I write gay romance. My first book, Promises, came out in 2010. Since then, I’ve published thirty-some books, spanning most of the sub-genres. I’ve written contemporary, scifi, fantasy, a bit of mystery, and a few odd genre mash-ups. Most recently, I published Spare the Rod, the third book in the Heretic Doms Club series. (Contemporary BDSM, set in Denver.)

I was scanning a list of interview questions, trying to decide what to write about, when I came to this one:

Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?

 Here’s the thing – I don’t do either. When I sit down to write, I’m not thinking, “how can I make this as unique as possible?” Maybe I should, but I’m not. But I also never swerve from course in order to placate my readers. Here’s how it usually works: the characters arrive in my head, usually with a critical scene or two almost fully realized. I start formulating a story around that, but the characters always lead the way, telling me which bits matter to them and which don’t. 

Now, it’s certainly true that most romance readers expect things to advance in a certain way. And sometimes my characters go that direction. One might even say they usually go that direction. 

But not always. 

The opening scene of my third story (The Letter Z), where Angelo and Cole sleep together was the first instance of my characters going their own direction. Zach and Angelo knew they wanted their relationship to be a certain way. I was new enough to romance that I even know I’d broken a rule, but I had. Readers hated it at first. Holy cow, did they hate it! But over time, the reaction sort of evened out. They began to accept that different couples can have different types of relationships. Eventually, the positive response drowned out the negative. 

The next big instance was Between Sinners and Saints. Prior to that book, if somebody wrote about religion in a gay romance novel, it was to demonize it. But that wasn’t what Levi wanted. Levi wanted to find some resolution between being gay and being raised by a Mormon family. He wanted to bridge that gap. Again, the initial response wasn’t great, simply because it wasn’t what people expected. But just like with The Letter Z, the response seemed to change over time. I received countless emails from people brought up in religious homes, thanking me for my open-mindedness with regard to religion. Now, eight or nine years later, the response to that book has swung heavily the other direction. It’s one of my best-selling books, and probably the book I get the most email about. 

And now, I have the Heretic Doms Club. I knew from the beginning that these characters wanted to go their own direction. I knew they were going to push boundaries and (frankly) piss quite a few people off. That’s why I changed the series name from the Failed Doms Club to the Heretic Doms Club – to tip people off that these men intended to break a few rules. And break them they did (especially Gray, the protagonist of the third novel, Spare the Rod). Much like with Between Sinners and Saints, the initial public reaction has been mixed, but privately, I’ve received many messages thanking me for not following the beaten path. 

Will things continue to swing my way, as they did with Between Sinners and Saints? I don’t know. Only time will tell, really. But to some extent, it doesn’t matter. It’s done, for better worse. There’s no point in looking back, wondering if it was the right choice or not. The only thing I can do is move on to the next book, and the book after that, and the book after that. 

As always, my characters lead the way. The only thing I can do is follow. 

One Man's Trash 
The Heretic Doms Club Book 1 
by Marie Sexton 
Genre: M/M BDSM Romance 

After four tours in Afghanistan, Warren Groves couldn’t settle into civilian life. For the last twelve years, he’s survived by working odd and often illegal jobs for some of Denver’s less fortunate. His personal life is equally unsatisfactory. He can barely remember the last time he had sex, let alone the last time he got to use somebody hard and rough, the way he likes. Fate intervenes when a favor for a friend leads him to a pretty young rentboy named Taylor Reynolds.

Taylor’s spent the last few years on his own, working as a hustler, going home with anybody who’ll give him a warm meal and a place to sleep. He enjoys having a bit of force used against him, and he makes Warren an offer he can’t refuse — all the sex he wants, as rough and dirty as he likes, in exchange for room and board.

At first, Warren thinks he’s struck gold. Taylor’s the perfect roommate — he cooks, he cleans, and he’s dynamite in the sack. But Taylor has some dark demons in his head and some even darker cravings. Falling for somebody as volatile as Taylor is dangerous enough, but when Taylor’s urges turn truly self-destructive, it’ll be up to Warren to decide just how far to let things go. 

Terms of Service 
The Heretic Doms Club Book 2 

Dr. River McKay moved to Denver with his husband, Terrence, hoping to give their failing marriage a new start. A year later, Terrence is gone and River’s left brokenhearted. Now, he’s decided it’s time to get back in the game. A chance encounter at the hospital introduces him to Phil, a strong-willed pharmacist who isn’t impressed by River’s degree.

Phil can’t deny his attraction to River, but dating is out of the question. Phil only does one kind of relationship -- domestic servitude, where he gives the orders and his partner obeys. To his surprise, River agrees -- not because he likes the idea, but because anything’s better than being alone.

They know the arrangement won’t last. Phil’s set in his ways and incapable of showing affection outside the bedroom. River’s unused to obedience and still in love with his ex. But their time together will change them, making them question everything they thought they knew about love, control, and relationships. When the unexpected threatens to tear them apart, they’ll have to choose between the comforts of the past and a future they can only find together. 

Spare the Rod 
The Heretic Doms Club Book 3 

Gray Andino is a Denver cop with a pain kink and a history of falling in love with the wrong people. He’s jealous of his friends’ newfound happiness, but with a brain that won’t shut up and a need to argue everything, finding his own soul mate seems impossible, so he settles for meaningless sex and doling out pain with willing subs. 

Subs like Avery Barron. 

When Avery asks to stay with Gray for a few weeks, Gray reluctantly agrees. Avery may be the perfect sub, but as an accidental roommate, he sucks. The younger child of rich, indulgent parents, Avery is an entitled slob with a disdain for rules, a lack of ambition, and an obsession with social media. Gray tolerates his presence, but when Avery breaks one of Gray’s ground rules, he punishes him and takes away his phone. 

Deprived of his usual echo chamber, Avery feels lost until he discovers a local Tap House, a piano, and his buried love of music. The more Avery plays, the more the community around him blossoms. For the first time in his life, Avery has a purpose and goals for the future. But the thing he longs for most—Gray’s love and respect—may be forever out of reach. 

Marie Sexton lives in Colorado. She's a fan of just about anything that involves muscular young men piling on top of each other. In particular, she loves the Denver Broncos and enjoys going to the games with her husband. Her imaginary friends often tag along. Marie has one daughter, two cats, and one dog, all of whom seem bent on destroying what remains of her sanity. She loves them anyway. 

$20 gift card to Amazon or Barnes & Noble (winner's choice)

Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!


Get carried away with love!