Welcome to SL Armstrong and K Piet! They’ve just put together the Brothercest anthology Fraternal Devotion (along with Kristen Pavka as editor with K Piet) and are here for the tour. This blog tour is quite a bit different from most, however. K Piet is going to talk about that below and then I’ll give you my 2-cents after that. But first, the floor goes to the two lovely authors!
It’s opening week for Storm Moon Press’ newest anthology, Fraternal Devotion, and already, the book has been banned from distribution channels such as Amazon and All Romance Ebooks. This, of course, is due to the subject matter of the anthology: consensual romance between brothers. In short, we’ve been banned because our book contains consensual incest. Now, this is a topic, and a taboo, that not a lot of writers go into. Even fewer publishers will touch it. But that’s the joy of being part of the Storm Moon Press team. When we are intrigued by a theme, we write up an anthology call, and if we have enough quality submissions, then the book gets made!
But, in this case, it begs the question: Why publish it? If you know you’re going to be banned from distribution, if you know you won’t have too many sales because of that, if you know it deals with a hot-button topic that many readers won’t even touch on principle… Why publish it?
Good question! We have a few answers!
- We Love It – It should come as no surprise that this tops the list of reasons. As a publisher, we wouldn’t put out the call for submissions unless we wanted to see the anthology come together and be put out there for readers. As authors, S.L. and I have always been partial to this taboo sort of brotherly love. We love mixing the family dynamic with all the relationship angst that can come from wanting someone who is supposed to be off limits. We love bro-cest, and we particularly love twincest. It’s a taboo that we’ve written in the past (see Love & Agony and Advent) and will continue to write in our various works-in-progress.
- It’s a Legitimate Taboo to Enjoy – That’s right. I said it. You can enjoy the fantasy of brothers getting it on and not feel ashamed. Or, at least, that’s how we hope people feel when they find this anthology. Those of us who ever enjoyed fanfiction have probably been exposed to varying degrees of consensual incest (Supernatural, Harry Potter, and Lord of the Rings instantly come to mind). By enjoying the taboo of it and the fantasy presented in fiction, you aren’t automatically condoning incest or abuse in real life. You may or may not, but no matter what view you take on the subject in the context of real life, it doesn’t delegitimize your enjoyment of the subject in fiction. We believe context is everything. Fiction is a safe space to explore taboo topics that real life morals/ethics bar us from. It isn’t often you’ll see us shy away from the taboo. We recognize the value of fantasy in fiction and are happy to provide this sort of anthology to those who enjoy the bro-cest theme in the context of erotic romance.
- Love and Consent Should be Encouraged Over Abuse – When you look through fiction, you’ll find a wide range of books across several genres that deal with incestuous relationships. One thing you might notice is that, to most publishers and certainly most distributors, if it’s forced or non-consensual, then you’re good to go. Look at books like the Dollanganger series by V.C. Andrews. Bestselling gothic novels that involve incest as an element of the gothic horror (and we’re not knocking the books; S.L.’s actually a big fan of Flowers in the Attic). Even beyond that, though, there are countless books that involve graphic violence, incredibly hateful prose, and turn the stomach of most readers in the same way torture-porn and slasher flicks tend to horrify moviegoers. Violence in fiction? Forced incest? Murder? Hate crimes? Rape? Oh, that’s all okay—”it’s fiction, after all”—but write an explicit romance involving siblings, and it’ll never make it past the censors. In our minds, love and consent should be more accepted within the realm of fiction. The addition of consent shouldn’t somehow make the content more objectionable. It’s fiction, it’s fantasy, and we think it should have the same opportunity to be put out there for readers to either love or hate. It isn’t that other books don’t deserve to be published; it’s the opposite. Our book, and others like it that focus on love, even surrounding taboo subjects in the realm of fictional fantasy, should get the same chance other hot-button subjects get to prove themselves to the audience. Some will love it, and some will hate it, but the freedom to publish such fiction shouldn’t be compromised. Censorship is, quite simply, inconsistent. ^_^
So, yes, we definitely have our reasons to publish this anthology. We have a love for the material, we want others who love the material to not feel ashamed for loving it, and we feel that books about love—even taboo love between brothers—deserve to be published like any other subject matter. We all have our limits when it comes to erotic material. It’s so very subjective, depending on many elements for a wide variety of people. When a book doesn’t appeal to us or pushes that limit, we’re put in a position to either rethink the limit or make it a hard line we don’t cross. We encourage that! Know your limits! And if incest between brothers is within your boundaries, or on the edge of them, we encourage you to give this anthology a try. Due to limited distribution, it’s easiest to buy it from the Storm Moon Press website, but buying from there gives you reader reward points and gives a higher royalty percentage to the authors, so it’s a win-win!
Here’s a taste of my contribution to the anthology, “On the Edge”, co-authored with S.L. Armstrong:
Ben was down on the dance floor, and he could have been made of sparkling gold and glittering sapphires with the way heads turned to follow him. Ben was probably oblivious to the attention, but from his perch, Andrew could see everything. Every last fucking depressing detail.
Ben had gotten glitzed up for tonight; he’d made a special effort, and Andrew just knew it was going to pay off. His twin was fucking gorgeous without any help, and the extra time Ben had spent on his appearance just made the men flock to him. It was like a fresh piece of meat being dangled above a room full of circling wildcats. Sooner or later, someone was going to pounce. The thought made Andrew’s mood even blacker, and he threw back a shot of Everclear. He wanted to get drunk. He wanted to forget the mess his life had become.
“Hey there, rainy skies.”
Andrew wanted to be left the fuck alone. He glanced darkly over his shoulder for a moment, and then looked at the dance floor again, fully intending to ignore the twink of a guy next to him. Probably high on something. The guy was far too friendly for his own good.
“Aww, not even a hello?” The man didn’t sound deterred in the slightest. “You might be the little black raincloud hovering under the honey tree, but I bet I could put a smile on your face, if you let me.”
Andrew practically growled. He didn’t want a damn pick-me-up; he wanted Ben. He wondered if Ben could possibly feel the heat coming from his gaze. An itch on his back, maybe? Something that would make him brush off the two men who were getting really friendly with him on the dance floor. Movement caught Andrew’s eye at the corner of his vision, and he glanced over to see the twink moving in close, looking down at the crowd with him. Not just next to him, but with him.
“Mmm… pretty-boy down there yours?” The twink turned away from the railing and leaned back against it, trying to catch his eye. Andrew gave in and met the gaze, his own eyes filled with annoyance. The young, brunet man wasn’t unattractive. Hell, he even had really nice green eyes—green that he could see in the club lighting, which was kind of impressive. But, no matter how cute the guy was, his endless cheer just made him want to smack the smile off his face and have another shot of hard liquor. A brown eyebrow was arched at him. “Or maybe he was, and you’re both available now? Well, Golden Boy down there isn’t my type. If you feel like trading the ‘fuck you’ sign off your forehead for a pair of wings, I’ll hook you up.” A grin curved his lips as he looked Andrew up and down. “And more, if you like.”
Fraternal Devotion – Now Available for $6.99 (ebook)
I am definitely one of the target readers for this anthology. I haven’t made secret in the past that one of my very favorite kinks is brothercest. I’ve called in twincest in the past, and while there is definitely a delineation between twincest and brothercest, I enjoy both. I know many readers do not. I have heard from some readers that enjoy twincest that the reason is because the relationship is much more even than in other pairings, such as m/f or even other m/m books. For me, that isn’t quite the reason. I’m not even sure what it is exactly, but I think it ties into the fact that such a relationship (between twins) seems safer, in some ways. The fantasy of having someone there with me throughout my life, whether platonic or romantic, is a great one. It isn’t icky for me to imagine falling in love someone who might be very similar to myself in fantasy, and might even look like me. As far as brothercest goes, I think it opens up a few other possibilities, and definitely more, or at least different, possibilities for conflict. Here, the power between the two brothers might be very different. I love seeing how authors deal with this, and the taboo, to me, simply makes it a mostly untapped market for stories.
The censorship issue bothers me. It seems like it keeps cropping up lately too. But then, these are evolving rules for the esellers, then the kerfuffle with Paypal, which mostly just made me sad.
What do you all think of incest/brothercest/twincest and the issues of censorship?? Leave a comment to win a copy of the anthology (Giveaway Rules below).
Please leave a comment below about the post to win an ebook copy of Fraternal Devotion. The giveaway will last until Midnight CDT on Wednesday, August 29. I will choose the winner using Random.org and email the winner who will then have 48 hours from the time of the drawing to reply to my email. I will then forward the winner’s information to Storm Moon Press so they can receive their book.
Please enter the email you’d wish me to contact you at in the comment form, or if you prefer, leave it in the message.
Thank you and good luck!