Friday, May 02, 2014

Heidi Cullinan “Real people behind the Stories” Interview with Mark & Liam


We have Heidi Cullinan with us on day two of our BDSM week, talking to the ‘Real’ people behind the stories, two friends of hers, Mark and Liam… And today, Heidi gets to ask all the questions, I love this… I get the day off! A huge thanks to Mark and Liam for agreeing to be in the hot seat and to Heidi, well, for just being awesome… thanks guys!

Heidi will also be gifting a signed paperback of her novel Dirty Laundry which was a five star read for me, all you need to do is enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance of winning this great prize!



Heidi Cullinan Interviews Mark & Liam

M & L

When Monique asked me what I wanted to talk about for Sinfully Sexy Book Reviews BDSM week, I knew right away I wanted to talk about the real people behind the stories everyone loves to read. I decided rather than tell you about the real people I know, I’d bring them directly to you. Everybody, meet Liam and Mark. They’re friends of mine, longtime boyfriends, and all around fabulous men who have been around the block in the BDSM Lifestyle. Guys, tell us a little about yourselves.

Liam: Heidi, get ready you’re about to learn something about me. Cullinan fans, I’m sure you’re familiar with Sam Keller-Tedsoe, well according to friends and sources, I’m like a real-life Sam. Heidi can you confirm that? *smirks* I will admit I would love to be a bit more out going and confident like Sam, but...

As a “Muggle” I enjoy nature, aquariums, plants, and animals. My hobbies help me keep my ADHD from really bothering me. They keep me busy and help me focus on other problems.

I’m going back to school for Web Design, and really enjoying it. Heidi mentioned I’m a writer, but I will have to disappoint you. I probably will never be published. ADHD and editing aren’t good bed fellows.

I’m always bad at these “tell me about yourself” things, ugh, it took me almost a month to decide what I wanted to say on Scruff, the fun dating app I found Mark on. Actually, this is a lot like that, hmmm, think I’ll find a date on here?

Mark: I describe myself as a leather geek. Comics, drawing, graphic novels and video games are some of my passions (I admit I’m more of a DC guy than a Marvel guy, Batman above all else), as well as film theory, art deco architecture, and psychology. Whether it’s a liquid latex Venom or working out designs for a fetishized Black Mask, my greatest pleasure comes from combining comic culture with fetishwear. Nerd and proud.

I started exploring leather/BDSM in early 2011, and through the encouragement of friends, ran for and won the title of Mr. Iowa Leather 2013 in October 2012. There was a time I really loathed the word “shy,” and thought jumping headfirst into leather would help me break free from that. In meeting the different BDSM communities across the country, it did, and I met many, many other sexy geeks—like Liam. My year as Mr. Iowa Leather taught me I was not alone in this mindset, and far more people were just as curious about exploring their fetishes as I was. I competed at International Mr. Leather XXX5 in Chicago, and placed 20th out of 51 contestants.

More recently, I accepted the position of Public Relations Liaison for the fetish organization Titans of the Midwest, and I participate in the planning and execution of KINK U, a series of multi-state kink education workshops that teach others how to learn new skills and play safely.

(Yes, Liam, I knew you were Sam, which is why I had you dance with him in Hooch & Cake.)

I met Liam through a local writing group, and Marcellus writes too. Does kink/ BDSM feature in your writing—directly or indirectly?

Liam: I’ve been working on adding kink into my stories a bit more, as well as making kink the story line. Though, all my characters tend to have a bit of kink in them. I am working on a couple stories now that are heavily into kink. Both are puppy play (write what you know) but delve into other kinks well.

Mark: Yes, to both. My primary project is a Batman novel I’ve been working on for a few years that imagines what the Gotham City BDSM community is like. And yes, as you might expect, that scene is intimidating, with high-intensity play that might frighten those unfamiliar with BDSM. Questions of consent and stability do arise with some characters. But the story follows other individuals in the context of sensual, loving relationships, as well as in their “civilian” lives. This is ultimately a story about identity and sexuality, and what may look frightening or hurtful as an outsider becomes intimacy and safety in the eyes of those living it.

How much kink/BDSM do you read? Favorite authors/types of stories? What type of BDSM stories do you wish you could read more of?

Liam: I will admit I don’t read a lot of BDSM/kink, I think the big problem is that the few books I have read were badly edited, or poorly written, or based almost purely on that person’s perceived ideas and knowledge of the kink. All well and good, but it can get a little annoying when you can tell they have not researched the kink at all nor do they care.

The other sad thing, is that some of the best kink I have read is fanfic and slash. Sad but true, at least in my experience.
I did enjoy the “Puppy Love” series by Jeff Erno.
Favorite Author from those I’ve read?

Well, I have to say Heidi, she researches and knows her stuff. Though I will admit I’m biased. I’m Sam Keller after all.

I will always say more pup play. I want to read more. I’ve even got a story started but as I mentioned earlier, I get a little distracted.

Mark: Most of the BDSM literature I read is nonfictional personal experience from different time periods in leather history. Examples include Mark Thompson’s “Leatherfolk,” Guy Baldwin’s “Ties That Bind,” and “Leathersex” by Joseph W. Bean. It helps me establish character viewpoints both as a scene newcomer and as a veteran. Recently, I finished Damon Suede’s “Bad Idea” (still have a serious crush on Silas Goolsby) and started Heidi Cullinan’s “Double Blind,” both of which I enjoy immensely. Laura Antoniou’s “The Killer Wore Leather” was a hoot to read (having lived the titleholder/pageant experience), and “The Marketplace” series is also on my list. Needless to say, my reading queue is starting to get quite monstrous.

While erotic literature is always a pleasure, I prefer it to forward a coherent plot in the context of scenes rather than stand alone. I would love to read more mysteries with a kinky side. One’s personality can be wildly different inside and outside the dungeon.

Liam, I wanted to ask you specifically about Tyr, your pup alter-ego. Tell us about life as a puppy and why you love it.

Liam: Truthfully, most pups will tell you that a pups “alter-ego” is more of an extension or a condensing, of who they are. The alter-ego is their ego. They are pup and pup is them. Heidi, you know me, I’m always a little pupish. I like blaming the ADHD but it’s the puppy, too.

Tyr is way fun, he’s a bit excitable, loves chewing and licking EVERYTHING, hide your shoes. Ooh! That brings up an interesting point, Feet do nothing for Liam, nothing. Tyr loves chewing on shoes and sniffing feet. So there are differences between Tyr and Liam’s kinks. Tyr loves fetch, stritches, belly rubs, ear rubs, and cuddling. Liam likes cuddling, too.

Being a pup, lets me forget about human problems for awhile. It’s a way of letting go. More often then not, after a pup session I can usually find answers to things that were bothering me before we started. It’s like a deeper form of meditation.

Mark, as a former Mr. Iowa Leather and a leader in the local/regional leather community, would you talk a little about what that experience has meant to you? What about that experience challenged you? What did it teach you/does it mean to you?

Mark: I always considered myself the “shy kid in the corner.” I used to hate going out, because I felt placeless in the gay community. I was too bald to be a twink. I wasn’t muscular enough to be a leather daddy. Small talk made my skin crawl and overcoming social anxiety and irrepressible awkwardness was a constant struggle. I didn’t think I could be sexy, because being “gay” was still alien to me. In short, I was a ghost. Running for Mr. Iowa Leather was a collective “fuck you” to some of my inner demons: you’ll never fit in, body image doubts, collective social anxiety. I remembered reading an interview with Diablo Cody, the screenwriter of “Juno,” “Jennifer’s Body,” etc., who dealt with her body image doubts by becoming a stripper and actively educating herself on pole-dancing, erotic dance and etiquette appropriate to the profession. I thought perhaps a similar radical form of immersion therapy would help me the same way.

When I first went into a leather bar, I was wearing a slightly-too-big leather harness I had borrowed from a friend, and felt like the kid wearing a t-shirt at the swimming pool. I went outside for a smoke and a friend of mine gave me the best advice I had all night: “Just be yourself. Relax and have fun.” And suddenly it all made sense. No expectations to live up to beyond respect and having an open mind. The same attitude carried me to the stage of International Mr. Leather. I was standing beside some of the hottest men I had ever seen, and for once I felt like I belonged.

To me, being a leader is helping others find their voice and confidence, as my leather brothers helped me find mine. It goes far beyond a title year. So many people assume that to be a “good” kinkster or “expert” at BDSM, you need to be good-looking and have all the answers. Wrong. Self-acceptance, and always searching for answers with an open mind and a willingness to learn, is how to become skilled *and* sexy.

I think that’s my new favorite quote, Mark, that last line.

For both of you: What is it you want Sinfully Sexy’s readers to know about BDSM and the Lifestyle? Are there any stereotypes you’d like to smash or confirm? Secret passwords you want to share? Tips you want to give?


The biggest thing, and I think I keep saying this is Kink guys are cool, talk to us, say hi. If you are interested in something ask. Most guys, other then some bitchy leather queens, will happily talk to you about their kink or gear.

I honestly wouldn’t be here talking about this today if not for a wonderful Irish ginger Daddy named Gerard. I was at the local “leather” bar, and he offered me a drink. We ended up chatting all afternoon. He’s really cool, his husband is just as cool, they are both good friends now.

They call them stereotypes for a reason, they happen, they are real. Some big ones I really want to address though:

1. Dominant equals Top and subordinate equals bottom: Some of the hottest bottoms I have been with were the Dominant. Though, there is a difference between a bossy bottom and a Dom bottom.

2. Subs are weak: Not true. It’s takes a lot of self-knowing, and courage to trust a guy to say ok, here I am, I am all yours. Subs are also in control, they decide how far a scene goes, if a sub uses their safe word, the scene stops.

3. Switches are real: I am one. I can Dominate and I can sub. Normally, I sub, but when I want to Dom, I can and do. I’ve gotten plenty of men, Doms and subs, who say I need to choose one or the other, or I’m just a sub fooling himself into thinking I can be a Dom. Honestly, I don’t care what you think, I like switching. I’m also Vers, versatile, I like to top and bottom. I bottom more often but that doesn’t mean like topping any less. Mark and I are both connoisseurs of fine male ass!

Mark: Many individuals in BDSM go beyond a “label.” That hulking muscle jock may be a Dom, a sub, a switch, a pup, or a Furry. The same goes for the curvaceous woman in a custom corset. Or the shy guy in the corner. Ask first. Don’t assume. And don’t assume you’re not hot enough. Let the other person determine that one, too.

Negotiation defines your experience. Be open and honest with your fantasies. Sex isn’t something to be ashamed of, it’s something to be explored. The BDSM community embraces this idea and enforces it with consent. Is it ok if I do this? Does it turn you on if I did this? If you can’t make verbal negotiation sexy, perhaps you just need more practice.

The problem of the “Perfect Top.” Many people lament that there aren’t enough Dominants or Tops in their respective communities. The reason is that the expectation and pressure to deliver the perfect scene rests solely upon their ability to listen and deliver based on another person’s mental image. A Top must be a mind-reader, an expert, attentive listener relying on intuition and body language to give the submissive their fantasy as requested. If a Top doesn’t fall within expectations rooted in perfectionism, they may be mocked and humiliated. No one’s perfect, but a good Top will pay attention to your needs and what turns you on. Remember that Tops have fantasies, too.

Okay, nope. “Remember that Tops have fantasies too” is my new fave. That and “don’t stick your dick in crazy.”

If you’re willing to share: these readers love the dirty details—they’re all voyeur kinksters. What are your favorite kinks, together or individually? What have you tried that you said, “Okay, not so much.” What do you doubt you’ll ever try? What are you considering trying?

Liam: Ha! I think my best story is how I discovered fisting and how I realized I loved it. Mark, I’m sure, is rolling his eyes but it’s all his fault. He as very talented hands. So to start this story, negotiations before a scene are VERY important, however, sometimes when things are fluid even more fun things happen. So the scene we had decided on was just a good ole fashioned rimming, fingering, jerk off. Simple not terrible kinky, sorry to disappoint. Mark is behind me teasing me, he’s good at that. After about twenty minutes I’m going crazy, begging for more, moaning, twitching, hard as a rock. I can tell Mark is enjoying himself as well.

The scene wraps up and I look at him after and ask him many fingers he got. He smiles, it a devilishly sexy smile that makes my knees a little week, and wraps thumb and forefinger around his wrist about half an inch past the palm heal. My jaw drops in disbelief, he nods.

“I like fisting now.”
My other kinks include: rope, bondage, teasing, undies, spandex, leather, sports gear, blindfolds. I’m a total exhibitionist, love outdoor play time,

Mark: I tried a water sports scene at IML (International Mr. Leather) with a man I was intensely attracted to and felt comfortable enough to explore fetishes I was curious about. We were in a hotel room, and we stood in the bathtub.

“You want my piss, don’t you?” he asked. It was like being asked if a shoe turned me on. It was a neutral item, neither turn-on nor turn-off.

I told him it wasn’t doing anything for me. Then he asked me if I’ve ever fisted a guy.

“I’ve never done that before,” I tell him.
“Put on this latex glove. Use plenty of lube. And I’ll tell you what I want.”
And so he gave me direction on what he wanted, how much more he needed, and eventually became confident enough in my skill that he asked I gag him with a spare jockstrap in the room while I worked in more of my fingers. When he orgasmed without being touched, just by the motion of my hand inside him, I thought it was the hottest scene I had had in a very long time. I remember the surrender he gave me, and the giddy rush of power when he begged for more of my hand between moans. Since then, fisting, bondage, and wearing masks have been my favorite kinks. I have been exploring more with CBT (cock-and-ball torture) techniques as a Top, and paddling/spanking. There’s nothing like turning thick ass cheeks red with my handprints.

Love it, guys! J I’m sure Sinfully Sexy’s readers do too.

And finally...favorite toy/equipment, and favorite gear outfit (pictures very much appreciated).

Liam: My puppy gear is on top: leather hood, leather color, spandex tights, wrestling singlet, or a jock, my tail plug, and boxing finger gloves as my fronts paws. Really want a kilt, and chaps.

Mark: My favorite gear are my red-trim Wesco boots I bought at the Vendor Mart at International Mr. Leather, and a vintage matching belt and leather “ammo pouch” perfect for holding condoms and single-use lube packets. I love leather that has history. A perfect example is a leather jacket originally bought in Dore Alley in 1974 and passed down to me, and even though it has its share of wear and tear, I like to wonder what hot scenes it was present for across time.

Thanks for letting me interview you guys! <3 Hopefully either I or Cal can come play at the Saddle again soon.



About Heidi Cullinan

Heidi Cullinan has always loved a good love story, provided it has a happy ending. She enjoys writing across many genres but loves above all to write happy, romantic endings for LGBT characters because there just aren't enough of those stories out there. When Heidi isn't writing, she enjoys cooking, reading, knitting, listening to music, and watching television with her husband and ten-year-old daughter. Heidi is a vocal advocate for LGBT rights and is proud to be from the first midwestern state with full marriage equality.

Find out more about Heidi, including her social networks, at



Books available from Heidi Cullinan


Heidi will also be gifting a signed paperback of her novel Dirty Laundry which was a five star read for me, all you need to do is enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance of winning this great prize!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Kindle Fire HD Giveaway


Enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win a Kindle Fire HD…

Good Luck!

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Giveaway Conditions

  1. The Kindle Fire HD giveaway is international unless excluded.  If your country is not on the list that Amazon delivers to, you will not be eligible win this  prize.
  2. Sinfully Sexy Book Reviews is not responsible for damage to the Kindle in transit.  All issues regarding this must be addressed to Amazon.
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  1. Thanks for the interview, I still think fisting looks crazy scary.I can't name a favorite BDSM book since a lot of what I read has some type of BDSM in it. I tend to stick with books that are mild to medium and the most hardcore BDSM I've read would be Tiffany Reisz.

  2. Thanks for the interview. It was great to hear from two people truly in the BDSM world discuss it. A big thank you to Liam and Mark for sharing.

  3. I'd like to echo those thanks to Liam and Mark for their openness and to Heidi for the inspiration and to Sinfully Sexy for hosting! I'm pretty sure my favourite BDSM book is Special Delivery and that was because it was the first one I read that I really understood what was motivating the characters. :) The whole series is my favourite.

  4. I had to pop on to say hi and thanks to Liam and Mark...and Heidi of course. That was an amazing, informative and very open and honest interview. "Don't stick your dick in crazy" is definitely my favourite line! Lol! ��

  5. Great interview & giveaway. Liam and Mark are a riot!

  6. This was great!! Don't stick your dick in crazy--- OH MY GOD THAT IS PRICELESS!!!

  7. loved the interview with Mark and Liam!

  8. Loved this, thanks for your openness. Had me laughing. I love her books and am always eager for me, so it's great seeing where her inspiration comes from. Heidi has some of my favorites as well as Cherise.

  9. Great interview...and yes...real people in fiction is kind of a given, right...people, in general, are inspirational.

  10. Enlightening! Thanks guys for sharing.

  11. Thx Liam, Mark and Heidi for the great and very insightful interview. I wish for everyone more self-acceptance, an open mind and a willingness to would be much easier and more enjoyable. :) <3 Tina

  12. great interview and would love to read this

  13. That was a very informative interview, it was really awesome and open. So glad I could learn more!

  14. Awesome. Thanks for the chance!

  15. Very interesting post. Thank you for sharing.

  16. Great interview. Thanks Liam and Mark. I love every book I've read by Heidi.

  17. So cool to see the people who've inspired such great stories. Thanks Liam & Mark, you sound like fun people!

  18. Great Interview. Thanks for sharing :)

  19. Great interview, thanks to Mark and Liam for sharing with us.

  20. That was fun :) thank you, Mark and Liam for giving yourself over to Heidi :) Nice to hear from 'real' people about the scene and the realities