Brenda Cothern is an international best-selling and award winning erotic romance author with several BDSM titles. She is an ‘ally’ of the gay community, an educator, and very active in the Tampa Bay, FL leather and kink community.
Early Life & Education
Cothern was born in Stratford, New Jersey in 1970. Her father was an Army veteran and her mother was a waitress who later became a paramedic then a nurse. Cothern grew up in Clementon, New Jersey and her childhood was full of adventure running around the surrounding lakes and woods when she was not sneaking into Clementon Lake Park.
At the age of twelve, her parents divorced. Hearing her mother kick out her father started her rebellious stage that lasted until she was seventeen. Starting at the age thirteen, this included multiple times running away, hitch-hiking, from New Jersey to North Carolina where her father resided.
For several years, Cothern’s life was all about the drug and alcohol abuse. It wasn’t until she found herself in a New Mexico jail that she realized it was time to go home to New Jersey. Her mother bailed her out and she returned home to start again. Having dropped out of High School at fourteen, she obtained her GED at seventeen and attended Camden County Community College to obtain her EMT
For several years, Cothern volunteered with Clementon Fire Rescue and Blackwood Fire Company while working as a waitress and a ride operator at Clementon Lake Park. In 1992, Cothern moved to Spring Hill, Florida and in 1994, entered the Pasco County Community Collage Emergency Medical Services program to obtain her Paramedic Certification and Associates of Arts degree (while working as a stripper). In 2004, Cothern once again returned to college. She graduated in 2006 from Kaplan University with two bachelors degrees: Business Management and Marketing.
Cothern has held a plethora of jobs throughout the years, including amusement park ride operator, waitress, stripper, bartender, EMT, paramedic, nanny, land surveyor, AutoCAD blueprint designer, telemarketer, website designer, personal assistant to an attorney, Chief Operations Officer for a marketing company, author, publisher, and most recently the CEO and owner of two small businesses.
In 2010, after leaving corporate America behind, Cothern shifted her career to become an author. Due to her rapid success, she open her first small business, Wench Publishing, Inc.
In January of 2014 after the last leather bar in Tampa Bay closed down, Cothern founded the Tampa Bay’s Leather Social that is held once a month for those in the leather and kink community to gather and socialize.
In December of 2015, Cothern was given the opportunity to purchase the Florida Leather & Fetish Pride (FLFP) weekend event, which she did and incorporated it in January of 2016. In 2018, FLFP added a Critter Contest to the weekend event so that those who identify as an animal (kitty, bunny, fox, etc.) could also have a platform to experience the aspects of competing for a title. The same year, Pup Aechus (the first Critter title holder, FLFP Critter 2019) and Cothern created the first ever Critter flag.
Cothern released her first novel in December of 2010. She writes fantasy, paranormal, and contemporary erotic romance, the majority of which is gay. She has several titles that contain BDSM related themes. They include first exposure to the lifestyle, sadomasochism, Dom/sub dynamics, and various aspects of play. She is proud to say that all of the BDSM play scenes contained in her novels are either from first-hand experience (the majority) or from watching and speaking to trained Doms. Her goal is to represent the lifestyle as realistically as possible and she refuses to incorporate lifestyle elements into her novels that she knows nothing about. Because of this, Cothern has tried many types of play to be able to portray the submissive/play bottom’s experience accurately.
In 2013, Cothern’s BDSM title, Undercover Love, was officially endorsed by the Tampa Bay Leather Tribe and is the only book the Tribe has ever endorsed (it was also banned on Amazon, though that is no longer the case). Cothern’s novel, Fire & Ice, was a 2015 nominee for the Geoff Mains Non-Fiction Book Award from the National Leather Association-International. The same S/m novel was a Goodreads M/M Member’s Choice Award nominee for the Best Enemies to Lovers and Best Fetish/Kink. Several other titles have been nominated by Goodreads readers and they include: Guns & Hoses All Time Favorite 2014, I.N.E.T. (book 1) Best of 2016, I.N.E.T. (book 2) Best of 2016.
Only five of Cothern’s thirty titles have not made the Amazon Best-Seller’s list. However, twenty-nine of the thirty became best-sellers on All Romance eBooks. Additionally, several titles have been selected as ‘Recommended Reads’ and have won awards from various romance and/or erotic books blogger sites.
Conventions & Events
Since 2012, when Cothern appeared at Vitambi Springs Resort’s Taboo weekend, she has made author appearances at many events and conventions. By far, lifestyle events are her favorite. Some of her favorite appearances include:
- Necronomicon, Florida (2011-2015)
- Florida Bash, Clearwater, FL (2013)
- Florida Leather & Fetish Pride Weekend, Tampa, FL (2013-2014)
- MegaCon Orlando, FL (2013-2017)
- Alt. Life Bike Fest., Clewston, FL (2014)
- RainbowCon, Tampa, FL (2014-2015)
- K.I.N.K. Jacksonville, FL (2015)
- Mr. Code Contest, St. Petersburg, FL (2015)
- Mr. Sawmill Contest / Leather & Fetish Weekend, Dade City, FL (2015)
After the release of Cothern’s first novel (Barely Restrained), Cothern became the de facto consultant for BDSM information for several authors in the M/M romance genre and is listed as such in their novels. She has also educated hundreds of fans who have read her novels and had questions or an interest in the lifestyle.
Cothern has taught at several events, whether lifestyle related or not, on subjects that include writing, publishing, and BDSM play and lifestyle related topics. She has been a guest lecturer at St. Leo College (psychology course) and at the University of South Florida (sexual studies course) to speak about the BDSM lifestyle. Additionally, Cothern is frequently approached to do demonstrations, which she does, and teach her class on play negotiation.
In 2011, Cothern joined the Tampa Bay Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and was the first biological female Sister in the House. She became Sister Lolly Lick-a-lot and remained with the Tampa house for four years. In 2012, she was one of three Sisters who modified and updated the by-laws. During her time with the Sisters, she was the House secretary (2013), Vice President (2014-2015), and served on several committees.
Aside from her Board responsibilities, Cothern was also in charge of condom distribution for the Tampa side of the Bay. She was also one of the original hosts of the Chatting with the Sisters podcast on GSH Radio that aired once a week for two years. By the time Cothern left the Tampa Bay House in 2015, she had volunteered almost 1000 hours of her time to the organization.
Like most who find themselves living a BDSM lifestyle, Cothern was a teenager when her first BDSM experience occured. At the time, she was unaware that she was experiencing a sort of lifestyle play. All she knew was that she liked to be tied up and thought that just made her a bit ‘kinky.’
In 1993, Cothern had access to a home computer and her education into kink began. Chat rooms like mIRC and bulletin boards allowed her to discover she wasn’t the only person who likely to be tied up during sex. They also opened her eyes to the plethora of other ‘taboo’ things that could be experienced in and out side of the bedroom. In 1997, she met a man while playing an online MUD (Multi User Dungeon [the non-kink kind]) game and their conversations quickly moved to AOL messenger. He (and his wife) were lifestyle and opened her eyes to a whole other world. Within several months, Cothern relocated to Tampa, moved in with him and his slave, and became his submissive. For two years she remained his submissive until her natural dominate personally reasserted itself and they ended their D/s relationship.
Due to raising small children who were extremely curious, Cothern stepped away from the lifestyle though her online education didn’t cease. She reemerged in 2008 as a Dominant and continued her education both on and offline.
Cothern’s first exposure to the leather lifestyle was in early 2011 after she joined the Tampa Bay Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and attended her first gay leather event. She was curious and fascinated by what she considered to be a different facet of the kink lifestyle. Later that year, she joined the Tampa Leather Club in hopes of learning more while she volunteered her time to the club In December 2013, she was given the first and only Associate of the Year award for her dedication to seeing club events succeed.
Cothern was honored in late 2014 to be pinned into Mama’s Family (Sandy ‘Mama’ Reinhardt) as Mama’s Tampa Wench (#1857) for her volunteer service to the Tampa Bay area. In 2015, the Florida Leather & Fetish Pride event weekend hosted it’s first title contest for a Mr. & Ms. Florida Leather & Fetish Pride. Cothern won and became the first Ms. Florida Leather & Fetish Pride titleholder (2016).
Throughout her time as a Tampa Leather Club member (2011-2017) and in the local leather community, she met many knowledge people. It was these people who helped her take her first steps on the path of her leather journey and led her to seek a mentor.
By the end of 2013 (after several months of asking and negotiating), Cothern’s mentorship was underway with a respected Dom (SIR Shadow) in the Tampa Bay area. Many were surprised at first when SIR Shadow (a gay man) agreed to take Cothern (a ‘straight’ woman) on as a mentee. However, her goal was to learn specifically about gay leather history, protocols, expand her area of play knowledge, and become a better Dominant. So, Sir Shadow was the perfect mentor to train Cothern in the historical way in which Dom’s brought up newer Doms.
With this mentorship, eventually came a leather family: a SIR Daddy (Michael), two leather pups (Jaeger & Otter), a leather fetishist (Itchie), her boy (wirrel), and as of 2017, a girl (aemok). The concept was new to Cothern. And, although SIR Shadow is Cothern’s mentor, she freely admits to learning much from each member in her diverse leather family.
Cothern has shared her knowledge on the lifestyle as a guest on several podcasts. These include: Write on the Edge, Leather It Up on GSH Radio, and the FoXXXy Forum Radio Show. She has also been featured in thenewGayper,
Watermark Issue 21.25: The Leather Community, and most recently mentioned by name in the Dallas Voice by boy Jake (Jake Papadakos), International Leather boy 2016.
Cothern resides in Tampa, FL with her husband (who is her boy & leather bunny). They have been married for sixteen years, although together for twenty, and have three grown daughters and two granddaughters. When Cothern is not writing her next best-seller, she is managing her publishing company, hosting leather & fetish camping events and the Tampa Bay’s Leather Social, or planning for the annual Florida Leather & Fetish Pride weekend.
Brenda Cothern Books – http://bcothernbooks.com
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/B.Cothern.Books
Facebook Author Page – https://www.facebook.com/Brenda.Cothern.Books/
Facebook Fan Group –
Twitter – https://twitter.com/BCothernBooks or @BCothernBooks
Ms. Florida Leather & Fetish Pride 2016 –
Tampa Bay’s Leather Social –
GSH Raido – http://gshradio.com
FoXXXy Forum Radio Show – http://www.blogtalkradio.com/foxxxyforum