Kelli Dunham was in New York City last week at the Lambda Literary Foundation‘s annual award ceremony, the Lammys, to honor the latest best in LGBT literature. Cheryl’s book My Awesome Place won the lammy in the bisexual literature category.
Kelli wrote that it was “beautiful and horrible:” “Beautiful, of course, because it was well deserved and because it was made possible by all of you, who have worked and loved the book into existence. And horrible because Cheryl wasn’t there.”
I just keep hearing Cheryl’s voice in my head, in the sentence after she told me that the odd medical things she’s been looking into were the worst that they suspected, that it was cancer. “I am getting a book deal,” were her exact next words.
Here’s what Kelli said at the award ceremony:
“My Awesome Place details Cheryl’s long and sometimes difficult search for community, the very community that brought this book to life; the forethought of her friend Sarah Schulman to prompt “tell Cheryl I’m willing to be her literary executor, to get her book out” This was a query answered with “yeah duh of course” accompanied by classic Cheryl eyeroll; the community of Cheryl’s writers’ group, Anne Elliott, Maria Luisa Tucker and Virginia Vitzthum who had worked with the manuscript for years and put together a largely completed version for Sarah to edit; community in the form of Tom Léger and the brilliant folks at Topside Press, Riley MacLeod and Zoe Holmes, who took a chance on an author they knew would not be doing anything to promote her own book, and Julie Blair whose design made My Awesome Place as beautiful as Cheryl herself; community in the form of her friends, who have blogged and posted and emailed to get the word out about the book knowing that there is an artsy freak teenager trying to escape New Jersey, a women somewhere struggling with sobriety, and a smarty pants bisexual girl living on Staten Island, all who think they are alone, and who will read My Awesome Place and know they are not. Every day when Cheryl was her sickest, I prayed to a god I no longer believe in for a miracle. Perhaps this book is the miracle, the miracle of like minded, similar souled people, who believed that her words matter and cared enough to be present through the beautiful discomfort of bringing her words to life.” —Kelli Dunham
Please do read the book if you haven’t already. There’s an easy Kindle version, if you do that kind of thing, and the hardcover is beautiful. I’m grateful to Topside Press for publishing it, and grateful to Cheryl’s writer’s group who put together the final manuscript.
Interview with Amber Dawn
Q: The format of How Poetry Saved My Life (prose pieces mixed with a variety of poetry forms) deviates from what readers might have come to expect from the literary memoir form. Sections “Outside,” “Inside” and “Inwards” hint at a narrative arc, though the overall structure remains more loose and thematic than chronological. Why did you choose to tell your story this way?
Amber Dawn: I have a great deal of admiration for authors—especially ex-sex workers—who write their memoir as a chronological journey. Some books I’ve had the pleasure of reading recently are Whip Smart, by Melissa Febos and Candy Girl: A Year in the Life of an Unlikely Stripper, by Diablo Cody. I doubt I’d have the wherewithal to sit down and write my own story in this manner. How Poetry Saved My Life encompasses nearly fifteen years of collected writing. I wrote each piece for different reasons. Some poems had more therapeutic or cathartic beginnings, harken to the book’s title. Some prose I wrote to present at sex worker conferences or forums. It took a while before I realized I had an entire book’s worth of writing, and a bit longer still before I felt brave enough to release these collected stories and poems publicly. I view the account of my experiences as more of an emotional journey, rather than a chronological one. Through this approach I hope readers will make there own personal connection to the book, even if they’re life experiences are different from my own.
Q: The book represents nearly fifteen years of collected writings. You’ve had a very diverse writing career—you’ve edited horror and porn anthologies and dipped into the magical realist genre with your first novel Sub Rosa. How did you come to write a non-fictionalized memoir?
A: I believe a voice is a powerful and privileged resource to possess, especially when it comes to something like sex work, which is constantly silenced and stigmatized. Through performing on both small and larger stages, I’ve found that in every audience there is at least one woman (or man) who not only relates to my story, but feels almost desperate to have silence around sex work and survivorship broken. I feel a duty to speak up.
Q: Is there a piece of prose or poetry in the collection that was particularly difficult for you to write or realize, and in turn share with readers?
A: “Lying is the Work” is a personal essay that juxtaposes a bad date I had during the last year of working in the sex trade with my grandfather’s story of joining the Navy at age 17 to fight in WW2. This is one of very few examples where I bring my family history into my work. I love my family and want to protect and spare them of triggers or “digging up dirt.” While I’m proud of who I am, I acutely understand that survivors and sex workers are stigmatized and that this stigma can impact families and loved ones.
Case in point, recently, my grandfather disowned me when I married my wife—a ceremony that everyone in my family attended but for him. Therefore, I feel I can tell a bit of the story between my grandfather and I—in a dignified and objective way—without worrying about him reading it. As an Italian-American immigrant and Navy veteran he has a tremendous story of survival. It’s bitter sweet that I relate to him as a survivor and yet we have no present-day relationship. This makes the personal essay very difficult for me.
Q: RADAR Productions recently awarded you the 2012 Eli Coppola Memorial Poetry Chapbook Prize for “How I got My Tattoo.” How does the title poem of that particular collection fit into your personal narrative in How Poetry Saved My Life?
A: What an honour to win the Eli Coppola Memorial Poetry Prize, and just before I launch How Poetry Saved My Life! I have a quite a few titles like How Poetry Saved My Life and “How I Got My Tattoo” that are posed like answers to questions. Sex workers and survivors get asked questions all the time. I could over-simplify all these questions to essentially, “How did this happen to you.” I hate that question—the question implies that being a survivor or being a sex worker is outside the norm and needs explanation—when in fact these experiences are very common. Nonetheless, I also sympathize that people need to ask questions and discuss. The titles that I’ve written as answers to questions are there to promote discussion in a proud and creative way.
Q: In the book you cite author Jeanette Winterson and “powerful women whose voices have been cut short” among your inspirations. Would you tell us more about how you have been influenced by literary and activist voices in your life?
A: I was in my teens and early 20s in the 1990s, and was gobsmacked by the Riot Grrl movement. My first serious girlfriend introduced me to the feminist music and zine culture and listing to Team Dresh and Bikini Kill gave me the idea that I too had something to say. Not only where these voices powerful, but they were accessible. I didn’t need education to understand the feminist politicking of Riot Grrl. But after being introduced to feminist art and literature, I wanted to learn more. This was probably the first time I ever wanted to learn or read anything. I began reading Jeanette Winterson, Beth Goobie, Larissa Lai, Evelyn Lau, Sharon Olds, Lucille Clifton, Michelle Tea, Sarah Schulman. Finally, I understood the comfort and solidarity that could be found through books.
Q: You’ve toured with the Sex Workers Art Show, created short films, as well as performed at a variety of venues including the Vancouver Art Gallery. How does your performance and film background compliment or deviate from your writing?
A: Performing at galleries or appearing in my own films has helped me get into my body. Like many survivors, I’m inclined to live in my head, my imagination is a real sanctuary. Performance art has allowed me to embody the themes and emotions of my work and connect more closely with audience. I really feel the work when I’m hurling my body around a stage. In turn, this has helped me sink into a deeper connectivity to my written work.
Q: You now teach creative writing classes—some to queer and at-risk youth. Can you say more about the potential of art to be a survival skill and lifeline to others?
A: Something very palpable occurs when a person writes their story. It doesn’t have to be for future publication, but simply to put memories on paper and/or to read them in a room full of safe, supportive listeners. It’s an investment in one’s self. It’s an act of acknowledging one’s worth. It’s making the unspoken, heard. This can have life-changing impacts on people who have been shut down or silenced. Each time I run a creative writing workshop I see a little bit of change happen. “Thank you for listening,” my students always say to me. They don’t need to thank me; they should thank themselves. They do transformative work when they use their voices.
Today is my day on the Carrie’s Story blog tour. I devoured this book in the beginning of March as some escapist fiction, hoping for something easy to read that was easy enough to digest without a lot of deep thinking. And while it is easy to read and easy to digest, it isn’t without it’s deep thoughts. Carrie has very little experience with kink and submission at the beginning of the book, but by the end she is an auctioned slave, having gone through trainings from her (temporary) master and trainings from the Madame of the slave auction herself.
I love the little moments where Carrie submits, not because she is comfortable being taken by this person or that person, but because she trusts the woman who created the entire system. And by submitting to the system, she is submitting to that woman in particular. It’s a beautiful explanation of how M/s is larger than D/s, and how M/s is not about individual interactions.
I’ve been more and more interested in M/s theory lately. I’ve got a lot of thoughts about how D/s and M/s are different, and I’d love to write about that more soon here—mostly I’m still chewing on the differences and formulating thoughts. I’ve read through Raven Kaldera and Joshua Tenpenny’s book, Dear Raven and Joshua: Questions and Answers About Master/Slave Relationships, which is amazing and which I may turn around and re-read from the beginning right away. It’s long and detailed, well-organized and easy to read in a Q&A format. Unfortunately (and fortunately) it’s been teaching me a ton of things that I’ve been doing wrong … but I’ll leave that thought for the moment and share you some more details about Carrie’s Story. I highly recommend the read.
Excerpt from Carrie’s Story
Day one had begun with the very chic fortyish woman holding me tightly by the nipple and telling me, “We will all want to use you during these trials, but first, we will want to know how obedient you are, how much self-discipline you have. You are accustomed to being in restraints?”
“Yes, Madame Roget,” I said.
They all laughed a little at this, and she told me that they didn’t believe in that sort of thing for these trials. “We would not mar the woodwork of this pretty room with any of those little hooks and eyes, I think you call them. You will do everything we command, and you will be beaten, and bear it beautifully, without any collars or cuffs, without being tied or held in any way.”
I gulped. “Yes, Madame Roget,” I agreed, though I was terrified at the thought of not being tied down while being beaten. Too bad we couldn’t rig up something using all the hardware hanging off the jacket of her Chanel suit.
Quel jour. I had no idea if I could really do it, and I wasn’t perfect by any means. Twice, that I can remember, and maybe more times than that, my hands flew up to my breasts to protect them. This was at least one of the “technical” things Jonathan hadn’t thought of. He, of course, loved to think of crafty ways to embed hooks and eyes all over his house and so, stupidly, hadn’t realized that the rest of the world might not. I think what got me through it was that I was so pissed at him for not considering that this might happen, and so determined to best the situation in spite of him. Thanks a lot, coach, I remember thinking, seeing him out of the corner of my eye, over there on his delicate little chair. I thought of that creep who brought those terrified little four-foot-eight-inch American gymnasts to the Olympics, to be entirely outclassed by the Russians and Romanians.
That day ended very abruptly, or at least I thought so. I was on my knees in the center of the room, having just thanked the board, one by one, and very sweetly and clearly, though in a bit of a choked voice, for a brisk beating they’d just administered to my breasts and thighs. (Oh, and in French—we switched to French for the afternoons.) And, no, they didn’t hold up any cards with little numbers on them to rate my performance. They hardly acknowledged me at all, in fact, but Madame Roget turned to Jonathan and curtly said, “Bring her around tomorrow at ten, and we’ll continue.”
“Thank you, Madame,” Jonathan replied, getting to his feet and hurrying to help me up. “I will. Thank you all.” He spoke like the well-brought-up little boy he must have been once. And I realized that part of the entertainment, for him, and maybe for me as well, was that he was on trial too.
When we got back to the hotel room, he grabbed me, and, very uncharacteristically, pushed me onto the bed practically into a backward somersault, pulled up my skirt, and started fucking me. My shoes went flying, and I felt a garter unsnap painfully against my thigh. Against my cunt, my belly, my legs, I felt his pants zipper and a million buttons and buckles digging into me. It was silly, clumsy, uncomfortable, but I understood. It was what I needed, too. The long, horny, ritualistic day of trials, subtleties, pain, performing, and politesse had gotten to both of us, and what we both wanted was mindless, exhausting, low-tech vanilla fucking. In and out. Bang bang bang. Friction. I closed my eyes and came a lot, moving however I pleased and making lots of noise and trying to forget that there were such things as rules or form or sensibility.
Still, you don’t forget a year of slave training just like that, so a long while after, when I had recovered enough, I crawled to the foot of the bed and knelt there at attention (although I was unsure what to do about the skirt that was still up around my waist and the stockings down around my ankles). Jonathan looked at me for a while. Then he frowned, sighed, and finally said, “Oh hell, Carrie, I don’t think I can maintain any rules tonight, not after watching those pros do it all day. Let’s just take showers and zone out. Are you hungry? Want to do room service?”
Which was how we passed the next three evenings. We’d come back from the trials, pull off our clothes, fuck real hard, and then eat. During some break in the second day trials, Jonathan had gone out, found an English-language bookstore, and scooped up a shopping bag full of mysteries and sci fi. We weren’t following rules anymore, which meant we could say anything we wanted. But we were afraid of saying wrong or embarrassing things to each other. At least I was. So the books kept us busy during those weird, wired, exhausted, polite, and oddly companionable evenings. We’d dive into them, every so often one or the other of us finishing one, maybe briefly recommending it, or tossing it across the room, proclaiming it a “turkey, guessed it halfway through, don’t bother.”
On the fourth evening, the rock ’n’ roll/cyberpunk story I was racing through reminded me of thrash music and I thought of my Primus T-shirt, packed up with my stuff at Stuart’s. I decided that if I passed the trials I’d tell Jonathan he could have it as a good-bye present. Thanks for the memo- ries, I guess, and for the strange intimacy, even if we’d only had about four real conversations in the space of a year and a half. Good-bye, and thanks, also, for finding me a job that was not just a job but an adventure. So long, accomplice, collaborator, coconspirator.
Just then, there was a knock at the door. Jonathan went to get it. There were two European guys in suits and short squared-off haircuts, looking like the cops in La Femme Nikita. They were from the auction committee, though, and they were here to tell us—well, Jonathan, really—that I’d passed the trials. I could hear that much anyway, though the one of them who was doing the talking, the only one who knew English I think, was speaking very softly. I heard Jonathan tell him, “I’ll fax them the papers within an hour. And I’ll get her for you now.”
I hadn’t known they came for you in the middle of the night. And I don’t know if Jonathan had either. He walked over to me—I was sprawled on the bed in a hotel bathrobe and a pair of his socks—and pulled me to my feet. “You’re in,” he said, “and you’re not allowed to speak anymore.” So much for the T-shirt idea. Or for even a so long. “Take off your clothes,” he continued in an expressionless voice. “You’ll go with these gentlemen.”
They were standing by the door watching without much interest. I felt a little sorry for them; this had to be the dullest master/slave scene they’d ever barged in on. I pulled off the socks and robe, folded my glasses on top of the open book, and walked over to them. They produced a pair of high heels and a trench coat and helped me into them. Then, silently, they hustled me out of the room and shut the door behind them.
* * *
From Cleis Press:
Carrie’s Story is regarded as one of the finest erotic novels ever written—smart, devastatingly sexy, and, at times, shocking. In this new era of “BDSM romance,” à la Fifty Shades of Grey, the whips and cuffs are out of the closet and “château porn” has given way to mommy porn. Carrie’s Story remains at the head of the class. Imagine The Story of O starring a Berkeley Ph.D. in comparative literature who moonlights as a bike messenger, has a penchant for irony, and loves self-analysis as much as anal pleasures. Set in both San Francisco and the more château-friendly Napa Valley, Weatherfield’s deliciously decadent novel takes you on a sexually-explicit journey into a netherworld of slave auctions, training regimes, and enticing “ponies” (people) preening for dressage competitions. Desire runs rampant in this story of uncompromising mastery and irrevocable submission.
Molly Weatherfield, the pen name of Pam Rosenthal, is also the author of Safe Word, the sequel to Carrie’s Story. A prolific romance and erotica writer, she has penned many sexy, literate, historical novels. She lives in San Francisco. You can find Molly on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/MollyWeatherfield and on Twitter at @PamRosenthal (https://twitter.com/PamRosenthal).
Blog Tour Schedule
March 24 - Shanna Germain
March 25 - Lelaine
March 26 - Alison Tyler
March 27 – Romance After Dark
March 28 - Romance Junkies and Amos Lassen
March 29 - Sinclair Sexsmith
April 1 - Rachel Kramer Bussel
April 2 - Kissin Blue Karen
April 3 - Dana Wright
April 4 - Erin O’Riodan
April 5 - Lindsay Avalon
April 6 - Laura Antoniou
April 7 - DL King
I’m reading a lot. Light things, but well-written things, because I need something to completely occupy my mind that I don’t have to really think about. I’m journaling most days, but not writing anything worth reading, just a lot of purging. Emotional vomit. Navel-gazing, which I used to sometimes think was a good thing, self-insight, self-reflection, but now seems trite and self-indulgent. I’m waking up and most of the time going to sleep. I’m staying up late and then not being able to wake early. I’m waking early and not being able to get back to sleep. I’m reading reading reading on the subway at the cafe on my breaks when I can’t sleep anytime I need to try to stop thinking all the thoughts that are circling circling circling like predators. Like hawks. Like something big and heavy that you see from far away and it doesn’t look that bad but when they get close your pores start to shake. You start sweating and your pupils dilate. Those kinds of thoughts are still stalking me. All the things I did wrong. All the ways I have doomed myself. All the things that I could’ve changed didn’t change am never going to be able to change. Reminding myself that I am not doomed. Telling myself over and over again that I did the best I could we did the best we could no one is at fault no one is at fault. Sometimes I even believe that. Loss happens. Errors of judgment happen. Perfect storms of chaos happen, all the best movies know how if any one factor in the plot would have slipped out of place, it wouldn’t have happened that way, but that the universe conspired somehow to shatter that rain of misunderstandings and missed connections and opportunities down upon our heads. But I try to remember that sometimes all of creation is conspiring to shower us with blessings too. Could that be true? Could I really believe that people are fundamentally good, at the core? It’s what I say I believe, and most of the time that belief is not tested. This is when I need faith. Hope.
Hope is when you look out the window and you go, ‘It doesn’t look good at all, but I’m going to go beyond what I see to give people visions of what could be.’ —Anna Deavere Smith
I don’t think I can tell the truth yet, because I don’t yet think I know what the truth is. There’s not just one capital-T Truth anyway. There are many truths. My truths and your truths and our truths are perhaps three different truths. I think I’m done believing in objectivity. I don’t think it’s possible. I distrust people who start sentences with, “Objectively speaking …” How can anyone see objectively? Sometimes I can squint and look at things sideways and sometimes, just sometimes, I can take myself out of the way of the experience for a glance, a frame, a whisper of smoke. But usually only long enough to get one thought, one perspective, not long enough to really grasp the three-sixy view.
I don’t know what happens next. I know I keep trying. I know I keep writing and striving and crying on my sister’s couch in the mornings. I know I stare at the tree’s brittle branches scraping against this window in the wind and wondering which will break off and which will make it to bud and which buds will pop open to that baby green spring. Oh right, it’s springtime now, isn’t it. When things long dormant start to wake. When things waiting waiting for this freeze to thaw start to tentatively uncurl and test the air.
And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. —Anais Nin
It’s such a risk. Everything is, from this cup of coffee to that service I just cancelled to the appointment I made for next week. No one really knows if next week will exist, but now that this week is here, we proved last week that next week existed, and I am trusting that’ll keep happening, until it doesn’t. That’s all I can do, anyway. I think I have some more trust in me, though it’s thin. I’ve been paving the roof of my mouth with it for months. It leaves a coat all sticky like too too sweet honey. Makes me crave mouthwash, some salt water gargle to cut the aversion of the over-sweet. Some crumbs of sourdough bread. Good thing I’m heading west, back to the salt water where the sun sets over the ocean instead of over the land. Somehow, it has always seemed more correct. And in the absence of light, I’ll look east.
Power in the silence. Power in the sound of a lover’s name.
Book notes: Excerpt from Carrie’s Story, when her dominant says he’s going to sell her at a slave auction. Cleis calls Carrie the “thinking readers’ submissive.” Cecilia Tan about the Slow Surrender series: “I would call it the “BDSM billionaire” genre, also known as BDSM romance, also known as “If you liked 50 Shades of Grey, you might like this book.” Buy them through my Amazon store and you’ll toss some pennies my way—see the store for more of my erotica recommendations, too.
The New York Toy Collective is a new labor of love company born out of Chelsea and Parker’s frustration at the lack of a really good packing cock, chemistry/polymer brilliance, and ambition. Their first cock is Shilo, a bendable silicone packable cock. They don’t have exact dimensions on their site, but I’d guess it’s about 6.5″ by 1.25″ in diameter. It’s an excellent standard size.
And it packs so well.
And it is sterilizable!
Maybe y’all aren’t obsessed with all the options for packing and playing cocks like I am, but this is a big deal. There are no other cocks out there with the capabilities that Shilo has. It is very flesh-like, squishable with a good give to it, and has a harder inner core that is flexible. No more tentpoles when you want to go out packing and be ready to fuck after! Yes!
It comes in four colors, cashew, caramel, hazelnut, chocolate. NYTC told me that’s because they scoured the Pantone Project for the most widely used colors and came up with these four. So hopefully they will have something that at least closely matches your skin.
Here’s a couple promo videos about the product, so you can see the magicness that is Shilo:
And the description:
Dare we say Shilo is the dildo revolution- a fully functioning silicone pack & play dildo. Shilo was designed to allow the user to pack and play with control. We can say with confidence that Shilo is stable and bendable beyond the capacity of any other product on the market.
Shilo is available in 4 colors—cashew, caramel, hazelnut, chocolate. Why four? because more choices help you pick a shade that is closer to your natural skin tone.
To clean, shilo place in boiling water or on the top shelf of the dishwasher.
They are also selling The Love Bump, which is basically a bonus pair of balls that you can add on to any cock up to 1.5″ in diameter.
The Love Bump works in tandem with Shilo to provide extra sensation and realism. The Love Bump comes with a removal vibrator so when rotated upwards it can provide stimulation for the receiver. The Love bump can also be rotated downward for extra sensation during anal penetration. Users have also reported the benefit of extra cushioning, as it reduces pelvis bruising. The Love bump will work with other dildos or devices at least 1.5″ in diameter. To clean, remove vibrator and place in boiling water or on the top shelf of the dishwasher.
Aside from being a supporter of my work and willing to let me try out their products, NYTC is also letting me sell their cocks. They are still working on their distribution and aren’t at all the sex toy stores yet, so you can get it online—or you can get it from me! So the next time you see me at a workshop or event, just ask if I have ‘em. And if you want to make sure I have one with your name on it, contact me before hand and let me know you want one, and I’ll make sure to have one for you. In fact, I’ll have a few with me next week when I’m in Northampton and Pawtucket. Claim it now to insure I won’t sell out of ‘em before you get your hands on one.
I’m so very excited about Shilo! Highly recommended.
Tylan, one of the band members, has a new solo album called One True Thing that I’ve been enjoying a lot lately. Here’s one of the tracks from the new album.
The album is really lovely, I’ve been listening to it a lot.
More information is at TylanMusic.com and you can preorder One True Thing directly from that site. Tylan is also on tour for this album—I highly recommend a live show!
I’m back in Texas, visiting Rife, and we have had a great time reading Leather Ever After aloud to each other in the hammock.
Once upon a time, in a dungeon far, far away the kinkiest writers in the land were summoned to pervert beloved fairy tales with tales of dominance, submission, bondage and surrender. In these stories twisted princesses take control of submissive princes, witches play with power and fairy tales come to life in our homes and dungeons …
In Leather Ever After, celebrated queer author Sassafras Lowrey brings together some of the most beloved leather writers in an enchanting collection published by Ravenous Romance with a foreword by Laura Antoniou! Leather Ever After is Learn more about about Leather Ever After at LeatherEverAfter.wordpress.com and to get more information about Sassafras and hir work visit www.SassafrasLowrey.com.
It’s a star-packed anthology: the forward was written by Laura Antoniou (if you haven’t read The Marketplace series, I highly recommend them!), and also features stories by Lee Harrington, Miel Rose, DL King, Ali Oh, Raven Kaldera, Sossity Chiricuzio, Mollena Williams, and of course the anthology’s editor.
My favorites have been the ones set with modern language—Lee Harrington’s piece was unexpected and fantastic. I won’t ruin it by telling you which story it is, there’s kind of a slow reveal toward the end as the clues start adding up, but I loved the leather twist on it. It’s been much fun to read and discuss and get turned on and talk about fantasy and fairy tales.
Pick up Leather Ever After on Amazon or order it from your local awesome bookstore.
So when I saw this call for erotica submissions from Rachel Kramer Bussel, I wondered what it would look like for me to write some bisexual erotica. What would that mean for my main character/narrator voice, for “Sinclair”? What would I write about? Where would my edge be?
I talked it over with rife, months ago, and he had a great idea of a butch who picks up a fag at a fag bar and proceeded to have a one night stand. I wrote it up, and Rachel included it in her new book, Twice the Pleasure: Women’s Bisexual Erotica! It seems like a kind of unlikely place for a butch/fag pickup story, but hey, maybe someone will stumble on that one-of-these-stories-is-not-like-the-other kind of piece and discover something new about themselves, in one way or another.
Twice the Pleasure comes out in April, but you can preorder it now! Rachel is doing a buy-one-get-one book sale for the book, so you can buy this one and get any other book of hers in addition. Here’s an excerpt from my story.
- Right Red Flagging
Tonight, I see him as soon as I enter the room, eyes adjusting to the dankness that still feels full of cigarette smoke, even though it’s no longer legal to smoke indoors, and he sees me. He’s at the bar sucking on a long neck beer, wearing a snap down worn through cowboy shirt and jeans, and we make eye contact. In gay boy world, that means we may as well have been dating for three years and have just walked into the hotel room after our prom. I order a beer, too, and wait at the curve of the bar.
He watches me while not looking like he’s watching me. I notice a red hanky in his back right pocket and as he brings the beer up to his mouth for the last swig, I slip off my bar stool and make my way toward the back hallway, the bathrooms, and the door to the back patio. I lean against the wall in a dark patch of the path, thumbs hooked into my belt loops. He follows a moment later, sauntering slowly into the hall and stops, seeing me.
“Hi,” I say. He grins, a crooked half-smirk that darkens his already deep set eyes. He’s more plump than muscle but still has a good shape, firm and solid.
“Hi,” he says.
“So,” I say. He waits. I curl my finger without moving my hand from my hip, and he takes a few steps toward me. I can’t tell who he thinks I am or what he thinks I expect, but he seems willing to find out. When he is just a foot or two from me, and I can smell his sweat and make out the stubble on his chin, I reach out for his upper arm and grip it. “Are you going to kiss me, or what?”
This book has a lot of other great contributors, whose stories I regularly enjoy, like Lori Selke, Giselle Renarde, and Shanna Germain. I haven’t read it yet, but I suspect it’s a great collection, and I’m looking forward to reading the whole thing.
I’ve gone all over the country in the past year to promote the anthology I edited, Say Please: Lesbian BDSM Erotica. In November, Kristen and I were in Dallas for Thanksgiving and Lillith Grey helped me to produce an incredible lineup at Ver Les.
Amy Price took photographs, and they are pretty amazing. It was quite a rockstar lineup and it was in fact so successful that Lillith has decided to create an ongoing erotica series! Check out Panty Raid on Facebook for more details.
The Dirty Queer Sex Tour: Dallas Edition featured live music by Ashely Boucher, and erotica readings by Lillith Grey, Kasson Marroquin, Cheyenne Cartwright, Artemis Rose, Morgan la Fae, and CD Kirven.
Thanks so much to everyone who was there last night, to Lillith and all the readers, for making it an excellent celebration. I still aim to do a couple more Say Please readings in 2013, and I hope to have a new book project with Cleis press soon, so certainly you can expect more of me in your city in the future.
And now for something completely different …
Fisting Day was October 21st, and I’m not sure exactly what I was doing, but I didn’t get something up before it. I think Courtney Trouble did a great job with it, I love the resources collected on the Fisting Day blog. So if you’re curious about it, you should check it out.
Courtney sent along a fisting scene with Cyd and Essex from the new site FTM Fucker, from which I snapped that still above. I’ve been kinda out of the queer porn loop lately, but I am loving that there are more cis men and more depictions of masculinity.