Review: Leather Ever After edited by Sassafras Lowrey (book)

February 27, 2013  |  reviews  |  No Comments

leather-ever-aftercover1I’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.

Fisting Day, Featuring Cyd & Essex

October 31, 2012  |  reviews  |  No Comments

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.

Review: Roving Pack by Sassafras Lowrey

October 25, 2012  |  reviews  |  No Comments

I feel so lucky to know a lot of artists, to consider myself part of the larger community of queers who live brazenly and create art out of our heartbreak, growth, struggles, and lessons. Roving Pack, Sassafras Lowrey’s first full-length novel, is a beautiful, fun, and poignant read, and it makes me excited to be part of these queer artist communities.

Roving Pack follows Click, a homeless teenage genderqueer creature struggling with hir relationships with family of origin in addition to hir crushes and relationships with butches and trans guys who are lovers and Daddies and friends. Set in the punk underbelly of Portland, Oregon, in the 1990s, the book is an honest look at the queer youth center, navigating housing as a homeless youth, squats, testosterone injections, straightedge politics, D/s, and a deep love of dogs.

I read it quickly, devoured it really. I came out as queer in the late 1990s in Seattle, and came to a queer identity in a very similar culture. Though I was a bit older and not homeless, the tone and characters and place really resonated with me.

Order it online at rovingpack.com, and read more excerpts and thoughts about the book over there.

Review: Lelo Tiani 2

October 3, 2012  |  reviews  |  No Comments

Lelo sent me the Tiani 2 vibrator to explore with over the summer (quite a long time ago, I admit) and I am finally getting around to writing a review of it.

Here’s my problem: I often forget about vibrators. I think it’s easier for me to embody toys that rely on the motion of my body to animate or be used, which, when I think about it, seems really obvious, but I hadn’t really articulated that until recently. Which is why I like cocks and floggers and canes and paddles, bondage if necessary, my hands, my belt.

But. I fuck with my cock a lot, and I really like to get off while I do that, and I seem to never quite have the magic combination of what it takes to get off while fucking with a strap-on, so I have been eager to try some of these newfangled fancy vibrators to see if that would support getting off more easily.

This one, the Tiani 2, is a little U-shape that is made to have the bottom part inserted into the cunt and the top part sitting over someone’s clit. It is marketed primarily to hetero couples as something the woman would wear while being penetrated, and hey maybe that is awesome, I’m not sure. I didn’t try it out that way (yet). (I mean I probably won’t try it out that way in a hetero way, but I could share it with whoever I’m fucking and see if they like that kind of vibration while being penetrated.)

It is covered in silicone, so a quick 10% bleach solution will sterilize it such that it is shareable. By the way.

I’m particularly interested in using it underneath a harness, on myself, to see if that helps me get off. The harness holds it easily in place, and the vibration is lovely. It fits well. I like the stimulation.

But I still didn’t get off very easily. I got really overstimulated really quickly, actually, and then couldn’t quite calm my body down to get off after that. That has been happening to me a lot lately, though, so I don’t think it’s the fault of the toy, though it is frustrating that this isn’t the perfect solution for me to getting off while strapped on.

Your milage may vary, however! I have heard from many folks who strap-on in classes and via email that this is an excellent tool for them, and they like it a lot. If you like vibration stimulation, this might be something worth exploring.

So one of the things marketed about Tiani 2 that is supposed to be amazing is the “SenseMotion™ technology” remote control. Having a remote I can get behind, since that also means someone can wear it under their clothes out in public and someone else can control the stimulation they receive (hot!). But the “SenseMotion” part means that if you tilt the remote, the vibration is supposed to go up or down, which is very inconvenient for, well, lots of things in lots of ways. You can’t really hold it in your hand while you’re fucking, for example, or you’ll mess up the settings that you may’ve just determined were awesome. I also don’t really love vibrators where I have to read the user manual before I know how to use it—I don’t want it to be that complicated! Just give me an on/off button, that’s all I really need. Maybe a few options for speed settings, but that’s enough.

Conclusion: Impressed with the design, great for use under a harness. Remote was awkward. Didn’t blow my mind, but I’ll keep trying it.

The Tiani 2 was sent to me by Lelo to review. Thanks Lelo!

Paws for Consideration: BDSM Mystery Scavenger Hunt Party Tomorrow in San Francisco

August 29, 2012  |  miscellany, reviews  |  2 Comments

One of my best friends, Amy Butcher, published a mystery novel this summer called Paws for Consideration. It’s about a wheelchair-bound woman named Daisy who lives in the Castro and loves dogs (more than people, most of the time). She stumbles upon a dog whose owner is dead on the street and vows to solve the mystery of his death when nobody else seems to be doing much about it—and stumbles into a world of BDSM play parties and leather and queers.

It’s such a fun read, pretty quick, hard to put down, and full of San Francisco references and internal dog dialogue (I have a theory that pretty much all that any/every dog thinks is, “I’m a dog I’m a dog I’madog,” but Ames is convincing me otherwise). I highly recommend it—it’s on Amazon!

This Thursday—tomorrow!—Ames is doing a big release party/scavenger hunt in San Francisco at the women’s building for this book. I wish I could be there! I was trying to figure out some way that I could, but it didn’t work out. Please go in my place and say congratulations to her for me—you can say I sent you, then you’ll have an excuse to talk to her. (She’s a hot silverfox butch, if you hadn’t noticed that yet, so you might want an excuse to say hi.)

Details:

    Thursday, August 30th
    Audre Lorde Room, The Women’s Building
    (3543 18th Street, San Francisco)
    6:00-7:00 optional scavenger hunt
    7:00-8:30 awesome event!
    RSVP on Facebook

    Join us in celebrating the publication of Paws for Consideration, the debut mystery novel from former Women’s Building board member Amy Butcher. Performers, readings from the book, an optional scavenger hunt with prizes, premier of the book trailer video . . . and more! All proceeds from book sales will go to support The Women’s Building.

    Scavenger Hunt—How to participate:

    The scavenger hunt will take you to real locations straight out of the mystery novel. In order to participate, you’ll need a QR code reader for your smart phone and an old-school paper Clue Sheet. Links for both of these are below.

    At each site you’ll find a placard with a QR code (that’s how you know you found the right spot). Scan the QR code and it will bring up a video. The video will tell you about where you are, pose a challenge to solve, and then provide clues as to your next destination. In all, it should take you about 45 minutes and it should be fun!

    The placards will be in place by 6:00 pm on Thursday, August 30th. Remember to bring your completed clue sheet to the party no later than 7:15 to qualify for great prizes. Doors open at 7:00.

Watch this video for more information.

More details, links, suggested QR code readers, over on amybutcher.com

Does that not sound like SO MUCH FUN? How often do you have the opportunity to attend a scavenger hunt around San Francisco? Hope you can make it, and hope you enjoy the book as much as I did.

Review: TranZwear Packing Undies

August 11, 2012  |  reviews  |  No Comments

TranZwear sent me three different packing undies—their most popular models—to check out: two different models of boxers, and one jock strap type. TranZwear alters already existing briefs, boxers, and jock straps to get them to more securely hold packers. In this case, the Dockers are the TSW PackRight Harness with the secure packer, which means it’s got elastic bands and an o-ring sewn into the front of the briefs that will keep a packer in place. The Champion black boxer briefs are the PackNGo athletic boxer briefs, so instead of cotton they’re “moisture wicking” and have that slick nylon feel. Instead of a harness inside these, the front pocket is sewn shut. TranZwear describes it: “Modified performance mesh interior pouch provides support and ventilation, and holds your packer secure without any movement during the day.” The jock strap has a security strap to hold the packer in place.

I’m totally in love with the Dockers briefs and they fit so perfectly well that I’m going to look them up and get some more of the same in the same size. The others aren’t quite as much of a perfect fit, though I do like the sewn-shut “interior pouch.” After losing a packer because it rolled out of my briefs into an East Village toilet, I pretty much never pack without attaching it somehow, either in these briefs, in the SpareParts Pete undies, or with a packing strap or pouch, and I do go back to these TranZwear products frequently. They’re simple, and high quality work. I frequently forget I’m wearing anything modified or special and just feel like I’m wearing regular undies—which is exactly how it should feel.

I kind of prefer having a packing strap or harness, something that keeps the packer attached to my body rather than attached to my underwear, since it feels more like clothing or an attachment when it comes off, but I would still much rather have it secure than not, and these are great options. Thanks, TranZwear.

The 24th Annual Lammys Brief Sugarbutch Recap

June 8, 2012  |  reviews  |  No Comments

 

Kristen and I attended the Lammys on Monday night, the Lambda Literary Awards ceremony to celebrate excellence in LGBT literature. I’ve attended the past four years and while neither book that I edited was a finalist this year, I hope Say Please will be next year!

And, in addition to attending and being a judge, which I was last year also, I presented the erotica category with Emmanuel Xavier, and got to rip open the envelope and pronounce the winner of the Gay Erotica category. There were beautiful speeches by Kate Millet and Armistead Maupin, who were awarded the lifetime achievement award, and by Stacey D’Erasmo (one of my favorite writers ever) for the mid-career award. I was thrilled to celebrate Tristan Taormino’s anthology Take Me There, which I have a story in, that took home the Lammy for Transgender Fiction, and I was sad to see Persistence: All Ways Butch and Femme not win.

Some notable winners:

  • Lesbian Debut Fiction: Zipper Mouth, by Laurie Weeks, The Feminist Press
  • Lesbian Fiction: Six Metres of Pavement, by Farzana Doctor, Dundrun Press
  • Lesbian Memoir/Biography: When We Were Outlaws: A Memoir of Love & Revolution, Jeanne Córdova, Spinsters Ink
  • LGBT Drama: A Menopausal Gentleman: The Solo Performances of Peggy Shaw, by Peggy Shaw, University of Michigan Press
  • LGBT Nonfiction: A Queer History of the United States, by Michael Bronski, Beacon Press
  • LGBT Studies: Sister Arts: The Erotics of Lesbian Landscapes, by Lisa L. Moore, University of Minnesota Press; Techniques of Pleasure: BDSM and the Circuits of Sexuality, by Margot Weiss, Duke University Press (was a finalist but didn’t win, but I am going to look this one up)
  • Transgender Fiction: Take Me There: Trans and Genderqueer Erotica, ed. by Tristan Taormino, Cleis Press
  • Transgender Nonfiction: Tango: My Childhood Backwards and in High Heels, by Justin Vivian Bond, The Feminist Press
  • Lesbian Erotica: Story of L, by Debra Hyde, Ravenous Romance
  • Lesbian Poetry: Love Cake, by Leah Lakshmi Piepza-Samarasinha, TSAR Publications

I tossed ‘em into my Amazon store if you’d like to sort through them over there:

I am really excited to read these. I’m thinking I might make it a Lammy summer and just go for it. I’m definitely going to send this list to my book group and see what interests them.

It felt a little different this year … it was sold out, I think there were more people in attendance, and I think there were more trans folks, genderqueer folks, and people of color than I’ve seen at previous Lammy ceremonies. I hope that’s true. It also seems like the Lammys are getting way more press than they used to. The first year I attended, I went online after to confirm my notes and couldn’t find any article covering it from any publication, and now there are quite a few online publications covering them. They have definitely stepped it up and it seems to be paying off.

As a former bookseller, they have always been on my radar, but I think they are getting a little more widely noticed. Or maybe I’m just more and more involved in the queer literary scene? That could be true too. Regardless, I had a fantastic time, it was great to run into friends and to meet authors I didn’t know of before.

Here’s a full list of the winners, and I’ll keep an eye out in case they post more photos.

Review: Aslan Leather Pleasure Harness (Customized) & Jaguar G

May 30, 2012  |  reviews  |  No Comments

I’ve been searching for The Perfect Harness for a long time.

I think at a certain point I gave up, and gave in to the fact that there’s no one singular perfect harness, and that I’ll just have different ones for different things or for different cocks. I haven’t been reviewing harnesses as much lately (though I do still try to keep up with what’s new out there).

Recently, though, my beloved Jaguar G harness reached its last days, and I replaced it with two other harnesses from Aslan Leather. I know some folks really don’t like leather because it is an animal product, and as a former vegan I understand that, but as someone obsessed with the best possible materials I can find, I just haven’t found anything better—or even comparable. There are quite a few vegan options for Aslan harnesses, for the record, and I do really like the Slick G.

And while I love Outlaw Leather and many of the other companies who make great harnesses, I think Aslan is the best, hands down. Their leather is buttery and feels already broken in, and so easily becomes a second skin, conforming to the heat of my body and wrapping me in it so I can barely tell I’m wearing anything at all.


The Jaguar G

The Jaguar is one of their most popular harnesses, and I would say is one of the most popular harnesses period, based on the dozens of Cock Confidence workshops I’ve conducted and based on a totally informal survey of everyone I meet who partakes in strap-on sex. It comes in various colors—like white, black, and cherry.

I prefer the Jaguar G, the g-string one-strap version (because of the way the one strap hits my clit while I’m fucking). But there are many variations to the Jaguar, and I bet you can find one that is perfect for you.

I frequently go back to my Leather Pleasure Harness, which I also frequently recommend to folks who are starting out with strap-on play because it easily converts from a one-strap to a two-strap and back, so you can experiment with both and see which one you prefer, and because it’s relatively affordable, much cheaper than a lot of the other fancier leather harnesses anyway.


The Leather Pleasure Harness

I’m not sure how many of these harnesses I have basically worn through in the last five years or so. Three, four, maybe? Maybe it’s because I don’t know how to take good enough care of my leather—but I clean it with saddle soap, have experimented with mink oil, and nothing I do can quite make it waterproof enough that eventually, it doesn’t end up soaking into the leather and unable to come clean. I’m the kind of person who will use a thing until it is pretty much unusable, I wasn’t exactly raised middle class, maybe more like upper-working-class or lower-middle-class or with middle class aspirations, so it sometimes pains me to retire one of these harnesses, but I care a little bit more that my sex toys are attractive and safe to share, and after a certain point, my leather harnesses are neither.

So this time, when I asked Aslan to send me a new Jaguar G, I also asked for a new Leather Pleasure Harness, but this time with the leg straps in rubber instead of leather. Because that’s the piece that gets all … beautifully juiced up, anyway, that’s the piece that becomes uncleanable after a while.

And I couldn’t be more thrilled. I love this new harness, and it is so much easier to keep clean. I’ve reviewed the Leather Pleasure Harness before, so check that out if you want more details about the harness specs.

Between the Jaguar G and the Leather Pleasure Harness, I think my search for The Perfect Harness might be over. If nothing else, any other harness definitely has a lot to live up to. Thank you, Aslan!

Aslan Leather sent me the Leather Pleasure Harness and Jaguar G for review. Pick it up over on Aslan’s site, or at your local independent feminist queer sex toy store.

RodeoH Boxer Brief Harness Giveaway Winner

May 8, 2012  |  reviews  |  2 Comments

 
Drawings of the RodeoH Boxer Brief Harness by KD Diamond on the RodeoH Tumblr

And the winner is …

Commenter #48, Jen!

Jen, I’ll send you an email—just need your size preference and mailing address, and RodeoH will send that right out to you. Thanks, RodeoH!

The Harder She Comes edited by DL King (Book)

May 6, 2012  |  reviews  |  No Comments

I’m part of the virtual blog tour for The Harder She Comes edited by DL King which just came out from Cleis Press. It’s a butch/femme anthology specifically, which to my knowledge is the first one released since Sometimes She Lets Me, also from Cleis. There aren’t very many butch/femme erotica anthologies out there (is Back To Basics the only other one?), and this adds an excellent new addition to one of my favorite little teeny subgenres.

Here’s the description of the book:

What is it about a pretty girl in a tight skirt bent over to adjust her stockings? Or that hotter-than-hot butch, swaggering into the bar like she owns it, eyes undressing every pretty girl in the place? Some butches worship at the altar of their femmes fatale and many little girls have a need to serve their big, strong daddies. In The Harder She Comes, we meet girls salivating at the sight of well-filled and packed jeans and bois dreaming of having a beautiful girl’s red lipstick smeared across their mouths. D. L. King has curated a singular set of stories filled with sexy sirens luring unsuspecting butches to their demise on the rocky shores of love and hot, confident women in silk and lace during the day who will do anything to serve their daddies’ needs at night. The Harder She Comes is great writing with characters that will stay with the reader for a long, long time —sometimes sweet, always sexy, often romantic, and more than a little dangerous.

I would love to tell you what I thought about each individual story, but sadly I have no time to put that together. I’m at a training all weekend and writing this while I should be sleeping. So please accept my apologies, and here’s an excerpt from my piece in the book, a story called Good Girl, Bad Girl.

Part I.

Sometimes, I am a Bad Daddy: I hate it.

I hate it and I want it and I crave it and I hate that I want and crave it, this, this girl, this way that I use her, this way she uses me. Sometimes I resent it. Her, me, my own desires. Why do they run this way? Where did these wounds come from, or are they scars now?

I have to remind myself not to ask myself too many of those questions. That it’s okay to want what I want. That after the flash of feminist guilt, as Karlyn Lotney once wrote, it is quite the handy little fetish.

And it is a fetish, or maybe rather it is many fetishes wrapped up and tied with a big pretty satin red bow. Power. Gender. Age.

I hate it, but I have never loved any play more.

This is what happens.

I sit on the couch reading a book and drinking tea after the dinner she made. For me. She finishes the dishes, brings her book out too, sits next to me. I don’t watch her as I take another sip of my tea. This is what I practice: Not paying attention. But in not paying attention I still pay attention, I just don’t let her know that I’m paying attention. When I notice I’m focused on her, I try to turn the focus inward. What do I want right now? And I feel something stir.

She inches closer to me. I turn a page. She sighs inaudibly. I turn my eyes to the pages of my book, move them along the words, not reading.

“Daddy?”

I don’t look up, yet. “Yes?”

“Can I …”

“May I.” I correct.

“May I … sit on your lap please?” It comes out in one quick string.

I pull the bookmark out of the back of the book and slide it in between the pages, close the book, set it on the coffee table, look up at her. Her eyes gleam gently. Hopefully. Like she just asked for candy at the grocery store. Her dress is pushed up from how her legs are crossed on the couch and I can see a hint of her inner thigh, and I want my cheek on it, want to bite it, want to feel her squirm and hold her there between my teeth as I leave marks. I breathe in. Keep it under control.

“Yes, sure darling.” With the Good Daddy voice.

She climbs over, sits sideways on my lap, knees bent over my thighs. Wraps her arms around my shoulders and her face buried into my neck and collarbone. Her hair smells faintly of shampoo, clean and bright with a gently fruit-flavored hint. It’s soft and thin and I bring one hand up to the back of her head, play with the gentle curls there.

She settles in and drops one hand to my chest, resting it on my waist. I shift a little, a growl rising in my belly. My arms fold easily around her. I don’t notice the sigh I let out, a low hum, the precursor to the growl.

“Daddy?”

“Yes, darling.”

“I like to sit on your lap.” She snuggles a little closer. I can feel a tightness spreading in my groin. I don’t say anything. “Do you like it?”

“Yes, darling.”

“Does it feel good?” Her voice drops softer.

“Yes.”

“Does it feel good …” she’s whispering now. “In your pants?”

I stir. My cock stirs, jumps. The growl grows. My arms tingle and tense, a sensation I want to let out with a fist. “Yes.” I whisper too. Our mouths are close.

I am a Bad Daddy. I want my girl to do dirty things; I want to do dirty things to her. I know she’d let me if only I asked, but sometimes the desperation is more fun. The arguing with myself. The attempts at holding myself noble, resisting her sweet girlish body. Feeling dirty for wanting it so much that my palms ache.

There are a lot of Daddy/girl stories in this book in particular … the original title was Daddy’s Little Girl so it drew a particular, um, flavor. So if that’s your particular flavor, you’ll find plenty of it in this collection. It’s definitely worth picking up.

Here’s the rest of the blog tour, check it out:
May 1  D. L. King  http://sacchi-green.blogspot.com/
May 2  Anna Watson  http://dlkingerotica.blogspot.com
May 3  Evan Mora  http://donutsdesires.blogspot.com/
May 4  River Light  http://sapphicplanet.com/blogtour_sapphicplanet.php
May 5  Sinclair Sexsmith  http://www.sugarbutch.net/
May 6  Crystal Barela  http://kathleenbradean.blogspot.com/
May 7  CS Clark  http://bethwylde.wordpress.com/
May 8  Valerie Alexander  http://pomofreakshow.com/
May 9  Andrea Dale   http://lulalisbon.wordpress.com/
May 10  Beth Wylde  http://adrianakraft.com/blog/
May 11  Kathleen Bradean  http://cyvarwydd.blogspot.com/
May 12  Teresa Noelle Roberts  http://lisabetsarai.blogspot.com/
May 13  Shanna Germain  http://lantoniou.blogspot.com/
May 14  Charlotte Dare  http://madeofwords.com/posts/
May 15  Rachel Kramer Bussel  http://lustylady.blogspot.com/

Pick up The Harder She Comes edited by DL King at your local feminist queer bookstore, or over on Amazon.