Posts Tagged ‘cleis press’
Holy cats, Hotlanta! It’s like 100* today. But at least Kristen and I have had some grits and really good biscuits already (Flying Biscuit cafe, folks, dang that was good). We flew out of New York at 6am this morning and have been slowly melting in the heat ever since we got here … but we’ll be in Atlanta until Monday morning, when we fly to Seattle for a little memorial for my dad with my family.
Meanwhile, though, I’m very excited to be visiting friends and seeing the queer version of Atlanta, I’ve never been here before and I’m looking forward to getting a sense of the city. I hope I will get a sense of the city, given the heat! Any recommendations for local things that we just must do?
Hope to see y’all out at Charis books tonight or tomorrow night, Friday the 29th or Saturday the 30th. Saturday we’ll be doing a Dirty Queer Sex Tour appearance with an all-femme lineup (except for me, of course)! And Kristen is going to read one of the dirtiest stories in the book. Here’s the info about the events.
Join us for a two day Stonewall weekend extravaganza celebrating queer sexuality and embodiment with butch blogger and sex writer Sinclair “Sugarbutch” Sexsmith. On Friday night Sinclair will take us on a wild ride towards body confidence for folks on the self-identified queer masculine side of the gender spectrum (butches, bois, transmen, studs, FTMs, Masculine of Center, genderqueer, gender non-conforming, or anybody in between!) .
Sinclair will return on Saturday night for a raucous reading from Say Please: Lesbian BDSM Erotica. Sinclair will share stories from the anthology, talk about the state of sex blogging today, and offer tips to ignite your inner erotica writer! Learn more about Sinclair at www.sugarbutch.net. This event is sponsored by Charis Books and Atlanta Pride. There is $5 suggested donation each evening but no one will be turned away.
Friday, June 29th, 7:30-9pm: Radical Masculinity workshop
Saturday, June 30th, 7:30-9pm: Dirty Queer Sex Tour: Atlanta Edition
Charis Books and More
1189 Euclid Ave NE , Atlanta, Georgia
Performing on Saturday night will be:
Adriana Chiknas is a multifarious femme who is drawn to intensity. She loves her partner, crazy conventions, costumes, heavy metal, food, fantasy, and fucking. Adriana writes the stories of her life…primarily so that she doesn’t forget them. She believes in the power and importance of stories…and wants to hear yours too.
Big Red is an equal opportunity gender queer, fierce femme, who is a performance and Spoken Word Artist celebrated for her ability to “wear many different shoes”. In one pair of those shoes she is dedicated to facilitating personal and communal connection and healing, and in another equally empowering and self-embracing pair of red stilettos she works on various ways to encourage, support, and evoke opportunities to accept and create verbiage, experiences, and culture that is raw, creative, authentic, sensual, deeply intense, just, and intent on empowering, healing, and transforming self, relationships, and communities. With a proven and long standing commitment to education and training, one of her current passions is creating new connections while presenting at various Community events.
Kathleen Delaney is a Queer High Femme spoken word writer whose provocative & smutty performances ignite, shock, challenge, and eroticize Butch/Femme, Queer, and BDSM dynamics. A National touring veteran, Kathleen is the founder & producer of BODY HEAT: Femme Porn Tour, a collective of Femme porn performance artists. A 1950′s Housewife at heart, Kathleen is celebrating day 49 as a newly-wedded bride.
Kristen is a kinky queer femme bottom who occasionally contributes to Sugarbutch.net. She enjoys bruises, disco, and wearing as little clothing as possible. Follow her on twitter @kitchentop. You should try her cookies.
Come see D. L. King and Friends at Bluestockings in NYC
Wednesday, June 6! 7pm
Details on Facebook
D. L. King, Sinclair Sexsmith, and Rachel Kramer Bussel will read some of their hottest works to date, all from The Harder She Comes: Butch Femme Erotica.
They will be joined by Sacchi Green and writers Cha Cha White, Jennifer Baker and Dena Hankins reading from Girl Fever: 69 Stories of Sudden Sex for Lesbians.
In the immortal words of Sinclair Sexsmith, “Is it getting hot in here?”
I’ll be reading my story in the book, “Good Girl, Bad Girl,” which you can read an excerpt from here on Sugarbutch.
Transmography: Thirteen Fairytale Portraits of Queers Beyond the Gender Binary
by Molly Crabapple and Najva Sol
Transmogrify, Verb: To transform, esp. in a surprising or magical manner
From poets to porn-stars, computer nerds to community gardeners, artists to activists: these portraits capture some of the real gender warriors today. They are trans, genderqueer, or just gender-fabulous, and they deserve their own magical realm.
Each portrait was shot by Najva Sol with a lomo camera, then embellished by Molly Crabapple. Show sponsored by Lomography.
Show Opens At Lomography stores in New York AND San Francisco
Thursday, June 7th, 6-9pm
New York Lomography Store
41 West 8th Street
Manhattan, NY 10011
San Fran Lomography Store
309 Sutter Street
San Francisco, CA 94108
On Friday …
Queer Memoir: Butch/Stud Through the Years
Friday June 8th, 8 PM
Queers for Economic Justice
147 W. 24th St., 4th Floor,
New York, NY 10011
5-10 bucks no one turned away
RSVP/More info/Updates on facebook
Queer Memoir: New York’s award-winning LGBT storytelling series is breaking their usual “no shows in the summer” tradition in order to produce this special event. We’ll be hearing stories from butch/stud identified people of different queer generations, including a special reading from West Coast’s Jeanne Cordova and her award-winning memoir, When We Were Outlaws.
RYANN MAKENZI HOLMES
HOSTED BY KELLI DUNHAM
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.
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.
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.
“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?”
“Does it feel good?” Her voice drops softer.
“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.
April’s Say Please virtual (blog) tour has come to an end. Thirty posts in thirty days across many different blog platforms, group blogs and individuals, filled with praises and critiques. It’s been fascinating to read all of them and I highly recommend reading through them.
(I’ve been trying to keep up over at the Say Please blog, but I’m behind. I’m working on it!)
Viviane at The Sex Carnival
Rachel Kramer Bussel at Lusty Lady
Giselle Renard at Donuts & Desires
Evoe Throw at Whole Sex Life
Liz at Alpha Harlot
Roma Mafia at RomaMafia.com
Daniela at the CSPH
Sinclair (me!) at Sugarbutch Chronicles
Dede at Deviantdyke
Helena Swann at Cuntext
Kim Herbel at Butchlesque
Kelli Dunham at KelliDunham.com
Lily Lloyd at The Black Leather Belt
Lyzanne at the Sex Positive Blog
Lula Lisbon at LulaLisbon.com
Ali Oh at Made of Words
Jameson at FTM Butch Dude
Charlie Ninja at CharlieNina.tumblr.com
Meredith Guy at MeridithGuy.tumblr.com
Wendi Kali at A Stranger In This Place
Lolita Wolf at Leather Yenta
Audrey at Babeland
Seth at Smoke Belly’s Corner
Danika at the Lesbrary
DL King at DLKingErotica.blogspot.com
Kyle at Butchtastic
Kiki Delovely at KikiDelovely.wordpress.com
Dilo Keith at DiloKeith.wordpress.com
Xan West at TG Stone Butch
Thank you all, so very much, for being part of this! I am so glad you enjoyed the book and thank you for your comments.
Next up for Say Please: Mini-interviews with the contributors! I’m excited to showcase their thoughts about their stories, and will be posting them throughout May and beyond.
I hope you have had a chance to get a copy of the book and to start reading through the stories, and if you haven’t yet, I’m still on tour and will be visiting Seattle, Portland, Atlanta, Chicago, and Toronto this summer and fall.
I have been so busy telling you all about Say Please that I have barely even mentioned some of the other recent notable books I’ve picked up. All are fantastic reads and have plenty to offer for the novice or the very experienced kinkster.
Ecstasy is Necessary by Barbara Carrellas I’ve already mentioned on Sugarbutch, but it’s worth mentioning again if you haven’t read it yet. If you’re interested in exploring your own sexuality, getting closer to your own desires, having a lovely introduction to some tantric explorations, or taking a good, long reflective look at your sex life and relationship/s, this is an incredible place to start.
Queer & Pleasant Danger by Kate Bornstein is a beautiful, stunning memoir about Kate’s time as a scientologist (!), then being excommunicated and losing her family, then transitioning and coming out as a kinkster on the West coast, and finally moving to New York. It’s an incredible story and I loved every page.
The Ultimate Guide to Kink by Tristan Taormino really is the Ultimate Guide to Kink. There are essays in here from all sorts of mentors and experienced authoritative kinksters, and the book covers all kinds of fascinating topics. I’m especially excited about Barbara Carrellas’s chapter on kinky tantra, the age play chapter, and the “inside the mind of a sadist” chapter. I haven’t finished it yet (I’ve barely started it, actually) but I’m already thrilled. Cleis Press is contributing amazing things to the kink and sexualities worlds and I’ll read anything they put out.
Mind-Blowing Sex: A Woman’s Guide by Diana Cage might look like some basic women’s sexuality book, but it isn’t. It’s a complex commentary on our sexual culture and includes tons of ideas, exercises, and prompts to get you digging into your own sexual self. Kristen read it cover to cover and pronounced, “I’m going to send a copy to my sister.” It’s the kind of book that all our younger sisters should have (after we finish reading it).
There have been so many great books released this spring! I’m also really looking forward to Are You My Mother by Alison Bechdel and Why Be Happy When You Can Be Normal by Jeanette Winterson. I haven’t been all the way through the Lambda Literary finalists, though I like to pick through that list because they are often the best of the best. And of course I’ll be at the Lammys this year! Very excited to continue attending and being involved.
What have you been reading lately? Anything good?
Today is the official release date for Say Please: Lesbian BDSM Erotica! Between a few Amazon reviews and various folks on the virtual tour, there are a lot of comments about the book coming my way, and it’s been so fun to hear what y’all think about it.
Say the magic word and fulfill your deepest desires for discipline and surrender, domination and submission, and the heightened sensations of BDSM play. One request opens up a fantasy world of classic dungeon scenes, bondage and restraint, floggers and spankings, sadism and masochism, very hot sex and so much more. True to form, Sexsmith queers classic gender dynamics, with a femme daddy in Alysia Angel’s “Feathers Have Weight,” and genderqueer bois who earn their right to flag black in Sassafras Lowrey’s “Black Hanky.” In “The Cruelest Kind,” Kiki DeLovely’s naughty narrator gets her just desserts from her butch in a back alley. D.L. King’s top makes her submissive strip before an unseen audience in “A Public Spectacle.” Face slapping can be a hard limit or the most delicious craving, as Rachel Kramer Bussel’s protagonist finds out in “A Slap in the Face.” Whether you dream of surrendering to a lover or of weilding your power, Say Please to the erotic inspiration within.
Some current praise from the book tour:
“Each story has a different kink and a different bit of style. Every time the page turned, I got more wet.” —AlphaHarlot
“”Unworthy as I am” [the last story in the book] is a gentle wrap up of the book. Well, not gentle in the play, as you follow caning, piercing, and various delicious forms of torture. But the end of the story, with the collaring scene, can almost bring tears to your eyes, as you feel that this collar is for each submissive in the book, a honor of completion.” —Nina
“The stories were detailed enough to get you into it (soo into it!) but also left somethings up to your own imagination. The stories are hot, and makes you want to try more and more kinky things.” —skysbirdsnplanes
“I was delighted by the wide swathe of kink that this literary erotica cut through my imagination. I’m always interested in the myriad ways that gender expresses itself and Say Please is full of variety. The BDSM quotient zoomed through all of my favorites (except CBT, for obvious reasons) and right into areas that pushed my comfort levels. In other words, it was so hot to read that I had to get myself off.” —Evoë
“Despite the impressive amount of silicone being used to tease, tantalize, and teach lessons in this collection, it remains exceptionally diverse. Though the authors had to conform to the theme of “lesbian BDSM”, both of those labels were interpreted in a variety of ways, loosely and enthusiastically. In “Say Please,” there are no baselines, no stereotypes, and certainly no “scissoring.” As the coquettish narrator of August InFlux’s “Counting Love” assures us when telling us to leave the candy hearts at home, the best acts of love are not universal. To me, “Say Please” is a beautifully structured vessel carrying creative, courageous, highly individualized demonstrations of respect and admiration.” —Roma Mafia
“Let me tell you, I said please more than once to this lovely little book…. These contributing writers had me on edge – on the edge of mental orgasms too which are just lovely!- so many times that I felt myself slowly submitting to the conditions and quality that came along with this well endowed book.” —DeDe Delynn
Have you picked up your copy yet? What do you think? I’m dying to know. What’s your favorite story? Which line just really got to you? Which author do you adore and are you going to look up all their other stuff?
A big ol’ box of Say Please: Lesbian BDSM Erotica edited by ME and published by Cleis Press has arrived on my doorstep! I am so thrilled to hold this book in my hands and pet it and flip through it, after more than a year of working on it behind the scenes, on my computer, alone,
jerking off in bed with the manuscript I mean uh, editing and copy editing and re-editing.
And now … comes the exciting part! The birthing it into the world part! The part where I figure out how to get it into your hands and on your nightstands and between your boxspring and mattress and on your kinky bookshelves. So I’ve got a few things up my sleeve, including
six inches a virtual blog book tour and some extra copies for reviewers.
The official promo blurb:
Say Please: Lesbian BDSM Erotica is a fiction anthology edited by Sinclair Sexsmith, to be published by Cleis Press in April 2012. It is available for pre-order at Amazon and will be available for the Kindle and Nook. Email lesbianbdsmerotica at gmail.com if you have any questions; to request a review copy, email Brenda Knight at bknight at cleispress.com. For more information about Say Pleaes series, visit saypleasebook.wordpress.com.
Item the first! Reviewers needed for Amazon
Apparently, book sales on Amazon set the standard for many other buyers these days, and reviews on Amazon (even clicking “like” on Amazon) make a big difference in possible sales. So I’ve got 20 copies of the book to give to folks who are willing to write a review on Amazon. To do this, you must: have an Amazon.com account you’ve made a purchase from, have a US mailing address, promise to review it by April 31st and actually follow through. Will send one to the first 20 people to request it. Email lesbianbdsmerotica at gmail.com with “Amazon” in the subject line, your mailing address. I’ve got more than enough Amazon volunteers! Thank you!
Item the Second! Blog Tour
In April, surrounding the book’s official April 10th release date, I’ll be conducting a virtual blog tour for the book! That means: If you are a blogger, and you’d like a copy of the book to review on your blog on a particular day of the tour, I’ll send you one in exchange for your participation. To participate, you agree to post on your corresponding day; posts can be your thoughts about the book, an excerpt, or an interview with me or another contributor. Email lesbianbdsmerotica at gmail.com with “Blog tour” in the subject line, and include a link to your blog and any pertinent information about the site you run. Deadline is March 31st, but I will fill it as I go, so please email me asap.
Item the Third! Preorder the Book!
If you do plan to buy it, as with all books, pre-ordering them has a dual impact on the book’s sales, meaning your sale counts not just for one book, but means that the bookseller your purchasing from will stock extra copies. All sales are great, but pre-orders are extra special, a heads up as a way to support your favorite authors.
Item the Fourth! In Person Tour in Boston, Seattle, San Francisco, NYC, and More to Come (So To Speak)
I am trying to get all over the place to read from this book … I still hope to visit Durham, Chicago, and Portland, and possibly Philadelphia and DC. If you’re a coordinator or event producer in any of those places, or in a different place!, and you’d like to help me with a reading, I’d love that. Get in touch.
Here are the current planned dates:
April 1 5pm, San Francisco at GV (with Salacious)
April 13 7pm, NYC at Bluestockings
April 22, Boston at a bar (with The Femme Show)
May 2, Seattle at Babeland
November 29, Toronto TBA (Facebook invite to come)
Item the Last! Get the Word Out, Buy a Copy, Let me Know What You Think!
I am beside myself with curiosity about how this book will be received. What do you think of it? What is your favorite story? Which lines stand out? Which authors were particularly impressive, whether you’ve read them before or will seek them out to read again? What themes did you love (or hate)? What did you wish there was more of? I would love feedback about this. After all, it’s the first anthology that is wholly mine, cover to cover, and I would love to do more of these in the future (hope hope).
I hope you’ll find a way to get in touch and tell me your thoughts, I am so very curious.
It’s happening! Say Please readings and bookings have begun. So far, I have two dates:
April 12 – New York City at Bluestockings
April 22 – Boston, venue TBA
And a few more in progress, to be scheduled ASAP:
March 27 or April 1 – San Francisco
May 1/2 – Portland
May 3/7 – Seattle
I still don’t have dates for these, but I want to make it here in April/May:
If you’re interested in reading or helping me to create a reading in your city, please let me know ASAP! The easiest way for me to ensure that I can make it (especially to those three cities I have yet to book) is to get a gig at a college which can actually pay me. If you’ve got any contacts in these cities, please let me know.
As usual, series editor and reading series host Kathleen Warnock is hosting the New York City release party on December 15th at her Drunken! Careening! Writers! series at KGB Bar in the East Village. (When I have the Facebook invite and such I’ll let you know.)
Meanwhile, though, here’s my introduction to this year’s Best Lesbian Erotica. I’m really pleased with how it turned out, there are a lot of great (dirty!) stories included by many of my favorite writers. Pick it up if you get a chance. I really hope you like it, and I’d love to hear what you think after you get a chance to read it.
I know what I want.
I knew exactly what I was looking for when I read the submitted stories for this anthology: dirty, smutty, smart about gender, smart about power, packed full of sex with the bare necessary descriptions of setting and context, and, oh yeah, good writing. It doesn’t have to be dirty in my personal favorite ways—with sultry accoutrements and costuming like stockings and strappy sandals, or with strap-ons and lots of fucking, or with blow jobs and dirty talk. I like stories where the characters are so turned on and lusty that I feel it too, even if it is not my particular kink or pleasure. I like stories with unique descriptions and rolling prose and insatiable narrators and rising and falling action. I like stories where I want to recreate the action for myself, when I am inspired by the delicious positions and settings and words.
Yes, and the words, let’s not forget the words. That’s what these kinds of books are all about, really. If you wanted a quick, easy turn on, you could load up any of dozens of queer porn sites—there is no shortage of real, good queer porn out there these days. But for some of us that is too crass, and a well-done turn of phrase gets us swooning and biting our lips and rubbing our thighs together even more than a dirty video.
I didn’t always know what I wanted. When I was coming out in the late 1990s, though there was a serious lack of queer porn in the video stores, there were plenty of people paving the landscape for what would become the blossoming queer porn of the 2000s. Diana Cage, On Our Backs magazine, Good Vibrations, (Toys in) Babeland, Annie Sprinkle, Susie Bright—and, of course, Tristan Taormino. It was Tristan’s 1998 Best Lesbian Erotica anthology that for me clicked something into place, something I could no longer pretend wasn’t there. I would hide the book in the back of the shelves at the bookstore where I worked so it wouldn’t get purchased, and I’d sandwich it between two others and sneak it into the stock room to read when it was slow. I wore creases into the spine with Toni Amato’s story “Ridin’ Bitch” and Karlyn Lotney’s story “Clash of the Titans.” I was genuinely confused as to why I liked these stories so much. What was this affect they had on me? Why did I love them so much? What did it all mean?
I began to find other books, short stories, and essays that helped move my budding baby dykery along: Nothing But the Girl—oh, swoon. That essay by Anastasia Higgenbotham in Listen Up: Voices From the Next Feminist Generation. Cunt by Inga Muscio. Breathless by Kitty Tsui. And the Herotica series, which was erotica for women before Rachel Kramer Bussel’s prolific erotica editing career.
I bought one of the Herotica books at a little indy bookstore—now gone—on Capitol Hill in Seattle when I visited one summer, before moving there. But it proved to be too threatening to my boyfriend who, enraged some night after yet another argument about my sexuality, stabbed that book and two other lesbian erotica books with the wide-handled screwdriver which I’d used to masturbate since I was a teenager.
These books are filled with three powerful things: 1. women, who are 2. empowered, 3. about their sexuality (which, by the way, does not involve men). Even the books themselves are threatening.
These books of lesbian erotica are not fluff. They are not nothing. They are not frivolous or useless.
For queers coming out and into our own, they are a path.
Fast forward a few years and I’ve managed to snag myself a lesbian bed death relationship, going out of my mind with desire and disconnection. I stopped writing, because the only thing that I was writing was how miserable I felt, how much I wanted out of that relationship—a reality I wasn’t ready to face. I decided that to work off my sexual energy, I would either go to the gym or I would write erotica. Well, I ended up writing a lot of erotica, rediscovering this tool of self-awareness and self-creation that had led me to smut in the first place, and I began writing myself back into my own life, back into the things that I hold most important: connection, touch, release, holding, witness, play.
My first published smut story was in Best Lesbian Erotica 2006. Between the time I wrote it and the time the book came out, I was beginning to end the bed death relationship, in no small part because I’d reminded myself of the value of the erotic, of my own inner erotic world, of erotic words. Between the time I wrote it and the time it came out, I started Sugarbutch Chronicles, which has carried me through these last five plus years, often being my sanctuary, support circle, best friend, and confidant.
Writing these stories, for me, has not been frivolous. They have not been nothing. They are not fluff or useless.
For me, they were a path back to myself when I got lost.
When I was lost, I had no idea what I wanted, aside from the basic daily survivals: work. Eat. Pay bills. Sleep. Shower. But when I wrote, when I connected with my own desire, I felt a little piece of me bloom and become in a bigger way. I felt more like myself.
I turned again to the great books of smut to help me find myself, to help me find a way back to a partner, a lover, a one night stand—hell, even an hour with a Hitachi was sometimes enough. The Leather Daddy and the Femme. Mr. Benson. Switch Hitters: Gay Men Write Lesbian Erotica and Lesbians Write Gay Male Erotica. Back to Basics: Butch/Femme Erotica. Doing It For Daddy. And Best Lesbian Erotica, always Best Lesbian Erotica. I still eagerly buy it every year to see what the guest editor’s tastes are, to see what the new trends are, to read the emerging new writers, to get my rocks off.
I rediscovered what I wanted through reading smut and writing it. Through carving myself a path in connection with a lineage of sex positive dykes and sex radicals and queer kinksters and feminist perverts.
After six years of writing and publishing erotica, I am thrilled to be a guest editor for the series which sparked me into queerness in 1998, thrilled to be choosing stories for the same series that published my very first piece, “The Plow Pose,” in 2006, which helped spark me back to myself. It is so exciting to be contributing to this queer smut hotbed that Cleis Press has helped nurture all these years, and I’m so glad to continue to be part of it in new ways.
I know what I want, now. And lesbian erotica, or as I prefer to call it, queer smut, has helped me not only visualize what is possible, but create a path toward getting what I want.
The stories in this book reflect my taste, my favorites, my personal hot spots, certainly, but also the best-written stories from a large pile of well-written stories by some of my favorite authors, like Kiki DeLovely and Xan West. There are some less-well known writers in here whose work you may not be familiar with, yet, but who will leave an impression on you, writers like Anne Grip and Amy Butcher. I found dozens of moments of signposts, signals directing me toward myself, words illuminating my own meridians of ache. With each story, with each act of lust, with each dirty command or submissive plea, I rediscovered my own want.
I hope you find some of what you want within these pages, too.