Posts Tagged ‘xan west’

Do you like queer smut? Next week, I bet we can make you blush.

December 2, 2013  |  miscellany  |  No Comments

I’m really excited about the Best Lesbian Erotica reading that Amy & I are putting together! We picked up two big boxes of BLE from Cleis Press headquarters today and are almost completely ready for the big day.

The books look beautiful!

Our lineup is incredible!

I’m working on getting someone to record video—I do have some leads, but if you are in the Bay Area and want a comp ticket to go in exchange for helping with video recording, let me know please. I would love that. I’m trying to get more videos of my work up online.

It’s an experiment, doing the release party with a kind of high cover price ($20 at the door) that includes the thing that the release party is for (a copy of Best Lesbian Erotica 2014). I’m not sure if that’s going to mean more people show up, or less, or people show up and want to donate instead of getting a book + ticket (which we’re allowing with our “no one turned away for lack of funds” policy). The general culture of book readings in New York and Seattle and (from what I can tell) San Francisco is that they should be free, and then that people will buy the book to support. But instead of that, we’re including some other goodies (like door prizes! And wine & snacks!) and making sure that everybody gets a book.

Here’s the details. I hope it’ll be an incredible turnout! I’ll be reading my story from the book, which also happens to be the lead (first) story, called “A Good Workout,” which is my first published butch/butch erotica piece.

It’s been interesting, changing my reputation and my perception to others as a “femme-oriented butch” to a faggot butch. I have pages and pages to say about that, but for now I just want to share that when I read this last year at an erotica reading, another butch who was reading after me stood up and declared, “I’m a REAL butch. I ONLY date femmes.”

!!!

I was kind of speechless and stunned. It was definitely for audience laughs, for impact, and to set her apart from me and my story, but it also kind of stung. Plus, ugh, I really don’t like anyone who uses the phrase “REAL ____” to try to describe how there is One True Way about just about anything, especially around gender.

I’ll write a bit more about that later, but for now, just know that I’ve got a controversial faggoty butch story (set in the locker room at a gym) and I’m looking forward to sharing it with you all in person.

1212reading

QUEER SMUT: BEST LESBIAN EROTICA 2014
READING & RELEASE PARTY

The holidays are upon us, and what better way to celebrate than with the brand spankin’ new Best Lesbian Erotica 2014 West Coast release party! Each year, the Best Lesbian Erotica series captures some of the best smut stories by well-known and brand-new authors. Come hear readings from 2014′s collection edited by Kathleen Warnock. Join us for an exciting reading from the new 2014 collection and beyond.

Featuring Amy Butcher, Jen Cross, Carol Queen, Sinclair Sexsmith, BD Swain, M’kali-Hashiki, Cheryl Dunye, Xan West, and Jiz Lee!

$20 at the door includes the price of a book!

Buy your tickets EARLY from Eventbrite and receive an EXTRA ticket in the door prize giveaway, featuring fancy silicone toys from TANTUS and queer porn DVDs from PINK & WHITE.

Facebook & Fetlife

Books will be for sale—bring $15 extra and get yours signed by the contributors. As Kathleen always says: buy one for Grandma!

Queer Smut: Best Lesbian Erotica 2014 release party
Thursday, December 12, 2013, 7-9pm
Center for Sex & Culture
1349 Mission Street between 9th & 10th, San Francisco
Cost: $20
Includes a copy of the book Best Lesbian Erotica 2014
No one turned away for lack of funds

Get tickets now! Eventbrite

Best Lesbian Erotica 2012 is Here! My Introduction & the NYC Release Party

November 28, 2011  |  reviews  |  3 Comments

BLE is here! Kristen’s copy from Amazon arrived last week and we had a toast, read the first and last story out loud, and of course found a few typos. (Can’t have everything!)

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.

Introduction
Sinclair Sexsmith

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.