Friday, March 30, 2007

Porn Shopping

The porn I own isn't doing it for me anymore. The amateur stuff on the web is great (real women - Yay!) but I wanted to refresh my pro collection, so last night I went shopping. The SO went with - maybe because it cracks him up to watch me shop for porn without shame, maybe in support, or maybe just because he's a guy and he has that whole testosterone protective thing going on and worries about me wandering through our seedy little sex shops and their dark parking lots on my own late at night. He didn't need to worry - the stores were packed with a lot of lone guys who avoid my gaze and a number of couples too. I enjoyed watching a couple discuss the merits of Trailer Trash II versus Bootylicious with such humor that I know they had a good relationship going on. I love seeing that.

The SO and I never discussed it, but watching porn is understood to be private time in our hovel. Porn is the ultimate expression of personal taste. He has the advantage of liking more mainstream stuff, so he has plenty to choose from, and it's cheap and readily available. My tastes are more...specialized... and when I do finally find a movie, it's usually incredibly expensive. If only we could share, but the ones he likes quickly bore me and my movies squick him out. We do talk honestly about fantasies and sexual matters, so it's not as if we're using porn to avoid the topic, but we also respect space inside our relationship. Still, I like the idea of watching together, and wonder what movies other couples share. Personal taste being what it is, what works for them probably won't work for us, but maybe we should give it a try. Trailer Trash II, or Bootylicious? Hmmm. Maybe I'll stick to my titles after all.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Futbol Season is Here!

Yes, real football, not American football. You know, the game where they actually use their feet?

I watched the US team play Guatemala tonight. It wasn't much of a game, honestly. It was nice seeing that Ruiz (Guatemala) - who used to play for the Galaxy - still has an acting career ahead of him when he retires from soccer. Of perhaps he'll try out for the Guatemalan men's diving team. (Oh I know - meow - but I've been watching him play for years, and he goes down more times in ninety minutes than a cheap hooker). Still, as flat as the game was, it was like seeing the first crocus peeking through the snow - a sign that something wonderful is around the corner. In case you've been living in a cave the past six months - Beckham will be playing for LA this year. Oh joy! Oh rapture!

Oh crap, I hope I'm still able to get seats close to the pitch. I do love watching the subs warm up - up close and personal.

Working Through My In Box

I'm slowly working through all my projects. Finally finished my short story based (loosely) on Snow White and Rose Red for the fairy tale anthology by Torquere Press. Two bored guys snowed in their cabin, when a bear shows up at the door. Of course, my bear isn't Ursine. Wrestling and all sorts of combinations ensue.

That leaves me with my last project for Amie Evans in preparation of Saints and Sinners - which I plan on devoting myself to for the rest of the week.

I was going to write a review of Love, Bourbon Street. While the anthology is good, and has some great stories - Poppy Z. Brite's Cocksucker Suit was a favorite - I tried several times to write my review and simply couldn't. I don't know why, but I can't force it, so I won't.

When I have a bit more time, I'll finish reading Nobody Passes and review it. I've been mentioning it here because what I've read so far has given me a lot to think about, and that is probably the highest praise I can give any book.

I have several long-term projects in the works. I've teamed up with Laura Baumbach to put the erotica writer's conference together for 2008. And although it's now envision as more than writers and has moved into an erotic conference, I'm excited by the energy and forward motion Laura brings to this. The other project is headed by DL King, a friend and fellow smut writer. She's building a website to post reviews of literary erotica. It's so hard to get erotica reviewed, and even harder to find someone who will review e-published erotica, so she's going to build a site for it. The other reviewers she has on board are established names in erotica and I'm looking forward to reading what they have to say.

Saturday, March 24, 2007


There are some issues that I think about for years before I settle on a philosophy, and even that can change over time. Same sex marriage is one of those issues. I believe that everyone should have access to the same rights as everyone else. That is a cornerstone of the US Constitution, even though equality exists only in theory in this country and definitely not in practice. It isn't easy to set aside the knee-jerk reaction to the outpouring of venomous hate from religious folk in this country. If they are adamantly against something, my gut level reaction is to be all for it. The only problem is that absent their influence, I'm not so sure that the right to marriage is what people should be fighting for. It's too narrow of an idea.

What are the odds of finding someone who has a sex drive, sexual desires, life goals, sense of humor, religious ideas, outlook on life, taste in food, entertainment preferences, moral philosophy, sense of style, temperament, body shape, ethnicity, personal habits, etc. that are compatible with yours? That's an awful lot to demand from one human being. And what are the odds that everything you are dovetails with what that person wants? It happens, and when it does it's beyond great, but more often than not, someone is going to fall short in one or all of those categories. So most people have friends - close friends - who meet every other need except the sexual partnership, and also have a lover. (relieved of the burden of meeting all those other expectations, lovers can be wonderfully suited to physical and emotional needs instead of everyone settling and living in a state of constant sexual frustration) That structure of friends who meet every other need is what truly works for most people on this planet. But what is that structure? It's family.

I'd say that family needs to be redefined, but according to my dictionary, it is, among other things, "A group of people united by certain convictions or a common affiliation." Family is the people you turn to when you need help, and it's the people you share your joy with. They are the people you don't walk away from when they piss you off. They are your conscious and your comfort. They are a collective memory, a shared past, and shared future. But unless those people legally own your ass, none of that counts for shit. You can't make them the beneficiaries of your social security benefits, nor can they be your heirs. They can be barred from holding your hand as you die, and they have no right to determine what happens to your body after death. Marriage equality would fix some of that, but marriage equality demands that you assume the nuclear family lifestyle and limits the definition of your family to one person.

What we need is a way to legally define our families without the presumption of blood kinship or ownership. 50 percent of marriages fail, so that " institution" clearly doesn't work for over half the adult population. (you have to count the adult population that never marries - just in case you wondered where the "over half" stat comes from). Why just register domestic partnerships? It's possible to love someone and share their life without sharing living space. (Just ask anyone married to a sailor.) Why not allow people to extend protection and inclusion to a group they want to define?

I know why this idea will never fly. First, some people read this and suspect that I'm trying to slip polygamy in under the legal wire. I'm talking about family here, not sexual partners specifically, but some people lack the imagination or mental ability to see the difference. Second, it makes the definition of family nebulous, and some people have to have strict definitions of everything (so that they can play their petty little games of exclusion). Third, people will scream, "What about the children?" Well, half the kids in this country aren't living in narrowly defined nuclear families, but they are living in families - just ones that don't have recognized legal status.

Let me reiterate that I'm not against same sex marriage. I'm pro-love. It's just that there are bigger questions out there and it would be nice if we could have a civil, rational, national discussion about it. What is family? How can we make the definition inclusive instead of exclusive? And when will Americans look at what's fair, and what's right, and stop wallowing in their lust for hate?

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Laziest Entry Ever

Proof that I'm a geek at heart. Oh Spiderman! Don't you know to use tissues, or at least a gym sock?

You're Doing A Heck of a Job, Brownie, er, Alberto

Every time President Bush utters "strong support" of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, I smile. "Strong Support," is the presidential kiss of death, the pat on the head for the sacrificial goat of politics. I always wonder if the poor, dumb creature understands what's coming next, but then I realize that the poor dumb creature is actually a vicious parasite. Then I hope that like a paralyzed tarantula about to become living food for wasp maggots that the goat is acutely aware of its fate.

I propose a new rule. From now on, the Attorney General should be forced to pass a test on the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights before being approved by congress. Working knowledge of, and respect for, those documents has been sadly lacking in that post lately.

Some suggested questions:

True of False - The Constitution and Bill of Rights always applies to all Americans, except when I find it inconvenient, or when I want to pursue my personal religious agenda.

True of False - I should be able to use porn while actively working to deny it to every other adult in the US.

True or False - Women are too stupid to be trusted to make decisions about their own bodies.

True or False - Torture is perfectly acceptable, unless I get caught by the media.

True or False - While I'm not a medical doctor, I am the best person to make medical decisions, and I can base them on religion, not science, if I want to.

True or False - I am above the law.

True or False - Political necessity trumps the Constitution every time.

I'd also like to see an essay on each of the Constitutional Amendments listed in the Bill of Rights, as well as a complete thesis on the Separation of Church and State - and why although it isn't one of the rights listed in the bill of rights, why Americans still should have a right to it.

Come to think of it - I'd like to make all presidential hopefuls take such a test without their aides whispering expedient answers into their ears. And I want those grades posted where everyone can see them. You'd think we'd have a right to know.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Now that I've been back for almost two weeks and have almost recovered, I can talk about EPICon.

EPIC is an organization for electronically published authors. They've been around for 10 years, maybe a little more. While the group has strong roots in romance, as evidenced by the constant talk of RWA (Romance Writer's of America) and RT (Romantic Times) conventions, it is pretty much shunned by those groups. E-publishing is still a small slice of the publishing pie, but it's growing, and a lot of that growth is in Romantic Erotica.

I had a great time in Virgina. I got to meet writers I knew by reputation, such as Emily Veinglory, and meet face to face for the first time writers I knew through the Erotica Readers and Writers Association and GLBT Promo. I hung out quite a lot with Helen Madden. She's in my novel reading beta group. We didn't just exchange chapters for critique; we were editors, cheerleaders, nags, devil's advocates, and sanity checks. I'm thrilled that the novels we worked on at the same time will be e-published within months of each other. (hers is Devil By Day, mine is Chaos Magic). I also discussed an Erotica Writer's conference with Laura Baumbach (A Bit of the Rough, and mastermind behind Man Lover Romance). I was very impressed with the publisher from Mojocastle Press (Helen's publisher), Stephanie Kelsey, and her philosophy towards her writers and business. I wish I'd had more time to talk with my publishers, Torquere Press, but didn't.

My BDSM panel, Safe, Sane, and Consensual went really well. Chris Owen, Jodi Payne, Sabrina Luna, and Eliza Gayle were great. They had so much to add, and were into the spirit of the thing. You can't take yourself too seriously when you're answering questions about the 7 Gates of Hell and explaining why someone would want to be led around on a leash.

Next year's conference is in Portland. While I meant for this to be an every-other year conference, I think I might have to go. I love hanging around with other writers, and the e-published writers are a pretty savvy group when it comes to the business side of publishing, so I learned an awful lot just from listening to the talk around the dinner table. Not to mention how much I picked up about self-promotion. That's information any writer needs, no matter what medium s/he is published in.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Review of M Christian's Filthy: Outrageous Gay Erotica

I read a guide to reviewing books recently. It said a reviewer should be impartial. I can see that point of view; the work should be judged on its own merit. However, it's impossible for me to pick up a book by M. Christian and not have expectations that are based on previous works I've read. So I guess it's only fair to begin this review with full disclosure: I'm a fan.

I'm torn over the idea of erotica as a distinct genre, and M. Christian's work is fuel for this internal debate. In The Hope of Cinnamon, a future society rescues gay victims from Nazi death camps and brings them forward in time to a sanctuary. Gen, one of the Helpers who works to integrate the Rescued into their new home finds out that few of the Rescued successfully survive the transition. He decides to travel back in time to experience the death camps for himself so that he will have a better understanding of why the Rescued fail to thrive in a society that fully accepts them. While this story does touch on sex and sexuality, it is a great example of speculative fiction that prompts further examination of our time and how current and future gay generations need to be aware of the history of gay culture and see it in proper historical perspective instead of viewing it, and judging, through hindsight.

As much as I hate the term coming-of-age tale, Utter West is a near-future story that shows a character coming of age, and more. Pony is the narrator's hero, the one who escaped their suburban hell and went beyond it to something wonderful and mystical - or so the narrator wants to believe. Unaware that he's destroying the beautiful myth that's grown around his disappearance, Pony comes back as an ordinary adult, prompting the narrator to break free and take the journey Pony failed to make into the beyond of the Utter West.

If noir is more your style, enjoy M. Christian's homage to Sunset Boulevard,
Hollywood Boulevard, or sink into the corner pocket of the night world of pool hustlers in The Hard Way. That Sweet Smell is really the scent of corruption, but keep telling yourself it's success, because in this story, that delusion is all the narrator has to cling to.

Moby is purely tall tale, told with the flair of real yarn-spinner. Could anyone stink that much, be that cussedly mean, or be that hung? It's all in the telling - joyously and outrageously over the top.

Or maybe you're in the mood for bittersweet romance and love. Flyboy is the soaring romance we all long for, crashed down to earth by the military's Don't Ask Don't Tell policy. And Love is a writer's story, about how much it means to us when our stories are wanted, and how hard it is to separate the pure love of acceptance from the physical.

And then there's horror. Friday Night at the Calvary Hotel is the hardest story to read in this collection for it's intense mix of sadism, masochism, religious imagery and sex. Stories like that cling to you long after you've put the book down. You decide if that's a good thing or a bad thing, but I like that. Suddenly, Last Thursday is horror of a different stripe - lush and gothic, where you might have to read a line several times before your brain accepts what it's telling you. That slow dawning of realization is delicious and shivery.

In the movie Sunset Boulevard, Joe Gillis says, "Sometimes it's interesting to see just how bad bad writing can be." Yes, but it's gratifying to see just how good good writing can be too. It's unfortunate that erotic writing has a reputation for bad writing, but sit down with this collection and let M. Christian change that prejudice.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Oh Man

I've over-committed my time, something I hate to do because I have
strong feelings about keeping my word once I've given it. I have a
thousand things to do and time is ticking away on deadlines. I hate it
when I do this to myself. As addicted as I am to making lists, I think
if I chart everything out I'm going to get depressed.

So: nose, meet grindstone.

On the upside - I booked my hotel for Saints and Sinners and my flight. One item accomplished.

Nobody Passes

No, this isn't my review. Just some comments on my thoughts.

As I've been reading this wonderful collection of essays, I've been thinking a lot about passing, and not passing.

In my life, other people have assumed that I'm Catholic, Jewish, Irish,
Persian, Russian, Mexican, Spanish, Italian, French, Greek, and
probably a host of other things that I wasn't aware of. Sometimes I
correct them. Usually I don't. It's not that I consciously try to blend
into my surroundings; it's more of a survival adaptation. Inlieu of disappearing entirely, I melt into the background.

You'd think that eventually, when they learned that I wasn't what they
thought, they'd be angry. Not so. But here's the funny part (funny to
me,because I have a perverse sense of humor). The only times my
authenticity has been challenged has been when I've opened up about who
and what I really am to members of theGBLT community. I wasn't
expecting a welcome gift basket, but the verbal abuse and hostility I
encountered every time floored me. And so I pass as a fag hag and let it go at
that, because I'm more welcome in that role than as myself. Go figure.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Time To Crawl Off My Fainting Couch

I spent last weekend at EPICon and had a fantastic time. Finally got to meet Emily Veinglory - worth the price of admission and then some. I adore smart women. Also hooked up again with Jolie Du Pre - always a real pleasure. (another smart women) And spent tons of time - but not enough - with Helen Madden, who was nice enough to retrieve me from and take me back to the airport. In LA, that's a sign ofcommitment, baby! One of the most spirited conversations I had was with Laura Baumbach. Finally, a co-conspirator for an erotica writer's conference. By sheer force of willpower, Laura can make things happen.

My plane landed back in LA 40 minutes early, shoved here all the way from
Chicago by a strong tailwind. That's great news when you want to get
home more than anything on earth, but not so great when you're allergic
to everything that gets carried on the Santa Ana winds. Thus the long
swoon into my aubergene crushed velvet fainting couch. I needed a Diva moment. I thought I was soldiering on pretty well until Tuesday, when, in the middle of a due diligence meeting, the client's lawyer looked across the table at me and said, "Are you sure you don't want to continue this another day?"

*Hack. Wheeze.* "No, I'm fine, really. It's just allergies." *gasp for breath. dab watering eyes.*

Last night, the winds changed. Once the onshore flow cleared out the air, it only took about two hours to feel slightly human again. Every time I cough though, I feel like my ribs are broken.

But enough whining. I'm off the couch and my Diva moment is over.

The great thing about travelling is the chance to read. I read M.
Christian's new collection of short stories, Filthy, which I'll be
reviewing very soon, on the flight out to Virginia. I watched the
sunrise over the Atlantic two mornings in a row as I read Love, Bourbon
Street (review pending) and on the way back I read most of Nobody
Passes (I would have finished if I would have had the extra 40 minutes). So - reviews coming soon, and I promise no more blabbing about my sinuses or ribs.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Just Got Back From EPICon

Buttmonkey, I saw this and thought of you.

Sunrise from the balcony in my hotel room.

At a signing. (I was along for moral support, or is that immoral support?) Seated: Timothy Kelly, CB Potts, Laura Baumbach, Lee Rowan. Standing: yours truly (and you thought you'd never see a picture of me) and unfortunately, I can't remember the name of the woman in green. (If you know, email me)

How could I resist that sign? (Again, Buttmonkey, it brought you to mind. Where are my cheesy grits, boy?)

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

I Want to Know About You

Remittance Girl has been an online friend for several years. She's working on a Masters and is researching the erotica reading audience. Please click on the link and answer the very short questionnaire.


Monday, March 05, 2007

This Should Be An Interesting Weekend

The panel I'm heading is titled Safe, Sane, and Consensual, but people will probably call it the BDSM class, or even the kinkfest. I'm tempted to wear my hooker boots - because nothing says "I know what I'm talking about" more than black leather, or "pay attention" like a whip coiled on the table.

Where the panel goes depends a lot on the audience. If most are familiar with Bondage, Discipline, Domination and Submission, and Sadism and Masochism, we can skip over that and get into more detailed discussions about writing BDSM. If the audience is new to it, we'll stick to basic definitions. Either way can be fun.

What I've learned from the other times I've been on BDSM panels is that the most interesting discussions happen later, when people pull me aside for private chats. Even though I'm fairly snarky a lot of the time, I can't be that way when people are seriously seeking help. I listen for the real question, which is usually some variant on "Am I a bad person?", "How can I tell my lover I want this?" or, "Am I normal?" They're usually relieved by my answers, but I always wonder why they trust my opinion. It must be the black leather boots.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

It's Nice to Be Noticed

Ashley Lister had some nice comments about my story Chill.

I'll admit that I haven't been writing much lately. I'm working on one short story that I foolishly promised an editor. Normally I won't do that. I don't like to promise anything unless I already have it. But I gave my word, so I will deliver.

Later this week I head off to EPICon in Virgina Beach. There are writers I've known online for years but never met in person who are coming to this Con. I'm looking forward to meeting them. The travel part - not so much. It's not that I'm a bad traveler. I simply get annoyed by the lack of Star Trek style transporter technology. Although I kind of hope I get to go through the new X-Ray machine in airport security that looks under your clothes. Anyone care to guess what I might paint on my skin for airport security's reading and/or viewing pleasure?