When I started writing for publication, I was amazed at how interconnected people were. As I talked about writers and publishers, it was always this two degrees ofseparation conversation that was more about who they were connected to rather than what they wrote or published. I figured that was just the way of world of queer press
worked. Then I became part of the erotica writing world, and it's the same thing. It's a good thing that (compared to many writers) I'm an extrovert. I'm so fascinated by these connections that I've started connecting people I think have similar aims, or if I think one has information the other person needs, just to see what will happen. Sometimes nothing does. But sometimes these leapfrog tangents bring everything together in unexpected ways.
Was it only a year ago that I read at the In the Flesh reading in New York? Maybe two. Anyway, Rachel Kramer Bussel, of many anthologies fame, hosts a great erotica reading series in New York called In The Flesh. Friend (and Erotica Revealed head honcho) DL King showed me around NYC and went with me to the reading that night.
The erotica writers I know in LA have been lamenting the lack of good reading opportunities, (LA is not a reading-friendly town) so of course I was thrilled when
Rachel launched an LA version of In The Flesh. (I'm so grateful she didn't take it to San Francisco - a much more literary city - even though it would give me an excuse to go there more often) Rachel was out here for the inaugural event. We talked a bit about cupcakes (of course!) and the new anthology she was promoting at the time, Rubber Sex (Cleis) (Which DL King has a story in, and I reviewed for Erotica Revealed after getting interested in rubber outfits when DL came to LA and let me feel up her new black rubber skirt. But I digress) It was the night before BookExpo America, so Maxim Jakubowski was in town and read that night (he's writing the intro to the Coming Together: Against the Odds anthology I'm in, but that's a whole other tangent.) Also at the reading was Stan Kent of the Shoe Diaries fame. I've been hearing raves about Stan and his books for a while, but never got around to reading one until... well, I'll get to that.
A couple months ago Stan asked if I'd be interested in reading at In The Flesh. He was standing in as host. I was, of course, thrilled. And terrified. But thrilled. In
The Flesh LA had moved from a Venice Beach location to Hustler Hollywood on Sunset Boulevard. Also reading that night was Jolene Hui, who I first met at a reading for Iridescence (Alyson), edited by Jolie du Pre, who also read at the In The Flesh New York I read at. Come to think of it, she read her story from Iridescence that night.
So last week, DL said she was coming out to LA this coming weekend. What did I find in my email this AM? A note from Stan Kent asking if I'd be interested in reading reviews from Erotica Revealed at In The Flesh LA each month. I passed on the e-mail to DL (since it's her website, not mine), and now it looks at if Stan, DL, and I are going to meet for lunch this coming weekend, and DL will be doing a reading by phone for this coming In The Flesh LA. It seems Stan is the new host of In The Flesh LA, along with the charming Jolene Hui.
(So now I'm really glad that I picked up Stan's first book in his shoes series at the last reading, and that I got around to reading it last weekend (It hadn't drifted to the top of my reading stack, but I figured I'd been hearing about his books for so
long that I should just go ahead and read it first) Now I have to buy the rest in the series, because an erotic story about a girl who relives the sex when she puts on shoes someone has had sex in, and who uses those powers to hunt down psychos, has me hooked.)
When people talk about publishing being a game of who you know, I'm sure they mean it a different way than I do. I don't work on book deals or agents or that sort of thing when I talk to writers and publishers, even when I'm at Saints and Sinners Literary Festival (New Orleans. May 14-17 this year. Best writer's conference, ever. You should go) Saints and Sinners is networking ground zero for me. (Although I'll admit that some opportunities have come my way because of it, I've never actively sought a book deal there.) I'm more interested in finding out what people know, not what they can do for me, and try to figure out who I should connect them to. It's fascinating. Really.