Reaching Out from a Mind as Dirty as All Outdoors
If you get lucky enough, I might post adult-only material from time to time, so be 18 or over, or please be elsewhere.
I'll be discussing erotica here, the writing of it and the people who write it, as well as what we've written. I find all these aspects stimulating, but if any of them bore you, feel free to skim. You never know what you might miss, though.
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Every now and then I review short work from writers I admire (and, more often than not, from writers who’ve been included in some of my own anthologies.) This time I’ve had great fun writing about four out of the 69 stories in Alison Tyler’s Sudden Sex from Cleis Press. I’m actually quite in awe of Alison’s efforts to get all 69 stories reviewed, something I didn’t have the gumption to try with my 69-story anthology Girl Fever.
Here goes, in reverse order from when I wrote them.
Here I go again, all heated up by Cheyenne Blue’s excellent writing. In “Consequences,” she constructs the story in segments, each given its own heading, with both words and form building toward as steamy a sex scene in “the deep wine-dark shadows” of an abandoned park as you’ll ever read; and then one short, lovely step beyond.
The headings form the framework. “Ty:…Met Michelle:..At the hospital:…He said:…She said:…He did:…She did:…They did:…The consequence was:…”
Different writers could use the same bare bones to write very different stories. The characters, apart at the beginning, described separately. The place of the first encounter. What he said, what she said, as they begin to casually interact. What he did, what she did, as the interaction becomes much more intense and physical. Then, by far the longest section, as it should be, what they did, together, no longer separate but joined in a rush of lust and mutual satisfaction. And finally, simply, the consequence.
Different writers, as I said, could build on the same framework, but only Cheyenne Blue could do it like this, with language both lush and precise. Here are just a few tasty snippets:
Ty used to say he liked his chocolate and his women dark. Chocolate that was black with cocoa, bitter enough that it kicked on his tongue, no sweetness to be found.”
Michelle liked women more than she liked men, but sometimes she craved a cock that was veined and warm, that wasn’t strapped on.”
He took her to a bar; one he knew well, but his friends hadn’t discovered yet. They drank double-strength mojitos until he’d had enough rum to process the signals she was sending him.”
Finally, she thought, exultant, and sank lower in the seat so his fingers were pressed firmly against her core.”
One part of her mind registered that here, finally, was a man who could suck pussy as well as any woman, but the thought flew from her head like a bolting horse as his tongue curled around her clit and reality fractured into a million shining pieces.”
“The consequence was:”
[This part I’ll leave to you to discover.]
Simple, you might think. But the pacing, the deft bits of characterization, and the red-hot eruption of explicit sex aren’t simple at all. Those are the marks of mastery of the craft.
Night Visitor—Cheyenne Blue
Beautiful writing seduces me as profoundly as an intimate touch, and when the words draw me into an explicitly sexual scene, the effect is magnified. Nobody does this better than Cheyenne Blue.
In “Night Visitor”, she chooses the difficult format of present tense, which, in her skillful hands, is just right. “She comes to him in the deepest hour of the night” sets a tone of dreamlike enchantment that lingers even when you know it’s not a dream. When the object of her seduction is swept away by the joys of the body, he still perceives the beauty of “her body gilded with starlight, dusky with shadows”, and sees that “naked, her short spiky hair tipped with silver, she’s ethereal and otherworldly.”
This sense of wonder is all the sweeter as daylight reveals the simpler story of good friends and housemates who become briefly so much more—or perhaps not so briefly. The rest of the story is theirs alone; we can just be grateful for what Cheyenne Blue has shared with us so beautifully.
Variety is, for me, an essential aspect of good anthologies, and Victoria Janssen’s “Misdirection” in Sudden Sex does at least triple duty in that respect.
First, and most obvious, is her science fictional setting. Mil, the navigator, has screwed up his computations and misdirected their two-person spaceship to an unknown region of the universe. In a classic space opera set-up, they’ve been captured by aliens and ordered to demonstrate the human mating ritual in order to win their freedom. The social and sexual dynamic between them is also somewhat of a variation, with Mil the reluctant, uptight partner, and Lenora the persuasive and aggressive one perfectly willing to have sex while being observed. Humor is another major element, hard to pull off in erotic scenes, but skillfully managed here, especially when anatomical “misdirection” occurs mid-sex that’s both hilarious and embarrassing. By this time, of course, they’ve realized that they can “misdirect” in any way they like and the aliens won’t know whether it was a traditional sex ritual or not, so when their captors announce that they require three demonstrations instead of one so short, we’re left both laughing and wishing desperately that we could watch the rest. With this blend of humor, hot sex, and imagination, we, like the aliens, are definitely left wanting more.
Committee Work—Jeremy Edwards
Jeremy Edwards has a way with words that can make you laugh, make you wriggle, and make getting to where you’re going nearly as much fun as the action when you get there. The phrase “Committee Work” in any other context would suggest the depths of boredom and inefficiency, but with Jeremy’s committee of two, the work on the agenda is finished in a breeze, and the characters get right down to the work that really needs to be done.
Committee Work—Jeremy Edwards
Sex in academia is a favorite theme in erotica for very good reasons, one being the shock value of contrasts. When the brisk, sleek professor refers to her own “erogenous ass,” the assistant professor’s “long-simmering” lust for her boss is startled into full boil. The deliciously sexy romping that ensues is made all the sexier by the fact that the professor sheds skirt, shoes, and undies, but retains, of course, her “adorably round-and-tiny glasses.”
Add to all this Jeremy’s deft hand with imagery and subtle wit, and “Committee Work” rates an A+, graded on a very “trim, gently rounded” curve.
Saturday, April 6, 2013
I've just sent in the last minor galley edits, so the Wild Girls are really rolling now, due to be out on June 11. It's a huge thrill when you read through a manuscript you haven't seen for several months and realize that it's even better--and hotter--than you'd remembered.
Here are the story titles and authors, and my introduction. Bear in mind that, given the theme, some of these people are writing not only under pseudonyms, but under pseudonyms for their usual pseudonyms, so you never know who may be revealing such personal details.
Polvo de Hadas Monica E. Moreno
Hot Desert Nights Dawn McKay
The Daddy I Didn’t Know I Needed Angel Propps
The Corruption of the Innocent Pornographer Destiny Moon
Foxy and the Ridiculous Lesbian Orgy Allison Moon
Nurse Joan Cheyenne Blue
Ring of Roses Giselle Renarde
Cockadoodle Doo Dawn Mueller
Threesome H.M. Husley
Delinquents Catherine Paulssen
Risking It All Lynette Mae
Are You My Mommy? Danielle Mignon
Lost Batteries Jasmine Grimstead
Odds Catherine Henreid
Higher Learning Charlotte Dare
Kat’s House Mia Savage
Guise and Dolls Allison Wonderland
Tamago Anna Watson
Auto-Complete M. Marie
Insatiable Travel Itch Evan Mora
Writers put themselves into all their work, whether they realize it or not. Even the wildest imagination comes from deep inside. But for this book, I asked them to take a deep breath, go that extra step, and write hot, explicit stories firmly grounded in their personal experience. Real encounters, real emotions, real people with overwhelming desires, drawing on memory rather than imagination to share their own true stories of lesbian sex.
I had no idea who would take up the challenge. Incorporating your memories and longings and secret kinks into fiction is one thing, but putting your name—or a pseudonym your friends may recognize—on a story that exposes intimate, unrestrained details of your life is something else again. Not to mention details of your lovers’ lives. I asked that pseudonyms be used for all characters other than the authors, to preserve some degree of privacy. Even so, who was going to open themselves so fearlessly and passionately?
But these authors did, and I’ll be forever grateful. Writers have always come through for me, in the course of eight previous anthologies, and they did it again. This time, though, I had the sense that they were also coming through for themselves. The urge to tell their stories was second only to the urgent impulses that drove the action in the first place.
I already knew that truth could be as wild, sensual and searing as any flight of imagination, and these writers went even beyond my hopes. There are stories with spankings, strap-ons, restraints, and desert sand; settings ranging from a London hospital to a Caribbean island to Niagara Falls to Tel Aviv; lifetime commitments, fleeting encounters to savor for a lifetime, first flings, and at least one threesome. Reality doesn’t have to be prosaic. Wet, messy, frenzied, sometimes even awkward, but not boring.
The variety of writers, too, is everything I’d hoped for. Some are well-known and accomplished, telling their tales with skill and artistry that seem to transcend real life, even when they’re true. Some are new to writing, experimenting with preserving their treasured experiences in print, while others have been writing for themselves (and each other) for a long time but never dared share their work openly before.
One previously published writer told me that this story felt so personal to her—more than any of her others—that she'd only submit it to an editor and publisher she knows and trusts. Another, new to me, said that writing about her first encounter with a woman excited her all over again. A third described her piece as the true story of a very special event in her own and her partner’s lives, with only the names changed to protect the innocence of their grown children (who know she writes but also know her well enough not to want to Google her.) I’m always moved, in one sense or another, by the stories people send me, but this time I was touched in a whole new way.
I was also amused by some of the details they shared with me. One said of her story, “All true. I was on Twitter ten minutes later bragging that ‘my girlfriend spanked me so hard I cried real-life tears of ouchiness.’ Lots of people were jealous. LOL.” Another, when I asked what she’d been wearing that gave her partner such easy access, told me that she’d been afraid to admit at the beginning that she’d stripped to a T-shirt and underpants right after work, in case it might make her sound silly and too young, and then she forgot to decide what to say at all. I’m glad she was much less uninhibited about the rest of what happened.
The stories themselves always count most, but in this rare case a sense of the writer behind each story is important, too. I’ve only shared a few of these details, but I’ve come to know enough about most of these authors to be confident as to the basic truth of what they wrote.
The stories can speak for themselves. Some are about first times, each in a distinctive way, from Angel Propps finding the leather daddy she hadn’t known she needed to Jasmine Grimstead having glorious sex under the stars with the free-spirited girl of her dreams. Some are inextricably tied to stressful occupations, like the fleeting episode of forbidden lust in the military by Dawn McKay, and the life-and-death trauma of Lynnete Mae’s police work. Some memories are long-treasured and some newly forged; Catherine Paulssen writes nostalgically of being young in Germany in the summer of 1994, while Allison Moon’s faux fox hunt orgy played out as recently as the latest royal wedding.
Every story deserves special mention, but I’ve gone on long enough. Go ahead and enjoy what these women have bravely and generously offered. With some you’ll feel vivid flashbacks to your own adventures; with others you’ll wish you’d shared theirs; and some will inspire you to make steamy new memories of your own. Reading these stories to someone with just the same urge would be a fine way to start.