Sacrilege Moodboard

I have, as they say, so many feelings about sacrilege. Actually, about religion in general. It’s one of those topics I keep writing about, circling around, never reaching the end of all I have to express.

Awe. Despair. Fascination. Frustration.

Sexual frustration.

Apparently I’m not alone.

So this post is a mixed-media collage of sacrilegious, sexy, beautiful things, in honor of Mofo Publishing’s latest literary release:

This was the song that made me realize sex and religion is a pretty heady combination to a lot of people. It’s actually inspired a short story, but not one I submitted to the Sacrilege anthology (frankly, it wasn’t sacrilegious enough).

And sometimes it’s not a guy from the sky you’ve fallen for–

 Read the rest of the scene HERE.

The Henry Ossaw Tanner painting mentioned in the excerpt can be viewed in full on the website of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

A detail from Jan Van Eyck’s “Annunciation”. The Virgin Mary has the most beautiful blue. Not pictured, however, are Gabriel’s rainbow wings. Which you should also go check out. They’re like majestic, numinous Pride Flags.

 

My favorite song to meld sex and religion is Florence + The Machine’s “Bedroom Hymns.” I can’t get enough of the refrain…

There’s also Puscifer’s “Rev 22:20,” which I actually will not post on this blog because it is just too wicked. I don’t even believe in Hell, and it kind of scares me. Of course, fear is not the only feeling involved…

What more is there to say, in the end? Except maybe “Amen!”

(You can read another excerpt from “Deliver Us” HERE.)

“Annunciation”

Mofo publishing’s latest anthology of literary erotica, Sacrilege, comes out August 17th. This week I’m sharing excerpts from both my stories in it.

“Annunciation” is a Marian devotion, a confession, a denunciation, and a love story about growing up queer in the Catholic Church.

Annunciation

Gabriel

The Nativity is the third Joyful Mystery.

My first crush was on the archangel Gabriel, who I thought was a woman.

I stared at the illustrations in my religion textbook, studying every nuance of the figure, taller than the kneeling Mary (or even when kneeling to Mary) but slender. Details of that long body were masked by a white gown that flowed to bare feet, draped the wrists of gesturing hands. The beardless, fine-featured face was framed by a cascade of golden hair. These details recurred in image after image. Already half-daydreaming, I skimmed text that spoke of “the angel,” and I knew girls named Gabrielle.

So to me, the Annunciation was always a matter of two women together in a bedroom.

Once I was older, I became aware of my error and confused by it, sheepish, in some unexpressed, inexpressible way defiant. When I heard “there is neither Greek nor Jew, servant nor free, woman nor man,” I felt I might be right after all. Later on, I saw Henry Ossawa Tanner’s 1898 painting The Annunciation, which shows the angel as a narrow shaft of golden light that Mary gazes at warily.

Yet it also encouraged me that the Bible passage wasn’t primarily about angels but human beings. I liked the idea of one day no longer having a gender, which I found complicated and burdensome. By that point, I had given up on getting to fall in love with someone who was not gendered male. Despite pushback from my rebellious classmates, who nearly drove our pastor out of homeroom when he came to answer our questions, it was made clear there were two roles only men could take: that of a priest, for all my class argued otherwise, and that of my (married, permanent) lover.

Much, much later I discovered a theory that the archangel Gabriel’s representation in early Byzantine art was based on court eunuchs’ hairless, delicate androgyny. Perhaps, then, angels are persons who have forsaken maleness, though moving from the one gender does not automatically make them female, as I well know.

For now, I do think of myself as a woman. One day, be it in the Kingdom of God or sooner, I reserve the right to change my mind.

Back when I remained certain that Gabriel was a woman, I found confirmation in this belief through one of the altar servers. She too wore a white robe covering her tall body, and her face was framed by coppery hair that looked golden in some lights. Her features were austere, her movements ungainly as she grew into her height. I watched her religiously every Wednesday morning when our parish school went to Mass. She was several grades ahead of me, and the only other times I glimpsed her were for a minute or so each afternoon, around three o’clock, when we gathered in the gym to wait for our buses to arrive.

While I watched for this girl and studied the illustrated Gabriels, something felt tight in my chest, a thin and pleasant constriction. Our sexual education textbooks and our teachers told us that in the confusion of growing up, sometimes these crushes happened. They were natural, a phase we would grow out of. I believed them.

One night—I was a freshman in college, still living at home—I turned in my narrow bed and fell into a dream. In it, you were dressed in a blue robe with a white scarf covering your hair, the costume of Mary from a Nativity pageant. Neither of us had been in a pageant since middle school, but in the dream you were twenty, I nineteen, as we were in life. You stood at the back of the stage, behind the purple velvet curtain, and you kissed Gabriel.

Gabriel was not a man; Gabriel was me. A white gown covered me to my tennis shoes, but the long sleeves fell back as my hands lifted to your waist and shoulder. The kiss was slow and long, silent and lit by a honey-colored light. Your arms tried to go around the angel but were brought up short by my wings. These wings were not made of cardboard and gold ribbon but of feathers and flesh. Your fingers stroked through the fine down, dug in to meet the membrane with all its air-current sensitivity, and when your caress reached through them, the wings flew out and flexed and beat as if to lift us from the floor.

Read Sacrilege now: 

Amazon

Mofo website

“Deliver Us”

Mofo publishing’s latest anthology of literary erotica, Sacrilege, comes out August 17th. This week I’m sharing excerpts from both my stories in it.

“Deliver Us” is a lighthearted and angry look at the kind of sex that will get you sent to hell. Namely, exorcism roleplay, with bondage, warming oils, and getting almost too deeply into character–

Deliver Us

Ryan might have made a mistake in telling her that his first awakening to bondage had come through some C-movie about an exorcism. Watching that lissome teenager writhe, strapped down on the table—though just a kid himself, he’d known something was going on, something even beyond the desperate, weirdly poignant straining for salvation. Years later, he found out exactly what. And years after that, he confessed.

And now he was about to lose his immortal soul over it.

But God, Ann looked good in a Roman collar.

“I thought about being a nun,” she said, running her fingers over it. “But in the end it didn’t work out.”

“No kidding.” He grinned. “When it comes to nuns, I always think about . . . either sweet little old lady campaigners of social justice or else rulers across the knuckles.”

“Seriously. When I was younger, I thought I might have a vocation.”

“You’ve never mentioned that before.”

She shrugged, and he remembered that she didn’t talk much about her Catholicism in general. Or her ex-Catholicism. Which seemed more likely, given her continued playing around with the collar. She brushed away the ends of her brown curls hanging over it.

“Anyway,” she said, “I just thought of it when I put this on. Since they don’t let women become priests. A Sister would be as close as I could get.”

“I think you’ll make a good priest,” he told her.

“Thanks.” The moment of softness passed from her eyes, and she leaned over him. Loomed, really. When he stood, they were the same height, but Ryan always felt as if he shrank five feet when he was tied up. And the improvised vestments seemed to do something for her—she grew in them.

She said, “But after all, there’s lots of things they don’t let good Catholic girls do. Extramarital sex . . . sex not for the purposes of procreation . . . most of everything we’ve ever done.”

“I’ve seduced you into evil. How demonic of me.” He raised his eyebrows, which he’d often been told were at a certain devilish angle.

“Very.” Her grin was far more evil than any expression he could ever devise. It sent chills down his spine, and heat flowed right after them. His old jeans were tight enough that he suspected she could tell. He had picked a pair with an especially weakened waistband in case things got torn once he started writhing.

She bent closer, until the end of the silk scarf she was using as a stole dangled, and whispered, “You’re very wicked.”

She meant it. The way she had fiddled with her costume—solemn, if not reverent, maybe with a bit of wistfulness—spoke louder than their joking, spoke in the same clamoring tone as her silence about her past religion. They played now with something serious. If they did it wrong, they would be running a very big risk.

Ann frowned. “I should smack those knuckles with a ruler.”

“Come on.” He tugged at the straps holding him to the headboard in a weak sort of protest. She laughed at him. She cackled. It wasn’t very devout. And the indignity of the situation left him more turned on than he’d want to admit.

“For God’s sake!”

“I don’t think you’re supposed to beg for mercy just yet, Lucifer.” Her lips pursed on the name, making him think of kisses. And more. “Especially not by that name.”

Read Sacrilege now:

Amazon

Mofo website

Erotic Flash Fiction Publishers: A Non-Exhaustive List

Sometimes you just want to skip to the good parts. Because you’re impatient. Because you’re revved up and ready to go. Because sometimes instant gratification is sexier than any tease.

Because when a story is focused on a single idea, act, or scene, it has room to explore more depths than a bigger piece with a lot to cover. Because a brief story honed to a knife’s edge of eroticism can haunt you longer than a novel. Because a flash fic can be the written equivalent of a porn gif, and we fucking love those.

Because stories are stories, and we fucking love those, and the shorter the stories are the more we can devour.

This goes for writers as much as readers. I love to write flash fiction for the same reasons I love reading it, in all my impatient, curious, prying, pulsing, greedy glory.

So this list of Erotic Flash Fiction publishers is meant to appeal to both readers and writers. It’ll talk a bit about the style of each publication, and then provide information for submitting to it. It’s based on my personal notes. Erotic short fiction is a fast-moving market, with new places opening every year and some classics shutting their doors far too soon. These are all open to read and/or submit to at the time of this post’s publication. In the interests of full disclosure (and yeah, a bit of self-promotion), I’ll mention if I’ve been published at a particular market, but don’t read anything into this. I mean, the places that have published me are fucking awesome and you should totally check them out. But check out the others, too.

Some markets pay money, and some pay only in exposure. All accept stories <1000 words, but some also accept and even prefer longer short stories. Some also take poetry. Many publications showcase erotic fiction alongside art, photography, and video, so be forewarned not all linked sites are SFW. In fact, assume that they’re not.

Bright Desire: Among its feminist, sex-positive subscriber content, Bright Desire posts fiction about once a month. The editor says, “I’m looking for stories that are more than just a sex scene. Blow-by-blow accounts of sex are boring. I want to see stories with interesting scenarios and fascinating characters; stories that explore the issues and emotions surrounding sex.”

Payment is $15 for flash fiction <500 words, $25 for short fiction 500-2000 words. Full guidelines are here: http://brightdesire.com/tour/writers-and-contributors/

I’ve sold three stories to Bright Desire:  “Her Perfume” (f/f),“For Myself” (masturbation),  and”If You Were My Lover” (hard to classify).

For the Girls: High-quality short and flash fiction featured once a month. “[S]uccinct, erotic pieces that successfully get an idea across in a small number of words. Cleverness is encouraged, as is out-and-out dirty hotness.” Also, “Stories can cover any topic, however it must be erotic in nature, relatively explicit, sex positive and be written expressly for female readers. Female protagonists are preferred.”

Payment is $15 for flash fiction from 300-500 words and $25 for erotic fiction up to 2000 words. The guidelines are very similar to Bright Desire (both are edited by Ms. Naughty), but they are different websites.  Full guidelines are here: http://www.forthegirls.com/writers.html

Bust: There’s nothing quite like getting your smut in a glossy magazine, in between interviews with trailblazing women, fashion photography, and articles on everything from pop culture to feminist wedding planning. Bust’s “One-Handed Read” section features cliche-busting hotness between 800-900 words (stories longer than 900 words are accepted, but will be cut down to size during their thorough editing process). Pay numbers aren’t listed in the website but from the experience of writers who have worked with them (including yrs truly), it’s a $50 gig, plus a gorgeous and thought-provoking contributor’s copy.

Details for writing for Bust–not only erotic flash but nonfiction articles as well–are here: http://bust.com/info/submit.html

My femdom story “Breakfast Time” appeared in the August/September 2016 issue. 

Nerve: How does one begin to describe Nerve? Check out their Fiction and Experiences tabs for the erotic, bold, and intriguing.

If you’ve got work of your own to share, Nerve takes 300-2500 words through their Nerve Writers Network membership application. Pay is $300 provided the article gets 40,000 unique visitors in a month. Writers should also provide an image to which they have the rights to post alongside the story.

I appeared in Nerve in October 2015 with “A Tender Thing,” another femdom piece.

Aotearotica: This print journal offers “a clever, modern and stylish erotica and work exploring sex, sexuality or gender expression, with a preference for a distinct New Zealand flavour. ”

Payment is NZD$50 and a contributor’s copy for fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry, art or graphic narratives. Written work <3000 words. To submit or order a copy, see: http://aotearotica.co.nz/

Peach Fuzz: A print zine combining illustrations (paintings, comics, digital graphics, and more–though photoshoots are done in-house) with writing that need not be “strictly sexual in nature, anything pertaining to the human condition will be considered. We want your smutty editorials, erotic flash fiction, research-based articles, thoughtful op-eds, long verse poetry, and haikus about your first butt plug.”

Pay is $20 for 500-1500 words, $30 for 1500+ words (including research-based articles). For details and to order copies, see: https://www.peachfuzzmag.com/submit

Lascivity: With the tagline “Refined Perversion,” this website offers erotica as well as nonfiction guides to everything from cleaning sex toys to slapping your lover safely and true stories.

Pay: unknown (likely exposure). To read or submit, see:  http://www.lascivity.co.uk/contribute/

Omnia Vanitas Review: I can’t put it better than they do themselves:

“Send us your work : your sexiest, silkiest, naughtiest work : your full manuscripts : your short stories : your poetry : your love letters you ought to have burned : your multi-media projects with thought-provoking titles : your naughty pictures : your movies : your website, so we can become bedfellows.

 Send us YOU. 

I want bodies on paper.”

However, this appears to be an unpaid credit (except for exposure on the website) and there is a reading fee for stories longer than 5,000 words. This is what makes me think of it as a market mainly for short-short fiction. For more information and to read the online issues: https://www.omniavanitasreview.com/submit

Circlet Microfiction: This publisher of erotic science fiction and fantasy publishes short-short stories of 250-1000 on its blog. “Microfictions should be sex-positive. literary quality, and although they may be explicit should be tastefully written.” Their focus is on sf/f more than horror, but they do publish a special round of stories around Halloween. Pay is $5 per microfiction. For submission guidelines, see: http://www.circlet.com/writers-guidelines/

I’ve had several microfictions published on Circlet’s website. You can read them here

Cliterature Journal: This erotic journal with a timeless title releases issues on themes including everything from “Voice” to “Technology” to “Sisterhood” to “Patriarchy.” They take submissions of prose, poetry, and nonfiction up to 10 pages. Compensation is exposure. See guidelines: https://cliteraturejournal.com/submit/

Cliterature: A similar title but different aesthetic, this website publishes fiction not in issues but in tagged categories. Check ’em out: http://www.cliterature.org/content/submissions  (Like the other Cliterature, compensation is in exposure, though no length guidelines are given)

Math Magazine: If you’re having algebra flashbacks, fear not: this is a “playful & provocative print quarterly for adults” out of Brooklyn. The deliberately bland cover is a tribute to old-time porn that had to be discreet on the newstand.

If you’re having algebra flashbacks, and it’s turning you on, maybe you should write for them. But submissions need not be arithmetically inclined. In any event, check Math out here: https://www.math-mag.com/

Body Parts Magazine: Eros and Thanatos combine in this magazine that embraces the speculative, the surreal, the erotic, the horrific. They publish flash fiction as well as short stories up to 8,000 words, plus essays, interviews, artwork, and photography. Take note of their issue themes–Alchemy, Grave Robbing, Metempsychosis, and more–and view their submission guidelines here: http://www.bodypartsmagazine.com/submissions.html  Payment goes from $5-$20 depending on category and length.

Bare Back Magazine: Their mission statement says “The human back is a reflection of the soul.  It is our vision that, a back that is bare tells a story, is strong, and is sexy.  It is our mission to feature stories, poetry and art that reflects this vision.” They have online archives of both fiction and poetry. Pay is $3 per story for stories from 800-2000 words; $1 per poem. Guidelines here: http://www.barebackmag.com/submissions

Honeydew Erotic Review: This deliciously named magazine releases themed issues of work that’s “hard, …dark (grey), and we like it pretty damn spicy.” Feminist and LGBTQ welcome.  Also, though they like it “dark,” “Happy endings are good.” Length of story not specified, so long as there’s a clear beginning, middle, and end.

Compensation is $5 per story. See details: https://honeydewtingle.wordpress.com/submissions/

Pink Litter: Editor Misty Rampart says, “Our project is an attempt to marry what some might call “beautiful” and what still others might call “obscene.” ” Both poetry and flash fiction are accepted. Payment appears to be through exposure, facilitated by a 30 word author bio with social networking links, which should be included in your submission. https://pinklitter.wordpress.com/guidelines/

Horror Sleaze Trash: This website combines videos and poems, stories, interviews, reviews, art/photography. You can also buy a hat.

Send that in (the stories and so on, not a hat), along with an author bio. Re: compensation, “I cant pay you cause no cunt ever paid me.” Check them out at: http://www.horrorsleazetrash.com/submissions/ 

Heather: A digital, tri-annual literary magazine publishing fiction & flash fiction, prose poetry, creative non-fiction, digital art. Erotica should be female-focused. “Heather is your friend. Heather is your girlfriend. Heather is your girlfriend’s girlfriend. Heather is leaning against the wall at your neighbor’s house party. Heather is next to you in bed, naked.” Submit here: https://heather.submittable.com/submit

Please note two things: first, the website for Heather is http://www.hthrprss.com/ (the other Heather Magazine is “an Australian online publication championing women in music.” Which is also awesome). Second, the editor-in-chief’s name is Kelsey, not Heather.

Erotic Review: A nonprofit “literary lifestyle publication about sex and sexuality aimed at sophisticated, intelligent readers” that’s been running since 1995. The website is just its latest incarnation, and publishes reviews, articles, and videos alongside fiction. As a nonprofit, it’s an unpaid publication credit. See guidelines at: “http://eroticreviewmagazine.com/contributor-guidelines/

Femdom Book Reviews

A conversation today where someone asked for erotica recs reminded me of this site:

http://femdombooks.blogspot.com/

Tragically, it has not been updated since 2014, and I expect the blog runner SunnyGirl has found other demands on her time. Happily, in the several years the blog ran, she found and shared a wealth of erotic romance, erotica, and even some pretty straight-up (well, not too straight-up) romance novels and ebooks.

Her tags include many different styles, kinks, and approaches, including one of my personal favorites “subtle femdom” (my other favorite is “masochism” so I guess I have a range).

I also appreciate her warnings for when a story pulls the rug out from under the dominant female reader, or when it has all the kinks but just…isn’t all that good. Not that you should ignore everything below a B rating. There’s a lot of room for individual taste here, and SunnyGirl is always very straightforward about the factors that influenced her rating, with the possibility that they won’t hit every reader the same way.

After my review of Shadowheart, I plan to write many more book reviews myself, including lots of femdom and subtley female-toppy romances. But in the meantime, these are some stories to check out!

 

July Updates: Newsletters and Smashwords Summer/Winter Sale

My latest newsletter, including a new story publication with Coming Together, is now out through MailChimp. You can view it here.

Personally, I love newsletters because I’m not good at keeping up with author’s blogs. It’s much easier for them to reach out to me with their news and publications. In the future, I hope to send out a newsletter semi-irregularly but at least biannually (that is, every six months…not the current biannual schedule, whoops). And to include more coupon codes and other subscriber perks :D.

Speaking of coupon codes, it’s Smashwords’s Summer/Winter sale, and using their special coupons in the month of July can save you anywhere from 50-100% off of select titles.

I’ve included most of my own stories in the sale. Clicking the individual book’s page will give you the details on which coupon to apply.

If you’ve been waiting for a chance to stock up on ebooks inexpensively, it’s here!

Both NSP anthologies are participating in Smashwords’s July Summer/Winter sale, too, if you’d like to use a 75% coupon!

Editor for Hire (also, How to Get Me for Free)

Along with my “Stories/Publications” and “About the Author” tabs, I’ve recently added a new one: “Editing.”

I’ve been a copyeditor for several years now, since earning my license from the University of San Diego (yes, you can be a “licensed” copyeditor. So far, my job has not involved heavy machinery, although the Chicago Manual of Style can get plenty heavy). I specialize in fiction and creative nonfiction, working across many genres–including erotica, though I’d always like to see more.

(Honestly, my dream is for someone to hire me to edit a femdom erotic romance out of the blue. I’ve been hired for tons of other cool projects, but not one of those yet.)

And then I realized, well, it’s not like a lot of people know  I edit erotica, do they? I should probably advertise! So now I’ve got that new tab, and you can also find me on the author resources page of the Erotica Readers and Writers Association.

But some of the best advertising, I like to think, is offering FREE stuff–well, not “stuff” so much as “services” in this case, but anyway. It is FREE.

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Writing F/F

This is a a quick post taking inventory, inspired by the realization that “My Body is a Haunted House” looks like my first explicitly F/F story to be published. It’s not the first one I’ve written, though, nor the only one in the publishing pipeline; and it’s far from the only time I’ve explored my experience as a queer woman in writing.

Le Sommeil or “The Sleepers,” by Gustave Courbet–an inspiration for my short piece, “Her Perfume”

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New Release: “My Body is a Haunted House” in MoFo Pub’s HOTEL

Click “Continue Reading” for an excerpt from the opening scene of “My Body is a Haunted House”

The stories in this anthology explore what happens in those most impersonal of private spaces—hotels.

Hotel. The very word conjures a sense of transience. Hotel takes you into a world without permanence. Between these pages, lovers meet and lovers part. Elegant, sensual prose takes you from grand ballrooms with lavish appointments to shabby heaps where you pay by the hour.

Sneak a titillating glimpse behind closed doors, where whatever can happen just might.

Transience, transgression, and transformation seem to be the order of the day–or night–in this anthology. My story, “My Body is a Haunted House,” links two women together at an occasion of transformation: their (ex-)husband’s funeral.

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Book Review: Shadowheart by Laura Kinsale

I cried happy tears while reading this story.

That fact might prove embarrassing, since

a) I am not the type of person who would be expected to weep sappily over romance novels, not least because

b) I am a sadist. Literally, a dominant sexual sadist.

But here I am, all salt-watery with a tissue in hand, because

c) the heroine of this novel is a dominant sexual sadist–and also a youthful ingenue who finds herself in way over her head when she’s revealed as the last scion of a medieval Italian noble house, and joins forces with a beautiful assassin who overcomes his tragic past to devote himself to her and her cause.

I was once a somewhat ingenuous young heroine, though Ancestry.com hasn’t revealed quite such revelations in my family history. If I’d discovered this book sooner, I wonder what it would have done for me. Probably sparked a lot of light bulbs–though I may have taken it in stride. A voracious reader of everything from romance novels to Westerns to science fiction to historical mysteries, I was just starting to think of stories as something that could apply to my own life. Only once I did did I realize how few romance novels captured the experiences find most romantic.

And then Shadowheart gives me this:

He held her look. With a slow move, like a lazy caress, he touched his fingertips to his shoulder, to the place where she had bitten him. Instantly she felt a spring of hot sensation, a violent dream of her power to mark and wound him as he arched under her hands. He smiled at her, a mere hint in the greenish light of the storm.

Elayne looked down, snatching a quick breath, as if the atmosphere had closed upon her.  …She had never in her life before wanted to hurt any creature. It was not anger, though anger was a part of it. But it was more than that, more–it was all twined and twisted with the way he looked beneath his lashes and smiled as if he knew.

Shadowheart, pp 159-160

Even before he gets very far in his redemption arc, Alegretto’s already enchanting me with his submissive seduction, or seductive submission, or whatever this is–it just made me curl my fingers over my mouth and tear up. I didn’t even realize such active, teasing submission was a thing I could want in my relationships, fictional or otherwise. And Elayne’s reaction is described so beautifully, with complexity and sympathy. I never thought I’d see a woman’s sadistic desires written in lyrical, opulent romance-novel prose without having to write it myself.

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