Archives: Uncategorized

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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Upcoming stories

My cup overfloweth. Contracts are signed, edits are underway, and I just discovered that I’ll be sharing the tables of contents in two upcoming anthologies with some very excellent people.

Your cup might overflow as well, dear reader, because in each of these anthologies I have two stories.

In MoFo’s third anthology, Religion (originally Sacrilege), my stories are kind of different from each other, but between them cover plenty of my Roman Catholic influences.

“Deliver Us” is about what happens when you get exposed to bondage through B-movies about exorcisms, and your girlfriend is an ex-Catholic who once wanted to be a priest.

(When your boyfriend did become a priest and you want to rescue him from his decision, you get A Last Touch of Grace. Comparing that story in 2016 to these stories in 2017 probably reveals something interesting about my spiritual journey.)

“Annunciation” is a semi-autobiographical novella in flash about growing up queer in the Catholic Church. Novella in flash might be a slight exaggeration, but I’ve recently fallen in love with the form and its cousins after reading Sylvia Brownrigg’s Pages for Youeven if I didn’t manage a “true” novella of the appropriate length and independence of the composite flash pieces, it was fun experiment. The format might also be influenced by the 5 + 1 fanfiction genre, in which case we have “Five times I* believed lies the Church told me about gender and sexuality and one time I figured it out,” I guess, or maybe “Five times I really missed the fact that I was queer and the realization(s) that put me right.” Not only was “Annunciation” fascinating to write (I said these stories “covered a lot of my Roman Catholic influences,” but what I learned most is how much is left to uncover), I also got a little angry. In “Deliver Us,” too. That seemed to fit MoFo’s call, which includes “a preference for Catholicism—the eroticism and hypocrisy are built right in.”

The narrator of “Annunciation” first identifies the androgynously-illustrated Gabriel as female, “So to me, the Annunciation was always a matter of two women together in a bedroom. “

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Embodied Hauntings–“The Bitterness of Flesh”

Continuing on my themes from the last week’s posts–hauntings, and also recent releases that didn’t get proper blog posts because my website was down at the time they came out.

“Would you like to see Cleo?”

This time the blush flamed to the surface of her skin, and the chill dove deeper, towards her heart. “I… Can I?”

Robert Fitzwilliam held out his hand. “There’s a statue of her down the hall.”

A statue. Of course. Had she been expecting a ghost? She pressed her palm to his again, felt long fingers close around it, followed the draw of his arm. The thick carpet drank in their footsteps.

“The Bitterness of Flesh” came out in Ever Dream of Mean anthology from Fantasia Divinity Magazine. It was inspired by two things: the Year’s Best Food Writing anthologies from Holly Hughes, and Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca. Of course, I was reading those at the same time, which is one of the best ways to cross wires for creative sparks.

Plot-wise, the story is not about a chef: I’m more interested in eating scrumptious delicacies than preparing them, so the Food Writing inspired me to notice and incorporate sensual details–and also an heirloom apple orchard. Honestly, I’m surprised there isn’t more writing out there combining culinary and erotic appetites, although Gael Green’s Insatiable and Ashley Warlick’s The Arrangement are both on my bookshelves (I hadn’t realized M.F.K. Fisher had a love triangle under her belt along with all those European meals!).

The core of the story is about a second wife, and also, of course, about the first one. I adore Gothic novels, but the atmosphere of “Bitterness” is a little lighter than most Gothics–more bittersweet than venomous. Its partial inspiration, Rebecca, is a book about jealousy and fear, love and obsession. And when the heroine gets that obsessed with Rebecca (aided not least by the tour Mrs. Danvers gives of the shrine made from Rebecca’s bedroom), it becomes almost–with more or less “almost” about it–sexual.

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“She knew what he’d brought”: Updates 4/19/17

The paperback of MoFo Pub’s Wanderlust anthology is now available from Amazon. That gorgeous cover will look great on your shelves (something about photography and hot pink lettering does things to me, okay?) and even better open in your lap. While you read it. Which you’ll thank yourself for.

This is the one featuring my story “Soft, Rough.”

But the MoFo goodness doesn’t stop there. “My Body is a Haunted House”–an f/f story that takes its title from C.S. Lewis, yes really–will be one of the stories in Hotel, the second volume of the Mofo Pubs Presents series. The ebook is currently available for preorder before its June 25th release.

If reading these stories gets your imagination going, MoFo has two current calls for submissions: Religion, closing April 30, and Haunted, closing August 5. Speaking, I guess, of C.S. Lewis and haunted houses (okay, I modified his quote–originally in A Grief  Observed, he compared his body to an empty house. The larger point stands. The larger point being that grief is a bodily experience as much as an emotional one, and also I hold nothing sacred).

Best Women’s Erotica of the Year Author Interviews

I just realized how much I have to catch up on, posting-wise, from those long and dreary months I spent without a website. And there’s a whole sob story about what else was going on that getting the new website up wasn’t a priority for me, but who needs to hear that? Sob stories aren’t that sexy.

Well, they can be.

You're trembling, and aside from those delicious, involuntary shudders, you don't move. from T.C. Mill,

Eroticism and grief, loss, and tragedy are kind of a thing for me. Hauntings–supernatural or psychological–appear again and again. I’m struck by the kind of intimacy you can or can’t have with the past, what forever eludes your touch. There’s also the intensity, the whole-body experience of each emotion, idea, and sensation. It’s why Shakespeare’s tragedies are so beautiful. It’s also why grieving people may suddenly find themselves powerful. The grief story that resonates most strongly with me is: “I just went and stood there, sort of trying out my anger against theirs, I guess. And mine won.”

Or as the narrator of “Phone Call, 3 a.m.” puts it:

Grief and fear are rare aphrodisiacs. Deep mourning isn’t, and depression certainly isn’t. Anxiety makes you clammy and numb inside or makes you let loose recklessly. In my experience merely anxious sex has always felt somehow cheap. But grief unlocks something. Maybe it strikes so deep that it gives us permission to feel. It excuses us. Or makes us so desperate that we’ll have anything in place of the loss.

Anyway, what I was getting to when I started this post is that I forgot to share here when my author interview went up on Best Women’s Erotica of the Year’s Tumblr page. On the other hand, waiting until now to post about it means I can share the complete set of author interviews from all 21 contributors; you’ll find them under the tag for Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 2. They’re all fascinating, and I think you’ll love the chance to hear about the inspirations for these stories, read each author’s favorite lines, and find out what’s coming next!

If you’re interested in being part of the series yourself, the call for Volume 4 is up, seeking themes of “outsiders and risk.”

 

New Release–Wanderlust: a Literary Erotica Anthology

“Turn-ons include well-placed commas, devastating allusions, ten-dollar words, social commentary, moral ambiguity, alliteration.” As soon as I read the description on the website of MoFo Pubs, I knew this was somewhere I wanted to submit (fiction, that is).

The best turn-ons, the kind that weave the strongest spell, are those that engage your brain as well as your body, that serve up sensuality with flair. Such is what I try to deliver. I don’t see “literary erotica” as an oxymoron. For all the beliefs, emotions, sensations, anxieties, and rites of passage surrounding sex, it’s a strong contender for the most literary of topics. It certainly beats out taxes, though not necessarily death…

…and it may tie with travel. Discovering new places, or leaving the old ones behind; a hunger for different sights or sounds or tastes; short transactions or deeper exchanges with strangers you might never see again. And then there’s the logistics: carrying your baggage or finding somewhere to put it or forgetting it entirely, hoping your transportation doesn’t come to a halting crash, considering the sense of relief you might feel it it does–there’s a lot going on and going into your average case of Wanderlust.

I’m very excited to be part of this anthology for my first publication of 2017.

Read an excerpt from my story, “Soft, Rough,” under the cut

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