Saturday, February 28, 2009

March Madness Cubed at ERWA

Ready for a sexy threesome over at the Erotica Readers and Writers Association? First check out Ashley Lister's informative interview with editor Jolie du Pre, whose soon-to-be-released anthology Swing! includes my saucy swapping story "John Updike Made Me Do It."

That so happens to be part of the title of this month's "Cooking Up a Storey": John Updike Made Me Do It: Taboo-Breaking Fathers, Rebel Daughters, and Porn Writers’ Pizza. And yes, I more or less manage to tie together those rather disparate topics into a hopefully satisfying meal.

"Shameless Self-Promotion" continues on its journey with a more concrete and practical set of topics in "The Irresistible You: Pitches and Bios." Creating tantalizing teasers for your book and yourself is a basic tool of promotion, and I'm so shameless, I even share some from my files over at the ERWA blog.

Hotel Sex Goes to the Movies

Our suite 69 bash is in full swing, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed our tales so far. Now, in honor of Do Not Disturb: Hotel Sex Stories, edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel, and its provocative trailer, I thought we might discuss the topic of hotel sex in the movies. I expected this subject might be difficult to narrow down to bloggable proportions, but actually I discovered my choices were easy. Although there are plenty of movies with suggestive (or explicit) hotel sex scenes, two in particular epitomize the special magic of hotel eroticism for me.

The first is a classic of American film-making, The Graduate (1967). Coincidentally, I just happen to have finished a fascinating book called Pictures at a Revolution: Five Movies and the Birth of the New Hollywood by Mark Harris. Harris discusses the making of the best picture nominees for 1967: Bonnie and Clyde, The Graduate, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, In the Heat of the Night, and Doctor Doolittle. The last movie was an absurdly expensive turkey, the rest did indeed represent some aspect of a shift in American film in the mid twentieth century. Although some of the book dragged for me, especially the deals of the excruciating road to production, once the casting started, I was enthralled.

And of course, don’t we all love those little behind-the-scenes tidbits such as the fact that Katharine Ross damaged Dustin Hoffman’s eardrum during the multiple takes of the scene where she slaps him in the Berkeley boarding house? Apparently she wasn’t slapping hard enough and director Mike Nichols had to goad her along. Hoffman later discovered the reason his ear was stinging when he slipped under water in his scuba-diving gear and felt his head explode. When he got out of the water, blood was pouring from his ear.

And then there was the eye-opening insight about Nichols’ initially unacknowledged personal investment in the movie. His choice of Dustin Hoffman as Benjamin was a mystery to all, even himself, in spite of the actor’s outstanding screen test, which showed a brilliance that did not reveal itself until the film was developed. The Benjamin in the novel was a blond WASP, meant for the likes of Robert Redford.

“My unconscious was making this movie,” [Nichols said]. “It took me years before I got what I had been doing all along—that I was turning Benjamin into a Jew…Who was the Jew among the goyim? And who was forever a visitor in a strange land? […] Part of me knew what I was doing in terms of the outsider and so forth, but another part of me, a part that I had no inkling of, must have known that I would never get material so suited to me again.” (PAR, p. 319-320) By the way, Nichols also directed Carnal Knowledge, which makes my top ten favorite movie list.

But, of course, we can’t forget those wonderful scenes at the “Taft Hotel” actually filmed at The Ambassador in LA, which was soon to be demolished. Did you know that there was a deliberate attempt to dress Mrs. Robinson in animal skin patterns to highlight her predatory nature? Or that Hoffman and Bancroft had to spend days in bed filming the scene where Benjamin attempts to talk to Mrs. Robinson before they have sex?

Perhaps it is best just to close our eyes and remember the scenes in the hotel room. Mrs. Robinson dressing as Benjamin lies in bed staring blankly. The time he kisses her when her lungs are full of cigarette smoke. The hilariously uncomfortable scene in the hotel bar where he can’t wave down a waiter, but she manages it with a snap of her fingers.
But there’s another film that epitomizes hotel eroticism to me, this one a rather obscure French film, Benoît Jacquot’s La Fille seule (A Single Girl, 1996). Since I discovered Ingmar Bergman in eighth grade, I’ve been a fan of foreign films. I love how they subvert my Hollywood expectations, how they trick my eye and best of all, how they make me think about film-making and life itself as art. La Fille Seule is cinema verité, filmed with a hand-held camera, defiantly undramatic. For most of the movie, you watch Virginie Ledoyen’s shapely derriere as she walks down the corridor of a Parisian four-star hotel delivering café au lait and baguettes to the guests. Naturally, she walks in on some interesting scenes. A “small” film ala French New Wave that is now out of print with its distributor, it’s a movie that’s never left me since I saw it about ten years ago. Here's a Youtube clip:

It took some doing to find it again and I have to credit Herr Doktor with discovering the winning key words for Google: French movie, hotel worker, handheld. Now he finally can receive his own Amorous Woman bra and panty set as his fitting reward!

But enough about me. Do you have favorite hotel sex scenes from the movies? While we’re sharing, help yourself to cocktails from the Taft Hotel and baguettes with sweet butter, plum confiture, and café au lait from Paris….

Friday, February 27, 2009

An Hour at The Blue Dolphin

I've been having a wonderful time peeping through keyholes and curtains to catch glimpses of tangled sweaty limbs and lustful couplings of every flavor! Best of all, there's a nice long hallway of naughty scenes coming our way, so give your back a stretch and get ready for more. Today's storyteller, the scintillating Neve Black, whisks us from Craig Sorensen's Gasthaus interlude to a seedy rent-by-the-hour motel (Love 'em!). It's always a true pleasure to hang with Neve--her generosity and sense of fun make happy dolphins of us all. Is this tale fiction or memoir? Neve's not telling, so my next question must be what shall we nibble as we listen? I'm thinking I might head out for a big stack of hot-n- juicy, fast-n-easy In-N-Out Burgers for the carnivores, fries and shakes for the vegetarians. And if you're still hungry for more, check out Neve's new novel Sex Through the Zodiac--you can find out some unzipped insider secrets about this starry romp right here.

Oh, and special thanks to all-around artist Nikki Magennis for the fabulous photograph entitled, most appropriately, "Sleaze Window"!

The Blue Dolphin by Neve Black

“Sorry, dude. It’s by the hour.” The crusty looking motel clerk said to my boyfriend, John, while he slowly lifted his head up from his smut magazine and scratched his protruding beer belly.

I stood there standing next to John, fidgeting. John was a consummate negotiator. He was trying to buy 30 minutes of motel time, instead of the one hour minimum. Impatiently, I shifted my weight from one hip to other. John glanced over at me, I raised my eyebrows and he let out sigh of defeat before pulling his wallet from the back pocket of his tight fitting, 501’s. Fortunately, John had a glorious cock, which balanced out his cheap-ass spending habits.

It was my adventurous idea to try out the Dolphin Motel. John kept referring to it as, “The Blue Dolphin Hotel.” The idea of blue dolphins and the word, h-o-t-e-l must have added a touch of elegance to John’s sense and sensibilities, because clearly, The Dolphin was a seedy joint.

Motel door shut and locked, John’s tawdry side finally came out to play. He flipped on the small television set that played nothing but 24 hours of non-stop porn. John was all hands as he quickly moved toward me; forcefully pushing me down onto the queen size bed. The faded, flowery bedspread and squeaky mattress and box spring welcomed my small frame. Horrific acting and fabricated moaning flooded the room. I didn’t care.

John was a horny dolphin that afternoon; swiftly pulling my pants and panties down, spreading my legs and then snuggling his dark hair and greedy mouth between my legs. My slippery, slick pussy lips kissed him back as if they were starving. After orgasm number three, I finally caught my breath and said, “God, aren’t you glad we still have another 30 minutes, baby?” He grunted out a yes as he thrust his cock deeper inside me.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Amorous Notes

Mmm, thank you, Craig, for ordering in the frosty cold mugs of Paulaner and trays of sizzling wursts to satisfy the appetites your excerpt aroused in all of us. Like Aimee, I think we're all wanting more, more, more!

Just a quick announcement for those of you who'd like to take a peek at my earliest notes for my novel, Amorous Woman, which are posted over at Alison Tyler's blog, Trollop with a Laptop. Those notes make me blush, maybe even more so than the picture of my butt which debuted on her blog, and for a different reason. Why don't you pop over and guess why?

And if you haven't bought yourself a copy of Amorous Woman yet, Alison has the PERFECT incentive for all amorously-inclined readers. Thank you, AT! (I'll be offering a teasing tidbit from Alison's story in Do Not Disturb: Hotel Sex Stories a wee bit later....)

A Spicy Gasthaus Interlude

Today our hot-el erotica wordsmith is the musical and poetic Craig Sorensen, who's going to give up a sneak peek of his new novel. That's a peep through the keyhole all writers are willing to risk a backache for... and it's just in time for the arrival of the cocktail weiners wrapped in pretzel dough. Watch out, that mustard's spicy! So without further ado, here's Craig....

First thanks to Donna for inviting me to muse on the sexiness of hotels, and for being the first to present a taste of my book, Augsburg Diary.

This story is set in a German US Army barracks in 1980. There is a healthy dose of fact in this book. For one, I was indeed stationed at Field Station Augsburg from August of 1980 to August of 1982.

Another irrefutable fact about life in the Army in Germany around 1980 is that stereo equipment and music collections were important status symbols, especially among the men. The gear was cheap at overseas Px (Post Exchange) stores, and some of the huge stereos were almost comical in their contrast to the small barracks rooms they occupied.

Another fact was the high failure rate of marriages. I don't know statistics, but I knew a lot of folks in the barracks who were carried the title: "Ex."

Through it all, a Gasthaus could be a great respite from Army life. I grew to love die Gasthäuser, both as a place to get a drink (or two, or three, or...), and as a place to spend a night (or two, or three, or...) Often they are like a cross between a Bed and Breakfast and a Hotel, such as the one in the excerpt I'm sharing, which is based on a place I stayed at in the town of Zweibrucken in early 1981.

Aimee and Ron are just such a divorced couple from Augsburg Diary. When handsome Ron is about to be rotated back to the states, he talks his ex-wife into joining him for dinner at a Gasthaus which rents rooms upstairs. It turns out he has a bit more on his mind than the köstliches Pfeffersteak!

I hope you'll enjoy this exclusive sneak-preview of my novel.

Be sure and tip your bellboy (or bellgirl, as the case may be.)

And now, a spicy sampling of Augsburg Diary.

The small Gasthaus room had no bathroom - just a sink on one side right next to an old dresser with a simple lamp atop it, a nightstand next to the small, double bed with a matching lamp and two small arch backed chairs.

The bathroom, with its bathtub and small wall mounted water heater, stood twenty paces down a narrow hall.

Aimee studied the old, vine motif wallpaper and sighed. Ron removed his jacket, exposing the back of his mint green shirt with glossy gold rank insignia on the collars. He loosened his crisp black tie and pulled the loop over his head then hung it on the small coat hanger to the side of the mirror. He removed his shirt deliberately and turned back to Aimee. She remained fixed. The sparse evening light from the eight-pane window cast over the bed. Her fingers curled to the hem of her dress. Ron approached and reached around her shoulders. Slowly, she raised her arms under his and gripped his thick shoulder muscles. His arms crushed her full breasts to his broad chest and she got that wonderful, breathless feeling. But she wanted to ask why they were doing this, with him so close to leaving.

She didn’t.


“So, how did you find this place?” Sweat evaporated, cooling Aimee’s skin on the warm late night.

Ron’s fingers traced her stomach and inside her hips the way he always had after they made love. “Nice, isn’t it.” He pressed his thigh tight to her soaked pubic hair.

Aimee nodded. “Mmm.”

Ron’s right arm circled her neck. His left rested in the crease of her groin. “It’s great to be with you again, Aimee.” His middle finger dipped inside her. His thumb began to swirl around her clit. She’d had two orgasms already, and the long nap between them was deep and divine. The whole evening had been remarkable, even for Ron, who had always been a good lover.

She raised her hips into his hand. His bare ring finger dipped inside.

“You know, Aim?”


“I’ve got a new Teac reel to reel.”

“S’nice.” Her hips rose and fell in time as his index finger joined in, and he curled all three inside her. She fought for breath at the deep sensation. She reached between his legs. His cock was hardening again.

“So I can play the tapes we recorded on the ReVox.”

“Mmm.” He leaned over her chest and took her thick pink right nipple in his mouth. His cock was getting harder. The tingle of her nipple shot down through her waist like an electric shock. It was so powerful that it hurt a little. It felt heavenly.

“It sounds real good with my old stereo at low volumes.”

She thought of that tape. He’s going to ask me back to his apartment—the apartment we once shared. She quickly subjugated her mixed feelings. Her voice was disjointed: “Nnh. Oh.” The oh was half exclamation, half reply. His cock was as stiff as it had been the first time they’d made love in the Gasthaus room. But rather than sate it, he knelt between her legs and kissed her clit his fingers curled in and out. She gasped. Eating out was something Ron rarely did; he wasn’t particularly good at it, but the mere fact that he was doing it, while his hard on raged with an insistence that usually demanded immediate satisfaction led toward another orgasm. He rubbed the flat of his tongue over her clit inarticulately. Its roughness and the heat of his breath was enough. Aimee was stunned when her waist clenched through a gentle orgasm.

Ron’s face appeared like a hungry sunrise. He crawled up from between her outstretched legs and eased his cock inside her. “Maybe we could trade stereos,” he whispered. “I mean, I’m not in the barracks, don’t need to keep it down, you know?”

Aimee’s hands and feet tingled. She wanted to push him off her and demand he take her back to the barracks. She didn’t know cars, but she knew stereos, and the ReVox she had bought for their apartment was worth three times his old stereo, even with the new Teac, which didn’t hold a candle to the ReVox.

But it wasn’t even that.

He gripped behind her knees and pressed them to her chest and her breath escaped. His thick cock felt so good as it reached its apex inside her. He compressed her like a wrecked car in a crusher. She fought for breaths in quick swells at the small decreases of pressure while he pumped. Heavenly.

She had indeed bought the ReVox system for Ron. But after suffering the embarrassment of walking in on him screwing a willowy redhead doggy-style on their bed, not once but twice, it was one of the few things she had taken after the divorce.

Ron kissed her deeply. The taste of the beer he had just finished was slightly effervescent and blended with the taste of her well-lubed vagina on his lips. He lay his head next to hers, his nose next to her ear. “I love you, Aimee.” He slowed his stroke, his fingers curled to her clit and she felt the twinges of orgasm yet again. She’d never had so many orgasms in one sitting.

Fuck you, Ron. But she’d never say the word fuck. “I—uh—I’ll think—uh—about it.”

He kissed her deep again and she felt the fresh orgasm pulse down her waist.

I know, we all want more! I'm going to go order some more beer, in the meantime, get ready for a Friday motel frolic with Neve Black--it's quick, cheap and guaranteed to put a smile on your face!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

New York Book Tour 8: All Good Things....

Well, writing these detailed, not to say boringly endless, accounts of my book tours has been almost as exhausting as the trips themselves! But we’ve finally reached the very last installment of my reports, Monday, October 20. You might guess I’d spend my last day in New York packing and relaxing, but then you wouldn’t have been paying attention to my self-imposed schedule. Thank heavens I never had a real job as a lawyer or something. I’d have been one scary workaholic in my constant quest to do the job right.

That said, I began my morning with another gloriously relaxing brisk walk with my sister, this time up the west side of Manhattan along the river to somewhere in the 70’s. Then we walked back towards 5th Avenue and caught a cab back to the West Village for breakfast at another neighborhood bistro, Morandi, which was owned by the same people who ran Balthazar. Again the ambiance was golden Europe, this time with an Italian flavor. I had a hearty breakfast of roasted butternut squash with onions, spinach and poached eggs, washed down with a delicious café au lait. I wanted to take pictures of the charming dining room, but again my sister lectured me on invading privacy. Guess it’s a New York thing!

Fortified for more walking, I grabbed a few copies of Amorous Woman and my press kits for one final bit of book promoting business. First we walked over to St. Mark’s Bookshop, near all of those lovely Japanese restaurants. Approaching book stores to sell my novel has been one of the most challenging (and humiliating) parts of my activities, but I have to say that the people at St. Mark’s were cordial and professional and played no games. The small press book buyer ordered two copies of my book immediately on the basis of my pitch, and I left smiling and wondering why New Yorker’s have the reputation of being unfriendly. It certainly didn’t seem so on this trip.

Then we ambled up to the Museum of Sex, where a friendly young woman happily accepted a free copy of Amorous Woman, the second I’d given the institution, but I never heard back from them. I hope she—or someone—enjoyed it.

Last, we stopped by the Pleasure Chest in the West Village, a store that stays happily in the black from the bus loads of ladies on “Sex and the City” tours who swoop in to buy rabbits for themselves and their girlfriends back home. The owner told my sister that this one sex toy is totally responsible for his profits. The young woman at the counter was very cool about letting me leave a stack of my bookmarks at the entrance and mentioned that she’d just won a literary contest herself. We bonded over the writing life, I bought a small bag of penis candy for my man back home as a souvenir, and then it was time to pack and head off to the airport via A train.

My brother-in-law brought me a going-away bag from Batch with a dark chocolate cupcake filled with salted caramel, which certainly helped pass the time as I waited for my flight.

I felt tired, but happy with my New York visit. It had gone better than I’d ever dreamed—granted I’m a “have low expectations and the surprises will be good” kind of person. Looking back over my book tours now, I am still incredibly grateful to everyone who helped with the events and took their time to meet me. I'm also proud of myself for making the effort on behalf of my baby book, although sometimes I can't quite believe I did all of this myself. But no one else was going to do it for her!

I really did feel like a new parent who was trying to figure out how to take care of this mysterious, needy little thing—you know, like that scene in Eraserhead. There were times when I felt like a a fraud, as someone unworthy to take my book on tour, but with the support and encouragement of so many friends, I kept going. I sold some books, although not nearly enough to finance the trip, but what I really earned was a sense of self-worth, a feeling that my writing could be taken seriously by its harshest critic—myself.

So, in closing, I want thank everyone who came along with me. I’ve enjoyed sharing the trials of a newbie novelist with you and wish you many fine adventures in your writing life, too!

Steamy Inspiration from a Famous Japanese Inn

Jeremy Edwards got us started off right yesterday with his very naughty postcards, but I've got an amazing line-up of wonderful writers who are going to give up a peep into some hot-el action over the next two weeks. Thank you, everyone, for stopping by suite 69!

Ah, I see the sushi platter I ordered has arrived, so please help yourselves--it goes great with champagne--while I sift through some old postcards of my own to celebrate the publication of Do Not Disturb: Hotel Sex Stories, edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel.

For my money, the traditional Japanese inn provides the ultimate hotel experience. More than a place to spend the night, it offers a complete escape from the restraints of everyday life, inviting sensual indulgence of every kind. The moment you arrive, you shed your clothes for a soft cotton robe that allows for free and easy movement. The first order of enjoyment is always a nice long soak in the inn’s large bath, followed by a feast of a dinner, more bathing and then, depending on your company, a feast of another sort on the thick, soft futons.
I’ve stayed in many delightful inns throughout Japan, but one particular place stands above the rest. The beautiful Chojukan at Hoshi Onsen has hosted famous writers, including Nobel Prize Winner Kawabata Yasunari, whose photograph takes a place of honor in the lobby. I’m sure the management is not aware they’ve hosted another far humbler writer who draws apparently constant inspiration from their mountain hostel. For indeed the beautiful nineteenth century bath at Chojukan inspired at least five erotic stories: “Hot Spring,” my Pushcart Special Mention story; “Spring Pictures” in the Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica 4, “Wet” in Best Women’s Erotica 2008, a Playboy Cyberclub story that I’ve sold all rights to forever throughout the universe, and the scene in Amorous Woman where Lydia has an enlightening encounter with an anthropology professor in the very same steamy water.

Here’s how I describe the setting in my novel: The soaring cross-beamed ceiling, glowing pedestal lanterns, and swimming pool-sized cedar tub brought to mind the cathedral of a cult that worshipped both purity and indulgence.

Perhaps one day, Chojukan will post these words in their lobby, but until then here’s a purely indulgent snippet from “Wet.” In this scene, the American narrator, a fan of Japanese-style ablutions and fantasies involving the same, tricks her Japanese boyfriend into an impromptu lesson after midnight by the glowing lamplight of Chojukan’s grand co-ed bath.

From "Wet" (read the entire story at The Erotic Woman):

I think that’s when he finally got it, because in two long strides he was at my side, grabbing my arm and hauling me back to the faucet. With a downward tug, he forced me to my knees. He quickly filled the wooden basin with steaming water and splashed it over my chest and shoulders. I cried out softly. Kneeling behind me, he wrapped his arms around me, but it was more a punishment than an embrace.

I don’t think I’d ever been so turned on in my life.

“I will wash you now,” he whispered.

“Yes. Teach me how. I’m dirty,” I confessed in a low voice. “My breasts, they’re very dirty. Maybe you have to scrub hard.”

“Is that so?” There was no doubt now he’d caught on to the game. “Why are they so dirty?”

“I let a man kiss them and suck them.”

“Yes, then I think you are very dirty.” He took the bar of soap and began to rub the flat side over my nipples. Pin-pricks of pleasure shot straight to my pussy. A beguiling combination of smooth and hard, it was even better than my fantasy.

“What about between your legs?” he murmured.

“Yes. It’s very dirty. I let a man…take me…from behind.”

“That is dirty. Like an animal. I must clean you there very well.” He picked up the washcloth, draped it over his fingers and pressed it between my pussy lips. His movements were subtle--firm, slow circles over my clit--but the flesh there was already swollen and sore from the earlier fucking. I had to grit my teeth to bear it, but I also found myself pushing into his hand with small rocking motions to intensify the sensation.

“Spread your legs a little. Now we will rinse.” He took a basin of steaming water and splashed it vigorously over my slit. It streamed down my thighs, mingling with my juices. My cunt was on fire, my skin a throbbing scarlet hue. When I imagined how it would go, I was hoping this part would last an hour, but now I wanted him inside me so badly I was shaking.

(It goes on from there, but sometimes not getting exactly what you want can be...exactly what you want!)

Tomorrow--a sneak preview of Craig Sorensen's novel....

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Postcards from Jeremy Edwards

Mardi Gras is the perfect day to begin our party in sumptuous suite 69! Our first raconteur is the delightful Jeremy Edwards, who's confessed his own hotelphilia in private to me and in public to the world in so many steamy stories set in rented lodgings. But don't take my word for it--here's Jeremy!

The quiet elegance and modest luxury of a boutique hotel are so sexually stimulating for me. To my eye, the decor of a simply but artistically appointed hotel room is like a set of lingerie—there’s not much there, but every thoughtful detail is aesthetically pleasing. A cozy, attractive hotel room is a favorite place to rock the bed with my delicious wife ... and a favorite place to dip into a crisp, new volume of erotica. And I don’t mind admitting that it’s also a favorite masturbation setting for me. The exquisite private space within a cheerful public building; the pleasure-focused mindset of a vacation environment; and the inevitable thoughts of all the sexy women in other rooms and other buildings ... on sidewalks and subway platforms and in bedrooms and bathtubs ... it all makes me relish every moment with a special tingliness, and makes me want to dance with cosmopolitan ecstasy in the charming afternoon hotel-room light.

[“Architectural Photography,” posted at Alison Tyler’s blog]

Oh, that was the hotel in Phoenix, with the cartoonish turrets. I remember gazing down on the courtyard from our window while you hugged me from behind, frigging your bush against my buttocks and teasing my backbone with your nipples. You humped me like that till my erection pointed skyward; then you held it. I think you must have put your other hand between your legs, because as you stroked me off the sound of your breath became dense. I could smell your heat.

That one is from Chicago. Don’t be fooled by the size of the building: as you may recall, the entire block was composed of one immense complex, of which our hotel was only a sliver. There was barely room for the obligatory revolving door. Looking at this picture, what I really see is you with your ass in the air, your knees sinking into the super-soft mattress we had. That night, I went around and around in the revolving door between your thighs.

The picture next to it is the place we stayed at in Boston, of course—when they were in the middle of restoring the façade. Look how the painted-on tulips appear to be gradually resaturating from left to right! The shower in that hotel was a perfect aquatic sex-nest, just large enough for two to squeeze, really squeeze, together, without banging against the soap caddy. The steam enveloped us, and I could see it floating right into your pussy. I followed the steam.


[from “Pack the Essentials,” published at Oysters & Chocolate]

When I awoke in our sunny hotel room, my wife was reading a travel guide in a large, comfortable armchair, her bare feet together on the seat and her knees bent out from her body. Seated in this position, wearing a minidress, she was giving me an intimate view. Her narrowly clothed crotch took center stage, framed by the creamy curtain of her thighs and the cushion of her bottom. I noticed how the slim gusset of her lavender panties lay clingingly in the center of her slit, leaving the outer parts of her femininity visible. The lewd effect was crowned by the cute straw sun hat she had put on, in preparation for the day’s tourist activities.

As morning consciousness pushed out the haze of sleep, I remembered how our evening had begun. “Are you busy?” she had called to me from the bed, while I made some notes at the neat little hotel-room desk. “Because I was hoping you might come over here and kiss all the invisible hairs on my bottom. I’m situated just right, see?” Her eyes had lit up her otherwise impassive face as she gracefully flipped the back hem of her short, silk dressing gown to reveal the soft curves of her naked cheeks. They were radiant with anticipated delight. I had approached her and watched her derriere wriggle in a brief, involuntary spasm of pleasure. Her slight lime underpants, which she had peeled down silently while I had been absorbed in my work, nestled politely on the carpet at the foot of the bed. A minute later, I was feasting on her, watching the flesh of her hills drink every squeeze, every playful little slap, every tiny kiss; and seeing her roll into each titillation of our bedside feather up and down the sensuous crack.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Schmoozing 101

My friend Sage Vivant sent me a link to Guy Kawasaki's blog post on the art of the schmooze. Kawasaki is a local business luminary and now that I'm sort of interested in business, at least in terms of book promotion, I'm finding his advice helpful and not as foreign as I would have a year ago!

I like his emphasis on the follow-through email after you meet someone and his idea that helping others is part of schmoozing rather than just looking to what you can get for yourself. I really enjoy being able to help people within the limits of my low-wattage beam. Heaven knows we could all use some more kindness in the world and truly connecting with readers and other writers is a genuine pleasure for me. The numbers and dollars are frankly distasteful.

My husband took a seminar with Kawasaki a few years ago and the piece of advice he remembers is that you should always be nice to the administrative assistants. It's surprising how many people aren't. Then again, in our myopic world, maybe not so surprising.

Here's to schmoozing! Especially in hotels :-).

Party With Me in Suite Amour!

Hotel rooms turn me on. The blankness, the anonymity, that big bed begging you to strip off its tacky flowered spread and indulge in sensual excess. It’s not just me. I’ve found things in my travels: European porn with captions in four languages stuffed in a phone book, a single black stocking behind a chair.

So begins my story "Room Service," the last steamy tale in Rachel Kramer Bussel's very sexy new anthology Do Not Disturb: Hotel Sex Stories.

The truth is hotel rooms do turn me on. And I did find European porn stuffed in a phone book in a hotel room in Brussels. The Omni in Baltimore had the single black stocking behind the chair. Other parts of my story are autobiographical, too. I find the sight of a man click-clicking at a mouse suggestive. I daydream about the people who've had sex in my hotel bed before me. As for the rest of the action in "Room Service," well, I'll let you decide what's real and what's fantasy....

Speaking of fantasies, another one of mine is to rent a lovely suite in a grand city hotel, hire sexy bartenders, pop open magnums of champagne, and party on into the night with my fellow storytellers, dancing, talking, nibbling on room service treats. The great thing about the blogosphere is that fantasies can become virtual reality and so I'd like to invite you all to party with me in Suite Amour, overlooking the lovely San Francisco Bay.

While we eat and drink, we'll talk about hotels as a setting for sensual indulgence of every sort, rather like a modern-day, hotel-happy Decameron. Share your fiction and memories of hotel romps, recommendations for places to stay for a romantic weekend or a down-and-dirty lunchtime rendezvous. Tell us about your favorite hotel scenes in classic novels or what turns you on about hotel sex. Email your stories to me and I'll post them here for all to enjoy as we empty the mini-bar and ignore the pounding from the room next door (it's not annoyed neighbors trying to sleep, it's an inspired couple doing the mattress dance, right?)

Join me tomorrow when everyone's favorite effervescent MC Jeremy Edwards stops by with some naughty hotel stories to share. Be there or you won't get any mints on your pillow!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Smokin' Hot "Do Not Disturb" Trailer

The spicy Do Not Disturb: Hotel Sex Stories is just now available on Amazon, but I already got my contributor's copy and I have to say this is a particularly smokin' HOT anthology and I'm very jazzed to be part of it. I have a few goodies planned to celebrate the release of the book right here at Sex, Food and Writing (all good things to pursue in hotel rooms), but in the meantime, editor Rachel Kramer Bussel has just released the book trailer and it's very provocative in the best kind of way. Or pop on over to the book's special blog for more information.

Enjoy your stay!

The Secrets to Scoring an "Insider" Wine Tasting

It's February and that means it's time to head up to Napa Valley one rainy weekend day to admire the wild mustard growing in the vineyards and taste the new releases of Heitz Cellars, among other indulgences.

It also means we get to test out our secret ploy for scoring that bonus tasting, the bottle the "flight attendants" or "hospitality specialists" keep under the bar for selected visitors. Call me shallow, but I get an extra special tingle of pleasure when the guy we've been chatting with says, "oh, wait, there's something else I'd like you to try."

Now, they could choose their lucky customer for a reason as simple as a four-figure purchase of a case or two on the credit card--but usually our purchase is a fairly modest single bottle, albeit from the top of the line. After years of Februarys, I think I know the one secret tip to scoring the extra goodies. You spit when you taste. And ask questions--they don't have to be too esoteric, but they can't be something like "what's a Cabernet?" Just ask how this vintage compares to last year's. Or mention you had a ten-year-old bottle of their flagship wine the night before (especially if you did, which we actually did). But seriously, just acting a bit more thoughtful than the usual tourist will earn you that little treat, which keeps us coming back year after year. Hmm, maybe the secret ploy is at work on both sides of the counter?

Anyway, we enjoyed our stop at Heitz as always. All three new 2004 Cabs were velvety and rich, and we got to taste a 2000 Bella Oaks as the extra. Next on our annual pilgrimage was Merryvale, right up the road and across from Taylor's Refresher, the most upscale, gourmet burger joint on earth. (My kids love the milkshakes which use about a quart of Bud's ice cream).

Merryvale is especially enchanting to me because of their Cask Room, pictured above. My fantasy is to rent this room for an "in the flesh" party with all of my blogger buddies. Tuxes and sparkling evening gowns, catering by Thomas Keller. With this bunch of foodie sybarites, I know we'll have a great time. Well, maybe when I win the lottery, in the meantime, I just read you can enjoy a wine and food pairing seminar for $20 on the fourth weekend of each month. We might have to make another trip up this year!

Merryvale is the place where we really get the goodies--this time two additional vintages of their flagship Profile than is listed on the tasting menu. Of course, we have been collecting one bottle each year for about ten years, but they still know how to make a local girl feel special.

Our final stop is a relatively new discovery in Napa, Robert Sinskey Vineyards. Tucked away on the less busy Silverado Trail, Sinskey offers a food-and-wine pairing for each visitor as part of their $20 tasting. I guess this makes me an old-timer, but I remember when most of the wineries didn't charge for tastings. Sinskey makes it easier with their well-chosen flight of four hors d'oeuvres to complement the wines.

There is something so festive about nibbling a tiny quiche of caramelized onion and chard while you sip their Pinot, or a miniature gougere with the Cab. We also had a bit of drama when one of the servers dropped a whole tray of the special rectangular serving plates back in the kitchen. Lots of shattered china, but, hey, we've all been there.

We decided to pick up two bottles of Sinskey's POV this time, a fittingly literary wine which tasted just as good on Friday as it did up at the winery last weekend.

You know, I think we may have to go back up to Napa soon!

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Winner!

As you may have noticed from my last post, EllaRegina won the official Amorous Woman Real Trooper Award for attending the highest percentage of my AW readings.

Her prize was an ensemble of the same style of black bra and panties worn by the model on the cover of my novel. And she wasted no time in trying them on for size. I think she looks fabulous, don't you?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

New York Book Tour 7: New York Bows at My Feet!

We're getting near the end of my book tour diary, and yes, a climax is near! Sunday, October 19 was my last full day in New York. I had an event that evening at Kinokuniya, my most literary and in a way most daunting, but I was determined to make the most of the rest of the day in Gotham City. My sister and I decided to take a nice long walk and we were up early before most of the shops opened, striding westward along Charles to the river. I picked up a latte along the way—my nod to Sunday as I was unable to enjoy my husband’s delicious French press coffee for almost a whole week.

The brisk “talking-walk” is a long family tradition and as my sister and I discussed the past week and strategies for getting Amorous Woman into the hands of more readers we managed to ambulate (how’s that for a fifty-cent word?) all the way around the bottom of Manhattan, passing Castle Clinton and the Staten Island Ferry terminal and South Street Seaport and heading up along the east side of the island. We probably walked for about two hours until the coffee insisted we get in a cab for home. It was a fresh, butterscotch-tinted morning and my cheeks were pleasantly flushed, my blood pumping with feel-good exercise chemicals.

My sister had some other visitors coming in to town, so I would be on my own for the rest of the day. I decided to have lunch at a soba restaurant on East 9th Street called, simply enough, “Sobaya” [The Soba Shop]. Hiro Sato had recommended this as one of the best noodle shops in the city and I knew to trust him on these things. I arrived on the early side, but the place was already busy with other in-the-know patrons. Hungry from the long walk, I decided to get one of the seasonal specials, “chirashi soba” [noodles with scattered goodies on top].
My jaw dropped when I saw the tray they delivered to my table. It was a veritable feast. Taking center stage was a large bowl of buckwheat noodles gussied up with tofu milk skins, vegetables, kamaboko [fish paste], rolled sweet omelet, spinach, wheat gluten dumplings, burdock root, and tempura with shrimp and vegetables. But that’s not all. Garnishes included a dish of inarizushi [vinegared rice in fried tofu skins] and a long narrow dish of relishes including boiled sweet potato, edamame pods and burdock in a sweet soy sauce.

The lunch was so lovely to look at in a hearty, country Japanese kind of way, that I hesitated to eat it and thought I might just take pictures. But soon enough the delicious aroma got to me and I put my chopsticks to work. Japanese food is supposed to be high on the looks and low on taste, but this tasted every bit as wonderful as the visuals. The noodles were obviously handmade with an al dente sturdiness and the broth was the darker soy version native to Tokyo. The complexity of the soup was very satisfying and I sipped it slowly. The inari had a delicate sweetness—much of the sushi you get here is too sweet and overbearing, but this was perfect. The garnishes were perfect complementary bites of goodness and I took my time nibbling this, slurping a bit of soup, savoring the sushi. The lunch was the perfect way to warm up on a chilly autumn day and I’d say Sobaya is well worth the visit for distinctive, high quality food that lives up to the best Japan itself could offer.
Another treat on menu for the day was a museum. Since I usually hit the big tourist spots when I come to the city with my family, I went for a low-key historical experience (the kind of place my kids would endure because they like my cookies), the Merchant’s House Museum, which was said to be a time capsule of New York life in the 1850s. The museum was once the home of Seabury Tredwell, a well-to-do importer of hardware and other useful metal objects, and was built back in 1832 when the tony addresses in New York went as far uptown as East 4th Street. After Tredwell died, his now-less-affluent wife and daughters continued to live there and the youngest daughter never married, ending her days in the 1930s when the neighborhood had long ceased to be fashionable. Her diminishing purse had one advantage—the furnishings and condition of the house remained much the same and her executor had the good sense to immediately convert it to a museum.

I really loved this museum and no doubt the experience was enhanced for me in that I could take my time on the self-guided tour, without kids to hurry me along. It had been decorated for Halloween along the theme of Tredwell’s funeral, with a black wreath on the door, his wax body lying in state in the parlor, pictures draped in black crepe, and the dining room prepared with funeral cakes for guests who’d come to pay their respects.
Upstairs I got to see the bed where Tredwell and his daughter breathed their last and learned many things about the daily lives of New Yorkers in the 19th century involving homely details like chamberpots and chambermaids (the latter of whom which will figure in my next novel). The drapery on the bed was not the original, but it was made from cloth discovered in the attic, which was well over 100 years old. I’d recommend this museum for a much quieter peek into New York’s historical treasures than some of the mobbed uptown museums.
On my way back to my sister’s to prepare for my last presentation, I decided to stop by Batch bakery, which Rachel Kramer Bussel had recommended as having her favorite cupcakes in the city. It was hard to decide among the chocolate cupcake with green tea filling, the lemon yuzu, the carrot cake with salted caramel….well, all of them looked tempting, but again I went seasonal with the pumpkin maple rum cupcake. I carried it over to my sister’s and sat down to snack and write my talk. As my blurb for Kinokuniya was definitely more literary, I decided to read a section of the original Life of an Amorous Woman and then read the section from my novel that was directly inspired by that snippet to show exactly how I “translated” the original. I chose a section from chapter 3 where Lydia is deciding how she can get the attention of an older Japanese dentist, comparing this to Ihara Saikaku’s heroine’s description of her flirtation techniques.
But first, another break for food porn. The Batch pumpkin cupcake was truly exquisite—trust Hiro for soba, Rachel for cupcakes, you can’t go wrong! The cake was very rich and moist, an explosion of pumpkin and spice. The frosting was not overwhelming in quantity, but had an intense browned butter flavor (yes, Kirsten, you know how much that excites me!) with flecks of freshly ground spice. All Batch cupcakes have a hidden surprise and beneath the sliced top was a layer of rum and fresh pineapple filling. The cupcake was most evocative of pumpkin pie—except it was better than any pumpkin pie I’ve ever eaten (except maybe the French pumpkin tart at The Butler and the Chef Bistro I shared with Sage Vivant, but that’s another story).

After showering and donning my “professional” outfit, which was becoming a familiar ritual, I hit the street for another walk up Sixth Avenue to 40th Street. I found that walking calmed me before an event and it was also my last chance to enjoy my favorite time of day and season in New York—an autumn dusk. I just love that hour of change (between the dog and the wolf?) when the air thickens and goes grayer with each moment and the neon glows bravely. It helped keep my mind off of my presentation. I like readings, but in the hour or so before I always wonder what the hell possessed me to sign up for making a fool of myself! And Kinokuniya was definitely a special challenge.

Kinokuniya Bookstore and I go way back. I’d often patronized the much smaller older store during the summer I spent living in Manhattan, saving up for my first trip to Japan in 1983. That’s where I bought my guidebooks, the trusty Lonely Planet guide which talked about orgasmic Japanese women, and my Japanese novels in translation. In Japan, Kinokuniya was a key resource for English language books and a favorite place to meet friends at Umeda Station in Osaka. And in fact Yuji and Lydia in my novel live very near Kinokuniya, at least in my mind’s eye. I still go to the San Francisco branch several times a year and the thought of my novel taking its place on the shelves of this bookstore was a long-cherished dream. But I never dreamed I’d actually do a reading there and I probably wouldn’t have but for Sato-Sensei’s intercession and assurance that I was a scholar and a gentleman who just happened to wander into Saikaku-esque racy territory all the while maintaining a dignified literary poise.
The lovely new store definitely did the job right in terms of readings—I’m definitely appreciating these things from a new perspective. A generous display of my novel along with Hiro’s new book, Japanese Women Poets, graced the reading area, and Sharon Cunningham, the events coordinator was positively charming and professional throughout. (She even bought one of my books—now that’s the way to treat an author!) The audience was about fifteen or so people. My sister and some of her friends, some of Hiro’s friends and a handful of strangers, and not least at all, EllaRegina and Martha Garvey who came to lend me their very welcome support. I hereby award EllaRegina the official Amorous Woman Real Trooper Award for attending the highest percentage of my AW readings of anyone, including my husband! (ER, it's your very own black bra and panty set, just like the lady on the cover of my book : -).
Hiro began with a gracious introduction and a reading from his book Erotic Haiku, which is out of print and sells for a dear price on Amazon, fittingly so because it is racy! Then I did my comparative reading of the two Amorous Women and then we both took questions from the audience—which were very literary in keeping with the setting. Afterwards we both signed some books and chatted with the audience. I got to talk with Martha and say good-bye to EllaRegina, who’d been a key player at so many of the high points of my book tour. (For regular readers of my book tour diary, she seemed to have survived the spanking party with nary a problem sitting down for the reading….)
The evening concluded with dinner at Hiro’s, a Japanese-style home-cooked meal of fish, rice, miso soup and side dishes at his apartment. I got to meet his wife, Nancy, who showed Natsuki (Hiro’s assistant who’d joined us at the restaurant on Tuesday) and I the view from the roof of their apartment building.
The sight truly took my breath away--all of New York spread out at my feet in a tapestry of neon splendor. It occurred to me then that I’d dreamed of being a published writer since I was in grade school, dreamed vaguely of some sort of official acclaim, which later came into slightly less hazy focus as involving the New York publishing world bowing—or at least nodding briefly—to my literary talent.

Reality usually takes a different form than our dreams and fantasies, but sometimes the real experience trumps the fantasy in small and subtle ways that pack a powerful punch. Gazing out over this gorgeous view, reveling in the fact that I had done so much for my book all by myself, it didn’t matter that my book was not on the New York Times bestseller list or that I was not courted by The New Yorker. New York was still bestowing her glamorous reward—far more beautiful than any uptown gathering of literary movers and shakers--for taking the initiative and believing in myself. And that, dear readers, is the most satisfying acclaim there could be.

Next: A sweet farewell....

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Emerald on the Prowl--Meoow!

If you're in the mood for a fearlessly feline erotic tale, check out Emerald's latest at Good Vibrations Magazine. As you can expect with Emerald's stories, "Cougar" is hot, poetic and sizzling with the spice of female empowerment, but it goes just a little deeper. And don't we all--even young, callow men in perpetual heat--like it deep ;-)?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Eroticafest Xtraordinaire: Martha Garvey and “Night Train”

Rachel Kramer Bussel’s monthly erotica reading series “In the Flesh,” at the Happy Ending Lounge at 302 Broome Street in NYC, is a beacon for our genre—not to mention a great place to get your date in the mood (see Marcelle Manhattan’s “Second Date” in X: The Erotic Treasury). However, this coming Thursday, February 19, the Happy Ending Lounge is going to be white-hot with star power. Here’s the official invitation:

The legendary author, editor, activist and sexual provocateur Susie Bright joins us from Santa Cruz, California to celebrate her beautiful new hardcover anthology X: The Erotic Treasury (Chronicle Books), which includes a story set at In The Flesh which you will hear! Joining Susie will be contributors Paula Bomer, Ernie Conrick, Martha Garvey, Nicholas Kaufmann, Tsaurah Litzky, Marcelle Manhattan, Lisa Montanarelli, Chelsea Summers and host/curator Rachel Kramer Bussel (Best Sex Writing 2008, Spanked). Special guest Maxim Jakubowski, editor of the Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica, also joins us from London. Note special start time (for February only): 7:30 pm. Doors open at 7. Arriving early is highly recommended. Books will be available for sale by Mobile Libris. There will be a Q&A with Susie and book signing after the reading.

I wish I could make it, although I’m expecting the place will be so packed, it’ll be like the Gion Festival in Kyoto where I was wedged in the crowd so tightly, my feet weren’t touching the ground, but I was still moving (a simultaneously exhilarating and terrifying experience).

One of the main reasons I wish I could be there is to meet up with the wonderful Martha Garvey again. Martha was one of the first people ever to write me a nice note about one of my stories—“The Cunt Book” when it appeared in Clean Sheets. Martha’s poignant and lovely story “Bottle” (which later appeared in Best American Erotica) was also up around the same time, and I was so flattered to earn the praise of such an accomplished writer, my feet didn’t touch the ground for days (and it wasn’t even the Gion Festival). Martha also paid me the great honor of coming to my Kinokuniya reading last October which I’ll discuss in my next installment of my New York City Book Tour Diary—coming soon! And, last but not least, she has a story in X called “Night Train," which is hot and gritty and very New York. A woman buzzed on lattes meets a younger tattooed stud and there’s chemistry aplenty beyond the caffeine. However, he refuses to give her his last name, so she refuses to take him home. But he comes up with an alternate arrangement for a memorable evening—and a trademark MG memorable story.

Here’s Martha’s interview for X about all the things she does besides write world-class erotica--with a little of that thrown in, too.

Susie Bright: Have you received any awards or condemnations in your career as a writer?

Martha Garvey: My short story about having sex with John Quincy Adams ("How to Fuck a President So It Means Something") won 1st prize in Clean Sheets’ Sex and Politics contest.

My short story about a Frankenstein dog won a fiction contest sponsored by a Frankenstein festival at Stevens Institute of Technology.

Condemnation? I was once accused of betraying feminism because of the very story we are publishing in X:The Erotic Treasury!

What's your publishing history, book-wise?

I have published two books about pet health, My Fat Dog and My Fat Cat: 10 Simple Steps to Help Your Pet Lose Weight.

Do you have a scandalous or noteworthy theater life?

Yes. My one-woman show about my mother’s obsession with the actor Brian Dennehy called “My Mother’s Imaginary Husband,” was at the Knitting Factory.

I have also worked as a literary manager and dramaturg, and once worked on play reading that featured David Strathairn and Kevin Bacon…so I am one degree away, baby.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Sex Through the Zodiac UNZIPPED: An Interview with Neve Black

It’s a very tempting idea, appealing to the same basic lust that makes your eyes gleam and your mouth water at the fragrant vision of a beautiful smorgasboard feast. A taste of this, a nibble of that, no commitment necessary to any one dish. You can try it all!

Indeed debut erotic novelist Neve Black gives us a buffet of celestial pleasures in her book Sex Through the Zodiac, recently released through Ravenous Romance. As the story begins, her feisty and newly single heroine Roxanne is doing bridesmaid duty at her friend’s New Year’s Eve wedding, and the sight of the happy loving couple has her pondering love and sexual chemistry. According to the zodiac—Roxanne is an expert in the field—the bride and groom aren’t supposed to be a good combination. “But maybe her water bearer air sign had a large cock and a strong tongue, and in that case, who really cares what his zodiac sign was?” That’s been my credo, but Roxanne decides she does care, and the adventurous Scorpio vows she’ll break free of her Virgo male fixation and seek out erotic encounters with all twelve signs in the zodiac in the year to come.

A woman’s journey of sexual self-discovery is the classic theme of many erotic novels (including mine), but Neve Black’s celestial twist adds an interesting dimension. You’ll get a quick refresher course on the erotic predilections of every sun sign and will no doubt smile in recognition, as I did at the Capricorn with the hard-earned gorgeous view from his office, at the way Roxanne satisfies your own sign according to his—or her—desires. Yet at the end of her light-hearted romp, Roxanne finds she’s opened her mind as well as her legs. Clearly hands-on education is a good thing!

Neve has graciously consented to stop by and answer a few questions about her novel, the writing process, and “chocolate gelato” lovers.

DGS: I read in another interview that you wrote Sex Through the Zodiac in two months. Were there any challenges and surprises you faced in completing your first novel in such a short time? Or has the idea been simmering for a while?

Neve Black: Well, let me first start by saying how much I appreciate your interest in Roxanne, the book and my novel, Donna. And these are really terrific interview questions. You really are a woman of many talents.

Yes. I did write this story in less than two months. It was actually just shy of five weeks’ to be precise. Similar to my character in the book, I’ve also been fascinated with astrology for as long as I can remember. I’ve always thought the topic of the zodiac is fun and often a great ice breaker when meeting new people. I’ve found that most people like to talk about themselves too, and the topic is light enough that it gets people sharing stories about one another.

I had originally pitched my story idea to Lori Perkins, who I met out here in blogland via Alison Tyler in fall of last year. At that time, I hadn’t written a story that was longer than 6K words. I had originally envisioned this story at 12-15K words. I was in heaven when Lori said she loved the idea, but instead of my novella word count, Lori said I’d have to step it up and write close to 50K. I think I had a stroke at the initial idea of writing that many words. I didn’t want to shoot myself in the foot, and of course, I didn’t want to miss out on the fantastic opportunity, but I certainly didn’t want to over-promise and under-deliver either. I asked Lori if I could have a week to contemplate making that kind of time commitment, and to also start writing and get a feel for word flow. She was more than accommodating. That first week, I wrote over 7K words. And Roxanne was on her way. I was very diligent with my time and focused on writing this story.

Your heroine Roxanne is impressively focused on her goal to sample the delights of every sign in the zodiac. Is this characteristic of the Scorpio? Could Roxanne work as a character if she were any other sign? (And, if I may get personal, are you a Scorpio?)

Yes. Scorpios are supposed to be goal oriented and very focused once they set their minds on something. There were several times within the story that Roxanne met lovers she could have settled down with, but instead she chose to romp onto the next zodiac sun sign; focusing on her goal of having sex with each of the twelve sun signs. Roxanne of course was also trying to work through a failed relationship with her Virgo-lover boyfriend, which was also fueling her desire to move forward. Yes, my sun sign is Scorpio. I thought it best to write this story from the sun sign perspective I knew best, which is my own. I do however feel Roxanne could have been another sun sign too, because Scorpios are certainly not the only zodiac signs with ambitious, sexual natures.

I'm hoping you include Capricorn in that list, right ;-)? I found it interesting that each encounter Roxanne orchestrates is exactly suited to the sun sign of her partner. Here’s one of my favorite scenes, with the home-loving Cancer, Ben, who’s prepared a delicious dinner which concludes with a home-made lemon meringue pie.

“I know you like sweets. I saw you eat two pieces of cake at the wedding, “ he said, smiling at me.

God. I could go for second helpings of him as the dessert tonight. My mind raced, and I turned my head and smiled back at him mischievously.

“Do you like it?”he asked. He was stalling on making a move.

Of course, why didn’t I think of it earlier? It must have been the wine, the food, and being in close proximity to him that I didn’t think of it earlier. Cancers are shy. I would have to make the first move and Cancers were okay with that type of arrangement. My thoughts became clear.

“Ben?” I said slowly and seductively as I put my half-eaten piece of pie down onto the coffee table.

“You want coffee, don’t you? Coffee is always good with pie,” he said, putting his pie plate down and getting ready to stand up to once again dote on my every whim.

“No. No. No. Please, I don’t want coffee, Ben,”I said turning toward him and placing my hand on the top of this thigh, guiding him to sit back down.

“Oh. Can I get you anything?” he said moving closer to me now.

“Yes. I’d like to taste you now,” I said as I closed my eyes and kissed his lips very gently, careful not to intimidate him, or else he’d run and take cover somewhere and my moment of seduction would be lost.

Fortunately, Ben responded to my lips pressing against his and I heard a moan escape somewhere from the back of his throat. He pulled me closer to him; opened his lips up and plunged his tongue inside my mouth.

We sat on the couch and kissed for what seemed liked hours. My pussy was so wet and I wanted to show my appreciation for all his hard work in the kitchen. My mouth wanted a taste of his cock.

I pulled my lips away and started unbuttoning his shirt. He leaned back into the couch and let me continue seducing him. His chest felt smooth and hard at the same time. I felt his heart beating as I unfastened each button. I pulled his shirt away and kissed the nipples on his sensitive chest and then ran my tongue down the middle of his belly; stopping at his belly button, I inserted and circled my tongue. He closed his eyes, let out guttural moan and lifted his hips up to me, begging me to continue.

I did.

I'll leave you to imagine what comes next. Now I’m not sure how Roxanne could give up a guy who is so very good at satisfying oral urges of every kind, but then again, she would have missed the Italian “chocolate gelato” lover which would have been a shame! Was it difficult to decide on the perfect setting for each encounter? Can you share some stories about your process?

Isn’t Ben a slice of heaven? Surprisingly, creating each sexual encounter based upon her lover’s sun sign characteristics wasn’t difficult at all to conjure up. I did have a number of astrology books scattered across my floor for reference though. Using your example above, the zodiac sun sign, Cancer are very sensitive and romantic. They also tend to be homebodies, so for Ben to want to make Roxanne a home-cooked and romantic dinner seemed like the perfect scenario. Not to mention adding a little romance into her sexcapade episodes struck a nice balance not only for me, but I think Roxanne appreciated the romance also.

I’ve noticed that jazz music plays a big role in Roxanne’s seductions. Are you a jazz fan? Any plans for a “soundtrack” for Sex Through the Zodiac?

Thanks for picking up on the classic jazz that weaves throughout the story, Donna. I think classic jazz music is raw, exciting, and very smart… and well, it’s just sexy as hell…which is a lot like a fantastic lover, wouldn’t you agree? No plans for a soundtrack, but I like how you think Donna.

There’s also plenty of humor in the novel, but I have to ask: what is it with fire signs and public restrooms?

Roxanne does have a good sense of humor. Public restroom and Fire signs – yeah, clearly there was a pattern there in the book, eh? Fire signs are generally very spontaneous and impetuous when it comes to sex. Okay, I’ll confess. A few years ago now, I had been involved with a Fire sign and we, well, ahem, we christened a number of public restrooms for awhile. He’d look at me from across a crowded room; eyes sparkling with mischief and almost instantly chills would run down my spine. Before too long we would both be in the bathroom going at it, as if it were the very first time. It was fun and crazy. And the bathroom door; it was always unlocked.

It is always interesting to hear how life informs art. While I'm being nosy--tell us what’s next for you?

I’m continuing to write erotica and submit stories for various editors and publishers. I’m also currently writing copy for a sex toy company; evoking a visceral response for their customers to help boost sex toy sales. It’s been said that sex sells (wink, wink). I’m also working on a screenplay because one of my passions is film. The screenplay is of course sexually related.

Of course! Now we get to our trademark questions here at Sex, Food and Writing. Name a writer (or two, living or dead) you’d like to have dinner with, one you’d like to trade talents with, and one with whom you’d most like to have quickie in a public restroom.

May I choose you for all the above, Donna? (smile). I have such a long list of writers I admire. First, I feel so lucky to have met many talented writers out here in the blogosphere and I couldn’t possibly choose just one or two. I don’t think I could choose just one or two writers that have passed on either. How does one choose? I’m choosing not to choose, but instead, I’m offering a solution: I create these incredible scenarios in my head where groups of multi-genre writer’s get to spend a long, glorious weekend together; drinking, eating, laughing and telling stories. I’m sure there would be sex involved, and probably not much sleeping.

Well, I am flattered and certainly wouldn't expect the talent behind Roxanne to want to choose just a few partners in pleasure! But maybe you could describe a perfect meal that would be guaranteed to seduce you (is lemon meringue pie involved?)—into a deep conversation about the writing life, if not something even starrier!

It’s incredibly sexy to me to prepare a meal with my lover: Can you hear and smell the hot olive oil and garlic as it dances in the pan? “Chhhhop, chhhhooop,” that’s the sound of the sharp blade slowly cutting through vegetables picked from the garden earlier today. “Thwaaorkkkkk” is the meticulous, but glorious uncorking of a great bottle of wine. Oh my, suddenly all my juices are flowing inside me. There’s of course classic jazz playing in the background as we both move around the kitchen in synchronicity; touching, laughing, talking and creating. I imagine we’d sit on the couch; nothing too fancy-shmancy; plates in our laps; pouring more wine and talking for hours about our shared passion for culture and art – later over more wine, there’d be dark, rich bittersweet chocolates for dessert - fed of course from the other’s finger tips.
All this talk about food and sex has me…well feeling very hungry. Thank you so much for the interview, Donna. This was a lot of fun!

P.S. Roxanne also wanted to say, “Thank you!”

Wow, you (and Roxanne) really do know how to get the juices flowing--no wonder you two had such success in your mission. Thank you so much, Neve and Roxanne, for this delicious and sparkling interview. I think we're all a little hungry after talking with you! Best of luck with your novel and your future projects and come back to tell us about your further adventures soon.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

New York Book Tour 6: Spanked!

Saturday, October 18, the sixth day of my Amorous Woman book tour, was a much more leisurely day than the two that had come before. I certainly felt better after a real night’s sleep. That morning I decided to get a little exercise by walking back over to “Japan Town” to check out the Japanese grocery store I’d seen the night before. There was a definite chill of fall in the air. I felt I was witnessing the very moment when the tingly vanilla autumn of Indian summer turned to the bite of hardcore fall.

As I headed down Charles Street to Greenwich Avenue, I noticed that a street fair/farmer’s market was set up along Greenwich, which would change plans for meeting Jeremy Edwards and Helia Brookes to get a ride out to Brooklyn for the sex party—I mean, salon. But that’s what cell phones are for, so I made a note to call them with an update and enjoyed the scenery: booths selling scarves and New Age crystals and incense, one selling deep-fried Oreos (which tempted me briefly for the bizarre factor), and another promising the best cannoli in the city delivered from Brooklyn after 1 pm (which genuinely interested me, but unfortunately I myself would be heading to Brooklyn at that time, and possibly passing the famous cannoli in transit.)

The grocery store was interesting, but nothing too different from what we have in the Bay Area. I also scoped out restaurants for the next day’s lunch (more about that later). I stopped back at my sister’s place to pick up the two bottles of red wine I’d bought for the sex party—I mean salon—and rendezvous-ed with EllaRegina, who was going to be carpooling with us.

Our Seventh Avenue pick-up went smoothly and soon the four erotica writers were sailing along on the West Side Highway, with just a short detour through the Financial District to admire the Woolworth Building, and on our way to the home of the fabulously otherworldly writer and founder of Erotica Revealed, D.L. King, for an afternoon of wicked wordsmith shop talk. I have to say I was very impressed with Jeremy’s cool-headed driving. My idea of hell would be driving in New York City, but he managed it with perfect good cheer—as he seems to handle all of life’s challenges :-).

D.L. lives in a charming neighborhood in Brooklyn, although it was strange to return to a land of single-family houses and trees after the uber-urban landscape of Manhattan. Inside, the house was definitely the realm of an erotica literati (literata?)—bookshelves everywhere, comfy-looking sofas, a cozy kitchen and the bedroom that would be the setting for the spicy climactic event of the afternoon, but I’ll get to that soon. Already in attendance were Joan, the ERWA Sheriff (who’s not at all scary or policewoman-like in person) and her companion, who were regular participants at the salon.

I’d been looking forward to this event since I started planning my trip. When I mentioned to D.L. that I’d be in New York, she immediately offered to host one of her famous “salons” (not sex parties) in my honor. At first I was a bit nervous, thinking eighteenth-century Diderot and Madame de Stael, but D.L. assured me it was just an informal gathering, nothing pretentious at all.
Indeed, everything was very informal and relaxed. D.L. had set up a nice lunch spread in her backyard, which was also very charming and full of living, green things. Actually the fence and gate reminded me of my grandmother’s house in Pennsylvania. I hadn’t thought of fences as being regional, but indeed they are. As you can see there were plenty of things to munch, crudités and dip, bread and cheese, fried chicken, crab salad.
But the favorite food of all was the “cheese balls” in the great big jar, presented here by the hostess herself. Soon Rachel Kramer Bussel and the talented fetish photographer and book trailer maestro Stacie Joy (whose work can be found on Flickr under "editrixie" and who took the better pictures in this post) arrived—with a big box of cupcakes naturally--and the party was complete.
Again I passed around my fortune cookies. Here is one of the guests holding up one of the fortunes—not sure who it is (Joan?), but the suggestions were greeted with enthusiasm by this creative and open-minded crowd. However, they didn’t immediately put them into practice—not yet, anyway.
And here is Jeremy, lost in a book again. I think he was perusing his story, “Laura the Laugher,” in Xcite's Ultimate Burlesque to enjoy that "Masterpiece Theatre" experience from the UK spellings. Or maybe he was reading my story “All Eyes Upon Her”? In any case, we were both happy to contribute to a good cause and as always delighted to hold the book in our hands. (All proceeds go to help fight breast cancer).
Once we’d satisfied our nutritional needs with the rib-sticking and vitamin-packed cheese balls, we started in on the cupcakes. Rachel told us October 18 was National Chocolate Cupcake Day, and of course, as a renowned cupcake blogger, along with Stacie, she should know. Because there were other flavors in the box, such as pumpkin, vanilla, and carrot, we decided the best way would be to cut the cupcakes into small pieces so everyone could sample them all. Helia also passed around her delicious homemade chocolate chip cookies, which had a lacy texture and a lovely butterscotch flavor. I need to get that recipe!

I’m so busy focusing on the food—typical of me, isn’t it?—that I forgot to fill you in on an important sub-plot. Both D.L. and Rachel are well-known experts in the area of erotic spanking, and although we were all curious about our fellow salonists' achievements, EllaRegina expressed a special interest. She’d attended a spanking demonstration in Manhattan some time before, where a buff ex-CIA guy (or was it FBI?) plucked a gorgeous blonde “volunteer” from the audience and proceeded to demonstrate the proper techniques for an arousing fanny-paddling. EllaRegina still had a few questions about what the subjective experience might involve. Calm yet encouraging, D.L. suggested that maybe Rachel would be willing to give her own demonstration. Which is exactly the sort of thing outsiders expect would transpire at erotica-writer salons.

But, hell, I didn’t believe it would actually happen.

By then we’d opened the second bottle of wine, which was better than the first. For some reason the second bottle of wine is always better than the first. Again I had wonderful conversations with Joan and Stacie on the topic of the reaction of the general public to our work and stupid assumptions that our personal lives and erotic art were one in the same. D.L. made me jealous by talking about her trip to visit Ashley Lister in Blackpool, and I chatted again with Jeremy and Helia—we never run out of things to discuss. It really was pretty much like any other gathering of like-minded writers on a Saturday afternoon. As the shadows lengthened and the October breeze turned chilly, we moved inside to the living room.
Then D.L. offered to give us a tour of her “toy closet.” Now I myself have a drawer at home filled with adult amusements: a variety of thigh-hi stockings, a corset, some thongs and a few Good Vibrations accessories of my own, but it was pathetically amateur compared to this imaginative and extensive collection of erotic aids. I’ll leave you to identify the items for yourself. Needless to say, if you’re into spanking above the vanilla novice level, you’d find plenty to pique your interest here. And, I’m told, many have.

Again EllaRegina was particularly intrigued and at some point D.L. approached Rachel and Stacie as go-between for a proposed lesson. In private conference, they agreed to a quick demonstration of the spanker’s art a trois, behind closed doors of course. Although I myself had written a story about a three-couple spanking party, “A Rare Find,” in Rachel’s Spanked anthology, I wasn’t ready for any hands-on demonstration myself. As an erotica writer, I believe the imagination is free, but I am very monogamous where physical interaction is concerned. Still I didn’t think my husband would object if I were merely chatting in the next room while two women spanked another in the bedroom, involving no nudity and no actual “sex,” although it would be disingenuous to deny that eroticism was in the air. I also knew it would make a good story—either as fiction or memoir (or both). So, I poured myself another glass of wine and sat with Joan, Jeremy, Helia and D.L. to discuss erotica and French philosophers. Or maybe it was Althusser and the hidden coercive effect of ideology, which naturalizes society’s systems of control and makes us believe it comes from within us. Whatever we talked about, trust me, it was profound and worthy of Mme. de Stael.

Admittedly, the entire time I had one ear tuned to the sounds coming from the bedroom. First there were voices, rising and falling. I thought perhaps maybe the spanking had happened. But no, soon enough it was clear from the rhythmic thwacks that the spanking was indeed in progress. There was more discussion—no howls or sobs, just talk—and then some harder thwacks. The other guests continued talking, perhaps distracted, but diplomatic like I was. Or perhaps they were genuinely cool to the point of disinterest? Some had attended these salons before.

I’d had a few experiences like this in the past, of being a voyeur—or rather auditeur. When I lived in Yokohama, the woman in the apartment next door would have very loud sex with her boyfriend at 2 in the morning a few times a week. It was mildly annoying as my husband was thousands of miles away, but I did learn some interesting bedroom Japanese. And then there was that party at my sister’s Bowery loft in the winter of 1980. I came up from Princeton for the big event, but developed a terrible headache and finally collapsed on my sister’s mattress on the floor of her bedroom, the sounds of the party echoing in my pounding temples. As the only resident with a real job and income, my sister scored the one room in the loft with a door.

At some point during the party, her Parisian call-girl roommate decided she had to have sex with her downstairs neighbor (I also knew this guy was the consolation prize because she had her sights on another man) and since I was apparently asleep, the bedroom was a fine place to do it. So, while I lay there, my head throbbing and my stomach queasy, the two of them fucked on the mattress beside me. My back was to them, so it was mostly an auditory experience. There was some grunting, some squeaking of the mattress. It didn’t last long. Except in my memory. I do believe that every experience is a lesson for us, in this case my beyond-Princeton teaching was that New York was a place where anything really could happen.

But back to October 2008, to D.L.’s salon. Suddenly the thwacking stopped. The door opened and the three women emerged looking very much as they had when they went in.

“How was it?” I don’t think we actually asked this in words, but the question floated in the air.

“It feels like my buttocks just had Indian food.” As always, EllaRegina had a way of capturing experience with a unique style.

Not shy about spanking and running, Rachel and Stacie got ready to leave and gave us hugs all around. EllaRegina was apparently still able to sit down after her encounter with leather and told us more over another glass of wine. Perhaps she should relate the story herself, but I remember it begins in my memory with the image of EllaRegina walking in to the room to see Rachel sitting on the bed waiting for her, paddle in hand.

“Did she bring it with her from Manhattan?” EllaRegina wondered aloud to us. The idea of Rachel always at the ready with a spanking implement was certainly within the realm of possibility.

D.L.’s eyes twinkled. “No, I think she got her supplies right here.”

Apparently what happened next was something like this: after a discussion of the demonstration, EllaRegina lay down on the bed. Stacie held her hands down while Rachel did the warm-up spanking. Then they switched and Stacie administered the serious blows.

And so it was EllaRegina’s ass dined on thali that evening.

Clearly any social intercourse after this would be anti-climactic, so to speak. The party was winding down and we all needed to be on our way. We said sincere thanks and goodbye to our hostess, D.L. and Joan, expressing the hope we could meet again soon on one coast or the other. Then Jeremy and Helia drove us back to the city and dropped us off at our respective neighborhoods. EllaRegina disappeared into the Washington Square Arch, and I’d swear I saw a park ranger follow her in with a stack of quarters in his hands. Over at Charles Street, my sister had a light supper waiting for me. Tiny roasted potatoes with salmon caviar, bread and cheese, and a salad with a new dressing she’d just discovered. It has a decided Japanese flavor, but would probably go well with Indian food, too. So, I’ll leave you with the recipe and perhaps a whisper of vicarious heat on your lower regions.

After-the-Spanking-Party Salad Dressing

Mix together in a bowl or dressing shaker:

1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger (she uses The Ginger People Pantry Essentials)
1/4 teaspoon mirin
1 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons mellow white miso
3 Tablespoons Marukan lite rice vinegar
3 Tablespoons olive oil

Serve over fresh greens.

Bon Appetit!

Next: A climax of a different sort and every writer's dream: all of New York at her feet....