Saturday, July 31, 2010

It's Good to Be Bad!

In my feverish summer imagination, July has always been a woman, with flowing, flag-colored skirts offering me juicy peaches and melons. August? A fiery male, half-dressed in an imperial toga, face as sun-baked as the Tuscan hills. He offers iced tea and a thick-fingered, ready hand to smear my back with sunscreen, but he also waves around "back to school sale" flyers, when I'd really rather not think about that quite so early. Even though back to school for me now means more writing time.

Writing time, yeah, my novel, yeah, well I have made some progress on that, thanks to my ongoing exercise in public accountability, otherwise known as my column at ERWA, "Cooking up a Storey." This month's offering, Doing Wrong to Get it Right: Feisty Characters,
Dramatic Discoveries, and Outlaw Ice Cream Sandwiches
, is all about the surprises I'm encountering on my second trip down the perilous path of novel writing, in particular, some lawless, kinky characters who are already doing things that make me blush. Seems I'm always hanging out with perverts these days, but I love you all. Honest.

And if you're brave enough to make it through a tumble between the sheets with my shameless characters, you'll be rewarded with a recipe for "Outlaw" Ice Cream Sandwiches. These aren't your packaged, processed, bland-vanilla-ice cream-like substance-pressed-between-two-tasteless-brown wafers. I'm talking tender homemade chocolate chip cookies getting cozy with a slab of cookie dough ice cream or whatever fancy, decadent flavor turns you on. But there is a danger, so beware--family and friend might never settle for store-bought ones again!

Also up at ERWA this month, a review by the ever-witty Ashley Lister of Rachel Kramer Bussel's Fast Girls, which includes my story "Waxing Eloquent." Come to think of it, Brazilian waxes--the featured sexual fetish of my story--are a perfect theme for bikini season. I'll be posting an excerpt from my story during the official blog tour, but you can get a sneak preview right now. Trust me, it's hotter than sizzling summer sunshine.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

John Updike Made Me Do It

I'm thrilled to announce that my story, "John Updike Made Me Do It," is now available in its full natural splendor at Clean Sheets as of today!

This story is a favorite of mine, originally written for a themed anthology on polyamory, Swing!, edited by Jolie du Pre. (Check out that steamy book for an entire feast of polyamorously perverse short stories). When the call for the book went out, I knew I wanted to work with Jolie, but my real-life experiences with swinging were minimal to say the least. Fantasy, of course, is a different matter, and I immediately thought of John Updike and his tales of suburban sexual adventure as the perfect inspiration. Under John Updike's influence, I cooked up a story involving hot tubs, Tahoe and three married couples in a free-wheeling vacation frame of mind, not unlike the swapping game in Rabbit is Rich.

A few months after I wrote this story, in January 2009, John Updike passed away. I was glad then and still am, that I could acknowledge his influence on my work--as both a dutiful daughter and a rebellious one.

I suppose you really can say John Updike made me do this. Funny how life works that way....

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Sex as Performance not Commodity

Summer has always meant lazing around with a good book on a long, hot afternoon, and this year I've discovered a fascinating and inspiring book called Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power & A World Without Rape (thanks to a recommendation from Emerald).

Last night I read an essay by Thomas Macaulay Millar called "Toward a Performance Model of Sex," which opens with a provocative description of a musician named Sally, a "music slut" who plays with two bands and will even jam with people she's just met. Scandalous! Millar immediately points out how absurd the paragraph is unless we immediately convert it to a metaphor for sex. I certainly agree.

Then he goes on to describe our society's "commodity model" of sex as "a substance that can be given, bought, sold or stolen, that has a value and a supply-and-demand curve." Women have it and men try to get it. I can't really cover all the thought-provoking points Millar makes about the abstinence movement, consent as positive affirmation rather than the absence of "no" and so forth. As the mother of a budding musician, I'll just jump right ahead to his refreshing alternative metaphor of sex as a performance and partnered sex as a musical collaboration. Makes sense to me.

In the commodity model, every time a woman has sex, she loses something of value. Sex earlier in her history is worth more than later in her life with virginity being the most precious prize. Compare this to a musican's performance. Would you buy a CD of a beginner's first halting scales? Her performance would be of value only after she'd practiced a lot, with different partners who were better than she was, after she'd gotten in touch with her own musical sensibility. She would "reach the height of her powers in the prime of her life, as an experienced musician, confident in her style and conversant in her material."

This description made me laugh, but it's also true--and it's true for writers as well as sexual partners. As a woman of a certain age, I certainly appreciate this view. For indeed, although the Baby Boomers are slowly pushing the boundary of the sexy woman into higher age brackets, our society's default model of sex is a twenty-two-year-old in a bikini. Lovely as she might be, I'd bet that any real woman with a few more years/decades on her would attest that the subjective experience of sex for women only gets richer with experience and a surer sense of one's preferences and power. And the more nuanced our experience of sex, the more we can convey that complexity in our fiction.

I'm looking forward to more from Yes Means Yes, lounging on the porch with an iced tea in hand. Hope your summer reading is equally empowering and inspiring!

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Alison's Wonderland and Magic in My Hands

The fireworks aren't over, folks, because today I'm being interviewed over at Alison Tyler's blog about my story in her hot new erotica anthology, Alison's Wonderland. My story, "Managers and Mermen," is inspired by "The Little Mermaid" of course, and it's guaranteed to have you craving sushi. Having read many of the delicious stories which provocatively rewrite classic tales from "Snow White" to "The Three Bill Goats Gruff," I can assure you this is a fairy tale book that will definitely keep you up past your bedtime!

So check out my tell-all interview, learn all about my "accessories" drawer, and leave a comment if you are so inspired.

Here's an excerpt from "Managers and Mermen":

“Pretty girl, do you want to go for a ride?”

Her liquid warble makes it sound like an invitation, but the glint in her green eyes tells me it’s really an order.

There will be consequences if I don’t obey.

And so I straddle her tail--at the widest part, where a human girl’s hips would be--and squeeze my thighs around her. It’s not so different from riding bareback, except her scales aren’t warm like horseflesh. They’re cool and slippery and they tickle my tender parts through the crotch of my swimsuit. I wriggle a bit, trying to get comfortable, but it only makes the tingling sensation more intense.

“Hold on tight,” she warns and immediately shoots off through the water. My upper body rocks like a broncobuster’s as we speed through the swaying seaweed. I have to grip her with all my might just to stay on. My legs are aching and I can feel the powerful muscles of her tail rippling between my thighs. Soon her once cool skin is plumped and warm, pulsing faintly. Or is it just me?

She swoops into a grotto and rears up to a stop. I fall forward and clutch her shoulders, panting. My veins sing with adrenaline.

In one swift movement, she twists around to face me. The slick twirl of her tail between my legs sends electric jolts through my body.

“Keep those pretty legs squeezed tight,” she says, her eyes boring into me. “You don’t want our ride to end yet, do you?”

I shake my head. What else can I do? She has me trapped in her lair, under her spell. I watch, enchanted, as she hooks her fingers under the kelp straps of her seashell bra and rips them away to expose her full breasts. Her skin is creamy, like a human girl’s, but the nipples are strange—a luminous jade green.

“Kiss them,” she commands, lifting her breasts in offering. Again, I have no choice. This is her realm, her laws.

I bend forward and take one shimmering nipple between my lips. The salty tang of nori fills my mouth. Suddenly I’m ravenously hungry. I tug on her, harder, as if I can satisfy the growing ache in my belly that way.

“That’s lovely, keep up the good work,” she sighs, but then her voice takes on a sterner tone.

“Except it’s not really work for you, is it? I can feel what’s going on down there. Your secret muscles are all fluttery and you’re wet inside, too. You like playing with another girl’s breasts, don’t you?”

Still suckling, I nod. I must always agree, always do her bidding. But it’s the truth, too. I do like it.

“You are a naughty girl, but you’re making me all fluttery, too.”

Indeed her tail is gyrating gently, pressing up against my clit, then circling away. I can tell from the way her eyes glow that she’s enjoying it.

What comes next takes me completely by surprise....

Friday, July 02, 2010

Voices in My Head

Yes, I know, I used this photo in my last post, but I have a good reason for the repetition. The latest edition of ERWA's newsletter, which includes my column, Disorderly Departures: Discovery Drafts, Summertime Salad, and the Wisdom of “The Voice,” features none other than a recipe for my very July-friendly Grilled Ratatouille Salad. I also 'fess up about those funny voices I hear in my head and how they help and hinder my writing process. The really good news is that I've actually started writing scenes of my next novel, after talking about it for years, so I feel as if I've made a big step in the past few months. Novels are such a different challenge from a short story. In the shorter form, my Inner Editor gets to join in the fun from the start, but with a novel she definitely gets in the way of progress, at least in the Discovery Draft. And while you're over at ERWA hearing voices, check out the wonderfully inspiring interview with Emerald, one of my favorite erotica writers with a very lovely voice indeed.

Happy Fourth to you!