Monday, January 31, 2011

A Peep into Male Psychology

My column "Cooking Up a Storey" is going to every other month this year so I can spend more time on my novel, but I do have a book review up in February for Have Him at Hello: Confessions from 1000 Guys About What Makes Them Fall in Love…Or Never Call Back by Rachel Greenwald. You'll find the review in the nonfiction section--but why, you ask, is a fiction writer reviewing a dating guide?

Well, because I found this book a fascinating source of information about how both men and women behave when they're looking for a temporary or permanent mate, what they think they want and maybe some hints about what they really want. While those on the dating scene might seek to learn from mistakes, a writer can also use them as inspiration for characters, both lucky in love and not so fortunate. Next month I'll review a pick-up guide for men. I've learned so much from both guides, which both seek to give their readers the analytical upper hand in a game where it's easy to feel powerless. Which I suppose is what fiction writers do with life itself!

Writers are not Things

Loved this post by Sarah Ockler: "You're Not a Thing: 10 Anti-Insanity Tips for Writers." Every phase of the writing life has its challenges and when you first start out, you think being published will make all your dreams come true. But it just creates a whole new set of desires. As the Buddha said: "Life is dissatisfaction." If we take a step back and remember why we write, though, the satisfactions can outweigh the thing-ness.

What do you think?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Gotta Have It Book Trailer is Extraordinary

The Gotta Have It book trailer is out today, and what a wonderful way to cap off two great book readings this past week! There is something so very sexy and tantalizing about hearing (and seeing) the authors read their own work. Each provocative snippet makes you want to read more, more, more. Check out the book trailer on to enjoy offerings by editor Rachel Kramer Bussel, Helia Brookes, Jeremy Edwards, Emerald and Shanna Germain among other great erotica writers. And you'll also learn why I chose this photograph by Laura Boyd for this post. You definitely gotta have Gotta Have It--it makes the perfect Valentine's Day gift, too.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Magical Evenings

Writing is a solitary endeavor, and most of the time I like it that way. Well, actually I'm not alone when I write, I'm fighting or flirting with or rolling around in bed with my characters, who always seem to know the right, or deliciously wrong, thing to do and say. Occasionally, though, I have a chance to step out of my small, cluttered office and share my stories with an audience. Such was the case last night and on Thursday, when Rachel Kramer Bussel was on the Bay Area stop of her West Coast book tour.

Rachel is not only a gifted editor and writer, she knows how to throw a great reading, and both evenings were amazing--audiences generous in both size and response, delicious little cupcakes (which disappeared in the blink of an eye), and a cast of wonderful readers who each brought their stories to life in a magical way. The energy was so inspiring, and I felt incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to be part of this, people coming together to honor erotic writing.

The event at Good Vibrations on Thursday, January 27, had a homey feel--and why not, it's just a short drive from my home! Rachel, Denise Hoffner and I read our short-short stories from Gotta Have It: 69 Stories of Sudden Sex. They were the perfect length for a reading and the audience of about 30 seemed to think so, too. Then we had a Q&A about erotica writing, which was very educational for all. Herr Doktor enjoyed his peppermint patty mini-cupcake, and I was tempted to try the bacon-chocolate, but worried I might get chocolate on my corset!

January 28th's reading at the venerable Booksmith in the Haight had a festive Friday night feel. We had a standing-room-only crowd of 75 and a delightfully varied cast of readers. Susie Hara read her amusing story from Orgasmic, which featured a married couple who still have spark and humor. I went next with an excerpt from "The Big O" in the same book. Violet Blue read a hilarious story by Thomas Roche about a Stanford grad student who finds her way to a lucrative second career. Rachel's story, "Espionage," from Best Women's Erotica 2011 (in which I also have a story), mesmerized everyone with its emotional intensity and heart-breaking truth. Dusty Horn finished off with another Orgasmic bang. If you weren't one of the fortunate 75, you can see part of my reading right here. (The other people in the photo are the charming Kat from Cleis Press and the staff of the Booksmith who were such gracious hosts.)

Finally, I wanted to thank my friend, Lucy, for designing and crafting the skirt that completes my corset ensemble. I can't fully express my appreciation for the gift of her time and skill--from helping me decide the style, to shopping for lace at Lacis, a local lace specialty shop, to putting the whole thing together in a perfect dream of a petticoat. But I'm planning to wear this outfit as often as I possibly can and will always think of her generosity and creative artistry!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Come Together for Owen's Next Concert

Owen's band "In the Moment" will be playing in their second concert at Ashkenaz, 1317 San Pablo Avenue in Berkeley at 4:30 pm on Sunday, January 23. Owen will be singing vocals for the Beatles' "Come Together" and Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Around the World" as well as for the group's original composition "Parallel Universe." And he'll be playing a mean bass line for the other fine songs as well. You don't just have to be a proud parent to enjoy the bands and the $5 cover won't lighten your wallet much at all. These kids are talented and fun, and I'm grateful to innovative schools like BandWorks and Owen's super cool music teachers for helping these kids groove and blossom. Come together with us if you're free on Sunday afternoon!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Free Erotica Class with RKB at Good Vibrations on 1/27

Writing is a solitary endeavor, but sometimes it's helpful to get advice from seasoned experts to help us map our course. That's why we pay big bucks to go to writers' conferences and take classes with established professionals. But what if you could get some distilled words of wisdom and experience for FREE, along with some delicious cupcakes? If you're interested in writing erotica, or if you like free sweets, hell, if you've ever had a sexual thought or feeling in your life, you won't want to miss the reading and erotica writing mini-class led by award-winning erotica editor Rachel Kramer Bussel (and assisted by yours truly) at Good Vibrations' Berkeley store at 2504 San Pablo Avenue on Thursday, January 27. Official event time is 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm, but given that it's a work night, we probably won't start giving out the really useful tips until 7 pm, so don't worry if you have to be a little late. And you won't have to write or read your own erotica, just take notes for later and ask any question your heart desires!

Seriously folks, you're basically getting a chance to get the inside scoop from Rachel, THE leading erotica editor today. I'm getting a sweet little shiver just thinking about this opportunity. Hope to see you there!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Two Weeks From Tonight (1/28)--Please Come!

Yes, it's only two short weeks until a very exciting, I might even say orgasmic, erotica event at the venerable Booksmith at 1644 Haight Street, San Francisco's coolest 'hood. That's Friday, January 28 at 7:30 pm, and I'll be there in my corset (pictured above--and don't I look satisfied?) reading an excerpt from my story, "The Big O," in Rachel Kramer Bussel's very steamy anthology, Orgasmic. However, I'll keep the lacing loose so I can sample the cupcakes afterwards (talk about getting all your juices flowing). If you're in the Bay Area, or have a Star Trek transporter in your basement, beam on over because this is going to be yummmmy, as well as thought-provoking and instructive!

Here's the official teaser:

January 28, 2011 at 7:30 pm


With Susie Hara, Dusty Horn, and Donna George Storey

Award-winning local writer and sexpert Violet Blue (Best Women’s Erotica 2011, Seal It With a Kiss) and New York-based erotica author and editor Rachel Kramer Bussel (Orgasmic, Fast Girls) join forces to bring you an evening of sexy smut! Featuring local Orgasmic contributors Susie Hara, Dusty Horn, and Donna George Storey, plus free cupcakes, this promises to be a steamy night of sensuous stories.

What gets you off? How do you like to come? Let Orgasmic count the ways…with 25 stories centered around female orgasm, there’s something here for every reader. The women in Orgasmic climax from Tantric sex, role-playing, piercing, G-spot play, sex toys, horseback riding, BDSM, a belt and even chemistry–the scientific kind. They delight in food, God and handymen. They create their own objects of pleasure; they spy, tease, obey, command, argue, submit. Some are shy about their orgasms and some are bold as can be. They come, and come and come again, and they do it in some of the hottest, most creative ways you can think of. Featuring red-hot erotica by some of today’s hottest writers, these stories will make you want to stop everything and have an orgasm immediately…once you’ve turned the last succulent page.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Listen to Gotham Sex at!

My all-knowing, all-seeing erotica writing buddy, Jeremy Edwards, just alerted me to the fact that my story "Gotham Sex," published in Maxim Jakubowski's Sex in the City: New York, is the sample story at I have to say I really, really like the way Jenna Wilding reads the story. She definitely captures the spirit I was hoping to evoke. And since the book is full of excellent stories from some of my very favorite erotica writers, I think this might make a good Valentine's Day gift for your favorite auditeur (who might just be yourself)! But even if you're not up for shopping until later, stop by and give a listen to my more-than-a-memoir of adventure in the great city in the 1970s and 1980s.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Looking Back, Looking Ahead

Happy New Year to you, my dear blog readers! I hope you had a lovely year-end holiday. I really enjoyed my "time-out-of-time" to hang out with my family, watch a lot of movies, eat a lot of cookies and celebrate my forty-ninth birthday. In our house, the birthday girl or boy gets to rule big time, and I took full advantage of my privileges to force my family to go to brunch at Ella's in San Francisco where we breakfasted on orange-brandy French toast, fried cornmeal with onions and jalapenos, fluffy pancakes and waffles and a luscious fresh fruit plate. Then I decreed we go to the Museum of Modern Art to see several cool exhibits on wine and style, voyeurism, and Henri Cartier-Bresson's photographs. I do love art museums and always feel my consciousness is broadened by appreciating the works of artists in other media. After we got back home from our aesthetic enrichment, I made my famous rum mousse rice pudding as a stand-in for birthday cake. Dinner was deep-dish pizza from a new kid on the block, Little Star Pizza, which makes what I can only describe as an elegant pizza. The corn meal crust was delish, too. Then we broke open the Veuve Clicquot and watched The Godfather with an eye to all the continuity and historical errors as well as fascinating facts I learned from the annotated screenplay. The day was a pleasure from start to finish and even lingered on into sometime after midnight in the first hour of 2011.

The New Year encourages us to look back as well as forward, and one of the sparkling highlights of 2010 for me was my boudoir session with Laura Boyd. Laura blogged about my session yesterday, and I'm planning to give you more on my experience in the month ahead. I don't have any strict New Year's resolutions this year, but I do want to try to be in the moment, keep my mind and heart open, and write what I love in the year ahead. If you have some good resolutions to share, let me know and I might even steal them! Wishing you a New Year of peace, discovery and pleasure!