Friday, 31 December 2010

Happy New Year to everyone (and some self-congratulation!)

This is a self-congratulatory post and I'm not going to apologise for it! I've been doing some end-of-year sorting and filing, as a result of which I've just noticed that in the course of 2010 I've published, in terms of erotica -

- 14 short stories in magazines/collections/anthologies: 6 with Xcite, 6 in Erotic Review, 1 in Oysters & Chocolate, 1 in Lucrezia magazine
- 3 short stories published individually, all with Xcite
- 3 stories on other people's blogs (Frequently Felt)
- My first full-length erotic novel (with Pink Flamingo)
- a bunch of stories out on my new 'other' blog which I've set up jointly with Velvet Tripp, deliciouslydeviant.wordpress.com

That's in addition to several short science fiction and horror stories published under my real name.

Stuff in progress at the moment includes a single-author erotic story collection and a second novel, with a second story collection and a third novel being planned... I haven't set myself any New Year resolutions about getting things finished, but hopefully most if not all of that stuff will appear in the course of 2011.

Meanwhile, congratulations also to the authors whose blogs appear in the links on the right of this page, who've all put out excellent stuff this year, sometimes in the face of quite serious difficulties. And a happy New Year to everyone.

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

So what were the trends of 2010?

I've just been looking at Trendhunter's round-up of the top 100 naughty trends of 2010. They include:

- the 'Lady Gag Gag' blow-up doll. Elsewhere they also feature alien blow-up dolls
- Naughty pinup shoots by air stewardesses in the US, to protest about unpaid wages (that's a new twist - 'pay us the money or we'll take our clothes off...' but I guess respectable airlines wouldn't want that kind of publicity?)
- tattoos (of course)
- intergalactic fashion
- leotards for women, suits for men (I can see the attractions... they reference the Suit Supply company ads and various female singers' stage outfits)
- the 'Fleshlight', an aid to male masturbation
- body painting parties (why have I not been invited to one?)
- mass nudity (remember the Spencer Tunick 'artwork with 2,500 people nude outside the Sydney Opera House?)
- sex in libraries (memo to self, I was going to write a story about that...)
- a selection of redheads, transvestites, transsexuals and lesbians in a variety of photo shoots and ad campaigns. Why do redheads get billed the same way as transvestites, transsexuals and lesbians? I find that quite mysterious.

I think they missed a few. For example, burlesque became very big in 2010.

Predictions for 2011? Mine would be

- club crossover, so that it becomes impossible to distinguish between a regular nightclub, a lap-dancing club and a fetish event.
- LGBT pride events become huge tourist festival-like attractions for the places that hold them.

Any other offers, people?

BTW my 'other' blog, deliciouslydeviant, has just had two posts - a short story from me and a round-up of bdsm how-to and reference books from Velvet Tripp.

Monday, 27 December 2010

Random stuff



Discovered while searching for other things (as is often the way). The exact location is the junction of the Square de Cligancourt and Rue Ordener, Paris 75018. In some of the street views the guy carrying the blow-up doll is walking past the Pizza Hut, which is just out of this shot on the right - and just for info the camera here is looking more or less south. You may need to look around the area a bit to get him in shot...

Monday, 20 December 2010

Things a sub doesn't want to hear...

... when they're tied and blindfolded.

#19 I don’t know what I’m going to do to you yet. I’m going to let the viewers on my webcam decide…

#26 Oh good, the power drill’s fully charged now!

#38 Did I ever tell you the fantasy I have? The one that involves a frozen chicken?

#44 I’ve been much better since I had the treatment. No I haven’t. Yes I have. Shut up, all of you!

#589 I haven’t tried this before, I’m just curious to see if it works.

I posted a few more over at Deliciously Deviant as well...Have fun!

Thursday, 16 December 2010

New story out from 17th Dec at Oysters and Chocolate

Just a quick announcement that Fulani's short story "Relieving the Stress" will go live on Oysters and Chocolate online magazine this Friday, December 17th. So it's a free read, probably in their "Liquorice Whips" story category (aka sensual BDSM).

Enjoy!

Friday, 10 December 2010

Conversation last night

Me: You know I've got an astrology piece in the next Erotic Review?

V: Yes...

Me: I was thinking I could do a Chinese astrology one for our new blog.

V: That would be good. You could just say which sex toy would be the best one to use for each of the signs.

Me: 2011 will be the Year of the Rabbit.

V: Does that mean it'll be a very buzzy year?

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Deliciously Deviant


Velvet Tripp and I have set up a second blog for both our erotic stories - she has one out with Xcite at the moment and some others that will appear in 2011.

Have a look at Deliciously Deviant. There's even a free, previously unpublished story of mine on there to tempt you. It concerns a couple whose idea of a fun day out is to buy a new coffee table. Except it doesn't get used for coffee...

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Dreaming again

I woke up this morning from a dream in which my publisher was insisting the 25K word file I'd sent her couldn't be considered as a 'novella' unless it had been written on a train.

However:
- I'm not currently writing a 'novella' though I am trying to finish off a collection of stories and various other projects.
- I have 'publishers', obviously, and except for one they are female. But they're not people I meet or have lengthy phone conversations with, just emails back and forth.
- I have been on a train recently, a couple of weeks ago, but it was a 20-minute journey not a long-distance marathon. Even I can't write a novella in 20 minutes. And normally, on train journeys, I read.
- I did, though, recently review Sharazade's Transported. The review is about three posts back.

So I'm not clear what symbolism is in play here or what my unconscious is trying to tell me. If I get any clues later int he day I'll share them... or you could have a go at interpreting this for me?

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Acronyms

I've been playing with an acronym generator. Not for fun, you understand: it was related to an actual, i.e. income generating, project I'm working on. Among other things it came up with:

Fulani -
F Focused
U Useful
L Legendary
A Amusing
N Naughty
I Influential

and for Velvet,

V Vigorous
E Exotic
L Loving
V Visionary
E Energetic
T Tasty
T Twisted
R Risky
I Influential
P Proud
P Playful

Want to play? The acronym generator is at HyperGurl.

There are plenty of others. A more science fiction oriented one has lists from which you can choose words randomly. So I could be, for example, Forensic Underground Laboratory Augmenting Negative Insurrection...

Friday, 26 November 2010

Transported: a review

I don't normally do reviews but I thought I should make an exception.

By way of a disclaimer, Sharazade was kind enough to review, and even be enthusiatic about, my Secret Circus book a while back. Hers has actually been out a little longer than mine but I said ages ago I'd review it - it's just taken me a while to honour the commitment.

Anyone who knows me also knows I won't mince words in a review and won't be swayed from my opinion merely because someone's said something nice about me. So it's just as well I enjoyed it and recommend it unreservedly!



Review of Transported: Erotic Travel Tales
Author: Sharazade
Fanny Press, Seattle, 2010

Available in paperback, on Kindle and in ten e-book formats from Smashwords.

This is a collection of nine short stories linked by the theme of travelling. All are told in the first person, mostly though not invariably with a female narrator. While each of the stories involves sex, all of them build to it, with tensions between the characters and implicit in the situation, before the act takes place. You get the slow burn before the sudden flash.

I liked the characters. They’re well drawn, believable, complex, with everyday concerns in their heads and flawed bodies that sometimes make them a little self-conscious – I don’t know about you, but that makes them just like me.

In ‘Schiphol’, we see a couple’s paths cross at an international airport and in the travellers’ hotel there. ‘Flaws’ deals with events on a train journey, alternating between interior monologue and narrative in a way that draws out the tensions nicely. ‘After Dinner Show’ offers useful advice for gentlemen: when attending a conference, take more than one necktie. They have multiple uses.

‘Shore Leave’ deals with an encounter on a beach. ‘Sales Pitch’ is about a worker in an airport shop, and nicely illustrates why it’s a good idea always to keep a couple of spare batteries in your pocket if you work in such a place. ‘Just Browsing’ was a finalist in the 2009 BetterSex.com erotic fiction contest, and describes the pleasures of finding a late-night bookshop in a strange town.

‘In Flight’ is about how to stop feeling tense while flying. ‘Onsen’ takes place in Japan. This is the country where the complexity of social encounters is often not wholly recognized by Westerners, and strange, mixed emotions may surface among Westerners working there. Lastly, in ‘Layover’, the narrator isn’t travelling, but meeting someone who is. She’s spent a lot of time in and around the local airport, and has an eye for every nook and cranny where sex might be possible.

A couple of preoccupations run through the stories. Several of them contain BDSM that would be considered mild by the standards of many readers but are narrated in ways that make the scenes immediate, vivid and likely to stay in your imagination for a while. And a lot of the sex is in semi-public places, with some risk of discovery.

The stories average a shade under 4,000 words apiece – short enough to be a quick read, long enough to be savoured, depending on your mood. There are plenty of points at which dialogue or descriptions include throwaway comments that might, in themselves, spin off in a reader’s mind into some whole other fantasy - and that's neat because you can enjoy your own fantasy and then come back to finish off the story.

It’s a nicely put together collection, well written, where the enjoyment comes from the care and thought that’s been put into the way situations build, as well as in the sex scenes themselves. An excellent read for a long winter’s night. Or, of course, while on a journey!

Monday, 22 November 2010

At a gay club...



So on Sunday night I was at a gay club, walking down the stairs, on my way to the van with a couple of long metal poles - because you did know I have a lock-up full of kit that occasionally gets used at fetish events, right? And the club had been using it over the weekend - and two gay guys were walking up the stairs.

I stop to let them pass, and quick as a flash one of the guys turns to the other and says 'Look out, man coming with a big load!'

I thought it was funny, anyway.

Random musing: I just did a mental check, and despite identifying as a straight male, I can only think of a couple of friends of mine who are also straight males. They're virtually all gay men and lesbian or bisexual women. So despite being part of the straight 'majority', I seem to be moving almost exclusively in queer circles, in which I'm clearly a minority!

Oh, and as far as kit goes: among other things I have a small cage, a St Andrews Cross, a scaffolding cube with multiple attachment points and many uses, a whipping post, a spanking bench, a cargo net on a large frame, a bondage bed and some other stuff. Happy to hire it out, though obviously it's kinda big stuff that takes up a lot of room, so we're talking events more than private parties... The pic at the head of the post is the 'cube', in use at a fetish performance at a goth event a couple of years ago.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

JG Ballard

JG (James Graham) Ballard (1930-2009) remains one of the most prominent and transgressive authors of the 20th century. He wrote primarily in the genre of science fiction, but almost always with an eye for the psycho-sexual foibles of individuals and how they might be formed by, or inform, society - and he didn't shrink at dealing with matters considered too bizarre or too controversial for others to write about. The most cited, though by no means the only, example is his 'Crash' (1973) which deals with the sexual fetishism of car crashes. It was later made into a film - which is still banned in a number of places, including the Borough of Westminster in London, apparently. His later book, 'The Atrocity Exhibition', was at one point prosecuted as obscene in the UK.

He is the source of a number of quotable quotes about sex, fetish, and pornography, including those below:

"A widespread taste for pornography means that nature is alerting us to some threat of extinction."

"Science is the ultimate pornography, analytic activity whose main aim is to isolate objects from their contexts in time and space. This obsession with the specific activity of quantified functions is what science shares with pornography."

"All over the world major museums have bowed to the influence of Disney and become theme parks in their own right. The past, whether Renaissance Italy or Ancient Egypt, is re-assimilated and homogenized into its most digestible form. Desperate for the new, but disappointed with anything but the familiar, we recolonize past and future. The same trend can be seen in personal relationships, in the way people are expected to package themselves, their emotions and sexuality, in attractive and instantly appealing forms." (The Atrocity Exhibition)

"A car crash harnesses elements of eroticism, aggression, desire, speed, drama, kinesthetic factors, the stylizing of motion, consumer goods, status - all these in one event. I myself see the car crash as a tremendous sexual event really: a liberation of human and machine libido (if there is such a thing)."

“Do we see, in the car-crash, the portents of a nightmare marriage between technology, and our own sexuality? … Is there some deviant logic unfolding here, more powerful than that provided by reason?”

"Fiction is a branch of neurology: the scenarios of nerve and blood vessels are the written mythologies of memory and desire."

"The endless newsreel clips of nuclear explosions that we saw on TV in the 1960s (were) a powerful incitement to the psychotic imagination, sanctioning everything." (The Atrocity Exhibition)

"At the logic of fashion, such once-popular perversions as pedophilia and sodomy will become derided cliches, as amusing as pottery ducks on suburban walls." (The Atrocity Exhibition)

"Their violence (the jungle wars of the '70s), and all violence for that matter, reflects the neutral exploration of sensation that is taking place, within sex as elsewhere and the sense that the perversions are valuable precisely because they provide a readily accessible anthology of exploratory techniques." (The Atrocity Exhibition)

"Sex is now a conceptual act, it's probably only in terms of the perversions that we can make contact with each other at all." (The Atrocity Exhibition)

"The marriage of reason and nightmare that dominated the 20th century has given birth to an ever more ambiguous world. Across the communications landscape move the spectres of sinister technologies and the dreams that money can buy. Thermo-nuclear weapons systems and soft-drink commercials coexist in an overlit realm ruled by advertising and pseudo-events, science and pornography. Over our lives preside the great twin leitmotifs of the 20th century – sex and paranoia…In a sense, pornography is the most political form of fiction, dealing with how we use and exploit each other, in the most urgent and ruthless way."

"I love the smell of male urine and the reek of his groin on my bath towels after he’d had a shower" (character in th enovel Super-Cannes)

"She had originally agreed to appear naked, but on seeing the cars informed me that she would only appear topless—an interesting logic was at work there." (think this comes from Crash)

"Trying to exhaust himself, Vaughan devised an endless almanac of terrifying wounds and insane collisions: The lungs of elderly men punctured by door-handles; the chests of young women impaled on steering-columns; the cheek of handsome youths torn on the chromium latches of quarter-lights. To Vaughan, these wounds formed the key to a new sexuality, born from a perverse technology. The images of these wounds hung in the gallery of his mind, like exhibits in the museum of a slaughterhouse." (Crash)

"One looks forward to the day when the General Theory of Relativity and the Principia will outsell the Kama Sutra in back-street bookshops."

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

So we're driving...

... over to a friend's house and there's a billboard on the way with an ad that starts out If You Love Books...

And V turns to me and completes the sentence; '...then wipe the pages with a tissue afterwards and wash your hands please.'

Neither of us can remember what was actually being advertised.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Fragment

I don't know what this is - a piece of flash fiction? A short fragment of something longer? It just came to me complete, in this form, after a conversation about how much one needs to say or reveal in order to make something 'erotic'. To that extent it's an experiment, and may or may not reappear in some way in another piece at some stage. Literati among you may be aware there's a passage along similar lines in Pynchon's 'Gravity's Rainbow'.

***

We argued in the nightclub. It was one of those arguments about nothing and something. Maybe it was my fault. She stalked across the dancefloor, hips thrusting purposefully. Didn't come back to our hotel room that night.

Next day she showed up mid-afternoon while I was reading a Thomas Pynchon novel on the balcony. Dishevelled, stains on her dress, mascara streaks on her face, strung-out with quick enervated gestures. Gave me a long tale about drinking in a small bar, giving a handjob to a stranger in the toilets. Drinking until it made sense to her to get arrested, and provoking the police. Said she'd been handcuffed and beaten, sucked them off and they fucked her with their nightsticks. It didn't add up because her bruises weren't in the right places.

But she had a couple of pairs of cuffs in her handbag. And whatever had happened to her, whatever she'd imagined or actually done, the glint in her eyes said the argument was forgotten and she was eager for it to happen again.

Afterwards I left her cuffed to the bed, exhausted, covered in perspiration and body fluids. I poured myself a brandy, went out on the balcony and finished the chapter.


Friday, 5 November 2010

Waiting (500 words)



She holds the pose, standing with ankles slightly apart, bent at the waist, spine inclined so that her shoulders are lower than her buttocks. Her forearms rest on the back of the low modern seat. She looks straight ahead, eyes focused into the far distance, into her own needs and cravings.

Nothing – except her own intention and desire – binds or restrains her in any way.

She is waiting for what is to come.

Her body is not quiet. It sings in time with her rising pulse. She feels the leather of the chair under her arms, her hair falling from her shoulders. Her breasts hang pendulous; they should be rubbing insistently against something, yet brush feather-lightl against the fabric of her bra. She feels the way her hips want to move, the stretch in the backs of thighs, the way her heels want to drum against the floor. She feels cool air on her pussy, since her skirt and somewhat expensive briefs, the kind where you pay for the cut, for how little material is in them, are on the other side of the room.

Her head is not quiet.

Why am I doing this? Posing like a naughty schoolgirl. I need to be punished. I’m strange. Yet so many women like it. I get through the pain it turns to pleasure. I know this. I trust him. I think! But he’s a bastard he’s making me wait. He’s playing me. He knows I’m getting juicier. I’m getting juicier. I’m getting… my own body’s betraying me. All the wrong instincts… but it’s not like there’s some weird childhood trauma. I don’t know what makes me do this. What makes me…? I need to be punished. Like a naughty schoolgirl. Innocent. Juicy. Please, now

One heel kicks petulantly against the floor. Ass wriggles, a display of impatience. Impertinence. Anticipation.

He’ll fuck me afterwards. In this position? Only if I stay quiet don’t yelp that’s the real punishment the wanting to be fucked. I have to stay in control stay quiet maybe he’ll make me suck him first that would be good.

A minute. Two. Pulse racing. Takes every nerve to look straight ahead, not turn round. Her entire body bones veins nerves flooded with the prickly heat of sex, the hard-to-ignore visceral gnawing of sex, a feeling of being eaten from the inside.

I’m a bad filthy-minded slut. Nasty guilty twisted fantasy. Fetish about a time before I had my first fuck. About being in someone else’s control and being made to suffer ecstacy. It wouldn’t have made any sense then. Still doesn’t, but I want it–

Now-ow-w-w!

Shit that stings.

She moves position slightly, in readiness for the next one. Exhales so as not to yelp when it comes. Pleasure extends like a snake uncoiling the length of her spine from pussy to brain. The familiar, strange reaction. The desire for hurt because it makes her feel pleasure.

Please he’ll make me come so so so hard…

Saturday, 30 October 2010

New story out tomorrow

A paranormal erotic story of mine, Succubus, goes live tomorrow (Halloween) over at the Lucrezia Magazine website.

I say Halloween but it's more appropriate to think of it as a Samhain story, I think.

Synopsis: A succubus has a one-track mind. Even if the person who summoned her did so by mistake.

Happy Halloween. Or Samhain. If something like this happens to you, let me know!


Friday, 29 October 2010

Free read at Xcite!

I've just noticed my story 'The Incubus Candle' is currently a free read at Xcite Books - OK it's intended to promote the Spirit Lovers collection of 5 paranormal erotic stories for Halloween. But it is a 3000 word story, by me and for free. Not sure how often they switch these over but it will be time-limited.

Teaser: The candle was a large and faithful representation of a phallus. It wasn’t the kind of thing Lauren would normally buy, but it would be a talking point for the girly evening she’d planned. The shop assistant told her to be careful when she lit it. ‘These things work really well,’ she said with a knowing smile. Lauren snorted, thinking the comment was flippant, and rose to the bait. She bought two. And lit them both at the same time. That was when the real fun began…

Thursday, 28 October 2010

More than you wanted to know, really...

... about me is now on the Erotica For All website - but if you want you can read the interview with Fulani.

Have fun!

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Dominion, last night



Out to my local fetish club, Dominion, last night. The first time in quite a while. It was good to meet up with some old friends, and I watched a pair of local kinksters do a bondage performance. It was essentially Japanese-style ropework, with all the right culturally-specific accoutrements - a kimono, even the special socks with the separate big toe.

OK, so much of what we think of as 'Japanese' bondage isn't particularly 'traditional', dating back to the late 1800s or early 1900s; earlier use of bondage in Japan had often revolved around the capture and interrogation of suspects and could be extraordinarily brutal. Equally, some of it isn't specifically Japanese but evolved, ironically, in response to Western influences (including, I was once told, the influence of publications by John Willie) in the 1940s/1950s, or was possibly even a Western - specifically, American - development on older practices.

But let's put all that aside for the moment. The performance reminded me of how sensuous bondage can be. It's a slow process, ropes being layered and interwoven, and the effect on the 'victim' is almost hypnotic, with sensations building gradually as each new layer of rope is applied, and possibly stimulating also in terms of anticipation of what might happen next. I might add the effect on the audience was much the same...

So the nice thing about it was the timely reminder that bondage is, or can be, a slow, sensuous thing of art and beauty... My thanks to the two performers, who I deliberately haven't named here.

For the especially interested, you can read more on the history of Japanese bondage on Tatu's page, and in Richard Cleaver's commentary on Japanese traditional bondage; there are also more general thoughts on the 'Way of the Rope' (also by Tatu), and a recent cultural commentary by Midori on the CarnalNation website: Shame, Taboo and the Real Japan.

Oh, the pic at the top of this post doesn't come from last night - it's one from a while back, the photography is by Stefan Richardson, and it was an illustration for a how-to I wrote that was published in a now-defunct magazine, Midlands Fetish Scene. You'll see my own ropework, which is featured, is fairly rough and ready unlike that at Dominion last night!

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Cartoon characters behind the scenes

Something I found while, oddly enough, looking for information on airports (there's no point explaining how this happened, it's just the way my mind works):


Enjoy!

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Bicycle Infrastructure Fetish?

I know it's only October but I've been looking for a 2011 wall calendar for my study. The strangest so far, by far, is the The 2010 Copenhagenize Bicycle Infrastructure Fetish Calendar on Lulu.com.

Now that's what I call a proper fetish... Never mind leather, latex, chains and whips - bicycle infrastructure can be a truly fetishistic experience! Unfortunately they don't seem to have a 2011 version (yet).

Friday, 15 October 2010

Dreaming

I dream vividly most nights and remember a lot of my dreams. I often dream in colour and with sound, dialogue, etc. and they often form the basis for my stories and flash fiction, though mostly in genres such as SF, urban fantasy and horror (which I generally publish under another pseudonym). Dreams are very productive for me, but they're not usually X-rated.

However, here's my dream from last night...

***

It's my first day at a new job, lecturing at a university. I've barely met the other staff but they seem harassed, workloads piled up to an implausible level.

The head of department finds me and asks me to go with him to his office. It's a windowless room in the basement, not an obvious choice for someone who's supposed to be in charge. 'I like your style,' he says. 'You're not like the others, you say what you think and let your emotions out.'

What? I've always been told I'm quite private about my emotions.

There's a couch in his office, reminiscent of the one you'd see in the museum in Freud's apartment in Vienna. (There's a picture of it on Wikipedia's page on Freud – but I didn't find this until late this morning. I visited the Freud museum in the 1970s.)

Lying on the couch is a young guy, young enough to be a student.

'Even as head of department,' he explains, 'I have to keep freelance work going. This young man is here for therapy for his depression.' (I have, incidentally, known lecturers who keep second occupations going, ranging from guitarist in a rock band to keeping a smallholding to selling used car tyres – though the latter wasn't, needless to say, in the UK!)

'So what am I doing here?'

'I'd like you to help me with his treatment. We're going to play a trust game.'

I know about trust games from training courses and suchlike. The classic one is standing in the middle of a circle, allowing yourself to topple in different directions while those around you take your weight and push you from one person in the circle to the other.

So who am I supposed to be trusting? The guy in 'therapy' or the head of department?

The game is this: we stand face to face, embracing each other, and move our feet backwards until each of us supporting the weight of the other.

I'm aware at this point that a woman has entered the room. She's in her twenties, casually dressed in jeans and T-shirt, very short cropped hair, the kind that used to be called a lesbian buzz-cut.

'What happens now,' the head of department explains, 'is part of her therapy. I find it's more efficient to have clients help each other in this way.'

What the woman does is this. She kneels down between me and the guy, in the triangular space between our bodies, and I feel her unzip my flies, massage my balls, pull out my cock and take it into her mouth.

Is she doing the same with the other guy? I don't know; his stance is rock-solid and he appears lost in his own headspace, though my hips are flexing back and forth and the sensation I'm experiencing is exquisite.

The thought crosses my mind that the head of department may be standing to one side with a camera. Is blackmail how he keeps his staff in line? But no, he appears to be absolutely serious, focused on this somewhat deviant version of therapy.

The woman is enthusiastic in working her lips and tongue around me, pushing my cock to the back of her throat. I'm still supporting the weight of the other guy, he's still relying on me and I stay locked in position with him.

What kind of 'therapy' is this for the women? Is she learning to accept, trust, take the cum from an anonymous cock? And what's with the lesbian buzz-cut?

I have no answers, just go with the pleasure of the moment.

***

Offer of interpretations, anyone?

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Too clever by half?

I've been musing over my latest royalty/sales figures.

What interests me is that the best selling stories are consistently the ones with lesbian BDSM themes, and the harder-edged ones that involve a significant amount of string-em-up-and-flog-em - and go light on some of the more real-life issues of consent, limits, negotiation and so on.

What also interests me is that given who I'm publishing with, I'd assume my purchasing public is primarily female.

I'm not complaining about this in any way, shape or form. I have many lesbian and bi friends and I'm more than capable of writing stuff they enjoy. And I'm ready, able and willing to write nasty and cruel sex scenes.

I do, though, suspect I've been guilty of making an unwarranted assumption that writing primarily for a female audience implies holding back on the levels of implied coercion and the amount of pain inflicted on my characters.

I suspect since the Black Lace books started coming out well over a decade ago, a lot of women have become used to erotica that isn't just strong in a sexual way, but heavy-handed with the whips and floggers and multiple partners and domination/submission as well. Maybe those fantasies were always there, given that forced sex is reported in academic, psychological/psychoanalytic papers to be a common fantasy theme among women.

After all, even mainstream literature now has scenes of multiple partners, sexual slavery and repeated anal intercourse (yes, I'm reading Pynchon's Against the Day at the moment, and Gravity's Rainbow has several bondage scenes, not to mention a bit of coprophilia).

I've been striving in some of what I've written to explore a few of my more experimental literary aspirations... and I'm not going to stop doing that, but the sales figures are a useful reminder that I should remember the basics and make sure there's lots of good, vicious sex in there.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

The hours before dawn




I creep to bed in the early hours, the next chapter finally written. I undress quietly in the bathroom, move silently to open the bedroom door. The bedside light is on but you’re asleep already, wearing a ‘sleep mask’ – by any other name, a blindfold. The room is warm and somehow, somewhen, you’ve kicked off the duvet. I admire your body; not the conventional beauty of rounded breasts and shapely thighs, but the flaws and scars of a life lived against the odds.

Gently, softly, I pad around the bed and settle feather-like on my side, the left-hand side, stretch out an inch away from you. I feel the heat from your body. You stir, one buttock brushing gently against my… That slight contact, unconscious, unexpected, suddenly excites me. Then you roll onto your back, kicking out your legs, pushing them against mine.

I remember you in this position, legs wide, waiting for me. That time you were tied down, wrists and ankles roped to the corners of the bed. Are you dreaming of this now?

Slowly, stealthily I change position. I hold myself above you, on my elbows, your even breaths washing my face. Don’t you feel me pressing against you, massaging your labia wider to accept me?

You grind your teeth and mumble something. Have I woken you?

No, I think not, though you thrust back at me. And moan with quiet inarticulate dreaming.

Little by little, in time with your breathing, I steal your sex. Thief in the night, silently plundering your body for my gratification. I wonder if, maybe, at the end you wake suddenly to find your body glowing with pleasure, luminous in the darkness behind the sleep-mask.

I stay posed, statue-still, muscles locked, feeling the tremble in your belly and thighs until you sigh and shift your hips to curl up under me.

***

I wake early, in blackness. Remove the sleep-mask to see a single shaft of light squeeze through the curtains and take flight across the bed. I lay still, remembering my dream. Listening to you breathe easily beside me. Watching the light roll across your thighs, because in the heat of the night we have somehow kicked the duvet away.

Your erection is: endearing, impressive, delicious. At one time I’d have said alarming. Are you dreaming of me, or of some complicated scenario like the one we played out last week?

I’m feeling wicked. I curl up against the sheets, closer to you. So close my hair falls over your belly. You stir and stretch as if it tickles. Your erection wobbles from side to side, lithe like a snake sensing the air with its tongue.

I lick my lips and take it in my mouth. It tastes sweet. It tastes of me.

I lick me off you, gratified at the swell of your response and the little shudder of your hips. You push up, questing, looking for sweeter, tighter, more enveloping pressure. I apply it with my lips and tongue, hear you gasp sleepless in your sleep. And with careful, deliberate moves I spin and twist onto you, astride your hips, giving myself to you and taking from you at the same time.

I arch my spine flex my thighs moving on your shaft letting it find its way letting it flower inside me. That’s good that’s deep I feel I feel you fill me up the sex swells in me intumescent and hot like a volcanic…

… eruption.

Afterwards I lean forwards, nipples brushing your chest my hair on your shoulder and you stir sleepily put your hand on my thigh as if to reassure me.

And I steal away to the morning, to shower and coffee and office, thinking smugly about that private moment and leaving you to wonder if it was a dream.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Vampire's New Plaything

It's been one of those weeks in which things have happened that, from a writer's point of view, are so improbable that if you made them up you'd think 'I couldn't possibly use that, it's too off-the-wall'. Since I know they have happened, though, I may well use them in a story at a later date. Because I'm like that. They probably won't be erotica, but you never know...

Meanwhile my story 'The Vampire's New Plaything' is out as an e-book, pdf or Kindle (epub) format, on Xcite (or, for the North American market, Xcite.com). A tad under 6000 words for 99p or $1.49 and there's even a special 3 for the price of 2 offer running at the moment. Vampire theme (obviously) and a nice cosy read for the long nights running up to Halloween, or Samhain, or however else you might like to style the end of October.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Kindled!

The people at Xcite have been busy behind the scenes. Not only have they revamped the website to give more North American coverage, they've also done a deal with Amazon to put their publications - including, of course, my stories and the collections I've contributed to - on Kindle. Previously they'd only been available in PDF format, so this means they're more widely accessible.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Sexual psychology visual test

Consider this a psychological test. Kind of a sexual Rorschach test?

You'll either see rude images in these pictures - or not.





They were taken in a stately home garden during a recent trip.

Apart from that - busy writing. Stuff moving along.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Drumming up erotica



I know it's not a particularly erotic pic, but I was just playing with my djembe in the back garden and caught this on my mobile phone... The reason it's vaguely relevant is that I've just caught up with the fact a short story of mine, 'Drumming', made it into August's Erotic Review magazine - issue 112, the Holiday Issue.

Now that ER has moved to online-only, they've dispensed with minor details such as sending out proofs so there's no advance warning they're actually going to use a piece now! Not that I care, I'm just happy to see it's in there.

To be perfectly honest there were a couple of details I might have tidied up, but that's just my OCD nature - I doubt anyone else would even notice them, and if it ever gets to be included in an anthology I'll deal with them at that point.

The piece was somewhat inspired by a few drumming workshops/pagan camps I've done over a period of a couple of years - which is of course not to say that the story represents anything that actually happened there. No, of course not. Not to me, anyway. I swore I would deny everything.

Meanwhile, quite apart from banging my own drum, I notice there's a story by Clemence Sebag called 'Choo Fetish' - and it's as a good a piece of experimental literary erotica as I've ever seen. I know I get my subscription for free as a contributor, but I'd say that one piece alone is worth the full subscription price, paid in actual money.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

When having a pulse is a problem...

This isn't my story, but it's a good one. Velvet was out today doing a photoshoot of fetish gear - we have some friends who sell it and they want pics for their website. One of the items was a nipple clamp, which was being modelled on an actual nipple. And she gets the macro lens for a really good closeup shot and keeps having a problem with the focus.

'What's wrong?' asks the model.

'Well,' says Velvet, 'you've got a pulse.'

Everyone there laughs. I'm sure you get the joke, too... But there is a serious point, because the depth of field with a macro lens can be only a millimetre or two and the even with a flash, the model's pulse was enough to keep throwing the image out of focus.

So when you next look at any fetish photography, stop and think how technically difficult some of the shots might have been to take with a live model...

No, I can't show you the eventual successful pic. Not yet anyway. But the idea of this exchange is cool enough that you shouldn't be surprised to find it in one of my stories at some point in the future.


Sunday, 8 August 2010

The whole thing in six words

Over at Wordpress.com they have a tagline that says: 'It’s rumored that Ernest Hemingway considered his best work a simple six-word quip: “For sale: baby shoes, never used.” '

Velvet Tripp and I came up with:

Submissive, shared. Two dominants. Three fantasies.

And:

Abducted. Blindfolded. Whipped. Fucked. Extraordinary satisfaction.

And:

Male voyeur, masturbating. Who'd have guessed?

Any offers?

Friday, 6 August 2010

Xcite global domination

I've just had an email from Xcite - because I write for them - announcing they've developed new North American and UK/Europe websites. The old .com site is now for North America and there's a new .co.uk site for UK and Europe.

As far as I can see the offerings on both sites are the same - the main difference is the default currency for pricing, though both sites appear to accept seven different currencies.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Strange but true...

How can bookshelves be erotic, or pornographic?

Is it the promise or suggestion of what might be lurking on the shelves? The nature of the space, with many hidden alcoves? The comfortable, worn furniture on and against which sexual conquests and deeds might be accomplished? The semi-public location, perhaps a large room with high ceilings and large windows? The transgression of fucking loudly somewhere that's supposed to be library-quiet? Is it the same erotic impulse in each case, or a different type of desire that's called up by different kinds of bookshelves?

Or is it just me and my imagination?


I feel a story coming on...

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Scalpelfuck

An idea turned into a piece of flash fiction. But it's not on here. It's published on Frequently Felt.

For the inspiration behind this slightly weird piece I blame a late night conversation with Randy Wornhole (randywornhole.wordpress.com).

Meanwhile here's a slightly fuzzy pic of a scalpel:




Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Normal service resumed...

I've been away for a few days hanging out with the pagans.

This is what I've been up to:



Now I guess I should get back to writing. Quite a few projects hanging fire...


Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Xcite best erotic book brand!

I've just had an email to announce that Xcite Books won Best Erotic Book Brand at the ETO awards earlier this week in Birmingham, UK.

ETO - English Touring Opera, Efforts to Oucomes, European Telework Online... Yes, but in this case, nope. Erotic Trade Only bills itself as the adult industry's trade magazine, runs a trade show and seems to participate in or have a presence at a bunch of other shows in the US and Europe. The ETO Show presents something like 24 annual 'best in show' prizes in different categories.

I'm pleased, because as you will know I write for Xcite.

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Secret Circus reviewed

You may have noticed (because I suspect her blog is much more widely read than mine!) that Sharazade reviewed my first novel.

Highlight of the review:

“Did it pass the ‘wetness test’?”

Yes.

Oh my, yes.


So now it's just a case of writing the next one... I have a novel, a novelette and several short stories all in various stages of completion so it's just a case of sorting out which one(s) to focus on in the short term...

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Spirit Lovers, one more time!

Rude Words has just published another review of the Xcite Spirit Lovers collection, published a few weeks ago. I quote:

'Spirit Lovers is a collection of five erotic short stories based around the supernatural. The first, The Incubus Candle by Fulani is my favourite. Without giving two much away, Lauren inadvertently summons a couple of incubi, who are there to see to her every sexual need. And they certainly do that… I found this the most erotic of the stories due to the whole two-men-one-woman thing, and because the writing was so sensual. A great start to the anthology...'

That was a cheery thing to discover on an otherwise dull weekend!

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

ER110 now out (and other stuff)

I've just found out Erotic Review 110, the Garden Issue - the first one that's online only - is now out (yes, that was a link to it, and I have absolutely no idea whether you're going to be able to read the issue for free or will have to pay a subscription first - try it and find out?).

It has my story 'The Sensory Garden' in it. Something of a first for me since there's no bdsm in it!

Incidentally as part of its restructuring and move away from print, the Erotic Books part of ER is being wound up and really nice things are on offer at extraordinarily cheap prices. Get it while it's there at www.eroticprints.org/erbooks/superbargains.asp.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Rude-words review!

I've just noticed Xcite submit their books to Rude-words.com, an erotic book review website.

The Xcite 'Spirit Lovers' collection has my story 'Incubus Candle', of which the review says

'The Incubus Candle is a brilliant romp through every girl’s fantasy, erotic and naughty, and incredibly sexy and is a fabulous beginning to a brilliant book, which just goes from strength to strength'.

That's just made my day! I'm so pleased I found this... the original post can be found here.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Sharazade's 'Transported' - and a new short from me

Normally I'm on here to blow my own trumpet but I thought I'd blow one on behalf of someone else for a change.

A friend of mine, Sharazade, has just published Transported: Erotic Travel Tales with Fannypress. It's available in e-book from Smashwords and hard copy and Kindle from Amazon.com. There's also a free taster on Scribd.com.

Seeing as she already appears to have a couple of thousand readers for the free taster there's almost no point in me saying how good her work is, but it is excellent so I'm saying it anyway.

She's also, incidentally, proud of the fact the legs on the cover are hers...

Oh, apart from that I do have something of my own to advertise: short story 'The Sensory Garden' in The Erotic Review Issue 110 - out in the next few days (I've just seen the proofs) and available from the link on the right of this page. Story blurb: 'Sensory gardens can provide stimulation through scent, touch, taste and sound for
those who may not be able to see…'. It's the first time I've had a go at a disability-related erotic story. Hope it works, comments welcome!

Monday, 7 June 2010

Novel extract free on Pink Flamingo website

One of the early scenes from my novel 'The Secret Circus of Pain and Degradation', now available free over at Pink Flamingo.

Enjoy!

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Erotic Review goes online only

A couple of days ago I had both an email and a letter announcing that Erotic Review, who I've written for on and off for a few years now, is ceasing print publication and from this month will be online only.

I have mixed feeling about this. As a writer, I did always enjoy seeing an actual printed copy with my stuff in it drop through the letterbox. On the other, I've had numerous conversations with them about the difficulties of small publishers, and the need to boost their online presence and offer more material online. And, again as a writer, I'm aware that online publication often (a) pays at least as well as print, if not better and (b) reaches a much wider audience.

So I'll be continuing to write for them and wish them well in times that seem to be increasingly difficult for commercial publishers. I'm sure it's the right decision for them and I'm aware of a number of smaller publications that have done well out of an online-only format.

That said, I'm also hoping they somehow figure in a print-on-demand option, and take advantage of the possibilities in online publishing to include podcasts, video, etc., and of course not to feel constrained by having only a specific number of pages each month...

They've also moved to a new URL www.eroticreviewmagazine.com which looks rather spiffing. At the time of writing they've been busy transferring older issues to the website but the first online-only edition should be Issue 110, out sometime in the next week... and no, I have no idea whether any of my stuff is in it! They have a couple of my pieces in hand but I don't know when they're going to be used.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

New stuff

Two new things to report.

First: story out in a new Xcite anthology. The Cocktales e-book series, book is Kiss in the Dark and my story is 'Zen and the Art of Bondage'.

Blurb - When is an orgasm a work of art? When it’s the result of Japanese bondage, of course! Miranda works in a bookshop and when one of her customers keeps buying books on Japanese culture, she quizzes him about his interest. This takes her on a journey from ikebana, Japanese flower arranging, all the way to shibari, Japanese bondage. She discovers the best sex toy you can have is a length of rope...

Obviously I kind of prefer my story but seriously, I'd recommend them all.

As always, using the affiliate link at the side of this page (and buying stuff, whether it's mine or not) puts some fractions of a penny in my bank account.

Second: my first NOVEL is out, published by Pink Flamingoin the US. Title is The Secret Circus of Pain and Degradation - print and ebook versions.

Blurb - “The Secret Circus of Pain and Degradation, an entertainment for those with enquiring minds”… Amy and Paula, living in a small and small-minded town, are too curious to stay away. But when the ringmaster displays his talent for hypnotism, they discover that what they’d always wanted to do was run away and join a circus.
They are inducted as professional, performing submissives into the S&M world of the circus folk, including being made available for discreet private functions. They experience the depths, and ecstacies, of decadence and depravity.
Ultimately Paula is captured by a mad private client; Amy mobilizes the circus to save her.
Meanwhile, the traveling circus is planning an offshoot—a circus-like fetish club. Amy and Paula, now fully inducted into a fetish lifestyle, become its managers as well as star performers.

Have fun! I'm just about to start the next novel...

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Personal influences - random stuff

I've been neglecting this blog for a few days while I've been sorting out real-life stuff, mine and other people's. Some of it involves sorting out medical advice and attention for other people (getting them to appointments and such). Some of it involves the kinds of work I get to be able to invoice people for. And some of it is just following my own nose and thinking about types of fiction writing that don't involve, or at least only indirectly involve, erotica.

Be that as it may, I thought I'd round off the introspective theme about 'where has my intellectual interest in erotica come from' by just making some lists. And here they are.

Psychoanalysis - Freud's 'Totem and Taboo' and Jung's book on symbols. Different themes here, but some are to do with the idea of narrative - making sense of the world, in some ways actually creating our world, through the stories we tell ourselves and the ways in which certain mental images seem to operate as ways of understanding meanings that underlie and influence the everyday.

Allied to this, the deliberate playing with language and image in dada and surrealism. What was it about lobsters?

Anais Nin's writing - her diaries and short short stories. I remember vivid and erotic descriptions of the train from Paris to Louveciennes, the description of a woman having her public hair shaved, her descriptions of her own house and garden and how they were invested with meanings for her, the line about a woman who always looked like a fire engine... strange collection of images I know. Writing it down some of it doesn't sound remotely like it should be erotic at all, but that was the reaction I had when I read her work.

Films – 'Cat People' (the bondage scene of course). 'Maitresse' and 'Loulou' (both with Gerard Depardieu who always seemed to exude a kind of sexiness I always wanted to emulate but never did, and Bulle Ogier in Maitresse and Isabelle Huppert in Loulou...). The very mannered 'Diva' - not because of the plot or characters but somehow just the way it was shot. The weird and darkly violent 'Themroc' and 'Bof' - early 70s films, the former still around on VHS and the latter now only a trace in French film databases, with no VHS or DVD release I can find. What is it with French cinema where even someone walking to shops looks charged with sexuality? Then 'WR mysteries of the organism', wonderfully anarchic. Some of Warhol's films - one involved a bdsm scene taking place in a cheap hotel somewhere between about four women- might have been 'Chelsea Girls' but I can't be certain... at any rate most of that film is shot in split-screen and I don't remember the scene that way.

Thinking about it, many of the influences I've found 'erotic' over the years, or made me delve more in the psycho-social aspects of eroticism, weren't in themselves about erotic subjects as such. They were - like the Warhol films - about people on the fringes of society just trying to get by, people who in some respects were seen as freaks by others and identified as freaks themselves, and for whom certain kinds of deviance weren't even exciting or exotic but just 'came with the territory'. Or they were odd, random images that seemed to make some kind of unconscious connection I can't even begin to define. What, exactly, about Dali's lobster telephone or Duchamp's large glass ('The Bride Stripped Bare By Her Batchelors, Even' - which depicts components of a coffee grinder among other things) triggered an erotic response in me? Some influences are maybe more obvious - an old cover of an SF magazine, probably 'Analog', with a picture of an alien wild slave female in chains on the cover... but lobsters and coffee grinders?

Other stuff - Robert Shea/Robert Anton Wilson, the Illuminatus trilogy (which is every bit as random as Pynchon or some surrealist authors) had various scenes that were sexy in a strange way. Similarly, Michael Moorcock's Cornelius Quartet of novels, with their odd mix of 'Britishness' and offhand treatment of sexual themes, got to me.

And finally - Lenny Bruce. the comedian who worked strip joints for much of his career, used his words to battle for attention when all the punters really wanted to do was look at the strippers, and who wanted to know why it was ok to show people killing and maiming each other on film but not to show people enjoying sex.

As I said, it's a random list.

Have fun!

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

A day of distractions

Many distractions: taking someone to the doctor, phone conversations, writing up some notes based on those conversations, and feeling that much of what's happened, what I've seen/read/heard could, one way or another, form either the basis for a plot or elements of a story.

I woke up at 4.26am with one word from a dream - 'incandescent'. Who knows? But it would fit well with a scene I'm about to write which takes place in a candle-lit setting.

Read a bit of 'Freakonomics' (the economics book by Steven Levitt). He doesn't address this question but it popped into my mind: how can one monetise being a freak in today's postmodern, media-rich society? Is it a case of being a media whore and grabbing your 15 minutes of fame, followed by repeated exposure as other media companies home in on you? Or are we all freaks now?

Exorcised some of my surrealist tendencies (see the previous blog) by replying to someone else's blog in the form of a few sentences of surreal flash fiction. But I still want to pursue the idea of surrealist erotica when time allows...

Read a bit of an Umberto Eco essay that set up an idea in my mind for a voodoo-related story. It may get written but I have a dozen other things I want to write first, and two I want to re-write before I think they're publishable.

Also I've noticed a local writing group which runs monthly readings is inviting submissions for June on a theme of 'taboo'. I know about taboos, right, because I write bdsm? Well, yes, but I've just been consulting Freud's 'Totem and Taboo' and thinking about what I might want to contribute. Nothing I have 'in stock' would work. But do I really want to write a story about incest or cannibalism or necrophilia? Not really... well, maybe cannibalism. I'm still mulling that one over.

Think I'd better get back to the things I'm trying to finish or rewrite at the moment before starting anything new.

Ah well. So it goes.

(And even that's a quote - a character in a Kurt Vonnegut story I think!)

Monday, 10 May 2010

Feeling accomplished...

New story now out with Xcite as an individual e-book: 'First Day at Work'.

The blurb goes like this: Linzi’s first day at work isn’t quite what she expected. For one thing, part of the warehouse stock is sex toys. For another, the other woman in the office has a very intimate relationship with the manager and the warehouse man. When it turns out they’ll be staying on to receive a late delivery, Linzi finds out that much more than work goes on in her new workplace. And that means she’ll fit right in… 5000 words or thereabouts.

As always, using the link on the right, which is an affiliate link, puts some fraction of a penny in my bank account if you do actually buy anything...

Currently working on a couple of projects, one a series of half a dozen linked stories with the same characters in each one; another a slightly science-fictionish erotic novella or novel (not sure which yet) that's involving me in trying to find out some technical stuff about fabric design, e.g. the development of electronic circuits that can be made to fit in a single strand of fibre - my understanding is this is now technically feasible but some way off commercial production. Watch this space!

Oh, and I've been looking again at books like BS Johnson's 'Albert Angelo' - a surrealist novel - with an eye to whether surrealist erotica might be a possibility! I probably also need to find my copies of old Alfred Jarry and Boris Vian novels to remind myself what they did.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Fictional influences part 3

A third major influence on me was Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow (1973).

The term is a metaphorical term for (though not a literal description of) to the trajectory of rockets, in this case V2 rockets launched by the Germans at London in the latter stages of World War 2. This was the first point in history that missiles arrived faster than sound, so the first you knew about the V2 was the explosion – the sound of its arrival followed afterwards. I remember this idea of the bang coming before the sound of its arrival being a motif at various points in the novel but maybe that's a false memory...

It's a huge sprawl of a novel with over 400 characters (I haven't counted but Wikipedia says so) and a complex interweaving of different narrative threads, dreamlie/druglike sequences and descriptive sections that often relate to highly technical aspects of rocket design and launch. The ostensible plot can be roughly summarised as a search for a mysterious device that may or may not have existed and may or may not have been intended to be installed in V2 serial number 00000. The purpose of the device is unknown, but there are some clues, or maybe they're not clues, about its magical, numerological, Tarot, sexual, and other significances. In the early part of the novel there is an American soldier based in London who, if I remember aright, gets an erection when he is at any location where a V2 will later land. Do the erections predict the V2 targets or somehow precipitate them?

The book has a whole lot of bawdy and deviant sex in it, but it's treated very much as a normal part of life for people living in a fucked-up world (this is World War 2, remember). Mostly, the characters don't know if they're going to be alive this time tomorrow and, if they're soldiers, are often in situations where sex is not a realistic possibility (though they frequently remember, recount, fantasise etc.); or are in situations where sex is routine (brothels, women bartering a fuck for some food or a pair of stockings); or where sexual fantasy and fetishism is a way of dealing with the strangeness of the world. In particular I remember a scene in which an actress (Margehrita) persuades one of the other characters (Slothrop) to re-enact an S&M scene with her in an old movie lot; the scene was one she'd played in a Nazi film years before. On another occasion, she (or maybe one of the other women, I haven't checked!) tantalise Slothrop by going out for days at a time to engage in kinky sex with military police, returning home expecting to be punished for it.

There's a lot of by-play with language, incidentally. In the Soviet sector, one of the characters - who had previously been a spy of sorts - re-emerges as the member of a committee for the development of a Turkic alphabet, with special responsibilities for a letter that doesn't exist or have a parallel in the English language...

To be quite honest I don't think I can summarise any 'lessons' I learned from this book, other than that it was a wonderful read and stuffed full of highly inventive stuff that kept me reading. One description of the book is a 'Disney-meets-Bosch panorama of European politics, American entropy, industrial history, and libidinal panic which leaves a chaotic whirl of fractal patterns in the reader's mind'. Sounds fair to me.

I've had a go at his first novel, V, but found it harder going; ditto The Crying of Lot 49. He's published other books since and I want to try Against the Day, which Pynchon said he set in 'a time of unrestrained corporate greed, false religiosity, moronic fecklessness, and evil intent in high places. No reference to the present day is intended or should be inferred.' Oh yeah? Come to think of it, that's pretty much the world I'm planning to set my next novel in...

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Fictional influences part 2

As part of the occasional series on stuff that's had a major effect on me and my writing I should mention Hubert Selby Jr.

I read 'Last Exit to Brooklyn' at a relatively young age. I'll borrow from Wikipedia: the book was 'has become a cult classic because of its harsh, uncompromising look at lower class Brooklyn in the 1950s and for its brusque, everyman style of prose. Although fellow writers praised the book on its release, Last Exit to Brooklyn caused much controversy due to its frank portrayals of taboo subjects, such as drug use, street violence, gang rape, homosexuality, transvestism and domestic violence.'
Published in 1964 it was the subject of an obscenity trial in the UK in 1966. Incidentally one expert witness for the prosecution was one Robert Maxwell, at that time a Labour MP and head of Pergamon Press.

Selby himself I have a great deal of admiration for. A former coal miner and merchant seaman, with no formal qualifications, he was diagnosed with advanced TB and told he had a year to live. His response was to take the view that he knew the alphabet (note: not spelling or sentence construction, but the alphabet), which was more than a lot of people in his neighbourhood knew. So on that basis he decided could just write about the stuff that happened in the area he lived in. Apart from anything else I suspect he wasn't well enough to go further than the corner shop to pick up his material!

I'm assuming it was a pretty rough neighbourhood. Everybody in it, or at least in the book version of it, is fucked-up in one way or another. They spend most of their time just dealing with their fucked-upness and trying to get by. Sometimes they get to have some fun; mostly even having fun turns out to be a fuckup and a problem. Actually there are still lots of places like that, and people like that, in the world today. For my sins, maybe, I seem to know quite a few of them... but that's another story.

What struck me about this book was the way taboo subjects were narrated and described (as Wikipedia notes too) in a no-nonsense, almost low-key way that was sympathetic to the characters while being nonjudgmental about what they did. It was a novel, or more properly I suppose a collection of stories, that just said 'This stuff happens, people are like that, there's no point ignoring it, and moralising about it won't make it any better.' I seem to remember at one point, either in the book itself or in some discussion of it, the argument being made that moralising about things generally only makes the moraliser feel better and doesn't help anyone else – if anything it can make things worse. And, looking at contemporary society, I think that's a pretty accurate observation.

Selby lived for another 40-odd years, and only died in 2004. He wrote a bunch of other stuff I've never read, and another novel, 'The Room', which I have – it's even more graphic that Last Exit, deals with the fantasy life of a remand prisoner in his cell, and explores very nasty bits of the psyche. I found it disturbing (and I know I have high tolerance levels for disturbing stuff). I seem to remember finding that turning the page came to be physically painful around the point that he described someone's testicles being tortured with piano wire... never mind.

So the bottom line, the influences I've taken with me over my writing life, are that: material I might want to write about can come from literally anywhere, anything or anyone I encounter; dealing with 'taboo' subjects is often best dealt with in a matter-of-fact style, and trying to make moral points is generally a bad idea. Of course I sometimes ditch these ideas and try other approaches. But as general guidelines they seem sensible to me. And if you've never read Last Exit to Brooklyn - read it!

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Idle thought

You know how in the arts and literature you get people who are 'artists in residence' or 'writers in residence'? Usually they work within a community organisation, or some kind of institution, writing stuff and maybe running or contributing to community/institutional activities.

My idle thought of the day is: can you envisage any situation in which there might be a demand for a 'pornographer in residence'?

Fired with enthusiasm I looked at a bunch of pornography-related jobs advertised on the net. Some are academic (criminal justice programme seeks lecturer with expertise in drug abuse, gambling, pornography...). Some are kind of administrative and usually involve things like sysadmins to be responsible for preventing illegal pornography and spam. Others are people like producers/VT editors for adult companies. But nothing that fits the 'pornographer in residence' bill...

I can't say this surprises me, not least because I suspect the vast majority of the adult business, the 'creative' side of it anyway, operates on personal networks and freelance work. But it still leaves me musing about what, in principle, such a job might look like, what it might involve, who might be prepared to fund it and why. And more generally about whether the way the industry works really parallels other business sectors or whether there are particular features of it or lessons that could be drawn from it.

Hmm... story coming on, I think...

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Fictional influences

So this post is intended to continue the occasional examination of stuff I think has been important through the years in developing both my worldview and my writing. Now I'm onto novels I've found, erm, stimulating in a range of ways.

Certain novels and stories - by which I mean mainstream fiction, 'proper literature' - alerted me to the possibilities of eroticism in writing. I'm not thinking here of classics like 'Lady Chattery's Lover', which provoked a huge storm when it was first published in 1928/29 (1928 in Italy, 1929 in England in a private edition) and again in 1960 when Penguin published an unexpurgated version and were prosecuted unsuccessfully under the Obscene Publications Act. My interests aren't that classical, really. My 'toplist' would include works by Alain Robbe-Grillet, Hubert Selby and Thomas Pynchon - but I'll keep the post short(ish) and only deal with Robbe-Grillet here.

Robbe-Grillet: one of the leading lights of the 'nouveau roman' movement in France in the 1960s to the 1980s. The nouveau roman, or 'new novel' was intended to explore the relationships between language and the world, narrative and perspective. It was formalist in many ways: I'll take the lazy way out and quote Wikipedia's description:

'Rejecting many of the established features of the novel to date, Robbe-Grillet regarded many earlier novelists as old-fashioned in their focus on plot, action, narrative, ideas, and character. Instead, he put forward a theory of the novel as focused on objects: the ideal nouveau roman would be an individual version and vision of things, subordinating plot and character to the details of the world rather than enlisting the world in their service.'

The consequence is writing that focuses very much on 'objects' and detailed description, even while acknowledging that descriptions are always incomplete and based on interpretations and prior understandings (the old question of 'how do we come to describe this particular collection of wood/cloth/metal/plastic as a “chair” given the potentially infinite range of different designs for a “chair”).

However, Robbe-Grillet rarely describes chairs. The 'objects' he seems to describe in great detail, and often, are women's bodies, usually unclothed, restrained in rope, and often being tortured in ways that are reminiscent of medieval levels of sadism. Examples include his collection of short stories, 'Snapshots', in particular the story 'The Secret Room'; and pretty much the whole of 'Project for a Revolution in New York'. Another novel, 'The House of Assignation', contains an equally detailed scene in which a nightclub performance involves a woman being stripped naked by a huge dog, which rips the clothes from her body with its teeth.

There are specific literary points to this objectification of the female body, which are broadly that the idea of an 'object' in literary terms is arbitrary; and the experiment in making description, rather than narrative, the key element of writing (or alternatively that 'narrative' happens in and through description). I found it interesting that the whole distinction between description and narrative turns out to be fairly arbitrary and that a 'plot' can be carried forwards by describing objects in some detail. It's an idea I employ in my own writing from time to time, though not remotely in the same way as Robbe-Grillet: at least sometimes, I tend to use feelings, emotions, psychological states as the 'objects' I describe. There's also the fairly obvious point that 'you can't say what you mean in so many words'. However detailed a description of some object, there will always be avenues, angles, perspectives left unwritten, or denoted by some kind of 'etcetera'. Again, this is something a writer can play with, being selective about what's left out as well as what's put in though this tends to rely on judgements about what a reader would be likely to fill in for themselves.

However, his choice of material and his unremitting turn towards S&M, or sadism at any rate, was certainly attention-grabbing given the age at which I first read it and my own interests at that time.

Monday, 3 May 2010

That's a first

It's Bank Holiday Monday, so I wasn't expecting any serious email. But I got one and it's made my day. Not one, but two, stories accepted by Xcite - one on a theme of 'Not Safe For Work' (sort of) and one a vampire story. I'll post more details of when they're being published in due course.

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Sex Art and Aromatherapy

Just to say I have a new short ebook (just a 5000 word thing) out on Xcite.

The synopsis goes like this: 'Ruby is looking for something that will take her beyond her humdrum life. She’s already experienced and enjoyed BDSM and fetish, and she’s surprised to meet an older man in an art gallery, of all places, who seems to be very experienced in that world. He tells her stories about how, in his youth, BDSM was simply one part of a wider and more spiritual quest. Ruby sets off on a journey to discover some enlightenment of her own…'

I think I mentioned the story before when I was writing it, but as a content warning I'd say: mild references to political economy, psychology and anthopology!

As always, if you use the affiliate link on the right (and buy stuff) you'll be putting a couple of pennies in my bank account, thank you!

I'm still on the personal quest thing from previous posts - I'll have more stuff to say about films and books and things in the next few days.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Feeling my age!

I was at Dominion, my local fetish event, last night (Dominion, if you're interested).

You know you're old when you go to a club and the following things happen.

1. You spend much of your time with others of a similar age, reminiscing about the fetish clubs you went to 15 or 20 years ago and what the people who ran those clubs then are doing now they're retired. Which in one case, apparently was move to Spain, live a quiet life, get bored, and return to the UK to take over a swingers' club.

2. Your friends are their with their children, who are now in their mid-20s and already well-versed in the fetish scene in their own right.

It was a good night though, fairly busy, lots of play even from quite early in the event and friendly as always with a good mix of people in terms of style, age, and kink.