Thursday, 13 December 2012

Finding me on iTunes

You probably already know this: iTunes isn't always as straightforward to search as you might think - but there's a way of finding stuff via the previews shown on ordinary internet browsers.

Everything I've written that is available on any particular country store will show up on

And if you're looking for other countries, you can amend these URLs by changing the 'GB' or 'US' to whatever country code iTunes uses for the relevant country site - FR for France, DE for Germany, NL for The Netherlands, AU for Australia, NZ for New Zealand and so on. This assumes that iTunes has a store for the particular country you're interested in (otherwise it launches iTunes and defaults to the US store, I think).

Well, it was a discovery for me anyway. And not everything is available in every store, as I've found out. But at least I've learned something new today.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Random weird stuff

I came across a site, The End of Being, a while back that specialises in finding eclectic, obscure and 'difficult' material and presenting it almost like a museum of strangeness.

Then I got immersed in other things and didn't check it for a while. But here are some recent weirdnesses that are food for thought, for different reasons:

- Aleister Crowley (yes, the occultist) reciting a poem 'The Pentagram' - originally recorded circa 1910 on a wax cylinder.

- a discussion of a French novel from 1665, which was republished in translation 1901: “La Vie des Dames Galantes” (The Lives Of The Gallant Ladies). The gallant ladies apparently were subjected to, and enjoyed, a range of corporal punishments.

- some inspirational stuff from painter and video artist Almagul Menlibayeva, born in Kazakhstan and now resident in Berlin, blurring cultural boundaries in her video works that are described as a kind of cross-cultural 'punk shamanism'.

So now you know what I've been entertaining myself with these last few days.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

A Steampunk's Guide to Sex

This dropped through the letterbox about 10 days ago. I was expecting it since I was one of the people who'd helped fund it through Kickstarter (and, yes, it got hugely more funding that it needed for the print run).

It's modest in size - 7x5 inches - but carries more entertainment per square inch that almost any other book I can think of.

For those who don't know, steampunk is an outgrowth of goth that revolves around a somewhat updated Victorian sense of style, heavy with science and engineering, and a thoroughly modest and somewhat anarchist approach to life. Its icons include brass goggles and airships. Its music is Abney Park and Vernian Process. Its literary doyens are people like Neil Gaiman. And its visual fantasies are probably supplied by people like Alam Moore, through his graphic novels (a term he's now moved away from) and the films based on them, like A League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. More of Alan Moore later.

This collection is anarchic, in the best possible meaning of that term. Reading it makes you feel you're in the company of maverick scientist-buccaneers, taken back in time to tour the underbelly of a late 19th-century metropolis. A metropolis that you know, somehow, contains all the elements that have become the bad features of today's society and yet remains hugely engaging.

What you get is five chapters: Propriety Under Siege, The Illustration of Vice, On the Labor of Sex, Sex Most Perverse and Joyous, and The Art of Love. But each chapter isn't a complete narrative: it comprises five or six shorter pieces, mostly but not exclusively written by Professor Calamity, Alan Moore and Luna Celeste.

Alan Moore, writer, artist, magician and many other things besides, coincidentally popped up on my radar recently for quite other reasons. He was the originator of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, V for Vendetta and Watchmen, all graphic novels which have since become major films - which he had no input into or influence over because the rights were held by the publishers. The white mask used by many anarchist protesters, the Occupy movement, Anonymous, LulzSec and others originates from his original V for Vendetta.

The book doesn't shy away from uncomfortable truths about Victorian sex (and indeed contemporary sex) such as sexually-transmitted diseases. It argues that many of the things we think we know about the Victorian era (and indeed about our own society) are in fact myths. It teaches you how to make your own flogger. It tells you how to behave should you find yourself in the presence of sado-masochistic sexual play. It does a lot more, does it with great style and is always engaging.

Oh, and tintypes. The book reproduces tintype images, contemporary pictures made using an original Victorian photographic process. 

If this is a book you'd like to own, you can buy it from,, direct from the publishers Combustion Books, and probably other places.

If this recommendation doesn't convince you you should own this book, or if you're just curious to find out more before producing money from your wallet, out of your corset or wherever you happen to keep it, the original Kickstarter funding pitch video is still available even though the book's now out, and if you prefer you can see it on BoingBoing or Steampunk Magazine instead.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Sizzling blog posts!

Hanging Around story collection cover
It's just been drawn to my attention that:

(a) Renaissance Sizzler editions have a blog
(b) Since I have a book published with them, I'd contributed to it (I'd forgotten: a year is a long time in this game) and
(c) I contributed to it three times.

See all three posts on The link should take you to a page with all three of my blogs. No, I don't know why it's a UK URL either, because the company's based in Berkeley. But then this blog shows up as .com or depending on where you're viewing it from, so maybe that's the answer.

One post's an announcement of my story collection Hanging Around. One's a Q&A about me, my writing and suchlike. And one's a short story I wrote after the collection was published, as an exploration of what might have happened to the central character - who's in most of the stories - after the point the collection ended.

If you check out the blog as a whole you'll find many people there who are far more famous and well-respected than me. Recent blogs have been variously by, or about, people like M Christian, Lisabet Sarai, Sascha Illyvich and Billierosie.

And if, by the way, those blog posts interest you and you want to buy a copy of Hanging Around and Other Captivating Erotica, what you'll find is a collection of 12 short stories that mostly follow Mariska's erotic exploits in the city where she works as a barista but is looking for a life less ordinary. She finds it through some of the coffee bar customers, who are part of the city's bohemian underbelly. Her journey of self-discovery takes her from being an extra in an indie zombie film, to artist's model, and eventually to fetish performer and diarist of the city's fetish and bdsm subculture. Themes include straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, bondage, bdsm - and art.

The 'buy links' are: and; Barnes and Noble (Nook edition); AdultEbookShop, Fictionwise and direct from Renaissance Sizzler.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Brainy Erotica 2012

If you're not aware of Terrance Aldon Shaw, you should be. He's both an erotica writer and a prolific reviewer on his Big Brain Erotica blog. And, yes, he was one of the people who put a very complementary review of my Museum of Deviant Desires on Amazon - even though I don't know him and have never met him (in relation to which, there's another blog post coming about the strangeness going on with Amazon reviews).

Anyway... He's just published his Big Brain Erotica Best of 2012, and I'm pleased to say my Museum of Deviant Desires made the grade.

His other choices were from Shanna Germain, Elizabeta Brooke, James Wood, Adam Penenberg, Andre San Thomas, Smart Smut and Big Ed Magnusson - so I feel I'm in great company there, and probably the junior of the pack.

The Museum of Deviant Desires, Shaw says, 'establishes fascinating new paradigms for the next generation of erotic fiction' and is 'a trenchant, self-effacing critique of contemporary erotic literature with its finger firmly on the g-spot of popular culture; a treat, not to be missed.'

And it's available from Smashwords, Barnes & Noble (for Nook users), Kobobooks and of course  and

Saturday, 1 December 2012

The rising tide on which bdsm erotica will float?

Another stage in the book cycle. A lo-res pic off my aged mobile phone, taken in my local charity shop (or thrift shop, if you use American terminology). It's Fifty Shades Freed.

So now the third book in the trilogy has completed the cycle from niche to mainstream phenomenon, and into charity shops, maybe the prediction that it's the rising tide on which other bdsm erotica will float is coming true?