The day the proof of my first full length book, Perfect Strangers: A Memoir Of The Swinging 70s arrived in the mail, tears of pure joy had already formed in my eyes, as I cut open the mailing envelope. They rolled freely down my cheeks while I held my written achievement in my hand.
I’d dreamed of this day since 1978, when a rampantly promiscuous cycle of my life drew to a close –and I began the process of analyzing the sequence of events that had unfolded during the four years since splitting with my husband, Paul. I was twenty-nine and deeply frustrated by my inability to achieve orgasm during intercourse. When I discovered him, naked and on top of my best friend, Cassandra, it wasn’t the infidelity that hurt me the most — it was the sizzling sex they were engaged in that cut to my core.
“You’re so damned hot,”he whispered, kissing her. “Come for me, baby.” Obligingly, Cassandra’s small moans of pleasure rose to a scream. Her large round ass raised right off the bed, her body stiffened, her toes curled, and her eyes rolled back in her head. She came for what seemed like hours, while Paul gazed down at her in delight.
Damn, I thought bitterly, Twelve years of marriage,. We were never that hot! And with that, my life changed forever, and I began my journey from a frustrated housewife to an erotic explorer!
Perfect Strangers documents my sexual coming-of-age as a divorced single mom during a decade of unprecedented personal freedom. My adventure began in an upstate New York suburb and transported me to the Land of Oz, otherwise known as mid-70s San Francisco — an era when casual sex seemed as simple as a handshake — but for a woman to achieve orgasm, vaginal or otherwise, well good luck on that!
By 1981, I’d taught myself to write on my electric typewriter and had completed the original draft of my story. I learned of a gathering of writers and agents at Media Alliance, at Fort Mason, in San Francisco. I attended the gathering. Amazingly, that evening, I landed an agent for my erotic memoir! I was high with excitement. I printed out copies, and she began the process of snail mailing my manuscript to major publishing houses. My elation was short lived. By year’s end I’d accrued ten turn-downs and my agent was done with me.
Being a visual artist and not belonging to a writer’s community, and with no internet to assist me, I had no clue what to do next and accepted my rejections. Licking my wounds, I returned to my world of art fairs where I made my living, believing my dream of publication was over. I placed my memoir in the bottom drawer of my desk, where it remained for the next thirty years.
But I never forgot about it. In 2011 writing still strongly attracted me. I began penning short, hot pieces, writing as Dorothy Freed, the protagonist of my memoir.
I was ignored at first, accruing one rejection after another . But then my luck changed in 2012 and my first erotic story, Plaster Orgasm, was included in the Seattle Erotic Literary Art Anthology, edited by Kerry Cox. Needless to say, I was thrilled!
My initial victory was followed by the acceptance of, Adventure at the Casa Cervantes Hotel, in the Mammoth Book Of Quick and Dirty Erotica, edited by Maxim Jakubowski; followed by After Twenty-Eight Years, in Ageless Erotica, edited by Joan Price; followed by 500 word flash stories in online publications, Ice Skate Sixty-Nine, and The Kiss.
I was on my way! Getting published gave me the confidence keep writing, and enabled me to share pages with with a variety of prominent erotic authors such as Donna George Storey and Rachel Kramer Bussel. During this same time, I was reading at the Erotic Reading Circle each month, and receiving constructive critique from co-facilitators Carol Queen and Jen Cross and other writers. At first I struggled to determine how to create salable pieces of writing, but once I’d started down this new exciting path, and considering how much personal gratification I gained from writing, I saw no choice but to persevere.
And now, four decades later, Perfect Strangers: A Memoir Of The Swinging 70s, my first full length book — which brings us back to the tears of joy I shed, as I opened the envelope, removed the print proof, and held my first solo book in my hand.
Let me offer boundless thanks to my friend, Rose Caraway who, after interviewing me on her highly successful, The Kiss Me Quick’s Erotica Podcast, felt the story of my erotic coming of age must be shared with a wider audience — and who took on the task of formatting the e-book and print book. And Dayv Caraway, who created my beautiful cover art. And wonderful carol Queen, who believed in the story I shared month after month at the Erotic Reading Circle, and wrote me a kick-ass foreword!
I am filled with joy.
A book launch party will take place on Friday, June 1 at 7:30 pm, at the Center For Sex and Culture, in San Francisco. I will be honored by all those who choose to join me in celebration of this great event in my life that has finally come to fruition.
Amazing story, congratulations. You’re an inspiration.
Thanks so much for the congratulations and for referring to me as an inspiration!
CONGRATULATIONS! You are an excellent writer…everything I’ve read of yours makes me want to read more. I’m looking forward to my book arriving in the mail…today? I hope! Being a Boomer, I know how wild and crazy those 70’s were!
Susan, Thank you so much for your kind words about my writing! And you bought my memoir? I hope you enjoy enjoy my story.