It seems that with the advent of the holidays and delightfully distracting visits by adult children, combined with the first nasty bug I’ve succumbed to in years — not to mention the unbelievable and stressful time-suck of composing an engaging query letter and story synopsis preparatory to submitting my now completed manuscript, PERFECTSTRANGERS: One Woman’s Journey Through The Swinging Seventies to publishers and agents — I’ve ended up taking an unplanned hiatus from my blog.
My best gift to myself this past holiday season was the purchase of a written critique by prominent writer and editor, Rachel Kramer Bussel, of two stories that I felt were well-written and hot, but never quite jelled into finished work that pleased me. The critique, followed by an hour-long phone conversation was money well spent. Rachel honed right in on the trouble spots in those pieces — to my credit, the very spots that troubled me from the first — and offered clear, cogent suggestions on how to write my way out of them. I was so impressed by her editorial abilities that I splurged and signed up for her four-week long, Erotic Writing class set to begin February 12th. Since meeting deadlines has never been my strongest suit, I’m a bit worried about keeping up the pace — but at the same time am looking forward to getting caught up in the momentum of fast hard writing, trusty feedback, and growing as a writer.
Good news from Rachel during our phone talk was that her forthcoming anthology, DirtyDates, isslated for publication in September of this year — with the even better news being that my story, The Corset, will appear in the book. I haven’t yet seen the table of contents, but knowing the overall quality of Rachel’s story collections, I’m sure to be keeping company with some awesome writers. Yea! I’ll never get tired of seeing my name in print. Hopefully my next piece of good news will be from a publisher or agent about my book, or from another well-respected editor awaiting publisher’s approval of one of her manuscripts with three of my pieces in it.
A recent literary adventure I shared with my husband was the celebration of our January 10th anniversary at San Francisco’s 1st Annual Sex Culture Book Fair, which took place that same day. The fair was held at Adobe Books on 24th Street — a collaboration between Adobe Books, Belle SF magazine, and the sex positive social club, Mission Control. Throughout the evening, we were treated to a series of interesting presentations of the trials and tribulations of independent publishing, the best information sources for polyamory advice, a sex worker’s panel, a kinky demo, a D/s demo, bawdy story telling, Naked Ladies Reading, and a whole lot more. The stimulating evening feature a variety of sexual literary luminaries such as Dr. Carol Queen, Violet Blue, Ron Turner, Allison Moon, and Polly Superstar, to name a few, who offered their educated opinions on the past, present, and future of publishing and sex.
Now what better way could there be for an erotic writer and her life-partner to celebrate thirty-one kinky years together than that? Well, yes, I realize that only a few years ago the question would have been a no-brainer. But aside from that, this book fair fit the bill. Here’s wishing a heartfelt happy anniversary to this happy and long-lasting couple — and to the book fair, as well. May we all live to attend many more.
I’ve never attended the Lit Quake Festival in San Francisco before. Last Saturday evening was my first time.
And what better way to dive into this iconic literary experience than as a participant — joining writers, Jen Cross, Amy butcher, Horehound Stillpoint, Anain Bjorkquist, Seeley Quest, and Erin M, at the Good Vibrations Store on Valencia Street, where we teased our audience by reading hot bits from our stories in Sex Still Spoken Here — a new anthology of stories and poems from the Erotic Reading Circle, co-edited by Dr. Carol Queen, Jen Cross and Amy Butcher.
My story, The Gambler, is a semi-autobiographical tale, inspired by a hot erotic encounter I had with a professional gambler, whom I met at Bay Meadows Race Track back in 1977 — when I was a girl of thirty-three.
The receptive audience of perhaps one hundred, steamy story enthusiasts filled Good Vibrations to overflowing, making it the largest group I’ve addressed to date. I’m pleased to report I felt entirely comfortable standing before them, and the most relaxed I’ve felt at a reading thus far. So relaxed, in fact, I even ventured to lift my eyes from my page as I read, to engage in eye contact with audience members — beginning with my husband, always the friendliest face in the crowd and always there to support my endeavors.
I’m also getting a sense of pacing my words and pausing at strategic points during a reading to let my words sink in. I don’t think I’m imagining that my story was well received. Afterwards audience members stepped up to congratulate me on my reading, and I was asked to sign newly purchased copies of our anthology. And as my husband and I left Good Vibrations and joined the Lit Crawlers heading up Valencia Street, several people called out their congratulations on my offering.
Virgin experiences are so exhilarating, don’t you think? Before ending this post, let me offer a huge than you to Carol Queen, co-facilitator of the Erotic Reading Circle and founder of The Center of Sex and Culture, for inviting me to participate. Sorry you were down with the flu, Carol, and missed out on the evening. But rest assured we did you proud, and thank you again for the opportunity. Reading is in my blood now. What better way to celebrate a published piece than to read it in public? I hope to do so again at Lit Quake next year with a new story — with many more readings at other venues to come between now and then.
In the meantime, I invite you to come hear me read my latest story and bring a story or poem of your own, to the Erotic Reading Circle, at the Center of Sex and Culture, 1349 Mission Street, in San Francisco, from 7:30 to 9:3o PM, on the fourth Wed of each month.