There is so much going on for today’s post I hardly know where to begin. I’m proud to announce that my first inclusion in a print anthology has been in Cleis Press’s recent release, The Big Book of Orgasms: 69 Sexy Stories, edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel. Since I began writing, I have been independently publishing straight to eBook, so this is a big first step for me into the world of “big girl publishing.”
Somewhat Related Teaser: I have another story in an unrelated print anthology, coming soon through another publisher, but I can’t talk details yet. 😉 I can say that fans of my work and of femdom BDSM will be very pleased, though!
Today I’ve got an interview with Rachel, an excerpt from my story, and a giveaway. I don’t know how much more you could possibly want out of one blog post! And just look at this cover. I’m getting hot just looking at it.
Hi Rachel! Thanks so much for the interview. How did you start out as a writer, and what led to your transition to editing?
I’ve always written, since I was little, in one form or another. My earliest published writings were letters to the editor. I started writing erotica in 1999 at the tail end of attending law school. I got into editing erotica based on writing it; I was first asked to co-edit an anthology and then from there to edit my own and now get to pitch brainstorm and pitch my own ideas for anthologies that focus on topics I’m interested in, such as spanking. I like doing both because writing is so solitary and involves being so utterly in my head, and even though I also do my editing alone at my computer, it involves interacting with other people and discovering and getting to publish writing I never in a million years could have written myself.
I’m really excited about the release of The Big Book of Orgasms: 69 Sexy Stories. What was the inspiration for this anthology?
It was sort of a mashup of two other books I’d edited that readers liked, Orgasmic, which features 25 stories featuring female protagonists and Gotta Have It, which also features 69 short stories of 1,200 words or less. That book was a new format, smaller and more compact, so I and Cleis Press thought it would be interesting to combine them, but this time expand beyond just female orgasms and female authors. I like having the opportunity to work with three times as many authors as I do in a typical anthology. It also made me value each and every word, since the stories are all short, those words have to do a lot more work to create a full story with a beginning, middle and end and still be arousing and on the theme of orgasm. I also love the variety of writing styles and characters and settings and orgasms and creativity, as well as hearing which stories resonate with which readers. There are some very loving tender stories and some extremely kinky ones, there’s heterosexual, bisexual, lesbian, gay, transgender, and I’m not even sure how to classify the gender change in “Remote Control” by Logan Zachary.
Will there be book readings/signings, and when/where?
There will be a San Francisco reading (https://www.facebook.com/events/186231794893318/) on November 6th at Good Vibrations at 1620 Polk Street at 6:30, with me and 9 contributors, Lily K. Cho, Malin James, Crystal Jordan, Sinclair Sexsmith, Donna George Storey, B.D. Swain, Virgie Tovar, Jade A. Waters and Xan West , and one in New York on January 3 at reading series Between the Covers (http://betweenthecoversnyc.wordpress.com/) at the Museum of Sex at 233 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, with me, yourself, Andreas Amsterdam, Jeremy Edwards, Drew Griffiths, Thea Landen, Lillian Ann Slugocki, Suleikha Snyder and possibly a few others. [Yes, I’ll be reading live in New York City! If you’ve been wanting to meet me, this is the time and place to do it! -LL] That’s all as of right now, though I’m looking for a way to host a virtual book party and if I can round up enough authors I’d love to do another reading. I’ll also be teaching erotic writing workshops in the next few months in Albuquerque, Austin, Portland, Maine and New York, and workshops March 14th for CatalystCon (http://catalystcon.com/register/pre-con/ ) attendees.
Do you think you’ll always be an erotica writer? Are there other genres in which you’re interested?
I’ve always told myself that if I get bored writing erotica I’ll quit, but that hasn’t happened yet. Sometimes I write more or less erotica, but I always come back to it and love the moment of insight when a new story idea comes to me. I do hope to write a young adult novel and possibly branch out, but as of now erotica and erotic romance are the only fiction I’ve written, though I also do a lot of essays and journalism, which I think helps balance me.
I get this question myself a lot. Do you have any advice for aspiring erotica writers?
Write in a style that’s true to you about characters and topics you’re interested in. Be aware of but don’t pander to the market. Everyone’s sexuality is different and the more you can tease out your own voice and style and passion, the more that will come through in the writing. I’d also encourage people to utilize any specialized knowledge they have about the world and find a way to incorporate that into your erotica. For instance, I’ve played in a lot of chess tournaments, so I’ve used that as a setting for an erotica story. Use as much sensory detail as you can, without giving just a literal play by play, and use all five senses. Make the reader care about the characters not just when they’re having sex, but before and after; that will make the sex scenes more rewarding, powerful and memorable.
Is there anything special you do to celebrate once a project is finished, be it a story, novel, or anthology?
I don’t do anything special per se, but I am always very relieved when I hit send on a story submission or an anthology manuscript. Then I’m usually on to the next thing.
“Write drunk, edit sober.” True or false?
Save for extremely rare occasions, I don’t drink, so I don’t write drunk. Though there are definitely times when I’m in a bit of a writing trance, because I’ll later look at a story I’ve written and wonder where it came from and how I wrote it.
I think it’s like that for any kind of artist, despite the medium. I’ve experienced it myself countless times. I think there’s a reason why the ancient Greeks believed in Muses, and that “trance” is it. Anyway, final question. What was it like writing for Penthouse Variations?
I was an editor for over 7 years at Penthouse Variations. That was my first magazine job and it taught me so much about being a careful and sometimes ruthless editor, about how to gloss a topic and do it justice, and about the variety of fetishes and kinks out there.
Excerpt from “Icing on the Cake,” by Lula Lisbon, one of 69 stories in The Big Book of Orgasms:
I knew she had something devilish planned, but I couldn’t imagine what it might be. It was my birthday, and she’d baked me cupcakes; I was to report to her on my knees at her door as per usual. She loved to toy with my orgasms, denying them, forcing them, coming up with any number of ways to make them humiliating for me and exciting for her. For two full weeks she’d denied me release, and it had been hard—very hard. Teasing me, testing me, she’d sent me pictures of her body, described in detail what she wanted to do to me, how she wanted me to please her. I wasn’t allowed to touch my cock, because she wanted me ready to celebrate my birthday.
I’d unintentionally disobeyed her around the one-week mark. In a vivid dream, she fucked my ass hard with her purple strap-on, something she only did as a reward when I’d been very good. Her fingernails dug into my hips, and when I felt her starting to come inside me, screaming her delight, I couldn’t hold myself back.
When I opened my eyes, still feeling the delicious pulsing in my balls, there was a pool of creamy come on my abs and chest. My heart sank. I wanted to call her and immediately confess, but I already knew what her orders would be. Filled with guilt, I dipped my fingers in, a kid stealing a taste from the mixing bowl, once, twice, again, until it was all gone.
Enter to win a free copy of The Big Book of Orgasms by posting one of your favorite lines from one of my short stories (not from the excerpts online, that’s cheating!) into the comments section. Hint: I have one free story, so purchase isn’t required, but I have lots of other stories from which to choose, starting at only $2.99, if you’d like to support an independent author! Fine print: Cleis Press will have final say over the winner and distribution of prizes. Retail value of prize: Kindle version $9.99, print version $12.34. Deadline: November 30, 2013.