Because I got this card in the mail today (I turn 35 on Wednesday - yes, I'm a Scorpio!) from the whipsmart, amazing women of Cleis Press, and because I deal with them on a weekly if not daily basis, and am so honored to have Best Bondage Erotica 2011 coming out for my birthday and so many 2011 and 2012 anthologies in the works, I just wanted to say how proud I am and have been to work with Cleis Press for the last decade. They published my very first story, “Monica and Me,” in Best Lesbian Erotica 2001, edited by Tristan Taormino, just about ten years ago. I will never forget standing in the Chelsea Barnes & Noble with tears in my eyes seeing that beautiful byline.
I edit for them, and I also try my hardest to submit to as many of their anthologies as I can. Those calls challenge and push me as a writer to not be complacent. I have published probably over 100 erotica stories, I don’t know exactly, but the ones that I love, the ones that make my senses come alive, that preoccupy me, are the ones that make me feel the need to go deeper, to tell more than just a sex story. I consider them my publishing family, and this is not at all to knock other publishers I work with, who I’m of course a fan of as well, but to say that they have been there for me and with me and encouraged me and watched me grow as a writer and editor. I have learned a ton and I look forward to many more collaborations as we put out more kinky erotica and erotic romance and short shorts and who knows what else.
I love the way their books look and feel, the covers they get and the ritual of their annual anthologies. I love that I’ve befriended so many wonderful writers and editors through our mutual work with Cleis. I love working for a feminist, independent publisher whose offices are now in the town where I went to college (Berkeley, California). Go Team Cupcake, and Team Cleis, of which I am truly honored to be a part.
Part of why I love working with them is that I believe in the work they do, and have learned so much from their books (and been entertained and aroused), but they are also amazing people. This isn't just me telling you to buy their books, but me thanking the women who put so much time and energy into those books and the vision they had for their press in 1980. I'm so proud to be part of your world and have you be on my team and believe in me and collaborate with me. Anthologies are pure collaboration, between editor and publisher, and editor and authors (and, later, between authors, editors and readers), and that suits me very well. I enjoy the process of creating something from nothing, where not all the pressure is on me. I enjoy creating books where the whole is so much greater than the sum of its parts. I enjoy seeing what happens when we go from a call for submissions to a fleshed-out, varied, sexy book.
To read more about their history, click here. A huge thank you to Frédérique Delacoste, Brenda Knight, Felice Newman, Kat Sanborn and Kara Wuest. You rock!