Better late than never link love and some thoughts on the submissions process and editorial wishlists
I just don't get to update here as often as I'd like, but I do post links to my articles, news and reviews promptly on my Facebook fan page.
A few recent things I wrote:
College Sex Scribes Are Campus Stars" at Alternet - my review of Daniel Reimold's Sex and the University (Rutgers University Press). Lede: "Is That a Gold Medal Between Your Tits?"
"Would You Send a Pink Toy to a Baby Boy?" at Huffington Post - I did. Includes mention of Peggy Orenstein's fascinating new book Cinderella Ate My Daughter. And aww...my friend Diana Joseph posted a photo of her son with the toy on FB. He's a fan, apparently. Opening:
I know Teddy is a boy, but I'm sending this pink block because it's my favorite baby toy, and the only one I had left of a stash I'd bought. I really hope he likes it, and that I can visit soon and shake it at him. I can't seem to find them from the place I used to get them, and they've been a big hit with the babies I know, and hope it's okay that I'm sending it. Yes, I feel a little silly sending this, but didn't want you to think I didn't know his gender.
And some reviews from Dirty Sexy Books:
Review of Smooth: Erotic Stories for Women. Part that fascinated me most:
“The Sushi Girl” by Anika Gupta was another story that I loved. This one was all about the sensuality for me. A girl laying on a table naked and covered in Sushi is an incredibly erotic image. The story is told from her point of view and it was so interesting to read it and imagine being the one laying there. The men in the room are not allowed to touch her with bare hands, instead they must use their chopsticks to get their food. Sometimes dialog can take away from the mood with just a wrong word and this story ramps up the intensity for me because she never says a word, and they do not speak to her either.
There was one story that made me feel so uncomfortable I could not even finish reading it. The story was “Eden” by Molly Slate. This story is about Adam and Eve; yes THAT Adam and Eve. When I think about Adam and Eve, I think about God and the Bible and Church. You know who goes to church? My parents. I can not feel even a little bit sexy when any of those things enter my brain.
Visit official Smooth site for more information.
Review of Best Bondage Erotica 2011, which I'm so glad tapped into the diversity. More on that after the quote.
All of the stories here feel very genuine– the writing is fantastic (there’s a welcome lack of the embarrassing euphemisms that sometimes plague erotic writing) and the narration is nearly always pitch-perfect. “Truss Issues” by Lux Zakari is narrated by a woman who is simultaneously terrified and aroused by her partner’s bondage kink, and the story deals not only with the sex but also with the overcoming of her trust issues.
I was a little nervous that the collection would be very homogeneous, but almost every kind of coupling is presented here (there’s male/male in “Relative Anonymity” by Emerald, and some wonderful lesbian scenes, especially in “Foreign Exchange” by Evan Mora), and the more traditional handcuffs are often replaced by crazier things (Ethernet cables! Plastic wrap! Seat belts!).
That variety is exactly what I'm looking for as I edit the 2012 edition. Of course a book of bondage erotica is going to appeal to a more niche audience than some of the others ones (my money, literally and figuratively, is on Gotta Have It to be my "breakout" book) and what I'm always looking for, otherwise, even excellent stories just don't stand out from each other. It's why I often have to reject great stories, and I think that process, as hellish as it is (there have been times having to reject stories made me want to quit editing anthologies altogether, it sucks so much), has taught me to be a better writer and to think way outside the box. I'm not saying be different just for the sake of being different, but on my end, there are themes that emerge and unless that's the actual theme of the book, there are only so many similar-type stories I can put in any one book before I risk alienating/boring readers.
Some things I can't help, like that the majority of stories that came in are from the submissive's point of view. That always happens and I've concluded that there is perhaps more "action" from the bottom's POV, and also that it's harder to tell a story of a dominant person without them sounding like an asshole. Of course it can be done well, but I think for many that's a more challenging viewpoint, to try to get at the heart of sadism. It's why when I edit nonfiction books I get a million and one "I'm a submissive feminist" essays and have truly yet to see the corollary from a man. I know from personal experience they are out there and that essay? Would love to read it/see it, but I also see the risks a man, especially, but a dominant woman, too, would have to take to attach their real name to a piece on why they love slapping/biting/binding/hurting women in a consensual BDSM context (I have zero interest in knowing why anyone would want to do that in a nonconsensual context, that's not what I'm talking about).
So that is my long-winded way of saying that diversity is what keeps me editing, keeps me looking. There are so many more diverse things I want, too, like less white-lady-with-exotic-man-of-color without the corollary, and older characters, and varied settings, but my new motto is "the perfect is the enemy of the good." I can't file books late waiting for "the perfect story" to come down the pike. Being an editor of an anthology is largely a passive waiting/wishing act, for me, anyway, but the reward really is that I get to discover so many new writers, which is another thing I have to balance. Yeah, maybe by writing this and thinking about it too much I make the process too hard. We'll see. Also for some anthologies I get over 100 submissions, like for Women in Lust but apparently oral sex is not that popular of a topic because that one (Going Down) I got a lot fewer submissions. I was hoping to file that book before I went to California, but I will have to see if I have enough or have to extend the deadline. That's how that works on my end; when I extend a deadline, it's because I'm still waiting for that mythical (or not) "perfect story." And that's the beautiful/maddening part of the public call for submissions: the unknown.
There are other reviews but some are very short so these were the meatier ones, but do check out Dirty Sexy Books for, well, reviews of Dirty Sexy Books and postings by book lovers.
Labels: Alternet, baby toys, book reviews, college sex columnists, Daily Cal, Daniel Reimold, Dirty Sexy Books, erotica, Garden of Eden, Huffington Post, Sex and the University, Smooth, sushi, sushi girl