Friday, October 28, 2016

The return of "The Mark and the Caul"

Once upon a time, I wrote a story for a lesbian fairy tale anthology. It was called "The Mark and the Caul," and after I wrote it, it spent a long time in the darkness and confusion of the labyrinthine halls of publishing. In fact, it was lost for so long that I wasn't sure it would ever see the light of day again, for so long that even I, the person who wrote it, couldn't really remember its contours or shapes or faces or names. Still, though the story wandered, it knew deep down that it was still loved, and still worth reading. And so it continued to trudge, led by the brave editor Sacchi Green.

Then one day, rumors of its reemergence began to spread. A brilliant cover was spotted, for a book called Witches, Princesses and Women at Arms, the pages of which were said to contain the long-lost mark and the rarely seen caul.

What's more, this image was accompanied by whispers of fellow travelers for my little story, including works by Salome Wilde, Emily Byrne, Michael M. Jones, and Allison Wonderland.

A date was set for its rebirth: May 9th, according to the oracles at Amazon. If you would know the story of "The Mark and the Caul," you can preorder it here and now.

Friday, October 21, 2016

My Encounter with Story of the Eye

The current topic at Oh Get a Grip is Obscenity. While the current election provides plenty of opportunities for discussion, I am exhausted and ill from that stuff. I looked elsewhere, specifically toward a very obscene book that changed my life for the better, Georges Bataille's Story of the Eye.

Here's an excerpt from my post:

Story of the Eye was what showed me I did have limits. There are and were mechanisms inside myself that would stop me naturally from going forward with certain sorts of sexual depravity. For example: I don’t actually want to hurt anyone else (non-consensually). What’s more, I discovered limits in my mind (thoughts that make me uncomfortable rather than turning me on). While they go farther than the limits of my behavior, they still represent a horizon.

I should warn you that I talk about some disturbing things in my post, including sexual violence, nonconsent, and an abusive relationship. However, Story of the Eye did me a lot of good, and I try in the post to explain why. If you're ready for the material, please give my post a read here.

And watch for my pieces at Oh Get a Grip once every two weeks. I really bare my soul over there.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Love of the Game

It's out today!

I'm so proud to be working with Sexy Little Pages, and here's their latest anthology, Love of the Game: Sports Stories to Make You Sweat, which includes my menage story "Fast Pitcher."

I love baseball, and I've spent a lot of time watching it and reading about it. A few years back I was reading a book about minor league players that I'm not going to name because it really irritated me. Large portions of the book were devoted to meditations on why female fans, especially devoted ones, were fans at all. After all, if they were too old to be hot to the players, what were they doing watching the games? What had been their interest in the first place? Was it just about thinking players were hot?

The author pointed out that being a female fan is different by nature from being a male fan, because a male fan is always wondering if he could have played professionally and having feelings about that, but obviously because a woman can't play she has a simpler experience.

I ended up not being able to finish the book because this stuff got so frustrating for me. It was like the author didn't realize that sexism is the reason women can't play professionally, not some sort of law of nature. It was like the author had never asked a woman why she likes baseball. I'm sure there are plenty of women who have complicated feelings about the desire to play professionally. I wasn't a good softball player as a kid, but did I fantasize about being better? Hell, yeah. And do I watch the game because I think the players are hot? Honestly, no. I watch baseball because I love the building tension of it.

So going to write sports erotic romance immediately raised questions for me. In erotica, there's often a simple path you can take. ("Baseball players are hot!"). It can be fun to take that path sometimes. My personality tends not to allow me to—I am a complicated thinker, for better and for worse.

So my story in Love of the Game engages with that stuff that came up while I was reading that book about the minor leagues. It's set among minor league players hoping to make a big break, and there's a woman there, who's just about given up hope of being recognized, and my hope is that this story feels hot, but that the anger behind it doesn't get missed.

In the end, it's got a happy ending, and it's a fantasy of progress, but even that is bittersweet for me because the break the woman gets is smaller than it ought to be, because that's the way our world is sometimes.

I'm always so grateful for publishers of erotica who recognize how important our form can be. How it's good to explore sexuality while also looking at the ways it connects to hopes and dreams, the way the world is structured, all that deep stuff about who we are. That's the erotica I find worthwhile to write and read, and I'm so happy it finds a home.

So, please check out Love of the Game, and anything else Sexy Little Pages publishes.

Below, I'll give you some info about the book, and a look at my story.

Love of the Game will knock you out with a one, two, punch of super sexy. From rugby players who can’t leave their passion on the pitch to Paralympians with everything to prove, these athletes are certainly playing for keeps. Warm yourself up with stories of:

• Football: Where both college stars and former NFL hopefuls are ready to go long

• MMA Fights: Where participants get rough and tumble inside the ring and out

• Baseball: Where the boys of summer can score by making it big or completely striking out

• Swimming: Where diving into bed with teammates or rivals is taboo, but oh so tempting

And so much more. Whatever sport you’re a fan of, Love of the Game is certain to make you sweat.


By Annabeth Leong

Margie didn't know which way to go now that everyone was staring at her, so she headed in the direction of the nearest friendly face. He leaned in to speak only for her hearing.
"Stick around after the game," Pete said. "I want to see if I can score off you."

Baseball language always sounded so dirty, and Margie's cheeks heated even though she knew what he meant. She cleared her throat and tried to make her expression innocent and blank.

"I'd love to."


Phillips had stayed late too, eschewing the team's after party in order to participate in Margie's tête-à-tête with Pete Muñoz. She knew she needed a catcher, but part of her wished it could have been just the two of them.

She braced herself for more nonsense from Phillips as she stepped onto the field, but her pitch earlier that evening seemed to have made him a convert.

"I've got two bills down that you strike Muñoz out. He's lucky this isn't official, or you'd be messing up his precious over-.300 batting average," he said.

"Nah, man. Margie's good, but she's about to give it up to me. I think she's going to let me take her deep." Muñoz spat in the dirt at his feet, then squinted out at the empty park.

Margie squared her shoulders. She recognized Muñoz's trash talk for what it was — challenging, not sexist. He was chirping at her the way he would have with any hot pitcher. Telling her that she wouldn't be able to keep him from hitting long and hard, far out into the outfield or maybe even over the fences. When he hefted his bat, however, he glanced at her with meaning in his eyes. Margie's mouth went dry. It wasn't just the language that seemed sexual. Muñoz obviously planned to take her deep off the field even if he didn't manage the feat on the diamond.


You can find the book here.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

See Me at Women's Week

This week I'll be at two events at Women's Week in Provincetown, Massachusetts.

Thursday at 4 pm you can find me reading alongside Sacchi Green and Anna Watson at AMP Gallery.

Friday at 3 pm I'll be at Womencrafts with Sacchi Green, Anna Watson, Priscilla Scott Rhoades, and Elaine Burnes.

If you've never heard of Women's Week, check out the incredible full schedule here.

There are going to be so many awesome literary events. I'm pretty excited to attend, aside from the appearances. Let's talk about the appearances, though. These are in support of Sacchi's amazing anthology, Me and My Boi. That book is really special to me, and the last promotional event I went to for it proved to be a really touching experience. If you're able to make it out to this, I think you'll be glad you did. And if not, check out Me and My Boi. It's full of deeply moving explorations of gender and queerness, and it's super, super hot at the same time.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

My Run-ins with the Modesty Police

Over at The Grip this week, I posted a really personal piece about my experiences during the years when I felt uncomfortable wearing a bra. This is something I've tried to express in writing before, but I've always given up in the past. The Grip has an uncanny ability to draw out personal confessions from me.

Our subject was detractors, and this was the thing I've done in my life that earned me the most negative attention from others, including strangers at department stores. Here's one category of detractors I identified:

A) The modesty police: These people seemed to believe that I was forgoing a bra in order to (pick one or more) steal their boyfriends, invite people to look at my breasts, attract men generally, or engage in other forms of sluttiness. Somehow, these people believed this despite the fact that the thing I wore most commonly over my breasts was a XXL black T-shirt, which I chose specifically for its shapelessness. This is a paradox I’ve never been able to sort out. Having now gone through a femme period, I can attest that wearing a low-cut blouse and demi pushup bra, the combination of which bares me nearly down to the nipple, wins me nothing but social approval. On the other hand, my anguish over this garment I couldn’t bear to put on, a fact I attempted to hide with the giant T-shirt, somehow made people think I was out to find a boyfriend.

If you'd like to read more, you can find the piece here.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Workshop Cancelled

Just a quick note to say that there wasn't enough enrollment to justify running tomorrow's writing workshop at the CSPH. I'm disappointed not to be teaching it, but I'm open to teaching other workshops in the future. If you were thinking of signing up or would want to sign up for a writing workshop in the future, please drop me a line ( about what you'd like to see me teach. It would be great to be able to document what people are interested in so I can come up with better ideas for next time. :)

Monday, September 19, 2016

That Reading Over the Weekend Moved Me to Tears

This weekend, I was in New York City at Bluestockings reading from Me and My Boi: Queer Erotic Stories, as I know I said ahead of time. I have to talk about the event in retrospect, though, because it was really impressive, hit me with more raw sexual energy and emotion than I would ever have expected, and made me feel like Me and My Boi is one of those important books that deserves every effort I can make to highlight it.

I was reading with Aimee Herman, Gigi Frost, Dena Hankins, Anna Watson, and Sacchi Green. I found myself near tears at times, squirming with arousal at others, and sometimes both at once. It feels like I should have known that a book about the erotic power of female masculinity would stir up so much, but still it blindsided me.

Moments I remember:

Aimee Herman, who read like your favorite adventurous, hard-drinking friend taking you out to bend your ear, creating this mess of feverish, omnidirectional queer desire more powerful than the strongest whiskey. Coyly, just like that friend would do, Aimee pretended to skip the good part, namely the details of the rough bathroom fuck with a packing stranger known only as Q that the story had been building up to, then grinned at the audience as we all reeled from the tease. (Those details did not, in the end, get skipped.)

Tearing up as Gigi Frost described the almost unbearable intimacy of a masculine woman revealing her chest to her lover.

Having it dawn on me, as Dena Hankins read from her story set on a boat, that I’ve never really recognized my own clothing (often sporty, these days) described so accurately, made so sexy in the process. The lines a sports bra leaves, the struggle with wrestling it away from an ample chest—it felt so real, and it stunned me that I’d never thought to write it, couldn’t recall having ever read it written that way before.

Anna Watson, whose work always floors me with its sheer emotional power, embodying the voice of her story’s stern femme top, whose orders bring about a transformation—from “funny little woman” to newly minted, sexual, being-herself-at-last boi.

Sacchi Green, relishing as always the role of the crone who can make a room full of youngsters get more turned on than we’d like to admit, reading from a story that plays with ideas of beauty and ugliness until both turn into need.

And for my own story, I hope people got something out of the moments I was up at the front of the room. The biggest moment for me was earlier, when I was practicing, and I heard it all as a letter from pieces of myself I’d been suppressing. My story, “Not Just Hair,” which I wrote some years ago now, set off an eruption in my life. I’m divided by the weekend I wrote it—before, when I could still lie myself about some things, and afterward, when I didn’t know the truth but had no choice but to look for it.

All this to say, this book is really special. So many of us seemed to have changed ourselves in the course of writing for it, or to have exposed something deep and buried.

I have one quarrel with the way the evening was presented. Sacchi seemed to want to apologize for us a bit, feeling that the readers for the night didn’t present as masculine as she might have wished. It would have been cool to read alongside an unabashed butch, certainly, but I object to any implications that the perspectives presented were all femme. I think we know enough now in the world to see that so many things take place on a spectrum, and so much can be going on beneath the surface of how a person dresses at the moment.

While some stories seemed to have been written and read from the perspective of a femme appreciating a butch, mine wasn’t. Mine was written from a place of confusion and change, yearning for the courage to be things I wasn’t raised to be. Reading the story now, I’m humbled by how frightened I still am of the parts of myself that appear in it. I don’t know where I’m going, but there’s something going on for me with gender. It’s clear from what I write, but it’s hard for me to say anything about it out loud, or to say it in relation to me instead of in relation to characters.

So I wish Sacchi hadn’t assumed things about presentation. I don’t want to speak for anyone besides myself, so I won’t say anything about what I think the other writers might have meant. As a listener, though, I heard that ambiguity, that complexity, that confusion about what gender even is and what it means to enact it with each other as queers who get to/have to find our own way.

And I’m so convinced this book is important. And I can promise you it’s sexy. I hope lots of people check it out.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

See Me Tonight at Bluestockings

I'm on my way to NYC tonight to read from Me and My Boi: Queer Erotic Stories, edited by Sacchi Green.

Here's the description:

Readings from Me and My Boi: Queer Erotic Stories, edited by Sacchi Green for Cleis Press. A celebration of all things boi, butch, masculine-of- center in those who include lesbian as a part of their identities. Cool bois, hot bois, swaggering bois, shy bois, leather bois, flannel bois, butch daddies and the butches, femmes, mommas,tops, bottoms and even girls next door who wouldn’t have them any other way. Featured readers are Annabeth Leong, Anna Watson, Aimee Herman, Gigi Frost, Dena Hankins, and editor Sacchi Green.

Can I just say how excited I am about this? Aimee Herman was the first person to send me an acceptance letter for my erotica, back at the much-missed Oysters and Chocolate. I've been reading many of these writers for years. It always blows my mind to be among people like that.

Also, the story I'm reading from, "Not Just Hair," is a special one to me. It's about changing identities, and the way that it doesn't really seem possible to come out only once. When I wrote it (several years ago now), I had no idea how incredibly relevant those themes would feel to me over the most recent years. I'm excited to share this with people.

You can RSVP on Facebook here.

You can find out more information about the (truly amazing!) Bluestockings calendar here.

Free Erotica: Right Message, Wrong Man, Final Chapter

Forbidden Fiction is currently serializing my story "Right Message, Wrong Man" on their website, and the last chapter goes up today. This is your last chance to read it free—after this week, the story goes back behind the paywall.

Be sure to keep an eye on their free erotica section, though. It's a great way to sample a writer's work, and FF tends to keep a rotation of a diverse set of stories. The work they publish leans dark, the publisher has high literary standards, and if that's your thing this is a great place to find it.

If you'd like to see more of my work with them, they published a collection of dark fantasy erotica from me called Liquid Longing.

Friday, September 16, 2016

See Me Tonight at Sticky Stories

Tonight, I'll be in downtown Providence at AS220 (95 Empire Street) performing at Sticky Stories PVD IV!

I'm doing a piece called "What I Learned in Health Class," in which I talk about Magic Johnson, tight jeans, and the health teacher who liked to show off her tapeworm specimen. I'm also going to say serious things about how strange it is that it feels so impossible to openly talk about incredibly common conditions that almost everybody gets.

Here's a description of the event as a whole:

Sticky Stories was designed to create a space for you to share hilarious stories from childhood or adolescence (or now if your life is particularly amusing and ridiculous). We look forward to hearing your sticky stories about wet dreams, awkward crushes, embarrassing love letters, coming out stories, sexual debuts, locker room horror stories, menstruation disasters, or what you thought sex was before you knew what sex was and more!

You can RSVP on Facebook here.

You can buy tickets for the event here.

I hope to see some of you there!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Guest Post: Celebrity in a Time of Geeks by Avery Vanderlyle

There's a new book out today from Dreamspinner Press called Starstruck, full of m/m stories about (fictional) celebrities. I noticed that my friend Avery Vanderlyle has a story in the book ("The Ruby"), and I thought it would be interesting to have her post about some of the philosophy behind her story. In the Internet era, "celebrity" is one of the most relevant and fascinating things to consider. With no further ado, I'll turn this over to Avery.

Celebrity in a Time of Geeks
by Avery Vanderlyle

My first crush was Chekov on the original series of Star Trek (played by Walter Koenig). So you see, I'm a geek from way back. Full disclosure: this was while watching re-runs of the show with my parents in the 70's, so not as far back as you might be thinking. But the point stands.

So when I heard about the theme for the Starstruck anthology, I thought about celebrity through a geeky lens. I've grown up through the era when "nerds" were ridiculed and looked down upon to a time when some of them were lauded as the pioneers of the computer and internet era. These are celebrities who are intellectual, creative, sometimes awkward. Many are not that good-looking.

The dark side of promoting these geeky celebrities is they are almost all men, almost all white, almost all straight. Lauding them, establishing a certain geeky "type" in popular culture, has contributed to the feeling among women and people of color that they don't belong in that world. (GLBTQ people have always been there, though it wasn't always safe to come out.) I hope our ideals of what geeks look like is changing and will expand to allow more people to identify with them.

Part of the internet era has been the rise of video games as a force in the entertainment industry and in the popular culture. My time is too limited to play, but I try to keep up with the trends. Everyone earlier this year was discussing the new virtual reality systems coming out. Would v.r. stop being a niche toy and break out into popular consciousness? What would that look like?

My story began to take shape. The person who creates the first break-out virtual reality program will become another of the pantheon of geek celebrities. Okay, he'll be the celebrity half of my protagonists. What kind of program will it be? How about a fantasy version of the wild west, a variation on a mythos that many people are already familiar with? Parts of the story can take place in this virtual world; there can be adventures. Quests. The hero has to win a gem to meet his idol, the game creator. And "The Ruby" was born.

It ended up being a sweet, fun story about two geeks who share a love of the internet age. Erza has to fulfill his quests to connect with Toby; Toby has to be open to the interest of a fan. "Virtual reality" is just one more mechanism for us to connect with others and fulfill our dreams.

This is the publisher's description of Starstruck:

Lights, camera, action!

To the average person, celebrities seem to have it all—money, fame, and droves of adoring fans lining up to fawn over them. But a life in the public eye can make romance challenging, and deep down, these guys are looking for the same thing as any other man: someone to share a steamy tryst with between acts or to ride off into the sunset with after the curtain has gone down. Luckily there are those willing to love the men behind the billboards and on-air personalities, and they’re looking for a private performance from their favorite drag queens, musicians, reality TV stars, actors, rodeo champions, and video game designers. Even superheroes and legendary defenders. Money and fame might not always equal happiness, but these celebrities will leave stars in their lovers’ eyes.

Love, Stage Left—L.A. Merrill

Rodeo Champion—Jay Starre

Marked by the Queen—George Loveland

The Ruby—Avery Vanderlyle

Pride and Panoramas—Asta Idonea

Such Beautiful Music—M.T. Aspen

Out on Stage—Elizabeth Coldwell

Shooting Star—Rob Rosen

Drastic Measures—Sydney Blackburn

Garden Variety—Bell Ellis

Defying Gravity—Charles Payseur

The Defender of Ruldan—Jessica Payseur

You can find more information here.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Free Erotica: Right Message, Wrong Man, Chapter 2

Just a quick reminder that chapter two of "Right Message, Wrong Man" is going up on the Forbidden Fiction site today. It's available to read for free for a limited time.

Here's the blurb:
Lila texted a come-on to her sometimes hook-up Jason, but instead it wound up going to her boss, Jaron. Afraid to upset her sadistic superior, Lila follows through when he responds with excitement, only to discover that Jaron knows how to hurt her in exactly the way that she needs. (M/F)

You can find more information here.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

What I've Been Reading

I'm so behind updating my Goodreads account... I had a list going, and I looked for it the other day and am not sure where it went... But, while you're waiting (possibly a long while) for me to find it, if you're curious about some books I've enjoyed recently, you can check out today's post at Oh Get A Grip.

There you will find out why I want to become a part of a culture of matriarchal sun-worshiping dragon-following warrior women, some of the most interesting stuff I've ever read about Dan Savage, how a book about orgasm denial threw off (yet again) my assumptions about my sexuality, and why I can't resist having a crush on a certain charismatic but creepy demon-fighting "motivational speaker." You can check it out here.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Free Erotica: Right Message, Wrong Man

I always liked mistaken identity stories, and a few years back, for a story I wrote called "Right Message, Wrong Man," I got the idea to play with an intense one. Here's the setup:

I’m in the neighborhood, I texted Jason. Can I come over? I want to get that big cock down my throat.

He wasn’t my boyfriend, by his choice, not mine. He was willing to hook up when I was horny, so long as he didn’t have anyone else over, and about three times a year, I’d get lonely enough to take that raw deal.

Tonight I just needed someone’s body touching mine. Work had been hell. My boss, Jaron, had ridden me like a show pony all damn day. If it took more than five minutes for me to answer an e-mail, he accused me of reading Internet gossip sites instead of doing my work. At the daily meeting, he threw me under the bus for a project I hadn’t been able to finish because of documents I needed from him. Asshole.

By the time 7 p.m. rolled around and it felt safe to leave—as in, enough other people had left that I wouldn’t be branded a slacker for going home—my shoulders had attached themselves to my ears, my stomach churned, and I desperately needed relief. I couldn’t afford massages or acupuncture. So I went home, threw on a short black skirt and pulled the bra out from under my red camisole, and texted Jason.

My nerves had me so edgy, I couldn’t sit still, so I worked the phone with one hand while balancing on one foot in the foyer, strapping on my sandals with the other hand. I started walking toward Jason’s neighborhood, figuring I ought to support my “in the neighborhood” lie. My dignity hung on how casually I could play this.

I kept having to consciously slow down my pace, because I didn’t want to get to Jason’s place looking sweaty and desperate. The phone buzzed in my purse with a return text, and I sighed loudly enough that a couple walking past turned and rolled their eyes at me. Fishing the phone out, I leaned against the window of a Chinese restaurant and squinted at the tiny screen (yeah, I was rocking a flip phone). Would Jason condescend to fuck me, or did he have a better offer?

This is… unexpected, the reply text said. Too soon for my place. If you want to meet at Crema, we can see what we can negotiate for my cock and your mouth in the alley out back.

I had to read it a few times. Crema? That wasn’t Jason’s neighborhood. That was some fancy neighborhood overlooking the river. And I’d never known Jason to use complete sentences.

Can you be there in 45 minutes? Another message popped up. This time, I watched it come through, complete with a picture of the sender. A military-style buzz cut framing a chiseled face and hard black eyes. A scar notched on the side of his jaw, making him look rough despite the suit he wore. My boss, Jaron. Not my fuck buddy, Jason. I fought down the urge to hyperventilate. Until that moment, I thought the expression, “So embarrassed that she wanted to die,” was an exaggeration.

If you want to see where this goes, my publisher, Forbidden Fiction, is serializing it on their website, so you can read it for free. The first chapter's up now, and the next two will go up on the next two Saturdays. If you've got questions or comments about the story, you can leave them there—I'll be keeping an eye on that, and will be sure to answer anything you bring up.

I hope you enjoy! Please check it out here.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

What to Expect in Best Women's Erotica of the Year Vol 2

I've been working through some piled up email and belatedly discovered that editor Rachel Kramer Bussel had announced the table of contents for Best Women's Erotica of the Year, volume 2. Here's the list, and I'm so happy to be on it:

Introduction: Getting Naked by Rachel Kramer Bussel

Performance Jordan Monroe
Taste Jocelyn Bringas
Wordless Surrender Janelle Reston
A Hint of Lime Vierra Lai
On His Knees Eve Pendle
At The End of the World Winter Blair
The House on Orchard Melina Greenport
Teacher Appreciation Stella Watts Kelley
On The Calendar Kate Sebastian
Another Way to Start a Fire Kristy Harding
Mind Control Violet R. Jones
Brick Dust Kay Jaybee
Beautiful Broken Things Garnell Wallace
Like Lights in the Northern Sky Dorianne
Serious Faces Ella Dawson
Her Best Corrine A. Silver
On Some Maps, But Not on Others Annabeth Leong
Star Bright Cela Winter
Cigarro Tarde Abigail Ekue
Phone Call, Three a.m. T.C. Mill
Volcano Nights Josie Jordan

You can keep up with updates about this book at the series Tumblr that Rachel runs.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016


If you're a longtime visitor to my blog, you may have noticed that I'm making things look a little different around here. I've been working to make the blog look more modern, take advantage of wider screens, and generally make things easier to navigate.

As part of that, I realized I wanted to have all my upcoming events in one place. So may I draw your attention to the new See Me in Person tab? There you'll find info about my upcoming performances, readings, and workshops, and I've got a decent amount of stuff coming up. Hope to see you at an event soon!

I'm also working on what has been one of the ongoing problems of my writing career: I've written lots of stuff, and it's hard to figure out how to make it easy to navigate. Right now if you're looking for my work, you can find a lot of it through my Amazon author page. That doesn't tell the whole story, though, and it doesn't do much to help you sort through the different types of things I write. I've got some stuff under construction that I'm hoping will help address that problem.

And if you have thoughts about how you'd like that information presented, please feel free to let me know. Thanks, as always, for reading!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Fan of a Friend: Cecilia Tan's Prince's Boy Cover Reveal

I may have written about this before, but I've been reading Cecilia Tan's work since my very first encounters with erotica (I know, lucky me—I found some great stuff right away). And there are few writers I admire more. I'm picky about my BDSM these days, and I trust Cecilia's to the point that I'll read it without worrying about the pairing, the perspective, the specific actions, whatever. I know that if her name's on the work, it'll be hot, emotional, insightful, and often magical.

So I'm honored to help her spread the word about her upcoming collection, The Prince's Boy. Here's some early info about what's on the way:

The Prince's Boy: Collection

by Cecilia Tan

$9.99 ebook bundle

ISBN 978-1-61390-015-4

Dark erotic magic ensnares a prince and his whipping boy in a world of castle intrigue. THE PRINCE'S BOY tells the story of Kenet, prince of Maldevar, and his whipping boy Jorin, as they fight to save their country—and their love—from evil.

The much-lauded tale of men, lust, and dark magic, now collected into one complete tale! Includes the full text of volumes one and two and two bonus stories.

  • Honorable mention in the Rainbow Awards (for gay fantasy fiction)

  • Honorable mention in the NLA Writing Awards (for BDSM-positive fiction)

  • In a fantasy world where the lust of male for male fuels Night Magic, Prince Kenet lives a sheltered life. Isolated from the war that threatens the kingdom, he and his whipping boy Jorin are of age, but still sneak forbidden pleasures in their bed at night. When a dark mage tries to bespell Kenet into sexual submission, the prince and his boy are thrust into the world of intrigue, sex, and war.

    Drawing on complex themes of dominance and submission, the need for secrecy in a world where homosexuality is not accepted, and the intertwining of sex with magic, Tan weaves a complex, sex-filled adventure that is part "Three Musketeers" and part "Claiming of Sleeping Beauty."

    Cecilia Tan is “simply one of the most important writers, editors, and innovators in contemporary American erotic literature,” according to Susie Bright. She is the author of many novels and short stories, editor of dozens of erotic short story anthologies, and the founder of Circlet Press. She was inducted into the Saints and Sinners Hall of Fame for GLBT writers in 2010.

    Praise for THE PRINCE'S BOY:

    "Brilliant from start to finish, but whew! What a marathon! You'd better train up for this one, or be prepared to read it in small bite sized pieces (if you can put it down, and yes, it is that good). It is not for the faint of heart. There is graphic torture, rape, slavery, every form of questionable behavior one could think of. And with all that? A story not to be missed. By turns gritty and lyrical. It is the chiming of tiny crystal hand bells and the inescapable, thundering peal of the bells of Notre Dame. A powerhouse, a tour de force. Not to be missed. But buckle up baby. It's one hell of a ride." —Elisa Rolle, The Rainbow Awards

    "The story is a good one, the characters are well developed. I went looking for the next installment more for the story than the sex, though I will also say that there are areas that the sex carries the story." —BDSM Book Reviews


    Do you want to see the pictures all huge and gorgeous on Cecilia's own website? You can, here! Do you want to preorder the book now? Also possible, at Amazon. Cecilia tells me the ebook bundle is set to go live on November 15th. :)

    Friday, August 26, 2016

    New Story Coming Soon: Fast Pitcher

    I signed another contract with Sexy Little Pages, this time for my story "Fast Pitcher," which will be out soon in Harley Easton's anthology For Love of the Game. (Want to get to know Harley Easton sooner? Her work appears alongside mine in another SLP anthology, Inked.)

    I went through a period of major obsession with baseball, and this story comes straight out of that. I wanted the tone I hear when I listen to baseball on the radio, and I wanted a healthy dose of feminism, and I wanted a threesome on the pitcher's mound late at night after the crowd's gone home. Let me show you how that all comes together:
    "You said we wouldn't score off you unless you want us to. I guess the question is, do you?"

    "Do I what?"

    "Do you want us to?"

    Margie ignored the question, winding up, knowing her speed alone could stop him. Muñoz swung on the heels of the pitch, but still a fraction of a second too slow. She glanced at Phillips and saw the lust in his eyes, but this night had become about more than an individual's desire. There was raw hunger between the three of them. Together, they could have eaten the world. Margie thought about what it would be like to step deeper into that mood, to tear into the two men with all her need.

    Phillips tossed the ball back to her. Instead of winding up again, she let her glove fall off her hand and onto the mound. The ball fell beside it.

    "Yeah," she said. "I want you to."

    Muñoz waved his bat.

    "Then pitch to me. Let me take you deep."

    Margie grinned and shook her head.

    "Nah. You can't touch the ball. I'm not giving you that satisfaction." She reached up for her hat and swept it off her head. "Satisfying myself, though... That's another story."

    The page isn't up yet for the book, but if you'd like to keep an eye on what I've got coming from SLP, you can look at my author page here.

    Thursday, August 25, 2016

    More on Street Harassment

    I've written a fair bit about street harassment, and right now I've got a pretty heavy piece about it up at the Grip (CN: self-harm). I talked about something that I think sometimes gets lost in discussions of street harassment: what it's like to run into it on a day when you're really not okay, the way the mind games a harasser plays (such as quick pivots from "compliments" to insults) can exacerbate existing feelings of depression and worthlessness.

    It felt like something I really needed to write, but I also feel sort of weird about "inflicting" that heaviness on readers. Which gets back to the point, I think. I definitely didn't feel up for being harassed on the day I'm writing about (not that I ever do, but this particular day I just really didn't have the mental fortitude to absorb the blow of it). And yet it happens. All the time. That's one of the reasons I need to keep writing about it.
    The reason it hurt so badly, I think, was entitlement. Right then, I didn’t feel entitled to live, to breathe, to be in the world without being hurt. I needed a little entitlement. I needed it to be okay that I couldn’t satisfy the person I was fighting with, to see that I still deserved to exist and be loved even if I wasn’t what someone else wanted me to be.

    If I had been walking around like I was God’s gift, that would have been a huge victory for me.

    That insult, though… What that guy said to me was an effort to take down someone he saw as entitled. “You can’t just walk around like you’re God’s gift, cuz you ain’t.” What was I doing that seemed so entitled to him? Walking down the sidewalk? Breathing? Having breasts? Not responding to his demand for my attention?

    You can read the rest here.

    Wednesday, August 24, 2016

    More Than Nothing

    I signed the contract today for Lola Sparkles' forthcoming anthology Goodbye Moderation: Lust. Something about the way this call was worded really unglued me when I read it. I could hear the narrator's voice in my head immediately, insistently. The story I wrote, "More Than Nothing," was that very special, drop-everything-and-write-this type of story.

    I can't wait to share more details once I've got them. I mean, have you seen the covers that Sexy Little Pages puts out? I'm so looking forward to posting one for you.

    The story itself—there's masturbation and dirty talk and desire and queer women.

    "More Than Nothing" had this breathless feeling when I wrote it. My need to write it matched the narrator's need to be in it. Reading it later, I still feel that. I'll give you a little taste before I sign off, with more to come.

    On my way up the narrow, broken stairs that lead to her apartment, I clear away the junk mail her neighbors drop all over the place, because I can’t handle the thought of her putting her cane down on a glossy piece of paper and slipping on it.

    “What do you want?” she asks when I let myself in, her voice absolutely casual.

    “Um, you invited me over.”

    “That doesn’t answer my question.”

    I stare at her. She’s sitting in her customary chair at the rickety kitchen table. I want to press my lips to every inch of her, from the scars on her legs to the tattoos on the insides of her wrists. I can’t actually tell if she’s pretty. You don’t evaluate the shape of a goddess’s nose or chin. You try to survive her presence, and you come away with impressions of brown skin and full cheeks and curving lips that might be mocking or might be inviting.

    Her gesture toward the tea kettle on the stove tells me I’m allowed to stay, so I busy myself with serving us both.

    I’m not sure what she wants me to say. She makes me fantasize about her over the phone from the bus in the morning, from my cubicle at work, from whatever bed I’m in at night. In text messages, I search for praise for blurry pictures of her jaw, the side of her knee—any body part she deigns to show me while hinting she might one day send me a shot of her bared breasts or spread-open cunt.

    Or maybe she’s planning to order takeout.


    Suffice it to say, the goddess in question is not planning to order takeout.

    Tuesday, July 12, 2016

    Jane's Fantasy, Your Fantasy

    Today is the official release date for Begging for It: Erotic Fantasies for Women, which includes my story, “Jane’s Fantasy, Your Fantasy.”

    Here's a piece of it:

    "Are you ready for your purification, initiate?"

    You've forgotten your line. Instead, with an inarticulate sound, you step into her arms.

    She envelops you. Her palms are damp from the bath water. Pressing against you, her nipples are warm and tight, and the clamps cold and hard. She touches you methodically, fingertips brushing your forehead, lips, throat, navel, and inner thighs. You agreed to these ritualistic touches because you wanted to make her happy, but they have begun to take on significance even if you don't know exactly what they mean. The beginnings of arousal take root in the depths of your pelvis.

    "Tonight, in this place, you will claim the pleasures of the body. You will do so on your own terms, but know that I will be beside you." Jane intones the words with the dramatic voice of a movie villain. You cough to cover an involuntary nervous laugh. She frowns, but goes on. "The first step is to leave behind all that is old so that your body may become new. We will wash away the past."

    She says this with a type of gentleness you've never been comfortable with because it makes you wish that you could cry. You've been open with Jane and Rob as you have with no other lovers, and for a moment you regret how much you told them about the things that have happened in your life and the ways that your body and desires have made you feel afraid and ashamed. That, after all, is how you got into this situation. Jane told you both about her fantasy of being taken as if for the first time, and when you reacted to it, she and Rob decided it would be better to design the scene for you.

    You look away from her, searching for something bland to focus on, but she has transformed the bathroom too thoroughly and you can't escape her intentions.

    The story is constructed in a somewhat experimental way. I wrote about some of the choices I made here.

    Here’s the official blurb for the collection:

    What would you give — or give up — to fulfill your most cherished sex fantasy? In this Cleis Press collection, erotica editor Rachel Kramer Bussel brings us femme fatales and shy women, women on a mission and women opening up to new worlds of discovery: women who know what they want and are not afraid to beg for it! Let yourself go with these 21 tantalizing tales of tortuous longing and release.

    You can order the book here. I hope you do!

    Thursday, July 7, 2016

    When Stigma Stops Writing

    I recently wrote a post for Delilah Night about the challenges presented by the book I'm currently taking submissions for, the charity anthology Coming Together: Postively Sexy.

    What I didn’t realize was that this book is demanding a different kind of editing skill: convincing and encouraging nervous writers to try their hands at stories that feel risky to them. I have had many conversations with writers who say they don’t know anything about STIs and can’t write about them, only to tell me in the next breath that they’ve had or currently have an STI. I’ve had conversations with writers who say they can’t picture how a story could include mention of an STI and still be sexy. I’ve had conversations with writers who say they are far too worried about the possibility of getting something wrong. I’ve talked to writers who say they mostly submit stories they’ve already written, and they’ve never written a story that includes a character with an STI.

    To me, this all speaks to the stigma around STIs, the very stigma that I’m hoping this book can question. I want to make a book that opens up a little space inside a dominant culture that often seems intent on shaming people, a book that offers up a vision that an STI doesn’t have to be the end of a person’s sex life, that it doesn’t have to be a big deal at all. I’m hoping to get some stories from writers who already know that because they’ve lived that experience, and I’m also hoping to get some stories from writers who are learning it through the writing they’re doing now.

    You can read the rest of the post here, at Delilah's blog.

    You can read the full call for submissions, with all the details, here.

    Also, check out Delilah's post about the anthology she's editing, Coming Together: Under the Mistletoe.

    And, writers, let's do some good by being bad. :) (An old tagline for the charity erotica publisher, Coming Together).

    (Also, the deadline for Positively Sexy has been extended to Oct 1st!)

    Tuesday, July 5, 2016

    What I've Been Reading

    I'm way overdue for an appearance on Goodreads, but in the meantime, if you'd like some book recommendations from me, head on over to my most recent post at Oh Get a Grip. There, I go into some recent picks in erotica, social science, and weird literary fiction.

    And you'll find out which book prompted me to write this sentence:

    This is the sort of book that makes me want to buy extra copies and carry them around in my purse so that the next time I run into someone who wants to talk to me about how evolutionary psychology explains why women prefer to be “traditionally feminine” and do all the housework, I can just shove the book into their hands and make a quick escape.

    You can read the whole thing here.

    Sunday, July 3, 2016

    Deadline Extended: Coming Together: Positively Sexy

    I've extended the deadline for Coming Together: Positively Sexy until October 1st! If you were thinking of writing a story for this, I hope this gives you the time you need.

    Here's the full information about the call.

    As always, please feel free to get in touch with questions.

    Thursday, June 30, 2016

    Guest Post: First Time Editor

    I invited Delilah Night to post here about her upcoming anthology, Coming Together: Under the Mistletoe, which just opened for submissions, and will benefit Project Linus. I love Coming Together projects in general, I'm excited about Delilah's book in particular, and I'm also excited to see a writer taking on the editing mantle for the first time. I asked Delilah to write about what drew her to edit an anthology, and she's responded with a moving personal story, as well as some great insights into both the writing and editing processes.

    Without further ado, here she is:

    by Delilah Night

    Hi Annabeth, thank you for hosting me!

    I am editing my first anthology, Coming Together: Under the Mistletoe, this year with a projected publication date of December 1. It’s scary to make the leap from contributor to editor, but it’s something I’ve been thinking about doing for a while.

    Alison Tyler organized Summer Loving, with proceeds going to fellow author Sommer Marsden’s family as they dealt with a medical crisis in 2014. It was the first time I’d heard of a charity erotica anthology. A few months later, I saw my first Coming Together call—Coming Together is a charity press, and each anthology benefits a charity picked by the editor. I am proud to have contributed to four of the Coming Together anthologies—For the Holidays, Among the Stars, Strange Shifters, and Keeping Warm.

    I grew up quite poor. We needed welfare to help keep food in our home, and to help clothe me. There were times when teachers paid for me to go on field trips so that I wouldn’t miss out. I sacrificed a lot to go to college and grad school to get a master’s degree in teaching. I thought I had my career planned out when I had my daughter, Turtle (obviously not her real name).

    To make a very long story short, Turtle nearly died from a bacterial infection at a week old. Then she had a stroke. It remains the worst thing that has ever happened to me/our family. In the middle of that darkness, our nurse gave us a hand-made hat and blanket from Project Linus. Receiving that gift from a stranger was like a ray of light in the darkest point in our lives.

    We are a success story. Thanks to an amazing team of doctors, nurses, early intervention staff, physical therapists, occupational therapists and other specialists, plus a heaping dose of luck, Turtle is now a healthy, happy seven year old.

    I want to give back, and I’ve decided that Coming Together is one of the ways to do so. As an erotica author, it is a unique opportunity to give back by writing (and editing).

    As a novice editor, my biggest fears are that I will let everyone down—my contributors, Coming Together, and Project Linus. However, I’m lucky to have several close friends who have edited anthologies for various presses to serve as mentors and advisors.

    Going into the anthology, my plan is to put together an anthology of the best stories and poetry that come my way. One of my favorite anthologies is Rose Caraway’s The Sexy Librarian’s Big Book of Erotica. The Sexy Librarian’s Big Book of Erotica skips from genre to genre with the grand unifying theme of being the best examples of erotica that Rose could put together. I want Under the Mistletoe to emulate that example.

    I hope to put together an anthology with the unifying theme of winter. Not every story should be about Christmas—there’s Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and New Year’s Eve, and random days in December as well. I don’t want every couple to be heterosexual. I don’t want every pairing to be two people. I don’t want every couple to be white. Variety—and above all, quality— is what will grab my attention.

    On an organizational level, I’ve set out my calendar of when the deadline is, when replies will happen, and so forth. Ensuring that I stick to that calendar will require discipline. As an author, I’ve worked with great editors and bad editors, and one of the biggest differences is that the best editors are hyper organized and I want to live up to that standard.

    But, just as you can’t actually anticipate what having a child is like until you have one, I expect that there will be a number of bumps along the road. My goal is to handle them professionally such that my contributors are never inconvenienced.

    I expect that my second anthology will be better than my first and that my fifth will be better than my second, and so forth. But just as I remain proud of my first story, I hope that I will always be proud of this anthology.

    That said, any advice you can provide is welcome, Annabeth.

    Coming Together: Under the Mistletoe
    Submission Call

    Deadline is September 1, 2016

    Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow because we’ll be heating up this sexy December anthology.

    I am looking for your best winter stories. Are your characters cuddled up inside while a blizzard rages, or are they snowbirds spending Christmas Day on the beach in the tropics? Who belongs on Santa’s Naughty List? Is your billionaire a Scrooge? Is this the year they come out to their family? Do they have a special someone to kiss when the ball drops?

    While the theme is winter, you may also add in your favorite December holiday, but this is not mandatory. I’m looking for compelling stories with compelling characters and a rich plot as well as beautiful poetry.


    * Your story should be set between December 1 and December 31 whether explicitly or implicitly.

    * All orientations, ethnicities, pairings, and interpretations of “winter” are encouraged.

    * All sub-genres and time periods welcome (contemporary, historical, paranormal, sci-fi, steampunk, you name it).

    * All heat levels from sweet and romantic to down and dirty—as long as it is plot driven.

    * HEA/HFN preferred, but not required.

    * Stories up to 7,500 words

    * Poetry is welcomed and encouraged

    * No underage, no scat, no non-consent, no incest

    Coming Together is a charity organization. You retain all rights to your stories, and previously published stories and poetry are welcomed (as long as you hold the rights).

    Please use Times New Roman font, size 12, and double spaced with one inch margins. No extra lines between paragraphs. Set indentations to .5 – do not use tabs or spaces to indent. Use .docx, .doc .rtf formats only.

    Only submit your final, best version of the story to with the subject line “Under the Mistletoe insert your title insert your name”

    Do not send multiple versions of the same story. Up to two stories/three poems will be considered from each author. Include your legal name (and pseudonym if applicable and be clear which one is which), mailing address, and up to 250 word bio. Do not paste your story into the body of your message.

    You will be notified as to the status of your story by no later than October 1, 2016.

    Coming Together is a non-profit organization, and all Coming Together authors and editors have generously donated their talents to various causes. Compensation for inclusion in this work is a PDF contributor copy of the finished product and your name on Santa’s Nice List (or Naughty, if that’s your preference). You retain all rights to your story. All proceeds go to Project Linus, which provides home-made blankets and hats to children in crisis.

    Questions? Email me at

    (My thanks again to Delilah for sharing this with us here. I'm not sure I'm at the stage of editing experience where I have a lot of advice to give. What does stand out to me is that I was surprised at how it felt to select stories. I loved them as a fan. I've had editors say things like that to me when they selected my work, but I didn't realize how it really feels to get to put together a book full of stories you truly believe in and love to read. I hope you enjoy that!

    Also, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that I'm also currently taking submissions for a Coming Together book. The details are here, and I've written a guest post for Delilah's blog. Watch for it!)

    Wednesday, June 22, 2016

    On Asking for What You Want When You Don’t Know What That Is

    This week, I signed a contract for Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, volume two, which is a huge honor. My story is called “On Some Maps, But Not on Others,” and it’s full of a bunch of stuff I find hot and interesting and difficult.

    More than anything else, it’s an attempt to articulate what it feels like to be inarticulate about something to do with sex and gender, to want things you can’t put words to, to want things when you don’t understand why you want them, to play a game of hot and cold with yourself, trying to figure out who you even are.

    I’m going to show you what I mean with a couple of tiny excerpts:

    "Let's keep this nice and hard for me," my girlfriend whispered. She pulled out a thinner rope this time, but if anything this one looked crueler than the first. Working deftly, she wound it around the base of Alex's cock, the flesh reddening as she did. By the time she finished, the head of his cock was purple. Alex's eyes were closed, and his lips moved as if he was praying.

    Something pulsed inside me, somewhere very deep. I wasn't sure what the feeling was, but I knew I was dripping wet. I tried asking myself what I wanted or what I wished I could do. Did I want to hurt like that? Did I want to do the hurting? Did I want exactly what I had—to be able to watch? I was somewhere in this scene, but I couldn't figure out exactly how.
    And here:

    Gender still scares me, but now I think about it all the time. I don't know what to call myself, don't know what I am. The boundaries of my body shift and change. My cock is an island charted by sailors before Google Earth came along, appearing on some maps but not on others. My cunt is sometimes a depth, but sometimes a height. My breasts rise and fall. They curve into hills, then flatten into plains. I don't understand what gender has to do with any of this anatomy. Sometimes my cunt feels tough and masculine, ready to take any sort of abuse. Sometimes I put on my softpack and watch it tremble, so delicate in shape and color, and it feels like nothing could be girlier. Other times it seems self-evident that if I put on my cock I am playing at being a boy. Mostly, it all feels queer, in a way I'd never have had the guts to explore when I was younger.

    This narrator isn’t me, and the story isn’t autobiography. I go through stuff like both of the scenes above, though, and a part of me is still surprised I was brave enough about them to enter that territory in this story. I remember a time when I learned to gather my courage to ask for what I knew I wanted sexually, and I am still proud of learning to speak for myself that way. But I’ve been in a different place the last couple years, and it feels more uncomfortable to me. Lately, I’ve been an undiscovered country even to myself. I don’t understand how I work anymore. I don’t understand the things I want. A lot of the things I think about confuse me more the more I think about them.

    What this story reminds me of, though, is that this is valuable, interesting territory. It’s dangerous, but it’s “live.” It’s hot. It’s full of revelations. Sex and gender aren’t at all what I used to think they were, but that’s as exciting as it is scary.

    So I’m really happy that I’ll get a chance to share this story with you. I am here for all the readers and writers who want to live at the edge of the horizon. I am so here for all of us.

    It’s early yet—I don’t think this book will be out for a while—but it’s not too early to preorder. You can do that here.

    (The image above belongs to Normn B. Leventhal, and is used under a Creative Commons license.)

    Monday, June 20, 2016

    The Privacy of Fantasy

    My story, “Jane’s Fantasy, Your Fantasy,” will be out in a few weeks in Rachel Kramer Bussel’s Begging for It: Erotic Fantasies for Women.

    I find the title a little ironic, because my intention with the story was for the protagonist’s gender to be open. I very consciously and carefully constructed the story in such a way that it would not have to conflict with any reader’s gender identity, though it will probably fit best with someone who feels a bit fluid or identifies as genderqueer.

    Here's a short sample:

    You feel intermingled with Jane, knowing that this could easily have been her standing where you are now, a curl of anxiety in the pit of her stomach, a chill from the air settling into her skin. Since the three of you got together, you have been entranced by the fluidity of the boundaries between you. Sometimes in bed it's as if Jane's cunt is your own, but the same goes for Rob's cock. Often you close your eyes and allow yourself to float between the two, as if your body is an ocean wrapping around their two definite and opposite forms.

    I wrote it in second person, an unusual choice for me, because I wanted to use certain effects of that point of view.

    First, second person allowed me to avoid gender when referring to the protagonist. I didn’t have to jar anyone with pronouns I didn’t want to use.

    But why not use first person?

    There’s a pitfall to second person where it can feel as if the author is accusing the reader of things (i.e. author writes: “You’ve never liked cookies,” and reader thinks, “What the fuck are you talking about? I love cookies.”) The flipside of that, though, is that, for me, second person can read as a variation on first person, and a more private one at that.

    If I’m talking to someone else about myself, I’ll say I, as in, “I went to the store yesterday,” or, “I think that’s nonsense.”

    If I’m talking to myself about myself, though, I’ll say you, as in, “What did you say you wanted to get from this room?” or, “All right, you can do this.”

    Since I address myself as you, the second person can read as that very intimate voice of the self reflecting on the self. It has a half-whispered quality to me, a sense of privacy that goes beyond that of a diary entry.

    That’s the feeling I wanted for this story.

    “Jane’s Fantasy, Your Fantasy” is about an erotic healing experience, a ritual almost magical in nature. It’s about regaining control of the body, and that’s related to why I wanted the story to feel it could match any body, any gender identity, and why I wanted the narration to feel so intensely private.

    I’m excited to share it with readers, and to read for myself the rest of what’s in the book.

    Here’s the official blurb for the collection:

    What would you give — or give up — to fulfill your most cherished sex fantasy? In this Cleis Press collection, erotica editor Rachel Kramer Bussel brings us femme fatales and shy women, women on a mission and women opening up to new worlds of discovery: women who know what they want and are not afraid to beg for it! Let yourself go with these 21 tantalizing tales of tortuous longing and release.

    You can preorder it now, and it’s currently scheduled for release on July 12th.

    Thursday, June 16, 2016

    Learn My Secrets

    I'm at the Grip today, blogging about how I figure out what to write next on a sentence by sentence level.

    I've explained five tricks I use, all of which could be done as writing exercises, or simply used to continue whatever story one is working on right now.

    I called them the Sensual Solution, the Time Travel Solution, the Contemplative Solution, the Slow Solution, and the Superlative Solution.

    Check them out!

    Monday, June 13, 2016

    Me and My Boi: Not Just Hair

    I wrote “Not Just Hair” about two and a half years ago, and now that it’s finally coming out, in Sacchi Green’s Me and My Boi: Queer Erotic Stories, I get to read it afresh with the clear vision of hindsight.

    I was going through some stuff when I wrote this story. I came out as bisexual when I was a teenager, but over the course of my life I’d wound up semi-closeted again. Though I told people I was queer if the subject came up, most people saw me as straight. After years of being told bisexuality was just a phase, I’d even started to believe it. When I thought about it, I sometimes wondered if saying I was bi was a way of trying to claim a place in a queer community I didn’t really belong to, of trying to portray myself as special when I was actually just run of the mill. Alert readers will probably recognize the internalized biphobia in those wonderings.

    Then a series of things went down at the beginning of my thirties that forced me to start taking my queer orientation seriously again.

    For one thing, I fell madly in love with my best friend, in that deep, undeniable way that wreaks havoc through a whole swath of relationships. Nothing looked the same in my life after that happened, even when I was still trying to claim things like I loved her but I didn’t love her that way.

    A publisher asked me to submit a proposal for a possible novel, something I really wanted to write deep down. I came up with a story I cared about it and sent it in—then heard back that the publisher was worried that the book would be “too queer” for the intended heterosexual audience. That was news to me. After being told so often that bisexuality was a phase and I must actually be straight, I’d eventually started to assume that I must… actually be straight. My thoughts and feelings about women must be normal and common, things any straight person would think. This was the beginning of a wakeup call that, no, straight women don’t seem to think the way I do.

    Another publisher had a call for butch/femme novellas. At the time, I wrote stuff for as many calls as I could. I just wanted to write fast and well and make a living at this career. I didn’t think I had any particular interest in butch/femme novellas (I had never thought of myself as butch, and none of my girlfriends had presented in a particularly masculine way), but I decided to give it a shot… Only to find myself melting my own panties off as I typed. There was an undeniable fire for me in the butch/femme dynamic, something I didn’t normally feel when I wrote erotica. The editor who accepted my book wrote to me about how authentic it felt, how my butch character came out so masculine and so thoroughly a woman at the same time, and how different and refreshing that was compared to a common “pretend a male character is female” theme she’d seen in submissions. While praise is always nice, I was bemused by this. I hadn’t experienced any difficulty in writing a butch character.

    By now, this was adding up to a serious crisis of identity. I had forgotten how to take my own sexual orientation seriously. My life had built up around me in a way that made that hard to do, but now things were boiling out of me that I couldn’t hold back anymore.

    I remember the weekend I wrote “Not Just Hair.” My male partner was away. I thought I would bang out the story in a couple of hours and spend the rest of the time relaxing. Instead, I found myself writing and crying and putting together the pieces I wrote about here and then some.

    A while ago on Twitter, I talked about how I’ve realized that anger fuels much of my writing. Reading “Not Just Hair” now, I think it’s a really hot story. At the same time, I see the core of anger inside it, the desperate feeling you get to escape the roles that start to trap you, the need to reinvent yourself, the fucking unbelievable exhilaration and freedom you get when you take the steps you need to take. The story was out ahead of me, as my writing usually is, but I did follow it.

    At the time, I was feeling my own queerness bubbling up, forcing its way into an active role in my life. But when I read “Not Just Hair” now, I see more than that. I see questions about gender presentation and masculinity and femininity that are still active sources of confusion for me. I see a desire to break out of kink roles and try new ones.

    Here’s what I wrote in the story:

    Years ago, Darla had naively believed that coming out as a lesbian would put an end to agonizing conversations about her sexual identity, but in fact those moments had marked a beginning. Ever since, it seemed she'd been struggling to figure out and articulate more about what she wanted to do and how she wanted to do it, and to negotiate with partners about whether what she wanted was okay.

    I haven’t gone into what’s behind the title of the story yet, but that’s important, too. I’ve been talking about big stuff, things that go to the core of a person’s identity. In the throes of that sort of change, it can feel overwhelming and impossible. But it’s amazing how something that might seem small and trivial can take you a very long way. Something like a haircut.

    I didn’t get the courage to take a razor to my head until last fall, but it’s amazing what changed when I got the undercut I’d been dreaming of. I feel more confident, more able to talk about my various identities, less apologetic to everyone. So as deep as the questions can get, sometimes a haircut can be the tipping point. Because it’s not just hair.

    You can order the book here or at your favorite local bookstore.

    I wrote this as part of the blog tour for Me and My Boi. You should check out the rest of the posts at the links below, and comment for a chance to win.

    June 12—Sacchi Green—

    June 13—Annabeth Leong--

    June 14—Anna Watson—

    June 15—Sinclair Sexsmith--

    June 16—Jove Belle--

    June 17—Tamsin Flowers--

    June 18—Victoria Villasenor—

    June 19—J, Caladine—

    June 20—Victoria Janssen--

    June 21—Dena Hankins--

    June 22—D. Orchid—

    June 23—Pavini Moray--

    June 24—Melissa Mayhew—

    June 25—Jen Cross—

    June 26—Kyle Jones--

    June 27—Gigi

    June 28—Aimee Hermann—

    June 29—Sommer Marsden—

    June 30—Axa Lee—

    July 1— Kathleen Bradean—


    Anyone who comments on any of the posts will be entered in a drawing for one free copy of the anthology. You can comment on more than one post and be entered more than once. The winner will be announced and notified by July 5th, if not sooner.

    (EDITED 7:30 pm 6/13 to update blog tour links)

    Monday, May 30, 2016

    I Like to Be Tied Up

    It’s not that I thought the transition from fantasy kink to real life kink would be easy, it’s that I didn’t think about it at all. After years of hoovering novels about kink and thinking about it all the time, it was a big deal for me to show up in person to real events. That seemed like the big hurdle.

    At the time, I identified as a submissive. I didn’t really know the difference between submissive and bottom. I didn’t know a lot of other words. I knew I was into bondage and pain. I didn’t know that it was possible to be into only one of those, or both, or neither, or other things altogether.

    I think part of the problem was the novels I’d read. In those books, the narrative focus was often on making a woman admit she was submissive. That seemed to mean gets-wet-when-ordered-around. I don’t recall coming across novels that told a story about a submissive woman painstakingly defining the nuances of her identity, though perhaps they exist. In most of what I read, tops defined the identities of submissives for them.

    I could write a long, long essay, and probably also a novel, about my relationship to the word submissive alone.

    The Many Note Challenge got me thinking about something that seems much simpler than that on the surface: trying to tell people you’re into rope.

    For the challenge, I showed a variety of moods, a lot of different ways rope might feel to two people who are playing with it. That points to a problem I experienced when trying to move from fantasy kink to real life kink. At first, I thought all I needed to tell people was, “I want to be tied up.”

    It felt that way at first, especially when I was bursting with enthusiasm and it seemed like any way of being tied up would be great with me. I just had a bottomless (haha) urge to have someone put rope on me.

    Over time, though, I started to notice dissonances when I talked to other people who liked to be tied up.


    Here are some examples of questions that point to possible distinctions:

    Do you like to be tied up to look pretty?

    Do you like to be tied up to feel athletic?

    Do you like to be tied up in a way that’s uncomfortable?

    Do you like for sexual things to happen after you’re tied up?

    Do you like for painful things to happen after you’re tied up?

    Are painful things sexual to you?

    Does being tied up put you into a particular mood? (Do you feel helpless, silly, excited, sleepy, etc?)

    Do you like to be tied up in a way that challenges you?

    Do you like to be tied up in a way that comforts you?

    Are there shapes/ties that feel particularly good to your body? That feel particularly bad to your body?


    I could go on and on.

    Of course, the questions I just wrote are from a bottom’s perspective. I have much less experience topping, but I do have a little. Here are some top-perspective questions I can think of, even with that limited background, that reveal similar shades in what’s interesting to different people:

    Do you like to tie people up as an end in itself?

    Do you like to tie people up as a means to some other end?

    Do you like to tie up someone who is very obedient about it?

    Do you enjoy a battle of wills with the person you’re tying up?

    Do you focus on creating particular designs with your rope?

    Do you enjoy when the person you’re tying up reacts in particular ways?

    Do you like to institute protocol around tying someone up?

    Does tying someone up put you in a particular mood? (Do you feel powerful, nervous, serious, giggly, etc?)


    I’m sure people could add to either set of questions.

    The point I’m making is that even if people’s interests sound similar on the surface (i.e. “We both like to be tied up!”), there can be a lot of difference in what that means to them, or what they like about those activities.

    In the kink community, it took me years before I could articulate that, and before I learned to ask questions like what I listed above and have discussions around them. (Otherwise, it’s possible to end up in situations when you’re wondering when the hell the sexy part is going to start as a top painstakingly ties decorative rope all over your body, while for them the experience is about giving you a gift and crafting a lovely piece for you to wear… Or thousands of other mismatched situations.)

    As a writer, I think this incredible multiplicity is really good news. One of the main things I took away from the Many Note Challenge was that I could probably have kept going for weeks, writing dozens of vastly different vignettes around the same simple box tie. Even of the six I wrote, two grabbed me enough that they made me want to expand them into larger stories.

    If I introduced just a shade more variation—say, putting three characters there instead of two—I could write dozens more. There’s so much to explore.

    And every time we, as writers, get into subtleties about who the people we’re writing about are and why they’re engaging in these particular acts, we’re creating more ways that people can possibly identify with our work. One of my favorite things as an erotica reader is finding a description of a mood I’ve felt but never quite articulated, or of a mood I’d like to try to feel.

    So, here’s to many notes!

    Sunday, May 29, 2016

    The Many Note Challenge, Part Three

    On Friday, I made up an exercise for myself: writing the same basic scene with a variety of moods. These are the last two entries in that short series, and I’ve gotten a lot out of the experience—I hope you enjoyed reading them.

    Remember, If you think it would be interesting to do this, too, I invite you to participate. I kept the dialogue and specific actions very similar in mine—you could imitate that, or go your own way. Feel free to tag me on Twitter @AnnabethLeong with what you come up with. I would be so excited to see how others might present the same simple action.

    And you can find out about the back story and read the other vignettes here and here.

    (Image by Beverly Yuen Thompson, licensed under Creative Commons)


    She pulls my arms behind my back, and instantly my mind goes blank. From the moment I saw the rope out of the corner of my eye, my worries began to drain away. I don’t need to be anything special now. I don’t even really need a name. I’m just hers. Meditation’s got nothing on this.

    “You ready?” She knows how fast I drop into that wordless place. I smile, because I know the question is a bit of a tease.

    To tease her back, I don’t use words to answer. I just nod.

    My body knows this position. Arms behind, chest pushed forward, wrists lined up with elbows. At first, I couldn’t get into the classic, traditional shape of this, but this is my peace, my personal version of yoga. I’ve practiced a lot, so now I slide into place easily as she guides me with her hands. She pulls my head back, emphasizing the arch of my neck and spine. I feel so beautiful this way.

    She begins to loop rope around my wrists. I can feel the coarseness of the fibers, but I remind myself that I don’t have to react to it. I don’t have to squirm or move at all. My breathing is slow, and I focus on making it even slower.

    “Hold still,” she teases, kissing the back of my head. “I won’t get this on right if you can’t hold still.” I can hear in her voice that her eyebrow is arched and one side of her mouth quirked up.

    I don’t vary my breathing or position in the slightest. I’m already a statue. It’s amazing how powerfully I can tease back without doing anything at all.


    I pull her arms behind her back with a jerk, fast and sharp to force her breath from her chest. Today I feel like playing rough.

    “You ready?” I growl into her ear.

    She nods.

    The next few seconds are about me showing her she isn’t ready. Chest forward—farther than she wants it. Arms back—higher than she instinctively goes, and then an inch higher still. I know she can take this, and today I need to make it hurt. I pull until I hear her breath catch, then freeze there, watching her realize I’m going to tie her just like this, all the way at the limit of the position her body can hold. Her eyes widen. I pinch the inside of her wrist to see if I can make her gasp, and she flings her head back. She whimpers and looks helpless, and that’s what I need. Today I want to be the predator. I want to feel big and frightening and strong.

    I begin looping the rope around her wrists. I want the coarse fibers to burn, and I zip them over her skin fast enough to leave marks. She squirms in discomfort, and that makes me smile. My head rushes with the force of the power she’s giving me.

    “Hold still,” I tell her, my voice heavy with ironic sweetness. The rope and I are holding her tightly enough that there’s already not much room for her to move. I kiss the back of her head. I always like that sort of gesture while I’m being vicious—it emphasizes everything about the situation. “I won’t get this on right if you can’t hold still.”

    Really, I hope she moves. If she gives me an excuse to punish her right now, god knows I’ll take it. I’m not sure how hard she wants to play. I’m hoping she wants to go all the way today, like me.


    Obviously, one could keep going basically forever. It would be interesting to do this with different gendered partners, different numbers of partners, and on and on. I hope you've enjoyed this series!

    Saturday, May 28, 2016

    The Many Note Challenge, Part Two

    I got inspired yesterday to show the same BDSM situation in a variety of moods. These are my next two vignettes, both from the perspective of the top.

    Remember, If you think it would be interesting to do this, too, I invite you to participate. I’m keeping the dialogue and specific actions very similar for fun—you could imitate that, or go your own way. Feel free to tag me on Twitter @AnnabethLeong with what you come up with. I would be so excited to see how others might present the same simple action.

    And you can find out about the back story and read the first two vignettes here.

    (Image by Beverly Yuen Thompson, licensed under Creative Commons)


    When I pull her arms behind her back, I have a moment of panic. I definitely don’t know what I’m doing. I mean, technically I do—I’ve gone through books carefully, taken classes, even practiced on her—but nothing could have prepared me for actually trying to top her. I started feeling shy the moment I picked up my rope, and when her eyes widened when she noticed it, I wanted to just drop it and run away.

    “You ready?” I say into her ear, trying to imitate the toppy growl I’ve heard instructors use.

    She nods.

    She lets me guide her into position. It’s incredible how pliable her body is under my hands. She’s smooth as a dancer, and I get distracted worrying that I won’t lead as well as people who’ve tied her in the past. Still, she ends up mostly in the right attitude—arms behind her, chest pushed forward. She flings her head back and presses a random kiss to the side of my forehead—the spot she happens to be able to reach.

    I try not to let that distract me, and begin looping rope around her wrists. She squirms, and I realize the coarse fibers are tickling her as they drag across her skin. I’m not putting rope on the back of a chair—I’m putting it on a person, my lover, someone I’m supposed to be connected to.

    I pull her closer and take a deep breath. “Hold still.” I kiss the back of her head, slow this down for a moment so I can gather my thoughts. I remember that she knows me, and she knows about my experience—or lack thereof. I don’t have to pretend to be Miss Toppy Top. “I won’t get this on right if you can’t hold still,” I confess, and she doesn’t have to say anything back to make me feel her gentle, unwavering support as I go on with the tie.


    I pull her arms behind her back, careful of her range of motion. I know what an act of trust it was for her to ask for this. Every takate-kote is individual, and I push down a flash of anger at the top who hurt her, the one who tried to force her unique body into position as if the rope was a cookie-cutter and she was a raw piece of rolled dough.

    “You ready?” I murmur. I’m watching her carefully for signs of discomfort, my fingers light on her left shoulder joint, the one where she said she had the problem last time.

    She gives me a nervous smile and nods.

    I feel so protective of her. I guide her toward position, but not into position—I told her when we negotiated this that she would be the one to decide how far she wanted to stretch, but I show that, too, with the gentleness of my hands, the looseness of my grip. She pushes her chest forward, and puts her right arm all the way behind her, though I’m glad to see she doesn’t strain the elbow, letting her forearm fall into an obtuse angle. Her left arm nudges back, but not far.

    She flings her head back, fixing me with a rueful stare. “It won’t be a real takate-kote,” she moans, looking ashamed.

    I begin looping rope around her wrists. I let her feel the coarseness of the fibers, knowing that sometimes sensations like that can help people get out of their heads and into their bodies. “Who says it won’t be real?” I ask her. “It’s real to me. It can be to you, too, if you let it.”

    She squirms.

    “You feeling okay?” I ask. “You still want to do this?”

    She nods again.

    “Then hold still.” I kiss the back of her head to make the command as gentle as possible. “I want to be precise here, and that’ll work best if you hold still.”


    Check back tomorrow for my last two vignettes!