November 16th, 2016

On Politics and Feminism

Pantsuit Nation selfie, Election Day 2016

Pantsuit Nation selfie, Election Day 2016

As the title of this post may suggest, if you find yourself not interested in politics or feminism or expressions of my perspectives on them, you may want to skip this post.

A few days ago, I read an article from Glamour magazine that came out months ago and had been on my “to read” list ever since: “President Barak Obama Says, ‘This Is What a Feminist Looks Like.'”

By the time I finished reading it, I was openly crying. The juxtaposition of my reasons for such was breathtaking.

For context, I want to back up a moment and share a post I made to my personal Facebook profile on November 10:

“Yesterday I felt horrified that Trump won. Today I feel devastated that Clinton lost. She worked so hard (for decades), is so qualified, was so prepared. She lost to a man who by no stretch could be called any of those things. I see it as (among other things) wretchedly unfair. I also feel a considerable part of the populace of this country has either forgotten, doesn’t realize, or doesn’t take seriously that the presidency is in fact a job. Yes, the campaign cycle has been reduced to a sensational media show in this country, but being President is an actual job that requires attendant skill and expertise, and this country has elected someone who has demonstrated zero experience and qualifications to hold it, in addition to demonstrating no discernible interest in learning that I have observed.

All that is leaving aside for the moment the myriad reasons I feel profoundly appalled that Trump was elected in the face of what he did demonstrate. This post at the moment is not a call to action or an offering oriented toward uplift or helpfulness (those may come). It is simply an expression. An expression of sadness, of lamentation, of some things I feel right now amidst many other things I have felt, do feel, and will likely feel.

Love to all.”

That reflects how I feel now as precisely as it did then.

To return to the article, which was written by President Obama, I hardly know how to describe what an inspiring, insightful, incisive, beautiful offering I found it to be from a person I’m so grateful this country has had the honor of the leadership of for eight years. Perhaps my favorite line was, “And yes, it’s important that [his daughters’] dad is a feminist, because now that’s what they expect of all men.”

As they absolutely should. I was, quite simply, moved to tears by the gratitude and resonance I felt in the face of such exquisite awareness, articulateness, groundedness, and respect for humanity. It was truly one of the most beautiful pieces on feminism I had ever read.

Simultaneously, I was crying because it was literally almost painful to read such a profound exposition against the backdrop of knowing we had just elected as the next president a man who has unambiguously asserted sexist, misogynistic, racist, xenophobic, and indeed misanthropic (I have seen it said and understand myself that “all hatred is self-hatred”) views in both personal and political/social contexts. Throughout the election cycle, I had perceived it as disgraceful that such a candidate had made it as far in the electoral process as he had; that he was actually elected to the presidency indicates such profound ugliness to me about our country I’m not sure I know how to articulate it.

The contrast was staggering. And for me, there are two separate though obviously related issues at hand. One is the prospect of Donald Trump’s being President. Of course I find that horrifying given the things I interpreted him as saying and the astonishingly low capacity to self-regulate I observed in him throughout his campaign. The other is that, regardless of what he demonstrates or instigates or accomplishes as President, a considerable portion of the populace of this country voted for him to be the leader of it in the face of his unabashed expression of perspectives embracing sexism, racism, homophobia, and xenophobia of all stripes. In a nod to rape culture, this country voluntarily put in a position of (tremendous) power a man who explicitly condoned sexual assault. Whether or not Trump governs the way he campaigned, he still campaigned as he did, and almost half the people voting in this country voted for him amidst the tremendous unconsciousness and service of fear he displayed. Yes, I am horrified by the idea of his being President. I am at least as horrified that he was elected as such.

I have seen a proposition that a large proportion of his voters were rural, white, poor people. I don’t necessarily doubt that. And I have not been in the situation those voters have, which I truly and deeply appreciate. In the case of those voters, it is wrenchingly sorrowful to me that there are people in this country who find themselves in a position so dire that they feel compelled to vote for someone who demonstrates intentions to harm entire populations based on race, sex, gender, sexual orientation, or religion in order to feel their own situation will improve or even that they will survive. (Very sadly, I have not and do not for one second feel Trump intends or desires to do anything at all to help those people. I did not at any point during the campaign see any indication that he has or has ever really demonstrated any desire to help anyone but himself.)

For those who are not in that situation and who also voted for Trump, I have seen a number of posts in the relatively sparse perusal I have been doing of social media since the election that seem to want to offer assurance of the understanding that they themselves do not consider themselves racist, sexist, xenophobic, homophobic, etc…. I acknowledge that I am not there at this time. However much those voters may not feel or want to identify with supporting racism, sexism, xenophobia, and homophobia themselves, they voted for a ticket that did, making their vote complicit with allowing those perspectives to ascend to representation in the highest level of official authority in this country. I don’t know how we could not yet as a species, or at least as a country, have come to understand that passive support of violence and oppression represents a stark and potentially grave threat, but I fear we may be in for another lesson to assist us in doing so.

Right now, I take a deep breath and reaffirm the appreciation I feel that our current President, in the piece that inspired this blog post, understands and offers such an aware, humanitarian, enlightened perspective and understanding of feminism’s importance, along with a resting, even amidst the revulsion I feel, that there are others out there who understand…that humanity is aware in part of things like intrinsic human equality even as other factions have not yet caught up to that level of awareness. That there is shadow in all of us and our work to see and release our own helps release the collective shadow that has so grossly emerged at this moment in United States (and human) history. And that we are still, and always, all One.

In answer to the perspective I have been seeing expressed that Donald Trump must now be given the “chance to lead”—of course he’ll get a chance. There’s nothing I (or anyone else) can do about that now.

I regret that this nation saw fit to offer him one.

Love,
Emerald

“If anyone still doubts that the inexperienced man gets promoted ahead of the qualified woman, you can wake up now.”
-Barbara Kingsolver (“End this misogynistic horror show. Put Hillary Clinton in the White House”)

April 8th, 2016

Revitalization!

Attachment-1 (1)Good lord have I been a negligent blogger for an embarrassingly long time! I’ve actually missed the release of two anthologies, which I’ll aim to catch up on momentarily. In the meantime, though, I have amazing news with which to break this inadvertent silence!…

I am beyond dazzled and profoundly honored that my erotic short story collection, Safe, has received the Bronze medal in the Erotica category in this year’s Independent Publisher Book Awards!

My book won an IPPY!!!

You can see it all written out in Category 48 right here (!!).

Safe for site

I really am indescribably elated by this. Safe means so much to me for a number of reasons, and to win such an award for it is truly a shining moment for me. I want to once again thank my publisher, 1001 Nights Press, for bringing these stories (and those of its corresponding erotic romance collection, If… Then) to published format (with such amazing covers!!) back in late 2014. Safe is available in both e-book and print formats at Amazon, BN, iBooks, and Kobo.

With love and breathless joyousness,
Emerald

“The Independent Publisher Book Awards (the ‘IPPYs’) are intended to bring increased recognition to the thousands of exemplary independent, university, and self-published titles published each year.”
-from the Independent Publisher website

September 17th, 2015

Baseball, Q & A, and Vegas, Baby

Because I have seemed a negligent blogger over the last month, it seems (past) time for me to update here about a few things. :) First, I am delighted to report that Athletic Aesthetic, published by Sweetmeats Press, is out now in both print and electronic formats. That means that my story in the anthology, Doubleheader, has also been released as a standalone e-book! It is on sale now at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Doubleheader

Secondly, we’re only weeks away from the third iteration of Hot Mojave Knights in Las Vegas October 1-4! I will be returning as a Spotlight Author again this year and am so looking forward to being back in Vegas (something I’ve tended to love in and of itself!), mingling with a number of my fabulous author colleagues, meeting some of our awesome readers, and being surrounded by the knights after which, of course, the event is named. :) There’s still time to sign up if you want to join us—please visit the HMK website to register.

HMK15 (1)

Lastly, I was honored to be interviewed last month by fellow author C. J. Asher. C. J. asked me a number of questions about topics ranging from the distinctions between erotica and romance to advocating for sex worker rights, and I found it a pleasure to answer them. You can find our discussion on his blog here.

Thanks for coming by, and until next time (and always), be well!

Love,
Emerald

Rita swallowed, reaching for a spreadsheet on her desk in a hopeless effort to distract herself. She put it down almost as soon as she picked it up and told herself she needed to face the facts: she wanted to fuck Chad as much as she ever had. That, she realized, had never changed. But it was arguably even less appropriate now, for both of them, than it had been a decade ago.

Just as she’d had to do with a number of other players, she was just going to have to get used to spending several hours a day in the same building with people whom she wanted to jump like a jackrabbit in heat.
-from Doubleheader

August 3rd, 2015

Coming Soon: Sex, Sports, and a Story of My Favorite Game…

9781909181458-frontcover (1)

Readers familiar with my work and/or my blog may be aware of my intense love of baseball. (Those who weren’t may consider themselves so now!) Last year, I was honored to be invited to contribute to an anthology in the works about sex and sports for Sweetmeats Press.

Upon receipt of this invitation, I knew immediately what sport I would want to write about. Really, for me, it went without saying. I am very excited now to announce that The Athletic Aesthetic, edited by Kojo Black and published by Sweetmeats Press, is slated for release next month! And it will include my baseball-themed story “Doubleheader.” :)

The anthology itself contains five longer-form short stories/novellas and will be available in both print and electronic formats. I am truly delighted to be appearing for the first time in a Sweetmeats publication, especially on a topic so dear to my heart and alongisde my lovely colleagues Malin James, Lexie Bay, Vanessa Wu, and Lisa Fox.

In addition, I am honored and delighted to say that Library Journal has named The Athletic Aesthetic a standout title in its July reviews!

Dh (1)

Upon release of the anthology, “Doubleheader,” which is longer than my usual stories and totals about 11,000 words, will also be sold as a standalone e-book (as will all the stories in the collection). If you are a reader interested in reviewing either the entire anthology or my story by itself, please get in touch with me—I have review copies available now and would be happy to bestow them upon readers who feel they would enjoy them. :)

Love,
Emerald

She had a baseball in her hand. Bringing it to her face, she inhaled the scent of fresh leather and arched her back, sliding her other hand down the side of her tank top. Her eyes flicked around her again. She was alone beneath the empty bleachers of the section; the nearest people to her seemed to be those on the field, and they were a considerable distance away.

Rita slid the ball down the front of her, between her breasts and down to the crotch of her cutoffs. She stole another glance around and paused as the crack of a bat was followed by one of the small white balls scampering Chad’s way. He fielded it easily and threw it across the field to his teammate.

Suddenly he turned his head just slightly, and Rita froze, consumed by the inexplicable feeling he had spotted her. She swallowed and stayed still, the ball clutched in her right hand resting now against her belly.
-from “Doubleheader”

July 30th, 2015

At Long Last, Best Erotic Romance of the Year Is Here!

BER15What was originally titled Best Erotic Romance 2015, part of the Best Erotic Romance series that publisher Cleis Press started in 2012, has been retitled Best Erotic Romance of the Year and is out now!

This long-awaited collection contains my story “Lotus,” which was inspired by a conglomeration of my love for and interest in at the time a number of things—puzzles, botanical gardens, snowstorms when one is safe and well-equipped (heh) inside, baths, even dogs. Somehow this assortment came together into a story, and I’m delighted that it’s available now in this anthology edited by the illustrious Kristina Wright, with whom I’ve always loved to work.

Best Erotic Romance of the Year is available in both print and electronic formats and is on sale now at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and most other online book retailers. :)

Love,
Emerald

Flustered, Charlotte gestured behind her to the refrigerator. “So, what would you like?”

Gavin was standing a few feet away, but he moved slowly toward her as she watched him. Giving her plenty of time to move had she wanted to, he finally said in a low voice, “You.”

The moment froze. Then he was kissing her, pressing her back against the counter as his body pushed into hers. Charlotte’s breath vanished, and heat shot straight from her belly to her cunt as Gavin reached his arms around her and pulled her somehow closer. A tiny moan spilled from her throat as she ground against him, and she found herself willing their clothes to simply disappear.
-from “Lotus”