June 9th, 2015

The Sexy Librarian’s Dirty 30 Antho Is Here!

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Greetings!! Because I’ve experienced a frenetically occupying week (or year so far, to be accurate), I am remiss in not having yet announced the long-awaited release of The Sexy Librarian’s Dirty 30, Volume 1 anthology! Edited by audio seductress Rose Caraway, the Dirty 30 collection includes my story “Truth” and is on sale now for a limited-time price of $2.99 on Amazon.

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While the gorgeous shot above was this collection’s original cover, because we know Amazon can act silly sometimes, the company seemed to demand a new one, which the publisher managed to whip up in what seemed pretty quick order. Much as I love the original one, I find the new cover lovely too! So this is what you’ll see if you order Dirty 30 on Amazon now:

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This inaugural anthology from Stupid Fish Productions is packed with authors I’m delighted to be alongside, and I’m honored to have a story in it. In addition, since the editor is Rose, after all, the audible version is slated to be available soon! I’ll announce that here when it happens. ;)

Love,
Emerald

There are a number of things I could say to this comment from my interviewer. I’m fairly sure he has appreciated most of what I’ve said so far, all of which has been true. And now I wish I could tell the truth too. I want to say, “Well, Mr. Delamar, I have actually been working as a whore for the past three years. Would you like to hear about some of my experiences? Some of the skills I feel I have acquired or refined? Some of the challenges I encountered and how I addressed them? I feel they might be of interest to you.”

Because really, it seems to me they might be of interest to any prospective employer. Who doesn’t face challenges, relate to others or certainly to themselves in the midst of their job, appreciate learning of the experiences of those who did so in a way they believe is nurturing and successful?
-from “Truth” in The Sexy Librarian’s Dirty 30, Volume 1

April 29th, 2015

Coming in Threes…

It is my pleasure to partake in the blog tour for editor Kristina Wright‘s latest erotic romance anthology for Cleis Press, Three of Hearts—which features the theme of, of course, threesomes.

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Though this may seem obvious, I will say right away that if you are a fan of the idea of threesomes—if they interest you at all—this is almost certainly a book you’ll want to pick up. Though they all share that particular numeric configuration, these stories vary wildly in scenario, gender combination, relational context, and tone. There are committed triads, spontaneous threesomes among people who heretofore considered themselves platonic, budding romances among trios, and, of course, couples inviting a third into their beds—as well as, in some cases, their hearts.

With the title of this anthology offering a foregone conclusion about the number of people involved in each imminent tryst, the fun in these stories lies in seeing how the three of them will get there. And in its own way, each one features a glimpse into the unique dynamic inescapable when another person is added to a traditionally two-person equation.

Even when on the surface two stories’ premises seem similar, there are significant distinctions that place each tale into its own unique niche in this book. For example, in both Rachel Kramer Bussel‘s “An Extra Pair of Eyes” and Kathleen Tudor‘s “Experience and Expectations,” a third person is being brought into a married couple’s relationship. But Rachel’s story showcases a woman who (delightfully) simultaneously exhibits the brazenness to ask a man she’s just met to come home with them alongside a solid tendency toward sexual submission and the desire to be taken once they get there; Kathleen’s tale, on the other hand, tells of a woman whose wife has never been with a man and seems to have come to feel she might like to try it….

Three of Hearts runs a gamut tonally as well, and there is indeed a whole lot of “more than just sex” among these pages. Some stories pulled forth relational empathy in me, submerging me in the fascination inherent in interpersonal contact, particularly in a sexual or romantic context—made all the more so in this instance because a whole other entity beyond that which is considered traditional in our culture is entered in the equation. For example, I found Annabeth Leong‘s “Whose Anniversary Is It, Anyway?” a beautiful and nuanced exploration of relationship, vulnerability, and commitment. “The Mistress in the Brat” by Skylar Kade affected me similarly, this time with the added context of Dom and sub BDSM elements.

“A Thief in the Night” by Giselle Renarde, on the other hand, got a lot of points for originality from me and was an example of a story with an entirely different kind of tone. I found similar unexpected elements in Cheyenne Blue‘s “What Happens in Denver,” one of a number of stories where sexual interaction was not already existent among any of the characters involved.

There were also stories whose prose I simply loved. I find it such a treat when a story I already otherwise like offers evocative imagery almost reminiscent of poetry. It’s not a prerequisite of enjoying a story for me by any means, but it tends to add to my experience like a touch of just the right spice. I found this in Angela Caperton‘s story (and have often experienced it in Angela’s writing), “Eve’s Apple Red,” as well as in “Uncharted Seas” by Chris Komodo. The rich prose of both effortlessly called up their exquisite scenery—which can include characters—in my consciousness as though it were right in front of me.

I experienced Three of Hearts as a smattering of hot, entertaining, diverse stories that do the topic of threesomes in their innumerable possibilities justice. In some instances, the identification of the “third” wasn’t even obvious. There were simply people in relationship, interacting within that core theme of a triangle of bodies, hearts, perspectives, circumstances. It all adds up to a great triple-decker ride—and one I recommend taking!

Love,
Emerald

“Three is magic, three is mysterious, three is a heart turned sideways, looking at life a little differently from the rest.”
-Kristina Wright, in the introduction to Three of Hearts

January 14th, 2015

Sex, Aging, and Inspiration: The Ultimate Guide to Sex After 50

Most readers of this blog or my work are aware, I imagine, that sex interests me. I don’t just mean engagement in it (though that is included!), but the topic itself: the vast, glorious, and fascinating subject of sexuality with its myriad psychological, spiritual, personal, social, and energetic implications. Whenever I have encountered another in the personal or public realm who seems similarly oriented, I have tended to take notice and go out of my way to discover said person’s perspectives and offerings on this subject of mutual fascination.

Joan Price is one of these people. And her latest book, The Ultimate Guide to Sex After 50: How to Maintain—or Regain—a Spicy, Satisfying Sex Life, published by Cleis Press, is a shining example of why I would seek out this kind of luminosity. I’m delighted to participate today in the official blog tour celebrating this brand new release—please visit here to see the rest of the schedule and follow along!

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I’m not yet over 50, and I won’t be for more than a decade, but the fact is, I am acutely supportive of an increase in information and discussion on sexuality-related topics, especially one that’s tended to get as little air time as this one. For a population that society consistently seems to say doesn’t—or shouldn’t—exist (seniors actively embracing, embodying, displaying, and living their sexual energy and desire), Joan’s advocacy and personal and professional devotion to the subject of senior sexuality strikes me as invaluable and woefully needed. 
The Ultimate Guide to Sex After 50 offers a genuine, straightforward, comprehensive, and caring guide to things from the universal (as I see it) to the specific as related to the age group in question, covering topics from sex toys to the absence of intimacy in relationship to widowhood to navigating the contemporary world of online dating.

It is a beautiful book. If I were to describe it in one word, I think it would be “inspiring.”

I perceive this word from multiple angles. As a reader who hasn’t even experienced many of the things the book talks about, I could feel the energy of kindness, generosity, and encouragement with which it was written. I find that inspiring in and of itself. In addition, I saw inspiration in the following messages (explicit or implicit):

You Are Not Alone
As a baseline, this book will let readers know they are not alone in almost all of their situations, concerns, or challenges. Running the gamut from issues of seemingly lost intimacy, changes in desire, the occurrence of widowhood, health challenges, medicinal side effects, and much more, what is presented in these pages lets those facing any of these circumstances know that many, many other people have and are too. I don’t underestimate the profound value of this.

Mainstream Social Messages About Older Sexuality Are (Generally) Bullshit
I have experienced mainstream culture as dismissing or denigrating the existence or appropriateness of sexual desire, expression, and health among older people. I find this nonsensical and unconscionable. So, it seems, does the author.

There Are Many Practical Solutions Available
The author devotes much pagination to addressing numerous practical matters, from medicinal side effects to the potential benefits of different kinds of sex toys. Personally, I could feel the caring and reassurance with which this was written, which it seems to me will be of particular support to readers who may experience a defeated relationship with their bodies or health challenges. Joan not only offers information to help readers understand the array of options and potential solutions that are available, she has also compiled an extensive “Recommended Resources” section at the end of the book and consistently reminds the reader to check them out if they seem relevant.

You Have a Right to Have Sexual Concerns Addressed in Professional Medical Care
There is a whole chapter devoted to speaking with medical professionals about issues related to sexuality, particularly in the context of health challenges. This chapter encompasses information on everything from finding a doctor willing to address this topic (and ceasing to see one who doesn’t) to how to convey to your health care providers that you find your sexuality an important part of life and want to attend to any concerns about it.

While the World—and You—Have Changed, the Very Fact That You’re Still Here Means You Are Capable of Adapting
I also saw a continual emphasis on openness and awareness of shifts in ourselves and our relationships. The straightforward assertion that things shift in our bodies and beings as we age and that this does not necessarily mean the “end” of something but rather an opportunity for something different struck me as a linchpin of the overall positive, caring, and encouraging note this book consistently sounds.

Sexual Universality
Not surprisingly (to me anyway), there were certainly things in The Ultimate Guide to Sex After 50 that it seems to me adults of all ages would do well to consider. Certainly I appreciated the emphasis throughout on expanding our view and definition of sex to mean things in addition to penis-in-vagina (PIV) intercourse. And, of course, there was a general inclusivity essential to any comprehensive book on sexuality that addressed populations such as the LGBT communities. There were also timeless offerings related to self-awareness, such as the recommendation to discern, articulate, and prioritize what one is specifically looking for in a sexual or long-term committed partner.

The book is presented in a way that inserts actual comments from readers and followers of the author’s work where relevant. These anecdotes, which ranged from longing and poignant to breathtakingly joyful, struck me as clearly reflective of the conflicts, successes, and complexities of real people’s experiences and, in my perception, added greatly to the accessibility of the book. In addition, the author makes liberal use of calling on colleagues with expertise in the specific areas she’s addressing, resulting in excerpts and asides from such luminaries as Carol Queen, Charlie Glickman, and Mark Michaels and Patricia Johnson.

Joan also shares generously of herself in these pages. This did not surprise me, as I have seen her offer openly about her (sometimes quite intimate) experiences and how they have impacted her life and sexuality. I have experienced her as doing this at least in part with the earnest aspiration of supporting others in developing and living their own authentic sexualities. Again—inspiring.

Never for a second did I see this book as not relevant to me because I’m not (yet) in the target age group. (Really, how self-defeating would such a perspective be, since it seems likely I someday will be!) I actually love having had the opportunity to read this at this time; it prepares me with so much information for what to perhaps expect and how to address my own experience as I get older. Encouraging and practical, accessible and informative, The Ultimate Guide to Sex After 50 is a book I recommend without hesitation not only to the targeted age group but also to all of us who care about sexuality and want to support both ourselves and others in authentically appreciating it throughout the human life span.

Love,
Emerald

“It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life for me, and I’m feeling good…”
-Michael Buble “Feeling Good”

December 31st, 2014

Silence and Shout-Outs

From my reading at The Philadelphia Erotic Literary Salon in November

From my reading at The Philadelphia Erotic Literary Salon in November

I have been quiet during December. As I have mentioned here before, in Five-Element acupuncture, Winter is a time for stillness, silence, depth, and mystery. Our culture seems to throw that for a bit of a loop, but I personally aspire to do my best to respect the season’s offerings. At this time, that manifested as stepping away a bit from online promotion and interaction.

Of course, I was remiss in not getting a post up about the annual International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers on December 17. I absolutely did not forget about the day; I just (for the first time since I started blogging) did not manage to get a post written about it in a timely manner. I regret that.

Writing-wise, 2014 was a huge year for me, of course, with the release in September and October of my first single-author books. I found it big for me in other ways, too, and I can hardly believe 2014 is already coming to a close. To me, the year seemed to fly by. On that note, I’m a bit late in mentioning that I have an author interview about If… Then up on the Marketing for Romance Writers (MFRW) Author Blog that went live this past Sunday, December 28.

Before I close out the year here, I want to give a shout-out to two people I love dearly. The first is my colleague Alana Noel Voth, whose birthday I appeared to miss on December 27 (I say “appeared” because I actually didn’t forget about that either but just didn’t manage to publicly wish her a happy birthday like I meant to!). Alana released her first single-author short story collection this year as well: the extraordinary Dog Men is available now through its publisher, Tiny Hardcore Press. If you’re not familiar with Alana’s writing, all I know to say is that I have consistently found it breathtaking in its scope, depth, and capacity to move. I highly recommend checking her collection out.

The second is Ms. Donna George Storey, whose birthday is today! Donna is the author of Amorous Woman, one of my all-time favorite novels, and it has so been my pleasure and privilege to get to know her, mostly via our online communications, over the last several years.

Wishing all a beautiful new year (and always!) and transition into 2015.

Love,
Emerald

“It’s only going on nine o’clock but feels more like midnight…already having the time of our lives, and we’re just getting started tonight…”
-Jason Aldean “Just Gettin’ Started”

December 1st, 2014

Welcoming December with an Award and a Guest Post!

RLFgemsAwardI can hardly fathom that it’s December already (I’m still looking around wondering where summer went)—but it is, and that means I have a couple things to announce today!

First, I truly could not be more honored to have received the Top Blogger Award from Romance Lives Forever for the month of November. I had an interview featured there November 10, and the award means that post received more page views than any other of the month (with the exception of the Top Blogger post itself, posted on the first of the month, and the post for a unique blog event in November that was in honor of Veterans’ Day). I really can hardly believe my post gleaned this honor, and I feel so truly, profoundly grateful to everyone who visited and/or shared it. Thank you.

BBIn addition, I also have a guest post up today at the remarkable Brit Babes blog, a site run by eight magnificent UK-based authors: Lily Harlem, Victoria Blisse, Lexie Bay, Tabitha Rayne, Sarah Masters, Lucy Felthouse, Kay Jaybee, and K D Grace. I am delighted to have the chance to spout off offer a perspective in me on their blog today.

As I mention in the post itself, the topic I chose to write about is not new (either its existence or a response to it). But I’d found the topic in my consciousness recently and felt compelled to muse on what I saw as its implications. The result was “The Art of Perception: Sexuality, Society, and Realness”—and what better place to offer it, it seems to me, than Brit Babes? :)

In case I’ve seemed coy about the actual topic, my post deals with the response to the claim that erotic writing is not “real” writing. A very thoughtful friend of mine postulated the question to me in a theoretical sense—as in, how would I respond to it were someone to seriously ask me—and this post is, for now at least, my answer. :)

Love,
Emerald

“I myself see the perspective in question as much more related to society’s perceptions around sexuality than about anything to do with either literary or erotic writing.”
-from “The Art of Perception: Sexuality, Society, and Realness”