Archive for Sex+ Diversion
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.
Thanks for coming by, and until next time (and always), be well!
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.
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.
-Jason Aldean “Just Gettin’ Started”
Welcome to my stop on the virtual book tour for Sex and Cupcakes: A Juicy Collection of Essays (on sale now at Amazon and iBooks), the inaugural single-author book from prolific sex writer, erotica editor, and cupcake connoisseur Rachel Kramer Bussel! I am delighted to be participating in the tour, which you may find and follow along with here. In addition, Rachel is holding an in-person book release party on November 17 at Sweet Revenge—find all the details on that on the Facebook invitation.
This may sound far-fetched, but the fact is, the first paragraph of the introduction of Sex and Cupcakes captivated me. Intensely. Those six sentences resonated with me so much and struck me as so full of insight that I came to write this sentence down literally before I’d even gotten halfway through the introduction. Upon finishing the introduction, I honestly didn’t know how one could not find it electrifyingly intriguing. I certainly did.
Full disclosure: Rachel has bestowed upon me the honor, many times, of publishing my work in her anthologies. Exactly half of the stories in my first single-author short story collection, If… Then, were previously published in anthologies edited by Rachel. Three of the stories in my second collection, Safe, were. She has published me more than all the other editors who have combined (not counting, of course, the publisher of said brand new collections). I have loved working with her and am truly honored to have made so many appearances in her compilations.
So one could say I might find it difficult to offer a “fair” or “objective” review of a volume she penned in its entirety.
Perhaps. But one could also say that I have felt drawn to submitting to her anthologies and working with her because I have familiarized myself with and followed her work, much of which has included nonfiction writing for a variety of publications, and found it consistently resonant and compelling. That would be accurate, and I suspect it goes far in accounting for the enthusiasm and appreciation I feel for her first single-author volume of nonfiction essays. I guessed that I would like Sex and Cupcakes enough to rave about it, and I was correct.
Sex and Cupcakes is a compilation of nine of the author’s luminous essays in one place, offering a (luscious buttercream frosting) taste of her extensive examination of, as she herself puts it, “how ideas about sexual freedom impact our society.” In addition to penetrating explorations on universal themes of life, sex, connection, society, and various correlations therein, the author also delves deep into her own personal experience, offering memoir of a captivating and illuminating nature that, we eventually see, frequently harkens back to these universal themes and macrocosmic observations of social phenomena.
To me, “My Boyfriend’s Fat” exemplified this juxtaposition, gracefully weaving the author’s inner perspective on her intimate relationship with insights into society’s (astonishingly intrusive and, as I see it, relatively arbitrary) relationship with fat, adding in level-headed recognitions about how the circumstances of said fat affect her and her boyfriend’s lives. It was one of my favorite pieces.
I also found myself loving and strikingly relating to “Monogamishmash,” an essay that, as I experienced it, displayed a trait I noticed throughout my reading of Sex and Cupcakes. It is that Rachel doesn’t hold back from displaying her personal vulnerabilities and uncertainties in the memoir within these pages. I found this to make the writing more authentic, engaging, interesting, and relatable. I have the feeling she writes with not only a desire to express herself but also to offer connection to her readers, who may find things here to relate to, discover about themselves, feel relief about seeing in another. In short, as Rachel puts it herself in the title essay, “I hope … my books and writing have helped open other people up as well.”
Speaking of the title piece, which is, of course, called “Sex and Cupcakes,” it seemed to me to be the highlight of the compilation. This was not just because it is significantly longer than the rest of the essays but also because it offers a comprehensive glimpse into these two aspects of the author’s life that have become, somewhat unexpectedly, so pivotal to her everyday existence and her career. Their juxtaposition and the author’s presentation of how she experiences the professional, social, and personal implications of each not only makes for interesting reading but is also, as usual, filled with the incisive observations and assessments the author has established as characteristic throughout the volume.
It’s worth noting that in addition to the curiosity, contemplation, exploration, and openness Rachel offers in these pieces, she is also simply a skilled writer. Thus the content she provides is not only compelling to peruse but is noticeably complemented by clear, lovely prose to express it.
Never, as I interpret it, does the author presume she is speaking for or representing anyone but herself, which I find a grounding and ingratiating characteristic in almost any writing but particularly in memoir or social commentary. As she says in “Sex and Cupcakes”: “I don’t have all the answers and I don’t pretend to. What I do have is a curiosity about my own and others’ sexuality, about what turns people on and how those interests relate to the culture at large.”
Those two sentences encompass a summation of how I ultimately experienced Sex and Cupcakes: as a diverse collection of curious, probing, sincere musings of someone who is truly and unapologetically fascinated by sex. As one who has that in common with the author, this book was an endeavor I actively appreciated.
If you’ve ever read the author’s work online (and if you have an interest in relationships, sexuality, and/or memoir, you probably either have or will want to) and appreciated it, Sex and Cupcakes is something you’ll almost certainly want to devour as a comprehensive taste of the thoughtfulness, relatability, and insight she has to offer. If you haven’t yet been exposed to her work, I recommend this volume as a superb place to start.
In the title piece, Rachel says (accurately, it seems to me), “Focusing on sex as an intelligent point of conversation, as something lively, worthy and interesting, is beyond the pale for a lot of people.”
It is certainly our gain that the author is not one of them.
“There is a particular kind of venom that comes out when you speak and write about sex, whether it’s autobiographical or not. You reveal a vulnerability and tap into the dirty little secret of our supposedly sex-saturated, anything-goes American culture: that deep down, we are pretty prudish.”
-Rachel Kramer Bussel, in the title essay of Sex & Cupcakes
This year’s Hot Mojave Knights (HMK) in Las Vegas is from September 25-28 and will be the event’s second annual manifestation. I went last year and am honored and so excited to be attending again this year as a Court Spotlight Author.
I’m not only looking forward to going, I am having (just as I did last year!) tons of fun getting things ready to be there. My costume for the warrior-themed ball is very close to complete, I just sent my swag for the swag bags off to the organizers today, and I’ve just gotten started making the special swag for the people who sit at my table for Saturday night’s ball/banquet. So much fun!! I tend to really like doing stuff like this. ;)
Oh, and I almost forgot—I’ve been hard at work on my raffle basket, too. This year proceeds from our raffle baskets go to Operation Homefront (and I so admire and appreciate that the HMK organizers make a point to organize financial support for a charitable cause as part of the event). I’ll be sure to post pictures of my raffle basket after I’ve compiled everything and put it all together. Pictures will be forthcoming of my special swag too!
Speaking of swag, here is a picture mine for this year—a homemade bookmark with one side green glitter and one side my pen name and website (click to enlarge):
I love glitter. ;)
That’s all for now. If you haven’t registered yet and you live in or near Las Vegas or want to take a trip there, please do join us! If attending the whole event won’t work for you but you find yourself in the Vegas area that Saturday, September 27, we’d love to see you at our public book-signing event from 1:00 -4:00 p.m. at Sunset Station Hotel and Casino!
Let’s get ready to viva Las Vegas!!
”Bright light city gonna set my soul, gonna set my soul on fire…”
-Elvis Presley “Viva Las Vegas”
Because I started traveling the day after it (and am still out of town), I’ve taken quite a while to write about the fabulous reading I attended on July 24 at Lotus Blooms—a magnificent store, incidentally, that I highly recommend patronizing if you ever find yourself in Alexandria, Virginia!
Despite the store’s being local to me, I had for some odd reason never visited it—a circumstance I’m glad to have remedied! Literally the first thing I noticed upon entering was how beautiful it is. The second thing I experienced was the unambiguous graciousness and friendliness of the staff. I’m so glad editor and author Rachel Kramer Bussel organized and convened this reading at such a lovely location—and that it’s somewhere I’ll have the chance to visit often!
The reading was devoted to Rachel’s anthologies The Big Book of Submission (in which I don’t have a story) and The Big Book of Orgasms (in which I do). I read my story “Payback” from the latter. Once again thanks to Rick Write, here is the video of it:
-OAR “This Town”