Archive for Sex+ Writing: Others’

August 19th, 2019

The Poignant Beauty of Bound: A Daughter, A Domme, and an End-of-Life Story

In November of 2012, a post from Elizabeth Anne Wood, whom I know in person and am Facebook friends with, appeared in my Facebook feed. It said that she was “putting [her] phone on silent overnight for the first time in seven months.” I remember finding the statement deeply poignant. I had learned from a post two days before that her mother was no longer alive in that physical form.

I had been peripherally aware via Facebook that Elizabeth had been caring for her mother through an intensive and terminal illness. Not long after, I learned that Elizabeth planned to write a book about the experience of being her mother’s caretaker during the health challenges that arose shortly after her mother’s later-in-life sexual exploration and foray into erotic domination. I made an immediate note to read it when it came out.

Doing so illuminated just how peripheral my knowledge of the situation had indeed been as Bound: A Daughter, A Domme, and an End-of-Life Story guided me unflinchingly into the thick of not only the mind-bogglingly complicated (thanks in part to the bureaucratic nature of current health care in the United States) care of the author’s mother Judy during her cancer diagnosis and treatment, but also through a poignant and engrossing narrative that touches topics ranging from Elizabeth’s childhood and her mother’s alcoholism until Elizabeth was eight, to her discussions with her mother about the latter’s discovery of and newfound enthusiasm for sexual dominance in her sixties, to navigating communications with health care providers upon whom the well-being of a beloved family member to some degree depends. Intertwined in the story are the tension that arises sometimes between the author and her sister as they navigate the utterly uncertain terrain of their mother’s health and care, the welcome presence of the male partner with whom Judy has developed an erotic relationship of dominance and submission, and an exhausting number of physical transfers from hospital to rehab centers to skilled nursing facilities and back again.

Bound is a book to which we already know the “ending.” Such is, in fact, included in the subtitle. Like many books in this category, the purpose of reading it then becomes not to find out how the volume resolves but to witness the shape, evolution, and content of the story as it progresses to its known conclusion. This is reflected on occasion in the actual text, in which Elizabeth at times not only foreshadows but actually shares a significant fact or occurrence that will become known later in their experience but that they are not yet aware of in the current scenario. Rather than detract in any way from the suspense of the narrative, these observations enhance the poignancy and, in many cases, highlight the frustration or anguish of aspects of the author’s (and her family’s) journey.

On page 193, I cried for the first time during the reading. It is on this page that a doctor offers Elizabeth the gentle invitation to “just be the daughter,” and I immediately sensed both the profound compassion in the invitation and also the earth-shattering and seemingly impossible surrender its recipient was likely to perceive in it. This was, of course, because Elizabeth had so effectively depicted the supreme propensities for organization, capability, and conscientiousness that had been dominating (no pun intended) her role of being her mother’s primary caretaker and medical advocate. It was easy to recognize, however, the beauty and importance of also “being the daughter,” and I cried alongside the author as she expressed, both out loud to the medical professionals and also in the written narrative, the frustration and uncertainty about what allowing herself to embrace such a role would mean.

This instance of being personally—and sympathetically—moved to tears contrasted with other times I felt moved in a more philosophical way, such as in the anguish and indignation I felt on pages 178-179 as Elizabeth alluded to the devastating racial and economic inequality of America’s health care system. (As a slight digression, it is a sincere hope in me that someday humanity looks back and recognizes a health care system—or what was called that—in any society that is centered on for-profit institutions and a for-profit industry that dictates what care individuals may receive according to how much money that for-profit industry is willing to spend as the inhumane abomination that it is.) Such practical and sociological conditions receive both recognition and illumination in this account of a patient who happens to be white and have high-quality employer-provided health insurance, as well as a primary caretaker and medical advocate who is well-educated and has the relative luxury of getting to take time off to care for her ailing mother full-time.

I experienced this book as a very personal offering from the author. Many, if not all, books are that, perhaps (though memoirs are explicitly so), but what I mean is that the way the author frames her words and what she chooses to convey feel, on one hand, very intimate, offered with both a generosity and a vulnerability inherent in letting us in to view this experience as she lived it. Simultaneously, the volume feels almost like an internal reckoning for the author herself, an exposition delineating her history, family dynamics, experiences, perspectives, and, perhaps most of all, her labor on behalf of all of those things, borne of love and laced with the confusion, obligation, competency, and uncertainty that (perhaps in that order) developed from her childhood and formed the unique psychic structures she exhibits as she rejoices in Judy’s late-in-life sexual development and shepherds her mother through the health-related ordeal that will result in her transition out of that physical form. This nuanced juxtaposition gives a beautiful, personal, poignant tone and energy to a story filled with love, sensitivity, and honesty.

One final note: Rather than at the beginning, the acknowledgements are at the end of this book, which seemed both moving and fitting somehow. To me, they almost seemed like a combination of acknowledgments and epilogue, and I encourage readers to continue through to their conclusion. The story hardly seems complete without them.

Love,
Emerald

“Hospitals, on the other hand, remove our agency immediately, in very unceremonial ways, and then offer it back coercively by way of consent forms that we are compelled to sign in order to get the treatment we know we need.”
-from Bound: A Daughter, A Domme, and an End-of-Life Story

August 3rd, 2015

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

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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!

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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”

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. ;)

UPDATE: The audio version of Dirty 30, narrated, of course, by the anthology’s editor, Rose Caraway, is available now here!

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