May 6th, 2020

Office Space at the #RLFblog

I’m delighted to be a guest today on the Romance Lives Forever blog, helmed by the esteemed Kayelle Allen. In addition to talking about my brand new book, Initiative: Tales of Erotic Boldness, I’m also sharing a little about my work space, which in my case is my home office.

You can find our interview here. Please feel free to visit, say hi, and learn why a gumball machine is one of my favorite things in my office!

Love,
Emerald

“In addition, my office has fabulous silver wallpaper, a wall calendar I buy every year that has gorgeous and inspiring garden photographs (the Secret Garden series—I highly recommend it), and a stuffed Hello Kitty in a hot pink plaid dress I consider my ‘writing buddy.'”
-from my RLF interview

May 1st, 2020

Initiative: Tales of Erotic Boldness

While my excitement is counterbalanced with a deep reverence for the challenge of the current circumstances around the world, I am deeply pleased to announce the release of my brand new short story collection, Initiative: Tales of Erotic Boldness. While I considered pushing back the release date when the vast, perilous, unexpected circumstances surrounding COVID-19 began to emerge, I did, after some deliberation, choose to stay with the original release date of May 1. My hope is that for those seeking the stimulation, release, entertainment, or comfort (however one seeks or experiences it in a given moment) of reading, Initiative may support that experience.

Initiative by Emerald cover


Initiative contains thirteen stories, nine of which are previously published, and four that I wrote specifically for the collection. Here is the table of contents:

Rules
Shift Change
Lotus
Payback
The Beast Within (A Modern-Day Fairy Tale)
Who’s on Top?
Winter*
City Girl
Sunshine
Kissing Cassie*
Fulfillment*
A Few Hundred Dollars
Changing Tides*

For more information and buy links, please visit this page any time. If you would like to buy it right now, it is available in both print and e-book formats via Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple Books, Kobo, and IndieBound (Google Play coming soon). Thank you so much, and be well!

Love,
Emerald

“For instance, I could probably save you a few hundred dollars tonight.”


I heard the boldness of the statement as it came from my mouth, and I almost winced. What had possessed me to let that thought slip out loud?
 For the briefest moment the charming, even, ultra-collected man who was hosting this party in his mansion paused. But his smooth face remained impassive, and I likely wouldn’t have noticed the momentary composure slip had I not been paying so much attention.

-from “A Few Hundred Dollars” in Initiative

*previously unpublished
March 24th, 2020

The Work of Realizing What We Truly Are

I missed an opportunity.

Several months ago, perhaps approaching a year now, I happened to tune in to one of Tara Brach’s videos via Facebook Live. I arrived in the middle of it, and she was talking about loving and having compassion for others. I tuned in right about the time she said, “As soon as you perceive threat . . . the reptilian brain goes into fight-flight-freeze; it happens quickly. So we get angry or hurt or afraid and contract and we get cut off from the parts of the brain that are responsible for compassion. So that’s one way that we get blocked [from experiencing love and compassion]: when we perceive threat.” (Emphasis mine)

A few days later, an awareness entered consciousness in me as I was driving. It was not preceded by a conscious recollection of Tara’s words. But it was in response to them. It appeared all at once and was essentially this:

If it is true that compassion does not tend to be activated unless we feel safe, then those of us in relative safety are on the front lines of evolution: It is our job, our fierce and immediate and unrelenting job, to love. To love right now. To love everybody. With everything we have. Yes, it’s hard. Yes, there’s a part of us that doesn’t understand and doesn’t know how to do that. But that is our calling right now, and it is of utmost importance. If we are in a position of privilege that allows us to not perceive a direct threat right now (e.g., American citizens, white, cisgender, straight, currently financially secure, and/or many other manifestations of privilege), then we are the ones who must lead the mantle of love, do the hard work on the cutting edge of the evolution of humanity. We cannot lay this burden on people who are not actually safe right now—the LGBT community, those who aren’t white, those wishing to run from violence and instability to a place they have heard has less of those things—and must attend to the immediacy of the threats they are under. This is our job. Right now. And indefinitely.

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December 3rd, 2019

Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 5—Out December 10!

I’ve been a little quiet on the writing/publishing front for the last few years, so I’m delighted to say that my story “Something New” is releasing soon in Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 5! Edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel and published by Cleis Press, Best Women’s Erotica Volume 5 is due to come out December 10. I am especially humbled and delighted that the Publishers Weekly review of the book made mention of my story.

There is a blog tour for the anthology that started yesterday and runs through December 13, and you can find out more about the book, including upcoming events (I’m scheduled to be at the one in New York on January 19!) at the Best Women’s Erotica of the Year website. Rachel is also hosting an Instagram giveaway of two print copies of the book—find out how to enter here!

In addition, the publisher, Cleis Press, designed graphics to promote all the stories in the book. Mine is there to the right! I completely adore it, and you may be seeing more of it if you follow me on Twitter or Facebook. :) The book is available from IndieBound, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and most other online book retailers, and the audio version, narrated by Rose Caraway, is available here. If you do pick up a copy, thank you, and I hope you enjoy!

Love,
Emerald

When I looked at Samantha, there was an unmistakably different energy in her countenance. Her eyes had changed, from lively and friendly to darker and intense. Abruptly I found myself captivated by her even more than by Isaac, transfixed by the intangible allure she now radiated. I watched her look at my husband with obvious hunger, and I smiled.

I, fortunately, was not the jealous type either. And I had a feeling Isaac had just learned something new about his soon-to-be wife.
-from “Something New”

November 6th, 2019

A(nother) Plea to Consider

Around the time of the DECRIMNOW DC press conference on the introduction of a bill decriminalizing sex work in the District of Columbia, the inimitable Veronica Monet posted a link to a New York Times article titled, “Could Prostitution Be Next to Be Decriminalized?” I appreciated seeing the article in general, as well as some of what it said, and of course there were perspectives offered in it as well that are counter to mine. One such statement said, astonishingly enough:

“Ms. Mathieson and others who work with women in the sex trade say that supporters of decriminalization gloss over a raft of gruesome details about the profession, including rape, physical abuse by clients and pimps, commonplace drug use and an often ravaging physical toll of multiple sex partners, sometimes in the span of a few hours.”

There are times when my response to such assertions feels like one giant sigh. Nobody is “glossing over” anything in the sex industry. I sincerely don’t know why anyone even perceives that. The very motivation for decriminalization is the recognition of the extensive risks and, as the quote calls them, “gruesome details” of the industry that are largely invoked by its underground/illegal status. I honestly have not understood why this seems challenging to grasp. When abortion was criminalized, exploitation, sexual assault, and unsafe and unsanitary conditions surrounded it. This does not seem surprising, and I’m not certain why anyone would find it so. It is similarly the case with sex work. When it is criminalized, it becomes surrounded by exploitation and violence, in no minor part because the workers in the industry do not have the open option of seeking legal support. (In both cases, this is why I am unconvinced by anyone’s claim who supports the criminalization of either thing that they are actually concerned about the people impacted by such criminalization.)

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