Tuesday, July 22, 2014

NSFW: Queer and Sexy Resources for Authors of Romance and Erotica

There is generally two layers of the research I do for sex scenes, some factual sex ed kind of research and than some research into what other arts/writers have done with this particular act/kink/toy or whatnot.

The trick for me is that most sex ed, and most artist representations of sex acts focus on cishet people. Sometimes, especially when it comes to sexual education books or articles, there will be a little nod to the information being applicable to same sex couples but in general the information is delivered with cisgender bodies and heterosexual couples in mind.

In a lot of ways this is a problem for me because the number of cishet people I've written about is exactly zero. Sometimes though I can just tweak the information a little bit and let my imagination do the rest. Still it's nice to have some research to use that at least acknowledges the existence of people like me and the characters I write about.

Here is a, in no way comprehensive, list of some of the resources I use that don't assume that the people having sex with nessisarily be cishet.


The Sex Advice/Tips section of Early To Bed, Good Vibrations, and Babeland:

These three women owned, queer positive sex toy stores are great places not just to find interesting toys but also sex advice.

A lot of these articles will still assume that the sex is happening between one cisgender woman and one cisgender man. BUT there is a lot more awareness that not every couple that fit into the cisgender man+ woman mold is heterosexual. Plus there are just a lot more articles about same sex couples and/or non-cisgender people.

Early to Bed Sex Advice 
Good Vibrations Sexual Education Resources 
Babeland Sex Info

Here you can find some great sex tips for trans women and their partners, articles on pegging or female ejaculation, strap-ons and packing, tips for choosing and using cock rings or dental dams, and lots more. These are some great research tools.

What I've also found helpful are sex blogs and sex toy reviewers, with my very favorite being ...

Oh Joy Sex Toy by Erika Moen: 

Oh Joy Sex Toy is probably the cutest sex toy/sex ed blog ever not just because it is smart and well written but because it is also completely in comic form. For people like me who love comics and sex it's a dream come true.

Erika has a lot of sex toy reviews on Oh Joy Sex Toy but also some great comics on things like sexting, internal condoms, oral sex tips, hooking up online/dirty chatting and much more. On top of that she's had some great guest comics on rope bondage, DIY BDSM gear, strap-ons, the history of vibrators along with other great stuff.

One of the things I particularly love about Oh Joy Sex Toy is that Erika illustrates each comic with models that are very much NOT all thin, able, cisgender people, and a diverse range of couples. Although both she and her husband are cisgender Oh Joy Sex Toy does indeed focus on a wide variety of people enjoying a wide variety of sexual activities which I think is how it should be.

Porn is one of those things I see a lot of people giggling about using as research or 'research' for sex scene but not actually discussing as a serious research tool for romance and erotica writers.

I personal think there are some benefits and drawbacks to using porn as part of research for romance and erotica sex. The most obvious drawback being that porn is pretty much the visual version of what at lot of us write. That means it depicts a fantasy with characters that often do not accurately represent the ways sex goes down in my or (probably) your bedroom.

On the other hand I do think there are benefits to using porn as a research tool. Much like I read other people's romance and erotica so I can write better romance and erotica I think it can be helpful to see how other artists and performers incorporate certain acts or scenarios into their sexual fantasy scenes.

Often I'll find myself finishing up an sex ed article and thinking to myself "I understand how this physically works and how to do it safely, but what would it be like to actually incorporate it into a night of dirty fucking?"  Which is where I think porn (or erotica or hands-on experimentation) can be helpful.

Yet again though the porn world is full of cishet people and light on everyone else. Also mainstream gay porn isn't going to help you write that strap-on scene starring a cisgender lady, trans man and their non-binary partner. Need to see two butch lesbians fist each other, rope bondage starring fat and plus sized queer women, three hot trans dykes make out, cute trans guys do some incest themed role play, two bears cuddle, a trans guy fuck his hot cisgender roommate on the couch?

Well I have the recs for you.

Pink & White Productions: 

Pink & White Productions is best known for the groundbreaking, award-winning The Crash Pad Series. The Crash Pad Series is first and formost porn made by and for queer women. With 176 episodes and counting though the Crash Pad Series has long since branched out to cover all different aspects of queer identity and sexuality. It's gorgeous, it's indie, it's fair trade, you can watch clips of performers talking in really honest and open ways about making each and every episode. Safer sex supplies are used, consent is taken seriously and often on screen. More than that though Crash Pad is hot, hot, hot. I have never once regretted my membership.
I would especially recommend The Crash Pad's Guide to Fisting which is part sex ed on the finer details of fisting and part hot, steamy porn between two gorgeous women. 

The Crash Pad Series is far from the only great porn Pink & White has to offer.

Along with a variety of great full length films Pink & White also have another series, Heavenly Spire, that focuses on alternative representations of masculinity.

Every episode of Heavenly Spire is gorgeous and lush. There is a diverse of mix of ages, races, body types, sexualities (although it is primarily gay porn) and both cis and trans performers. The performers are asked question at the begin of the episodes about their sexual fantasies or what parts of their body they thing are the most attractive. Instead of saying "my big cock" or "tight ass" most men choose to answer in ways that are more thoughtful and much more vulnerable. It has made me for one think much more critically about the relationships men have with their bodies and sexualities.

Also check out  PinkLabel.tv, a porn streaming site set up by the folks behind Pink & White specifically to get indie, fair-trade, queer and feminist porn out there. It carries everything from full length films, to episodes, to short clips, gay porn, lesbian porn, queer porn, and even some alternative cishet.

FTM Fucker: 

FTM Fucker is fair-trade, queer porn all the about trans guys fucking male partners, female partners and non-binary partners.

There is kinky scenes, hot masturbation scenes, a unicorn themed gangbang, and a gorgeous episode about magic and fae that includes themes of ambiguous consent, dream space, and knife play.

FTM Fucker is all about celebrating all different kinds of trans men, their sexualities and bodies, and it includes some incredibly hot porn.

Doing It Online:

Doing It Online is a queer, fair-trade porn site focusing on trans women. Founded by the incredible Tobi Hill-Meyer Doing It Online focuses on a wide array of queer trans women having incredible sex with each other. Doing It Online is specifically porn by trans women for trans women and works hard to portray trans female sexualities without fetishizing them.

Doing It Online is a new site but I have high hopes for it since Tobi Hill-Meyer's earlier queer trans women porn film, Doing It Ourselves, is one of the hottest porn films I've ever seen, bar none. Seriously, if you love lesbian porn get your hands on this film, you will not be sorry.

TroubleFilms and Indie Porn Revolution: 
non-binary, genderqueer, femme Courtney Trouble is a legend in the queer porn industry both a producer and performer. TroubleFilms is their independent queer porn company, also partnered with both FTM Fuckers and Doing It Online.

TroubleFilms has produced a huge selection of lesbian and queer full length porn films including the highly acclaimed Trans Grrrls. Courtney Trouble also founded and runs Indie Porn Revolution online streaming, clips and photographs of some of the biggest names in indie and queer porn. Indie Porn Revolution has been up and running since 2002, making it one of the longest running oldest queer porn sites around.  

 So these are some of my recommendations for writing sex as a queer romance or erotica author. What sites/books/videos/resources do you recommend?

Monday, July 21, 2014

Gay Romance Northwest Meet-up September 20th 2014: I will be there!

I will be at the Gay Romance Northwest Meet-up on September 20th!

This will be my first con I have attended as an author and I am super excited. If you are going to be there this would be a great time to stop by, say hello, and get to know me a little bit. I tend to be quiet but I'm not shy and love to talk about all sorts of things (as my online presence as proven.)

On September 19th at 7:00pm at the University Book Store I will be doing a reading, along with Jordan Castillo Price, Rick R. Reed, Rose Christo and Radclyffe. It will be good times (and maybe I'll have the fohawk back, we'll see.)

"From coming-of-age stories to paranormal mysteries to contemporary romances, each writer shines a spotlight on LGBTQ lives, loves and relationships, and promotes the theme that there’s Happily Ever After for everyone."

I don't know what I will be reading yet but it will be exciting (and a little intimidating) since this is my first reading ever.

On September 20th I will also be on a panel. 

3:55pm  4:45pm: Panel 3 – The Evolving LGBTQ Romance Genre
Otherwise known as the return of the popular Diversity Panel! This panel explores special topics such as diversity (or lack thereof) in LGBTQ romance, and how the genre is evolving.

Nicole Kimberling (Author, Turnskin, Primal Red)

  • David-Matthew Barnes (Author, The Jetsetters, Swimming to Chicago)
  • Rose Christo (Author, Gives Light, The Place Where They Cried)
  • Lori L. Lake (Author, Gun Shy, Under the Gun)
  • Pearl Love (Author, The Uncertain Customer, ‘Til Darkness Falls)
  • E.E. Ottoman (Author, Selume Proferre, The Memory of Blood and Lotuses)
I look forward to some great questions and great discussions!

I am also looking forward to seeing people at the author's meet and greet and signings later in the  evening.

Check out the rest of the schedule it looks awesome

I am excited and very pleased to be attending! 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Upcoming projects, and releases!

First off my next upcoming release is Duende the second story, after A Matter of Disagreement, in the Mechanical Universe series. Duende is scheduled to be released by Less Than Three Press on
September 10th 2014!

Famed opera singer Aimé has a lot in common with Badri, the Royal Ballet Company's most popular male lead. They have both dedicated their entire lives to their art, and struggle to be taken seriously among the Empire's elite. And both harbor a secret admiration and desire for the other.

This year for his birthday Aimé treats himself to a night at the ballet seeing Badri perform, and after the show decides to meet Badri and confess his admiration for Badri's skill. But when that first awkward meeting turns to more, they are left wondering if there is room in their lives for both career and romance...

Check it out here!

There will be a third story in the Mechanical Universe series, Winter's Bees ( posted an excerpt from a very early draft here), that is scheduled to be released February 2015.

I am also revising/expanding/re-editing two short stories I'd previously released this time a stand-alone novellas.

The new and revised version of Business Makes Strange Bedfellows is scheduled to be released by Less Than Three Press in October of 2014 just in time for Halloween!

 If you haven't read this lesbian romance story set in 1890s New York City featuring hideous monsters of the deep, a scientist who enjoys trying to reanimate dead bodies and a dashing vampire detective October will be the time to do so. If you've already read it then you'll want to check it out again since I will be giving it a good polish and improving on some of the rough edges.   

The Possession of Lawrence Eugene Davis will also be republished as a stand alone work although I
do not as yet have a release date.

Again you will definitely want to check out this story of haunting, demonic possession, dark magic, and incubus set in 1930s Dust Bowl Taxes. This is the first poly story I've ever written and I'm very pleased with the strong gothic horror/Southern gothic feel the story has.

Also in its original form The Possession of Lawrence Eugene Davis was a short story of about 12K. Since revising it I have more than doubled the length and in its second publication it will be respectable novella of over 30,000 words. So if you read it and enjoyed it the first time but wished it was longer you will be in luck!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Cover Reveal: Duende

This is the cover for my up coming release Duende, which is the second story in my Mechanical Universe series. Although it is set in the same universe as A Matter of Disagreement the stories are not interconnected so Duende can be read as a stand alone story.   

Duende has a tentative release date of September 10th 2014.

Unofficial blurb:

Famed opera singer Aimé has a lot in common with Badri, the Royal Ballet Company's most popular male lead. Both are ground breaking artists who struggle to be taken seriously among the Empire's elite. Both have dedicated their entire lives to their art and both harbor a secret admiration and desire for the other.

This year for his birthday Aimé treats himself to a night at the ballet seeing Badri perform After the show Aimé decides to meet Badri and tell him how much Aimé admires him as an artist.

The awkward first meeting causes Badri to seek Aimé out again and desire between them instantly flares. Yet neither are sure if their demanding careers can leave room for romance. As they draw closer together though both Badri and Aimé begin to ask themselves, could this be something more? 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Pictures of Chinatown Without Comment

Soy Kee and Company on Pell Street, prior to 1897. Photographer and figure unknown.
____ "[Soy Kee Co. store front]"  Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA, b&w film copy neg.  http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3b03206 (accessed January 30th 2013)

  Soy Kee and Company on Pell Street, prior to 1897. Photographer.  ____ "[Soy Kee Co. store front]"  Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA, b&w film copy neg.  http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3b03206 (accessed January 30th 2013) 
Inside of Chinese hand laundry in San Francisco 1890s or early 1900s. Photographer and figure unknown. The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. "The Chinese Experience in 19th Century America." last modified 2006. Accessed 3/26/2013 <http://teachingresources.atlas.uiuc.edu/chinese_exp/perspectives02.html>

The inside of a chop suey cafe, 1900s. Notice the all white cliental. Ostrow, Daniel. Manhattan's Chinatown: postcard history. South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing, 2008

Entrance to joss house, early 1900s. Taken from the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.______ "Entrance to Joss House in Chinatown" Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, New York) Aug. 12, 1900.

Soy Kee and Company and the Port Arthur Restaurant on Mott Street, early 1900s. Photographer ___  "[Port Arthur Restaurant 1900s]"  Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA b&w film copy neg.   http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pp.print  (accessed January 30th 2013) unknown

Friday, April 11, 2014

Updates, Updates, Updates ...

So what has been going on with me?

Several weeks ago I fried my computer. Which was sad and knocked me back to using my very old and no-longer-portable computer. It also trapped several important manuscripts on the hard drive and I've been trying for the last few weeks to figure out how to dismantle the fried computer and them back.

Because of that, several of the books I've been working on have gone on hold until I can retreave the files. I have however gone back to the cheesy werewolf stories. So there is that.

Also the day(night really) job has cranked up to about a hundred and ten. Which means I've had multiple workshops and meets everyday for the last week and a half.

On top of that my semester, school wise, has gone from finished-all-my-requirements, going-to-take-these-last-few-months-slow to HOLY FUCK I am trying to write a dissertation proposal and impress one of the top names in my field so that she will take me on as a PhD student what my future in this field looks like could be decided with in the next two and a half weeks! What am I doing! Do I even want this! FUCK, FUCK. 

So ... this is why I have not been around as much and this is why my productivity fiction writing wise is going to be pretty low for the next few weeks.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Authors of Note: Diana Wynne Jones

Roughly one a month I write up an article about an author who has influence my own work. 

Most of these authors I encountered when I was young, either in elementary school or as a young teen. Each of them had a profound impact on the way I think about speculative fiction, myself as an author or storyteller, and books in general.

This won't necessarily be book recommendations, most certainly not reviews, and not even rereads. Instead I want to highlight my personal experience with books, books I loved and books that changed me. It will undoubtedly be pretty nostalgic and personal but I am interested in thinking and writing about the kind of literary traditions and histories that form the backbone of who I am as a writer.

Diana Wynne Jones (16 August 1934 – 26 March 2011):

was an English writer, principally of fantasy novels for children and adults, as well as a small amount of non-fiction. Some of her better-known works are the Chrestomanci series, the Dalemark series; the novels Howl's Moving Castle and Dark Lord of Derkholm; and The Tough Guide to Fantasyland.

I remember when my mother brought home The Lives of Christopher Chant on a wimp one day. My sister read it first and then told me that I definitely needed to read it, I would love it, she said. Then like now, trusted my sister's book recommendations so read it straight after she was done. 

Mostly I remember being intrigued. Long, long before steampunk, Diana Wynne Jones set up a world that seemed to be very much like 19th century Britain but wasn't. In stead there was magic and sorcerers and a the ability to travel between alternative realities. 

In a lot of ways Diana Wynne Jones was like other fantasy authors I'd read but she didn't seem to play by the rules of fantasy and that intrigued me. 

Back at the library I picked up the rest if the Chrestomanci series and gobbled them down, then went back for more. Next I read Howl's Moving Castle, which remains one of my all time favorite books to this day (this is the ugly cover the copy I first read had.) 

After that I tour through every book by Diana Wynne Jones I could fine. When I got done reading everything I could find in the library's children's section I moved on to the adult section. The Dark Lord of Derkholm I loved, and Deep Secret.  

Reading Hexwood was really what stood out to me the most though. I picked up an old copy at a library sale for less than a dollar. Thrilled to have a new Diana Wynne Jones book I took it home and read it right away (this is the cover of the copy I bought). 

Hexwood blew me away. Hexwood is not my favorite book by Diana Wynne Jones. In fact if I were to list her books by how much I liked them Hexwood would probably come after all the other books I've already mentioned. The thing about Hexwood was it changed my life. Hexwood is so unabashedly genre crossing, it combines elements of fantasy, science fiction and pure weirdness. It doesn't wait for the reader, carefully spoon feeding them every detail of the world or the plot but gallivants on assuming the reader will either keep up ... or they won't. 

Before that genres had always been very bounded to me. Fantasy author's wrote fantasy in a very specific (high fantasy or modern fantasy) way. Science fiction author's wrote science fiction in a very specific way as did mystery author's. It might seem stupid now but up until that point it had never occurred to me that you could mix genres together. Not in a superficial kind of a way but in a no holds bared let's put shit in a blender kind of a way. More than that it worked. Even more than that Diana Wynne Jones brought incredible amounts of stuff to the table she straight up invented herself. 

I love authors who reinvent things from mythology to genre tropes. But there's something truly awe inspiring about an author who says fuck it to the rules and ends up with something amazing that actually works. 

What do I remember Diana Wynne Jones for? What did she teach me as a writer? 

Be fearless. Write something that no one is going to mistake for anyone else but you.