Teaching Space Wanted
Convenient and safe space wanted for a writing class. Should be able to hold a maximum of 30 people, be equipped with chairs, and -- ideally -- have a bathroom. Needed for either two weeknights or one, all-day, weekend class to take place in late Sept or early October. Can't afford to pay more than $50 per night, $75 for Saturday or Sunday.
Please email email@example.com if you have, or know about, a space.
Thursday, July 31, 2008
I don’t believe in talent. Sure, I think some people have a touch more hardwiring in their brains that lends them to be artists, musicians, scientists, and even lowly writers but I think that having this turn of mind never guarantees being able to utilize this towards a satisfying pursuit. When someone uses that word, ‘talent,’ I think of something that makes a person have a kind of special dispensation, a phenomenal leg-up on everyone else. I use an analogy to explain this supposedly hypocrisy: just because you’re a good driver doesn’t mean you’ll be a great driver – and not all great drivers started out being good drivers.
Maybe it’s because I think of myself as a Liberal -- that everyone is created equal, or at least have equal access to making themselves a better person – but I don’t like the idea of someone by luck (good or bad) having an edge. I also think the idea of talent is what a lot of people use to give up on something. They put pen to paper and when it doesn’t work out perfectly the first time they toss it too the floor, saying, “What’s the point? I just don’t have it.”
There is one thing, though, that’s true of great drivers as well as great writers: commitment. To do anything well you have to practice, you have to get up and do it even though you’d rather do anything else in the world. It’s easy to lock onto stories of first story sales, first book sales, and think that’s common, expected. But the fact is they are alarmingly rare. For every one phenomenal success there are thousands of other writers who sit in front of their machines every day and work, work, work. Sure, those flashy first timers often deserve their praise and fat checks, but they often vanish as fast they appear. Without determination, a willingness to be there for the long haul, they suffer from expecting the next project, and the next project, and the next project, to be as easy as the first. Someone whose battered and beaten their way up, however, knows that for every five stories, only one will be any good: its part of the game.
But there’s here’s something else to remember ... back to analogies: if you go out and just circle the track, drive the same car at the same speed, over and over again you may be a better driver but you’ll never be Tazio Nuvalari. Writing the same story over and over, never stretching, never trying new things, will have the same affect. Same with writing page after page after page but not taking the time (sometimes very painful times) to sit down with your work and really, honestly read what you’ve been writing. Determination and commitment is one thing, useless thumb twiddling is quite another.
You have to look really had at what you’re doing, to look at it and face the fact that sometimes what you’re going to write is going to be crap. Some stories deserve to be thrown in the trash, but what separates the casual dreamer from the person really in pursuit of their destiny, is when you can look at what you’ve written and go: this is crap, but I know how to make it better.
Personal confession time. Does ten years sound like a long time? Sure, it might be an eternity if you’re in a prison cell sometimes, but maybe only the blink of an eye if you’re a parent watching a child grow up. For me, ten years is what it took for me to become a published author. I started writing very seriously just out of high school and ten years later I sold my first story. Putting aside that I honestly do feel that selling something is not the signpost of quality for writing, this was a defining moment in my life. Ten years of trying.
Nine years after that I have a pretty respectable resume of projects. Sometimes I think I took to long to get where I am, but other times I think that maybe it would have taken much longer – or never happened at all – if I’d never sat down and done the work: word after word, page after page, story after story. But it wasn’t just those words, pages, or stories that pushed me along, that made me as good a writer as I am today. Sure, that was part of it – but I really think that I always tried to be better, tried to improve what I was doing, and was willing to look at what I was doing.
I really do believe dreams can come true, despite the Saccharin sentiment usually tagged to that philosophy. It can happen, but if too often means a huge amount of very difficult, time-consuming, heart-breaking work.
Is it worth it? Ten years is an awfully long time, true. But when I think of the stories I’ve written, the fun I’ve had, the things I’ve learned about myself, and the world, I would do it all again in a second.
The choice is yours. But it’s better to really, truly try, then pass on regretting you never even made a first step.
Monday, July 28, 2008
Sunday, July 27, 2008
On the banister going up, winding down the paired columns at the top, lizards were marching in a tightly twisting single file, preceding tails barely touching the tips of a following hissing tongue. Round and round, up and up, each lizard behind the other. Under her fingers, sliding smoothly along the silken lacquer, scales, dagger teeth, and clawed toes, were almost too precisely carved, too excellent. Their realism a soft whisper of perhaps, maybe, could-be movement.
Claire didn’t like the walk up those carpeted stairs, another parade of tiny reptiles woven into the border in careful golden thread, because of that banister. Didn’t like putting her hand on the smooth pillars on the upper landing, either; that long dead Malay, Indonesian, or Chinese wood carver’s art too haunting, ghostly shivers up her arm.
One step, a pause. Another, and then another, and another of each: closer to the top with each careful, controlled, ascent, each cool hiatus. Hand out, holding the railing with each rise, the wood carver’s art was just a decoration, the thing that gave the Salamander Room its name. Domino, not Claire.
Vaulted in an upward sweep of beams that seemed transported from somewhere else, the room was warm, looming to be even hotter later in the day. But that was a long time to come, and the client had only paid for any hour. Two pieces of furniture, one piece of baggage: an opium bed, frayed fabric from generations of smokers, trim and tassels missing or discolored. Next to it, a high octagonal table, rosewood glowing from different generation’s use. On it, a leather satchel, low and square, showing early signs of wear at the corners but otherwise anyone’s carry-on, containing almost anything.
As Domino reached the top, the man on the bed rolled to one side; he looked back at her, she saw him.
“K-Konichiwa,” he stammered, with a sharp dip of his chin, eyelids lowering. Young, but not a boy. Dark hair in a corporate apprentice pudding bowl, growing out in a soft bristle around the ears meaning an approaching graduation to junior salariman. A few months before a move from the dormitories to a single men’s building. Student larva cocooned before emerging as a fully-formed and valued worker.
Flowing slowly into the room, the hushing of her kimono was her only answer. A celebration then. A promise to himself, a reward for memorizing the company manual, no doubt standing in the rain, pattering ice water on his bare shoulders, and singing their anthem until his voice had cracked, then broken.
Naked then, more than likely; naked now, clearly. Hairless and smooth, with nipples the color of his bloodless lips. Between his legs, no sign of a penis. Tucked between his thighs in a reflex of Japanese decorum. He could have been as sexless as a bee.
Perfect Paperback: 196 pages
Publisher: Lethe Press (July 21, 2008)
Friday, July 25, 2008
Through a variety of protagonists M Christian explores the character of the enigmatic and charismatic Artist, Escobar. The story is a step away from Christian's futuristic erotic fantasies, which were a delight in THE BACHELOR MACHINE and another new novel from Christian, THE PAINTED DOLL.In BRUSHES we are taken into a new and succulent territory which is overwhelming with its elegant prose. The characters are exotic, strange but familiar too, with the reader relating to each protagonist's confusion, as he or she tries to unravel the mystery that is Escobar. Set in France, there is no doubt that Christian cherishes and knows that country well; in fact his style is worthy of travel writing at its best, being worth a comparison with Paul Theroux. As with Theroux's work you see the country in the prose. Christian's France isn't always beautiful, sometimes it's downright dirty; but it's always what can always be expected from M Christian; very, very sexy!
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Here you go: a little taste of my new novel, Brushes:
Finger slipped carefully into the handle, heat passing through the delicate ceramic from the recently boiled drink, losing degrees of temperature to become comforting warmth, she brought the cup up gently, carefully. One inch. Another. Another. The ritual of a sip, the elegance of patience: finger in handle, cup up to mouth, a pause of fragrance, then lips touched gently to rim. Taste. Savor. Taste again to compare.
The British used it as the cornerstone of a lion-emblazoned empire. The Japanese had made it a religion. Sitting in the lounge of the Pont Royal Hotel--immaculate linen tablecloth, Lennox kettle and cup, silver service, velvet drapes parting the view of the Saint Germain district of Paris, a waiter at the door prepared to do whatever was needed to ensure the pleasure of her stay--Constance could believe that tea was, indeed, something to fight wars over, to pray to.
Steady and refined, careful and graceful, charming and poised, it was ballet with a cup and saucer, opera with a kettle, chamber music with sugar and cream. Tea, especially tea in the lounge of the Pont Royal Hotel, was perfect, or as near to it as anyone could come.
Then the waiter wasn't waiting by the door. Passing between her table and the window with its rich maroon drapes, he gestured to a corner table. Behind him, moving slower through the linen islands--having less of his skill in navigating the room--came the man, followed by the woman.
He was young, his body lithe and fluid, yet with the hesitation and stumbling that comes from some uncertainty in life. His hair was brown, but not common. His was a mixture of many shades, making it changeable with every turn of his head, every shift of his muscled body. His face was expressive but not comedic, handsome without being cut from cold marble. Like his shifting hair, his eyes also became many kinds of brown as he looked around the room.
She was young, her figure tight, supple, and limber, but with the hesitancy and awkwardness that came with trying to understand her own body. Her hair was blond, but not from a bottle. Hers was true shine that glowed with every movement of her lissome form. Her face was animated but not loud, pretty without being from a mold. Like her bright hair, her eyes glimmered and shone as she surveyed her surroundings.
Watching them come in and sit down, Constance swallowed hot tea--through a cold and tense frown.
* * * *
Finger slipped carefully into warm, golden metal on a hot summer day. That sensation had lingered more than many other details. More than the perfume of roses. More than what her friends--or his, for that matter--had said to her before or after the priest heard the vows. More than the butterflies that had fluttered in her stomach. More than the champagne in a flute, with its jeweled bubbles streaming up from the bottom.
Other things were long forgotten, but the ring sliding onto her finger had remained--a faithful memory of her wedding day.
Hot tea to her lips again, she scowled at the tan liquid in her cup. The beverage was excellent--as only something served in the lounge of the Pont Royal Hotel could be--but the remembrance wasn't. Faithful, yes, because it remained close at hand, even when not wanted, but its flavor was bitter.
On her left hand, on that meaningful finger, she still had her ring. On days like today, she wanted to pull it off, leave it behind as a generous tip for superb service, but she never did. Turn it, yes, around and around, but that was all. Tarnished and cold, it still meant something. Even if it was a tarnished and cold meaning.
It was different for her husband. Clearly, for Escobar, his matching gold meant nothing.
If you're interested in reviewing Brushes please email M.Christian at the addresses below:
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
M.Christian has been called “one of the greatest living writers of erotica” (mostly by himself) and a “hack who shouldn’t quit his day job” (by everyone else). The author of more than three hundred short stories, he’s appeared in pretty much every “Best Erotic” anthology there is, from Best American Erotica, to Best Gay Erotica, Best Lesbian Erotica, Best Fetish Erotica, and many others. He is the editor of twenty anthologies including Confessions, Amazons, and Garden of the Perverse (with Sage Vivant) and The Mammoth Book of Future Cops and The Mammoth Book of Tales of the Road (with Maxim Jakubowksi). His stories have been published in five collections: Dirty Words (gay erotica), Speaking Parts (lesbian erotica), The Bachelor Machine (SF erotica), Filthy (more gay erotica) and-–coming soon–Licks & Promises (the straight stuff). He is also the author of five novels: Running Dry, The Very Bloody Marys, Me2, Brushes, and Painted Doll. His site is www.mchristian.com.
How did you start writing erotica and/or how did you start writing sf/fantasy?
The answer is the same for both, really: after trying to get published for about ten years I took a class from Lisa Palac, who was editing the magazine FutureSex at the time, on a whim. At the end of the class I gave her a story I had written, a fun little SF thing, not really expecting much of anything. I was shocked a few days later when she wrote to say that she wanted to publish it. “Intercore” was then picked up for Best American Erotica–-and everything just sort of took off from there.
Is there something particularly compelling to you about combining sf/f with erotica?
Well, I’ve been a pretty hardcore geek/nerd/fanboy for a long time, so wanting to write SF has always been in the back of my mind–though a lot less now than when I first started to write. Mixing the two was really just a marriage of convenience: editors and publishers seemed to want erotica so why couldn’t I try to mix them?
Beyond that, I’ve always felt that, except for a few rare exceptions, sex has been the one thing that SF really hasn’t speculated about. After all, how many future shock stories have you read where the world has been completely transformed by technology or social change yet the characters still get it on like a pair of teenagers in the backseat of a Plymouth? Just think about how things have changed in the past few years: AIDS, Viagra, gay rights, the Net, implants… Our sex isn’t our grandparents’, or even parents’, sex so why shouldn’t it be even more wild/radical/amazing/scary in just a few more years? And who knows what it could be like in a decade or the next century?
To be fair, I haven’t really worked to push those boundaries myself–I still have to sell my work to people of this century–but I’ve always wanted to really have fun and experiment with what sex might eventually become. One of these days… One of these days….
How does your real life experience get translated into erotic sf?
It does and it doesn’t. It doesn’t because even though I write a lot of gay fiction as well as gay erotica, lesbian fiction as well as lesbian erotica, bi fiction as well as bi–well, you get the idea–I actually a pretty simple guy, sexually. Sure, there’s that Michael Rosen picture of my ex-wife and I, but when the lights are low I’m not that sexually complicated.
But it does because even though I haven’t had gay sex, and am simply not equipped to have lesbian sex, I do put a lot of my emotional self in what I do. I can’t say I know what the sex feels like but I certainly can write about what it feels like to be excited, frustrated, disappointed, ecstatic, etc. I also take a lot of pride in the fact that I treat my subjects with dignity and respect, that I try exceptionally hard to make my characters as three-dimensional as possible. After all, no matter [what] our genders or orientations [are] we have more things in common with each other than [not]. I’ve been lucky–so far–that folks have been very kind about my attempts, and some have even made me very happy by saying that my work has touched them, but being thought of as rude or disrespectful is still is something I worry about.
Is writing erotic sf different from writing other genres?
Well, aside from what I already mentioned (that it’s hard to SF-up sex without completely losing your reader) I think that SF erotica is different–for me at least–because I always try to put in social commentary, which is what many of the SF greats have used the genre for as well.
There’s always a bit of pressure to world-build, which can make the process a bit tougher than simply writing about modern people having modern sex. Sometimes, though, putting in a bit of SF can make everything easier, like with the book I have coming out very soon from Lethe Books, called Painted Doll. I knew I wanted to make it noir-SF but didn’t want to make it really heavy-hitting technology-wise. I also wanted to add a new dimension to what sex could become, so I thought of giving the dominatrix-type lead character a neurochemical brush she could use to paint her clients with sensations and emotional cues. What happened was very fun because it meant I could also make her a storyteller as she painted, so what she told would add a whole new level to the story. What she was telling her clients could also reveal her state of mind to the reader.
What is your writing process like?
Ah, here’s where I really am a weirdo. A lot of writers I know have to have the room dead quiet, or only have on classical music or such but, because I first started to write without any privacy at all, I’ve gotten used to working with a lot of stimulation. Right now, for instance, I’m watching the Japanese henshin series Garo while answering your questions. Often I pick a vid to match what I’m trying to do, to set the mood. I don’t have a lot of DVDs but the ones I have I must have seen dozens of times: Wender’s Hammett; Frankenheimer’s Seconds, Seven Days In May, and the Manchurian Candidate; Paul Dini’s Batman and Justice League series; the wonderful new French film Renaissance; lots of anime; The Avengers TV series; lots of J-Horror (especially Uzumaki) and lots of others I can’t remember, and I’m too lazy to get up to see what else is on my shelves.
I’m also very lucky to have a fantastic partner-in-all-things, who also happens to be the writer Sage Vivant. I’ve said this a few times but it’s always worth repeating: writing can be … Hell, it totally is a vicious, awful, ugly, and emotionally devastating business and every writer needs, and deserves, someone in their life to be there. I am very damned lucky to have found my one special person.
What’s it like sharing your life with another erotic writer? How does that affect your creative process? How much input do you to have on each other’s work?
WAITAMINUTE! Are you saying… Are you IMPLYING… That my girlfriend is some kind of a pornographer!? I’m shocked, I tell you, SHOCKED!
Okay, I’m kidding. I’m tremendously lucky to have found Sage, and thank that fortune every day she’s with me. Writers are–for the most part–completely bonkers. It’s the business that does it: we expose our hopes, dreams, fantasies, and the rest of our so-fragile stuff to people who only care about money, or to other writers who’ve been smashed up the same bad experiences. It makes us insecure, competitive doubtful, depressed, and even arrogant… Like I said, bonkers.
I’ve always dreamed I’d find someone who was at least creative, a person who understood how much fun it can be when it works, and who’d understand how much it hurts when it doesn’t. Not in a million years did I think the person I’d fall head-over-heels for would also be a writer, let alone a writer I admired.
I can’t say that enough: not only do I love Sage but I respect her tremendously. For close to ten years she ran Custom Erotica Source, where she wrote stories for over one thousand clients. That alone is totally remarkable but it still doesn’t say enough: the stories she wrote not only touched people but were also so brilliantly well-written [that] editors and publishers snatched them up for all kinds of anthologies.
But she is also just a wonderful person: kind, funny, supportive, smart, as well as totally gorgeous — absolutely my partner in all things. We work very well together and, even though she just sold CES and is taking a break from writing, her help, opinions, and support are a huge part of my writing life… Well, every part of my life, period.
Are/were there authors who influence your writing?
I feel like I’m always learning from, and trying to be as good as, the folks I admire and respect. I wish I could say those were high-end classic writers–and, sure, a few are there, like Steinbeck, Kipling, Dickens, Hugo, and such–but for the most part I adore and want to be as good as modern comic writers like Alan Moore, Adam Warren, and Grant Morrison; classic SF writers like Bester, Dick, Sturgeon, and Zelazny; and non-fiction writers like Karl Taro Greenfeld, Paul Kirchner… And a few others I’m, again, too lazy to get up and go to my bookshelf for. I’m weird in that I actually don’t read a lot of erotica–unless I have to when I’m editing an anthology–and [I] don’t read any new SF, mostly because I rarely have the time. Again one day I hope to… One day….
Do you have a favorite story or work of yours, and why that one?
Not really–I don’t like to look back. It kind of scares me, actually, to read something I wrote–especially when I think it’s good because then I worry if I’ll ever be able to write that well again. It’s kind of pat but I like to say that my favorite thing is what I’m going to write next. I do think my book, Me2, recently out from Alyson Books, came out well (even though there’s some debate going on [about] if I even wrote the damned thing), and I really enjoyed writing my new and upcoming books Brushes and Painted Doll. I just hope the book I’m working on right now will come out well, but so far–fingers crossed–it’s been fun.
There’s a common theme in many of your stories and novels of showing what goes on behind-the-scenes in an erotic scenario, whether it be elaborate sex play or something constructed by a professional sex worker. What fascinates you about this flip-side? What do you think this has to say about the nature of sexual fantasy?
I’ve always been fascinated by the faces we wear. Like a lot of folks I don’t think we have one personality. This “voice” for instance–the one you’re reading and I’m writing–it isn’t “me,” at least not the “me” that’s the voice in my head, and it’s not the “me” that talks out loud. It’s not the “me” in my fantasies, and it’s not even the “me” that is my sexual self.
Maybe I’ve been doing it too much and it’s time to change my schtick but I like experimenting with how those faces can work against or compliment each other. Like with Painted Doll, where the main character has been forced to hide under a false personality, where one self looks like an opposite but is actually more of a different “flavor;” and how those interactions change the character, revealing a lot about her true self, and if she, and we, really have one.
I also love to play with identity and how it’s formed by those internal “faces” but also by everyone around us. In Brushes, we’re exposed to this notion of one bastard of a painter through the people in his life. (What is it with me and artists anyway? They keep showing up in almost everything I do…) But is he really such a bad guy or have everyone’s impressions been twisted by misconceptions and illusions? If I did write Me2 (and I ain’t saying) I would have done the same kind of thing, having fun with who we are and if we are really unique.
On your blog you wrote that you wished that erotica as a genre would end, and that sex writing would become integrated into other genres. If this happened, how would that effect you as a writer? Which genres do you think you would like to explore?
I guess it might put an end to my luxurious and so well-respected career, but it’s something I honestly wish would happen. Not because it would mean the death of the genre but because sex is a part of life and it should be a ubiquitous part of literature as well. Why do we have books that clearly have, or are even about, sex but you never see it? Why shouldn’t the sexual self of the characters be on stage like their other selves? The moment we actually show sex in a story it gets shunned or buried behind a beaded curtain in the back of the store. No wonder we have such a screwed up culture! I’ve said it before but it’s always worth repeating: what kind of a world have we made where giving head gets an X but cutting someone’s head off only gets an R? One day, perhaps, we’ll be honest and happy about sex… One day….
As far as where I want to go, I really don’t have any burning desires. I just love to be wanted, so I’ll do pretty much whatever someone wants… Writing-wise, I mean. I’m not being passive, it’s just that many of the best things that’ve happened to my writing have come as complete surprises: erotica, gay fiction, non-fiction, etc. Sure I’d love to write a Great-American-Novel kind-of-thing, and then there’s that book on movie villains I keep playing with, but for the most part I love working with a challenge and seeing what fun things might come out of it.
Do you have anything new coming up that you want to tell people about?
Let’s see… Me2 is out there (if I wrote it, that is) and doing pretty well. It’s a gay horror/thriller/comedy thing from Alyson Books. Brushes, a romantic/erotic book just came out from Phaze Books. My gay vampire horror/comedy, The Very Bloody Marys, just got reprinted from Lethe Books and coming soon, also from Lethe, is my SF erotica novel, Painted Doll. I also just sold a new collection to Phaze, called Licks & Promises and I’m working on a new book, a gay/horror thing that should be out next year sometime.
Beyond that I’ve been having fun putting cool stuff on my site at www.mchristian.com and digging up erotic things for my sex blog at frequentlyfelt.blogspot.com and REALLY wonderful and strange things for the site my brother and I do: meinekleinefabrik.blogsopt.com. Come check them out and feel free to write me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monday, July 21, 2008
Here's what people are saying about this fantastic new work from M.Christian:Once again, acclaimed author M. Christian writes of the art of seduction. One of the pleasures of a dystopic future is the erotists, professionals who paint their clients' bared skin with neurochemicals that induce sensuality. Erotists offer landscapes of ecstasy, pain, joy, and delight. Few citizens can afford the skills of the talented Domino. Fewer still know her identity is but a mask.
Beneath the facade, Claire hides from a vicious crime lord who would not only kill her but her childhood lover. But the mask of Domino is beginning to crack...
Painted Doll is futuristic noir tale, a wildly imaginative erotic adventure, exploring who we are and the sexual awakenings that occur when we become someone else.
M. Christian speaks with a totally unique and truly fascinating voice. There are a lot of writers out there who'd better protect their markets -- M. Christian has arrived!Order a copy today!
- Mike Resnick, Hugo and Nebula Award winning science fiction author
M. Christian's stories squat at the intersection of Primal Urges Avenue and Hi-Tech Parkway like a feral-eyed, half-naked Karen Black leering and stabbing her fractal machete into the tarmac. Portraying a world where erotic life has spilled from the bedroom into the street, and been shattered into a million sharp shards, these tales undercut and mutate the old verities concerning memory, desire and loyalty. Truly an author for our post-everything 21st century.
- Paul Di Filippo, author of The Steampunk Trilogy
When I pick up a book by M.Christian, I know that I'll be surprised and delighted. Whether he's targeting horror, thriller, scifi or erotica genres, or some creative mixture, he never fails to deliver an original perspective.
- Lisabet Sarai, author of Incognito and Fire
And now for something completely different...do you read erotica? Painted Doll, by M. Christian, will give you that jolt you're searching for. Painted Doll is about a dominatrix, but hold on! This is no ordinary "Yes Mistress, may I have another" story. Painted Doll is set in a world unlike any you've seen. A bizarre look into a future world of sexuality and identity as we follow a dominatrix on the run. Leave it to Mr. Christian to give us a well crafted, erotic love story that you'll be slow to forget.
- Jolie du Pre, author of erotica and erotic romance
Painted Doll hides a kaleidoscope world behind her mask. As she removes it a splintered existence unfolds, darkly erotic, cruel and tarnished, the pearl at its centre an intense love story. Erotic, familiar yet alien, harshly compelling and eerily haunting - few writers can convey the myriad spectrum of the sensory world like M. Christian.
- Saskia Walker has had erotic fiction published in more than fifty anthologies and is the author of several novellas and novels
M. Christian is one hell of a writer. He paints his universes and characters in full, living color, thrills the reader with non-stop action. A no-holds-barred storyteller, he embraces his reader at the start and doesn't let go until long after the end.
- Mari Adkins, Apex Publications contributing editor
M. Christian is the chameleon of modern erotica. One day punk, another romantic; one day straight, another totally perverse and polyamorous. But always sexy and and gripping.
- Maxim Jakubowksi is the editor of the Mammoth Book of Erotica series, and was recently voted by Time Out London the 21st best British erotic author of all time (but if you exclude dead writers like Shakespeare, Chaucer, Keats and others, he would actually have been 5th!)
With his amazing versatility and silky smooth prose, M. Christian helped forge the erotica revolution of the 1990s and he’s still going strong!
- Donna George Storey, author of An Amorous Woman
A non-stop ride of precise prose and unexpected imagery. Painted Doll is another M. Christian gem; a seamless blend of the erotic with the darkly fantastic. Unpredictable, engaging, and an often startling read.
- Marilyn Jaye Lewis, author of Freak Parade
No matter how long I've been at the erotica game, M. Christian continues to surprise me. With Painted Doll, he again proves that his imagination knows no bounds. The first pages sucked me into the story, and I couldn't stop reading. Who was this woman? Who was she...really? Provocative and unique, Painted Doll is M. Christian at his finest.
- Gwen Masters, author of One Breath at a Time
Perfect Paperback: 196 pages
Publisher: Lethe Press (July 21, 2008)
If you're interested in reviewing Painted Doll please email M.Christian at the addresses below.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Zagreel Weegeen, Third Hatchmate of the Lydra Hegemony
(translated by M. Christian)
"Are you a non-public dick?" the female spoke, walking into my professional space on her aesthetically appealing locomotive appendages.
Even though it towards the end of my human mating cycle, I still found her be fertile and more than suitable for procreation, what with her well-developed milk glands, crimson-painted oral display, and blue-toned visual organs.
"That's what the portal mentioned," I uttered, not wanting to let her achieve sexual superiority this early in a potential courtship display. "What can I accomplish with you?"
She continued her courting ritual by coating her eating and breathing orifice with saliva, and bending her locomotive appendages to 'sit' her padded anal orifice down on my sitting device, folding her lower appendages to show me a generalized view of her sexual apparatus. "I need your assistance," she spoke, exhaling powerful chemical attractants.
"What kind of assistance do you require?" I uttered, skeptical of her choice of me as a mating partner. I was not a unsuitable candidate for mating, for I had shared my sperm sacks with many suitable female members of my species, but I have also through many human years of direct experience have educated myself that such a brazen presentation of sexual characteristics is typically deceptive. Still, I did find simply physical pleasure in the female's direct exhibition of her secondary sexual characteristics.
"A person unknown to me is going to attempt to end my physical existence," the female spoke with tones of no alarm, her attack or defend pheromones not present. "I require you to prevent this from occurring."
I was a male of no great lineage, but with ample direct experience with many human interactions, but had never audibly received any like pronouncement from any human during my many orbits of the local solar body in occupation of a non-public investigator. I expressed my confusion by lowering my hairy eye-protecting lids and moving my upper body-structure closer towards the female, and speaking: "I am confused by this. Why would anyone seek to cause you bodily injury?"
This female person then exposed her white incisors, demonstrating to my vision that she found my confusion enjoyable. "Mister Weapon, you do not think that someone would not want to terminate my physical existence?"
Despite the female's obvious attempts to confuse my human thought processes through perceiving her sexual characteristics I was still compelled to complete the mating ritual, and deposit my sperm in her egg receptacles: "Female, you do not appear an individual who would have anyone on this small planet pursuing the end of your life processes."
The female produced a 'cigarette' and ignited it with a mechanical device. The tube of plant fibers filled my moderately-sized professional space with the reek of carcinogenic long-chain molecules. "Mister Weapon, I am a female of pleasant company, a staunch pursuer of only high-class breeding material. Nonetheless, someone proximately very soon will try to terminate me."
Her profession of only desiring a high-quality mate for reproduction made me display my own 'teeth' as the content of her words stimulated my organ of humor. "Female, I presume not on your standing within our human culture. But I cannot comprehend why a person would cause you to die."
She placed the tube of carcinogenic materials back in her oral cavity, drawing in the poisons with a long, slow intake of atmosphere. "I possess great funds, or as I should better state in English, my male parent possesses immense quantities of property and currency. I suspect that this might be the reasons for the attempts to cause my physical self to stop functioning. My parental is William Cash."
I attempted to control the muscles surrounding my air and food intake as well as the ones around my optical organs but I suspect that I was unsuccessful in the attempt against the connotations of the name of her male parental. I doubted that any human in the Metropolis of Los Angeles didn't know the identity label of Cash. His personal signet was on many of the Angeles structures of notoriety, as well as being prominently featured on many of the documentations of control in the big city. I knew little of the structure of this crèche, but I had become informed through various information sources available to me, such as the ink of pulp media of 'newspapers' and primitive radio reception technology that the parental of the female member of my species roosting before my optical receivers was nearing the end of an average human lifespan. If her physical essence should cease to function effectively due to a natural progression of deterioration, then this female progeny would be the recipient of that impressive accumulation of human monetary units.
Even though it disturbed my emotional equilibrium to have such a mortification for the ending of another entity's physical existence, especially one that appeared to my human senses as desirable to pass on my genetic legacy, it remained a viable possibility. "Do you, female of the Cash legacy, have any suspicions as to an individual or group of individuals who would be willing to cease your self for reasons of your parental's immense property and currency reserves?"
TO BE CONTINUED
What would you do if you discovered another you – a dead-ringer who shows up at your job, moves into your apartment, and steals your friends? In Me2, M. Christian offers up a unique – if at times wearisome - look at individual identity and societal conformity and the dangerous intersection at which both meet.
More experimental novel than straightforward storytelling, Me2 presents an unnamed narrator who’s convinced that he’s been somehow replicated. While each chapter is introduced by one side of a different conversation that attempts to offer possible explanations – evil twin, lost sibling, robot, alien, doppelganger, clone – the narrative is essentially held together by the loose, stream-of-consciousness point-of-view of this nameless narrator. There’s less a sequence of events resembling a plot than a sequence of mental meanderings meant to explain the narrator’s predicament – of which we’re never quite sure to begin with.
Paranoid manifestations of schizophrenia? Cautionary parable about conformism? Overwrought metaphor for the affects of consumerism on individual indentity? Who knows – and who really cares? Christian’s narrator is so bland, faceless, and devoid of anything resembling human emotion – other than a generic, paranoid fear – that it’s hard to connect with either the character or what little story there is here. Even the little sex that’s offered up is antiseptic. While it’s clear – and necessary, to a point - that the author intentionally coats the proceedings with a nonspecific layer of colorless paint in order to speak to the idea of the dulling down of individuality, it nevertheless fails to fuel or hold interest.
That said, Me2 is not without its merits. Christian possesses one of the most unique voices in fiction, using alliteration and repetition to create a poetry/prose hybrid form of writing that – despite the lackluster plot – draws the reader in. To discover Christian’s subtle undercurrent of staccato literary rhythm is like discovering a series of intricate, exploration-worthy catacombs beneath the most conventional suburban house on the most generic of cul de sacs.
Decidedly more high-brow concept novel than horror tale, Me2 would have been better marketed as literary fiction. While there are some keenly astute observations about the emulsification of queer identity and its absorption into mainstream culture, its distinct avant-garde approach to horror will be disconcerting to the average genre reader. More artsy East Village than working-class Brooklyn, Me2 is a hallucinogenic, thought-provoking work of modernism likely to evoke more Euripides than heebie-jeebies. Read it for the writing; skip it for the horror.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
I. Thou Shalt Not Take the Lord’s Name in Vain
“Ohgodohgodohgodohgodohgodohgodohgodohgodohgod” need I say more? The same goes for any other kind of onomatopoeia: “ooh”, “urg”, “gack”, “mmmm”, etc. Use your words, people; use your words!
II. Thou Shalt Not Own a Thesaurus
An exaggeration, of course (to get that vicious Roget off my case). The need to change a descriptive word after every sentence or paragraph is the clear sign of an amateur. Example: ‘cock’ in the first paragraph of the sex scene, becomes ‘rod’ in the second, ‘staff’ in the third, ‘pole’ in the forth ... and you get my gist. The same goes for the silly need to be ‘polite’ in describing either a sex scene or various body parts. Unless you’re writing a Victorian homage (or pastiche), women don’t have a ‘sex’ between their legs, and a ‘member’ doesn’t live in a man’s trousers. If you can’t write ‘penis’, ‘clit’, ‘cock’, ‘cunt’, or the rest of the words you can’t say on television then find another job - or just write for television.
III. Thou Shalt Not Equate Dirty Movies with Erotic Writing
Films are films and stories are stories and very rarely do they meet. Another stigmata of the greenhorn is thinking that a smut story has to have the deep characterization and suburb plotting of a porno film. Even a story written for the lowest of markets has to have something aside from sex scenes. So face it, just siting down and writing out Debbie Does Everyone won’t do anything but bore you and the reader.
IV: Thou Shalt Not Exaggerate (too much)
I’m big, but not the biggest - my girlfriend’s tits are nice, but not the nicest in the world. Same should go for your stories. Unless you’re being silly (or surreal), keep your proportions to a human level. Every cock can’t be tremendous, every pair of tits can’t be the most beautiful, every cunt (or asshole) the tightest, etc. It’s okay to hedge a bit, frame it with “- right then, at that moment -” or some such, but keep in mind that it’s a cheap-shot at both sex and your readers to assume that desire can only be the result of seeing (or fucking) something of inhuman proportions: it only makes you look like the biggest of amateurs.
V: Thou Shalt Not Be Ignorant of Sex
Okay, it’s perfectly reasonable not to be too realistic in describing sex - after all, smut stories are supposed to be entertaining - but pointing out every nasty smell, or ... ‘shortcoming’ will make the reader anything but turned on. But there’s still no excuse for making anatomical errors or perpetuating sexual myths. For example: simultaneous orgasms, “sucking” orgasms (“My g-spot is in my throat’), masochists who are automatically subservient, gay men who are attracted to every male who walks by, every woman is a potential bisexuals, etc. TI recommend research and empathy, trying to understand, explore what sex is and what it isn’t. Virgins (and the ignorant) after all can certainly write porno - they just can’t write good porno.
VI: Thou Shalt Not Be Too Clever
I loved Fight Club, The Sixth Sense, and The Usual Suspects - but they worked because the screenwriters brilliantly knew how to tell an unusual story. It’s another common myth that a story needs something mind-blowing to be entertaining - so many newbie writers will often try to toss in so many devices and situations because they’re scared of boring the reader. As in all things, KISS: Keep It Simple, Stupid. Don’t try to be too elaborate or devious - half the time the reader can see it coming a mile away. Rather than elaborate plotting or grandiose story constructions, concentrate instead on characterization, description, dialogue, a sense of place, pathos, wit, and THEN plot. Simplicity and subtlety can be dynamite, shock and surprise are just firecrackers - they don’t move anything, and are often just annoying.
VII: Thou Shalt Not Write Porn
- unless, of course, that’s what you’re writing. I explain: too often editors get erotica that reads like something you’d buy in the bus station. Now if you’re trying to write erection-producing materials suitable for long-distance public transportation then do for it. But if you’re sending something off to, say, a ‘respectable’ editor or publisher you should at least have a slight clue about what’s being written and published for that market. A good technique is to throw out the idea what you’re writing something that’s supposed to get someone hard/wet (or anything betwixt/between): just tell a good damned story about sex. Just a long, drawn out sex scene with bad writing, no characters, no plot, atrocious dialogue, etc. isn’t a story - even if you start with a title and conclude with THE END.
VIII: Thou Shalt Not Do Everything
Just because humans have cocks, cunts, clits, assholes, tits, nipples, mouths, noses, and hands doesn’t mean you have to put them all, in their many and varied sexual interactions, in each and every story. After all, unless you have a free weekend and a Viagra IV drip there’s no way you could do it all - so how can you expect your characters in your story to? Simplicity again: sometimes a story screams for a blow and fuck, sometimes all it needs is a long, lingering kiss. The story will often speak for itself - don’t bow to the pressure of “Okay, I’ve done A, B, and D, so all I need to do to finish it off with E,F,G, and the rest of the alphabet. Good smut is sweet, simple, and hot - bad smut is clumsy, forced, and obvious.
IX: Thou Shalt Not Be Sterile
Nah, I don’t mean well-scrubbed or squeaky clean; I mean that sex can be emotionally complex, that it can bring up a wide range of emotional states in the course of one romp in the hay: joy, happiness, ambivalence, exhaustion, anger, fear, disgust, guilt, etc. A story that’s just about the sex, where everyone is happy, healthy, and horny is dull - the characters don’t change, nothing is revealed or explored. A story like that can lead to only one kind of emotion in the reader: boredom. Be daring, be risky, be dirty (and not just sexually) with your character’s emotions. Use what you know, what you’ve been through, not just what you want to have happen. Life is icky, tricky, and messy - and what’s what makes it great. Use it!
X: Thou Shalt Not Forget the Writing
It’s easy enough: plot, characterization, description, motivation, and all the rest of it, the pieces of a good story, are so in the forefront of our minds that the fundamentals slip through the cracks. Now, I’m not talking about the real basics of spelling, grammar, punctuation (though they are important), but rather the real key of any story, smut or not: the writing. After all, when you write a smut story you’re writing a story first, that it happens to be about sex is secondary. Plot, characterization, description, motivation can add up to nothing if the writing itself is stilted, flat, or clunky. Writing should flow, sparkle, crackle, and evoke. It’s a tough act, but really the most important. Don’t let those obvious pieces get in the way of what you’re doing: you’re a writer, and telling a story.
The bad news is that you can follow all of these “Commandments” and still fail if the writing isn’t good, but the good news is that if you can do it - if you can amaze, amuse, or arouse with your words - then you can break any rule.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
I thought I was on drugs.
Not that I knew what being on drugs was like, you understand. I was, after all, a pretty clean-cut, mostly-normal, teenager spending a fairly-uneventful summer bumming around Europe: London, Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam, Athens, and so on in no particular order.
Then I turned a corner in Barcelona -- and was sure someone at the hostel the night before had slipped me something.
What other explanation was there? A building was melting for God's sake!
The rest of the street was Spanish normal: warm brick facings, black toothed iron railings, arched windows, bursts of flowers on balconies, but right in the middle of average, of ordinary, of common, of commonplace was a building that sagged, that drooped, that arched, that ... well, that looked like it had been designed with vines and leaves in an orchard instead of with a T-square in a boxy office, planted from a seed and cultivated instead of having been mathematically assembled brick by stone cold brick.
I'd heard of Antoni Gaudí, of course, but for some strange reason I either hadn't made the connection between the eccentric architect and his hometown, or, more than likely, hadn't a clue how brain-throbbingly amazing his work was. But, drugs or no drugs, standing slack-jawed in front of the flowing glory of Casa Batlló on 43 Passeig de Gràcia, I decided I'd spend the next few days seeing as much Gaudí genius as I could.
Sunday, July 13, 2008
From Saskia Walke's blog, The Naughty Lady From Shady Lane:
The other novel I have had the pleasure of reading recently was M. Christian's PAINTED DOLL. Very different, but another absolute treat of a read. Now, this one is not out yet, but I'll be nudging you again when it is. M. Christian got in touch with me to ask if I would blurb one of his forthcoming novels. Gulp. He also said he admired my work. I confess I wondered if he’d sent the mail to the correct person! :) I’ve never been asked to do this before, and whilst M. Christian is a writer who I’ve shared pages with in anthologies before, I’m pretty much in awe of all that he does. His fantasy novel, THE VERY BLOODY MARY'S was a super, gripping, thoroughly entertaining read.
It was a great honour to be asked to blurb a new novel, and I set about the task nervously. Wow! My nervousness was nothing to the sheer uselessness I felt after having read the novel. I don’t know whether my blurb will be used, but I had to give the novel mention. If futuristics are your thing, you really have to watch out for PAINTED DOLL.
PAINTED DOLL is set in an eerie future world -- the type of world that always gets me, where things are both similar to what we know but also not of our experience, so that the vivid images we encounter tease along our perception uneasily. In this future world we encounter the story of The Painted Doll, a woman who works as a dominatrix in order to hide a secret past and her true identity. As the story progresses and The Painted Doll slowly removes the layers of her mask for us, we find out her story and the reasons why she’s had to take on a new identity and hide. I don’t want to say too much and spoil the plot, but The Painted Doll is on the run from some very bad people. Most importantly she has had to leave and hide in order to protect her lesbian lover from those very bad people. The novel is compelling, gritty, erotic, and at its centre lies an intense love story.
M. Christian is an author who straddles genres with apparent ease, as well as writing with literary panache. In this novel (and in his previous works) he plays with the recurring themes of sexuality, gender, and identity, questioning them by setting them at odds with what we know and understand. PAINTED DOLL resonates; it truly is a story that will stay with you. Out on Lethe sometime soon. Watch out for it!
Friday, July 11, 2008
Of all the things to write, I feel one of the all-time toughest has got to be fetish erotica. Gay or lesbian - or straight if you're gay or lesbian or bisexual - is a piece of cake. I mean take a quick look at it: the elements of arousal are obvious, just insert body part of preference and go with it. For gay erotica it's male body, for lesbians it's female. For straight it's the opposite. You don't have to create the ideal man or woman, in fact it's better to describe someone (the lust object) who is a bit more ... real. Perfection is dull, and can be bad story telling, but a body with its share of wrinkles, blemishes, or sags can ad dimension and depth.
Same with the motivation, the inner world of your character. I've said it before but it bears repeating: the trick to writing beyond your own gender or orientation is in projecting your own mental landscape into the mind of your character. You may not know how gay sex, lesbian sex, or straight sex feels (pick the opposite of your own gender) but you do know what love, affection, hope, disappointment, or even just human skin feels like. Remember that, bring it to you character and your story, and you'll be able to draw a reader in.
But fetishes ... fetishes are tougher. Just to be momentarily pedantic, Webster's says that fetishes are: "an object or body part whose real or fantasied presence is psychologically necessary for sexual gratification." That's pretty accurate - or good enough for us here - but the bottom line is that fetishes are a sexual obsession that may or may not directly relate to sex. Some pretty common ones are certain hair colors, body types, smells, tastes, clothing, and so forth.
We all have them to some degree. Just to open the field to discussion, I like breasts. But even knowing I have them doesn't mean I can't really explain why I like big ones. It's really weird. I mean, I can write about all kinds of things but when I try and figure out what exactly the allure of large hooters is for me I draw a blank. The same and even more so used to happen when I tried and write about other people's fetishes.
But I have managed to learn a couple of tricks about it, in the course of my writing as well as boobie dwelling (hey, there are worse ways to spend an afternoon). I've come up with two ways of approaching a fetish, at least from a literary standpoint. The first to remember that fetishes are like sex under a microscope, that part of their power is in focusing on one particular behavior or body part. Let's use legs as an example. For the die-hard leg fetishist their sexuality (all or just a small part) is wrapped around the perfect set of limbs. For a leg man, or woman, the appeal is in that slow, careful depiction of those legs. The sex that happens after that introduction may be hot, but you can't get away with just saying he or she had "a great set of gams." Details! There has to be details - but not just any mind you. For people into a certain body type or style the words themselves are important. I remember writing a leg fetish story and having it come back from the editor with a list of keywords to insert into the story, the terms his readers would respond to, demanded in their stories. Here's where research comes in: a long, slow description is one thing but to make your fetish story work you have to get your own list of button-pushing terminology.
The second approach is to understand that very often fetishes are removed from the normal sexual response cycle. For many people, the prep for a fetish is as important, if not as important, as the act itself. For latex fans - just to use an extreme example - the talcum powder and shaving before even crawling into their rubber can be just as exciting as the black stretchy stuff itself. For a fetish story, leaping into the sex isn't as important as the prep to get to it - even if you do. Another example that springs to mind is a friend of mine who was an infantilist - and before you leap to your own Webster's that means someone who likes to dress up as someone much younger. For him, the enjoyment was only partially in the costume and roll-playing. A larger part of his dress-up and tea parties was in masturbating afterward: in other words the fetish act wasn't sex, it was building a more realistic fetish fantasy for self-pleasure afterwards. Not that all of your literary experiments need to be that elaborate but it does show that for a serious fetishist the span what could be considered 'sex' can be pretty wide.
The why to try your hand at fetish erotica I leave to you - except to say what I've said before: that writing only what you know can lead to boredom for you and your readers. Try new things, experiment, take risks. In the case of fetishes, it can only add to your own sensitivity and imagination - both in terms of writing and story-telling but maybe even in the bedroom.
And who could argue with that?
Thursday, July 10, 2008
The Editor sends the story back, No one comes like this. It’s obvious she’s faking it and I realize he’s right, she was faking it.
The Director leans in, hot lights burning my legs: Just can’t get the lighting right, your cock still looks too small. I frown, thinking of all the wankers from San Francisco to Boston feeling good that the stud in their whack-off vid is smaller than they are for once.
She never calls me back. Six months later, I run into her on the street. I read that story you wrote for Warped Perverts, she says, scanning for a quick escape route. It scared me.
The Photographer tells me to smile, damn it, smile as I lift my leg into yet another impossible position. I miss the gallery opening because of a cramp so bad I can’t get out of bed.
Losing my virginity gets published in a book called Cherry Bombed about horrible, embarrassing, first times. I am supposed to get paid $15 and two copies. The check bounces and the book never appears.
I can’t sleep for three nights running, the plot of Truck Stop Transsexuals bogged down in a morass of motivation, character development, and a flawed narrative. I almost miss the deadline, and waste five bucks on Fed Ex changes getting it to the editor in time. When the magazine comes out, I see that he completely butchered the ending, losing the wonderful sense of pathos I had so carefully worked into it. Then I lose four more nights of sleep, shocked wide awake that I actually cared.
Where do you get your ideas? she asks in a breathy voice tinged with a boiling horniness as she strokes my cock. I can barely get hard, most of my brain being diverted by my thoughts of she stroked him like a fireman cleaning his pole: diligently, professionally -- as if trying to work a gleam out of it ....
My spell-checker has grown unwieldy from the words I have stuffed in its tight, resistant, pulsing, memory: cocksucker, cunt, mons, asshole, pubes, motherfucker, felch, testicles, dildo, lube, S/M, she-male, latex, faery, jerk-off, cunnilingus, felatio, flagellation, flogger, Saran Wrap, cunt-licker, assfucker, and on and on and on, etc., etc. I run it through a letter to my landlord and broken mail slot becomes she-male slut. Now he looks at me funny and the damned thing never gets fixed.
The party is full-swing and banging away: in the sling, guy fists guy - foaming Crisco plopping to the floor. In one corner two dykes are taking turns kicking each other in the butt. Over there a latex dom is turning her slave’s ass into maximus tar-tar. Next to me a grinning piercer expertly punctures some guy’s dick, then feeds steel rings through the holes -- and all I can think is poor plot development, crappy characterization, no motivation ....
She’s a fan. I’ve read everything you’ve ever written, she says. Jerked off to all of them. Talked other playmates into even reenacting some. Raves about me all the time. Box Lunch, Sailors At Sea, Yeeha!, The Bang Gang, TV Repairman ... her favorites each and every one. I take my pants off and she’s disappointed. We fuck and she’s disappointed. We each come and she’s disappointed. I tell her, don’t get any rewrites in life, sweetie.
The book, magazine, movie comes out. I burst with enthusiasm: I did this, I did this! I become annoying, showing it everyone. Then someone also bursts, and shows it to my mother ....
Am asked to write about the most degrading, insulting, humiliating, sex act you can imagine and the first thing that comes to mind and out of my mouth is How much?
Wednesday, July 09, 2008
M. Christian is known as a writer of erotica, with stories in several spicy anthologies such as Best American Erotica, Best Gay Erotica and Best Lesbian Erotica. This time he´s playing in the sci fi genre with the psychological thriller, Me2. Fear not, however, as Christian has not forgotten to pen some sizzling scenes involving the gay hero.
At first glance, I was sure that this was going to be yet another cheesy addition to the growing number of sci-fi books and films about cloning. What comes to mind is the Sixth Day, a film in which Arnie Schwarzenegger´s character is secretly cloned and battles the people behind his cloning. Similarly, in Me2, the main character discovers that there is someone who is exactly like him, quite possibly a clone, taking over each part of his life. Christian is masterful in describing the Starbucks employee´s transition from bland but satisfied, to a blundering paranoid individual who questions his every move.
These kinds of sci-fi psychological thrillers aren't usually my cup of tea, but Me2 is suited to a much broader audience. I say this because the underlying tale lies not in the main character´s possible cloning by some secret government agency, but goes deep into theories of identity and identity theft. It questions how our identities are formed, especially queer identity. Christian seems to suggest that our identities come down to what we choose to buy, as we collect material possessions to mould our identities based on how we want other people to see us.
Christian also raises the question of the possibility of the Genetic Mirror Theory, which states that each person has a genetic twin. This idea that there could be more than one of us out there raises some hairs along the way, or at least gives you some food for thought!
Me2 is a chilling and gripping novel. At first I really did think it was a bit of overdone genre about cloning, but it turned into something much more philosophical and interesting. Worth a read.
My pal Matt Skaggs over at Enter the Octopus was kind enough to interview me about me, Me2, and all kinds of other fun things. Here's a quick taste:
It’s my true pleasure to introduce you to my friend Chris, also known as M. Christian. He’s a fine writer and is capable of incredible range, from the erotica he cheerfully describes as “smut” to haunting science fiction and engrossing nonfiction. Get to know this “literary streetwalker with a heart of gold” here, and at his website http://www.mchristian.com.
Would you mind introducing yourself to my readers?
Well, let’s see … Hello, my name is Chris, and I’m an alcohol .. I mean I’m a writer, usually under the name “M.Christian.”
When did you start writing?
I’ve pretty much always known I wanted to be a writer .. hell, I remember trying to write my first story in the 4th grade … but it wasn’t until high school that I really began to work at it. Unfortunately it took about ten years or so of trying before I got enough of the bad stuff out of my system to get published. But since then I’ve done okay: 300 short story sales, edited 20 anthologies, and published five novels (Running Dry, The Very Bloody Marys, Me2, Brushes, and Painted Doll) and four collections (Dirty Words, Speaking Parts, The Bachelor Machine, and Filthy). Oh, and some articles, reviews, couple of columns, two felony … I mean, a whole bunch of other things as well. Yeah, that’s what I meant ….
How would you describe your work?
I like to call myself a “literary streetwalker with a heart of gold,” meaning I consider myself a noble hack: willing to do pretty much anything for anyone anytime … just leave the cash on the dresser. Kidding aside I really just love to write, to tell stories. When I first started out I tried to be the next R. A. Lafferty, Sturgeon, Bester, Zelazny, Dick, etc. — pretty much what every writer does but then something clicked and I really started to enjoy the work itself. When I got an opportunity to write smut I gave it a shot — and sold my first story, and then another, and another, and another, and so on. I still write a lot of erotica but because I’ve published so much of it, I’ve been able to expand out into lots of other genres: horror, SF, thrillers, non-fiction.
To this day I love a challenge, more than anything because I didn’t know I’d be a good smut writer until I tried. Who knows what else I might be good at? Sometimes it doesn’t work, but when it does … oh, man, it’s a kick in the pants.
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
Monday, July 07, 2008
In an interview on ERA, William Dean asked me "From your experience, what are we, as erotica readers and writers, apt to see as trends in the coming year?" After answering him I got to thinking about the future of erotica and where it could go - or, since it is my column after all, where I want to see it go.
My answer? I want erotica to vanish, to disappear as a literary genre, to utterly and completely GO AWAY.
Biting the hand that's fed me? Sour grapes? Making noise for the sake of noise? None of the above: hear me out.
Erotica exists because a need wasn't being met. Readers looked around at movies, books, television, and every other media and noticed that something was missing. Rob and Laura Petrie had twin beds, Ricky Ricardo and Lucy pulled off a trick not seen since Mary got knocked up by a ghost: a virgin (as far as we know) birth. If a book managed to actually talk about what happened behind closed doors and under the sheets, it was immediately banned, burned, or branded INDECENT.
So, erotica: a peek behind those doors and under those covers. Sex was out in the open and, more importantly, it was profitable. Sex sold, and very well - and with anything that sells well, the people doing the selling began to make more and more and more of it.
That, in itself, isn't a bad thing. After all, if sex didn't sell we wouldn't have MTV, Fox, beer ads, Britney Spears, Ron Jeremy, the entire literary erotica genre, or even the Erotica Readers and Writers Association and my column. But all this and more is popular, and remains popular, because it doesn't exist anywhere else.
Pick up a book, switch on the tube, plop down half your paycheck for a movie ticket and sure there might be hints, suggestions, or allusions but that'll be it. The world remains a place where giving head gets an X, cutting off a head only gets an R.
Meanwhile, out here in the wild woolies of smut writing, we continue to write books and stories that address what no one else seems to be talking about: sex. The problem is that for the longest time, we were part of an opposite but equal problem, which was talking about nothing but sex.
Luckily this has been changing. It used to be that just simply writing s-e-x was enough, but as the public started to get more, they also began asking for more. Editors, publishers and more importantly readers have responded by demanding erotica with depth, meaning, wit, style, and sophistication - and writers have been doing exactly that, pushing the boundaries of what sex writing can be.
The result? Erotica writers have created a genre worthy of respect and serious, non-genre attention. This is a great time to be working in this field, because for the first time writing about sex is not a guarantee of condemnation or exile to a professional Elba. Erotica writers are breaking out and otherwise mainstream publishers are being to pay serious attention not only to the marketability of sex but because of what's developed in the genre, they can sell it without blushing.
This is a good thing for another, more important reason. Crystal ball time: As erotica becomes more and more refined and mature, more elegant and accepted, it may very well begin to be accepted as a valid and respected form of literature. But what I really hope will happen is what's happened with many other genres: assimilation. It used to be that anything to do with time travel, aliens, or space travel was exiled to science fiction. Then came a renaissance in that genre, and a subsequent use of the old elements in new ways - Kurt Vonnegut comes immediately to mind. The same thing has happened with mysteries, horror, romance, comic books (excuse me, 'graphic novels'), television, and so forth.
As the sexually explicit techniques and methods developed in erotica permeate other genres, the need for erotica as its own separate, unique place in bookstores will fade, then vanish. Erotica will become what it always should have been: a part of life, legitimate and respected - not something to be ashamed of, hidden away, or even just separate.
How will that serve us, the erotica-writing world? Wonderfully, I think. Erotica is fun, I definitely believe that, but it's only one genre. As we become better and better writers, trying new things, new techniques, dipping our toes in new pools, other venues will open up, other - better - playgrounds to frolic in.
Sure it might be scary, once erotica merges with the rest of the world and fades away as a genre in its own right. But think of how much better that world will be, a place where sex is something to be talked about, celebrated, and understood without fear or shame.
Our genre may disappear, could utterly and completely go away - but we will have accomplished something remarkable: We changed the world.
Sunday, July 06, 2008
Friday, July 04, 2008
To the world he's a genius, a master of color, form, and shape, a brilliant talent who stormed the art world and shook its pillars with his talent.
But who is he really? Who is Escobar?Here's what people are saying about this fantastic new work from M.Christian:
Brushes is an erotically charged portrait of a master artist, a stroke-by-stroke look at who Escobar may or may not be through the lives of his wife, his manager, model, the forger, his brother and others in intricately interconnected chapters.
May or may not be … for with each tale the people around Escobar instead reveal more about themselves than the artist through their prejudices, their envies and resentments, their fears, and their erotically charged fantasies.
Escobar, after all, like his art, is open to interpretation...and misinterpretation
M. Christian is an author of formidable talent and impressive flexibility. He writes equally convincingly from straight, gay or lesbian perspectives, and is a master at seamlessly melding multiple genres.
- Lisabet Sarai, author of Raw Silk and Rough Caress
As convoluted and erotic as a skein of pure silk
- Ann Regentin, author of Second Sight and A Foolish World
Brushes is my favorite kind of novel—a multi-layered treat for the mind and the senses. M. Christian transports us to glittering Paris where we follow the adventures of eight denizens of the art world, from an acclaimed artist and his muses to desperate wannabes. As their lives brush up against each other, serendipitously, inevitably, all experience a compelling sexual encounter that changes their lives forever. A deliciously sexy tale of mystery for anyone who’s intrigued by the power of the creative--and the erotic-spirit
- Donna George Storey, author of Amorous Woman
Evocative and carnal, M. Christian's Brushes portrays multiple perspectives on the life of an artist in Paris, from the gloriously hot sex that he indirectly inspires in his models, his gallery representative and the forger of his work to the embittered fantasies of his estranged wife and brother. Christian has captured the feel of a European art world that draws the reader in, leaving them wanting to learn more about this man, his virtues and faults. Brushes is that rarest of combinations: a marvelous erotic novel and a good read, full of intriguing characters.
- Catherine Lundoff, author of Crave: Tales of Lust, Love and Longing, and Night's Kiss
Those who follow the prolific M. Christian will not want to miss this latest addition to his published work. Brushes is a straight, erotic, mainstream novel arranged in a collection of novellas. It's the story of an artist and the various people in his life. As is typical of M. Christian the quality of Brushes does not disappoint
- Jolie du Pre, author of erotica and erotic romance.
We can never know how lives will intertwine; the mystery of it is one of the hidden joys of life. M. Christian has captured perfectly the symmetry and surprise of lives that mesh together -- whether the people living them like it or not. In following the life of a painter and everyone he touches, Brushes proves everything is not always as it seems. Just as Escobar creates masterpieces with canvas and paint, M. Christian creates a gorgeous tapestry of words.
- Gwen Masters, author of One Breath at a Time