Sunday, August 31, 2008

Confessions of a Literary Streetwalker: The Four Deadly Sins, Part 2 - Bestiality

(the following is part of an ongoing series of columns I did for The Erotica Readers & Writers Association on the ins and outs and ins and outs and ins and outs of writing good smut)

One in awhile someone will ask me “What, if anything, is verboten in today’s permissive, literate erotica?” The answer is that pretty much anything is fair game, but there are what are called the four deadly sins: four subjects that a lot of publishers and editors won’t (or can’t) touch. These by no means are set in stone, but they definitely limit where you can send a story that uses any of them. So here, in a special series of columns, are theses sins, and what – if anything – a writer can do with them. Enjoy!


Only in erotica can the line “Come, Fido!” be problematic. Sorry, that was a nasty joke. Unlike some of the other Four Deadly Sins of smut writing, bestiality is very hard to justify: with few exceptions it’s not something that can be mistaken for something else, or lie in wait for anyone innocently trying to write about sex – unlike, for instance, discussing a first time sexual experience and have it accused of being pro-pedophilia. Bestiality is sex with anything living that’s not human: if it’s not living then it’s a machine, if it was once-living then its necrophilia. Can’t get fuzzy about that, eh? Sorry, another bad joke --

A story that features – positively or negatively – anything to do with sex with animals is tough if not impossible to sell, though some people have accomplished it. However, there are some odd angles to the bestiality “sin” that a lot of people haven’t considered – both positive and negative.

On the negative side, I know a friend who had an erotic science fiction story soundly slammed by one editor because it featured sex with something non-human, technically bestiality – despite the fact that there is a long tradition of erotic science fiction, most recently culminating in the wonderful writing and publishing of Cecilia Tan and her Circlet Press (both very highly recommended). Erotic fantasy stories, too, sometimes get the “we don’t want bestiality” rejection, though myth and legend are packed with sexy demons (incubi and succubae, for example), mermaids (only good for fellatio, of course), ghosts, etc. This doesn’t even get into the more ‘classical’ sexy beasts such as Leda and her famous swan or Zeus and other randy gods and demi-gods in their various animal forms.

Alas, “someone else did it” doesn’t carry any weight with an editor and publisher, especially one that might be justifiably nervous about government prosecution or distributor rejection. Erotica, once again, gets – bad joke number three – the shaft: because erotica is up-front about the nature of its writing, alarm bells go off, unlike if you were writing something scholarly or even pop-culture. Market something as “erotic” and the double standards start popping up all over the place.

On a positive note – as the already mentioned Cecilia Tan has proved – sex with aliens and mythological creatures has always been popular. Anthropomorphizing an animal, adding intellect or obvious will to a creature is a very safe way of touching on (or even embracing) the allure of sex with the unusual, including bestiality. The furry subculture is a close example of this, though they are very clear (and I agree) that this is not bestiality – it’s just a way of eroticizing the exotic, mixing human sexuality with animal features. As long as the critters being embraced are not “real” animals and can give consent, then protests and issues usually fall away. Fantasy, after all, is one thing, and there’s nothing more fantastic that dating a being from Tau Ceti V or something that looks like a raccoon crossed with Miss November, 1979.

There’s another feature of bestiality that can be explored but only until recently has been: the idea of role-playing. In this take, a person will behave like an animal, usually a dog and usually submissive. In these S/M games, the “dog” (notice that they are never cats) is led around on a leash, communicates in barks or whines, drinks and eats from a bowl, and is generally treated – much to his pleasure, or as punishment – like a pooch: one-way it’s a unique power game, read it another and it’s bestiality.

One thing worth mentioning, because some people have brought this up in regards to all of the sins, is the “dream out.” What I mean by that is simple, say you really, really want to, say, write about doing some member of another phylum. That’s cool, but your chances of seeing it in print, or even on a website, are just about slim to none. SF doesn’t turn your crank (okay, okay, enough with the bad jokes) so you say: “Got it! It’s a dream!” Well, I got news for you: a story that’s slipped under the door with that framing device, as a way of getting about the idea of a “real” bestiality story apparent, especially when it opens with “I went to bed” and ends with “Then I woke up” is a pretty damned obvious excuse to write an un-sellable bestiality (or any other “sinful” story).

In short, like with a lot of these erotic “sins” whether or not a story comes across as being thoughtful or just exploitive and shallow depends a lot on how much you, as the writer, has put into the concept: something done cheap and easy will read just that way, versus the outcome if you invest time, thought, and – best of all -- originality. Good work really does win out, and even can wash away some of the more outr√©’ erotic “sins.”

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Dark Roasted M.Christian

If you like your cities big - and I mean REALLY big - then head over to Dark Roasted Blend to read my piece about the acrologies of Paolo Soleri:
Whatever happened to the future? It's still around, of course, mostly in Europe and Japan, but over the years the Fantastic World of Tomorrow's gotten ... cheaper, simpler, and -- most tragically of all -- the future's gotten too damned small.

Luckily there are a few visionaries left who aren't frightened of a future that doesn't fit in your pocket, a tomorrow with a vast scope, a monstrously dramatic scale, a time of awe-inspiring dimensions: they've dared to look over the horizon and visualize a truly big tomorrow.

One of those more special of special minds, someone who's imagined a future world that’s big on almost a geologic scale, is Paolo Soleri.

Born in Italy in 1919, Soleri studied with Frank Lloyd Wright (you might have heard of him) before setting up his own architecture studio in Arizona. It was in Scottsdale that Soleri began to dream big. Very, very, very big.

Soleri created the concept of an "arcology," a combo of architecture and ecology. The idea is pretty uncomplicated, though what Soleri did with his concept is wonderfully elaborate: cities have traditionally been urban slime mold, grinding away at the planet as they’ve crawled across the landscape. So why not create cities with as many people as possible in a small as possible footprint? And not only that but why not also make these super cities magnificently, tremendously, elegantly … beautiful?

One of my treasured belongings as a kid was a copy of Soleri’s Arcology: The City in the Image of Man. I would spend hours carefully turning page after page, mesmerized by Soleri’s majestic future, imagining myself strolling under immense vaults, along astounding spans, gazing up at soaring rises, down into artificial canyons of homes, stores, schools, businesses, living in a city the size of … well, big.

Really, really friggin’ big.

Just look at his design for Babel (IID, if you want to be specific): an immense flared cylinder of apartments sitting in a saucer-shaped base of commercial and civil spaces, with some parks, of course. Total population? 550,000. That’s Seattle. That’s Portland. All in one structure -- a structure that’s 1,900 meters high and 3,000 meters at its widest.

Okay, okay, you ignorant Americans: that’s more than a mile high and almost two miles wide. Want even more perspective? If you look at one of Soleri’s fantastic plans you’ll often see a strange little symbol to one side, an icon to give you an idea of the scale of his designs: an icon that represents the Empire State Building.

Then there’s Hexadredon, an incredible geometric mountain rising on three immense supports. Home to more than 170,000, it would rise half a mile into the sky and stretch about that same distance across the landscape. Like all of Soleri’s designs, it looks more like a cathedral carved from a mountain than what you might envision for a single vast building; as much art as architecture, as much sculpture as a structure for living.

Soleri’s designs are not limited to the dull flatness of the plains. Some of them, like the poetic Stonebow that bridges a canyon with its 200,000 population, the dam city of Arcodiga, or Arcbeam whose mere 65,000 inhabitants live on the side of a cliff, show his amazing ability to visualize a future not only of incredible size but also to work with any location.

Even the ocean: Novanoah’s 400,000 people live, work, and play in a city floating at sea. Even space: Asteromo’s 70,000 people live, work, and play in near-earth orbit.

But what’s even more amazing than Soleri’s designs and grander-than-grand visions is that out in the cactus and scorpion wilds of Arizona he and his students are building one: Arcosanti.

Originally planned to house a grander number, the new target for this test-bed arcology is about 5,000 residents, mostly students and artists. Right now it’s home to only about 120 -- with roughly 50,000 tourists stopping by every year to see how things are going.

Sure arcosanti might be a tad on the small side, and, yes, it’s not exactly been blossoming into reality at a rapid pace, but it’s there nonetheless: a beautifully arched and vaulted beginning to what could be a staggeringly beautiful, and breathtakingly immense, future.

Say what you want about the realism of Soleri’s visions but you have to always give him and his student this: in a world where the future is small and cheap they are looking toward tomorrow with big dreams: big, hopeful, dreams.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Sex Sells: How to Write & Sell Erotica Class With M.Christian!

Come one, come all* to the definitive class in erotica writing, taught by a master of the genre

Sex Sells: How to Write & Sell Erotica
With M.Christian

Sunday, October 12th, 1pm - 4pm
$40 before Sept 30
$50 after Sept 30
Downtown San Francisco (location revealed after registering)
Register Via PayPal:

The market for erotic fiction and nonfiction is booming! There actually is a secret to writing great erotica - and you'll discover just what that is in this fun, hands-on workshop with well-known erotica writer and teacher M. Christian.

For the beginning writer, erotica can be the ideal place to begin writing, getting published, and -- best of all -- earning money. And for the experienced writer, erotica can be an excellent way to beef up your resume and hone your writing skills. M. Christian will review the varieties of personal and literary expression possible in this exciting and expanding field. He'll also teach you techniques for creating love and sex scenes that sizzle.

Learn how to:
  • Get started writing for and selling to this growing marketplace
  • Free your creativity and get past inhibitions
  • Avoid cliches, common mistakes, and pitfalls
  • Write what editors and publishers will want to buy
Plus: current pay rates, how to write for a wide variety of erotic genres, from magazines to websites, where and how to submit your erotic writing, and more.

Students will also receive:
  • Several informative handouts including a list of top-notch markets and venues for erotica, as well as funny and educational articles and columns
  • A personal invitation to contribute to a special erotica project
  • 50% off a wide selections of erotica books
  • A free autographed copy of M.Christian's collection Filthy: Outrageous Gay Erotica=
The class is open to everyone (over the age of 21) interested in writing all kinds of erotica: gay, straight, lesbian, bisexual, fetish ... you name it!
M.Christian is an acknowledged master of erotica with more than 300 stories in such anthologies as Best American Erotica, Best Gay Erotica, Best Lesbian Erotica, Best Fetish Erotica, and many, many other anthologies, magazines, and Web sites. He is the editor of 20 anthologies including the Best S/M Erotica series, The Burning Pen, Guilty Pleasures, and many others. He is the author of the collections Dirty Words, Speaking Parts, The Bachelor Machine, and Filthy; and the novels Running Dry, The Very Bloody Marys, Me2, Brushes, and Painted Doll. His site is
For more information write M.Christian at

*no guarantees

Confessions of a Literary Streetwalker: The Four Deadly Sins, Part 1 - Underage

(the following is part of an ongoing series of columns I did for The Erotica Readers & Writers Association on the ins and outs and ins and outs and ins and outs of writing good smut)

One in awhile someone will ask me “What, if anything, is verboten in today’s permissive, literate erotica?” The answer is that pretty much anything is fair game, but there are what are called the four deadly sins: four subjects that a lot of publishers and editors won’t (or can’t) touch. These by no means are set in stone, but they definitely limit where you can send a story that uses any of them. So here, in a special series of columns, are theses sins, and what – if anything – a writer can do with them. Enjoy!


Of all the four deadly sins, the one that most-often cramps the style of many erotica writers (i.e. “pornographers”) has to be the use of characters that are below the legal age of consent. The difficulties are multi-fold: every state and/or country has different definitions of both what consent is and the age that anyone can give it; very few people have actually lost their virginity when legally able to give consent (and having everyone in a story or book being 21 when they first have sex is just silly); and even the scary potential that if you use a lot of characters below 21 you can look like a damned pedophile – and even get prosecuted as one.

Innocent scenes or even background like “he lost his virginity at seventeen” can be problematic, if not terrifying. While the likelihood is extremely remote, there still remains a chance that some Bible-thumping idiot from a backwater berg where consent is twenty-one could buy a copy of your work and then extradite you to said backwater to prosecute you for child pornography. It really has happened, and under our conservative government it more than likely will happen again. What really sucks is that they don’t have to win their case to ruin your life – not only is suspicion as good as guilt to many people, but the legal costs alone are guaranteed to bankrupt everyone but Bill Gates.

So how do you avoid the wrath of “Bubba” of backwater creek – or his fundamentalist kin? First of all, it really depends on how the story is written. While there’s a chance they might go after you for that simple “he lost his virginity at seventeen” line, it isn’t a big one. But if you do decide to write – and manage against all odds to sell, or at least publish – something that reads like a glorification of juvenile sexuality, your odds go up considerably. As with a lot of things, context and focus have a lot to do with it: anything sin can be written about if it’s done well and with an eye towards a finely crafted story with real emotion and dimension. James Joyce was banned, but it didn’t stick because it was art, and not “Catholic Schoolgirls in Trouble.”

Still, it’s always better to be safe than sorry – especially if there are very simple techniques a writer can use to keep the Jesus Freaks in their tin shacks, or just a nervous editor or publisher from getting even more nervous. One of the simplest ways to avoid being accused of profiting off underage characters is to blur the specifics of the character’s age. If I write, “he lost his virginity in high school” it could, technically, be argued that the kid had been held back for four years and so had his cherry popped at 21. No age, no underage. I’ve often been in the position where I’ve had to ask the author of a story to remove an exact age from a story to avoid just this issue. Most authors, once they understand the concern, are more than willing to make little changes like that.

Another place where age can slip in is through description. For example, if I say ‘boy’ that usually implies someone younger than a man, therefore below the age of consent. But if I use the word “lad” (as I asked one writer to do) the line gets fuzzy. Hell, I could say, “he was a strapping young lad of fifty summers” and get away with it. You can’t do the same with boy – though of course you could say “young man.” It’s all subjective.

Of course, you can use “boy” in dialogue – as it could be a sign of domination or affection: “Come here, boy, and lick my boots.” The ‘boy’ in question could be sixty and graying. In one of those weird sexist twists of language, by the way, ‘girl’ is not quite as loaded, as ‘girl’ is frequently used to describe a woman of almost any age. Go figger.

Back to the high school thing, I don’t want people to think you have to be incredibly paranoid to write erotica – but it is something to keep in mind. The gov (or even backwater versions of same) are hardly going to haul your ass off for just one line or just one story, but if someone goes go on a crusade, they sure aren’t going to arrest the cast and crew of American Pie (or anything like it). You, maybe -- them definitely not.

Like all of these smut-writing sins, the person who worries the most about these things isn’t the gov or the writers but the editors and publishers. Distributors are notoriously nervous around certain kinds of content, jitters that are passed right down line to the publishers and then to the editors. In short, an editor or publisher may never give your story a venue for Ashcroft and such to even see your work: better to be safe and get the books out there then risk everything for just one story.

Just as there are editors and publishers who are too cautious, there are others that don’t care one whit, or even take pride in pushing as many envelopes as possible. You name the sin and they’ll do it (in print, at least). While this is great, and deserves a hearty round of applause, it can also mean that if you write something really out there – even if it’s something you think a market would like – and (the horror) it gets rejected, you’re stuck with a story that no one will ever look at. Just something to keep in mind. The answer to this confusion between the careful and the outrageous is when most questions regarding markets for erotica: read the publication, check out the guidelines, and/or ask questions. The one thing you shouldn’t do is argue. I always remember this one person who sent me a story for a book I was editing, with an arrogant little note saying it was okay that the characters in his story were nine, because his story was set in Ancient Greece and the age of consent back then was eight (or something like that). One, that was rude; two, I wasn’t going to take anything with characters THAT young; and three, I didn’t make the rules, the publisher did: I couldn’t have taken the story even if I thought he was the next James Joyce. With that in mind I didn’t even read the story.

In short, while it’s not realistic – if not just stupid – to insist that characters be ‘legally’ old enough to have sex, it is a factor a writer (especially erotica) should keep in mind. Always (and I do mean ALWAYS) write what you want to write, but the instant you make that decision to try and share what you write with the rest of the world be aware that you’re probably going to have to compromise or work within certain limitations.

It might not be pretty, but it’s part of life – just like the loosing your virginity.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Weirdsville on The Cud

I'm jazzed to report that the very fun Aussie zine, The Cud, is featuring my Welcome to Weirdsville piece, The Wizard of War (which was previously posted to Meine Kleine Fabrik):

Jasper Maskelyne wanted to help. “You want to do WHAT?” said the British Army — or as their oh-so-polite upper crust officers probably put it: “Sorry, ol’ chap, but we don’t seem to have an urgent need for magicians right at this very moment — ” But this was the Second World War and the British were losing, badly, to Rommel’s Africa corps and rather than just send him packing back to the floodlights of London they instead sent him into the desert to duel a local fakir.

See, at the time the British were losing so badly that they needed escape routes — and one of them was right through this certain tribe’s territory, a tribe that was not about to grant these foreign devils permission to cross their desert.

Jasper Maskelyne was the son of Neville Maskelyne, who had taken many bows to thunderous applause, and his father in turn was son of the legendary John Neville Maskelyne, who — even today — is considered a genius of magic and illusion. Jasper, before hearing his call to duty, had been taking his own bows to roaring accolades as a magician. The fakir didn’t stand a chance.

They faced each other: Jasper straight off the boat from his distant home, the fakir dancing with fierce showmanship in front of his people — and the battle was joined. The fakir went first, beads and bells jangling and flashing in the so-hot desert sun, and with a great demonstration of sorcery and inhuman will took a spear from one of his greatest warriors and — to the shock and terror of almost everyone present — impaled himself.

Then it was Maskelyne’s turn. Did he pull a bouquet of paper flowers out of his hat? No. Did he saw a lovely Nubian princess in half? No. Did he ask these wild-eyed savages to ‘pick a card, any card?’ No — instead, Jasper Maskelyne, star of the London stage and a proud descendent of one of the greatest stage magic families of all time just calmly walked over to the fakir and whispered something into his ear.

Shortly thereafter, the British Army had its safe passage — with the fakir’s blessing. What had Jasper Maskelyne whispered? Simple and powerful: He told the holy man that he knew how the trick had been done. No magician ever wants an audience to know how it was done.

Some people’s lives are so outrageous, so incredible, that they seem to be drawn from fantasy — and for Jasper Maskelyne, the ‘Wizard of War’, and the stuff of myth and legend, this kind of assessment is wonderfully appropriate to this very day.

“Ladies and gentlemen, before your very eyes, courtesy of the British Army (grudgingly) the legendary, the amazing, the fantastic prestidigitations of that Wizard of War, Jasper Maskelyne! SEE him hide the Suez Canal. SEE him move Alexandria Harbor. SEE him trick the Desert Fox himself, Rommel, into believing that the entire British Army was in the South when it was really in the North. SEE him turn trucks into tanks and tanks into trucks — and merchant ships into battleships. SEE him change the face of war FOREVER.”

No magician wants his secrets told — like that fakir in the desert, I’m sure in some ways Jasper Maskelyne wouldn’t want us know exactly how it was that he performed his miracles of the battlefield. Well, while I am usually one to honor the memory of the legendary, I have to risk insulting this Wizard of War … more than anything because it was his fantastic innovations and flat-out innovative genius that makes what he did so incredible.

The Germans were planning on bombing the strategically important port of Alexandria. Funny thing about aerial bombing — in the desert, at night — you have very little to go on as far as points of reference. So Maskelyne went out into the bare desert next to the great port and set up hundreds of lights and even fake flashes of what the pilots would take to be exploding bombs. When the Germans flew over the blacked-out city they took the lights in the desert for the town — and bombed the empty sands. Realizing the Germans might realize the mistake in the morning, Maskelyne also constructed fake damage for the real town, paper-mach√© rubble and wreckage. The Germans saw what they wanted to see: a bomb-blasted port.

Maskelyne's inventiveness was awe-inspiring. Another thing, you see — or rather that the Germans didn't see — was that out there in the hot, flat, dry there aren't a lot of reference points. A tiny truck that could cast a shadow the approximate size and shape of a real one was indistinguishable from a full sized one from the air. So Maskelyne and his Magic Gang created a whole miniature army of tanks, trucks, troops, and even pipelines out of bulrushes and whatever the British Army had lying around. Though had the Nazis been flying over at an earlier point they would have seen the surreal sight of Maskelyne and his gang chasing a wicker-work locomotive that had managed to get swept up by a stern breeze.

So how DO you hide the Suez Canal? Nothing up my sleeve … presto! Here you are, a hot-shot Africa Corp bomber cruising along looking for this most important strategic point –a neat line in the desert — when what do you see instead but rather a crazy cascade of rapidly flashing lights. Unable to see anything clearly, let alone that narrow band of water, the Germans bombed the desert flat instead– and never touched the all-important canal.

One of Maskelyne's true genius touches was in using bad camouflage. He'd do such nasty tricks on those bad, ol' Germans … like that gun emplacement over there — the one that looks so 'obviously' fake: gun barrel from a telephone pole, 'armor' that was actually billowing in the wind — fake, yes, until Maskelyne would replace the empty 'bad' camouflage with, say, a real gun emplacement outfitted with tacky window-dressing — and the Germans got several nasty surprises.

But the Magic Gang didn't save all their tricks and illusions for the enemy. Realizing the need for secrecy from both his own forces as well as the curious African allies, these illusionists booby-trapped their own Magic Valley with all manner of devilish hocus-pocus. Step on the wrong spot, put your nose where it really shouldn't belong and you might, say, be enveloped in a smelly fog, or find yourself facing some horrific, screaming specter. Maskelyne and his Gang, needless to say, were left alone.

To give you an idea about how much Maskelyne and his Magic Gang changed the course of modern warfare … well, I can't — and that's what's so telling — much, a tremendous amount, in fact, of what Maskelyne and his illusionists did are still TOP SECRET. While it's true that no magician wants his tricks revealed, it's sad that Maskelyne still can't take the bows he so richly deserves. Ah, but then we did win the war, after all — what applause could top that?

So much has been made of Hitler's obsession with such practices as Astrology and with mystical artifacts – dark magic ran deep through the hideous veins of the Nazis. Yet, the true Wizard of War wasn't an evil sorcerer – but rather a mischievous British stage magician … with more than a few tricks up his sleeve.

Monday, August 18, 2008

M.Christian on M.Christian

I'm excited to be featured on Interviewing Authors. Here's what I have to say about myself:
CA: What genre(s) do you write? Why do you write the stories that you write?

MC: Well, I like to call myself a ‘literary streetwalker with a heart of gold” meaning I usually write what folks – meaning publishers and editors -- want, which can mean anything from non-fiction to horror, from science fiction to humor, from advice columns to gay fiction, from blog stuff to smut, although most folk seem to want smut most of all. Not that I’m complaining, you understand: smut has been very, very good to me. In fact it’s how I got started and how I made my ‘name.’ Not to toot my horn … at least not too much … I’ve sold close to 300 stories short stories that have been in a whole lot of ‘best’ erotica books: Best American Erotica, Best Gay Erotica, Best Lesbian Erotica, Best Bisexual Erotica, Best Fetish Erotica … well, you get the picture. I also have four collections of my stories in print: Dirty Words (gay erotica), Speaking Parts (lesbian erotica), The Bachelor Machine (science fiction erotica), and Filthy (more gay erotica); and have edited 20 or so anthologies including Confessions, Amazons, and Garden of Perverse (with Sage Vivant), and the Best S/M Erotica series. I also have written five novels and am working on my sixth: Running Dry, The Very Bloody Marys, Me2, Brushes, and Painted Doll – of which only a couple are erotic.

CA: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

MC: I was in the fourth grade or so when I first realized that I liked the idea of writing, and that people could actually make a living at it, but it wasn’t until high school that I really gave it a shot. Alas, it took close to ten years before I sold my first story – a smut story, by the way – but after that I’ve been really working on getting stuff out there and working even harder on having fun doing it.

CA: Who or what was your inspiration for writing?

MC: I’d like to say some of the great and noble gods like Hemmingway and such but I found most of my true inspiration from, and admiration for, honest working writers in science fiction and comics. Okay, I really do love Steinbeck, Kipling, Hugo, and Dickens, but William Gibson, Alan Moore, Alfred Bester, Adam Warren, Ted Sturgeon, Alexander Jablokov, and Phil Dick are who I adore. I also really love classic movies, especially directors like Frankenheimer, Billy Wilder, and Wim Wenders.

I also can’t say enough for writers of simple, beautiful prose who are too often dismissed because they happen to write for things like television; Paul Dini, Hilary J. Bader, and Joss Whedon, and so forth. As I like to say: good writing is good writing, and it doesn’t make a difference if it’s for the New Yorker or a Saturday morning cartoon.

CA: When writers block attacks, what do you do to get back on track?

MC: I have a rather strange work ethic in that I don’t believe in talent, a muse, or suchlike. I’ve always just plain worked at my writing. Sometimes a story isn’t going well but I try to push through it nonetheless, trying to get to the heart at why it might be trouble. I also don’t wait for inspiration: most of the time what I’m doing is because someone, somewhere, asked for it. But that doesn’t mean I sell my soul. I really do simply love to write, to tell stories. When I get an assignment, or an opportunity crosses my path, I always try to make whatever it is ‘mine’ with a story I want to tell, no matter what the eventual market might be.

CA: What is your work schedule like when you're writing?

MC: I don’t really have a set schedule but I’m always very much aware of what has to be done and when it has to be turned in. Right now, for instance, I’m writing a bi-monthly article for Dark Roasted Blend (, getting the word out about my four new books (Me2, Painted Doll, Brushes, and The Very Bloody Marys), and working on a new book for Zumaya – one I hope to get done in a few more months. Beyond that I’m trying to round up some new novel gigs and trying to find a new day job … after getting laid off recently from my last one, which I had for over ten years (sigh). Between all this I also have a wonderful partner in all things, Sage Vivant, who I adore, and various hobbies I’ve been regretfully ignoring. Maybe one day, I’ll be able to write for a living but until then I’m working as hard as I can to get myself out there: opportunities don’t come to you, you have to look for them.

CA: Your book is about to be sent into the reader world, what is one word that describes how you feel?

MC: One word: sigh. I’ve never been a huge self-promoter but I’ve been forcing myself to work harder at it. Like I just said: things don’t find you, you find them. Sitting in the dark hoping someone, anyone, will call just doesn’t work. That doesn’t mean I like having to send out press release after press release or do interview after interview (no insult) but to get where I want to be, which is to be able to write more books, it takes getting people to know who you are. It’s not fun, but it has to be done.

CA: What do you like to do when you're not writing?

MC: Alas, I’ve been ignoring a lot of my hobbies lately but I do plan on getting back to them eventually: robots and fun electronic stuff, little art projects, photography, food (eating and cooking), and travel. One of these days I’ll be able to get back to them but for right now the writing and the job search is taking up a lot of my time …probably too much of my time, but them’s the breaks.

CA: What is something shocking or weird about you that your readers don’t know about?

MC: Well, the biggest one I can think of is that even though I write a lot of gay themed books, for a lot of gay publishers and anthologies, I’m straight – but certainly not narrow, as the joke goes. I'm actually pretty proud of being able to make my projects, whatever they are, respectful of the audience and the ‘theme.’ I'm happy that my publishers don’t mind who I am, and that so many of my readers like my work --it's something that keeps me going. I just hope it continues because while it can be challenging, there’s a lot of enjoyment that comes with that challenge, and I really think it’s helped my writing.

CA: How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

MC: I’ve already nattered about what I’ve done, so I don’t need to do that again. As for my fave … well, I don’t really have one. Sure I thought that Me2 came out really well and Painted Doll, Very Bloody Marys, and Brushes were lots of fun – and collections are always a kick -- but I like to say my favorite is the one I’m either working on right now or will be working on next. I just don’t like to look back, I guess. Besides, if you think your best is behind you, it doesn’t push you forward. I like the books I’ve written but I also think I could do better, which is what I try to remember whenever I do something new. I also try to stretch as much as possible, taking risks each time so I can learn and grow.

CA: Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?

MC: That’s a toughie: I do but I don’t. I don’t put ‘real’ people in my stuff, meaning friends and such, but I do put a lot of myself into whatever I do. I’m not gay man – and I’m not equipped to know what being a lesbian is like – but I do know what desire, hope, fear, embarrassment, pride, and love feels like so I write all of that into my stories and books. I also try to project as much of myself as I can into whatever I’m doing, to really get into the people I’m writing about. Occasionally, though, I do borrow an actor or actress though it never feels … ‘real’ I guess you could say.

CA: Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

MC: I once wrote a column called “Confessions of a Literary Streetwalker” for the Erotica Readers & Writers site, which I’ve been reposting on my own site at Part of the reason I did those columns was because I was tired of the poor advice teachers and other writers were dishing out. Some of the more important topics I addressed was that writers, especially new ones, shouldn’t try and be the next ‘fill-in-the-blank’ celebrity author. Instead, they should work where there’s work and not be biased about different genres. I got my start in smut and am now writing novels for a wide range of audiences. I also think writers should focus on the writing and not spend too much time ‘playing the game’ of being a writer instead of actually writing. Finding publishers, agents, and such is important but doing the work is what it’s all about. Lastly, but not leastly, writing should be fun: if it’s not then you’re not doing it right. Being a writer sucks: the pay is cruddy; no one gives you any respect; and it’s a lot of hard, emotionally brutal, work – but if you enjoy writing then it becomes something truly amazing, and totally worth it.

CA: How can a reader contact you or purchase your books?

MC: All of my books are on under “M.Christian,” and I have links to all of them from my page at I’d check that page out first and go from there. I’m also very free with my email address, so please feel free to write me anytime: or

CA: Is there anything you would like to add?

MC: Just that I also have a pair of fun blogs I post to quite often: Frequently Felt is a place for fun and strange sex stuff, and Meine Kleine Fabrik is for fun and strange stuff (no sex). I’ve been posting my “Confessions of a Literary Streetwalker” columns on my main site as well

CA: I’ll have to hop over and check out your blogs, Confessions of a Literary Streetwalker is an attention grabbing title : )

Friday, August 15, 2008

My Date with Anne Coulter

I'm jazzed that The American Satellite has just posted My Date with Anne Coulter. Check it out here:
Despite apparent semiotic similarities, the female is, in fact, from a genus not at all related to its common mating partner, which in no way prevents it from various futile reproductive attempts.

This pseudo-positive assortative mating – the preference of one gender to seek out mates with similar or superior characteristics – has been likened to the behavior of a unique subspecies of baylisascaris that frequently attempts to reproduce with more developed species in an attempt to mimic their successful behaviors. Unlike these fecal parasites, the female is far more aggressive in its mating behaviors.

So aggressive, in fact, that few species can survive the attempt. For many years hypotheses regarding these common coitus fatalities were few and far between, more than likely because of the high incidents of injury and death among researchers who put themselves at high risk to study the sexual activities of this unusually destructive female. Fortunately recent experimental developments have paved the way for researchers to safely observe for the first time the actual behavior of the species from initial excitement phase to the inevitable conclusion of its unique sexual response cycle.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

HorrorWorld Likes Very Bloody Marys

Constantly distracted by more fleshly concerns and chronically late for his night job, Valentino arrives at work one day to find that his mentor, Pogue, has disappeared. What's worse, this disappearance seems to be just one move in a larger game that involves a supernatural feud amongst San Francisco's less human residents, a feud which promises to leave a lot of corpses in its wake, including everyone close to Valentino.

M. Christian creates a variety of quirky characters from wizards to zombies to fairies, and the tone captures the feeling of a fast-paced horror movie, alternately funny and creepy.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Having Fun With Google

Here's your chance - and aren't you lucky - to check out whatever I post or find interesting: My Shared Items Page On Google. Enjoy!

Mykola Dementiuk Likes The Very Bloody Marys

Mykola Dementiuk:
Ever since Anne Rice wrote Interview with a Vampire and scared the bejesus out of me but over time drifted less and less into the spooky vampiresque culture, the creative world has been a bit dead and stagnant and void of imagination…that is until M. Christian burst upon the scene with The Very Bloody Marys.

This fast moving novel, with street-smart young vampires, had me by the balls, so to speak, from the first when the city of San Francisco is introduced and it held me till the end, with war-like street battles atmosphere undergone by various vampires like Valentino, Pogue, Mariah, et al.

It also a very quick-moving novel at that, before I knew it Valentino was taking stock of those fallen and those surviving and my how the vampire had grown!

By the end on this book you’ll be waiting for the next one in store, which I’m sure M. Christian has plenty of…keeping my fingers crossed for the next one, vampire, sex fiend, identity seeker, whatever….But I’d read anything by this master, and M. Christian is certainly one. So bring them on, M. Christian, bring them in!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Kafka's Porn?

From ectoplasmosis (cross-posted from Frequently Felt)
In his new book, Excavating Kafka, author James Hawes publishes a sampling of the late author’s secret collection of mail order pornography, copies of which Hawes stumbled upon while performing unrelated research in the British Library in London and the Bodleian in Oxford leading one to the conclusion that someone knew about Kafka’s erotic peccadilloes. Why then are they only coming to light now? Well, it could be that they are filthy:

Even today, the pornography would be “on the top shelf”, Dr Hawes said, noting that his American publisher did not want him to publish it at first. “These are not naughty postcards from the beach. They are undoubtedly porn, pure and simple. Some of it is quite dark, with animals committing fellatio and girl-on-girl action… It’s quite unpleasant.”

So there it is. It seems that Kafka scholars, unable to bear the idea of the mind behind The Trial and The Metamorphosis being titillated by the forbidden fruit of bestiality, have done their best to ignore it.

I think I speak for all of Ectomo when I say that this is a fantastic discovery. Mr. Hawes and I may have differing opinions on the photographic depiction of erotic lesbian encounters — which I would maintain is one of Nature’s great wonders and should be recorded at every opportunity, particularly if both parties are in heels — but I share his excitement over this discovery. I for one look forward to describing pornography featuring barnyard animals as being “Kafkaesque”.

Update: Sven KaoZ maintains, in the comments, that this is a stunt by Hawes to sell his book and that the magazines in question were published by Kafka collaborator, Franz Blei. The Wikipedia entry for Blei makes mention of this as well.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Pauline Likes Painted Doll

Another wonderful review from my great friend, Pauline:

In M.Christian's futuristic story, THE PAINTED DOLL, we never learn how the world has got to this point. But it doesn't matter, we know that this is the future, a chaos has taken place, the world has been turned up-side-down; the priority of the West is over, and there is an exodus to the East.

In a time of spiritual and emotional drought, memories are all that Claire has left. The perfect love that she shared with Flower, her only love, her soulmate, is told through electronic mail. Claire is also the alluring Domino, the Erotist, the expert in sexual desire and manipulation. We watch her as she delicately dips her brushes, and seductively applies her arrousing chemicals to her clients bodies; an unbearable, yet pleasurable torture. But Claire despises what she has become; the mask of the chalk faced painted doll is cracking.

M.Christian's irresistably poetic story is told through more than one narrative voice. An anonymous tourist, a killer, prowls the red light district. Christian is an expert weaver of tales and tells the story of THE PAINTED DOLL, with panache and confidence. Claire's story can speak to us all of an emotional awakening; a lament; the sacrifice we wished we'd made. The door we should have opened, into the rose-garden.There's resonance here with the best of stories; Christian's style is lyrical, he loves words and how he places them. THE PAINTED DOLL is a wonderfully crafted book to read for all those who love language.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Amos Lassen Likes Painted Doll

Amos Lassen on amazon:

I started reading the fiction of M. Christian about this time last year and I am slowly making my way through his works. I have read four of his books so far and each is completely different from the others. “Painted Doll” is the most different of them all. This is a novel about the art of seduction and deals with Domino, an erotist (a professional who paints her client’s bare skin with neurochemicals that bring about sensuality. An erotist can provide landscapes of “ecstasy, pain, joy and delight” and few can afford this).

“Painted Doll” is a noir tale which deals with the future and it is an erotic adventure that is completely imaginative as it explores the nature of man and sexual awakenings that arise when we take on someone else’s identity. M. Christian has such a way with words that it is pure pleasure to read his work. He dares to tackle stories that other writers will not touch. He takes erotic tales from the privacy of the home and rubs our noses in them and we love it. He is not what some might consider post-modern but rather creates a whole new form of literature that can be pure fun. He writes across borders and genres and creates something new with everything he writes and he surprises me every time.

“Painted Doll” is erotic and another new kind of book for Christian. It features a dominatrix unlike any other and the book is set in a world we do not know. Christian has the ability to deal with the senses in a way that the reader feels the perception. Everything in “Painted Doll” is in living color and the action never stops---the imagery is unexpected and the prose is sheer perfection. The book is totally unpredictable and totally provocative and above all gives the reader a sense of pleasure.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Confessions of a Literary Streetwalker: The Name's The Thing

(the following is part of an ongoing series of columns I did for The Erotica Readers & Writers Association on the ins and outs and ins and outs and ins and outs of writing good smut)

Erotica or pornography? To be honest, how I answer that question really depends on who asks it - though I have often thought about the distinction. Personally, if it's a fellow writer asking if what I is erotica or pornography, in other words high literature or low smut, I have a tendency to answer with 'erotica' for obvious reasons. If it's someone who rings my doorbell late at night, or at some other obnoxious intrusion, I snarl that I'm a pornographer, and I have to really get back to writing nasty stories about equally nasty sex - if just to get rid of them.

This playful ducking of the issue aside, some people really do take the idea of a different between the two very seriously. A common definition between the two is that pornography is 'just' sex, in other words the author appears to be doing nothing that just arouse the reader, while erotica is aiming for a higher purpose. The problem with that though is that one man's erotica is another's pornography: that the reaction to a story is completely subjective. Besides, who knows what the intent of any writer really is?

Another attempt at definition is that erotica is refined, while pornography is course, rough, ham-handed. The idea behind this is that there is some kind of vocabulary litmus test that can be made against a work to see if it passes or fails. This also falls flat because a lot of sexuality simply is course. An honest story, talking about someone's real sex life, can sometimes use language as salty as the crustiest sailor's.

A classic way of telling one from the other is the old favorite that pornography is "without any redeeming social importance." Again, this falls flat as who can say what impact anything artistic will have - either today or hundreds if not thousands of years from now. I'm sure a lot of contemporaries of Beethoven, DaVinci, Shakespeare, Rodan, and so forth looked on their works and wrinkled their noses in disgust. Not that I think something from Hustler will seriously be hanging in the Louvre someday, but who knows what folks will someday find artistic.

What I think is even more alarming that censors and social commentators trying desperately to find some simple way of differentiating between smut and art, is that many writers are trying to separate the two as well. In other words, the same folks who are trying to keep it out of 'inappropiate' hands have intentionally or unintentionally, have joined forces with the people writing it.

Erotica has changed a lot in the last twenty or so years. Once the mainstay of the desperate writer, people are now actually either pursing erotica writing as a respected and fairly well-paying job or are using it as a stepping stone to bigger things. I wouldn't be writing this column, and having my stories, published in magazines like this without erotica. I even have books - four collections, edited over a twenty anthologies, written five novels - because I write about sex. That's quite remarkable, especially considering the stigma sexual writing used to have.

But as with many things, success has a price. Some writers are desperately trying to draw a line in the sand, if only so they can feel just a bit better what they do by elevating themselves through lowering others. "You," they say, "write pornography, while what I do is erotica." Their reasons are understandable, for the first time sex writing is getting respect, some money, and has been opening some otherwise closed doors. In their eyes, it doesn't do then any good to be grouped together with course, "just sex," or works "without any redeeming social importance." The problem is their criteria are just as nebulous as those who want to be able to prosecute for one, while grudgingly permitting the other. The problem is they are both have the potential to be very dangerous.

As I said, there is no absolute definition between literary erotica and pornography. A classic case of this was the quote from Justice Potter Stewart: "I know it when I see it." In other words, it's all a matter of opinion. The problem is, while some writers who are part of this new form of sex writing are looking for a way of telling apples from oranges simply to preserve their new-found self-respect, there are others who are trying to tell the two apart to send the writers of what they consider to be 'pornography' to jail. What better way, they are beginning to say, to draw the line than to use the rules that writers themselves are using?

Allowed to continue unchecked, puritans and hysterics who want to protect the world from what they see as the 'evils' of sex writing will be using these attempts to discriminate between high and low, art and "just porn" to draft laws, ban books, and possibly even fine or imprison authors.

My name is Chris, I write under the name "M. Christian." I am a writer. I write many things: essays, columns, reviews, articles, novels, short stories, and a lot of pornography - and, no matter who asks or why, I'm very happy doing all of it, including writing pornography. Sex writing is daring, risky, innovative and touches on something that most everyone on this world has experienced, something that makes us human.

I'm a pornographer, and proud of it.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Pornotopia: So You're A Writer?

The following is just one of a bunch of pieces I’ve been working on for a project tentatively titled Pornotopia: The Ins and Outs and Ins and Outs of Sex and Erotica. Enjoy!

"So, you're a writer?"

Oh, boy, here it comes: the question. I really should think up a nice, eloquent response - some way of saying I write smut, but somehow conjuring up the fun, the magic of it. Some day .... "Yep."

"So, what do you write?"

"Oh, all kinds of stuff: fiction, non-fiction, editor of anthologies, collections, novels." So lame - did Hemmingway have to go through this? What really irks is if I mentioned something from the airport newsstands they'd be impressed.

"What kind of stuff do you do?"

That's the question I really hate. The smart ones recognize the (fairly) impressive credits, nod, and go back to their Wall Street Journal or Monster Truck Special, but others ... they want qualifiers, as if certain sales are more important that others. The 'I hate' part is that they're right: a sale to The New Yorker is just a tad better than one to, say, Truckstop Bimbos Monthly - even if you've written, like I have, a lot of Truckstop Bimbos Monthly stories. "Oh, all kinds of stuff: some mysteries, some noir, some non-fiction, some science fiction, some horror -" sigh "- lots of smut."

Now the fun real one: "You write from life?"

Oh, yeah, like Truckstop Bimbos Monthly is a page from my diary. I don't put myself into my stories - they come from the same place my science fiction or my horror stories come from, and certainly haven't hacked someone to death or visited other worlds. Still, I sometimes wonder: can a virgin really write smut? I've had a good sex life: did some porno movies, had some group sex, some orgies, did some S/M, some gay-play, some cross-dressing - not De Sade but sure more than Buchanan. Did that add to my stories? I don't know - but saying that opens the door to looking like having something to hide, and in this culture I might as well as be screaming YES! So: "Not really, no. But I certainly need to know a bit about what I'm writing about."

Hehehehehe "I bet your stories are pretty hot."

I think so, but frankly I don't really think of men and women jacking or jilling off to my prose. I try my best, putting in the good and juicy details, but there's no way to meet everyone's needs. Hell, the fact that anyone reads what I write is a compliment - let alone someone getting hard, wet, or wanting to buy the next book. "I hope so - that way I can keep selling stories."

"Do you - " ahem "- get excited when you work?"

One of my favorites. If you don't write from life then you must get a screaming hard-on when you click and clack out those filthy stories. This one I have no question answering - no pondering, second-guessing or hesitation. "Nope. It's all up here - " I tap my head for emphasis "- don't get turned on at all. For me, it's all writing: and what I'm writing doesn't really matter, a scary story or a sexy one. I get all lost in the words, in putting them together in fun combinations. From Mr. Happy, not a tickle."

"Why do you do it?"

I write smut, horror, non-fiction, mysteries, EVERYTHING because I'm a writer. It's fun - more fun that sex sometimes. It's an addiction, a trip, a high. I don't know what's going to come from my dancing fingers from one moment to the next, and that's a joy. So I answer, truthfully:

"Because it's fun."