Sunday, February 28, 2010

Buy This Book: Coming Together Presents Remittance Girl

I'm sheepish. There I went, spouting off about my own Coming Together book when a good friend, and a magnificent writer, has her own collection supporting her own wonderful charity released.

I can't say enough great things about the mysterious Remittance Girl: her writing sparkles and shines, dances and flirts from each sentence to the next and - maybe best of all - she's a truly good soul. So go out and buy her own Coming Together collection: you will not be disappointed!

Coming Together Presents: Remittance Girl collects seventeen erotic stories by the mysterious and reclusive Remittance Girl. Open the cover and enjoy incredible tales of twisted desire and overwhelming lust, intricate and perfect as some Chinese jade carving.

An expat living in Vietnam, RG deftly captures the realities of life in Southeast Asia: the debilitating heat and humidity, the riotous energy and color and the loneliness of being an outsider. However, she's equally at home in gritty British suburbia or the beaches of the Costa del Sol.

Don’t expect light-hearted tales of playful sex from RG’s pen. Don’t expect romance—though sometimes it’s difficult to distinguish true love from satisfied desire. Be ready for tales with an edge, with a sting, and occasionally, with a moral. While many of RG’s stories are vividly realistic, some of her offerings are fables: unsanitized, old-fashioned fairy tales that retain a taste of terror.

RG’s writing strikes to the heart of the erotic. Her sex is strong and messy and real. She is not afraid to explore the darkest, rawest fantasies. When she writes kink, it’s not fashionable sex games—it is inevitable, compelling, inescapable, cutting to the core of her characters.

In this volume, Coming Together is delighted to present Remittance Girl, whose chosen charity is the ACLU.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Dark Roasted M.Christian

A brand new Dark Roasted Blend piece I did just went up: this time about some beautiful - and eccentric - architectural plans for the future.

For as long as humans have had the concept of 'tomorrow,' they've dreamed about what a better world might be, and fantasized about living in a utopia.

Sure, those early fantasies were probably pretty crude: bigger bison, fewer big critters waiting in the shadows to eat you, plenty of fire ... that kind of thing. But as humans got more sophisticated so did their fantasies of what tomorrow -- and the day after that and the day after that -- might be.

Some dreamers have tried to be realistic, to ground their fantasies in the brick and mortar of today, to go all out and be outrageous but always with a realistic foundation. But then there are those whose architectural visions of the World Of Tomorrow has been more ... well, visionary.

If not totally hallucinatory.

Frank Lloyd Wright was -- without hyperbole -- brilliant. Looking at his designs, it's easy to view them as simple in their loveliness: elegant mixtures of natural and artificial, Asian and Western, minimal and dramatic. But it's easy to forget that Wright completely rewrote architecture when the cars parked in front of his houses like Falling Water, his Taliesin studios, and the long lost Imperial Hotel in Tokyo were Model T Fords. It's one thing to dream about the future when you're in a world -- like today -- that's always looking forward, always thinking of grandly dramatic tomorrows, but quite another when you're in a time when men are wearing spats, and women hoop skirts -- and the future was relegated to cheap pulps, at best.

And Wright certainly had his eyes to the future. One of his most visionary designs was of a decentralized city, called Broadacre. Although not as striking as some of his other designs, it was radical for its time. But even more radical was what was to be Wright's masterpiece, a single soaring accomplishment: The Illinois.

Soaring is right, as the Illinois was to be a skyscraper -- a rare thing for Wright. But not just any twenty or thirty or forty floor pinnacle of his skill. Nope, The Illinois was to be a Chicago landmark to end all landmarks: a mile-high skyscraper.

Alas, Wright never came close to seeing his creation as anything but sketches and blueprints.

Another architectural visionary with very long-distance sight was Buckminster Fuller. Bucky created what some consider overly practical geodesic and polished steel future with a staggering array of designs and inventions -- many of which had gone beyond the blueprint stage and could be seen, touched, or even driven. Like Wright's, his designs were often even more incredible in light of when they were created. His Dymaxion House, for example, was created in 1929, and his amazing Dymaxion car actually drove the streets of New York in 1933. Fuller's designs were, to put it mildly, rigorously practical: his Dymaxion Houses were to be created on an assembly line with inflexible specifications, not in their manufacture but for those who were to live in them. The houses might have been absolutely brilliant in their design -- integrating many inspired features such as their ability to recycle water -- and his car literally could have driven rings around the cars of 1944, but in Fuller's future visions humanity would have been less flesh and blood and more like uniform parts in his many intricate mechanisms.

Other architects and visionaries have taken a much more natural approach to their far-forward speculations and designs. Luc Schuiten, for instance, looked at tomorrow and saw not steel and chrome, metal and heavy industry but instead a world of living green. His designs are for cities grown and tended like orchards. Living in Luc's world would be like existing in a city of skyscraper trees, hedgerow houses, forest stores, and prairie parks -- a magnificent dream for those who long for man to finally live with -- and not against -- nature ... though maybe a ring of hell if you have an hay fever.

Wright is art, Fuller is cold logic, Luc is nature, but if you want a vision of the future that's none of the above, in every way, you have to look at the work of Superstudio. Created in 1966 by Adolfo Natalini and Cristiano Toraldo, Superstudio's plans for the future are outrageous, disturbing, and -- most of all -- surreal. To be fair, Natalini and Toraldo never really thought about actually creating their visions of the future -- unlike Wright and Fuler and Luc -- and, considering some of their designs, that might be a very good thing.

Take, for example, their plan to make all the buildings in Pisa lean -- every building except for the town's famous tower; or their famous "Brain City" where the residents would be just that: brains in jars, with the concept of a perfect city fed into their cortexes via direct stimulation.

A contemporary of Superstudio, Archigram created designs that weren't quite as avant guard -- in fact they were almost realistic, at least in comparison. One of their most famous visions is for a city that perambulates across the countryside ... and before you leap to your dictionary, they meant for their cities of the future to be monstrous walking machines, strolling from one part of the world to the other. Another of their designs was for a "Plug In" city, where the metropolis would be a framework providing the necessities and the residents would simply connect where they wanted to be at any time. Although it might sound like a Fuller concept, Archigram at least tried to create something the residents might actually enjoy, giving their residents a choice of where and when to go and live.

Tomorrow might not be here yet, but thankfully there have been, and still are, some dreamers who have tried to look forward to how we might be living. All we can do is hope that some of their more outrageous visions become a reality, and that others never do.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Coming Together - Even More Special

Okay ... there's special, really special, and then there's very really special: my great friend (and a wonderful writer), billierosie, just posted this review for Coming Together: M.Christian on her wonderful site. Thanks so much, sweetie!

Two wonderful minds working together. Perfect symmetry. Lizabet Surai and M.Christian, pulling together for the same cause; Planned Parenthood. M.Christian has decided to put together a collection of his stories in aid of this organisation. The stories are diverse and really quite astonishing in their range. But I can’t really say it better than Lizabet herself.
“I was thrilled when Chris agreed to assemble a collection of his stories for the Coming Together Presents series. As I worked on this book, I was reminded yet again what a creative and versatile writer he is. Coming Together Presents M.Christian ranges from the leather bars of San Francisco to the deserts of Mars. The characters include rock-and-rollers, dykes with attitude, horny office workers, tortured artists, inter-galactic lawyers, even Mona Lisa. The atmosphere is tough and gritty in one tale, lyrical in the next, and teasingly tongue-in-cheek in a third.”

One theme runs through the stories; desire in its many incarnations. Sometimes it’s dark desire; teetering on the forbidden. At other times it’s playful, at others it’s wistful; perhaps just a dipping in of the toe. You know the sort of thing; where you run away giggling.

And of course, I have my favourites…

WINK is a dialogue between two guys. Almost like a court room dramatisation; Lou questions the narrator about his sex life with curvy Shirley. Why won’t he get to the point? What is it he wants to know? Christian expertly teases us with his clever words; with the skill of a clever lawyer, he draws out the dialogue hypnotically until there’s no escape for his narrator. The teasing and the humour are the best parts of this story. We know that Lou is drawing us into thinking about the taboo. Something dirty; something forbidden. Finally, the narrator understands where Lou is going. Lou wants to know about butt sex with a woman. And when I say he wants to know; Lou wants to know everything. From how the narrator initiated it, to its conclusion. And most importantly, how does the narrator know that Shirley likes it; really likes it?

He tells him.

In GRIZZLY, Christian introduces us to a little known aspect of Queer culture. The Bears. I do know about the Bears. I’ve a friend who is one; big, hairy, sexy and gloriously male. So very different from the effete men that you usually come across in Queer culture. Not that there’s anything wrong with effete; it’s just not for me.

Here’s a bit about the Bears, from Wiki.

"The self-identification of gay men as Bears originated in San Francisco in the 1980s as an outgrowth of gay biker clubs like the Rainbow Motorcycle club, and then later the leather and “girth and mirth" communities. It was created by men who felt that mainstream gay culture was unwelcoming to men who did not fit a particular body norm (hairless and young) Also, many gay men in rural America never identified with the stereotypical urban gay lifestyle, and went searching for an alternative which more closely resembled the idealised blue collar American male image…"

Rocky is a Bear and he’s adored by his lover, Paul. But something isn’t quite right. Paul is afraid of the dark, erotic desire that Rocky brings out in him.

“Beneath this costuming he was a great, and very furry beast - and he turned Paul on, something fierce.”

That is how Paul sees Rocky as something primal; something feral, belonging to nature in its darkest sense. But what Paul is afraid of is himself; of letting go.

Rocky leaves.

It takes months for Paul to think through his fears. Then one day, he knows; Rocky is coming back.

Paul’s cock is hard for the first time in weeks.

“All it had taken was to remember his grizzly ... and his powerful growl.”

In SMILE MONA, at last I understand the circumstances behind the enigmatic smile.

Christian writes a back story for La Giaconda. A story of a life stifled, without hope. Boredom and sadness. But now she has a reason to smile that small smile. She’s knows ecstasy; she knows its brilliant colours, its numinous sounds, its cascade of tastes, smells and the rapture of its wonderful touch. The Mona Lisa has been reborn. Perceptive genius that he was, Leonardo saw it in her face and painted it sensuously, in her haunting smile. Did the smile ever leave her face? Perhaps not; for she has a secret so great, that it is all hers. Her aging, coarse husband will never know it. The Mona Lisa has a secret that will see her through her lonely days and lonely nights.

In EVOLUTION, Christian explores the desire of change. No, not just the desire of change; an overwhelming need to change. Evolution or extinction; life or a slow death. It’s a stark choice, but sometimes those stark choices are all we have. In this story, Rocky and Willow have spent long days, nights, months, thinking out the changes that will make their lives complete.

First Rocky, then Willow. The change will be physically painful; there will be scars that are very real. The change will take great courage. But it is necessary.

Sunday morning to Sunday morning, fuck to fuck; the years pass, and slowly the changes are put into place. These aren’t the kind of changes that take place naturally in life. These changes take positive thought and action. Sometimes we have to be brave and face our demons, before we can be complete human beings; leading the lives we deserve, which are not necessarily the lives handed out to us at the beginning.

M.Christian’s stories are pitch perfect and there’s so many more; more than I’ve been able to mention here. Christian has dedicated his book to Planned Parenthood. It’s a cause he believes in. Here’s what he has to say about it.

"Yes, Planned Parenthood has become a kind of pariah, a pretend-it-doesn't exist organization, but this is why it needs as much financial and emotional support as it can get: they are fighting for everyone to have access to sexual information and reproductive health but also for women to be in control of their own bodies.

"But more importantly they are the resource for those who need them most, those who must face the truth of who they are, and if they truly can either have, or give someone else, a worthwhile life."

The U.K. has problems uncomfortably similar. We need those people who shout about the right to information; the right to an unbiased sexual education for our kids. And there is a definite need for folk across the generations to be properly informed about sexual health. As I write, Syphilis is on the increase; Chlamydia, an STI that can have no symptoms, causes infertility in women; it's often not diagnosed until it’s too late.

And as for parenthood;

From BBC News:

“The UK has the highest teenage birth rates in Western Europe - twice as high as in Germany, three times as high as in France and six times as high as in the Netherlands…

"The debate on how best to tackle teenage pregnancy has arisen again as latest figures show the rate in under-16s in England and Wales has increased. The government says it can do no more without the help of parents, while others are again calling for a broadening of sex and relationship education in schools.”

Coming Together: M.Christian - Out Now!

There's special and then there's really special, and this brand-new book is definitely the latter. Coming Together: M.Christian is a collection of erotica featuring both 'classic' stories of mine plus never-before-seen tales - but the best part is that the proceeds from the book are all going to one of my favorite causes: Planned Parenthood!

Here's the official announcement (and click here to order the book from amazon):

Presents is Coming Together's elite line of single-author titles edited by Lisabet Sarai. ALL proceeds from their sales will benefit the charities selected by their authors. In this volume, Coming Together is delighted to present M. Christian, eroticist extraordinaire, whose chosen charity is Planned Parenthood.

Coming Together Presents: M. Christian offers an assortment of vintage and previously-unpublished tales by the astoundingly versatile smut-master M. Christian. The stories range from the leather bars of San Francisco to the deserts of Mars, while the characters include rock-and-rollers, dykes with attitude, horny office workers, tortured artists, inter-galactic lawyers, even Mona Lisa. The atmosphere is tough and gritty in one tale, lyrical in the next, and teasingly tongue-in-cheek in a third.

M. Christian's erotica incorporates an expansive view of sexuality. His characters are not prisoners of their labels. They grow and change in the course of the story, and that change might involve crossing the artificial lines between straight and gay, femme and butch, dominant and submissive. In these tales, sexual orientation is a continuum. There's only one constant: their emotional intensity. Whether he is penning cyber-punk or satire, gay romance or lesbian smut, M. Christian's vivid characters hang around after the covers are closed and the lights are out.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

More Forum Fun

I've exceptionally lucky to have some great places to write for - and one of my favorites is Forum UK. In fact if you rush out to your local newsagent (if you live in the UK, that is) you might even be able to find not one but two issues with contributions from little ol' me.

The first is in Vol. 44, No.1: The Sensual Art of Caning. Here's a taste:

“Are you ready, Worthless Slave?” Mistress Nastina growled with disgust, tapping one of her finest birching rods in the palm of one of her shapely, though frighteningly strong, hands. “Y-Y-y, Mistress,” the quivering male kneeling before her said. “Then it is time for you to receive PUNISHMENT!” Nastina hissed, a serpent preparing to strike, the cane arcing down with a blurring, moaning sweep towards his pale, gleaming ass ....
Whoa -- just hang on there a second Mistress: More than any other S/M activity, caning has perhaps the greatest gap between serious enjoyment and literary depictions (unless you are speaking of Pat Califia or Laura Antoniou -- who know of what they write). Go after someone with a “blurring, moaning sweep” and you are not going to have a delighted submissive, but rather one really pissed-off bottom screaming his, or her, safeword louder than Pavoratti with his nuts in a mousetrap.
The second is in the next issue, Vol. 44, No. 2: The Forum Guide to Surviving Valentine's. Here's a taste of that one:

For a holiday supposedly about love, Valentine's Day isn’t – for a lot of people anyway – about the fun, and very physical, side of it.
That's really unfortunate, since if there was ever a day that should include some sexy celebrating it should be February 14th. You could blame the holiday industry and our corporate overlords who pump incessant holiday music into our skulls months before December. Or the gradual de-sexing of the so-called civilized world. But the real tragedy of Valentine's Day is what it does to the minds of otherwise healthy, sexy, people.

Put simply, it stresses the hell out of guys and always disappoints women.
For more of each ... well, you're just going to have to buy the magazines, aren't ya?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Sex In San Francisco (Another Update)

Believe it or not - and by now I bet more than a few of you so-patient contributors out there are mumbling "not!" - the book is actually happening! Now that I've gotten moved in and gotten settled I promise to very, very, very soon finish the book and get back to you all about your stories.

Thank you again for your understanding and sorry (yet) again for taking so long with this project.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Billierosie Likes Running Dry

Right up there with cool, another thing I probably say too much is that I have some truly wonderful friends. But unlike over-using a dumb word I can never praise my friends enough. Just take a look at this touching review Billierosie just posted to her review for the new edition of my very-first novel, Running Dry.

Thanks so much, Billierosie: you are a real treasure!

Here’s a real treat coming up! M.Christian’s first ever novel; RUNNING DRY is scheduled for re-print! I don’t know the dates yet, but Christian’s debut novel is being published by Camel books. First published in 2006, it’s getting the recognition it deserves.

In RUNNING DRY, M. Christian, elegantly re-writes the eternal themes of love, loss, betrayal, fear and death. With a flourish of his pen (or lap-top and cursor) Christian gives us a potent potpourri, that has little to do with gracious fragrances and everything to do with the pungent stench of bodily fluids; blood, bile, saliva and mucus.

This is a vampire story with a difference. Unlike Anne Rice’s exotic, erotic Lestat and Bram Stoker’s sinister Count Dracula, M.Christian’s vampires are riddled with guilt about what they have to do to survive. Ernst Doud, paints his guilt, with portraits lurid with the blood of his victims. Doud has a conscience, and he makes it up to those he has killed with a visual, tangible lament. His remorse is palpable.

There’s a mystery here. Who is Doud? Who is Sergio? What is their secret? Why has Doud given up on his art? Why is Sergio trying to seek out Doud? Why does Doud want to kill Sergio? What is Shelly’s place in all of this?

Yes, Doud and Sergio are monsters. They know it; Vince is a monster too. But he’s worse; he’s a killer without a conscience.

There is no “dark trick” in RUNNING DRY. Doud, Sergio and Vince won’t spellbind you with a glamour. In the tradition of the most gruesome fairy tales from the Brothers Grimm, or Angela Carter, they grab you, gobble you up; eat you. Your death won’t be romantic, erotic; sexy. Just complete, total annihilation.

The scene where Doud fights Vince in the desert, is terrifying. It’s visual; like watching a film. My heart is racing, as I read. I can feel the heat of the desert, scorching my lungs. I screw up my eyes, against the glare of the sun; the painful blue of the desert sky.

M.Christian, possesses a rare gift; that of making elegant, lucid prose appear effortless.

Just listen to this;

“…the world acquired sound, the ground achieved traction, the air thinned, the rose-red glow ceased. As his body slowed from the blinding acceleration Doud had forced upon it, the monster’s body completely disintegrated. A body once ninety-five percent water became nothing but a desiccated five percent, falling apart into dust, ash, and a few brittle bones; life and moisture gone.”

Don’t you wish you’d written that? I do!

As a first novel, RUNNING DRY, anticipates the promise of more delicious work to come. Christian has certainly not disappointed, following RUNNING DRY with THE VERY BLOODY MARYS, the haunting ME2, the disturbing PAINTED DOLL and the exploration of one artist’s character, in BRUSHES.

For me, RUNNING DRY is every bit as good for a second reading; better. Buy it, borrow it, read it. It won’t fail you.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

How to Wonderfully WriteSex!

I know I use that word far too often but, let's face it, this is really very cool: I'm pleased and proud to be part of a new site, WriteSex, where Sascha Illyvich, Oceania, Jean Marie Stine, Dr. Nicole Peeler, Thomas Roche, and I will be posting our various thoughts and helpful hints about writing effective erotica. My own first post, Flexing, is up there right now and - along with my other great cohorts - new stuff will be put up on a regular schedule.

So stay tuned and learn everything you ever wanted to know about writing about sex!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Running Dry - A Tempting Taste

Keeping with the flavor of my previous post, here's the preface to my gay vampire book, Running Dry:

“They say the seas are going to dry up. Blow away.”

“I’ve heard that.”

“The moon, too. It’s going to leave, sail off into the sky. Leave us behind,” Sergio said, swinging his feet off the edge. First the left, then the right, dancing with the heights. “Do you think we’ll see that?”

“We could,” Doud said, arm around Sergio’s shoulders. To reassure him, and to remind himself that this was real, firm, and solid, he tugged him closer.

Mahogany eyes directed at him, Sergio said, “Everyone will get old, turn to dust. But we’ll still be here, won’t we? The earth will be like the desert. No oceans, no water, no one will be alive. But we’ll still be here.” His legs stopped swinging.

“Maybe. Other things could happen, too. You never know for sure. Time changes too much.” Sitting on the toes of rearing elephants, they looked down on the gleaming architecture of Babylon, a plaster movie set brilliantly white from a still-neighborly moon.

Despite their height, Doud wasn't afraid. Not of falling, at least. He knew the elephants Sergio had made for Mr. Griffith, believed in his lover’s craftsmanship, and so implicitly trusted them to carry their weight. He hoped he knew Sergio as well, but he was still quietly grateful for the simple strength of his sculpture. Men were too complex, too unpredictable. Apparent solidity and dependability all too often hid deep flaws. The elephants of Intolerance, though, were wood and plaster.

Dependable wood, trustworthy plaster.

“Ever been to the desert?" Sergio asked unexpectedly. "I went there, with some friends, just after I came here. Hot, like a stove. But I didn’t think of cooking, the kitchen, or food, only that it was like a line across a page, like the start of a drawing. Now, I think of it like the way the world will be. All boiled away -- just hot air and that line.” Drawing his hand across the horizon, he underlined distant Hollywood.

“Too hot and dry for me. But we can go sometime. Both of us.” He didn’t need to say we have lots of time.

“They say the war will end soon. The War to End All Wars -- but that’s not true, eh? We’ll find out, I guess.”

“It’ll end. They always do.” Doud tried to catch his attention again, but the other man refused to look away from the bright lights of the distant city.

“Even our Babylon will be gone. Mr. Griffith’s film is over. They’ll break up my elephants.”

“There’ll be other pictures. You’ll see.”

After a moment of tense silence Sergio's eyes swung back to Doud. “You’ll be there, won’t you?”

“I will,” Doud replied, gently stammering, delicately hesitant. I will. Not a promise, just desire. With it, abrupt reality on the toes of great white elephants: please, let this one work out. I don't want to kill him.

“Kiss me,” Sergio said, closing those dark marble eyes.

And Doud did, a simple kiss on the edge of a Hollywood eternity.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Dark Roasted M.Christian

Here's a brand new Dark Roasted Blend piece, this time about some very weird -- and very wonderful fairs and festivals around the world.

Weird festivals? Strange celebrations? Bizarre events? Those of us in the United States have our share. I mean – sheesh: how about giant balloons in the shape of long-cancelled cartoon characters? Celebrities waving from flower-covered 'floats'?

Weird, strange, bizarre, though, really is in the eyes of the beholder. As one travels the globe and observes the variety of fairs, festivals, and frivolities, that point becomes crystal clear. Although human behavior doesn't vary much, the methods of public celebrations certainly do.

For some baffling reason, for instance, people like to throw things. And depending on the country, what they throw is likely to be different. In Binche, a small town in Belgium, the projectile of choice is a fruit. On Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday Binche the town is visited by masked figures called Gilles who – later on in the festivities – carry large baskets of oranges through the town. Many of these oranges are calmly, orderly, handed to residents as well as tourists. Others, though, are rather vigorously … well, thrown at wary residents and unfortunate tourists.

Meanwhile, if you happen to be in Buñol, Spain, on the last Wednesday in August, you also might want to duck as the fruit thrown there – while not as hard or potentially damaging as an orange – can still sting a bit. What's fun about Buñol isn't just the hurled tomatoes but that the town, which normally has a population around 10,000, swells to closer to 60,000 as folks from all over come to throw -- and get thrown at.

If you happen to be in Taihape, New Zealand, things will be flying through the air but none of them – at least as far as we know – have been thrown at anyone. Nevertheless, a festival where people try to throw a gumboot as far as possible could pose some risks to passersby and participants alike.

"Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi!" are words you might want to keep an ear open for if you're in Japan during Setsubun, and happen to see a member of your household holding a handful of roasted soybeans. Mamemaki is the term for it, and "Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi!" ("Demons out! Luck in!") is what is traditionally said before the beans are thrown out the front door – or at another member of the family.

If you happen to be in India during Holi, the festival of color, you also might want to avoid wearing your best suit of clothes. As part of the celebration, a brightly dyed powder called abir is merrily thrown everywhere – and especially at each other.

Fortunately, not all festivals in the world include hurled objects. Some just have unique themes. Japan's Hōnen Matsuri is a fertility festival, uniquely celebrated in the city of Komaki. By unique we mean prodigious, tumescent, large, and … okay, enough with the jokes, especially since the object of the fertility being celebrated is that certain part of the male anatomy. A similar festival is also held in Kawasaki, called Kanamara Matsuri.

While nothing is thrown, and nothing terribly phallic is evident, there's a festival that absolutely has to be mentioned: an event featuring tremendous beauty that ends with ashes and smoke.

Around the middle of March, the city of Valencia, Spain, has a festival called Falles – a celebration of Saint Joseph. But long before the Falles, Valencia, the third largest city in Spain, begins to prepare: neighborhoods and a wide variety of organizations form groups called Casal Fallers who raise money for their own contributions to the festivities.

It's these contributions that make the event so incredible. Each group – working from a common theme selected for that year – creates a ninot, or puppet. Fashioned from paper, wax, Styrofoam, and a few other materials, ninots are whimsical, outrageous, profane, comical, political, and every one is incredibly beautiful.

The artisans of Valencia have had a very long time to perfect their craft, and it shows in each and every minot. Each figure and tableau is a hallucinatory mixture of a Renaissance masterpiece and a three-dimensional cartoon. Each one, too, is frequently a wildly executed satirical jab at everything from politics to tradition, from pop culture to the Falles celebrants themselves. Nothing is sacred, nothing is spared.

Then come the fires, and then the ashes. Yes, you guessed correctly: each and every minot, every figure and tableau is lit – exploding into the night sky in a roaring conclusion called La Cremà. In the morning there is nothing but ashes, and the memory of the wonders of the falles.

Regardless of location, the one thing every fantastic fair, festival, and frivolity has in common is that they all show how we're all very much the same – and that all humans, no matter where we live, are more than just a bit bonkers.

Running Dry - Back in Print!

This is VERY cool news: my first novel, Running Dry, is finally back in print, courtesy of the great folks at Camel Books! I'll post more about this very soon but here's the cover (linked to Amazon) and the back cover blurb, as a teaser:

Ernst Doud is a middle-aged 154-year-old nonhuman painter. He is living quietly in Los Angeles when he receives a cryptic message from a lover he last saw in 1913--when he killed him, or so he had always thought. So begins M. Christian's debut novel, Running Dry. It is unlike any book you have read, and Doud is unlike any hero who has ever graced the pages of a novel. Set in contemporary Los Angeles, with excursions into the surreal outback of Southern California's high desert, Running Dry is a stunningly realized vampire tale of vengeance, loyalty, and the inescapable humanity of the inhuman.


It may have taken a wee bit longer than I thought but - whew - I am now moved in and ready to begin to live again. Thank you all for your patience and understanding. Going forward I promise not just the same as before but bigger, better, wilder, stranger, and (better yet) even more fun!