Tuesday, September 28, 2010
My little gray cells are all aflutter, because the extremely talented author, editor and teacher, M. Christian is back with us for another edition of The Erotic Mind podcast series.
But wait, you didn’t miss Part 1 of our conversation that appeared here last week at this time, did you? Well don’t worry if ya did, because you can find it and all my podcasts in the Podcast Archive right here on my site. Look for the site’s search function in the header, type in Podcast #231 and Voilà! But don’t forget the #sign when you do your search.
M. Christian and I discuss:
As a special treat, M. Christian will share another a delectable morsel of the fruit of his Erotic Mind. You do not want miss this, people!
- Being a private person with a big reputation;
- The pride he has in his work;
- What sparks the erotic imagery in his work;
- The role of imagination and the awareness of human behavior in his creations;
- Writing for male and female audiences;
- The plot arc — does it mirror the sexual response cycle;
- Being compelled to write and being turned on to create;
- Topics he gravitates toward and topics he avoids;
- What he looks for in the erotica of others.
Sunday, September 26, 2010
More on this book a little later but just wanted to let everyone know that it's out and available.
Here's a brief about the book:
Have Your Ever –
• Wanted to know how to give ideal cunnilingus?
• Pondered the sexy history of pirates?
• Needed to know how to give the best blowjob in the world?
• Wondered how to put some sexy spice into your Halloween?
• Fancied a few tips on how to ideally, and sensually, play with nipples and breasts?
• Been curious about the very-kinky sex lives of famous people?
Then Pornotopia is the book for you! Abundantly irreverent, totally bizarre, and relentlessly fun, Pornotopia will explore the mechanics of everything from giving the perfect blow-job to becoming a master of cunnilingus, from how to give a wonderful caning session to learning how to treat (and sexually mistreat) breasts and nipples, as well as a wide – and witty – assortment of essays and articles about sexy fashion disasters, historical personages of unusual gender, and even the sexual history of pirates and Japanese Samurai!
Internationally renowned erotica author and sex educator, M. Christian has navigated the sticky, sweaty, steamy and (best of all) fun world of sex to bring to readers both novices as well as the experienced to bring all kinds of playful, and essential, information to light. Even the most jaded of sexual player will find something in Pornotopia – and for the brand-new at sex play Pornotopia will be become an essential resource.
Saturday, September 25, 2010
You have to admit, it does make a kind of twisted sense: After all, we've been feasting on their fibrous, nutrition-packed stems, leaves, tubers, and fruits since we began to actually eat the salad that came with our steaks so, naturally, there must have been a certain ... well, 'desire' for reciprocity. In other words if we eat them why shouldn't they want to eat us?
For all you geeks out there – and, yes, we know who you are – it's commonly thought that the first depiction of a salad making a meal out of a man comes from Dr. Carl Liche, writing in 1881. J.W. Buel echoed the idea in his Land and Sea in 1887. Unluckily for Liche and Buel they've been since exposed as 'imaginative' instead of 'accurate.' Hate to disappoint but true man-eating plants are a total myth.
But that doesn't mean that the next time you sit down to feast on a supposedly defenseless potato there aren't other forms of plant life that are also having a tasty meal of, while not us humans, then most definitely other animals – and sometimes rather large animals.
The poster-plant for botanical carnivores has got to be the legendary Venus Flytrap. A resident of swamps and bogs, the flytrap has evolved a dramatic solution to its lack-of-nutrient diet: it catches flies – and pretty much anything big enough to get caught. What's amazing about this plant is its mechanism. Anything that happens to stumble between the two halves of its unique mechanism will find itself in caught in a quickly-snapping-shut botanical bear trap. What's even worse is that after being caught the Venus then fuses those leaves together, turning them into a kind of stomach to digest its prey. What's extra-fascinating is that the trap has two triggers, and that both of them have to be tripped for the leaves to snap shut, to avoid misfires.
While the flytrap looks like something out of a monster movie it rarely grows to any really impressive size – unless you happen to be a housefly. But one carnivorous plant that really is impressive, and recently discovered, is what's called a passive hunter. Instead of using snapping traps its family instead has evolved fluid filled pitfalls lined with very slippery sides, and baited with a very alluring perfume.
Pitcher plants come in a wide variety of shapes, types, and sizes – including a special one native to the Philippines. Most pitchers feast on bugs and sometimes small lizards: pretty much whatever's unfortunate enough to get seduced by the plant's alluring smells and is small enough to fit down its leafy throat. While its mechanism is similar to its smaller kin, nepenthes attenboroughii (named after journalist and TV presenter David Attenborough), has traps that are large enough to catch not only bugs, lizards, and – what's more than a bit scary – rats.
Another device carnivorous plants use is to make its prey stick around long enough to be digested. The sundew, for instance, has leaves covered with dozens of tiny stalks, and each stalk is covered with very, very, very sticky stuff. When a bug happens to walk across these leaves it gets – you guessed it – very, very, very stuck. What's more, though, is that the plant then contracts, bringing more and more of those stalks into contact with its prey, completely trapping and then digesting it.
While there are other plants that can, and do, eat whatever they can catch there is at least other plant that deserves at least a mention and one very special one that seems to be the best candidate for what could be a real maneater.
There are lots of things the very versatile bamboo is known for: building material, food, and everything betwixt and between. What's not as commonly known is that the bamboo is a botanical racehorse. Got a spare day to kill and want to see the fastest plant in the world grow two feet (in the right soil on the right day)? Then plop your behind down and stare at some bamboo. Okay, it might not be THAT thrilling but it is a plant that you can actually watch grow – which, no matter how you slice it, is pretty impressive.
But then there's the other, the monster, the beast, the chlorophyll creature that could – if any plant could be – considered a bona fide killer. Innocently imported to the US in 1876 from its native Japan, it was sold as a botanical miracle: ink, paper, jelly, tea, you name it and you could make it from this wonderful plant. But what no one could expect that this so-called marvel would have darker roots.
Kudzu is its name and right now it covers – in some cases quite literally – a huge part of the Southeastern United States. While bamboo is a racehorse at two foot a day, Kudzu is hardly a slacker at covering half that distance in the same amount of time. In the South there are homes, cars, houses and entire communities that have been hungrily, potentially, covered – and subsequently strangled – by this ferociously determined plant.
Sure, kudzu may not be carnivorous, but it's green infestation, it's emerald conquest, it's verdant domination is definitely worth a mention – and maybe a serious shudder of fear. Or, as they sometime say in the South: "A cow won't eat kudzu, but kudzu will definitely eat a cow."
Thursday, September 23, 2010
M. Christian does it again with another fantastic short story from Rude Mechanicals. This title is worth buying for Blow Up alone, but Beep makes this even more worth the purchase!
Imagine you are a man walking through a doorway, peeling off the layers from the day, and hitting the play button on your answering machine. There is a Beep! and you hear a woman’s voice. She is calling you a slut! She accuses you of being a bad boy in need of punishment. Through a series of back-to-back messages, all preceded by a Beep!, this woman tells you in detail how she will punish you. Listening to each recorded message, you begin to sense her power, her control, and her dominatrix ways of punishment. What’s a man to do beside listen to each and every erotic message?!
I will admit that M. Christian completely surprised me with the ending (I’ll let ya’ll read about that!). I never saw it coming. I really like two things about M. Christian’s writing style.
(1) He is diverse. He can write a BDSM short like Beep, a sexually humorous piece like I Am Jo’s Vibrator, and a fetish short like Blow Up in the blink of an eye.
(2) His writing style conveys sexually explicit details, but it is never vulgar. He really knows how to keep his work tasteful.
Absolutely worth the purchase ladies! I highly recommend Rude Mechanicals.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
With a tag line of “Still More Extreme Stories of Still More Extreme Sex”, I opened the cover of BEST S&M III with a little bit of trepidation. Can you imagine me being a little nervy about delving into a book – well I was.
I was and for two reason, firstly I was not sure if I would appreciate the stories within this anthology, I like BDSM, to be honest I love it – but not the really psychological end of BDSM and from all indication this was going to be that kind of book. Secondly it’s sad to say but the visual person in me was Meh about the cover – once again I am let down by this cover artist and publishing house not taking the chance to do something unique with a cover to draw readers to a book – this was definately a missed opportunity – because the book was good.
Holy Cow, we’re on the cusp of another change in the seasons. Where does the time go? Happy Autumnal Equinox, northern hemisphere folks! And happy Vernal Equinox, southern hemisphere folks!
I don’t know about you but I’ve like totally jonesin’ for another fix of The Erotic Mind podcast series. It’s seems like it’s been ages since the episode. We had such an exciting summer of shows that took us pretty far a field from where the series started. We visited with an artist who creates her erotica with the spoke word; one that creates his erotica with photography and rope; and another artist who creates her erotica with her own body through burlesque.
But today we return to home base and visit with an artist who creates his erotica with the written word. I have the pleasure of introducing you to the enormously talented author and editor, M. Christian. He is probably the most prolific author we’ve met to date. And besides his big fat uncut writing talent, he is also a sheer joy to chat with.
As a special treat, M. Christian will share a mouth-watering selection of the fruit of his Erotic Mind. You do not want miss this, people![MORE]
Thursday, September 16, 2010
San Francisco writer/editor/anthologist M. Christian has had erotic stories appear in every “best of” erotic anthology series you can name; Best American Erotica, Best Lesbian Erotica, Best Gay Erotica, as well as in 300 other anthologies and magazines. He has published best-selling short story collections, such as Dirty Words, Speaking Parts, and Filthy (with more to come), plus his novels Running Dry, The Very Bloody Marys and The Painted Doll, to name just a few. He is also an accomplished anthologist, having edited more than 20 books, including The Mammoth Book of Future Cops, More Extreme Stories about Extreme Sex, Vol. 2, and the just released Best S&M III. Christian’s work often crosses genre, mixing as he does sci-fi and horror with erotica as well as “straight” humor and mystery.
Editing the wickedly popular , his , as well as working as the associate editor for Renaissance eBooks, M. Christian is a busy man indeed. I was lucky to score some time with him during the recent New Jersey-based “Floating World” convention. This annual event boasts both professional “scene-sters,” organizers, writers, teachers, and folk from every conceivable walk of life and kink, who attend classes all weekend and play in a well-appointed dungeon at the convention center all night. It was really the perfect milieu to have this popular kinky scribe de-scribe the ins and outs of the adult fiction writing business, and to once and for all get to the bottom of that big question…
Porn versus erotica, what’s the difference?
You know I’m not sure there really is a difference; I certainly don’t like to use the labels. Sometimes you’ll find erotic writers saying: “I don’t write porn, I wrote erotica,” but I feel if you start saying that then people are going to start drawing lines, and there isn’t a line. It’s almost like we use one term to elevate over the other. We’re still talking about stories that are about sex, right? It’s all erotica. I just like to generically use the word erotica and use pornography as the keyword of the industry… Like the Supreme Court justice said…I know it when I see it.
I am thrilled to tell ya’ll that M. Christian is an absolute sweetheart. After my review of I Am Jo’s Vibrator, he so kindly sent me Rude Mechanicals. Isn’t this cover insane! I’m sure ya’ll know about my love of the short story, and I must say that M. Christian is a phenomenal short story writer. It really takes talent and a keen eye to compact essential details into only a few pages! I am truly excited to read and share all of the shorts with ya, but today I will just be talking about the first short: Blow Up.
To be completely honest, Blow Up is laugh-out-loud hilarious as well as sensual and erotic. Blow Up is about a man with a fetish for… a blow up ball. Picture an exercise ball, but smaller. Written in the first person, we get to travel with our man to the local Toys R Us to purchase his plastic ball, and then travel back to his house where he decribes his prep for and execution of his next orgasm.
I made the mistake of reading this short at work. My cubicle-mates were definitely looking at me when I would shriek with laughter one minute then have my mouth drop the next minute. I find his fetish so amusing because I know there is someone out there in the world who really does this! What I like best is how M. Christian’s writing style reminded me of reading someone else’s diary, peeking into their most secret habits, truly being a fly on the wall.
Well done! M. Christian. I can’t wait to dig in to the rest of your shorts, and I will never see a plastic ball the same way again! If you want a sneak peak, read an excerpt here!
This is going to be WONDERFUL! If you live in the Bay Area here's a chance to attend the end-all, be-all, event on selling erotica:
HOW TO SELL YOUR EROTICA
(and More Than Double Your Income from Each Piece You Write)
Friday, October 8 2010 7:30pm – 10:00pm
Center for Sex and Culture, 1519 Mission Street @ S. Van Ness, 2nd fl.
Suggested donation: $5-$15
All proceeds go to the Center for Sex and Culture
Are you writing erotica? Do you write for yourself? Do you write for publication? Or, have dreamed of erotica, but haven't yet started?
Whatever you are writing, personal experiences, short stories, novels, you will learn about where you can sell your work and how to go about it.
Join a panel of five editors, anthologists, and published authors who will share practical tips and personal insights. You will learn:
Where you can sell your work
* Book publishers
* use the key elements that make an erotic story sell?
* think sexy and cultivate your erotic imagination
* write plots and characgters that turn readers on
* put the right dash of sex in a sex story
* write convincing stories for sexual orientation and interests beyond your own
* find the best internet resources for writers of erotica
* get along with editors and publishers
* respond to fans, reviewers and criticism
* avoid the four taboo sex acts no one will publish
* boost your income on books
* triple your income or more on short pieces
Jean Marie Stine, author, former magazine editor, and publisher of ebook pioneer Sizzler Editions, which has more than 800 erotic novels and collections for available download at Amazon, Barnes& Nobel, etc., and has and recently began to publish erotica in paperback.
M. Christian, writer and anthologist who has sold over 300 short stories, five novels and edited over two dozen anthologies.
Gina de Vries’ writings about sex have appeared dozens of anthologies and publications, including Curve, On Our Backs, Femmethology, Tough Girls 2, Dirty Girls, and Coming & Crying.
Donna George Storey is a writing and book promotion columnist and the author of two books and over a hundred stories and articles in such places as Penthouse, Best American Erotica, and Best Women’s Erotica.
Plus other panelists to be announced.
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Wednesday, September 08, 2010
Let's play a game: animal, mineral, or vegetable?
The answer? Two out of three. Ladies and gentlemen: the wonderful, and let's not forget weird, world of fungi.
But first a ridiculously quick science lesson, and an explanation for the opening above: scientists consider fungi to be part of a separate and unique kingdom, in that they aren't plants and they're not animals -- so they really are two out of three.
It's this 'not one and not the other' that make fungi wonderfully – and somewhat disturbing – to study. At their most identifiable they an fundamental part of our diet: buttons, portobellos, shitakes, oysters, morels, chanterelles, and more – including the expensive yet ubiquitous truffle. But fungi are also essential to make many of our foods ... well, food: without them we wouldn't have cheese, beer, wine, bread and too many others to name. If that isn't impressive enough, our odd not-quite-an-animal, not-quite-a-plant, is also indispensable to medicine: penicillin, the cornerstone of antibiotics, was mold found in a Petri dish, after all. In fact some experts claim that if anything were to happen to our fungal friends humanity would be, at worst, extinct, or at best, pretty miserable.
But mushrooms and yeasts and molds are only the public face of the fungal world. Beyond beer, wine, cheese, and medicine there's a stranger side – in fact a rainbow of oddness. Mushrooms, you may think, are brown or white, right? But fungi can also be spectacularly colorful: the Parrot Waxcap is as green as grass, the Crimson Waxy Cap is sunset crimson, and the Slimy Spike-cap is even bright purple. There are even varieties of mushroom that aren't just colorful but actually glow in the dark: Omphalotus olearius, the Jack o' Lantern, for example, is a celebrated bioluminescent fungus, as is the Australian ghost fungus.
Even when fungi are brown and dull appearances can be deceiving: the aptly named stinkhorn, for example, produces the aroma of rotting meat to attract flies, which help the mushroom spread its spores. Speaking of spore-spreading, the puffball mushroom and its various relations do it in a very dramatic fashion, quite literally shooting their spawn into the air when touched.
But for all their color and their clever tricks, fungi have an even odder side, one that might make you look at that blue cheese in your sandwich, or that beer you were planning to have with lunch, a little differently – if not with out-and-out fear.
Sure, fungi have given us much but they can also take it away, and not just for people who mistake an amanita phalloides for an amanita caesarea: Cryptococcus gattii, though rare, is alarmingly fatal and is airborne. How fatal? Well, it's considered to be one of – if not the – most lethal fungal infections you can get. There are other deadly fungi, and as most of them are extremely opportunistic and durable, they can spread wildly and are all but impossible to kill. Just think athlete's foot mixed with a rattlesnake.
It's fungi's ability to grow just about anywhere that makes it so amazing. If you name a hostile environment there's more than likely some form of mushroom or yeast that will not only grow there but prefer it over anywhere else. An extreme version of this is when researchers stuck their instruments into one of the most poisonous places on earth and found not only a species of mushroom growing there but one that actually appears to be feeding on the toxicity. How nasty is this place? Well, all you need to say is one word to shudder at the thought: Chernobyl.
But strangeness and fungi don't end with radiation-feasting mushrooms, for there are quite a number of them that feast on other things -- including animals. Nematophagous fungi, for instance, grow miniscule rings that, if a nematode happens to squirm into one, rapidly contract, trapping the unfortunate lunch ... I mean 'worm.' If this makes you a bit nervous take a bit of consolation in that the popular oyster mushroom is also a nematode killer – and it's also tasty, so while it eats them we also eat it.
But eating isn't the only dark thing fungi do. One particular species has an extremely disturbing lifecycle – and a terrifying one ... if you happen to be an ant. Ophiocordyceps unilateralis, if it gets half a chance, will infect an ant and (ahem) eat parts of its brain, causing the poor little insect to basically become the walking dead The fungus finishes it off only after it clamps itself to the underside of a leaf, just where the fungus wants it to die – a location that works really well for the fungi, but definitely not the ant.
Yes, they have given us much: all those mushrooms and other amazing fungi. Without them we would have very bland food, let alone no booze, and would probably die a lot quicker without antibiotics. Some of them are as pretty as flowers, a few may be deadly to the unlucky or the tragically ignorant, while further species lurk in the soil for the unwary nematode, but – basically – they have been our friends for a very long time.
Besides, we'd better watch our step: while the jury is out on the subject, many experts point to a certain forest in Oregon. What's special about this hunk of land, that particular stand of trees? Well, the honey mushroom that lives there, and occupies over 2,200 acres of that forest, may very well be the largest organism on the earth.
So we had better treat them well -- all those wondrous fungi -- just in case that they, or just that single huge mushroom, should wake up and remind us of all they've done for us ... or could do to us.