Monday, January 31, 2011

M.Christian At The Looking Glass

Here's a great opportunity to not just meet little ol' me but also to hear me teach one of my favorite classes!  On February 13th, from 2:00 to 4:00PM, I'll be doing Magic Words: An Erotic Salon for the great folks at The Looking Glass in Alameda, California (the Bay Area).

Here's a quickie write up about the class and here's where you can order tickets ... and get details on where the class will be held.

There are many ways to reach your inner sexual and spiritual self -- but one of the most surprisingly powerful paths is through the written word. In this lecture/workshop, participants will hear how erotic writing (fiction as well non-fiction) can reach hidden places that often lay unexposed, help make personal discoveries and to assist in a personal journey of self and sensuality. Participants will learn how to free their erotic writing voices, how to develop their writing towards discovering their erotic spirits within, and when to silence -- and when to listen -- to the inner critic.

In addition to being a recognized master of erotica -- with over 300 short stories, nine collections, and six novels in print -- M.Christian has been in the San Francisco scene since the early 90s and has taught for QSM, The Center for Sex and Culture, San Francisco Sex Information, Janus, and has been a featured presented at The Floating World and many other venues. He is so kinky he doesn't even walk straight. Please check out his website here:

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Odd Balling (1)

Here's some very cool news: I have a wonderful new gig writing for the great folks at YNOT and part of my new job is writing a bi-weekly column on the week in strange sex: Odd Balling: Weird, Wacky, Warped Sex News.  

And here's a taste of a brand new installment.  For the rest just go to YNOT.

Even though the year is less than one month old, it's looking like 2011 very well may go down in history as “The Year Of The Weirder-Than-Weird Sex Stuff.” At least we won’t be bored.

Case in point: During a trip to Las Vegas, New York City resident Hubert Blackman secured the services of a lady of affordable virtue. Nothing unusual about that, right?

Au contraire. Seems Mr. Blackman's experience with a woman he hired through hook-up agency Las Vegas Exclusive Personals left him less than satisfied, so he is suing the escort service because, as he notes in court documents, she "did an illegal sexual act on me during her paid service to me."

Blackman seeks a refund of the $275 he paid and "a $1.8 million verdict for the tragic event that happened." Las Vegas Exclusive Personals hasn't responded, but we imagine their business is booming with clients asking for the “Blackman Special.” Anything worth $1.8 mil is definitely worth checking out.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

How To Write And Sell Erotica - Now On Amazon!

For all you folks you may have been waiting to buy my brand-new book, How To Write And Sell Erotica, until it was up on amazon well, ta-da, it's now up there.  So buy the damned thing, will ya?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Dark Roasted M.Christian

Check it out: a brand new Dark Roasted Blend piece I did just went up: this time about artists who work with the earth itself.

Go to a museum and look at the paintings, or the sculpture.  Go to a bookstore and read the novels, or the stories, or the poems.  Go to a concert and listen to the music.

Look out the window ... and see art?  Some artists use oils, charcoal, watercolors, words, or notes but others use the earth itself, sometimes on a scale that, to appreciate it, means stepping far away from it: very far away.

Travel to Catron County, New Mexico, for instance and you'll see a work that is immediately, and quite literally, striking.  Created by Walter De Maria, The Lightning Field is 400 steel poles set in a grid covering one mile by one kilometer portion of desert land.  The Lightning Field is impressive, a haunting visa of steel spears against the dramatic landscape of the Southwest, but what gives it that literal striking beauty is that De Maria plan for his work involves those poles interacting with one of the most beautiful signs in the desert: lightning.  Given the right set of circumstances, nature itself paints itself in brilliant illuminations of forked electricity, shaped and sculpted by De Maria's metal rods.

Not that far away, in Rozel Point, Utah, you'll see an installation that, because of the on-again, off-again nature of the material it's made of actually vanished for close than 30 years.  Created by Robert Smithson using natural rock, Spiral Jetty is exactly that: a coiling formation of stone that, when it was first created in 1970, was harshly black but as it aged its become more and more pink and white because of the its home in the Great Salt Lake.  As with The Lightning Field, Spiral Jetty works with the earth itself, not just in appearance, meaning color, but also as in appearing and disappearing: when the water rose in the lake the work it did it's already-mentioned disappearing act, only to reappear again recently.

While not as large in scale as Smithson or De Maria, there's an artist whose work has been known to bring tears to even the most jaded of eyes. Andy Goldsworthy works with nature, and nothing else, to create some truly unique, and absolutely beautiful, art.

 No glue, no supports, no paint ... nothing but grass, stone, ice, and the earth: Goldsworthy creates wonders with just the at hand wonder of the natural world.

Still existing on the earth, the art of Jim Denevan, is so large, so staggering, that to appreciate them you have to step away from it all: from the ground and even, in some cases, the earth itself.  Created, like Goldsworthy, with nature itself, one of Denevan's creations is acknowledged as the largest artwork created.  Ever.

At over nine miles across, this Denevan's creation in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada, is the one for the record books ... that is, until Denevan or another artist likes him, goes for something even larger:

Another earth artist is Michael Heizer's work-in-progress called City, in Nevada.  Almost as big as it's namesake at one and a quarter miles long, Heizer's creation, however, is not steel and cement but stone and other natural materials.

James Turrell, too, uses the earth itself for his work but unlike some other environmental artists he uses not just the ground but also the sky above.  His Roden Crater, which is considered on the list of immense artworks with Denevan's creations, is an ongoing work that will, eventually, transform a natural crater in Flagstaff, Arizona, into an open air observatory where the earth will provide a naturally framed view of the sky above.

But if we have to talk about the earth and art, as well as art so big it can only be appreciated by being far above it, we have to travel to Peru, and back several thousand years into the past.

A favorite of ancient astronaut believers, the fact is that the Nazca lines were created by men and women who may have been working with simple tools but utilizing their very intelligent minds.  Created by removing the native gravel to expose the different-colored ground under, the lines depict a wide variety of shapes and forms, some purely geometric, but others representing the animals the Nazca natives were most familiar with: spiders, fish, llamas, lizards, hummingbirds and others.

While the execution is phenomenal, a low whistle is absolutely needed when that level of skill of coupled with the size of the lines.  The largest of the forms stretches almost across 900 feet across and pretty much all of them are all but invisible ... unless you happen to be high above the earth they were carved into.

Jack Clifton, author of The Eye of the Artist, said, "Man's reaction to his earth expressed by means of a medium is art."  In the case of these wonderful artists, the ground beneath our feet and the sky above our heads their art is the earth itself, a celebration of the world literally all around us.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Weirdsville On The Cud

Here's another special piece I did for the great folks at the Aussie site The CudThis time it's about the theft of a very famous work of art.

If it had been done in this age of iphones, ipads, and the rest of our high tech ilives, the movie would have had Clooney or Willis dangling upside down over a pick-up-sticks weave of alarm lasers while a geeky cohort (maybe Steve Buscemi or Alan Cumming), face green from the digital overload bouncing up from a laptop, rattles off a second-by-second update on the imminent wee-oo-wee-oo arrival of the stern-jawed Groupe d'Intervention de la Gendarmerie Nationale.

But while the lady did vanish – a very, very special lady – the means of her vanishing, while maybe a tad less dramatic, is no less fascinating.  While you'll no doubt immediately recognize the lady in question, you may not know her full name, or some of the more interesting details of her portrait.  Begun by a certain well-known artist back in 1503, the likeness of Lisa del Giocondo wasn't finished until some years later, around 1519.  After the death of this rather well known artist, the painting was purchased by King François I, and then, after a certain amount of time and other kings, it finally ended up in the Louvre.  An interesting note, by the way, is that – while not a King – the painting was borrowed from the Louvre by Napoleon to hang in his private quarters, and was returned to that famous French museum when the Emperor became ... well, not the Emperor.

Its official title is Portrait of Lisa Gherardini, wife of Francesco del Giocondo but the smile says it all, and in 1911 it was stolen – and wasn't returned until 1913.

While much of the theft is still a mystery, what is known is that on August 22, 1912, Louis Béroud, a painter and fan of the legendary Mona Lisa, came into the Louvre early one morning to study the famous work of Leonardo da Vinci, instead finding a bare wall.  In a pure Inspector Clouseau bit of history, the museum staff didn't immediately put bare wall and missing painting together and instead thought the painting had been taken to be photographed.  It took Béroud, checking with the photographers themselves, to bring it to the attention of the guards that the painting had been stolen.

Suspects were many and varied: a curious one was Guillaume Apollinaire, the critic and surrealist, who, because he can once called for the Louvre to be burnt to the ground, was actually arrested.  While no-doubt annoying, he was eventually cleared and released, but not before trying to finger, unsuccessfully, a friend of his for the theft, another rather well known painter by the name of Pablo Picasso.

Alas, the actual thief and the method of the robbery are almost painfully plain, though the man and the means weren't discovered until much later.  In 1913, Vincenzo Peruggia, a Louvre employee, was nabbed when he contacted Alfredo Geri, who ran a gallery in Florence, Italy, about the stolen painting.

The story that emerged after his arrest was that on August 20th, 1912, had Peruggia hid in the museum overnight.  On the morning of Sunday, the 21st, he emerged from hiding, put on one of the smocks used by employees and, with ridiculous ease, simply took what is arguably the most famous painting in the world and put it under his coat and walked out the door with it.  When the gendarmes later knocked on Peruggia's door they'd simply accepted his excuse that he'd been working somewhere else the day of the theft, while the painting was hidden under his bed.

What isn't plain, though, was Peruggia's motivation for the theft.  While he constantly argued he'd stolen the Mona Lisa for patriotic reasons, to hopefully return it to his native Italy, many believe a more intriguing, more nefarious, more devilishly elegant explanation – an explanation that involves one of the most legendary crooks and conmen who have ever lived: Eduardo de Valfierno.

Born in Argentina, Valfierno, who liked to call himself a Marqués, was a man with not just a plan, but a remarkably clever plan.  According to those to believe he had a hand in the affair, the Marqués began by commissioning not one, not two, not three but instead six copies of the painting from the equally-legendary forger Yves Chaudron.  Now there's no way anyone would buy a Mona Lisa when the real one was clearly hanging on a wall in the Louvre, so Valfierno hired the poor Peruggia to make off with the original.

Once the original painting was reported missing, Valfierno took his six perfect forgeries and sold them to illicit collectors all over Europe, convincing each and every one that the Mona Lisa they were purchasing was the one and only.  Waiting for the elegance?  Well, even if Valfierno had been caught, the only thing be could have been nailed for was selling forgeries, which none of the collectors he'd sold to were ever willing to report as it would have incriminated themselves as well.  What was an extra bonus, Valfierno could have sold as many copies as he'd wanted as long as the original painting stayed missing.

For those who like to tie Valfierno to the crime, Peruggia only tripped up the whole scheme when he realized that Valfierno had stuck him with the serious end of the crime – the theft – and he'd stumbled when trying to sell the Mona Lisa or, as he claimed, simply trying to return it to his native Italy.

The tale, though, does has a somewhat happy ending: Peruggia, despite the outrage over the theft of the painting in France, was given a rather lenient sentence by the Italian authorities, who felt moved by Peruggia's claim to have been motivated by patriotism.  While little is known about the possible mastermind, Valfierno, considering the brains and creativity involved it's not a huge stretch to imagine him doing quite well afterward.

Meanwhile, The Portrait of Lisa Gherardini, wife of Francesco del Giocondo, was returned to her noble spot in the Louvre where she smiles out as us to this day: her cryptic expression as mysterious as the shadowy history surrounding her theft in 1911.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

How To Wonderfully WriteSex (8)

Check it out: my new post at the fantastic WriteSex site just went up. Here's a tease (for the rest you'll have to go to the site):

Please read this if you just had something rejected:

It’s part of being a writer. Everyone gets rejected. Repeat after me: EVERYONE GETS REJECTED. This does not mean you are a bad writer or a bad person. Stories get rejected for all kinds of reasons, from “just not the right style” to a just plain grouchy (or really dumb) editor. Take a few deep breaths, do a little research, and send the story right out again or put it in a drawer, forget about it, remember it again, take it out, read it, and realize it really is DAMNED good. Then send it out again.

Never forget that writing is subjective. My idea of a good story is not yours, yours is not his, and his is not mine. Just because an editor doesn’t like your story doesn’t mean that everyone will, or must, dislike it as well. Popularity and money don’t equal quality, and struggle and disappointment don’t mean bad work. Keep trying. Keep trying. Keep trying.

Think about the rewards, about what you’re doing when you write. I love films, but I hate it when people think they are the ultimate artistic expression. Look at a movie – any movie – and you see one name above all the others: the director, usually. But did he write the script, set the stage, design the costumes, act, compose the music, or anything really except point the camera and tell everyone where to stand? A writer is all of that. A director stands on the shoulders of hundreds of people, but a writer is alone. Steinbeck, Hemmingway, Austin, Shakespeare, Homer, Joyce, Faulkner, Woolf, Mishima, Chekhov – all of them, every writer, created works of wonder and beauty all by themselves. That is marvelous. Special. That one person can create a work that can last for decades, centuries, or even millennia. We pick up a book, and through the power of the author’s words, we go somewhere we have never been, become someone new, and experience things we never imagined. More than anything else in this world, that is true, real magic.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Monday, January 17, 2011

"Speaking Parts" Excerpt From Rude Mechanicals

Check this out: the very-great Gay/Lesbian Fiction Excerpt blog just posted a very teasing taste from my novella, "Speaking Parts," which is in my collection of technorotica: Rude Mechanicals. 

"Speaking Parts" is one of two novellas plus four expicit short stories of sex and technosex included in the collection Rude Mechanical: Technorotica by M. Christian. Two lovers, one with a camera-shutter eye, come together in a scorching, obsessive, edgy relationship that will take them both to the limits of sexuality and beyond.

Rude Mechanicals: Technorotica
Publisher: PageTurner (November 28, 2009)
Excerpt from "Speaking Parts:"

Pell remembered seeing Arc’s eye—it was the first thing she’d noticed.

Tourmaline and onyx. Silver and gold. A masterpiece watch set in a crystal sphere, the iris a mandala of glowing gold. Her blinks were a camera shutter’s, as imagined by the archetypal Victorian engineer but built by surgical perfection not found anywhere in Pell’s knowledge. The woman’s left eye was jeweled and precise, clicking softly as the woman looked around the gallery, as if the engineers who’d removed her original wet, gray-lensed ball had orchestrated a kind of music to go with their marvelous creation: a background tempo of perfect watch movements to accompany whatever she saw through their marvelous and finely crafted sight. Click, click, click.

An eye like that should have been in a museum, not mounted in a socket of simple human skin and bone, Pell had thought. It should have been in some other gallery, some better gallery, allowed only to look out at, to see other magnificent creations of skilled hands. Jare’s splashes of reds and blues, his shallow paintings were an insult to the real artistry of the woman’s eye.

That’s what Pell thought, at first, seeing Arc – but only seeing Arc’s perfect, mechanical eye.

Pell didn’t like to remember first seeing her that way – through the technology in her face. But it felt, to her, like it had its own kind of ironic perfection to deny it. So Pell lived with the biting truth that she didn’t, at first, see Arc – for her eye.

But later, right after she got momentarily lost in the beauty of Arc’s implant, the woman looked at Pell with her real eye, the gray, penetrating right one – and Pell forgot about the tourmaline, onyx, silver and gold machine.

She had finally seen Arc, herself – the woman, and not the simple, mechanical part. Next to her, the eye was cheap junk: a collection of metal, old rocks, and wires.

* * * *

She wasn’t Arc at first. She began as just the woman with the perfectly created eye. Then she was the beautiful woman. Then she was the woman where she didn’t belong. Seeing her eye, then seeing her, Pell lastly saw her as oil, the kind of oil you’d see pooling in the street, that had somehow managed to make its way into a glass of wine. Agreed, it was cheap red wine – something out of a box and not even a bottle, but, still – she was oil. She didn’t belong and that was obvious, despite the cheapness of the gallery. She could tell, cataloging her bashed and scuffed boots, noting her threadbare jeans, her torn T-shirt, that amid clean jeans and washed (and too black) turtlenecks, she was a discordant tone among the harmonious poseurs in Jare’s tiny South of Market studio.

The woman was aware of her discrepancy. She wandered the tiny gallery with a very large plastic tumbler of vin very ordinare, stopping only once in a while to look at one of Jare’s paintings.

Holding her wine tight enough to gently fracture the cheap plastic with cloudy stress lines, Pell watched her, stared at the tall – all legs and angles, broad and strong – woman with the artificial eye. She tried not to watch her too closely or too intently, sure that if she let slip her fascination she’d scare her off – or worse, bring on an indifferent examination of Pell. Through a sad ballet of a slightly curved lip and a stare that was nothing more than a glance of the eyes, the woman would see Pell but wouldn’t – and that would be an icy needle in Pell’s heart.

Pell had already taken too many risks that night. She already felt like she’d stepped off the edge and had yet to hit the hard reality of the ground. Traps and tigers, beasts and pitfalls for the unwary loomed all around Pell. She moved through her days with a careful caution, delicately testing the ice in front of her, wary of almost-invisible, murky lines of fault. She knew they were there, she’d felt the sudden falling of knowing she’d stepped too far, moved too quickly, over something that had proven, by intent or accident, not to be there. Pell didn’t push on the surface, didn’t put all her weight, or herself, on anything.

But then everything changed. She’d seen Arc and her eye.

The plastic cup chimed once, then collapsed in on itself. Turning first into a squashed oval, the glass cracked, splintered, then folded, the white seams of stress turning into sharp fissures of breakage. The red, freed of its cheap plastic prison, tumbled, cascaded out and down onto her.

Pell had worn something she knew wouldn’t fit with the rest of the crowd. The official color of San Francisco, she knew, would fill the place with charcoal and soot, midnight and ebony. White, she’d decided, would pull some of their eyes to her, make her stand out – absence of color being alone in a room full of people dressed in all colors, combined.

"Looks good on you."

The shock of the wine on her white blouse tumbled through Pell as an avalanche of warmth flowed to her face. The decision to wear white that night had come from a different part of herself, a part that had surprised her. Now she was furiously chastising that tiny voice, that fashion terrorist who had chosen the blouse over other, blacker ones.

And so Pell responded, "Not as good as you would" to the tall, leggy, broad shouldered girl with the artificial eye. Which was beautiful, but not as beautiful as the rest of her.

* * * *

Pell’s reason for being at the gallery was Jare. Although she could never wrap her perceptions around the gaunt boy’s paintings, she still came when he asked. Jare, Pell, Fallon, Rasp and Jest. They weren’t close – but then foxhole buddies aren’t always. They weren’t in combat, but they could be. All it would take would be one computer talking to another – no stable job history, thus conscription.

All it took were two computers, passing pieces of information back and forth. Till that happened, they hid and watched the possibility of a real foxhole death in a hot, sweaty part of Central America fly by.

Foxhole buddies. It was Jare’s term – some fleck of trivia that’d hung around him. They didn’t have an official name for their tiny society of slowly (and in some cases not too slowly) starving artists, but Pell was sure that Jare would smile at his trivial term being immortalized among a band of too-mortal kids.

That was Jare. While the rest of them tried to focus on pulling their paintings (Pell, Jare, and Rasp), music (Jest), and sculpture (Fallon) as high as they could, there was something else about Jare – something, like his paintings, that refused to be understood. His techniques were simple enough, broad strokes of brilliant color on soot-black canvas, but his reasons were more convoluted.

Or maybe, Pell had thought earlier that evening (before turning a white blouse red and seeing the woman with the artificial eye for the first time) both man and his work were simple: broad, bold statements designed to do nothing but catch attention. He was like his paintings, a grab for any kind of attention – an explanation too simple to be easily seen.

In the tiny bathroom, Pell tried to get the wine out of her blouse. Contradictory old wives’ tails: first she tried cold, then hot water. The sink ran pink and so, soon, did her blouse.

The woman with the eye stood outside the door, a surprisingly subtle smile on her large mouth. Every once and a while she’d say something, as if throwing a bantering line to the shy girl inside to keep her from drowning in embarrassment.

"Who’s he foolin? I can do better crap than this with a brush up my ass.”

"You should see this chick’s dress. Looks like her momma’s – and momma didn’t know how to dress, either.”

"Too many earrings, faggot. What year do you think this is?

"Hey, girl. Get out here with that shirt. It’s better looking than this fucking stuff on the walls."

Cold water on her hands, wine spiraling down the sink. Distantly, Pell was aware that her nipples were hard and tight – and not from the chill water. Down deep and inside, she was wet. It was a basic kind of primal moisture, one that comes even in the burning heat of humiliation. Finally, the blouse was less red than before. Planning to run to where she’d dropped her old leather coat to hide the stigmata of her clumsiness, her excitement in two hard brown points, she opened the door.

The tall woman smiled down at her, hot and strong. In one quick sweep of her eyes, Pell drank her tall length, strong shoulders, columnar legs. She was trapped, held fast between the hot eyes she knew must have been staring at her, pinning her straight to her embarrassment, and the presence of the woman.

Her eye, the eye, clicked a quick chime of precision – as if expanding its limits to encompass the totality of Pell. Pell did not mind her intense examination. It added, with a rush of feelings, to the quaking in her belly, the weakness in her knees.

"Gotta splash. Wait right here,” Arc said.

Of course she waited.

After a few hammering heartbeats, the door opened and she came out – butchly tucking her T-shirt back into her jeans – and Pell was again at the focus of her meticulously designed sight.

"You live anywhere close? I’m tired of this shit. You?"

"Down the block. Just on the corner," Pell said, trying hard not to smile too much.

The woman downed the small sample of red in her glass and, looking for a place to put it down, and not finding any, just dropped it with a sharp plastic clatter on the floor. "Show me. It can’t be worse than here. Too many fucking artists."

Dark Roasted Biscotti

Here's yet another of my takes on doing a Biscotti for the always-wonderful Dark Roasted Blend.  I have to say these are a real kick and a treat to put together!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Listen To Me!

Here is a real treat, if I do say so myself ... which I do because this is a very cool audio interview between myself and my wonderful friend, and Renaissance Publisher, Jean Marie Stine about all kinds of things, including the release of my brand new book, How To Write And Sell Erotica, and the new anthologies I'm editing for Renaissance.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

When you sell a man a book -

Lord! when you sell a man a book you don’t sell just twelve ounces of paper and ink and glue - you sell him a whole new life. Love and friendship and humour and ships at sea by night - there’s all heaven and earth in a book, a real book.
  - Christopher Morley