Sunday, November 29, 2009
Monday, April 20, 2009
Chapter 1: Constance
Even though her father would have reached out his latex-gloved influence and gotten them a nice place, he out of pride and she … well, it could have been spite, to be the pretty daughter of the rich, refined doctor living in a tiny, dirty, apartment, but she told herself it was more to show that she could make it on her own in the real world. It was noisy, near the highway where the trucks drove – day and night – to Barcelona. It was dirty, no matter how many bottles, sponges, brooms and mops she used. It was hot, even when the sky was overcast and rain streaked the darkly clouded windows.
As she’d done before they met, before they’d married, she worked in her father’s practice during the day, leading stooped and wrinkled citizens with chubby bellies -- and fat wallets -- from waiting to examination. All as before, except now her father seemed older, slower, his eyes heavier with age, or maybe just the weighty disappointment that his jewel had married a poor painter rather a man with a more pride-worthy occupation.
As he’d done before they met, he worked – or said he did. Some days she’d come home to canvases stacked against the walls, each one adding wet paint -- unwanted color -- to the forever grimy plaster, her husband stripped to the chest, gleaming with sweat, heaving with exhaustion as he attacked his work with brush or charcoal. Other times, though, he’d be sitting in front of the cheap little TV, remote in one hand, beer in the other.
Then there were the nights. Virginity having lost its value long before her adolescence in the 70s, she’d not come to their bed inexperienced. Igualada may not have been a big city, but the world still came to it through slick magazines, American movies, and television shows out of Madrid. Boys had always been available to practice with.
It was … no, she thought, believed, lied to herself, that it’d been good. But sitting in the lounge of the Pont Royal, she had a much better view of it all. His hands had been strong, yes, but also coarse. His body had been tight with muscle, yes, but also rough. His eyes had been hungry for her, yes, but no matter what she did, it was never enough.
A memory of a morning: sleeping in while the bells rang the rest of the city to church, another thing she’d discarded with her virginity. The night before, she’d been cooking, a skill she never believed she’d ever really perfect, when he’d come up, wrapped his arms around her, pulling her away from the rushing water, the rising mountain of foam in the sink. He’d worked that day, canvases drying on his easel, on the sofa, leaning on dining room chairs. When he worked, he had a broad grin on his face. When he smiled, his hands always came to her.
Cupping her breasts, fingers knowing intuitively where her nipples were hidden, he pulled her back still more, the insistence of his erection clear to her through his pants, the fabric of her skirt. “No,” was all she’d said, shaking her head. Women, her mother had said, should never argue.
“Dishes can wait -- everything in the whole wide world can wait. I have something to show you. Come on –“ A tug on her arm pulled her away from cleaning up. Drying her hands on her skirt, she allowed herself to be led from one room to another. The bedroom, she immediately noticed, was a mess: clothes on the floor, blanket wadded up, pillows slipping out of their covers. But he didn’t see any of it. Pulling her through the sleep-shuffled chaos, he put her in front of her mirror.
“Here,” he’d said, posing her like one of the little wooden models he studied. “Yeah, like that. Hand right here. Perfect. Okay? Now just relax.”
Shoes, first: slipping one off then the other. Then her stockings, his hands reaching up under her skirt, deftly sliding fingers between elastic and her waist, before steadily, teasingly down.
Buttons followed, only a few on the dress she’d worn that day. A few until they were all undone and he was slipping her shoulders free, dropping the weight of the dress to the floor in a hush of falling fabric. Reaching hehind her back, he found the hooks to her bra, pulled away the straps and the silken cups away with steady patience. Last were her panties, also removed with almost glacial drama, the spell only broken when she had to lift one foot to allow him to take them away.
Behind her, erection felt even though he was fully dressed and she wasn’t at all, he moved her again until she was perfectly in front of the mirror. “I want to show you something really beautiful,” he said.
Pretty – she’d been called that my her mother, her father, some aunts, some uncles. Attractive – she’d been called that by other girls, usually grudgingly. Good-looking – she’d been called that by a few boys, usually not wanting to flatter her out of reach.
Beautiful – of course she’d been called that, probably by more than a few relatives, maybe a girlfriend or two, or even by a few boys. But after that day, whenever she heard the word she would think about standing naked in front of a mirror. At first with a hidden, secret joy, but later – when she had been pulled out of the shade of her ignorance – with bitter tension.
But this was before, back in the days where she didn’t know anything except that she was standing naked in front of a mirror. Back when she and he were a poor, happy, couple in a dirty, cold, and noisy apartment.
Back when he’d stood behind her and said one word. “Look.”
And she had. What she saw had made her face sag into a weighty frown: a young woman dropping toward mid-twenties, early thirties, once high and firm breasts – petite but always well shaped -- now starting to suffer under gravity, tight belly now beginning to balloon outwards, and elegantly tapered legs approaching chubbiness. A woman once perhaps worth looking at, maybe even following, possibly even the recipient of a high then low whistle but now … now in the past tense, all of that tightness, that buoyancy, that life behind, not in front of her.
The dropping of her face must have been clear to her husband, as his own sagged as well. “Not what I mean,” he’d said, kissing her shoulder. “Not what I meant at all.” She tried to pull away from the contact of his lips, but his hand had become firm, keeping her facing the cold, hard, silver of the mirror. “Try to see the way I do, look at my eyes.”
And she had. What she did, at first, kept her face leaden with disappointment and her cheeks burning with hate. Why would he force her to face the harshness of her own image? But then she’d looked up and away from her reflection to see him peering over her shoulder. Peering over her shoulder with bright, heated eyes. Bright, heated eyes that bounced back into the mirror, echoing a reflection of herself in his vision. Imagination wasn’t a quality she’d ever really tried to develop in herself -- the world being previously all she’d ever wanted, never hungering for anything that wasn’t in front of her eyes. But that afternoon she really did try to imagine herself as the woman her husband touched whenever he could, kissed so often, watched getting dressed or undressed, and pressed a determined erection against while they slept in their too-small bed.
Beautiful … yes, she was. Spry and lean, body straight and tall, deep red nipples at the tips of gently rising breasts, shoulders shapely, skin with the glow of energy and passion, belly plush and warm, legs long and tight with girlish spring, thighs robust but not too muscular –and at the base of her tummy, between those vigorous thighs and legs, a thin feather of hair that led into her now moistening depths.
“You are too beautiful for words,” Escobar had said to her, his voice a bit of basso music in her ears. “Too beautiful,” that last falling away, she unsure if he’d added anything to the two words.
The burgundy tips at the ends of her breasts had wrinkled into firmness as she’d looked at herself, seeing herself the way he saw her. Her skin had begun to shine, the air in their bedroom starting to ring of salt from her sweat – and in the deeps of her, where there had just been moisture between her thighs, below her belly, there was now an urgent pulse and definitely, positive wetness. Listening to him, trying to pick out the exact words of his low tones, wasn’t important. Having him inside her was.
Turning, she’d embraced her husband, arms snaking around his waist, pulling him tight. Clothes. They were in the way, they had to come off. Buttons first, fingers popping them away one by one, doing to him with much more urgency and less divine ritual that he’d done to her.
Off, his shirt. Off, his undershirt. Hands on his belt, but then his words through her urgency. “I want to paint you, Constance. I want to really paint you. To get it right.”
It was not a new request -- after all, a flavor of it had been one of the first things he’d said to her -- but it wasn’t a common one. Instead, it was one that he asked only at certain moments. Like her birthday, claiming that no gift he could give her would measure up to finally being able to create a perfect portrait of her. Same for Christmas: with the same explanation. It would be a complete execution, not just a simple sketch. Color and not just pencil lines on paper.
Birthday, Christmas, she’d always shaken her head, another simple word -- because even about this women did not argue -- and then a refusal to discuss it further. She told herself that it was good to keep him waiting for some things, a sizzling spice to keep him interested – especially after that first initial taste of capturing her on that green grass hill those years ago -- but there was also pleasure in denying him.
Too hot, she almost agreed to his request, but then came to enough of her senses to shake her head. “Maybe,” came out as a throaty whisper.
It had been enough for him, and he’d dropped the rest of his clothes in a franticly clumsy strip. To the bed, messy or not: she throwing herself back, wantonly spread wide, brazenly exposed.
Again, restrained and patient despite his clearly determined erection, he carefully approached her, taking two minutes when she wanted two seconds, kneeling down on the ruffled covers to peer, intently and attentively, between her legs. For a man with hands that normally appeared rough and tough, he moved with a painters precision and admiration for detail: labia parted, he ran a slow, steady finger from opening to the tight bead of her clit, the direct contact at the end making her legs and thighs tighten and air get drawn into her lungs with a long, low whistle.
A kiss then, to her other lips, and to the hot button at their top. A kiss then, that turned into a lick, a butterfly flutter that made her whistle into a moan, approaching with each flick of his tongue, a rippling scream.
Then she wasn’t approaching; she’d come, arrived to her destination with a primal sound and involuntary trapping of his head between her thighs. The world went away, lost to a blushing flush and a body surge of pleasure.
And he was inside her, sliding himself deep into her with no resistance – either from her mind or her body. It was good. Lord, it was good. Filling her, he drove himself rhythmically and powerfully, making her breasts bounce and shake with each push, each thrust.
How long? Unsure. Time left her, retreating against the waves and surges and ripples and bursts that came with him inside her. Without her will, her arms again were snakes coiling around his back, and her legs lifted, giving him better entry and more traction from the soles of her feet leveraged against the sliding sheets.
Then it was his turn, and with his orgasm, a new form of it for herself. Again a reflection: the pleasure he took in her returned to her as an unexpected and blaze of delight.
They’d slept afterwards: he in her, she wrapped around him. Two people become one, joined by sweat and semen and slippery fluids.
Good times, yes, but only because she hadn’t opened her eyes, had slept through all of those years. Not that there hadn’t been signs, clues to what had been going on.
Like the next day, a Saturday, when he’d been out – dragging his canvases and sketches around town again, begging for patronage, trying to sell his work to galleries, setting up stands and easels to tempt the few off-season tourists who’d come to town – and she’d been cleaning. A smile on her face, yes, she remembered that: grinning like a young fool as she’d snapped sheets, bundled clothes into hampers, making their home a place worthy of living in.
Leaning against a wall in their tiny living room was a tilted stack of fresh paintings, just like many she’d seen – and moved – in the time they’d lived there. Didn’t know why, but this time she’d actually looked at them, flipping one after another, seeing images of the city, their neighborhood, bits of faces, pieces of their life, and then … and then … and then … a new one, a fresh one, a work just created.
On the bed, she lay, sublime and lovely, relaxed and illuminated from within. Around her covers twisted and bunched. It was obvious, unquestionably evident, that this young woman had just experienced a powerful bodily joy.
Obvious, too, unquestionably evident, as well, that this was herself: naked and spent. Here was a portrait taken -- not given. She’d never given him the permission he sought. She vaguely recalled whispering “maybe,” not “yes.” By painting her regardless, he’d shown how little her wishes mattered. She trembled, feeling violated and wronged. She’d pushed his insistence out of her mind, trying to focus instead on his passion, his possible talent, his kindness – and, of course, the way he saw her, the way he’d allowed her to see herself through his eyes.
Now, though, what it was: a betrayal of trust. Just one of many.
Another sip in the lounge of the Pont Royal hotel, but this time her tea wasn’t hot, wasn’t warm, wasn’t even tepid.
It was cold.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
I’ve been an admiring fan of M. Christian’s work since well before I began writing erotica myself. He’s edited twenty anthologies and written over three hundred stories, four novels, and four short story collections, with numerous appearances in Best American Erotica and other Best of’s as well as being an annually returning alumnus of The Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica. His narrators and protagonists come in a rainbow of sexual preferences, yet the stories are always incandescently erotic and convincing. On top of this, his work spans a range of genres, from literary to horror, science fiction and a soupcon of erotic romance.
I’ve always wondered what the “M” in M. Christian stands for, but I’m pretty sure it stands for “Maestro”!
I recently had the pleasure of reading one of his most recent novels, Brushes. A multi-layered treat for the mind and the senses, Brushes reminded me how a well-written novel can really draw you into a totally different world and keep you there, enchanted. M. Christian transports us to glittering Paris where we follow the adventures of eight denizens of the art world, from an acclaimed artist and his muses to desperate wannabes. As their lives brush up against each other, serendipitously, inevitably, all experience a compelling sexual encounter that changes their lives forever. The variety of sex scenes is like a tempting buffet, the prose as silky smooth as a pot de crème. The novel definitely raises fascinating questions about the artist’s life and the silliness of the business surrounding it. This tale of mystery will definitely provoke and entertain anyone who’s intrigued by the power of the creative--and the erotic—spirit.
That’s me, baby—how about you?
And now, I have the even greater pleasure of inviting the Maestro to my blog to chat about writing, erotica and sensual indulgence of the culinary persuasion.
DGS: I’ve always been amazed at your versatility as a writer, your virtuoso ability to cross genres and genders. How do you do it? Or are you actually a shapeshifter from another galaxy?
MC: Nah, I’m just a classic hack, though being a shapeshifter from another galaxy would make it a lot easier to find a date on Saturday night.
How did you get started writing erotica?
Well, I’ve always wanted to be a writer – in fact I first remember deciding it would be the life I wanted to live when I was in the fourth grade or so – but I had zero luck with it for, oh, about fifteen years. Tired of rejection slips, I signed up for an erotica writing class from Lisa Palac, who used to edit a magazine called Future Sex. My thought at the time was something like: why the hell not?
Turns out I was pretty good at pornography – who knew? – and Lisa bought my first story, which was subsequently published by Susie Bright in her Best American Erotica 1994. The rest, as the cliché goes, is history.
You’ve been publishing erotica for a long time now. In your view, how has the genre and the publishing environment changed over the years.
Lordy, that’s a big subject! Right off the top of my head I’d guess the biggest change has got to be the death – or imminent death, to be polite – of the traditional publishing model of business. Printed books are simply way too expensive to produce, especially these days, and far too difficult to sell. Sure, there will always be big houses operating like we’re still in the ‘50s but going forward we’re going to see far more small-to-medium-sized publishers connecting with very specific audiences. That’s good news for readers, as a publisher’s profit doesn’t have to be hundreds of thousands of dollars. Only having to make a few thousand means they can take risks and produce books for very narrow-focused interests. The bad news, though, is that the days of huge – or even large – advances for authors are gone … bummer. Don’t despair, though. Because the smaller publishers don’t have huge overhead, they can pay better royalties, and because of Amazon – the sort-of-great literary equalizer -- a small-time author has about the same ‘shelf’ space as a big-time one … the trick, of course, is to get yourself noticed.
You’re now blogging at Imagination is Intelligence with an Erection, Frequently Felt, Meine Kleine Fabrik and The New Café (Racer) Society. What do you like about blogging? How does it fit into your fiction writing schedule?
Actually The New Café (Racer) Society is a two-wheeled, one-man enterprise run by my brother, S.A. – who works with me on Meine Kleine Fabrik. I like blogs because they’re a way to get yourself out there. With Meine Kleine Fabrik, which is German for “My Little Factory,” the name of a jewelry company S.A. used to have, it’s a kind of commonplace book; a way of sharing the fun and wild and weird and silly and cool things we’ve come across. Frequently Felt is kind of the same thing but with a sexy twist – and is also a place where authors can share their work as well: my way of opening the door for new erotica writers. Imagination is Intelligence with an Erection, is my writing site: the place where I post reviews, announcements about new projects, new books and suchlike.
I kind of cheat, to be honest, with these blogs: I usually just post or repost stuff I find. Sure it makes them a bit less ‘rich’ but I simply don’t understand writers who spend hours posting and no time on their craft. Working on stories and books is what I love to do, so they will always be my top priority.
One of the pleasures for me while I was reading Brushes was the chance to come to my own conclusions about the shadowy central figure, the artist Escobar, based on the clues provided by the perspectives of the different narrators. It’s also fun to see how the different characters “brush up” against each other in different ways on the streets of Paris. But what might be pleasure for the reader could present a real logistical challenge for the author. Did you have a particular strategy to plan and keep track of all the “brushes” in the novel?
Thank you so much – it means a lot to me that you liked it!
While it was a tad challenging, it was also a lot of fun to do. My motivation was to try to put together something showing our various ‘faces:’ like the Donna I know isn’t the Donna other people know, etc. In the case of Escobar these multiple ‘faces’ are amplified because of his fame: the people around him have their own perspectives on him, twisted by jealousy, fear, unreasonable admiration, and all those other lovely emotions. Occasionally I’d find myself ‘painted into a corner’ especially since I was trying to tell the story from different perspectives but also taking place at the same time. Although there are some things I wish I’d done better, I thought it came out pretty well. I guarantee I’ll do better with the next book, and the one after that, and the one after that, and the one after that ….
Your novel has countless wonderful examples of how an erotic scene reveals character—this is really the heart of the book. I’ve chosen this excerpt from chapter 4, told from the point of view of Marcel, a snobbish, fastidious gallery owner, who has called in a paid companion to “celebrate” after a long day in the art business. Here’s a tasty sampling of the scene:
"I love my breasts," she said. "I love they way they look, but I really like the way they feel." Purple painted nails slid over the slopes, stroked under, and deliberately hesitated over the rises of her nipples. One hand went behind, reaching for another clasp, preparing for another revelation.
More than at any time in recent memory, he was aroused. With Josephine it had been there, but more abstract, more a quality of the whole experience than a pulse-matched deep down, stirring where he wasn't Marcel the gentleman, the rich man, the owner of L'Art, but rather just a man and a very demanding desire. He might still be struck by silence, but he could move.
There was a good reason Zazu would love her breasts. They were phenomenal. Large yet exceptionally firm, they swept gently from the satin of her chest, ending in two saucer-sized, swollen areolas, topped by aggressively firm nipples the color of fresh strawberries and the size of gumdrops. As her bra joined her clothes at her feet, her breasts swung and jiggled, a mesmerizing display.
"Aren't they beautiful? I'm so lucky. But what's even better is that I like how they feel, not just how they look." With thumb and forefinger she tightly plucked at her right nipple, much harder than he'd ever seen a woman do before. She hissed, deep and languid, in response. Then the same, this time to the left, but now the hiss became a moan and her knees seemed to lose a bit of their strength. "Oh, wow," she said through a sharp laugh.
Stroking himself, he realized he didn't care that he was or that she knew he was. It was too good. This woman was beautiful and sexy, and more importantly, he was enjoying himself more than he ever had before. How his zipper had come down, how he'd extracted himself from his underwear, he didn't know, but there it was and he wasn't about to stop. Again, the question -- but this time only the barest of whispers in his mind and nowhere near a loud thought: what am I? The answer came immediately: I am me... and I like this.
The other nipple again; this time she had to catch herself before dropping all the way to the carpet. It took her some time to pull herself up and stand straight. "I like this. It's one of my... things, I guess you could call it." Peering through her purple bangs, she caught his gaze with hers. "Having fun?"
Even before he'd realized he'd broken the silence, he found his voice. "I-I am."
Do you have a particular favorite among the characters or scenes in Brushes? Any that were harder or easier to write?
Once again, I really appreciate your kindness and support, Donna! Writing can be a damned hard life so compliments and kindness – especially from a writer I like and admire – are a real treat!
Each of the characters in Brushes had their challenges, as well as their easier bits. I’m so glad you liked Marcel: he was a particularly fun one as I was trying to use his sexuality as a pretty broad reflection of his personality: removed and controlling in life, removed and controlling in bed. Escobar was probably the hardest because as I was ‘doing’ him, I kept thinking that here he is, the guy everyone’s talking about. A bit of pressure there ….
What’s next for you?
Let’s see … working on a gay horror novel called Monster that should be done in a few months. Have a new collection of straight erotica coming out soon, called Licks & Promises. Both The Bachelor Machine, my science fiction erotica collection, and Dirty Words, which is a gay erotica collection, are being reprinted and should be out soon. I’m also chatting with some publishers about doing some new anthologies – more on those very soon. I’ve also done my first screenplay, the movie for which should be shooting soon, and I’m working on other fun stuff as well. Just keep an eye on my blog for more info and updates and such.
Finally, describe a perfect meal that would be guaranteed to seduce you—into a deep conversation about the writing life, if not something even juicier!
A perfect meal? Hummm … I love a lot of food, and have a long list of great restaurants, but to make any meal perfect I’d have to have the company of my wonderful lady, and soon-to-be-wife, Sage Vivant. As I already mentioned, writing can all-to-often be a brutal and hard life. I am very fortunate to have found the woman of my dreams, and would never do anything without her.
Well, congratulations--that's definitely a match made in erotica heaven!! I wish you both all the happiness in the world (as well as many delicious meals together).
Thanks so much for stopping by to talk shop with me. And for those of you interested in some more hot-and-hot-off-the-presses M. Christian fiction, check out his novel Painted Doll and Hack Work, a series of short story downloads, as well.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Monday, December 08, 2008
Prolific erotica writer M.Christian has been described more than once as a literary chameleon, and with good reason. Although he is straight and male, Christian has published single-author collections of both gay (Filthy) and lesbian (Speaking Parts) erotica. His books include a scifi erotica story collection (The Bachelor Machine), gay vampire thrillers (Running on Empty and The Very Bloody Marys) and the peculiar Me 2, which has been praised as insightful social criticism and panned as a poor-taste publicity stunt.
I was flattered when he wrote me asking if I’d give him press quotes for not one, but two books that he had coming out soon. Flattered, and jealous, given my own glacial rate of publication. Sure, I told him, but I’ve got to read the books first. Within half an hour, I received digital Advanced Reader Copies of Brushes and The Painted Doll.
If I didn’t know that these two books had been written by the same author, it would be difficult to tell. Brushes is a fascinating literary exercise, a novella in which each chapter presents the perspective of a different character. The various narrators are linked by their connections, casual or intimate, with Escobar, a fabulously popular painter hailed as an artistic genius. Escobar is hardly a person for these characters. He is a mirror, a distorted reflection highlighting their failings, magnifying their inadequacies. His sexual charisma, his incandescent talent, his elusive insight into the souls of his subjects, all are legendary. Everyone craves his attention. Everyone envies his success ....
Monday, November 10, 2008
Sunday, October 05, 2008
"Brushes" is great erotica set in a romantic setting. It is a multi-layered look at love, Paris and the world of art. We meet eight people, all of whom are involved in the art world. As their lives intertwine, each experiences a form of sexual contact that will change them completely.
Escobar is a very talented artist but exactly who he is and how he works is the essence of "Brushes". The world sees him as a genius. His mastery of color, form and shape is unequaled and he has taken the art world by storm. To discover who he, we look at him from different viewpoints. His wife, his manager, his forger, his brother, his model and others tell us about him in separate stories that all come together. However, these stories tell us more about the teller than they do about the man in question. In that, Escobar is like the art he creates. It is studied and it is open to different interpretations as well as misinterpretations.
M. Christian is a master storyteller. I have read a lot of him and each time I pick up something by him, I find myself so involved in the story that I feel it is actually happening as I read. "Brushes" evokes carnality and in dealing with the art scene of Paris and those that inhabit it, Christian gives us an erotic treat. He so captures the scene that I was completely engulfed by the novel by the third page. Sure the eroticism is very hot but it is the story that is better. The intriguing characters and the way that they come in and out of each others' lives in handled brilliantly. We see, though the characters that all is not always what it seems to be and surprises lurk and wait. This is a gorgeous book to be savored.
Friday, September 19, 2008
Monday, September 08, 2008
A Look At The New Erotic Book From A Talented American Author
A sensual compilation published by Phaze Books, makes up 'Brushes', author M. Christian's new novel detailing the rise to fame of artist Escobar, ranging in points of view from his embittered wife to his estranged brother, his bile filled art dealer to a reporter hot for the seduction, and right through to the lonely artists himself.
In style, M. Christian is an artist in his own right. The pacing of his work effortlessly captures the denouement of the book’s Parisian setting, whilst M. Christian’s characterisation, seeing from the eyes of Estobar's nearest and dearest, his embittered wife to his estranged brother, his bile filled art dealer to a reporter hot for the seduction, and right through to the lonely artists himself, glides seamlessly and integrates subtle blends of the human psyche together to create rich and vibrant characters firmly recognizable as real people.
Of course, as with any compilation work, there are some stories that work better than others. The art dealer character, for example, is a truly rewarding creation to read, as we follow his need for high class call girls at the end of his working day as a means of ‘celebration’, but, quite surprisingly, he never touches them lest the illusion of perfection be broken.
Until, that is, a new girl attends him one night. She is not what he asked for, with a bob of pink, punkish hair and a body that is full where he would want it slim, unkempt where he would like it smooth, but she captivates him with her show and moves him into a realm of texture and taste.
This gives insight into the paradox of art: that it should move the soul in the experience of viewing, but remain static and untouched, fenced off and held high, because of its perfection and there in we realise it can only ever give a limited experience for anyone but the artist themselves.
The above concept is portrayed with devout finesse, however M. Christian’s like for repetition occasionally clunks a little too obviously, and there are the odd technical errors that it would be preferable not to see in a writing otherwise of such quality. None of these, it must be said, ever break the spell that this book casts and the revelation as we finally see things from Estobar's own point of view in the end chapters is both heartbreaking and intensely human.
It must be mentioned that there is also the inherent problem in any erotica or novel dealing with such a specific subject, that sexuality can quickly become monotony, but M. Christian acts with due care and attention, and whilst the acts themselves are given considerable detail on the page, we are also consistently learning about the characters too, and for this M. Christian should be applauded.
Overall, this book is of a standard that is found rarely, and structurally it is a highly accomplished piece. It would be fair to venture a guess and say that M. Christian is an author yet to reach his peak, but this current novel is a steep climb towards it.
Friday, July 25, 2008
Through a variety of protagonists M Christian explores the character of the enigmatic and charismatic Artist, Escobar. The story is a step away from Christian's futuristic erotic fantasies, which were a delight in THE BACHELOR MACHINE and another new novel from Christian, THE PAINTED DOLL.In BRUSHES we are taken into a new and succulent territory which is overwhelming with its elegant prose. The characters are exotic, strange but familiar too, with the reader relating to each protagonist's confusion, as he or she tries to unravel the mystery that is Escobar. Set in France, there is no doubt that Christian cherishes and knows that country well; in fact his style is worthy of travel writing at its best, being worth a comparison with Paul Theroux. As with Theroux's work you see the country in the prose. Christian's France isn't always beautiful, sometimes it's downright dirty; but it's always what can always be expected from M Christian; very, very sexy!
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Here you go: a little taste of my new novel, Brushes:
Finger slipped carefully into the handle, heat passing through the delicate ceramic from the recently boiled drink, losing degrees of temperature to become comforting warmth, she brought the cup up gently, carefully. One inch. Another. Another. The ritual of a sip, the elegance of patience: finger in handle, cup up to mouth, a pause of fragrance, then lips touched gently to rim. Taste. Savor. Taste again to compare.
The British used it as the cornerstone of a lion-emblazoned empire. The Japanese had made it a religion. Sitting in the lounge of the Pont Royal Hotel--immaculate linen tablecloth, Lennox kettle and cup, silver service, velvet drapes parting the view of the Saint Germain district of Paris, a waiter at the door prepared to do whatever was needed to ensure the pleasure of her stay--Constance could believe that tea was, indeed, something to fight wars over, to pray to.
Steady and refined, careful and graceful, charming and poised, it was ballet with a cup and saucer, opera with a kettle, chamber music with sugar and cream. Tea, especially tea in the lounge of the Pont Royal Hotel, was perfect, or as near to it as anyone could come.
Then the waiter wasn't waiting by the door. Passing between her table and the window with its rich maroon drapes, he gestured to a corner table. Behind him, moving slower through the linen islands--having less of his skill in navigating the room--came the man, followed by the woman.
He was young, his body lithe and fluid, yet with the hesitation and stumbling that comes from some uncertainty in life. His hair was brown, but not common. His was a mixture of many shades, making it changeable with every turn of his head, every shift of his muscled body. His face was expressive but not comedic, handsome without being cut from cold marble. Like his shifting hair, his eyes also became many kinds of brown as he looked around the room.
She was young, her figure tight, supple, and limber, but with the hesitancy and awkwardness that came with trying to understand her own body. Her hair was blond, but not from a bottle. Hers was true shine that glowed with every movement of her lissome form. Her face was animated but not loud, pretty without being from a mold. Like her bright hair, her eyes glimmered and shone as she surveyed her surroundings.
Watching them come in and sit down, Constance swallowed hot tea--through a cold and tense frown.
* * * *
Finger slipped carefully into warm, golden metal on a hot summer day. That sensation had lingered more than many other details. More than the perfume of roses. More than what her friends--or his, for that matter--had said to her before or after the priest heard the vows. More than the butterflies that had fluttered in her stomach. More than the champagne in a flute, with its jeweled bubbles streaming up from the bottom.
Other things were long forgotten, but the ring sliding onto her finger had remained--a faithful memory of her wedding day.
Hot tea to her lips again, she scowled at the tan liquid in her cup. The beverage was excellent--as only something served in the lounge of the Pont Royal Hotel could be--but the remembrance wasn't. Faithful, yes, because it remained close at hand, even when not wanted, but its flavor was bitter.
On her left hand, on that meaningful finger, she still had her ring. On days like today, she wanted to pull it off, leave it behind as a generous tip for superb service, but she never did. Turn it, yes, around and around, but that was all. Tarnished and cold, it still meant something. Even if it was a tarnished and cold meaning.
It was different for her husband. Clearly, for Escobar, his matching gold meant nothing.
If you're interested in reviewing Brushes please email M.Christian at the addresses below:
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
M.Christian has been called “one of the greatest living writers of erotica” (mostly by himself) and a “hack who shouldn’t quit his day job” (by everyone else). The author of more than three hundred short stories, he’s appeared in pretty much every “Best Erotic” anthology there is, from Best American Erotica, to Best Gay Erotica, Best Lesbian Erotica, Best Fetish Erotica, and many others. He is the editor of twenty anthologies including Confessions, Amazons, and Garden of the Perverse (with Sage Vivant) and The Mammoth Book of Future Cops and The Mammoth Book of Tales of the Road (with Maxim Jakubowksi). His stories have been published in five collections: Dirty Words (gay erotica), Speaking Parts (lesbian erotica), The Bachelor Machine (SF erotica), Filthy (more gay erotica) and-–coming soon–Licks & Promises (the straight stuff). He is also the author of five novels: Running Dry, The Very Bloody Marys, Me2, Brushes, and Painted Doll. His site is www.mchristian.com.
How did you start writing erotica and/or how did you start writing sf/fantasy?
The answer is the same for both, really: after trying to get published for about ten years I took a class from Lisa Palac, who was editing the magazine FutureSex at the time, on a whim. At the end of the class I gave her a story I had written, a fun little SF thing, not really expecting much of anything. I was shocked a few days later when she wrote to say that she wanted to publish it. “Intercore” was then picked up for Best American Erotica–-and everything just sort of took off from there.
Is there something particularly compelling to you about combining sf/f with erotica?
Well, I’ve been a pretty hardcore geek/nerd/fanboy for a long time, so wanting to write SF has always been in the back of my mind–though a lot less now than when I first started to write. Mixing the two was really just a marriage of convenience: editors and publishers seemed to want erotica so why couldn’t I try to mix them?
Beyond that, I’ve always felt that, except for a few rare exceptions, sex has been the one thing that SF really hasn’t speculated about. After all, how many future shock stories have you read where the world has been completely transformed by technology or social change yet the characters still get it on like a pair of teenagers in the backseat of a Plymouth? Just think about how things have changed in the past few years: AIDS, Viagra, gay rights, the Net, implants… Our sex isn’t our grandparents’, or even parents’, sex so why shouldn’t it be even more wild/radical/amazing/scary in just a few more years? And who knows what it could be like in a decade or the next century?
To be fair, I haven’t really worked to push those boundaries myself–I still have to sell my work to people of this century–but I’ve always wanted to really have fun and experiment with what sex might eventually become. One of these days… One of these days….
How does your real life experience get translated into erotic sf?
It does and it doesn’t. It doesn’t because even though I write a lot of gay fiction as well as gay erotica, lesbian fiction as well as lesbian erotica, bi fiction as well as bi–well, you get the idea–I actually a pretty simple guy, sexually. Sure, there’s that Michael Rosen picture of my ex-wife and I, but when the lights are low I’m not that sexually complicated.
But it does because even though I haven’t had gay sex, and am simply not equipped to have lesbian sex, I do put a lot of my emotional self in what I do. I can’t say I know what the sex feels like but I certainly can write about what it feels like to be excited, frustrated, disappointed, ecstatic, etc. I also take a lot of pride in the fact that I treat my subjects with dignity and respect, that I try exceptionally hard to make my characters as three-dimensional as possible. After all, no matter [what] our genders or orientations [are] we have more things in common with each other than [not]. I’ve been lucky–so far–that folks have been very kind about my attempts, and some have even made me very happy by saying that my work has touched them, but being thought of as rude or disrespectful is still is something I worry about.
Is writing erotic sf different from writing other genres?
Well, aside from what I already mentioned (that it’s hard to SF-up sex without completely losing your reader) I think that SF erotica is different–for me at least–because I always try to put in social commentary, which is what many of the SF greats have used the genre for as well.
There’s always a bit of pressure to world-build, which can make the process a bit tougher than simply writing about modern people having modern sex. Sometimes, though, putting in a bit of SF can make everything easier, like with the book I have coming out very soon from Lethe Books, called Painted Doll. I knew I wanted to make it noir-SF but didn’t want to make it really heavy-hitting technology-wise. I also wanted to add a new dimension to what sex could become, so I thought of giving the dominatrix-type lead character a neurochemical brush she could use to paint her clients with sensations and emotional cues. What happened was very fun because it meant I could also make her a storyteller as she painted, so what she told would add a whole new level to the story. What she was telling her clients could also reveal her state of mind to the reader.
What is your writing process like?
Ah, here’s where I really am a weirdo. A lot of writers I know have to have the room dead quiet, or only have on classical music or such but, because I first started to write without any privacy at all, I’ve gotten used to working with a lot of stimulation. Right now, for instance, I’m watching the Japanese henshin series Garo while answering your questions. Often I pick a vid to match what I’m trying to do, to set the mood. I don’t have a lot of DVDs but the ones I have I must have seen dozens of times: Wender’s Hammett; Frankenheimer’s Seconds, Seven Days In May, and the Manchurian Candidate; Paul Dini’s Batman and Justice League series; the wonderful new French film Renaissance; lots of anime; The Avengers TV series; lots of J-Horror (especially Uzumaki) and lots of others I can’t remember, and I’m too lazy to get up to see what else is on my shelves.
I’m also very lucky to have a fantastic partner-in-all-things, who also happens to be the writer Sage Vivant. I’ve said this a few times but it’s always worth repeating: writing can be … Hell, it totally is a vicious, awful, ugly, and emotionally devastating business and every writer needs, and deserves, someone in their life to be there. I am very damned lucky to have found my one special person.
What’s it like sharing your life with another erotic writer? How does that affect your creative process? How much input do you to have on each other’s work?
WAITAMINUTE! Are you saying… Are you IMPLYING… That my girlfriend is some kind of a pornographer!? I’m shocked, I tell you, SHOCKED!
Okay, I’m kidding. I’m tremendously lucky to have found Sage, and thank that fortune every day she’s with me. Writers are–for the most part–completely bonkers. It’s the business that does it: we expose our hopes, dreams, fantasies, and the rest of our so-fragile stuff to people who only care about money, or to other writers who’ve been smashed up the same bad experiences. It makes us insecure, competitive doubtful, depressed, and even arrogant… Like I said, bonkers.
I’ve always dreamed I’d find someone who was at least creative, a person who understood how much fun it can be when it works, and who’d understand how much it hurts when it doesn’t. Not in a million years did I think the person I’d fall head-over-heels for would also be a writer, let alone a writer I admired.
I can’t say that enough: not only do I love Sage but I respect her tremendously. For close to ten years she ran Custom Erotica Source, where she wrote stories for over one thousand clients. That alone is totally remarkable but it still doesn’t say enough: the stories she wrote not only touched people but were also so brilliantly well-written [that] editors and publishers snatched them up for all kinds of anthologies.
But she is also just a wonderful person: kind, funny, supportive, smart, as well as totally gorgeous — absolutely my partner in all things. We work very well together and, even though she just sold CES and is taking a break from writing, her help, opinions, and support are a huge part of my writing life… Well, every part of my life, period.
Are/were there authors who influence your writing?
I feel like I’m always learning from, and trying to be as good as, the folks I admire and respect. I wish I could say those were high-end classic writers–and, sure, a few are there, like Steinbeck, Kipling, Dickens, Hugo, and such–but for the most part I adore and want to be as good as modern comic writers like Alan Moore, Adam Warren, and Grant Morrison; classic SF writers like Bester, Dick, Sturgeon, and Zelazny; and non-fiction writers like Karl Taro Greenfeld, Paul Kirchner… And a few others I’m, again, too lazy to get up and go to my bookshelf for. I’m weird in that I actually don’t read a lot of erotica–unless I have to when I’m editing an anthology–and [I] don’t read any new SF, mostly because I rarely have the time. Again one day I hope to… One day….
Do you have a favorite story or work of yours, and why that one?
Not really–I don’t like to look back. It kind of scares me, actually, to read something I wrote–especially when I think it’s good because then I worry if I’ll ever be able to write that well again. It’s kind of pat but I like to say that my favorite thing is what I’m going to write next. I do think my book, Me2, recently out from Alyson Books, came out well (even though there’s some debate going on [about] if I even wrote the damned thing), and I really enjoyed writing my new and upcoming books Brushes and Painted Doll. I just hope the book I’m working on right now will come out well, but so far–fingers crossed–it’s been fun.
There’s a common theme in many of your stories and novels of showing what goes on behind-the-scenes in an erotic scenario, whether it be elaborate sex play or something constructed by a professional sex worker. What fascinates you about this flip-side? What do you think this has to say about the nature of sexual fantasy?
I’ve always been fascinated by the faces we wear. Like a lot of folks I don’t think we have one personality. This “voice” for instance–the one you’re reading and I’m writing–it isn’t “me,” at least not the “me” that’s the voice in my head, and it’s not the “me” that talks out loud. It’s not the “me” in my fantasies, and it’s not even the “me” that is my sexual self.
Maybe I’ve been doing it too much and it’s time to change my schtick but I like experimenting with how those faces can work against or compliment each other. Like with Painted Doll, where the main character has been forced to hide under a false personality, where one self looks like an opposite but is actually more of a different “flavor;” and how those interactions change the character, revealing a lot about her true self, and if she, and we, really have one.
I also love to play with identity and how it’s formed by those internal “faces” but also by everyone around us. In Brushes, we’re exposed to this notion of one bastard of a painter through the people in his life. (What is it with me and artists anyway? They keep showing up in almost everything I do…) But is he really such a bad guy or have everyone’s impressions been twisted by misconceptions and illusions? If I did write Me2 (and I ain’t saying) I would have done the same kind of thing, having fun with who we are and if we are really unique.
On your blog you wrote that you wished that erotica as a genre would end, and that sex writing would become integrated into other genres. If this happened, how would that effect you as a writer? Which genres do you think you would like to explore?
I guess it might put an end to my luxurious and so well-respected career, but it’s something I honestly wish would happen. Not because it would mean the death of the genre but because sex is a part of life and it should be a ubiquitous part of literature as well. Why do we have books that clearly have, or are even about, sex but you never see it? Why shouldn’t the sexual self of the characters be on stage like their other selves? The moment we actually show sex in a story it gets shunned or buried behind a beaded curtain in the back of the store. No wonder we have such a screwed up culture! I’ve said it before but it’s always worth repeating: what kind of a world have we made where giving head gets an X but cutting someone’s head off only gets an R? One day, perhaps, we’ll be honest and happy about sex… One day….
As far as where I want to go, I really don’t have any burning desires. I just love to be wanted, so I’ll do pretty much whatever someone wants… Writing-wise, I mean. I’m not being passive, it’s just that many of the best things that’ve happened to my writing have come as complete surprises: erotica, gay fiction, non-fiction, etc. Sure I’d love to write a Great-American-Novel kind-of-thing, and then there’s that book on movie villains I keep playing with, but for the most part I love working with a challenge and seeing what fun things might come out of it.
Do you have anything new coming up that you want to tell people about?
Let’s see… Me2 is out there (if I wrote it, that is) and doing pretty well. It’s a gay horror/thriller/comedy thing from Alyson Books. Brushes, a romantic/erotic book just came out from Phaze Books. My gay vampire horror/comedy, The Very Bloody Marys, just got reprinted from Lethe Books and coming soon, also from Lethe, is my SF erotica novel, Painted Doll. I also just sold a new collection to Phaze, called Licks & Promises and I’m working on a new book, a gay/horror thing that should be out next year sometime.
Beyond that I’ve been having fun putting cool stuff on my site at www.mchristian.com and digging up erotic things for my sex blog at frequentlyfelt.blogspot.com and REALLY wonderful and strange things for the site my brother and I do: meinekleinefabrik.blogsopt.com. Come check them out and feel free to write me at email@example.com.
Sunday, July 13, 2008
Sunday, July 06, 2008
Friday, July 04, 2008
To the world he's a genius, a master of color, form, and shape, a brilliant talent who stormed the art world and shook its pillars with his talent.
But who is he really? Who is Escobar?Here's what people are saying about this fantastic new work from M.Christian:
Brushes is an erotically charged portrait of a master artist, a stroke-by-stroke look at who Escobar may or may not be through the lives of his wife, his manager, model, the forger, his brother and others in intricately interconnected chapters.
May or may not be … for with each tale the people around Escobar instead reveal more about themselves than the artist through their prejudices, their envies and resentments, their fears, and their erotically charged fantasies.
Escobar, after all, like his art, is open to interpretation...and misinterpretation
M. Christian is an author of formidable talent and impressive flexibility. He writes equally convincingly from straight, gay or lesbian perspectives, and is a master at seamlessly melding multiple genres.
- Lisabet Sarai, author of Raw Silk and Rough Caress
As convoluted and erotic as a skein of pure silk
- Ann Regentin, author of Second Sight and A Foolish World
Brushes is my favorite kind of novel—a multi-layered treat for the mind and the senses. M. Christian transports us to glittering Paris where we follow the adventures of eight denizens of the art world, from an acclaimed artist and his muses to desperate wannabes. As their lives brush up against each other, serendipitously, inevitably, all experience a compelling sexual encounter that changes their lives forever. A deliciously sexy tale of mystery for anyone who’s intrigued by the power of the creative--and the erotic-spirit
- Donna George Storey, author of Amorous Woman
Evocative and carnal, M. Christian's Brushes portrays multiple perspectives on the life of an artist in Paris, from the gloriously hot sex that he indirectly inspires in his models, his gallery representative and the forger of his work to the embittered fantasies of his estranged wife and brother. Christian has captured the feel of a European art world that draws the reader in, leaving them wanting to learn more about this man, his virtues and faults. Brushes is that rarest of combinations: a marvelous erotic novel and a good read, full of intriguing characters.
- Catherine Lundoff, author of Crave: Tales of Lust, Love and Longing, and Night's Kiss
Those who follow the prolific M. Christian will not want to miss this latest addition to his published work. Brushes is a straight, erotic, mainstream novel arranged in a collection of novellas. It's the story of an artist and the various people in his life. As is typical of M. Christian the quality of Brushes does not disappoint
- Jolie du Pre, author of erotica and erotic romance.
We can never know how lives will intertwine; the mystery of it is one of the hidden joys of life. M. Christian has captured perfectly the symmetry and surprise of lives that mesh together -- whether the people living them like it or not. In following the life of a painter and everyone he touches, Brushes proves everything is not always as it seems. Just as Escobar creates masterpieces with canvas and paint, M. Christian creates a gorgeous tapestry of words.
- Gwen Masters, author of One Breath at a Time