Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Odd Balling (4)

Ladies and gentlemen (and all the folks between), here's a taste of my brand new Odd Balling column for the great folks at YNOT. For the rest just click here.


YNOT – Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to yet another installment of Odd Balling, your come-to location for the sexually odd and erotically weird ... or, as we like to say, where we prove scientist J. B. S. Haldane's statement: "My own suspicion is that the universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose."

In the "out front and obvious" department, Weird Universe reported about a group of New Zealand scientists who spent years embedded in research to determine the first thing men notice about a woman is her breasts. So yes, ladies, that’s exactly what he’s staring at. (And someone actually funded this.)

It warms out hearts, and other body parts to see that a spirit of support and generosity has emerged from the tragedy of the Japanese earthquake. According to 3Yen: News on Japan, online community The Lesbian Lifestyle and sex toy e-tailer promised to donate 50 percent of all proceeds from the sale of adult products to help the relief effort. Kelly Leszczynski, The Lesbian Lifestyle's editor, was quick to point out the promotion was not intended as “a mockery of what has happened in Japan. People will always buy sex toys, and why not put a portion of the proceeds to a good cause?”

Just don’t ask the mayor of Neuville-en-Ferrain, France, to contribute. Gerard Cordon has “issues,” as evidenced by his decision to replace the town’s bust of Marianne, "traditional female embodiment of the French Republic," with something less busty. According to the Telegraph, Cordon insisted the well-endowed statue embodied more of a public distraction. Sculptor Catherine Lamacque, who installed the piece in 2007, admitted she may have overzealously rendered the terracotta figure’s bosom in an effort "to symbolize the generosity of the Republic."


And Now, My Holiday Plans -

Dark Roasted M.Christian

Check it out: a brand new Dark Roasted Blend piece I did just went up: this time on nuclear ... well, EVERYTHING

Fans of the old, but still wonderful, Road Runner cartoons might remember Wile E. Coyote's favorite one-stop-shop for mayhem: The Acme Company.  A clever person – not one of us, alas – once said that Acme's slogan should be "We Add Rockets To Everything."

This, in a kind of round-about way, gets us to the 1950s and the near-obsession that certain engineers had back then with a certain power source.  To put it another way, their slogan should have been: "We Add Nuclear Power To Everything."

In all fairness, reactors have proven – for the most part – to be pretty reliable.  Submarines, commercial power plants, and even monstrous icebreakers have proven that nuclear power can be handy if not essential.  But back just a few decades ago there were plans, and even a few terrifying prototypes, that would have made the Coyote green with envy – and the rest of us shudder in terror.

Both the US and the Soviet Union had engineers with lofty plans to keep bombers in the air indefinitely by using nuclear power.  Most folks, with even a very basic knowledge of how reactors work, would think that was a bit (ahem) risky, but what's even scarier is how far along some of those plans got.

Take, for example, the various projects the US undertook.  In one case, arguably the most advanced, they made plans to power a Convair B-36 bomber with a reactor.  Scary?  Sure, but what's even more so is that they actually flew the plane, with an operational reactor, a total of 47 times.

While that the reactor never actually powered the plane itself, and that there were huge problems to overcome, didn’t stop the engineers from drawing up plans for a whole plethora of atomic planes:

But what was perhaps even crazier than just powered a plane with a nuclear reactor was the idea to use that power source as a weapon.  Here, for example, is a beautiful representation of the Douglas 1186 system, which was supposed to use a parasite fighter to guide the warhead to the target – and keep the poor pilot from engine's radiation.

But the craziest of the crazy was the "Flying Crowbar."  Not only was the Supersonic Low Altitude Missile (to be formal), aka SLAM (to be short), supposed to be a nuclear bomb deployment system but was also to use a nuclear ramjet drive as a weapon: roasting the ground under it to a Geiger-clicking nightmare while leaving a mushroom-cloud parade of bombs behind it.  Shuddering, by the way, would be a perfectly appropriate response.  Luckily, the Crowbar never got off the drawing board.

Leaving the air to the birds, other engineers had different nuclear dreams: In 1958 the Ford Motor Car Company, not satisfied with the success of the Edsel, put forth the idea of bringing radiation into the American home ... or, at least, the garage, with the Nucleon: a family car with an on-board reactor.

While some engineers played with the highways, a few looked to the rails.  Though neither the United States of the Soviet Union got very far with powering a locomotive with a reactor, the USSR at least looked far enough ahead to draw up some plans:

The Soviets, in a literally sky-high dream, even envisioned a new approach to flying their reactors: use a Zeppelin!  Here's a nice little propaganda piece on their ideas for an atomic airship:
Still other inventive types, determined to find a new use for the atom, scratched their heads and came up with quite a few interesting, if not dubious, ways of playing with nukes – but this time of the explosive variety.  Plowshare is one of the most commonly quoted of those operations intended to put a smiley face in a mushroom cloud.  A few of their suggested uses include what they called the Pan-Atomic Canal: in other words, using atomic bombs to widen the Panama Canal.  They also suggested using nukes for mining operations, though never really solved the problem of dealing with then-radioactive ore.

It's ironic that -- what with the need to urgently replace our finite and global-warming fossil fuels – that many are suggesting a new look at the power of the atom.  We can only hope that we, today, can be as imaginative about it as they used to be back in the 1950s ... and a lot more responsible.

Monday, May 02, 2011

How To Wonderfully WriteSex (10)

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):

It can be very weird being an editor as well as a writer. It’s definitely a kind of schizophrenia, being on both sides of the fence at once: spending the morning rejecting other writers’ stories and then crying myself to sleep when it happens to me. Schizophrenia? Actually it’s more like a kind of sex — bad sex: mornings fucking someone, and then getting fucked myself. Kind of appropriate for smut writing and editing, no?

While I could on for pages and pages about why certain stories don’t make the cut for a project, I’d rather deal with something more … mundane for now — but something that has recently been on my mind. In other words, manuscripts and cover letters.

While I completely agree that good work will always win-out, there is a certain amount of packaging that is needed to get the work to the editor so that it arrives with a smile and not a grimace — and, speaking from experience, sometimes a frown or a grin can be the difference between acceptance or rejection.

Manuscripts are not resumes. The trick with resumes is to catch the eye, to get yours stand out above the rest. Career counselors often recommend bright colors and tricks to get the potential employer to spot a resume in a pile of potentials — but manuscripts are exactly the opposite. With a manuscript you want the work to be the only thing the editor notices — not that you printed the story on bright red paper, or that you used a teeny-tiny font. Anything that gets in the way of the editor reading what you written is a strike against you. Now no real editor will reject a story just because you didn’t know about Standard Manuscript Format (more on that later) but if reading the story is a chore — or you neglected important information with the submission — you might look to be too much trouble to deal with. Remember, there are usually dozens of other stories sitting on that editor’s desk, just waiting to be easier to deal with or read.


Monday, April 18, 2011

Guest Posting: Even Better Than The Real Thing!

This is fun, fun, fun!  My sweet pal, Kit O'Connell (wrote wrote the kick-ass forward to the new edition of my science fiction erotica collection, The Bachelor Machine) and who is one of the best folks on the planet, just posted a guest thingie from myself on his site, approximately 8,000 words: a two-part essay on the future of sex called "Even Better Than The Real Thing" in two parts.

Here's a teaser.  For the rest just click here for part one and here for part two.

Sure, the technology’s kinda crude right now (bored executrix, sitting behind her desk, pager set to BUZZ between panty-hose painted thighs, waiting for a lover to call), but just let those horny ol’ geeks and dweebs down in Silicone Valley work on it for a few more years and — ZAM!
The hoary old cliche with a new twist tells of how fast things are moving: “When I was young, son, when we fucked we actually touched each other.” Right now (aside from the executrix) things are at the “asking her out” stage — we’ve got quite a while to go before first, second, third base, and SCORE! (clickity, clack on a keyboard: “” he types. “” a guy somewhere responds).

Right now, the science of what has been labeled teledildonics is still in its masturbating under the sheets stage — the subject of geek dreams, Adobe Photoshop pictorials, and a few hot zines. The electronic LSD wonderland of Virtual Reality is barely up and walking, let alone getting it on. Don’t worry though, like the camera, the telephone, the VCR, and the PC, sex will be right there when the breakthrough is made — there’s something in human nature that right after instant the light bulb lights, a new invention is born, the next immediate thought is always “Can I fuck with it?”

Getting from peg A to slot B is not that far off. Right now the big push is getting the operator’s hand into the VRverse, but you can bet other body parts won’t be far behind. For those who’ve been living in caves, and who seem to have missed the hoop and holler about VR, the idea’s simple: an operator wears a helmet equiped with teeny-tiny televisions over his eyes, a microphone so people can hear him, speakers over his ears, (and in the next few years) a jumpsuit with feelie and touchie capabilities, (and when the designers get horny) a “love machine” over his cock and balls–and then our intrepid explorer enters a computer-generated environment where he (okay, I’m being sexist — but do you really think a woman would come up with this kinda stuff?) can “interact” with other similarly-wired folks, and entertainment programs — in short “anything that moves.”

Out Now: Sex In San Francisco: An Anthology Of Smoking Hot Tales Inspired By The Sexiest City On Earth (Edited By) M. Christian

Ta-da!  I am very pleased and proud to announce the publication of Sex In San Francisco: An Anthology Of Smoking Hot Tales Inspired By The Sexiest City On Earth, edited by myself!  Right now the book is up on the Renaissance/Sizzler site but it will also be up on amazon very soon as both a Kindle edition as well as a paper version.  So buy a copy and put flowers in your hair ... or other places, if you are so inclined!

What it is about San Francisco that seems to promise, and even promote, sex: sex hot and heavy, sex tender and loving, sex straight and gay, sex kinky and vanilla, in fact, just about every type of sex that can be imagined?  Why is San Francisco considered such an attraction for lovers of all kinds and such a hotbed of steamy eroticism?  Why is this city, instead of so many others, called — with lusty admiration as well as scathing jealousy — the Id of America, Sodom by the Sea, Bagdad by the Bay, and Sin Francisco? Some of the best writers of erotica in the nation seek answers to that question in Sex In San Francisco. These writers show why San Francisco is so damned sexy, and through their stories they show you the erotic heart of the city and its residents.  Donna George Storey, PM White, Renatto Garcia, Adele Levin, Shanna Germain, Craig J.  Sorensen, Theda Hudson, Jude Mason, Neve Black, Mykola Dementiuk, Jeremy Edwards, and Anna Reed with Lily Penza have created wonderful erotic tales, each of which takes a unique approach to probing what makes San Francisco such a sexy place to be in and to dream about.  Each author uses her or his own amazing literary – and yes, erotic – vision to share with us a very personal interpretation of what constitutes sex in the city of the Golden Gate. These authors may be looking at the same city and viewing the same buildings and landscape, but for each of them San Francisco is, like sex, a very personal, and unique, thing

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Teaser Tuesday: Finger's Breadth

The cool keeps getting cooler: check out this wonderful pre-release tease of my coming-soon new novel, Finger's Breadth (from Zumaya books) by the always-great Bibrary Bookslut
Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Simply grab your current read, open to a random page, and share a couple of “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page . . . just be careful not to include any spoilers!

My teaser this week comes from  page 14 of Finger's Breadth, a erotic tale of queery horror coming soon from M. Christian:

Normally, his kisses were gentle, caring connections, sex a ballet instead of a romping rut. That night, it had been different - frightening, powerful, lightning and growling thunder instead of sunsets and puppies. Varney became a man. Nothing but. Not a lover, not a boyfriend, not a partner. Just a pure, raw, lightning-and-growling thunder man.

So, tell me . . . are you feeling teased? :)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Circlet Likes How to Write and Sell Erotica

The good stuff just keeps on coming!  Check out this very nice review of my book How To Write And Sell Erotica by TammyJo Eckhart on the Circlet Press site:

There’s a myth I’ve heard as an author: Authors are Wealthy. Not so much, and I can’t say that I’ve ever met a wealthy author who did nothing but write erotica. You can win awards and you can have a dozens of works out there but the common expression “Keep your 9-5” applies to a genre writer. Being an author is a lot more work than you imagined.

That’s where books like M. Christian’s How to Write and Sell Erotica Tips of the Trade from a Literary Streetwalker can lend a helping hand for the beginner. There are dozens of how-to guides for new authors, so the trick is to find one that offers you honest advice that you can apply to your life.
You may have heard of Christian if you’ve read science fiction, gay, or BDSM erotica in the past two decades because his personal publication record is quite lovely to read. However, he isn’t only a fiction author: he’s edited a lot of books and writes a weekly column about writing and the publishing business.

This book grew from his weekly column with Erotica Readers and Writers Association (ERWA) which, if you aren’t already, you need to be familiar with if you want to any money. In thirty-seven previously published essays on the ERWA website, Christian covers everything from the basics of writing to the complexities of contracts and marketing. His style may put off some readers, however, because it is more conversational and his truths can be discouraging for those with unrealistic expectations.

Having seen some truly terrible erotica in my own time, I have to say that his advice is both on the mark and far from it. You see, some of this terrible writing I’ve seen has been published,  bought by low-quality publishers or self-published. With enough time and effort, almost anyone can become “published” these days. Making a living as an author is a very different matter. Creating quality stories that will be remembered is another issue entirely. Christian touches on all these topics.

In addition to Christian, there are eight other erotica authors and editors in this book answering the same set of three questions, allowing us to see how different and yet how similar their careers have been. By including nine different perspectives this guide avoids promoting the flawed idea that what works for one author will work for another.

Most manuals for writing include a listing of publishers and agents but How to Write and Sell Erotica does not.  Publishing is an on-the-edge business. Publishers and agents frequently fail or change what they will work with. There are dishonest people claiming the role of agent or publisher as well. Giving any list is saying that those listed are reliable and useful; that just might not be the case in a year or two.

In general the overall flow of the essays in this book goes from the basics to the more complex issues, though some topics, like what words to use and how to do research, are tackled a few times. The fact is that writing for a living is complicated work, hard work, and Christian never lets us forget that in this book. His joys, his frustrations, his victories and successes are all written with an engaging and blunt style. If you take this book for what it is–experiences you can learn from–and are not looking for the one true way to be an erotica writer, you’ll gain much from this collection of essays.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Future Fire Likes Love Without Gun Control

Now this is a treat: not only did the folks at Future Fire ("social political & speculative cyber-fiction") like The Bachelor Machine, my collection of erotic science fiction, but they also just posted a nice review of my non-erotic collection of fantasy/science fiction/horror, Love Without Gun Control:
I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect when Love Without Gun Control showed up to be reviewed. The cover is very retro-pulp-comic, a scene on Mars, all bright colors and simple lines, misleading as to the content. It seems more like a graphic-novel cover, or a series of 70's porn. The book itself is quite thin, only 155 pages. I was pleasantly surprised. The collection opens with the eponymous story, ‘Love Without Gun Control’, published for the first time in this collection. Ultra-violent and rather bizarre, it is somewhat reminiscent of a D. Harlan Wilson story. A sort of modern-day Western romance, the story really does defy labeling as it shows the effects of one snake-oil doctor’s ‘love potion’, applied erroneously, and the destruction that can come from thwarted desire. A fun, rollicking ride with a very unique flavor.

The second story, ‘Needle Taste’, is a unique concept with an ambiguous ending. The story itself is a totally different beast from the previous tale, but the wistful tone holds up the strange story well enough until the end, when it feels a little... abrupt. If there’s a weak one in the bunch, it’s this one, simply on a relative scale. It is in no way a bad one, it just doesn’t have quite the force of the others.

...seeking a forever-quiet man in the whole buzzing, humming, singing, cackling city.
‘Hush Hush’ is my favorite story in the collection. The language is absolutely beautiful: weird, eery and slippery. The tale is half mystery, half internal journey. Whether he solves the mystery or not is really unimportant. What he learns along the way is not. This was a lovely to read for the language as for the story.

‘The Rich Man’s Ghost’ is probably my least favorite of the stories. It lacks the smoothness of voice, the weird beauty of most of the other pieces. The story is a little less Weird, too, and maybe that colors my opinion.

‘Wanderlust’ is one of the stories that I’m not really sure, at first, how I feel about it. On the one hand, the reader is kept in the dark until the very end of the story. I simply didn’t have a clue what was going on. On the other hand, the writing is very rich, so it isn’t necessarily a bad thing to enjoy the ride. A man who inspires absolute ecstasy from everyone he meets comes across a bit thin at first, but their reactions if he stays around for longer than a few minutes are... interesting.

‘Orphan’ is chilling and haunting. A young man running from something, to something, carrying a horrible secret. There were a couple of places that could have used a clarity edit or that read a little contrived, but overall, definitely a memorable piece worth reading again.

Really, though, I’d be hard-pressed to say that any story in this collection is best skipped over or read in a hurry. There’s just enough variation in the stories to keep them unique, and enough cohesion to develop a voice that just draws me in more deeply, the farther I read. (The first story is an odd difference to the rest of them, but no less enjoyable.) The cover-art remains a sticking point, as it has no apparent connection to the content, and prose like this needs something lovely to wrap it up, and what it has is not something I would be wild about displaying on a shelf.

Read this one slowly, because each story is best savored and mulled over. And I’ll be keeping an eye out for more of M. Christian’s stories.


Saturday, April 02, 2011