Wednesday, June 22, 2011

How To Wonderfully WriteSex (11)

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):

There’s no doubt about it, things are really tough right now: aside from the depression/recession that seems to be killing publishers daily—and making life even harder for writers—there’s the too-often- painful transition from print to digital books, and the problem of getting yourself heard in a world full of other authors screaming for attention.

So it’s only natural that writers would feel a lot of pressure to write books and stories to fit what they think is the flavor-of-the-moment, to work only to spec.

So, should you do it? In my opinion the answer is a definitive, absolute, certain … kind of.

Before getting too far into it, I should back up a tiny bit and say that stories are very different—no duh—critters than novels. Aside from the obvious length thing, the big difference between the two is that with stories getting the out into the world usually depends on if you’re writing for a specific anthology, Web site, and such. If that’s the case then, absolutely, you should work to try and meet the guidelines set by the publisher or editor.


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Dr. Faustus Likes The Bachelor Machine

The cool news keeps coming!  Check out this very touching review of my science fiction erotica collection, The Bachelor Machine, from Dr. Faustus of!

It is with great pleasure that I can report that Circlet Press has now made available a new e-book version of M. Christian‘s short story collection, The Bachelor Machine. For thaumatophiles, it is a do-not-miss.

The new edition consists of nineteen stories and two appendicies from the 2003 on-dead-tree edition plus a new foreword.

Many — though not all — of the stories are set in a gritty cyberpunk world, one which at times makes even the imagination of William Gibson look somewhat tender by comparison.  Radical forms of body modification, virtual realities, biohacking, and so on are explored in all sorts of permutations of gender and practice, or beyond gnder and practice.  Some are just exquisite.  The backer’s tale “Heartbraker” plays like X-rated version of Ghost in the Shell.  I hope M. Christian will forgive me for offering a taste:
Their cunt was on fire—molten, their lips and their clit steamed in a thumping beat as both their bodies moved over each other. Nipples stroked across soft breasts, bellies glided on a sheen of fine synthetic sweat.Their cunt was rapidly melting in a pool of vibrating wine, a tub of jiggling butter.They weren’t just hot or steaming—they were
burning in their roaring lust, combining in a echoing, reverberating bonfire. Linked, each hardwired into the other’s genitals, mixed and matched, they surged and merged.
(And if, after reading that, you don’t want to run out and buy this book right now, I should wonder what you’re doing on this blog.)

It’s not all cyberpunk.  “The New Motor” has a superficially steampunk feel, but what it actually seems to do is take a cyberpunk erotic sensibility and project it backwards into a real nineteenth-century America that was full of eccentric and goofy spiritual movements, with rather delightful results.  And there is dark political satire here as well, in a story like “Guernica,” in which closeted BDSM enthusiasts derive pleasure in parodying the grim, oppressive police state in which they live.

These are often edgy stories:  I am full of admiration for M. Christian’s willingness to “go there,” wherever “there” is.  Consider “Everything But the Smell of Lilies,” a story of a sex worker who has been modified so that she can be killed by clients who get off on that sort of thing has to be one of the squickiest things I’ve ever read…and read, and read, and read again.  So fair warning, these are not stories for the squeamish or the easily offended.   And they’re challenging in other ways as well, full of twists and non-conventional narrative structures and devices.  This is erotica for advanced readers.

And yet for all the edginess, for the cyberpunk grit and the sense of a brutal world, there are touching moments, bits of tenderness in the oddest of places.  The final story, “The Bachelor Machine,” about an encounter with a deteriorating, way-past-her-prime sexbot contains a twist that left me with a catch in my throat.  As usual, I won’t give it away.  But I shall urge you to read it yourself.  You can order a copy from Circlet here.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Don't Bother To Knock

More Finger's Breadth Praise!

I can never say this enough: I truly have wonderful friends -- just look at these two amazing Finger's Breadth blurbs I got from Theda Hudson and Jardonn Smith (and who are both amazing writers)!  Thanks so much!

“M. Christian is a writer whose style reminds me of film director J.J. Abrams -- quick edits, flash scenes shown from varying angles and distances. Unlike Mr. Abrams, however, M. Christian holds his camera steady. No jerking you around. His carefully-chosen words take you to the scene, allow you time to absorb and analyze, and then he gets you the hell out of there so he can repeat the process elsewhere. When you read M. Christian, nothing is wasted, everything is gained.

“His latest, Finger's Breadth, centers around a serial sicko who has a funny way of treating his tricks. First he drugs them, and then he severs their pinkie finger. Yes, gay San Francisco is terrorized, and a cross-section of those involved are psycho-analyzed by M. Christian -- victimizer, chasers of the victimizer, victims, victims of the victims, and wannabe victims. Sounds like a heavy load of information, and it is, but with the no-bullshit storytelling style of M. Christian, this hair-raising roller coaster is all whoops, no loops. So, take my advice: do not miss this ride.”
- Jardonn Smith, author and pornographer

“M.Christian dives into the mystery and horror of act engenders and explores in loving, poetic detail how it tears lovers and the gay community apart with no apologies and no lube beyond his lush descriptions of his beloved San Francisco, relationships, flirtations, and sex, always hot and honest however, deceitful or hidden the people or circumstances.

“He carries us along slickly through the coarser, ugly, and sorry details of the ways the victims and the community cope with fear and need and intimacy all the way to an ending as surprising as it is unexpected.”
- Theda Hudson

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Ernest Hogan On Finger's Breadth

Remember how I was just saying that Ernest Hogan - who is one of my all-time favorite authors - is a real star-in-the-heavens for his wonderful blurbs for The Bachelor Machine and Love Without Gun Control?  Well, he just sent me ... hang on, I have to sit down for this ... okay, my head's cleared a bit: a fantastic blurb for my brand new novel, Finger's Breadth:

“FINGER'S BREATH is a real wild ride, the sort of novel you turn to when the apocalyptic mayhem out your window gets dull, and you lust for something to remind you of what it's like to live life at full-throttle. M. Christian sends the reader hurtling like a hockey puck through a world of crime, out-of-control passions, mutilation, and madness. Terms like noir and hardboiled don't quite fit -- this is more like ultraviolet, the invisible light that makes the scorpions glow in the dark.”
- Ernest Hogan

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

What Folks Are Saying About Finger's Breadth

As I'm starting to ramp up the promo for my new queer erotic thriller/horror novel, Finger's Breadth, I thought I might start by sharing  some of these flat-out-fantastic pre-release blurbs some of my favorite writers (and people) were good enough to do for me.

"M. Christian is constantly expanding his game, giving us stories which joyfully play with genre while remaining as literate, complex and human as any mainstream work.  He is far more than an erotica, SF or horror writer; each new book bearing his name should be anticipated, acquired and savored by those who love good fiction."
- Jason Rubis, author of STRANGELY MADE

"'Fingers' Breadth' creates a vivid portrait of a community torn apart by suspicion, where the thrills of hot, anonymous sex go hand in mutilated hand with the chill of fear, and no one is entirely what they seem. M. Christian skilfully mixes a dark, potent cocktail of lust, longing, paranoia and an overwhelming need for acceptance..."
- Liz Coldwell, author of TAKE YOUR SLAVE TO WORK

“To be effective, the act of literary intercourse between horror and erotica should be deeply unsettling. It should leave the reader feeling uncomfortable, overwhelmed by equal parts dread and anticipation. M. Christian understands this better than most, weaving a tale that permits the reader but a finger’s breadth of space between fear and arousal. His deft control of the story makes us feel the blade, but it's his subtle manipulation of our emotions that makes us want the cut.”
- Sally Sapphire, BELLASBOOKSLUT

“M.Christian is irritating the hell out of me. It’s bad enough that he’s such a prolific writer but why does he have to be so damn good? I try to keep track of where he’s going, but it’s impossible. He’s written novels about vampires, “Running Dry” and “The Very Bloody Marys”. He’s turned me on with his sexy erotica. “All Eyes On Her,” then he writes science fiction in “The Bachelor Machine.” He delves into contemporary angst with the fast paced “Me2”. Did I mention “Brushes” and “Painted Doll”? He skips happily and effortlessly from genre to genre, like a gazelle on crystal meth.

“As if that weren’t enough he’s now written what I think is his best work to date, “Finger’s Breadth”. A mystery that could come straight from the pen of Agatha Christie. As much as a whodunnit it’s “what the hell is going on”? Why so many gay, three fingered men around? Who’s responsible? Who is amputating fingers?

“M.Christian’s “Finger’s Breadth” is as compelling as it is a piece of carefully crafted writing. He knows how to keep his reader’s attention and he does it beautifully.

“I’d use words like “talented” and “gifted”, I know he doesn’t believe in that kind of stuff, but hell, who cares what M.Christian thinks? I’m going to use them anyway.”
- Billierosie, author of FETISH WORSHIP

“Finger's Breadth is a tale of what happens when accident begets fetish, what happens when that fetish turns fad, and how a near-future city of queers reacts to change. I couldn't put it down!”
- Kit O'Connell, author and editor

"The work of M. Christian is extraordinary not only in its quality and originality, but also in its versatility. This is a writer who goes beyond the mere challenges of writing convincingly from different genders and orientations and psychologies and walks of life, in different settings, subgenres, moods, and tones; this is a master of the craft who can thoroughly reinvent himself, as a voice, every time he picks up the pen—always with glorious results."
- Jeremy Edwards, author of ROCK MY SOCKS OFF

"M.Christian has seen the future -- and it is hardboiled! If you love crime stories -- gay or otherwise -- and you love science fiction, you will love Finger's Breadth. No other storyteller nails it quite like M. Christian does. This is a real page turner."
-- Marilyn Jaye Lewis, author of FREAK PARADE

“M. Christian delivers a tale of terror, suspense and erotic gay love in fresh, satisfying ways.  No other writer combines genres like this master storyteller.  A gorgeous thriller and a thrill to read!”
- Olivia London, author of SAN FRANCISCO LOVIN’

“M. Christian has done it again!  He's managed to successfully throw queer, horror, suspense, and science fiction with a dash of erotica to create a total mind bender of a book, "Finger's Breath".  

“Missing fingers + Queer men = Determined cops who want to end this horrendous crime sweeping across their town.  “Finger’s Breath” is a total mindfuck and will leave you gripping your covers tight (that's if the criminal mastermind hasn't claimed them already) – just so you can ensure no one will come after your digits.  But remember – the men who lost their fingers did the same and fell prey.  So, I ask you – how well are your fingers protected when you’re not looking?

“Are you sure?”
--Dr. Alyn Rosselini, author and editor

“M. Christian is a force to be reckoned with. Just when you think you understand the path that his narrative and characters are taking, Christian throws a monkey wrench, or a limb, or a head into the works and you have to get your bearings and start all over again. No matter which book of his you pick up, prepare for an intoxicatedly weird ride.”
-Ily Goyanes, author and filmmaker

"Strange and sexy, Finger's Breadth is a seductively suspenseful read."
- Paula Guran, Darkecho

“Finger's Breadth is as dark and rich and well-blended as good bourbon. Sexy, suspenseful, and believable in the details and elements of its world. Great stuff!”
- Angela Caperton, author of DARKNESS AND DELIGHT

“Finger’s Breadth is mesmeric storytelling, riveting in execution and appalling in implication.  M. Christian’s tale of erotic terror in a near-future San Francisco is imagined so skillfully that it grabs the reader with its easy familiarity, then refuses to let go as it careens to its shocking yet completely believable conclusion.  Evoking such Grand Masters as Armistead Maupin, Thomas Harris and Rod Serling while remaining strikingly original, Finger’s Breadth is Christian at the height of his considerable powers.  Like Charon the ferryman, the author takes the reader down the dark rivers of human sexuality and shows us things that would normally never see the light of day.  Ultimately the most compelling aspect of this fiction is how fascinatingly and terrifyingly plausible it is. Finger’s Breadth should come with a warning label: Read this before clubbing.”

"M. Christian is one of the most fantastically inventive authors out there. And do I mean out there!  Buckle up for another ride into a great imagination.  Don't miss FINGER'S BREATH."
--Adam Carpenter, author of DUDE RANCH and the European Flings Trilogy

Monday, June 13, 2011

Tumbling We Will Go!

Just a reminder, folks, that I have a wee little hobby of running a bunch of Tumblr sites.  Check them out if you're curious about the bizarre, the strange, or the just-plain-fun images I come across and put up on them:

Rude Mechanicals is a cyberpunky land of cyborgs and androids ... kind of a visual compliment to my Bachelor Machine, Love Without Gun Control, and (naturally) Rude Mechanicals books.

Meine Kleine Fabrik is a picture-postcard take on my weird-but-wonderful-stuff-in-the-universe blog of the same name.

Lust For Glory is a ... well, 'lustier' place that acts as a kind of slideshow for my erotica blog, Frequently Felt.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Love ya, Stephen -

"I began writing seriously when I was about thirteen. Out streamed poetry, stories and novels, the latter of which were always aborted early, usually half way through the second chapter. It took my friend Douglas Adams to encourage me to go further and he did this by pointing out that the reason I had never managed to finish a novel was that I had never properly understood how difficult, how ragingly and absurdly difficult, it is to do. “It is almost impossibly hard,” he told me. It is supposed to be. But once you truly understand how difficult it is,” he added, with signature paradoxicality, “it all becomes a lot easier.” It was many years later that Clive James quoted to me Thomas Mann’s superb crystallisation of this. “A writer,” said Mann, “is a person for whom writing is more difficult than for other people.” How liberating that definition is. If any of you out there have ever been put off writing it might well be because you found it so insanely hard and therefore, like me, gave up and abandoned your masterworks early, regretfully assuming that you weren’t cut from the right cloth, that it must come more easily to true, natural-born writers. Perhaps you can start again now, in the knowledge that since the whole experience was so grindingly horrible you might be the real thing after all. Of course finding it difficult and managing to complete are just the first stages. They are what earn you the uniform and the brass buttons, as it were. They don’t guarantee that what you complete is any good, or even readable. That is quite a different kettle of wax, a whole other ball of fish." 

- Stephen Fry

Monday, June 06, 2011

Bibrary Bookslut Likes Finger's Breadth

OMG!  The good - nay, the great - just keeps on coming: the fantastic Sally Sapphire at Bibrary Bookslut just posted this very touching review of my brand-new gay/erotic/thriller Finger's BreadthThanks so much, Sally!

To be effective, the act of literary intercourse between horror and erotica should be deeply unsettling. It should leave the reader feeling excited by uncomfortable, overwhelmed by equal parts dread and anticipation.

If you’ve ever read any of his work (and shame on you, if you haven’t) you know M. Christian understands this better than most. With his latest, he has woven a tale that permits the reader but a finger’s breadth of space between fear and arousal. His deft control of the story makes us feel the blade of the assailant, but it’s his subtle manipulation of our emotions that makes us desire the cut of the victim.

The story starts out with simple, if deliciously perverse, premise. A mysterious figure is haunting the underground community of San Francisco, abducting young gay men and cutting off the tip of their little finger. That’s it. No other torture or mutilation, just that missing tip of a finger. With his ounce of flesh taken, they’re free to go.

As creepy and unsettling as the abductions are, it’s what comes after that comprises the bulk of the story. Suffice to say, things get weird, for both the abductees and the community at large, as the story develops in directions that you can’t begin to imagine. It’s a testament to M. Christian’s writing skill that we never question what happens, no matter how weird it gets. Instead, we’re encouraged to embrace the guiltiest of pleasures by indulging in the tale, until we’re so deeply involved that we can’t pull away from the final horrors ahead - and then are left delighted, and deliciously spent.

I had a chance to give this an early read (I’m actually quoted on the publisher’s website, which is very exciting!), and only a desire to take a break and collect my thoughts prevented me from reading it in one sitting. If you’re at all intrigued, then I urge you to give it a read – you won’t be disappointed.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Filthy (Boys) Reviews

As the new edition of my queer collection, Filthy has just been released by the wonderful Renaissance/Sizzler (now called Filthy Boys) here's a quick blast of some reviews the book has gotten.  Enjoy!

Erotica That Reads Like Literature
I have enjoyed M. Christian’s work for a long time. His solo collection Dirty Words and his two multiple-author anthologies co-edited with Simon Sheppard, Rough Stuff and Roughed Up, are among my favorite volumes of erotica.
Which brings me to Filthy: Outrageous Gay Erotica, a new collection of gay erotic stories by M. Christian. To say this is a great book is an understatement. It runs the gamut of emotions, from anger to sadness to ecstasy to envy.
Here are capsule reviews of some of my favorite stories from Filthy…
“The Greener Grasses” in one short story captures the entire paradox of trying to reconcile a leatherfetish lifestyle into the humdrum world of 9-to-5 jobs and dishes to be washed more than volumes of scholarly non-fiction ever has.
“Flyboy” is a wistful tale of a man who has two lovers, one flesh and blood and one as big as all outdoors. Guess which one gets him in the end. You might be surprised.
“Love” reads as a tender valentine to all the gay men, imaginary or otherwise, who have inspired the author over the years to create his amazing tales of erotica.
“Suddenly, Last Thursday” is a haunting, harrowing riff on Tennessee Williams’s play Suddenly, Last Summer.
And “Friday Night at the Calvary Hotel” is an amazing tale that gets my vote for one of the top ten best short stories ever.
Filthy transcends its genre of erotica and enters the realm of literature.
I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.


What makes a good short story? Felice Picano, in his forward to Filthy offers some of the more traditional takes: a deft handling of voice, of place, of character. But really, what makes a good short story - what makes a great short story - is a truly good idea.
Luckily for Christian – and luckily for us – truly good ideas are not in short supply in this collection.
A perfect example comes in "Sunset Boulevard," one of many tales that puts a queer twist on an old story. Christian, riffing brilliantly on the campness of the original movie, recasts the central fading screen siren as an aging gay porn star. And it might seem risible to allow the gloriously queeny Norman Desmond to intone, "I am big. It's porno that got small," but Christian pulls it off.
Christian isn't shy of a little shameless genre straddling with his startlingly imaginative ideas either. In "The Hope of Cinnamon" we enter a future world in which gay men have mastered the art of time travel in order to save their queer brothers from oppressive regimens of the past. But this tale is also a good example of how the short story format can be frustrating for the reader when presented with such a dazzling concept as this one. The idea is simply too big for the form. The problem presented – that the rescued men cannot cope with a life in nirvana – isn’t so much explored as thrown at us before we are hustled away for the next story.
This is where the book wears thin. The stories in this book are short, averaging ten pages of in-out wham-bam. After a while it starts to feel like Christian is torturing his readers, deserting his unsatisfied readers for fresh thrills before they have quite achieved emotional climax. Too much is left undone and unsaid. This collection could have featured just the five best ideas – including the wonderfully disturbing quasi-religious "Friday Night at The Calvary Hotel" – and served up five wonderful novellas.
In the final story – the most enjoyable of the whole collection – Christian once again attempts a daring feat and pulls it off neatly as he spins us a tale of a young gay reader so besotted with an author of outrageous gay erotica he takes a pilgrimage to his grave. Angered by his discovery en route that his hero was in fact in a relationship with a woman, he means to urinate over the author's last resting place, but ends up recalling too many of the author's purplest passages and doing something entirely different. It is no surprise when Christian reveals the name on the headstone of this soiled grave.
While Filthy is a wonderful book, and just the thing if you are in the mood for an enjoyable quickie (or twenty), it's not the place to turn if you are more in the mood for a story that can go all night.
– Mathilde Madden, Reflection's Edge


I read a guide to reviewing books recently. It said a reviewer should be impartial. I can see that point of view; the work should be judged on its own merit. However, it's impossible for me to pick up a book by M. Christian and not have expectations that are based on previous works I've read. So I guess it's only fair to begin this review with full disclosure: I'm a fan.
I'm torn over the idea of erotica as a distinct genre, and M. Christian's work is fuel for this internal debate. In The Hope of Cinnamon, a future society rescues gay victims from Nazi death camps and brings them forward in time to a sanctuary. Gen, one of the Helpers who works to integrate the Rescued into their new home finds out that few of the Rescued successfully survive the transition. He decides to travel back in time to experience the death camps for himself so that he will have a better understanding of why the Rescued fail to thrive in a society that fully accepts them. While this story does touch on sex and sexuality, it is a great example of speculative fiction that prompts further examination of our time and how current and future gay generations need to be aware of the history of gay culture and see it in proper historical perspective instead of viewing it, and judging, through hindsight.
As much as I hate the term coming-of-age tale, Utter West is a near-future story that shows a character coming of age, and more. Pony is the narrator's hero, the one who escaped their suburban hell and went beyond it to something wonderful and mystical - or so the narrator wants to believe. Unaware that he's destroying the beautiful myth that's grown around his disappearance, Pony comes back as an ordinary adult, prompting the narrator to break free and take the journey Pony failed to make into the beyond of the Utter West.
If noir is more your style, enjoy M. Christian's homage to Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood Boulevard, or sink into the corner pocket of the night world of pool hustlers in The Hard Way. That Sweet Smell is really the scent of corruption, but keep telling yourself it's success, because in this story, that delusion is all the narrator has to cling to.
Moby is purely tall tale, told with the flair of real yarn-spinner. Could anyone stink that much, be that cussedly mean, or be that hung? It's all in the telling - joyously and outrageously over the top.
Or maybe you're in the mood for bittersweet romance and love. Flyboy is the soaring romance we all long for, crashed down to earth by the military's Don't Ask Don't Tell policy. And Love is a writer's story, about how much it means to us when our stories are wanted, and how hard it is to separate the pure love of acceptance from the physical.
And then there's horror. Friday Night at the Calvary Hotel is the hardest story to read in this collection for it's intense mix of sadism, masochism, religious imagery and sex. Stories like that cling to you long after you've put the book down. You decide if that's a good thing or a bad thing, but I like that. Suddenly, Last Thursday is horror of a different stripe - lush and gothic, where you might have to read a line several times before your brain accepts what it's telling you. That slow dawning of realization is delicious and shivery.
In the movie Sunset Boulevard, Joe Gillis says, "Sometimes it's interesting to see just how bad bad writing can be." Yes, but it's gratifying to see just how good good writing can be too. It's unfortunate that erotic writing has a reputation for bad writing, but sit down with this collection and let M. Christian change that prejudice.
– Kathleen Bradean


“Filthy” is subtitled “Outrageous Gay Erotica”, it could also be called “the book that stole my Saturday”. It arrived in the mail and I intended to slot it into my reading queue after several other books that have been waiting patiently for my attention. I flicked over the somewhat dry preface to the first story and it was all over.
In 'The Greener Grasses' M. Christian shows us immediately that this is not a collection to be trifled with, picked up and put down. I was thrust immediately us into the point of view of a real flawed, sexual, vulnerable protagonist. The sexuality is always frank but blended with charming love stories like 'Heart in Your Hand' or '2+1' or folksy fables like 'Moby'. The writer’s skills are perhaps best shown in the apt blending of sexuality with darker threads such as in 'Bitch' where one man’s bitterness and hate escapes his control or 'Friday Night at the Calvary Hotel' with its queasy look at the blend of sadism and sexuality in religious symbolism. I found the homage stories 'Hollywood Blvd' and 'Suddenly, Last Thursday' just a little heavy handed but still engaging reading.
The stand-outs for me were simple stories, but perfect in their parts. 'Oroborous' uses a botched tattoo to contrast the pain and trouble of “fixing” what is “wrong” about us (not what we would choose) with the joys of embracing it what we are. After reading it I had one of those moments staring at the wall and letting it sink in. And there were actually tears in my eyes at the end of the tragic love story of 'Flyboy'. The speculative stories are also strong: 'Utter West' gives a new meaning to the youthful desire to get out of a dead-end town and 'The Hope of Cinnamon' shows a far future gay community that rescues persecuted gay men from the past and is shown, through their eyes, what may be missing from their apparent utopia.
All of the stories have a strong concept as well as explicit sexual content. I would quibble at calling it “erotica”. Erotic, yes, but not quite in the step-by-step manner intended for one handed reading. It’s one of those oft-quoted phrases that our biggest sex organ in our brain; I’m willing to bet that author M. Christian would agree. Almost every story in this collection is perfectly constructed for the intellect: set up, satisfaction and pay off within a few short pages. Some stories are unapologetically erotic and others nostalgically sensual, only obliquely erotic at all or proudly a little perverse—but the erotic is there to serve the story in the manner and amount the narrative requires.
If you are looking for sexually-charged fiction that also has heart and intelligence “Filthy” is the collection for you—just don’t pick it up until you have the free time to read it from cover to cover.
– Emily Veinglory