Monday, December 31, 2012

Helping Vampires to Save the World - I'm Jazzed To Be Part of Coming Together: In Vein

This is very, very cool: my story, "The Curse," is part of a brand new Coming Together anthology from the always-wonderful Lisabet Sarai - Coming Together: In Vein

Helping Vampires to Save the World
Let's face it. Vampires are sexy. Something about the undead stirs up our juices. Perhaps it's their irresistible power. Even when we know the danger, we're so very tempted to surrender to their all-consuming lust. Maybe we want to comfort them, to save them a lonely, bloody eternity. Maybe we secretly crave immortality ourselves. 
Vampires are frequently portrayed as evil or at least amoral, viewing humanity from the jaded perspective of centuries. Now, though, vampires are doing their part to save the world. 
 Coming Together: In Vein is a brand new collection of vampire-themed erotica and erotic romance edited by Lisabet Sarai. All sales of this novel-length volume support Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières). MSF works in nearly 70 countries providing medical aid to those most in need regardless of their race, religion, or political affiliation. Right now, despite being barred from the country, MSF doctors and nurses are in Syria, working with patients from both sides of the civil war. They're performing surgery in caves and sneaking into refugee camps to distribute desperately needed medications. 
 You can help MSF in its life-saving mission, simply by indulging your passion for vampires. Buy a copy of Coming Together: In Vein in ebook, Kindle format, or print. Enjoy! Then help spread the word! Every copy we sell has the potential to save someone's life.
 The list of contributors includes many names you'll recognize. Every one of these authors has provided his or her work free of charge, to support the charitable aims of the project. Furthermore, the editor is giving away a free copy of her short story collection Body Electric  to everyone who buys a copy of Coming Together: In Vein. (For details of this offer, click here.) 
 You'll find an excerpt below – just to whet your appetite.
 Sink your teeth into Coming Together: In Vein. Help our vampires save the world.

From “The Curse” by M. Christian

She was almost late coming into work. Unheard of, though no one would have noticed. She’d stood and stared at the bare bed, looking for some kind of evidence, some kind of physicality to match her filling memory. They’d stood on the balcony, looking at the stars and the brilliant lights of the city. A natural position, Ellie’s hands on the cold metal of the balcony, the other woman’s hands around her waist, her breath on the nape of her neck. A cascade, Ellie remembered, of goose bumps, but not from the cooling night.

Hard daylight. Blinking, wrapped in a towel, she stepped out, looking for footprints, hand prints. Moisture, a sparkling flicker of dew, anything to prove it had really happened.

They’d kissed—yes, and she tasted her again in memory:  the pressure of lips, the heat of her, the rhythm of their breathing. They’d come inside, kissed by the foot of the bed. The whisper of her black satin dress, the sudden too-tightness of Ellie’s jeans. The surprising laughter when the kiss broke, when the high of their excitement crested. The way, then, the giggles had faded as she had put her hands on Ellie’s face, traced the contours of her cheeks, her jaw, the way she’d tapped Ellie’s nose, whispering “button” in a rich, throaty voice.

In the warming room, Ellie stood at the foot of the bed, turning so she was facing the way she remembered standing. Yes. Eyes brown with flickers of amber. Lips too full, too red, too silken to be anything but a fantasy running around in the real world. Lithe, boyish. She remembered how she liked to watch her move, liked to watch her walk barefoot across the apartment. Graceful, as if every muscle were elegantly conducted to some lovely score.

Her shoes?  Yes… She’d kicked them off, near the foot of the bed. Without really thinking of the woman walking the hard pavement on thin, bare feet, Ellie dropped down to look, hoping for the reality of a simple black pump. Nothing, of course. Memories, but nothing else.

A glance at the clock brought up more—her face, glowing as if from low embers, smiling up at her. There, in her eyes was  the lust Ellie'd wanted, needed, but also something else, something finer, softer, kinder. There was something else there, in the dull red glow, something that had made Ellie’s heart melt as fast as her body. Liquid—yes, molten....

A glance at the clock also brought a slap of reality. 8:05. Half an hour on the bridge, fifteen minutes from the garage to the office. She was going to be late.

Still, hurrying, there was no escaping the growing number of ghosts from the past, that expired night: brushing her hair brought up a voice, rich and rumbling, and the feel of strong fingers stroking the top of her head; doing her teeth was those same fingers brushing her lips, feeling them before another kiss…

Finally, she had to stop, had to put both hands on the edge of the sink and breathe deep. In and out. Strong, steady breaths. She was late, she needed to get dressed and get going. She had work to do, lots of work to do. If it had happened... if it had happened then it was nice, and that was all. It didn’t change anything. If it hadn’t, then the world was as it was. Ellie, her little place, her little life, her job—the days falling down, one by one.

Tears, hot on her cheeks. How she wanted it to be real.       

Eyes open, puffy and red. Her face in the mirror, looking broken and small. But then she saw it, as real as a shoe, as foot and hand prints in night dew. Evidence, reality. Purple and harsh, sore, yes, but evidence none the less. A scarf would hide it, but not for now. Lateness, the bridge traffic, the walk from the garage, the firm, everything was gone from her mind. For now, as she stood in the window, the bruise on the slope of her neck was too priceless to hide, too real not to be stared at.

The Next Big Thing: Jason Rubis

Here's a wonderful treat: my pal, Jason Rubis - a great person and a magnificent writer - just posted his part of the Next Big Thing blog-share I mentioned awhile back.  Check it out:

Fetish fantastique! Dark sexuality from the midnight land of our most lurid thoughts. Vampires, dominatrixes, ogres, princesses, and others find ways of inflicting pain, or having pain inflicted on them in this startling collection of erotica from the pages of Garden of the Perverse, Needles and Bones, Fetish Fantastic, Like Crimson Droplets, The Best Fantastic Erotica, and other publications.   As the author writes, "I can't explain any of these stories. The people you'll meet in these pages – whores and androgynies, vampires and beastfolk and various combinations of the above – are voices I heard in the shadows, but the darkest of those shadows I cast myself."  No wonder editor and critic M. Christian raves, "Jason Rubis is a writer to be admired, a writer who does everything – from plot to dialogue, description to sensuality, sophistication of emotion to wit – with tremendous skill.

1) What is the title of your book?

The book is called Strangely Made

2) Where did the idea for the book come from?

Well, it’s a collection of stories, so there are as many “origins” as there are individual pieces. A few examples: “Dancer, Daemon” ultimately had its origins in a Gene Wolfe essay on obscure words in hisBook of the New Sun. The word that caught my eye was “matachine,” meaning a masked sword-dancer. That brought some beautiful, sexy images to mind and I set about trying to explore them. Eventually it gave me a story. “Singapore” was directly inspired by a real restaurant I used to go to, and the beautiful, fascinating woman who owned it. I talk about the origins of one of the book’s vampire stories, “Gather Together Tonight,” in the book’s introduction.

3) What genre does it fall under?

It includes a number of different kinds of stories—sf, “slipstream,” heroic fantasy, fairy tale, vampire, SM--but I personally think of it as erotic dark fantasy.

4) Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I’d love to see Meryl Streep play the Ogress in “Beauty Thrasher.” Maybe Emma Thomson as Alie in “Day Journey, With Stories.” And this is kind of off the wall, but I could see Tia Carrere as Kaso in “Dancer, Daemon.” I would be fascinated and rather afraid to meet the actor who could play Darien from “Darien Sucks.” Ralph Fiennes? Naaah.

5) What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

I can’t do any better than the publisher’s very short description: “Fetish fantastique!”

6) Was your book self-published or represented by an agency?

Neither; it was published by Sizzler Editions, an imprint of Renaissance e-Books. I’m very happy to see these stories out from the same publisher who has revived Lord Dunsany, William Morris and George MacDonald, as well as putting out some extremely fine contemporary erotica.

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft?

The earliest of the stories, “Lioness,” dates back to the early 90s, when I was living in Seattle. The more recent stories were finished just before the book was submitted, so collectively you’d have to say it was nearly twenty years in the making! Some of the individual stories took years to get right; “Circe House” took about three years, “Dancer, Daemon” took seven, as I recall (!).

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

As a collection of SF & fantasy erotica, I’d love it if people found reason to compare it to books like M. Christian’s The Bachelor Machine, or Cecilia Tan’s Black Feathers, both of which I’ve read and admired very much.

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I’ve been privileged to know a lot of very sexy, passionate and fascinating people, and to have had some lovely, sometimes frightening experiences. They are all reflected in Strangely Made, as well as my lifelong interest in fantasy literature.

10) What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Well, it has an absolutely beautiful cover, I think, and a very flattering introduction by M.Christian. And I don’t think you’ll find another collection that combines ogresses, steampunk, vampires, a transgendered heroine, and two very different takes on “The Island of Dr. Moreau.” 

Friday, December 28, 2012

Change in Future Sex For Dr. Amy Marsh's Sexuality Salon

(from M.Christian's Classes And Appearances)

There's a teeny-tiny change in my lecture/discussion for Dr. Amy Marsh's Sexuality Salon MeetUp tonight.

Everything is still the same but the event will begin at 6:00PM and end at 8:00PM, instead of the previously posted times,

Hope so see lots of fun people there tonight!

Here are new the new details:
Friday, December 28, 2012 
6:00 PM To 8:00 PM 
Sonoma Coffee Cafe2131 Durant Avenue, Berkeley, CA (map
Out with the old, and in with the future! In December, Sexology Salon will explore the topic of Future Sex! 
Our own Sexology Salon member, M. "Chris" Christian, will lead us in this sure to be lively event! Chris is an erotic author, editor, and workshop presenter. Chris shared his work as an erotic author with the Salon a few months ago and it was a fabulous discussion! Here's what he plans for us during December's program: 
"Welcome to the World Of Tomorrow! Sure, we have iPads, iPhones, Viagra, the staggering depths of the Internet, but what could the day after tomorrow bring? In this combination discussion and lecture, participants will share in some thought experiments on what sex may be like in the next year – or the next thousand years. Subjects included will be speculations on drug and chemical enhancements, extrapolation on current – and future – consumer technology, where gender and sexual orientation may be headed, the idea of artificial implants and enhancements, and even the prospects of intimate encounters with cyborgs, androids, robots, and artificial intelligences." 
As always, please attend our Salon "fragrance free" and plan to patronize the offerings at Sonoma Coffee Cafe. Also, please plan to chip in a couple of dollars towards Meet Up's monthly fees when I take up collection. Thanks so much!

Seven Weeks Of M.Christian: Week 3 - My Mission In Life

Continuing my seven (possibly terrifying) weeks of M.Christian, here's my newest installment... reasoning behind this is that I haven't really talked a lot about myself for a while so I thought it would be a fun little experiment to post - once a week, for seven weeks - a series of essays about little ol' me: where I came from, my professional journey, being an editor, being a publisher ... and even my hopes and dreams for the future.

Hope you like!

Being a writer – or, to be a bit more precise, the way I became a writer – has really affected how I view the writing life ... well, actually any kind of creative life. Part of it, of course, is that it took me a long time to actually become a professional -- but more than that I think it's the transformation I went through during that far too lengthy process.

Like a lot of people, when I first began to write with an eye to actually getting published, it was a very painful process: the words just didn't come, I was always second-guessing my stories, felt like my characters were dead-on-arrival, and doubt was around much more than confidence or even hope.

But, as we read in our last installment, I kept with it and was able, finally, to step into the word of professionalism. But an odd thing happened during those years: I actually began to like to write.

Shocking, I know (and, yes, that was sarcasm), as that is what writers are supposed feel, but when I wrote like I should have said loved: sure, the words were still clumsy, the plots a struggle, the characters stiff and uncooperative, and I thought more about being out-of-print than ever getting into-print, but somewhere during those years something just clicked and I began to look forward to losing myself in my own tales, having fun with language, playing with characters ... I began to see the joy in actually telling stories.

But, more than that, I began to see the magic – which gets me, in a rather convoluted way, to the title of this little piece. Working on my stories, before and after being a professional, I developed a real appreciation for what it means to be a creator. Distilling it down a bit, I began to see writing – or painting, music, etc – as very special: what a creative person does is truly unique, incredibly difficult, and immeasurably brave.

Think about it for a second: how many people out there, milling about in their lives, have ever even considered doing what a creative person does. Sure, they may think about it, dream about it, but very few actually take even the simplest of shots at it: a creative person is a rare and special treasure. Now consider this: not only are creative people one percent (or less) of the people walking this world but they are willing to actually get off their day-dreaming clouds and do the work – often against overwhelming odds. We hear of the successes, of course: the award-winners, the 'names,' the celebrities – but we don’t hear about millions of others who tried their very best but because of this-or-that they just weren't in the right place at the right time with the right creation. Lastly, even the idea of stepping into a creative life – especially a professional one – is awe-inspiringly courageous: not only do we do the work, struggle with every element, fail and try and learn and fail and try and learn but, despite it all, we keep going.

I call this installment "My Mission In Life" because I've been there, I know the pain of rejection, the struggles of trying to create something from nothing and so when I work with, talk with, or teach – though my classes – anyone doing anything creative I always remind them of their rarity, their dedication, their courage.

I once wrote a little piece that kind of got me into trouble – especially with other writers. In it I laid it on the line: you will never be famous, rich, or have one of your books made into a movie, no one will ask for your autograph ... but, if you remember that what you are doing is rare, special, and brave then some of that might actually happen. The trick is to remember the magic, to forever hold onto the pure enjoyment that comes from creating something that no one has ever seen before.

I don't use the word magic lightly: when it happens just right, when we put it all together, what creative people do is transport people into another world, show them things that they may never have ever considered, and – if we are very lucky – change their lives. If that is not magic then I don't know what is.

So, "My Mission In Life" is (1) remember my own lessons and not lose sight of the joy in creation, the specialness of what I am trying to do, and the courage I have in sending my work out into the too-often cold and uncaring world; and (2) to tell as many creative people the same exact thing.

Sure, some of us might be 'known' a bit more than others, sell more books, make more money and all the rest of that crap – but I sincerely believe that anyone who has dedicated themselves to creation, of any kind, deserves support and respect. No one who creates is better than any other person who creates: we all face the same difficulties, the same ego-shattering failures, the same Sisyphian tasks of trying to get out work out there and noticed.

What writers do is magic -- pure and simple: we are magicians using only our minds, imaginations, and lots of hard to work to use only words to transform, enlighten, transport, amuse and maybe even enlighten.

As a writer, an editor, a friend, and now as a publisher, it is my heartfelt "Mission" to remind anyone who creates that they are truly special: published or not, 'successful' or not, rich or not, famous or not, we are all magicians – and that we are all in this together and that there is absolutely no reason to make an already tough life tougher through needless competition, arrogance, conceit, or just simple rudeness.

We magicians should stick together – and never forget why we are all here: to experience the joy in telling stories.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Steampunk, Von Gutenberg, and I

(from M.Christian's Technorotica)

There's cool then there's cool - check this out: the brand new digital issue of the premier fetish fashion magazine, Von Gutenberg, is now out ... and features an article on steampunk style and such by yers truly.

Here's a screenshot of the article, just to wet your whistle:

You can order a copy here (ibooks newstand) and here's a great write-up on the new, state-of-the-art magazine from the San Francisco Chronicle's SF Gate Site:
Global Fashion Quarterly Von Gutenberg Launches For The First Time Across Apple And All Digital Platforms. 
Newark, NJ (PRWEB) December 14, 2012 
With issue # 7, premier latex fashion periodical Von Gutenberg Magazine is now available in Apple’s Newsstand, for Android on Google Play Magazines, and in the Kindle Store and all other eReaders, as well as in its usual print format. Featuring cover girl Ophelia Overdose and 128 pages of the unique content V.G. readers have come to expect fans, fashionistas and even the mildly curious can now enjoy this global source of fashion in any format they choose. 
“Launching the magazine digitally was not only tantamount to our further survival but perpetuates our ethos of presenting current fashion trends, events and designs…as they break globally,” publisher and main photographer Erik Von Gutenberg explains. “Keeping our readers informed of what is happening from the sublime to the popular in latex fashion, the second it happens, is what we’ve always been about.” 
“We’re also extremely proud to be able to say that we are the first latex couture magazine to publish in the Apple App Store.”
Though Von Gutenberg has always maintained a strong web presence with its website, shop, blog and constantly updated event calendar, the move into the smartphone and tablet marketplace presents nearly unlimited possibilities for the V.G. brand. 
“This move to digital opens up a whole new world for us as far as what we can publish…and when. We’re planning exclusives of text and photography in the new year above and beyond our usual quarterly releases.”

Reminder: Future Sex For Dr. Amy Marsh's Sexuality Salon

(from M.Christian's Classes And Appearances)

Just a reminder, folks, that's I'm going to be doing a lecture/discussion/class for the fabulous Dr. Amy Marsh's Sexuality Salon MeetUp on Friday.

I can all-but guarantee it will be a plast and a half.

Here are the details:
Friday, December 28, 2012 
7:00 PM To 9:00 PM 
Sonoma Coffee Cafe2131 Durant Avenue, Berkeley, CA (map
Out with the old, and in with the future! In December, Sexology Salon will explore the topic of Future Sex! 
Our own Sexology Salon member, M. "Chris" Christian, will lead us in this sure to be lively event! Chris is an erotic author, editor, and workshop presenter. Chris shared his work as an erotic author with the Salon a few months ago and it was a fabulous discussion! Here's what he plans for us during December's program: 
"Welcome to the World Of Tomorrow! Sure, we have iPads, iPhones, Viagra, the staggering depths of the Internet, but what could the day after tomorrow bring? In this combination discussion and lecture, participants will share in some thought experiments on what sex may be like in the year year – or the next thousand years. Subjects included will be speculations on drug and chemical enhancements, extrapolation on current – and future – consumer technology, where gender and sexual orientation may be headed, the idea of artificial implants and enhancements, and even the prospects of intimate encounters with cyborgs, androids, robots, and artificial intelligences." 
As always, please attend our Salon "fragrance free" and plan to patronize the offerings at Sonoma Coffee Cafe. Also, please plan to chip in a couple of dollars towards Meet Up's monthly fees when I take up collection. Thanks so much!

You Will Be Missed

Monday, December 24, 2012

Book Devotee And Stroke The Fire

The blast that is the Stroke the Fire blog tour continues with a great little write-up and except on the every cool Book Devotee site:


“Man’s got a home, then that’s where he sleeps. Can’t, myself, see how you can stand the god-derned quiet out there in the flats,” Lew had said, listening to the music of the man’s voice.

The man shrugged, the tip of his cigar bobbing in the soft night. ”That it be. Name’s Last. Jeff Last.”

Lew wiped the grime off his hands (and hopefully the fool’s grin off his face) and offered his own. ”Lew. Just Lew around here.”

The handshake lasted a bit too long, long enough for the two men to size each other up. Lew in his Stinkhole clothes was a burly barrel of a man, all beard and round blue eyes. He looked fat from aways, but if you’re ever seen him haul cornmeal or lumber you’d know that it was iron, fella, strong, strong, iron and not just insulation against Craggy’s winds.

Last was long and lanky, and while the light was none too good in that narrow little ways between the public corral and Miller’s Fine Feeds, you could tell that he was a beanpole: Six feet easy, in buckskin and serape. In the dark beneath his wide brimmed hat, his shaved face was carved and as Craggy as Lew’s mountain home. The handshake had lasted way too long. Now, he thought, how to get this fine feller up the mountain…

“Gotta hit the trail if I’m ta make Ridgewood by dawn,” Jeff had said, and Lew’s heart had sunk down to his Stinkhole boots.

“Knows how it is–” he had said, starting to turn, maybe extend a hand, and an invitation for another time.

“But you is one fine figure of a man. Might temptin’–”

Lew stared, unsure of how exactly to respond.

“You think the same, Lew of the Mountain?” Jeff had said.

Even in the low light cast from the lanterns of Sal’s Lew could see Jeff’s fine figure, out in all it’s glory there in the “street” of Stinkhole.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Full Moon Bites And Stroke The Fire

(from M.Christian's Queer Imaginings)

Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful .... another part of the Stroke The Fire blog tour, this time from the great folks at Full Moon Bites has just gone up: featuring a give-away and an excerpt from my best-of-my-very-best queer erotica: STROKE THE FIRE: The Best ManLove Fiction of M.Christian (part of the special Renaissance E Books/Sizzler Editions M.Christian ManLove Collection)

See what I mean? Short story writing is hard. 
M. Christian's new collection of singular and satisfying short stories, Filthy Boys, is subtitled "Outrageous Gay Erotica." Emphasis on "outrageous." Although each of them does deliver a more than adequate erotic charge, Christian is after bigger game here. He's writing short stories. You know, like the ones you had to read in high-school: stories about suburbanConnecticut teens and hardscrabble poor white trash and adventurers desperate to light a fire to stay alive.  The ones you had to discuss in class, using terms like "irony" and "thematic development" in those seconds before your forehead hit the top of your desk out of total apathy. 
Take heart. Christian's stories are sexy, smart and a lot more fun-

Friday, December 21, 2012

Stroke The Fire On Cecilie Smutty Hussy's Place

(from M.Christian's Queer Imaginings)

Very cool: as part of the Stroke The Fire blog tour, the very fun Cecilie Smutty has just posted a brief Q&A with yers truly about my best-of-my-very-best queer erotica: STROKE THE FIRE: The Best ManLove Fiction of M.Christian (part of the special Renaissance E Books/Sizzler Editions M.Christian ManLove Collection)

I am pleased to say that M. Christian has graced the Lair with his presence... Please put together a warm, smutty welcome for our guest today!

Since you are a new to me author, I am hoping to bring you to the light of others! So let’s share!

Why don't you tell us a little about yourself.... Something that we cannot Google about you, lol!

Well, let's see ... I began with fertilization (thanks, mom; thanks, dad) then quicly moved along to being a zygote and then to cleavage before going onto blastocyst differentiation. Nine or so months and I was on the scene as a – according to mom – rather big infant.

From there to about high school is not really worth talking about -- bullies, zits, voice cracking, hair where there hadn't been hair before, hormones – the usual stages of development from sprout to young adult.

I'd always been a creative kid – thus the bullies – but didn't really have much of a direction for it, but then in High School I was struck (almost literally) by the idea of being a writer. When I say struck I mean it almost literally: I went after being a published author with a serious vengeance. Reading somewhere that the best way of becoming a writer is to ... well, write I set myself a rigorous regimen.

In the end it paid off ... though in a rather usual way: in 1993 (or so), on the spur-of-the-moment I took a class in writing erotica taught by Lisa Palac (who was editing a magazine at the time called FutureSex). Spur-of-the-moment (2) I handed her a story I had just written ... and was totally, completely, utterly shocked -- and totally, completely, utterly delighted – that she bought it for her magazine. A short time later the same story was picked up by Susie Bright for her Best American Erotica 1994.

Just like that I was a published author: a pornographer, sure, but after struggling with my rigorous regimen for (yes, you may gasp) a little under ten years I was ecstatic. After that first story I write another and another and another until... I am: 400+ published stories in anthologies like (the already mentioned) Best American Erotica, Best Fetish Erotica, Best Bisexual Erotica – and even Best Gay Erotica, and Best Lesbian Erotica – plus a whole lot more. I've edited over 25 anthologies – including the Best S/M Erotica series; Pirate Booty; My Love For All That Is Bizarre: Sherlock Holmes Erotica; The Burning Pen; The Mammoth Book of Future Cops, and The Mammoth Book of Tales of the Road (with Maxim Jakubowksi); Confessions, Garden of Perverse, and Amazons (with Sage Vivant), and lots more.

My short stories have been collected into many books covering a wide variety of genres, including the Gay Literature/Lambda Award finalist Dirty Words and other queer collections like Filthy Boys, and BodyWork; also collections of non-fiction (Welcome to Weirdsville, Pornotopia, and How To Write And Sell Erotica); science fiction, fantasy and horror (Love Without Gun Control); and erotic science fiction including Rude Mechanicals, Technorotica, Better Than The Real Thing, and the acclaimed Bachelor Machine.

I've even written quite a few novels: the queer vamp novels Running Dry and The Very Bloody Marys; the erotic romance Brushes; the science fiction erotic novel Painted Doll; and the rather controversial gay horror/thrillers Fingers Breadth and Me2.

I'm even an Associate Publisher for Renaissance E Books, where I (really) try to be the publisher I want to have as a writer, and to help bring quality books (erotica, noir, science fiction, and more) and authors out into the world. My site is

Tell us a little about your book?

The book I'm pushing right now is called STROKE THE FIRE: The Best ManLove Fiction of M. Christian and it's the best-of-the-best of my queer erotic short stories – taken from my previous collections Bodywork, Filthy Boys, and the celebrated Dirty Words. In addition to the best stories from each book I also included the introductions to each book as well: Me from BodyWork, Felice Picano from Filthy Boys, and Patrick Califia from Dirty Words. A lot of the stories have been in books like Best American Erotica, Best Gay Erotica, and the like.

What's rather odd (to be polite) about this book is that while it's queer erotica –and I've written a lot of queer fiction in general – I'm straight.

The way it happened – me being a straight author of queer fiction – is actually rather simple: one day an editor friend was doing a book of gay erotica and wanted to know if I could write a story ... so I did, and he bought it. A few dozen or so stories later I got an offer by a gay publishing house to write a novel, which led to move novels, some anthologies and the rest, as the cliché goes, is history.

Being serious for a second, I am always very clear with every editor and publisher I work with that I am not gay. In fact when I teach my Sex Sells: How To Write And Sell Erotica class – and what I also say in my How To Write And Sell Erotica book – is that fiction is fiction and that writers should always stretch themselves creatively but when it comes to be a writer talking to a publisher they should never, ever pretend to be someone they are not.

I cannot begin to say how touched I am by the queer community for being (1) to supportive of my work and (2) so understanding of who I really am. A great friend of mine – a publisher of many of my books – once said, and I totally agree with him, that love is love: meaning that even though I may not be sexually queer I adore my gay characters and friends. The mechanics are secondary once you realize that all of us – gay, bi, straight or otherwise – have more in common than less and that we all share the same, basic emotional landscape.

Oh, and just for shits and giggles, here's the table of contents forStroke The Fire:

Stroke The Fire
The Greener Grasses
Hollywood Blvd.
The Hope Of Cinnamon
Suddenly, Last Thursday
That Sweet Smell
Utter West
Friday Night At The Calvary Hotel
How Coyote Stole Sun
Blue Boy
Coyote And The Less Than Perfect Cougar
About The Author (which is actually the title of a story)

How easy do stories come to you?

I like to say I have it bad -- I'm not just a writer by profession but in every way, every part of myself: I just absolutely love to think about stories, plots, characters, novels, settings ... you name it. Sure, writing can still be a trial (to put it mildly) especially when you have to hammer your head again and again and again against things like publicity and the other awful, icky parts that come with the professional side of writing, but when it does get difficult I always try to get back to the joy I feel when I'm writing ... when I'm tellingstories.

What is your favorite part of the book?

I don't really have any favorites ... mainly because I always try and look forward rather than backward when I think about stories and novels and all that.  When I'm feeling cute I say that my favorite story is the one I haven't written yet.

You can only pick 3 words for your main characters ... what would they be?

Hum ... I do know that my stories and books and characters have a tendency to be bittersweet – which kind of reflects my view of life, I guess: that there really aren't happy, shiny endings but, instead, shiny, happy moments in what can be dark and stormy lives.

That being said I'm actually working on a new book – a sequel to my science fiction erotica collection The Bachelor Machine – where my goal is to write not just hot science fiction erotica but stories where the future is depicted as being a very positive place. Part of my reason for doing this is noticing that the stories in I wrote for the original Bachelor Machine were a tad ... stormier than usual, but also because I've noticed a lot of people seem to be reflexively negative about the future. So I want to show that the future could just as easily become a wonderful, positive place – even with scary things like genetic engineering, artificial intelligences, memory alteration, and so forth.

Which was the easiest character to write and the hardest -- and why?

Characters themselves, believe it or not, can sometimes be the problem. I usually write as more of a storyteller, who keeps his characters really tightly in check as what they are doing is usually more important who they are. I know some writers who let their characters roam free, and say that their books or stories aren't done until the characters tell them so ... but that's just not the way I work.

But I should also say that I'm a huge fan of pushing yourself in all kinds of ways: professionally, personally ... you name it. So one thing I'm planning for the future is a book where the characters are running the show – if just to see how it all goes. After all, I didn't know I could write erotica until I tried, didn't know I could write gay fiction until I tried, didn't know I could edit books until I tried ... you get my gist. Who knows what I – or anyone – might be good at until you give it a shot?

What are you currently working on?

Well, I just mentioned a book that is more character than plot-driven as an experiment, and I also chatted a bit about my follow-up to The Bachelor Machine ... but I'm also planning in starting a new novel very soon. I really enjoyed writing the books Me2 and Finger's Breadth – as they touched on a favorite theme of mine: playing with the unexpected and unusual way we human beings act and interact with each other -- the roles we unconsciously play, the dark (and light) sides of our natures that come out under adversity, mob psychology ... all that fun stuff.

Do you have anything due to release soon?

The great folks ay Renaissance/Sizzler Editions (who I also – ahem – happen to be an Associate Publisher for) are going to re-releasing a new edition of my erotic romance, Brushes, and a collection of my non-queer short stories. I'm also finishing up my first shot at a comic book, called Masquerade (with incredible art by Wynn Ryder), and an anthology I edited – about food and sex – called A Lover's Feast, and a new edition the transgender anthology I edited a few years back, Trans Figures.

In other words I like to stay busy – and then some! I'm also getting out there more as a reader/teacher/performer. Just check out my sub-site at for info on all that fun stuff.

What's one thing that you enjoy about writing?

Well, as I said I have it bad. I see writing as an almost spiritual thing – that, somehow, my one little brain can create characters, worlds, tales ... all kinds of things ... that, if I do my job right and/or am damned lucky can reach out and truly affect people's lives. And if I really do my job right and/or am lucky my words will outlive me by decades or maybe even hundreds of years.

When I teach my classes I tell my students – and tell myself when things get dark and depressing – that writers are true and real magicians: our spells are our words, our stories, and they can literally change the world.

I truly love to explore, learn and more of all play with language and story. It's not just what I do as a living but who I am as a person. I don't think I could ever not be a writer.

What do you prefer ebooks or paperbacks?

I actually started my 'career' in the days of paper so I'm one of those folks who can actually look at both pretty clearly ... and I have to say, without hesitation, that eBooks are better for both writers as well as readers. Sure, writers won't get those advances again, but they always seem to forget that's just what they were: money givenagainst the sales of their books, and the brutal truth is that if their books didn't make that money back – and more – their 'career' could very well be over. With eBooks there is no pressure to make your book into a bestseller in the first month – in fact, eBooks can sit on their virtual shelves for a very long time before taking off and it in no way affects how the publisher feels about that author's work. This also means that publishers can take books that are more ... experimental, as they don't have to invest thousands of dollars into printing, distributing and promoting them – just to break even!

eBooks are great for readers (and authors as well) as books don't have to die. One of the man things I love about working for an eBook publisher is being able to re-release books that otherwise would be either out-of-print or practically out-of-existence. I think that is marvelous as there are so many fantastic books out there that otherwise people would never have a chance to read. With eBooks they can!

Is there a genre you would like to write but are a little apprehensive to try?

Well, I always try to push myself in all kinds of ways – you've already heard my little rant about "not knowing you are good at something until you try" so, with that in mind there are a LOT of things I'd love to try: I have plans to try my hand at either a one-act play or a screenplay, a more (ahem) optimistic romance novel, a straight-up horror novel, plus a few really out-there-experimental projects that will hopefully push the boundaries of what a book can be. We're seen a little bit of this kind of stuff with augmented reality games but I want to do so much more with it.

Okay ... personal time! Oh yeah, I go there: If you thought you were safe ... Nah ... Forgot it ... Not a chance! We will start off slow and easy, I promise!

What is on your night stand/dresser?

I really don't have either: I live in what I call an artist's colony – which is really just a big, crazy house I share with a musician, painter, and a gardener. My room is small but – as mom was an interior decorator – it's really very nice. I only have room for a small bookcase (comic books) a large bookcase (books), my desk, and a bed. I do have a few odd things, a pair of model Theo Jansen strandbeests, another pair of models but this time from Hieronymus Bosch's Garden Of Earthy Delights, a miniature terrarium, and two huge stained glass windows my father made.

What are you listening to you right now?

Actually I don't write to music: I'm much more of a visual person so I watch movies while I work. I don't have cable – in fact I can't stand broadcast TV – but I have a great Internet connection so I have Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and a whole bunch of other great sources of entertainment and information. Right now I'm watching Roger Corman's War-Gods Of The Deep on YouTube (with Vincent Price) but later I'm planning on watching one of my all-time favorite films: Seconds by John Frankenheimer (starring Rock Hudson).

What are you reading right now?I have an iPad and a rather huge eBook library but, thanks to a nice sale on Amazon, I scored a bunch of Philip K. Dick books for a buck each, so I'm halfway through my favorite of his: Eye In The Sky.

What is your favorite season? Holiday?

My family is just my brother (my mom and dad both passed away) and so my family is all my friends -- so we don't have a lot of traditional holidays. I like to say that we have a celebration every time any two of us get together ... that and holidays and such just feel a bit too stiff and 'traditional' for me.

You know you do ... Quickie time ... Think fast ... Dark or Milk Chocolate?

Dark, absolutely. Vosage's bacon dark when I can afford it, Trader Joe's dark chocolate peanut butter cups when I can't

Whipped or Melted?

Definitely melted: cheese is one of my big weaknesses – though I have been trying to cut down on it a bit.

Straight up or with a twist - sex?

Even though I've written quite a lot of queer fiction (erotic or non), I'm straight – and even though I've written a lot of kinky sex I'm actually a very meat-and-potatoes straight guy ... though I have a weakness of big, beautiful girls. But I never let my libido run the show: I fall in love with a woman, first, and her body second.

What's your fave drink - in a glass or on her?

Can I say in her ... I'm more than a tad orally fixated when it comes to sex.

Spank or Flogger?

Neither, but I teach classes in both ... as well as bondage, caning, nipple play, cupping, and a whole lot more.

Junk or Health Food?

Neither, as I'm kind of a foodie – though I do try and eat as healthy as I can. At home I've been experimenting (be afraid ... be very afraid) to give me better options than just quesadillas, but I love to get out and try new places and new cultures. There's this Turkish place in Berkeley I'm seriously in love with....

Leather or Lace?

Either is fine with me. I'm a very empathetic lover so if my partner lives something and gets turned on then I get turned on ... even though, like I said, I'm really a very simple guy when it comes to sex.

Control or Be Controlled?

I say controlled: I'm a pleaser – especially in bed. Oh, I know how to top and am quite good at it but my heart is never really in it ... though, again, if my partner is into it then I will definitely try anything.

Vampire or Werewolf?

Neither – even though I wrote two vamp books (Very Bloody Marys and Running Dry) and plan on working on a sort-of werewolf book – I really am quite bored with the whole paranormal thing. Come on, folks, let's be a bit more original!