I had to rearrange my bookshelves recently because I have stories in quite a lot of the annual ‘best of’ Mammoth anthologies from Maxim Jakubowski, and these books are fat!
Quick and Dirty, a one-off collection of flash fiction, is similarly fat, running to 554 pages, and doesn’t he have a sexy back? I have four stories in this volume: three brand new pieces and one reprint (although its first print publication), Violet Sex, which may be familiar to long term readers.
I’m proud to say Violet Sex opens the anthology which means, since the piece is only three pages long, you can read it in its entirety on Amazon for free: I’ve always enjoyed violent sex but then John lost our letter ‘n’ and sex turned violet.
My other pieces are Fast Burn, a story about a new, destructive relationship running on fast-forward; The Wrong Woman, a gangbang abduction fantasy which is a bit meta (yes, I am obsessed with abduction and dubious consent: see Thrill Seeker for details); and probably my favourite, Mighty Real, a high-octane story about friends fucking at a funeral in which I quote both seventies disco lyrics and John Donne. I think John would be cool with that.
I wrote these short shorts as I was writing Thrill Seeker, along with short shorts for Alison Tyler‘s Sudden Sex (UK Kindle), and some super short shorts for the fabulous porn-for-women site, For The Girls. I love writing quickies, although they’re seldom quick to write. But when you’re working on a novel and living with a huge, messy project, its particularly rewarding to be able to take a break from the forward momentum of that and work in miniature; to focus on getting the language right and feel the satisfaction of actually completing a piece. In his introduction to the anthology, Maxim describes the kind of stories featured as being ‘like fires of lust caught in amber’. Nice, no?
I’ve been umming and ahing about what to excerpt but I’m going for the beginning of The Wrong Woman. Because abduction.
The Wrong Woman
‘Someone had fucked up’ went the story. He was supposed to be handsome and charming, and they should have been in a restaurant playing footsie under the table while a waiter took their order, glass and cutlery tinkling around them.
Instead, Jody was in a dingy alley with a gun to her back, her hair awry, her stockings laddered. ‘Keep walking,’ he said. ‘Look straight ahead.’
Her legs were shaking. That wasn’t in the story. Cobbles rippled like water in the pale white sheen of a street light and in her heels, she struggled on the uneven terrain like a weak-limbed foal.
‘You’ve got the wrong woman.’ Her throat was dry, her voice a rasp.
‘Don’t get cute,’ he said. ‘Here. Left here. I’ve got some friends who want to meet you.’
Around the corner, he made her stand by a broad wooden door as he tied her hands behind her back, looping rope around her wrists in a figure of eight. Brittle strips of green paint hung like lolling tongues from the wood and six small, high windows suggested a dirty, cobwebbed interior. When Jody’s hands were secured, the man heaved on a handle to roll the doors aside, the scene opening up as it might in a theatre when the curtains were raised. Before them was a cobble-floored car repair garage, its ceiling veiled by a sagging pigeon net from which crisp, brown ivy dangled like vines in a ghostly rainforest. The light was dim and the props, if you could call them that, were scanty: a heap of old tyres, two rusty cars at the rear, an armchair sprouting stuffing and various tools scattered randomly about the place. No one was in sight.
Her heels echoed on the cobbles as they walked into the centre of the garage, and she imagined the knocking of her heart was equally loud. She breathed in smells of damp, dust, oil and scorched metal. She didn’t know if the gun at her back was real but it didn’t matter. If you thought it might be, it was.
One by one, they emerged from the shadows, five muscular men in jeans and vests, all bristling with menace and swagger. They crowded around her and she was on her knees before she knew it, the cobbles harsh and cold. The blouse she’d worn for her restaurant date tore easily. A pair of clumsy hands shoved the ripped silk around her shoulders while more hands scooped her breasts from her bra and twisted her nipples. She writhed and squealed in protest.
‘You’ve got the wrong woman,’ she said again but they only laughed.
I have a novel out tomorrow. I may have mentioned it.
Alison Tyler’s Sudden Sex blog tour continues apace! (And if you click the pic, you get to see who’s doing who.)
I have three pices of flash fic in this anthology of quickies, and have received three reviews which made several parts of me glow. Sugar Upsets My Vagina has, says Giselle Renarde, “a dream-like quality” while Delilah Night observes that “the protagonist wants a hard, satisfying fuck … Kristina rewards her, and us, with just that.”
And for Deep Throat, Deep Love, Graydancer gave me a review so frickin’ smart and sexy I wanted to lie back afterwards, smoke a cigarette, and bat his hand away because I was too sensitive. “Disgustingly clever and graceful,” he says, and yup, I want that on a T-shirt.
I reviewed Maria See’s deft, taboo-busting short, One Sleep, a few weeks ago, and below are my thoughts on Gina Marie‘s beautiful and subtly powerful piece, Seasonal Affected Disorder. Heck, I love this piece so bad!
You know you’re in the hands of a writer to trust when her opening line drops you into a scene you can feel: “The air smells clean and sharp like minerals, tastes like new snow eaten from a mitten.”
If a writer can describe air with such evocative precision, I want to be there when her characters are trying to claw each other’s skin off.
Seasonal Affected Disorder is ostensibly about a couple who pull off from the road to fuck in The Great Outdoors. But the narrative action takes second billing to the dizzying depictions of sex, desire, and the narrator’s connectedness to the landscape. The surroundings are so much more than a backdrop. The physical and imaginative pleasures of sex are reflected and reinforced by vivid descriptions of both the natural world’s presence and its more nebulous aspects: the historic, the folkloric, the intimations of danger. “Everything makes me horny” says the narrator, and her life-affirming responsiveness to her surroundings repeats throughout the piece in so many gorgeous, original ways.
Gina Marie’s exhilarating prose conveys a sensual engagement with the landscape that steers clear of sentiment, delicacy or cloying lyricism. This is a writer who understands you can write about sex without focusing on body parts and still stay gritty; that the borders of the self fracture in bliss; that desire leads to delirium, disorder and collapse. I loved how Marie demonstrated the surprises and illogicality of the erotic, particularly in the breathless exchange of dirty talk when he calls her “an excitable little fainting goat”.
“The word goat – fuck!” says our narrator.
And those folkloric undertones I mentioned surface in a sudden single line – “Then he chops me up and makes a stew out of me right there against that tree” – before sinking back to become an intangible part of the forest atmosphere.
Seasonal Affected Disorder is a perfect balance of controlled, careful writing and of erotic chaos; of understatement and of excess in all the right places. Truly, it’s one of the finest pieces of erotic flash I’ve read! I feel I could wax lyrical about horny fainting goats, sex stew and joyful lust for quite some time. But I’ll spare you! Just go read Gina Marie’s piece, and faint with me.
Last time we did this, I found myself drawn towards a piece penned in the second person, even though I’m usually less than keen on this narrative perspective. And I’ve done it again, pouncing on Maria See’s One Sleep.
One Sleep focusses on rape fantasy, a topic many editors and publishers shy away from, despite this being one of the most popular female fantasies out there. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been asked to tone down explorations of rape fantasy in my own work. Avoidance of the subject can surely only add to the guilt and confusion experienced by many of the men and women who kink for forcing or being forced.
Maria See cleverly plays with the paradox of enacting scenes of consensual non-consent. Too much clear consent destroys the thrill, and yet consent must be established. In trying to find the balance, the couple in this short piece discuss what they want, but not too much. See’s clever use of second person means the gender of the characters isn’t depicted, enhancing the state of uncertainty that’s at the heart of the story. And yet, neatly placed details tell us this couple know each other well: ‘I’ll bet that you’ll be on your stomach, your usual sleeping position.”
It’s a bold, thought-provoking piece with a deliciously scary ending. Author, editor and publisher should all be applauded for venturing where many daren’t.
I’ll be reviewing another story from Sudden Sex later in the month. In the meantime, check out Delilah Night’s review of one of my pieces, Sugar Upsets My Vagina.
And tomorrow, I’m off to Eroticon in London. Hope to see some of you there!
Isn’t that a beautiful poster?
The world of erotica is gearing itself up for Eroticon 2013 in London next weekend. I’m running a writing workshop on the Saturday morning. My blurb says:
“Kristina Lloyd explores how to use imagery, setting and take risks with language to enrich your fiction and add layers of meaning. We’ll examine how the pleasure found in words used both within and outside a ‘sex scene’ can enhance the overall eroticism of a piece. There will be short writing exercises aimed at sparking new ways of thinking.”
I’m also reading on the Saturday evening alongside some fabulous writers (see beautiful poster!). There’s a PDF of the 9 – 5pm schedule and tix are still available! There are heaps of sessions I’m keen to attend. I’m also looking forward to catching up with authors I get to see once in a blue moon, meeting new people and just generally hanging out with creative, sex-positive folk.
In other news, I’m this week’s author on the Filthy Friday series from Sh!. I’ve offered up a key excerpt from one of my latest stories, The Bondage Pig, published in Alison Tyler‘s Big Book of Bondage. This story has been getting some great comments. Kiki DeLovely gave the piece a wonderful review (and reckoned mine was the dirtiest story in the anthology), and Sharon Wachsler (who’s giving away two copies of the anthology) described The Bondage Pig as “a masterpiece [...] suspenseful, creepy, dirty, and surprisingly sweet.”
It’s quite an unusual story. Hop on over to the Sh! blog and take a ride on my pig!
Alison Tyler’s Big Book of Bondage was released earlier this year, and AT asked authors in the anthology to review each other, in a sort of literary equivalent of a mass orgy. Kiki DeLovely did me a couple of weeks ago with her fabulous review of The Bondage Pig. Now I’m taking my turn and doing Derek McDaniel. I’ve been thinking about writing technique lately, more so than I usually do because I’ve had a couple of teaching gigs, so my review is possibly on the nerdy side!
When I dip into a new anthology, I tend to go straight to the stories penned by my favourite authors, knowing I can trust them to deliver, and eager to see where their wonderfully warped imaginations have led them this time.
Derek McDaniel is a new name to me. His story, Eye Contact, caught my, erm, eye with its snappy opening and use of second person narrative, a story-telling device that usually has me wincing. Most editors won’t touch fiction written in the second person (although I notice AT has a call out for exactly that but then Alison’s always been a little crazy). It’s a tricky approach to get right but seems to appeal to eroticists, perhaps because creating a fictional realm of “you” and “I” or “we” (but not so much “he/she/they”) can feel intimate to the writer.
As a reader, however, I often feel distanced from such scenes with the narrator (I) and narratee (you) failing to emerge from the text as characters or people. The action floats alone. We seldom get to see who is doing what and where they are. Worse, desire often disappears. There’s no one to own the wanting, the ache. The device can create passivity, the narrator using the “you” as a puppet to express their own lust. “You” is doing what the recipient of the action implicitly wants them to do (“Your tongue dives between my thighs” etc) without showing us the driving lunacy of their own erotic need. On top of all that, the technique seems to encourage a langorous, pseudo-poetic writing style that leaves me feeling tired rather than turned on.
From line one of Eye Contact, McDaniel makes it clear he’s not going to fall into any of those traps: “When you give yourself to me, the first thing you’ll do is suck my cock, and you’ll do it exactly the way I taught you.” Woah, this guy’s bossy! The story depicts a BJ between a couple sharing a strong D/S dynamic. They’ve had webcam sex aplenty but this is their first in-the-flesh encounter. The piece is low on plot but high on desire (and drool). The woman on her knees is lavishly described, her appearance a result of her dom’s insistence that she tan, grow impractically long fingernails, wear trashy clothes and present herself as “some dumb bimbo slut”.
McDaniel keeps a tight focus on the sex while skillfully weaving in the couple’s backstory and dropping hints about their character. We know the woman isn’t dumb; she’s initially loath to dress to please but complies because she evidently wants this hook up as much as he does. And she’s not the only one paying attention to sartorial detail. He tells us, “I’m wearing a suit because I do that sort of thing. And this is our first date, right?”
Those two lines neatly portray something about the guy or, at least, the guy in the sexual role he’s adopting here. He’s breezily confident, a little arrogant; too cool to suggest he’s put any effort into his clothes yet we get the sense he cares how he looks. (His trousers are “pricey”.) He’s witty and ironic; it’s their first “real-life” encounter but this is no conventional first date.
Eye Contact is a super, sexy piece. The choice of second person works in part, no doubt, because there’s a reason for employing it; this isn’t about arbitrary stylistics. The story opening reads as a series of instructions he gives her when anticipating how things will be when they meet. When they get together, the same narrative POV is used, creating continuity, immediacy, and reminding us of how their relationship began. We feel as if we’re watching in on them while gaining an insight into his desire to dominate. The BJ is rough, cruel and messy, and the narrator’s relish for nasty detail – “You smear tears and mascara everywhere, even into your hair; sticky precum and spit form strings between your chin and my cockhead” – makes for a deliciously hot, dirty read.
I’m always pleased to see men writing as men in a genre where female writers predominate (and I grouch when I see male writers creating false identities and masquerading as women because, dude, we really don’t need your help in creating “authentic” representations of female sexuality, thanks all the same!).
I’m very much looking forward to more from Derek McDaniel.