It was the best of times…
Ah well. Regular readers of this blog (and that one) will know I don’t go a bundle on cover art featuring headless women. And this month, I have a brace of releases featuring faceless babes … what? Wanking? Shielding their shame? Teasing the reader to slip past those fingers and into the fiction? (And by implication into her.)
These two images suggest all of the above to me and, aside from my regular grumble about the sexism of erotica books only ever featuring women, I think these covers and what they say about female sexuality are dreadful. However, right now, let’s try and get past that and celebrate what’s inside: me!
Both these Bests are out in the UK round about now. Maxim Jakubowski’s Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica 8 (US link) features my story, Boot Camp, first published in Alison Tyler’s F is for Fetish. (You can read an excerpt here on AT’s Trollop Salon.) There’s a whole host of fabulous and familiar names inside: EllaRegina, Nikki Magennis, Alison Tyler, Rachel Kramer Bussel, Kristina Wright, Jeremy Edwards, Donna George Storey, Craig Sorensen and many many more. This Mammoth also has the dubious honour of being the book which started Erotica Cover Watch.
And I’m thrilled that Rachel Kramer Bussel selected my essay The Pleasure of Unpleasure for inclusion in her Best Sex Writing 2009, released last week in the UK (US release here). This is quite a personal piece I wrote on female submission and sexual degradation, first published on the group author blog, Lust Bites (and re-posted here). I wrote:
The notion that female erotica should be softer and more romantic is wildly offensive. Ditto the implication that a women who wants to be dominated by a man must lack her own mind. She doesn’t want it. She’s merely a victim and it’s her damaged, self-loathing psyche talking. Oh, purlease.
People responded to the piece extremely positively on Lust Bites and that did mean an awful lot to me. I’m pleased the article’s now getting to reach a wider audience. I consider myself primarily a fiction writer and, to be honest, I recognise only a handful of names in this collection (the awesome Violet Blue being one of them). A lot of the writers are US journalists and editors so I feel like I’m at an amazing party and now I’m starting to suspect my invite was actually intended for someone else so I’m knocking back the champers, wondering if I’m going to get rumbled.
Anyway, there’s some fascinating and thought-provoking pieces in the book which has its very own blog. Interestingly, in the book’s intro RKB says of last year’s Best Sex that many people said ‘they’d expected something far juicier from the racy cover. If you’re looking for the latest jerk off material, please check Cleis Press website.’ And I completely agree: these covers do a huge disservice to the content and misrepresent what the books are about. It’s a real shame and I do wish Cleis would stop defaulting at semi-nekkid babes for their non-LGBT books. (And that link takes you to what I consider to be the finest piece of non-fiction I ever wrote in the world of blog!)
Incidentally, the arse on last year’s Best Sex belongs to Georgina Baillie, granddaughter of ‘national treasure’, Andrew Sachs – which will mean something to UK readers but probably sod all to those in the US – and, trust me, you guys are best off out of it.
In other news, I wrote and subbed five short stories in January. Five! Five! Me! I think that’s a personal best and – yay! – three have already got the thumbs up. A great start to 2009!