The Virtual World, Interrupted

Well. Been a crazy bit of time. Travel for work. Travel to Balticon. More travel for work.

Balticon was fun, met some new cool people, saw some old friends I haven't seen in too long. Vodka may have happened.

Got copies of a book I have a story in (A Bard's Day Knight, ed. Michael Ventrella, available in PB and e-book). This is the third anthology in this series, and the best cover so far.

Got to pimp and sell copies of The Flesh Made Word. About half the copies I went to the con with sold. That's better than I expected, since I'm crap at pimping my own stuff.

Speaking of this lovely book of erotic writing about erotic writing - the first of a series of author interviews went up on Wednesday, and I failed to mention that anywhere for reasons that will become clear toward the end of this post. Rather than a formal interview, we decided to do this as more of a conversation between two of the authors in the anthology, Delilah Bell and A.B. Eyers.

Eyers: Have you written much erotica? Were you at all hesitant about writing/submitting the story?

Writing is usually a pretty intimate/personal thing for me, but this project kind of…exaggerated that for me. I can’t get much more personal than sex and words.

Bell: I love the more sensual side of stories and writing the piece felt a bit like sky-diving without a parachute — liberating but, oh, just a touch terrifying. I agree. The juxtaposition of sex and words proved unexpectedly escalated the intimacy of the writing process.

Read the whole thing here!

So, back to Balticon. Met a young writer named DL Wainright, who just launched her novel, The Hollow Sun. Turns out she's also a voice actor. We talked. Today she sent me a sample reading a small piece of my story, The Evil Gazebo. And she's brilliant. I can't wait to share this with you. (But I will.)

What else? Oh, had two really good panels on editing, a very fun panel on Rule 34, and a really good group erotica reading with Nobilis Reed, Alessia Brio, Bliss Morgan, and Jesse Sharpe. Each of us had 10 minutes, which is really a nice amount of time for a lingering taste... I read from a WIP, a typewriter smut novel that I really need to finish one of these days.

There was another reading, in the last time slot on Sunday night. That one... didn't go so well. One of the authors decided to launch straight into a monologue about drinking to excess, including vivid descriptions of all the food items she puked up in her escapades. Needless to say, nothing got read that night, sexy or not. (~still angry~)

So, Balticon winds down, and off I run to Virginia for work. Get home around midnight Tuesday. Wednesday morning, my server went belly up. Yeah, the one that has my and Linda's personal email, our websites, the legacy Journal of Unlikely Entomology website, and some other stuff. Been working on recovering stuff, getting things set up on another machine.

I lost 15,000 odd emails from my inbox. A good deal of things that were emailed to me on Wednesday got lost permanently. Some of my emails that I've sent since then haven't gotten to their recipients.

So if you have emailed me and haven't gotten a response, please let me know. 


Tomorrow, I head south (and west) to Baltimore for Balticon 49. My panel schedule is fairly light, and mostly late night. So, if you're down for Balticon, drop in and say hey.


11:00 PM - Tack (50 minutes)
Rule Thirty‐Four of the Internet: Everything Is Sexy. EVERYTHING
Jay Smith (M), Bernie Mojzes, Nobilis Reed, Alessia Brio

Dinosaurs. Bigfoot. Tentacle Monsters. You name it; there's porn of it, especially when it comes to self‐published ebooks. Well‐written or not, there's no doubt that weird erotica has gotten popular. We'll talk about why folks like it, how to write it, and what makes for a good sex monster.  [18+]


11:00 PM - Tack (50 minutes)
Science Fiction and Fantasy Erotica Readings
Nobilis Reed (M), Alessia Brio, Bernie Mojzes, Jesse Sharpe, Bliss Morgan

Authors read spicy excerpts and flash fiction. 18+


6:00 PM - Salon B (50 minutes)
Editing for Magazines
Martin Berman‐Gorvine (M), Mike Allen, Bernie Mojzes, Mike Pederson, Hildy Silverman

A look at what it takes to be a magazine editor from those with the chops to tell you what it's all about.

11:00 PM - Chesapeake (50 minutes)
Reading: Late Night‐ Alessia Brio, Stephanie Burke, Bernie Mojzes


12:00 PM - Salon D (50 minutes)
What Do Short Fiction Editors Want?
Scott H Andrews, Mike McPhail, Bernie Mojzes, Alex Shvartsman

What is the behind‐the‐scenes process of what happens at a magazine? From Slush to Sale panel


Paper Skin

Totally on topic: I came across this courtesy of Caitlin R. Kiernan.

The Flesh Made Word was released yesterday. We're almost at the end of our mini-excerpts. Today's is from "Paper Skin" by Sasha Payne.

It was a bitter morning, dark and biting, and I cursed the moon for her disloyalty as she hid her face behind the dirty clouds. Perhaps the stars were out, I couldn’t tell. A miasma hung over the city in those times like the flies gathered thick above a corpse. Smoke choked from the factories each hour of each day. Black, grey, and sulfurous yellow smoke alike twisted into the air and hung there, contaminating the sky. Grime clung to our clothes, soot clotted in our hair, and stink saturated our lungs.Yet in the crispness before the dawn there was a kind of peaceful tranquility as I limped from shadow to shadow. It was my saving grace, my limp.The army wouldn’t have me, not then, but I was healthy enough to live.

I was heading to Leon’s bakery that morning. Bakers live in the twilight hours and the police, even the dreaded security police, thought little of a baker being at his business in the early hours of the morning. I had no such excuse for being on the street and if stopped, if questioned, I could hardly avoid being forced to tell them the truth. Not something anyone in my position would relish. The thought of it quickened my step until I was fairly hopping down the street—hardly something to lessen the suspicions of any onlookers.

It was crowded in the bakery, not with men but with the smell of fresh baking bread; food was still plentiful then, and I helped myself to a small rye-wheat loaf for my breakfast. I slipped it into my trouser pocket as Leon reached into the cupboard and took out the small box. It was warm in the bakery, which was why I never minded undressing there. I always shivered at first, as the air kissed my bare skin, but then the warmth penetrated and I relaxed. Leon was an old man to me then, more than fifty, with round blue eyes and a thick head of silver hair. Some men grow soft and doughy as they age but Leon was rugged, like teak.

He had huge hands, calloused but not callous, like Leon himself. I watched him take the dip pen from the box and test the nib against his leathery fingertip.Too sharp or too fine and it might pierce my skin. Oh, there would be no tears shed for any injuries, we were at war after all, but it’s impossible to write a letter when you have torn and blotted the paper.

My stomach tightened when I saw there was only Leon there. “Where’s Josef?” I asked.

“Ach, don’t ask questions.” Leon put down the pen and
carefully opened the cipher paper.

We changed codes regularly, though I never knew them. The resistance didn’t need me to know them; the scrolls know nothing of the scriptures they bear. Josef said I couldn’t be forced to tell what I don’t know.That was Josef, taking the first step and calling the race won. As our group dwindled, as members vanished in the night, he became frantic about keeping the ciphers secret. As if that was the reason we were being cut down. I couldn’t tell them the cipher but I could tell them the names and addresses of those that could. He never thought of that though.The only true protection was anonymity and we all knew each other. We knew too much about each other, but not the things we most needed to know.

I leant against the countertop as Leon wandered over to me with the pen and the cipher. He was a meandering sort of man who always moved deceptively fast. I felt his left hand rest on my hip and the warmth of his breath against my neck. Leon pressed the nib against my skin firmly, drew it down, withdrew it, and then pressed it against my skin again. In this way, Leon worked across my shoulders and down my back, not stopping until the message was finished and his need fulfilled. Then we dressed me in a shirt of patchwork silks that we had salvaged, the better not to irritate or disturb the message already swelling on my skin.

“To the place in the park?” I asked.

“No, a bookshop by the university. Do you know it?”


Now Available: The Flesh Made Word

I'm very happy to announce that, at long last, The Flesh Made Word, erotic stories about writing, is available. It's available as an e-book from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords, and of course, at Circlet you can select your preferred format — epub, mobi, or pdf — or get all three, as well as read an extended excerpt of A.C. Wise's story, "All the Spaces In-Between."

It's also available as a trade paperback. What does the paperback have that you can't get from the e-books? Well, there's a little space toward the back of the book to write your own smut.

So here's the deal: the first 5 people who buy the paperback and write their own smut in it, and post a photo of it online (and, of course, send me the link for it), will receive a free story critique (up to 8000 words) from Yer Humble Editor. What you write in the book has to be erotic for it to count. The story for critique can be any genre.

Today's mini-excerpt is from "For All to See" by Kannan Feng.


On Sunday, I started seeing words written on the people around me. At the grocery store, I saw the word “heartbroken” on the wrist of the girl who handed me my change, and I would have passed it off for a tattoo if I hadn’t noticed that the elderly woman behind me had the word “cruel” printed on the back of one hand and “survivor” across the other.

I blinked and shook my head to see if the words would disappear, but then it was like seeing the trees instead of the forest. The boy bagging my oranges and lunch meat had the word “submit” written in curly cursive around his throat, and the other cashier at the register behind me had “poisonous” in an old- fashioned typewriter font across her chin.

At this point, they were all staring at me, and I realized I had been staring at them. I muttered an apology, gathered up my groceries and scuttled away.

I thought it would go away, but it didn’t. Every person I saw had at least one word written on them somewhere visible; some had as many as seven or eight. I worked as a waitress, and after I saw a calm-faced professor type walk in with the word “devour” printed across the bridge of his nose, I ended up at my best friend’s apartment, spilling my guts.

“So is there anything written on you?” Sama asked thoughtfully.

I grimaced.

“Yes,” I said, and I tried to put a note of finality there that told him that I didn’t care to answer any more. Of course, if he listened when I used that tone, we wouldn’t be as close as we were, and at his raised eyebrow, I sighed. He was good at this. He had more than ten years of experience pulling things out of me that were better left unseen, and there were very few secrets I’d managed to hold on to in spite of his silences and his questions.

“Broken,” I said flatly, pointing at the flat area behind my ear. “Healing,” pointing at the curve of my belly.

“Loved,” my right inner forearm.

“Loving,” my left inner forearm.

Sama’s smile was soft, and he nodded.

“Sounds right,” he offered. “At least there’s that.”


The Prophet Scroll

The Flesh Made Word is slated to come out tomorrow, May 5th. Tomorrow, there will be a proper book launch page with a longer excerpt of A.C. Wise's "All the Spaces In-Between," and it'll be available from Amazon &etc., but for now we'll have to settle for the Circlet Press Books for Sale page.

Today's mini-excerpt is from "The Prophet Scroll," by Delilah Bell.


The storm began just as she left Capitol City Station, fat drops of hot summer rain that soaked the delicate fabric of her robes in minutes and plastered the material to her skin with merciless fi- delity. Tanis plucked regretfully at the ruined fabric. She should never have let Zia talk her into buying new robes for this night- mare. Such pointless vanity. Now, they were soaked and she had almost nothing left for frivolities like calling home.

Despite the weather, street hawkers still clogged every corner, peddling their Match Day wares.

“Commemorative t-shirts! Genuine and approved by the Sibyl himself!” one man bellowed, waving handfuls of soggy fabric.

They were in the Sibyl’s traditional black-and-silver scheme, though Tanis sincerely doubted he had approved anything that read ‘Sibyl Inviolate—The Celibate Prophet.’Then again, almost ninety years of unrelenting sexual abstinence had done unfortunate things to the man’s reputation.

“Laser pointers!” yelled the woman beside him. “Get your laser pointers here!”

The phallic silver pen lights projected images of the last Sibyl and her Scroll on the side of a call kiosk, depicted in flagrante at their last appearance as they predicted the loss of prophecy in the realm because of their own son’s inability to find his Scroll. The Sibyl, a petite woman in life, was depicted as a fierce warrior woman with wildly curling hair, crouched on all fours. Her Scroll, whom Tanis remembered from her school lessons as being a thin, scholarly man with a perpetually constipated expression in all his interviews, looked momentarily savage and distinctly unscholarly as he fucked her from behind, head thrown back, his trademark egret markings trailing their way up his arms and across his hips.

In a nice nod to authenticity, those, at least, flashed blue.


New Year's Sun

Today's mini-excerpt is from "New Year's Sun," by Nadine Wilmot, which appears in The Flesh Made Word from Circlet Press.


Sandrine stood in the center of the dimly lit room, transfixed. It was the lantern-light that did it, capturing her attention and hold- ing it while temple attendants removed her garments. She stared half-lidded at the lamp in its stand against the opposite wall, soak- ing in its gold-yellow glow like intangible bathwater, and re- hearsed the ritual-words painstakingly taught to her by the mantis.

One of the attendants brushed tangles out of Sandrine’s dark hair while two more gently and efficiently bathed her with warm water sponged over her skin.They kissed her brow when they were finished, and having bestowed this silent benediction, they slipped past her and left. Sandrine stood alone, clad only in the lantern- light.

She felt him before she heard him. He had always been remarkably silent on his feet. Andriu’s breath was a warm curl against her shoulder, an immediate presage for his lips, which pressed there momentarily.

Sandrine turned her head and watched him as he came around to stand in front of her, and his eyes held the same sorrow as the mantis’s had contained. She smiled softly at the sight of him.

“You brought your ink.”

Coming May 5th, 2015

Words are a dangerous thing

Today's The Flesh Made Word mini-excerpt is from Trish DeVene's "Words are a Dangerous Thing."


We are words. May we kiss your clean brow where black hair parts in its sleek cascade? You sing. You are a soulful singer, using your words to caress and carry. But who sings you?

As you stand in queue for your coffee, sweatshirt lounging loose, body relaxed, can we sing your black hair, the deepest night sun-infused, the slope of your gentle nose, those soft eyelids, wide beds drawn for dark-iris thought?

Will the consonants of our vision hold you, keep the room from liquefying at your departure? Today your practical howdy and farewell are skylark sung, skimming east over black river shine. In your voice, our vowels rush to rescue themselves from melting drizzle.

On stage, we name you in marquee lights; each bulb sizzles to speak its letter.You curl over your guitar and let vibrating strings release your ardor. A critic will use words to describe the performance. Our words become yours: smokin’ affliction corner change.

You see life’s struggles, but you smile. On stage and off, your laughing smile carries, fringed neatly, to carry the black-shine descent, your hair a starling’s shine on your shoulders. Do we write cotton-polyester at the touch of your shirt, or raw white buffer, as you roll the sleeve up polished skin, unveiling colorful ink, a picture of your passion. Sometimes words aren’t needed.

Available Tuesday, May 5th

rival pens

Today's wordypr0n mini-excerpt, Rival Pens, is an epistolatory story, written as letters between two rival playwrights. We have to cut it short, here, as it gets explicit fast, and we don't want to trip the puritan-filters.

Rival Pens Benji Bright


I do all my best writing in whorehouses. Boys, girls, it hardly matters. As long as there are naked bodies and laughter, wine— cheap or expensive—and skin.What a wonder is the human form! My direct inspiration. In the original copy of this letter I wrote, my erect inspiration, but I worried that your clerk would burn the note before you had a chance to see it should I include such a puerile pun. And to you, dear clerk, who I happen to know screens these letters: you should go out and get fucked. It would do wonders for your dreary temperament.

Anyway, I’m writing, Morvent, to tell you that I have done it. I have cast the boy who will be my Alessio. His lips are soft and red as plums, they’re decadent against his snow-white skin. Unblemished skin. It brings to mind a virgin newly plucked.

He calls himself Rien.

I met him when I stepped out to meet my factor, M. Durant, for lunch.

Can I tell you? I never made the meeting.

So entranced was I with this Rien, who seemed to appear before me as a vision or a portent. I had to have him, but he was coy. We flirted in the street. Shameless! I know it well, but what could I do but fall into those blue, blue eyes?

The Flesh Made Word will be available on May 5th.

clowns and flesh and words

The Clowns kickstarter is drawing to a close. 36 hours left until I can stop doing the NPR pledge drive thing. Please consider helping us in our clown cultivation project, and get a book and possibly other fabulous prizes. There are story critiques and limited edition clown limericks by Mari Ness. Artwork by Linda Saboe and Bryan Prindiville. Limited edition Microfictions by Sara K McNeilly. Or maybe you'd prefer to get your very own snarky review of a movie of your choice by Carlie St. George?

Now is the time to act.

Today's mini-excerpt from The Flesh Made Word (forthcoming from Circlet Press in early May) is from Intrinsic Pleasures, or Twilight in the Bookstore, by Andrea Zanin.


I should be writing.

Instead I am sitting on the floor in the bookstore office, stacks
of old tomes towering, teetering around me. My knees are dusty, my nose tingles. The books don’t speak; they wait, bindings crackling quietly, pages settled, covers yellowing. Cheap pulp novels about cops and farmhands and hustlers placidly share the floor with transsexual memoirs, shiny queer theory textbooks and hefty histories—HIV in Africa, lesbians in film, Harvey Milk in late November 1978.

I should be writing but instead I am sorting and analyzing. Recent publications versus out of date ones. Double copies versus rare finds. Occasionally my hand whispers over or under the covers, peeling them open carefully to unearth a copyright date. The sound is a subtle tearing, a protest; I am not supposed to be here, this information is not mine, these books do not belong to me. My friend Sophie, the manager, thought I would be a good person to help out with the huge number of second-hand books they’d received as a donation from the GLBT community centre. She invited me to come in during office hours. I declined. I work best alone.

I was supposed to be finished this task long ago, and be back at home tapping away at my keyboard. But these books are absorbing, distracting, and I can’t quite seem to speed up my pace. I linger on unusual titles, stroke the textures of embossed covers, read a paragraph or a chapter heading here and there. Something’s keeping me here. I feel a glimmer of understanding, but it flits away, leaving a pinch of wordless, formless arousal.



Wordypr0n news: today, A.C. Wise's story from The Word Made Flesh, All the Spaces In-Between, went live in podcast form over at Nobilis Erotica: For obvious reasons, this is one you might not want to play over the PA system at work, especially if you work at a high school or something.

Today's excerpt comes from Amanuensis, by A.B. Eyers.


It’s Sunday. The office is empty when Kitty palms the door open, but the coffee maker is on automatic—it hears her and hums to life.

She doesn’t plan to drink any, but when she passes the machine on the way to her desk she is stopped by the smell. Rich, heady, dark. She is fifteen again, her mother’s silk scarf draped casually over her shoulders, desperate to impress David Fowler, who’s three years older and smells like cinnamon. She’s sipping his americano, pretending to like it....

Kitty stands frozen in the darkness, smelling the richness of her first coffee. She pours herself a cup now, wraps her hands around its warmth and then sips. Deep bitterness floods her mouth.

Suddenly the worn, comfortable craving is something else, something roaring in her, something that will not be denied or forgotten.

“You’re not supposed to be here.”

She turns.

He is sitting at a desk, his palms flat on its surface.

“I’m just picking up some papers,” Kitty says.

He is ugly. She is not sure why; the pieces of his face are fine, but the composite... she looks again, and her first impression settles into fact. Ugly.

“That machine is set for the committee meeting this afternoon,” he tells her. “You are Kitty Dunn, legal aid. I can fix the settings of the coffee maker if you wish.”

Her hands tighten on the cup. His mouth twists into a grin that looks painful.

“No thank you.” She sips her coffee. Bitter kisses with Dave behind the gas shelter, his lips forbidden and delicious. “Who—” she begins to ask, and then stops, because his fingers twitch.

You can always tell by the hands.

His are too thin, too long, too oddly angled.

“I haven’t had coffee like this since I was a girl,” Kitty says. “It’s stronger than I’m used to, look.”

She crosses the room, hand outstretched. Her fingers are, indeed, trembling.

Under his folded hands are smudges of ink.

“Were you taking dictation?” she asks.

In answer, he taps his fingers onto the stain-absorbent skin of the desk. Letters form. Words.

Without knowing quite why she does it, Kitty puts her coffee down, reaches out, picks his hand off the desk. His skin is like recycled paper: dry, harsh. His expression stays blank. Kitty turns his hand over—there is no resistance, just the odd rasp of his skin against hers—and inspects his fingers. On the pad of each one is a glossy black oval, a featureless patch of skin that looks smoother than glass.

“You’re one of the new androids,” she says.


She wants to touch the pads of his fingers. Partly she’s curious, wants to understand them, but mostly she just wants to know if they’re as smooth as they look, if they’re wet with ink. There is something uncomfortably intimate behind his blank stare, and so she puts his hand down, speaks. Her voice like a startled bird, ungainly and awkward; anxiety made audible.

“I thought they were just household models. What are you?”

She cannot look away as he taps her words into the table.

“Amanuensis,” he says. “Model t-792, experimental. The ultimate secretary.”

“I didn’t know you were coming.”

“Nor did I.”

That ugly smile crouches at the corner of his mouth. He taps one finger against the desk and a series of small dots appear, a line of ellipses.

“Excuse me,” he says, and stands. Jostles her coffee cup so a little of the precious liquid splashes out. “I am wanted elsewhere.”

Kitty lets out a breath as he crosses to the door. She stares at their conversation spilled out on the desk, the ink mingling with her little pool of coffee. She stretches out a finger, touches the dark mixture. Already their words are sinking in.

As she leaves the room Kitty brings her finger to her lips, licks it clean.