Sunday, February 24, 2013

Book Giveaway Winners!

Thanks to everyone who commented on the previous post(s) to enter the Big Book of Bondage giveaway! We have two winners. Since provides a truly random number sequence, which numbers people are assigned are irrelevant. So I first assigned everyone numbers based on their comments on the various posts by creating this list:

1. BDSM Journal
2. CinthiaRitchie
3. Kristina Lloyd
4. 9cba80ba-ce35-11e0-a7db-000bcdca4d7a (perhaps the longest nickname I've ever seen?)
5. Vicki
6. Madeline Moore
7. CinthiaRitchie
8. CinthiaRitchie
9. CinthiaRitchie

And here are the results:
In large purple Times font, the top says, "Random Sequence Generator." Below that in small black Courier font it says "Here is your sequence:" And then a vertical column of these numbers, "3, 5, 9, 4, 1, 8, 2, 7, 6." Across the bottom it says Timestamp: 2013-02-24 07:35:52 UTC."

I have two books to give away, so the winners are Kristina Lloyd and Vicki. Congratulations!

I'm not sure if Kristina was commenting to enter the contest or just to respond to my praise of her story, "The Bondage Pig." If Kristina does not want another copy of BBoB, the second copy will go to Cinthia Ritchie. Once I have that sorted I'll get in touch with the two winners to get your snail-mail address for the books, which will be sent by whatever method is least expensive (probably media mail).

Winners, if you are inclined to post a review of the book, that would be greatly appreciated!

Coming up soon, my experience with giving readings as a disabled writer, plus the announcement of the book I'm working on. (Yessiree.)

Happy dirty reading.

Monday, February 18, 2013

My Story's Story + Big Book of Bondage Giveaway!

Cover of Big Book of Bondage, bold, striking, and clean. A light-skinned woman's right waist and hip, from about three-quarters up her thigh to one-third of the way up her rib cage. A black leather harness with an O-ring and silver buckles transects her waste and goes under her crotch. Black background behind her. The book title and author's name are all on her hip and thigh, below the harness.
When a new book arrives with my work between its covers, there's a lot to be  happy about.

Sometimes my story is the cause of my excitement. I may have stretched myself creatively or pushed myself physically or had a lot of fun with the characters or the plot.

On occasion I'm jazzed that I've entered a new genre, found a new publisher, or worked with a new editor. Conversely, I may feel a sense of "coming home" when I work with an editor and publisher I know and trust.

Then there are times when the other contributions are so well written that I feel simultaneously grateful and nervous -- glad that my work is in such great company and also intimidated by the talent of the other authors, worried that my piece pales in comparison.

In the case of The Big Book of Bondage, I have many sources of excitement. More of my stories have appeared in books edited by Alison Tyler and published by Cleis Press than any other editor or publisher, which is wonderful for me. This combination virtually guaranteed that my work would be in a book that is high-quality in both its writing and its packaging. 

Even so, I am blown away by the writing in BBoB. These are compelling stories -- the characters, the plots, the tone, the language -- whether or not bondage, or even erotica, are your thang. There are several stories that have become some of my new favorite stories. Kristina Llyod's "The Bondage Pig" is a masterpiece -- it's suspenseful, creepy, dirty, and surprisingly sweet. (Kiki DeLovely reviewed "The Bondage Pig.")

Sadly, the more I read and revel in the other stories, the more I struggle with I'm-not-worthy-itis. To get past this place of pointless self judgement, it helps me to remember how I even ended up involved with book. It started with writing a piece for another Alison Tyler anthology.

I got the idea for the piece, oddly enough, from a Harry Potter book. In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix the Weasley twins set off a huge box of fireworks, including "shocking-pink Catherine wheels." I liked the sound of the words, "Catherine wheel," and started thinking about and researching bondage wheels. Around the same time as I was researching wheels, I watched the documentary, The Life and Times of Frida Kahlo. Although I was deeply moved and inspired by Kahlo's work, I had no idea until I'd written most of my story that I'd incorporated Kahlo into my piece.

I'd always liked Kahlo's paintings, and I'd heard about her as a queer and feminist icon since I was 18, but I'd never expected to feel such kinship with her, such compassion and companionship. What we have in common is chronic pain, isolation, and lots of time in bed -- all of which are vividly, passionately, and bluntly conveyed in many of her paintings. Pain, scars, and paint are all part of my story. It seems so obvious now, but at the time I was writing it, I was focused on researching body paint (I watched a LOT of youtube videos on body painting) and finding out who my characters were. I wasn't thinking about Frida Kahlo at all.

Self portrait showing Kahlo standing in a pink billowing skirt and no top. Her front is cracked open from under her chin to her pelvis, showing a cracked metal spine inside. Over her shoulders and around her torso are thick, white bands that look like some sort of stiff brace or other painful medical device. All over her skin nails are sticking out of her, and some of the nails are bigger than others, particularly those in her left breast. Below her eyes, her cheeks are covered with tears. The background shows a dark swirling blue sky, and the landscape is many shades of green and brown and looks desolate.
Frida Kahlo's "The Broken Column"
As is so often the case, after I finished the first draft, I was convinced it was a total piece of crap -- an embarrassment and a mess. When I gave the story (and myself) a breather and returned to it for the revision process, I discovered there was a lot I liked about it. By the time I was done, I was proud that I'd struggled my way through it. Because I'd been so sick for the previous few years, I hadn't done much creative writing. Thus, the story was a bit of a creative rebirth for me, just as it is for one of my characters.

Along with connecting with care for the story and characters, I discovered the piece was way too long for the anthology for which it was intended. So I cut and cut and cut, and I emailed Alison about whether she had room for a longer piece. It turned out that she was now looking for even shorter stories than before, and I wasn't sure I wanted to pare down "River of Beauty" any further. I sent it to Alison to see what she thought. In reply, she asked me if she could use it for The Big Book of Bondage. I couldn't say "yes" fast enough!

Now, thanks to the generous folks at Cleis Press, I also have two copies of The Big Book of Bondage to give away! For a chance to win a copy here's what to do:
  • To be entered once in the drawing, comment on this post.
  • To be entered up to three more times, comment on any of the posts below. Each comment gets you an additional entry.
  1. My video/reading of "River of Beauty
  2. Sacchi Green's review of my story at Alison Tyler's blog 
  3. My review of Giselle Renarde's story in BBoB
  • Comments (entries) must be in by this Saturday, February 23 at 11:59 PM EST USA.
Please spread the word about this giveaway and share the link! I look forward to your comments!
- Sharon

Monday, February 11, 2013

Reading of "River of Beauty" with Fabulous Art! [NSFW Video]

I love giving readings. Recently, I took part in a reading here in Western Massachusetts. Organized by Jeremy Edwards, the reading ("Sexy Scribes Speaking") was in conjunction with the opening of a local art show, Triple S: Sensual, Sexy, Smut. The show was organized by Nina Rossi, the owner of Nina's Nook art gallery in Turner's Falls.

Because I've been dealing with a downturn in my health recently, I wasn't able to attend the reading n the flesh. However, thanks to the terrific creativity, talent, and dedication to inclusion of Nina Rossi and her partner Caleb Wetherbee, my voice was present.

Using slides from the show and my reading from "River of Beauty," Caleb created the gorgeous video below. It's a triple layer of sensual art: my voice, reading my story; the diverse paintings, drawings, and photographs of the visual artists; and instrumental classical music in the background. Due to language and some images, this video is NSFW. Please be 18 or older to watch it.

Enjoy! And please let me know what you think of the video -- below or on youtube -- I'm very curious. (Also, does my voice sound weird to you? A friend of mine who went to the reading didn't even recognize me!)

To read the rest of my story, pick up a copy of The Big Book of Bondage, edited by Alison Tyler. I highly recommend it! And not just because I'm in it. It's full of excellent writing. Literary erotic fiction has come so far in the last two decades! It just keeps getting better.

And now it just keeps getting better for you, too! I have two extra copies of The Big Book of Bondage, and Cleis Press has given me the green light to do a giveaway! Please stay tuned. I'll get a post up about that shortly.

Peace, Sharon

P.S. I have not yet been able to caption this video. I uploaded it to dotsub, but they deleted it. If I get this problem solved, I will post the captioned version at that time. Meanwhile, here is the transcript.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Sex, Art, and Bondage: Review of My Latest Story

Cover of Big Book of Bondage, bold, striking, and clean. A light-skinned woman's right waist and hip, from about three-quarters up her thigh to one-third of the way up her rib cage. A black leather harness with an O-ring and silver buckles transects her waste and goes under her crotch. Black background behind her. The book title and author's name are all on her hip and thigh, below the harness.
My last post was a review of another contributor's story in The Big Book of Bondage. Today I had the honor and pleasure of having my own story reviewed by one of my favorite erotica writers, Sacchi Green. (Whom I previously interviewed here.)

Sacchi's review is on Alison Tyler's blog as part of the Big Book of Bondage Blog Tour. I'm grateful to Sacchi for the review in its entirety. But these two sentences were particularly squee-inducing for me:
Sharon’s fiction has a way of taking you places you’d never thought of going, and making you glad you did. 
The story itself is crafted by a true artist of the written word.
Come back here in a few days for my post up that will include a really awesome video featuring an excerpt from the story Sacchi reviewed. It's a multimedia piece that combines images of erotic art from a local gallery show with me reading the first part of "River of Beauty." The video's up now on Youtube, but I'm hoping to also caption it and post it on Dotsub, then post both versions here.

First, whet your appetite! Read Sacchi's review of my story here.