Cleis Press Back to School Sale

 

It’s never too late to learn about pleasure…

And Cleis Press is here to help, despite some web design difficulties. I think we may have to go back to school for that one ourselves…

To help you discover the best instructional and sex ed titles, they are listed below by subject category. From learning the art of BDSM to mastering fellatio, we have you covered!

Sale ends 9/31/18.

 

BDSM/KINK

50 Shades of Kink: An Introduction to BDSM by Tristan Taormino

As Kinky as You Wanna Be: Your Guide to Safe, Sane and Smart BDSM by Shanna Germain

The Ultimate Guide to Kink: BDSM, Role Play and the Erotic Edge by Tristan Taormino

The Ultimate Guide to Strap-On Sex: A Complete Resource for Women and Men by Karlyn Lotney

 

HEALTH & WELLNESS

Healing Sex: A Mind-Body Approach to Healing Sexual Trauma by Staci Haines

 

LGBT

The Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Men by Bill Brent

The Ultimate Guide to Pregnancy for Lesbians: How to Stay Sane and Care for Yourself from Pre-conception Through Birth by Rachel Pepper

The Ultimate Guide to Prostate Pleasure: Erotic Exploration for Men and Their Partners by Charlie Glickman, PhD

The Whole Lesbian Sex Book: A Passionate Guide for All of Us by Felice Newman

 

REFERENCE

The Cleis Press Sextionary by the Editors of Cleis Press

The Transgender Child: A Handbook for Families and Professionals by Stephanie A. Brill and Rachel Pepper

The Transgender Teen: A Handbook for Parents and Professionals Supporting Transgender and Non-Binary Teens by Stephanie Brill and Lisa Kenney

 

SEX & RELATIONSHIPS

Better Sex in No Time: An Illustrated Guide for Busy Couples by Josey Vogels

The Good Vibrations Guide to Sex: The Most Complete Sex Manual Ever Written by Cathy Winks and Anne Semans

Never Have the Same Sex Twice: A Guide For Couples by Alison Tyler

Never Say Never: Tips, Tricks, and Erotic Inspiration for Lovers by Alison Tyler

O Wow: Discovering Your Ultimate Orgasm by Jenny Block

Opening Up: A Guide To Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships by Alison Tyler

Partners in Passion: A Guide to Great Sex, Emotional Intimacy and Long-term Love by Mark A. Michaels and Patricia Johnson

The Smart Girl’s Guide to the G-Spot by Violet Blue

 

ULTIMATE GUIDE SERIES

The Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Men by Bill Brent

The Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Women by Tristan Taormino

The Ultimate Guide to Cunnilingus 2nd Ed.: How to Go Down on a Woman and Give Her Exquisite Pleasure by Violet Blue

The Ultimate Guide to Fellatio: How to Go Down on a Man and Give Him Mind-Blowing Pleasure by Violet Blue

The Ultimate Guide to Kink: BDSM, Role Play and the Erotic Edge by Tristan Taormino

The Ultimate Guide to Orgasm for Women: How to Become Orgasmic for a Lifetime by Mikaya Heart

The Ultimate Guide to Pregnancy for Lesbians: How to Stay Sane and Care for Yourself from Pre-conception Through Birth by Rachel Pepper

The Ultimate Guide to Prostate Pleasure: Erotic Exploration for Men and Their Partners by Charlie Glickman, PhD and Aislinn Emirzian

The Ultimate Guide to Sex After Fifty: How to Maintain or Regain a Spicy, Satisfying Sex Life by Joan Price

The Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability: For All of Us Who Live with Disabilities, Chronic Pain, and Illness by Miriam Kaufman, Cory Silverberg, and Fran Odette

The Ultimate Guide to Sex Through Pregnancy and Motherhood by Madison Young

The Ultimate Guide to Sexual Fantasy: How to Have Incredible Sex with Role Play, Sex Games, Erotic Massage, BDSM and More by Violet Blue

The Ultimate Guide to Solo Sex: All You Need to Know About Masturbation by Jenny Block

The Ultimate Guide to Strap-On Sex: A Complete Resource for Women and Men by Karlyn Lotney

 

<3 Cleis Press

Meet the Children of Unicorns: A Challenge to Learn, Reflect, and Disrupt

 

Whether you consider yourself straight and 100 percent hetero-normative, or whether you consider yourself a mere being in a complicated cosmos whose physical manifestations bear little to no weight on who you instinctively gravitate toward when seeking a partner, or whether you consider yourself to be utterly and totally devoid of any and all sexual attraction or attractiveness, you would be hard-pressed to discover something that can bridge those divides – a hypothetical “God particle” that could universalize our opinion and understanding of sex and gender in relation to the family unit.

Now, this need looms ever more important as many are concerned that recently obtained rights may be nullified – that years of hard work, activism, and conversations will be moved backward in time. So, when you next find yourself confronted with hatred, bias, or misunderstanding, perhaps some of the responses below will come to mind. Perhaps the voices of children, even adult children, can be a source of deeper understanding and a path to that unifying, warm, squishy center. As so it so often goes, by only listening to those at the margins, could we hope to understand the power and the unifying force of love and to rediscover the best parts of what it means to be human.

Last month we explored the editor’s note in Frank Lowe’s edited collection of stories in Raised by Unicorns: Stories from People with LGBTQ+ Parents (Cleis Press, June 2018). Following Frank’s mission to provide readers with a diverse array of stories, we wanted to chat with some of the contributors to provide more insight into their experiences. Presented with five somewhat rudimentary and predictably-answerable questions, we were very much surprised to discover a much deeper underlying message—one of hope, growth, understanding, and most importantly love.

(Please note that this interview was conducted prior to some of the more recent threats against LGBTQ+ rights in America and abroad. Contributors to Raised by Unicorns vary in age from 15 to 47. Ages are noted after contributor names.)

1. What inspired you to write your chapter and share your story?

MIKAYLA DENAULT (15): The need for awareness. I seized this opportunity to show how the obstacles my family faces make us stronger in the face of adversity. The main goal of my chapter, “Two Hens and a Chick”, is to erase the line between LGBT and straight families. I want to show everyone that as long as there is love, a family is a family despite small differences that makes us unique and give us a diverse world. My chapter highlights the experiences I have encountered such as my moms’ wedding and the legalization of same-sex marriage in my state. So, overall, the inspiration behind my chapter was to share my perspective in a family with two moms, and how moments in my life motivated me to fight injustices in society and bring about equality.

LARA LILLIBRIDGE (44): Although I just published a memoir about my experiences growing up in a lesbian home (Girlish, Skyhorse 2018) there is such little representation for children of LGBTQ+ families that I was super excited to add to the body of literature.

I came of age in the late 1980s, and knew next to no other children with families like mine. Meeting other children of LGBTQ+ families feels more like meeting long-lost cousins than meeting strangers. So, often, children of the queer community feel as if we are poster children for our entire subculture: what we say about our families will be used by others to represent queer families as a whole. The best way to be seen as individuals is to have more representation in TV movies, and in books like Raised by Unicorns.

JENNY RAIN (47): Growing up as the child of two dads in the 70s, 80s, and 90s, my story finds itself firmly placed between the intersection of the church and the LGBTQ+ community. I love both. I believe both communities can not only learn to co-exist, but to also thrive together. I believe that every child of an LGBTQ+ parent, every LGBTQ+ family, and those who are attempting to find communities of faith have an important story to add to the changing conversation in our nation. I believe that my story can make a difference.

My life’s passion is all about how to change the conversation for LGBTQ+ families like mine both in our churches and in this religiously-motivated world. But, my ultimate goal is to see our nation elevate beyond the partisan and theological conversations around LGBTQ+ families to be less combative and more redemptive. Frank has given me the incredible opportunity to start doing that.

Overall, my inspiration comes from the belief that we all have stories and voices that matter. And when we tell our stories, we encourage other people to be brave with their own stories.

KELLEN KAISER (36): My whole life people have asked me what it was like growing up with lesbian moms. It’s such a gigantic question to consider. I find it easier to narrow in on what a particular moment or experience was like for me. I actually wrote another book a couple years ago, Queerspawn in Love, that focused on a relationship I had for five years in my twenties. I realized after finishing that book that there was still a lot left to explore from earlier parts of my childhood that might be of interest to people. In this case, kindergarten and my parent’s wedding. Writing this, I reflected on how central that time was, both in the creation of my family and in how I interacted with others around my family.

KATE HILLYER (43): First, there aren’t all that many of us who grew up with LGBTQ+ parents, particularly from my generation, so it is important for us to share our experiences. Second, a middle grade novel I am writing has a main character with two moms, and I knew it would be a good way for me to get back in touch with what it was like when I was growing up. I was right; the writing experience was both illuminating and cathartic for me.

PERSIS TICKNOR-SWANSON (21): My mother’s partner encouraged me to write my story because she recognized how unusual my family’s experience was. I sometimes forget that to outsiders my family’s history is interesting or confusing, because to me it’s just my life. But I’d also been thinking for a while that the voices of children of LGBTQ+ families to be included in the narrative of LGBTQ+ experience. We are a growing demographic and the diversity and volume of our stories is important to the equal rights movement. And I’d felt like there wasn’t really a place for me in the LGBTQ+ movement. “Ally” seemed too distant and didn’t encapsulate the depth of my experience. This book has given me a way to express what it has meant to me to be raised by a queer mom and to feel simultaneously unique and part of a group.

2. Were there any surprises or startling revelations about what it is like being “Raised by Unicorns?”

JENNY RAIN (47): First, the fact that the closeness of my relationship with my biological father is no different because he is gay. If he were straight, bisexual, transgender, a person of color, able-bodied, or disabled… none of those labels matter when you are family. Society tells you those labels matter, but they don’t.

Second, gender matters little when it comes to parenting. I know the conservative right will rail against this comment, but I have lived this experience. The roles (nurturer and protector) that my parents have played have been more important to my upbringing. Typically, the male is seen as the protector and the female as the nurturer. But to universalize this and say that a child is only healthy if they are raised by a man AND a woman is to substitute gender identification for roles— and I think that is a mistake. I’ve seen lots of heterosexual couples where the woman is the protector and the man is the nurturer. I’ve also seen same sex couples where both parents play both roles. As long as these roles show up in some sort of a parenting combination, the child is going to be healthy and happy.

Third, being the child of two dads, the Christian church has most definitely been the hardest place to feel safe… This is the antithesis of what should be. Jesus was at heart a countercultural force. He was kicked out of prevailing religious circles because of his habit of reaching out to those on the margins. I am a person who is on the margins of the margins. I AM the person that Jesus would have reached out to, as are my dads. Yet, we are rejected by churches, shunned, and even cast aside as immoral, defective, and abominations (yes, I get lumped into that category, too).

MARY HOLLAND (27): Honestly, writing out my own story had me reflecting more on my experiences as a child and just how much they effected me for the better. I realized that while the goodness in my heart partially comes from those who raised me, it mostly comes from the rejections I experienced throughout my life.

EMILY GRUBBS (21): I remember growing up and being surprised to learn that being LGBTQ+ was, and still is, considered “wrong” by many. My moms raised me to love everyone and have love left over for myself. It was shocking to learn that other children had not been raised in the same way I was. I had to learn that being a queer woman meant facing discrimination, because in our home we never discriminated. As a child I felt like my family was normal, what was shocking is that others thought we were so different.

KELLEN KAISER (36): I was surprised by how emotional I got reading the other chapters. I had expected to enjoy it, but there was something so deeply resonant about finding commonality that caught me off guard. As much as I have understood that there’s a shared culture we Queerspawn have, it is beautiful to see its complexity manifest. After many years of feeling different from others and often alone, it’s healing to feel a part of a tribe.

KATE HILLYER (43): It surprised me to realize how early I had begun to direct conversations in a way to avoid having to reveal that I had two moms. It’s something that a lot of closeted LGBTQ+ people do. I started that in about fourth grade.

PERSIS TICKNOR-SWANSON (21): Some of the surprise is how entirely normal it is. My mom is my mom. She’s also queer, but she is still a mom. So much of my family life is like the stereotypical hetero family: we argue, joke, play, and cuddle. But there are underlying themes of acceptance, openness, and difference in my family with both positive and negative implications. Our backyard BBQs feature mostly lesbian couples and 90s gay dance club music. My mother sometimes gets nasty or judgmental comments from people for her genderqueer appearance. I don’t blink an eye at women kissing women. I feel like I was given all the great things any child would be given by a loving healthy family with the addition of some amazing things only a kid with LGBTQ+ parents would have (like going to gay drag clubs with my mom).

3. What was the most defining moment for you as being “Raised by Unicorns”?

MIKAYLA DENAULT (15): My most defining moment being “Raised by Unicorns” is the receiving the encouragement from my parents to be whoever and whatever I want. My dreams and aspirations have been celebrated and cherished by my family, and I believe this is because they never want me to have the backlash they received from being different.

EMILY GRUBBS (21): This is a tough question! I think the moment it became clear to me what being raised by two moms really means is when I finally accepted my own queer identity. I write in my chapter about my struggles trying to come out as bisexual in high school. However, once I got to college, I started exploring partners of all genders and started to embrace my own queer identity, away from the protection of my parents. I remember “coming out” to my parents my sophomore year of college. I had a partner visiting me at home for the first time and my parents were thrilled. Up to this point, everyone in my family had only known me to be straight. It was not until my new companion was just a few minutes away from out house that I revealed she was a woman. My moms were surprised, but needed no time to accept me—they simply greeted my guest with warm hearts. That’s the definition of LGBTQ+ parenting; you’re free to be and love whomever you want.

KELLEN KAISER (36): Probably being taken out of math class in 7th grade to go speak on CNN about the Sharon Bottoms case one day in 1992. It was a quintessential “Queerspawn as spokesperson” moment. So often we are asked as young people to represent and defend our families and communities.

KATE HILLYER (43): I went to Smith College, and after a childhood of hiding or obfuscating, I was suddenly thrust into a world where having two moms was something to be celebrated. It was like shedding my skin, a rebirth into the open.

PERSIS TICKNOR-SWANSON (21):I am not sure I have a “most defining moment” because I feel like there are so many moments with my mom that have shaped me. Honestly, writing my piece for the book was an important moment for me as a child of a queer mom. Reflecting on my experiences and turning a critical eye on my childhood, helped illuminate just how special and formative it was to be “raised by unicorns”.

 4. What changes do you expect to see in the next 5 to 10 years?

MIKAYLA DENAULT (15): I expect more equality to be reached, and I am hoping that conversion therapy will be obsolete. I expect more acceptance, as well. (A new study by J. Walter Thompson Innovation Group states that only 48 percent of 13-20 year olds identify exclusively as heterosexual.) The world is changing, so with policy changes and spreading love, perception of LGBTQ+ families will have to move with this change.

JENNY RAIN (47): My hope is that we will see the normalization and acceptance of LGBTQ+ people and families. I say “normalization” because right now, we live in an overtly hetero-normative, cis-gender, patriarchal society that runs counter to the realities that many in the LGBTQ+ community are experiencing. Millennials and Gen Z’s are breaking stereotypes, norms, and the binary boxes that we have placed people into. They are disrupting the narrative and owning their place in the rainbow of what it means to be human and it’s beautiful.

MARY HOLLAND (27): I expect to see a more global level of acceptance and understanding. I hope that the stigma behind LGBTQ+ people will diminish greatly regarding discrimination against them in their daily lives.

EMILY GRUBBS (21): I have noticed that the LGBTQ+ movement is constantly evolving and becoming more nuanced. I predict that over time more people will start to identify with the LGBTQ+ movement as labels become more inclusive. My mom, Lisa, asked me the other day what I mean when I refer to myself as “queer”. She explained that when she was growing up “queer” was used exclusively as a slur. I explained to her that, to me, being queer means rejecting socially constructed ideas about gender and sexuality. Although I personally feel proud to biological female, my gender identification is not simply masculine or feminine. Furthermore, gender does not determine who I date, I base my relationships on connection; male, female, trans, non-binary, I can get down with any kind of person. To my mom my queer identity is a new concept, but expanding the LGBTQ+ community, as well as our preconceived ideas about gender and sexuality, is the future of the LGBTQ+ movement.

KELLEN KAISER (36): I’m not ready to fortune-tell about what will happen, but I’m happy to put forth what I want to occur. I want more laws and policy in place to protect and recognize our families. I want more representation of families like ours in media (for us and by us) and in the educational system. I want the Queer community to acknowledge our unique role, even as adults, and embrace us. I want the destruction of patriarchy and white supremacy to hasten further.

KATE HILLYER (43): I have been amazed at the pace of acceptance. When I was in college, I didn’t think I’d see marriage equality in my lifetime. At that time, Vermont became the first state to pass a domestic partner law, and lawmakers had people pelting their cars with rocks. In Vermont! I know that right now is tough because of the recent Masterpiece Cake decision, and because of the rise in violence against LGBTQ+ people, but I also know that as a community, adversity makes us stronger. I think the next 5 to 10 years are going to bring greater acceptance and embracing of the variety of gender identities and sexual orientations.

PERSIS TICKNOR-SWANSON (21): So many more kids with LGBTQ+ parents. At my baby sister’s first birthday most of the queer couples there either had babies or were planning on having them. That means there is going to be a whole demographic of people who can be advocates for the “gay lifestyle”. I am now old enough to speak out about my experience and when people try to argue that having gay parents damages a child, I will be able to raise my hand as proof that isn’t true.

5. What is the one thing you wish to see change to further the acceptance of LGBTQ+ families and their children?

MIKAYLA DENAULT (15): I wish to see more inclusion of all peoples, and all families to teach their children the importance of listening to other opinions and loving everyone. I know stereotypes must be diminished in order for the next generations of families to encourage and support one another.

JENNY RAIN (47): There are several efforts going on in society right now to further acceptance, equality, and normalization. I work with an organization called The Reformation Project (TRP) and they are doing groundbreaking work in the church to promote full inclusion, but also to operate from an intersectional approach.

THIS is my hope with the LGBTQ+ community at large – that we will welcome those on the margins of the margins instead of excluding them. I mean gay rights started because a person of color who was a drag queen raised hell at Stonewall. The fact that it was a person of color has largely been erased from the narrative. The strongest argument that the Supreme Court heard on the marriage equality case was regarding the welfare of the children of LGBTQ+ parents (listen to entire SCOTUS case) and the voices of children were able to contribute in a meaningful way to the case turning in favor. Our fringe stories in the LGBTQ+ community MUST be reclaimed, and our separate movements MUST be combined if we are going to be able to have the impact that we want on society for gaining greater acceptance.

Let’s combine our voices and our efforts so we can create a revolution for the acceptance of LGBTQ+ families for the next generations of rainbow families. I believe this is possible in my lifetime.

MARY HOLLAND (27): My greatest hope is that the discrimination against LGBTQ+ people wanting to start a family goes away in all of America. I wish to see the United States give equal rights to LGBTQ+ individuals wishing to adopt. Children just need love and security, why diminish the number of people wishing to do so by discriminating against the LGBTQ+ community.

EMILY GRUBBS (21): I would love to see changes happen in Discrimination law. While we all are still reeling from marriage equality, the fact is that it is legal to discriminate against LGBTQ+ persons in thirty-one states. Our fight does not end with a marriage certificate; the fight can only end once everyone is truly equal.

I would also like to see the LGBTQ+ movement embrace intersectionality: LGBTQ+ members of color, trans-people, non-binary members, and homeless LGBTQ+ are all examples of members who often get left out of LGBTQ+ advocacy and do not get the support they need. White, gay men are not the only faces of the LGBTQ movement; we need our advocacy to reflect the diversity of our community.

KATE HILLYER (43): I wish more schools focused on teaching celebration of diversity of all kinds. That’s why I love the Human Rights Campaign’s Welcoming Schools program. They’ve got fantastic resources, including book lists, answers to commonly asked questions, and lesson plans, all aimed at teaching inclusion and avoiding bullying.

PERSIS TICKNOR-SWANSON (21): I want there to be all the same legal and financial rights for LGBTQ+ families as heterosexual families. LGBTQ+ families are challenging the accepted structure of how families are built and I want to see social structures change with that. Also, a gay president.

 

 

Raised by Unicorns is available for purchase at all major retailers in print and digital formats. Or, even better, buy a copy at your local independent bookstore! 

Amazon     iTunes     Barnes & Noble     Google Play     Kobo

Feeling the Summer Heat? Best Gay Travel Destinations According to James Lear, Author of In the Ring

 

It’s that time of year again… The summer heat is kicking in and the urge to travel is constantly tempting us to say “I need a vacation!” Fortunately for us, Dan Stagg, the main character of the Dan Stagg Mystery erotica series by prolific author James Lear, is a bit of a globetrotter and a great source for inspiration on where to spirit yourself away for a weekend getaway or an all-out vacation. Brace yourselves… We’re going on a big, gay adventure!

via GIPHY

1) London, UK: Legendary party nights, history, and culture for days, and so much room for activities!

London Tower Bridge.

Dan spends some time in London in In the Ring, and like any sensible person he realizes that it is the greatest city in the world. Dan, of course, saw more of the bedrooms and locker rooms of the city than the historical architecture and incredible arts scene, but even he noticed that the streets of London contain more beautiful men per square mile than anywhere else in the world.

2) Gozo, Malta: Mediterranean views for the ultimate gay-friendly romantic, sexy getaway.

Photo by Giuseppe Milo.

When Dan was eighteen years old, just after he left high school and before he started military training, he took a long summer vacation in Europe, and ended up on the small Mediterranean island of Gozo. While he was there he met a much older man, a retired doctor who divided his time between Massachusetts and Malta. Their inter-generational affair was highly enjoyable to both, and Dan always had fond memories not only of the wonderful landscapes and warm blue sea, but also of his kind, horny Uncle Mitch. With view like this, who wouldn’t want to take their own “horny Uncle Mitch” on a magical getaway?

3) Yorkshire Dales, UK: Amazing natural vistas with a sprinkle of military hotties.

Dan’s latest adventure, In the Ring, takes him to northwest England. During his leisure time, he drove east to the Yorkshire Dales, an area of hills and valleys leading up to the Pennines mountain chain. While here you can visit beautiful villages like Wensleydale, or explore the extensive limestone cave systems. Dan got distracted by the Catterick Garrison, the largest British army garrison in the world, and did extensive research into the moral and physical health of the young soldiers within.

4) Brattleboro, VT: Cafes, galleries, live music, breweries, museums, boutiques, and more.

 

Photo by J. Stephen Conn.

Dan frequently has fantasies about living in a log cabin with his latest conquest, growing a beard and shooting what he eats. During his travels around New England, he settled on the unsettled, wooded areas around Brattleboro as the ideal setting, as it affords him the kind of isolation he requires. Less ambitious travellers will find beautiful scenery, friendly locals and plenty of bars, cafes, and markets. For this destination, waiting for the end of summer may pay off—the fall foliage is a must-see!

5) Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, NY: Bars, NYC views, and military hunks, oh my!

Photo by ccnygeeks.

During his period of enforced civilian life in New York, Dan Stagg frequented low-rent gyms on the Upper East Side. Now that he’s a XXXRANK, he makes a point of staying in the southwest corner of Brooklyn—not so much for its leafy streets and notable architecture, but because of its proximity to the Fort Hamilton military base. This gives him access to lower ranks who are impressed by his rank and status. He has done considerable research into the bars where they hang out, but describes this information as ‘classified’. And with NYC a short train ride away, all the gay wonders you could ever imagine are at your fingertips.

The Dan Stagg Mystery series by James Lear is available at all major retailers worldwide in print and electronic formats:

The Hardest Thing

Straight Up

In the Ring

March’s Exclusive Excerpt, Part II: Cowboy Up

 

Shane Allison has done it again in Cowboy Up: Gay Erotic Stories–another stellar collection of the hottest gay erotic stories all set in rural America where the stillness of nature is in direct opposition to the feirce passion of the sweaty, muscular cowboys in this volume. Each expertly written story allows these rustic men to give way to their desire, whether it be their new farmhand or a poor lost city boy. In fact, in this excerpt from “The Naked Cowboy” by Shane Allison, Antwan, a city-boy himself, is forced to depend on the kindness of strangers, namely Heath, a lonely, down-on-his-luck ranch owner outside of Tallahassee. Little does Antwan know that Heath is eager to offer him more than a cold beer and conversation…

I had figured Heath wasn’t from here. They don’t make them as beautiful as him in Tally. “I didn’t think that you were from here. You don’t look like somebody I went to high school with. I’m forever running into people I went to school with. I was just telling my friend, AJ, that I get sick of running into people that—”

“Antwan, has anyone ever told you, you talk too much?” Heath’s remark was a shock to hear if not ballsy on his behalf to say.

“I know. My mama tells me that all the time. My friends say that I don’t let people get a word in edgewise. I go on and on. Would you believe that I was a shy kid growing up?”

“Antwan?” Heath said.
“Yeah?”
“Shut up and come over here. I can barely make you out sittin’ all the way down there.” Heath padded his knee. “Come have a seat.”

I thought Heath’s request was weird if not random. “Actually, I’m good. These kitchen chairs are pretty comfortable. Good and…sturdy. Strong legs. Did you make these yourself?”

“Enough with the small talk. I’m not asking; get your ass over here.”

Being that Heath’s gun was leaning against the side of the refrigerator behind him, I didn’t want to risk what would happen if I refused him. I took another swig of my beer, got up, and walked over to the end of the table Heath was sitting. He tapped his sinewy leg, motioning for me to take a seat. “I’m pretty heavy. Are you sure—” Before I could finish my sentence, Heath grabbed me and pulled me into his lap.

“That’s better. How does that feel?”

“Fine, other than the fact that the last time I sat on anybody’s lap, I was seven and he went by the name Santa Claus.” Heath chuckled before he took another drink from his beer, his full, pink lips tight around the rim of the bottle. His hands were lthy, with grit under his nails from all his hard work.

Heath rested his arm around the lower part of my back. “Things got bad when I had to put my daddy in a home. Caught the same thing my granddaddy did, Alzheimer’s. I tried to take care of him for a while, but I couldn’t give him the care he needed. Last thing he ever said to me was that he regretted having a faggot for a son.”

“Jesus, Heath, that’s awful.”

“I mean it was the disease talking. Other than the suits from the bank, I don’t get a lot of visitors out here, so it’s nice to have some good company.” I met Heath’s gaze as he supported me in his lap. His arms and shoulders were huge and strong, glistening with sweat. Heath ran a finger along my jaw. He pulled me to him and kissed me. His lips were wet and supple against mine. I could taste the beer when he slipped his tongue in my mouth. Heath ran his hand under my shirt, making my dick stir in my shorts as he traipsed my nips with a couple of dirty fingers. I felt his hard-on twitch through his jeans under my ass. “Let’s go upstairs,” he said.

 

Calling All Erotica Writers!

 

BEST GAY EROTICA OF THE YEAR, VOLUME 4

Editor: Rob Rosen

Submission Deadline: January 5th, 2018 (Please submit sooner rather than later)

Submission Guidelines: short stories are now being accepted for Best Gay Erotica of the Year, Volume 4. Length: 2,500-5,000 words. Original stories strongly preferred, though reprints will also be accepted. Reprints must solely be owned by the author and must not have appeared in print during the past three years. BGEv4 is not a “themed” anthology. All genres, kinks, and fantasies are fair game, just so long as the work is intensely erotic and exceedingly literary. M/M or M/M/M only. No “confused straight men” stories will be accepted; all sex scenes must be between gay identifying characters. Please send your best and hottest work for this prestigious collection. Absolutely no scenes of rape, bestiality, incest, or underage (below 18) sex. Safe anal sex, when called for, is mandatory.

The editor has a strong preference for unusual settings, unique sex scenes, multi-genre stories, humor, romance, and anything out of the norm. Trite stories (frat sex, cop sex, older men/younger men, etc,), if you really want to submit them, should be highly original.

The below formatting is mandatory. Stories not meeting the below will immediately be declined:

  • Times or Times New Roman 12-point black font.
  • Word document or RTF.
  • Indent the first line of each paragraph half an inch.
  • Double space; do not add extra lines between paragraphs or do any other irregular spacing.
  • One space only after a comma, period, etc. Typing two spaces after a period is totally, completely, utterly, and inarguably wrong, unless you’re typing on a typewriter. The editor, BTW, will also not accept typewriter-written stories.
  • U.S. grammar (double quotation marks around dialogue, etc.) required.

Please do not submit more than one story. Include real name/pen name/address/ maximum 50-word bio. Payment is $50 for accepted stories.

Submit your best work to: BGEv4@yahoo.com

An Interview with The Combat Zone’s Author Vincent Wilde

 

This week Cleis Press sat down with writer Vincent Wilde to get a behind the scenes look at his writing process and inspiration for his most recent book, The Combat Zone, which came out in January 2017.

 

What was your inspiration for the book?   

Vincent Wilde: I’ve always been interested in mysteries and the detective genre, but, in this case, the seed for The Combat Zone came many years ago and arose out of my increasing frustration and horror about the tactics used by right-wing groups, particularly those opposed to the gay rights movement. I felt they needed to be called out, and my fiction was the best way I could find a strong voice without being polemical. Under ever-increasing pressure, we must continue the fight for equality and justice. Just when you think the battle is won, another enemy steps forward.

Your book is an interesting example of cross-genre fiction. What inspired you to write a book that combines the erotica, suspense, and crime genres?

VW: To be honest, I never really thought of the book in that way. The best way to present the story, I thought, was to take a killer who preyed upon the “underbelly” of humanity, and write a protagonist who had known that life and had no real shame about coming to terms with his past. Cody Harper’s strengths lie in his loyalty to his friends, knowing his true self and also knowing his limits. The Combat Zone, Boston’s sanctioned red-light district, is no longer there, but I felt it was the perfect setting for an antagonist whose sexual and social worlds violently collide.

 

 

Instead of just being a traditional sleuth, Cody is also a cross-dresser. What was the thought process behind that decision?

VW: I thought Cody would be a nice addition to the genre, but I also have friends who enjoy drag and are practitioners of what I would characterize as an “art form.” Drag also delivers wonderful and engaging benefits to the community. Thanks to those friends, I added realistic detail to the story by combining their knowledge with Cody’s love of drag and leather. It also gives him the option of becoming another personality—Desdemona—when the story requires it. Drag keeps his enemies guessing as he tries to solve the crime.

 

Where there any writers that you looked to for inspiration?

VW: Quite a few LGBTQ writers paved the way for my addition to the genre. John Rechy’s City of Night, was a revelation in its candor and stunning presentation. I’ve always been a fan of our groundbreaking mystery writers such as Richard Stevenson, Nathan Aldyne, and Michael Nava.

 

 

Photo by Calum Macaulay/ Unsplash

 

I also want to touch a little on your writing proccess so let’s just jump right into that. Did you have any difficulties or was there anything that you struggled with while writing the book?

VW: No writer wants to admit a struggle with any book, but The Combat Zone was a novel near and dear to my heart, and one, as I pointed out, that sprang from my concern about gay bashing. The most difficult thing about writing a mystery, I think, is discovering a plot hole in the middle of the story that the writer hasn’t planned for. Thus, you’ve written yourself into a corner and sometimes it’s hard to get out. I found myself in just such a disaster about half-way through the novel. My first response was to scrap the book, but I loved Cody and had too much invested in him as a character. It took about three months of creative thinking for me to get back on track. I find that when the writing stops something’s wrong with the plot. The character usually lets you know what needs to be fixed because he or she won’t go the direction you want to take.

 

Wow, three months. I definitely think it’s safe to say that you’re a pretty determined and self-disciplined writer, but how do you deal with the archenemy of all writers: writers block?

VW: Some days it’s hard to go to the keyboard. I get over that by tricking myself into believing I only need to write 100 words—that’s hardly more than a typical e-mail. Of course, I find myself writing more and more, and pretty soon I’ve written two or three pages. Usually that works like a charm. But I think it’s fair to say that on some days you don’t need to write. I don’t subscribe to the theory that you MUST write every day. If you don’t feel like writing, give yourself a break and take the day off. The next day, I find I’m charged and ready to go back to work. Also, writer’s block exists. I know because I experienced it. For me it wasn’t a question of not wanting to write, or failing to put myself into the chair. There’s a huge difference between being lazy and true writer’s block. Severe writer’s block stems from a deep psychological concern. The writer who suffers may need therapeutic help to solve the underlying issues.

 

That email trick is a great idea and I might have to steal it to use when I’m writing. But let’s face it, even if you want to write sometimes you just don’t have time to sit down and get out a few pages. How do you find a balance between your writing life and your everyday life? 

VW: Writers make time to write no matter whether they work full-time or not. Don’t get me wrong, it’s incredibly difficult to crank out pages when you have job and family obligations. But, it can be done. When I was working full-time, I wrote on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights and on weekends. I was happy with an hour’s worth of work on weeknights, but usually I did more. On weekends, I worked between loads of laundry and bouts of cleaning house. It can be done. I balanced my life by giving myself Monday and Friday nights and weekend nights off. Now that I don’t have to work full-time, I set a daily word goal that I strive to meet five days a week while I’m working on a book.

 

You’ve already given some great tips, but do you have any other advice that you’d like to give to writers who are just starting out?

VW: The best advice I can give to anyone wanting to get started in this business is: start now. I’ve heard so many would-be writers say, “I’ve always wanted to write a book.” And I ask, “So, what’s stopping you?” Unless you’re a genius, your path to publication most likely will involve writing hundreds of thousands of words and a couple of failed novels before you get on track. I know there are always exceptions, but I think most writers have a period of breaking in, almost like an internship, when everything is up for grabs, including subject matter, stylistic formation, etc. The sooner you know what you want to write the better. Also, read, read, read! I think all true writers are readers. And you need to read outside your genre.

 

The “reading outside your genre” advice is fantastic! Finally, my last question: Now that this case is closed, what’s next for Cody Harper?

VW: There is a sequel: An Absent God, scheduled to be published in November 2017 by Cleis Press. Cody has always been a loner, but in An Absent God, he finds a love interest, Anthony Vargas. “Settling in” is something new for Cody and, in its own way, the process is just as scary and challenging as dealing with a murderer. The sequel also brings back a few characters from The Combat Zone, including Cody’s old nemesis, Rodney Jessup. It’s my hope that Cody Harper entertains, but also makes readers think seriously about social issues that affect us all.

 

 

Vincent Wilde is the author of the Cody Harper mystery series about a cross-dressing sleuth who enjoys wielding a whip as much as slipping into a silk chemise. He also is the author of numerous novels and short stories in other genres. Some of his influences include Edgar Allan Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, Shirley Jackson, Oscar Wilde, Daphne du Maurier, Richard Matheson, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and any work by the exquisite Brontë sisters.

 

Call for Submissions: Raised by Unicorns

 

Are you the child of LGBT parent or parents? Are you a fantastic writer with a keen sense of wit and retrospection with a unique, true story to tell? If so, you now have a chance to be a contributor in Raised By Unicorns, a new book by America’s favorite “Gay at Home Dad”, Frank Lowe.

Raised By Unicorns: True Stories of People Who Grew Up With LGBT Parents will be published by powerhouse Cleis Press, and aims to be an anthology that reflects on the experience of being raised by a gay, lesbian, transgender, or otherwise queer parent or parents. While stories of promise and love are of great appeal, we also seek tales of discrimination, defeats, and setbacks. This volume ultimately seeks to portray a true representation of this particular niche of the human experience.

In order to be considered, you must have a US mailing address and your story must be 3,000 to 5,000 words. Potential contributors need not identify with a particular gender. All submissions are due by July 16, 2017 and can be submitted to Frank Lowe directly at rbubook@gmail.com.

Frank Lowe is a contributor to The Advocate and is a self-proclaimed “Stepford Gay”. He has an active YouTube channel and can be followed on Twitter as @GayatHomeDad.