Sunday, 29 March 2015


Ethiopian traditional dance comes in many forms, as there are many different ethnic groups within the country. But the most famous is the shoulder dancing, which I could only label "boob twerking" ... but is properly named Eskista or Eskesta. It can be fairly spectacular ... watch the 3rd dance above (about 4.20) and you will not be disappointed, I feel.

Men do it too, btw:

Frankly I could watch this all day.
A good job it's Cultural. Otherwise I might feel guilty :-)

Friday, 27 March 2015

An interview with Shanna Germain

Last week I posted an interview with D.L. King, editor of The Big Book of Domination. This week I put the same BDSM questions to Shanna Germain, whose book As Kinky As You Wanna Be is also out from Cleis Press:

As Kinky as You Wanna Be is not an instruction book. It won’t teach you how to tie up your squirming lover or choose the proper lube. Rather, it teaches you how to be a kinky person who has safe, sane, and smart experiences. Like a tourist’s guide to BDSM, As Kinky as You Wanna Be offers a road map to your own kinky self. This book helps you discover which kinky countries you want to visit, gives you tips and techniques on the language of BDSM, and helps you navigate the customs and rituals of the kink community.

With sections on discovering your pleasures; talking about kink with your partner, your family, or your doctor; staying physically and mentally safe; putting your kinky dreams into practice; and dealing with difficult situations,
As Kinky as You Wanna Be is your guide and confidant. The book features informative interviews with BDSM experts such as Jay Wiseman and Lee Harrington, and it is sprinkled with stories from top erotica authors like Janine Ashbless [Oooh!]and Rachel Kramer Bussel.

Hello Shanna, my second victim! I hope you don't mind me keeping you waiting ... ;-) Now tell me, what made you pitch this particular book to Cleis? 
I was thinking a lot about 50 Shades of Grey and what I saw as sort of a rising frenzy about the book and BDSM in general. It wasn’t inherently a bad frenzy, but it seemed like one that was often misinformed. One of the greatest things about books, in my opinion, is that they’re “gateway drugs” to things – travel novels make us want to see the world, romance novels make us want to fall in love. And I think 50 Shades of Grey is many people’s gateway drug to BDSM.
On one hand, that’s awesome. Welcome to the kinky club! It’s fun in here. And on the other, it’s dangerous, because there’s the chance that you’re opening that door before you’re ready. It’s like reading The Sun Also Rises and thinking you know how to be a bullfighter. Which isn’t the book’s fault. That’s what fiction does. It’s just that most people understand that you need training and education and knowledge to be a bullfighter. But we don’t think about sex that way.  
So I wanted to make a book that could be handed out to people at the door. You’ve read or watched 50 Shades and it’s gotten you interested in BDSM? Awesome. Here’s your travel guide, safety video, and inspirational packet all rolled into one.
I pitched the book that way to Cleis, and they were kind enough to say yes.

What did you most enjoy about putting this book together? Did you come across any surprises? Did you learn anything new?

I always love collaborating with other people and I think that doing the interviews and gathering the short stories were absolutely my favorite part of this book. There is so much knowledge out there, and so many people were kind enough to take the time to share it with me (and readers).
I think I was mostly surprised by myself while I was writing it. I’m primarily a fiction writer, so writing non-fiction is always an odd place for me. I thought this book would be more distant, more clinical. But as I started writing, all of these personal moments came out, stories of my own mistakes and experiences that kept wanting to be told. I tried to ignore them for a while. Then I remembered that sex is a lot like writing: beginning writers are always comparing themselves to published authors and seeing all their flaws. But if you show them a famous author’s rough draft, they’re like, “Oh, I can do that!” So I thought that by showing my flaws and errors, it would help people see that sex isn’t perfect, that it’s okay if you flail around for a while trying to find your way.  
Is “kinky” a label you apply to yourself? Are there other labels you prefer? (I ask because I enjoy a lot of BDSM-type stuff myself, but I’m not so much into any one thing that I feel it right to define or label myself that way.)
If I have to choose a label for myself, I do like kinky. It feels like a big bucket that has room to hold all of my ever-changing sexual interests. Kink also sounds kind of like cake, which makes me happy.
I'm hungry now - Janine
Have you read/watched Fifty Shades of Grey?   
I read the first book. I try to read everything that I can in whatever genre I’m writing in, because I think it’s good to keep up on what people are reading. I always want to be able to talk about things from a place of knowledge, and not from a place of conjecture and Internet rumor. I’ll probably see the movie for the same reason.
Are you glad more vanilla people are trying BDSM thanks to 50SoG? Worried? Or do you think it’s just a silly fashion thing that’ll die back to its core interest-group?
I want people to be happy doing stuff that they love. So, yes, I’m happy for anyone who’s stretching their boundaries and exploring something new. But also worried. I just read an article this morning about a man who sexually assaulted his ex-girlfriend and when he was arrested, he said he was trying to reenact 50 Shades. Whether he really was or that was just an excuse, either way, it’s incredibly scary. On the other hand, I also just read about a woman who was arrested for masturbating in the theater while watching 50 Shades.
Will it blow over as a cultural phenomenon? Probably. But there will still be all those people who tried BDSM during this, found out they enjoyed it, and now it will add something awesome to their lives for years.
If you had to give up either Writing or Sex, which would you sacrifice?
That is officially the hardest question anyone’s ever asked me. It’s totally sadistic, in fact! Writing is my heart and sex is my blood, so I’d probably die no matter which one I gave up. But I’m going to say that I would give up sex, but only because I hope I can get around it by using a very narrow definition of that word.  
Do you think the readership for erotica has changed in your time? If so, have you changed what you are writing, in response?
I do think it has. It’s certainly gotten broader and more public. There’s less shame around it, and I believe that’s a good thing.
I think it’s changed my writing in only one way. For the most part, writing is a very private experience for me, just me and the story. I don’t really follow trends or anything like that in my writing, because it’s not my goal to be rich and famous. My goal is to continually improve, to write the best stories that I can.

The way it has changed my writing is because for me, to quote Anais Nin, “The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say.” Now that a wider group is able to read and write and talk about sex (yay!), in some ways I feel like my job is done.  
What was the first book you ever read that turned you on?
Forever, by Judy Blume. And my dad’s Playboy magazines, which aren’t books but they were formative for me in seeing the beauty of all genders.
The book that first turned me off was my parent’s copy of The Joy of Sex. As a kid, I was freaked out by all of that hair everywhere. Those beards!  
Which fictional character would you most like to have sex with?
Tom Hiddleston’s Loki. When he says, “You were made to be ruled,” the submissive side of my heart just kind of goes splody. Especially if I could add Stella Gibson (from The Fall) to the mix.    
Do you have a Message you are trying to get across in your writing? If there’s one thing you could tell your readers, what would it be?
I don’t think I have a Message in my writing, other than my own directive to honor the story and the characters when I’m creating. Those two things always come before anything else. Before my own beliefs. Before societal expectations. Before my critics’ responses. Before anything. 

If I could tell my writers one thing, it’s: Love what you love and let others do the same.  
You can only eat one flavor ice-cream for the rest of your life … Which do you pick?
The Tonight Dough starring Jimmy Fallon, by Ben & Jerry’s. It’s caramel and chocolate ice cream with chocolate cookies, chocolate chip cookie dough, and peanut butter cookie dough. With chocolate sprinkles.
Never let it be said that I’m not a hedonist. Or someone who will find a way to subvert the rules!  
Oh good grief, now I want to GO EAT ICE CREAM! Thank you for your answers Shanna, and I will blame all the weight gain on you!

Buy As Kinky as You Wanna Be  at
Amazon US : Amazon UK : B&N

Shanna Germain’s poems, essays, short stories, novellas, articles, and more have found homes in hundreds of magazines, newspapers, books, and websites. As the editor of erotic anthologies such as Bound by Lust: Romantic Stories of Submission and Sensuality, she’s garnered several awards, including a Pushcart nomination, the Rauxa Prize for Erotic Poetry, and the C. Hamilton Bailey Poetry Fellowship. She lives in Portland, OR.

She's the co-editor of Geek Love and writes for the Numenera roleplay game

Visit her online at

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Forgotten empires

If your mental picture, when someone says "Africa," is of herds of wildebeest sweeping majestically across a timeless unpopulated wilderness, then Ethiopia will knock you on your ass.  They were running ocean-spanning empires from Ethiopia, and building huge stone palaces, back when Britain was still mud huts.

Here's a quick glimpse, through the pics I took on holiday, of centuries of amazing civilisation - most of it still barely examined by archaeologists.

Di'amat Kingdom and the Ethio-Sabaean civilisation, 900 BCE - 400 BCE

The Great Temple of Yeha, 2700 years old.
The tiny village of Yeha in the north of the country hosts the ruins of its oldest capital city. In the 1st millennium BCE they built a huge palace of stone and timber at least four storeys high- the "Grat Be'al al Gebri" - and then followed it up with the "Great Temple." The people here worshipped the sun and the moon as gods:

and they seem to have held the ibex sacred:

They had a written language which was borrowed from the Yemeni kingdom of Saba, which was based not far away across the Red Sea; there seems to have been a lot of cultural exchange between the two centres of civilisation, and they may or may not have been a single entity at one point or another.

Sabaean script on a building fragment

Saba is probably the "Sheba" of the Old Testament, and if there was a Queen of Sheba she came from either Yemen or Ethiopia. Both sides of the Red Sea claim her for their own!

Aksumite Empire 300 BCE  - C8th+  CE

A new empire based at Aksum emerged in the 4th century BCE, converted to Christianity in the 4th century CE, and only went into decline with the Muslim expansion of the 7th century - that's an kingdom that lasted a thousand years.  In fact in the 3rd Century it was listed by a Persian writer as one of the 4 great empires of the world - along with Rome, China and Persia itself.

Model of Ta'kha Maryam Palace (6th century CE)

These are stele (grave markers) from the late pagan period:

The biggest erected was 33m high and weighed over 500 tons
Note that the stele are carved to look like multi-storey towers. They have fake doors and windows!

A whole new language, Ge'ez, was developed, written from left to right. It's still used in churches and modern Amharic (Ethiopian) is descended from it.

Ethiopia, btw, is the second-oldest Christian country in the world - after Armenia (yes, before Italy!)

Aksum was finished off with extreme prejudice in the 10th century by Queen Yodit Gudit ("Judith the monster"!), a Beta Israel (Ethiopian Jewish) insurgent who burned all the churches and wiped out the ruling families.

The Zagwe Dynasty and the churches of Lalibela - 10th-13th Century CE

The decline of Aksum was followed by a dark age, until the rise of the Zagwe dynasty based further south at Roha (now called Lalibela, after one of its great kings). This was the era of the wonderful rock-cut churches, each hewn from a single block of stone. They are a UNESCO world heritage site, and quite incredible - easily up there with the Pyramids and Petra. As my guidebook says: "Lalibela's obscurity is shameful."

They are dug down into the ground, so that you wind through a labyrinth of tunnels and gulleys from from one church to the next. Each is a living, functioning house of worship, and the singing of the priests is a constant aural backdrop.

 The most famous of all is Bete Giyorgis ("House of St George") - check out this 360 panorama

Gondar Period - 17th - 19th century

A long period of fighting off Muslim invaders (eventually booted out with the aid of the Portuguese) gave way to a period of stability when Gondar became the capital. Ethiopia flirted briefly and painfully with Catholicism, then booted the Portuguese out too. Successive emperors built palaces within the Royal Enclosure:

Visiting Gondar was the strangest experience - it felt like I'd accidentally stepped back onto a medieval English Heritage site!

In fact from the 19th Century onward, most of the grand architecture is an unhappy copy of European styles, including a rash of Italian fascist buildings from the occupation.  But I actually like this church in Aksum, built by the last emperor, Haile Selassie (died 1974)

And dig that modern bell-tower: pure Aksumite, revisited :-)

Monday, 23 March 2015

Blue Monday

Every Monday I post a naughty excerpt for your entertainment!

After two weeks in Ethiopia I had no choice but to offer you this snippet from my story Slave of the Lamp, which appears in the Underworlds anthology, because it's all about the Queen of Sheba. That queen is HUGE in Ethiopia - she's counted as the founder of their imperial line and the mother of the country. The protagonist in this story is a very sulky djinni who magically bound to her will...

The next time Bilqis calls me from my prison, the hand of night lies upon the Earth. I stand in a chamber I have never seen before, which contains a great bed. There are only three women in the room. Two are entirely naked, and they may not have noticed my entrance at all, because the first is lying back upon the coverlet and the other has her face buried in the girl's sex and is lapping away – to some effect, judging from the hitch and twitch of those hips and the way the reclining maid is panting as she plays with her own breasts.

    'Djinni,' says the third, the queen herself; 'I have something to show you. Stand and watch. Do not move until I tell you.'

    It is not an entirely disagreeable command, for once. Bilqis is clad only in a collar of bright feathers and a belt of lapis lazuli beads. They glow against the dark shimmer of her skin, drawing attention to its velvet softness, to the curve of her waist and the swell of her heavy breasts. But there is no vulnerability in her near-nakedness; she holds herself regally, as if in coronation robes.
    She rises and places the Lamp safely aside upon a shelf, and then from under a cushion on the bed – she reaches around the two labouring handmaids, stroking both idly with her fingertips – she fetches an apparatus that I do not, at first, comprehend. It consists of two phalluses, shaped from stitched and stiffened leather, joined at a peculiar angle. There are many soft straps too, and Bilqis fastens these about her hips and thighs, sliding the more curved of the two false members deep inside her. When she tightens the harness and straightens, the second cock stands out from her pubic mound – for all the world like a true erection, if a woman could sport such a thing. It looks obscene. She strokes it lovingly, dipping her fingers into a bowl of perfumed oil to lavish her slippery caress upon the thick shaft. She pumps it with her fist as if it might ejaculate.

    I do not know whether to be amused or affronted. She is a mockery of all that is a man – and yet my own cock twitches; I find this sight strangely arousing. More so when, ignoring me, she kneels up upon the bed and touches the supine handmaid upon the peak of her breast.

    The girl opens her eyes, gazing up at her queen with a look of naked adoration. First she stretches up to kiss the slippery shaft, then she rolls over onto her front, drawing her knees beneath her to raise her ass. Presented like that, it appears as an exquisite heart-shape. The girl who has been doing the licking slides her hands into those of the kneeling girl and grips her tight, as a comrade offering comfort.

    Oh, how I ache.

    The queen ... the queen is kneeling up behind that luscious rear, her hands on those hips. The phallus is angled right at the maiden's well-licked sex. That cleft must be puffy and wet and open by now; it certainly seems to offer no resistance as the blunt helmet noses into it and the shaft follows, disappearing inch by inch into the hot depths. The queen works her hips with consummate care, biting her lip as she surges and then slacks. Her eyes are half-hooded, her sapphire-painted lids fluttering with each push of her thighs, each heave of her glorious breasts. The handmaiden below whimpers and gasps, twisting her own hips as she makes room for the obdurate prod invading her innermost parts. I struggle to understand what is happening – surely the queen can feel nothing through that false manhood?

    Then I realise that each thrust must press upon the sensitive nub of her sex, and grind the second phallus into her own passage. It seems to be sufficient to bring her satisfaction. There is a glow rising in the queen's cheeks as she labours, and a trembling jerkiness to her movements, just as the girl's groans are becoming deeper and wilder. Bilqis' breasts shudder, and the wobbling dance of those delectable orbs with their staring nipples is almost enough to distract me from the unnatural fucking going on beneath. Almost, but not quite. The undulation of all that feminine flesh quivering and slapping together is making the hot blood throb in my cock.

    I would show them how it is done, if I were free.

    Then Bilqis begins to gasp, her hands biting into the girl's flesh, her thrusts suddenly commendably savage. The girl wails – though not, I think, in protest; she is pressing back upon her queen's weapon – and in a flurry of shudders and two mingles cries of release it is over.
    A smile upon her flushed face, Bilqis detaches the thigh-straps of the harness and steps down from the bed, leaving the phallic apparatus still buried in the slave-girl's pretty rear. 'Was that instructive, djinni?'

    'Most enlightening, mistress.' How I burn to use the harlot, just as she used the maid.

     With a slap upon that bottom, she commands, 'Leave now,' and I watch as the two girls rise obediently and slip out of the room. Then she comes over to me. Her eyes are full of unassuaged lasciviousness. Oftentimes, my brother djinn have taken mortal women as concubines. Their own men, it is said, are unable to satisfy their great appetites, which is why they cannot remain faithful to their lawful husbands. Bilqis, I think, is one of those women.

    She puts her hand upon the bar of my engorged member. With a grin I make myself naked once more, so that there is nothing between her skin and mine. She glances down, admiring, as she strokes my shaft, and my chest swells with triumph as my cock-slit weeps with joy
    'Djinni,' says she, 'I want a cock.'

    I am taken aback. I laugh to cover my dismay. 'Would you be a man, then?' I mock her. 'Is it not enough to be queen, that you must be king?'

    She steps back, eyeing my frustration with undisguised amusement. 'Why would I want to be a man?' she asks, running her hands over her own body, caressing the rich curves of hip and waist, hefting and cupping and squeezing her breasts until my eyes feel like they will burst from my head. 'A man spends his pleasure once, and then is done. I may take mine over and over, with every woman in my harem. But...' She licks her lips. 'I want to be able to feel it when I enter my favourite's tight hole. I want to be a woman, yet with a cock of flesh. I want one like yours.'

    I don't know what to say. It appals me, and it excites me in ways I cannot describe.

    'I command it, djinni,' she says, looking in my eyes.

    So I give her a cock. And as an afterthought, a pouch of balls, because I think it looks better that way, and that they will suit her. She steps back with a gasp, touching herself, her fingers like fluttering butterflies. Her member is already half-hard; it becomes harder as she grasps and strokes it, harder in great surges. She casts me a look of disbelief, which I do not understand because this is what she asked for. Then she checks between her legs to make sure I have not robbed her of her woman's parts.

    'You have both, mistress,' I say through gritted teeth. 'As you desired. Though you will not sow any seed with that thing.'

    'Then it is for pleasure only,' she says, and there is a fire in her eyes when she looks upon me that seems to belong to the Flameborn, not the Children of Dust. 'Lie upon the bed, djinni.'

    'Me?' I stutter. Outrage flares through my soul.

    'You, djinni.' She smirks. 'I command it.'

    'No!' I bark, but I must go, and I am already going. I am her slave, no less than the women of her bedchamber. And to much the same end, it appears. She requires me to lie back upon the cushions, and she goes to dip both of her hands in the bowl of oil. I look up at her, at the luscious womanly curves I desire so much – and at the monster, standing erect from the juncture of her thighs, that she is slicking with one lazy hand. I cannot help wishing I had made it a little smaller.

Buy at Amazon US : Amazon UK kindle (and paperback)

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Danger! - Fierce paperbacks at large!

My author copies of Fierce Enchantments have arrived!

In case you don't remember, this is my third collection of erotic short stories. It's published by the lovely Sweetmeats Press and, yes - there are review copes available if you get in contact with me...

Here's the Introduction wot I wrote:

"I love writing short stories. Don’t get me wrong – I love writing novels too, and penning Named and Shamed (published previously by Sweetmeats) was a whirlwind ride of filthy delight for me. But there’s a special pleasure in writing a collection of short stories, perhaps because of the technical challenge. I have to think about crafting variety across the whole book, not just in erotic action and plot, but setting and vocabulary and viewpoint. Each story is a different facet of the whole, and I want that jewel to shine. Male and female points-of-view? Emotion and outrageous filth? First and third person narration? Fantasy and SF and historical and fairy-tale? Check, check, check and check.

I love a challenge, me.
And I love my erotica to be challenging in and of itself. I delight in skating close to the thin ice, and I want to make worlds that are as convincing as they are surprising. I hope you find these tales immersive and enchanting in their fierce way, but take my advice – don’t trust the narrators, at least until they have earned that trust. Don’t ever just swallow whole what they have to say.
Too Much of Water is based on Ivan the Terrible, Russian folklore and the fairy-story The Frog Prince, told in the coldest voice I could muster. Bolt Hole in contrast is burning hot - a post-apocalyptic zombie story drenched in sweat and despair and need, with just the faintest glimmer of hope. The King in the Wood is based on a the central myth in Sir James Frazer’s vast speculative anthropology text The Golden Bough (1915), which I read decades ago in the college library when I should have been writing essays; Frazer’s work is mostly discredited now but it was a rich source for my fervid imagination. The Last Thing She Needs is a story of traumatized vampire hunters and BDSM. I think there are far too few tales out there told from the point-of-view of the DS bit of that acronym, and I wanted to explore the paradox of the conscientious sadist. Sycorax, a re-telling of course of Shakespeare’s Tempest, employs one of my favourite devices: the tale written from the eye-level of the monster, where horror lurks between the lines. Knight Takes Queen is an Arthurian story, set in a chivalric world where modern notions of BDSM have never been articulated and sex is never simply innocent fun. At Usher’s Well is based on a ghostly Scottish ballad that I first heard sung by Steeleye Span. I’m not usually a huge fan of melancholic or downbeat erotica but it does have its moments, and I worked quite hard to keep the grisly details implied rather than explicit! The Military Mind is a riotous space-opera gang-bang, and all I’m saying here is that I adored the movie Aliens from the moment I saw it, my first adult-rated film. And after that brutal pounding, we switch to a gentler gear for the last two stories. A Man’s Best Friend was inspired by the very old TV series The Water Margin, but my version of ancient pseudo-China is fantasy without any historical basis. And The Merry Maid is pure playful fun, a riff on the fairy-tale formula of three brothers seeking their fortune.
 This is my third collection of erotica tales (following Wild Enchantment and Dark Enchantment) and I’d like to thank Sweetmeats Press for believing my vision and giving me my storytellers’ voice again. Pull a seat up to the fire and let’s begin. Just remember, you don’t have to believe a word I say…"
Janine Ashbless

“These ten deliciously diverse stories reveal a vivid, wide-ranging imagination—one is struck by the sheer breadth of Ashbless’ inventiveness, her natural gift for story-telling honed to acute sharpness with rigorous intellectual focus and well-practiced craftswomanship. Covering all the archetypal bases from folk ballads, myth, legend, and fairytale to futuristic sci-fi, well-researched historical fiction, contemporary horror, paranormal thriller, and post-apocalyptic action-adventure, there’s something for everyone in this wondrously abundant, cerebrally and erotically stimulating, perpetually entertaining collection.” – Erotica for the Big Brain

Amazon US : Amazon UK : Barnes and Noble

Friday, 20 March 2015

An interview with D L King

Today I'm lucky enough to have D. L. King here on my blog. She's just edited The Big Book of Domination for Cleis Press, so I'm truly honoured she chose to go against the grain and submit to my impertinent questions ... :-D

Not every woman likes to submit. An increasing number, in fact, like to be on top. And their partners love it! D.L. King, editor of 2013's award-winning Under Her Thumb, curates a singularly scintillating collection with The Big Book of Domination: Erotic Fantasies, where only the bossiest of BDSM can be found. Filled with surprises and unexpected twists (yes, that kind, too!) this book of pleasure proves that when lust and desire take control, all bets are off. Take what you want—you won't regret it. Dominance and submission is a dance award-winning editor D. L. King knows well, and The Big Book of Domination will rock your world with all manner of sensuous games and pairings. The heated power exchanges may just overwhelm you, but you’ll be glad to burn.

Hello DL - Welcome to the blog! Tell me, what brought The Big Book of Domination about?
I was hanging out at the Cleis Press booth at Book Expo America, helping out (or taking up space—I suppose it depends on how you look at it) when the publisher asked me how I’d like to edit The Big Book of Domination.  I was blown away.  Would I? Would I? (That reminds me of a bad joke from gradeschool…) Rachel Kramer Bussel had recently edited The Big Book of Submission and this was to be its companion piece. I was more thrilled than had I actually pitched the idea, myself, and honored that Cleis Press would think of me in relation to this title.

What did you most enjoy about putting this book together? Did you come across any surprises? Did you learn anything new?
I think I enjoyed the variety of stories submitted most. Usually, when I edit an anthology, it’s theme-based and all the submissions comply, more or less, with the stated theme. But with The Big Book of Domination, the call specified clearly that I was looking for everything to do with domination. I wanted fem dom, male dom, straight, gay, and lesbian stories. I wanted romantic stories and pure erotica. I wanted bondage, spanking, pony play—you name it. My idea was to put together a fairly comprehensive book about what it feels like to be the dominant, as well as what it feels like to be the bottom for someone secure in their ability to dominate.
What I got were a lot of powerful stories, several of which made me go altogether weak in the knees. I don’t know that I learned anything, other than finding a few new writers I want to hit up for stories for my next project, but I sure had fun putting this book together.

Is “kinky” a label you apply to yourself? Are there other labels you prefer? (I ask because I enjoy a lot of BDSM-type stuff myself, but I’m not so much into any one thing that I feel it right to define or label myself that way.)
Yes, “kinky” is a label I apply to myself. I also call myself a dominant woman. I suppose I’ve been actively practicing D/S or BDSM for about fifteen years, or so (although I don’t suppose I’ve been all that active lately, but that’s clearly off-topic). I don’t get anything out of bottoming and being submissive is simply not in my nature. I do, on the other hand, get something out of being a domme—quite a lot, actually—especially when I can read the reaction my bottom du jour has from our play. I derive the most pleasure from giving pleasure to others (via pain and the occasional bit of humiliation) so, yeah, I do label myself as a kinky top. Though, I don’t think that’s actually news to anyone.

Have you read/watched Fifty Shades of Grey?  
I read all the books from cover to cover. I don’t have much to say about them, other than things I already said about the difference between erotica and erotic romance in Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades of Grey. I could talk about the poor writing and editing (which really pisses me off in any book) or the addictive quality of them (yes, I read them like candy, one right after the other, even with the crappy writing and editing). I could talk about the difference between consensual kink and domestic violence—two very different things—and the problem when writers with no personal experience get those things confused. I could talk about the difference between fiction and non-fiction and how an awful lot of folks seem to get those things confused but, truly, it’s all been done to death.
I haven’t seen the movie. The guy who stars in it is such a moron and has said so many truly awful things about kink and people who are wired that way that I can’t justify paying money for it. Don’t worry, I’m sure I will see it once it’s streamed. I may even rent the streamed version if it’s only a couple of bucks. But I didn’t want to pay movie theater prices for it. The ticket prices are bad enough but can you believe what they charge for popcorn?

Are you glad more vanilla people are trying BDSM thanks to 50SoG? Worried? Or do you think it’s just a silly fashion thing that’ll die back to its core interest-group?
 Yes, no and yes. I think people should try whatever interests them sexually. It’s always a good idea to expand one’s horizons. Am I worried? About what? Some stranger not liking it? Doing something stupid and getting hurt? Not really. They’re strangers—and hopefully adults—they can be responsible for themselves. They certainly don’t need me to be responsible for them. And I do think it will die back down to its core group because the majority of the population, no matter how titilated they are by the subject, simply aren’t wired that way.

If you had to give up either Writing or Sex, which would you sacrifice?
Remember what I said earlier about not being active just now? Well, there’s that. And, oh, look, here I am writing. Actually, I tend to do more writing when I’m not being sexually active—‘cause I’m too busy when I am.

Do you think the readership for erotica has changed in your time? If so, have you changed what you are writing, in response?
That’s an interesting question. My first response was to say, no, it hasn’t changed, but I don’t think that’s completely true. I think the readership is much more into erotic romance now, than erotica. I write and edit erotica, not erotic romance and I think I’m seeing that trend in a general slow-down in books looking for my specific kinds of stories and certainly in availability of editorial contracts.

What was the first book you ever read that turned you on?
This is a hard one.  It might have been The Story of O, but I really don’t like that book. (Hello! Top here!) It might also have been Laura Antoniou’s The Marketplace, but I’m not sure; this is going back a ways.  I do remember, however, that Anne Rice’s Beauty books definitely did it for me. They may not have been the first, but they were the most memorable. I think it was the variety of partners and kinks and, of course, the fact that they were beautifully written by a truly excellent writer.

Which fictional character would you most like to have sex with?
Man, that’s a tough one. I can think of a bunch of real people; you know, like stars and musicians. I don’t know.  Maybe Remus Lupin. ["Oh - I so get that! Yum!" - Janine] Maybe my character, Ray Reynolds from The Melinoe Project. Yeah, now that I think of it—him. After all, I wrote him for me.

Do you have a Message you are trying to get across in your writing? If there’s one thing you could tell your readers, what would it be?
I don’t think I have a message.  If I do, it’s have a good time and make sure other people have a good time.  Oh, and don’t take yourself so seriously. (Most of my stories are humorous because, let’s face it, sex can be pretty funny. I’m just sayin’.)

You can only eat one flavor ice-cream for the rest of your life … Which do you pick?
Sorry to disappoint: vanilla.  I’m not a fan of chocolate. Yep, I love vanilla in pretty much everything: cake, cookies, ice cream—but I draw the line at sex.
LOL! Thank you DL!

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D.L. King is the editor of anthologies such as Slave Girls, Under Her Thumb and The Harder She Comes, winner of the Lambda Literary Award and the Independent Publisher Book Award gold medal. Her stories can be found in The Big Book of Bondage, Luscious and No Safewords, among others. She lives in New York, NY.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Out of Africa

I'm officially back from visiting my distant relatives in Ethiopia!

"Hey ... any of you guys got any Imodium?"

Gelada baboons are pretty racist, I have to report. They will let you sit within 5 feet and totally ignore you if you are a tourist (and therefore harmless). When locals walk by, though, they scurry away nervously. They know the locals don't like 'em.

"Mum! Mum! Mum! Mum!"

Geladas live in the Simien Mountains. Ethiopia is very well endowed with mountains indeed, and gobsmackingly scenic:

Other major national resources include dust, donkeys (more than any other country except China)  and churches:

Yes, this is where they keep the Ark of the Covenant. As you can see, the roof leaks.
In the last two weeks I've been in DOZENS of churches (of which, more in a later post). I'm surprised my face hasn't melted off. Though come to think of it, I was struck down with diarrhea minutes after breaking these rules...

It was pointed out that I'd have have been fine if I'd slept with someone else's spouse...

Ethiopia is absolutely saturated with (Christian Orthodox) religion. It is all-pervasive. At 4 in the a.m. they kick off three-hour sung services which are broadcast by loudspeaker all over town.

And that's why the priests pass out during the afternoon

My favourite archangel, Uriel.
He carries a chalice in which he caught the blood of Christ. Okay, I so need to use that in Book 2...
We went in Lent, which means everyone had gone vegan for two months :-D
This is the national fasting-food platter. Lots of spice!

The grey pancake is "injera". Picture it as a piece of cold damp carpet-underlay.
You'll be glad to hear that I did find a holy corpse, as is my quest on every foreign holiday:

But Ethiopia offered plenty of surprises too!

Ben Abeba - Scottish-African fusion. Or Dr Seuss meets The Flintstones.

Like, not only is is still 2007 in Ethiopia ... but midday is at 6am (they count from dawn)!

And here is Sylvia Pankhurst's tomb in Addis Ababa :-D

It's like nowhere else on earth. Next Wednesday's post: rock-hewn churches and the biggest monolithic erection IN HISTORY.

Fnarr fnarr