Friday, September 12, 2014

EROTIC LITERARY SALON - A Philadelphia Gem



There’s a place in Center City Philadelphia, up narrow one-way Sansom Street, up a wide flight of stairs atop the Bohemian Absinthe Lounge, where like-minded folks can bare their souls and share their erotic stories and musings and poems and jokes and memoirs in five-minute segments. Where acceptance of kinks and weirdness and raunchy thoughts is a given. Where the group’s resident nonagenarian, Frances (age 97), occasionally reads her own erotica.

Where, next Tuesday, September 16, I will discuss how my career morphed from writing erotic romance to stories centered on BDSM, and offer some personal experiences while doing hands-on research. I will also read excerpts showing how these experiences translated into scenes from my books.

The Erotic Literary Salon is the brainchild of Dr. Susana Mayer, a Sexologist who is a Consultant, Educator, and Relationship Mentor. She has a Master’s in Public Health in Human Sexuality and a Doctorate in Human Sexuality. According to her website, Dr. Mayer specializes in the libido – human sexual desire and arousal, enhancement of intimacy and joy through the creation of a personal eroticism. In her practice and seminars she champions ‘Ageless Sex,’ educating her audience on typical lifespan sexuality changes and challenges.


Each month, in addition to a featured speaker, about 20 guests participate as writers, readers, storytellers, spoken word performers of original works/words of others; the rest just come to listen, enjoy and applaud.

The mission of the Erotic Literary Salon is to provide a supportive and non-judgmental arena for sharing erotica, writing tips, encouraging writers, offering sex news with a positive spin, and discussions on various related topics. The Salon has an online presence with frequent blogs and links to various sites and select products. It has established an ebook publishing company, The SenSexual Press.

Here’s the info regarding the meetings, direct from their site:  

Salons gather the 3rd Tuesday of every month at TIME (The Bohemian Absinthe Lounge), 1315 Sansom Street, Center City, Philadelphia. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. (limited seating), for cocktails, food and conversation. Talk and Q&A between 7:00-7:30, readings begin at 8:00. Admission is $10, discounted for students and seniors to $8. Salon attendees must be 21.

If you’re in the Greater Philadelphia area, please stop by on September 16! There’s a parking garage directly across the street. Enjoyable evening guaranteed upstairs at the Erotic Literary Salon.

~~ Cris Anson

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

BDSM Writers Con 2014 = Awesome!



The four-day BDSM Writers Con August 21-24, hosted by world-renowned psychologist Dr. Charley Ferrer, was an awesome place to be. For those who don’t know, Dr. Charley gives seminars to psychologists in China, Venezuela and other locations, teaching that BDSM is not a disease or a pathology but simply an alternate lifestyle. At this Con she offered a wide range of workshops and hands-on demonstrations in two suites that loaded our minds and notebooks with information. So sorry I couldn’t be in both rooms at the same time!

Some things that stood out for me:

Keynote speaker Joey W. Hill, my favorite BDSM author. When introducing her, Dr. Charley got choked up because she had read Joey’s The Vampire Queen’s Servant, the first time she’d read a book with a dominant heroine like Dr. Charley herself. One fan letter later, she met Joey at a conference, where it was suggested she start doing workshops about BDSM. The result was this very Con. It was an emotional moment for all.

The Publishers Panel agreed that we’re in the erotic bubble right now. The ménage, pioneered by ebook authors, is making its way into paperback books, just like anal and BDSM are now accepted by the big New York names. The panelists (executives from Loose ID, Samhain, Riverdale and Insatiable Audio along with an agent and a free-lance anthology editor) recommended that authors have free samples of their writing on their web pages (it goes without saying that you MUST have a web presence). Short stories are a great way to break into publishing today because anthologies, especially erotic and BDSM ones, are in demand, for both print and audio. In fact, the audio market has tripled in the past five years and shows no signs of slowing down. Moderator Lori Perkins (publisher, Riverdale Avenue Books) observed that her customers are in the 35-65 age range, so older characters would be welcome.

The Femme Dom workshop by Joey Hill and Dr. Charley was outstanding. The female Dominant must be harsher with her sub than a male Dom to a female sub. The author must not “cop out” on this. Men, even submissive men, require a stronger, heavier hand but the heroine cannot come across as cruel. This is a delicate balancing act for the author. If you read male/male stories, you will get a feel for how much a man will be able to take. Build some sexual tension first, before the Dominance comes into play. His internal conflict (whether to kneel at her feet) must be his decision to make; the heroine cannot force him to submit. Don’t write him as a wimp. Even though he eventually gives her the power, he is still the alpha male, the protector, the take-charge person when necessary.

Another outstanding panel showcased a “household” of two Dominants, married to each other, and one of the two slaves who live with them. Notable was the fact that although the slave is subservient to both Doms, they both agree that her priorities are, in order of importance: her health, her job, her family, and only then her two Masters. Their relationship isn’t polyamory. It is more of a V, with the slave at the bottom serving the two at the top of the V. This slave enjoys being a little girl, a pet with lots of cuddle time but she has a need to serve, to make someone’s life better.

The male observed that no relationship starts out as Master/slave. You start as Top/bottom, which is physical. Dom/sub adds the mental aspect. When you reach the M/s stage, it is spiritual as well. He also observed that being a Master is a lot of work; you are responsible for another person and must make sure (s)he grows while in your care. The true secret of a long-term relationship isn’t the SM part; it’s what you have in common in the vanilla world. But it’s better than the vanilla world in that we have protocols and rules set up for when there are problems; we TALK about them. There is no yelling, no passive-aggressive behavior. Bottom line: you know you’re in a good relationship when you feel not quite whole when you’re not with the other.

The demos were awesome. Bo Blaze brought a golf-bag full of toys (floggers, whips, crops, canes and more) and demonstrated many of them on his slave. She wears his collar as a wedding ring. He, too, stressed that her health, family, and job come before him. Some safety tips: Good places to hit are muscle and fat. Avoid places where bones, organs and nerves (top of the neck especially) can be struck. Nauttiboy and his sensual knives cast a spell on the attendees. He cautions that if anyone bleeds during knife play, it had better be the Top. “It’s a power exchange,” he says. “We feed off each other. I feed off her fear. She feeds off the sensual.” If he’s doing multiple scenes at a dungeon, for safety reasons he will not use the same knife on succeeding bottoms but puts them out of the way to be cleaned later.

My favorite, the violet wand, was very much in evidence, with Traveling Fool (TF) performing his magic on a volunteer from the audience who simply dissolved into a puddle of smiles after the demo.  But TF’s partner MaryAnn, a Domme with the face and demeanor of an angel, showed her sadistic side while wielding the same wands to great effect on a willing male, who flopped around like a landed fish on a dock and cursed like a sailor when she zapped him in certain places.


As well, TF and MaryAnn were in demand at the evening’s festivities at Powder's party. Yes, of course I climbed on the table when it was my turn, how could I not? (If you want to read in depth about my first violet wand experience, click here.) But what tickled me most was how many of the attendees were first-timers in the “Scene” and how brave they were to take their place on the table. Each of them came away on wobbly knees with the same shit-eating grin of delight and “I never knew it could feel like this!” comments. I felt like a mother eagle watching her chicks fly out of the nest to soar on their own. 

What else? My roommate, a first-timer in all things BDSM, received her first spanking and her first violet wand treatment, and got handcuffed with her arms behind her back. But. The police officer who used regulation cuffs on her couldn’t find the correct key to unlock them and my roomie spent a fretful half hour learning how it REALLY felt to be restrained until he returned with the correct equipment. Of course, being responsible for her predicament, I wouldn’t leave her side until she was freed.

The cop was also new to the Scene so being my usual bratty self, I asked him if he would kneel at my feet and kiss my navel. To my delight, he did both then apparently felt so good in that subservient position, he began moving his shoulders in time to the driving beat of the music. I snapped, “Did I tell you you could move?” He stopped immediately. Wow, was that a heady experience for me. I may become a Domme yet!

Oh, I must mention Lady Sabrina of My Lady’s Toys. She personally spent a good half hour fitting me to the most appropriate, flattering red-and-black lace corset in her arsenal. Her shop was busy the entire weekend and I can attest to the quality of her offerings. She’s revamping her website so I can’t give you a link, but you can write to her at myladystoys@yahoo.com .
On Sunday the Book Fair featured close to 30 authors of BDSM-themed books. It was a kick to talk one-on-one with readers who came from all over New York City, many of whom bought a book or two from my table. The only hitch was that the printer who promised next-day delivery, i.e. Friday, of the First Annual BDSM Writers Con Anthology (21 stories by writers in attendance, including my short story “When Restraint Set Me Free”), still hadn’t arrived by Sunday. To buy a copy of the book, please click here

The other feature of Sunday was Erotic Readings. I read an excerpt from Mercy and Redemption, which has just made it to the Round of Sixteen of Sex Scene Championships. Voting occurs on Wednesday, September 6 here. I’d love it if you voted me into the quarter-finals!
I’d also love it if you have a notion to sign up for next year’s BDSM Writers Con. I’m certainly coming back. Take advantage here of special pricing for September only.

~~ Cris Anson

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

First Annual BDSM Writers Conference Anthology

My short story, "When Restraint Set me Free," appears in this anthology. Here's the information from its publisher, Riverdale Avenue Books. Come see us at the BDSM Writers Con on Sunday, August 24, at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City from noon to 4:00 p.m. and meet your favorite BDSM authors. Entrance to the Book Fair is free to the public.
~~ Cris Anson

Innovative hybrid publisher Riverdale Avenue Books is proudly sponsoring the third annual BDSM Writers Conference where 300 erotic romance and erotica authors will travel to New York City to explore the real life world of 50 Shades of Grey where they will learn how to navigate the nuances of power exchange relationships as well as how to flog and whip and write about it from August 21-24th.

Riverdale Avenue Books has also teamed up with the conference founder Dr. Charley Ferrer, a BDSM education and clinical sexologist, to publish the First Annual BDSM Writers Con Anthology which features 20 stories and essays by the conference’s featured authors, including erotica legend Laura Antoniou, Lambda Award-wining author Debra Hyde, as well as three new writers and established erotica authors such as Cris Anson, Gray Dixon and Roz Lee. The $16.99 print book and $6.99 ebook will be available to conference participants at the conference. The anthology is currently on presale for the general public at Amazon.com.
 
The con is divided into two tracks: "writers" and "everyone." The writers track focuses on the craft and will include a panel presentation headed by Riverdale Avenue Books Publisher Lori Perkins on “How to Publish BDSM Writing” with editors from Samhain and Loose Id, as well as established literary agents and anthology editors. The track for readers and fans, in addition to the opportunity to meet favorite writers, will include live demos and lifestyle workshops.

“BDSM Writers Con is dedicated to bringing education and a greater understanding to authors and readers of Dominance and submission, a highly erotic and often misrepresented lifestyle,” said conference founder Dr. Charley Ferrer. “It’s my pleasure and honor to work with Riverdale Avenue Books to bring together over twenty of our Featured Authors in our First Annual BDSM Writers Con Anthology.”


“I am thrilled to be working with Dr. Charley on this innovative, educational writers conference and hoping that the next 50 Shades of Grey will come out of the BDSM community,” said Lori Perkins, who is also the author of 50 Writers on 50 Shades of Grey.

Keynote Speaker Joey W. Hill and Dr. Charley Ferrer at a prior BDSM workshop
The weekend is capped off with a night out at an actual BDSM club on Saturday, followed by a book fair and reading on Sunday, which is being presented by Riverdale Avenue Books’ Between the Covers reading series and is free and open to the public. Thirty-eight featured authors, including conference keynote speaker and New York Times bestselling author Joey W. Hill, will read and sign books. 

The Between the Covers reading features a unique dirty word raffle where participants are encouraged to write a favorite dirty word on a piece of paper (with initials because dirty minds think alike). Prizes include a corset from hipsandcurves.com (a $150 value), samples of Dude Wipes, Simply Slick Oil Based Lubricant and Uberlube Silicone Lubricant from MySecretLuxury.com, and signed books by the readers.

About Riverdale Avenue Books
Riverdale Avenue Books publishes e-books, print, and audio books under eight imprints: Pop, a pop culture imprint; Riverdale/Magnus the award-winning imprint of LGBT titles; HSF, a horror, science fiction and fantasy line; Truth, an erotic memoir line; Desire, an erotica and erotic romance imprint; Dagger, a mystery thriller imprint; and Sports and Gaming featuring sports and gaming titles.  Started in 2011 by industry veteran Lori Perkins, Riverdale is a full service publisher, with a foreign rights and film agency department. Visit us at www.RiverdaleAveBooks.com.