My baby’s a superhero.
And Sweet Jesus, but she’s got her powers turned on tight tonight.
You’d think she was the only one up on that stage and not part of a five-man band, from the way she holds court, all but mouth-fucking the microphone. Girl’s got the biggest, plumpest lips you’ve ever seen, and tonight they’re the purple of just-ripe plums, of bruises, of that half-moon mark where teeth tighten together over skin.
If you can bear to take your eyes off her mouth, go down. Slow. Open neckline, dark blue curls falling against her olive skin. Hint of cleavage. Long vanilla scar down the top right of her breast. Black spandex that works her curves like no-man’s land, makes you just want to taste that shine with your tongue all over.
The band behind her, they’ve got capes over their jeans and t-shirts. But no cape for her. It gets caught in her heels, she says, but you know it’s really that it covers too much of her. She likes to show off those hot-damn hips, that fine-as-rain-ass, those missing legs that end in something different every show
Tonight they’re steel filigree from her knees down; leaves and flowers and a hundred tiny metal creatures tucked into the empty spaces. She’s got a thing for whimsy wrapped in an enigma tucked into a weapon. Her legs, her feet really, end in six-inch knifed heels that could kill a man. Probably have killed a man. I don’t ask most times, because I don’t need to know. Sometimes she tells me anyway. And that’s when I have to buy a bottle of fine-ass whiskey and walk away from her, go down to the strip where the boys play ball in corner pockets and they’re all-too-happy to wield a fist to a face, a paddle to a place where the ass meets the mind.
Up there, on that stage, she looks like she’s singing, but she’s not singing. What she’s doing is so far beyond singing there are no words. A place beyond thought and sound coming together. If I believed in God, I’d say she was making the world, one note at a time. She just opens her mouth and suddenly things are in the world that weren’t there before. You. Me. Love. The sound of your breath leaving you, never to find its way back. I guess you’d call that death.
She makes the sound that makes death and life and love and when she stops, the crowd becomes a room of silence. Waiting. Teetering. Here, she could utter one more thing and blow them all over, explode them apart. End of days and all these delicate bodies would go down smiling.
One of these nights, I expect her to do it.
Not tonight. She smiles. Takes a deep breath. Bows. Her legs shine fierce as roughcut diamonds, sharp as a hand of razor blades before the fist. Some fan in the front row reaches up to the stage and touches the very edge of her toes. The metal protects him from her, but not from himself. Coppery blood arches into the air, and he draws his hand back, clutching himself. Ask him in five years, after he’s forgotten what it was like to have a finger there, and he’ll say he’d do it all over again, just for a taste of her, just for a single life-bleeding touch.
Bloodspill raises the crowd one more notch, fists in the air, fists in each other’s faces. They’re chanting, “Val-tora! Val-tora! Val-tora!” Once in a while someone screams, “Woooonder Caaaaaapes!”
Valtora, that’s her.
The Wonders, that’s her superhero backup band.
They think she’s saving them.
No one’s cheering for me. They don’t know about me.
Valtora wasn’t always a superhero. She wasn’t even always Valtora. Life gives you letters and you make letternames. That’s the kind of stuff Valtora doesn’t say. She just does it. Survivors, we just do the things that other people mouth about.
First Valtora was Valentino. Italian mafia. Man of a hundred wives and a million hits. No one cut off any of his body parts.
Then she was Valerie. Beautiful girl with a beautiful mouth. High-class escort in the pretty city. Everyone liked her body parts. Even when they found out most of those parts weren’t original model material.
When the war blew into town, she became Val. You want a gender? Hers was tough-talk-no-takebacks and sly-in-the-night. Someone was slyer, though. Someone with a big blade and the desire to make her talk. You lose two legs at the knee, turns out the sounds that come out of your mouth aren’t words, aren’t song, aren’t nothing so much as a whole lot of fuck yous.
By the time I entered the big picture, she was already on her way to becoming Valtora. Bombshell. Vibrato. Superhero. Weapons of choice? Curves that’ll knock you sideways if you don’t look away quick enough, a voice that’ll devastate you right off a high cliff and a pair of legs that’d as soon fuck you up as run.
And me? I stand next to the stage and I get knocked on my ass by those goddamn curves. I open my veins and let that voice work its way inside me like a virus. I design those legs that’ll fuck you up. But mostly, well mostly, I save the world.
You want to know what she is, right? You’re thinking: Really a superhero? Some kind of immortal? Maybe that’s just a lie upon a lie upon a lie. Maybe she’s just a human who lost a pair of legs and a pair of balls in a suicide car over a bridge one starfucked night.
Or maybe the lie is the one you tell yourself, in those dark nights when worry and fear beats the skindrum of your ribcage and God’s on your side and there’s no such thing as devils or demons or even superheroes that can fuck you up with the slip of a tongue.
Those lies have no place in me anymore. Not with Valtora in my life.
[Excerpted from “Saving the World”, Geek Love: An Anthology of Full-Frontal Nerdity]. Read the rest of the story by picking up a copy of this beautiful book. It’s full of amazing stories of sexy, subversive geek boys and girls getting it on, all accompanied by art and comics. (As a point of trivia, the graphic design for Geek Love is by Bear Weiter, who is now the art director at Monte Cook Games. This was the first project he and I worked on together, way back when).
I was brought up by hippies. That means a lot of things. We raised our own meat and grew our own food. My dad had (has, truly) long hair and had a record collection like you wouldn’t believe. I was taught to believe in taking care of the world and the community, in doing my best, and in a weird combination of manners and kickass. But mostly I was taught to give back.
Sometimes that means kindness. Other times it means helping out those in need. And sometimes it just means sharing when you have an abundance of things.
I currently have extra copies of three of my recent books: Lure of Dangerous Women and As Kinky As You Wanna Be and Geek Love. And I have a dearth of new things to read. So let’s help each other (and other authors) out with a trade.
Here’s how it works: Take a moment to think about the best author or book that you’ve discovered that you think doesn’t get the attention that it deserves (Any author or book or genre. Just don’t choose me or my books–that’s cheating. And don’t choose yourself or your books–that’s jerky). Write a comment on this post about said author or book, telling everyone why they’re so awesome. Share this blog post with people so that other people know about all of these great authors and books. Read the other comments (I rarely tell someone to read the comments, but in this case, that’s the important part; how else will you find that great author or book that you’ve been missing).
On January 27th, I’ll do a random dice roll and give away three signed books (winners will get their choice of either Lure or Kinky or Geek Love). Now, go forth and spread the love!
Kiss kiss bang bang, s.
I love getting copyedits for books — they’re always such a cool compilation of weird and wonderful words. I just finished the copyedits for As Kinky As You Wanna’ Be, and though I’d share the list with you. Because they’re fun and they give an interesting look at what’s between the covers. (Clearly, you know, don’t read this aloud to your children or your boss or anything. It’s not Goodnight Moon. Although it’s almost as lyrical, in its own way.)
ben wa balls
cum, precum; come, precome
Daddy (in role-play)
dom/dominant (in text)
oh my god; thank god (but “God” the creator)
nos (plural of “no”)
role-play (n, v)
“That’s right. When I was your age, television was called books. And this is a special book. It was the book my father used to read to me when I was sick, and I used to read it to your father. And today I’m gonna read it to you.”
“Has it got any sports in it?”
“Are you kidding? Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles…”
~The Princess Bride
I love that we’ve made a book with all of the above, plus a little bit of kissing thrown in for good measure! Okay, probably a lot of kissing… but who doesn’t like kissing?
Geek Love, as you may know, is out. The print book is beautiful. The ebook version is gorgeous. And we have some good news about both of those:
Every year, the National Leather Association: International (NLA-I) — a leading organization for activists in the pansexual SM/leather/fetish community — recognizes excellence in writing and publishing about Leather, SM, bondage and fetishes through their award program. They announced the finalists yesterday, and I am so incredibly proud to say that Bound by Lust is one of the finalists for the Samois Anthology Award. It’s in such good company that I almost can’t even hope it wins — the finalists are:
We knew Geek Love was hot when we created it. It’s got tentacle sex, robot rockin’, gamers rolling hot d20s, cosplay, Tesla, half-naked dwarves, hot gamer boys and girls… and that’s just in the first couple of stories and art. What we didn’t expect was that it would be too hot for Amazon:
Of course, we’re not saying Amazon should take us. They have the right to only take the books that fit within their very clear, stringent and consistently regulated content guidelines. Which are:
So, clearly it’s a good thing they don’t sell the wonderfully graphic Lost Girls or a book called Force Lactation and Rough Sex with My Busty Teen Niece: Licking My Aunt’s Milky Breasts (Taboo Erotica).
(Note: I’m not knocking authors or books of sexually explicit work here, clearly, and I’m certainly not saying Amazon should take those books down. I think the whole world should sell sexy stuff. I am just commenting on the lack of consistency in enforcing guidelines here. Also: if someone makes me a t-shirt that says “What I Deem Offensive is Probably About What You Would Expect,” I’ll send you a free Geek Love ebook).
Thankfully, as with so many things in the world, those who are awesome get to reap the rewards of being awesome. And in this case, the awesomeness is DriveThruFiction. They’ve supported Geek Love (and, truly, all of Stone Box Press’s books) from the get-go. We’re even working with them to create a beautiful, hardcover, print-on-demand version of Geek Love for those who missed the Kickstarter.
And look at this, after just one day of sales:
Yeah, that pretty much rocks. For us, for erotica lovers, for the authors and artists, and for DriveThru. To all those who support us: Thank you. May your endings always be happy and your bookshelves be full.
Kiss kiss bang bang, s.
UPDATE: Amazon has now suspended our account based on the reasoning that we are violating policy with a book that they didn’t even let us publish. Which makes not an iota of sense to me, so much so that it makes me wonder if they’re attempting to punish me for being so outspoken about this whole event. To which I say: Go DriveThru. Go small companies that actually have customer service numbers and people who care. Go small presses. Go readers. Go to hell, Amazon.
Wow. Amazon just called me to say that they saw I’d posted about the fiasco with Geek Love and that it was rejected in error and I could reopen our account and publish it there if I wanted to. The woman on the phone was very nice, but sounded quite surprised when I said, “Thanks, but we already went exclusive with another company because our experience with Amazon was so bad. We’re not interested in coming back.”
This morning, I read an interesting article on romance novels and feminism. It’s a good piece, with lots of insights into the genre and the market, and it got me thinking about how much romance novels (and erotic novels) have changed just in the time I’ve been alive. I started reading romance novels with my grandmother; she had huge bags of them that she traded with friends, or that my grandfather picked up at garage sales.
Then, when I was maybe in middle school, I stopped and started reading science fiction and fantasy. Why? Partly because those were worlds and characters that I could identify with more closely. The transition wasn’t a conscious choice, so much as it was a movement toward something that held more interest for me. When I found women protagonists (although I didn’t know the word then–I would have used “heroes”), they did cool things, they didn’t wait around for someone else to save them from society’s constraints, they didn’t give up their career or their dreams, and they weren’t afraid of their desires (carnal or otherwise).