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

Jul 31, 2018
 

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

 
 

Enter to win a SIGNED copy of Night Shift: A Choose-Your-Own Erotic Fantasy by Joanna Angel!

Jun 07, 2018
 

Enter now for your chance to win a signed copy of Night Shift by the one-and-only Joanna Angel. That’s right. You can touch something she touched. If that is not inspiration enough for your own erotic fantasy, then I don’t know what is!

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Getting to Know a Real-Life Unicorn: editor Frank Lowe (June's Exclusive Excerpt)

Jun 06, 2018
 

The below passage is excerpted from the “Editor’s Note” in Raised by Unicorns: Stories from People with LGBTQ+ Parents edited by Frank Lowe, which will publish on Tuesday, June 12, 2018. 

Hi, I’m Frank Lowe, a forty-one-year-old divorced gay dad. Some of you may know me from my snarky, acerbic Twitter persona “@GayAtHomeDad.” Others may be familiar with my writing for publications such as Huff Post, Gays with Kids, and The Advocate online, among many more. When I started tweeting in 2012, my original intent was to blow the roof off gay parenting stigmas. I used humor to diffuse what was a newer concept then (times have changed in five years), and it worked. I amassed over a hundred thousand followers who can now say they know at least one gay dad.

I used that platform to segue into what I really wanted to do—help others in the LGBTQ+ community, specifically youth. Through my writing, I opened my life wide open and gave people a true perspective into what it means to be a gay parent. Most readers have discovered there’s not really a big difference. Sure, I might put a little more air into styling my kid’s hair, but that’s about it. Needless to say, my son is my life, and I’ve dedicated myself to him becoming the best human possible.

Six million and counting. A huge number, right? Hard to believe when you consider we’re discussing U.S. citizens who have at least one LGBTQ+ parent. But that’s reality. These people can’t even type “my moms” or “my dads” into Microsoft Word without it wanting to add an unnecessary possessive apostrophe—i.e. “my mom’s” (try it, you’ll be amazed). Whether they want to be or not, they are an extension of the LGBTQ+ community. Terms such as “queerspawn” have been used to describe them, but personally I wouldn’t refer to my son as that. In fact, I don’t think he needs a label. He can be what he wants to be.

Prior to our son’s birth, I longed for any kind of information about gay adoption and raising a baby. It was 2009, and there were a few popular options. Every night, I’d be awake until three a.m. reading, to absorb all I could. Eventually I wanted something I was unable to find: the viewpoint from kids with LGBTQ+ parents. Now, that isn’t to say there weren’t choices available (there were and are). I just couldn’t locate them easily, and time was not on my side.

Fast forward to now—2018—he’s eight, and I’ve never been more proud of a human being in my life. He’s been an inspiration to me in infinite ways, including what you’re reading right now. I was gifted with this fantastic opportunity, and can finally give voices to those who have been relatively silent or swept under the rug.

“Raised by Unicorns” is obviously a take on the old adage “raised by wolves,” and I couldn’t find it a more fitting title. Not that I necessarily consider myself a unicorn (well, okay, sometimes), but the LGBTQ+ community comprises unique individuals and therefore, it seemed entirely appropriate. My goal was to present a diverse anthology to you, full of different life experiences. These stories run the gamut, and that is the beauty of it all. You may notice that this book is a little heavier on the L and G, but I feel that is a snapshot of the time we are living in and is constantly evolving.

All I hope you take away from this book is empathy. These people are beautiful souls who have faced adversity since they were born. Some of the stories might be what you imagine, and others will floor you. Regardless, in a century or so, this will be history, and I thank you for being part of it just by taking all of this in.

Raised by Unicorns is available for preorder/purchase at all major retailers in print and digital formats. Or feel free to order 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

May 24, 2018
 

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

 
 

Happy Masturbation Month!

May 09, 2018
 

Who doesn’t love a little self love? Cleis Press is here to help get your engines roaring this Masturbation Month with a giveaway for a signed copy of The Ultimate Guide to Solo Sex: All You Need to Know about Masturbation by the wonderful Jenny Block! Get rubbin’! I mean readin’!

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May's Exclusive Excerpt: In the Ring by James Lear

Apr 30, 2018
 

We’ve followed Dan Stagg through the fires of war, and now we follow him though “death” and into a new life as a modern-day, brusque, ex-marine version of James Bond. Did I mention he was gay? And that he has the sex drive of a genuine blue-ribbon stud horse? (From the sounds of it, he has the package to match, too.)

Secretly alive after being “killed-in-action” in the last book,  Dan’s acerbic and “looking-for-love-in-all-the-wrong-places” self cannot help but to sign up for a top-secret mission from the CIA. He is spirited off to London to infiltrate a boxing ring – one with suspected ties to conservative terrorists groups that are set to strike at the heart of progressive movements and organizations.

As Dan says himself, “Fucking got me thrown out of the corps, and now it’s my biggest asset?” Luckily for him, his new life turns into something even better as he gets to literally fuck and fight his way into and out of a plethora of sticky situations. To make matters even hotter, Dan has a certain level of disrespect for authority–like that bad boy from high school. You know the one. The one you still secretly think of in your more. . . private. . . moments.

The arena was getting busy, people pushing past us as they made their way to their seats, hands full of plastic glasses of beer. On the other side of the private door, everything was quiet.

“Just come through here.” He held open another door, and suddenly we were in a warm, carpeted area, low lights, the distant hum of voices. “The press room is just round the corner. I think they’re doing photos or something. Toilets are down here.”

I followed him through the door with the male symbol on it. Two tiny urinals, a hand basin, and a cubicle that was barely big enough for an adult to turn around in. “Thanks, Oz. I won’t be long.” I stood at the pisser, undid my pants, and flopped my cock out. I was going to have to produce something to give myself credibility. I closed my eyes, thought about waterfalls, and managed a short, steady stream.

“Suppose I might as well go too, while I’m here. Don’t know when I’ll get another chance.” He was beside me, just as I had hoped, pulling the elasticated waist of his track pants down, hauling out a decent-sized dick. With all the crap he was carrying—clipboards, laminates, and so on—he had to manage it with just one hand. He pushed his hips forward and pissed a little against the porcelain. I’d finished, but was making very certain I’d shaken off all the drops. Oz glanced down at me; I was on the way to being half hard, and it looked big. Distracted, he let the clipboard slip from where it was held under his arm; in trying to catch it, he splashed piss over his pants.

“Oh, shit. Sorry.”

“It’s okay. You didn’t get me.” I didn’t put my cock away, even though there was now no reason for me to have it out. Oz stepped back from the urinal and started brushing himself down. “Here, let me help.” I took the stuff he was carrying, and held it for him, making sure I didn’t block his view.

“Thanks, Greg. Fucking hell. What a mess.”

There was an electric hand dryer on the wall, the sort with a directional spout. “Come here. Stand under that.”

I hit the button, and Oz tried to angle the damp patch on his pants towards the hot air. He was too far away, and in trying to wriggle around into the right position he exposed his furry brown ass. My dick was getting hard in earnest now.

“You need to get closer.”

He stood on tiptoe, even jumped up. “I can’t.” The wet patch was a very visible dark gray.

“Here.” I put my arms around his waist from behind and lifted him so the hot air was blasting straight on to the affected area, flattening the black hair on his thighs like wind blowing through corn. Coincidentally, this position also brought my cock into contact with his ass. I braced my legs and held him, making sure he could feel my growing hardness.

“That’s . . . oh . . . that’s great . . .”

“We’re nearly there.”

“Yeah. Just . . . just keep going a bit . . . longer . . .” A bit longer and I’d have been slipping my cock into him, and he knew it. But when the worst of the wetness had disappeared, I lowered him to his feet. He was rock hard, sticking straight up, and he tried to bend over to conceal it. I didn’t bother.

“It’s okay, dude. Nothing to be embarrassed about. Look.” I smacked the underside of my cock a few times, made it bounce against my belly. “Guys get stiff all the time, right?”

“I know . . . it’s just . . . I mean, some people are like . . . you know . . .”

“Uptight about it? They’re assholes. It’s cool. You’re cute. You have a nice ass.”

“Oh, I . . . er . . . yeah . . .”

Poor kid was so horny and mortified and confused I thought he was going to cum on the spot. But that wouldn’t do. I had to keep him keen. I stuffed my hard dick back into my pants, and buttoned up. He looked heartbroken.

“You better put that away before someone comes in. Here.” I grabbed hold of his cock, squeezed it hard, and pulled his pants up over it. “Now think about your mother. That usually does the trick.”

He stood like a stunned cow, hands hanging by his sides.

“Come on, Oz. Wake up.” I gave back his stuff. He frowned, and tried to pull himself together. “You’ve got my number, right? Now, let me go watch the fight.”

“Oh . . . okay.”

Poor kid needed to cum so badly, and he’d felt my dick rubbing against his ass, and nothing would be right in his world until I’d fucked him. That was just how I wanted him. Mission accomplished.

“Call me, and we’ll fix up a proper training session.”

“Yeah.”

“And put in a good word for me with your boss. I need a job.”

“Okay.”

I moved towards the door. Oz looked as if he was going to start crying. “Oh, for Christ’s sake. Come here.” I grabbed him by the back of the neck, pulled him in, and kissed him hard on the mouth, pushing my tongue in. He staggered back against the wall and I pressed on, thrusting my groin against him. “You do what I say, and I’ll fuck your sweet ass until you can’t stand up.” I let him go. “Call me, Oz.”

I left him to compose himself, and made my way out to the auditorium.

In the Ring by James Lear can be purchased any place where books and ebooks are sold: AmazoniTunesBarnes & NobleGoogle PlayKobo, and more!

You can read more about In the Ring and James Lear here.

Need to know more about Dan? Or have a pressing need to fulfill your completionist tendencies? You can check out the first two books of The Dan Stagg Mystery series, The Hardest Thing and Straight Up.

Don’t forget to tell your friends on Goodreads!

Happy reading 😉

 
 

Five Signs You Might Be a Submissive

Apr 09, 2018
 

Vanilla (adj. vəˈnilə): A person (typically heterosexual) who prefers basic sexual intercourse within a committed romantic relationship. Vanilla people have no interest in “unusual” sexualities or kinky behavior (The Cleis Press Sextionary).

You may have been called “vanilla” or used the term to describe yourself, but what if (and considering the scope human sexuality it may not be THAT big of an “if”) you were more? What if there was a hidden desire just under the surface that is itching to be scratched, explored, and opened up for your enjoyment and the pleasure of others/your partner? Maybe you secretly are a submissive or have one or two never uttered submissive kinks that send off little explosions of interest in your nether regions?

Whether you know about the BDSM scene or if you only encountered BDSM through the box office hit and bestseller, Fifty Shades of Grey, maybe it’s time you did a little exploring yourself?

While there are tons of options to explore in the BDSM scene, let’s start small…

You might be a submissive if:

  1. You like being in charge.

“I want you to write down exactly how you want me to fuck you tonight, darling.”

“Words” by Jo Henny Wolf

Most people may think that a Dom/Domme is the one in charge of a given sex scene. In reality, it is the submissive that will set the tone, lay the ground rules, and set the limits. So if you are the kind of person who loves to plan and then sit back, relax, and watch the fruits of their labor unfold, you may really enjoy experimenting as a submissive!

  1. You enjoy roleplaying (or at least the idea of it).

“On her wedding day, her mother confided that a good wife must find it in her heart to submit gladly to her husband’s desire. She never said how easy that would be.”

— “The Back Room at the Saloon” by Donna George Storey

Ever imagine yourself as an obedient house wife/husband that succumbs to the wishes of his/her lover? A damsel in distress to a shining knight? Or even a doctor’s filthy, little patient? Guess what? In each of those scenarios, there is someone who is a Top (the dominant) and someone who is a bottom (the submissive).

  1. You are stubborn by nature.

“Above all things, you challenge Sir to break your composure; toying with him this way is your idea of a game night.”

— “Symphony of Submission” by Jordan Monroe

While some people want to be in charge, others are just stubborn. If you are stubborn, ask yourself, “Am I stubborn because I want someone to push back? To challenge me?” If your answer is yes, you just might be a sub. A naughty submissive may displease their Dom/Domme/Master/Mistress on purpose in order to push a pre-defined boundary a little further by disobeying an order.

  1. Sometimes… you need a little push to be as naughty as you want to be.

“For him to grapple with an idea meant that I would, too. For when he pushed himself, he pushed me. When he surrendered to his true nature, I yielded entirely to mine.”

— “Lashed” by Dr. J.

Have you often found yourself in a social setting fantasizing about that dark and brooding hunk in the corner or that super-sexy lady at the center of attention? Or have you had difficulty telling your partner that the scene in the movie you watched last night really turned you on and you want to try it? Regardless of the situation, do you find yourself… wanting to be ravaged by your hearts desire? Do you wish they could just read your mind and know all the filthy things you could never utter? Sometimes all a submissive needs is a push to really let go and embrace their hidden urges.

  1. You feel as if you’ve run out of Vanilla options to explore.

‘“And our regular sex doesn’t do that for you?’

My eyes open at the sad tone in your voice. No. That’s not what I mean. “Our sex is wonderful.” Always. “This is just…” I shrug. ‘A fantasy.’ One I would only trust to someone like you.”

—“The Framework of Fantasy” by Sonni de Soto

Were you always the girl/boy with the hottest sexual exploits that are always the envy of your friends? Sex on the deck of a cruise ship at night under the moonlight? Check. Threesome? Check. Orgy? Been there, done that. Even if you have never been into the parts of BDSM popularized by Fifty Shades of Grey there are so many other sides to BDSM and being submissive.

This list was inspired by The Big Book of Submission, Volume 2: 69 Kinky Tales edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel.

This book can be purchased any place where books and ebooks are sold: Amazon, iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Google Play, Kobo, and more!

 

Cleiss Press also offers a wide variety of instructional guidebooks on getting into and/or perfecting the art of the bedroom. Here are some titles that may be of interest to you:

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

The Ultimate Guide to Kink: BDSM, Role Play and the Erotic

The Ultimate Guide to Sexual Fantasy: How to Turn Your Fantasies into Reality

The Ultimate Guide to Sex Toys

The Ultimate Guide to Bondage: Creating Intimacy through the Art of Restraint

The Cleis Press Sextionary

 
 

March's Exclusive Excerpt, Part II: Cowboy Up

Mar 06, 2018
 

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.

 

 
 

March's Exclusive Excerpt, Part I: The Juliette Society, Book III: The Mismade Girl

Mar 06, 2018
 

Some of you may be familiar with Miss Sasha Grey, former adult star best known for her meteoric rise to stardom and her appearance in a widely cited episode of Entourage. Little did you know that after leaving that career behind, Sasha went on to pen The Juliette Society series in which the main character, Catherine, finds herself going through a metamorphosis much like Sasha herself, but, arguably, in reverse.

The first volume, The Juliette Society (published by Sphere, now Little Brown) received rave reviews from Cosmopolitan UK, Independent, and The Sun, among many others. The quality of these books, and the eroticly tantalizing story, only improved in Book II, The Janus Chamber. Now, The Mismade Girl is a thrilling, literary (but still 0-so-perfectly darkly erotic) culmination to the series. I think you will be pleasantly surprised by this uniquely high-brow and suspenseful approach to erotic fiction that does more than just surprise you with the hottest scenes, but welcomes you to challenge a few realities.

Wether you’ve been waiting for this third and final installment, or if you are hearing about it for the first time, Sasha’s writing allows you to dive right in to Catherine’s most recent exploits…

 

 

I can’t believe my date brought—and left—me here. He probably won’t even notice the fact that I’ve left since he cares about one thing only tonight. Screw this, I’m out. Even if he rallied and came back more charming than ever, I’m not eager for the taste of his post- nasal drip on my tongue from his goodnight kiss. I root around in my purse to grab my phone and order a rideshare when a stranger leaning against the wall by the front door catches my eye.

His dark blond curls give him an almost cherubic air, but the look in his eyes cancels it out, confidence bordering arrogance, and a smirk that makes promises my body decides it wants him to keep. I’d say he’s a few years older than me, but something about his demeanor screams experience.

He’s a man in a house filled with dudes, and it’s very appealing.

I sip from my cup, painfully aware how hard it is to seem cool and sophisticated while drinking from red plastic.

He prowls over to me, directly, confidently, saying with his body “I noticed you, you noticed me, let’s not play coy.” He holds out his hand and I take it, noting the firm grip. “I’m Dominick. Nice to meet you.”

“Catherine,” I reply.

“Your date must be an idiot, leaving you all alone in a place like this.”

I smile, not wanting to insult my date, but charity only goes so far. “I think he’s in the bathroom.”

Dominick inclines his head, getting it. “Then he’s even dumber to waste your time while he does that shit. Your boyfriend?”

I shake my head.

He grins. “Want to get out of here?”

I contemplate leaving my date without even saying goodbye. In Seconds, a John Frankenheimer movie, there’s a really great line I like that someone says to rock Hudson after he awakes with his new face, having been given a second chance in life: “You are alone in the world, absolved of all responsibility, except your own interest.”

That’s exactly how I feel right now. For a while, I’ve been alone in the world, drifting aimlessly. We’re all ultimately alone, despite the connections we make along the way to other people. And while the statement seems like it’s giving permission for a free-for-all, it’s really not encouraging you to hurt others. See, if we’re at our happiest— psychopaths aside—we’re good people. Doing things for ourselves that make us our highest form, our very best, only makes the world a better place. Sort of like Transcendental Meditation in a way, I suppose, but we can justify any choice with self-serving reasons if we try hard enough.

Would Jacob truly be sad if I went home with Dominick? Maybe. But I doubt it, and the way he was treating me wasn’t respectful, what with the lack of care about me tonight, bringing me to a boring party like this and then disappearing. Anything could have happened.

Well.

I follow Dominick outside.

Something is going to happen when Dominick drops me off at home. I’ll make sure of that.

 
 

February's Exclusive Excerpt

Feb 12, 2018
 

 

Why hello there again, erotica lovers!

This month we have an extra special morsel for you to savor. Whether you’ve seen her in action, read one of her articles, or seen her win an award (of which she has won MANY, most recently at the AVN’s and XBIZ), you’ll know that Joanna Angel has that special something that most stars (or even people for that matter) rarely have. She’s not only unnaturally, naturally super attractive, but she has the brains and the sense of humor to match.

It’s no wonder that this insanely cool, down-to-earth renaissance woman wanted to adventure into writing erotica. And let me tell you, I am sure glad she did! If a feel-good comedy on FOX could have TONS of explicit scenes, there is no doubt in my mind that her debut novel, Night Shift: A Choose-Your-Own Erotic Fantasywould be the font of information and sex through which the first season flowed. Funny… Arousing… Oddly reminiscent of one’s youth… Here’s a little taste of what you can look forward to.

Happy reading 😉

“Taryn, are you a unicorn?”

Ha!

“Oh, ha, ha, no I’m not special or anything. I’m just, you know, doing my job. Unless, you were asking if I was literally a unicorn—but I don’t think those actually exist.”

Damn it, I was losing her! I can’t ruin this now, I’ve gotta think of something clever to say.

But before I could utter another word, she leaned in and kissed me. Her big dark lips tasted like peaches, because of her lip-gloss. I was in shock. I could smell her perfume, it was a bubble-gum scent, but a sophisticated one. I could feel her soft skin, silky but almost plastic.

“You’re new in this lifestyle aren’t you?” She smirked at me.

“Yeah, kind of. I guess you can say that.”

“Why don’t you join us?” she said, and then she kissed me again, more intensely this time. With her silky dress, giant breasts, and fake hair, it felt like kissing a Barbie doll. It was definitely nice fake hair, that moved like hair and looked like hair, but I could feel little pieces of tape in her head where the hairpiece attached.

Would Amanda be proud of me if I joined? I got more aroused by imagining this as some kind of sexual test I had to pass in order to get her to come back, a hurdle in an obstacle course of cock and pussy that I had to conquer to get the prize. I was up for the challenge.

I nodded a hopefully seductive “Yes” to answer her question.

Chuck returned with a toy in his hand; I’m so glad he picked that one, now that I was (hopefully) joining in. I’d always wanted to use one of those, but I never thought I’d have the chance. Chuck and Cherise scanned each other, Cherise tilting her head toward me, raising an eyebrow in an almost sinister look, as if asking “shall we bring a mouse for us cats to play with?” Chuck looked at me seriously for the first time that night, observing my body like a chef picking out his meat for the night’s special. Finally, he nodded his approval; they came over, each grabbed one of my hands, and guided me into the room.

To read about Chuck grabbing a riding crop, turn to page 177. 

To read about Chuck grabbing a strap-on, turn to page 184.