Sunday 21 April 2013

Sex Sells (In the Literary Sense)

Last month, two of my short stories were published in the anthology Eros at Large, twenty-seven stories about the “erotic impulse” (Surprise, surprise they are all about sex).

When I received the submission call for this anthology, it said that they were looking stories about Lesbian and Gay life and how sex relates to it (Though they said they were looking for stories about sexual attraction). I tried to write something along these lines but found I couldn’t, I kept wanting to put twists on that or have a frustrating and unfulfilling ending. None of them worked. So instead I look a different take on the erotic.

I submitted two short stories about men in long term relationships. The first story dealt with a man who finds out that his lover is cheating on him, yet again, but doesn’t react in the “traditional” way. The second story was a about a couple, who’ve been together over ten years, and are trying to spice-up their love-life, with messy and embarrassing consequences (These stories are much more my take on sex and relationships). The editor obviously liked them because they’re both in the book.

Eros at Large had a book launch last month (I was tweeting about it madly in the weeks before) at the Houseman’s Bookshop, in Kings Cross, and I read at it. I didn’t read from the story about the couple spicing up their love-life, it starts with a description of them using whipped cream in sex, a rather explicit but not very erotic scene, and I didn’t have the nerve to read that out in public. So I read from the other story, stopping when the narrator finds out his lover is cheating on him.

It’s a long time since I’ve read from my own work in public and it’s always been a strange experience. When I’m reading my own writing it always feels as if there’s nowhere to hide. If it was someone else’s writing then it’s their words people like or dislike but when it’s my own work I worry that people won’t like my writing, won’t like how I deliver it or both. Yet I want people to read my writing and book launches are all part of the process.

Well, no one booed me and Martin said I read well, so someone liked it. The evening did go well, but most importantly my stories are included in that anthology. So, onward and upward...

Eros at Large can be bought here, at the publisher’s website, or you can find it on the “Bookshop” page of my website.