Monday, July 29, 2013

Amos Lassen Likes Me2

Check out this very cool review of that book I supposedly wrote ... by the one-and-only Amos Lassen:

The first book I read by M. Christian was “The Very Bloody Marys” which I loved. (By the way, M. you forgot to send me a copy of this new book—I actually had to pay for it). He has not let me down with his new book (so I suppose it was worth what I paid for it).

“Me 2” is engaging and fun as it deals with the nature of identity and whether it is worth keeping the one we have. In this twisted little book, one can find out who he really is, or rather who he is supposed to be. This is a thriller but not the usual ones. This one is twisted as it deals with the psychological aspects of identity and it literally scares. Christian uses the “Genetic Mirror Theory” which claims that everyone has a twin and in this case the terror seems very, very real.

The unnamed narrator is one of those gay boys that look like summer all year long. His gayness is not a problem, however. Being gay is just a part of him that guides the way he lives. Being gay to our narrator is not about sexuality; rather it is just about being. He is typical of the modern age in the way he reacts to others. He never rally gets to know anyone and he judges people on face value. In fact, he does the same for himself. He is superficial and worries about how he looks and how others see him. His existence seems to be devoid of any real meaning and every day is like the day before and after. He works at Starbucks and his customers are simply cups of coffee. One day he begins talking to a guy who tells him all about fakes and doubles and he further states that there are people in society who are simply clones of others and they spend their time trying to perfect the imitation of someone else.

With his bug in his head, our coffee boy begins to wonder if he has a double and the idea consumes him to the point that he realizes that he does and that his double is tkin over his life. It is then that he begins to question just who he really is.

The nature of identity is not a new idea in literature but Christian makes it seem so and does so brilliantly. He causes us to question just who we are and further questions arise as to who we can be in a society of mass consumption. We do not get a good picture of America as M. Christian writes about the country in which we live and he paints it as a place where everything we do is beholden to both brand names and advertising.

Because of the nature of the theme, the book contains layering of ideas albeit extremely well written and very smart. Here is a world where what we know becomes suspect. The sense of dread that hangs over the novel is all too real.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

2 For Me and Me for 2: An Interview With The Two M.Christians

In 'celebration' of the re-release of Me2 - the queer horror/thriller I supposedly wrote - by the great folks at Sizzler/Renaissance E Books, here's a fun little interview I did with another "M. Christian" about the book:

2 For Me and Me for 2: 
An Interview with two M. Christians

Tape Begins

M.Christian 1: So I’ve finally apprehended you, foul fiend!

M.Christian 2: What the hell are you talking about? I caught you!

MC1: There’s no denying it: you’re the wretched scoundrel who’s been impersonating me, writing books under my name, soiling my creative reputation, attempting to profit by using my name –

MC2: Hold it right there, buddy! I don’t know what kind of twisted game you’re playing but you’re the one who’s been copying me, ripping off my name –

MC1: Liar! J'accuse! It is you who have stolen my identity, my very existence, and sought to supplant me as the rightful owner to the life of ‘M.Christian!’

MC2: You’re freaking nuts!

MC1: No, sir, it is you who is the clearly unbalanced one. To even attempt such a reckless and audacious act reveals a tentative grasp of reality.

MC2: Look, you clearly need some kind of professional help: hardcore therapy, some good meds, maybe even a straight jacket. What I don’t get is why you even bothered to try and steal my name. It’s not like I’m a damned Stephen King or anything. I’m not worth very much. Hell, it’s not like you really needed to be me anyway. You’re a crook, okay, but you’re still a damned good writer. I really hate to say it but Me2 is a really good read. If you just hadn’t been so damned stupid to try and take my name away from me, you might have been able to make a real one for yourself.

MC1: Devil! Miscreant! How contemptible you are. How arrogant! Not only do you attempt the theft of my existence but now you play the game of mock sincerity and even praise your own impersonation. Well, sir, I think that the evidence of your crime is written on the very pages you try to pass off as my work. Agreed, the novel Me2 is the work of a writer with no small amount of talent but it is clearly not a subject matter that I, the true and real M.Christian, would ever create. For example, just look at the following text featured on the back of the current edition: “He looks just like you. He acts exactly like you. He takes away your job. He steals your friends. He seduces your lover. Every day he becomes more and more like you, pushing you out of your life, taking away what was yours … until there’s nothing left. Where did he come from? Robot? Alien? Clone? Doppelganger? Evil twin? Long lost brother? A shocking new view of queer identity, Me2 is a groundbreaking and wildly twisted novel that you’ll remember for a long time – no matter who you are, or who you think you may be.” That, sir, is not a book that the real M.Christian would ever deem to write.

MC2: Forget the pills and straight jacket, it’s a nice rubber-walled accommodation for you, buddy: you’re the one who wrote the damned book. But one thing you’re right about, Me2 sure isn’t something I would write. Sure it’s got a real interesting theme and all: existence, identity, the horror of losing who you are, of not only being replaced by a copy but even one who does a better damned job of living your life than you ever could. Yeah, it’s got an interesting and very readable style, even though it’s dealing with a lot of weird crap, but it sure isn’t something I would do.

MC1: Again you distort the truth of the situation. Curse you, impostor! I have worked for too many years to build up what I can only hope is a moderately respected literary career only to have to try to co-opt all my hard-won successes for your nefarious ends. I will fight you with every fiber of my being, thief! I am the one and the only M.Christian. I am the author of more than 400 short stories in such anthologies as Best American Erotica, Best Gay Erotica, Best Lesbian Erotica, and many, many other fine publications. Only I am the editor of 20 anthologies such as The Burning Pen, Guilty Pleasures, The Mammoth Book of Future Cops, The Mammoth Book of Tales of the Road (both Mammoth books with Maxim Jakubowksi), and Confessions, Garden of the Perverse, and Amazons (with Sage Vivant). I, and I alone, am the author of over nine collections – including Dirty Words, Speaking Parts, The Bachelor Machine, and Filthy Boys – and the novels Running Dry, The Very Bloody Marys, Brushes, and Finger's Breadth. You, sir, can never take that away from me!

MC2: God, you are a complete and total fruitloop, aren’t you? You’d have to be to sit there and rattle off my writing credits as yours. I tell ya if you weren’t such a 98-pound weakling, I’d be tempted to drive you into the ground like a tent peg. But since you are, I’m just going to keep reminding myself that you’re a little loose, brain-wise, and try not to take you too seriously. For God’s sake you don’t need to pretend to be me to get your name out there. Like I said, Me2 is a damned good book. Take the way you knock out all the usual explanations -- robot, alien, clone, doppelganger, evil twin, long lost brother – and offer up a totally unique explanation, and then totally screw with the idea of who the main character is. I tell you, I hate to say this, but it was quite brilliant. And then there’s the way you use humor as well as horror … you don’t need to pose as me: you could be right up there with me (if I’m even ‘up there’ to begin with) with a little work.

MC1: Is there no end to your infamy? Is there no depth to your depravity? How contemptible you are to stand there and claim to be the one, true, original M. Christian and then to compliment yourself for the work that you, yourself, created! The audacity! Beyond the insult to my person, however, is the loathing I feel for you for what you have done, in my name, to people I thought I could claim to be friends, associates .. people I respected. How did you manage to deceive so many people that you were myself? People who were not familiar with me or my work I could understand but to trick such luminaries as Felice Picano and Michael Thomas Ford … that is beyond fraud, bordering on evil criminality. Just look at what you tricked them into writing about this book you have written under my name. Lisabet Sarai, of Incognito and Fire fame says: “Absolutely brilliant. M. Christian explores the meaning of identity and humanity in a generic world where literally everything can be manufactured -- a world frighteningly like our own.” Art & Sex in Greenwich Village author Felice Picano writes: “Me2 is a unique and always entertaining fable-novel about what exactly identity may entail and how we may or may not decide whether it's worth the price of keeping it.” Mari Adkins contributing editor, Apex Science Fiction and Horror Digest, says “M. Christian has a delightful, marvelously twisted way with words which cause his narratives to crawl beneath your skin and fester there, making you go back for more. He writes with a strong, unique voice which is not only entertaining but also makes you think, makes you ponder the improbable. You'll think you've read this delicious, fast-paced story, but did you? Or was it you?” And Full Circle and Changing Tides author Michael Thomas Ford writes "With delicious slyness, M. Christian creates a world in which the familiar becomes sinister and the comfort of daily routine is replaced by a growing sense of dread. His modern parable lays bare the all-too-real dangers inherent in the sacrifice of individuality in the pursuit of cultural homogenization.” I say again, and with heightened furor: how dare you, sir!

MC2: Okay, that’s it. I’ve had enough of you … you … damned copycat.

MC1: Is this it then? Are you so cowardly you resort to brute antagonism, simple violence?

MC2: You damned well started this – but I’m gonna finish it.

MC1: Unhand me, I say! I warn you, Sir, I was quite the pugilist in my day. Do not force me to defend myself.

MC2: Put ‘em up, you thief!

MC1: Have at you, sir!

MC2: Crook!

MC1: Plagiarist!

MC2: Jerk!

MC1: Rogue!

MC2: Bastard!

MC1: You leave my mother out of this, reprobate!

MC2: Prick!

MC1: Degenerate!

Tape Ends

Friday, July 26, 2013

Amos Lassen Likes Running Dry

Now here's a treat: my great pal, Amos Lassen, just posted this review of the new edition of Running Dry - just released by Renaissance E Books/Sizzler Editions as part of their M.Christian ManLove special imprint.

Ernst Doud is non-human and 154 years young. He lives quietly in Los Angeles and all was fine until he got a letter from a lover he has not seen since 1913 and it was then that he killed him. Now that is a way to start a story as you soon realize that you are reading about the undead. Most of us love a good vampire story and I have often wondered why that is true. I suspect that there are two major reasons and a bunch of lesser ones. Vampires are very sexy and mysterious; they are dark and live forever.

This is a vampire story without all of the “vamping”. M. Christian writes stories that are quite far out yet maintain a sense of truth. This is his way of showing that our worlds can come together. We tend to fear that which we do not know and here is where vampires gain ground. We have never seen a vampire but he has a sense of mystery which is exciting and sexy. In this story we see the themes of vengeance, loyalty and “the humanity of the inhuman”. I believe vampires made a comeback with the AIDS epidemic when gay men’s lives depended on blood tests. The fact that blood is so essential in vampire lore has been a conundrum and an enigma for me especially when you consider the importance of blood in Christian religions and in Roman Catholicism when at the act of transubstantiation, wine turns into blood. Yet it is those very same religions that condemn vampires because of the emphasis on something that is so integral to what their members and religious leaders believe.

Unlike other vampire stories, here is one that will get the reader to think. This in one of those stories in which sex is not important but thoughts are. M. Christian is known as an erotic writer but this time he chose to forego sex and concentrate on the mind. Instead of using his literary skills to write vivid sex scenes, he chose not to write about sex this time and develop characters who not just sexual beings but who have minds with which to think. Instead of a lot of sex, we get a lot of adventure so this is not like other books in this genre. It may just be that M. Christian has begun an entirely new genre but I guess we may have to wait awhile to see if that is true. In the meantime there are many other opportunities to read M. Christian. He is always new and never bores.

Monday, July 22, 2013

"Love" From Filthy Boys

Just 'cause, here's a story from my recently-released queer collection, Filthy Boys.  I have a certain fondness for this story as it was written as a kind of thanks to all the gay men I've known - and who've changed my life for the better.


"You could have stayed with me," he'd said the first time I went to Seattle to see him, but stayed in a motel.  I hadn't even thought of it, and so the disappointment in his eyes.
I never went back.  After he got promoted there wasn't any point.
You could have stayed with me evolves into a fantasy in which those four days play out differently: an invitation made earlier, my discomfort of staying in someone else's house miraculously absent.  Fresh off the plane, strap digging into my shoulder (I always over-pack), out of the cab and up a quick twist of marble steps to his front door.  A knock, or a buzz, and it opens.
A quick dance of mutual embarrassment as I maneuver in with my luggage, both of us saying the stupid things we all say when we arrive somewhere we've never been before.  Him: "How was your flight?" Me: "What a great place."
Son of a decorator, I always furnish and accessorize my fantasies: I imagine his to be a simple one-bedroom.  Messy, but a good mess.  A mind's room, full of toppling books, squares of bright white paper.  Over the fireplace (cold, never lit) a print, something classical like a Greek torso, the fine line topography of Michelangelo's David.  A few pieces of plaster, three-dimensional anatomical bric-a-brac on the mantel.  A cheap wooden table in the window, bistro candle, and Don't Fuck With The Queen in ornate script on a chipped coffee cup.
Dinner?  No, my flight arrived late.  Coffee?  More comfortable and gets to the point quicker.  We chat.  I ask him about his life: is everything okay?  He replies that he's busy, but otherwise fine.  We chat some more.  I say that it's a pleasure to work with him.  He replies with the same.
I compliment him, amplifying what I've already said, and he blushes.  He returns it, and then some, making me smile.  My eyes start to burn, my vision blurs, tears threatening.  I sniffle and stand up.
He does as well, and we hug.  Hold there.  Hold there.  Hold there.  Then, break – but still close together.  Lips close together.  The kiss happens.  Light, just a grazing of lips.  I can tell he wants more, but I'm uncomfortable and break it but not so uncomfortable that I can't kiss his cheeks.  Right, then left, then right again.
But his head turns and we're kissing, lips to lips again.  Does he open his first or do I?  Sometimes I imagine his, sometimes mine.  But they are open and we are kissing, lips and tongue, together.  Hot, wet, hard.
But not on my part.  Wet, definitely – in my mind it's a good kiss.  A generous and loving kiss.  Hot, absolutely, but only in a matter of degrees as his temperature rises and mine does in basic body response.
Not hard on my part, but I am aware of his.  Between us, like a finger shoved through a hole in his pocket, something solid and muscular below his waist.
Does he say something?  "I want you," "Please touch me," "I'm sorry," are candidates.  I've tried them all out, one time or another, to add different flavors, essences, spices to that evening.  "I want you," for basic primal sex.  "Please touch me," for polite request, respect and sympathy.  "I'm sorry," for wanting something he knows I don't.
"It's okay," I say to all of them, and it is.  Not just words.  Understanding, sympathy, generosity.  All of them, glowing in my mind.  It really is okay.
I'm a pornographer, dammit.  I should be able to go on with the next part of this story without feeling like ... I'm laughing right now, not that you can tell.  An ironic chuckle: a pornographer unable to write about sex.  Not that I can't write about myself, that making who I am – really – the center of the action is uncomfortable, because I've certainly done that before.  I've exposed myself on the page so many other times, what makes this one so different?
Just do it.  Put the words down and debate them later.  After all, that's what we're here for, aren't we?  You want to hear what I dream he and I do together.  You want to look over my mental shoulder at two men in that tiny apartment in Seattle.
I'm a writer; it's what I do, and more importantly, what I am.  So we sit on the couch, he in the corner me in the middle.  His hand is on my leg.  My back is tight, my thighs are corded.  Doubt shades his face so I put my own hand on his own, equally tight, thigh.  I repeat what I said before, meaning it: "It's okay."
We kiss again.  A friend's kiss, a two people who like each other kiss.  His hands touch my chest, feeling me through the thin cloth of turtleneck.  I pull the fabric out of my pants with a few quick tugs, allowing bare hands to touch bare chest.  He likes it, grinning up at me.  I send my own grin, trying to relax.
His hand strokes me though my jeans, and eventually I do get hard.  His smile becomes deeper, more sincere, lit by his excitement.  It's one thing to say it, quite another for your body to say it.  Flesh doesn't lie, and I might have when I gave permission.  My cock getting hard, though, is obvious tissue and blood sincerity.
"That's nice," "Can I take it out?" "I hope you're all right with this." Basic primal sex, a polite request including respect and sympathy, and the words for wanting something he knows I don't – any one of them, more added depth to this dream.
My cock is out and because he's excited or simply doesn't want the moment and my body to possibly get away, he is sucking me.  Was that so hard to say?  It's just sex.  Just the mechanics of arousal, the engineering of erotica.  Cock A in mouth B.  I've written it hundreds of times.  But there's that difference again, like by writing it, putting it down on paper (or a computer screen) has turned diamond into glass, mahogany into plywood.
Cheapened.  That's the word.  But to repeat: I am a writer.  It's what I do.  All the time.  Even about love – especially about this kind of love.
He sucks my cock.  Not like that, not that, not the way you're thinking: not porno sucking, not erotica sucking.  This is connection, he to I.  The speech of sex, blowjob as vocabulary.
I stay hard.  What does this mean?  It puzzles me, even in the fantasy.  I have no doubts about my sexuality.  I am straight.  I write everything else, but I am a straight boy.  I like girls.  Men do not turn me on.
Yet, in my mind and in that little apartment, I am hard.  Not "like a rock," not "as steel," not as a "telephone pole," but hard enough as his mouth, lips, and tongue – an echoing hard, wet and hard – work on me.
The answer is clear and sharp, because if I couldn't get hard and stay hard then he'd be hurt and the scene would shadow, chill, and things would be weighted between us.  That's not the point of this dream, why I think about it.
So, onto sex.  Nothing great or grand, nothing from every section of the menu.  A simple action between two men who care about each other: he sucks my cock.  He enjoys it and I love him enough to let him.  That's all we do, because it's enough.
He sucks me for long minutes, making sweet sounds and I feel like crying.  He puts his hand down his own pants, puts a hand around his own cock.  For a moment I think about asking him if he wants help, for me to put my hand around him, help him jerk off.  But I don't.  Not because I don't want to, or because I'm disgusted, but because he seems to be enjoying himself so much, so delighted in the act of sucking me, that I don't want to break the spell, turn that couch back into a pumpkin.
He comes, a deep groan around my cock, humming me into near-giggles.  He stops sucking as he gasps and sighs with release, looking up at me with wet-painted lips, eyes out of focus.  I bend down and kiss him, not tasting anything but warm water.
I love him.  I wanted to thank him.  I hope, within this dream, I have.  The night that didn't happen but could have.
For me, writing is just about everything: the joy of right word following right word all the way to the end.  The ecstasy of elegant plot, the pleasure of flowing dialogue, the loveliness of perfect description.  Sex is good, sex is wonderful, but story is fireworks in my brain.  The reason I live.  The greatest pleasure in my life.
And he has given me that, with nearly flowing letters on an agreement between his company and I, between his faith in my ability and myself.  He looked at me, exposed on the page of a book, in the chapter of a novel, in the lines of a short story, and didn't laugh, didn't dismiss or reject.  He read, nodded, smiled, and agreed to publish.
Sex cannot measure up to that.  Bodies are bodies, but he has given me a pleasure beyond anything I'd felt: applause, and a chance to do much, much more with words, with stories.
He doesn't have a name, this man in my fantasy.  There have been a lot of them over the years, and a lot more in the future, no doubt.  Gay men who have touched me in ways no one has ever touched me before, by making love with my soul through their support of my writing.  Each time they have, this fantasy has emerged from the back of my mind, a need to give them the gift they have given me: passion and kindness, support and caring, and pure affection.
I worry about this.  I worry that they won't understand, take this secret dream of mine as being patronizing, diminishing them to nothing but a being with a cock who craved more cock.  I've confessed a few times, telling a select few how I feel about them, how I wish I could do for them what they have done for me, to be able to put aside my heterosexuality for just an evening, an afternoon, and share total affection together.
Luckily, or maybe there really isn't anything to worry about, the ones I've told, they smile, hold my hand, kiss my cheek, say the right thing and to this day, even right now, make me cry: "I wish we could too, but I understand.  I love you too."
Am I bi?  I know I'm physically not – I simply don't get aroused by men – but that doesn't mean I don't adore men, or for the ones I care about, the men who have touched my soul through their support and affection for my stories and writing, I wish I couldn't change.  More than anything I wish I could give them what they have given me.
With a cock or a pen, with a story or hours of wonderful sex, it all comes down to one thing: love.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Greener Grasses On GetLusty For Couples!

This is very cool: my queer BDSM story, The Greener Grasses - which is in my newly released collection, Filthy Boys, (and part of the Sizzler M.Christian ManLove imprint) - was just excerpted on the excellent GetLusty for Couples siteHere's a link ... you need to register but there's no charge.

It's not often you hear of submissive males in erotica. We appreciate this perspective and recently had the pleasure of approving this erotica for your viewing pleasure. Because it's nice to hear erotic tales from the male point of view. Curious about the submissive gentlemen below? Erotica writer M. Christain will tantilize you with his erotic prose abilities. Read on, Lusties! Want more? Check out part 2 coming soon.
* * *
Hand on the knob, I took a deep breath. I resisted checking my watch again, not wanting to show, even just to myself, how nervous I was. Rules formed the world, framed it, and defined it. The door would only be unlocked from 1:15 to 1:25 PM. After that, the bolt would be thrown, and I'd have to come back next week – to a frightening punishment for being late.

I turned the knob. Open. I stepped in and closed it carefully. Japanese. I felt Japanese – or at least what I imagined it might be like – a member of a rigid world, where punishment for transgression was certain and terrifying. But I knew one thing for certain: I belonged to Mister Robert.
Down the hall, through the door at the end. The room. The room where I lived, where I existed: black carpeting on the floor and walls – even over the door. Bare wooden ceiling; rough, bare beams flaked with original white paint. Track light with three high intensity pots. One wall had a board bolted to it, on the board a line of cheap coat hooks. On the hooks the dark leather of the toys. Another board on the opposite wall, this one with two big eyebolts. In one corner the sawhorse. The room I wished I never had to leave.

I got undressed, carefully folding my clothes in a corner. I waited. Ten minutes, exactly. Then the door opened.

I didn't turn. To turn would break a rule. I was property; I belonged to Mister Robert. Property wasn't a man, with desires. Nevertheless, I was happy.

- See more at:!-The-Greener-Grasses-Pt-1#sthash.s0NNAVHD.dpuf

It's not often you hear of submissive males in erotica. We appreciate this perspective and recently had the pleasure of approving this erotica for your viewing pleasure. Because it's nice to hear erotic tales from the male point of view. Curious about the submissive gentlemen below? Erotica writer M. Christain will tantilize you with his erotic prose abilities. Read on, Lusties! Want more? Check out part 2 coming soon.

* * *

Hand on the knob, I took a deep breath. I resisted checking my watch again, not wanting to show, even just to myself, how nervous I was. Rules formed the world, framed it, and defined it. The door would only be unlocked from 1:15 to 1:25 PM. After that, the bolt would be thrown, and I'd have to come back next week – to a frightening punishment for being late.

I turned the knob. Open. I stepped in and closed it carefully. Japanese. I felt Japanese – or at least what I imagined it might be like – a member of a rigid world, where punishment for transgression was certain and terrifying. But I knew one thing for certain: I belonged to Mister Robert.

Down the hall, through the door at the end. The room. The room where I lived, where I existed: black carpeting on the floor and walls – even over the door. Bare wooden ceiling; rough, bare beams flaked with original white paint. Track light with three high intensity pots. One wall had a board bolted to it, on the board a line of cheap coat hooks. On the hooks the dark leather of the toys. Another board on the opposite wall, this one with two big eyebolts. In one corner the sawhorse. The room I wished I never had to leave.

I got undressed, carefully folding my clothes in a corner. I waited. Ten minutes, exactly. Then the door opened.

I didn't turn. To turn would break a rule. I was property; I belonged to Mister Robert. Property wasn't a man, with desires. Nevertheless, I was happy.


Friday, July 12, 2013

Amos Lassen Likes Stroke The Fire

This is very cool: the wonderful Amos Lassen just posted a very flattering review of my new best-of-my-very-best short erotic fiction, Stroke The Fire: The Best ManLove Fiction of M. Christian!

I do not read a lot of erotica but I do read a lot of M.Christian and I have, in fact, been reviewing him for almost eight years. “Stroke the Fire” is some of his collected erotica and the stories here are the writer’s own personal selections. Here we have hot sexy men having hot sexy sex, bad boys having sex with good boys and good boys having sex with bad boys. This is just what you need when you cannot get the real thing to keep you warm on a cold winter night.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Gaydar Nation Likes The Very Bloody Marys!

Here's a very nice review of my queer vamp humor/horror/thriller The Very Bloody Marys ... from Gaydar Nation!

From Gaydar Nation:

Valentino is having a very bad time of it. A police officer by trade in San Francisco, his boss and mentor has disappeared, he’s hunting a trio of twinks wandering the city terrorising it, and his lover has been killed. Oh, and did I mention Valentino is also a 200-year-old gay vampire who drinks blood with vodka?! 
Yes, you don’t have to be Stephen Hawking to work out this is no realist novel, but a synthetically surreal universe of faeries (the cmythical creatures not the camp caricatures), ghouls and all kinds of things that go bump in the undead of the night. It’s a world of Buffy The Vampire Gayer, if you will. 
Despite being set in the steep-stepped hills of San Fran, this isn’t the familiar sunny, picture postcard place of the travel brochures, but rather a dark and murky netherworld where all is not what it seems.
The novel opens with Valentino searching desperately for his guv’ner, Pogue. With no clues in sight, the case seems cold and then tragedy strikes. Returning home one evening, Valentino watches in horror and disbelief as his lover, Julian, crumbles to dust before his eyes. Sick with grief, anger and revenge, Valentino goes full-throttle to find Julian’s killer and make them pay. 
In The Very Bloody MarysM. Christian has created a wildly weird world of vampiric pains and pleasures yet still manages to somehow root it in reality, largely because he never loses sight of the fact the characters need to have genuinely authentic emotional lives no matter which fantastical environment you plonk them in. He makes them fully-drawn, involving, standalone characters pulsed by the thump of the human heart, which is ironic considering we’re technically dealing with the undead here. 
In fact, the whole narrative has flesh and blood as it races along at amphetamine pace. Scene after scene rolls by with such breathtaking speed you feel like you’re on one of those fairground death rides called something hideous like Decapitation or Rigor Mortis. Despite the breakneck paciness, Christian doesn’t lose control of his characters or story; he’s always in command of the reins so the read has a consistent rhythm that nicely carries the action along. 
It’s not all bish-bash-bosh, either. Christian can be incredibly lyrical, especially when describing Valentino’s love for Julian. Just look at this description: “Oh oh oh Julian Julian Julian ? beloved, adored, venerated companion, compadre, mate, playmate, partner, betrothed, idol, best friend, love, lover ? oh oh oh Julian Julian Julian.” Don’t you read that and wish someone had written those words about you? 
Christian’s m├ętier, though, is conjuring up powerful visuals that give this noir mystery a definite cinematic flavour that’s one part 1940s movie thriller and two parts po-mo sci-fier, which makes the novel ripe for the film adaptation treatment. And, let’s face it, that should bring a gratifying thud of kerching to the ears of any author. 
Atmospherically potent and stylishly polished, Christian marries suspense, terror, black humour and romance intelligently and wittily making The Very Bloody Marys a smart and fun addition to the bloodsuckingly camp vampire genre.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Ann Regentin On Me, Me2, and You

Ann Regentin wrote a brilliantly thoughtful analysis of the work Me2 thing for the Erotica Readers and Writers site ... I just wish she was talking about me and not my nefarious copycat (sigh):

Beside Ourselves 
Several months ago, I got an e-mail to the effect that someone had stolen M. Christian's identity to get a book published about stolen identity [Plagiarism Alert: Me2 novel by 'other' M. Christian]. I read on, at first horrified and then faintly uneasy, but as I had a serious cold at the time, exacerbated by prednisone and immune suppressants, I set aside my unease. I would deal with it when I felt better, but in the meantime, I posted the thing to my blog. It was the least I could do, regardless of what it was.

As you've probably guessed, it was a publicity stunt, a joke that was perhaps more corny than clever, but a book is a book and I did the obvious thing: queried here and there to see if someone would let me do a review.

The response surprised me. ERWA, obviously, gave me a green light, but not after some discontent was heard on the Writers list. A joke, maybe, but in very poor taste. Another place I queried turned the review down flat, with some there suggesting that they might not work with M. Christian at all in the future. At the very least, the publication would remain quiet on this one. Clearly, M. Christian had unwittingly struck a nerve.

Okay, it was a silly joke, but if we're going to tar and feather intelligent men for making silly jokes, we'll have to pluck every chicken in the Midwest. M. Christian is a good writer and an easy man to work with. I can overlook a bit of silly.

Not everyone agreed with me. There were a number of folks who had taken the whole thing at face value and were feeling tricked or even used, and they were angry about it. They just wanted to forget the whole thing.

I decided not to. I decided instead to think about why this story seemed credible in the first place. It was intended as an outrageous joke. It should have been taken as an outrageous joke. So what happened? Is it possible that we're writing in a time when someone could pull off such an identity theft? Are we writing in a time when a publisher would let a book go to print, even promote it, when such a theft might have occurred? Are we writing in a time when a writer in such a position would have little or no legal recourse?

Sadly, yes. That's the conclusion I've come to, anyway, and I have a fair amount of evidence to back me up. I even have some experience along these lines, not so much a matter of chronic problems, but more a question of a few, scattered folks who seemed bent on profiting from my work without actually compensating me in any meaningful way. This isn't a reflection on anyone whose site you'll find listed on my own, by the way. When someone pulls that kind of crap, I don't link to them.

Setting my own experience aside, I have seen evidence of this on a larger scale. The recent writers' strike was, to a great extent, about who gets to profit from new media uses of written material. There has been a sad but steady trickle of journalism scandals, and books published as non-fiction that probably should have been published as novels. There have been lawsuits involving writers like J.K. Rowling and Dan Brown over who had certain ideas first, whether a fictionalized account of a line of historical reasoning counts as plagiarism when an account has already been published as non-fiction and, most recently, about the difference between not-for-profit, online fan work and profiting from a printed version of the same material.

We are also writing in a time when authors are expected to do everything except print the book and put it on the shelves, and expected to do it all equally well. Being an author is less a question of being a good writer than of being a jack-of-all-trades. For example, a recent entry on an agent's blog indicated that as far as he was concerned, writing a novel and writing a query letter require the same set of skills. I have to ask, though, whether he would believe that any advertising copywriter could write a good novel, because a query is really advertising copy, and that's different from a novel. Writing a novel is also different from editing, copy editing, and running an effective publicity campaign. Those tasks were once handled by specialists. These days, not so much.

There are new possibilities now. With changes in how books are printed and distributed, New York isn't the only game in town, and it's no longer necessary to buy a physical press, as Anais Nin did, in order to create or become something different. We can even make money in new ways. An interesting blog, maybe an e-book or related affiliate program, can generate a reasonable amount of spare change, never mind a potential publishing contract

In short, we're living in a time when pretty much anything goes in publishing, including a certain amount of lying and cheating. I don't think, though, that Alyson Press would have done that to M. Christian once word got out, or that M. Christian would have published the sale information of the book in the way he did. Certainly he wouldn't have mentioned it so enthusiastically in earlier interviews and pre-release e-mails. Very different things would have happened had this situation been a real crisis. Unfortunately, the fact that this turned into a tempest in a teacup indicates that we might well have a crisis on our hands, just not one involving M. Christian and Alyson Books.

Sadly, the tempest has obscured an interesting, timely book, [Me2] especially for erotica, even if it isn't necessarily erotica. If identity and personality are open to question or manipulation in an increasingly homogenous world, what does that mean for attraction? Are we falling in love with people, or with images chosen from a million, well-marketed possibilities? Where is the line between image and substance? Which of the two appeals to us more strongly, and what are the possible consequences? M. Christian poses these questions in a disturbing, thought-provoking way.

The book is also relevant to the point of irony where the resulting tempest is concerned, because I think the problems facing publishing are similar to the problems facing our narrator—or is it narrators? It's hard to be sure. Anyway, at the core of the publishing-related difficulties I listed is the desire on the part of nearly everyone involved, including writers themselves, to find or be the next big thing. Unfortunately, success like that isn't as easy to duplicate as writer self-help books claim it is, but the fact that the self-help books keep selling tells us how much we all want this. Agents and publishers set their criteria for both acquisitions and compensation on this desire, trying to minimize risk while maximizing benefit, and writers put up with an environment in which we can begin to believe even for a moment that Alyson Books would let a book go to press with M. Christian's name on it that wasn't written by M. Christian, simply because we want this badly enough.

Ours is a difficult, chancy profession, made worse by the fact that almost everyone can, in some way at least, write and even get published. It doesn't help that where things are published and by whom makes less of a difference than one might like to think. I've seen some darned good writing in personal blogs, and trite trash on the best-seller tables. So has everyone else. These days, being the next big thing isn't just about money, it's also about vindication. Vindication means different thing to different people, but whatever it means, it's usually important enough to sacrifice for.

What gets sacrificed, of course, is where the problem comes in, and it's not just an institutional issue. It's a personal issue, one that everyone in the industry must decide for themselves. There's no easy answer. Every approach has it's advantages and disadvantages, and every writer I know is coping in their own way. We're just going to have to get through this as best we can and see how the industry settles once we get used to what all of this new technology can do.

I'm not proposing changes here, sweeping or otherwise. That's not my job. What I'm suggesting is that we not shoot the messenger. Our discomfort with M. Christian's idea of a joke is what it is because of the context in which the joke was made, not the joke itself. "Wassamatta, your legs broken?" is funny when aimed at one's fit but recalcitrant teenager. It's offensive when aimed at someone whose legs are really broken.

Are the legs of publishing broken? I'm not sure. Certainly, the industry is changing, simply because communications technology is changing, and in the scramble to adapt, an environment has developed in which writers are worried. We see this kind of theft as a viable possibility, which makes it no laughing matter.

The book and the fuss surrounding its release have given me considerable food for thought, in part because I think I've met the narrator, or someone just like him. It's hard to tell, not to mention a disturbing experience.

I'm also writing in a climate of something just beyond unease but not quite into fear. There are stories, sometimes headlines and sometimes rumors, of writers losing control over the rights to their work in ways that rob them of compensation, and for a moment it seemed that M. Christian was one of them. He wasn't, though, and we'd prefer not to think about it anymore.

Clearly, I'm still thinking about it, and I probably will be for a while. Oh, and if you want to find out why I called this "Beside Ourselves", you'll have to read the book! 
Ann Regentin

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Emily Veinglory Likes Filthy Boys

Here's a wonderful review of Filthy (re-released by the great Sizzler as Filthy Boys) by Emily Veinglory:

So, you know I have been intending for some time to update my gay and vampire review website. Here is the first full length review I will be listing. It is also what happened to my day--zip--gone. Oh well.

“Filthy” is subtitled “Outrageous Gay Erotica”, it could also be called “the book that stole my Saturday”. It arrived in the mail and I intended to slot it into my reading queue after several other books that have been waiting patiently for my attention. I flicked over the somewhat dry preface to the first story and it was all over.

In 'The Greener Grasses' M. Christian shows us immediately that this is not a collection to be trifled with, picked up and put down. I was thrust immediately us into the point of view of a real flawed, sexual, vulnerable protagonist. The sexuality is always frank but blended with charming love stories like 'Heart in Your Hand' or '2+1' or folksy fables like 'Moby'. The writer’s skills are perhaps best shown in the apt blending of sexuality with darker threads such as in 'Bitch' where one man’s bitterness and hate escapes his control or 'Friday Night at the Calvary Hotel' with its queasy look at the blend of sadism and sexuality in religious symbolism. I found the homage stories 'Hollywood Blvd' and 'Suddenly, Last Thursday' just a little heavy handed but still engaging reading.

The stand-outs for me were simple stories, but perfect in their parts. 'Oroborous' uses a botched tattoo to contrast the pain and trouble of “fixing” what is “wrong” about us (not what we would choose) with the joys of embracing it what we are. After reading it I had one of those moments staring at the wall and letting it sink in. And there were actually tears in my eyes at the end of the tragic love story of 'Flyboy'. The speculative stories are also strong: 'Utter West' gives a new meaning to the youthful desire to get out of a dead-end town and 'The Hope of Cinnamon' shows a far future gay community that rescues persecuted gay men from the past and is shown, through their eyes, what may be missing from their apparent utopia.

All of the stories have a strong concept as well as explicit sexual content. I would quibble at calling it “erotica”. Erotic, yes, but not quite in the step-by-step manner intended for one handed reading. It’s one of those oft-quoted phrases that our biggest sex organ in our brain; I’m willing to bet that author M. Christian would agree. Almost every story in this collection is perfectly constructed for the intellect: set up, satisfaction and pay off within a few short pages. Some stories are unapologetically erotic and others nostalgically sensual, only obliquely erotic at all or proudly a little perverse—but the erotic is there to serve the story in the manner and amount the narrative requires.

If you are looking for sexually-charged fiction that also has heart and intelligence “Filthy” is the collection for you—just don’t pick it up until you have the free time to read it from cover to cover.

Monday, July 1, 2013

LGBT discrimination ban proposed in hometown of Westboro Baptist Church

A councilman in the hometown of the anti-LGBT Westboro Baptist Church has filed a bill that would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation.

In a statement on his website on Monday, Topeka City Councilman Chad Manspeaker (D) explained that the proposed ordinance would expand the Topeka Human Rights Commission to “include protections for sexual orientation and gender identity.”

“It is time for us as Topekans to remove the cloud of hate and bigotry from our city and to show the world we are an inclusive and loving community who protects all of its citizens,” Manspeaker said. “To some, the addition of five words to the Topeka City Code is a small change; however, to the countless citizens who face discrimination in landlord-tenant relations and in employment situations, these five words are an enormous change to our city code.”

He told told The Huffington Post that his proposal was “a small step but a giant first step in showing the world that this is not a town of bigotry and hate but a town of inclusion.”

“Do I run legislation like this because Westboro lives in Topeka? No. But it sure does feel kind of nice,” Manspeaker added.