All posts by ctan

The Censoring of LGBT Covers & Posters at #RT18

Hi folks! Cecilia Tan here, reporting from the RT Booklovers Convention in Reno.

If it’s your first time hearing about RT, this is a massive annual convention that brings together thousands of readers with hundreds of authors, mostly in the romance genres but also a lot of YA, fantasy, mystery, and science fiction. (“RT” stands for Romantic Times, the original magazine that founded the conference.)

RT typically has nonstop promo parties thrown by publishers and authors, and every hotel where it takes place (it move around all over, Atlanta, Dallas, New Orleans, Las Vegas) is usually plastered with giant posters of romance novels. It’s typical to see each elevator door with a massive add on it, for example. Here at the Peppermill much of that type of advertising seems to have been moved to large video screens that rotate through, but there are also floor clings, large ads on the floor as you walk to and from the convention area. Thus far my impression is that there is less advertising than in past years, but I don’t know if that’s because the Peppermill is pickier about what can be displayed, or if fewer ads were bought (romance publishing has suffered some big blows this year), or what.

What I can tell you is that in particular, though, the advertising floor clings purchased by the Rainbow Romance Writers, the chapter of the RWA (Romance Writers of America) that promotes specifically LGBT romances, have been censored. I know because I just heard from a Circlet Press author, Elizabeth Schechter, about this:

Example:
Censoring of LGBT book covers at RT by the Peppermill Resort

Censoring of LGBT book covers at RT by the Peppermill Resort

Detail:

Censoring of LGBT book cover Heart's Master by Elizabeth Schechter

Here’s the cover that the Peppermill Resort thought was necessary to censor:

Heart's Master Elizabeth Schechter

For contrast, here is the larger-than-life-size floor cling RIGHT NEXT TO the censored one:

Leveque floor cling

It’s got all the abs, all the muscled thighs, all the SEE THROUGH CHAIN MAIL, but apparently it’s OK because…? Ropes are too much…? Or is it because they gave gay and lesbian and queer books more scrutiny?

The board of the Rainbow Romance Writers apparently found out yesterday (Tuesday) when the floor clings were being installed that the hotel objected to the images. They had the choice of either censor or pull the clings entirely. These ads were paid for by the authors of the books who each chipped in hard-earned dollars to have their book displayed. I can’t really blame them for making the snap decision to censor the covers rather than risk not having any of the books displayed and losing their money.

But I think the Peppermill Resort had better be prepared to give Elizabeth Schechter and TL Travis back their money. And I think they better be ready to defend their decision to censor these LGBT covers and not any of the heterosexual imagery (at least so far as I’ve heard): that’s what we call anti-LGBT discrimination folks.

(And if it’s the ropes… hello, folks, we are at a casino in RENO not DISNEYLAND? Didn’t 50 Shades of Grey prove that BDSM is mainstream? They sold bondage kits in TARGET for f’s sake…)

Anyway, that’s what’s going on here. If you’d like to show Elizabeth Schechter some love and help us turn lemons into lemonade, please share her censored cover far and wide?

Elizabeth Schechter Heart's Master Too Hot for Reno

(And maybe let the Peppermill Resort know you think censorship is wrong and slightly ridiculous? Did they not know what RT Booklovers is about?)

UPDATE! Edited to add:

The Peppermill Reno has apologized and will be reprinting the ads without the coverups! Text of their tweet:

(1/2) Our sincere apologies for the miscommunication, as the two book covers in questions were never taped over due to their LGBTQ nature. As a family-friendly resort with many guests not here for the convention, we made a mistake in covering the original artwork.

(2/2) We’re now in the process of getting the ad reprinted and replaced, which should be done tomorrow or Thursday at the latest. Again, we’re truly sorry this was ever misconstrued as a bias against the LGBTQ community.

From author Elizabeth Schechter:

According to @RenoPeppermill, the ads are being reprinted and replaced and they’re calling me tomorrow to apologize. I’m satisfied with that and have thanked them.

UPDATED AGAIN: As of Wednesday midday I am happy to report the unexpurgated ad was in place on the floor cling! And I heard from Elizabeth Schechter who spoke with the hotel’s GM to get his personal apology. Thank you, Reno Peppermill!

Writing Through Depression video workshop by @JenWilliams13

In this video Circlet’s own Jennifer Williams provides tips and tricks for staying in the “write” frame of mind while struggling with depression. From word counts to accountability partners and even touching on the value of binge watching, Jennifer guides you through what she’s learned during her own journey through major depressive disorder. We hope you enjoy this video and find it to be a useful toolbox for your creativity.

Jennifer Williams can be found on Twitter at @JenWilliams13 and on Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/JenniferWilliams

Video was recorded at the Circlet Press Writers & Editors Retreat, May 2018 in Cambridge, MA.

Porn and Logistics: Writing Advice from L. Williams

Porn and Logistics
by L. Williams

“Whose hand is where?”

That’s a popular question when both writing and reading w/w and m/m stories. Having your main characters using the same type of pronouns during sex can cause some confusion. In connection to that question, the author and reader both have such fun questions as “How did that hand get there?” or “How many hands does this person have?”

In many instances, these questions make sense in the context of the story, because hopefully things are heated up and it’s easy for the protagonist to lose track. Sometimes the writer is losing track and is sick and tired of editing. Sometimes, there are literally more hands than usual, and then things can become very confusing.

I have been writing fanfiction and original fiction for over ten years, although my fanfiction is easier to find online. Sex has included everything from tentacles to twin dicks, although I think I have somehow managed to skip the “knotting” craze. I have read multiple stories including knots, but I don’t think I have actually written one. I have researched snake sex, shark sex, horse sex (hi, centaurs), turtle sex, and multiple diagrams of human genitalia to figure out how things would fit and what is going where. In most cases, the puzzle pieces can be connected to form a complete picture. Other times, a rewrite is necessary. Not even with a jug of lube and thirty minutes of yoga beforehand will that position work.

That said, I am aware that it can be difficult to do the research. Some information was found quickly, others required more hours than I would like to admit, and some required a vast amount of eye and brain bleach. Still, whenever possible, I request fellow writers to try and research. Your research may be limited to crude gestures with your hands as you try to figure out how everything would fit. It may include Ken dolls. It may include open-minded friends or the writer’s accepting lover. If you can’t do anything, consider asking for constructive criticism. If you don’t care, consider a note informing readers that it is just graphic porn, no research occurred, and just enjoy the various types of penetration and/or sucking.

There is something off-putting when I am reading porn and get knocked out because that doesn’t or can’t work that way. My standards for porn aren’t high. They aren’t. Nor am I asking for realism. No one should expect too much realism in porn. But if I am reading about an intersex alien whose genitalia is basically a NSFW pocketknife, I can’t help but wonder how much room they have down there. Does it make it difficult to walk? Wear pants? Will the love interest be able to free their hand? This also resulted in some fun internet research which still failed to answer my question.

Can the tentacles self-lubricate? Do the dicks for fingers make everyday life, ah, difficult? (Star Trek has never answer the question of what handshakes are equivalent for regarding Vulcans.) Is anyone else mildly frightened by the fanged monster eating out (in fun ways) the human woman? Why does the reptilian woman have breasts? (Now looking at many male artists and writers.)

While the research can be frightening, it can be fun. I promise. Such research offers the writer the opportunity to stay up late at night reading kinky porn to see if other writers were able to either figure out how to convince readers to not question how that particular organ fit or was able to provide a convincing reason for how that virgin was able to take that. It also helps the writer notice what porn made them stop reading. What parts knocked the writer out of the story? Why? Is it something that can be found in the writer’s own stories? What could the author do to make that believable or, at least, acceptable? Why was the person able to read to that point in the scene? What was acceptable before and what changed? Check out comments and reviews. What did the other readers like and what was baffling for them?

Suspension of disbelief can be enough. For some porn, it is clear that the author never intended plot or reality to interfere, and the reader should just sit back and enjoy the ride. Other times, I’m up far too late looking up diagrams on the internet trying to figure out what the author just did. If you can, please research even the porny parts of your stories. If nothing else, you may find inspiration for future porn.

L. Williams began as a fanfiction writer over a decade ago who has transitioned into original works. Interests include slash, femme-slash, horror, romance, fantasy, bittersweet endings, and tragedy, with many of these based on a dare or a terrible prompt. She lives surrounded by cats, caffeine, and far too many notebooks.

(Note from the editor: By the way, you can find L. Williams on Patreon. Circlet Press uses Patreon as one of our main means of support and if you enjoy erotic stories you can support us and many individual Circlet Press authors there!)

Help Fund Circlet Press’s 2018 Slate of Books! Including…Leather Ever After!

Circlet Kickstarter Banner
CLICK HERE TO JOIN THE KICKSTARTER
Circlet Press has been around for 25 years and to make sure we’re around in the future, we’ve set the stretch goals in our Kickstarter to allow us to keep up our publishing mission in the year 2018! Yesterday we passed the $5,000 mark, so the “best of” anthology that was goal #1 will come to be! But goal #2 is actually multiple goals.

For every $500 over that initial $5 we raise, we can publish a book. In the Kickstarter campaign I listed close to a full year’s worth of books and said if we reach $10,000, they all get funded. But an opportunity for another book came up last week and it was too good to pass up. It’s larger than our usual books, with 18 stories, so it’ll need a $1,000 budget, but I think you’ll agree it’s worth going for:

LEATHER EVER AFTER, edited by Sassafras Lowrey!

This collection of BDSM & kink fairy tales includes a foreword by Laura Antoniou and a fairly star-studded lineup of BDSM and kink authors, including DL King, Raven Kaldera, Lee Harrington, Mollena Williams, and many more. And I am so pleased to finally be working with Sassafras Lowrey, who I’ve known through queer publishing circles for a long time. Sassafras is the 2013 winner of the Lambda Literary Emerging Writer Award. Hir books—Lost Boi, A Little Queermas Carol, Roving Pack, and Kicked Out—have been honored by organizations ranging from the National Leather Association to the American Library Association. Sounds right up our alley, no? 
Continue reading Help Fund Circlet Press’s 2018 Slate of Books! Including…Leather Ever After!

New Book! Journey to the Center of Desire: Erotic Jules Verne!

$3.99 ebook
ISBN: 978-1-61390-184-7

Formats: :

Erotic stories in the worlds of Jules Verne, gathered together by the editor who also brought you books of erotic Sherlock Holmes, H.P. Lovecraft, and several volumes of steampunk erotica…!

Verne’s books feature daring, intelligent men facing danger and overcoming obstacles in the name of scientific discovery. Journey to the Center of Desire tells the stories of people who love the adventurers: the ones left behind, or carried helplessly along, or are otherwise affected by these harebrained schemes.

In “Lunacy” by Jean Roberta, based on From the Earth to the Moon, two brave and daring women struggling in a man’s world come up with a brilliant–and ridiculous–idea to win their freedom and future life together. Luckily for them, great men can still be made into fools by beautiful women with a plan. In Annabeth Leong’s “Journey to the Disappearing Sea,” Axel, from Journey to the Center of the Earth, is forced to realize that his precious porcelain doll of a fiancée has her own hopes and dreams and strengths and they will not be hidden any more. In Corey Reid’s “The Unresolved Wager,” (based on Around the World in Eighty Days) Phileas Fogg’s friends Aouda and Passepartout make a bet to see who can teach the man they both love that living well requires paying attention to your friends… and having lots of orgasms. In “Poulp Friction” by Evadare Volney, we learn how deep the friendship between M. Aronnax and his loyal Conseil (of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea) actually is, and that Captain Nemo’s rebellious nature and technological acumen extended to much more personal matters than we were led to believe.

Includes:

  • “Lunacy” by Jean Roberta
  • “Journey to the Disappearing Sea” by Annabeth Leong
  • “The Unresolved Wager” by Corey Reid
  • “Poulp Friction” by Evadare Volney
Journey to the Center of Desire: Erotic Tales of Jules Verne
Erotic stories in the worlds of Jules Verne. Verne's books feature daring, intelligent men facing danger and overcoming obstacles in the name of scientific discovery. Journey to the Center of Desire tells the stories of people who love the adventurers: the ones left behind, or carried helplessly along, or are otherwise affected by these harebrained schemes. With stories by Annabeth Leong, Corey Reid, Evadare Volney, and Jean Roberta.

Looking back at “The Drag Queen of Elfland” by Lawrence Schimel

To celebrate Circlet Press’s 25th anniversary, we’ve invited some of our authors to look back at the early days. Lawrence Schimel remembers the year 1997, when we published his short story collection THE DRAG QUEEN OF ELFLAND, and launched our [non-erotic] gay and lesbian science fiction/fantasy line The Ultra Violet Library with it. He writes:

At the time, there was a healthy independent queer press scene with local LGBT community-focused newspapers and magazines across the US and abroad–which provided attention for new books about our lives that were often passed over for review in mainstream media outlets.
Continue reading Looking back at “The Drag Queen of Elfland” by Lawrence Schimel

Science Fictional Sex is *Interesting*… Celebrating 25 Years of Circlet Press

To celebrate our 25th year of publishing, we’re getting essays and remembrances from many of our authors, supporters, and friends over the years! We just published an essay from author Jennifer Stevenson, whose first pro sale was to Circlet for a book called SEXTOPIA, where she shares a table of contents with such folks as Suzy McKeen Charnas and Catherine Asaro. She has since gone on to publish novels with publishers large and small.
Recent books from Jennifer Stevenson
In her essay she hits some key thoughts about why science fiction and sex are perfect bedmates:

When the aspects of human experience being examined are sexual, that’s when science fiction gets really interesting. The axis of change can be physical with respect to the ableness of the characters, whether they are in zero G or two G, whether the characters are in ordinary human bodies or different bodies—alien, animal, vivisected, cyborged, single- or multiple-minded, sky’s the limit. The axis can be private or public—intimate gaze ranging from anonymous to domestic, political gaze from lower class to royals as mediated by the fourth estate, even warfare between sexual soldiers. The axis can refine to include class concerns: rented sex, sexual slavery, bartered sex between unequal classes, all the intrusions of economic power into sex. The axis can range between natural and synthetic, between colonized and colonizer, between mundane and divine, between extreme gesture and minimal expression, between the expected and the unexpected, exploring the meaning of both terminals…in terms of sex. Science fictional sex can be interesting.

Sex itself runs along many axes that cannot, in real life, often be isolated and examined. We come to it pre-equipped with ability and race and class and gender and sociopolitical power and expressive vocabulary and that most elusive and yet overwhelming of all factors, personal taste.

My perpetual disappointment with most erotica is that it doesn’t travel far along any axis. It’s boring.

At Circlet Press, science fiction erotica is interesting.

To read the full essay, find it on the Kickstarter website here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ceciliatan/circlet-press-25th-anniversary-best-erotic-scifi-a/posts/1993835

Circlet Press 25th Anniversary: Week One Kickstarter Summary

Kickstarter week 1 progress

CLICK HERE TO SEE REWARD LEVELS AND GO TO KICKSTARTER!

Things have been going swimmingly so far for the Circlet Press 25th anniversary anthology Kickstarter! At the end of Week One (of four) we’ve reached $4,118, which is over 40% of the way to our goal of $10,000–and 82% of the way to the minimum we have to reach to guarantee the anthology will happen! It’s looking really good!

ESSAYS

The campaign’s first week included three fantastic essays from writers and editors in the science fiction/fantasy field (linked here):

  • Jennifer Stevenson, author of The Brass Bed, Trash Sex Magick, and more
  • Lawrence Schimel, author and editor of over 100 books, some published by Circlet
  • Warren Lapine, publisher of Wilder Publications, former editor of Absolute Magnitude

VIDEO CELEBRATION

We also had two awesome “happy anniversary” messages from two awesome writers, Charlie Jane Anders (a founder of i09 and Nebula Award winning author of All the Birds in the Sky) and Mary Anne Mohanraj (founder of Strange Horizons, the SpecLit Foundation, DesiLit, and author of The Stars Change): Continue reading Circlet Press 25th Anniversary: Week One Kickstarter Summary

Circlet Press 25th Anniversary Anthology KICKSTARTER LAUNCH!!

CLICK HERE TO SEE REWARD LEVELS AND GO TO KICKSTARTER!

Circlet Press has been publishing erotic science fiction and fantasy since 1992. Our mission has always been to celebrate the sexual imagination as a way to change the world for the better. We would like to see a world where many different expressions of gender and sexuality are accepted and celebrated in ways that they may not be in the present day.

This year marks our 25th anniversary and to commemorate 25 years on the cutting edge of erotic literature, we would like to publish a “best of” anthology, as we did in 2012, 2007, and 2002. To produce a beautiful paperback edition is going to take money.
Continue reading Circlet Press 25th Anniversary Anthology KICKSTARTER LAUNCH!!

HEART’S MASTER made Finalist in the Prism Awards! (So it’s on sale…)

HEART’S MASTER by Elizabeth Schechter is a finalist in the Prism Awards! These awards are given annually by the Fantasy, Futuristic, & Paranormal Chapter of the RWA, and awarded in several categories. HEART’S MASTER is in the erotic category and we’ll find out if it won at a ceremony during the RWA convention on July 28!

To celebrate and wish Elizabeth luck, we’re having a sale of the book! Use coupon code PRISMLUCK to get $4.00 off the ebook if purchased at circlet.com (Regular price $5.99)

For more information about the Prism finalists, visit the FFP RWA website: https://ffprwa.com/2017-prism-awards-finalists-announced/

Heart's Master
by Elizabeth Schechter

In one tragic night Steven loses everything: his lover, his dreams, and his sight, but he gains the compassionate, caring dominant he has always longed for. Nick must teach Steven not only how to have a healthy and consensual BDSM relationship, but how to navigate the ways of magic. But as Steven begins to wield his new--and terrifyingly strong--powers, he draws the attention of evil beyond our world.
Also available in paperback!