A Personal History of Best Lesbian Erotica

Best Lesbian Erotica 20th Anniversary Edition is out now, and I’m part of the blog tour editor Sacchi Green has organized on it’s behalf. The story of mine that is in this collection, Luscious & Wild, is here on Sugarbutch already, so I thought I’d take you back into the Best Lesbian Erotica series in celebration of it’s 20th.

Personally, I started collecting them in 2001. I fancied myself a lover of smut and a sex-focused person, but frowned at my itty bitty erotica collection at home. So I started frequenting the lesbian erotica section of my favorite used book store, Twice Sold Tales, on Seattle’s Capitol Hill, which was an equally itty bitty shelf near the floor. The ‘Gay and Lesbian’ section towered in the shelves above it, but I was looking for the bottom-shelf stuff. The dirty stuff. I bought every edition I could find, eventually filling in my collection by ordering the few volumes I was missing online, and still order the newest edition the minute it comes out.

The series now spans 20 volumes with as many different guest editors. It can be hard to pick just which ones to read, or where to start. So, here are three of my favorites.

Best Lesbian Erotica 1998

ble98The first one that got me really hooked was Best Lesbian Erotica 1998. The story by Karlyn Lotney (also known as Fairy Butch, if you remember On Our Backs and other late 90s sex/dyke activism) called “Clash of the Titans” remains one of my favorite erotica pieces ever, and blasted open what I thought erotica could be or do. For example, it could be complex emotionally, it could contain activism and politics, it could show switching, it could show vulnerability. Not that I didn’t know that, exactly, I just didn’t … realize it until I read this story, and this whole book. (I wrote about it in this week’s new View From The Top column, titled The First Time I Knew I Was A Top.)

She cut a swath through my flat like Moses parting the Red Sea, and made me feel like a man: all big and dumb and panting. I felt my internal butch cock harden and start its invisible levitation, and the part of my brain that concerns itself with floral arrangements, oranges, and perfect living rooms fell away. Another part took over, the part that found its genesis in my father’s collection of late sixties’ issues of Playboy, benches two-ten, and answers to “Daddy.”
—”Clash of the Titans” by Karlyn Lotney, from Best Lesbian Erotica 1998

The other piece that made me speechless (and come) was “Ridin’ Bitch” by Toni Amato. That story—that includes a hard femme who jacks off a butch’s strap-on shamelessly while they ride from the bar to the butch’s apartment on a motorcycle—was part of what completely convinced me that I loved strap-on sex.

Best Lesbian Erotica 2006

ble06Best Lesbian Erotica 2006 included the first erotica short story I ever published. I have read that edition over and over, mostly because my story is in it, and it thrilled me to no end to see my name in print. (It’s under my legal name, by the way, not under Sinclair.) 2006 was the year I started Sugarbutch as well, but that actually came after this publication was accepted, and I thought Sugarbutch would be a little private side-project, not become my next big thing.

BLE ’06 also includes a beautiful story by Peggy Munson, and one of my absolute favorites by S. Bear Bergman, called ‘Silver Dollar Afternoon.’

I fall in love with her when anyone asks her why she doesn’t wear her beautiful long hair all the way down and she says, with just a hint of coolness: “A woman’s hair is for her husband,” which makes me remember every time she has unpinned her hair for my delighted eyes and even if I’m not quite a husband I still shiver in my blue jeans without fail.
—Silver Dollar Afternoon by S. Bear Bergman, Best Lesbian Erotica 2006

Best Lesbian Erotica 2012

ble12The 2012 edition is probably my favorite, but that’s because I’m the guest editor and so I got to pick all of the stories. I actually went back to Kathleen Warnock, the series editor then, to request more stories after I read all the picks she’d sent me and I didn’t have as many as we needed. They just weren’t dirty enough—she’d picked me really good stories, with characters and plots and development and such, but I want that AND a really excellent, dirty, kinky sex scene. It is largely butch/femme heavy, but I tried to get a good mix of other character types and pairings in there, too.

The introduction that I wrote for Best Lesbian Erotica 2012 is about why lesbian erotica is valuable activism, and it’s here on Sugarbutch if you’d like to dive into my thoughts on that more.

These books of lesbian erotica are not fluff. They are not nothing. They are not frivolous or useless. For queers coming out and into our own, they are a path.” —From Why Lesbian Erotica is Valuable Activism

And now: Best Lesbian Erotica 20th Anniversary Edition

BLEOfTheYear_approvedSince Tristan Taormino left, the series has gone through a few different editor’s hands, and I’m excited that Sacchi is responsible for this one. She’s edited many of my favorite lesbian erotica anthologies.

Thanks to Cleis Press for keeping this series going all these years!

I highly recommend picking up a copy of Best Lesbian Erotica 20th Anniversary Edition at your local queer, feminist, women-centric, activist-oriented bookstore, or, only if you must, from Amazon.

Here’s the rest of the blog tour, which features the different authors in the book and our story titles. Click around & follow along!

Feb 10, Sacchi Green, Introduction
Feb 11, Rose de Fer, “Dust”
Feb 12, Louise Blaydon, “Ascension”
Feb 13, Megan McFerren, “The Royalty Underground”
Feb 14, Harper Bliss, “Reunion Tour”
Feb 15, D.L. King, “Hot Blood”
Feb 16, Jean Roberta, “Tears from Heaven”
Feb 17, Sinclair Sexsmith, “Luscious and Wild”
Feb 18, R.G. Emanuelle, “Smorgasbord”
Feb 19, Rose P. Lethe, “A Professional”
Feb 20, Anna Watson, “Easy”
Feb 21, Valerie Alexander, “Grind House”
Feb 22, Annabeth Leong, “Give and Take”
Feb 23, Frankie Grayson, “Mirror Mirror”
Feb 24, Cheyenne Blue, “The Road to Hell”
Feb 25, Emily L. Byrne, “The Further Adventures of Miss Scarlet”
Feb 26, Sossity Chiricuzio, “Make them Shine”
Feb 27, Teresa Noelle Roberts, “Tomato Bondage”

PS: Comment on any of these posts for a chance to win a free copy of Best Lesbian Erotica 20th Anniversary Edition. The drawing will be held by February 28th and the winner announced by March 5th.

Best Lesbian Erotica 2012 Has Shipped!

Kristen & I received notice that Best Lesbian Erotica 2012—for which I am the guest editor!—has shipped! If you pre-ordered a copy, you should get it any moment. If you haven’t yet, well, as the series editor Kathleen Warnock says, this is a perfect holiday gift. Add it to your wish list. Buy it for Grandma.

(More holiday gift suggestions are coming, I’m working on a list.)

I can’t wait to hear what y’all think of this compilation. I think it’s very, very dirty.

Pick it up from your local independent bookseller, Amazon, or directly from Cleis Press.

The Best Lesbian Erotica 2012 Table of Contents

It’s official! Cleis has given the a-okay to the table of contents I chose for Best Lesbian Erotica 2012. I’m so pleased with how this turned out, many of my favorite smut writers submitted pieces, and according to Kathleen it features writers “from 8 US states and 5 international contributors, including 3 from Toronto.”

If you’re excited about it, the best thing you can do to support me at this point is to go pre-order it on Amazon! Can’t wait to share all these great pieces with you.

Here it is:

Best Lesbian Erotica 2012
Edited by Kathleen Warnock
Selected and Introduced by Sinclair Sexsmith

Touched, by Amy Butcher
Heartfirst, by Kiki DeLovely
Rebel Girl, by Kirsty Logan
Hush, by Treasure Sapphire
Blood Lust, by Giselle Renarde
The Produce Queen, by Michelle Brennan
Hot Yoga, by Anne Grip
Stubborn Ache, by Elena Shearin
Maid for You, by Deborah Castellano
The Last Time, by Dani M.
My Femme, by Evan Mora
How He Likes It, by Xan West
Vacation, by Ali Oh
Come to Me, by Ily Goyanes
On My Honor, by D.L. King
Fifties Waitress, by Julia Noel Goldman
Skindeep, by Anna Watson
Envy, by Lulu La Framboise
When You Call, by Sharon Wachsler
The Elevator Man, by Lea DeLaria
Neck Magic, by Nancy Irwin
Never Too Old, by DeJay

Best Lesbian Erotica 2012, selected & introduced by Sinclair Sexsmith

I’m so excited to announce that I am the guest editor for Best Lesbian Erotica 2012 published by Cleis Press and edited by Kathleen Warnock—and here is the amazingly hot cover!

It is due out in December 2011 and it has a fantastic line-up of well-written, gender-smart, dirty, smutty, hot stories (which are very queer, not just lesbian).

I’m sure you’ll hear endlessly about this volume as we get closer to publication, but in the meantime the best thing you can do to support it is to pre-order it on Amazon as Amazon takes pre-order numbers very seriously, and depending on how many are pre-ordered they keep a certain number in stock, which helps for the success of the book tremendously.

I’ll be doing as much promotion as I can, hopefully with a virutal book tour and some copies available for review. If you have any other ideas how I can get the word out about this book and market and promote it, I’m open to brainstorming! What do you think? What would make you run out & buy it?