And the winners are–hold on. ELVES! PUT THE RED BULL DOWN AND GET OVER HERE!
Okay. The winners are…
Thanks, everybody, for playing!
DARLINGS! Happy Friday and all of that. Today we’ve got Cheyenne Blue, editor of the anthology First: Sensual Lesbian Stories of New Beginnings (LadyLit Publishing) in the house.
First is hot off the press (as in last freaking week and here’s your full disclosure — I [Andi] have a story in it), so it’s all sexy and glossy and has that new car smell. At any rate, you might know Cheyenne because her stories have appeared in around 100 erotica anthologies since 2000. She’s also an anthology editor and has her own collections of her own work (published by LadyLit). In her other persona, she’s written travel guides and articles and has lived in Europe, North American, and Australia.
I’ve been following Cheyenne’s writing since about 2008 or so, which means I was really excited whe she submitted a story to me and fellow writer/editor R.G. Emanuelle for our All You Can Eat anthology through Ylva. One of the things I really enjoy about Cheyenne’s work — whether it’s her own writing or the stories she collects for anthologies — is her eye for nuance and for the many different layers that can make up intimacy between women.
I’m glad she was able to stop by today to talk about First and the kind of anthology it really is.
And to celebrate this awesome-ness, she’s offering TWO EBOOK COPIES for your reading pleasure! WOOOO! Many of you know the drill — to get in on this fabulosity, leave a comment below and then the merry elves do a random drawing that usually involves music, sometimes Twister (don’t ask), and Red Bull. Make sure you include an email address in the comment fill-out form but DO NOT put your email address in the body of the email. The elves are trying to save you from evil spambots. We will do the drawing Monday at 9 PM EST US time and then we post the winners here and we notify the winners via email. Check your spam filter if you see your name here but you haven’t gotten an email from us.
All right. I will now turn this here blog thingie over to Cheyenne.
This time last year, my first anthology, Forbidden Fruit: stories of unwise lesbian desire, was released by Ladylit Publishing. Following its release, Harper Bliss of LadyLit and I sat down together in the virtual world over a glass or three of red wine and tossed around themes for the next anthology. I was keen on a theme of “first” but there was a bit of a problem.
Say “first” and “erotica” in the same breath and readers will assume that the anthology is a collection of stories about first sexual experiences: the first time to get down and dirty with another person. Yes, great idea, definitely, but I wanted the anthology to be this and more.
I wanted to curate an anthology that took a broader sweep over the landscape of firsts, including stories of first experiences of all different kinds. First times make lasting memories, and create strong emotions. Add sex into the context of other first experiences and you have an explosive combination. It doesn’t have to be a conventional milestone to inspire those emotions, either. While many people do remember their first sexual experience, their first day on a new job, their first parachute jump, the day they met their soulmate… well, others don’t. That list there? The only one of those I truly remember with vivid clarity is my first (and only) parachute jump. Ssssh, don’t tell my partner!
So “First” went ahead, and the stories rolled in and they covered as wide a range of experiences as I’d hoped, and explored a gamut of emotions. Within the covers of First: Sensual Lesbian Stories of New Beginnings, you’ll read about the first “Talkie” movies, a woman’s first competitive boxing match, and an attempted around-the-world flight. On an emotional level, there are stories about the uncertainty of first sexual experience after a break up, the first time falling in love, and the anger and pain a woman feels after losing her house. Yes, there are also some wonderful stories of a first lesbian experience which round out the collection.
So what was our problem? Naming the anthology. Use the words “first” and “lesbian” and “sex” together, and the assumption is that the anthology is only about first experiences of lesbian sex. So our problem was to convey our theme, the diversity of the stories, and our intended audience, sufficiently well in the title. I hope we’ve managed that.
To celebrate the release of First: Sensual Lesbian Stories of New Beginnings, I’ve brought along one of the talented contributors to talk about a “first” of her own.
Brenda Murphy’s story in First is about a war vet, now back home with the physical and mental scars gained while serving her country. A young waitress gives her confidence to love again.
Brenda also celebrates another first in First. Along with Ivy Newman and Rosie Bower, she celebrates her first published piece of short fiction. Congratulations!
Here, Brenda talks about a first time of her own:
The first time I went for a tattoo, I was at a county fair with my then-girlfriend. We had met in the barracks, after I almost knocked myself out walking into a post while watching her pull on her stockings. She was the best thing that could have happened to me, as I had joined the army to get away from a relationship that had gone restraining-order-bad. An older, more experienced, and exquisite woman, she had dark hair, deep brown eyes, and legs that I still dream about. In her arms, I found what I had lost about myself. We talked about getting tattoos. I had wanted one for a long time, but always made some excuse. We were not foolish enough to think our relationship would last beyond our current post, yet we still wanted something to remember each other by when our time was over.
At the local fair we found a tattoo artist working out of trailer. I picked out a small design, a black cat, and had it tattooed on my left hip. That tiny tattoo led to an addiction, the sting of the needle, the resulting endorphin release, and the hot sex with my lover after the tattoo hooked me, and it feels like the first time every time I walk into a tattoo shop. My long ago girlfriend had a small cluster of cherries tattooed on her left breast. We spent the rest of that summer enjoying each other’s bodies every chance we had, and I thought about that first tattoo, and that wonderful healing woman when I was writing my story, “Whole Again”.
Excerpt from “Whole Again”:
I felt the heat in my face, knew my cheeks were glowing. How long had it been since I had felt like this? I couldn’t remember. Before the Army, I did this type of thing all the time: banter, flirt, kiss, make plans, trust that tomorrow would come. After my tour, after my world exploded, after I came home in pieces, I had stopped. Even now I didn’t speak, knowing that if I spoke she would hear every bit of desire in my voice. I finished my beer to buy time before I finally trusted myself to speak.
“How about Sunday? I could make you dinner. Six okay?”
“Sunday at six works.”
She walked me to the door. As I turned to leave, she spun me around and kissed me, her lips soft and full of promises that I hoped she would keep.
As for me, the first times that stick in my memory tend to be small things. I remember the first time I galloped on a horse and the sense of flying freedom it gave me. I remember standing in the Arizona desert and seeing saguaros for the first time — those big-armed cacti seen in old Westerns — and thinking how beautiful they were. The accomplishment I felt when, for the first time, I was able to run for 30 minutes without stopping, after weeks of battling on thinking I’d never manage it. I also remember the thrill of receiving my first acceptance for an erotic short story. That was in 1999 and that thrill has never gone away.
I hope you do check out First: Sensual Lesbian Stories of New Beginnings.
And now, MOAR INFO about the anthology! Don’t forget to leave a comment for the GIVEAWAY! 😀
Dive into these fifteen sizzling tales of lesbian love and romance and experience the wonder, the joy, and the magic of new beginnings.
A woman sees her lover for the first time after years of blindness. For the first time in her life, a top trusts her girlfriend enough to let her take control. A connection forged in a bar in New Mexico encourages a breast cancer survivor to take a lover. Stories of new love and first lesbian encounters intermingle with other emotional and physical firsts, and the excitement of new experiences: an around the world flight, the thrill of a carnival, and even the first time to see the sea.
With fantastic stories by favorite writers such as Sacchi Green, Harper Bliss, Annabeth Leong, Allison Wonderland, and Jeremy Edwards, the variety in this anthology means there is something for everyone.
First: Sensual Lesbian Stories of New Beginnings is available direct from Ladylit Publishing