amongst books

amongst books

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Ring in the new year with smut

I have three new stories in the Erotica Readers and Writers Association Gallery to whet your appetites for a sexy 2014.

In Sir North a pain and humiliation slut has to decide how far she will go to satisfy her desires.

In  The Adulteress a writer gets whoever she wants, no matter what the cost.

In Lusting After Jeremy an older woman finally gets the young man she has been fantasizing about…or does she?

Also in the Best of 2013 Treasure Chest, you'll find six of my stories originally published throughout the year:

The Afternoon Circle Jerk Society is an homage to Victorian erotica;

Beating the Gothic Out of Her features a woman obsessed with Heathcliff;

Real Irish is the story of a woman, an Irish college graduate and her best friend;

Mercy and the Man in the Dark Suit is a brief encounter between a woman and a South Asian man visiting her town;

The Revenant is the tale of a haunted man;

The Vessel is the tale of a man and a woman whose love affair goes awry.

Thanks to Adrienne & the editors and members of the Erotica Readers and Writers Association for their support in 2013.

And thank you, dear readers for your love, lust & attention in 2013.

I wish you a happy 2014 full of sex, love, joy, pain…whatever you're into…

Friday, December 20, 2013

Fav Music of 2013

In 2013, I acquired--either through purchase, free download or magazine freebies--42 new CDs. So figuring out what my favourite 10 CDs are from the year is not an easy task, but I think it's worthwhile to share favourites. 

I'd like to know yours. bear in mind that my tastes do not run to ambient music or electronica or hip hop or rap. I like some country, some classical, pop, blues, folk, some rock, alt country, I suppose. I am beginning to develop a taste for jazz and opera. what is important to me with non instrumental music is the combination of good melodies & lyrics. 

for instrumental work, I am inclined toward string instruments, but there are exceptions to every generalization I make, of course. my criteria for best of is that I have to like 80% of the music on the CD. This means I have to have played it a number of times.

Bassekou is from Mali. His wife, Amy Sacko sings lead. She has an incredible voice. So vibrant.  Other singers are also amazing. The music is full of energy.It's kind of like listening to a contemporary version of blues music. I just find this music so joyful and happy-making. "Jama Ko" means "big gathering of people" according to the blurb over at Out Here Records. Important gatherings in Mali are accompanied by the music of the griots, a tradition which Bassekou and his band, Ngoni Ba are part of.

Idle No More - Songs for Life, Volumes One and Two

These collections of free downloadable tracks by artists in support of the Idle No More Movement is eclectic and fun. Some of the musicians are familiar to me, but I hadn't necessarily heard the songs or that version of the song. New & exciting discoveries for me were (Vol 1) A Tribe Called Red, Digging Roots, & the sexy George Leach, whose voice is wet-making. Apparently he's also a potter. Sizzle! On Volume 2, I loved the strong voice of Sandy Scofield. You can tell she has a jazz background. I enjoyed hearing the Winnipeg-based roots quartet, Oh My Darling singing in French. I must buy their French CDs. I've heard Melody McKiver perform twice: once at Rob Friday's Vernissage at Shanghai Restaurant and just recently at the A B Series Xmas Party. She played with Glenn Nuotio & jammed with poets Adeena Karasick and Bill Bissett. she's incredibly talented. I love the song, Theresa, on this album in honour of Chief Theresa Spence. There's such great music on both these albums. And they're free!

Ben Harper with Charlie Musslewhite - Get Up! This guy's voice is so sweet and smooth. This is a bluesy album with slide guitar and Musselwhite's soulful harp playing. See how I'm using the slang term "harp" for harmonica? this is my attempt to be cool. uh…oh well…

I loved this guy as Smog & I love him still now that he's dropped the Smog. His voice is still low and smoggy sounding, or maybe foggy would be a better way to describe it. This is a beautiful album with his gentle voice, background fiddles, Wurlitzer organ, bass, conga drums, clave, fiddle and flute . It's supposed to be an album you can listen to late at night and I'll vouch for that. I love his lyrics. "Giving praise in a quiet way…like a church, that's far away…Outside a train sings its…whalesong." The Sing. I love his pauses. I don't have near enough of his music. Resolution for 2014, have more Bill Callahan in my life. Dreamy stuff.

Bob used to play keyboards for Blue Rodeo. His voice has got a really incredible range. He's a talented producer, film scorer musician, a renaissance man. Additional singers include Mary Margaret O'Hara, Maylee Todd, Serena Ryder, and others. This is a really quirky CD.

Ok,I never heard of Josh Garrels before. He's a Portland singer/songwriter who was invited to Mayne Island to perform a dozen live performances in a week. Picked this one up from which gives you free music in exchange for your e-mail address. Which probably explains all the junk e-mail I get, but hey, I'll do a lot for free tunes. His voice is high and spirited, reminds me of Jeff Buckley.  I'd really love to see the film.

LL is Aly Spaltro and she has a gorgeous ethereal voice. I admit that I probably bought this CD mostly because I just liked the name "Lady Lamb the Beekeeper."  This is her debut album and it's a juxtaposition of her melifluous voice and some raucous electric guitar. The lyrics of songs are haunting and quirky, an unusual mix. "Jesus sucks the mud out of your soul," she croons in "Aubergine."  On "Florence Berlin" her voice reminds me of Leslie Feist's voice.

You knew if Ron had a new CD out, I'd have to include it on my favourites list, right? I've loved every one of his albums. Each one has a different vibe. This one has a feeling of optimism somehow, even with songs entitled "Nowhere to Go But Down." His voice is strong. The music is grand and the lyrics are thoughtful and often have this child-like imagination that I find endearing. The album is once more produced by Mitchell Froom, who has produced a number of Ron's albums. Orchestral is the word that comes to mind to describe these songs. I'm particularly thrilled over the bonus tracks which are the result of a song-writing collaboration between Ron and English lyricist Don Black. The songs on this album are memorable and ones that I come back to all the time. I always think the latest of Ron Sexsmith's albums is my favourite, but I think this one is going to stay with me for a long time as  a fav. The chief reason why I'm a fan is because of the beautiful and unforgettable melodies. They are here in songs like "If Only Avenue," and "Life A Broken Heart." His lyrics are playful, intelligent in songs such as "Snake Road," which plays with the Adam and Eve story. Ron's voice is sexy, gorgeous and strong on this album. I was fortunate to attend his recent concert at the NAC Studio in October and can report that the songs play just as well live as they do on the album. I tend to prefer hearing Ron live with just him playing guitar or piano, but I also enjoy hearing his band. Can't wait for the next CD!

Another freebie, the third in a series by OR. I love covers. I love these interpretations of 80s songs that were so much a part of my late teenage years and early adulthood. When I heard Wang Chung's "Dance Hall Days" I was chugging back another pint from the pitcher of $5 beer at the Bomb Shelter, the bar where all the engineers hang out, at the University of Waterloo. My boyfriend's Systems Design class won the Havenger Scunt and we got I can't remember how many cases of beer as a prize…but I digress. There's something so laid back about the way the band is playing this music, which was so frantic in the 80s. in the early aughts, this music is laid-back. Will Sheff's voice is damn sexy, kinda loose, not all the consonants pronounced. I know he isn't a slacker, but if he were a slacker, he'd be a loveable one. A brief mention too of their latest album "Silver Gymnasium," which is so different, full of piano. I really like that one too. It's a storytelling album, like "The Stage Names" & much of their other music. It's very upbeat, more upbeat than a lot of their earlier albums. You're either gonna like that or you're not. I do.

Ok, it couldn't be a best of list compiled by me if I didn't include a tribute album. I LOVE TRIBUTE ALBUMS! Was that loud enough for you? I love hearing other musicians interpretations of familiar songs. I enjoy discovering musicians I haven't heard of and also I find I listen more closely to the lyrics, fall in love with the originals all over again. These are better days, baby. All royalties for the CD are donated via Light of Day, an organization which raises money to help people with Parkinson's Disease. There are 37 songs on this double album. I love Dion's voice on "Book of Dreams," Dan Bern's version of "Thunder Road," Elvis Costello's slow country take on "Brilliant Disguise," Rosie Flores on "Lucky Town"…heck, I didn't pay that much attention to Springsteen when he was popular, but after this CD, I'm going to revisit him for sure.

In 2013, a dear friend gifted me with several of Tom Wait's CDs. While none of them were released in 2013, I have to say that these CDs have been a source of great musical joy to me. And the inspiration for poetry and fiction too. I love exchanging music with dear friends and lovers. It's a great way to get to know someone. I hope you exchange music with your friends and lovers over the holidays.

Other highlights of 2013 include the National's "Trouble Will Find Me," Patty Griffin's "American Kid," Bill Bragg's "Tooth & Nail," Michael Feuerstack's "Tambourine Death Bed,"…I could go on and on, but I won't. What are your favourite albums from 2013?

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

More Chapbook Love

Here is a not at all comprehensive list of small presses that publish chapbooks, perfect gifts to wake folk out of the holidaze…If I've listed it here, I've received/purchased chapbooks from the press or had works published by them & sometimes both...

Running the Goat - St. John's, Newfoundland - Marnie Parson

Puddles of Sky Press - Kingston, Ontario - Michael E. Casteels

Proper Tales Press, Cobourg, Ontario - Stuart Ross [ contact Stuart directly to find out about the current catalogue razovsky at gmail dot com 

Laurel Reed Books, Mt. Pleasant, Ontario - Kemeny Babineau [contact Kemeny here: kemenyb at yahoo dot ca]

the Emergency Response Unit - Toronto, Ontario - Andrew Faulkner & Leigh Nash

Ferno House - Toronto, Ontario - Spencer Gordon, Mat Laporte and Arnaud Brassard

Odourless Press - Toronto, Ontario - Bardia Sinaee

No Press - Calgary, Alberta- derek beaulieu

Pooka Press - Vancouver, BC - Warren Dean Fulton [contact Warren here: wdeanf at  yahoo dot ca]

Nomados Literary Publishers - Vancouver, BC - Peter and Meredith Quartermain

Greenboathouse Press - Victoria, BC - Jason Dewinetz

for a great list, go to the Meet the Presses Collective blog & also check out rob mclennan's Notes on Five Canadian Small Presses in the Cordite Poetry Review 

Friday, December 13, 2013

Oddnik Xmas Gift Idea: Buy Literature

If you're not like me (& who is really) & you buy people xmas/holidaze gifts, here's a rundown of good presents for the literature lovers in your life. this is also a way for you to support great writing, great small press publishers & feel damn good about yourself…


yes, I know Canada Pissed is planning on cutting service to homes in urban centres, but that's going to take a few years at least…in the meantime…

above/ground press publishes a plethora of fine poetry chapbooks & broadsides year round. for a mere $50 you can acquire everything above/ground puts out annually. While you're at it pick up the 20th anniversary anthology: "Ground Rules" from their sister publisher, Chaudiere Books.

Book Thug publishes something like 15,000 books & chapbooks in a year… Check their site for suscription or bundle options. While you're there picking up launch packages, might I recommend two fabulous poetry books from 2013: Sandra Ridley's "The Counting House" & Phil Hall's "The Small Nouns Crying Faith." There's a 30% off deal til early January. Take advantage!

Brick: A Literary Journal is a thick volume that comes out a coupla times a year. The interviews, reviews and fiction are wide-ranging. I have learned about all kinds of things I never heard of before such as theatres in the catacombs of Paris, the late of ceramicist Edmund de Waal's family, peers of the Rothchilds, who escaped Nazi Germany with a priceless collection of Japanese netsuke, miniature sculptures.

The Capilano Review,  fillingStation  & Rampike are, in my opinion, the most comprehensive & eclectic literary journals in Canada, including a variety of poetic styles with an emphasis on the rawer edged stuff, art, visual poetry & interviews.

also check out Ottawa published literary magazines: Arc Poetry Magazine, In/Words (they also have chapbooks) , Chrysalis Zine, & the Ottawa Arts Review

Front&Centre from Black Bile Press  is I believe a twice yearly or so magazine with transgressive fiction & critical reviews of mostly fiction, the occasional interview & a candid editorial by Joel Williams. Black Bile also has chapbooks of fiction.


The Literary Press Group has a pop up store for December which offers a good deal on a different themed trio of books daily. 
Go to the LPG's site to access various publishers, indie booksellers etc. or go directly to the publishers' sites themselves.

I am in love with several of the recent Mansfield Press titles, particularly Stephen Brockwell's "Complete Surprising Fragments of Impossible Books" for its brilliance, wry wit & imagination.

Also buy anything from Nightwood Editions, but especially Danny Jacobs' Songs That Remind Us of Factories. The fellow has a good sense of humour & a good sense of sound. 

These are a few titles on my wish list for year round gift possibilities (i don't mind hinting):

Bone and Bread - Saleema Nawaz
Caught - Lisa Moore
Hellgoing by Lynn Coady
A Fairy Tale by  Jonas T. Bengtsson   Translated by: Charlotte Barslund
1996 - Sara Peters
19 Knives - Marc Anthony Jarman

Glossolalia -  Marita Dachsel (Poetry)

Blue is the Warmest Colour - Julie Maroh
Blood, Marriage, Wine & Glitter - S. Bear Bergman

This Great Escape - Andrew Steinmetz
The Traymore Rooms - Norm Sibum

The Lost Letters - Catherine Greenwood

Army of Lovers - A Community History of Will Munro, the Artist, Activist, Impresario and Civic Hero Who Brought Together Toronto's Club Kids, Art Fags, Hardcore Boys, Drag Queens, Rock 'n' Roll Queers, Needlework Obsessives, Limpwristed Nellies, Stone Butches, New Wave Freaks, Unabashed Perverts, Proud Prudes and Beautiful Dreamers-Sarah Liss

White Piano -Nicole Brossard, translated by Robert Majzels &  Erín Moure

The Loneliness Machine by Aaron Giovane

Gay Dwarves of America - Anne Fleming
Light - Souvankham Thammavongsa
Juanita Wildrose: My True Life - Susan Downe

Dennis Cooley - the stones

Rosa Rose - Robert Priest & Joan Krygsman


from a coupla toonies to $10 or so, chapbooks & broadsides are great gifts of mostly poetry from Ottawa micropresses.

Black Bile Press & In/Words Magazine also have chapbooks. see above.


jwcurry's Room 3o2 Books is the place to go for amazing limited edition books, broadsides, chapbooks, posters etc.  . if you were planning on spending money on such items, this would be an ideal time.

what am I forgetting? let me know.

finally a nod to the fabulous 49th Shelf, one of the greatest resources for Canadian books on line. it was a great help to me in the preparation of this list. 

Thursday, December 05, 2013

OGG: Survivor's Guilt

this fortnight's topic on Oh Get A Grip was guilt. i wrote a very difficult post about the guilt I have been feeling since my health crisis in 2009. it is here.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Featured in the Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica 12

i'm chuffed as hell to have a story in Maxim Jakubowski's "Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica 12." This is the third time one of my stories has appeared in the publication and one of the first stories I wrote upon my return from my erotic fiction writing hiatus.

The Graffiti Artist is about a young woman struggling to make her way under difficult circumstances and alluring men she encounters.

Thank you to Maxim for choosing another one of my stories. "Unravelling the Threads of An Ordinary Life" appeared in the Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica 2005 & "The Travellers" appeared in the MBNE 2006. It is an honour to have work in these fine collections and to be published with some of the top erotica writers of this century.

Thank you also to the Erotica Readers and Writers Association whose constant camaraderie, support & encouragement makes the lonely writing life a lot less lonely.

I have more sexy stories coming out in 2014 on line and in print. Honey, you ain't seen nothing yet...

Monday, December 02, 2013

Put on your red shoes & dance the blues

with a nod to David Bowie on the subject line...

here's a new online publication, "the Pickled Body," co-run  by former Ottawa poet, Dimitra Xidous, fellow duende appreciator & current Dublin resident. one of my poems from "Beast Body Epic" appears in its first issue, aptly titled, the Red Shoes issue.

& here is an apt photo taken by Charles of my fishnet stocking clad legs with one high-heeled red shoe showing.yes, i have found a reason to gratuitously show you my sexy legs.

congratulations to the editors & fellow contributors. i am honoured to be among you.

to learn more about "the Pickled Body," check out their Tumblr account & especially the interview with editors Patrick Chapman & Dimitra Xidous.