Dancing Like Authors

June 14, 2012

Hello, hello.

Bound by Lust is on a blog tour, and today I'm hosting contributor Craig J. Sorensen, who shares with us the sinspiration behind his sublimely evocative piece, "A Beautiful Corpse."

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First, I wish to thank Allison for being such a gracious host. As an author who also likes to dabble in fusing erotica with religious themes, I thoroughly enjoyed Allison's story, "A Preference for Deference," in Bound by Lust.


Sometimes I write for the call. I receive a request, or read a posting about an upcoming anthology. Over the last few years, I've learned that submitting to collections is like a dance and the editor does the leading. Every editor has certain tastes, and the author must try to fit these tastes if they want a turn around the floor. Don't get me wrong--I like to push the limits, but as any published author will tell you, if you want to get out there, you have to understand both the market and the editor.  

Challenge her, but don't trip her.

Then, there are times I write just for myself. A dream suggests a storyline. A person I see at the mall conjures a character that I can't hold inside. A CD I'm listening somehow fuses with the images on the TV and the book I'm reading and the cocktail turns into a story. Sometimes, blissfully, a call comes along and seems to call for one of these internally driven stories.

"A Beautiful Corpse" is one of the latter, and it is one of the stories that I enjoyed writing the most. Envisioning a couple who have had a long relationship, and took life by the balls, seeing them late in their lives together, was indescribably sexy to me. Life's scars, well-earned, just can't be ugly, can they? I hope not, as I continue in the second half-century of my life.

Often, as writers of erotica, we focus on the ideal of beauty and youth and adventure, as that is what is socially perceived as sexy. We need to appeal to what we know readers will enjoy. We dance with editors so we can dance with readers.

Still, sometimes we have to push those limits, and shed our clothes to let our true selves be seen.  Sometimes we hope to reach something that is less obvious in the reader's psyche, and we hope we might change a few hearts to see in a different way.

I wrote "A Beautiful Corpse" over a couple of days, and refined it for months. Then I finished it and stowed it. I wondered if it would find a home. Yes, there are adventurous editors in erotica, but showing the intimate lives of an old couple, especially an old couple whose adventures went beyond the "norm"?

Maybe that's a bridge too far, I thought.

Then I read a call for a collection by Shanna Germain.

I've long admired Shanna; there is a power and energy to her writing. We met swimming around Desdmona's Fish Tank a few years ago. We crossed paths in her capacity as an editor at Clean Sheets. I know that Shanna likes to color outside the lines as an author, and that she's not afraid to take chances.

That story I'd written came to mind instantly. I drafted a cover and dashed the story off. It was a wonderful feeling when Shanna was so enthusiastic about it. She shared my concern about how to get a story like this out there, and she had some ideas to make the story bridge the gap between the ideal of youth and the beauty of experience. 

Yes, I massaged the story, made the flashbacks more vivid, but bless her heart, Shanna left the decision to do that up to me.

As if I didn't respect and appreciate her enough.

The end result, after I made the changes, is a stronger story and none of the original idea and energy was lost.


"A Beautiful Corpse" is a story I'm very proud to 
have written, and as proud to be able to share it. 




Editors lead, and authors follow, in the dance that becomes a collection, and I'm pleased to say that Shanna dances divinely. And this shows in the final result of Bound by Lust.

Here is a sample from "A Beautiful Corpse." I hope it will tempt you to dance the night away with all of the authors in this exceptional collection.

A Beautiful Corpse
By Craig J. Sorensen

We never talked about it, but I came to realize you bought into the idea "live fast, die young, leave a beautiful corpse" as much as I did. And what a beautiful corpse you would have left. Oh, that day we met. You seemed so sweet and innocent, your skin was white as a dove, your eyes blue as an early spring sky, your hair a rare red like a five-alarm fire.

Heads turned to you like to a meteor falling to earth. Not the least of which was mine.

First came learning that you weren't so innocent. An aggressive lover back in a day when "good girls" didn't do that, you opened my eyes, opened my clothes, stripped me nude and lay on top of me. You opened my throat, my mouth, my legs. You took my voice, my tongue, my cock. You took me the way I was accustomed to taking women. You weren't my first lover, but the way you opened me, you might as well have been.

Remember the way we used to drink? Hand over fist, tequila to scotch and then whiskey to wash down some 'ludes. Remember the Sinsemilla to sweeten a line of cocaine? Some say they prefer a natural high. We decided to test both kinds, and test them well.

We took all challenges by the balls, didn't we, Michelle? Those cliffs we climbed, including the one that fucked up that beautiful knee, now pocked with scars where they tried to fix it. Remember me pulling your hospital gown up your body, sliding inside you in the middle of that hospital room, just a curtain between us and that mean fucking nurse? Angling around your full leg cast was a fresh challenge, and one worth taking. Obstacle sex in hospitals was a technique we came to perfect over the years. Yes, you could have left a beautiful corpse and would have. It wasn't for lack of trying.

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Care to finish what you've started? Then mosey on down to the corner store (a.k.a. Amazon), and get yourself a copy of the collection.

Thank you, Craig!

Curiouser and curiouser,
Allison Wonderland

9 comments:

  1. Craig,

    Thank you SO much for this post. I always hope that authors -- and their stories -- benefit from our collaboration, and it was such a pleasure to read about your experience working on this story. "A Beautiful Corpse" is beautiful and important. Thank you for sharing it with me and the world.

    Best, s.

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  2. Oh, magic! Can't wait to read your story, Craig.

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  3. I'm looking forward to reading this at my leisure, on paper, Craig. I do think this is how it should be, this growing out of youth together with everything intensifying. It's a lovely picture. I love the idea of outgrowing the ideals of the beauty of youth we cling to. The question is, can we appreciate the next stage in people we didn't know and love from early on, who didn't bear or father our children. Can you meet someone ageing and wrinkling and still see something desirable without that shared history?

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  4. It is my pleasure, Shanna, and thank you.

    Some of you editors have been writing about the process of creating a collection. It was fun for me to write a little about the author's part in the process too.
    Especially as it was such a good experience, with such a pleasing result!

    Craig

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  5. I think the answer to that question is yes, Jo. Or at least it can be. After my dad passed away my mother remarried and I think she is very much in love.

    Of course, she went for a younger man second time around. She was 74 when they married, and he was just a young pup of 70.

    Cheers.

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  6. Hi Craig,

    I only just received my BBL contributor copies tonight and for some reason, yours was the first story I read when flicking through. And I thought it was wonderful, poignant and really rather clever!

    I loved the way you used your characters' bodies, their injuries and ailments, to map out their shared history, their personalities, and to convey how incorporated they are in each other's lives, how mutually supportive their love is.

    I think in good erotica, the sexiness exists outside the obvious sexy part; it has to seep into the story. And you did that via the physical. Very neat!

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