Friday, 22 February 2013

Author Hot Seat Welcomes M.Christian

The author hot seat specials are designed to help readers get to know some of today's popular and up and coming authors a little better. The questions are broken into four sections - About your writing, about you, fun stuff and finally. Some of the questions are easy, other may need a little more thought and some may cause our author friends to hesitate before answering. Still, they all answer. 

Today we have a change of image to go with our hot seat interview and the main reason for that is our author today is a bloke (for those live in the rest of the world that's the Aussie term for a man). Today's hot seat is also different because our guest is the first author I've interviewed who doesn't write romance. I know, shock horror. Anyway, I digress. 

Today we welcome M. Christian, author of erotica and many other genres, anthologist, teacher of classes in all things writing and BDSM, and Associate Publisher at Renaissance E books. Some of you may remember he appeared on Truth or Dare Tuesday at the end of last year. Well, he had so much fun that he agreed to come back, and not only answer our questions but also give away a copy of his book 'How to write and sell erotica.' So, today we turn up the heat and ask M the really tough questions...lets see how he goes. 

About your writing:

How did you get started as a writer?

Funny story there: I always knew I wanted to do ... something creative with my life.  I was one of 'those' kids – imaginative, smart, asking the wrong questions, drawing all kinds of things, making all things of things ... and, yes, I got beat up a lot – but it wasn't until High School that I finally sat down and decided that writing was the way to go.

And, boy, did I go after that dream with a vengeance.  Reading somewhere that the best way to become a good – if not great – writer that you had to write, a lot, I wrote a story a week ... for close to ten years (yes, you may gasp). 

Finally, totally out-of-the-blue I took a class in erotica writing from Lisa Palac, who at the time was editing a magazine called FutureSex.  Totally out-of-the-blue I handed her a story I had written and – amazingly – she bought it for her magazine.  A year later the same story was picked for Best American Eritica 1994 and, just like that, I was a writer ... a pornographer, sure, but all I cared about was that someone, finally, wanted to read what I wrote.  That is was about sex didn't matter at all.

Even though I got my start with smut – and I have made like of a reputation in that genre – I write all kinds of things: science fiction, fantasy and horror (collected into the book Love Without Gun Control); historicial fun tidbits and essays (collected into the book Welcome to Weirdsville); and even How To Write And Sell Erotica.

What a lot of people don't realize about my writing 'life' is that even though I've written a ... well, let's be honest, a huge amount of queer fiction (both erotic and non) I'm actually a straight guy.  Now, I've always been very honest about my sexuality – I never, ever lie about being gay.  I got into writing gay stuff – like my novels Running Dry, Very Bloody Marys, Me2, and Finger's Breadth; plus the collections, Stroke the Fure, Dirty Words, Filthy Boys, and more – is because, simply, I was asked to by gay editors and publishers.

No dummy, I wrote what people wanted to buy – which is why I write all kinds of things I'm always looking for new challenges and ways to expand myself as well as my writing.  As I like to say: I never thought I'd be good at smut writing until I tried, never thought I'd be good at writing gay fiction until I tried ... so who knows what else I might be good at? 

People, as well as writers and any other creative person, always need to be stretching themselves – it's how we learn and, best of all, grow.

Why do you write?

I like to say that I'm politically gay (in that I vote a very purple ticket), socially bi (in that I have no trouble telling my male friends that I love them), but sexually straight – and that I'm politically an atheist, socially an agnostic, but honestly am more of a "wonder of the real universe is God" deep down ... but more than any of these I am a writer: I eat, sleep, and dream stories (quite literally).  I often think that if something should happen and I couldn't work any more – or if people stopped buying my work – I'd still be telling my stories ... if just to myself.

As I like to tell students in my How To Write And Sell Erotica Classes (and when I write about writing): writing is true, honest, magic: we create – with nothing but our imaginations, our souls, and language – worlds that can last for hundreds and even possibly thousands of years and affect how thousands and maybe millions of people think and feel.  If that's not magic then I don't know what is.

Have you ever had a day you wanted to quit and never write again?

I try to put on a happy face but, do be honest, I suffer from chronic depression: I don't have good days and bad days but bad days and terrible days.  Insult to injury: being a writer is not the best occupation for someone with self-esteem issues – but I do love to tell stories and when things get really dark I try to hold onto my love of creation.  It's difficult far too-often but I keep at it ... which is, I guess, the very best that anyone can do.

Do you feel lucky to be doing what you are doing?

Of course!  I often get into 'disagreements' with people about the idea of 'talent.'  In short I don't believe that any creative person is really any better than any other one: I don't care how much money you make, Facebook friends you have, awards you've gotten, but the fact is if you work hard, always struggle to push yourself, then – as far as I'm concerned – you deserve respect and support.  I got where I am today not because of any 'muse' or crap such as that: I worked very hard, reached out to all kinds of places, pushed myself, and tried all kinds of things – even things I suspected I'd fail at.  As I like to tell my students, and when I wrote about writing, the only time a writer really fails is when they stop writing.

Tell me how you got to where you are today?

Like I said, a lot of it was just being ridiculously stubborn about wanting to someday be a professional author – that and always stretching, reaching, and working on new ways to do that.  Looking back on my life I now know that I should have reached out to erotica a lot sooner – or venues like that – instead of focusing on traditional markets. 

Ironically, being an erotica writer – gay or straight – has actually given me access to a lot of venues that, if I'd gone after them without that pornographic publishing history, I probably wouldn't have been able to crack.  I was really shocked when my agent – back when I had an agent – said that there is no reason to change my usual "M.Christian" pseudonym when I tried to 'kreak out' because I already had an audience.  I was shocked, sure, to discover that I even had an audience but that publishers have totally changed their stance towards smut: all they care is that you are a professional and know what that means – not what you may have written.

Smut, too, has gotten me all kinds of other wild gigs – things I’d never thought I’d ever be writing, so if there's a lesson to all this it's to try as many things as you can because (as I said before) you never know what you might be good at or will teach you how to be a better writer.

How do your family/spouses react to your work as an author? Do they know what you write? 

Well, my family is ridiculously small: my mom passed away last year so it’s just my brother and I, and he's marvelously supportive (as well as being a fellow eccentric).  But when my mom was alive she was supportive as well, though she always thought I could do 'better; than writing erotica but I always chocked that up to not understanding the realities of being a professional writer rather than any uncomfortableness she had about what I wrote.

About you:

What are you passionate about in life?

I'm very passionate about everything, really: I've always felt that you have to be hungry about everything to find new things to both enjoy and expand yourself as a person.  I'm very sensual/sexual (and the pleasure of my partner is what makes me even more excited), I'm a serious foodie, I adore art and playing around with crazy art projects, I'm a passionate traveler (when I can afford it), read voraciously, play video games, and have a hobby of trying new hobbies (this month is building terrariums).

If you had to give a thank-you speech at the Oscars, who would you thank and what would you say?

I think, more than anything, I'd probably thank the gay and lesbian community for being so accepting and supportive of me and my work ... then would follow my brother and then my girlfriend (we live apart but still love each other) as she was tremendously supportive of my work. 

Honestly, though, I don’t think I would accept an award.  I always feel that an award for anything creative is pointless – creation itself is too special, too emotionally risky, too brave to elevate anyone who creates anything above another.  Sure, I'd like to be remembered as being a fine writer and a good person but I always know the pain that comes when you are one of many who don't get awards or acknowledgement – and my pleasure is not worth all those other, very worthwhile, creative souls might feel by being excluded.

What are the three most important life lessons you've learned that might make life easier for others?

The first would have to be that there is no such thing as a muse, and that the only way you can be better at anything is to keep trying.  There is no magic book or class (well, except for maybe mine) that will push you into the 'big leagues' (whatever that is): you simply need to get down there into the depths of your soul and imagination and work, work, work, work. 

"Success must find you working," is one of my favorite phrases ... that and this wonderful quote from Hokusai Katsushika, the Edo-period artist and woodblock painter most famous for his The Great Wave off Kanagawa – which, no doubt, you've seen a million times: "From the age of 6 I had a mania for drawing the shapes of things. When I was 50 I had published a universe of designs. But all I have done before the the age of 70 is not worth bothering with. At 75 I'll have learned something of the pattern of nature, of animals, of plants, of trees, birds, fish and insects. When I am 80 you will see real progress. At 90 I shall have cut my way deeply into the mystery of life itself. At 100, I shall be a marvelous artist. At 110, everything I create; a dot, a line, will jump to life as never before. To all of you who are going to live as long as I do, I promise to keep my word. I am writing this in my old age. I used to call myself Hokusai, but today I sign myself The Old Man Mad About Drawing."

For me, that says being a writer is not about money or fame or whatever but is, instead, about always stretching yourself, and constantly honing your craft ... but, more importantly, to never let go of the brilliant delight that comes from creation itself.

(and for the record that last one is so important I'd count it as 2 and 3 ... so there)

If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not famous, living or dead, real or fictional. Whom would it be and why?

Not to sound too much of a downer I don't think I'd do that.  It's hard enough living my own life and, while it would be a marvelous experience to say, be inside the mind of someone like Batman, going back to my own mind and personality would be ... well, more than a bit of a letdown.  I'd prefer to work to make myself a better, more interesting person ... I often dream of what I'd be like without this crippling depression.  I'd love to meet that person, especially with the knowledge that maybe, someday, I could actually become him.

What's the worst thing you did as a kid?

I was a good kid – though not by choice: my parents were too busy being angry with each other to care much about my brother and I and so, to try and get at least some love and affection, I tried as best as I could to become The Good Kid. 

So, to be a bit round-about, I’d say the worst thing I did as a kid – or a young man – was staying at home.  I often wish I'd had the courage to have gotten the best job I could as early as I could and gotten the hell out of there.  As it was I ended up trying desperately to be loved for far too long and so suffered a tremendous amount of emotional pain and damage.

What do you do to have fun?

Well, let's see: I already mentioned my love of food, sex, travel, movies, and playing with hobbies.  I'm also an avid gamer (but not a serious one) but I also love to build ... well, odd little art projects.  The thing is that I spend so much time in my head – or my keyboard – that I like to do things with my hands, so I create everything from little boxes to odd little sculptures that I leave around town like 3D graffiti.  I also dabble in photography (you can see some of my shots on my site and Flickr account).

Share a funny incident in your life.

Okay, here's a fun quickie: I usually write under the name M.Christian but every blue moon a publisher or editor will ask me to use another name – either because M.Christian is too well known as being a guy and the project is girl-focused or I'm in the book or magazine more than once and they didn't want two M.Christian stories. 

Well, one day I was at a party and ended up chatting with a fellow who, it turned out, was also a writer.  After a drink or two we realized that we'd both been published in the same magazine.  He told me what his story was – which I hadn't read ... I actually don't read erotica for entertainment, only when I'm editing an anthology – and I told him what my story was.  Coincidentally the story I'd written had been under my female byline of "Alice Blue" because I was in the magazine more than once.

I still remember the more-than-shocked look on his face as he said: "I masturbated to that story."  I guess I love that story not because I tricked that poor guy but because it had never, ever entered his mind that a guy had written the story ... which, for a writer, is a high compliment.

Fun Stuff:

If Hollywood made a movie about your life, who would you like to see play the lead role as you?

Hummm ... I've always loved Alan Rickman and several people have told me that I vaguely resemble him.  I also love Ian McKellen -- and the irony of having an openly gay actor playing a straight man who writes gay fiction is just too delightful.  In my mind – and don't ask me why – I always see myself as close to a weird kin to William Holden (on my good days) and William Windom when I'm feeling a bit ... not so good.  No insult to the late, great William Windom, of course....

If you were a type of food, what type of food would you be?

Definitely a kind of cheese as I am a serious cheese-aholic: something rare and interesting ... and maybe even a bit stinky J

What is your favorite color- food- song- movie?

Color: Black ... not because of anything political or psychological: it just hides a multitude of stains.

Food: Cheese (of course) but I have the serious hots for a Turkish place over in Berkeley.  But I also love Japanese and Indian as well.

Song: I don't know music all that well – I'm a lot more visually-oriented – but if I had to pick one, for the moment, I'd have to say Joujouka's "Rock Is Sponge," but I also like anything by KMDFM; Juno Reactor; Daft Punk; and classic rock like The Stones; Journey; The Beetles; and Creedence.

What's the funniest pick up line ever used on you?

Sadly, I haven't had that many pick-up lines used on me ... though I'm always open to getting some (hint, hint).

What's the one thing you can't live without?

The Internet.  I grew up with the wonder of books and having to wait, on tip-toes, for a movie to play on the tube but I'm certainly not nostalgic about those days: I much prefer to have the entire world -- practically every book, movie, picture ... you name it – at my fingertips.  That and I used to be a paper and envelope writer – and if you've experienced that you know there is absolutely no going back to that (shudder).

And finally:

You are driving along in your car on a wild, stormy night, it's raining heavily, when suddenly you pass by a bus stop, and you see three people waiting for a bus:
·         An old lady who looks as if she is about to die.
·         An old friend who once saved your life.

·         The perfect partner you have been dreaming about. 

You can only fit one person in your car, who would you choose to offer a ride to?

Tough call!  The old friend would probably forgive me ... and even though the perfect partner is something/someone I've always hoped was out there somewhere ... I'd probably have to pick the old lady: give her a moment of comfort and (okay, let's get gushy here) love before she passes.


Thanks so much for being here today MC and for answering the Hot Seat questions. If my grandmother were still alive I'm sure she'd tell me you were a lovely man simply based on that last answer. Oh and in case anyone is wondering, she wouldn't care about the erotica or smut, she'd love it. Where do you all think I get my attitude to all things raunchy from?  :) 

Anyhow, enough about Nanna, I'm concerned no-one has ever tried to use a pick up line on Mr Christian. So, to thank him for appearing today let's hit him with some funny pick up lines so he can tick that off his bucket list. Well, if it's on his bucket list that is. 

If you'd like to go in the draw to win an ebook copy of 'How to write and sell Erotica' just leave your email address along with your comment. Winners will be announced on Sunday at 9am, so you have a few days to enter. Good luck everyone.

For more information about the work and life of M.Christian check out the following links. 

Here's one of the latest works by M. Christian I hope you like it and if you're intrigued enough why not hit the buy link.

Buy Stroke the Fire
Stroke the Fire 

Sizzling tales of bad boys, bruised hearts, and sweaty encounters. Lambda Award finalist M. Christian’s stories of men-who-love-men have been selected for Best Gay Erotica, Best American Erotica, and Best of the Best Gay Erotica. Eavesdrop on what hot men who are doing hot things with other hot men say to each other between the sheets ... and up against the wall. Start reading the fiery ManLove fiction of M. Christian with this personally selected collection of his best. 
"A wonderful book … just the thing if you are in the mood for an enjoyable quickie (or twenty)." -Mathilde Madden, author Reflection's Edge. [Don't miss the other books in "M. Christian's ManLove Collection from Sizzler Editions.] And don't miss his Lambda Finalist book, Dirty Words. "Fairy tales whispered to one another by dark angels whose hearts and mouths are brimming with lust." -Michael Thomas Ford, Lambda Award winning author Looking for It.

About M. Christian:

Calling M.Christian versatile is a tremendous understatement. Extensively published in science fiction, fantasy, horror, thrillers, and even non-fiction, it is in erotica that M.Christian has become an acknowledged master, with more than 400 stories in such anthologies as Best American Erotica, Best Gay Erotica, Best Lesbian Erotica, Best Bisexual Erotica, Best Fetish Erotica, and in fact too many anthologies, magazines, and sites to name.  In erotica, M.Christian is known and respected not just for his passion on the page but also his staggering imagination and chameleonic ability to successfully and convincingly write for any and all orientations.

But M.Christian has other tricks up his literary sleeve: in addition to writing, he is a prolific and respected anthologist, having edited 25 anthologies to date including the Best S/M Erotica series; Pirate Booty; My Love For All That Is Bizarre: Sherlock Holmes Erotica; The Burning Pen; The Mammoth Book of Future Cops, and The Mammoth Book of Tales of the Road (with Maxim Jakubowksi); Confessions, Garden of Perverse, and Amazons (with Sage Vivant), and many more.

M.Christian's short fiction has been collected into many bestselling books in a wide variety of genres, including the Lambda Award finalist Dirty Words and other queer collections like Filthy Boys, BodyWork, and his best-of-his-best gay erotica book, Stroke the Fire.  He also has collections of non-fiction (Welcome to Weirdsville, Pornotopia, and How To Write And Sell Erotica); science fiction, fantasy and horror (Love Without Gun Control); and erotic science fiction including Rude Mechanicals, Technorotica, Better Than The Real Thing, and the acclaimed Bachelor Machine. 

As a novelist, M.Christian has shown his monumental versatility with books such as the queer vamp novels Running Dry and The Very Bloody Marys; the erotic romance Brushes; the science fiction erotic novel Painted Doll; and the rather controversial gay horror/thrillers Fingers Breadth and Me2. 

M.Christian is also the Associate Publisher for Renaissance E Books, where he strives to be the publisher he'd want to have as a writer, and to help bring quality books (erotica, noir, science fiction, and more) and authors out into the world. 

How to write and sell Erotica

"Want to write erotica and GET PUBLISHED? Then do yourself a favor and buy this book!" -Marilyn Jaye Lewis, author, founder The Erotic Authors Association.
No one knows more about writing and selling erotica, from inspiration to publication, than M. Christian. The author of over three hundred stories, eight collections of his own shorter work, five novels, and the editor of over two dozen anthologies, he has seen process from every point of view, as writer, editor and publisher. In this unique insider's guide, he makes the path easy for others with lifesaving tips, hard-earned lessons and personal observations, including how to:<
* incorporate the key elements that make an erotic story sell
* think sexy and cultivate your erotic imagination
* create plots and characters that turn readers on
* put the right dash of sex in a sex story
* sell your work to magazines, websites, anthologies, book publishers
* write convincing stories for sexual orientation and interests beyond your own
* find the best internet resources for writers of erotica
* pinpoint the right place to sell your work
* get along with editors and publishers
* respond correctly to fans, reviewers and criticism
* and much much more

"..practical insider’s tips ... a fearlessly honest look at the realities of publishing erotica ... will educate, amuse and inspire veterans and new writers alike. A must-read." -Donna George Storey, author Amorous Woman

M. Christian is one of the acknowledged masters of erotica whose work is constantly selected for inclusion in the yearly "best of" anthologies including Best American Erotica, Best Gay Erotica, Best Lesbian Erotica, and Best Fetish Erotica. His stories have been collected in Dirty Words, Licks & Promises, Filthy, and Coming Together. M. Christian has also edited a distinguished line of anthologies on his own and with collaborators. His novels Running Dry, The Very Bloody Marys, Me2, Brushes, and Painted Doll were published to critical-acclaim.


* Plus streetwise advice from leading writers like
* Cecilia Tan
* Thomas Roche
* Catherine Lundoff
* Donna George Storey
* Jude Mason
* Lisabet Sarai
* Patrick Califia
* Sage Viviant
* Shanna Germain
* Carol Queen


  1. Thanks so much, sweetie! You are the BEST!

  2. Great interview! Lots of info!