Tuesday, December 28, 2010

New review of Cinema Erotica, aka The Catalyst

This review made me smile - I think of The Catalyst, (now titled Cinema Erotica) my first short story collection, as my sweetest, most innocent work, aimed at beginners and sooo non-threatening. And here it's called "rather disturbing" and "shocking!" I am sure some people would feel upset by this, but I am thrilled. I am sure this will sell more copies, LOL.

By the way, this collection actually contains the first appearance of FIVE characters who appear in the Marketplace novels. If you know which ones, you have a sharp eye and are a SUPERFAN. And - if you tell me so before Jan 31, 2011, I will give you a FREE e-book - either The Marketplace or The Slave - and that will include the bonus story written for that specific book.

So comment here with your answers or guesses. And whoever names them all - or, failing that, whoever names the MOST - will get the free e-book!


Laura

Friday, December 24, 2010

My one Christmas story!

From an old Circlet Press advent, here again is Ho, Fucking Ho, my one Christmas story! Enjoy!

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Happy holidays to all my fans!

Whatever you may celebrate this time of year, it's often a gift-giving time - and what better to give than a new book?  The new edition of THE SLAVE (Book Two in the Marketplace series) will be released this month, and available as a trade paperback or an e-book.  Why not buy the first two Marketplace novels for someone you love? 

If you live in the NYC area, you can buy the books personally from me at one of these upcoming events:

On Sunday, December 12th, I'll be at Instigate, a queer & trans-led monthly event at the LGBT Center.  I will be presenting one of my favorite workshops, Too Kinky For Words: Playing Way Off The Edge. It should be great fun! I'll also have limited, pre-publication editions of THE SLAVE available for $25, as well as Book One, THE MARKETPLACE, for $20.  You can also bring your old copies of my books - I'm always delighted to autograph a well-loved book for you. The event is open to all.

If listening to erotic stories sounds like a great way to stay warm this season, join me on Thursday, December 16th, when I participate in the last of the "In The Flesh" erotic reading series, curated by the fabulous erotic author/editor Rachel Kramer Bussel. Other readers include memoirists Nancy Balbirer (Take Your Shirt Off and Cry), Stephen Markley (Publish This Book), and Michele Carlo (Fish Out of Agua), burlesque performer GiGi La Femme (Revealed, Wassabasco), photographer Seth Kushner,  In The Flesh alum Samara O'Shea (Note to Self, For the Love of Letters), Lambda Literary Award winner Rakesh Satyal (Blue Boy) and romance novelist Kama Spice (Sehra's Honor). The reading will take place at the Happy Ending Lounge on the Lower East Side. (Look for the hot pink awning that says "XIE HE Health Club.") There will be books for sale, and free cupcakes!

Another great gift idea is to pre-register for my workshop at Purple Passion on Thursday, January 13th at 7:00 p.m. I'll be presenting Creative Disobedience: The Art of Being a Wiseass as part of their educational series.  You know you have someone in your life who deserves to attend this fun class!



Also, if you want a signed copy of The Marketplace, or perhaps a copy of the limited, pre-publication edition of The Slave (while they last) or the when-these-run-out-they're-gone-forever copies of The Catalyst and Other Stories - my only comprehensive short story and essay collection, never to be published in one book again - you can order them directly from me. Send me an e-mail at Laura (at) lantoniou.com and tell me which books you want. When I confirm the availability, I will tell you how much to send to me via Paypal/money order/gift check. Books sent by Priority Mail must be ordered - and confirmed with payment! - before December 19.





And finally, remember that I do have a Cafe Press store! Come on, you know someone who NEEDS a Middle Aged Guard t-shirt, a "I love service" coffee mug or "I love to serve" doggie bowl. Not to mention a few more of you out there could be letting people know they need to be grown ups to do the things we do. Tell 'em with my "You need to be this tall to ride this ride" sweatshirt. Or express your affection for that short dude with the huge ego, and tell the world to just wait because it might get better...all you need is Patience.

Have a happy and healthy holiday season, and remember: books - and book related clothing and coffee mugs - make great gifts!

Laura




PS: You know I have a wish list, right? (Huge grin)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Waking up at the Armory

Staying here is a surreal experience; between the extravagance of the Upper Floor rooms and the specialty sets on the different floors, it's like walking into an unfinished novel, with characters flitting in and out of the doors. "Hi!" says a cute girl, standing next to me. "I'm on your book!"

Hell, she's practically on my lap! To which I have no objection, except that many of the women at the party are wearing nothing or close to nothing, while  am head to foot clothed and still shivering. I suppose this helps with keeping nipples hard, but still.

Last time I was here, I consulted on the formation of The Upper Floor, Peter Ackworth's ambitious attempt at providing a domain dedicated to dominance/submission/service & slavery, with a neo-Edwardian flavor. There was one almost finished room and a half-plan for both construction and development of the concept. Since then, the space has expanded to several luxuriously equipped and furnished rooms, a cast of dozens, and still more ambitious plans to expand coverage of some of the storylines to 24/7, with talent living on the premises in special slave quarters.

Yeah, you know this appeals to me.

What you might not know is that the new covers for the Marketplace  books are all being shot here, on the Upper Floor. Madison Young, performer, artist, gallery owner, teacher and talent wrangler, (and soon to be Mommy) has gotten some wonderful people together to get dressed up - or undressed, as the case may be, and pose as characters in my books. Seriously, how cool is that?? Famed bondage rigger Lochai has been taking the shots styled by Madison and for once, it's a gang of perverts actually making a product for our community. I am honored by their participation and energized by the synergy we create. Next up, we plan the covers for The Trainer and The Academy.

So that's why Madison planned last nights party, and that was how the talented Chloe and Wolf wound up recreating the infamous Sharon & Jack scene from The Marketplace. Complete with hay bales, thank you very much! It was just amazing to watch people enact something I'd written. Now I understand the attraction to writing scripts. Whew! Hot stuff.

Afterward, I answered some questions from the chat room opened during the shoot and live stream, and signed some books. Today I am meeting with the publisher of Sizzler e-books, where my collection of gay male smut, Shop Stud, is being distributed. Later on tonight, I will be at the Femina Potens Gallery, reading The Man With the Phoenix Tattoo, my new Chris Parker story - and I will have books to sell as well.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Checking in at the Armory

At long last, I am back at the amazing Kink.com headquarters at the San Francisco Armory! Got a quick little updated tour so i could see how much the place has grown since I was last here and it is just delightful - fun and sexy and mind blowing. I can't wait for a better tour tomorrow, and then the hot, hot party tomorrow evening, featuring performers actually acting out a scene from The Marketplace!

People will be able to watch tomorrow night at this link.

More when I have had some sleep. The sinus headache I started the day with was killed by massive antihistamines, but wow, those pills plus a 6 hour plane ride and I am one tired pornographer. And I want to be alert tomorrow for my Harry Potter outing before the Femina Potens/Kink.com party...

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Rare San Francisco visit in November!

I'm thrilled to be returning to San Francisco this month, celebrating the re-release of The Slave, reading from my latest work, and launching a new workshop.

Join me on Friday night, November 19,  as a featured guest of Femina Potens, which is celebrating my book release with a BDSM Play Party.  Described as "an  evening of black-tie debauchery," this fabulous party will include the recreation of a scene from The Marketplace, performed for your entertainment and delicious delight. Bring your tux and your flogger.  Note: you must be a member of Femina Potens to attend! Join here!

I'm also delighted to participate in Femina Potens' monthly  SIZZLE, the Bay Area award-winning literary erotica series. SIZZLE's Cupcakes and Kink will take place Saturday, November 20th at 8:00 p.m.

I’ll return to Femina Potens for two workshops on Sunday, November 21st. The first workshop is a premiere: Don't Dream It; Be It – Fantasies and Role-play for the Shy: 
    Let’s face it – role playing does not come naturally to everyone! But if you’ve always wanted to try it, are ready to expand your repertoire, or are unsure how to fulfill a partners fantasy, this is the way to begin. Explore fantasy archetypes, linear and freeform story telling, flirting and signaling while in role, and other basic concepts for making the fantasy just a little more real. Then we’ll go into things like setting, costumes, props and even supporting cast. Come prepared to share, even if it has to be anonymously!


Don't Dream It; Be It is a class intended for an audience that might not already be part of the alt-sex/kinky world, but who are the sexually adventurous, the curious and the open minded. The class takes place Sunday, November 21st at 3:00 p.m. Click here to pre-register.

The second workshop is an audience favorite: Your Own Good: Using Punishment in SM Relationships:

For Your Own Good is intended for people who are familiar with the kinky/SM world, and dominant/submissive relationships. The class takes place Sunday, November 21st at 6:00 p.m. Click here to pre-register.

I won't be returning to Bay Area until Spring of 2011, when Midori and I will be presenting our Passionate Bonds weekend, so I hope to see many of you there!



And just in case you are inclined to magical children, Karen and I are going to see the new Harry Potter movie on Friday the 19th in San Fran, at the AMC Loews Metreon 16, the 1:30 show. Buy your own tickets in advance and meet us at the theatre at 12:30; geekery shall ensue!

Monday, October 11, 2010

In which I succumb to the cute

Look, I wasn't coming all the way to Australia and not even seeing a damn koala or kangaroo. So even though I did avoid going to the amazing looking zoo on Wednesday, it was only because I was planning for a field trip to Featherdale.

It was Katrina who tossed me in the car that day. We'd met before, in the US, and it was great chatting with her at The Gathering. Paul, one of my hosts, had mentioned that at Featherdale Wildlife park, one can actually get up close and personal with the local versions of All Things Warm and Fuzzy, and once I learned I could actually *touch* a koala, forget it. I would have hitchhiked.

Taking the local tour was better, though. (Grin) We drove to the outlaying suburbs of Sydney and literally saw the first sign for this intimate little park about, oh, 100 yards from the entrance. It's smack in the middle of a neighborhood with single family homes and lawns and convenience stores; you can drive right by without noticing. Great Adventure, it's not!

But within three minutes of entering, I was face to face with a snoozing koala; in another ten, another one, a bit more awake, kept pulling eucalyptus leaves in front of us while Katrina tried to grab a steady photo.


OMG, the cute!! he was quite soft to touch and had dark brown eyes and, well, quite the appetite for the leaves, which I had once heard make them tipsy. This is apparently not true. But they do tend to prefer napping during a long day of entertaining tourists. They wedge themselves into the branches in what seem like occasionally unstable, if not uncomfortable positions and lord, they are dead cute. I had to be dragged away.

I mean, come on. It's not fair.

OK, then the kangaroos came over for a snack. They were also a tad blase about the tourists and could easily escape contact with toddlers and obnoxious people trying to get the right picture by merely hopping under the wooden fence understood to be their safety barrier. Of course, they could come back out again for an ice cream cone fulled with Roo-chow.

And just for you, Zil - I searched out the wombats. Here is a Southern Hairy-Nosed variety. They, like the koalas, believe the day is for napping and couldn't be bothered to pose.

Did I mention I had a blast? There were hundreds of birds, too, including the quite startling cassowary!

Featherdale was a perfect size for a nice morning outing, and it was great to get up close and personal with the various critters. We followed this visit with a nice drive up to the Blue Mountains, which several people felt obliged to apologize for, as though being an American, I naturally only appreciate giant pointy mountains with snow on top. But with views like this, I don't think there's anything to apologize for.


That's the Three Sisters formation. Pretty cool, huh?

After recovering from the vertigo, Katrina swept me off to the Paragon Cafe, a gorgeous art deco establishment in Katoomba, where I restored my energy with some tea. Sadly, the camera was dead at that point, or I'd include shots from inside the place, which was gorgeous.

Then back down the mountains we drove, with one quick stop at the roadside Ugg Boot stand - nah, didn't buy any - and made it back to the city in time for my reading. Amazingly, I hadn't bought a single souvenir all day!

So naturally, Courtney, who I'd met at the barbecue the previous night, brought me a whole BAG of great Australia keepsakes - including a stuffed koala. Obviously, I was meant to bring one home.

No, I haven't been taken by the dingos

I've just been busy! The reading/Marketplace Maven workshop in Sydney was a smashing success, largest gathering for that workshop ever. I read from The Inheritor and a bit from one of the new bonus short stories, shared the codex, pictures of the fantasy MP movie cast, and lots of insider information. Many thanks to Courtney, who brought me a whole BAG of Aussie souvenirs, including a stuffed koala, boomerang and kitchen aids. I was totally chuffed.

But before that last night of work in Sydney, I got to go on two personal tours - one led by Robin, who I've known online for many years. She picked me up in her Peugeot and ran me through some Sydney neighborhoods (stopping for coffee) where I admired the Imperial, the place where Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, was filmed.

Moment of glee on behalf of the wife, who loves that movie.

A nice zip through the middle of town got me down Oxford Street (Oh, look - a homosexual!), past a slew of tourist attractions and over the Harbour Bridge Then we took a great drive North, stopping at different towns (like Dee Why) and beaches to hike a bit, admire the views, and have a pie.

Mmmm. Pie. Upper Crust pies are worth the drive.

Back down into the city, we detoured around to the Taronga Zoo, not to go, but to admire the views of Sydney Harbour from the ferry dock. And, I was forced to admire the sunburns on tourists who did not cover up appropriately under the fierce Australian sun. I will go back to the zoo one of these days, but since I had plans to go see wildlife the next day, we instead went back into the downtown area, where I got to have a glass of wine at the Opera House Bar. There, we met up with Jacq, who floated in to join us wearing a bright summer cocktail dress.

Did I mention great views at the Harbour area? Terrific views!

From there, I was kidnapped to Angela's for a barbecue of yummy things and the company of a bunch of wild local women. I got to admire a collection of dictionaries and relax and not be on stage for an evening, which was a much needed respite, actually. After I ran out of steam, my hostess pressed a beautiful piece of original art on me, which I am delighted to bring home.

A terrific day, so much nicer than my usual day in another city! (grin) And best of all, I had yet another day of relaxing planned before I was due back on stage. Sheer luxury.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Recovery day catch up

Whew! The Gathering came to a wonderful, happy conclusion, and I have a few days of liberty time to recover and see a bit more of my surroundings.

Much to my shock, about 100 people showed up Monday morning for bacon sandwiches and my closing address. I had to throw out my original speech, and for the first time, delivered one almost entirely off the cuff. Oddly, no one seemed to notice or care - note to self. Hmmm.

I got back to my host home yesterday afternoon, sat in the sun with coffee and had some quiet chatting time, napped, then went out for a solitary walk down Norton Street in the evening. I stopped in at Shearer's Bookstore and picked up Colleen McCullough's Song of Troy, which I've wanted for a while. Then they surprised me by giving me a free book! Apparently there is a program called Get Reading! that provides these books in order to promote reading and Australian authors. Although the program ended on September 30, apparently some stores still had some of the promotional give-away volume and I lucked out by getting 10 Short Stories You Must read in 2010. And damn if it isn't a fine collection! What a nice treat. I read a bit while enjoying a coffee in the bookstore cafe. Ahh, quiet time.

Naturally I collapsed last night after I got back and slept deeply. Four classes, a speech, a party and a lot of book signing does take a bit of energy. Today is laundry, reading, making this post, doing QUIET things.

But tomorrow, I am being whisked off on a tour from an online buddy of longtime acquaintance. And a barbecue!! Yay! Thursday is another little bit of a trip, so I can pet the local critters and take a peek at the Blue Mountain area. Then we'll run back to a city area gay bar to my reading and MP Maven discussion at 7PM. I know the Uber page says Tuesday. But it's Thursday, and only ten bucks for people who attended The Gathering. Of course there will be more books there for sale.

Friday, Dee and I take off for Melbourne! I wish I could stay longer, but for this trip, a quick weekend will have to do. I'm thrilled to be able to stop by Chains and meet the lovely people there, and will be giving FIVE, count 'em, FIVE classes in two days. And that includes two I have never given before! We'll have books, yadda-yadda. And then when I get back to Sydney, I will have a few more days to poke about and maybe connect with more friendly natives.

Then, wow, I am going to New Zealand. Sadly, the conference scheduled had to be postponed because of the earthquake that hit Christchurch. But I will be doing a much scaled down appearance, and taking advantage of just being here. I mean, this is a long way to travel without even taking a PEEK at NZ. I am looking forward to down time, maybe some writing time. And sheep. I understand I might see a sheep or two...

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Summer in Australia, my arse

Since I've gotten here, I have been pretty much chilled. The week before leaving, the weather in Sydney was beautiful - sunny, warm, the advent of summer! Right now, I am gazing out the window at pouring rain and pondering purchasing a wool sweater. Ahh, well! At least I don't feel like such an idiot for leaving the bathing suit at home...

So far, The Gathering has been a phenomenal success. With upwards of 200 people flocking in for the vendor night, the full weekend registration option or the VERY clever and should-be-copied-in-the-US availability to purchase just four classes out of the weekend - a sort of do-it-yourself mini-conference - this has become, or will soon become with tonight's big play party, the largest non-gay fetish event Australia has ever had. Miss Dee, the organizer and my host for this trip, deserves massive kudos for bringing it all together with the help of a dedicated and delightful staff.

But numbers don't say it all, of course - there are huge events where I feel like on the whole I'd rather be home reorganizing my spice shelf. The vibe here has been truly excellent - warm and friendly, interesting and energizing. It's not that often I feel like hanging out between my gigs and chatting with the attendees - I am better known for escaping to my hotel room for quiet time and Advil. This...has truly been fun.

Yesterday, I did manage to get out of the hotel for a little while, though, and wandered down to the Market City, which is a few blocks away. I was curious about what was UNDER the building though - a giant flea market/vending space called Paddy's, which was exactly the sort of vibe I was looking for. Individual stalls with everything from wonderfully cheap and tacky souvenirs to some pretty decent bargains on life's essentials like socks and batteries. I am sure I saw maybe...one fifth of the place? I was rushing through to look at warm layering items and a certain special present for someone at home. I fully intend to go back, though. I was able to get some lovely chicken satay on a stick while browsing and came back to the event feeling energized. Is this me? Social, shopping and energized?? Very weird. Apparently, Sydney agrees with me.

In addition to hanging out and chatting with the locals, I've managed to snag a few local dates to see more of the area, including a trip to a wildlife park - Featherdale. I totally want to hold a koala bear. Sue me. You know you'd want to, too.

File Under:
Things that remind me I am on another continent -the slang. I mean, of course, the local accents, duh. But the slang and idioms sometimes throw me and make me grin like a maniac. A jimmy hat? Love it.
Things that are the same - cheap Chinese food in Chinatown is always better than anything in a mall.
Something I didn't think I would need but would have proved useful - knowing how to use one of those damn international phone cards, the kind you buy at convenience stores. I spent at least 20 minutes looking at the rules and guidelines and restrictions and instructions on at least a dozen different cards, carefully chose the one I thought would work for what I wanted and keep getting a "this call cannot be connected" message. Makes me feel like an idiot. I mean, how hard should this be?
Cheap souvenir of the day - I decline to mention.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Doing what I came here for

 Note - some links in this post are not safe for work and shy people. More tourist level things will come later!

I wrote this now from the Mercure Hotel in Sydney, where I have a room overlooking the Central bus station and the balcony on which many festive Gathering folks relaxed and schmoozed during what can only be called a very successful opening.

How nice to see so many new faces, and to wander a vendor market stocked with items I've never seen! I was really impressed with the quality of items for sale and display and loved the friendly folks from MaxxxBlack, Sydney's big fetish/sex shop. Naturally, the one thing I decided I liked was $150. *sigh* It's something to add to the wish list, I suppose...

 No, you can't know what it is, unless you want to buy me a present.

Anyway, I got to spend the evening with the lovely Madison Young, of the Femina Potens Gallery in San Francisco. What most of my readers don't know - yet - is that Madison was the art director for the new cover for The Marketplace, gathering some of her friends and models over at the Armory, home of Kink.com, where I was honored to attend the opening of their Upper Floor.

The full story on the photo shoots will still come, but in the mean time, I will go once again to the City By The Bay and do some appearances with Madison, both at Kink.com and teach some classes at the gallery in November! The full schedule will be posted soon at my main website and the usual areas, including here.

But in the mean time, we schmoozed and chatted and met some fabulous folks from the Sydney and various outlying areas  including a few we'd both met before, in the States. Well, sure, that was bound to happen! But the best part was just seeing so many brand new faces. Really, I love my peeps back home, but we see each other all the time. Fresh blood is nice!

After an evening selling and signing books and making dates to see koala bears (more on that later, too) I wandered out into the local Chinatown, because I was starving! Luckily, living in Flushing, I am completely comfortable shoving past the numbed tourists into the hole-in-the-wall joint with the best smells, pointing at what I want and grabbing the tray to get out of their way. Tasty crispy chicken with lemon, mmmm.

Today, I am teaching two classes, one at the impossible hour of 9:30. I woke early, panicking that no one would like me - why yes, sometimes that does happen, ego or not - and am almost back to my normal self.  I hope to get out to do some walking around today and tomorrow, since I am conveniently in the downtown area. Yesterday was mostly orienting myself and doing a little shopping.

File Under:
Things that remind me I am on another continent - the "look to the right" reminders painted on the street to help people like me look at where the actual moving traffic will come from.
Things that are the same - McDonalds - my first sighting! Although they do have a Big Mac with FOUR beef patties on it. Also, KFC, Seven-11, K-Mart and Target.
Something I didn't think I would need but would have proved useful - more long sleeves. I'm freaking freezing.
Cheap souvenir of the day - Calvin Klein boxers, 2 for 8 bucks. Eeee!!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Dingo ate me Tuesday

This is where my blog returns to its first purpose - a travel journal. I write this from Sydney, Australia, where I am teaching classes, reading from The Inheritor, and meeting charming people who probably have no idea how much I am a sucker for their accents.

And, I am still on the hunt for good coffee. Nescafe is again, everywhere! It's like a worldwide conspiracy to deprive people of decent caffeine. Luckily, I am staying in Leichhardt, the Little Italy of Sydney. Espresso EVERYWHERE. Glee!

Of course, I must note that my hosts have graciously given me free rein with the use of their cute espresso maker, the French press and I remembered that Australia, with its connection with Great Britain, has excellent access to cheap, great tea.

I will survive, after all.

But somewhere between leaving NY at 8:30am on Monday, I arrived here at 8:30AM on Wednesday...and Tuesday is just gone. (Thus - no Glee. Heehee.) Of course, in all that time I managed to visit Toronto and Vancouver, watch two movies and episode of True Blood, two cooking shows and about an hour of the CBC, read two entire books, 4 newspapers, 3 magazines and an inflight catalog. I enjoyed the temporary hospitality of a premium lounge at the Toronto airport by purchasing a day pass and highly recommend this for extended layovers or those times when you get to the airport hours before you get to actually leave it.

Tomorrow my hosts and I will move from this comfy home into the Mercure hotel, home of The Gathering for this weekend. I've posted my schedule before, just scroll down if you really want to see it again.  This is where I am grateful that I flew in early and lost that Tuesday, because I have had the time to sleep and wake at the local time, walk around in the sunshine, and generally acclimate.

File under:
Things that remind me I am on another continent - trees and birds I have never seen before.
Things that are the same - pigeons and Subway.
Something I didn't think I wanted but now looks useful - a Kindle. Or, an iPad. But probably a Kindle.
Cheap souvenir of the day - Port Wine Jello

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Down Under schedule!

That's right, I'm taking my show on the road to Australia and New Zealand!


Thanks to Miss Dee of Über in Sydney, I am visiting Australia and doing a number of events in Sydney and Melbourne.  Then, with the help of the folks who bring you Southern Exposure, I'll "jump the ditch" and head to Christchurch, New Zealand. (A day-by-day breakdown of the entire visit at the end of this post, or click on the calendar to the right for more details!)

Find me at The Gathering in Sydney October 1-4, a marvelous kinkfest where I'll be presenting four workshops (my two service workshops - one for tops and one for bottoms, my protocol workshop and "Too Kinky For Words"), and giving the closing keynote. 

Tuesday, October 7th, I'll be presenting my "Marketplace Mavens" discussion in Sydney's Inner West at 7:00 pm. The evening is a favorite for die-hard Marketplace fans and a great way for newcomers to learn about my series, hear me read from a new work - and possibly win a free copy! Cost is $25 and once you book your reservation, you'll be given the location.

I'll then head to Melbourne for the weekend, where you can find me at Vibe on Smith on Saturday, October 9 and Sunday October 10 for a series of workshops. If you're interested in the fabulous world of fetishes and kink, how to use punishment in your Master/slave relationships, or more, join me! Cost to attend each workshop is $30 and online registration is available through Über.

While in Melbourne, I'll stop by Melbourne Chains for a reading and booksigning. The event takes place Saturday evening, October 9th and begins at 7:30p.m.  If you already have copies of my books - bring them! I love autographing well-thumbed books. If you don't have a copy - I'll bring some of the new edition of The Marketplace with me. Contact Melbourne Chains for more information.

After a few days off (unless fans talk me into additional readings in other locations, that is), I'll head to New Zealand for the weekend of October 22-24th.  For my Kiwi fans, you know this was supposed to be the weekend of Southern Exposure. However, Christchurch is still recovering from the September 4th earthquake, and the conference (sadly, but safely) has been cancelled.  But I'm not one to waste an international ticket! You'll still find me in Christchurch at Tawse Manor, presenting three classes and a reading for a Labour Weekend Intensive! Registration costs depend on whether you intend to spend the night or just want a day pass. Please contact info@tawsemanor.co.nz for information and to register.

APPEARANCES BY DATE & LOCATION

SYDNEY OCTOBER 1-4: THE GATHERING
   
  • Saturday, October 2, 9:30-11:30 - "Providing Service"


  •    
  • Saturday, October 2, 2:15-4:15 - "Managing Service"


  •    
  • Sunday, October 3, 10:00-11:30 - "Too Kinky for Words"


  •    
  • Sunday, October 3, 2:15-4:15 - "The Way Of It"


  •    
  • Monday, October 4, 12:30 - Closing Keynote



  • SYDNEY: TUESDAY, OCTOBER 7th
       
  • 7:00-9:00 - "Marketplace Mavens" . Cost is $25. Register here.



  • MELBOURNE WEEKEND OCTOBER 9-10

       
  • October 9, 1:00-2:30 - "The Fabulous World of Fetishes." $30. Register here.


  •    
  • October 9, 3:00-4:30 - "The Life of a Pleasure Slave." $30. Register here.


  •    
  • October 9, 7:30-9:00: Booksigning and Reading at Melbourne Chains.


  •    
  • October 10, 11:15-12:45 - "For Your Own Good." $30. Register here.


  •    
  • October 10, 1:30-3:00 - "The Way of It." $30. Register here.



  • CHRISTCHURCH - TAWSE MANOR OCTOBER 23-24
       
  • October 23 - "Have a Cookie! Using Rewards in your SM Relationships"



  •    
  • October 23 - "For Your Own Good: Using Punishments in your SM Relationships"



  • Email info@tawsemanor.co.nz to register

       
  • October 24 - "Too Kinky For Words"  and a Reading (location TBA).


  • Cost is $35 for this day if you have not registered for the TAWSE MANOR LABOUR WEEKEND INSTENSIVE, but size is limited, and preference given to weekend registrants. Email info@tawsemanor.co.nz for more information and to register

    Please tell your friends in the Lands Down Under about my tour - I'd love to meet them. Ozzie Ozzie Ozzie Oi Oi Oi!

    Sunday, September 12, 2010

    My male/male erotic fiction!

    As promised, here is the first re-release of some of my guy/guy smut, now under my real name. If you own Steam Gauge or The Catalyst and Other Stories, then you might have seen these before. But if not, I hope you enjoy!

    Shop Stud, by Laura Antoniou, writing as Christopher Morgan

    Please help spread the word - tweet, blog, or otherwise help me promote? Thanks so much!!

    Laura

    Tuesday, September 07, 2010

    Why yes, I am he.

    Now the second boot drops.

    In addition to The Catalyst, I am also working out agreements to bring back into print two more books, one a novel and the other an anthology - and neither of these has been published under my name before.

    See, back when I wrote them, women were not generally allowed to publish gay male porn under their real names.

    Yet - we wrote a LOT of it. TONS of it. Filled magazines, digests and anthologies and then websites. I even edited a magazine called Bad Boy. My agent for those short story sales was a woman. Women edited - and continue to edit many gay male publications and websites. It was just understood that no gay man would EVER buy smut written by a girl - ewwww, cooties! - and no one else would ever read gay male stories.

    Certainly not, oh...straight women, for example. Or lesbians, for that matter. Let alone polymorphous perverts. (Grin)

    Funny how these understandings change over time. Now, MM erotic fiction is probably MOSTLY bought by straight women, and many men buy their reading material based on, oh, the story, or the cover art, rather than the name on it. And some don't even mind if it's written by a woman. We're in a new age, for sure.

    So, I allowed myself to be convinced by two sharp editors to bring back into distribution two works of mine, written under the name Christopher Morgan.

    (Doesn't Christopher Morgan sound manly, yet accessible? Very boy-next-door, I thought.)

    Anyway, the first one out will probably be *Shop Stud & Other Tales*, a collection of some of my gay male short fiction. There is some SM in it, but tons of vanilla, LOL. Most of the stories were written for those little digest sized magazines with names like Country Boy and College Boy and City Boy and Just Boys, OK? (My memory might be a bit fuzzy on the titles.)

    The second release will be Musclebound, the first novel I ever wrote. It is a brutal tale of sex and abuse set in a gym. And from my new introduction...

    "It won’t surprise too many of my readers that I have written vast amounts of gay smut, especially of they have read my more far reaching erotic works, where I do my best to throw in something for everyone. It might surprise a few at how this brutal tale of pumped up bodies and punishing sex became the first book of mine ever mentioned in academia.

    No less a figure than Will Roscoe, one of the major voices in gay men’s spirituality in the United States, anthropologist and winner of the Margaret Mead Award, devoted a neat chapter to Muscle Bound in his book Queer Spirits (Beacon Press, 1995.)

    In this chapter, Roscoe seems delighted to find a little porn novel that fulfills the requirements of a mythic story; he writes about his my hero Tom relates to the story villain with “fear and attraction based on a sense of lack, (that) all too often characterizes how we as gay men relate to our fathers.” He talks about the “initiatory themes” of the sex scenes, and how Tom grows with the transformation of his body, “a common feature of tribal rites.” He mentions Divine Twins, Rabelais, liberation and subject-SUBJECT relationships.

    Here is where I reveal my years of study of literature, anthropology, sociology, sexuality and, well, the mythic archetype. Here is where I admit that when faced with completing my first novel, I decided I couldn’t mess it up if I just told The Story, of innocence to experience, ordeal to triumph, blah, blah. That it had brutal, sweaty gay sex was beside the point. I knew what I was writing. And here, this guy saw it and wrote about it, probably never dreaming this story was written by 1) a woman, and 2) an academic drop out with too much useless information to sit around and not use it from time to time. I was delighted. I was amused.

    And I couldn’t TELL anyone!"

    Now, I am telling you. I am coming out of the closet as a gay male pornographer. Surprise! Are there more pseudonyms hiding in my past? Well, yes. But not covering an entire genre.

    Both of these books will start out as e-books, and then we shall see if there is an interest in making print-on-demand versions. I will have links and purchasing information as soon as the publishers do that voodoo they do.

    Laura

    Thursday, September 02, 2010

    Older books coming back into distribution!

    And I don't mean the Marketplace books! of course, I am still on track with Circlet Press, as The Slave is being prepped for the e-book and print edition re-release next month, and The Trainer to follow that.

    I mean some old stuff some of you might not even know I wrote.

    My first book for Masquerade, a long, long time ago - OK, 1992 - was The Catalyst. It was sort of SM smut for beginners - a series of short stories all linked by one concept. An incredibly kinky movie inspires a diverse set of people to all run home and experiment with alt-sex and play. Since everyone was doing it for the first time, I got to play with how people negotiate - or don't - how they create fantasy scenarios - or don't - how they carefully prepare - or don't! Committed couples, a swinging foursome, a hook up or two, gay, straight, triads, different genders and dominance choices, light-hearted to almost relationship-ending - I really worked the angle as far as I could back then. There is a distinct - and noticeable, for me - lack of trans characters. I, um, made up for that later.

    I always thought of The Catalyst as my lightest work, a cute concept burdened with predictable and somewhat bland sex scenes. Yet, I gave nods to it in the Marketplace series, by moving one character into a significant role in the books, and mentioning two others in passing.

    And I have to admit - the book has its fans. Its RABID fans. I still hear from people who swear it's their favorite of my works. And it got some nice reviews! (Although I am always puzzled by the amazon.com reviewer who complains that it is "everything is about sex." Um...yeah. Gee, pick up a work of porn and I almost guarantee it will be about sex, at least a little.) But Blowfish wrote of it,

    "A kinky art movie inspires the audience members — het and queer — to try some SM play of their own. Different from much SM smut in that it depicts actual consensual SM scenes between just plain folks rather than wild impossible fantasies, “The Catalyst” is both sweet-natured and nastily perverse. The “why don’t we give this kinky stuff a try” tone is a true delight.”

    It was reprinted along with a bunch of other short stories and essays by Mystic Rose, in a collection titled The Catalyst and Other Works, which you can still find here and there online, until they sell out. And then they will be gone!

    However, I am working now to bring it back into circulation as - an e-book! No contract has been signed - yet. But It looks really good.

    And there's MORE. Yep - I am coming out of the closet and exposing one of my pseudonyms. Look here and at the usual places I post for that update later on!

    Laura

    Tuesday, August 17, 2010

    Circlet Press LJ chat going on now!

     There's an author chat going on NOW at the Circlet Press Livejournal page!

    So, please, go over to the Circlet LJ page and join in the conversation - in fact, you might BE the conversation, people are notoriously shy about author chats for some reason. I promise I won't snipe at you. In fact, I will give out a present. People to chat there will be eligible to win a free e-book - just for posting responses!

    And, it's a no-holds-barred chance to ask ANY question you might have about the Marketplace books, even some spoiler questions.

    Plus, you will keep me from talking to myself. That sort of thing is just embarrassing.

    Laura

    Oh, yeah. It's an adult-only discussion, so you might have to click an extra button to get included. Not that I am gonna get too graphic - until tomorrow, that is. If I get THREE posts today, there will be some hot sex tomorrow. (grin)

    Oh, and by the way? The Marketplace is now available as an actual, hold-it-in-your-hands print-edition book at Amazon.com and other fine online bookstores.  Woo-hoo! I will also be signing copies of it at Floating World this weekend, in New Jersey.

    Tuesday, August 10, 2010

    New classes, booking for 2011

    I made up a new list of classes and workshops, including some nice, friendly ones for the not-necessarily already-kinky crowd. If your group, event or business is interested in booking me for 2011, please drop me a line at Laura (at) lantoniou (dot) com

    If you are within 200 miles of NY, it's possible I can slip something into September, November or December of this year. If you are in Australia, I will be there in October and am looking for some local gigs as well. (I will be based in Sydney, so outside of that city will need travel expenses.)

    I depend on my friends & fans to help get these bookings for me through personal recommendations. Thank you so much for stepping up when you can and I hope to see you while I am on the road!

    Friday, August 06, 2010

    My recent Toronto trip

    Whew! It was a long trip, but worth every second.
    This was the second time Midori and I did Passionate Bonds, our three day DS intensive. Imagine the typical 90-minute workshop with either of us and now figure on three days of BOTH of us together. This is where we don't have to wrap everything up in soundbites and allow 15 minutes for questions, ya know? We close the registration to a small number of dedicated people and really put it all out there for participants to do the work needed to create a reality-based, DS flavored life.
    And once again, the folks who put their butts in the chairs also bared their fears, doubts and dreams, discussed their fantasies and realities and I think we all came through it knowing more than when we started. Once again, I was amazed at the range of "types" who came - partners with pre-existing protocols and agendas, solo participants who came to learn more about themselves, and those who wondered if anything about "protocols" was going to be useful to them at all. Experience ranged from a few years to whole adult lives, and the age range was broad as well.
    It's not a fun and games weekend, that's for sure. It ain't cheap, either, not in time or money. But I firmly believe that of all the things we can invest in, our relationships are the most valuable. You can buy a nice leather jacket and a whip and a pair of cuffs for about a thousand bucks. You can buy a weekend at a leather contest or fetish ball for about the same. And with either one of those you can sure meet someone, you can play with someone, and you can look sharp! But my passion is in what happens next.
    There are always classes on how to torment people, how to polish boots, how to make someone happy sexually. But in the end, the only thing that matters to me is, are we having good and healthy relationships with our partners, experiencing joy and creating happy memories, for as long as everyone is happy? Do we remember why we hooked up, beyond the clothing, the play, the freshness of the latest shiny thing?
    That's what Passionate Bods is about, for the DS crowd, whether they do it for fun on the weekends or want to make it a relationship. And once again, we found reality and passion can mingle and match. My thanks to everyone who attended and made it possible.
    Next time - the west coast of the US maybe? We're looking into it!
    After Passionate Bonds, I was honored to be the first guest speaker for a new group in Toronto, Perspectives on Power Over 30 people showed up and we rocked a class on advanced service topics. Darren, the organizer of PoP, was my host while I was in the city, and it was great to be able to amble over to the local dungeon and meet some kinksters!
    Then, because my final class had to be canceled, I got some of my Toronto friends to ask around and we had a lovely stealth reading, where the new story for The Slave got its first public outing - plus a bonus scene from The Inheritor! I am liking these stealth readings - they are fun, impromptu and create a nice little moment for a small number of people. I do also love to read my stuff out loud. (Grin)
    I'm home at last, catching up on e-mails and other messages and trying to get into making up some new classes and booking some travel for next year. I hope some of you can join me at upcoming events out on Long Island and in New Jersey!
    Laura
    lantoniou.com is the best place for updated lists of appearances and news

    Sunday, July 25, 2010

    Two classes in Toronto

    If you can't make it to (and through!) the intense, 3-day class Midori and I are doing on making your SM relationship all it can be, then consider a nice short class on another topic in one of my favorite cities!

    Service Development – Making Yourself Ready to be Useful
    Monday, August 2
    2PM – 4pm
    Renegade (www.renegadeonline.ca)
    1266 Queen Street West, Toronto
    $20 in advance, $30 at the door
    email perspectivesinpower@gmail.com for details

    When you are ready to go from “I’d like to” to “I will,” when you’ve moved beyond “whatever you like” to being sure about what you’re capable of offering, this class on service is for you. Laura will discuss the service resume, the butler book, the art of offering, and more. The workshop will also include an interactive discussion on what to do to prepare yourself, specific things to learn and how to find them, tips on what to do when the Top says “I don’t know” and when to ask for help and from who.

    Advanced registration is available by emailing perspectivesonpower@gmail.com or tracking down Darren at a local event. Only those who have paid in full will be eligible for the $20 price.


    Tell me What You Want, What You Really, REALLY Want
    With Laura Antoniou
    Often, when we try to tell our partners what we like or want, those words are filtered through things like expectations, projection, fear, shame and verbal shortcuts. Expand your creativity and verbal skills beyond “I like flogging” or ” anything you want” through an interactive game and exercise. Learn how creative communication and courageous risk-taking can make your relationship and play more intimate, satisfying and fun. Say what you mean, and mean what you say – and make it flirtatious and seductive!

    Tuesday, August 3, 2010, 7:30 – 9:30pm (People of all genders welcome.)
    Where: Come As You Are
    Cost:$30/person (Sliding Scale Available)
    http://www.comeasyouare.com


    If anyone in Toronto can make themselves available to help an author on her own in the city, drop me a line at Laura at lantoniou dot com  I could use rides, maybe a tour, maybe come company for dinner?

    Monday, July 05, 2010

    Upcoming appearances with new updates!

    Upcoming appearances – with the latest updates!
    THUNDER IN THE MOUNTAINS
    July 16-18

    Denver, CO
    www.thunderinthemountains.com
    I’m thrilled to return to what is one of my favorite leather events in the country. I’m teaching two workshops: “Tell Me What You Want, What You Really Really Want” and “Inconceivable! When What You Thought Would Never Happen….Happens!”

    PASSIONATE BONDS
    July 30-August 1

    Toronto, ONT
    http://fhp-inc.com/classdetails.php?id=120
    My friend (and internationally acclaimed educator) Midori and I have been teaming up to co-teach an intensive, weekend-long class designed for real people who enjoy power dynamics and want to have quality relationships that suit their hungers and needs. This weekend will include lectures, group discussions and exercises, with time for reflection and time for pure fun. We have developed a unique curriculum that will help you design a protocol and relationship dynamic that fits you and your relationship needs. For the folks who find that a 90-minute workshop doesn’t give them all they want, this weekend is for you. To register, visit the site above. And don’t forget – if you’d like us to bring this weekend event to your community, contact us for details.

    Service Development – Making Yourself Ready to be Useful
    Monday, August 2

    2PM – 4pm
    Renegade (www.renegadeonline.ca)
    1266 Queen Street West, Toronto
    $20 in advance, $30 at the door
    email perspectivesinpower@gmail.com for details
    When you are ready to go from “I’d like to” to “I will,” when you’ve moved beyond “whatever you like” to being sure about what you’re capable of offering, this class on service is for you. Laura will discuss the service resume, the butler book, the art of offering, and more. The workshop will also include an interactive discussion on what to do to prepare yourself, specific things to learn and how to find them, tips on what to do when the Top says “I don’t know” and when to ask for help and from who.
    Advanced registration is available by emailing perspectivesonpower@gmail.com or tracking down Darren at a local event. Only those who have paid in full will be eligible for the $20 price.

    Come As You Are
    August 3

    Toronto, Canada
    http://www.comeasyouare.com
    Tell me What You Want, What You Really, REALLY Want
    What You Really, Really Want
    With Laura Antoniou
    Often, when we try to tell our partners what we like or want, those words are filtered through things like expectations, projection, fear, shame and verbal shortcuts. Expand your creativity and verbal skills beyond “I like flogging” or ” anything you want” through an interactive game and exercise. Learn how creative communication and courageous risk-taking can make your relationship and play more intimate, satisfying and fun. Say what you mean, and mean what you say – and make it flirtatious and seductive!
    Tuesday, August 3, 2010, 7:30 – 9:30pm (People of all genders welcome.)
    Where: Come As You Are
    Cost:$30/person (Sliding Scale Available)

    LONG ISLAND LEATHER & ROSES
    August 10

    Brentwood, NY
    http://www.lilnr.org/
    “Far, far from the skylines of Manhattan, where the roads stretch dark and twisted like squid ink fettichini, there, where no public transportation enables you to go, there, in the chain of towns all ending in –bay or –port, live the sub-urban people.” –The Little Urban Maid by Laura Antoniou
    Yes, I’m headed to the wilds of Long Island for to read from my upcoming Marketplace novel, “The Inheritor.” All are welcome, but there is a small fee for non-members.

    FLOATING WORLD
    August 20-22

    Edison, NJ
    http://floatingworld.dreamhosters.com/web/
    A lot of folks have wanted me to come to this huge convention of erotic, sexual pleasure. I’ll be presenting two workshops: Creative Disobedience (The Art of Being a Wiseass) and The Way of It (Designing and Maintaining Your Personal Protocol).

    OCTOBER – AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND
    Yep, I’m going to the lands of the Ozzies and the Kiwis. I have two definite appearances, and room for more if you’re interested in hiring me to come to your part of the Land Down Under.

    THE GATHERING
    October 1-4

    Sydney, Australia
    http://www.regonline.com.au/builder/site/Default.aspx?eventid=849933
    I’m honored to be keynoting this BDSM event on my first trip to Australia. I’ll also be presenting some classes, which will be announced shortly.

    SOUTHERN EXPOSURE
    October 22-25

    Christchurch, New Zealand
    http://southernexposure.gen.nz/home.html
    Those Kiwis sure know how to keep a butch busy! I’ll be presenting four workshops at this fabulous event: The Way Of It (Establishing and Maintaining Protocol Within Relationships), For Your Own Good (Using Punishments in Your SM Relationships), Have a Cookie (Using Rewards in Your SM Relationship) and Too Kinky for Words: Playing Way Off The Edge.

    Friday, June 25, 2010

    Upcoming travels

    Happy summer! I am celebrating the re-release of the Marketplace series (yes, available on your favorite e-book reader beginning this July!), I will be traveling to promote my books and offer the usual array of sick, perverted workshops for groups around the world. 

    Here’s where you can find me in the upcoming year. And of course, if you want to bring me to your community, contact me to discuss costs.

    TES FEST

    July 2-5

    Piscataway, NJ
    Not only will I actually show up at TES FEST this year, I’ll be signing books & I’m auctioning off a private reading in the Celebrity Auction on Saturday night! Be there and buy me at auction /grins.

    THUNDER IN THE MOUNTAINS

    July 16-18
    Denver, CO
    I’m thrilled to return to what is one of my favorite leather events in the country.  I’m teaching two workshops: "Tell Me What You Want, What You Really Really Want" and "Inconceivable! When What You Thought Would Never Happen....Happens!"

    PASSIONATE BONDS

    July 30-August 1
    Toronto, ONT
    My friend (and internationally acclaimed educator) Midori and I have been teaming up to co-teach an intensive, weekend-long class designed for real people who enjoy power dynamics and want to have quality relationships that suit their hungers and needs. This weekend will include lectures, group discussions and exercises, with time for reflection and time for pure fun.  We have developed a unique curriculum that will help you design a protocol and relationship dynamic that fits you and your relationship needs.  For the folks who find that a 90-minute workshop doesn’t give them all they want, this weekend is for you.  To register, visit the site above. And don’t forget – if you’d like us to bring this weekend event to your community, contact us for details.

    LONG ISLAND LEATHER & ROSES

    August 10
    Brentwood, NY
    http://www.lilnr.org/
    “Far, far from the skylines of Manhattan, where the roads stretch dark and twisted like squid ink fettichini, there, where no public transportation enables you to go, there, in the chain of towns all ending in –bay or –port, live the sub-urban people.” –The Little Urban Maid by Laura Antoniou
    Yes, I’m headed to the wilds of Long Island for to read from my upcoming Marketplace novel, “The Inheritor.” All are welcome, but there is a small fee for non-members.

    FLOATING WORLD

    August 20-22
    Edison, NJ
    A lot of folks have wanted me to come to this huge convention of erotic, sexual pleasure. I’ll be presenting two workshops: Creative Disobedience (The Art of Being a Wiseass) and The Way of It (Designing and Maintaining Your Personal Protocol).

    OCTOBER – AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND

    Yep, I’m going to the lands of the Ozzies and the Kiwis.  I have two definite appearances, and room for more if you’re interested in hiring me to come to your part of the Land Down Under.

    THE GATHERING

    October 1-4
    Sydney, Australia
    I’m honored to be keynoting this BDSM event on my first trip to Australia. I’ll also be presenting some classes, which will be announced shortly.

    SOUTHERN EXPOSURE

    October 22-25
    Christchurch, New Zealand
    Those Kiwis sure know how to keep a butch busy! I’ll be presenting four workshops at this fabulous event: The Way Of It (Establishing and Maintaining Protocol Within Relationships), For Your Own Good (Using Punishments in Your SM Relationships), Have a Cookie (Using Rewards in Your SM Relationship) and Too Kinky for Words: Playing Way Off The Edge.

    Thursday, June 17, 2010

    Passionate Bonds in Toronto, July 30 - August 1

    Tired of searching for the ultimate guide to your D/s or SM relationship?
    Do you want to make your BDSM relationship the best it can be for you and your partners?

    Join Marketplace author Laura Antoniou and internationally acclaimed educator Midori for a special weekend intensive designed for real people who enjoy power dynamics and want to have quality relationships that suit their hungers and needs.

    Learn about the many styles of relationships we enjoy and discover the hidden and vital aspects of your own special way. You will be guided through a special curriculum designed to clearly identify your value system, behavior preferences and relationship goals.

    Participants will develop insights to help them get what they want in current and future relationships. This unique curriculum will provide the tools for each individual or relationship unit to create their own customized manual of effective protocol, rules, etiquettes and codes of conducts. The instructors work closely with each student through out each step.

    This weekend will include lectures, group discussions and exercises, with time for reflection and time for pure fun.

    While experience or current D/s relationship is not necessary, students must be prepared for hard but fulfilling work. Sincerity, willingness to communicate and full participation is required.

    Open to anyone with an orientation or a strong interest for a relationship which includes some variation and expression of power exchange or dominance and submission. Any experience level welcome. The weekend is excellent for those in current relationship or domestic units of 2 or more people. It is also highly effective for those who are not currently in relationship but wish have clear visions, goals and structure in place for future
    relationships.
    = = =

    Class size will be strictly limited to allow for a unique quality experience emphasizing individualized attention.

    Join Marketplace author Laura Antoniou and educator Midori for a special weekend intensive designed for people who enjoy authentic power dynamics and D/s, who want to consciously create quality relationships that suit their personal hungers and needs in the context of the real world.

    Through the unique curriculum and its innovative tools, each individual or relationship unit will create their own customized manual of effective protocol, rules, etiquettes and codes of conduct.

    Q&A

    Q. Do I need to bring a partner?
    A. No! Anyone may attend, partnered or not.

    Q. My primary and I have a submissive - can all three of us come?
    A. Pricing for this intensive is purposefully set to allow for "relationship units" of every size; this is by no means 'couples only'!

    Q. I am fairly new and my partner and I are exploring options. Is this for me?
    A. This is perfect for you; come on in and discover your passions.

    Q. I have been in the Scene for a while. Can this be helpful for me?
    A. Absolutely. Come and reacquaint yourself with the dreams and desires that brought you into the scene, and find out things about yourself and your partner(s) you might not have seen before.

    Q. Will there be opportunities to play?
    A. Passionate Bonds weekends are held in cities where there are local play spaces.  We encourage you to create your own playtime as part of a great weekend experience.
    Q. Does this include lodging and meals?
    A. The tuition does not include lodging and meals. There will be coffee, tea, soda and snacks available through out the instruction.
    Q. What's a Relational Unit?
    A. That's the term we use to refer to people coming together to construct a D/s relationship. We recognize that this is not limited to couples and many forms of relationship geometry exist. We also use this term to avoid labels as each D/s relationship uses special terms for their structure and titles.

    Wednesday, June 16, 2010

    The new look for the MP series

    It's becoming real again! E-book, then available again through your favorite online booksellers as a print-on-demand title.

     Nice, huh? The story of how the images are being made for the series will be coming...

    Friday, June 11, 2010

    International Mr. leather

    “…here at International Ms. Leather I am going to propose something astonishingly insensitive considering the venue.

    When Chuck Renslow came up with the idea for the first Mr. Gold Coast contest, which was to become the International Mr. Leather Contest, it was not to create a leader in the leather community. It was not to elect a speaker, a historian, a figure of responsibility and public consumption. It wasn’t even to be able to parade a bunch of hot guys around the bar. It was to sell beer. The contest was a distraction, an enticement, a spectacle to get guys to settle in for a while and spend money and time at the bar.

    It’s been 30 years now. I put it to you as gently as someone like me can…isn’t it time we moved past popularity contests and put infotainment in the right place? The new titleholder doesn’t need the permission or cheers of the community to do any of the basic things I outlined for anyone here to do. You all, as individuals, do not need a sash or a panel of judges to grant you the ability to learn, grow, make change and question authority. I put it to you; if the energy gathered here for a weekend were spent on just making a happy space for leatherwomen and their allies to come and connect, to spend some money and make some money, to teach and learn, to entertain and be entertained, would that be so bad? Could the barely functioning system of contests change instead to something celebrating achievements of other kinds? Where are our business leaders, our philanthropists, our social workers and teachers and librarians?…”


    That’s me up there – in a speech I made at IMsL in 2008. I’d already given up judging contests for several years before that, disenchanted with the process and the results. But since Glenda Rider, (executive producer, IMsL) is a personal friend, I agreed to make the speech at her event, figuring what the hell; might as well bell the cat.

    Then two years later, I found myself judging International MR. Leather. Which was, by the way, a blast. Here is that story.

    There’s a vast difference between the women’s and men’s leather contest worlds. Many people don’t know that for the first round of International Ms. Leather winners, bankruptcy followed their title year. Travel funds? They were lucky to get a prize basket. Sponsorships? Beer companies and official airlines were – and remain – unfound. Regional contests were few and far between, and many were actually designed to create a “winner” who would go compete at IMsL the next MONTH. Way back in 1992, I actually produced a leather contest that was designed to be after IMsL so that my winner had a year to serve in her local title before moving on compete in a national one. I was told I was insane for doing that – no one would want to be a titleholder for two years running.

    Women’s contests do not get the money, the crowds, or the community support that the men’s contests do – and sometimes, that’s damn little. I can’t remember how many times I was present for a contest (any contest, men/women/couples/etc.) where the contestants were recruited the week (or the day!) before the event, so they would have “someone” running. And of course, many of those last minute recruits went on to win, some by default.

    And then there were times when I did judge a contest with a decent array of contestants only to find I hoped no one would win. The lesser of two evils might have been a relief for some of those torturous events, where I really wanted a “none of the above” option on my paperwork. And really, who hasn’t known a titleholder who just made you wonder what on earth the judges had been sniffing the night they vetted that moron/asshole/team of delusional nitwits. For every outstanding leader type of person on the leather title circuit there seemed to be at least a dozen pretty boys/girls in borrowed fetish gear, and leather community green belts who thought they knew it all after doing it online for the past two years. Add to this the number of titleholders who burned out and left the scene after their title tours, and it was easy to just decline invitations and focus on my teaching activities instead.

    And then Chuck called.

    And that makes a difference.

    Just as when Glenda called, I said yes, so I said yes to Chuck Renslow. And not because he’s a personal friend – Chuck and I have met maybe a dozen times over the years, and he did come to a reading I did once. But come on, it’s Chuck Renslow. For all its dysfunction, our leather scene exists partly because of this man. The very image of a leatherman is iconic because he helped make it so. As I said many times to those who asked why I was doing this – I owe Chuck. When he calls, I go.

    I could also argue about how IML is in fact the largest, best supported leather pageant in the world, that the winners do tend to be well supported by the community and there is no dearth of contestants, etcetera, but really, those are rationalizations, not reasons. My reason was to pay my karmic debt to Chuck.

    Frankly, I didn’t expect much. Fifty gorgeous men in leather clothing answering questions about sex and politics and then strutting their stuff – that’s what I expected. I already knew that many of them would not actually be into SM, let alone DS relationships. I already knew asking them about the last book they read or which leatherwoman they admired would probably be a mistake. (I can’t tell you how many contestants I have seen who actually told me they NEVER read books. NEVER. I gave up asking that question.) I was fairly comfortable knowing most of them would have never heard of me, let alone read my books – after all, there was less of a chance for them to try to schmooze me. I expected to get pleasantly dazed by eye candy, enjoy a good show, and see some old friends.

    And what do you know, I wound up being a bystander to history. I had a fun time. And ultimately? I still believe our community can spend much of our contest driven money, energy and focus on better things. Especially the women’s leather scene. Glenda is working hard to make IMsL the kind of tourist attraction/extravaganza IML is, and if anyone has a chance of doing it, she will. But when a local community needs to beg people three days before a contest to run, when the winner has to beg for basic support like a travel fund and event scholarships, and basically has to work FOR their title instead of working their title for something else, when improper people win because there isn’t anyone better who wants to submit to the system, hell yeah, there are better uses for our time and money.

    And about that history thing.

    I am a harsh judge. (Ask anyone who every invited me to be on a panel.) I’ve read and heard some scuttlebutt on the selection of Mr. Tyler McCormick as IML and let me say this, without revealing any privileged information I am sworn to keep secret. No, I did not lobby my fellow judges to pick him because he’s FTM; in fact, there was no lobbying of any sort among the judges. Neither did I give him high scores for that reason – every score I gave out that weekend was earned by each individual man, and there were some damn impressive men in that top twenty, some of whom got higher scores from me in their different fields. The assertion “he was only picked because he’s disabled” is frankly stupid as shit, since, duh, he is not the first disabled contestant and wasn’t the only one in this year’s contestant gang. I even read that some people believe his walking out to deliver his 90 second speech was some sort of trick, as though someone who uses a wheelchair should never be able to walk, like it’s some zero sum ability challenge.

    I’ll say what I thought about walking out, Tyler – that was some good stagecraft. And after witnessing dozens of titleholders whose speaking and stage presence was poor at best and distressing at worst, I appreciate a good show. One thing about Mr. McCormick was that every time I saw him, he had a surprise for me. That’s entertainment.

    There were prettier men. And men with bigger dicks, no doubt. There were men with better fetish gear and men with excellent community service resumes. All in all, it was pleasant to find that I had dramatically overestimated the percentage of pretty-boys-in-borrowed-leather in the IML class of 2010. But when the numbers came out, I must say I was very pleased that my fellow judges sorted out this particular man in the top slot. “They’re gonna blame this on you,” a friend said to me afterwards. Oh, I certainly hope so. But it’s not true at all.

    Does this mean I am going back to judging contests? Not necessarily. For one, I can’t afford it – judges spend days working and are not paid for it. I don’t owe vast karmic debts to too many other people organizing contests, so I think I am fairly well excluded from most invites. I am comfortable with that. IML was a unique experience; it allowed me to recall my early days in the leather scene and connect with some fine men, and yes, I even got to see some old friends. But my passion remains with writing, teaching, facilitating workshops and poking at my most beloved/maligned community, the DS folks.

    So, congratulations to Tyler and his brothers, and a hearty shout out to my fellow judges and our team of handlers. Chuck – you put on a great show. As a once in a lifetime experience, I am glad I got to participate, disgruntled outsider or not.

    Monday, February 22, 2010

    Where I've been

    Some of you might have noticed I have been less chatty and less “around” since sometime in the middle of 2009. Now that I am starting my travel schedule for 2010 and almost back into a regular life again, I figured I’d better let you know what has been going on, so when you see me on the road, you recognize me.



    Six months ago, I had a surgeon rearrange my guts. Extreme body modification; a procedure called the RNY, a form of bariatric surgery. The reasons I did this are varied; no, I wasn’t in terrible health, and absolutely no, I wasn’t pining away to be a size 8. (Or any particular size for that matter.) But it did occur to me, after years of hearing it from doctors and years of watching personal friends and family members struggle with weight related health issues, that if someone told me at age 55 I needed to lose 100 pounds or suffer a life threatening condition, I would regret not doing it at an earlier age, when my ability to recover would have been better.



    So, I did it.



    I've lost a total of 95 pounds since last July; 75 of it post surgery. I am...nearly unrecognizable, at least to myself.



    I have not only fulfilled a silly goal of fitting into Levi's 501s again, I have had to downsize them - a pair I bought in December is already loose on me. I lost about 8, 9 inches around my waist; since I never measured anywhere else, I have no idea, but there are times when I look at my new neck and think it's downright scrawny. Other than my boots, I have no leather or fetish gear that fits. I found an old suede vest I bought in High School - complete with the Wilson's label - that I used to wear when I went out to the old Hellfire/Vault? It was already too small on me then; I removed the buttons to pretend it was like a bar vest.



    If it had buttons now, it would close. Naturally, this is the year I am judging IML and I have NO LEATHER. I will be doing a general call for donations and loaner items sometime in April when I know what size I will be. (Right now I am 16, edging to 14.)



    So, that's how my SIZE has changed. Naturally, tons of people have told me how much better I look, blah, bah, but I expected this. It's not like that many people you are friendly with will often say things like, "Jeeze, Laurie, you're a fucking whale, lose some weight," - or at least, saying such a thing would have taken them off my friends list fast anyway. But now, everyone feels free to tell me how much *better* I look. Well, I was prepared for that, and I try not to be too snarky with people who mean well.



    How I feel has changed, too. I no longer get winded at a two block walk, or one flight of stairs. On the other hand, my stamina and leg strength still haven't recovered as much as I'd like. I often go to sleep at ten pm and if I need to bend my knees way down to pick something up, it is sometimes iffy whether I can get back up without something to hold onto. I no longer have daily back aches, and for some reason my doctors cannot explain, I have not had a single migraine since I left the hospital. (All we can figure was that maybe they were triggered by sugar.) This has been the coldest winter of my life and it has nothing to do with the temperature - I have lost my padding!



    Things I have taken for granted for years have changed. I fit in public seating - on airplanes, not only can the arms come down and the seat belt get fastened without the extender - but I have ROOM. I shop in regular stores, in the regular departments. One size fits most? I am now "most." The magic word "medium" has taken over my very limited wardrobe. I walk faster. I had to learn not to buy clothing bigger than I was, but to buy it to fit me. Weird, weird, weird.



    But it's not all tweeting birdies and hearts and flowers. My recovery was rough. No, that's an understatement, my recovery sucked rotten donkey cock. I didn't eat for - literally - weeks. I survived on water, sugarless popsicles, chicken broth. (And occasionally, avgolemeno soup, when Karen could find a diner that made it.) I threw up constantly; had no energy for months, no drive, no interest in living. There were times when I literally was losing a pound a day; where it was going was a mystery. I fell prey to something called "hibernation syndrome" in such a classic way I get embarrassed when I read the description of it online. I was re-hospitalized once, with a plummeting potassium level and all sorts of nutritional deficiencies. (And for a really amazing experience in pain, try taking a couple of bags of potassium through an IV. At one point I screamed at some poor doctor, “Isn’t this a HOSPITAL? Can I get a fucking TYLENOL?”) But eventually, they set me right, sent me home and sometime in late November, after a trip to Toronto, the corner turned and I began to finally heal,



    I visited my surgeon yesterday and got the news that I am right on track. I should lose another 10-20 pounds and then see if my body is done with that. I expect to then put about half of that back, and reach what he calls a maintenance weight; a comfortable and healthy place to stop and try to eat sensibly and continue to exercise, well, for the rest of my life. I take a multi-vitamin, iron, calcium and B-12 daily. I gave up my muscle relaxers (for spasms I no longer get), my migraine and back pills. I've also given up sugar- I am a big fan of cooking with Splenda when I need to. I am no longer addicted to caffeine - giving it up for so long has left me with the ability to enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning with no withdrawal symptoms if I forget to or choose not to. That's weird, too.



    I can eat almost anywhere I like, as long as I am careful. The amount I eat looks ridiculous - I have learned to hide how little I eat when out with people who don't know. Mostly, people don't notice, and when they do, they often supply their own story. One guy who saw me picking the sandwich filling out of a Subway 6-inch, asked, "Oh, are you doing Atkins, or some kind of low-carb thing?" Easier to say yes! It does take a lot of thought and planning to have the right food around; but I have some of my favorite foods, like nice cheeses and roast beef and great stews. The oddest thing is craving a salad - since I now have to eat protein first, always protein - a salad of lettuce, tomatoes and assorted other good things like that is NOT on my approved list! They say maybe in a month or two, IF I am otherwise getting my meat, fish, dairy, eggs and/or beans, I can try a salad as something more than garnish.



    Pasta is still a very small part of my eating plan, as is rice and bread-like foods. The thin sliced diet breads seem suddenly very tasty to me - and when I go crazy and make myself a sandwich out of one slice and the proteins of my choice I can usually manage two bites. Then I give in and eat the fillings. It's a weird way to eat, but I am used to it now. I don't miss sugared things at all, which is sad because I now have a shelf full of no sugar jello and pudding boxes.



    So...do I regret it? Hell, no. True, it was a fucking AWFUL recovery, I wish that on no one. But there is no denying that I am already healthier now and stand to be healthier by a long shot come my one year anniversary. I sometimes walk up to 3 miles a day - that would have been impossible back last summer. My blood pressure, cholesterol, sugar levels - everything is absolutely normal, even on the healthier side of normal now. While they were not BAD per se when I went in to this - now I am much less worried about them getting worse as I got older.



    For such a public person, some you know that I am really rather private, which is why I didn't talk about this on my blog and fetlife and facebook, etc, etc. I have zero interest in discussing it now; if I want therapy, I’ll do it privately, and if you want advice, see a doctor. I also don’t want congratulations – this is not something I did for approval. I’m just sharing because as I go back out and people see me and new publicity photos appear, I didn’t want you to think, OMG, wtf happened to Laura, is she dying?? No. In fact, I am getting back to living.



    And, well, if you know anyone who has some spare leather in men's medium or women's size 16, could ya let me know? Sheesh...maybe I'll try some LATEX now that I will look less like the Michelin girl...