Guest Post by Marina de la Torre
On Wednesday, April 18, the Center hosted Read our… Lips: Reading from the Best Lesbian Erotica.
Right before 7pm, mostly women start to gather in one of the Center’s rooms waiting in anticipation for the event to start. Over 25 women are present; some chat in small circles, others play with their phones, and many invite themselves to a glass of wine in the back of the room.
Promptly at 7 pm, Kathleen Warnock, editor of the Best Lesbian Erotica (BLE) 2012, welcomes the audience and explains how the BLE books come to life. The women in attendance learn that before the “best” stories are selected each year Kathleen receives hundreds of submissions; she then proceeds to read them all and make a selection of erotic stories that have “publishing” potential. Then she hands over her selection to that year’s guest judge. For the BLE 2012 book the guest judge was Sinclair Sexsmith, the mastermind behind the award-winning blog Sugarbutch Chronicles. The guest judge then proceeds to make a selection of 20 or so stories. Finally, after some back and forth with the publisher, Kathleen ends up with the final stories that appear in the book.
Process description over, the audience is introduced to not only Sinclair Sexsmith who is also in attendance but also to the four authors who will read their own hot stories out loud to the guests that evening.
First up is Ali Oh, a young writer, who takes the stage and invites us to listen to “Vacation.” Despite being quiet sick (poor thing, her voice was all congested), Ali delivers her story with grace, wit, and smart intonation as she delights us with a libidinous narrative. The temperature is slowly rising in the room while Sinclair Sexsmith introduces us to the next writer, Julia Noel Goldman, author of “’50s Waitress.” Julia is a quick reader who enthralls us with her kinky chronicle. She is also funny and we all burst into laughter when she suddenly claims “can you see that the story is making me hot, or is it my hot flashes?!”
Next up is Anne Grip the author of “Hot Yoga”. Anne enchants us with a steamy and very entertaining tale. The audience is giggling throughout her reading and I wonder if it because of the comic or the lascivious passages in her story.
By now our imaginations have been richly stimulated and our senses aroused. The fourth story belongs to seasoned author D.L. King, who wrote “On my Honor” in the 2012 book; although tonight she is gracing us with a new story. D.L. King is a dynamic reader who is keeping the audience enraptured in her lustful story; and right then, at the climax of her account, she stops reading and happily invites us to read the end of the story in the book! This woman knows how to create a suspenseful atmosphere as and we are all left wondering what happens next in her tale.
Before the evening is over, we get a chance to hear from Sinclair Sexmith, who wrote the introduction in the BLE 2012 book, and reads out loud a selected portion of the intro.
Finally, before closing the event, the attendees are treated with one of Kathleen Warnock’s own stories. Although her story is not part of BLE 2012, Kathleen is a multifaceted creative person and writing is among her many skills. Kathleen’s account is a perfect closing for the evening as it brings the heat down a notch and allows us to recover –if ever so slightly— from the sexy stimulation before we venture out into the street again.
Overall it was a very exciting (pun intended) evening at the Center!