Novels, Short Story Collections, and Anthologies

Make Nice How They Scored Dear Prudence Lesbian Camp Girls
Too Beautiful, Second Edition How I Adore You Cover of Modern Shorts, an anthology published by Fiction Attic Press Cover of Southern Gothic, an anthology published by New Lit Salon Press
Cover of Big Feminist But

Novels

Make Nice, a novel

Frank likes telling everybody what to order, and he makes a big joke out of whether or not I’m going to eat the antipasti. “Are you sure you want to eat that? I think that came from something with a cloven hoof!”

“Frank, I’m so hungry I don’t care if it came from a unicorn, I’m going to eat it.”

Sammy sings, “The unicorn / was never born / with more than one protrusion.” He grabs a lit candle out of the holder on the table and holds it to his forehead, “It saw a wildebeest one day / And cried, ‘What an illusion!'” . . .

It’s like we’re always on. Everyone always kidding, always topping everybody else. We keep it up until something interrupts.

It’s 1960, and Frank Sinatra is at the height of his power and influence in Hollywood. Bobby Blaine, a peripheral member of the Rat Pack, chafes under the singer’s egomania and bullying. He tries to land roles without Sinatra’s help and encounters only failure, until he is asked to do one last favor: pick up Marilyn Monroe in Reno, where she is having a nervous breakdown trying to finish “The Misfits,” and deliver her into the clutches of Sinatra’s Mafia pals at the Cal-Neva Lodge.

Bobby hires Gene, a 20-year-old would-be beatnik, as his driver. Gene falls in love with a Mexican-American motel maid, encounters the racism of the day, and like Bobby, tries to become his own man.

The book looks at the hidden ways of the world of the early 1960’s, where a presidential candidate could carry on affairs under the nose of reporters, and a powerful entertainment figure’s connections to the Mafia could be winked at. A world of Hollywood double-crosses, political shenanigans, bad Beat poetry, a hapless Broadway producer, and a comedian with a broken heart.

The book is available through Amazon.com and  Lulu.com.

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How They Scored, a novel

How They Scored is a book about how straight men talk and think about sex. The novel was written for a small San Francisco press, but was canceled, so it is now available:

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Dear Prudence, a novel (Mango Rain)

I am now querying agents for my novel Dear Prudence (aka Mango Rain), about an American girl who goes to Bangalore to open up a customer service call center.

You can read the entire novel online, or download it for free, at Red Lemonade.

 Lesbian Camp Girls

Lesbian Camp Girls, a novel

Lesbian Camp Girls is pure pornography, but also an homage to the cheap and nasty paperback porn of the late 1970s.

Now available from Lulu.com as a book ($11.99) or a PDF download ($1.50). It must be said: Adults only!

Short Story Collections

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Too  Beautiful and Other Stories

Too Beautiful and Other Stories is the second edition of my first book, originally published in 1999 by Masquerade Press. It includes three new stories.

 

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How I Adore You

How I Adore You is my second book of sex stories. Like “Too Beautiful,” this book spans the erotic spectrum with stories featuring both men and women, straight, gay and bisexual, in various combinations and compromising positions.

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 Too Beautiful, 1st Edition

“Too Beautiful” is a collection of some of my best sex writing over the last several years. A few of these stories appeared in Frighten the Horses, and one appeared in an anthology called “Good To Go.” But most were unpublished.

The first edition of “Too Beautiful” was published in 1999 by Masquerade Press.

The stories span the gamut of heterosexual and homosexual porn, but if you really want to put a label on it, call it “bisexual erotica.”

Anthologies

Cover of Modern Shorts, an anthology published by Fiction Attic Press

Modern Shorts

Modern Shorts, an anthology to be published in September 2014 by Fiction Attic Press, contains my story “Little Big Death.” Order it here.

Cover of Southern Gothic, an anthology published by New Lit Salon Press

Southern Gothic

Southern Gothic, an anthology published in 2013 by New Lit Salon Press, contains my story “Instrument.” Order it here.

Cover of Big Feminist But

The Big Feminist But

The Big Feminist But, an anthology edited by Shannon O’Leary and Joan Reilly, published in 2014 by Alternative Comics, contains my story “Must Respect Women’s Power, No Experience Necessary,” illustrated by Liz Baille. Order it here.

Other stuff

Read short stories published in online literary magazines.

I used to publish Frighten the Horses magazine. And you can also read some essays, columns, and other things.

Awards

I was a finalist for Erotic Writer of the Year in the U.K. in 2001. But my friend Marilyn won.

Too Beautiful (the first edition) was Erotic Book of the Month in February 2000, said the Erotica Readers Association.

Why write erotica?

I’ve written in other places — including the afterword to my book “Too Beautiful” — about how I moved from writing self-conscious “erotica” that imitated Anais Nin to writing transgressive stories set in a post-modern world of desire and alienation, how I went through various stages on the way from using euphemisms to calling things by their own names, and how liberating the process was. But I’ve never really addressed the question of why a person would want to write so extensively about sex.

Perhaps the biggest reason I wrote so much about sex for the last fifteen or twenty years has to do with motivation. I’ve generally been a very undisciplined, and mostly untutored, writer. I didn’t get a degree in creative writing, never attended a writing program at a university, and have been to only one writers’ conference. Aside from a close friend who generously took it upon herself to encourage me — journalist Sara Miles — I’ve had little exposure to real writers and had nobody demanding I do anything. For a long time I wrote in my journal and made fitful starts at stories, and wondered if I was a real writer or just a dilettante.

The one thing I found I could write, and finish, was stories about sex. No doubt the arousing power of sex was one of the things that made it possible for me to actually work on and finish stories. And then writing many such stories over time permitted me to improve my craft as a writer. Working within a genre allows a writer to forget about some things in order to polish others. With sex writing, you can basically assume the characters you introduce in the beginning are going to wind up doing it; you play within that sandbox. Eventually you become expert enough to play with the conventions of the genre so that, for example, you don’t have to have the characters wind up in bed together. You can have them start out in bed, then fall apart, as I did in “Trick” (published in “How I Adore You”). Or you can have them aspire to do something sexual but frustrate that desire, as in “Amateur” (published in “Too Beautiful”). It’s still writing about sex.

So the genre allowed me to expand my skills as a writer. It’s not lucrative, though — not the way I do it. I suppose I could churn out stuff for Penthouse Forum and make money; somebody does it. But it’s just not what I’m trying to do with writing.

I don’t want to create an impression that sex writing is just a way for me to polish my skills, though. I do it because it’s fun and arousing and surprising. In the last few years, though, I have been doing stuff that isn’t about sex, including several short stories and a novel.

Advice for would-be erotica writers

It’s okay to start out by imitating writers you like. If you want to write erotica like Anais Nin or William Burroughs or Kathy Acker, by all means go ahead, if it gets you started. But don’t fool yourself into thinking no one can tell that you’re imitating someone. Imitation is just to prove to yourself you can write a story at all.
It’s also okay to write badly. I don’t mean using “bad words” (although that is, of course, okay when you’re writing about sex) but writing without worrying about whether it’s any good or not. In fact, it can be very liberating to write deliberately badly, with awkward phrasing and poor sentence structure, as Acker was famous for. Give yourself permission to write what Anne Lamott calls “shitty first drafts.” On the other hand, if you’re starting out writing and are convinced that your work is already wonderful without doubt, then you probably need to go to some classes and learn the rules before you start breaking them.

Once you’re ready to start hacking out your own territory, be honest and unafraid. It’ll be hard for you to write about sex if you don’t write about what turns you on. And you can’t do that until you’re honest with yourself about what does turn you on. You may never have admitted to anyone else your homosexual fantasy; putting it down on paper may seem risky, but then again you don’t have to show it to anyone else. Unless you then like what you’ve written so much that you just have to show it to someone. Of course, you can always say “It’s just fiction.”Of course, just because it turns you on doesn’t mean it’s good writing. But it’ll get you going.

Copyright 2013-5 Mark Pritchard, Bernal Heights, San Francisco