Telling a story for Mystery Box!

I’ve been a fan of the Mystery Box Show for most of the time they’ve been up and running and I’ve been thinking about telling a story for just as long.

1911664_506749909430277_1413592310_n

Well, the time has finally come! I pitched an idea and they’ve put me in the next show. I’m both excited and terrified. Get your tickets here.

And just ten days later I’ll be teaching my third class with my fellow erotica author Emily Bingham. Follow our shenanigans on our joint website, Emily and Stella Present.

Chicks can do that?

This article was supposed to be published by Power Exchange Magazine, but due to the complexity of the publishing industry they’ve found it impossible to go back into print. Rather than leave my article homeless (or submit it to other publications) I’ve decided to simply post it here since it addresses issues that have been on my mind a lot lately. It also nicely illustrates why I’m so thrilled to begin helping with the local chapter of Hitchin’ Bitches.

photo(71)

As I was giving rope tastings at a recent event a woman said to me, “I didn’t know chicks could do that.” I was so floored, so confused, that I didn’t even respond. I had tied her up and she’d had a wonderful time. That was what mattered. And while her preconception (and her language) were problematic, at least my presence as the lone female rope top at the event made a difference.

I’d like to say that was an isolated event but most of my female friends in the rope world have had similar experiences, and worse. My good friend circleoflight recently told me she doesn’t tie in public any more: “Each of the times I’ve tied in a public space a man has come along to offer ‘help.’  Once it was to give me a ‘proper’ piece of rope to finish a tie. Several times I’ve had men enter the scene in progress and touch my bottom without my or her permission. Because I wasn’t hurting her enough or she wasn’t restrained enough in his opinion.  Men often stand in ear shot and say things like ‘not bad for a girl’ or ‘I can’t believe she knows that trick.’ It makes me not want to bother and I wonder how many other competent female tops have just given up rather than deal with this behavior.”

So, what gives? Is rope only a men’s game? I don’t think so – or at least I don’t think it should be. I don’t like seeing anything divided along gender roles and kink is no different. Sadly, the world doesn’t operate according to my preferences. The prevailing norm in public play is men in the Top or Dominant role while women are expected to be the bottoms or the submissives.

“In private, I don’t believe there is any real difference between a female or male rope top. The practice of shibari itself is very personal and individual. In it’s simplest form, shibari is a top, a bottom, and the rope. Any variables in dynamic, roles, intentions, participants, gender etc. only matter to the individuals involved. It’s not until we enter the public arena that these factors outside of ourselves begin to have relevance. Then we’re dealing with normative social influence. Males make up the majority of tops in both the BDSM and Rope communities, and this lends itself to the perception of patriarchy and gender bias.” – The Soulless Ginger

From fashion to porn women are shown as owned objects. The discourse on women as public property is wide and varied and because kink is just another slice of society, this attitude bleeds into the scene. And it doesn’t only come up when women are topping. Many venues and parties have to stress only touching with consent and even with this listed in the party rules and sometimes posted on the walls, men need reminding.

“Being a female rope top is hard, and if one more person makes a joke about how that’s because we do it in heels and corsets I’ll scream. I mean yes, rigging in those things is hard, but what’s really hard about being a female rope top is how no one takes you seriously. It seems that no matter what you do, people assume you’re there to get naked.” – CindyLouWho

And I’ve had that experience too. I was playing with a male partner who was also a switch: we did a scene in the main room where I was stripped down to panties in the stocks and he was flogging me. We had a small, respectful audience. A little later that evening I had him tied to the interrogation chair and as we were beginning our scene a man came into the room, put his hand on my hip, and said; “I liked it better when you were naked.” What would make him feel like that was appropriate?

All of us who frequent and create sex positive spaces need to recognize that simply calling something a safe space doesn’t make it so. Party organizers, Dungeon Monitors, and members of the community all need to be aware of the prevalence of this behavior and work to prevent it before any more players are made to feel unwelcome. It shouldn’t be our job to educate the ignorant one person at a time, but if we don’t do it who will?

As a community our diversity gives us strength. We can all learn from each other if there are a variety of voices to be heard. But if we let things distill down to ‘one true way’ thinking there will be no new ideas put forward.

But it’s not all gloom and doom, The Soulless Ginger also notes; “Honestly, I haven’t experienced any of that [bias] first hand as a female rope top. If anything, those gender biases have been to my advantage and helped to create more opportunities for myself and my partner to perform and present in the public scene. My journey in rope has been facilitated by the over-arching perceptions of a female’s role in Shibari both as a bottom and a top. Are there challenges and benefits to being a female rope top? Yes. Do they matter? Only in the way we let them.”

She’s got a point. If as a female rope top we’re looked at as a novelty we can use that attention to our advantage and work to change minds. Even if the initial interest comes from less than ideal motivation, in the end those watching may see that women can be just as skilled as men. Maybe even more-so. The nature of rope work is that it requires close, intimate contact and attention to detail. Skills that are typically attributed to women. So even those with a gender bias should lose their own argument.

I’m contrary by nature and being told I can’t do something is great motivation. I find myself eager to improve my own rope skills and tie in public as much to buck the norm as for my own pleasure.

I urge everyone who has been discouraged or who is self conscious to push through their fears and insecurities and get out into the public scene. There are more of us than you might think, and we deserve to be seen and to be respected.

Because yes, chicks can do that.

It’s a giveaway! Enter to win a copy of The Big Book of Orgasms

I’ve been honored to be included in a number of amazing books, but the acceptance to The Big Book of Orgasms gave me a special thrill. I’ve been a fan of Rachel Kramer Bussel since I first started dipping my toes in the erotica waters so getting to work with her really felt like one of those “I’ve made it” moments.

Rachel with the BBOO

Rachel with the BBOO

You can read Rachel’s introduction and see the full table of contents on the Big Book of Orgasms website. You can also read an excerpt of my story.

So, are you ready to win your own copy of this beautiful, sexy book? Just click the link below and follow a few easy steps. The winner will be announced next week.

Take me to the giveaway!

Good luck!

xoxo,
Stella

PS. Like free stuff? I’m still giving away bookmarks!

Sneak peek

So, I hate to break it to you, but I’ve been keeping secrets. I’ve been working on a project that I’m very excited about and I wanted it to be a surprise, but the process is taking long enough that I thought I’d give you a little taste.

IMG_2123

The project went something like this: I wrote a dirty story, put together the Naughty Librarian’s Artists Salon, invited artists and models, and then read my story as the models acted it out and the artists captured the poses. Some amazing art was created that night! I’m still collecting the finished art from everyone who participated and the next step is compiling it all into print.

This time around I want to go the DIY route. I went to the Print Camp at the IPRC and learned letterpress, screenprinting, and bookbinding. I am now both excited and a little overwhelmed at the prospect of putting this all together. I’d like to have something ready by Valentine’s day, but I’m not sure yet if that’s realistic.

In other news, Love Burns Bright is being released in just under two weeks and it contains a story of mine that I’m very excited to put out into the world.

That’s all for now.

xoxo

2014 Literary Pin-up Calendar

2014 Literary Pin-up Calendar by Lee Moyer

2014 Literary Pin-up Calendar by Lee Moyer

I’ve been lucky to be a part of many amazing projects but I’ve got to say, this might be the project I’m most excited about.

I’ve been a fan of Lee Moyer’s work for a while and his 2013 literary pin-up calendar is hanging on my wall right now. When he asked me to be the cover girl for the 2014 calendar the offer seemed too good to be true.

I couldn’t be happier with the company I now keep:

All three Literary Pin-up Calendars by Lee Moyer

All three Literary Pin-up Calendars by Lee Moyer

As if this project could get any better, it’s also for a good cause. Read all about the project and make a donation on the Indigogo page.

Come on, you know you want me hanging on your wall!

Cover of the 2014 calendar by Lee Moyer

Cover of the 2014 calendar by Lee Moyer

All the things!

I’ve been so busy doing all the things I haven’t had time to catch my breath and tell you about them. Here are some highlights:

Swag from CatalystCon: a jawbreaker ball gag!

Swag from CatalystCon: a jawbreaker ball gag!


I attended CatalystCon West and had an amazing time. I spent a day in Tristan Taormino’s sex educator boot camp and came out energized and motivated to do more teaching. I attended lots of amazing panels and made new friends and professional contacts. I’m already looking forward to next year’s event.

Hot on the heels of CatalystCon was Wordstock – so I got to geek out two weekends in a row on two of my favorite topics. This time I got to rub elbows with some of my favorite authors, surround myself with piles of books, and attend yet more interesting panels. I also found new inspiration for my next project:

The Naughty Librarian’s Artists Salon! I had so much fun at this event. I sat and read one of my stories while models acted out the poses and artists captured the images on paper. My next step is to collect the artwork and combine it with my words into a finished product. I’m looking into publication options now and I hope to have it ready in time for Valentine’s day!

It’s my birthday but you get the present!

In honor of the reading I’m doing tonight I had bookmarks made to give away.
bookmark copy
The art was once again done by the incredibly talented Nojitsu.

If you can’t make it to the reading tonight and you’d still like a bookmark I’d be happy to send you one! Just send me a message and I’ll put one in the mail to you right away!

And if you want to do something for my birthday, a review of one of the books I’m in would be greatly appreciated!

xoxo,
Stella

Worlds Collide

Photos by otto phokuz.

Photos by otto phokuz.

Just over a week ago I gave a short reading as part of the anniversary celebration for a local sex-positive multi-use space. (I’ve got a project in the works there that I’ll be telling you more about soon.)

Walking into the space one of the first things I saw was the wall filled with work from a local photographer – including two shots he’d done of me. I’ve never seen any of my modeling work displayed in a gallery; it was both wonderful and surreal. It was an especially nice touch to be reading a dirty story in view of dirty pictures.

In other news:

Upcoming reading at local, independant bookstore!

My fellow smut writer and friend Emily and I are doing a reading on September 13, 2013, at St. Johns Booksellers – a fantastic local bookstore!

photo 3(8)

Stella and Emily

Emily and I will be reading from the Cleis anthologies we’re included in and perhaps from some other books as well.

She and I both have exciting news and publication announcements coming up, so be sure to keep an eye out here and follow Emily on her website.

We hope to see lots of friends and new faces at the reading – wine and sweet treats (including homemade cupcakes!) will be available.

Event details:
St. Johns Booksellsers
8622 N. Lombard St., Portland, OR 97203
September 13, 2013 at 7:30pm

The big ‘O’

Just a quick announcement today – the cover for Rachel Kramer Bussel’s Big Book of Orgasms is out!

Orgasm

This collection contains my story, The Jeffrey Factor. The book comes out in October, but you can pre-order it now!

I’m super excited about this collection because I love Rachel’s writing and I’ve wanted to work with her since I started writing in this genre.

I’m working on various things behind the scenes and hope to update more soon. In the meantime, do you have a copy of Well Played yet?

And, for more frequent updates, be sure you’re following me on Facebook and Twitter!

xoxo,
Stella