Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Lust Bites Interviews Sizzling Sage Vivant


LB: Your name is synonymous with sophisticated, sexy fiction, so it's thrilling to welcome you to Lust Bites, Sage Vivant. We met when you were reading submissions for the anthologies you and M. Christian edited for Thunder's Mouth Press in 2006, but you've been active in erotica for some time. I put it like that because, along with your fiction and your editing, you run Custom Erotica Source, an online writing service. At CES, people order tailor-made erotic tales.

Before we get to that, there's a question I’m dying to ask. When my work was accepted, you communicated with me. When it was rejected, it was by M. Christian. Is he the heavy in the partnership?

SV: Now that’s the most original question I’ve ever been asked in an interview! Chris (M. Christian) isn’t a fan of administrative work or correspondence, so that’s mostly why I dealt with both for those anthologies. Plus, his name is so much better known than mine, I felt it was only right that I do the dirty work to carry my weight! But it’s hysterically funny that anyone would think he would be the heavy. He’s a pussycat.

LB: Isn’t he best known for m/m work? We Lusties are wondering: How did you and he… become partners?

SV: In 2001, a mutual friend – Jamie Joy Gatto – came to San Francisco and tried to cram in as many visits with her cyber-pals as she could. She wanted to see me and M. Christian but didn’t have time for two dinners (Chris and I didn’t know each other), so she invited us to join her for one dinner. But here’s the funny part: I had seen and heard M. Christian’s name but I hadn’t ever read anything by him, so I did some Internet sleuthing and discovered that he wrote a lot of m/m material. “He must be gay,” I assumed, opting not to waste my time on much makeup or particularly sexy clothes for the dinner! Well, lo and behold, he is as straight as they come and we hit it off like gangbusters. We were an item almost instantly and have been together as a romantic couple and a professional team ever since.

LB: Many of us at Lust Bites started writing erotica for our friends and lovers, but who'd have imagined it could become a successful enterprise. How did CES start?

SV: Well, I must clarify that Custom Erotica Source is completely and totally my baby – M. Christian has almost nothing to do with it other than to talk me down from the occasional ledge.
I started the business in 1998 when I wanted to leave my banking career and start writing. I had a fairly high-paying job, so I didn’t relish the prospect of being a penniless scribe. Becoming a novelist, then, was out. I’d always wanted to run a business that provided a real service to people and I had strong feelings about sex-positive approaches to life. Plus, I’d found that when I read erotica I was disappointed. I wanted to provide stories that would be exactly what a given individual wanted to read.
It wasn’t that I thought the erotica on the shelves was bad, it’s just that what turns some people on isn’t what turns other people on.

LB: Do you write a lot of the CES stories yourself? What's the secret to styling the story for readers who also star in the piece?

SV: Up until about six months ago, I wrote 90 percent of the stories myself. I felt (and still feel) that writing to spec expands my repertoire like nothing else. Now, however, I don’t have time to write all the stories (and I was starting to get burned out), so I’m giving more and more of the work to staff writers.

People get an enormous kick out of reading stories that are written about them and/or for them, so my job is made somewhat easier. However, clients can also be tremendously exacting where their sexual fantasies are concerned, so I (and my writers) have to pay incredible attention to every detail the client provides. I often liken the task to being a wedding planner or a psychiatrist – you have to read people very well and you have to put aside your own preferences for those of the client. That’s not easy. It comes down to respecting the clients. If we can manage that, we pretty much always end up pleasing them.

I concentrate on what the requester feels are the positive aspects. A common one, for instance, is larger women. I refer to them as voluptuous and luscious rather than big or oversized – that kind of thing. However, if the client calls such women big or oversized, that’s how I’d characterize them in the story. It’s a matter of how the client sees the characters. How I write them is completely dependent on that.

LB: One of your celebrity writers, Lust Bites' very own Alison Tyler, said her CES experience was a very pleasant one. She's curious to know if CES has taboos? And what fantasies do people request most?

SV: Alison is so kind – and a pleasure to work with. She and staff writer Bryn Colvin turn stories around faster than any other human beings I know. Same day service! I like having a little roster of “known” names because I think it lends credibility to CES.

CES absolutely has taboos. They’re outlined in the site’s FAQs: Bestiality, incest, under-age characters, and nonconsensual sex. I’ve had to decline some requests, but it seems that most folks understand these taboos and tread carefully around them. I am surprised by how many potential clients write me before placing an order to make sure what they want is something CES will write.

By far the most frequently requested storyline is threesomes and foursomes. Usually in a tropical setting. Men order this fantasy quite often, and women who order stories for their men usually request this fantasy, knowing it will have great appeal!

LB: Erotica seems to be moving rapidly into the supernatural - vampires, werewolves, fairies, etc.. Are you seeing more requests for those? I wonder if this is reflected in the tastes of your clients.

SV: I get a fair amount of requests for supernatural erotica, but it’s not nearly as popular at CES as it appears to be in bookstores. I’ve had requests for these types of stories since CES began in 1998 and can’t say that the percentage has gone up. About 15 percent of client requests fall into this category.

LB: We're all fascinated with the 'Your Erotic Personality' book. How did you research it? Which personality are you?

SV: Thank you! My research entailed looking at CES requests and finding trends among the erotic psyches of the requestors. I first categorized the stories then, based on the themes that emerged, I came up with the personality. The book quickly became a kind of self-help book that explains why people gravitate toward certain sexual fantasies, but my primary purpose in writing it was to underscore that differences in erotic triggers are normal, good, and above all, common. In the United States, I feel we are adolescent in our sexual views. Right now, we seem to have downright sophomoric definitions of what’s sexy: you’re either kinky or you’re vanilla. The uber-hip enjoy certain sexual practices, we’re told, and if you don’t like them, then you’re sexually stunted. When I see publishers start erotica lines and all they publish are tales of bondage and discipline, I get angry. Scores of people don’t find s/m remotely sexy, but here are publishing imprints so limited in their sexual views that they can’t think of anything else that might turn people on. The word “fetish” is, in fact, now virtually synonymous with bdsm, and I find that exceptionally narrow-minded. I might take a lot of heat for my views, but I’m getting too old to care, really!
I am a Wanderer and a Show-Off. Come to my website, http://www.sagevivant.com to take the erotic personality mini-quiz or watch the movie. That is, if you don’t want to buy the book!

LB: I know you're excited about your latest venture, Sage's Advice. Lust Bites is all about fiction and so are you, so what the heck is Sage's Advice?

SV: Sage’s Advice will be for Web sites what Custom Erotica Source is for individuals. I’ve had several sites comes to me for content – blog posts, stories, even sexy marketing copy. The time has come to start a separate business targeted to Web sites. M. Christian and I will operate Sage’s Advice together. We plan to launch it sometime in June. We’ve got some writers but are happy to consider more – especially experienced, published writers.

LB: Thanks for zooming into Lust Bites today, Sage. And best of luck to you, and M. Christian, with all your sexy endeavors!

SV: Thanks so much! I’m looking forward to answering questions today. I know they’ll be especially interesting from this group of savvy writers!

LB: We’re giving away one copy of Your Erotic Personality by Sage Vivant. To enter, all you have to do is post a comment. Let the fun begin!

51 comments:

Rachel said...

I've enjoyed reading Sage Vivant's contributions to various anthologies. It's always nice to learn a little about the author behind the work!

kristina lloyd said...

Wow, I'm a Bottom and I just had a quickie. Fascinating interview.

I popped along to Sage's website and did the quiz. And then took up the offer to read a specially selected story.

It's quite early in the morning and I may have to go lie down already. I'll try and say soemthing less ga-ga later. Listen, I said I'll *try*. I think it's going to be one of those weird days though. I'm blaming Sage. And Master Dave, natch.

Portia Da Costa said...

What a fascinating interview. Thanks so much for talking to LustBites, Sage.

I must nip along and do that quiz... :)

Portia Da Costa said...

Mmmm... I got *exactly* the result I would have expected.

I'm the Romantic!

Nikki Magennis said...

Hi Sage,

Thanks for coming along! It's wonderful to get a peek behind the scenes. And I *loved* doing the test.

I'm totally fascinated with the Erotic Personality book.

I was thinking about this recently after reading one of those 'what your sexual fantasies mean' articles in a magazine. It reminded me of Nancy Friday's intros in 'My Secret Garden'. And I'm a little suspicious when those glib analyses come up: 'If you fantasise about women, your relationship is lacking tenderness', etc.

Surely it's not that prescriptive? How did you deal with the analysis part when you were writing YEP? Did you work on an instinctive sense of what people's fantasies mean, or is there an agreed translation for certain fantasies?

I love the idea that our sexual fantasies can provide a Rosetta Stone for our psyche, but I tend to think it's pretty messy and complicated and mysterious in there.

Then again, maybe that's just me...

(If anyone's wondering - I'm a Bottom. Probably a 'voluptuous' bottom!)

Deanna Ashford said...

I intend to pop along and do the quiz as well, but I'm ready to bet that I'll turn out to be a romatic like Wendy.
I thought that how you and Christian met, Sage, was romantic actually. People are never what you expect them to be are they?
Keep up the good work and the best of luck with your new endeavour.

Deanna said...

I was right I am a romantic. How could I not be when I go misty-eyed at a romantic movie and I fantasize about being carried off by one of the muscular heroes in my books.
Actually I wasn't even remotely romantic when I was younger. I've mellowed with age I suppose, and my outlook regarding sex and sexual relationships has changed. Maybe this happens to everyone, I don't know, but maybe you can hazard a guess, Sage.

Jeremy Edwards said...

Sage Vivant! One of my favorite writers. No surprise, of course, that you'd show up here at a blog run by a bunch of my other favorite writers. I lust oops I mean love Lust Bites.

What an important niche you must be filling with CES. I bet those stories are among the most special and memorable things your clients have ever received or given--particularly because it's done by high-quality writers. I admire writers who can sit down, throw themselves into other people's fantasies, and bring the same magic to it that they do when writing from their own fantasies.

Or do some of you write standing up?

Gwen Masters said...

This is a fantastic interview! Thanks for taking the time to be with us, Sage.

I love the story about how you met M. Christian!

I took the quiz when it first appeared on the site months ago, and my result was "The Partier." When I took it today, the result was "The Bottom." Interesting!

I wonder if the change in my erotic personality has to do with the fact that I'm now in a committed, exclusive relationship. When I took it the first time, I wasn't. This has really given me something to think about today.

Janine Ashbless said...

Aaah! I'm a "Name-Dropper," apparently! I'm fixated on beauty and status and "want sex with people others will envy and respect".

Uh...
Well, it's good to have an ambition even if it is one that's totally unachievable...

Amy S. said...

Great interview! I took the quiz and I got The Partier.

TeresaNoelleRoberts said...

Your quiz is not broken. Bottom and Partier, and those who've read my work might notice my fantasy life does tend in those directions. (As I always say, my personal life is...personal. *smiles evilly)

CES is fascinating. I've often written on a specific theme for anthologies. *waves to Alison* Still, it seems tremendously challenging to take an individual's detailed fantasy and make it a story--with plot and coherence and all those things our fantasies don't always have. How much free rein do you generally have on the details?

Madeline said...

Good morning, all. It's wicked early here, EST Canada, but I just had to check and see how the blog is doing, today. Sage will be along, although we never discussed the time difference, and I believe it's even earlier where she is than where I am...
Interviewing Sage was a real delight, and I'm really glad you've enjoyed the results. Her website is so *interactive*, isn't it? I must remember that when I put together one of my own. So - I'll get a big cuppa java and be right back.

Madelynne Ellis said...

I'm an Escapist, which seems a pretty accurate description.

Just curious, how much detail do your customers at CES provide for you to work with? Also, have you ever had problems with people not being happy with the story once it's written?

Madeline said...

I took the test. I'm a bottom (no surprise there.) What a great idea for a book...wish I'd thought of it... :)
I'm wondering, Sage, (when you get here,) did you propose the three topics for the anthologies you and M. Christian edited for Thunder's Mouth Press? They were 'Confessions', 'Amazons' and 'Fairy Tales'. I'm particularly intrigued about 'Amazons'. What a terrific and unusual subject to choose - was it your idea?

Alison Tyler said...

I've just taken the quiz and—wow, not only is it clever and funny, the art is fantastic. As everyone would guess, I'm a Top.

Clearly Kristina Lloyd *is* the bottom. Look at the red hair cut in that cute bob. The blue dress must bring out her eyes and I love the way she looks chewing on the crop.

*I'm* not the bottom... It's Kristina. I swear...

Thanks for the interview, Sage & Madeline! It's fascinating! I need to put in that I adore Sage's erotic writing, too. She was one of the first authors I worked with when I started editing anthologies. She's professional, easy to get along with, not a Diva (although she has every right to be). Her stories are breathlessly sexy, vibrant, delicious...

Now, off to coffee... I stayed up too late.

XXX,
Alison

*waves back to Teresa*

Felix Baron said...

I'd like to thank Sage for providing a wonderful creative tool. Now, if ever I'm stuck for a character, I'll dip into Sage's book. I might make Jane mainly a Bottom, with some Student mixed in, and George a Name Dropper, with some Voyeur, put the two together and sit back to watch what happens. Later, I'll introduce Mitzi, who is two other of Sage's characters mixed.
The possibilities are infinite!
Oops! Thank goodness Sage is such a generous soul, or else she might end up asking me for royalties on my royalties!

Warmest to Sage and all Lusties,

Felix

Sage Vivant said...

Hello everyone! Thank you for all the kind remarks. I've worked with several of you and it's nice to have you all collected in one place! I rolled out of bed to find 17 comments, and I thought to myself, "These ladies (and yes, a few gents!) are stellar. They can jump right into sex first thing in the morning!" Which is, alas, more than I am capable of on the average morning.

Kristina, I am delighted to know that you enjoyed the quiz as well as your free story! (I've been concerned that people aren't availing themselves of the free story part -- but you figured it out just fine, so great!).

Okay, now to answer a few questions.

Nikki: I hate those silly "prescriptive" kinds of books, too. Their premise is always something along the lines of "There's something wrong with you and we're going to find out what it is and how you need to change it." I didn't want to write a book like that. Mostly because I'm not a doctor and can't prescribe a damn thing. But also because I so strongly feel that we're all different because we're supposed to be and that those differences are just fine. If a person is feeling guilty about some aspect of their sexual self, they need to see a therapist. But my intention in writing YOUR EROTIC PERSONALITY was to give people the tools to nail down who and what they are (sexually) and then to give them permission to revel in those discoveries.

As it was, some generalizations had to happen in describing the 12 types. I liken it to describing each of the 12 astrological signs! You might be a Capricorn but if you've got a bunch of planets in the sixth house or something, you won't exhibit all the traits of a pure Capricorn. Ditto for the erotic personalities. Nature, nurture, and social conditioning all play a role in how we get formed, so as people read about the type they think is theirs, they might stumble upon a description that doesn't fit them. But for the most part, the rest of the type's description should be pretty accurate for them.

Deanna, you bring up a good point about age. I think a person's dominant type does not change throughout their life. But because lots of people are more than one type, the "secondary" types probably will shift a little throughout their lifetimes. I believe it would be a question of percentages (ha -- the banker in me speaks up!). At 21, you might be 60 percent Romantic and 40 percent Risk-Taker. But by age 45, after you've learned how to handle risk to make it work for you, maybe you become 60 percent (or more) Risk-Taker and slip back to 40 percent Romantic. We do change with age and experience a little but our core erotic selves don't alter much. So, Gwen, that might also explain why you might be emphasizing a different aspect of your sexual self now that you're in a relationship. But that other part is still sizzling in there....! (You know, in case you need it later...)

So, now I'm going to get some breakfast and then come back and answer the questions about CES!

Sage Vivant said...

Teresa and Madelynne, you asked about how much free rein I have with stories I write for clients. If you take a look at the order form here:
http://www.customeroticasource.com/ce/details.shtml you will see that I ask only a handful of questions and yet the level of detail I get back from clients varies wildly. Some are downright cryptic (which often means the client is shy) and others are longer than the story they want written! Whenever possible I try to work with whatever is provided, because I figure that whatever the client has chosen to provide is what matters most to him or her. Some clients want CES to really develop a story, while others know exactly what they want to read (right down to the color of the curtains in the room).

Shanna Germain said...

Thanks so much for the interview, Sage. This was great -- I learned so much about you and your work, and I love the way that you have this great no-nonsense view of sex and business. Really wonderful!

And I haven't bought the new book yet, but I'm going to. It seems like a great personal resource, as well as something to build fiction characters off of.

And, my, my, look at the Bottoms we have here! Usually it's the the bottoms of naked people, but it turns out to be true for a lot of lusties as well. (And, Alison, you're a Top, my ass. Whatever.)

I am proud to say that I'm a Student. Which makes sense, considering other things about me (like I'm a 5 on the enneagram, which is the observer/thinker), but it's not something I would have thought about myself. Neat.

Anyone else done the anneagram? Also useful for yourself and characters, but a lot less sexy than Sage's book!

s.

Sage Vivant said...

Madeline, you asked about the three Thunder's Mouth anthologies. Yes, Chris and I thought them up and proposed them to the publisher. We were totally shocked when they accepted all three. Neither of us had ever had that happen to us and probably never will again! Publishers are so mercurial about what they want at any given moment, so I think we just got lucky! (Which is how I think most publishing contracts happen, anyway!)

Sage Vivant said...

I love how Chris and I met, too. I think it's a great story. And it was a HUGE lesson for me -- one that I needed to learn. It taught me that good writers don't limit themselves to their own experience, and that I shouldn't assume that what people write about is what *they* are about!

Sage Vivant said...

Shanna, I have found that a very large percentage of erotica writers are Students! And I think that makes total sense, too, because one needs to be insatiably curious to be a good writer -- and to do, um, research....


Also, I forgot to note earlier that the quiz at www.sagevivant.com is a much abbreviated version of the one in the book, which is considerably more comprehensive.

Sage Vivant said...

Um.... Alison? A Top? I think I've missed something....

Madeline said...

Hi Sage,
I'm so glad you've joined us *live* today. It's exciting!
As you know, Felix and I live and work together. As a couple in the same situation, how do you and M.Christian manage to separate the work relationship from the personal relationship? Or do you?

M.Christian said...

Just wanted to add my two cents to this really fun discussion: Sage is not only a fantastic writer but also an incredible person. She's the best thing that ever happened to me -- in every way.

Love

C

Sage Vivant said...

OMG. After Madeline's post, you all might get the impression that I put Chris up to his! But I swear I didn't -- he really is that wonderful and we really are that happy.

Sickening, isn't it?

There is no question that it can be challenging living with another writer. I'm grateful that Chris and I are not as competitive with each other as some co-habitating writers are -- I can honestly say we're happy when the other has some success, and we ache for each other in the face of rejection. That kind of support is rare, and I truly never thought it existed until I met Chris.

Chris and I have also found that it helps that we write different kinds of stuff. Our audiences are different and we're working on widening that gap as we each develop our unique writing voices/strengths. By not trying to go after exactly the same publishers and markets, I think we spare ourselves a level of grief and competition that will ultimately benefit our relationship.

How about you two, Madeline and Felix? Any words of wisdom for those of us who live and work with other writers?

Alison Tyler said...

Shanna,

Her quiz nailed me. It said I was a Bottom. It's a great quiz and I just told all of my friends to go take it.

I just wanted to see if anyone was paying attention.

XXX,
Alison

P.S. But if KL can go undercover and pretend to be Nikki (see Monday's post), can't I go undercover and pretend to be a Top?

Smut Girl said...

I am a Bottom. I had no idea (giggle). Honestly, though, that was fascinating and the book looks even more fascinating. It may accidentally fall into my basket when I visit amazon for Father's Day shopping ;)

I had other stuff to say about the interview and the comments, but then I read M. Christian's comment about Sage and...sigh...so romantic. It all went out of my head.

Another great interview and a book I really must have now. :)
xo
sommer

Kate Pearce said...

Well I came out as a Partier which is kind of weird because I'm so not that kind of person. I think I probably answered the questions wrong because I confused my fantasies with what I might actually do in real life!

This is a fascinating interview and I totally loved your romantic meeting and that you provide such an unique and erotic service for people. I'd love to write other people's erotic fantasies for them-I suppose I kind of do that already in my books but to write specific ones...wow

Janine Ashbless said...

I thought I'd break off banging George Clooney just long enough to say, Awww, M.Christian is a sweetie.

Go away now George. You can send Johnny in on your way out.

Gwen Masters said...

George can come to me, now that you're done with him.

I might be in a committed relationship, but when it comes to Clooney, my man would just have to understand as "The Partier" comes out... -wink-

Sage Vivant said...

Hey, wait a cotton-pickin' minute. I love Chris but ... you've got George Clooney somewhere around here? I'd love to get his... autograph. Yeah. That's it. Please sign right *here*.

Madeline said...

Words of advice? As in your case, Sage, Felix and I usually write for different markets. We always read each other's work before it's submitted, which is wonderful, and we're always on the lookout for calls for submission, etc. that might suit one or the other of us, so there's essentially 2 people involved in promoting my work, and 2 involved in promoting his.
I can get jealous because he gets such incredible responses to his work...but it's short-lived. He doesn't ever get that way because he's the mature, nurturing type (he's a student in your quiz, Sage.) Also Felix is an ideas person, he has a million ideas percolating at all times in his giant brain, and that helps me a lot when I find I'm short of them.
We love each other a lot, which makes it a joy to spend so much time together.

Sage Vivant said...

Ah, Madeline, I see we are both with "idea" men! I think there's a lot of The Student in Chris, as well, and there is no question that I've never been with a more nurturing man than Chris is. Like you and Felix, we are always on the lookout for opportunities for each other, and yes, we do cross-promotional things, too.

What's strange is that years before I met Chris, I bought a couple of books about creative people who were married or lived together. It's almost as if I wanted to learn about it -- to prepare myself. Here they are:

SIGNIFICANT OTHERS: CREATIVITY AND INTIMATE PARTNERSHIP by Whitney Chadwick and Isabelle de Courtivron

WITNESS TO MY LIFE: THE LETTERS OF JEAN-PAUL SARTRE TO SIMONE DE BEAUVOIR

A COMMON LIFE: FOUR GENERATIONS OF AMERICAN LITERARY FRIENDSHIP AND INFLUENCE (which I never did read, by the way!)

Maybe we're all a little prescient about our futures. I had never partnered with a writer (or really, any artist for that matter -- at least not longer than a few months) but knew somewhere in my soul that such a pairing was in my future.

I'm just glad Chris is not one of those hard-drinking, womanizing writers who throws temper tantrums at the smallest provocation. That kind of writer, I had no interest in finding!

Madeline said...

I'm intrigued by your comments about bdsm. It sort of shocks me to see it so mainstream - for example I took my kids to Mr. and Mrs. Smith (oh Brad, oh Angie,) and right off the bat, Angie's dressed up as a Dominatrix with a whip, undercover as it were. I didn't know such stuff even existed until I was an adult, and even then I thought it was all 'fantasy' for many years. While I think it's good that younger people are informed, I'm not altogether happy with really young kids, say under eighteen, being exposed to this stuff in such an off-handed way. I've heard some bdsm people say if it gets much more mainstream they're going to quit (as if they HAVE to be different.) I'd sure hate to think there are young people out there Domming, or subbing, because they think they have to to be cool.

tetewa said...

Glad to have you here today and enjoyed the interview. Now i'm off to your site to take the quiz!

kiki said...

hee hee!

apppppparently, i'm a show off. ::big eyes wide open:: me??? little innocent ME??? ::hands to mouth:: well, i never ever would have IMMMMMMAGINED that i was a *show off!*
blush!
*beam*

Alana said...

Hi Sage, "Your name is synonymous with sophisticated, sexy fiction," is a fitting way to introduce you. Thank you Madeline.

And thank you Sage for agreeing to visit us at Lust Bites.

I have a lot to say. :-)

Took the Quiz. I'm a Student. Couldn't agree more. I'm excited to check out the book.

The concept of CES blows my mind. For one thing, the idea is brilliant. For another, like someone else here said, what a gift for one lover to give another, or for a person to give him or herself. It's so cool and sex positive. A notable worthwhile endeavor, and anyway I admire your entreprenerial spirit and how you've created a way (all on your own) to offer a service to others via your talent for writing.

Lots of writers are starving. Maybe because some of us (me) lack entrepreneurial savvy.

I noticed a while back you and Chris were soliciting new writers for CES and I thought, "Wow that looks like the most challenging, intimidating, consuming thing in the world." You've had many-a-talented-writer involved with CES, like yourself as well as Ms. Alison, and I figure a writer able to do what you offer through CES is an intuitive, attentive, and selfless individual. Am I right?

Thank you for sharing the story of how you and Chris met, by the way. (You think Jamie knew she was playing match maker?) I discovered M. Christian in 1997, BAE, "How Coyote Stole the Sun," which is one of the best erotic stories written ever. No smoke up anyone's ass. I dare anyone to differ.

For a while I thought Chris was gay, then a lesbian, then gay, then I think Cara Bruce told me Chris was a straight guy. (His ability to write from all genders and sexual preference proves something pretty damned important.)

Later, I heard about the two of you being a hot and happy couple. Kudos! And best of luck. :-)

A

P.S. Alison a Top? Bullcrap. Jeremy a Romantic? Yup. Smut Girl a Bottom? Do tell. I knew Shanna was a Student, knew it. And Gwen, a Partying Bottom? Too cool for words.

Sage Vivant said...

Madeline, you bring up some good points. I strongly believe that bdsm is misunderstood by 95% of the population. Somewhere along the line, popular culture started using doms and subs to represent "kinky" (read: exciting) sex, and the world (at least, the American world, whose notions of sex are largely retarded anyway) was given to understand that if sex was to be hip and sophisticated and "advanced", then whips, chains, ropes, gags, and assorted furniture and apparel had to become part of their repertoire.

I honestly believe that most people in bdsm are poseurs. They want desperately to be hip and this is the only way they know how to do it.

In fact, the people you quoted as saying they'd quit if the scene went more mainstream are poseurs, too. I mean, if something really turns you on, how do you just "quit" it? It's as ridiculous as someone saying they're going to stop being gay because now it's fashionable!

Sage Vivant said...

Alana, thanks for your post. I don't know how selfless I might be -- especially with regard to writing for others! -- but yes, writing for CES is a pretty unique form of expression. Sometimes I love it. Other times, I rail against it.

I've always been aware that there are disparate views out there about what I do. Some probably call me a hack, others might think I'm doing something special. The thing is, I'm guilty of both. Any time you bend over backwards to please a client, you're going to be giving up a certain amount of autonomy and a certain piece of yourself. But what you're giving the client in return is a huge, honkin' bit of freedom that they've probably never experienced before. You've brought their fantasy to life and given them permission to have it. For me, that's the part that keeps me doing this. I like making people feel okay about who and what they are.

But yes, it can be draining. Sometimes I feel like I imagine a masseuse must feel after a day's work.

And yes -- "How Coyote Stole the Sun" totally rocks!!!

Madeline said...

What a great day! It's supper time here in Canada, so I'll have to take a break to eat the meal Felix is making for me (Did I mention he does the grocery shopping and cooking?) Yup. Sage,
it's been a pleasure having you guest with us today, as well as interviewing you for Lust Bites. I had no idea, when I joined Lust Bites, what I was getting into - and I love it. The best part about it is the people - the members of the blog, the commentors, and of course, our talented and fascinating guests. Thanks again, Sage. I'm not shutting this thing down, just posting a warm thank-you to Sage, and all our commentors, for a terrific day.

Mathilde Madden said...

I know why you want to be a top Alison, it's the boots, isn't it?

Here, have mine. I really won't be needing them.

Alison Tyler said...

Oh, god, Tilly, you know me too well.
And, damn you, Tops, for having all the killer gear...

XXX,
Alison

Sage Vivant said...

I bid you adieu, Lust Biters. This was fun. Thanks for the opportunity to spend some time with you!

Murray Suid said...

What an intelligent interview of a fascinating author and person. Thanks, Lust Bites. Thanks, Sage.

Regarding Custom Erotica Source, I wonder if any clients purchase sequels or even series. I ask because I feel that a person's own life--including the fantasy life--has to be at least as entertaining as fictional lives created for mass consumption.

Of course, like everyone here, I enjoy fiction. Maybe there's a voyeur in all of us. But to read a story about me would be...memorable.

Sage Vivant said...

Hi, Murray:

It may interest you to know that about 40 percent of all CES clients come back for more -- "sequels" or just a similar kind of situation as their first story. Clients *do* find that they make for fascinating subject matter!

I've written a three novels for clients and am currently at work on a fourth. In fact, my novel that comes out this August was written for a client!

Alison Tyler said...

Oooh, I just had a thought. I wonder what Barry Eisler would be... I hope he stops by and takes the quiz!

Alison (who is drinking too much Davis Bynum Sonoma County Rose)

Emerald said...

Shanna, when I saw you mention the Enneagram, I almost fell out of my chair. I won’t even say more than that in order to not hijack this thread, but I will say that I happened to read the description of the Student and immediately thought, “Hmmm, that sounds quite Five-ish....” Unbelievable.

I tested as a Show-off (weird and mystifying for someone who’s a stripper, webcam model, and amateur porn performer... ;)) -- fun quiz! Thanks for posting a short version of it like that on your website, Sage.

And thanks, Madeline and Sage, for the great interview!

Xoxoxo,
Emerald

Mathilde Madden said...

I honestly believe that most people in bdsm are poseurs. They want desperately to be hip and this is the only way they know how to do it.

Um, sorry but I do think that's a pretty strong thing to say about people with an already marginalised sexuality. (And especailly considering your own quiz catgorises people as 'bottom' and 'top' - and bottom seems *way* popular around here - who knew?)

BDSM might seem mainstream but it is a pretty bastardised version of it that filters through into the mainstream media. You're talking about people who can be arrested and imprisoned for consensual sex acts.

Not that much of a hip pose!

Sage Vivant said...

Mathilde -- I knew my comments would be misunderstood so let me elaborate on what I was trying to say. *Real* bdsm people know that what's passing for it in popular culture is a lame imitation. The poseurs I referred to are the people who believe they will automatically be cool or hip if they don the garb of s/m or experiment with the toys and equipment. They get into it not because they're listening to their libidos but because they are confused and trying to imitate what popular culture is telling them is sexy.

The media and popular culture have bastardized what bdsm is and present an unenlightened version of it to a generally uneducated public.

I'm well aware that true bdsm'ers are marginalized and was not saying that they choose to be so.