Archive for the ‘Literary interviews’ category

Radio Auto-Ethnography: The Art of the Self-Interview on The Art of Dreaming

January 22, 2013

autoe

There are two curious post-modernist texts a writer can engage in reflexively: reviewing one’s own book, and the self-interview.

Using the auto/ethnographic lens, I will interview myself on my show, The Art of Dreaming on Revolution Radio, January 23, 5PM Pacific, 8PM Eastern.

I will talk about things he was not able to get to during his Project Camelot interview: working in Hollywood as a writer.  I shall discuss the ups and downs of getting his books and scripts optioned but not developed and financed, shooting a pilot for CBS and Sony that didn’t pass muster with the Madison Avenue guys’ focus groups so was never aired, dealing with players, liars, con artists and nymphomaniacs that plague Tinsel Town, and weird experiences and encounters with people like Ray Liotta, Dean Cain, Vincent Gallo, Bruce Willis and Winona Ryder.  I will relate what it took to get a low-budget indie film made, winning awards at Slamdance and various festivals, taking a short documentary to Cannes, and surviving as a writer in LaLaLand.

My Radio Show, A Separate Reality, Begins!

April 14, 2012

April 14 is the inaugural broadcast of my radio show, A Separate Reality, on Revolution Radio accessed at Freedomslips.com. It is simulcast here and there on the net and available on a number of low-wattage small FM stations around the country, and of course worldwide online.

This is something I have been wanting to do for a long time.

First hour will be me ranting a la monologist about various topics political and paranormal; second hour will be interviews with guests, and my first guest for the first show is Ronald Malfi. I will be broadcasting from Sedona, Arizona, for the first show, Portland, Oregon for the next, and then Los Angeles for others. The cool thing about internet radio, or even regular radio, is you can do it anywhere; all you need is your computer and Skype, or even just a phone. Skype is better for sound with a headset, linking to the station server, and taking phone calls.

Showtime: Saturdays 3-5 pm PST, 5-7 pm CST, 6-8 pm EST. Shows will also be available in the archives at freedomslips and put on Youtube.

I am negotiating also doing a Wednesday prime time slot, 5-7 pm PST, 8-10 pm EST, probably called The Art of Dreaming which will focus on working on the entertainment business in Hollywood: breaking in, trying to sell TV shows and movies, studio films vs. indie films, making a living as an extra, making a living as a TV writer, actor, producer, whatever — Tinsel Town is the “dream” for so many, but how many actually obtain it? How many fight for it? How many are destined, and how many dreams are shattered by a ruthless dream-making industry where the fear of success, and the hatred of it, is something to battle against, and the epitome of either failure or accomplishment.This show may start Wed., April 18, or the following week.

William T. Vollmann: A Critical Study

May 11, 2009

Have been proofing galleys and creating index for my critical book on William T. Vollmann.  It goes to the printer May 30 and should be published early July by McFarland and Co., which has contracted three other books from me: an anthology I am editing, First Person Scoiology (2010), a book on women in Raymond Carver’s work (2010), and an interpretive biography of Carver (2011-12).

Voll

Swing Anthology Blog Tour

April 21, 2009

swingbanner_cAs part of publicity for the antholgy Swing!, each writer is posting an interview on their respective blogs, which you can read here at the Swing Blog.

My story is “Movements.”

My interview:

Why do you write erotica and what do you love best about it?

I’ve never cared for the term “erotica” for my erotic fiction, but the high-brow moniker “literary smut.” I did not start off intentionally writing this literary smut. I wrote regular mainstream fiction with detailed sex scenes. I did not like fading to black or putting in “***” scene breaks to cut the sex out. I mean, sex is a part of every day life, no different than waking up, showering, eating, going to work, going to the movies, going to war. Everyone does it, or did at one point, or is looking forward to doing it, so why hide it in fiction? I admired the way John Updike, Phillip Roth, Joyce Carol Oates, to name a few, added descriptive sex scenes in their well-respected literary fiction. Updike’s second Rabbit novel has a wife-swapping swingers scene where Rabbit is flabbergasted that his partner enjoys anal sex and golden showers. In Roth’s The Professor of Desire, there is a stranger and tender anal sex scene in a garage while the characters parents are not far away. And of course there’s Roth’s infamous Portnoy’s Complaint and all the masturbation and skirt-chasing. In Oates’ classic novel Them, a woman is brutally raped by a police office during the Detroit riots and then falls in love with her rapist. Oates writes obsessively about teenage girls seduced by older men, and wrote a story from the POV of a gerbil forced into a woman’s vagina. That one was published in Fiction International, a well-respected journal that I have published half a dozen stories in (both erotic and non). There is Harry Crews, such as his novel A Feast of Snakes, that has lots of kinky sex, and of course Henry Miller and Anaias Nin. William Vollmann. These are the writers I have strived for; unfortunately, having a lot of “literary smut” books out there, those in the literary community have not taken me as serious as I’d wish. My novel The Comfort of Women (Blue Moon, 2001) was reviewed in the American Book Review and the publisher was blown away that a literary review would pay attention to one of their titles. Anyway, around 1996, literary erotica was getting mainstream attention, helped along by the books Richard Kasak was publishing through his Masquerade Books and various imprints. He published Samuel Delany’s The Mad Man and collection by Lucy Taylor. The books Masquerade was putting out were of high quality, writing-wise. They contracted three books from me: Seven Women and Other Stories, The Comfort of Women, and The Avant-Porn Anthology. Although I signed contracts and was paid partial advances, the books never saw print because Masquerade’s parent company, that ran porn websites, was fined $33 million for credit card fraud, so the first thing to go was the book publishing arm, which made the least revenue. I wound up finding other homes for the books – Soft Skull Press published Avant-Porn, Blue Moon Comfort, and the Venus Book Club Seven Women, which was supposed to be reprinted in 2007 by Blue Moon and then its parent company went bankrupt—they had the nerve to ask for the advance back, when they owed me money. Borgo Press recently reprinted it, and some others, and the new Olympia Press has reprinted a lot of my out of print titles with classic green “Traveler’s Companion” covers. (I’ve recently written some original “guides” for them under the name Dr. Garth Mundringer-Klow.) Some have new titles, some are under pen names such as Anonymous and Paul Merchant.

Tell us about your story in Swing! Adventures in Swinging by Today’s Top Erotica Writers.

The story is about a couple having intimacy issues who have a swinging experience with an older, wiser couple who have a successful, profitable amateur internet porn site. It’s only slightly autobiographical. I have met people, and am fascinate with them, who tape their sex acts and place them online, either free to see or selling DVDs, tapes, and web access. I find amateur porn far more sexier than commercial product – the people are real, having real orgasms, getting off being filmed rather than doing a job. There are no “cuts” if things get, uh, messy. It’s like peeping into people’s bedrooms windows; it has a better voyeuristic nature than watching models with silicone and men with artificially enhanced cocks or fake semen flying from off screen. Not that I have anything against commercial porn, everything has its place and time, but I am a fan of amateur players, especially those I know. Back in 1996, my ex-, Karin, and I, being poor starving theater artists, made tapes of ourselves and sold them to companies that did compilations for like $400-500 a scene. They paid the rent. We had to get wilder, or add in other women, to keep selling them. We only did a few.

Name some other books where we can find your work.

Just run my name on Amazon or Bn.com and elsewhere and many of my books will pop up. I am in a lot of Cleis anthologies, from She’s On Top to Playing with Fire and Luscious. I co-edited The Mammoth Book of Short Erotic Novels with Maxim Jakubowksi, which has sold hundreds of thousands of copies since 2000 and still sells steadily. I edited Short and Sweet, a book of novellas, that I was owed money on when Blue Moon went under, so I was never paid and the company that picked up the titles claims they have no liability on that. So I, and the contributors, were screwed. It’s a good book, though. What are you working on now? I have pretty much stopped writing literary smut for now, and am concentrating on screenplays, television, literary criticism, and anthropology/sociology research. Weird combo, I know, but they mix in a weird way. Problem is, I published too many erotic novels under my own name. I should have used a pen name after the fourth or fifth. Why did I keep signing contracts? Money. I needed money. One book, The Classics Professor, I did not even write although it has my name on it. I fucked it up mid-way and they had to bring in someone to doctor it. I cannot write to structured order (so why am I trying for Tv?) I’ve published a book on Raymond Carver and Bukowski, am wrting a bio of Carver, have two books on Vollmann coming out, and critical books on Star Trek and Hemingway and blogging forthcoming. Of course, I have also published an ethnography on Tijuana sex workers and am working on studies of money slaves and money mistresses, and exotic non-nude dancers and their lives. I am also working on The Anthropology of Pornography, life history interviews with people in the adult entertainment market and the subcultures of community they create in Los Angeles. State Univ. of New York Press will publish that one in 2011. I have one unfinished erotic novel that I’d like to complete and sell called Hardboiled Zombie Girls from Jupiter Attack! It’s 3/4s done. But who will publish it? The market is not so viable right now, and most of what’s being published in genre shit, like paranormal romance. I’m not into sex with werewolves and vampires and furry creatures, although that stuff has its place and time too. When erotica started to gain some momentum and praise in the early 2000s, a lot of crap started to glut the market, and mainstream paperback houses were issuing romance novels as soft porn, which is what romance novels are anyway. But sex will always be in my novels and stories, no matter what they’re labeled. And my academic research.

If you could write one piece of advice to a new author, what would it be?

Don’t do it. Sex may sell, but it doesn’t really pay. An author of erotic fiction makes what, say, a hooker on a Tijuana street makes: $20-50 a pop, not what Elliott Spitzer paid for high class call girls, $1000-2000 an hour, $5000-10,000 a night. Not even porn actresses make such, unless they have a contract and do strip cub tours. The amazing thing is, erotic publishers pay the same advances today that Greenleaf and Midwood was paying in the 1950s-60s. But back then, $1000-2000 went a longer way than today. That said, born writers will write no matter what advice they’re handed.

Auto/ethnographies

February 6, 2009

autoes2 New book now out

 from The Borgo Press

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Purchase it at Amizon.com

or 

from the publisher directly

Current Projects I am Trying, TRYING to Finish and Get Out the Door, Arrarah!

January 20, 2009

1. Revisions on Star Trek TV crit monograph.

2. Finish Zombie Girls from Jupiter Attack! — novel

3. Get first 100 pages of Lunch on the Grass done to send out. Long novel.

4. Finish critical book: Women in the Stories and Life of Raymond Carver.

5.  Revise Gordon Lish book, once peer review reports come in.

6. Cyberpunk novel/future blog project for Ninthlink.com — long term project called Half Click.

7. Finish proposal for Tijuana Cartel history project and get to agent.,

8. Finish two ethnographic projects for SUNY Press.

9. Get anthology, First Person Sociology, together.

10. Start/finish iBLOGGER, monograph on blogging and symbolic interactionism/ethnometyhodology. Due end of the year to Cambridge Scholars.

11. Complete book of autoethnography essays.  Due in Fall to Cambridge Scholars.

12. Finish Vollmann bibliography. Due in April to Scarecrow Press.

13. Wim Wenders anthology…what the hell happened to that?  Overdue to Lexington Books.

14. Work on long stories for a collection of long stories. 2-3 year project.

15. Get pages together for Blue Pill novel.

16. Work on homeless issues book.

17. Find publisher for Hemingway/self psychology project.

18. Finish screenplay, North Hollywood.

19. Finish teleplay pilot, Sanchez & Kelly.

20. Find publisher for Remembering Rawanda.

 

I’m fucking crazy.

sheena-blogger

My Critical Study on William T. Vollmann

October 26, 2008

This one will be out April, 2009.

Book

Book description at McFarland website:

Talking bugs, electricity, the founding of empires, hobos, Nazis, whores, violence, drugs, murder, secret cabals, Heaven, Hell—William T. Vollmann is a writer of enormous novels that are stuffed with entire worlds of creation and destruction. This first ever book-length critical study traces his career to date with chapters devoted to each of his novels, as well as his short stories and major nonfiction. Vollmann is a writer of obsessions, and this study concentrates on three of them—freedom, redemption, and prostitution—while arguing that the author that dwells on them is worthy of being called one of our greatest living American writers. Also included are seven interviews spanning the years 1991–2007 that reinforce the persistence of Vollmann’s attraction to these themes.