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.
Holiday offer! From now through Dec. 14, 2011, you can
buy this book at Lulu.com
for 25% off. Enter the code BUYMYBOOK305 at checkout.
Read more about MAKE NICE.
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 cancelled, so it is now available:
I am now querying agents for my novel Dear Prudence,
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.
This is pure pornography, but also an homage to the cheap and nasty paperback porn of the late 1970s.
from Lulu.com as a book ($11.99) or a PDF download ($1.50). It must be said: Adults only!
Beautiful and Other Stories
Ed.), Cleis Press, 2001
I Adore You
Beautiful (1st ed.)
Before publishing these books, I used to publish Frighten the Horses magazine.
You can read some short stories
I've put up on Fictionaut, a website where you slap up your short fiction for people to read.
And you can also read some essays, columns, and other things.
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.
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.
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.
for would-be erotica writers
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.
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.
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.
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copyright 2003-11 Mark Pritchard, Bernal Heights, San Francisco