I’m going to be upfront here. Even under the best of circumstances, I’m terrible at promotion. It’s ridiculous – sort of like the professional equivalent of my epic inability to accept a compliment. The problem with that is that when I can’t accept a compliment it’s just awkward for me and the lovely person saying nice things. When I fail on the promotion front, it often means that other writers and their very good work go unacknowledged, and that’s not right. Hence this post.
Nearly three years ago, I submitted a story to Rachel Kramer Bussel for an as-of-yet unnamed anthology themed around female fantasies. I remember rifling through a lot of ideas at the time but what I finally wrote surprised me.
“Dollymop” is about a woman who doesn’t fantasize about fun stuff like threesomes or public sex. She fantasizes about loving herself. Or rather, she fantasizes about loving her bony, too-thin body. She gets fitted for a corset unable to imagine how it could work with her tiny breasts and narrow hips. But it does work. It works beautifully. And the experience changes her relationship with her body in a tactile, sexual way.
“Dollymop” is one of the first erotic stories that I wrote from an openly personal perspective. While it is entirely fictional, the protagonist’s struggle with her body image is one that I’ve had for years. And her experience with corsets mirrors how pivotal they were in my own sexual awakening.
There aren’t many editors who would choose to put a story like “Dollymop” into an erotica anthology, which is why I’m grateful to Rachel Kramer Bussel for including it in Begging for It, recently out with Cleis Press. As with all of her anthologies, the stories run from sweet and reflective to joyfully filthy and everything in between. But what they all have in common is a respect for what women, as individuals, want, and that’s something I am incredibly proud to promote.
Excerpt: from “Dollymop”
“So,” Cat said, as they meandered around the showroom. “If you could be anything, what would it be?”
“Beautiful,” Faye blurted out, before covering her mouth with her hands. Cat stopped walking and looked up at her. Even in her platform boots, Cat was half-a-head shorter than Faye.
“You know you are, right?”
Faye shook her head, mortified.
“No…that’s not what I mean.”
Cat looked at her, waiting, giving her space. If this was part of how she sold corsets, Faye thought, she was very good at her job.
“I mean, that I want to feel beautiful. I want to feel sexy. Like…like a woman, I mean. I’m not…look at me. I’ve got no curves.”
To her utter humiliation, Faye felt like she was going to cry. Cat pulled a little square of silk out of her pocket and handed it to her.
“You know, honey, a corset isn’t going to do that.”
Faye’s heart shrank. Seeing the look on her face, Cat went firmly on.
“Let me start again. What I mean is, a corset can give you curves—hell, it can do things to your body that will make you fall in love—but it can’t make you feel beautiful. You’ve got to do that yourself. Right?”
Faye nodded. “Right. I know.”
“But,” Cat went on with a cheeky grin, “I’ve got something that will goddamn help you get there. The Dollymop.”
“The Dollymop. C’mon. Take a look.”
Buy the Book!
If you’d like to get your hands on a copy, you can find Begging for It HERE.