Category Archives: erotica

into the woods: an interview

black heart magazine

Many thanks to Laura Roberts and Black Heart Magazine for the fun author interview in which I talk a little about my book, Into the Woods, some of my influences and inspirations, what I’m typically doing on a Friday night, and assorted other topics!

Into the Woods: An interview with Michelle Augello-Page

intothewoodsMichelle Augello-Page is the author of Into the Woods, published in 2014 by Oneiros Books. We recently had a chance to ask her a few questions about her literary influences and inspirations. Here’s what she had to say.

Who are your top 5 favorite authors or influences, and why?

It is very difficult to limit my favorite authors or influences to five! So I will choose 5 that immediately come to mind at this moment in time:

Angela Carter – My favorite book by her is The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories. The stories in this collection are rough-cut jewels: sharp, brutal, beautiful. The first story I ever read by her was called “Reflections” and everything about it touched me to the core of my soul, knowing that even though I wasn’t there yet, this was where I, too, lived as a writer.

Carl Jung – I’d say that his body of work has influenced me a great deal, and has given me a deeper sense of understanding and connecting the links among psychology, dreams, archetypes, storytelling, and life. I love Memories, Dreams, Reflections and The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious.

Adrienne Rich – Her book of Collected Early Poems: 1950-1970 is one of my most beloved books, and was my first introduction to Rich’s work and (by extension) to poetry itself as a life-long pursuit, a journey rooted in but also transcending the cycles of time and change, an imprint of the “depth and breadth” of one’s personal and creative life. I also love Diving into the Wreck and her sexuality/gender focused political essays.

Margaret Atwood – Her prolific body of work is impressive and varied, and I love that she continues to evolve, stretching even beyond herself. As a writer of fiction, short stories, poetry, and essays, she refuses to be locked into a genre. She has cultivated her own uniqueness, which only grows deeper and more refined with each creation. My favorite books by her are The Handmaid’s Tale and Power Politics.

Stephen King – One of my favorite books about writing is King’s On Writing. Growing up, I devoured King’s books. He has such an ease to his writing that really draws you in, while telling some of the strangest, most horrific stories one could imagine. He is a master of both storytelling and balancing dichotomies. My favorites are The Dead Zone and The Eyes of the Dragon.

What type of writing fuel do you prefer, and what – if anything – do you feel this contributes to your creative process?

My writing fuel is tea, coffee, music, and visual images. Many times when I write I listen to music through headphones, which provides a sort of background emotional undercurrent, a tether, and helps me block out all other worlds except for the one I am writing.

What inspired you to write your latest book?

I was inspired to write my latest book by fairy tales, mythology, language, transformations, relationships, love, and sex.

… to read the rest of the interview, please click here!

And be sure to check out the rest of Black Heart Magazine for a wealth of great stories, poetry, author interviews, reviews, and more!

 

Black Heart Magazine is an independent online literary magazine, transmitting tenacious text around the world at the speed of wifi. Since 2004, our site has been combating clichés and skipping straight to supercharged stories with a simple catchphrase: we heart art.

Join us, if you dare.

We publish the best in short-form modern literature, from pulp and literary fiction to poetry, along with all manner of literary commentary to keep readers informed and entertained.

 

Laura Roberts also recently published the Best of Black Heart, a collection celebrating 10 years of fiction, poetry, author interviews, and more indie literary mayhem! Check it out! x


lariat

The Big Book of Submission: 69 Kinky Tales is now available!

This anthology, edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel and published by Cleis Press, contains 69 short-short stories by as many authors. I’m so happy to have my story “Lariat” included in this collection! “Lariat” is linked to another story of mine called “Ring of Fire,” which was published in Best Bondage Erotica 2014.

I had already written “Ring of Fire” when I saw the call for submissions, and I knew that I wanted to submit it.  “Ring of Fire” is about two people in a BDSM relationship who celebrate their anniversary by renewing their vows to each other. At the time, there was also a call for “short-short stories of submission.” I don’t usually write stories under 1k words, but I wanted to do something fun, so I decided to give the characters in “Ring of Fire” a beginning.

I was thrilled when both stories were accepted! Both of these stories are a little more psychological, and a conscious attempt on my part to explore the positive and healthy aspects of committed loving relationships that include hot BDSM play/sex.

Both The Big Book of Submission and Best Bondage Erotica 2014 are available in bookstores and online in all formats. If you are interested in BDSM and erotic stories of immeasurable variations, you will love these anthologies!

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she

I’m very happy to announce that No Sight for the Saved, a collection of stories and poetry inspired by the art of Niall Parkinson and edited by James Ward Kirk, is now available on kindle! A paperback version of the book is forthcoming.

“Surreal journeys through landscapes of the angry and abandoned, the lost and lonely and the weak and wounded. These are the realms of the Dead End Collective.” The horror art of Niall Parkinson is used for inspiration for the short stories and poetry included in this anthology. This fully illustrated anthology is a wonderful collection of horror fiction inspired by horror art. Seeing is believing, and horror awaits.

My story “She” was inspired by:

“She” by Niall Parkinson

 

My interpretation of “She” became the embodiment of this powerful dark female energy, descended from the mythos of Arachne, and drawing upon “spider-women” in the noir sense, “black widows”, and the femme fatale archetype. This is horror with an erotic edge. Things get explicit in my story, but it is necessary to go there in order to fully encapsulate “She.”

Check out the anthology to see more of Niall Parkinson’s dark, evocative artwork alongside a wide variety of inspired horror stories and poems!

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my writing process blog tour

Many thanks to Kirsten Imani Kasai for inviting me to participate in the “My Writing Process Blog Tour.” Please click here to read Kirsten’s articulate and thoughtful Q&A last week, and to find out more about her amazing work.

 

Q&A with Michelle Augello-Page

michelle augello-page

 

1) What am I working on?

I am currently working on a poetry chapbook which I plan to submit for publication, so my primary focus recently has been creating and revising poems which form a collective arc, a journey, as inspired by the myth of Persephone, the Tarot, and the life/death/life cycle of love relationships. Once the chapbook is completed, I plan on immersing myself in writing short fiction. I have at least a dozen ideas for stories that I put on hold in order to complete the chapbook, and many other stories that are in various states of completion. After the publication of my book Into the Woods a few months ago, I knew that I wanted to move forward and expand even more in my fiction writing. In many ways, a collected publication of one’s work is the end of something. However, I know that the end of one cycle is only the beginning of another. I wanted to take some space from storytelling to wrestle and fall in love with language again in its purest, most distilled form. Poetry was my first love, and it’s the place I instinctively turn for reawakening, renewal, and regeneration. Poetry is the essence, the heart, of all my writing. I’m really happy with the way the chapbook is coming together, and I will be sad when it is completed. But it’s a great feeling to know that after it is completed, there are so many other things  waiting to be written. As much as I love the project I’m working on, I’m always very excited to begin a new writing cycle.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Because I write and publish in different genres, I don’t fit neatly into a box. There are both benefits and drawbacks to labeling oneself in a certain way and keeping within a specific genre. Some of the benefits include fitting into a group or a community who will support your work, keeping a specific focus in your writing, and being able to reach readers who look for new work based on the genre they like to read. Some of the drawbacks to identifying with a certain genre include stagnation, limitation, subscribing to stereotypes, and furthering the hierarchy and misappropriation of all writers through genre.

For example, many people feel that “literary fiction” writers are somehow smarter and more relevant than “erotic romance” writers. Of course this couldn’t be further from the truth. Truly the only distinction between the two genres lies in the way that sex is represented. Some people say that erotica’s biggest crime is that, in this genre, the characters actually enjoy sex. Though I feel there is some truth to that joke, I think that erotica writers are generally much more cognizant about the power sex holds and how this power manifests in our relationships, and they consciously use sex as a lens to explore how we relate deeply to ourselves and others.

Nevertheless, inherent in this bias is the fact that “literary fiction” writers tend to be published in “respectable” (i.e. academic, scholarly, traditional, high paying) journals and receive book deals from more traditional publishing houses (which are able to promote to the public more successfully, giving wider distribution and more money to the writer). They are also more likely to receive associate and tenured professorships, giving them a monetary cushion in academia while they pursue their writing. This is only one example. In some genres, only one gender or race dominates the scene, making it harder for writers in the minimized role to be seen and heard because of the stereotype. This can also apply to writers who are marginalized in the dominant culture, where their “otherness” is directed into genres which only serve to reinforce their outsider status. I see this prejudice and inequality among writers as a problem that seems based directly in genre.

My philosophy has always been to write first, and try to find the “fit” later, because genre really only comes into play when one is trying to publish his/her work and needs to find a way to present it to the world. I have never set out to write a genre-specific story or poem. During the process of writing, I am only interested in the act of creation and bringing ideas, concepts, and images to light through language.

One of the reasons I started Siren is because I wanted to create the type of publication that didn’t exist for me, a place where I would have loved to send my work, a place for writers and artists who were interested in pursing their craft in edgy and experimental ways that didn’t necessarily fit into the mainstream or subscribe to a genre box. My book, Into the Woods, is a collection of dark erotic fiction stories that could have been labeled in a number of different ways. Upon publication, the book was labeled “fiction and literature” because that is a general, all encompassing term. One of the reasons why I was so happy to work with Onerios Books is because they are a genre-less specific publishing collective, interested in quality writing and art that both explores and expands our traditional views about the kind of art we create, the meaningfulness of what we write without regard to finding a box to put it in, and how we publish and share work through new and non-traditional paths.

3) Why do I write what I do?

I feel that this question is really asking, “who are you?” I write the things I do because of who I am, and I’m aware that this answer is both simple and complex. I write to explore my interests, my obsessions, my questions, my world. I write about the things that drive me to write.

There seems to be a very high level of control assumed in this question that I don’t think writers necessarily have. Writers channel dreams and visions into language. It is true that they sublimate real experiences into their work because no writer lives in a vacuum. But when you are dealing with creative and imaginative writing, it is necessary to open yourself up to many things that none of us, and that includes the writer, truly understands. I often say that writing is a type of seeing, more than anything else. I think of “revision” is a literal re-vision, a re-seeing. Writers develop a kind of inner-vision, and in the process of writing they are touching upon something very real that is also very magical and mysterious.

In her Q&A last week, Kirsten Imani Kasai said something that really resonated with me. She said, “Storytelling is a collaborative effort between me and the characters who need to speak – I act as an interpreter of dreams and the hidden world.” Yes.

The way we engage this process is dependent on who we are, and the results are specific to who we are. Throughout my life, I’ve been intrigued and drawn to certain aspects of the world. I have always been drawn to reading. I have always felt a great love for books. This was something within me that I nurtured, but one might also say that it was nurtured because it was within me. I’ve always loved fairy tales, mythology, folk tales – stories of deep archetypal truths that have been carried down from generation to generation. I’ve always been drawn to art that is sensual and erotic, surreal and dark, because I recognize something in myself there. As a woman and a mother, I have a deep feminine consciousness. I am also drawn to writing that is not typically considered “creative” and I love learning and exploring psychology, philosophy, science, history, and religion. All of these things contribute to who I am and what I write.

I know that my entire life has prepared me for the path of being a writer. Yet, I still can’t truly explain why when I walk into a bookstore or a library, or any place where books dominate the space, my entire being goes “ah” … I’m home. This is how I’ve felt from the time I was a child.

4) How does my writing process work?

There are many different ways that I engage my writing process. Probably the first and most important way is by reading. Reading good work by other writers is a great way to immerse yourself in the craft, and to expand and grow in your own work. Reading can inspire and challenge you. Reading teaches you how writing has been done and it shows you the potential that has been reached so far. When I read good work, I am excited, enthralled, invigorated. I am invested in learning. What I get from reading, I bring into my own work, with one eye on what’s been done and the other eye in the realm of what’s next. I am not interested in doing what has been done before or what I already know works. I want to explore further and to push myself further, and reading helps me find inspiration from those who have (or had) similar motivations.

Another part of my process is thinking. I am not the type of writer who does a lot of preliminary writing. I do a lot of preliminary thinking. I’ve noticed that often when I am thinking of a story or a character or a poem or an idea, I tend to draw. Oftentimes, these drawings are very strange maps of my thoughts, almost like a blueprint from the non-verbal side of my mind. Art is essential to my creative process, and I am constantly inspired by visual art, music, and the natural world of the environment. I also write in a journal nearly every day, and I find it both necessary and important. I need the tangible act of writing and drawing with a pen and paper as much as I need the sensory stimulation of typing on a keyboard. Journal writing helps me try to figure out what I am doing with my life and my work, and it is the place where I practice deep, stream of consciousness thinking.

Beyond that, my writing process is simply finding long stretches of time to write. I use short stretches of time for revising, refining, editing, and sending out work. But as far as creating and generating work, there is really nothing like sheer unaccounted-for time to write. Between working for money and carrying the responsibilities of a family, I have to find time to write.  Sometimes I steal time to write. Sometimes I will stay up all night writing, knowing that I will suffer the next day. Sometimes I will ask my kids to give me space, and I’ll be at the computer typing frantically all day on a saturday afternoon. But no matter how I get there, when I am there, I am there. I allow myself to fall into it, whatever “it” is. I am still amazed that I will be working on something and then look at the clock to see that hours have passed. Where was I during this time? What experience has moved through me? Though I am very interested in why and how this happens, I think at this stage I have just completely given myself over to it. I am open and receptive. I am there to discover, to learn. I am there because I have no choice but to be there. It is beyond me. Long ago, I accepted this gift, and it has both blessed and cursed my life. Every day, I accept the gift; I am so grateful for it.

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Next week, June 23, 2014, the “My Writing Process Blog Tour” continues with writers Eric Nash and Lucy Taylor, who will answer these same questions from their own unique perspectives. Be sure to visit the sites below to read their insight into the writing process.

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Eric Nash lives amid chaos in the south-west of England. On occasion, he escapes to his laptop and writes something dark or wicked. He has discovered that he rather enjoys editing and is looking to attend a self-help group to address this issue. Eric’s short fiction has been published in various digital and print anthologies. He is currently writing his first novel. Read Eric’s interview at eanash.wordpress.com

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Lucy Taylor  is the author of seven nov­els, includ­ing Danc­ing with Demons, Spree, Nailed, Sav­ing Souls, Eter­nal Hearts, and the Stoker-​award win­ning The Safety of Unknown Cities. Her sto­ries have appeared in over a hun­dred mag­a­zines and antholo­gies, includ­ing The Mam­moth Book of His­tor­i­cal Erot­ica, The Best of Ceme­tery Dance, Twen­ti­eth Cen­tury Gothic, The Year’s Best Fan­tasy and Hor­ror, and the Century’s Best Hor­ror Fiction. Lucy lives in Pismo Beach, CA, where she vol­un­teers with cat res­cue orga­ni­za­tion, attends Bud­dhist retreats, and plots dar­ing escapes to exotic and fan­tas­ti­cal places. Read Lucy’s interview at darkfantasy.us

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in the palace of gods and monsters

princess-bound

I’m very excited to announce that A Princess Bound is now available!!

Face it, fairy tales were always kind of kinky: from beautiful queens tied up in knots by wicked sorcerers to a wide variety of naughty and nice scenarios. Someone was always getting tied to a bed! In this new anthology of erotic romance fairy tales from the editor of the best-selling Fairy Tale Lust and Lustfully Ever After, the fairy tales are naughtier and have a BDSM twist. Retellings of the classics are joined with clever original tales, making for a darkly sensual and intensely romantic collection.

I’m so happy to be part of this collection! This is the third anthology of fairy tale erotica published by Cleis Press and edited by Kristina Wright, and I’m honored to have stories in all three. You can read “The Kiss” in Fairy Tale Lust and “Wolf Moon” in Lustfully Ever After.

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 A Princess Bound

Naughty Fairy Tales for Women

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Foreword by Cathy Yardley

Introduction: Bind Me, Whip Me, Call Me Princess

Sealed by Laila Blake

In the Palace of Gods and Monsters by Michelle Augello-Page

The Dancing Princess by Elizabeth L. Brooks

The Smith Under the Hill by Kathleen Tudor

The Seven Ravens by Ariel Graham

Black of Knight by Victoria Blisse

The Silence of Swans by Kannan Feng

The King’s Cousin by Catherine Paulssen

Need and Permission by Benjamin Creek

Locks by Tahira Iqbal

Out of the Waves by Rose De Fer

Your Wish by L.C. Spoering

Thorn King by Jane Gilbert

The Witch’s Servant by Michael M. Jones

Mine Until Dawn by Valerie Alexander

Red and the Big Bad Wolf by Poetic Desires

The Last Duchess by Kristina Wright

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Cupid and Psyche by Benjamin West, 1808

“In the palace of gods and monsters” is a semi-original fairy tale, loosely based on the myth of Eros (Cupid) and Psyche. This myth is considered to be “the first fairy tale.” I’ve long been fascinated by this particular myth, and I relayed two versions of the tale along with some images in a previous blog post, which you can read here.

My story removes some of the elements of the original myth to place the behavior and actions firmly upon the two characters. In the myth, it is Cupid’s mother who gives tasks to Psyche after she had betrayed Cupid and is desperate to win back his love. In my story, the tasks are given directly by him. Another difference is that all the tasks are BDSM related; however, sex (though not explicit) is still an essential part of the myth. As far as the tasks themselves, I did attempt to make each one resonate with their original counterparts, at least tangentially. Another element I changed was the role of the Psyche’s sisters. In the myth, it is the sisters who place doubt in Psyche’s heart. In my story, the doubt grows within her.

Nevertheless, the myth and my story are both about the nature of trust as it relates to love and sex and relationships. I believe I did my best to honor the original myth, and to reveal another level of interpretation, a literal “re-vision” of the ideas and concepts found in the original tale. Considering how long ago this myth was created, I find it fascinating that humans still struggle with the same issues in our loving and sexual relationships.

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“In the Palace of Gods and Monsters”, “Wolf Moon”, and “The Kiss” can also be found together as three of the nine tales in my collection of dark and erotic stories, Into the Woods, published by Oneiros Books in 2014.


into the woods

intothewoods

 

I am absolutely thrilled to announce the cover for Into The Woods, my collection of dark and erotic stories!! Right now, I am waiting for my proof copy to arrive!! Once I approve the proof, the book will be available for purchase.  The collection features nine stories; some of the stories have been published individually in the past, while others will be brand new to readers. There are also ex libris illustrations throughout the book by one of my favorite artists, Alphonse Inoue!!

 

Into The Woods …

Escape into nine dark and erotic stories which explore sex and transformation written in dreams across the body, etched in the language of skin.

Each story is interwoven with magic, music, and art, as lost and damaged characters navigate their broken worlds, searching for wholeness and connection. Many of the stories are sexually explicit, engaging the reader in aspects of kink, fetish, and BDSM play. Some stories represent sexual trauma (abuse, rape, negligence and cruelty). Other stories seek to explore the esoteric, transcendent and transformative power of sex.

Into The Woods is a unique and beautifully crafted collection of stories, rooted in the female, immersed in the sexual and the spiritual, and steeped in the rich archetypal landscape of fairy tales and mythology.

 

I am so thankful to Dave Mitchell and the publishing collective of Oneiros Books for believing in my work and seeing a published book in the first draft of my manuscript. I love all of the stories in this collection; they are ridiculously close to my heart. I am amazed by the way this collection of stories has grown into a cohesive body of work, and I feel both proud and humbled by this beautiful book.

I just want to also take a moment and thank all of the people in my life, who know me personally or who have grown to know me via the internet, for their constant support and love. The path of a writer is not always an easy one, and having people who believe in me, who believe in my work, and who support my efforts as an artist in this world … I am blessed in so many ways, by so many different people … Thank you. xo

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UPDATE 3/21: The book is now available for purchase in both paperback and e-book formats! The paperback version includes illustrations by Alphonse Inoue. The e-book is text only. The title is still in distribution so within the next six to eight weeks, the book will be available pretty much everywhere!! So excited!!!


der kuss

 

I am thrilled to announce the German translation of Fairy Tale Lust, edited by Kristina Wright and published by Cleis Press: Kristina Wright’s … dann treiben sie’s noch heute. This anthology contains my story “The Kiss.” (Der Kuss!) Considering the rich history of fairy tales in Germany, it is quite an honor for this particular anthology to be translated into the vernacular. Many thanks to Kristina Wright, Cleis Press, and Bastei Lubbe.

Ich bin begeistert, die deutsche Übersetzung der Märchen Lust, von Kristina Wright bearbeitet und herausgegeben von Cleis Press verkünden: Kristina Wright Dann treiben sie’s noch heute. Diese Anthologie enthält meine Geschichte “Der Kuss“. Angesichts der reichen Geschichte von Märchen in Deutschland, ist es durchaus eine Ehre für diese besondere Anthologie in die Volkssprache übersetzt werden. Vielen Dank an Cleis Press, Kristina Wright, und Bastei Lübbe.

Liebe Freunde, Ich bin mit einem Übersetzungsprogramm, so bitte entschuldigen Sie meine schlechte Grammatik! Ich hoffe, Sie genießen das Buch zu lesen. Danke. xo