“Show Yourself To Me” Blog Tour
Although it may seem hard to believe, especially if you know what a dirty pervert I can be, but I am not a practitioner of—nor a writer of—BDSM. In fact, I have not even dipped my toes into the waters of bondage or submission. Beneath my tattooed exterior, I’m kind of a scaredy-cat. Yet I’m also an avid reader with a bountiful imagination; therefore, I’m always open to anything new and challenging. So while Xan West’s new short story collection Show Yourself To Me wouldn’t normally be found on my bookshelf, I’m honored to be included on the blog tour for this very important writer, touting this very special piece.
West is widely known in the erotica world as a world-class purveyor of kink, having been published in countless anthologies throughout the years. And now, through the moxie of Go Deeper Press (my own publishers as well), all of these stories have been cobbled together into a rich tapestry of pain, pleasure, blood, and sex.
While this collection is not for the faint of heart, West is certainly flying the freak flag high, and I’m all about that. Raise it higher, I say! The tales extol the pleasures of pain, as the protagonists are constantly pushed to their limits, both mentally and physically. The going gets tough, but the tough get stronger. This is a book about power, about play, about bois, about sirs, about boots, about canes, about tops, about bottoms.
West’s writing is raw, poetic, and brave, and these stories deserve to be told in all their complexity. One thing I found myself doing while reading these stories was to write down a sentence or two from each story that struck a chord within me. Interested in what caught my attention? Here are just a few lines I loved:
“It was then I tasted my safe word in my mouth…and it was bitter.” (Missing Daddy)
“The truth washes into him and over him through his throat and ears, and his eyes spill over as that raw place inside him is opened and filled with my cock and his desire and my cruelty and his tears and my relentless tenderness.” (Nervous Boy)
“My ass contracts as your words thrust themselves into me.” (The Test)
“The sound of my boots on the floor reminds him of his place in the world. As the object of his worship, they are like bells in church, drawing his attention to the mystery of me.” (First Time Since)
And these quotes are just from the first several stories. There are many, many more where these came from!
I also loved this quote from Xan’s blog tour on Oleander Plume’s site poison pen/dirty mind: “That’s why I wrote so many of the stories in this collection, in order to envision what those sorts of scenes could be like, were they more mutual, more caring and respectful and careful on all sides, more negotiated and fully consented to by everyone. I wanted to offer that to survivors, multiple different models of how kink can be deeply affirming and transformative, to give readers a diversity of stories about the gorgeousness of pushing your edges from the top and the bottom. That’s a big part of what I hope survivor readers take out of the book: a range of possibilities for doing transformative BDSM scenes in a way that honors the needs of everyone involved, and is mutual, respectful and intensely hot. I also deeply care about readers seeing tops in the fullness of their humanity, fears, and needs. I wrote this book to center the stories of folks that are often marginalized, including survivors, and I hope it offers a chance for folks to see themselves in erotica. I also hope that it gets people off! I believe that connecting with and honoring your desire can be a hugely vital part of life, and creating opportunities for erotic engagement is absolutely one of the reasons I write erotica.” Read the whole interview here.
Buy the book and check out the full Blog Tour here!
Xan West is the nom de plume of Corey Alexander, a recent transplant to Oakland from Brooklyn, who has been doing community kink education for over ten years. Xan has been published in over 35 erotica anthologies, including the Best S/M Erotica series, the Best Gay Erotica series, and the Best Lesbian Erotica series. Xan’s story “First Time Since,” won honorable mention for the 2008 National Leather Association John Preston Short Fiction Award. Xan’s work has been described by reviewers as “offering the erotica equivalent of happy ever after” and as “some of the best transgressive erotic fiction to come along in recent years.”
Xan refuses pronouns, twists barbed wire together with yearning, and tilts pain in many directions to catch the light. Xan adores vulnerable tops; strong, supportive bottoms; red meat; long winding conversations about power, privilege, and community; showtunes; and cool, dark, quiet rooms with comfortable beds. Find Xan’s thoughts about the praxis of sex, kink, queerness, power, and writing at xanwest.wordpress.com.