Monday, March 18, 2013

Labor of Love

By Lisabet Sarai

Welcome to the new Oh Get a Grip blog!

Okay, so we're not completely new – consider this an upgrade. We've fiddled with the format a bit, but the most significant change is the fact that we have expanded our roster of contributors, adding some of the smartest and sexiest authors on the planet. That way, we'll be able to offer you entertaining and thought-provoking posts every week day.

Our weekends are reserved for days of rest (or private frolic), or the occasional guest. If you're the sort of person who loves words and ideas, and you'd like to be our guest some Saturday, get in touch with one of us (you'll find our links on the About Us page) and we'll get you on the schedule.

We're sticking with the tried-and-true Grip formula, where each member posts on the same general topic, for a period of two weeks. If you're a new reader, you may be surprised at the variety of interpretations and perspectives that result. The common topic leads to a kind of dialogue that makes the Grip a rather special place.

For the next two weeks, our topic is “What are you reading?”

And what I am reading? As usual, I'm in the middle of several books, including a trashy French spy novel, dripping with sex, called Arnaque à Brunei, by Gerard de Villiers.I picked this up in a used bookstore, not out of intrinsic interest, but because I wanted to awaken my dormant French language capabilities since we'll be vacationing in France next month. In fact, the book's rather entertaining- though the extent to which my once-impressive French has evaporated has me a bit disheartened!

However, the book I want to talk about – rave about, really – is a new collection of erotica edited by Shanna Germain and Janine Ashbless, entitled Geek Love: An Anthology of Full Frontal Nerdity, from Shanna's own publishing company, Stone Box Press ( I don't think the book has been released yet. I have an ARC since I am reviewing it for Erotica Revealed. What a treat that is turning out to be!

Iremember when Shanna (one of my absolute favorite erotic authors) put out the call for submissions for this book. A lifelong nerd myself, I was sorely tempted to contribute, but life got in the way. From personal experience, I understand geek-appeal. Most of my lovers have been more than two standard deviations out in the IQ distribution. To me, mental muscle is far more arousing than the physical kind. Furthermore, being a bit of a social outcast has its advantages. Since we know we'll never “fit in” anyway, we geeks feel free to follow the dictates of imagination – including in the bedroom (or the many other locales where we exercise our libido). Despite the stereotypes (inexperienced and clumsy virgins) I've found that nerds tend to have powerful sex drives as well as a prodigious interest in erotic experiments.

So I really get the inspiration behind this book. Shanna and Janine offer a very broad definition of what constitutes a nerd. A fascination with mathematics, mechanics, or electronics – a love of books and the written word – a life focused on gaming, or comics, or creative anachronism – an obsession with science fiction (Trek-inspired or not) – coke-bottle glasses, good grades and interpersonal awkwardness – any or all of these can serve as geek credentials.

These variations on nerdity make Geek Love fabulously diverse, while still providing a general thematic unity. I am only about half way through the book (which includes twenty nine stories, more than two hundred fifty glorious pages), but I've already encountered a future where coffee is forbidden but BDSM can be ordered up in a hundred variations; a robot amanuensis lost in the desert; a secret society where those born to wear fur can play together; a female lab assistant who falls for the automaton her mentor is constructing; a AI librarian determined to seduce the flesh-and-blood woman who inherits her domain; a extra-dimensional civilization dedicated to rescuing gay men from the Nazi concentration camps; gamers and computer programmers, creative dominants and eager submissives, rock stars and rebels – all animated with that special spark of curiosity and intelligence that makes nerds tick.

This isn't intended as a review, so I'm not going to cite specific authors or stories. Suffice it to say that these tales are everything I personally seek in erotic fiction: original, gorgeously crafted, and seriously sexy.

Geek Love is more than just a collection of wonderful stories on a theme that resonates, though. The book is a work of visual as well as literary art. The four-page table of contents uses exquisite black and white photos of naked flesh, female and male, as its background. Scattered among the pages are erotic drawings (both color and monochrome) ranging from the comic to the sublime. (My favorite thus far is a luscious young woman wearing glasses, lying upon the open pages of a gigantic book, obviously pleasuring herself.) The first page of each story is printed on a background image somehow related to the story topic. Subsequent pages use a similar technique to remind the reader of the author and title.

I read most of my erotica in electronic form, mostly for convenience. Geek Love is clearly a book that cries out to be savored in print. I'll probably buy a print copy for myself once the book is released. I'm definitely planning to send it as a gift to a couple of fellow nerds who I know will appreciate it.

So how did this massive, complicated, expensive-to-produce book ever see the light? In a nutshell, the book was a labor of love. The Geek Love project came to fruition via a crowd-funding project on Kickstarter. The book includes four pages (in small print) of donor names. I want to personally thank them all. (I wonder why I didn't hear about the crowd-funding solicitation, since I definitely would have chipped in). Having put together a couple of anthologies myself, I know what it costs just to pay the authors a decent sum. This book also needed funds to pay artists and production designers, as well as to cover the higher printing costs associated with color illustrations. Geek Love is a small miracle, one that renews my faith in the world of publishing.

I'm reading the book slowly, savoring each salacious tale (though I may have to speed up if I want to finish in time for my review next month). I haven't enjoyed an erotic anthology this much is a long time. And I'm looking forward to holding a physical copy in my sweaty little hands.

Winding up this post, I realize that for me, at least, the Grip is also a labor of love. Every time I feel tempted to pass the torch to somebody else, or simply to close the blog down, something stops me. This is the third or fourth time we've reinvented the Grip since I came on board in February 2009. I love it too much to let it go.
I look forward to the posts by the other contributors, their insights and questions. These days one doesn't have that kind of conversation all that often.

Anyway, to welcome readers back to the new and improved Grip, we're having a small contest. Everyone who leaves a comment during the next two weeks (other than Grip members, of course) will be eligible for an ebook prize pack of titles from a bunch of the Grip participants. Comment on multiple days and you'll have more of a chance to win.

So come on by and tell us what you're reading – or comment on what we're reading. (Don't forget to include your email address in your comment.) You might just get some free additions to your TBR list.


  1. Hi Lisabet!

    I've been waiting so long to say those words again. It's been awhile and you've done a magnificent job of lining up new bloggers. Thank you. This blog wouldn't last a week without you, and that's a fact.

    Let us know when the Geek Love book becomes available, because it sounds like something I can identify with.

    Side note. Am I posting two days from now or two weeks from now?

    Clueless Garce

  2. Hi, Jeremy,

    Thanks for helping us raise the curtain!

  3. Greetings, Garce,

    You're up this Wednesday!!

    Sorry to make you wait so long.

  4. Hi Lisabet-
    Thanks so much for all the work you've done in making OGG happen. Will be sure to look up "Geek Love". Sounds like a good variety of sexy offerings.

    Just wondering if anybody ever read Katherine Dunne's novel of the same title that came out in the 80's. There was a time after reading it that I thought I'd read the ultimate novel, and compared everything else to it, and nothing came close to Dunne's imagination. I keep a couple of copies around just to give away. Strong stuff. Maybe I'll do a bit on it some day.

    Be well-
    Daddy X

  5. What a wonderful review! I'm in this book and I can't wait to see it myself! The artwork you mentioned...

    "My favorite thus far is a luscious young woman wearing glasses, lying upon the open pages of a gigantic book, obviously pleasuring herself."

    ... that's mine! I'm honored and thank you! <3

  6. Hi, Leen!

    Thanks for dropping by.

    You're very talented...

    Moving further in the book, I just encountered the Faith and Fatima tentacles cartoon - that's pretty sexy too!

  7. Congrats on the grand reopening. I have tons of books on my Nook waiting for me to read but I am going to start reading Curves & Courage by Christin Lovell and the new Joyee Flynn tomorrow if I don't start a book that is already on my Nook. ;-)

  8. Welcome back.

    I'm actually almost half way through a cozy mystery To Brie or Not to Brie by Avery Aames. I enjoyed the first 3 books in the series, but I'm not realy getting into this one. I'm not sure why. I guess there's not much new or innovative in the plot.

    I, too, read most of my erotica on ereader because it's much less expensive in that format. When I do read it in paperback, I get it from my library. I was very surprised that our district has a decent selection of erotica.

  9. Wow, this is entirely new to me, and I'm so glad I found it! I love the talk on geeks--I'm one myself. You're right, since we don't fit in anyway, it doesn't hurt us when we don't! Right now I'm reading Remastering Jerna by Ann Sommerville and really enjoying the story.

    I look forward to hanging out here--many thanks! I really need to get a grip.

  10. I'm in the middle of Eden Winters' COLLUSION (been waiting for that one for a while--DIVERSION is an all-time favorite!) and Kyann Waters' BENT FOR HIS WILL. I finished KA Mitchell's LIFE, OVER EASY yesterday (the paranormal aspect didn't work 100% for me, but she always has compelling characters and very hot m/m scenes).


  11. I'm in the middle of Re-Bound by Michelle Zurlo. Next up will be Take Me, Break Me, by Cari Silverwood. Then a book by a friend, book three of the Stanley Cooper chronicles, called Ectostorm. It's set in Pittsburgh, and people I know were inspiration for some of the characters.

  12. I've been reading the freebies on bookstrand-most of which are bsdm in one form or another. I too read most of my erotica in ebook because it is easier to carry and cheaper-many are free and because I don't get embarrassed to have people see what I am reading.

  13. Right now I'm reading two books and I really shouldn't do that again. I read better focused on one book at a time.

    The books I'm reading are "Diversion" by Eden Winters, and "Destiny's Mark" by KH LeMoyne. Very different stories from each other.


  14. Hi, everyone,

    Lots of interesting ideas for my next read! Thank you!

    Penumbra - I'm almost always reading multiple books at the same time, so that I can choose something that fits my mood. However, I can't WRITE more than one book or story at a time.

    PaganLady - I used to live in Pittsburgh and set one of my books there. Ectostorm is a great title. Is it a paranormal?

    Urb - I'm so happy you found us!

    So many books - so little time!

  15. Hi Lisabet. I look always look forward to the postings here. Garce is the one who posts invitations on one of the loops I belong to, but I've begun following other sits also that you are on, especially after reading one of your books.

    As a life-long sci-fi nerd, who married another sci-fi nerd and raised 4 sci-fi nerds, my geek creds are impeccable. This new book sounds right up my alley. I'll keep an eye out for it.

    fiona.mcgier (at) gmail (dot)com

  16. Fiona, I'm always thrilled when you come by the Grip. Your comments have legs (if you know what I mean).


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