“The Undeniable Beauty of Gift”

While I honestly enjoyed each story in Come Again, I truly loved, and was even moved by, a select few. My favorite story in the collection was Gift by Dena Hankins. Gift features two women in their 60’s and 70’s exploring lesbian sex for the first time. They have been sleeping together for a few weeks, but the story focuses on a new toy they test together, leading to a new level of pleasure neither woman has ever experienced. Gift not only turned me on, but deeply moved me as well. In the story, one of the women deals with physical disability and mobility issues. With the introduction of the new toy, she is able to reclaim her sexuality in spite of her limited mobility and engage fully with her lover for the first time. For the first time, my eyes welled with tears while reading erotica – a true testament to the undeniable beauty of Gift and Dena Hankins’ talent as an author. –Formidable Femme

I’m the opposite of speechless – I want to chatter about my excitement without pausing for breath!

What a, well, gift to be read by someone who engaged with my writing on this level. No lie, I brought tears to my own eyes writing this story, but that’s me and my very own textured imaginary version of this story. To read that this Femme was right there with me…

Floating, flying happiness.

Come Again: Sex Toy Erotica is doing so well out in the world. I’m tickled to be singled out for appreciation among a strong group of stories.

Even better review

I found an even better version of one review of “Gift”, in Come Again: Sex Toy Erotica, on Goodreads:

The Gift, by Dina Hankins is a remarkably tender, sexy story of senior lovers, Helen and Margaret. As a senior woman this one resonates with me, for sure. It’s gratifying to see stories of senior sex included in erotica anthologies. After all just because the packaging has changed doesn’t mean the fires within aren’t still burning.

Love this stuff!

Some great reviews for “Gift” in Come Again: Sex Toy Erotica

It’s tempting to spend all one’s time on Amazon’s author pages, refreshing the reviews page.  Has anyone talked about my work?

I stayed away a while and, what do you know, when I went back on, I saw some great mentions of my story in Come Again: Sex Toy Erotica!

“Quite Inventive Sexually” ALA Reviews Blue Water Dreams

I always go for the sexual references.  Not that this is news to me or anyone who’s been friends with/followed/slept with me over the years.

The American Library Association has a sub-group called the GLBT Round Table, which has published a review of Blue Water Dreams.  Its tone reminds me strongly of the librarian in Moses Lake, where I went to high school.  She took her job seriously and gauged each book almost dispassionately.  The same tone is clear in the review, even with multiple references to sexy-times.

The reviewer finds it “refreshing to read a love story where there is no jealous triangle” and notes that Lania and Oly are both “fairly free of hang-ups” (which made me smile).

The wrap-up has the tone that I referenced above.  It’s so wonderfully librarianish that I’m going to quote the whole last paragraph.

Blue Water Dreams falls well within the expectations of the romance genre, albeit with an atypical male lead. It may appeal to romance readers who are willing to try something a little different. It may also find a readership among trans men for the ways it affirms their sexuality and desirability.

GASS Gets Hot

My first event promoting Blue Water Dreams was a visit to the Gender Alliance of the South Sound (GASS). This is a vibrant, engaged group of trans* folk (though some would use other language) who welcomed me warmly. As I said in my previous post, I stayed with the group facilitators and they brought me to the meeting. People were already waiting, a half hour early, and kept streaming in until well after the start time. Almost 30 people were present by the time they gave me the floor.

I had thought I would have more time read than I ended up having, and cherry picked the excerpts that introduce the characters and give you a good sense of the book.  I enjoy reading sex scenes, so I did one of those…and it struck me in the middle that I was reading a cis woman and trans man having sex to a group that was almost completely trans feminine.  It really made the clit and wet and breast language stand out for me.  I could only hope that it would work for the listeners.

They certainly appeared rapt.  Many closed their eyes, facial clues reassuring me that they weren’t napping.  Others shifted in their chairs.  It can be hard to pinpoint the difference between the discomfort of some people in hearing explicit sex read aloud and the discomfort of listening to a type of sex that they don’t (but perhaps would like to) have.

The feedback between readings was slow but honest.  The group was big enough that I would have called on people to talk, had I know enough about them to be sure I wouldn’t make them uncomfortable.  It was like a big classroom!

The lone trans man in the group spoke up after I read a sex scene and expressed his feelings about hearing Oly’s experience of his body and sharing it with another person.  He has more gender dysphoria than Oly experiences and it made him envious.  Also, though, he was uncomfortable with the possibility that people may assume that Oly’s body image and way of relating to Lania (his sex partner and the co-star of the book) was somehow representational of the trans male experience.

I was so glad he brought this up.  I never thought that Oly would be “The Trans Man” or that his experiences and body image would represent any wide swathe of the trans experience (a far more various than homogenous thing in reality, though so often depicted in simplified fashions).  Oly is a particular person and when I wrote him doing, being, reacting, I questioned only what was realistic for him to do…not what a trans man would do.

My opportunity to specify this brought more people into the discussion.  We talked a bit about the dearth of positive, fun trans stories and how I’m hoping I’ve provided one.  I know that it’s necessary to have serious works dealing with the hardships and roadblocks common in trans lives, written by trans people or with such intimate knowledge that many people can see themselves and their own difficulties.

I also believe that it’s valuable to write stories where things go just a bit better than they usually do in real life.  Where a trans person is living without suffering for being trans, where the conflicts and challenges come from other spheres.  Books like this, books like mine, can emphasize the whole person, which includes a trans history or identity but is not defined solely by that.

What a wonderful opportunity to talk and think.  I learned a lot about my story and about the people who may read it.  I hope that those who purchased a copy read and enjoyed it!

San Francisco welcomes book tour at Good Vibrations

Dena Hankins will be at Good Vibrations, in the Antique Vibrator Museum, for a group reading September 29th and an erotica reading workshop September 30th.  She is touring the Pacific Northwest to promote her queer/trans* romance, Blue Water Dreams, published by Bold Strokes Books and available through major distributors.  The tour mixes readings, discussions, erotica reading workshops, and visits to groups for transgender people and their allies.

Publishers Weekly says this about Blue Water Dreams:  “Seattleites Lania Marchiol, a cisgender woman, and Oly Rasmussen, a transgender man, meet by chance and quickly bond over shared interests…and when Lania and Oly set their differences aside and embrace their sexual chemistry, the scenes are graceful, sure, and spicy.”

Good Vibrations Polk, 1620 Polk St, San Francisco, CA
http://www.goodvibes.com/content.jhtml?id=New-Polk-Good-Vibes-Events

9/29/14, 6:30pm-8:30pm
Queer Prism: Readings by Eric Andrews-Katz, Dale Chase, Dena Hankins, Clifford Henderson, Kathleen Knowles, and Felice Picano
Smut, humor, memoir, romance, intrigue, and outlaws—queer fiction runs the gamut.  This tasting menu of characters will make you laugh, cry, and squirm in the most delicious ways.

9/30/14, 6:30pm-8:30pm
http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/845246
Open Windows: Look Inside with Erotica—Fantasy or exactly what you did last night, words add power and excitement to sex. Erotica and romance writer Dena Hankins will ask which words turn you on, and whether you want to try what you just read about. Let’s talk hot language, exploring new ideas, and sharing stories with your lovers.

Good Vibrations has been creating a buzz since 1977.  They’ve been trusted for over three decades to provide high quality products, education, and information that promotes sexual health, pleasure, and empowerment. Having invented the concept of the clean, well-lighted vibrator store, they’re proud to provide a safe and welcoming environment where customers can shop for sex toys, books, movies, and attend workshops.

Other stops in the tour include the Gender Alliance of the South Sound in Tacoma, WA, The Art of Loving in Vancouver, BC, the Gender Justice League and Gay Romance Northwest Meet-up in Seattle, WA, Orca Books in Olympia, WA, and the In Other Words Feminist Community Center in Portland, OR.

“I love these people,” says Dena.  “The characters in this queer/trans* romance are fierce, passionate folks struggling to balance magnetism and self-sufficiency, trying to love all the way to the core without losing themselves in the process.  You will be rooting for them to get it on and fall for each other.  I hope you read the book and fall for them too.”

Dena Hankins writes aboard her boat, wherever she has sailed it.  After eight years as a sex educator, she turned to writing dirty tales with far-flung settings and a queer/trans* romance novel, Blue Water Dreams.  Read more: www.denahankins.net.

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Portland, OR, stop for book tour at In Other Words Feminist Community Center

Dena Hankins will lead a workshop on reading erotica at the In Other Words Feminist Community Center on September 23rd, 2014.  She is touring the Pacific Northwest to promote her queer/trans* romance, Blue Water Dreams, published by Bold Strokes Books and available through major distributors.  The tour mixes readings, discussions, erotica reading workshops, and visits to groups for transgender people and their allies.

Publishers Weekly has this to say about Blue Water Dreams:  “Seattleites Lania Marchiol, a cisgender woman, and Oly Rasmussen, a transgender man, meet by chance and quickly bond over shared interests…and when Lania and Oly set their differences aside and embrace their sexual chemistry, the scenes are graceful, sure, and spicy.”

September 23, 2014, 6pm-8pm
In Other Words Feminist Community Center, 14 NE Killingsworth Street, Portland, OR
http://inotherwords.org/events
https://www.facebook.com/events/710153919056947

Open Windows: Look Inside with Erotica—Fantasy or exactly what you did last night, words add power and excitement to sex. Erotica and romance writer Dena Hankins will ask which words turn you on, and whether you want to try what you just read about. Let’s talk hot language, exploring new ideas, and sharing stories with your lovers.

In Other Words is a non-profit, volunteer-run, feminist community center in Portland, Oregon. Their mission is to support, enrich, and empower the feminist community through literature, art, and educational and cultural events. They have a storefront that serves as a book store, a lending library, and a venue for feminist events.

Other stops in the tour include the Gender Alliance of the South Sound in Tacoma, WA, The Art of Loving in Vancouver, BC, the Gender Justice League and Gay Romance Northwest Meet-up in Seattle, WA, Orca Books in Olympia, WA, and two events at Good Vibrations in San Francisco, CA, at their Polk Street location.

“I love these people,” says Dena.  “The characters in this queer/trans* romance are fierce, passionate folks struggling to balance magnetism and self-sufficiency, trying to love all the way to the core without losing themselves in the process.  You will be rooting for them to get it on and fall for each other.  I hope you read the book and fall for them too.”

Dena Hankins writes aboard her boat, wherever she has sailed it.  After eight years as a sex educator, she turned to writing dirty tales with far-flung settings and a queer/trans* romance novel, Blue Water Dreams.  Read more: www.denahankins.net.

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Olympia, WA, Stop for Book Tour – Orca Books

Dena Hankins will visit Orca Books for a reading with Eric Andrews-Katz, David Holly, and Jeffrey Ricker.  She is touring the Pacific Northwest to promote her queer/trans* romance, Blue Water Dreams, published by Bold Strokes Books and available through major distributors.  The tour mixes readings, discussions, erotica reading workshops, and visits to groups for transgender people and their allies.

Publishers Weekly has this to say about Blue Water Dreams:  “Seattleites Lania Marchiol, a cisgender woman, and Oly Rasmussen, a transgender man, meet by chance and quickly bond over shared interests…and when Lania and Oly set their differences aside and embrace their sexual chemistry, the scenes are graceful, sure, and spicy.”

September 21, 2014, 3pm-5pm
Orca Books, 509 4th Ave E, Olympia, WA
http://www.orcabooks.com/event/bold-strokes-lgbtq-fiction
https://www.facebook.com/events/448702635270216

Orca Books is the largest independent bookstore in Olympia, Washington, located in the heart of downtown’s vibrant shopping district. They stock new and used books, cards, and journals, and are proud to carry many locally-produced items by Olympia artists and craftspeople. They also offer coffee and tea from Olympia Roasting Company.

Other stops in the tour include the Gender Alliance of the South Sound in Tacoma, WA, The Art of Loving in Vancouver, BC, the Gender Justice League and Gay Romance Northwest Meet-up in Seattle, WA, In Other Words Feminist Community Center in Portland, OR, and two events at Good Vibrations in San Francisco, CA, at their Polk Street location.

“I love these people,” says Dena.  “The characters in this queer/trans* romance are fierce, passionate folks struggling to balance magnetism and self-sufficiency, trying to love all the way to the core without losing themselves in the process.  You will be rooting for them to get it on and fall for each other.  I hope you read the book and fall for them too.”

Dena Hankins writes aboard her boat, wherever she has sailed it.  After eight years as a sex educator, she turned to writing dirty tales with far-flung settings and a queer/trans* romance novel, Blue Water Dreams.  Read more: www.denahankins.net.

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Seattle, WA Book Tour Stop – Gay Romance Northwest Meet-up

Dena Hankins will be a panelist on writing diverse characters at the Gay Romance Northwest conference for readers and writers of queer books.  She is touring the Pacific Northwest to promote her new queer/trans* romance, Blue Water Dreams, her debut novel, published by Bold Strokes Books and available through major distributors.  The tour mixes readings, discussions, erotica reading workshops, and visits to groups for transgender people and their allies.

 Publishers Weekly has this to say about Blue Water Dreams:  “Seattleites Lania Marchiol, a cisgender woman, and Oly Rasmussen, a transgender man, meet by chance and quickly bond over shared interests…and when Lania and Oly set their differences aside and embrace their sexual chemistry, the scenes are graceful, sure, and spicy.”

September 20, 2014, 10am
Gay Romance Northwest
Seattle Public Library-Central Library, 1000 4th Ave, Seattle, WA
Tickets: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/669883
Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/268040953400205/

Gay Romance Northwest Meet-Up 2014 will consist of a full day of activities on September 20, 2014, including an afternoon conference with panel discussions and Q&As, writing workshops, pitch sessions with attending publishers, and a reader meet-up in the morning, a post-conference book fest with author signings and bookselling, and a fun after party following all the festivities featuring more short readings and time to mingle with attendees.

Other stops in the tour include the Gender Alliance of the South Sound in Tacoma, WA, The Art of Loving in Vancouver, BC, the Gender Justice League in Seattle, WA, Orca Books in Olympia, WA, In Other Words Feminist Community Center in Portland, OR, and two events at Good Vibrations in San Francisco, CA, at their Polk Street location.

“I love these people,” says Dena.  “The characters in this queer/trans* romance are fierce, passionate folks struggling to balance magnetism and self-sufficiency, trying to love all the way to the core without losing themselves in the process.  You will be rooting for them to get it on and fall for each other.  I hope you read the book and fall for them too.”

Dena Hankins writes aboard her boat, wherever she has sailed it.  After eight years as a sex educator, she turned to writing dirty tales with far-flung settings and a queer/trans* romance novel, Blue Water Dreams.  Read more: www.denahankins.net.

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Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Book Tour for Blue Water Dreams,
a Queer/Trans* Romance Debut Novel,
Hits Seattle on September 20th

 

Contact: Dena Hankins, Author of Blue Water Dreams
Email: dena@denahankins.net
Phone: (509) 793-6411

www.denahankins.net

SEATTLE, WA, August 12, 2014—Dena Hankins will be a panelist on writing diverse characters at the Gay Romance Northwest conference for readers and writers of queer books.  She is touring the Pacific Northwest to promote her new queer/trans* romance, Blue Water Dreams, her debut novel, published by Bold Strokes Books and available through major distributors.  The tour mixes readings, discussions, erotica reading workshops, and visits to groups for transgender people and their allies. 

 

Publishers Weekly has this to say about Blue Water Dreams:  “Seattleites Lania Marchiol, a cisgender woman, and Oly Rasmussen, a transgender man, meet by chance and quickly bond over shared interests…and when Lania and Oly set their differences aside and embrace their sexual chemistry, the scenes are graceful, sure, and spicy.”

September 20, 2014, 10am

Gay Romance Northwest

Seattle Public Library-Central Library, 1000 4th Ave, Seattle, WA

Tickets: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/669883

Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/268040953400205/

Gay Romance Northwest Meet-Up 2014 will consist of a full day of activities on September 20, 2014, including an afternoon conference with panel discussions and Q&As, writing workshops, pitch sessions with attending publishers, and a reader meet-up in the morning, a post-conference book fest with author signings and bookselling, and a fun after party following all the festivities featuring more short readings and time to mingle with attendees.

Other stops in the tour include the Gender Alliance of the South Sound in Tacoma, WA, The Art of Loving in Vancouver, BC, the Gender Justice League in Seattle, WA, Orca Books in Olympia, WA, In Other Words Feminist Community Center in Portland, OR, and two events at Good Vibrations in San Francisco, CA, at their Polk Street location.

“I love these people,” says Dena.  “The characters in this queer/trans* romance are fierce, passionate folks struggling to balance magnetism and self-sufficiency, trying to love all the way to the core without losing themselves in the process.  You will be rooting for them to get it on and fall for each other.  I hope you read the book and fall for them too.”

Dena Hankins writes aboard her boat, wherever she has sailed it.  After eight years as a sex educator, she turned to writing dirty tales with far-flung settings and a queer/trans* romance novel, Blue Water Dreams.  Read more: www.denahankins.net.

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Vancouver, BC, Welcomes Book Tour September 15th

Dena Hankins will visit The Art of Loving for a reading and discussion of her new queer/trans* romance, Blue Water Dreams.  She is touring the Pacific Northwest to promote her debut novel, published by Bold Strokes Books and available through major distributors.  The tour mixes readings, discussions, erotica reading workshops, and visits to groups for transgender people and their allies.

Publishers Weekly has this to say about Blue Water Dreams:  “Seattleites Lania Marchiol, a cisgender woman, and Oly Rasmussen, a transgender man, meet by chance and quickly bond over shared interests…and when Lania and Oly set their differences aside and embrace their sexual chemistry, the scenes are graceful, sure, and spicy.”

September 15, 2014, 7:30pm-9:30pm
The Art of Loving Hosts Dena Hankins
The Art of Loving, 1819 W 5th Ave, Vancouver, BC

The Art of Loving is a sex toy shop with a mission: enhance the sex life of their customers, promote sex-positive culture, and help society become more tolerant of sexual expression.  They bring these into being through quality products, knowledgeable staff, customer education, and community involvement.

Other stops in the tour include the Gender Alliance of the South Sound in Tacoma, WA, the Gender Justice League and Gay Romance Northwest Meet-up in Seattle, WA, Orca Books in Olympia, WA, In Other Words Feminist Community Center in Portland, OR, and two events at Good Vibrations in San Francisco, CA, at their Polk Street location.

“I love these people,” says Dena.  “The characters in this queer/trans* romance are fierce, passionate folks struggling to balance magnetism and self-sufficiency, trying to love all the way to the core without losing themselves in the process.  You will be rooting for them to get it on and fall for each other.  I hope you read the book and fall for them too.”

Dena Hankins writes aboard her boat, wherever she has sailed it.  After eight years as a sex educator, she turned to writing dirty tales with far-flung settings and a queer/trans* romance novel, Blue Water Dreams.  Read more: www.denahankins.net.

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