Friday, March 07, 2008

Left Coast Crime: Sex and Violence

When pondering what I wanted to do with the next 45 minutes of my life at 11 o’clock this morning, the Left Coast Crime 2008 Pocket Program provided some valuable inspiration. The panel entitled “Sex and Violence: Is Too Much Ever Enough?” called out to me.


The master of ceremonies was Bill Cameron (Lost Dog) and he had prepared well. In addition to cooking up questions such as “Which would you prefer to be reincarnated as: a) a French tickler, b) lubricant, or c) a kick-start vibrator?” (C won hands down), he also incorporated book giveaways from each of the panelists. One prize was given for best question from the audience, and another giveaway went to the first questioner to make David Corbett blush.


Fellow Bleak House Books author Eric Stone (Grave Imports) talked about how his exposure to the ubiquitous sex industry in Thailand as an ex-pat journalist informed his fiction. And when Corbett mentioned that being beat up as a kid gave him the knowledge to write about violence--and challenged Stone to site any similar background that he drew upon--Stone said casually, “Well, there was the time I was set upon by a mob of kids in the Khyber Pass ...”


Tasha Alexander (And Only to Deceive) explained that the Victorian setting of most of her novels meant that she often sets out to titillate rather than provide explicit descriptions of romantic interludes, although her mother still called to tell her that she had “entirely too many kisses” in one of her recent books. Perhaps to make up for the lack of explicitness, a member of the audience asked her to read from a sex scene in Corbett’s Blood of Paradise that The Washington Post called “heroic.” After making a very close study of the text, she gave a dramatic reading of several paragraphs.


In response to an audience member’s attempt to make Mr. Corbett blush, he, too, read from the same scene, but failed to show any color. It was Penny Warner (The Official Nancy Drew Handbook) who drew “blood” with her question to the panel at large, “Do you put the toilet seat up or down?” However, it was her specific comment to Corbett--“I went after you in hotel bathroom and you left the seat up”--that won her the prize.


Marcus Sakey (At the City’s Edge) came to the panel well prepared himself, brandishing a pair of handcuffs, which the audience--perhaps getting too much into the spirit of the topic--asked Ms. Alexander to wear while she read Corbett’s scene aloud. Sakey went on to tell about how he had complained to a friend that he did’nt receive naked pictures from his fans, as he’d heard other authors did. The friend put together a campaign to solicit pictures for him, netting a shot of an overweight guy in a leather thong and a staged scene of naked Barbie dolls in front of his book that he now uses for his screen saver.


All I know is, I now have several new books--or at least sections of books--on my must-read list.

READ MORE:Day Two at Left Coast Crime,” by Jeri Westerson (Getting Medieval).

1 comment:

Cameron Hughes said...

WELL! Now I know what Chercover and Sakey do in their spare time!