David Henry Sterry

Author, book doctor, raker of muck

David Henry Sterry

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I Am Scientifically Validated as Expert on Preventing Human Trafficking

I don’t know how this happened but here it is.  Look it up.

https://www.amazon.com/Ending-Human-Trafficking-Modern-Day-Slavery/dp/1506316735/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1523377124&sr=8-1&keywords=Ending+Human+Trafficking+and+Modern-Day+Slavery%3A+Freedom%27s+Journey

 

Alice Carbone Interviews David Henry Sterry on Sex, Addiction, & the Healing Powers of Writing & Comedy

Cool interview with cool chick Alice Carbone. To read on her website click here.
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DAVID HENRY STERRY: The Good, The Bad & The Sex

AN INSIGHTFUL AND FUN INTERVIEW ABOUT THE SEX INDUSTRY, SEX ADDICTION AND HEALING THROUGH WRITING AND COMEDY.

Two years ago I received the inspiration for the end of my novel while running by the ocean, in Santa Monica.  Being sick in the head, I desperately needed to run that day yet I hurried back to my car parked Idaho Ave and, like in a trance, I started writing.  It was year 2011 and I owned a very old Blackberry.  I never liked to touch-type on it those words that carried too much of a value, like the future of a woman, whether fictional or not.

I have come to the realization that physical activity has a pleasant creative effect on me.  And this introduction is just the umpteenth example.  After interviewing David Henry Sterry I went on a hike and, all of a sudden I wanted to write.

It’s year 2013.  The Blackberry broke a year ago, or so.  I have an iPhone today.  And I still don’t like the movement of my fingertips typing letters on a synthetic and flat keyboard.  I don’t find joy or excitement in seeing them gathering into important sentences on the yellow page of a virtual notepad.  I avoid the procedure, when I can.  The inspiration, if that is how you rather call the essence of what you are reading, came towards the end of my Hollywood walk nonetheless.  The temperature had reached an unhealthy average of 80 °F for the week before  Christmas; I ignored my body getting sicker by the minute, too.  However, as soon as I walked past the Sunset Ranch, sweaty, grateful for where I lived and for being able to hike at twelve noon, on a weekday, it finally dawned on me: I knew how to start this column and how to end it as well.  The walk became faster until I ran towards the car and wrote what you have just read and will, shortly.  It is a very interesting interview and a raw finale that comes straight from the heart and from the dirty and torn Starbucks napkin that I had not thrown away the night before.

Talking to David Henry Sterry has a very special meaning to me.  He is the very first guest who publicly asked to be here, in conversation with me.  It happened on Twitter, on December 4 at 5:09 PM, Pacific Time.  “I am doing something good.  They start to like this.” – I thought.

“You looked like an interesting person and I just had an instinct about you.”  David tells me, when we chat on Skype and I ask him why he wanted to be on the blog.  We use a webcam because David lives in New Jersey and I have told him that my conversations require the exchange and the look in the eyes.  They are more than a Q&A to me.

David is the author of sixteen books.  He is a teacher, an activist and a brilliant performer, although best known for his bestselling memoir, Chicken: Self-Portrait of a Young Man For Rent.  I didn’t know him very well before he had approached me.  A thorough research always helps yet nothing more than a vis-à-vis contact makes you understand what lies beneath a person.  He laughs and I can sense his humor, the comedy background.  However, I can also feel he has been to hell and has not forgotten about it.  I am in the comfort of my bedroom wearing my pajama yet with red lipstick.  The sun shines and it feels like summer in Southern California.  David sits by the kitchen window that is frosty and white with beautiful snow.  For it is winter, after all.  Our worlds merge for one hour.  He has a story to tell, and it is my pleasure to share it with you; wherever you are reading it from.

A.C. Where are you from?  I know you have British origins.

D.H.S. I was born in New Jersey and moved back here six years ago, from San Francisco.  But I lived all over America.  Alabama, Texas, Upstate New York…

A.C.  Where was home, when you were a kid?

D.H.S.  Anywhere my family was.  But I feel like San Francisco is my home.  I lived there twice, and that’s where I kind of left my heart.  But I have a beautiful house here, with great neighbors.  And it is really a gorgeous place to live.

A.C. Let’s go back to your childhood.  What kind of kid were you?

D.H.S. I was a very helpful child.  Actually a little bit too much, to the extent that teachers would write these reports saying that I didn’t have to be ‘so helpful in class.’  And I am the oldest of four, with a father gone all the time and a mother overworked with us; that is why I helped all the time with my brothers and sisters.

A.C.  Why did your family travel so much?  What did your parents do?

D.H.S. They were immigrants, from Newcastle, in the North of England.  My father grew up where there were only half-houses.  He did not even have a toilet in his house; it was an old world.  He came to America in the late 1950s when there was very little opportunity in England, for a college graduate like him.  In the United Stated he got a job for a company that manufactured explosives, and they kept promoting him by sending him somewhere new.  He almost became a victim of his own success, although I don’t really think the term victim is appropriate.  But it was hard to constantly move around.  On the other hand, he was the American dream; he kept rising up the ladder of this company, and he literally went from being a dishwasher to being a partner in the space of twenty years.

David does not hide a bittersweet laugh, when he ends the story with what he calls the ‘new American dream.’  Because his father is now broke and in therapy after a nervous breakdown and after his wife has run away with a woman; the one she would eventually marry. She has become a lesbian. 

D.H.S. He started having sex with crazy women.  I was sixteen and I was living with him at that time.  He had lost everything.

A.C.  How difficult was it, for you, to write about them, in Chicken?  Because, as writers, we have the duty of being both careful and respectful to the lives of the people we involve.  My novel, for example, is not a memoir but it is very autobiographical.  Many episodes are based on my life and I did not know how to talk about my parents or other people involved, at first.  I felt angry, guilty and hurt, too.  Just because we decide to purge and get clean, it doesn’t mean they decide to have their stories publicly disclosed as well.

D.H.S.  And my parents are English.  Talking about them publicly was so mortifying to them!

A.C.  How did they react?

D.H.S.  So, I got this book deal to publish the memoir.  The publisher was Judith Regan.  I got it only based on a proposal; I had not even written the book yet.  And, of course I had not told my parents.  For I wanted to tell them once I was 100% sure the book was going to be published.  The first thing Regan told me was: “I don’t want one of those fucking books where the writer blames their parents; do you understand me?”  And for as hard as it seemed, it was a great advice for me, because I did blame them.

A.C.  But what I am starting to learn is that we all have shit happening to us, David.  And it’s not what happened to us, but what we have made of it, and what we keep making of it.

D.H.S.  Exactly.  It’s absolutely right.  And, based on what she had said to me I decided to call my parents by name, in the first couple of drafts of the book.  Harper Collins didn’t really help me in the editing process; all they were worried about was not getting sued.  So my agent became my editor and she secretly said: “This is so bad we are gonna have to give the money back!”  Instead, what she did tell me was: “David, they are your parents.  You can’t call them John and Maurine; they are mom and dad.”  That is how removed I was from actually revealing my true self.  For I was raised to never reveal anything.  And part of what got me into so much trouble while I was growing up was not being able to ask for help.  I literally had to learn how to talk to people like an adult, besides recovering from my addictions.  Actually hypnotherapy helped a lot.

A.C.  How old were you when you started writing Chicken?

D.H.S. I was in my late thirties and I was writing dumb screenplays in Hollywood at that time.  I hated my job, although I was making a lot of money.

David is working for Disney in those days.  And those are also the days of his escalating sex and cocaine addiction.

A.C. You mentioned making money in Hollywood.  In your interviews you talk a lot about the feeling of self-worth that you experienced the first time you got paid to have sex, professionally.  I don’t know about being paid to have sex because I was never a sex worker. However, I am very familiar with the feeling of cheap worth before a man, and when only performing the act of sex.  For sex can become a performance that makes you feel worth and powerful, even when you know that you are everything but.  Quoting Hank Williams, you said: “But there was a hole in my bucket.”  Let’s talk about sex, about the self-gratification of your past as a sex technician – as you rather call your former job.  Is that what you felt, at first?  Did you feel powerful, at seventeen years old?  Because we try to fill that hole with anything within sight, until we hit bottom…

D.H.S.  Yes, and soon as there is a hole it doesn’t matter what or how much your try to fill it with, whether it is sex, drugs, money, etc. For it all comes out the bottom.  That’s why the metaphor was so powerful for me.  You know, so many young people that get into the sex business do it for money.  I was completely alone.  Los Angeles is a cold and hard place, despite the fact that there are palm trees and that is 82 degrees, the week before Christmas.  It’s the way we live in LA, the isolation from other humans, the time spent in our car to go from one place to another.  While in New York, for example, you have to interact with people, whether you want it or not, even if just to go on the subway.  And that’s how it is, in most places.

I was seventeen and I felt alone.  I was robbed.  I got assaulted and raped.  I had nothing and nobody.

A.C.  That’s when you met the guy that pimped you.

D.H.S.  Yes, his specialty was finding kids that were alone, cute and vulnerable.  And that was I. This guy ran a fried chicken restaurant, as a front, and he would hire you for a week, to actually fry chicken.  Now, I don’t know if you have ever fried chicken in your life professionally, but it’s fucking horrible.  You get burns on your arms and you smell like chicken.  It’s a miserable fucking job.  Just wearing that little hat is nasty!

A.C.  That’s when he shows you the trick, after the week of frying chicken…

D.H.S.  Correct.  At the end of the week he gives you your paycheck.  And it is so small that you can’t possibly live on it.  It’s all very psychological.  He is one of the most generous, warm, kind and smart persons I have ever met in my whole life.  So, when you look at the check you are horrified; because after all the hard work you did, you cannot even survive.  It’s right then, when you are feeling worthless, with no money and nobody who likes you or cares for you, at the lowest point, that he says to you: “Do you want to start making some real money?” Of course, you say: “Yes.”  And he tells you about these rich friends of his whom you could party with.  I was so naïve that I saw myself at cocktail parties discussing the latest issue of The New Yorker, just because I was cute.  I had this idea in my head of being this young Oscar Wilde…

We both laugh when he is recalling the very beginning of his career in the world of prostitution.  Because he does laugh about it, and because he is very candid in admitting that it was his choice.  David does not have regrets for his past, today.  He closes his eyes and hides a residual of teenage embarrassment nonetheless; his body and his white hair wave, mocking a hypothetical Wilde with a cocktail in his hands.  But there is nothing to be embarrassed about. At seventeen we all believed in everything they told us.  Sometimes we still do, in order not to listen or see the inevitable truth.

D.H.S.  But, of course, he meant servicing adults, sexually.  My first job was kind of a trial and I was very nervous.  As I always say, one of the differences between a female and male sex worker is that there are many things in life that you can fake; an erection is not one of them.

A.C.  True.  But isn’t somewhat safer to be a male sex worker compared to a woman?

D.H.S.  Mostly, it is.  The dynamic of power between men and women is something that a lot of men still don’t understand.  The other day I was talking to this woman in a parking lot, late at night.  She had recently been assaulted she freaked out as soon as a guy walked past her.  I could sense that feeling that screams: “I’m not powerful enough to stand up to this guy who can just pick me up as a rag doll.”  Having been abused by someone much more powerful than I, I can truly relate to that feeling.  However, what happened was that I found a real affinity for the job, because once again I was looking after people.  In a way, that’s what you do when you are a sex worker.

A.C.  Providing a service?  It just came out of my mouth, but I am smiling while saying this.  I must admit it.

D.H.S.  Exactly!  That’s exactly what you do.  You look at the person you have in front of you and you try to understand what they want and need.  That’s what you do when you are a real sex worker and not a thief.  They must tell you: “Wow, that itch I had is now scratched.”  And I found out that I was really good at that.

A.C.  Do you think that your sex work triggered your sex addiction?

D.H.S.  Oh, of course it did.  But as you know, it’s very complicated, understanding why a person becomes addicted to something.  However, on that first job, when I walked into that room, I felt powerful, while in real life I felt powerless, a meaningless piece of shit.  That woman wanted something from me that I could provide her, a very specific set of tasks, with difficulties, that I could nonetheless perform.  And, when it was over I put the money in my pocket and felt big, large.

I know the power he is talking about.  Because I recall feeling it, too, many years ago, the first time I had sex when I was high.  That night, in another life, I thought I had understood how to be a woman that was not Alice.  I hated Alice.  And I never felt more in control, not realizing I would eventually lose it all and despise myself even more.

D.H.S.  In real life I felt small and meaningless.  It was 1974 and that $100 bill was my sense of self-worth.  Then, of course, when you have sex your brain sets off these endorphins and you get a chemical high from it.  So, for me it was both a physical and an emotional empowerment.

A.C. You have been asked before if you have felt exploited.  You were seventeen years old in those days so, of course, there was a part of you that felt exploited.  But I would like to talk to you more in depth about what your definition of exploitation is, in the sex world.  Prudes and bigots think that porn is exploitation, which is a huge mistake.  And they don’t know what they are missing, from time to time.  Actually, my take on sex is that there’s almost nothing wrong about it, as long as it is at your own terms.

D.H.S.  Absolutely, I completely agree with that.

A.C. Now, I do acknowledge the urgency in resolving the terrible issue of sexual exploitation and sex trafficking.  But it’s not what we are talking about, today.  In your opinion, where is the thin line between personal choice and exploitation in the sex world you are familiar with?

D.H.S.  I did this interview on NPR a while ago and I was introduced as someone ‘forced into prostitution.’  And that’s the idea that a lot of people have.  I had to tell the host: “Look, no one put a gun to my head and tried to shoot me.”  I could have walked away at any moment.  It was my choice.  I felt enormously exploited frying chicken, to be honest with you.  Because I was forced to work under brutal circumstances and I was paid a piss.  That was exploitation.  The whole Fast Food industry is built on exploitation.

A.C. Well, Walmart is built on exploitation.

D.H.S. Walmart! Oh my God!  Any giant corporation that uses labor like this is in the exploitation business.  If you are at the lowest level of the food chain you are just going to ask yourself: “How am I going to be exploited?  What’s the exploitation that best suits my personality?”  When you are seventeen and in that state, your choices are very limited, with no education, resources or networking.

It’s true that the guy did not explain the business very well, at first.  He didn’t tell me that some of the things that were about to happen to me would remain in my nightmares for the rest of my life.  He didn’t tell me that this would potentially cause me some horrible personality disorders. But, in that job I also had beautiful experiences where I wasn’t exploited at all, and where I was treated with great respect and honored for my skills.

A.C.  Those were the best jobs, what about the worst?

D.H.S.  In the worst I was treated like a piece of shit and asked to do things that no teenager should ever been asked to do.  Ever.

A.C.  Are you saying that no matter where you work, exploitation is everywhere and affects the weak in the same way?

D.H.S.  Yes.  I believe it very strongly.  And the more I live, the more I am convinced of it.  The strong feeds on the weak.  That’s how society has been working forever.  Media like to make it about sex and prostitution, and although there are prostitutes that are forced to do it against their will, there are also many people who are forced to clean toilets or kids that are sold and have to become soldiers and shoot people in the head.

A.C.  Now that we mention prostitution, you wrote the anthology Johns, Marks, Tricks and Chickenhawks: Professionals & Their Clients Writing About Each Other.  How did you get the clients to write their stories?  It must have been difficult.  Sex workers seem to me more comfortable with what they do than their clients, who would rarely admit paying for sex.

D.H.S.  That was one of the most shocking things about the project.  And you are absolutely right, it’s easier for somebody to say: “Yes, I sell my body for sex,” than for somebody to admit the purchase of sex.  It sounds so ridiculous to me, especially because in history, being a prostitute has always been considered the worst possible profession.  The insult ‘whore’ always the lowest one.  Just think about the Scarlet Letter.

A.C.  Is something shifting in the sociological perception of prostitution and the sex worker profession in general?

D.H.S.  Something is indeed shifting.  I expected it to be a very easy process, here in America, to have people writing about their experiences in buying sex.  But it was very hard.  All my friends I asked to either laughed at me or were scornful, reminding me with pride that they didn’t have to pay for sex.  And I told them that they should try, at least once!  Like hiring a masseuse, who wouldn’t want to have a massage?  But that’s just my opinion, of course.  I believe that it is exactly the same transaction.

david bunnyAnyhow, I had so many contacts in the sex business that through Facebook and Twitter I was able to find both professionals and clients who agreed on talking.  What opened the gates a lot was the choice of letting them submit their stories with a pen name.

A.C.  Did you notice any difference in the male/female or straight/gay world?

D.H.S.  Interesting question.  I think that in the gay male world they are less ashamed.  They all did it once in a while; it’s part of the culture and they are much more accepting of sex for money.  Sex is such a fluid thing.  And especially older gay men; they had to hide for so long that being gay was a shameful enough thing.  There is nothing they are ashamed of.  What’s interesting on the lesbian community side is that many women who have sex with men for money are, in fact, lesbians.  At first it didn’t make sense to me, it was like a vegetarian working as a butcher.  But then I talked to a dear friend of mine and she explained to me that that it’s how they completely separate personal life with a woman at home, and work with a man client. And there is never the risk of falling in love this way.

A.C.  Have you ever fallen in love with a client?

D.H.S.  Yes.  But I was young and confused.  I even fantasized about moving in with her.  I was seventeen and she was probably forty-five.  I lived in a fantasy world so much back then, you have no idea…

A.C.  Of course I do.  We hate our life and any fantasy is better than reality.

Let’s move away from sex now, because your career has been so diverse.  You were a screenwriter for Disney (and plunging into your darkest days of addiction during those days, too.)  But you are also an actor, author and a comedian, too.  You started by opening for Robin Williams in the 1980s in San Francisco.  I am falling in love with American comedy and the more I study, the more I realize what a powerful weapon humor can be. Who were the comedians you aspired to, when you started?

D.H. S.  My favorite comic is Lenny Bruce who, of course, was a heroin addict.  Very dark sensibility and railing against the hypocrisy of society. Of course, he was arrested and harassed and tormented, ending up dead with a needle in his arm.  That’s my hero.

A.C.  I love Lenny Bruce, too.  He was one of the very first comedians I discovered when I moved here.

D.H.S.  And then I always loved Richard Pryor.  He famously burned himself up trying to smock rock and when he came back performing he did this joke of him on fire, on stage.  He took the darkest parts of his life, turned them into comedy and made people laugh.  In doing so, he illuminated the darkest sides of the human condition.  Pryor grew up in a world made of hate and violence.  And part of his mission was to expose this, through comedy.  There is no higher form of communication to me.  If I laugh, and then I have that moment when I have to think about what fucked up thing I have just laughed at, I know the artist has reached his purpose.  In your head you are debating about the philosophical ideas behind what made you crack, after you just did, hysterically.  Those moments are rare and hard to create.  Jerry Stahl is the same way, especially in his latest novel.

David tells me about his performing tour with Sex Worker Literati and he is astonished at the type of audience it attracts.  “There are a lot of young couple on first dates.  We have some dirty old men, too.  God bless them.  But the audience is very diverse and it’s a lot fun doing it. I notice quite some middle-aged feminist, as well, because we are sending a message of empowerment, after all.  Some gay audience is present, as I always put a couple of gay performers.  They have great stories!”  We briefly discuss the literary business and the side project he has started with his wife, The Book Doctors.  Time runs out nonetheless.  Sometimes I forget I am carrying out an interview and not just having coffee.  I have more questions and I need closure.

A.C.  Is there a moment in your career that you are particularly proud of?  You are primarily an author today, correct?

D.H.S.  Yes, I am.  But something beautiful happened during the show that I performed from Chicken.

Chicken became a very successful one-man show, after the book was published in 2002.

My mom had not read the book, as she didn’t want to.  My whole family reacted very badly when the memoir got published and they completely shut me out.  When I was touring with the show I performed in a college, in Portland, which is where my mother lives.  It was her wife, the same woman she had run off with when I was a kid that told her to go and see the show.  So my mom did.  The night happened to be a big success.  Every time that I am in a college I do a Q&A after the show and that night, I introduced my mom to everyone for the first time.  I can still see her standing up in the audience, proud and bowing.

David has tears in his eyes when recalling the night in Portland.

D.H.S.  She came backstage after the interview and, for the first time she told me that she was sorry for what had happened to me.  Had I only told her, back then, she would have tried to help me.  That night was a moment of truth and reconciliation, a beautiful metaphor for what writing can do.

A.C.  Absolutely.  If it wasn’t for both my novel and this blog, I wouldn’t be alive, and sober, to be honest with you.  It gave me a purpose and it helped me surviving the pain, the shame and the burden of life.  I did not want to live.  Through writing I have found my voice for the very first time.

david white hairD.H.S.  It’s because writing can expose parts of ourselves that we couldn’t expose.  After that night my mother and I became best friends, and it all came about through this book I wrote, speaking my truth, something I was so ashamed of.

A.C.  I am reading Advertisement For Myself and Mailer admits how, after The Naked and the Dead, he was not able to write another novel in such a quick and spontaneous way, for a long time.  An old mentor told me that some books you write, other write you.  This is exactly what we are talking about, some truths just have to come out and, eventually they do.

D.H.S.  That’s what happened for me, with Chicken.

A.C.  Have you learned to ask for help?

D.H.S.  I did learn, although it’s still a difficult thing to do.  But I am much better at it than I have ever been.  And learning how to do this has helped me how to focus on the things that I do well; while those things that I don’t do well I can understand and acknowledge with those who are good at them.  I was having a terrible problem with this book that I am writing, for example.  And, normally, I would have just kept it to myself. Instead, I have asked for advice and gathered many smart ideas from many smart people.

A.C.  Earlier this morning I read something that made me laugh; the downside of isolation is that we are the only ones to give ourselves advice.  Which is quite often a bad idea.

We both laugh.  For we both know what’s the kind of advice we are inclined to give ourselves. On my side, I know that I need the inside job, every day.

D.H.S.  That’s really funny.  I really like that.  So now I am not the only one who is giving myself advice.  Yes!

A.C.  Last one and you are free.  Are you okay with your nature and your past, today?

D.H.S.  I ask this question to myself all the time.  Would I whisper something into my ear at seventeen?  “Don’t go into that door?  Call your mom?”  I wonder if I would be a better person. I would have gone through a lot less agony and pain, but I wouldn’t be the man that I am, I would not have written my memoir and had a beautiful kid.

A.C.  How old is she?

D.H.S.  She is six and she is such a joy!  I wouldn’t be here talking to you, too.  It’s a very difficult thing to answer.  But I feel that everything I went through, lived and survived, I have also learned from it; and I have changed into a different human being.  It would have been easy to just remain a drug addict, a pleasure seeker and a miserable man.  That’s easier and you see that all the time, people crawling into a bottle and dying there.  But I didn’t want that to be my life, because I was on the road of self-destruction.  Had I not changed, I would be dead.  In the change I have become a person that I am proud of, although I still fuck up and make mistakes; we all do.  But now I can ask for help to do better next time.

In the end, I am grateful for all the fantastic things that happened to me and for all the fucked up ones, too.  Look, I deal with a bunch of people that have MFAs from writing programs and they write sentences so beautiful to make your heart break.  But they have no stories to tell. They haven’t had nobody beat the shit out of them, and they haven’t been dragged to bottom of the barrel.  But probably I just gravitate towards survivors, and people who have been through horrible misery and come out the other side better human beings.  If you have looked death in the face you are part of a club.

A.C.  Survivors have a message.  Thank you for sharing yours with me, and my readers.  It was beautiful to have you here.

Just a few hours prior connecting with David I had posted a photo, both on Twitter and Facebook, of my Interview Composition Pad.  I had simply shared that, with this interview I had come to the very last page of it.  The $0.99 notebook had started in August, with George Christie.

What was only supposed to be a tentative weekly publication that precious and humble first guests like Phil Hendrie, Clint Mansell and George Christie helped me start, putting some brave trust in me, has become today a very serious deal.  The interviews are hopefully reflecting the transformation, too.  And 2014 will be full of surprises, because more amazing guests are already lined up.  Fascinating stories and authenticity is what I offer; I hope you have noticed by now, because there is no better way of learning for me.

Thank you for helping me reach a result I never believed possible.  YOU, 15 thousand folks a month, are my gift of 2013.  Thank you for supporting me and for spreading the word.  Every time you share my work you share the effort I put into bringing you the best I can.  Don’t stop.  I won’t either.

I don’t know if you believe in Christmas, if you do, MERRY CHRISTMAS.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amital Etzioni: Why Are You Saying Such Nasty Things About Whores?

hos hookers cover-500 HosHookersShame on you, Amital Etzioni, for the antiquated, insulting and frankly dangerous ideas you trot out like dead horses to flog in your recent essay on the review of the anthology Hos, Hookers, Call Girls, and Rent Boys. Yes, of course, some people are enslaved in the world of sex-4-$. Just as they are in many industries, such as the garment and diamond businesses. These traffickers of human flesh should be hunted down like the filthy vermin they are, and thrown into a dark hole where the sun never shines. Yes, we all know this. But many prostitutes, or industrial sex technicians as I like to call them, actually choose to enter the sex-4-$ world as adults who carefully consider their economic options, and have decided it makes more sense to earn $250 smoking cigarettes, drinking and getting head (a scenario you reference in his essay), than earning $8 an hour getting their souls sucked out at McDonald’s. Comparing a victim being forced to have sex for money with a high-end industrial sex technician is like saying slaving in a sweatshop is the same as working at Neiman Marcus.

You wrote that HHCG&RB, “has little to say about the role of money in personal, intimate relationships.” Did you actually read this book? Because if you didn’t, then you have no business talking about it. And if you did, you’re intellectually blind not to see that this book is absolutely packed with stories about the role money plays in personal, intimate relationships. Case in point: Juliana Piccolo’s haunting, melancholy piece, “Vice.” It’s about when she was a 17-year-old massage parlor sex technician, and had a relationship with an off-duty cop client. He falls in love with her. She craves his fatherly attention, even as he makes her skin crawl. The last time she sees him he offers her $100 for a kiss. She doesn’t kiss clients. He holds out the money. She kisses him. The moment is devastating. It is a deeply personal, intimate relationship, and it illustrates the subtle, scary and very real way the line between the need for love and the need for money blur.

And in what post-Puritanical, Victorianically-repressed world does an open, honest discussion of sex and money, “embarrass a bunch of frat boys”? I guess it’s been a while since you’ve spent any time with frat boys. It’s very difficult to embarrass them. Given the fact that there’s a good chance they’re doing Jell-O shots out of the stripper’s vagina. In your opening salvo, you call this book “sensationalistic”. If you had taken the time to carefully read HHCG&RB, you would’ve seen that it is in fact a piece of American oral history that gives voice to a population that is woefully underrepresented and misunderstood.

Finally, one of the biggest peeves I keep as a pet is when people who have never turned a trick in their lives, who have no idea what sex-4-$ is like, try to tell us about it. What do you know about the “facts” of the world of sex? When was the last time you sat around chewing the fat with people who actually inhabit that world? I have a news flash for you: people who exchange sex for money are not illiterate, pimped, diseased, drug addicted, career criminals. And it is grotesque, condescending, and ignorant to imply, as you do, that they are. I know because I was one. An industrial sex technician. No one forced me. My employment counselor/pimp did not take most of my money. Of course he got his taste, just like my current literary agent does. I was not on drugs during my time in the Life. In fact, at the high-end agency I worked for, if you were caught taking drugs, you were fired. I have no diseases. The only time I was a criminal was when the Prohibition era laws of America turned me into one while I was making money at the oldest profession in the world. I edited the above mentioned anthology, Hos, Hookers, Call Girls, and Rent Boys. I put together this book as an attempt to tear down harmful myths about sex work and sex workers — myths which you sir, seek to perpetuate. But just to show you there’s no hard feelings, next time you’re in New York, call me and I’ll hook you up with my friend Naughty Michelle. She’ll open all your eyes. And it’ll only cost you $300.

The Whore Wars

HosHookersjohns marks cover croppedIt took me a quarter of a century to transition from teenage rent boy to best-selling author, but soon after I did, I was invited into the office of the prominent book agent. “David,” he said as he leaned back in his air ergonomic Aeron chair, “whatever you do, don’t get stuck in the sex ghetto.” So I left the sex ghetto, and wrote several books on very straight subjects. On five of those books, the publishers would not allow me to use my real name, because I have the stink of fornication upon me. But the sex ghetto kept singing her siren-sweet song to me. So I plunged back in and co-edited an anthology in which the contributors have one thing in common: they worked in the sex business. Absolutely no one wanted to buy this book–agents, major publishing houses, smaller publishing houses, university presses, even the tiny presses that publish exactly this kind of book. Finally after two years, and dozens of rejections, we landed at a small but well-respected independent publisher. In the end, after we paid all the contributors, we lost money putting together this book. The publishers only printed 2500 copies. Dan Brown has sold that many books since you started reading this piece. But somehow this little book that nobody wanted has put me at the epicenter of the Whore Wars, a fierce and ugly battle that has been raging for years in the sex ghetto.

In the world of sex for money, there are two armies. The decriminalizationist, largely liberal lefty, “sex positive,” it’s-all-good camp. Many are turning tricks to finance their master’s degrees; others are dominatrixes who are equally at home deconstructing the Marquis de Sade and flicking a cat-o-nine tales; lots of very organized loud lesbian activists. Even though they’re always telling you how empowering it is to be a sexual healer, most are either retired, or looking for a lucrative exit strategy because when you retire from the sex business, there’s no golden parachute. They argue that prohibition makes criminals out of hard-working Americans who are just trying to make sure baby has new shoes. Across the road is the abolitionist, mostly conservative, Christian-tinged, prostitution-is-slavery, everyone-is-trafficked, it’s-all-bad camp. They are mostly academics who wear dowdy clothes and look like they haven’t had sex in years; quasi-neo-feminists who claim to speak for the downtrodden victims of commercial exploitation from the lap of luxury; and not-for-profit activists who overcame brutal beatings on the mean streets as junky hos. They will trot out statistics that prove everyone in the sex for money world was sexually abused as a child, and that everyone who trades their body for cash is brutalized by charming but subhuman pimps, traded by smugglers of human flesh. Except for the reformed junky hos, none of these people have ever turned a trick. Not surprisingly, abolitionists and decriminalizationists alike seem to want to simplify this ridiculously complex subject so it fits their agenda.

In 2002, when my first book and I came out, I was recruited by both sides. And before I looked, I leapt. Just say yes. A good recipe for getting yourself into the sex business in the first place. So I collected writing from both the groups. My mission was to give voice to the entire spectrum of this underrepresented population, to humanize these creatures who are reviled and glorified, worshiped and spat upon in the sex ghetto. I invited everyone. If you lived in the Life, and if you had a story to tell, regardless of whether it was polished prose or a diamond in the rough, you were welcomed with open arms. I very consciously didn’t grind my political ax. In our book $2500 call girls, $100 rent boys, and $10 crack hos are bedfellows.

Most everyone, except me and my co-editor, thought this book would fly under the radar and die a slow painful death, probably out of print in a year. But on August 23, 2009, all that changed. That’s when our little book rather shockingly appeared on the front page of the Sunday New York Times Book Review. That’s when it got ugly for me in the sex ghetto.

Usually, a book or an idea gets attacked from the right or from the left. But I’ve got both sides calling for my head on a pike. One side thinks I am, “Deplorable… dishonorable…” The other is, “Disappointed… pissed off…”. I have no idea what percentage of people who toil in the world of sex for money are doing so voluntarily, and how many are doing so against their will. In my experience, it’s virtually impossible to get reliable statistics. It’s not like a census taker can go to a “massage parlor” where trafficked women are being kept against their will (as was the case in several recently busted in the Bay Area) and interview the slaves. Or from an independent contractor who gets her tricks through craigslist. Or, for that matter, from “Ashley Dupree,” after she’s had her way with Elliot Spitzer. And so many of the statistics we do see from the left or the right are manipulated to fit their agendas. The fact is, right now, in big cities and small towns across America, a hard-working sex worker who is not being coerced, who is doing this of his or her own free will, is making money having sex with someone. And at the same time, a victim is being used as a sex slave by the most hideous, vile creatures ever spawned. That’s what’s going on in America, and whether we like it or not, the sex for money business is booming.

Quite simply, our society is sexually ill. It is broken. I believe the vast majority of Americans do not come close to getting all the love and sex they want. So they try to buy it. I believe this book has generated such intense interest in part because the oldest profession seems to be the next taboo being exposed in the limelight of the American zeitgeist. Mental illness, alcoholism, drug addiction, incest, one after another have been trotted out and examined like a bug under a microscope. Jim Carrol’s The Basketball Diaries, Kathryn Harrison’s The Kiss, Pete Hamill’s A Drinking Life and William Styron’s A Memoir of Madness were all deeply personal accounts of aberrant behavior that had been previously swept under America’s rug. And now it seems like the world wants to know, who are these people selling sex? Why are we buying so much of it? Who are these hos, hookers, call girls and rent boys that make everyone from Catholics to Orthodox Jews to Islamic fundamentalists to Mormons regular guests in the sex ghetto?

This book was an attempt to answer that question. It took no sides in the whore wars. Should it be legalized? Prohibited? It seems both sides want the book to take their position. But it doesn’t. Our agenda is to let these hos, hookers, call girls and rent boys speak for themselves. This is why we opened our book with Post-Porn Modernist Annie Sprinkle’s “40 Reasons Why Whores Are My Heroes.” And followed it with Oakland’s diamond-hard mochaluv’s: “Being a Ho Sucks.” Are whores heroes? Does being a ho suck? Yes and yes.
However, as we put this book together, one thing became clear. Until we take the millions of dollars and man/woman hours currently being directed at adults who, having weighed their economic options, choose of their own free will to exchange sex for money, predators and peddlers of flesh who operate in every major American city, largely ignored by law enforcement, will continue to flourish. People who sell sex will continue to be in constant danger of being abused and beaten by both johns and the police, with no legal recourse. While savage killers like Gary Ridgeway, the Green River Killer, continued to prey on women in that world because, in his words, “I picked prostitutes because I thought I could kill as many of them as I wanted without getting caught.”

If this book helps people see that men and women who have sex for money are mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers, I will be happy. If it shines a compassionate light into the sex ghetto, it’ll be worth all the slings and arrows slung my way in the whore wars. But if nothing else comes out of all this, I hope the words of the legendary Georgina Spelvin, anthology contributor and star of The Devil in Miss Jones, ring out from between the covers of our book. “Do your part. Take a hooker to lunch.”

Sex Worker Litquakerati: Hookers Tell Tall Tails & Burlesque Dancers Shake Booties

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Litquake: The Make-Out Room October 17, 3225 22nd 7 PM

Ex-teen rent boy David Henry Sterry will ride herd over this cavalcade of seamy, steamy stories, with an all-star lineup of the finest burlesque dancers and sex-working writers money can buy; PhDs and high school dropouts, soccer moms and hot dommes, $5,000-a-night call girls and $10 crack hos, penthouse escorts and hard-working rent boys.

In the exchange of sex for money a window opens into the soul
Come take a peek

Bert Avila’s work has been featured in This Bridge We Call Home, Hos, Hookers, Call Girls and Rent Boys and Johns, Marks, Tricks and Chickenhawks. She lives in the Bay Area and is a well-respected linguist.

Sam Benjamin attended Brown University where he deciphered post-modern theory, drew comic books, and made videos, eventually becoming a pornographer. Sam has an MFA in writing from Cal Arts, and is author of the memoir American Gangbang: A Love Story.

Sherril Jaffe is author of The Unexamined Wife, Expiration Date, and You Are Not Alone and Other Stories, winner of the Spokane Award. She received the Josephine Miles and PEN awards and a MacDowell Fellowship.

Lilycat often traps people into telling their life stories on FCC Free Radio. Her stories have appeared in Chemical Lust, Whipped, More 5 Minute Erotica, Surprise, Hos, Hookers, Call Girls, and Rent Boys, and elsewhere.

R.J. Martin, Jr.’s work has appeared in anthologies, magazines, and books. He served as director of development at SAGE. He was presented with a Certificate of Honor from the City of San Francisco. He has a master’s degree from San Francisco State University.

Chris Moore was born and raised by a television and drug-abusive wolves masquerading as parents. His work has appeared in crude and obscure zines and on bathroom stalls. He can be found in San Francisco.

Carol Queen is co-founder of the Center for Sex and Culture. Her books include Exhibitionism for the Shy and Real Live Nude Girl: Chronicles of Sex-Positive Culture. Her novel The Leather Daddy and the Femme won a Firecracker Award. sexandculture.org

Dylan Ryan is a porn star, writer, performance artist, social worker, body-working yoga teacher, and bacon lover. Her writing has appeared in Bitch Magazine, The Huffington Post, and on CNN.

David Henry Sterry is author of 16 books and editor of the groundbreaking anthology Hos, Hookers, Call Girls and Rent Boys. His work has appeared in The New York Times Book Review, The Wall Street Journal, NPR, The Huffington Post, The London Times, and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. davidhenrysterry.com

Kitty Stryker co-founded Consent Culture and helps produce the live sex show “Cum & Glitter.” See her at SXSW or Regents College discussing the intersection of sex and technology or therapeutic prodomming.

Sex Worker Literati: NYC, KGB Bar, Sept 15

KGB 7pm 85 E. 4th St. NY

Ex-teen manchild rent boy David Henry Sterry will ride herd over a cavalcade of seamy, steamy stories with an all-star lineup of the finest sex working writer/performers money can buy. Sex Worker Literati showcases writers from the sex business in the follow-up to the groundbreaking and internationally acclaimed anthology Hos, Hookers, Call Girls and Rent Boys, which shocked America by rocketing onto the front page of the Sunday NY Times Book Review. The new book is: Johns, Marks, Tricks, & Chickenhawks, and features PhDs and high school dropouts, soccer moms and hot dommes, $5000 a night call girls and $10 crack hos, penthouse escorts and hard-working rent boys.  

In the exchange of sex for money a window opens into the soul
Come take a peek

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David Henry Sterry: Muckraker, writer, paid to pleasure 82-year old grandmom

Jill Morley: Documentarian, boxer, paid to kick men in the balls

Mary Cyn: Burlesque hotty, writer, paid to service sweater fetishist

Hawk Kinkaid: Spoken word spitter, activist, paid to service men

Jodi Sh. Doff: Provocateur, writer, X-Times Square dirty girl

Dominick: X-Italian stallion stud for hire, rent boy blogger

Jennifer Blowdryer: Fabulist, rocker, worst sex worker in history

Aimee deLong: Midwestern beauty, writer, neat freak showgirl

Perry Brass: Southern Jew, publisher, writer, X-rent boy

Essence Revealed: Actress, writer, dirty dancer

Dear John Letters: An Anthology of Stories from Hookers, Customers, and Assorted Sex Workers

Interview with David Henry Sterry for Johns Marks Ticks & Chickenhawks in San Francisco Weekly by Chris Hall

http://bit.ly/10uB55x
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Johns Marks Tricks & Chickenhawks Beautiful Review from Publishers Weekly

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johns coverThis collection of personal essays by sex workers and their clients vacillates    wildly from hilarious to depressing but never strays from being utterly captivating. Among the more amusing stories are a client with a “sweater fetish”, a woman who paid for her family’s Christmas presents by stepping on a man’s testicles in a pornographic film, and the dominatrix who got fired because she could not remove a client’s tooth. The phone sex operator asked to do cartoon animal voices for a caller is also not to be missed. Candid essays cover everything from the anonymous “captain of industry” with an appreciation for transsexual prostitutes, to the human misery of a pimp who turned out his own girlfriend. Some pieces are more meditative: Fiona Helmsey recalls meeting a kind client at a bachelor party who later died on 9/11, while Dr. Annie Sprinkle discusses her 40 years in the sex industry and her wish for “a more compassionate sex-positive society” in which “prostitutes and johns would be government-subsidized”. Though obviously not for the faint of heart, this book contains some courageous, raw, and intelligent writing that breaks taboos and smashes misconceptions. (Apr.)

http://v2.publishersweekly.com/978-1-59376-507-1

to buy the book: http://amzn.to/Yg0Lp8

book trailer: Who Really Buys & Sells Sex

 

David Henry Sterry @ RISK! on Being a Sex Maniac & a Crackhouse Smackdown

Storytelling event RISK! I tell a story about getting clusterfucked in a crackdown smackdown.  True story!

Having Sex with Craigslist Prostitue/Escort/Ho/Industrial Sex Technician: A True Story

This is from a reading I did at Litquake, in Vesuvio’s, the historic North Beach literary watering hole.

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Rosabelle Selavy Takes Her Clothes Off @ Sex Worker Literati

Big Black Stud Does Monkey Love: Sex Worker Literati Presents Stephen Lloyd

Hos, Hookers, Call Girls and Rent Boys Gets Big Love

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Purchase the Book

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Hos, Hookers, Call Girls and Rent Boys featured on the cover of the Sunday New York Times Book Review.  Written by Toni Bentley. To buy the book click here.


“An eye-opening, occasionally astonishing, brutally honest and frequently funny collection from those who really have lived on the edge in a parallel universe…unpretentious and riveting — but don’t worry, their tales are also graphic, politically incorrect and mostly unquotable in this newspaper…”

“Lele,” a piece by Jodi Sh. Doff, who “grew up in the suburbs as someone else entirely,” recalls Henry Miller’s in-your-face exposition. She tells of a night at Diamond Lil’s on Canal Street, where “Viva’s sitting onstage, legs spread wide.” While her customer is buried and busy, she holds a cigarette in one hand, a drink in the other, and chitchats with a girlfriend about another girlfriend. “Every two minutes or so Viva taps him on the head and he hands her a 20 from a stack of bills he’s holding, never looking up.” We see in this wonderful set piece the whole money/sex connection enacted with raw charm and an immediacy that reaches far beyond this strip club, as the man’s stack of 20s, one by one, becomes hers. Multitasking Viva holds them “folded lengthwise in her cigarette hand.”

“Very brave, very moving.”

“This collection is a wonderful reminder that good writing is not about knowing words, grammar or Faulkner, but having that rare ability to tell the truth, an ability that education and sophistication often serve to conceal. While we are all, I suppose, in the business of surviving, some really are surviving more notably than others. The collective cry for identity found in this unsentimental compilation will resonate deeply — even, I suspect, with those among us who pretend not to pay for sex.” – New York Times


“Sterry — who has written a number of other books, such as “Chicken: Self-Portrait of a Young Man for Rent” and “Unzipped: A True Story of Sex, Drugs, Rollerskates and Murder” — spoke with Express about his idea for the collection, America’s most commonly held misconceptions about the sex industry and whether the book should go in the ‘entertainment’ or the ‘educational’ portion of your bookcase.” –Express interview in the Washington Post 


“’Hos, Hookers, Call Girls and Rent Boys: Professionals Writing on Life, Money and Sex’ is graphic in nature, but full of raw, unfiltered and enlightening tales regarding a side of life not many want to know about; the sex trade. What’s so fascinating and downright addicting is that many of the entries are from individuals one would wrongfully assume to be illiterate, stupid or unworthy to hear from. While proving the stereotype wrong, each contributor delivers his or her side of a lifestyle with poise, passion, nuance and heart.

Real and undeniably shocking, “Hos, Hookers, Call Girls and Rent Boys…” made its debut to encore readers last winter, and I haven’t been able to get it out of my head since. So, it’s one of the most impacting reads yet to strike my world. It widened my eyes, opened my heart and oddly made me want to listen to Madonna’s “Human Nature”—and that’s a good thing.” -Tiffanie Gabrielse, Top Five Reads: Tiff ranks her fave favorite page-turners Encore Online


“This kaleidoscopic portrait of sex work in America is all the more striking for its breadth.” –SF Weekly


The sprawling project offers insight into seemingly all aspects of the sex trade: high-profile celebrities like Xaviera “Happy Hooker” Hollander and Nina Hartley make notable contributors, but it’s the unknown writers who will stick. The selections from the book’s closing section alone, written by members of a writer’s workshop for sex workers, range from triumphant to harrowing, making up for a lack of style or form with passion. Aside from exposing the complex web of relationships among phone sex operators, dancers, massage parlor workers, prostitutes and their customers, the book is heavy with raw emotions ranging from celebratory to shameful, giving armchair sociologists plenty to ponder. It’s not all dark and heavy: Sterry’s own account of his experience as a birthday present for an 82-year-old grandmother is touching and sentimental; veteran performer Annie Sprinkle is characteristically blunt, funny and honest. This volume houses some real gems.” – Publishers Weekly


“The prose in this volume is fresh and the tales are both heart-rending and hilarious, sometimes simultaneously. What’s most striking about the volume is how relevant these intimate and detailed chronicles are for any reader, whether they’ve sold their bodies or just their souls. It’s not just about sex. Rather than ghettoizing prostitutes, strippers and porn actors, editors David Henry Sterry and R.J. Martin have brought together essays from a broad sampling of sex workers, keeping it balanced. There are gripping accounts of writers who struggle to pay bills and get their lives together, who have families, who are human beings. How this crew differs from the straights is they all opted for sex work rather than a drone job.” – New York Press


“In these dark days of brokedom, who amongst us hasn’t lingered a bit too long in the Etc. section of the Craigslist job postings? I mean, I do have dainty feet with nicely trimmed toenails, and if I could make my rent just by stepping on some random businessman’s face, well who’s to judge?? Granted, I am not brave enough (or hard up enough) to go through with such an evening’s work (just yet), but the selection of writers featured in the anthology, Hos Hookers, Call Girls, And Rent Boys were not only brave enough to do it, and keep doing it, but were equally brave enough to write about it.  The first hand accounts, interviews, and poems featured in this book are so well written and organized, that the fact that they all center around the exchanging of sex for money falls into the background, and what’s left is an intimate offering of on-the-job gossip and late night horror stories that have you wanting to spend more time with the writer than the three or four pages a pop you’re given with each one.” – Kelly McClure, Bust Magazine


“In a reading that brought down the house at Busboys and Poets, Sterry’s rendition of “I Was a Birthday Present for an Eighty-Two-Year-Old Grandmother” was both incredibly funny and a fascinating anti-ageist commentary on the things we’re all afraid to ask for (namely, women asking for oral sex).” – Allison McCarthy, Womanist Musings


“Sterry and Martin have managed to bring together a crazy quilt of essays, and work the fabric of the anthology into a rich tapestry… Some of the narratives are polished and savvy, some are as hard and rough as drug addiction that dogs a body and soul. Others reveal a tarnished realism about the painful truths of being in the life. The most compelling are those which give voice to the most vulnerable, in the chapter written by sexually exploited youth. Helping Daddy Pay the Rent is a devastating indictment of societal neglect and despicable acts of parental desperation combust in one abused child that will tear at your heart… The writing is diverse and eclectic, a mirror into the nature of the industry itself. Sex workers with advanced academic degrees, porn stars and anonymous phone operators, exotic dancers in various states of gender and undress, have more in common than sex for money; they are united in their courage to tell their stories. They unabashedly relate their emotions, actions and reactions, in situations from victimization to domination, hunger to satiation; size twelve stiletto wearing cross dressers, full body massage providers, plaster casted exhibitionists all tell their tales in gripping first person I-live(d)-it-so-there’s-no-sugar-coating-it manner. Hearts, heads and other assorted body parts, seedy strip joints, broken down bars and spirits, upscale hotels and high rollers are exposed with unflinching candor and gritty authenticity, bringing to light the world of industrial sex workers.  This book is more than an interesting and affecting read. In its entirety, in its insistence that the gamut of personal histories about sex/money/power/frailty is a reflection of the human condition, it speaks to a broad audience. A bit of paraphrasing may serve to place the content in its most valuable context: Roman philosopher, Terence, said nothing in humanity can be alien to man; and renowned psychoanalyst Carl Jung said that light is revealed by uncovering shadow. HHCG&RB presents the universality of ancient archetypal themes playing out in modern day scenes, and in doing so, uncovers shadow for all.”  –Barnes & Noble.com


“Hos, Hookers, Call Girls and Rent Boys is an extremely valuable and necessary book, not because it tells you what your perspective ought to be, but because it provides more perspectives than pretty much any other book on the topic. It covers more ground than I would have imagined possible. What I love is the fact that, for once, so many different voices are represented within the same space…I can’t help but feel that it should be required reading… precisely because it addresses, head-on, so many of the issues and schisms that have kept those conversations stalled for so long.” – Tiger Beatdown


“There’s something unique about being a member of the sex worker club, an instant camaraderie that bonds one to people who would otherwise be strangers, and this chemistry is something of which Sterry can’t get enough. You might be one of those people who doesn’t believe that sex workers are interesting. You may downright resent the cultural fascination with those who take money to titillate and masturbate strangers. Maybe you’re convinced that the only thing these men and women have going for them are passable looks and a wildly miscalibrated moral compass, and that paying attention to their déclassé life of the body glamorizes underachieving and turpitude.
If you belong to this camp, you probably don’t actually know any sex workers—at least none who would come out to you, and why would they? You’ve made up your mind about them already. You say things like: “Stripping is 1) a way to make a lot more cash than other “unskilled” service jobs [and] 2) incredibly degrading,” then add, “I’ve never been a stripper and I don’t know any strippers.” Never, for that matter, will you actually ever know anything about strippers, because they aren’t going to talk to you. Sex workers just don’t feel comfortable around you. But many do feel comfortable with David Henry Sterry, a former gigolo best known for his memoir Chicken, and what they share with him should convince even the grouchiest non-believers that sex workers are an engaging, unusual tribe. In Hos, Hookers, Call Girls, and Rent Boys, Sterry and co-editor R.J. Martin have assembled an array of poems, interviews, and essays in a professed attempt to humanize sex workers. The mission is an admirable one, but raises the question of how many individuals who don’t already believe in sex workers’ humanity are going to pick up this hefty anthology. It also masks the true motivating energy behind the collection, which is Sterry’s exuberant love of his fellow pros and his desire to celebrate their histories and personalities. There’s something unique about being a member of the sex worker club, an instant camaraderie that bonds one to people who would otherwise be strangers, and this chemistry is something of which Sterry can’t get enough. He refers frequently to this sense of kinship and stresses the uncommonness of his access to such candid and diverse workers. (This bragging about connections ultimately seems a little silly, given that many of the book’s contributors are well-established go-to writers like Audacia Ray, Annie Sprinkle, and Xaviera Hollander.) Sterry’s enthusiasm also manifests as frequent, ill-advised introductions to pieces written by individuals whom he personally knows. As he details first meetings with contributors such as Surgeon and mochaluv, the focus is directed on himself rather than the person he’s touting, and it creates the impression that the writing itself isn’t good enough to hold one’s attention—that without knowing how beautiful Lorelei Lee or Carla Crandall or April Daisy White are, we won’t care about their essays. We do care, though, because in addition to being porn stars and prostitutes, many of these people are talented writers with strong voices and precise observations. They’re natural born storytellers who manage to encapsulate an aspect of their experiences in wonderfully succinct (Sebastian Horsley: “Brothels make possible encounters of extreme intimacy without the intervention of personality.”) and stark, unsentimental ways (Brenda: “I have been arrested eight times for prostitution. It messed up my life.”) Among the most effective pieces is Melissa Petro’s “Mariposa,” an essay on her time spent in Mexico as a white American stripper, an unforgettable script-flip of the highest order (our girls go there to make money?)  Candye Kane reminisces about her sweet and genuine childhood friendship with an exotic dancer, while Sadie Lune explores the decadent excitement that comes from self-consciously inhabiting the role of an archetypal whore. Sterry himself reflects on his session with an 82-year-old woman, an encounter he initially dreads but eventually delights in: ‘I am making this happen. I have such a sense of joy and satisfaction.’ The standout offering, however, is Juliana Piccillo’s “Vice,” an exploration of her relationship with an invasive and needy client that rendered her alternately gratified and repulsed. Piccillo relentlessly mines the conflicting emotions that come with clients who want to play the white knight, a common but relatively undiscussed topic in most sex worker literature. “His fatherly concern co-existed with his hard-on,” she writes. “He left me to reconcile this.” She also admits to coming unintentionally (and practically unwillingly) while working in a job that generally disgusts her, and not wanting to leave in spite of hating the routine—paradoxes that many prostitutes shy away from acknowledging. Some of these essays barely even explicitly address sex work, particularly those culled from SAGE (Standing Against Global Exploitation) workshops. The focus is instead on struggles with addiction, particularly clear and affecting memories, and current personal relationships. The inclusion of these selections may be the book’s greatest, albeit most subtle triumph. It serves as an invaluable reminder that hos and rent boys aren’t as prone to filtering their complex lives through the sieve of clients’ orgasms as are the civilians who debate about and condemn them.” – The Rumpus

Excerpts

Featured Books by David Henry Sterry

chicken-10-year-anniversary-cover-198x300 Master-ceremonies-cover-199x300 essential hos
johns mort HobbyistFinalPRINTCover5.375x8.25inchesCMYK300dpi confessions

Sex Worker Literati- Porn Star Lorelie Lee on Hard Drugs, Raw Sex, Girlfriends & Strangers

Puma Perl & Big Mike: Scissors, Cutting & Whoring @ Sex Worker Literati

Sex Worker Literati: Matthew Lawrence Comes Face-to-Face w/ a Mighty Mighty Cock

Sex Worker Literati: The Preacher & the Barker

Jesus, Big Dick, the Virgin Mary, & the Garden of Eden David Henry Sterry does a Preacher & a strip club barker battling for your soul & flesh.

 

Jodi Sh. Doff @ Sex Worker Literati on Hustling, Drugs & Death

Zoe Hansen Gets Fucked by a Trick @ Sex Worker Literati

X-madame Zoe Hansen makes love connection w/ trick who fucks her royally

Jessica Rabbit Dirty Dances for Santa @ Sex Worker Literati

Akynos Dances Extra Sexy

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Craig’s List, Whoring & Murder on Daily Beast

Article on Daily Beast about sex work, Craig’s List & murder

Sam Benjamin, Ivy League Pornographer, on Porn, Sex, Love & Failure

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Sex Worker Literati on Black Book Thanks Good Night Mr Lewis Sun Dec 19, 9PM

“They Walk Among Us” is something from a ‘50’s space invaders movie, a tag line from the McCarthy era, and an accurate description of sex workers in clubs. The oldest profession thrives in late night venues, where liquored-up potential Johns with about as much chance of scoring as the New York Jets are easy marks. Tables filled with big spenders invariably attract ladies of the evening, especially when they’ve already been agitated by waitresses who in some quarters have been described as “half-hookers.” The man who just laid out $5,000 on sticky liquids probably isn’t going to get laid after all, and there lies an opportunity.
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There are plenty of people looking for opportunity in this big city. After all that Beau Joie champagne, opportunities seem to present themselves. The girls, and sometimes the guys, walk among us. They are the models or actors who never get up early for a casting, are between agents. They are the beauties with no visible means of support other than the ones provided by Victoria’s Secret. It’s done with a whisper and a touch. It’s advertised by word of mouth. It’s everywhere. Some are actual escorts looking for one last score to top off the night. These working girls slip past door people with a wink and an air kiss. The door people wink back and watch them slip back into the night a half hour later with their prey in tow. There are unspoken and spoken rules of behavior, but the pros know how to handle business and the people working in clubs understand how things work.

In Vegas it’s all around, as obvious as the neon, but here you have to squint a little, ignore the lights and sound to see it. The clubs are filled with the unemployed, who wear nice shoes, live in apartments, and stay out late every night. Some actually have parental support or have their own money, but many depend on the kindness of strangers.

With that in mind, it’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas everywhere I ho. This Friday at 9pm at the Bowery Poetry Club, my pal Zoe Hanson will host her Sex Worker Literati Ho-Ho-Ho-Holiday Party. It’s readings from ho’s, hookers, call girls, and rent boys—with help from friends and allies. It is an xxxmas xtravaganza, with stories from Raff from Cycle Sluts from Hell, Michael Alago & Keith Caputo, and many more perverts or reformed perverts. Speaking of which, our favorite rabbit, Heather Litteer, is dancing. Zoe told me, “These monthly readings have picked up a rather nice following, and I enjoy hosting. I have a Sonny & Cher thing going with David Sterry, it’s rather amusing to take the piss out of him, which my audience finds hilarious! Of course done with kindness & just a touch of Zoe domination!” From the press release:

“Sex Worker Literati is the slutty child of the groundbreaking and internationally acclaimed anthology Hos, Hookers, Call Girls and Rent Boys, which shocked America by rocketing onto the front page of the Sunday New York Times Book Review, and gave voice to PhDs and high school dropouts, soccer moms and jailbirds, $5,000 a night call girls, $10 crack hos and hard-working rent boys. David Henry Sterry and Zoe Hansen will ride herd over an all-star lineup of the finest ho writer/performers money can buy.”

There will be a sex worker quiz and giveaway, and there’s no cover – the first time this crew hasn’t charged in decades. The press release comes with a tag line that sounds rather clever: “In the exchange of sex for money a window opens into the soul.” I will ask one of my ex-wives to explain it to me, they should know.

Besides David Henry Sterry, who is described as “Ex-teen manchild ho, ex-sitcom actor, Huffington Post muckraker, and author,” and Zoe “Ex-madame, ex-junky, ex-hooker, and memoirist,” readers will include Mary Raffaele, a former metal queen singer in Cycle Sluts From Hell, who wrote a memoir chronicling misadventures of a Midwestern girl who moved to New York to seek glamour in the lowest of places; Christina Cicchelli, a AVN nominee and Feminist Porn Award winner; Matthew Lawrence, a writer and curator who will tell tales of why he wasn’t a very good escort; Keith Caputo, ex-Life Of Agony front man who once worked with Flea & Red Hot Chili Peppers, Coldplay, Nine Inch Nails, Björk, David Bowie, and the Pixies; and Michael Alago, who is famous for discovering Metallica. Michael is a talent scout, producer and writer who worked with Nina Simone, Johnny Rotten, Rob Zombie and Cyndi Lauper. He also turned to photography and put out the book “Rough Gods.” This event will of course attract all the unusual suspects including sweet, innocent me. http://www.blackbookmag.com/article/ho-ho-hos-sex-at-the-holiday-party/23976

New York Times Love, Heartache and Hollywood, & a Wild Thing Dirty Dancing

As 2010 turns into a bent shriveled old man, and 2011 prepares to be contracted out of the universe’s uterus, I’m filled with a profound sense of gratitude and happiness that I am not yet dead. Yes, it’s true, 2010 saw George Bush and Justin Bieber join Paris Hilton in the rank of best-selling authors. But on the upside, South Africa put on a glorious World Cup this summer, and I think it was a great sign that the beautiful delicate artistry of Spain triumphed over the rape-pillage’n’plunderism of the barbaric Vikings. Plus, California didn’t drop off into the ocean, and Olive somehow turned 3. So for me, that’s a good year.

The Essential Guide Pitchapalooza Tour is now halfway done, and while we had some soul sucking lows (the DC bookstore didn’t even know we were coming, and had 0 of our books on hand), we were lucky enough to end on a note of Xtreme triumph. In Huntington, Long Island of all places.

NY TIMES PITCHAPALOOZA ARTICLE: http://bit.ly/gw99nh

Book Revue is a very good bookstore. It has an astounding bookseller/event coordinator named Julianne Wernersbach. She hooked us up with a feature article in Newsday before the event. And a beautiful little mini-doc.

PITCHAPALOOZA MINI-MOVIE -TRY NOT TO CRY http://bit.ly/f8hH2F

WHITE KNUCKLES, CRIME & PUNISHMENT, & TRIUMPH IN LONG ISLAND: http://bit.ly/dVzatz

Which is all very odd because we’ve now done Pitchapaloozas from Dayton to Denver, Pittsburgh to Portland, Manhattan to Miami, Seattle to Tempe, Clinton to Pasadena, and Cleveland to Hollywood.
#1: The Essential Guide Rocks America Tour Kicks Off: http://bit.ly/dbk39k
#2: 1st Stop Washington DC: the Borders Incident: http://bit.ly/cQ11fj
#3: NPR Love in DC: http://bit.ly/9bCUcl
#4: Pat Conroy & Scarlet O’Hara On the Road to Pittsburgh: http://bit.ly/aVBAH5
#5: Death @ the Bookstore – The Murder of Joseph-Beth: http://bit.ly/dpYTnj
#6: Miss Ida, Daryl & Olive Chillin in Steel Town http://bit.ly/aLZS22
#7: The Beauty of Loganberry Books & the Universe’s Lollipop http://bit.ly/abOTPR
#8: Dawn Cracks Early in Cleveland http://bit.ly/axLCDP
#9: Finding Happiness @ Books & Co & the Dayton Airport Blues http://bit.ly/cwd6lo
#10: Stuck in Dayton on the Day That Would Never End http://bit.ly/cfipH1
#11: B & N Manhattan Pitchapalooza on Publishers Perspective. http://bit.ly/bcHFaZ
#12: I Love LA! –Hollywood Disaster & the Jewish Men-Skirt http://bit.ly/9Ci5dB
#13: Vromans Versus Dancing with the Stars, Riding a Dinosaur, & a Minnie Mouse Who Needs $ http://bit.ly/bXYdQ8
#14: Coming Home to Portland, Autumn Leaves, and Packing Them in at Powell’s http://bit.ly/fs326Q
#15: Seattle: Mexican Prisons, Sea-Salted Pate & Losing Your Innocence to Jimmy Carter http://bit.ly/fZKSiG
#16 Phoenix: Irving Berlin, Women Who Run With Wolves and a Random Act of Kindness http://bit.ly/gJRp0R
#17: Miami Book Festival: Versailles, Cheesecake Popsicles, and Sexo PARA Dummies http://bit.ly/dZsInz

We also did our first live Twitter event. Here it is on Huffington Post:

POPPING MY CYBER CHERRY ON TWITTER: http://bit.ly/dUtYck

We feel blessed to have met so many madly passionate writers and bravura booksellers. Already many of the writers who pitched to us are being wooed by agents and editors, which excites us no end. Because we are the Book Doctors, making books that are better one author at the time. We’re starting again on January 5. Here’s our schedule.

If you know of any group, association or venue with writers who’d like help getting successfully published, send them our way. We’re also offering this holiday special. For you, or as a gift for any writer you know, get a free consultation with the purchase of The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published. Either do it through our website and send us e-mail verification. Or call: 310-463-2068. Operators are standing by.

FREE $100 BOOK DOCTORS CONSULTATION W/ PURCHASE OF BOOK: http://www.thebookdoctors.com/buy-the-book/

SEX WORKER LITERATI: ZOE HANSEN’S HO HO HO HOLIDAY PARTY: http://on.fb.me/fA5lul.

Links for your viewing pleasure:
ROSABELLE SELAVY: WILD THING DIRTY DANCES http://bit.ly/i367iz
AIMEE DELONG: FANTASY BOOTH CHICK & MILITARY DUDE W/ GLOWSTICK UP HIS ASS http://bit.ly/f5HzO8
SCOTT UPPER: THE LONGEST HOUR EVER, TICKLING & THE TRICK’S MOM http://bit.ly/hysLrE
PUMA PERL & BIG MIKE: SCISSORS, CUTTING & WHORING http://bit.ly/eErCPO
DAVID HENRY STERRY: PAINFUL SEX@MY FIRST ORGY http://bit.ly/f7qBCt

Bonus material:
ME TALKING ABOUT SOCCER ON NPR. http://bit.ly/esGJrr

I hope everyone has a Happy Holiday, and a ravishing New Year. May all your dreams come true in 2011. xox D

“My Favorite Book: Chicken”

I’m an avid reader, but when trying to figure out something suitable for my favorite book entry, I had to think of something that I can read over and over again. My book shelf is overflowing with books that I love, and some of them I’ve read more than once. But most books, I read once, love, and then never read again. Other books I read, and then re-read some years later. But this book I’ve probably read a dozen times. This is the book I generally re-read when I run out of things to read.

It’s called (long title) Chicken: Self-Portrait of a Young Man for Rent, by David Henry Sterry. I don’t even remember how I came across this book. I don’t know if I bought it or it was given to me, but I know that I’ve never loaned it to anyone or sold it, because I just can’t part with it. Around the time I came across it, I was probably 19 or 20, and I only wanted to read edgy things, whatever that means.

It’s about a guy that moves to Hollywood to go to college and gets caught up in the world of male escort services. It’s not as bad as it sounds, really. It’s hilarious. The sarcasm written into the pages is unparalleled to anything I’ve ever read. Every single chapter makes me laugh out loud. The characters are unique, and each one of them has their own quirk.

The best part? It’s non-fiction. I highly recommend it for a good laugh, and just a good read.

Find Chicken at your local independent bookstore:  Indiebound chicken 10 year anniversary coverAmazon

http://www.luuux.com/entertainment/day-4-my-favorite-book

 

Time Out NY: The Perfect Sunday, Nov 28: Whitney, Blue Note & Sex Worker LIterati

Time Out NY

Give a nice shout-out: The Perfect Sunday Nove 28: go to the park, the Whitney, a Broadway show, the Blue Note, & Sex Worker Literati, @ Bowery Poetry Club, 7pm.

Rosabelle Selavy- Wild Thing Dirty Dances

The sultry sensual wild thing animal Rosabelle Selavy dirty dances at Sex Worker Literati.

Rose the Sex Worker, Steven, & His Shit-stained Tighty Whities

Rose, a sarcastic sex worker, gives some money back after Steven, in his shit-stained tighty whities, buys 2 1/2 Masturbation shows, read by writer poet Aimee De Long at Sex Worker Literati.

Aimee DeLong: Fantasy Booth Chick & Military Dude w Glowstick Up His Ass

A sarcastic fantasy booth sex worker chick services a military dude who puts a glowstick up his ass, and when he’s done, tells her: “You’re the real heroes.” By writer Aimee DeLong at Sex Worker Literati.

Sisyphus, Boy Prostitute in See-Through French Maid’s Outfit & Sexy Lesbians at Sex Worker Literati

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Time Out Gives Love to Sex Worker Literati – Sun Nov 28, 7 pm BPC

http://newyork.timeout.com/arts-culture/books/593721/sex-worker-literati

Rocking Long Island, Death at Joseph-Beth, Killing in the Big Apple, & an Ivy League Pornographer

As Thanksgiving rolls its turkey neck towards us, Christmas looms ominously around the corner, and one more year of my life expires, we’re super stoked about the next stop on the Essential Guide Rocks America tour: We’ll be rocking LI, NY, Thursday, Dec 2, 7pm. Pitchapalooza: Book Revue in Huntington Long Island, with special All-Star publishing celebrity guests James Levine of the Levine Greenberg Literary Agency, and Mauro DiPreta, Vice President of It Books, ( HarperCollins). Everyone who buys a book gets a free consultation, worth $100. http://bit.ly/dlNa6p

It’s been an insane month, an insane fall, an insane year.  We just performed in 13 cities over the course of three weeks: from the Big Apple to Tinseltown; Miami to Seattle; Portland to Pittsburgh; Denver to St. Louis to San Francisco.  We had dizzying triumphs and brutal failures.  Our book, The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published was officially released on November 3, and we haven’t even had time to celebrate yet.  I’ve toured by myself, with the Sex Worker Arts Show, with Arielle, and with the stars from the Chippendale’s Male Strip Show.  I’ve never toured with a three-year-old.  Especially a three-year old who is Olive.  She more fun than all of them.  We were worried about what was going to be like to shlep her around America with us, but she proved by far the most resilient and cheerful member of the team.  Here are our reports from the road, deep in the trenches of the publishing wars.

Denver Pitchapalooza on New Books West http://bit.ly/9yG2on

Big Love from the Big Read Festival in St. Louis bit.ly/akI1Xg

Movie: Great Book Pitch: Winner of St Louis Pitchapalooza, Zach Stovall pitching his book about being a fat bald white guy http://bit.ly/hV6LAU

The Essential Guide Rocks America Tour Kicks Off: http://bit.ly/dbk39k
#2: 1st Stop Washington DC: the Borders Incident: http://bit.ly/cQ11fj
#3: NPR Love in DC: http://bit.ly/9bCUcl
#4: Pat Conroy & Scarlet O’Hara On the Road to Pittsburgh: http://bit.ly/aVBAH5
#5: Death @ the Bookstore – The Murder of Joseph-Beth in Pitsburgh: http://bit.ly/dpYTnj

#6: Miss Ida, Daryl & Olive Chillin in Steel Town http://bit.ly/aLZS22

#7: The Beauty of Loganberry Books & the Universe’s Lollipop http://bit.ly/abOTPR

#8: Dawn Cracks Early in Cleveland  http://bit.ly/axLCDP

#9: An NPR Homey, Finding Happiness @ Books & Co & the Dayton Airport Blues  http://bit.ly/cwd6lo

#10: Stuck in Dayton on the Day That Would Never End http://bit.ly/cfipH1

Our awesome Editor Goddess Savanna calls it as she sees it on our Pitchapalooza Barnes & Noble, 86th St., with publishing titans Larry Kirshbaum and Bob Simon.  http://bit.ly/bcHFaZ

The Art of the Pitch and our B & N Manhattan Pitchapalooza on Publishers Perspective. http://bit.ly/bcHFaZ

#11: I Love LA! –Hollywood & the Jewish Men-Scared http://bit.ly/9Ci5dB

#12: Vromans Versus Dancing with the Stars, Riding a Donasaur, & a Minnie Mouse Who Needs $ http://bit.ly/bXYdQ8

Arielle talks about five books that will help you turn your passion into income, and dispenses wisdom from her years as a literary agent and entrepreneur on LearnVest. http://bit.ly/hGG1OW

Bradley Charbonneau of Likoma Island & the Book Doctors talk about Effective Author Websites http://bit.ly/bmW8Fj

Arielle interviews Robert Grey of Shelf Awareness on seven ways to get an independent book store to stock your book. http://bit.ly/ea3UJ2

Sex Worker Literati  – Sun Nov 28, 7pm, Bowery Poetry Club

The story of How Hos, Hookers, Call Girls & Rent Boys Ended Up in Bed with TV’s Friends Co-Creator http://bit.ly/hG8nVN

Very excited to be riding herd with Zoe Hanson over another cavalcade of Glamorous yet seedy art babes, Ivy League pornographers, filthy poets and nasty dancers from the belly of the beast.

MOLLY CRABAPPLE http://mollycrabapple.com/ – Illustrator for Marvel Comics, NY Times, Wall Street Journal, Neil Gaiman, & your neighborhood fire eater. Creator of Scarlett Takes Manhattan and The Puppet Makers, an upcoming web series for DC Comics. Creator of Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School, alt.drawing salons in over 100 cities. Speaker at Museum of Modern Art, & South by Southwest. Caffeine addict.

SAM BENJAMIN http://www.ivyleaguepornographer.com/ – Brown University graduate, a former go-go dancer, and the director of over one thousand Los Angeles-based interracial gangbangs, gay and straight. His book, “Confessions of An Ivy League Pornographer,” is a memoir of a youth well spent.

PUMA PERL http://pumaperl.blogspot.com/– Puma Perl is a lower east side poet/writer/performer/producer/ex-narcotics enthusiast/recovering junkie who relives it all in her work. She is the author of Belinda and Her Friends and knuckle tattoos, and, with Big Mike, is half of DDAY Productions. She believes in the inclusion of gratuitous sex and pointless profanity in her writing and performance art..

BIG MIKE – Creator of “Big Mike’s Big Show,” author of two books, Sibling Rivalry and 81 Pounds, and was crowned Best Neptune in the Mermaid Parade, 2004.

DR. ALEX KINNEY – PhD in Pornology, Professor of Filth & Debauchery, elocutionist, professional dominator, rough trade specialist, hedonist scholar, and hung like a horse.

DAVID HENRY STERRY – Former teen manchild ho, satirist, muckraker and author of 12 books, including Hos, Hookers, Call Girls and Rent Boys, which is being made into a dance piece to take the Lincoln Center by a top Hollywood producer, as well as Chicken, which is being made into a TV show by Showtime. www.davidhenrysterry.com

ZOE HANSEN – L.Z. Hansen came to New York City in and as an is a1984 at seventeen years old from London England searching for the American Dream. She found it wearing crotchless panties and 6 inch f*ck-me pumps, running a high-end Manhattan brothel. Now she writes and performs about it. Check it out. http://lzhansen.com/

MISS MARY CYN – classically trained actor with a BFA from NYU who takes her clothes off in bars. She is the founder and co-producer of Original Cyn, the partingest show in New York, and a member of the troop Epic win, Burlesque FOR nerds, BY nerds. Find her on facebook or look her up at www.marycyn.com

http://www.bowerypoetry.com/

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=158916630815835&index=1

With Thanksgiving a couple of days away, I feel very thankful.  For our amazing publisher, Workman http://www.workman.com, our Editor Goddess, Savannah, and all of our family there, from Susie Bolotin to a beloved colleague who passed away recently, the extraordinary copyeditor Lynn Strong, http://bit.ly/gVdcz.  Thankful for all the amazing panelists we had, Larry Kirschbaum of LKJ http://www.ljkliterary.com/ Bob Miller new Publisher of Workman, Martha Moody http://www.marthamoody.net/ Nancy Martin http://www.nancymartinmysteries.com/ Lee Montgomery of Tin House http://www.tinhouse.com/ Michael Schaub of bookslut http://www.bookslut.com/authors.php?author=Michael%20Schaub and Alison Hallet of the Portland Mercury http://www.portlandmercury.com/ Vince Rause, Anne Trubeck http://www.annetrubek.com/ Sharon Short, author of Death by Deep Dish Pie http://www.sharonshort.com/ Allan Fallow of AARP http://www.aarp.org/ Electroboy himself Andy Behrman http://www.electroboy.com. Betsy Lerner, author of Forest for the Trees  http://betsylerner.wordpress.com/ . Johnny Evison http://www.jonathanevison.com/ and Kurtis Lowe in Seattle. I’m thankful for the enormous kindness we received from our good friend Jessica Goldstein, who threw an amazing book party for us in Washington DC, and invited all for NPR friends.  I’m also thankful for all the incredible booksellers and lovers who gave us so much generosity and expertise.  Jim Levine of Levine Greenberg Literary Agency http://www.levinegreenberg.com/ Steven Sorrentino, Director of Author Promotions for Barnes & Noble, and Edwin Tucker, CRM of 86th St. B & N http://www.barnesandnoble.com/ Harriet Logan of the incredible Loganberry Books http://www.loganberrybooks.com/ Kevin Sampsell http://kevinsampsell.com/ of Powell’s at Barnes & Noble, Dayton NPR book guy Shaun Yu http://www.dpr.org/people/shaun-yu.htm, Sharon Kelly Roth at Books and Company http://www.booksandco.com/ Ed Nowatski of Publishers Perspective http://publishingperspectives.com/, Mitchell Kaplan of Books and Books http://www.booksandbooks.com/ and the Miami International Book Festival.  My sister Liz, Daisy White, and all the other great babysitters who help us out with Olive.  Thanks to all the great writers for all their amazing pitches.  And of course I give thanks for Olive and Arielle, my ex-agent and current wife.

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