Power to the Poets – Penthouse 6/96

Hey, it’s my first bit of print fame! This article is so nice it makes me blush…I still find it a little hard to believe that it actually got printed. It starts with an excerpt from my first novella (they expurgated a bit of the raunchier language for their gentle audience) — hope you like it!

Penthouse Forum – June 1996
Hot Tech – Tomorrow’s Sex Toys Today – by Al Hazrad

Power to the Poets

“…I was talking about her breasts. Oh, Janet has beautiful breasts. Small, but round and firm like an orange, or maybe even a grapefruit. She likes to have them kneaded, and to have you bite the nipples while you give it to her. She likes it pretty rough. You wouldn’t think it to look at her, would you? Such a delicate beauty with her cat-green eyes and her marigold hair, but she likes it best when you push her up against a wall and f*** her till she screams. You wouldn’t think it, would you?”

Tommy’s voice was growing fuzzy with ale and Michael gently pulled the mug away from him.

“No, you wouldn’t think it, Tommy.”

“And her c***! Oh, she has a lovely vagina. Warm and welcoming, just begging for a long thick penis to pound into it, over and over, harder and harder, until she’s lying there on the floor beneath you, begging you to…”

“I think that’s enough, Tommy.” Michael stood up, suddenly unable to take any more. Even for friendship’s sake. “Why don’t we go for a walk? I think you could use some night air.”

— Mary Anne Mohanraj

Young writers quite rightly complain about the increasing difficulty of getting published these days. But increasingly, young writers refuse to wait until they are old writers to enjoy their first serious publication; instead, more and more resort to electronic self-publishing to reach audiences. Recently we came across a wonderful — and wonderfully erotic — case in point.

Mary Anne Mohanraj writes clear, well-built, and finely finished short
fiction and poetry — and what she writes is often filled with highly
charged sexual romanticism. During her college career, Mohanraj, who
is now 24, had some poetry published in small-press journals. But for
the past five years, she has published the bulk of her work on-line.
You can find a sizable cross section of her writing at her home page,
Much of the writing at her site is sexual in subject — her poetry
tends more towards the romantic, her fiction towards the unwaveringly

“I gravitated towards eroticism because I think it should be done,”
Mohanraj says. “It’s a neglected area of writing. A lot of what’s out
there is badly written, but ther’s a lot of potential for good things
to be done. As a feminist, I write about strong women. Not all of
them are treated well, but I try to make them real.”

If that sounds like rather lofty motivation for writing about the old
in-out, it also evokes the issue of another, possibly too-pragmatic
reason. Sex sells — or, in Mohanraj’s case, attracts: despite the
cacophonic info-babble that is the World Wide Web, Mohanraj had
150,000 “hits,” or visits to her pages, in the six months since she
started counting. Romantic poetry being an undeniably rarefied taste
thses days, it seems mostly likely that readers visit and revisit her
site primarily for yet another peek at her top-drawer, knickers-down

Mohanraj’s stories project a sense of innocence and wonder about
sexuality. Many are about betrayal and repression and even violence;
yet all have a vibrancy, a positive aura of healthy and strength about
them. These are wonderfully young stories, from a writer
well worth a read — and whose works we never would have seen had she
not taken the time and trouble to launch them into cyberspace.

As for her literary goals, Mohanraj plans to concentrate more on
science fiction and fantasy — not surprising for a person who seems
quite at home with cutting-edge technology.

“I designed my home page myself,” she says. “I just read the html
[hypertext markup lanuage] manuals on-line and took it from there.”

Of course, the one slight problem with on-line publishing is that it
doesn’t pay well. In fact, often doesn’t pay at all. It has started
to pay off for Mohanraj, though. Recently the editors of
Puritan, the upscale, hardcore glossy magazine, saw her work
on the Net and offered her an actual living-wage story assignment.
The result is her novella Caught Between Two Angry Women, an erotic fantasy based on a retelling of the old Childe ballad about Thomas the Rhymer. Here’s a taste before leaving:

A lone man ran as though the hounds of hell chased after him. He ran
across the moors of Scotland, the gasping of his breath harsh and
heavy in the night. He ran naked, his long thin legs eating up the
miles at a pace an Olympic runner would envy.

The man was not normally so fast, but over the last seven years he’d
learned some small magics. He could cast a glamour over himself, so
that he looked like a rabbit rather than a man. He could lend speed
to his feet, and cast illusions behind him, creating vast lakes and
impassable thorn hedges and towering forests. He could, if he had the
breath for it, even cast spells of confusion behind him, so that his
pursuers forgot what they were doing and wandered away.

He could do all this and yet he was helpless. For the hounds of hell
were not behind him; they stood before him, at the end of this
terrible journey. What was behind him was far worse — an angry and
rejected woman, and a powerful one at that. Thomas McLeod knew that
before the night was out, she and her court would find him, and drag
him up onto their white horses, and she would throw him to the hounds
of hell herself…

And that’s just the beginning.