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Love & Other Illusions: Short Stories by Marcy Sheiner

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Finally! A collection of deep, delightful stories on love, friendship, joy and pain by… oui, c’est moi!

For decades I’ve been editing stories by other writers, and in between I’ve written a few myself. Now they’re ready to face the world as a collection. And no, they aren’t sex stories, which some readers expect from me, since I’ve published plenty of those. The eleven short stories in Love and Other Illusions are mainstream literary fiction, some sexy (I hope) but nothing explicit.  I’d like to think they still generate heat and passion: I was feeling passionate when I wrote them.

As I say in the introduction, I’ve always been drawn to novels—both reading and writing them—more than to short stories, just because I always want more, and I’m sorry when a story ends. But in the time I spent preparing these for publication, the genre began to grow on me, and I developed more respect for the form. I’ve even been reading more of other writers’ short stories.

I’ve edited a dozen collections of women’s erotica, wrote the self-help  Sex for the Clueless, and a memoir, Perfectly Normal. I also ghosted eight books of nonfiction under other people’s names. These stories, however, are a different breed: all were written by me, are credited to me, and are being promoted by me. (My publisher, the brilliant Jean Marie Stine, says the time for humility has passed!) The point is, you never know if and when there’ll be more where these stories came from,so don’t miss reading them.

Brief story synopses:

ocean.jpgSAVING MY LIFE: In which Uncle Yernie pulls his little niece out of the crashing ocean, and saves her life in more ways than one.

LO SIENTO: Martha leaves her live-in boyfriend at home and goes to Mexico to ponder their relationship. Will she leave him? Will she stay? I’m not telling!

(Lo Siento means “I’m sorry” in Spanish.)

WHAT: The anxieties of commitment are overcome and love conquers all—doesn’t it?

LETTER DELIVERED AS A DREAM: A couple share a summer idyll with a colony of ants in this short-short story.

A TRAGEDY OF CHILDHOOD: An older woman is hurtled back to her past when she befriends a young mother and toddler, and helps the child overcome her fear of escalators.Escalator

THE UNIVERSE WILL PROVIDE:  Will it? The answer would be a spoiler, so you’ll just have to read it to find out.

EYE OF THE BEHOLDER: What makes a woman beautiful? How do her looks affect her life and personality? Her loves and her friendships? Even her career is affected in one way or another, especially if she’s extremely beautiful or extremely not. Every woman privately knows—even if she won’t admit it—that what she looks like is one of the most basic yet complicated issues in our lives.

images-1THE COUCH: Q: When is a couch more than a piece of furniture? A: When it’s sold as part of a self-improvement plan.

A woman’s decision to sell her couch brings the house of cards she’s built, and the man who’s in it, crashing down around her.

BAD AIR DAY: What begins as another bad air day for asthmatic Sharon ends up just the opposite when someone new comes into her life. Caution: This story might Feed your Head with its mind-reading and other psychic phenomena.

heartstitchesbrokenTHE SOUND OF ONE HEART BREAKING: As war breaks out in the desert, two people on the precipice of a relationship discover they  are also breaking out—with herpes!

NEVER LOOK BACK: The most popular story among baby boomers these days seems to be the loving reunion of high school sweethearts, years or decades later. In this case he’s a Vietnam vet, she’s an anti-war ex-hippie. Can they find each other again?

THE FOURTH AND FINAL MARRIAGE OF SADIE NUSSBAUM:  When octogenarian Bernie Solomon has a heart attack, his adulterous affair with Sadie Nussbaum is exposed. After he dies, his agoraphobic wife doesn’t even notice he’s gone, while Sadie plays the role of grieving widow and his daughter finds out about them.



I’m always re-discovering and revising my poetry, then throwing them up on my blog and/or submitting them to poetry journals. Here are a few I was playing with today.


Prose Poem: Zen Dream

Scene 1. I’m flying thru the sky, very high, super conscious, seeing blue, only blue, incredible blue, against a backdrop of  white clouds, and I’m ecstatic, so ecstatic I’m crying—not only in the dream but for real, crying in ecstacy. I’m holding onto my breasts, one in each hand. Suddenly I land with a thud on a city street. Two men approach and I offer each of them a breast.

Scene 2. I’m sitting on a street corner with Larry, eating a slab of rare London broil. A voice says to me: “You were pulled down by sex.” Pause. Another voice says: “You were pulled down by eating meat.” Pause. Then comes a third voice to say with dry finality, “You were pulled down by gravity!”

(That was literally a dream I had some time in the 1980s. Every time I read it I laugh harder; I think it’s hilarious.)

Cascades WA

The River’s Revenge

In Mississippi so I hear
the mighty river’s raging
swelling up to crazy heights
gathering power as she goes.

Goin’ down to Louisiana –
Sorry but I can’t take you.

Tossing aside the houses in her path
little boxes all abandoned
by their weeping owners.
Evacuations. Loss. Disbelief.

Haven’t seen nothin’ like this since 1937

A traitor to my species
I’m rooting for the river:
you go, Miss Issippi!
Show them who’s in charge!

Did we think we could go on
in greedy arrogance forever?
Now we can’t ignore the force
of the river’s stunning roar–

Sorry, but you wrote the book.
I just went with the flow.

Chuck Berry

Hail Hail Rock & Roll

Two a.m. in the 7-ll
The kid behind the counter
wearing 3 pounds of silver
and 18 tin buttons.
I think to myself:

Ain’t nothin in the world
this kid and I agree on.

“Up in the mornin’ and out to school”
booms Chuck from the speakers.
I start twitchin’
and the kid cracks a smile
and we both say in unison:
Best song ever written!

Publications List

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Books (Author)

IllusionsCoverLove and Other Illusions: Short Stories. Rennaissance E-Books / Kindle @ 2013

HTTSHalfway to the Stars: A Novel, Smashwords, 2010

Sex For the Clueless: How to Enjoy a More Erotic and Exciting Life. Citadel Books, 2001

Perfectly Normal

Perfectly Normal: A Mother’s Memoir.
People With Disabilities Press, 2002

In Crowd Event

Connecting With The IN Crowd: How to Network, Hang Out and Play With Millionaires Online, By Brandon Wade With Marcy Sheiner. Bush St Press, SF, 2011

Books (Editor)

Her 4

Her 5

Her 6

Herotica 4 Plume, 1996
Herotica 5 Down There Press, 1998
Herotica 6 Down There Press, 1999
Best Women’s Erotica 2000 Cleis Press
Best Women’s Erotica 2001 Cleis Press
Best Women’s Erotica 2002 Cleis Press
Best Women’s Erotica 2003 Cleis Press
Best Women’s Erotica 2004 Cleis Press
Best Women’s Erotica 2005 Cleis Press
Best of Best Women’s Erotica. Cleis Press, 2005
The Oy of Sex: Jewish Women Write Erotica. Cleis Press, 1999
Ripe Fruit: Erotica for Well-Seasoned Lovers. Cleis Press, 2002

Best EroticaBWE 02 BWE 01 BWE 05

Oy of Sex

Anthologies (Contributor)

Herotica 1 ed. Susie Bright. Down There Press, 1988.
Herotica 2 ed. Susie Bright. Plume, 1991.
Herotica 3 ed. Susie Bright, Plume, 1994.

Bi Any Other Name: Bisexual People Speak Out, ed. Loraine Hutchins and Lani Kaahumanu. Alyson Publications, 1991.

Virgin Territory, ed. Shar Rednour. Richard Kasak Books, 1995.
Forbidden Passages: Writings Banned in Canada, ed Pat Califia. Cleis Press, 1995
Best American Erotica 1997, ed. Susie Bright. Simon & Schuster, 1997
Whores and Other Feminists, ed. Jill Nagle. Routledge, 1997.
Hot Ticket: Tales of Lesbians, Sex and Travel, ed. Linnea Due. Alyson Books, 1997.
Spectacle: Women on Popular Culture, ed. Richard Aguilar. Pachanga Press, 1997.
Electric: Best Lesbian Erotic Fiction,ed. Nicole Foster. Alyson Books, 1999.
Femme: Feminists, Lesbians and Bad Girls, ed. Laura Harris and Elizabeth Crocker. Routledge, 2000.
Aqua Erotica: 18 Stories for a Steamy Bath, ed. Mary Anne Mohanraj, Melcher Media, 2000.
Exhibitions: Tales of Sex in the City, ed. Michele Davidson. Arsenal Pulp Press, 2000.


Once Upon a Time: Erotic Fairy Tales for Women, ed. Michael Ford, Richard Kasak Books, 1996.

Starf*cker: A Twisted Collection of Superstar Fantasies, ed. Shar Rednour. Alyson Books, 2001.
Hot & Bothered 3: Short Short Fiction on Lesbian Desire, ed. Karen X. Tulchinsky. Arsenal Pulp Press, 2001.
Guilty Pleasures: True Tales of Erotic Indulgence, ed. M. Christian. Black Books, 2002.
Best Fetish Erotica, ed. Cara Bruce. Cleis Press, 2002.
Five-Minute Erotica: 35 Passionate Tales of Sex and Seduction, ed. Carol Queen. Running Press, 2003.
Best S/M Erotica: Extreme Tales of Extreme Sex, ed. M. Christian. Black Books, 2003.
Whipped: 20 Erotic Stories of Female Dominance, ed. Carol Queen. Penguin, 2005.
The Essential Hip Mama: Writing from the Cutting Edge of Parenting, Ed. Ariel Gore. Seal Press, 2004.
My Body of Knowledge, ed. Karen Meyers, Physcial Conditions Press, San Francisco 2007.



Crossdressing: Erotic Short Stories, edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel, Cleis Press, 2007.

Love You To Pieces: Creative Writers on Raising a Child With Special Needs, Edited by Suzanne Kamata, Beacon, 2008.

My Baby Rides the Short Bus 
By Yantra Bertelli, Jennifer Silverman, Sarah Talbot – PM Press (2009) – Paperback

Tarnished: True Tales of Innocence Lost (Volume 1) by Shawna Kenney and Cara Bruce

Poetry Journals and Anthologies (Contributor)

The Wild Iris #5, Wild Iris Collective. Berkeley, CA, 1978.
A Shout In The Street, ed. Joe Cuomo. Queens College, New York, 1982.
West Wind Review: Fiction and Poetry. Ashland, OR, Spring 1987.
Bad Haircut Quarterly, ed. Kimberlea Richards. Grove Gardens, CA, 1987 and 1989.
Bubbe Meisehs by Shayneh Maidelehs/Jewish Granddaugters on Our Grandmothers,
ed. Lesléa Newman, Herbooks, Santa Cruz, CA 1989.

Slipstream #10: Social/Political Protest, Niagara Falls, NY 1990.
Five Fingers Review #8/9, San Francisco 1990.
A Loving Testimony: Remembering Loved Ones Lost to AIDS, ed. Leslea Newman. Crossing Press, Freedom, CA, 1995

First Light: Poems, Stories and Essays of the Winter Holiday Season. Calypso Poublications, New York 1997.


The Other Side of the Postcard, Ed. Devorah Major. City Lights Press, 2004

Smith Mag (Memoir Excerpt)
Bleacher Report
Red Room