Cunning Linguists Author Interview

This interview first appeared on the the New Smut Project blog on April 12th, 2022. See the original post here. NSP’s fourth anthology, Cunning Linguists: Language, Literature and Lechery, comes out May 18th (less than a month to go!). Paperback and ebook editions are available for pre-order now.

My first official interview as an author was thrilling in every sense; releasing a photo of myself (see below), including a potentially-identifiable shard of my face, was a scary leap. And the content of my response was so personal, I’m still unsure whether I told too much truth in it. It was the heaviness of my answer to the question of “What inspired you to write this story?” that led me to keep the interview brief. (For new readers of this blog, in short: the story’s about my wife, and she dumped me just after I submitted it.) Out of a menu of 7 questions on topics of erotic writing and sexy language, I responded only to the first.

And it wasn’t just the bummer breakup talk that gave me pause. The events surrounding the story’s birth and publication leave me more convinced than ever of divine fiddling in my tiny human affairs. Still, I’m not used to claiming those convictions publicly, and it feels funny to proclaim that THE BENEVOLENT UNIVERSE DID THIS FOR ME when speaking on my life and its recent turns. That’s why the offerings of gratitude at the end of the interview are phrased in the vaguest possible suggestions of faith.

But hey. Better too revealing than not revealing enough, right? As a smut writer, I’ll have to believe that, in baring my secrets, I’m doing something right.

Below is the full text of my interview, including a story excerpt and my author bio from the anthology.

“Real dykes don’t scissor. That’s just a porn thing. For men.”

That does it. She snaps the bond between her eyes and the screen, turning to me with those hawk-sharp eyes of hers blazing.

“Yeah? So now you’re the arbiter of ‘real’ lesbian sex?”

I thrust my chin out. “Yup. Sure am.”

I could banter about this for hours, but she isn’t in the mood. When she falls silent I sputter out, too. We sit there looking at each other.

But then, something flickers. I blink, and a new presence sits before me in the TV light. When she wraps a hand around my foot, I surrender to the tug. Before I can register our bodies’ rearrangement, our legs are intertwined, my housedress bunched around my waist, the faded cotton of my panties flush against the faded cotton of her sweats.

“Not a thing, huh?” she growls, digging fingers deep into the fat above my knee. Playful, but menacing. Is this the old Kiara, coming back to me?

I go on teasing. Maybe I can get a reaction I like. 

“Not a thing.” I grab her foot for leverage and grind into her, mouth gaping in a pornstar parody. “You like this? Rubbing pussies, that’s what turns you on?”

She shoots me a look, like you really wanna play with me? I stare right back and pop my tongue out, flush with courage. I do want to play with her. I want her to play with me.

It works.

-from “Planet Rolling Over” in Cunning Linguists

Peach Berman is a funky queer Jew who lives in wild hills of Northern New Hampshire. A lifelong scribbler and poet, Planet Rolling Over is her first work of fiction and first publication. 

 As an experiment in language-play smut, Planet Rolling Over winds around the imagery and themes of the book Kohelet (also known as Ecclesiastes) of the Hebrew bible. While most translations read “havel”, the book’s refrain, as “vanity”, and interpret Kohelet’s message as one of hopelessness, Peach draws upon a 2010 translation by Rabbi Rami Shapiro in which “havel” means “emptying”, and liberation replaces the futility of clinging. The story is a tribute to Peach’s first wife, the incomparable Plum Noir.

To stay on top of Peach’s writings you can check out, where she posts free samples of her dirty imaginings. And if you’re in the mood for some provocative (but not X-rated) nonfiction, check out her blog at, where she dissects the intimate work she does for money. You can reach her by email at She’s also on Twitter as @PeachBerman, but she doesn’t recommend the place.

What inspired you to write this story?

“Planet Rolling Over” is a celebration of my love for my then-wife, Plum Noir. The only named character in the story, Kiara, is a portrait of her. Many of the scenes are autobiographical, pulling real moments from our married life into a fictional backdrop. The state in which we first encounter Kiara and her wife, the unnamed narrator, mirrors the state of my marriage at its lowest points – sexless, resentful, drowning in depression. But the rebirth of the love bond that forms the story’s arc turned out to be pure fiction. Between the story’s submission and its acceptance in the anthology, our marriage ended.

At the time, I thought I was writing “Planet Rolling Over” as a vision of our future. As I worked, I saw us finding our way back to one another, passion bending our timeline into a circle. I didn’t know it then, but when this story left me it carried those possibilities away with it. In that moment of transformation, Plum and I both found the way to release ourselves from clinging to the husk of what we’d been together. We both got to walk away free.

This story was always bigger than me. The plan was never mine. I was always just a vessel.

I am forever grateful. 

And there you have it. Thanks for reading my big first interview. I’m so excited for the book to drop next month!

As a reward for your attentions, here are a few outtakes from that semi-anonymous author portrait photoshoot. Credit, thanks and limitless adoration to VPBRB for the camera work.

And yes, it was as cold as it looks!


My Real Fake Name is Peach Berman — True Love for Sale

True Love for Sale: An Origin Story Start a blog, my writer-friend urged me. Just try it. Do it for practice, just to put yourself out there. Do it just to find out how it feels. I refused. I wanted to get published. I was submitting poems to literary magazines, obsessed with the notion that […]

My Real Fake Name is Peach Berman — True Love for Sale

Chair Pose

He kicks my legs apart, positioning my ankles at the binding sites of the spreader bar. I talk about my previous Dom as he straps me in the cuffs. 

“Old, childless bachelor, sitting on all that money, and still he insisted on sending me this cheap crap. The clips on the cuffs are already broken, see?”

“I see it,” he answers as he ties the bar to the chair’s back legs. 

With my ankles locked in place, he sets about tying the bar to the chair legs before drawing the rope between the legs and under to bind my wrists at the far edge of the seat. 

I go on with my complaining, slipping into memory. “He told me to set up wish lists for any kinky toys I wanted. I only picked out things on Etsy, but he ignored it all and sent me whatever Amazon garbage he wanted me to use. Then he made me perform with it on cam for him. I did as he ordered, but it never felt right.”

Mister clucks his tongue as he listens, my voice a little muffled now with my head flipped upside down, my face pinned between the chair back and my upstretched arm. He doesn’t share the disdain that I hold for the first Dominant to train me— I think he feels bad for the guy, imagining himself in the place of the resented ex. “Pity for him he never figured you out.”

“His loss, right, Mister? I’m not that difficult, am I? You understand me. You know how to work me.”

“Figuring you out,” he answers, tugging at the knots around each wrist to check for tightness, “is no mean feat.”

He steps back, surveying his work. If I tip my neck as far as it will reach and dig my chin into my shoulder I can see him, holding his jaw as he appraises my form, bound and spread and ready to be used however he desires. Exploring the limits of my range of motion in this pose, I arch an invitation through my back. He steps up behind me, too close now for me to see. I drop my head and study the hem of his boxers around the edge of the chair back. 

His touch lands abruptly, storming the most delicate part of me. 

“Wait! I’m not wet yet!”

“You are,” he says, squelching a finger against the pucker of my opening to make his point. “Hear it?” 

I do. It’s loud, a pot of mac n’ cheese just at the thickening point. He swipes the wet fingertip across my thigh to drive the point home. 

“That’s you.” 

“But it doesn’t feel wet, Mister…” I whine. “I’m not ready yet, I need…”

He cuts across me, teasing, pretending to be stern. “What makes you think anybody plans to use your pussy now?”

He steps away from me again and, this time, I close my eyes, not wanting to see. What will come will come, and when it does I will take it, whatever it is. 

“Besides,” he continues, his voice reaching me from the corner of the room where his play-equipment bag lies open on the floor, “we know how to get you wetter, don’t we?”

We do. He speaks of fear, of pain. These peculiar limbic stimuli that drench me for reasons that I still don’t understand. 

“Don’t we, Bunny?” he asks again, this time in a growl. Before I can answer, one rough finger shoves inside me to the hilt. My whole body starts at the shock of it, and I cry out. That was not supposed to feel good. Forceful opening: a punishment for my failure to answer the first time.

“We do, Sir.” 

With a slurp, he pulls the finger out, wiping it this time across my lower back. 

“Now then,” he says, and the next moment I feel his breath on my cheek as he bends to press his face to mine. “What’s your safeword?”

I gulp, but do not hesitate to answer. “May Day.”

“That’s right,” he says, pulling away, and all I hear after is the rush of the cane as it slices, ruthless, through the air.

Did this story leave you wanting more? If I’ve got your curiosity, be sure to let me know in the comments, like and subscribe. Cheers!



What Good Luck

CONTENT WARNING: Sexually explicit content. BDSM and bondage, may be unsuitable to some readers. 18+ only.

He leans, resting his forehead 
into mine. He is unable 
to slap me; force abandons 
his hand until he’s cradling 
my face in one palm. 
His calculating look 
softens into feeling
and his words 
grow simple– 
“You’re a good girl,” and 
“I’m lucky.”

I drop under. 
In the third hotel 
I hit a threshold dose. 
It isn’t sex 
that does it, not exactly, 
but once I cum for him, 
hog-tied with his cock 
soft in my mouth 
he lifts my chin, 
he takes my gaze, 
he asks me what 
just happened. He tells me, 
in an instant, I have changed. 

Thank you to Wayne Crest for the photo and the inspiration. ❤️ 

Love Notes

Sharing the Wand

At first she is intimidated at the thought of trying it. But she sees my face when it touches me and she rises, ready for it. Daddy with the brand-new power tool. 

I start her out by straddling her, both of us with panties on, mounds together in an almost-kiss. I nest the head of it between us. Use my bone to push the vibrations against her. 

But soon I am taking all of the pleasure for myself. She sees that, and she takes over command.

She wants me naked. I protest. I need my panties to dull and spread the rapid-fire shaking of the strong new thing. 

Just this once, she chooses to allow it, but I’d better not question her again. 

I swear, I promise. Anything you say… not a question… right away…

Cameron, to my left, wants to hold a gaze with me. He only wants a little but I give him nothing. I keep my face open to her. To only her. I choose. 

And he is waiting, wingside. He is on his mark, hard and ready by the time I let him enter. 

They flip me on my belly. Press me down onto the bulb of the wand.

He shoves his hips between my shaking, locking legs…

Thank you for reading this little page of my diary. If you enjoyed, remember to let me know in the comments, like and subscribe 🥰

Photo by Anna Shvetsfrom Pexels


The Walk to Water (Part 2)

CONTENT WARNING: Sexually explicit, 18+. All characters are consenting adults.

For the next few miles, Arley persists in her efforts while XianSheng persists in his stoic non-attention to her work. He’s fully hard now but silent as ever, the hand at her neck moving in a constant rhythm. With the radio off, the rush of tires on road consumes her awareness. She slips into a state like meditation, her bobbing neck, her tugging lips, all of it falling away until there is only breathing. Arley’s sense of her own being collapses until she is nothing but a nose, two lungs, and subservient desire.

Then the hand at her neck departs. Takes the wheel. She doesn’t falter. The rhythm of his gentle touch is in her now, and she barely notices its subtraction. That is, until his left hand leaves the wheel, takes her by the nose, and squeezes. 

Robbed of her steadying breath, Arley begins to gasp around her XianSheng’s cock. As she struggles to inhale, he releases her nose and takes her instead by the back of the head, shoving her down until he fills her throat, stoppering her breath. Then he returns to her nose, sealing it from the air. 

With only one free hand he isn’t strong enough to hold her down by force and keep her nose pinched at the same time. But Arley is a good girl. She knows what he wants and, though his right hand isn’t there to trap her, she pretends. She holds her head still, flexing her shoulders as if she were struggling against him. Seconds tick. The panic sensation sets in, but still she holds. Her next breath will be his to allow, whenever he so chooses. 

And XianSheng is merciful. Just as Arley’s eyeballs start to pop, he lets go. 

Air rushes into her chest in a gigantic heave. But before she has a chance to exhale, he is pulling her back down by the nose. Sealed shut again, this time with her lungs at full expansion, Arley’s vision swims. The air grows stale inside her and her blood bubbles with excess carbon. 

Arley got herself into this. And he won’t let her out of it easily. Her mandate, now, is to trust him enough to continue to obey the direction of his hands. She must trust that he knows where her limits lie. That he will draw her to the edge and still protect her, relenting exactly at the line between challenging and dangerous. 

It goes on, and he never makes a sound. Arley grows woozier with every passing round. The intervals of holding shorten, the reprieves of open nose and throat grow longer, but still, her desperation mounts, as does her determination to prevail. 

Traffic slows to a near-stop once the highway is behind them. The brutal hand leaves her nose and doesn’t return. Arley hovers, gasping for breath with his foreskin resting between her open lips. Then fingers arrive at the front of her throat and push her up, away from his lap.

“Enough. Sit up.”

She obeys, shrinking back into her seat. Coldness in his voice plunges her into meek embarrassment. Both of his hands are back on the wheel now, his pants still open. She watches him wilt as her normal pace of breathing gradually returns.

Trying to relax, Arley takes in the change in the landscape. The congestion of the city at peak morning commute has given way to tree-lined streets, the rows of townhouses to the left of her boasting wide green swaths of lawn. She remembers just how much she’s been looking forward to spending this day outside the city. Absently, she brings a hand to the front of her neck, massaging it as she registers her relief at having her mouth and throat to herself again. 

Then XianSheng speaks. 

“Did I tell you to suck my cock? Or did you just take it for yourself like a greedy little whore?” His eyes focus straight ahead as he speaks, just as they have throughout her half-hour ordeal. 

“No, Sir, you didn’t,” she stammers. “Yes, Sir. I did. I…”

He holds up a hand, silencing her apology. 

“You know better. I think you choose to misbehave because you want to be punished.”

With those words, he spares a glance in her direction. His look is soft with affection, and her brain is soft with oxygen depletion. For a moment, she’s in love with him.

Then he reaches behind her seat and pulls out a one-liter water bottle, full to the top. He drops it on her thighs as he makes the turn onto Valley Green, forest now surrounding them on all sides. 

“You have one minute. Drink it all.”


The Walk to Water (Part 1)

CONTENT WARNING: Sexually explicit, 18+. All characters are consenting adults.

Arley is outside waiting when XianSheng pulls up for her. 

She has dressed carefully, the day’s activities and XianSheng’s tastes on her mind. Her shorts are shorter than will be comfortable once the day heats up and the sweat of climbing makes thighs grab at each other. It’s a sacrifice she makes not just willingly, but gladly. The continual rub, rub, rub of flesh on flesh, spanning the hours of the climb, will introduce an element of pain beyond the soreness of muscle, closer to her center than the blister that may form at the back of an ankle.

She’d go for a tee-shirt for any other day out on the trail, but she’d rather not test XianSheng’s benevolence. He’s already allowing her to wear flat shoes– a first, but non-negotiable today. They have plans for today that they don’t want to miss out on, sitting in the ER waiting on care for an ankle sprain. Hiking boots, he’d agreed, were a necessity. “But you’ll make up for it elsewhere, won’t you, little girl?” he’d asked, more of a warning than a question, and she’d agreed without hesitation. 

So there she stands, the sun already growing hot at its low angle, in shorts that more resemble a pair of denim panties and a lace-trimmed camisole, her freckled shoulders and the tops of her tits coated in two layers of sunblock. Waiting, with her ID crammed into her tiny back pocket and two full canteens of water, one in each hand. 

He pulls up and she slides in, the fabric seats, the dusty buildup in the center console familiar. He drives a Toyota even though he could afford something flashier. But XianSheng is not given to flash. He moves unassuming, and for good reason. There is a wife back home, a woman he loves too much to expose her to the darkest ruminations of his need. There are two children who are no longer children, but are nevertheless at home and will expect their father around six o’clock for dinner. In all his years of creeping at the corners of the nearby city, of adding a day onto the back end of every business trip, he has never let them down. 

Arley slides a hand over XianSheng’s knee as she leans over for a kiss.

“Good morning,” she murmurs into his neck in a voice still full of sleepy gravel. “Thanks for coming to get me.” She settles back into her seat as he shifts into gear and pulls off from the curb. He’s quiet today, she notices, returning her greetings with a stiffness that she’s never felt from him before. Their dates usually begin with him pulling her against him the moment the hotel room door closes behind her, his kisses hungry, his cock already standing firm to greet her. Maybe it’s the absence of those walls that normally contain them. It’s been a year, true, but this is their first time venturing together out into the open world. She looks over at his lap and confirms that, no, he isn’t hard. Today is going to be different, in more ways than one. 

The man has a name, surely. But the fake name that he gave her was gaudy and Western, a poor fit. She couldn’t call him “Hugh” and keep her face straight. Instead, she’s used the honorific since before they spoke out loud to one another, the deference of it ushering them both into the first toe-dips of what would grow into a clear dynamic, a power exchange. It was perfect, crystal clear over text, but in person she pronounces it so poorly that half the time it translates to “rope” or “braided cord”. Not inappropriate, considering. If her butchering the Mandarin bothers him he shows no sign, indulging her with a smile as he corrects her, explaining again that he is not the rope and would she please present her wrists so that he may remind her of the difference?

Arley knows the man beside her in ways that are invisible to everyone else who knows him, his desires a dance that she rehearses, countless images of his secrets tucked away in her PC. But in this one way, she is even more of a stranger to him than are his lab mates, his overseas collaborators, fellow members of his HOA. Arley will never know his name. 

She doesn’t mind it, the contortions of their strange intimacy. She knows him as he is to her. Her master. Her teacher. Her XianSheng, and that’s enough. 

The pair roll through the last of the narrow one-ways of her Bella Vista neighborhood, having exchanged little more than the perfunctory greetings. He runs a redlight, his hands spasming on the wheel as he realizes his mistake. She castigates herself silently and quickly as a voice from her childhood slips into her head, brothers and their teenage friends with stupid jokes about Asian men and driving. She shakes her head a little to clear the thought, and he looks over. 

“How many bottles so far?” he asks.

She blinks, plunging suddenly back into the jitters of the morning’s preparations. His question cues her attention towards the lower of her belly, the seatbelt pressing against the little bulge beginning to swell above her hips. 

“Two,” she answers, turning to look into his face and meeting his resolute ear instead. 

What hovers between them today that causes her to feel awkward? They have been seeing one another nearly a year, sporadic dates interspersed with heavy bouts of late night texting. They have spent full days together while he is ostensibly at work but is actually in a day-use hotel room two towns over, and they have never run out of conversation. She listens about the parents who are dead and the sisters left behind, the inner workings of mechanical parts he has designed, the taciturn son who was twelve when he took apart the family computer, and he listens to her feminist screeds in between telling her that she’s a pretty little slut, and will be good for her XianSheng, won’t she? 

But today the thirty-minute drive looms ahead of them, and Arley begins to feel sweat sliding between her thighs that has nothing to do with the warm morning. She wants today to be perfect. Like a fantasy, not some stilted litany of forbidden acts. She is suddenly desperate for something to fill her mouth besides talk, so she reaches over and unzips him. Both his hands remain on the wheel as she works hers through his fly and under the waistband of the cotton shorts below, freeing his soft cock for her mouth to take as she bends over him. 

He is utterly silent, eyes committed to the road ahead as he merges on I-95 and accelerates to exactly five miles per hour above the speed limit. His is not the silence of a held-back moan. He is concentrating on the drive, hardening slowly in her mouth, unyielding to the distraction of her working him with her cheeks and tongue. XianSheng is a careful man (his mind forever running through potentialities and how he might explain them to his wife), and road head might not be his thing, but he does not stop her. The submission of the act, at least, must satisfy him, her quiet, determined ministrations to his pleasure. He allows one hand to leave the wheel and brings it to the back of her neck, where he twists gently at the fine strands of strawberry-blonde.

To be continued…

Check back for more of Arley and Xiansheng’s illicit adventure in the days to come! 😘

Love Notes


CONTENT WARNING: Incidents of sexual harassment and violence.

The men that surround the women’s bathroom remind me of another late-night cadre, three wide-chested all-night watchers moved as one to block my body in another little dress– It is all mixed together– Tonight in the white slinky little number– In the morning Cameron will tell Terese and I, as we three lay interwoven head to foot in his and Kenya’s bed, that the little dress had won me favor in the eyes of Kenya– She had told him I had looked so good like that, and before the night is over she will wrap her body over white stretch fabric in the bathroom, we will kiss with a passion heavy as the heat that wrenched my bare and pretty shoulders as I sobbed against the wall in this same bathroom just an hour before– My wife, curvier than me, and prettier, who dresses like a man when we go out (because she must), wrapped me up around her– Another angelwoman closed the door between the sacred space of women and the men who wait outside, and it all gets sewerwater wet and bleeds together in the place where I sucked desperate on the heavy air and clutched and fell between my woman and the wall, collapsing under memory– remembering the taking of the picture, the showing of the bruise, the beautiful redheaded woman in a hospital gown who curled into a mountain of herself– She did not believe what she had known until she saw the bruise and then could not deny it– And I sobbed and begged my wife “why did they steal her from herself?”

In another hour I’ll be back in this same bathroom, kissing sweet Kenya like she is the first and only air I’ll ever breathe– and we will dance together close inside the pulsating danger in the dark outside the sanctuary of the women’s bathroom– twin targets tied together under all the glowing eyes of waiting men.

I move past, again, on stupid spiky heels– I swat, I push, I dodge the grabbing hands of the around-the-bathroom men– I do not want to be here angry– I have paid fifty dollars to admit my head into this lounge and so I pour the pitcher into little cups already full of ice– I pour and I drink, every time the anger in my belly hollers louder than the music, flushes redder than the dark.

There is another woman in a pretty little dress, unconscious at her table–  I see her slumping and I can’t look away– I bite the fingers on both hands– Terese and Kenya try to comfort me– they say she’s with her friends, will be alright, it is okay to look away– Cameron says she’s upright. If she vomits, she won’t choke– when he says it, I notice that I hadn’t even thought it– I had seen her sick with poison and I hadn’t thought to worry for her blood or for her brain. 

I feel the hot rapist breath of the world collapsing inwards at me then– I pull my arms away from my lover-friends, away from my wife– I tell them I am going to the bathroom. Alone. Because to show myself I can– And this time when the men grab at my wrists, I raise a fist. 

I will be long gone, off and spinning before the anger oozes out of me and into Cameron– before he pulls switchblades from a pocket in the sudden understanding that they have never been Terese in the world out with his woman– that he has never had to notice, before, the mapping, the maneuvers, the defensive plays, the smileandlaugh that might, we hope, go farther than a fist and even farther than a blade to get us by– or get us out– or get us home and in one piece with one another instead of in a hospital somewhere asking to see an upclose picture of some unreachable bruise. 

Cameron will tell me later that it all came together for him that night. That he remembers the way that we protected one another. The way we cared for one of us in need.


The Walk to Water (teaser)

Arley is outside waiting when Xiansheng pulls up for her. 

She has dressed carefully, the day’s activities and Xiansheng’s tastes on her mind. Her shorts are shorter than will be comfortable once the day heats up and the sweat of climbing makes thighs grab at each other. It’s a sacrifice she makes not just willingly, but gladly. The continual rub, rub, rub of flesh on flesh, spanning the hours of the climb, will introduce an element of pain beyond the soreness of muscle, closer to her center than the blister that may form at the back of an ankle.

She’d go for a tee-shirt for any other day out on the trail, but she’d rather not test Xiansheng’s benevolence. He’s already allowing her to wear flat shoes– a first, but non-negotiable today. They have plans for today that they don’t want to miss out on, sitting in the ER waiting on care for an ankle sprain. Hiking boots, he’d agreed, were a necessity. “But you’ll make up for it elsewhere, won’t you, little girl?” he’d asked, more of a warning than a question, and she’d agreed without hesitation. 

So there she stands, the sun already growing hot at its low angle, in shorts that more resemble a pair of denim panties and a lace-trimmed camisole, her freckled shoulders and the tops of her tits coated in two layers of sunblock.

To be continued…


Weather Balloon

Over and over 
he brings me 
to the edge 
of the bed, 

those penetrating eyes, 
that penetrating hand 
drills into me until 
the pressure mounts 
and builds. I ask,
“Are you into squirting?” 
and his eyes spin wild, 
“Only one way to find out.”
His answer holds
a supplication 
and an offer. 
They tumble 
from his mouth. 
I catch them both,

and I deny them,

holding water back. 
I will not test him.
Better to let him wonder 
in the winter morning slush, 
still a stranger to the rush 
of springmelt flood. 
I am not his lab. I won’t 
be an experiment that fails.