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Valentine’s Day Review: Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Vol 3

(Note: I received a free ebook of Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Vol 3 for my honest review.)

The third volume of Best Women’s Erotica of the Year combines significant variety with several recurring themes that keep the book feeling cohesive. The ones that struck me included growing older, the use of paint (or body paint and makeup!) as well as photography and other art, negotiating desires, and storytelling–plus books as physical objects, stress on the physicality part. There was also a great diversity in characters, with a range of ages, ethnicities, backgrounds, jobs, body types, and sexualities, as well as a number of strong stories touching on trauma, gender identity and presentation, and/or kink. One thing I did notice in reading the author biographies is that every contributor had an impressive bio–which is not at all a complaint! But I had the feeling that this volume of Best Women’s Erotica didn’t introduce me to as many newcomers (though a number of writers were new to me) compared to more established or experienced writers. And on the third hand, it’s worth emphasizing the quality of writing in this anthology–there isn’t a single story that didn’t have some line or image that caught my attention, even when not all of them appealed to my kinks or taste in style. Plus there were several that opened my eyes and mind, and I’ll be looking up more of these writers’ work.

I want to talk about the pieces that especially stood out to me.

Stories I Liked:

The Birthday Gift by Apigail Barnette: For her husband’s 52nd birthday, Sophie treats him to a gift in their home theater that features body-friendly paint in interesting places–and appropriately in the bi pride colors!

Demon Purse by Sommer Marsden: This one also features paint, specifically full-body makeup, plus some high-heeled boots, hairspray, black denim, and green contact lenses with elliptical irises… Of course, I especially love this one for its femdom overtones, but it gives further meaning to the words “scary hot” and even redeems the deliberately cheesy reference of the title.

The Follow-Through by Kris Adams: Another great piece featuring mature characters, humorous and sexy without flinching from their foibles and imperfections. Janelle is determined to seduce a new widower at her retirement community and Edward offers his assistance in making the eligible man jealous. Cringeworthy as Edward can be, Janelle is drawn in as he reveals his hidden depths (plus a prescription for the blue pills, and a little sciatica from time to time–meanwhile, Janelle is literally swooning in his arms).

Romance and Drag by Lyla Sage: The title says it all. This story is packed with imagery and ideas and so much to love–a bisexual couple, a handsome woman in a suit, a gorgeous man in makeup, swinging, kink, role-switching…

Falling by Charlie Powell: One of those stories I recognized earlier for its treatment of disability and kink. The heroine of this story has hemiplegia, which means her left leg is about half an inch shorter, and she arrives at her first date with Kit in tights ripped from a fall on the way there. The shredded leggings offer an opening for them to discover they’re compatibly kinky through adorable flirtation which blossoms into an intense, romantic encounter.

Overexposed by Brandy Fox: A photographer, Shannon, unexpectedly meets her late brother’s best friend. They had grown close to in the wake of her brother’s death, then drifted apart, and Joey’s now homeless but has built a community in Seattle. They finally have the chance to consummate their sexual tension in a story that handles painful, messy subjects with compassion and passion.

A Stolen Story by Leandra Vane: A librarian, feeling betrayed by a true crime writer who interviewed her about a historic local murder, receives comfort and confrontation from the ghosts of the maligned couple–sexy and philosophical, this one uses an erotic connection to explore the nature of truth, history, fiction, and the ownership thereof, a great example of literary erotica in which sex provides a lens through which to engage with big questions.

Red Satin Ribbons by Tamsin Flowers: Leah’s friend at work, Tom, asks her to help him give his wife the birthday gift she’s always wanted–a threesome. Thus Leah winds up in a box and in elaborate shibari bondage with the titular ribbons. What especially won me over about this one was the wife, Shona, and her utterly charming mixture of politeness and erotic enthusiasm–her opening words to Leah are “Honey, you’re beautiful. What’s your name?” And I don’t know what it is about me or about that line but my knees went weak.

Infused Leather by Dr. J: Angie and Harold, a barista and a shoeshiner at an airport, connect based on their interest in leather and kink, and as they grow in intimacy they also find ways to take control to recover from trauma. The dialogue–negotiation, support, and navigation of desires and boundaries–makes for convincing and hot chemistry in this piece, which handles heavy topics in a way that feels not only respectful but really cathartic.

Stories I LOVED: 

Body Shots by Thien-Kim Lam: This story opens with gorgeous imagery, then builds up in a delightful slow reveal of a progressively kinkier setup. Not only were the story and characters great, I especially enjoyed the structure of this one: an in media res close-up opening that pans back and makes use of brief flashbacks (if they can even be called that, they’re so unobtrusive) to tell the story of how Kit and Tre got here while keeping the heat high.

Bibliophile by Dee Blake: We all love books, but Sophie…really loves books. And after reading about her, you might also, because her fetish is honestly a bit contagious. While looking up sexy retellings of the classics (mm, yes!) she encounters a fellow book lover. He’s also a writer, and shares some of his work–the excerpts themselves are wonderful, a bit primal compared to the more cerebral bibliophia, giving us and Sophie the best of both worlds.

Guyliner and Garters by B.B. Sanchez: Every geek’s sweetest dream, this costume-themed story had me at “He is totally Cinna from The Hunger Games” (the gold eyeliner is such a good look), had me again with the heroine’s inner narration (“Okay, finally remembered breathing was not a lifestyle choice”), had me a superfluous number of times with the side reference to a Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy couples cosplay at this Halloween party, then treated me to an erotic encounter in a library and the beautiful chemistry between the main couple (Ciara and John-George, starring for the evening as Agent Carter and Cinna, respectively). It proves you can never have too much or too many good things.

Making It Feel Right by Annabel Joseph: The first three pages of this one led me on a journey. First off, I’ve often wondered about the gender-flipped version of dominatrices–doms for hire–and whether I’d enjoy a story about them, so this piece’s set-up had my interest. And Daniel certainly had my attention, being gorgeous and at once caring, accommodating, and in control. However, above all I’m about femdom, and I was just starting to feel disappointed that this anthology didn’t have more of it when Myra figures out that even if she hired a dom, what she really wants is to try being in control of him (She has a line–“Maybe I’m not submissive. Maybe those books I’ve been reading just made me think I was submissive”–that’s interesting in this regard, not to draw this review off-topic but I’m also reading Nancy Friday’s Women on Top and reflecting on how dominant women’s fantasies and sexualities develop, so…) The upshot is, once I saw I was reading about a man who is gorgeous,  caring, confidence and accommodating enough to try submission (since submissive guys are the hottest!) AND Myra with her careful uncertainty over what she can do, mixed with the growing certainty of what she wants, I read the rest of the story with a dumb happy grin on my face. Let me know when there’s a novel-length version of this.

You can find Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Vol 3 at:

Amazon

Goodreads

Barnes and Noble

iBooks

Audible

Facebook

 

 

Happy Real-Life stories of Femdom–now Free!

This has wound up going under my “free fiction” tag for organizing purposes, but Sharyn Ferns’ latest release is a nonfiction collection: Joyful stories from dominant women and submissive men talking about how they found each other and what happened next.

From newcomers to longtime bonds to marriages, these are real interviews from F/m participants who come from a variety of backgrounds, with different preferences and long-term goals in their relationships, but one thing in common. As Ferns says, “Their bright shiny stories show us possibilities and give us hope, and if that’s not important, I don’t know what is.”

What could be better than that? Well, the first volume is free, and on her blog Ferns mentions wanting to get it to be a #1 bestseller on Amazon. So how about a FREE and BESTSELLING diverse nonfiction femdom collection?

I’m always excited about a chance to get femdom into the mainstream eye, and I’m always excited at the chance to read about more femdom relationships, so it’s a no-brainer for me. And since you’re here on my blog, and “femdom” is one of the #1 terms my lovely audience uses to get here, I imagine you’re interested, too!

Again, you can download it free on Amazon here.

Dancing With Myself Release: “The Solution”

Today is the release date for Dancing With Myself, an anthology of self-love erotica. What a beautiful phrase–“self-love.” In all it senses. Interestingly, one might argue that the protagonist of my piece in this anthology, “The Solution,” doesn’t have a lot of reason to love herself.

“The Solution” is a story that’s been on my mind for a while. Even with this, it’s still not fully purged; I suspect it’s one of those beasties that might turn into a novel one day. I starting writing it when I was reflecting on how several of my favorite erotic novels–everything from Megan Hart’s Tear You Apart to  Kate Chopin’s The Awakening–center around adultery.

What’s up with that?

I’ve got theories: not the lies, but the secrecy certainly touches on something in me, and I’ve always been personally a bit skeptical of monogamy. It’s definitely something more fun to read and write about than to do, but there is that fascination that always surrounds people behaving badly.

 

I wondered if Dom had ever worried about me, all the nights I’d been out late. Maybe he’d been glad to have his space, just as I was glad to have mine on those evenings he claimed to have meetings or buddies waiting for him at some bar. Once I figured out where he’d really been going, I claimed more than space. I took pleasure, I took control. That was what it felt like at the time, at least.

The story centers, then, around that headspace–the thrill of doing what you know is wrong, but feeling justified in it anyway. A place where selfishness isn’t quite the same as self-love. But it’s as much about the other people involved in these brief-lived affairs, some of them one or two-night infidelities:

Dirty, he’d called me when I showed him how to get me off. I’d grabbed his hand and guided it to where mine now was, riding his fingers and rutting against his palm. His wrist had twisted in my grip and he’d panted about my perversity. I’m not sure which part he found so perverse. When I’d gone further, grasping his cock to control how it slid inside me, he’d been able to say nothing at all. Had that been worth violating my marriage vows for? That, and Heather, and Claire and Matt, and Joshua’s lips wrapping around my nipples as his fingers cupped and kneaded my ass, and Scott’s grin as he followed me down the dim corridor…

It’s a story about memory, and having it all at once, and having none of it, and learning how to love yourself once again. After all, you’re the one person you have no choice but to be faithful to.

 

Dancing With Myself is available on Amazon and Smashwords. More updates will be added to “The Solution’s” story page as they come.

 

 

Episode 2 of Smutty Storytelling: Sex Languages

Sex Languages: Romance vs. Porn vs. Erotica in the Quest for Sexual Connection

As recent events have made all too clear, our society is deprived of ways to communicate honestly about sex, desire, and consent. One potential source of language comes from the words that turn us on. In this episode, T.C. and Betina discuss a range of sex languages: the bestselling romance novel, purely sexual pornography, and literary erotica, which offers a balance between the emotions, the mind, and the senses.

 

It’s exciting to get back in the swing of things with the Smutty Storytelling podcast! In this episode, Betina and I discuss a topic that’s interested us for a long time–the different “modes” of erotic storytelling (Betina calls them “Sex Languages”, which I love) and what experiences they offer readers. Let’s go beyond “I know it when I see it”! We offer recommendations and share our frustrations and our joys with each language. We also acknowledge some of the ways erotic writing can offer an opportunity to express desires and needs we’re not otherwise able to express, along with some of the risks of sex languages that don’t reflect real intimacy (in all its strengths and flaws) or offer a skewed perspective of human sexuality.

You can listen to the podcast here, or check us out on Soundcloud and iTunes.

One of my New Year’s resolutions is to start typing transcripts for each episode, too, so keep an eye out for those in the coming weeks.

A Big Book Release

2018 is off to a great start in terms of gigantic book releases…

The one I want to point you to today is the Big Book of Submission Vol 2’s paperback release (on Barnes & Noble and Amazon)!

While each story is under 1,200 words, 69 of them add up to quite the package.

Speaking of kinky flash fiction and/or insights into power–weren’t we?–I also have a short but sweet piece up at Bare Back magazine:

I’ve always wanted to feel power. The thing itself, not its effects or trappings. The effects aren’t bad; like hell I’m going to protest getting what I want. But they’re not exactly what I want, if that makes sense. I don’t care so much about the symptoms, but I want the disease.
Power is a disease, as you always bring up at some point in our political-philosophical-spiritual conversations. I nod along to your sermon, which I do agree with. Power is killing the world with deaths of a thousand cuts, exploitation, extraction. But that’s not what I’m talking about when I talk about the power I want.
It’s not in the slinky black PVC dress, though it looks great on the model online, and neither is it in the fishnets barely visible under my thigh-high leather boots. The netting imprints a pattern on my skin for the rest of the night. I love how the boots gleam and hug my calves, but those heels—“Shouldn’t you be the one in a torture device?” I ask.
You’ve marched and signed petitions against torture, the real kind I mean, but our conversations never get lost in that particular labyrinth. It makes so much difference when it’s consensual that it takes an effort to connect the two meanings of the word. Also, you don’t preach half as much when we’re playing—fucking with power.
Your hands rub my aches away. There’s a special energy in that, in your hands moving warm and firm over my heels, my ankles, up to my diamond-stamped thighs. Your touch somehow reaches into my flesh, soothing and exciting at once, and all at my command.
Still, this was just costuming. Turning me into someone else, or at least the imitation of her. It can make me feel freer or more obvious, but it’s not a source of true power. True power I’ll be able to feel in complete nakedness. True power I keep searching for, and you let me mark and bind your flesh into a map.

I’ll have more fresh updates in the next week–the next episode of the Smutty Storytelling podcast, in which Betina Cipher and I discuss erotic genres and ‘sex languages”; and a unique story in the Dancing With Myself anthology of “self-love” erotica!

2017 Year in Review

Not all New Year’s resolutions pan out, but this one did–in December 2016, I resolved to send out at least one story submission every month. That meant lots of tracking new calls, lots of brainstorming and nurturing of plot bunnies, and of course, lots of writing! But I feel like the work paid off: this was an excellent year, and I’m honored to have been included in anthologies from Mofo Pubs, SynCyr, and Cleis Press. Not to mention flash fiction on several websites and  in magazines. Many pieces are femdom f/m, of course, though publications this year also include f/f, m/m, and stories where gender and/or pairing aren’t categorized. Genre-wise, the majority of pieces are contemporary, literary, and about the “real world,” though there is also a ghost or two.

You can see a full list of my published fiction under my “Stories” tab.

“Soft, Rough” in the Wanderlust anthology 

Now she saw them in juxtaposition, as if the image from the mirror had carried over and overlaid what lay before her eyes. Not a single creature but two of them, very different in shape. He was made of curves—muscle and thickness, shoulders, ass, the thin but silken-soft layer of fat beneath the fine hair on his stomach, the roundness of his erection and balls. She was angular, from cheekbones to her small, sharp breasts.

Again she turned her head, looking in the mirror to confirm it. From this perspective, even her ears seemed to stick out in their usual way, points to break up the circle of her hair and head. She recognized herself. No startled moment of seeing a stranger, a ghost haunting the bed.

“Her Perfume” on Bright DesireMay 31

She squirms under me, moving until my mouth is over the curve of one breast, exactly where she wants it. But then I have to give chase in order to run my tongue around the aureole, to offer any focused attention. She’s not evading me—I know how much she likes to feel me lap and suck on her—it’s just hard for her to keep still. I find it flattering, the way the slightest brush of my lips or fingertips is enough to make her jump.

“My Body is a Haunted House” in the Hotel anthology

“Actually,” Cate said, “I wondered if we could ride together?”

Monica accepted with, she hoped, not too obvious eagerness. Or too obvious nerves. As they rode to the restaurant, Sara drowsed in the back seat, face turned to the distant clouds of smoke. Cate’s elegant hands curled over the leather-cushioned steering wheel. A faint pale stripe showed where the wedding ring had been.

“Deliver Us” in the Sacrilege anthology

Ryan might have made a mistake in telling her that his first awakening to bondage had come through some C-movie about an exorcism. Watching that lissome teenager writhe, strapped down on the table—just a kid himself, he’d known something was going on, something even beyond the desperate, weirdly poignant straining for salvation. Years later, he found out exactly what. And years after that, he confessed.

And now he was about to lose his immortal soul over it.

But God, Ann looked good in a Roman collar.

“Annunciation” in the Sacrilege anthology

When I was nineteen, just as I consciously acknowledged that I desired women, I happened to visit an art museum. Women adorned every wall—larger than life, in intricate miniature, clothed in historical costumes, clothed in drapes of fabric, clothed in flowers, clothed in nothing… I explored my response to each, coaxing forth desire like a shy creature from the corners of my being, unsure if it was rabid, ready to bite.

Young martyrs collapsed on desolate moors, riverbanks, arena sands, the gray stones of a Roman street. I stopped before one, her dark hair spread around her like a pool of ink or blood, her nakedness covered only by some haphazard snow. God had sent it to protect her modesty; the painter was less motivated.

Suddenly in imagination…the snow became a cushion, a bed.

“Fantasies” in the Getting It anthology

She released her mouth’s tension with a soft pop. “I think I’d mess up the statistics. The ones they quote on every side of the feminist debates. Or maybe lots of women feel the way I do but don’t know how to articulate it.”

“Yeah?” He responded to the thoughtful tone her voice took on. “How do you feel?”

She gently squeezed his neck, hinting that the question was impertinent. Or only unnecessary, since she wanted to tell him anyway.

“Silver Bracelets” in the Getting It anthology

She comes very near to telling him, I liked your present so much that I tried to eat it. Knowing he’d understand, he’d get the joke, and even the part of it that isn’t a joke. But she holds back.

…Her boyfriend’s given her a pair of handcuffs, but she’s afraid of coming on to him too strong.

“The Bodies of Ghosts” in the Haunted anthology and as a free standalone ebook

Yet my arousal didn’t feel perverse or completely unexpected. Grief excuses a lot of things. Probably because it drives a lot of things. It’s love without means of communication, helpless caring without anything to hope or fear for. It’s passion, it’s pain, it’s wanting without a chance of ever being satisfied. Without an outlet.

Binding Him Between” as a free flash fiction on this blog

Colin glanced around them, and a corner of his mouth pulled in an achingly familiar way. “Not the most romantic place for a reunion.”

“I know.” Lucas joined in his laughter, almost giddy. “But the, um…the magic is bound to your physical…remains.”

“I see.” He raised his hands—each caught in a loop of shadow-soft cord, tied in turn to Lucas’s right wrist. He smirked. “Bound?”

“I can keep you as long as we’re joined like this. Or until sunrise, whichever comes first.”

“Well…” He stepped closer. “I think we can make the best of it.”

“The Depths of You” in The Erotic Review magazine (free to read)

Performance anxiety? Sure, some. But I’m good at what I do to you. I know it. I know just the depth, rhythm, angle to take you apart. Then to pull you back together, so you burst again. All the while driving into you towards my own pleasure, my own ascent and plummet into something dark, full, and for each moment, enough.

Somewhere in that helpless satisfaction is the thing that scares me so fucking much.”

“First Slap” in The Big Book of Submission, Volume 2

“Can I slap you?”

He was struck by how she asked the question. Clearly, but softly, revealing not shyness but a sort of respect for the request’s significance. It was the same way she had suggested their first kiss, resolving his private uncertainty over the nature of a conversation which had grown steadily warmer and more intimate. Then, in what seemed like a continuation of their exchange, the kisses went on, deepening until her lips turned red and his felt swollen and helpless but not numb, not exactly.

“Outnumbered” in Aotearotica, Volume 4

They’ve been going at it for almost an hour—just the two of them, one on one, but really, she’s got him outnumbered. The cuffs help.

He strains at them suddenly, so hard the bedposts groan. She chuckles. They’ll hold. He’d hold, too, even if in the moment he doesn’t realize it. She slows down, giving him more space to ask for anything he needs. If he isn’t too proud.

Silence. She goes back to what she’s doing, riding out his reaction. Under her he bucks, trembles, struggles. A body in tension and frantic release.

Plus a poem in Cliterature’s Birth Control issue to round the year out!

Book sale alert: Red Velvet and Absinthe

Book alert: the Red Velvet and Absinthe anthology is currently on sale at 10% of its original price (99 cents instead of $9.99)!

This anthology of Gothic erotic fiction is quite possibly the best book of erotica I’ve ever read. I’m not in it, but you might say it’s in me. Every piece is lush and dazzling, with a diversity of orientations, kinks, and dynamics between couples. Some stories lean more toward romance, some toward horror, some toward pure smut. There are classics like vampires and werewolves (reimagined in interesting new ways) and some stranger encounters with enchanted–or haunted–paintings, a hangman, and a dom who might be the Green Fairy herself.

Poetry in Cliterature Journal

In an exciting slip into a new genre, I have a poem, “Stiff-Necked in Respect Life Month,” out in Cliterature’s latest issue–Birth Control

As you might expect from the title, it’s about a struggle with Catholicism on many fronts (and was actually written in October). It is, for now, the final home of a first line that badly wanted to begin something–a blog post, a flash fiction, and ultimately a poem:

My bedside drawer holds a rosary and a vibrator...

‘Tis the Season for…Kinky Flash Fiction

I didn’t plan it this way, but I have three flash fiction publications this month and they’re all pretty wonderfully perverse. So it’s a great time to work out the end-of-year tension and get your freak on in under 2,000 words.

Today, my short piece “The Depths of You” goes live at the Erotic Review magazine. A little long to be technically flash fiction, it’s a sort of prose poem about why it can be scary to use a strap-on:

Performance anxiety? Sure, some. But I’m good at what I do to you. I know it. I know just the depth, rhythm, angle to take you apart. Then to pull you back together, so you burst again. All the while driving into you towards my own pleasure, my own ascent and plummet into something dark, full, and for each moment, enough.

Somewhere in that helpless satisfaction is the thing that scares me so fucking much.

It’s better, sometimes, when you’re not facing me. When it’s just sensation. Our bodies slide with the same motions, friction traveling along the length of the silicone cock inside you to my clit, and that’s all we share. An encompassing awareness that we only need to feel. Not something to think about or communicate or soften with kisses. I hear your gasps and moans but your breath falls on the pillow; I don’t feel its wet heat lick my face. I don’t look into your eyes and drop into them, those beautiful dark bottomless pits.

But the kinky December fun doesn’t end there! I also have a piece in The Big Book of Submission, Volume 2edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel and coming out December 19. It’s titled “First Slap”:

“Can I slap you?”

He was struck by how she asked the question. Clearly, but softly, revealing not shyness but a sort of respect for the request’s significance. It was the same way she had suggested their first kiss, resolving his private uncertainty over the nature of a conversation which had grown steadily warmer and more intimate.

Lastly, a longer flash piece with a bondage theme, “Outnumbered,” will be part of New Zealand-based erotic journal Aotearotica, Volume 4.

They’ve been going at it for almost an hour—just the two of them, one on one, but really, she’s got him outnumbered. The cuffs help.

He strains at them suddenly, so hard the bedposts groan. She chuckles. They’ll hold. He’d hold, too, even if in the moment he doesn’t realize it. She slows down, giving him more space to ask for anything he needs. If he isn’t too proud.

Silence. She goes back to what she’s doing, riding out his reaction. Under her he bucks, trembles, struggles. A body in tension and frantic release.

 

First Episode of “Smutty Storytelling”!

I’m excited to share the first episode of the Smutty Storytelling podcast, where my fellow erotica writer and editor Betina Cipher and I discuss the craft of sexy wordsmithing. In this first episode, we talk about how to use Point of View and tense, with examples from our stories in Getting It (though you don’t have to have read the stories to follow along!).

You can follow us on SoundCloud and we’ll soon be on iTunes as well. We’re recording the second episode next week–is there a topic related to erotica writing + editing you’d like to hear about? Let us know!