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2006 Authors Insider Tips

Beyond the Basics
With Tulsa Brown
The 30-Second Solution
Backstory vs. Flashback
Intimacy Begins With "I"
Hit the Ground Running
Make the Reader Leap
Meaningful Dialogue
Pulling the String
Central Image
Elegant Smut
Better Plots
Bitch Power


The Write Stuff
From Ashley Lister
Predefined Your Goals
Spell Ink Miss Takes
Plotting & Planning
Character Building
Speech Therapy
Talking Sense


Two Girls Kissing
With Amie M. Evans
Intro to Lesbian Erotica
3-Dimensional Characters
Submitting for Publication
Five Year Writing Plan
Setting Up Your Plan...
The Power of Naming
Language of Lesbian...
Sexual Description
What Can I say?


Hard Business
From Greg Herren
What Are Your Priorities?
How to Edit an Anthology
Follow the Guidelines...
A Cock is Just a Cock
But is it Still a Story?
Who Am I Fucking?
Potential Material
Rejection ...


The Business End
By Kate Dominic
Effective Cover Letters
How to Lose Contracts
Contracts: Agent Issues
Contracts: Read It!
Double Duty Bios
What's Sex?


Literary Streetwalker
By M. Christian
Ground Rules for Writers
No Muse is Good News
Effective Cover Letters
Location, Location
Say Something!
Dirty Words


The Erotic Book Docter
By Susie Bright
Marketing Your Book
Submission Concerns
Promotion Strategies


2006 Smutters Lounge

Pondering Porn
With Ann Regentin
Babes & Hunks of Erotica
Fantasy, Reality & Rape
Selling Ourselves Short
Selling Smut in Motown
The Frankenstein Bride
Frankenstein Revisited
Porn and Perfect Shoes
Porn's Passionate Pull
Instruments of Joy


Get All Worked Up
With J.T. Benjamin
Orwell's Eerie Parallels
Redefining Marriage
The Porn Menace
High-Quality Porn
About Profanity
Dirty Laundry
Big Brother
Sluts


Editorials

Wrong Reasons to do SM
by Midori

The Best of Both Worlds: Bisexual Erotica
Edited by Sage Vivant & M. Christian


Book Review by Lisabet Sarai



Bisexuality should make things simpler. This, at least, was my expectation. If you're sexually attracted to both men and women, finding a partner should be far easier. After all, you've got a broader selection of alternatives. When both genders are fair game, you don't need to agonize or feel guilty about your attractions to either. Then there's the release from competition. To quote Jennifer Whitlock's "Sex with His Ex":

"I like to say bisexuality means never having to say 'I'm jealous.' Don't hate her because she's beautiful - fuck her because she's beautiful. It's a win-win situation."

Sage Vivant's and M.Christian's fascinating collection, THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS, violated my expectations in more ways than one. I was expecting fantasy stories about three-somes, four-somes, and more-somes, where mutual pleasure is not constrained by gender and a juicy, arousing, satisfying time is had by all. To be sure, the book includes some tales in this genre, most notably "Married, but Not Dead" by Colt Spencer, and Kit's deliciously ironic "MMF". The majority of the stories in the book, though, are far more complex and ambiguous. They highlight, not the commonalities in loving both genders, but the differences, the discomforts, the insecurities.

The gay narrator in Brian Frank's lovely "Dancing with Rebecca" contrasts his delicate, romantic attraction to the woman in the title, met at a friend's wedding, with the wild, visceral connection he shares with a guy he meets in a bar afterward. In "Three Balls", by Callum James, a straight man discovers after prostate surgery that he can share his body more comfortably with a male friend than with his wife. "Lost in Translation", by Heather Lee Alexander, chronicles the frustration a woman feels trying to communicate her attraction to her lover's wife:

"With you it comes so naturally. Your desire needs no interpretation. I know with one look that you want me. [..] With your wife, it's completely different. Strong as my desire is, my confidence falters in her presence. I'm no stranger to her passion, yet it seems presumptuous to assume the fire in her eyes has anything to do with me."

The complications appear to be even greater for someone who's explicitly identified as gay or lesbian. Desire knows no politics, but life can be rough for a queer who's seen as going over to the dark side. Bree Coven's "Queer I and the Straight Guy" is a frank tale of how a "gold-star lesbian untouched outside the sisterhood", officially disowned by her family and thrown out of the house for being gay, fell in love with somebody with a penis. On the other hand, Mark Wildyr's "Losers" demonstrates that it's equally difficult for someone brought up to consider himself straight to admit to a same-sex attraction.

Quite a few of the contributions to BEST OF BOTH WORLDS appear to be true confessions rather than fiction. Clint Catalyst's poignant and hilarious "My Attempts at Polyamory" is clearly a slice of (richly-sexual) life. Patrick Califia's "Boy in the Middle" chronicles a night partying in a "huge and gorgeously equipped dungeon in the South Bay", with a cast of male, female, and transexual characters whose names (I hope!) have been changed to protect the innocent. Rachel Kramer Bussel's story of bittersweet horniness, "What If?", might be the product of imagination, but knowing her, I'll bet that it's not. Joy Van Nuys explicitly shares her experiences, confusions and contradictions in her essay, "Joy: Portrait of a Bisexual Sex Writer".

These highly personal accounts give BEST OF BOTH WORLDS a flavor quite distinct from the typical erotica collection. The authors here are not just trying to titillate (though many of them do). They are exposing and exploring truths, sometimes humorous, sometimes painful, sometimes embarrassing, about themselves.

With such a rich selection of stories, it's hard to identify favorites, but I have to mention R. Gay's clever and sexy "On the Care and Feeding of White Boys". Just because two hot black women are getting it on together doesn't mean they can't crave the novelty and excitement of something quite different. I also loved Jamie Joy Gatto's lyrical and satisfying "A Garden Called You", in which a woman with a secret passion for other women discovers her male lover's stash of gay porn.

I should also mention the contributions of the editors. Sage Vivant's "Strategy" and M. Christian's "Love" intentionally or otherwise share a theme: rich fantasies about one's own sex that are never consummated. The fantasy is as arousing as any action, and their stories balance the "real" sexual escapades in the other tales.

For me, Chris' and Sage's stories confirm my own beliefs about sexuality: that everyone has some potential for attraction to their own gender as well as the opposite one; that labels and stereotypes are barriers to sexual fulfillment; and that imagination is the ultimate aphrodisiac.

Whether you agree with me or not, you'll find much to intrigue and arouse you in this provocative collection.

Lisabet Sarai
December 2005


The Best of Both Worlds: Bisexual Erotica
(Haworth Press, June 2005; ISBN 156023492X)
Available at:  Amazon.com / Amazon UK / Amazon CA


© 2005 Lisabet Sarai. All rights reserved. Content may not be copied or used in whole or part without written permission from the author.


About the Author:  Lisabet Sarai has been writing ever since she learned how to hold a pencil. She is the author of three erotic novels, Raw Silk, Incognito, and Ruby's Rules, and two anthologies: Sacred Exchange and Fire (Blue Moon).
Read Lisabet Sarai's entire bio on the Erotica Readers & Writers Association.
Visit her website, Lisabet Sarai's Fantasy Factory for more information and samples of her writing.



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> 2006 Book Reviews

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