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'07 Authors Insider Tips

FictionCraft
by Louisa Burton
Formatting Your Manuscript
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Hard Business
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Who Is Telling This Story?
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Sexy on the Page
With Shanna Germain
Plotting Erotic Fiction
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Climactic Moments: First Draft
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Two Girls Kissing
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Verb Tense Confusion
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Get All Worked Up
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The Price of Beauty
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All Worked Up About Hate
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Pondering Porn
With Ann Regentin
Good Sex: A Physics Lesson
Meet Frankenstein
Thoughts on the Orgasm Gap
The Very Bloody Marys
The Doomsday Erection
Online Threesome Porn

Wife Swap
by Amber Leigh


Book Review by Gary Russell



Researching for this review of Amber Leigh’s swinging novel Wife Swap, I discovered that the swinging phenomena happened over 50 years ago when the richer members of the U.S. Air force exchanged their wives during World War II. As mortalities in the air force were greater than in any other military outfit, husbands of other women would look after the widows.

I’m guessing that maybe not a lot of people know that, but I did wonder if Amber Leigh did know because the main protagonists have a penchant for seducing their neighbours with Glen Miller, which would be a good in-joke. It’s not only the deft touches of irony and humour that makes Wife Swap an enjoyable read. It’s also very well observed, intensely erotic and has a vital credibility. The emotional pitfalls and the rules of swinging informs the novel so it could almost read as guide for those wanting to swing. Certainly it gives the reader a sense of curiosity if not the urge to explore this rapidly growing scene.

Coming at 234 pages, Wife Swap doesn’t cheat the reader when it comes to sex. The usual permutations are lovingly crafted, indulged and bedded with bold panache. The premise is basically about the experienced swingers Johnny and Lisa, planning a spectacular swingers party, which is continuously sabotaged by their rival swinger hostess Debbie.

At the beginning of Wife Swap, Johnny and his veracious wife Lisa are driving home from a wife swap party and he reflects: ‘He was returning home from a party of excess and gratuitous sex. Naked flesh had been apparent in every direction. Easy conquests had fallen beneath him with a hunger that matched his own boundless appetite. Every detail of the evening was embedded in his memory and each passionate, exciting moment would stay with him forever as a treasured experience.

But being with Lisa was better.

This is the main theme of the novel; no matter how many sexual partners Johnny and Lisa enjoy, ultimately no couple could ever replace each other in their lives. It would seem their relation is rock solid. But when they begin a swapping relationship with their eager but inexperienced neighbours Mark and Anne, the emotional dynamics of all four might be put at jeopardy. Swapping may indeed by an emotional minefield, and Amber writes on the subject with considerable dexterity, insight, and sheer, inexhaustible eroticism.

Quite early on the novel, Johnny, having initially turned down Mark and Anne’s sexual overtures, explains why swinging can be a complicated affair, that needs forethought and planning; he explains: "You two were clearly up for it; so was Lisa. But I don’t think you and Anne had a proper idea of what you were up for. Did you want us all fucking in the same room? So we could swap and change as the mood best pleases us?"

Further on, Johnny continues, asking Mark; "Would you have been content to screw your lovely wife while Lisa and I simply watched and maybe mirrored what you were doing? And did you see our get together as being a one of affair? Or would you want us to meet up and swap and share on a regular basis? How would you feel if you came back from the office one day and found Anne in bed with Lisa and me while you’d been busting your balls peddling software? Would the idea turn you on? Or would you be pissed that you weren’t a part of the action that day?"

Amber obviously has given the thoroughly likeable main character Johnny a pedantic streak to keep the action on a tight and credible reign. There are rules to swinging as there are rules to any type of sex-scene and given the potential for emotional grievance that swapping could lead to, it’s best to learn the rules before beginning is the author’s message, though far more seductively stated than I’ve presented in this review.

One of the many aspects I really admired about Amber’s writing is her ability to make safe sex appealing as in this passage: ‘She leant back over the bonnet of the car, parting her thighs and guiding him between her legs. While her body felt warm, and her kisses were hotter, the inside of her sex was scalding. His length had been sheathed in condoms throughout the party and the contrast of sensations was phenomenal. From the smooth and almost impersonal penetrations, this was the warm wet haven he could always return to. The velvet sheath of her sex gripped him tight and the tremor of her muscles sucked him in. Breathing deeply, drinking in every detail, he plunged deeper as Lisa squeezed around him and pulled closer.

Amber’s writing is hot, racy, observed and effective erotica. Light in tone and steamy, unpretentious yet well written, Wife Swap avoids the clichés and presses all the reader’s hot buttons. All the sexual shenanigans you expect to find in the fully formed erotic novel, including lesbianism, anal sex, phone sex, group-sex and a mind-blowing orgy scene are included. Writing with a soft touch, Amber has the full range of sexual intensity on display, from hesitant seductions to bawdy sex explicitly (but never cheaply) drawn. Wife Swap is a sexually gratuitous novel, told with humour with likeable believable characters.

The novel swings, but I wouldn’t swap my copy for anything.

Gary Russell
April 2007


Wife Swap by Amber Leigh
(Virgin Nexus; March 6, 2007; ISBN-10: 0352340975)
Available at Amazon.com / Amazon UK


______
© 2007 Gary Russell. All rights reserved.

Bio: Who is Gary Russell? Read his bio on the Erotica Readers & Writers Association website.



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'07 Book Reviews

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