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'08 Authors Insider Tips


Everything About Epublishing
by Angela James
Epublishing: A Different Way
Choosing an Epublisher
Your Milage May Vary
Understand Your Contract!
Reasonable Expectations


FictionCraft
by Louisa Burton
The Publishing Biz
Critiquing: To Give and ...
Commerical vs. Literary...
Antiformalism for Fun &...
So You Want to Write a Novel
The Story Idea
Planning Your Novel...


The Write Stuff
by Ashley Lister
5 Steps to Success
Inspirational
Opening Passages
Let's Get Critical
Writer's Block
Learning Lessons


Two Girls Kissing
by Amie M. Evans
Be a Finisher ...
Listen to Your Characters
Conferences: Act Now ...
Starting an Erotic Story
Exercises & Writing Prompts
Revising & Rewriting
Copy Editing
The Manuscript Critique
How to Submit Your Work
Reading as Craft


Guest Appearances

Adventures in e-Publishing
by Lisabet Sarai

For the Love of Man
by Laura Baumbach

How to...Influence Editors
by Alison Tyler

Marketing your e-Book
by Brenna Lyons


2008 Smutters Lounge

Ashley Lister Submits
by Ashley Lister
Role Play
Busy Doing Nothing
Picture of a Fish & Chip...
What I Did With My Summer


Cooking Up A Storey
by Donna George Storey
Naughty Cookies...
Tie Me Up, Please …
The Smut-Writer’s Holiday
Never Trust the Narrator ...
Compare and Contrast
Following the Pen
Naked at the Farmers Market
I’m Easy, But I’m No Slut
Good Girl Gone Bad
Pleasures of the Dark Side
Slow, Spare and Sexy


Get All Worked Up
with J.T. Benjamin
Raising Daughters
Jamie Lynn
Utopias
Lust
The Good Old Days
Election '08
Traditional Marriage
Campaign 2008
Free Will


Pondering Porn
with Ann Regentin
Masturbating on SSRIs
Sex and Disability
Besides Ourselves
Adjusting our Contrast


Sex Is All Metaphors
by Jean Roberta
Sex Is All Metaphors
Turn-ons and Squicks
Sexual Truth
Fickle Muse
Porn, Erotica & Romance


Provocative Interviews

Between the Lines
with Ashley Lister
Alison Tyler
Ashley Lister
Debra Hyde
Donna George Storey
Jeremy Edwards
Kristina Wright
Rachel Kramer Bussel


Erotic Hot Spots
by William S. Dean
Interview with Tilly Greene
Interview with Devyn Quinn


Getting Graphic
with William S. Dean
New Times for Readers...
The Future in Words ...
Interview with Fantagraphics


On Writing Erotica

The Accidental Pornographer
by Lisabet Sarai

The End of Innocence
by Lisabet Sarai

Get Them Off in High Style
Helena Settimana

So, You Want To Write Erotica?
by Hanne Blank


Web Gems
Hot Movies For Her

Best Lesbian Erotica 2008
Edited by Tristan Taormino

Book Review by Donna George Storey



Best Lesbian Erotica 2008I have a secret habit that I’m almost ashamed to share with you—although chances are good I’ll find a sympathetic audience at open-minded ERWA. When I’ve admitted my “perversity” to people in the past, they’re usually shocked and horrified at my brazen flaunting of convention. Recently, however, I discovered I’m not alone. There are a lot of people like me and some are coming out and admitting it openly. Alice Munro, for example, and Rose Fox, a reviewer for Publishers Weekly.

What I do is this: I pick up a new book and read the first paragraph or so to see if it grabs me. So far, so normal. Then I skip about a hundred pages and read another random paragraph, then maybe another a few dozen pages later. I know well enough that writers, agents and editors work to polish the first five pages to a sheen. Yet only if the story still keeps me interested and the prose is fresh and assured on page 174, do I consider giving the book my time as a reader. Sometimes, deviant that I am, I even read the last page. I’m not worried this will “give it all away” because to me, the magic of a story is not where you end up, but how you get there.

Anthologies are a different matter, of course, but I still generally choose stories at random or based on an interesting title rather than slavishly following the editor’s lineup. However, when I got my reviewer’s copy of Best Lesbian Erotic 2008, I realized it was my professional duty to read from cover to cover, the “correct” way, in deference to any lovers of lesbian erotica who might prefer their books straight. I’ll admit it felt deliciously transgressive to follow the rules for a change, rather like a doggedly experimental couple finding bliss when they finally do it the old-fashioned way on a bed.

Best Lesbian Erotica 2008 starts out with a foreword by long-time series editor Tristan Taormino, who whets our appetite with a promise that the stories within break boundaries of every kind. Next comes the introduction by guest editor Ali Liebegott, an engaging bit of memoir about her introduction to porn and her unfortunate first encounter with somnolently poetic lesbian erotica that left her wondering if this was all there was. That is, until she read the submissions for this book, a collection which finally reflects the many sides of her lesbian self.

Boundary-busting, risk-taking, dynamic and multi-faceted—can it all be true? I can’t resist, I have to jump right to the end. In fact, the book actually does deliver this and much more. The quality of the prose is first-class and hot enough to melt Chicago snow in midwinter. All of the stories are well-written, jazzy and smart. Some offer intense passion, others humor. “The Bridge” is less a story than a poem, begging to be chanted aloud. I was also impressed with the editors’ arrangement of the stories, often in groupings that flow together to heighten the reading experience.

The first two stories serve as a tasty appetizer for what’s to come. “Different Girls” by Tamai Kobayashi is a strong opener, with a rather obviously fitting title. However, we soon learn “difference” also means the contrast between the good girl and the tough girl, a duality of roles you’ll find in many stories in the book. Each type has her rules to follow, each has a truer self that blossoms in the presence of the other. The sexual encounters are vivid and—Liebegott’s bad experience with poetry aside—beautifully lyrical.

Valerie Alexander’s story of an all-consuming college affair, “Paradise,” is equally seductive. Turn right to this one for some sheet-scorching sex scenes. But whereas “Different Girls” left us in the afterglow of virgin discovery, “Paradise” takes us out of the garden into a more complex world where time and loss inevitably leave their mark on perfection. The tone is darker, but tonal shifts give a richness to the anthology—some stories are light and playful, others bittersweet, some take it much further to—as Taormino puts it—“eroticize emotions we’re not supposed to think of as sexy, like anger, jealousy and revenge.”

Other standouts include Catherine Lundoff’s “Spoonbridge and Cherry,” a spell-binding tale that I literally could not put down. The story has everything—a mystery to keep you turning the pages, a tough, funny, but vulnerable narrator, and a heady three-way encounter with a dash of prostitution, and big dollop of voyeurism and exhibitionism. Read this one for tips on how to write a well-crafted and very hot short story.

Lundoff’s is a hard act to follow, but the editors keep the tension high with Chandra S. Clark’s “The Waiting is the Hardest Part.” This was another favorite for its craft as well as its hard-hitting power play. The narrator’s desire is complicated by feelings of jealousy and revenge, but for this reader at least, her violence is tempered by her eloquent self-knowledge:

“You were always so lovely when we fucked. Your eye makeup smeared, your hair a luxuriant mess around you. I felt so proud after, that I had ruined your carefully composed image, the face you showed the rest of the world. As though another woman waited under your skin, alive and magnetic, and only I had the power to free her, free you from yourself. Like Aladdin I rubbed you, waiting for magic to happen. But just like every clichéd genie story, wishes come true only in their most literal sense, a backhanded blessing. As I stirred what lay dormant in you, it was not only me that reaped the benefit. I woke you, my beauty, and you made me pay the price by sharing your love. What do you think of wishes now?”

Not every story in Best Lesbian Erotica 2008 has a fairytale ending, but the last line of Clark’s story is perfection, the envy of any writer. I was very surprised to learn this was her first fiction publication.

Jacqueline Applebee’s “Shine” provides another intriguing look at erotic power games. Besides a memorable scene with a shoe dildo, the story leaves you with an understanding of the special pleasures of—and the empowerment in—a life dedicated to service. Roxy Katt’s “The Ant Queen” will delight movie fans with its lesbian Mrs. Robinson figure and its nod to Casablanca. I laughed out loud, but I also admired Katt’s ability to capture the feelings of every young woman in her late teens, the heroine’s “nameless inadequacy” that is most satisfyingly banished by the story’s climactic end.

Also noteworthy were stories by two other writers who were published in Best Lesbian Erotica 2008 for the first time. “Top Girl” by Nan Rogue impressed me with its freshness, humor and effortless flow. In “And the Stars Never Rise,” a soon-to-be-famous woman turns the tables on a snooping photographer, a clever story that says all too much about our reality-show-obsessed culture.

The anthology finishes strongly with work by several well-established erotica talents. Rachel Kramer Bussel’s “Domme Games” delivers the immediacy, snappy pacing and hot—or shall I say “highly effective”?—dialogue, we’ve come to expect from her stories. D.L. King’s “A New York Story” seems as first to be an entertaining tale of a woman who prefers ghostly lovers over the flesh-and-blood variety—with plenty of New York real estate lore and jokes to make you smile. However, the unspoken tragedy at its climax showed me yet again that most of the stories in this book merit the attention we give a “literary” work. King’s story is, in the end, not just a sizzling paranormal romance, but an allegory. The truth is we often need a catastrophic shift in the “normal” to see our relationships for what they really are.

I enjoyed Shanna Germain’s “Native Tongue” even more this time than I did in Alison Tyler’s E is for Exotic. Smart, literate and sexy, it’s the perfect example of a story that offers more. The narrator, a professional translator, longs to escape words, thought, cognition for the pure sensation and sensuality she finds in a lover who cannot speak any of the many languages she’s mastered for her work. In this story words don’t always bring you closer—in spite of what therapists may tell you—but ironically it is Germain’s sharp and eloquent prose that brings as much pleasure as the masterful eroticism.

The anthology ends with a thunderclap. “The Storm Chasers” by Peggy Munson is one of the most electrifying short stories I’ve read in a long time. The theme—a young Amish woman’s search for identity during the customary teenage “exile” from her community—is fascinating. The quality of writing is quite simply extraordinary. I suspect I enjoyed this story all the more because I’ve seen a documentary on Rumspringa. To watch children, who’ve basically led sixteenth-century lives, suddenly let loose in a world of sex-drugs-and-rock-and-roll without any protection or preparation is frankly horrifying—but Munson molds this dangerous and often self-destructive energy into a powerful and moving love story.

Editor Ali Liebegott’s first encounter with erotica—with its leaping dolphins and mango-sucking lovers—left her hungry. Best Lesbian Erotica 2008 offers very different fare indeed. Any reader looking for strong women and strong prose will come away deliciously fulfilled.

Donna George Storey
February 2008


Best Lesbian Erotica 2008

(Cleis Press; November 28, 2007; ISBN-10: 157344300X)
Available at:Amazon.com / Amazon UK


______
© 2008 Donna George Storey. All rights reserved. Content may not be copied or used in whole or part without written


About the Author: Donna George Storey taught English in Japan and Japanese in the United States and has finally found the work of her dreams writing erotica. If you’re really nice, she’ll bake you a batch of her Venetian cookies, with layers of marzipan, jam and chocolate, that take a ridiculous amount of time to make and are (almost) better than sex. Her work has been published in dozens of journals and anthologies including Clean Sheets, Fishnet, Best American Erotica, Best Women’s Erotica and Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica.
Her first novel, Amorous Woman--a semi-autobiographical tale of an American woman’s love affair with Japan and a number of sexy men and women along the way—was published by Neon/Orion in 2007. It’s currently available at Amazon UK and from her web site (DonnaGeorgeStorey.com) in the US. Stay tuned for a big US launch in June 2008.
For more of her musings on sensual pleasure and creativity stop by her blog: Sex, Food and Writing



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'08 Movie Reviews

Almost Perfect
Review by Oranje

The Fold
Review by Ashley Lister

Two
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Fallen
Review by Spooky

'08 Book Reviews

Anthologies

Best Bisexual Women's Erotica
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Best Fantastic Erotica
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Best Women's Erotica '08
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Bound Brits (ebook)
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Deep Inside: Extreme ...
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Dirty Girls
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Hide and Seek
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Hurts So Good
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J is for Jealousy
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K is for Kink
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Lust Bites
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Open for Business
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Possession
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Rubber Sex
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Rubber Sex
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Seriously Sexy
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Sex & Candy
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The Shadow of a... (poetry)
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Spanked
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Tasting Her
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Tasting Him
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Tasting Him
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White Flames
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Yes, Ma'am: Male Submission
Review by Angelika Devlyn

Yes, Sir: Female Submission
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Novels

The Art of Melinoe
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Demon by Day
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Gemini Heat
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Gothic Heat
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The Hidden Grotto Series
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The House of Blood
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In Too Deep
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In Too Deep
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Incognito
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Nicholas
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One Breath at a Time
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Out of the Shadows (ebook)
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Phantasmagoria
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Reckless
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Seduce Me
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Seduced by the Storm
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Serve the People!
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Signed, Sealed and Delivered
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Sunfire (eBook)
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Templar Prize
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The Wicked Sex
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Wild Kingdom
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Gay Erotica

Backdraft
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Best Gay Romance '08
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Hard Hats
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Leathermen
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Lesbian Erotica

Best Lesbian Erotica '08
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Best Lesbian Erotica '08
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The Night Watch
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Non-Fiction

America Unzipped
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Best Sex Writing '08
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Bonk: The Curious Coupling
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The Book of Love
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Casanova: Actor Lover ...
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Dishonorable Passions
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Flagrante Delicto (photos)
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The Flesh Press
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Geisha, Harlot, Strangler, Star
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The Humble Little Condom
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Instant Orgasm (sex guide)
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Man O Man! Writing M/M...
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The Not So Invisible Woman
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Who's Been Sleeping in...
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