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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

Incognito
by Lisabet Sarai

Book Review by Donna George Storey



Incognito by Lisabet SaraiFor the most part I enjoy being a writer. After years of bowing to bosses—sometimes literally—or dealing with students’ outrageously creative excuses about why their papers are late, I still get a thrill knowing my current “job” involves sitting all alone in a little room in my pajamas making up wild stories. However, there is one drawback to my new life. Since I’ve begun writing myself, I seldom lose myself in a book. I’ve become a very demanding reader, even downright greedy. I want a story to satisfy me intellectually, emotionally and aesthetically. For erotica, I have to add “sensually” to that list as well. It’s a tall order, but occasionally I discover a novel that satisfies my exacting requirements. Lisabet Sarai’s novel, Incognito, definitely fits the bill.

Incognito opens with Miranda Cahill, a demure English literature graduate student, trying to pretend she is someone very different indeed: a sexy babe in a spandex mini-skirt looking for a hot fling in a dance club. Still nursing a broken heart after she was abandoned by her first lover, Miranda is not succeeding very well at the masquerade until a seductive stranger sweeps her on to the dance floor with these portentous words: “I can see through your mask. I know you. You were made for pleasure.” There on the dance floor, and later in a shadowy playroom at the back of the club, Miranda learns that strangers may see things she has kept hidden even from herself. Thus begins a second, secret life that over the course of the novel leads her far from the library to liaisons in fantasy factories, gritty pool halls, and alleyways among other steamy—and always well-written—adventures.

A woman’s journey from sexual inexperience to uninhibited self-knowledge is arguably the signature plot of erotic novels written by women, not to mention men pretending to be women. Within this convention, however, each author has plenty of leeway either to remain entrapped in the genre or rise above it. In the second chapter, Ms. Sarai introduces us to the two features of Incognito that give it a delightful twist on the usual fare. The first is the use of stories within stories. Miranda’s dissertation topic is Victorian pornography and we are privy to some of her finest primary sources, giving us bonus historical tales with well-researched period detail to reflect and enrich the contemporary narrative. One of the hottest scenes—I’ll confess a fondness for Victorian settings in my erotica—is A Maid’s Tale, a classic power-play encounter between the master of the house and a lowly servant girl.

“Ah, Mary, you enjoy that, don’t you?” I was silent, blushing with shame. “Do not worry, my dear, I will not hurt you. I told you that I would do something nice for you, and I shall.”
Before I could protest or reply, he pulled the globes of my buttocks apart, and thrust his tongue deep into my cunny. I thought I would faint with delight. He flicked his tongue rapidly in and out, almost like a serpent (as I thought later). Then he fastened his whole mouth on that dark, moist crevice, lapping and sucking until I lost all control. As I spent myself, he licked greedily, as if my juices were the most delicious of wines. I sank exhausted onto the leather upholstery, my skirts tangled around me. After a moment, the Master raised me up, his hand under my chin. “You are special,” he told me, his voice kind. “You are obedient and good, but you also have a voluptuous spirit.” My cheeks burned and I hung my head. “No, my dear, do not be ashamed. Be grateful, for you will have a better life than your proper and virtuous sisters.”

It’s time for another confession: I, too, was once a demure graduate student with a wilder side (although not as wild as Miranda’s—I can only wish!). Back in those days, I was amused to observe that most of us library rats chose dissertation topics with personal resonance. Miranda is no different. Her provocative thesis, as her advisor describes it, is that “the explosion of sexually-oriented writing during the latter half of the nineteenth century was a reflection of actual practices, rather than a reaction to public morals” or in simpler terms, that much of Victorian erotica—not just Walter’s exploits in My Secret Life—was memoir and not fantasy. By the chapter’s end, Miranda makes a discovery in an antique store that is every academic’s wet dream: a Victorian-era diary which seems blank at first but is really a chronicle of taboo-busting sexual adventure by a proper married lady named Beatrice. Beatrice wrote her confessions in disappearing ink, as if she were waiting for the proper reader to come along some day to unlock the truth.

As the novel progresses, Miranda proves herself to be that perfect, sympathetic reader. The experiences of the modern Miranda and the Victorian Beatrice reflect each other in fascinating and unpredictable ways. Both women lead double lives, a theme that resonates with many readers because we are all “other” in our sexual lives; sexual ecstasy makes us “other” to ourselves. Both discover that self-knowledge comes through rough play, which is particularly effective at stripping away their self-images as conventional, prim and inhibited. “Hungry, horny, always seeking new strangers,” both use sex to escape intimacy at first. As Beatrice explains it, the true risk of having sex with a lover a second time is that “mystery will be swallowed by the mundane, that sweet, selfish abandon will fade to bland attraction.” Yet how far will these women go to avoid that paradoxical “risk”? That question gives the story an edge that keeps the pages turning.

On that note, I have to say that the erotic scenes in Incognito never fail to provide the intensity, variety and satisfaction its protagonists are seeking. Cross-dressing, spankings, three-ways and foursomes, impromptu stand-up sex with an elegant Asian businessman in an alleyway, a stylized scene on a stage in an S&M club, delicious “defilement” by a coarse and lusty man servant, an encounter in the restroom at a swanky London gentleman’s club—you can find anything you crave on this sexual smorgasbord as well as some things you didn’t realize you enjoyed until you read it here. A particularly sexy standout for me was the scene between Miranda and her roommate, Lucy, where Miranda discovers her talent as a domme. Always beguiling is the mix of the poetic with the frankly sexual in Ms. Sarai’s prose.

“Marcus reclined on the cushions now, more or less in the position previously
occupied by his sister. His arms were folded behind his head, his eyes were shut, and a broad smile decorated his lips. Marla knelt gracefully on one side of him. Her slender fingers danced up and down the length of his cock, which rose magnificently from his belly. The pale skin stretched taut over the swollen member, silky and inviting. In contrast, the bulb was spongy, shiny, almost purple. Marla grasped him with thumb and ring finger, just under the head, then ran her forefinger across the tip, smearing the droplet of moisture that trickled from the eye. Marcus stirred slightly, then relaxed into her hands.
Marla alternated her strokes with a skill that belied her apparent youth. First she would trace with the barest touch the pulsing veins that decorated his massive shaft. Then she would wrap her whole hand around him, squeezing until Marcus groaned aloud. While one hand worked his penis briskly, the other teased the underside of his balls, fingertips brushing lightly over the tender, wrinkled skin. In response, his rod grew still fatter and longer. He was clay in her hands, and she was the master sculptor, molding him into the perfect effigy of lust.”

By the end of the novel, Miranda has come a long way from the shy, self-doubting woman in the dance club. But can she ever reconcile her two lives as academic and sexual adventurer and find a lover who is worthy of repeat encounters? It is fitting that the multi-layered narrative gives us multiple climaxes (who can ever get enough of those?) An academic conference may be a rather unlikely setting for the denouement of an erotic novel, but it not only allows Ms. Sarai to paint a hilariously accurate portrait of the posing and politics of academia, it is a perfect counterpoint to her seduction by the stranger in the opening chapter. Inspired by her predecessor, Beatrice, this time Miranda herself decides how to acknowledge the desires of body, mind and heart in a way that pleases the audience, including this reader, even if the stiff-necked professors disapprove.

Incognito is truly a buffet of pleasures, with something for everyone. There’s the enjoyment of piecing together the mirroring, multi-layered narratives. Historical and literary echoes provide extra spice for the careful reader—in particular Shakespeare fans might enjoy the parallels to Miranda in The Tempest—all sweetened with abundant humor and clever feminist twists. Always you’ll find masterful prose in sizzling erotic scenes that offer flavors to please any palate. And last but not least, the novel will change your view of the world in surprising ways.

For one thing, by the time you finish it, I can guarantee you will never look at men from Wisconsin in the same way again!

Donna George Storey
January 2008


Incognito by Lisabet Sarai

(Total-E-Bound; ebook format; ISBN: 978-1-906328-43-6)
Available at: Total-E-Bound


______
© 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
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The Fold
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Two
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Fallen
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'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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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
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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
Review by Lisabet Sarai

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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Sunfire (eBook)
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The Wicked Sex
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Wild Kingdom
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Gay Erotica

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Best Gay Romance '08
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Hard Hats
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Lesbian Erotica

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The Night Watch
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Non-Fiction

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The Flesh Press
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Geisha, Harlot, Strangler, Star
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