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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

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
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
Iím Easy, But Iím 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
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

The Night Watch
by Sarah Waters

Book Review by Lisabet Sarai

Night Watch by Sarah WatersIn 1999, Sarah Waters' first novel TIPPING THE VELVET caused a minor sensation. A rich, sprawling tale of Sapphic love in the world of Victorian music halls and secret "women's clubs", TIPPING THE VELVET managed to be outrageously sexy while retaining impeccable literary credentials.  Ms. Waters went on to publish two additional books that vividly evoke the Victorian period, the FINGERSMITH (my personal favorite) and AFFINITY. Both focus on lesbian relationships, though they are generally less graphic than Ms. Waters' debut novel.

THE NIGHT WATCH is a very different beast. Set in London during and after the Second World War, it follows the tangled social and emotional ties among three women and one man. Kay is a dominant, mannish person who drives an ambulance during the Blitz, racing out bravely with her comrades to rescue the victims of the bombs that slam London every night. Helen is her submissive, feminine lover, rescued from a destroyed building and sheltered by Kay. Beautiful Viv is hopelessly faithful to Reggie, a married soldier that she met on a train. Duncan, Viv's younger brother, is a shy, sensitive person who might or might not be gay. Over the course of the book we get to know these people, learn their secrets and understand what each one means to the others.

Despite the bombs and the emotional cataclysms, THE NIGHT WATCH is a quieter book than any of Ms. Waters' previous work. Ms. Waters makes the audacious decision to tell her story backwards in time. The book begins in 1947, three years after the war. Kay is a lonely ghost, haunting the streets of London. Helen and Viv work together at a marriage agency, while Duncan is the star performer at a factory for the disabled and the companion of a fussy older man who believes in Christian Science.  Over the book's 472 pages, the story retreats to 1944, and then to 1940, when the Germans bombed London for fifty seven nights in a row and killed more than 40,000 civilians. Only at the very end of the novel do we discover how Kay met Helen, and understand the intensity of Kay's need, a need that leaves her empty and haunted when Helen forsakes her for another lover.

THE NIGHT WATCH does not include much explicit sex; it really does not qualify as erotica. However it overflows with desire, hidden and overt, especially the desire that links women even when society forbids such connections. Ms. Waters understands how the physical stirs the emotions, how some quirk of appearance or manner can catch the heartstrings.

Kay whistled. 'How glamorous you look! Just like Greta Garbo in Grand Hotel.'

She didn't look glamorous really, however; she looked young, and small and rather solemn. The room was cold, and the satin chill; she shivered and blew on her hands. She worked again at folding back the sleeves, almost fretfully - gazing once, as she did it, into the mirror, and then turning quickly away.

Kay watched her, with a sort of ache about her heart. She felt her love, at moments like this, as a thing of wonder - it was wonderful to her, that Helen, who was so lovely, so fair and unmarked, should be here at all, to be looked at and touched... Then again, it was impossible to imagine her in any other place, with any other lover. No other lover, Kay knew, would feel about her quite as Kay did. She might have been born, been a child, grown up - done all the particular, serious and inconsequential things she'd done - just so she could arrive at this point, now; just so she could stand, barefoot, in a satin pyjama-suit, and Kay could watch her.

THE NIGHT WATCH is not as flashy a book as FINGERSMITH, but as a writer I found myself awed by Ms. Waters' mastery of her craft. Even in the first pages of the book, I was struck by how vividly she could evoke the gritty, tired, ruined world of London after the war.

A train ran by, two streets away, heading into Clapham Junction; she felt the thrill and shudder of it in the sill beneath her arms. The bulb in a lamp behind her shoulder sprang into life, flickered for a a second like an irritated eye, and then went out. ...

The room was dim. Some of the window glass had been lost, and Mr. Leonard had replaced it with lino. The bed was high, with a balding candlewick bedspread: the sort of bed that turned your thoughts, not pleasantly, to the many people who must, over the years, have slept on it, made love on it, been born on it, died on it, thrashed around on it in fevers. It gave off a slightly sour scent, like the feet of worn stockings. But Kay was used to that, and didn't notice.

The description simultaneously shapes one's view of the world surrounding the character, and with a single sentence, reveals the character's dark and empty state of mind.

Not everyone will enjoy THE NIGHT WATCH. If you are looking for the brilliant twists that made FINGERSMITH such a tour de force, you will be disappointed, though you'll find much of the same irony. If you miss the free-wheeling sexual exploits of TIPPING THE VELVET, you'll have to look elsewhere.  Nevertheless, THE NIGHT WATCH is an achievement, and demonstrates that Ms. Waters' expertise is not limited to Victoria's time.

In a haunting sequence which I view as the centerpiece of the book, Helen and Kay's ex-lover Julia set out on a night journey across blacked out London. They pass demolished homes and deserted churches. All is still and dark, as if they were the only people alive in the world.  When they kiss, you are almost ready to believe that this is true.

THE NIGHT WATCH is a serious and only occasionally sexy novel, but in my opinion, one not to be missed.

Lisabet Sarai
March 2008

The Night Watch by Sarah Waters

(Riverhead Trade, September 27, 2006; ISBN-10: 1594482306)
Available at:  / Amazon UK

© 2008 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; co-editor, with S.F. Mayfair, of the anthology Sacred Exchange† (Blue Moon); and editor of Cream, the Best of the Erotica Readers & Writers Association. 
Visit her website, Lisabet Sarai's Fantasy Factory for more information and samples of her writing.
Join Lisabet's List on Yahoo for exciting chat, contests, and up-to-date information on publications and events:

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'08 Movie Reviews

Almost Perfect
Review by Oranje

The Fold
Review by Ashley Lister

Review by Spooky

Review by Spooky

'08 Book Reviews


Best Bisexual Women's Erotica
Review by Ashley Lister

Best Fantastic Erotica
Review by Ashley Lister

Best Women's Erotica '08
Review by Ashley Lister

Bound Brits (ebook)
Review by Ashley Lister

Deep Inside: Extreme ...
Review by Cervo

Dirty Girls
Review by Rose B. Thorny

Hide and Seek
Review by Ashley Lister

Hurts So Good
Review by Ashley Lister

J is for Jealousy
Review by Ashley Lister

K is for Kink
Review by Ashley Lister

Lust Bites
Review by Ashley Lister

Open for Business
Review by Rose B. Thorny

Review by Lisabet Sarai

Rubber Sex
Review by Ashley Lister

Rubber Sex
Review by Victoria Blisse

Seriously Sexy
Review by Ashley Lister

Sex & Candy
Review by Ashley Lister

The Shadow of a... (poetry)
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Review by Victoria Blisse

Tasting Her
Review by Kathleen Bradean

Tasting Him
Review by Ashley Lister

Tasting Him
Review by Kathleen Bradean

White Flames
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Yes, Ma'am: Male Submission
Review by Angelika Devlyn

Yes, Sir: Female Submission
Review by Angelika Devlyn


The Art of Melinoe
Review by Ashley Lister

Demon by Day
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Gemini Heat
Review by Ashley Lister

Gothic Heat
Review by Ashley Lister

The Hidden Grotto Series
Review by Lisabet Sarai

The House of Blood
Review by Lisabet Sarai

In Too Deep
Review by Ashley Lister

In Too Deep
Review by Victoria Blisse

Review by Donna George Storey

Review by Victoria Blisse

One Breath at a Time
Review by Angelika Devlyn

Out of the Shadows (ebook)
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Review by Ashley Lister

Review by Rose B. Thorny

Seduce Me
Review by Ashley Lister

Seduced by the Storm
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Serve the People!
Review by Donna G. Storey

Signed, Sealed and Delivered
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Sunfire (eBook)
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Templar Prize
Review by Angelika Devlyn

The Wicked Sex
Review by Ashley Lister

Wild Kingdom
Review by Angelika Devlyn

Gay Erotica

Review by Vincent Diamond

Best Gay Romance '08
Review by Vincent Diamond

Hard Hats
Review by Vincent Diamond

Review by Kathleen Bradean

Lesbian Erotica

Best Lesbian Erotica '08
Review by Donna George Storey

Best Lesbian Erotica '08
Review by Ashley Lister

The Night Watch
Review by Lisabet Sarai


America Unzipped
Review by Rob Hardy

Best Sex Writing '08
Review by Rob Hardy

Bonk: The Curious Coupling
Review by Rob Hardy

The Book of Love
Review by Rob Hardy

Casanova: Actor Lover ...
Review by Rob Hardy

Dishonorable Passions
Review by Rob Hardy

Flagrante Delicto (photos)
Review by Jack Gilbert

The Flesh Press
Review by Rob Hardy

Geisha, Harlot, Strangler, Star
Review by Donna G. Storey

The Humble Little Condom
Review by Rob Hardy

Instant Orgasm (sex guide)
Review by Ashley Lister

Man O Man! Writing M/M...
Review by Vincent Diamond

The Not So Invisible Woman
Review by Ashley Lister

Swingers: Female...
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Who's Been Sleeping in...
Review by Rob Hardy