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'10 Authors Insider Tips

Cooking Up A Storey
by Donna George Storey
Have More Good Sex
I Can Do Better ...
Trying to Get the Feeling
Plotting and Planning
Character Profiles
Discovery Draft
Be Bad to Be Good
E-Book Revolution
Naked for Halloween
Sex With Pilgrims


FictionCraft
by Louisa Burton
The Music of Words
The Balancing Act
Your Fictional World
Backstory & Foreshadowing


The Fine Art of Submission
by Shanna Germain
Nailing the Query Letter
Banish the Boring Bio
Becoming a Market Master
Become a Market Master, 2
Backstory & Foreshadowing
Enticing An Editor, Part 1
Enticing An Editor, Part 2
Contracts, Money & More


Serious about Smut
by Vincent Diamond
No More Horsing Around
Short Stuff
Selling Short Stories
Editors' Pet Peeves
Settings: Beyond Time & Place
Beating Up Your Scenes
Selling Your Books in Person
Staying in the Saddle


The Write Stuff
by Ashley Lister
Broken Rainbows
Talk the Talk
Equations
10 Commandments for Writing
Plotting to Avoid
Cover Story
Rewriting




'10 Smutters Lounge

Ashley Lister Submits
by Ashley Lister
St Valentine's Day
Renaming Body Parts
Sex, Cigarettes & Erotic Fiction


Between the Lines
with Ashley Lister
C. Sanchez-Garcia
Emerald
Kathleen Bradean
Lucy Felthouse
Neve Black
PS Haven
Tracey Shellito
Tresart L. Sioux


Cracking Foxy
with Robert Buckley
Plenty of Miles Left
Don't Worry, Be Happy
Fly the Unfriendly Skies
Coffee Time
Castrated Words
Virtual vs. Actual Romance
Bait
The View from Gallows Hill


Get All Worked Up
with J.T. Benjamin
The Fashion Industry
The Same Old Same Old
Writing Porn
About the Closet
... About Spirituality
Making Sense of Religion
Worked Up About Monogamy
What's Next
All Worked Up About Nature
Still All Worked Up...


Sex Is All Metaphors
by Jean Roberta
Holiday Ghosts
Love and Romance
An "Interracial" Epic
Trying to Make It Go Away
Sexual Etiquette
Sex and Children
People Against Bad Things
Virtual Acceptance
His Cold Eyes, His Granite Jaw
A Flash of Northern Light

Best Gay Erotica 2010

Edited by Richard Labonté

Book Review by Vincent Diamond

 

Gay Erotica

Reaching a milestone of fifteen-years of continuous publication, Cleis Press and editor Richard Labonte have chosen another stellar group of stories for Best Gay Erotica 2010. With a wide variety of voices, Labonte has encouraged writers of a "literary bent" to get porny and worked with writers who "honed their horndog skills in the glossy gay mags." As these magazines die off one by one, it's left to the print anthologies to carry on the tradition of well-written erotica, and it's a task that Labonte takes seriously.

With eighteen stories, the volume has some heft to it. Familiar names pepper the Table of Contents: Simon Sheppard, Robert Patrick, Shane Allison, Trebor Healey, and Jeff Mann along with newcomers Tommy Lee "Doc" Boggs, Jimmy Hamada, and Jamie Freeman. Cleis has always been an equal-opportunity publisher for writers, and encouraging new voices is a worthy effort.

All of the stories work well, and several of them deserve more detailed mention:

"Holiday from Love" starts the book. Author Hank Fenwick offers a smoothly-written, largely narrative tale. The narration feels distanced and it's intended to be so; the story is told from seemingly years afterward, and the storyteller details their sexual acrobatics with just a touch of wistfulness. The last line tells the tale: "He was a holiday from love and we all need a holiday sometimes." No grand angst, no dramatic partings, just a non-committed couple of fuckbuddies going their separate ways.

"The Hippie Down-Low" by Natty Soltesz evokes a time of innocence even within the confines of a going-nowhere, post-high-school boy with no ambitions beyond getting high—and screwed. Nate meets three hippie boys: Conrad, Bowser, and Jake at a concert and gets sucked into –literally and figuratively—their freestyle world. There's some nice lines here; Nate's ennui is described succinctly. "He'd remained, in a netherworld between high school and whatever came next." The foursome end up having a suck and fuckfest, and Nate has hope for something grander at the end. It's a charming tale.

David May contributes "The Stray", and the pet metaphors and terminology from the Master/slave lifestyles permeate the piece. Bud is taken in as a stray by a couple of older Masters, but he always feels out of place. When he finds his "brother", (whether this is a soul mate or actual, biological brother is a bit vague here), a leonine man, "…tall, powerfully built, thick legged, and almost impossibly muscular…his brown eyes glinted yellow…" Bud goes home with the lion-man and is taken into a world of acceptance and sensuality he'd never known of before. The sex is raw and animalistic, which works totally for the story.

"The Bed from Craigslist" starts out with a bang. "A guy from Craigslist fucked me." Rob Wolfsham writes a great redneck character, an inarticulate, seemingly straight guy, who happily beds the just out of the dorms narrator. The dialogue is terse but right on. And the story's final line evokes a certain smile; it's not over for the Craigslist stranger and Travis.

Jonathan Kemp's piece, "Colin and Gregory: 1956" is an interesting choice for an erotica anthology. Unlike other stories, this couple doesn't have sex yet the feeling of sensuality and fierce attraction Colin feels for Gregory oozes from every syllable. Kemp maintains an even, great voice, that of a partly-closeted, older man who sees Gregory as revisiting a crush from younger days: Trevor who has "…the same green eyes and boxer's nose, …the same pucker to the foreskin, from beneath which that cyclopean eye stares out to assess me like a wary animal." This story almost has an incomplete feeling, as if it may be from a longer piece, and it has a nice, memoir-ish feel to it.

"Smoke and Semen" was a story I enjoyed when it was first published in Backdraft, a fireman anthology also from Cleis. It's a worthy inclusion for the "best of" anthology. The story has impact and depth, telling the tale of a grieving lover who lost his fireman years before. The narrator realizes that Aidan still grips his heart in some ways. When his current lover calls, he concedes: "I've never told him about Aidan, about that passionate love affair fifteen years, about Aidan's beauty, sweetness, and submission. Nathan doesn't need to know he lives in a shadow." It's a lovely line. The feel of the story is sad and the reader is left to wonder if the gaping hole left by Aidan can ever be filled.

Best Gay Erotica 2010 is a book worth having on your shelf. Whether you read strictly for masturbatory material or for some fine wordsmithing and emotional evocations of lost loves, this book will serve you well.

Vincent Diamond
September 2010

Best Gay Erotica 2010
(Cleis Press, December 2009; ISBN-10: 1573443743)
Available at: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

______
© 2010 Vincent Diamond. All rights reserved.

About the Author:
Vincent Diamond's short story collection, Rough Cut, was released by Lethe Press in 2008. "An erotic wordsmith," says noted editor Richard Labonte in the foreword to the book, "...erotic fiction that possesses story-telling heft." Diamond's stories have appeared in Screaming Orgasms, Sex on the Beach, Coming Together: Under Fire, Country Boys, Truckers, Best Gay Romance 2007, Hot Cops, Love in a Lock-Up, Best Gay Love Stories 2005 and 2006, in the e-books Feathers, Chance Encounters, Under Arrest, and Play Ball from Torquere Press, and online at Fishnet, Clean Sheets and Ruthie's Club.
More info, with free stories and excerpts, available at: www.vincentdiamond.com.



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'10 Book Reviews

Anthologies

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