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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 Women's Erotica 2010

edited by Violet Blue

Book Review by Jean Roberta

 

Best Women's Erotica

Most of these stories involve lust between bio-men and bio-women, but there is nothing bland, vanilla or "mainstream" about them. Most of them focus on a woman's epiphany, her conscious awareness of something important in her life, which is brought about through physical pleasure so intense that it resembles pain, or vice versa.

In the local-color story, "Shoe Shine at Liverpool Street Station" by Scarlett French, a woman on her way to a meeting impulsively hires a male shoe shiner to lavish attention on her boots (and legs) in the London Tube. She is surprised by the sensuality of the experience, and further surprised by what she learns from it:

"I am not one for being teased; it just doesn't work for me. Rather than becoming horny, I just get pissed off or bored. And this was a tease, whether it was intended to be or not. But as I felt the powering down of the brushing after his burst of effort, it occurred to me that in all this desperation I was missing out on the moment. I hadn't expected to have an experience like this when I left the house this morning and maybe there was a lot more in store for today, if only I'd let it happen."

The story, like the narrator's experience, encourages the reader to enjoy the ride instead of impatiently anticipating a mind-blowing orgasm.   

Amie M. Evans' "Man About Town" includes several epiphanies about gender and sexual orientation. In a nightclub that hosts a series of "drag king" shows called "Man About Town," a bio-man who lusts after a femme lesbian is so "queer" that he must literally keep his identity under wraps. Joe, the story's unlikely hero, has always felt somewhat out of place in the cultural "mainstream," although (as far as he knows), he has never been gay:

"At five six, Joe had always been short for a man. His petite bone structure, perfectly heart-shaped, full lips, and long curling eyelashes didn't help enforce the masculine image he wished he had, but instead lent a feminine air to his features. This was something Joe had hated most of his life, until that first night he had wandered into Club Kit Kat by accident or, perhaps, providence."  

Joe's dishonest relationship with a woman who thinks he is biologically female (and very "stone") is complicated enough—but when his girlfriend gives him an ultimatum, Joe is set loose to discover aspects of himself that he never imagined before.

"Still Life" by Sommer Marsden (always a writer to watch) involves a woman's epiphany about her troubled relationship with herself. The man in her life is willing to go far out of his way to give her what she claims to want—but that is not enough. The visual image of the female narrator, a model, posing motionless in a roomful of plastic mannequins where her man has brought the "real" girl he just picked up is one of the most memorable in this anthology. This story raises questions about the differences between reality and media-driven fantasy that will resonate with any woman who has ever felt pressured to look and behave in certain ways.

On that subject, "Fuck the Fantasy" by Loz McKeen actually works as a woman's fantasy about getting revenge on a cocky male sparring-partner in a martial arts class, and the instructor who sees what she sees and seizes the chance to satisfy her and himself.

Dominant/submissive role-reversal is the most noticeable theme in this collection aside from sudden, profound revelations. In "Prime Suspect" by Louisa Harte, a new female officer in the police force has mixed feelings about a macho male colleague: she resents his attitude even though she can't resist imagining him naked. A routine suspect-identification exercise gives her the chance to humiliate him while satisfying her curiosity. When he lets her know how easy it was for him to guess her identity, it is her turn to blush. By the end of the story, however, a certain balance of power is established.

"Equipment" by Kay Jaybee has a similarly light tone. Although the woman who plans to use her "equipment" to claim "the tight arse" of an "alpha male" ultimately loses the power struggle, she doesn't mind. "Stable Manners" by Lily Harlem is another English BDSM story featuring the traditional trappings of horsemanship, and the domination of a woman who usually functions as a teacher.     
 
"On My Knees in Barcelona" by Kristina Lloyd is a traveler's-tale about an English-speaking woman alone in the Spanish city known for its liberal, cosmopolitan atmosphere. In the country that invented machismo, the narrator enters a bar in search of ice and encounters a man who knows what will really bring her relief from the heat.

When the narrator is cornered in the cellar of the bar, she is both alarmed and aroused:

"He placed his hands either side of my head, caging me loosely in his arms, his biceps forming swarthy little hillocks on the edges of my vision. A waft of sweat, earthy and masculine, surged into my senses and I wanted to bury my nose in his armpits and inhale him."

Stories about women losing their inhibitions and responding to the allure of exotic foreign men are not new. But this story includes an unexpected twist.

"In a Handbasket" by Alison Tyler is about a friendship between a woman and a man who could hardly look more different, and their responses to the expectations of nosy passers-by. In this story, the lovers are the heroes, while the public at large is the bully that needs to be defeated. Can this relationship survive the addition of sex to the emotional intimacy that already exists? Read it and see.

Then there are the fetish stories, to use the term broadly. "Timbre" by Angela Caperton and "Amy" by Heidi Champa feature the erotic effects of recorded sound and recorded images; both stories are about the seduction of sensitive women by Dominant men who are not physically present. "Thin Walls" by Aimee Herman is another story about the power of fantasy. "Where the Rubber Meets the Road" by Aimee Pearl is about the power of sex fantasies that are acted out in a series of mini-scenes in San Francisco, the city that has been a magnet for so many seekers. "Straight Laced" is about a lingerie saleswoman who meets a male customer who likes what she likes. "Secret Service" by Rachel Kramer Bussel is all about the pleasure of taste and the pleasure of being served.  

Group sex is a theme or motif in this collection which overlaps with male Dominance, fetish sexuality and the power of the epiphany. "Stripped" by Anastasia Mavromatis (editor of Lucrezia Magazine in Australia) is an intense tale of a woman's rejection of the sexual morality of her traditional Greek family when she moves in with three male friends.  "Shift Change" by Emerald is a lighter story about a woman's decision to take on three male computer geeks, one at a time: one man for each of her orifices.

To sum up, this volume of the annual Best Women's Erotica series is a smorgasbord of surprises and revelations, lightness and depth. It's inspiring.

Jean Roberta
August 2010

Best Women's Erotica 2010
(Cleis Press, November 2009; ISBN 1573443735)
Available at: Amazon | Amazon UK

______
© 2010 Jean Roberta. All rights reserved. Content may not be copied or used in whole or part without written

About the Reviewer:†Jean Roberta is the thin-disguise pen name of a writer who teaches mandatory first-year English classes in a Canadian prairie university and who writes fiction (erotic and otherwise), research-based articles, opinion pieces and reviews. She joined ERWA in December 1998, and has never looked back. Several of her stories can be found in the "Treasure Chest" gallery. Over sixty of her erotic stories have been published in print anthologies, and Eternal Press has released her single-author e-collection of erotic stories in various genres and flavors, Obsession (2008).
Jean is a staff reviewer for the monthly reviews site, Erotica Revealed (edited by D.L. King). She blogs on Livejournal as "Lizardlez" and at www.goodsturdyjeans.blogspot.com. Her website (www.JeanRoberta.com) is a work in progress.
Read Jean's full bio at Erotica Readers & Writers Association.



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'10 Book Reviews

Anthologies

Apocalypse Sex
Review by Ashley Lister

Bare Souls
Review by Ashley Lister

Best Women's Erotica 2010
Review by Jean Roberta

canít help the way that i feel
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Coming Together...C. Sanchez-Garcia
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Coming Together...M Christian
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Coming Together...Remittance Girl
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Erotic Brits
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Fairy Tale Lust
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Like a God's Kiss
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Like a Sacred Desire
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Like a Veil
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Making the Hook-Up
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Orgasmic
Review by Kristina Wright

Peep Show
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Please, Ma'am
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Spark My Moment
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Three In One Blow
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Unleashed
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Erotic Novels

Backstage Passes
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Dommemoir
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Fire in the Blood
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Freak Parade
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I Came Up Stairs
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Marianne! A Journey...
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The Marketplace
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The Memorial Garden
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On Demand
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Once Bitten
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Rock My Socks Off
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The Tower and the Tears
Review by Lynne Connolly

Sensual Romance

Coin Operated
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Control
Review by Lynne Connolly

I Spy a Wicked Sin
Review by Harriet Klausner

Libertine's Kiss
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The Master & the Muses
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Naked
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Rampant
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Sinful
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Tangled Web (MM Romance)
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Tucker's Sin
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Victor
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Gay Erotica

Best Gay Erotica '10
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Best Gay Romance 2010
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Biker Boys
Review by Jay Lygon

Necessary Madness
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Personal Demons
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The Royal Treatment
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Silver Foxes
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Sodomy!
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Special Forces
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A Sticky End
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Wired Hard 4
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Lesbian Erotica

Best Lesbian Roamnce 2010
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Fast Girls
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Girl Crush
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Sometimes She Lets Me
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Non-Fiction

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A Brief History of Nakedness
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Condom Nation
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Dictionary of Semenyms
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Doctor of Love
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Floridaís Purge of Gay & Lesbian...
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John Holmes
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How Sex Works
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The Orgasm Answer Guide
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Screening Sex
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Sex at Dawn
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Whip Smart
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