Review: Smut in the City by Lucy Felthouse and Victoria Blisse

smut in the cityReviewed by Sandra Scholes

Why This Type of Anthology: Different people have views on what is smutty, some think it is a bad thing full of thoughts of men in dirty mackintoshes holding brown paper bags full of pornographic material, but that isn’t always the case. If readers have seen comedy movies such as the Carry On ones, they will know that this type of comedy exists for those who understand and like it, and it’s just as fun as seaside postcards.

What is Smut in the City: This anthology wants to evoke the feeling of being in the hustle and bustle of the city, where the naughty leers and sensual looks from all around you are supposed to be the introduction to what would be a sensual, sexual affair, and this could happen anywhere in any city from a man or woman in a shop, store, office giving you one of those long, lingering stares, to a wink that could mean more than just a twitch. Urban fantasy is where it’s at with these stories.

Does it Live up to the Hype: For the most part it does what it says in the introduction, the stories are funny, creative, and sexy in a way that is fresh and new, but some of the stories are a bit slow to get going, and don’t seem to fit into the theme. My favourites are Lights Out by M.A. Stacie, Verona by Geoff Chaucer, and Saturday on a Tuesday by Giselle Renarde.

Outcome: I liked some of the stories, they had more fun and excitement than I expected.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Smut in the City

The Process of Creating a New Anthology

creamofthecropAnthologies are a popular choice in Erotic fiction. Our hectic schedules often prevent us from getting a little ‘Me’ time, but erotic fiction that excites and arouses can be the perfect antidote to the humdrum. An anthology provides a great opportunity for readers to sample new authors—and genres. It also gives them the ability to fit their reading into their busy days–a short but complete snippet that allows them to step off the world for a while.

For writers, it is an opportunity to not only get their work in front of an audience, but for newer names, it can be a leg up the ladder to have the exposure of being in a collection with some of the more familiar authors. Writing a short story is not easy, to create a piece with all the elements of good story telling; character and plot as well as some hot, sensual sex in just a few thousand words takes talent and skill.

Recently, Essemoh Teepee and I released our second anthology, Cream of the Crop – Disciplined Sex and have begun work on our third. We find the process exciting. It can be time consuming, but it is worth the wait to see all the pieces of the puzzle come together to make a whole finished product. To create an anthology takes many months. First the call is posted, describing the themes or the ideas we want the authors to write about and, of course writers must be given sufficient time to write!. Once the stories are submitted they must be read, accepted or rejected and then edited. It can be a lot of fun reading some really hot stories and then having to be very businesslike. Then there are the production elements of cover design, formatting and promotion.

For our eSensual Books digital E-Book/Audio line, we then need to re-edit the text for audio, find the appropriate narrators and then secure clean, well- spoken audio tracks to compile into an audio edition of the anthology. A lot of work, perhaps, but the finished product is well worth the effort.

If you haven’t read or listened to an anthology; why not? If you haven’t submitted to one, now is the time!

Genevieve Ash & Essemoh Teepee are partners in a new indie publishing company; Alternatepress/eSensual Books. Their innovative calls and interest in working with a varied group of authors sets their work apart. They are currently accepting submissions in all categories. You can find out more about their anthologies, audio presentations and their submission guidelines at www.esensualbooks.co.uk.

Buy: Cream of the Crop – Disciplined Sex

Review: Sweet Confessions by Violet Blue

Reviewed by Sandra Scholes

Cleis are well known for their novels that break the boundaries of what many would call acceptable erotica, but they are also known for their talented writers who push the envelope as far as writing is concerned. Sweet Confessions can be described as that. It pushes the very boundaries of what we normally see and view as normal, so in these stories that can be seen as confessions of a sort, readers will be able to notice the rich range of ideas that have unfolded from every page.

As far as this compilation is concerned, there are many stories that will touch the heart and the mind, as well as many other emotions. The following are only a small selection of what I considered to be the best I read.

Smell as Sweet by Heidi Champa

Liz is usually hard at work in the office, and once the weekend has gone, it’s back to work again, yet she finds happiness when she gets news from her boyfriend, Jamie, and he has a surprise in store for her. He sends her panties, special ones from a specific lingerie store he knows she will adore, and she has to come to his office in wait of what he wants.

Her life has been like this for a while, and it all started with an arrangement she had with him when she met up with him at a specific time so he could do all kinds of things to her.

One time she walks into Jamie’s office and finds him in a compromising position, one she can’t pass up. Heidi explores the kinky confession of underwear and its fetishism among men. Some like the feel of satin and silk on their body, and Jamie certainly does in this tale. I liked the pacing of it, as well as the shock factor she gives Liz when she finds out Jamie’s dirty little secret.

Internet Cafe Au Lay by Kayai Silkenvoice

One sunny day, a woman decides she is hot enough for an afternoon of passionate love making, and she hopes her lover agrees. She decides she wants Kurt to please her outside, and refuses any hope of being filled unless it’s to do with him filling her body. She has to settle for a stop off at a net café, Seabiscuits where they can play chess and indulge their fantasies. She ends up indulging her own with her lover in front of some college kids, and shows what kind of vixen she really is.

She knows what she needs, but will he satisfy her long enough? She hopes so and so will the reader once they get into this little short. I liked the honesty in the words she used, and the truth that when you’re in a clinch in public, the slightest thing can cause the giggles.

Silver Screen by Portia Da Costa

One woman is given orders on where to sit and which row in a porno cinema. This she knows is part of her lover’s games. She is well used to them by now and isn’t one to disobey any of his strict rules, not when he satisfies her the way he does. She finds her self in a row next to a couple who are into pretty heavy petting. She imagines everyone around her in a frenzy of sexual ecstasy, but not all of them are. She doesn’t mind though, as at first she thought the place disgusting, now when she sees the actors on screen they remind her of her and Steve.

Silver Screen is what I would call real indulgent wish fulfilment as she is made to wait for sex, and it’s the build up that is as important as the sex itself. Voyeurism never looked so good.

Red by Piper Morgan

Some people have mundane sexual fantasies, while others are out of this world and highly kinky as far as other people are concerned. In this story, Bode shares a deep, dark secret with his lover, hoping she will understand when the opposite happens and he can’t believe it. She’ll do his secret fetish for him. He thinks all his Christmases have come at once and enjoys what she has in store for him.

It felt fun the way the two of them played out their fantasy by using a popular fairy tale as the erotic outlet. Piper keeps all the fun until right at the end.

The Hotel by Anika Ray

A couple, Arianna and Jared plan going for a night out together, but this is a night with a difference. They already know each other, but want to act as if they don’t. It might seem funny, but for the two of them, it’s something they like to do. She enters a hotel, sitting at the bar waiting for her lover, who comes along making it look like he is picking her up for the first time.

Many people wish they could take time back to the way they felt when they first met, when the relationship was at its infancy as there was all the excitement, passion and drive at the start that made it all seem so thrilling. Anika shows how sexy and fun a new start can be even if it is pretending they don’t know each other; it’s comical to read about.

An Age Play by Regina Kammer

Writing is a way of life for some, and for one woman it is one she has to be careful of as she reminds her husband that age in romance writing has to be at a certain level – and there’s no below that age or above it, or the story or novel simply doesn’t sound right, and she also reminds him, she can get into trouble for making the characters too young. She has a great and rewarding relationship with her husband, but gets a shock when she is propositioned by a younger male who she thinks she might not see again if she refuses his request of teaching him how to have sex.

Jean has to make her mind up whether she wants to teach the young man to have sex or not, but at least she isn’t being forced away if she decides to – and it is then she realizes she has a very understanding man for a husband.

Jenna’s Gambit by Jeremy Edwards

So far we have had all kinds of kinks and fetishes, but this one is an unusual one for sure. Urinating isn’t one folk would normally think of or talks about in polite company, but with one or two like-minded souls it can be enjoyed. Jenna finds out how intrigued she is with this particular fetish with her lover, Eric who gets turned-on by the sight of her sexy panties.

I found this one very descriptive and even though it was erotic, I thought it left enough to the imagination.

The Female Gaze by Rachel Kramer Bussel

One woman thinks of all the times her lover has been looked at by other men. She finds the whole thing fascinating of other men eying him up, and maybe asking him out. She knows he is desirable to many men of every different kind. They all find him as attractive as she does and sees it as no different from how men find women desirable. He finds that he likes being asked out by guys, but wonders what he will do if he ever takes one up on an offer of rampant sex.

She feels that he should take one guy who asks up on his offer, but he has to be dreamy and very, very sexy if he can please her, but she has to choose the guy.

This story plays on the unlikely event of a woman sharing her man with another man. She gets right to the bottom of her lover’s needs, and what makes her tick too – as most women know, men can have an inner gay, it just has varying degrees!

Cat Sanborn’s choice of stories in this volume is a sensual one, I enjoyed the difference in them all, and the separate fetishes they conveyed. Sweet Confessions is a chocolate box of stories, some with wrappers, and others unabashed and exhibitionistic – who get ready to pounce. Get ready for a sensual eye stroll through some new erotic territory.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Sweet Confessions: Erotic Fantasies for Couples

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Get into Bed with Kristina Wright (Author Interview)

Sandra: What made you want to set up the stories for your Best Erotic Romance anthology?

Kristina: Actually, the idea for doing a Best Erotic Romance came from my publisher. My previous anthologies had been focused on erotic romance and they thought I would be a good match to edit the anthology. I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to put together a best of collection. It was an opportunity to read a much wider variety of stories than I had for my other anthologies and to select stories that I think represent the very best of the genre.

Sandra: You have a lot of varied stories in this anthology, if you had to decide, which story was your favourite?

Kristina: Honestly, every story in this collection was chosen because I loved it. I received over 150 stories and did several readings to get the collection down to the 17 stories I ultimately selected. I think the variety of stories shows the spectrum of erotic love– from love at first sight to long lost love. My hope is that anyone who reads Best Erotic Romance will connect and identify with at least a couple of the stories and find something to love about the others, as well.

Sandra: The stories in Best Erotic Romance explore the idea of lovers being drawn together by the fate they did not know existed and bound by the love they never thought they had. Have you ever drawn upon personal experience when writing your novels?

Kristina: I’m primarily a short story writer, though I do have several novels in various stages of completion. I think most of my fiction has some seed of truth in it and I absolutely have used my personal life to explore various themes. For instance, my story “The Curve of Her Belly” in Best Erotic Romance is about a couple expecting their first
baby. I recently had my second baby and tapped into my emotions during pregnancy to write that story. It’s erotic and romantic, but it is also very much grounded in real experience.

Sandra: I am interested in the whole selection process, so what are you looking for in new writers who come to Cleis for possible publishing?

Kristina: Oh wow, that’s a complicated question! Well, I’m obviously looking for excellent writing and attention to guidelines. Stories most often get rejected for failing to meet the requirements of a particular anthology. Beyond that, I’m looking for fresh writing– stories that blend the genres of a theme and avoid cliches. Too many new writers think that writing erotica (or erotic romance) is easy– just throw in a sex scene and you’re done. But erotica is perhaps the hardest genre to write because the author has to write about sex in a way that is, well, sexy and do it in a way that doesn’t feel cliched or forced. It’s harder than it seems! So I’m thrilled when I discover a new writer who manages to hit all the high notes– meeting the criteria for the theme, giving me characters to believe in and a well-constructed plot, and delivering hot, romantic sex that leaves this jaded editor blushing.

Sandra: You are a prolific writer, so which novel are you writing at the moment?

Kristina: I’m actually not working on a novel at the moment, though I’m currently working on a nonfiction proposal and seriously considering participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) this year. I am currently editing a collection of military erotic romance for release next year and I just turned in the copyedits for my second erotic fairy tale collection, Lustfully Ever After.

Sandra: What for you were the high points and low points of 2011?

Kristina: Great question! I have to say, it’s been a good and busy year for me! I had my second baby this year. Lucas was born September 1 and his brother Patrick will turn 2 in December. So it’s been a busy year of being pregnant and chasing after a toddler! Three of my Cleis Press erotic romance anthologies were published this year— Dream Lover (May), Steamlust (October) and Best Erotic Romance (December) and I signed contracts for two more anthologies. I managed to squeeze in a little travel to do readings in Baltimore, MD and Richmond, VA and spent some much needed relaxation/writing time alone and with my husband in Williamsburg, VA. All in all, it was a very good year and I’m looking forward to 2012 both personally and professionally.

Sandra: Which book you have read and would consider putting on your keeper shelf?

Kristina: My keeper shelf is a wall of books. Seriously! I’ve been reading a lot of nonfiction over the last year or so and right now I’m very much enjoying Ayelet Waldman’s Bad Mother.

Sandra: Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to do this.

Kristina: Thanks so much for asking!

Buy: Best Erotic Romance

Review: Carnal Machines edited by D.L. King

by Sandra Scholes, guest reviewer

In Victorian times the emphasis on women and men was of being courteous, proper and reserved, yet in society that didn’t sit well with many of the people of the day, especially the well off and super rich who held lavish balls and parties at their huge estates where who knows what would happen. From that tales of debauchery and excess began to surface from the staid and held back populace. Somehow or other, being proper wasn’t the norm for most – sex was on the minds of many folks and it came out in the writings of the time from several writers.

In this compilation of 15 stories, sex is at the forefront of these writers’ minds, yet where would we be without it, or them.

Human Powered by Teresa Noelle Roberts pens a revolutionary tale of strong, woman designer Claire, who along with Doctor Lowell are a formidable team at designing and building new technology, at least for Victorian times. The two of them are close, perhaps improperly close for a married woman, but he arouses thoughts in her mind that haven’t come up in years, of his scent, his manly musk, and it drives her wild, as it will the reader.

The Servant Question by Janine Ashbless has problems with her robot servant, one of the best from the Tulliver Tireless Housemaid range, and needs a careful hand to help repair her – enter Mr Tulliver himself who is only too happy to oblige. For those who like the surprise ending, this one has it, and it will be unforgettable.

Like in Gotta Have It, another anthology of erotic and deeply sensual stories, Carnal Machines has enough for the discerning reader to get interested in as there are so many aspects of steampunk and the rich Victorian settings to choose from. This compilation has it all, time travel, unusual robots, ruthless gentlemen, and depraved designers. Far from being a series of stories about the staid Victorians, these are told from the perspective of what the characters are thinking inside, all their proper ways are gone and only the unbridled passion can be seen.

I would advise anyone interested in erotic stories to get a copy of this as it is magical, gripping and is different in every way – make way for the new steampunk erotica.

Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: Carnal Machines: Steampunk Erotica

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Review: Gotta Have It edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel

by Sandra Scholes, guest reviewer

We’re a busy lot us humans, and it takes a lot for us to take a break, even when we need it. If you’re ever in one of those situations, whether you are at work, or work from home, get a copy of this book – it will change your life. You might be wondering why I say this, but with 69 short stories to choose from that are full of explicitly erotic content, you might want to clock off work, and get to your iPad, laptop, or the nearest computer to hand and get reading. It’s easy enough, and with each story only about 1,200 words or less in length, you can afford the time it takes to drink that coffee!

This novel will be the sort that you won’t want to put down, yet you will also want to leave each story for the next break time or special alone time at night. There is something for everyone with Gotta Have It and every kink and fetish is explored, so no one need feel left out. Gotta Have It is excellent value for money with so much content and themes, as well as well-known erotic writers who can shed light on the most forbidden aspects of life and sex.

Sex in public, BDSM, use of sex toys, three in a bed, fun and games feature in these stories, and with so much choice of what to read in a short space of time, who would want anything more than to get into it and take in the characters, the setting, the theme and the eroticism of each one.

This is one that will be on my reading list for a while.

Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: Gotta Have It: 69 Stories of Sudden Sex

Review: Secrets Vol: 29 – Indulge Your Fantasies

by Sandra Scholes, guest reviewer

In Sweet Talking the Opposition by Saskia Walker Marcus Weston was the last person Eliza thought she’d meet on a cruise on the Rhine River, but when she is there for a business conference she has to play it very cool. She has to be careful as he was a man from her past she had nearly fallen in love with, and, in her mind, didn’t want to make the same mistakes she did back then. Her thoughts soon change though, as she thinks about what it would be like if she did make out with him again, yet this time she would be the one in control. Marcus is the sort who is very sure of himself, and likes to tease the opposite sex as well as make use of them in the bedroom.

Sweet Talking the Opposition is a comical tennis game of two opposites who trade insults as Eliza doesn’t want to be involved with him is met by Marcus who would stop at nothing to see her again. The reader will get the impression that he is pleased to see her again and might have the same feelings for her he had before. For all his bad points in her eyes, she does reflect on past memories of Marcus that are rather flattering – he is the only man who made her feel like a real woman – and gave her multiple orgasms.

Chimera by Nathalie Gray delves into the strange and often dangerous slums of Earth several years into the future. A man who has run from everything his whole life is in search of justice, yet he moves like an assassin, cold and calculated, his every movement deliberate, and not to be taken lightly. He is also a man who is the sort of person he is due to his own circumstances alone, who does as he is told. In his most recent assignment, he has to deal with a politician who turns him on in more ways than he wants to imagine.

He is in for a rough ride with her if he lets her get the better of him, but then again he has never met a woman like her in his life. In Chimera, he has to give in to his urges or he might not get another chance. Sensual and erotic, this will give readers what they really want after a hard days work.

Edge by Dominique Sinclair has Noah Tyler who usually gets what he wants, and where Cat is concerned – she is certainly no exception in his eyes. Finding her and cuffing her in the process, she is angry when she finds out he intends to take her out of the building alive and take her back to the headquarters. Cat, or Catlina is one of the first women to be trained by the Department of International Intelligence, but she left before and never told the one man who might be interested in her as a former lover, Noah.

Be prepared for some sensual love-making and deep conversation in this story of love, deception and intrigue. Espionage, dodging, lies and deceit are in this story, but there is also love and sensuality by the bucket load too, so keep reading.

Beast in a Kilt by Niclole North takes readers back to fantasy where Torr, a Highland Warrior has adored a young lady, Catriona, but only as a friend. She is love with him, but he doesn’t understand her interest in him until she is made to marry an awful Chieftain who she doesn’t even take a fancy to. What can she do but run to the only man she can get to help her – Torr, but will he aid her or be more of a hindrance?

In this Highland fling of a romance, Catriona has to think up every trick in the book to seduce Torr into her bed so she can have him instead of the Chieftain, but in order for him to fall for her; she has to go further than that.

This is a story which is a part of a series of stories for Red Sage, Devil in a Kilt being the first. It is a comforting and energetic story full of sensuality, and bribery on the part of the heroine. The two of them are like each other in many ways though, as he is a part of a higher order that use him, just as she is being used – so in a way they are both needing to get their way to freedom and a better life.

Red Sage publishes some of the best erotic romance around, so it is a good idea to read this one as it has something for everyone to look at – fantasy, comedy, thriller, sci-fi and Highland.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Secrets Volume 29 Indulge Your Fantasies

Review: Women on the Edge of Space by Daniell Bodnar and Cecilia Tan

by Sandra Scholes, guest reviewer

After an interesting and in depth introduction by Danielle Bodnar about the science-fiction genre, its reasons for intriguing her to want to have a compilation of stories based in deep space, the reader is treat to four stories of how women cope with their lives in space starting with an unusual tale of love that knows no bounds.

In The Many Little Deaths of Cicilia Long by Shanna Germain, Shanna has Cicilia, a girl who has died after her girlfriend dumped her in a callous way. She has had many other deaths since then, and her mother never helped when she mentioned that she could have dated boys instead – the way many would think is she would have been dumped by men anyway, as there is nothing different from a woman dating another woman, or a man – there are players and cheats everywhere regardless of gender. Cicilia has a chance of finding happiness, but is it at a dear cost to her?

Fair as the Moon, Clear as the Sun by Laurel Waterford has a woman along with others on a mission to bring God’s word to the masses in space, but all one girl can think of is getting clean after the heat gets too much for her, and being around such pretty girls, she finds it hard to concentrate on her purity and her devotions. One such girl is Mary who she forms a bond with deeper than the others she is met with, and one night she does something even she did not think would happen, they have a deep intimacy that she can never forget, or mention to the other girls or, for that matter, Father Graham.

Adrift by Kaysee Renee Robichaud opens on an intimate moment where two women have made love and this is the aftermath, the two of them laid in bed relaxing, contemplating. Lydia and Adrianne, subordinate and captain have shared her bed, and are both explorers in deep space wanting some time out from their chores, and the command of the ship and Lydia wants to spend more time with her, yet there is little chance of that even though they have just found each other – what can she do to make their relationship more than a one night stand?

Unfolding Her Wings by Elizabeth Black has Sun, a woman who is in the months before she has a baby, known as Parent 1 her partner, Gatria Parent 2. She misses her, yet has an open relationship where she introduces other women to their bed. Sun has all the problems a new mother would; the morning sickness, fainting spells and cravings for food she would never have contemplated eating before. This story is a sensual one where her lover, Shira gives her the most pleasure before they return to normality again. Though they have their intimacy, she still wants Gatria to return to her, as she is starting to see the world that has been built around them as a form of confinement, and she desires more than anything to spread her wings and explore.

And with all kinds of people in them, mainly women who love other women, there is a sensuality factor that brings the question of prejudice out there for the readers to find out about, and what can be as intriguing as that?

Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: Women on the Edge of Space