Tuesday, June 13, 2017

What have I been reading?

For me, there’s duty reading, and there’s fun reading. Mostly I confine myself to the latter – well, life’s short enough as it is – but occasionally I feel I need to make an effort

Recently my duty reading matter has consisted of manifestos from the various parties vying for my vote in last week’s general election in the UK. I consider it my duty to pay attention. I owe it to the Pankhursts. The outcome of our latest foray into the swirling, murky waters of representative democracy is now known and will be the stuff of much excited comment for weeks to come I daresay. 

As for the manifestos, they were by and large a lacklustre set. The Conservatives presented us with a pedestrian collection of austerity and veiled warnings of the perils in store should we be foolhardy enough to trust that Corbyn chap. Oh, and there was to be fox hunting again – as if the British electorate was remotely interested in that. As for the Corbyn chap, he talked the talk but got a bit muddled over his sums, when he
bothered to do any. I confess, it never occurred to me that I ought to check out the Democratic Unionist Party in Northern Ireland, but there you go.

I don’t know why I ever expect anything better, but every time an election looms I rush to download the pearls of wisdom. I pore over the half-promises and grandiose claims then come the glorious day I go off and vote the same way I always do.

Probably I should just skip the manifesto bit…

And then there’s fun reading… 

Recently I’ve been enjoying some sexy novellas. I’m not always a massive fan of novellas and short stories. Generally, I appreciate a slow burn and plenty of time to develop characters and plot, but if done well a quick read is fabulous, a sort of smutty smash and grab. Lunch break lust.

In a short story every word counts. Every paragraph has to work for its living and justify its existence. Slick, expressive writing, sharply defined and believable characters, these are the stuff of the novella. Throw in a pacy plot and you have me every time.

My favourite in recent times was a the Black Light box set, Valentine Roulette. This is a series of linked short stories set in a BDSM club. Submissives and Doms are paired up, courtesy of a roulette wheel, and they spin again to select their kinky scene. It all happens on the same evening, and although each story is separate and written by a different erotic author, they all criss-cross each other.

And here’s another winning feature for me. Black Light is published by Black Collar Press, an indie, not one of the usual erotic publishers so there’s none of that publishing guidelines censorship nonsense spoiling the fun. Why do publishers describe their policies as guidelines when really they mean they’re hard and fast rules etched on tablets of pure granite? The Valentine Roulette anthology breaks the normal rules and includes breath play, water sports and lots more of the edgier stuff. Lovely.

Another mistress of the fine and noble art of the novella is of course our own Lisabet Sarai. I recently read and reviewed Damned If You Do, her sexy paranormal. Here’s what I made of it…

I loved the premise of this scorching novella from Lisabet Sarai as soon as I read the sales blurb, and the story did not disappoint.

An ambitious but struggling author receives an offer she can't refuse - success, fame, best-seller status, and all she has to do to get the royalties rolling in is sell her soul to the devil. A no-brainer, right? The devil delivers, but the price turns out to be even higher than Wendy thought.

I liked Wendy. I liked her no-nonsense attitude and her willingness to take risks to get what she wants. I also liked her ability to see herself and to understand her own motives, and eventually to make the right choices.

The sex is sizzling, both the human and supernatural varieties. Lisabet writes the most intensely sensual scenes and thus short read is packed full of them. This might be one of her finest quick reads yet, and will appeal to readers who like their alpha heroes well on the dark side and a sassy heroine who is intelligent and ready to kick ass.

So, an eclectic choice of reading matter but it keeps life interesting. Fingers crossed that there isn't another election for a while, but I won't hold my breath.


  1. Whether for better or worse, politics are much more cut-and-dried here in the US. One party makes sense, the other doesn't. Simple.

    Unfortunately, the wrong guys are in at this time.

  2. Thanks so much for the kudos, Ashe!

    As for the manifestos -- we don't have anything like them in the U.S. Instead there are soundbites and now, tweets. I suspect that an objective measure of literacy in the U.S. would find it's many percentage points lower than in the U.K.

    1. Oh, and I LOVE this:

      "Why do publishers describe their policies as guidelines when really they mean they’re hard and fast rules etched on tablets of pure granite?"

      Too true!