Wednesday, October 30, 2019

More Books Than Sense

Morticia Knight

I've been a horrible blogger lately. I've been an even worse reader. My transgressions stem from a frustrating combination of health woes and looming deadlines. Then, I just returned a week ago from the Gay Rom Lit Conference in New Mexico which wiped me out. I'm sort of upright now, though, so there's that!

One of the things I told myself before I went, and I was adamant, was that I wasn't going to buy one book. I wouldn't even consider it. Nope. I bet you know what happened, right? That I saw all the amazing books and couldn't help myself, I had to buy them! Hmm...sort of. The truth is, my friends offered them to me. As in, after I gave them one of my books that I'd brought for them, they asked if I'd like one of their beautiful books. Now come on. I'm only human! You expected me to say no? Ha!

You get the picture. So, twelve books later, I still remained true to my word and didn't buy one damn book. However... Here are a few of the lovelies (and don't tell anyone, but I designed the cover for LE Frank's Kiss, Kiss story collection). They range from the aforementioned more literary romantic gay fiction, to mpreg pirates to gay cowboys and BDSM and more!

How am I supposed to get any work done with this awesomeness in my house? Wish me luck! 

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Do Two Half-books Count as a Whole?

Sacchi Green

I don’t usually try to read more than one book at a time, but right now I’m in a quandary, half-way through both Michelle Obama’s Becoming and Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens.

As a writer myself, and a voracious reader in my youth, I feel a certain amount of guilt that I buy so few books these days. Of course way, back in adolescence when I was devouring at least three books a week, I wasn’t buying them either. I practically grew up in a library. These days I do buy the occasional ebook, usually by an author I know, but even then I don’t always get around to reading them.

One great thing about library books is that they have to be returned by a certain date, which is good motivation to read them fairly soon—or more often than not, in my case, to listen to them on CDs in my car. I get weekly emails from my local library listing new acquisitions, and when I see a book that I’ve been intrigued by offered on CD, I can get on a waiting list (usually very long.)

There can be a down side to this method, though. These two very long new books became available for me at more or less the same time. There was no way that I could finish both of them before they were due to be returned, and certainly no long enough roads trips for listening to both of them, even though in the past month I’ve driven from western MA to the Mount Washington Valley in NH and later to Provincetown on the tip of Cape Cod.

Becoming came through a few days ahead of Crawdads, so I started that and was immediately entranced, even though I already knew most of what one might call the plot, insofar as a memoir has a plot. I knew Michelle had grown up in Chicago, went to Princeton and then Harvard Law School, mentored Barack Obama in his first job as a lawyer in a prestigious Chicago law firm, left the law for responsible positions in more socially conscious and useful work, and eventually became the First Lady of the United States. In her book, though, I felt that I came to know her as an utterly real person, and saw the ways her early life in a solid, middleclass family on Chicago’s South Side were so similar to almost all of our families, while having their own individual traditions and perspectives as most families do. The main difference between Michelle Obama and most of the rest of us has been her outstanding intellect and blazing determination to succeed at worthwhile work. I had to return the book at about the point of when it got to Barack Obama’s first term as President, and in one way I’m eager to read the rest—her writing is excellent, and relatable, and entertaining—but in another way, knowing what has happened to our country since his two terms, it might be depressing to read more about those better times. I will, though, and I have the book on CD again now, since the waiting list has apparently slowed and when I made another request it was fulfilled right away.

In the meantime, I started on Where the Crawdads Sing, and became just as entranced in different ways. The protagonist, Kya, has a life far different from most of us. She lives in a shack in the marshes of the Outer Banks of North Carolina, and has been there alone from about the age of ten. The rest of her family members have left, one by one, mainly due to the violent nature of their father, and even though Kya does manage to soften him somewhat, he too abandons her eventually. But Kya survives, living on the abundant seafood she knows how to catch, and the plants her mother had taught her were edible, and her own deep love and knowledge of the marsh and all its ways and inhabitants. Half-way through, as I am now, and waiting for a chance to get the book again, I’ve followed her through scrabbling for survival, coming of age, first love (a boy who had known one of her brothers teaches her to read and do math and brings her books but eventually goes off to college and has academic plans that can’t include her,) and through several more years while she matures, having learned not to trust anyone, but still lonely for contact. There’s also been a so-far separate story developing, of a mysterious murder that seems sure to bring her accusations from the nearest townfolks who have come to regard her as witchlike, with her knowledge of plants and animals and her lonely existence. I suspect the second half of the book is going to be hard on Kya, and possibly hard on the reader, but there are thousands of positive reviews and recommendations by famous people including Reese Witherspoon, who has chosen it for her book club, so I’m trusting that it doesn’t turn out tb be a downer. Even if it does, I’d read it for the captivating characterization of Kya, and the exquisite writing about nature in the marsh with its lagoons and winding streams and occasional sandy beaches.

So there you have it, two half-books read, and the other two halves yet to be read. I don’t know, can I claim to have read a whole book at this point?

Thursday, October 24, 2019

For the Love of Books

By Tim Smith.

I recently took stock of the bookshelves in my house and discovered more unread books than I realized I had. The reason for this wasn’t impulse buying on my part. My parents were avid readers and when my mother passed a few years ago, I fell heir to her extensive collection. Luckily, we both like the same stuff. I’m well stocked with everything from Erle Stanley Gardner to Robert B. Parker, along with classics by Hemingway and Steinbeck. Who needs the public library when I have all of these books at home?

I’m still on my quest to read everything by James W. Hall that I haven’t gotten around to yet. There are currently three of his books in my stack. “Gone Wild,” one of his earlier adventures about the trafficking of exotic animals, is tough going for me. His depiction of animal mistreatment is uncomfortable to read, so I don’t know if I’ll get through this one. “Rough Draft” and “The Big Finish” seem to be a little more in my line.

Carl Hiaasen is another fave, and I discovered three of his books that I hadn’t read. I’m changing that, starting with “Nature Girl.” Hiaasen is kind of an acquired taste, because you can’t always tell if he’s trying to be serious or flip. One of his contemporaries in the Florida fiction scene, Tim Dorsey, makes it clear that he’s intentionally pulling your leg. I’m currently reading one of his books, “Hurricane Punch.” Dorsey is just as funny in person as he is in print. Hiaasen, not so much.     

Another author whose books I collected by accident is Nelson DeMille. I enjoy his style of storytelling, and I’m currently reading the thriller “The Gate House.” DeMille’s work poses an interesting dilemma, because when there has been a movie adaptation, his books haven’t always transitioned well. In particular, I remember “The General’s Daughter.” Loved the book, didn’t like the movie. It may have been because John Travolta was miscast as an Army investigator from the deep south, with a drawl that was more Bronx than Bayou.     

Robert B. Parker and his Spencer private eye mysteries are what I call comfort reading, and I have a number of those to choose from. One of Parker’s books that I recently read was his completion of Raymond Chandler’s unfinished final novel, “Poodle Springs,” featuring Phillip Marlowe. Chandler’s estate chose Parker to complete it, and allowed him to write another Marlowe mystery, “Perchance to Dream.” That was a good read, too.      

A book I did finish over the summer provided some insights into a creative mind. “The Godfather Papers and Other Confessions” by Mario Puzo is a collection of essays and stories he wrote for magazines in the ‘60s. He devoted one chapter to his epic novel and the equally epic film adaptation. I was surprised to learn that in spite of “The Godfather” being Puzo’s most successful book, it wasn’t his favorite and he didn’t understand what all the fuss was about. He revealed that he only wrote it because his previous books, while critically acclaimed, hadn’t been commercially successful. His agent suggested that since Mafia stories sold well, perhaps he should write one of those. 

I also finished reading a memoir, “Going My Own Way,” by Gary Crosby. This book was controversial when it was released in the 1980’s because it cast an unflattering light on Gary’s father, singer Bing Crosby. It revealed that his easygoing public persona was just an act, and at home he was an abusive tyrant. I found Crosby’s story of overcoming alcoholism and drug addiction very interesting. He was driven to substance abuse from the pressures his father placed on him, and it dogged him for most of his adult life. More surprising, though, was his revelation that due to Bing’s cold nature, all of the Crosby children had trouble expressing affection with their own families.

I think the books currently occupying my reading table will keep me busy for the next few months. If not, I have only to check my home library for something else.       

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

A Little Romp in the Dream World

I’ve been thinking a lot about dreams lately, since they are figuring strongly into my latest WIP. In fact, dreams quite often figure heavily in my writing, maybe because they are such a powerful influence on my own work. That being the case, today I’m sharing a little excerpt with you from my erotic novella, The Psychology of Dreams 101.Psych of Dreams is a naughty little romp across the dreamscape with a few dark twists and turns just for fun. Hope you enjoy it. 

Blurb: The Psychology of Dreams 101
What if there was punishment when you didn’t dream the right dreams? That’s the dilemma Leah Kent, and her professor, Al Foster must face—dream right, or take the punishment. The Psychology of Dreams 101 is a wander into the sexy and dark unconscious as Leah takes a Psychology of Dreams adult education class, only to discover that the required dream journal leads to some seriously kinky night journeys. But not all dreams are pleasant ones, and some have far-reaching repercussions in the waking world.

Excerpt: The Psychology of Dreams 101
You look beautiful when you dream.
That was the first sentence; that was how it all started. Leah thought it might be some sort of lucid dreaming when she saw the words scrawled across the page of her open journal on the nightstand. She’d had every intention of asking her instructor about it, but then she couldn’t really tell him the dream that had brought it on, could she? It sounded like the sort of thing the unconscious of a pathetically shy introvert would write to herself from the dream world because she had no one in the waking world to say it to her and, while that might be true – the pathetic introvert part, she didn’t want to make it more obvious to her instructor than it probably already was – especially when she had half a crush on him. Besides, it also sounded like the sort of thing a sex-crazed slut might write to herself when her vibe batteries ran down. That made her sound even more pathetic – the vibe and the batteries part, not the slut part. 
She had just started a course on the psychology of dreams. She tried to take advantage of the adult education classes whenever possible. It got her out of the house and forced her to interact with other people – real flesh and blood people. With her job, online shopping, online banking, direct debit, grocery delivery, she never had to leave the house really, and that suited her just fine, but she knew it shouldn’t. She knew it wasn’t healthy. Sometimes going to the classes was more of an ordeal than a pleasure, but that was not the case for the psychology of dreams class. 
She had to admit, she’d taken that course because she’d overheard several women giggling and talking about how hot the instructor was and how their dreams had become very sexy since they’d started his class. A part of the class work was to keep a dream journal. The women had been sitting at the table next to her in the coffee shop pouring over their journals together and laughing about how they thought Al  -- Al Foster was the instructor – would respond when he read their dreams. She’d been taking a photography course then, and it had been one of the few times Leah had actually forced herself to initiate conversation, asking the women about the class. They were only too happy to share, and soon she was laughing and blushing and joking right along with them as they told her all about the psychology of dreams course and how it had truly stimulated their dream life. The next term, she signed right up.
A dream journal -- that had sounded simple enough when Al – he’d insisted they all call him Al – had explained what it was. All she had to do was write down her dreams every morning when she woke up. But by the time she sat down at the breakfast table with her bowl of cereal and her coffee, dream journal and pen at the ready, she could remember nothing but bits of broken images -- nothing dramatic, nothing with hidden psychological meaning – certainly nothing sexy. After a week of drawing blanks from the dream world, Al had helpfully suggested that she keep the journal open by her bed, and that she set an alarm for every two hours. When the alarm went off, she was then to write, just in a few key words of what she remembered, words that would jog her memory in the morning. 
The first time the alarm went off, she woke disoriented and confused. By the time she remembered why she’d set the alarm, she also remembered she’d forgot to set the trash out for pick-up. She remembered that she needed to order some more vitamins online. She remembered that she needed to put the clothes in the dryer, but what she didn’t remember was her dreams. The second alarm, she must have unconsciously shut off before she got fully awake, but on the third, she managed a little dream snippet about chasing a big dog through the local McDonalds, a dog who had shamelessly stolen her Big Mac right out of her hand. She hated Big Macs, and big dogs made her nervous. Well that was at least something to analyze, wasn’t it? Though Freud had insisted that sometimes a cigar was just a cigar, surely that didn’t hold true for Big Macs, which she didn’t like, and big dogs, which she didn’t trust. Al would be pleased. 
The second night there was a dream about a leather jacket with a huge snake for a collar, a snake that talked -- kind of like a parrot. There was a dream in which she’d gone to the supermarket and ended up in a maze unable to find her way out. There was a dream of planting begonias in front of the convenience store around the corner.  For the rest of the week, she was excited to see that the setting of the alarms was working. Her key words helped her to remember details, and the rest was easy. 
Saturday night she’d stayed up late watching a romcom marathon. She’d had popcorn, polished off the best part of a bottle of wine and there had been plenty of chocolate while she watched The Ugly Truth, Sabrina, Friends with Benefits, andWhen Harry Met Sally. She loved romcoms. They made her feel like there was someone for everyone, and though she wasn’t unhappy being alone, she liked the thought that somewhere out there, her counterpart was thinking the same thing. 
She fell asleep halfway through Sleepless in Seattle, and when she woke up and stumbled off to bed, she’d forgot to set her dream alarms, though she was beginning to remember her dreams more easily now, just as Al had said she would. 
Perhaps it was OD-ing on romcoms that caused her to have sexy dream about Al. In truth they were mostly just images, disjointed, arousing, sometimes shameful images – images of walking into his office and finding him masturbating, images of somehow ending up in the men’s locker room at the gym and finding him in the shower, steamy water pulsing over strong arms and a tight ass as he hunched over himself paying particular attention to the soaping of his junk. There was one dream, however, that she remembered vividly. Al sat behind his desk in the empty classroom clad in his usual polo shirt and jeans. He had asked her to stay after. “I’m not happy with your dream journal, Leah,” he said, looking her up and down. She suddenly felt naked, embarrassed, and dreams being what they were, well she had good reason. She wore only red lace underwear that was nearly transparent; certainly they did nothing to disguise her heavy nipples. “When are you going to learn that all you have to do is just relax and let it happen?”
“I try, Al, really I do, but I just can’t seem to dream about you.”
“Then perhaps you need a little encouragement.” He stood and pulled his belt from its loops around his waist all the while raking her with a critical gaze. “If I lay a few bright pink welts across your nice round ass, do you think maybe when you lie down in bed tonight, when your poor tender bottom touches those clean rough sheets, you might manage to remember me in your dreams?”
“Yes. Yes, I think that might help,” she said. Fuck! What was she thinking? How could she agree to such a thing? And yet, she did, most heartily she did.
Before she could say more, or rethink the arrangement, he yanked her around the desk, dropped back into the chair and pulled her over his knees. He all but tore her panties off her and she woke screaming and begging just as the first lash fell. For a moment she lay in the darkness gasping for breath, struggling with the strange mix of emotions that came from wanting the man to spank her and yet not, but certainly wishing she could go back to sleep and finish the dream. She was wet with sweat and, was she imagining it, or did her bottom actually hurt? She was definitely not imaging her state of arousal. There would be no returning to the dream world until she could make herself a little more comfortable, and that meant fantasizing about just what Al would do after he’d finished spanking her. It didn’t take her long to bring herself over the edge, and then she fell almost instantly back to sleep. 
It was the morning sun streaming through the curtains she forgot to close that woke her, disappointed that Al Foster had not returned to her dreamscape, though he had, nonetheless, provided her with a good orgasm. Certainly she couldn’t’ write any of those dreams in her journal. She might have to start a private journal just for sexy dreams – assuming this wasn’t a one-off. God, she hoped this wasn’t a one-off.
As she sat up on the edge of her bed and stretched, she noticed the dream journal open with the pen lying across the page, which read:
You look beautiful when you dream. It was a good dream, the kind you don’t want to wake up from. At last, Leah, you’re doing it right! You can always tell when you do it right by the way your nipples bead beneath the sheet, by the way your lips turned up at the corners, slightly parted as though waiting to be kissed. And, take a sniff, Leah. Your scent is the scent of dreams well dreamed, luscious and ripe. Well done, Leah! Well done! 
There was no doubt the writing was her own, though way neater than most of the scrawl she’d written at speed. The thing was, she had no memory of writing it.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Running Away from the Sad #books #depression #amreading

A post by Giselle Renarde

My life's been overwhelmingly eventful lately, so I haven't been carving out as much reading time as I'd like. The book I'm slowly working my way through is Miriam Toews's The Flying Troutmans.

It's a road trip book.

I don't drive, I don't spend much time in cars, and so I find road trips particularly exciting.

I wish I could write like Miriam Toews. I say that every time I read one of her books, but I absolutely love the sardonic tone she uses to approach themes of depression and suicide. I find her books very funny. Depression, suicide... hilarious stuff.

You really have to read her books to understand what I mean.

And you could read any of her books to get it. I haven't read everything she's written, but I get the sense the same types of characters show up in all of them: family members of people who are suicidal or people who have committed suicide.

I remember one time listening to someone rant about how nobody should ever write books about relatives of people with disabilities or mental illness--that writers should only centre the character with the disability.

True, those stories can go wrong in a lot of ways.

But, from my perspective, Miriam Toews's books are a prime example of thoughtful, empathetic, and realistic portrayals of the inner lives of family members. I realize that my depression impacts the people around me, so I'm interested in reading these stories of caring and sometimes exasperated relatives.

I'm very close to the end of The Flying Troutmans, so I don't know what's going to happen. I'm curious to find out whether it's possible to run away from the sad--for these characters, that is. In fiction.

In real life, I know that's not possible.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Schoolboy Secrets (#amreading #gayerotica)

by Cameron D. James

(Since this month's theme of "What Are You Reading?" makes me think about school -- here's one of my teacher/student dom/sub stories!)

Schoolboy Secrets

Now that Evan is eighteen, the first thing he wants to do is go to the bathhouse. He’s gay and a virgin — and so the bathhouse seems like the perfect place for him to go on a Sunday afternoon. He makes his way through the place, eventually finding himself in a hallway shrouded in total darkness. He brushes up against a body, likes what he feels, and has his first gay experience then and there with a man he can’t even see.

As he heads out of the bathhouse, he runs into the last person he expects to see — his gym teacher, Coach Miller. And it doesn’t take long for Evan to connect the dots and realize that it was Coach Miller that Evan had done stuff with in the dark.

The situation is tricky — he had sex with a teacher — but there’s one thing Evan can’t deny. He enjoyed it. And he wants more.


I lingered at the coffee shop, watching the non-descript building across the street. Every time the door opened and a man entered or exited, my heartbeat surged. My coffee had grown cold as I sat there for far too long, with my leg bouncing in nervous anticipation.

It was my eighteenth birthday yesterday — my buddies had bought me a cake and we’d spent the evening playing board games. While it certainly wasn’t as wild as what most guys likely did on their eighteenth, it was the most we could do, what with us being at a private all-boys Catholic boarding school. But with my eighteenth now a day behind me, I was old enough to leave campus for short periods, and old enough to enter that building across the street.

My heart skipped a beat as the door opened again and a buff man came sauntering out. I watched him as he paused to light a cigarette, inhale, exhale, and walk down the street.

If I’m gonna do this, I better fucking do this, I told myself. I got up, ditched my cold coffee, and exited the coffee shop. Every step down the sidewalk and across the street seemed to make my heart race just a little faster. By the time I approached the front door, the sound of blood rushing filled my ears and my palms had started to sweat.

I reached for the door and just before I grabbed the handle, the door swung open, making me jump back and gasp. It was almost enough to send me scampering. An older guy, maybe in his thirties, with delicious scruff, came out. He paused and looked at me, gave me a wink, and then walked down the street. I watched him go, his bubble butt swaying in those tight jeans of his.

Taking another deep breath, I grabbed the door and opened it. The small foyer beyond was dimly lit and the walls were lined with posters that had sexy men in their underwear. A little trap door opened and a face peeked through, eyeing me up and down before buzzing me through to the actual entrance.

Along the wall to my left were more posters of men wearing next to nothing and to my right was a long desk where the man who had peeked through the little door stood. I stepped up to the desk.

“I-I’d like to ... uh...”

“Can I see some ID, kid?” the man said, his words carrying a whistle due to having a large gap between his front teeth.

Just past the desk, a buff guy wearing only a small, white towel wandered by, eyeing me up and down before turning down a dark hallway. I watched him for as long as I could see him, but he eventually disappeared from view.

“Kid? Your ID?” the older man said, another whistle rushing through his words.

“Right,” I said, and pulled out my wallet. I fumbled through it, digging out my license, then passing it over to him. He glanced at the birth date and then passed it back to me.

“Happy belated birthday,” he said. He put his hands on the counter and leaned forward a bit. He was an attractive man. I think the light was aging him a bit — I originally pegged him at about fifty, but closer up, he really looked more like mid-thirties. “You’ve never been to a bathhouse, have you?”

I shook my head, hoping that the jerky movement didn’t telegraph my overwhelming nerves.

“You sure you want to jump into this right now?”

“Yes,” I said. “I want to do this.”

He looked at me a long moment, like he was deciding whether to actually let me in or not. Eventually, he turned around, grabbed a towel from the pile behind him and put it on the desk in front of me. Then he reached for a key off a rack and placed it on top of the towel.

“Your admission is on the house. Call it a birthday present,” he said.


He leaned forward on the counter, resting on his elbows. “I’ll run you through the basics. Lockers are right through there,” I looked where he was pointing, “and you’ll want to get totally naked, wearing only this towel. You’ll find a hot tub in the back, as well as a maze in total darkness, glory hole booths, a hallway lined with private rooms, and a sauna. You can have sex anywhere and everywhere — in a private room if the guy rented one or totally out in public. Just not in the hot tub. You shoot your wad in my hot tub and you’re out the door.”

I watched him as he spoke, trying to process all of this information, but I found it was all overwhelming me, making me wonder if I really should’ve just turned around and walked out. No, I told myself, if I walk out, I’ll just come back tomorrow when I’ve screwed up enough courage again.

“Kid?” the man said, pulling my attention back to him. “The most important rule, above everything else I’ve just told you, is that you have the right to say ‘no’. If somebody starts fondling you or sucking you and you don’t want it, just tell him you’re not interested. If he gives you trouble, you come to me and I’ll take care of it.”

“Thank you,” I said. That managed to calm my nerves quite a bit. I could just say no. If I wanted to, I could just spend time here and not touch another man at all. Like I’m going to get out of here without getting some dick, my sarcastic self said in my head.

I picked up the towel and the key, which was on one of those elastic coils that I could wrap around my wrist or bicep. I followed where the man had pointed, finding a room of lockers at the end of the hall. I wasn’t alone. Two guys were getting naked. I stood in awe of the sight; two well-built and well-hung men were dropping their pants and their boxers. One of them caught me staring and winked at me — and before wrapping his towel around his waist, he turned slightly so that I could get a better view of his glorious cock. Moments later, they both had a towel wrapped around their waists and they walked out of the room, hand-in-hand.

When I was alone, I then realized just how fucking hard my cock was. If I wasn’t careful, I was going to shoot my wad within the first few minutes of being in here. I held my breath for a moment — a classmate had told me that if I get an awkward boner in class, holding my breath for ten seconds will get rid of it. I counted to ten, then started breathing again — my boner wasn’t gone, but it was a little less stiff.

Gotta get naked. Right.

I glanced at the number on the key and found my locker. I stripped naked and grabbed my towel, hurrying so no one would see my dick and balls, as if I were in the gym showers at school — even though in the back of my mind I was telling myself that my sole purpose in being at a bathhouse was to get some dick and to get a blowjob. To get those done, I needed someone to see my dick and balls.

Still, habits died hard. I cinched the towel around my waist, locked the locker, and strung the key around my wrist.

I awkwardly held my arms in front of my body, as if to hide my near-nakedness, and wandered back down the hallway toward the front desk. The man at the desk nodded encouragement at me, even as his eyes roved hungrily over my body. I came to a fork in the path — if I remembered right from what I’d read online, the hallway looped around, so it was more a matter of which direction did I want to do the loop in. The warm scent of a hot tub came wafting down the hall from my left, so I started in that direction.

As I wandered, I passed a small foyer with a leather futon and a TV playing porn. A guy sat on the futon, idly stroking his cock as I wandered past. My gaze locked on his meat and I couldn’t stop my eyes from going wide. I’d never seen such open display of sex outside of internet porn. He eyed me up and down, subtly inviting me to join him — I was tempted, but I didn’t want to just settle down with the first dick I found in my first five minutes in here. I wanted my first experience to be a more memorable one. I could always have fun with multiple men, but I knew there was a chance, given my nervousness, that I would run back to the dorms once I had my first dick.

Friday, October 18, 2019

#Whathaveyoubeenreading? #AsheBarker #Real #Books

The Joy of a 'Real' Book

As an author, particularly an erotic author, I bless the advent of the ebook and e-reader. Not only do we have instant access to any book we purchase online, but we can read discreetly, on the train, the bus, in church. Well, perhaps not in church since I never go, but you take my meaning. No longer do we have to avoid eye contact with the spotty youth in the bookstore when we purchase smutty bodice-rippers with lurid titles and bare-chested, hunky covers. No longer do we need to crunch up the spines of our precious reading material in an attempt to conceal said cover from fellow travellers on the daily commute with, we assume, more delicate sensibilities than our own.

My kindle is a God-send, I take it with me all over. It is discreet, anonymous, inoffensive.

But it also lacks character. It is colourless, its very sameness which I value so highly is also its major flaw. So many avid readers will say they love the feel of a book in their hands, adore the smell of a new book, the pristine neatness of the pages, the crisp shape, the unique cover.

And I agree. You can track your progress in a ‘real’ book, see how much you’ve read and how much is still to go. You can, should you be so moved, read ahead or even peep at the final page. Your book is your oyster, or something along those lines.

Reading on a kindle is practical and efficient but holding a real book in your hands and turning the crisp, new  pages one by one is a luxury.

About a year ago I became involved in running the local library in my village. It had been run by a team of volunteers for a while already, but the original heroes and heroines who saved it from closure had become a bit tired and wanted out. Rather than let our village library go the way of so many other local amenities over the years, the parish council stepped in and took it on. I’m a member of the parish council so I stuck my hand in the air and was committed.

Every Monday morning I go and open up the library. I mess about with the date stamp to set it correctly (well, sometimes it’s correct), I log on to the big municipal library computer system, and the doors are open to the public. I wouldn’t say they come in droves, but there is a steady trickle of people who, like me, enjoy reading real books.

The good folk of my village like crime. They love a good murder (there have been two in the last year or so, but that’s a tale for another time). The dear old ladies and gentlemen relish action and adventure. They lap it up. There isn’t much call for romance, and definitely not for erotic romance. The occasional historical novel might find it’s way off the shelves, but for the most part it’s suspense and thrillers, and the occasional family saga.

Surrounded as I am every Monday with shelves and shelves full of books, it would be rude not to browse. Tami Hoag goes down well and is one of my personal favourites. Has been for years. My most recent read of hers was The Boy, a murder mystery set in the Cajun region of Louisiana. Amid a backdrop of isolated bayous a seven year old boy is murdered in his own home. His single mother is badly injured trying to save him but is herself under suspicion as the secrets of her past are exposed. The detectives determined to solve the riddle of this little boy’s cruel death scratch deeper and deeper to discover family secrets, murky pasts, and the violence which simmers just beneath the surface of respectability.

Here's the blurb...


In the sleepy Lousiana town of Bayou Breaux, a mother runs to her neighbour - bloody and hysterical. The police arrive to find Genevieve Gauthier cradling her seven-year-old son in her arms as he bleeds to death.
Detective Nick Fourcade finds no evidence of a break-in. His partner Detective Annie Broussard is troubled by parts of Genevieve's story that don't make sense. Twenty four hours later teenager Nora Florette is reported missing. Local parents fear a maniac is preying on their children, and demand answers from the police.
Fourcade and Broussard discover something shocking about Genevieve's past. She is both victim and the accused; a grieving mother and a woman with a deadly secret. Could she have something to do with the disappearance of teenager Nora Florette?
If you're already a fan you'll love THE BOY. If you haven't read a Tami Hoag book yet: now is the perfect time to start.

Another glorious advantage of the local library is the access it offers to all the books in the entire city system. Just as Kindle Unlimited panders to ebook bingers, the reservations system does much the same for lovers of paperbacks. A few weeks ago I binged my way through Jeffrey Archer’s The Clifton Chronicles, all seven books relating the twists and turns in the lifetime of Harry Clifton, born just after the end of the First World War into a poor family of dockworkers, who manages, largely through the tireless efforts of his mother, a young widow, who secures for him the education he deserves despite her own illiteracy, to become a hugely successful author. On the way he is acclaimed a war hero, gets convicted for a murder he didn’t commit, and does occasional little services for Her Majesty’s government when they find themselves in a tight spot.

Here is an excerpt from the blurb.

Ambitious and addictive, Only Time Will Tell is the first novel in international bestseller Jeffrey Archer’s the Clifton Chronicles begins the epic tale of Harry Clifton, a working-class boy from the docks of Bristol. .

Richly imagined and populated with remarkable characters, the Clifton Chronicles will take you on a powerful journey, bringing to life one hundred years of family history in a story neither you, nor Harry, could ever have dreamt of.

I have little sympathy with Mr Archer’s politics, but he spins a good yarn and is one of the finest story-tellers I have ever read.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Welcome to Sin City - #StrokeFiction #Series #NaughtyMuse

Vegas Babes banner

For most of my twenty year career as an erotica author (if you can indeed dignify my efforts with the term “career”!), I’ve tended more towards the literary side of the erotic spectrum. This is especially true in my short stories, but many of my novels also deserve the “literary” label – at least in contrast to what’s commonly known as “stroke fiction”.

Then a few years ago, something happened. Just for the hell of it, I started writing a story that was wall-to-wall sex, with no attempts at any sort of redeeming social value. I turned off my censor, my internal critic, and let my sexual imagination out to play.

The result was Hot Brides in Vegas, the first book of what would become the Vegas Babes series. I had fantastic fun creating this novella; I could indulge myself, mix up genders, stage outrageous scenes, do whatever my naughty muse urged. I was not writing for any particular audience, except myself and my colleague Larry Archer (who kindly let me set the book in a fictional world he’d created).

I didn’t intend to write a series. When I wrote “The End” on the first book, I thought I was done. However, almost immediately I started getting ideas for a sequel. Meanwhile, Hot Brides sold better than anything I’d ever written.

Right now I’m on the home stretch for the fifth Vegas Babes book, Babes in Bondage. I’m hoping to get it out by Halloween. I almost wrote “the last Vegas Babes book” above, because that’s my honest intention. But who knows!

Meanwhile for today, my “promo day”, I have an excerpt from the second book, More Brides in Vegas. I think this will give you the flavor of the series....

More Brides in Vegas by Lisabet Sarai

Tying the knot — with no strings attached!

Who can resist love at first sight? The minute Ted saw Annie shedding her clothes on stage at The Foxs Den, he fell head over heels for the petite, busty redhead. She had to make the first move, though, dragging him into an impromptu orgy in the Dens VIP suite, along with technically-virgin bride Francesca, secret slut Laura, and hot black mama Chantal.

Now Annie and Ted are getting married, and theyve invited all their friends from that wild Amateur Night to the party. Taking over a vintage eighties motel with a courtyard and pool for their private function, the bride and groom expect a certain amount of carnal excess. Still, nobodys prepared for the sexual free-for-all that breaks loose, involving not only the gals from the Den but also Annies rock star brother, Teds MILF mother, Chantals new slave girl, a lascivious hippie couple, a susceptible priest, the butch hotel manager, and an entire Scottish rugby team. As the wedding guests act out their secret fantasies, they push the limits of both lust and love. Finally arriving at the altar, after an exhausting, arousing twenty four hours, Annie and Ted realize that tying the knot doesn’t have to mean tying themselves down.


I wannae see the hoatel manager. Where’s the fookin’ manager, you little eejit?”

A giant of a man with a barrel chest and legs like telephone poles strode into the courtyard from the direction of the hotel lobby, dragging a skinny college-age boy with him. The kid—Chantal remembered she’d seen him behind the hotel desk when she’d picked up her key—cringed and silently pointed in Nan’s direction.

Gawn! D’ye think ahm buttoned up the back? That nekkid dyke?”

Cool as anything, as self-assured as if she’d been wearing a designer suit instead of a strap-on, Nan rose to her feet and confronted the newcomer. Though she was at least a foot shorter, the obviously angry man paused when confronted by her natural authority

I’m Nan Anderson, general manager of the Holiday House,” she said. “I’ll thank you to let Michael go.”

He glared at her from under bushy ginger brows. Nan didn’t flinch in the slightest.

Now, please. He’s just a part-time clerk. Whatever your difficulty, I’ll take care of it.”

He opened his ham-sized hand. Poor Michael almost crumpled to the floor.

Get back to the desk, Mike. I’ll handle this.”

The young man scuttled away.

Now, sir,” she continued, her voice cool and professional despite her nudity. “What’s the problem?”

Thae gormless tool said yer fool for the weeken’.” The foreigner scowled and waved a sheet of paper in her face. “Me an’ me mates booked an’ paid. Ye dinnae think we’re gonnae come all thae way to America fer a ternamen’ but nae reserve our rooms, did ye?”

Can I see that, please?” Nan scrutinized what was obviously a printout from some website. “I have to admit the dates match. But we’re closed for a private event this weekend. We blocked out the rooms more than three months ago. I don’t know why the booking site—”

Ah dinnae ken an’ ah dinnae cerr. Me an’ me chaps need beds. Been on a fookin’ plane for ferteen hours.”

Um—how many are in your group?”

The angry customer shook his head. “Aye, but yer stoopit, lass. Who doesnae know thae a rugby team’s fifteen men?”

Rugby?” Nan looked him up and down, as if that explained his stature. “Oh!”

The guy broke into a grin. “Glassgow Gladiators. City champs.”

And you are?”

He gave a little bow. “Ian Stuart, team captain. At yer service.”

Aey, Ian! Whot’s goan on?” Two men built a lot like Ian, one with sandy hair, the other dark, strode into view.

Tha lady says they dinnae have rooms for us.” The scorn in Ian’s voice made Chantal wince.

Now, now, Mr. Stuart. I didn’t say that at all.” Nan smiled at the three athletes. “The hotel’s booked for a wedding, but in fact most of the guests won’t arrive until tomorrow. I can let you stay tonight; then I’ll help you find accommodation at some other property for tomorrow. Would that work for you?”

The captain’s face brightened. “Aye, lass. At least we dinnae have to sleep in the van.”

Also, I’ll arrange for you to be reimbursed for the second and subsequent nights, since I assume the Internet reservations aren’t refundable,” she continued.

Ian broke into a huge grin. “Thae’s a total belter!” Much to Chantal’s amazement, he gave Nan a hearty slap on the back. “Thank ye. I’ll be goan to get the lads.”

Meanwhile, I’ll go explain the situation to Michael.” Nan grabbed a beach towel to cover herself up. Chantal figured she was probably trying to spare the poor college kid. The manager didn’t leave, though. Probably she was still concerned about the new arrivals.

The burly guy looked around the courtyard, as if seeing his environment for the first time. Fran and Miranda had retired to their rooms, but Nina and Linda still sprawled on the cushions, eating each other’s snatches, while Amy watched with both hands buried in her pussy. Across the pool, on one of the patios, Annie straddled Jake’s lap, riding his cock for all she was worth. Then of course there was Chantal herself, like some naked African queen, her tits displayed proudly, her legs streaked with pussy juice. Zoe had tiptoed over to kneel at her feet while Nan had been dealing with the visitors. Chantal stroked the girl’s platinum locks, feeling a new tenderness for her lovely slave.

A waddin, ye say?” He flashed Nan a wicked grin. “More like an orgy, if ye ask me.”

Ye daftie,” said the blond rugby player. “Ye hannae heard about stag parties?”

Yeah, Ned, but isnae for the bloke and his mates? Here thae’s mostly burds.”

This is a pre-wedding party.” Chantal spoke up for the first time. “For the bride and the groom, plus their close friends.”

Aye, right. Ah cain see how close!” Ian shot her a leer. With an exaggerated swagger, he adjusted his package. “Any chance of us lads getting a wee swally and a bit of hoch-magandy?”

What?” Chantal asked, mystified.

Ian took a step in her direction. “Nookie, hen. Shaggin. A wee poke.”

There’s plenty of beer over by the bar.” Nan gestured in that direction. “As for sex, well, you’ll have to ask the individuals involved.”

I’m not interested,” Chantal said, rising to her feet. “Come on, Zoe. I want some private time with you.”

Yes, Mistress.”

Mistress! Guess yer the Heed-the-baw, then,” Ian commented.

No,” Nan corrected him. “That would be me. But I’m not interested either, at least not at the moment.”

Thaes a true shame, lassie,” said Ian. “Aey’d sure like ye to grease my pole.”

You might want to check out those two lit-up rooms on the ground floor,” the manager continued. “I gather there’s some action going on in there. Maybe you can join in.”

As if to confirm her statement, a naked male figure stumbled out of the right hand room and collapsed into a deck chair. The man mopped his brow with the back of his hand and sighed.

Are you all right, Ted?” called Chantal, waving.

He looked up and grinned. “I’m all fucked out,” he called back. “But I’m having fun. I never expected this from someone like Laura.”

Chantal smiled to herself. She’d always know there was a hot mama under Laura’s East Coast reserve.

Rod’s doing her now. Steve’s in her mouth. But I don’t know how long they can hold out. That woman’s insatiable!”

Nan gave Ian a meaningful look. “Looks like you and your lads showed up just in time!”

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