Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Erotic Epiphanies

I write hot stories. Steamy, spicy, romance. Be it an urban fantasy with my smart-mouthed, spanking-obsessed, kick-ass heroine Jinx, or homicide detective Anne Graham, my paranormal time-traveler and surprised submissive, or the heroine of my contemporary erotic romance, erotic photographer and lusty hedonist, Chloe, my heroines are fast girls. And they all agree, the best sex is kinky sex. “Whatever blows your skirt up – in bed and out,” as Jinx comments in Between A Rock & A Bad Place.

When I started writing romance my sex scenes were typical and mainstream. Problem was, my feisty fast girls had minds of their own. “We want more sex! Hotter sex!”. So, I gave ‘em what they asked for.

Then the greedy things started up again. “We want our sex wild and kinky!” They wanted to bend over and take it rough. Be ordered to their knees, or indulge in the delights of being the filling in a man sandwich.

Who was I to argue with desire?

So, my heroines got hornier, and wilder, and my writing progressed apace, until now the wenches are purely out of control.

Which is why I now write erotic romance. My fast girls feed their passions in myriad ways and throughout different genres. In fact, it turned out the only way I could keep up with their voracious appetites was to broaden my own reading horizons.

Hence my bookshelf today displays many fiction, and non-fiction titles alike, that extol the pleasures of extreme sex. There is a plethora of erotic romance titles, BDSM “lifestyle” guides, submissives’ memoirs and, more and more, erotica anthologies. While a great erotic novel or erotic romance is a thing of beauty, the beauty of an anthology is that you can sample a smorgasbord of sexual delights.

I personally love the collections published by Cleis Press. There’s something for every fast girl in their offerings, even, as luck would have it, a new release - an entire book filled with stories for, and about (and appropriately titled): FAST GIRLS.

This new release is edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel, who headlines many of these anthologies, be they about spanking, oral sex, or female submission. What’s most wonderful is that this jam-packed anthology runs the gamut. I read them all. Twice. I found myself titillated, amused, and, definitely turned on. Sometimes unexpectedly.

Staunch hetero that I am, I do not often particularly enjoy F/F erotic fiction. Thus I found myself surprisingly aroused by the talented Tristan Taormino’s “Winter, Summer”, wherein a young woman yearns to be pushed to the breaking point, and gets her wish at the hands of a dominant and discerning woman. Her intense experience is beautifully encapsulated by these lines: “My heart races; I can’t catch my breath. I can’t catch hold of my emotions; I’m breaking apart into messy little pieces. But her arms are wrapped around me, and I am somewhere safe.”

Another surprise was my enjoyment of the straightforward, sexy hot stories like “Temptation” by Kayla Perrin and Lolita Lopez’ “Fireworks”, which eschew kink, yet seduced me with their rich human portraits of men and women seeking not only sexual satisfaction but emotional connection.

Any idea that erotica can’t be humorous is deftly countered by several amusing tales in FAST GIRLS. The expression we are all familiar with about star-f*cking is embodied wonderfully in “Waxing Eloquent” (Donna George Storey), and a wry take on porn is the premise of the short, but hot and sweet, “Five-Minute Porn Star” by Jacqueline Applebee.

For critics of erotica, I challenge you to read two of the poignant, though very different stories in this collection, and not be impressed by the complexity. “Waiting for Beethoven” is Susie Hara’s truly lyrical symphony of art, music and sex. It was so filled with yearning, and vulnerability and atmosphere that I have re-read it several times simply to appreciate the layers.

Very different, but no less effecting, is the last story in the book, Tenille Brown’s rough, raunchy and ultimately romantic “Speed Bumps”. The age of the characters and their experience with mortality is integral to Sunny and Trip’s story of a couple facing a new crossroads in their kinky, and loving, relationship. It was one of my favorites.

Anyone who reads erotica will be familiar with the stories that can make a reader uncomfortable, often due to the subject matter, or because of a kink or fetish that makes you squirm, and not always in a good way. But by willing suspension of my boundaries, I thoroughly enjoyed Angela Caperton’s dark and decadent story of the first-time call girl in “Playing the Market” wherein the economic downturn leads a woman to extremes as she tries to stay afloat. In the course of the rich story (with its surprise ending) she discovers she didn’t leave her work ethic on the trading floor.

Thought it bordered on the disturbing, I was still stunned by the power of desire and submission darkly rendered in Ms. Bussel’s own “Whore Complex”. This level of sado-masochism takes a deft hand to master in fiction (without leaving a reader wondering if perhaps psychiatric help is not required by one or both parties). There was humor, longing, defiance, and, ultimately, satisfaction, as Rachel describes: “ . . . because I’d learned from Adrian that good whores don’t just learn from their mistakes, they also get rewarded for them.”. “Whore Complex” is a great example of how effective it can be when the psychological complexity of submission is perfectly presented.

Once again, to my surprise, the darkest piece in the anthology was both the edgiest and yet, one of my favorites. I would guess that knife play pushes the envelope for anyone other than one who enjoys it (and I freely admit, I'm a baby when it comes to knives). But “Lessons, Slow and Painful”, with its fabulous juxtaposition of one woman’s daily mundane experiences with the climax of her deep submission to her lover, including an intoxicating blend of submission, humiliation and scarification, just wowed me.

In the end, it is Tess Danesi’s final words in “Lessons” that sum up, for me, the level of dedication a fast girl brings to her quest for sexual and emotional fulfillment: “I shudder as I think that I allowed him to do this to me. No one but Dar could ever drive me to and make me desire such extremes. Dropping the mirror, he lifts me in his strong arms, carefully avoiding the cuts on my back and playfully tosses me on my bed . . . For an instant, the stinging in my lower back reminds me that I’m bleeding . . . then his lips, full, soft and gentle, meet my lips. His kiss makes the world go away. His kiss makes it all go away.”

There you have it. A one-volume course in what fast girls want. And they want a lot. And they take it, on their terms.

For anyone unfamiliar with erotica, FAST GIRLS is a terrific place to start. As romance authors you will find a wealth of feminine desire and motivation, as well as incredible sex writing. As erotica authors you’ll be reading some of the mistresses of the genre. This is a group of stories filled with humor, friendship, love, romance, surprise, beauty, pain, and, of course, sex. Afraid you’ll be turned off? Trust me – you never know what turns you on until you give it a try. You will be very surprised just how powerful great erotica can be.

This kinky fast girl wants to make sure to point out to the FCC or anyone else, that while the copy of FAST GIRLS was provided to me free of charge, there was no guarantee made of a review, either good, or bad, of the contents, and if you don’t believe I honestly presented these brief story reviews of my own free will, feel free to come and check out my bookcase where I have numerous other titles by R. K. Bussel and Cleis Press, which I happily purchased, including Bottoms Up, Orgasmic, Tasting Him, Please, Sir, Yes Sir, and many more.


Carly Carson said...

Interesting review, Lise. I couldn't tell if these were all f/f stories or not, though it probably doesn't matter as I am definitely not far enough out there to appreciate this kind of work. But the review was very interesting. Thanks.

Lise said...

They were primarily not F/F, Carly, in fact. Some I believe even someone "not far enough out there" would enjoy. Simple, straightforward stories of hot encounters between couples, husbands/wives, etc. That's what was so terrific about the book - that it covered so much.

Kathye Quick said...

Secretly (or not) we all want the kink!

I will definately read Fast Girls

Layla Hunter said...

I absolutely loved your review! I like to believe that I have kept an 'open mind' with regards to all manners of sexual encounters but I will confess I tend to stray from the ones that intially make me uncomfortable.

When you remark "Afraid you’ll be turned off? Trust me – you never know what turns you on until you give it a try. You will be very surprised just how powerful great erotica can be ..." I had to agree and I will definitely pick up a copy of this book and devour it with an open mind!

Thank you for a wonderful review and a bit of insight into the world of erotica.

Lise said...

The beautiful thing about it, Kathye, is that kink is so personal! We each have our own idea of what might be pushing our personal envelopes, and that is what keeps it interesting.

Lise said...

Sherry! I'm so excited that you enjoyed the post and are going to give this great collection a try. I have no doubt that you'll find something to enjoy between the covers. As it were!

Maria Ferrer said...

I read the book (FAST GIRLS) and loved it as well. I loved that they were short stories and there was so many of them; sort of a little bit of everything. Thank you for the review.

Check out my review of FAST GIRLS at

Lise said...

Rather like an erotic box of chocolates .... you never quite know what you're going to get!

Angela Drake said...

Lise, the review of Fast Girls is beautifully written. I can see one person checked off my Christmas list. :)

Your bookshelves sound like a place I'd love to visit. As a straight girl (but enjoy the reading/writing of F/F) I am always looking for great research books on the genre. In this case I'm not going with 'experience' but with 'what I know' from reading the guidebooks hehe Any you'd particularly recommend for F/F?

Tess said...

Thank you so much, Lise, for the great review of Fast Girls and for really getting the essence of my story. It's very heartening to read reviews like yours and encourages me to push my limits (at least my writerly limits) further.

Rachel has an amazing knack for creating anthologies that have something for everyone. Even when it's not my particular kink, the quality and feel of the writing always draws me in and often makes me wonder, mmm, could I? would I?

Lise said...

Angela, I've actually come across several titles by Tristan Taormino that are great, which address a wealth of F/F subjects. Plus there's "A Hand In The Bush" (a how-to guide). Greenery Press has myriad guides for different kinks and fetishes that are basically gender-neutral. It's all in the psychology of the participants!

Lise said...

Tess! I'm so thrilled you had a chance to stop by. I did so enjoy your story - I, too, have that response to so much of what I read - dare I? I have read numerous of the Cleis/Bussel collaborations and enjoyed them all. Broadened my horizons with every one! Enjoy the success of Fast Girls and I'll be on the lookout for more of your work in future collections.

Donna Coe-Velleman said...

Great review, Lise. To be honest, though I try to keep an open mind, the whole S&M/scarification/etc. thing ticks me off.

Someone tried to explain to me the mindset of S&M but I couldn't get my head around it. I feel no one should be subjected to degrading actions and it upsets me to see someone allowing it to happen. (I know that's not how the participants see it.)

And this doesn't just pertain to sex. I have trouble reading regencies because of the female's submissive demeanor towards men. It just irks the crap out of me.

I uncovered a poster I had when I was a teenager. It reads:
Woman was created from the rib of man.
She was not made from his head- to top him
nor from is feet- to be trampled on.
She was made from his side - to be equal to him
from under his arm - to be protected by him
from near his heart - to be loved by him.

I guess after all these years, and I won't mention how many, those words still hold true to me especially the trampled on/equal part.

Lise said...

I agree, Donna, that there are certain lifestyles that are very difficult to understand - explanations can only go so far. Certainly we all have different boundaries and needs and must satisfy those. I'm an old feminist myself (ditto re: the "how old" - I had that poster too! I also had the one that read: "A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicyle."). I bet there are also cases in which the participants may not be dealing with one another honestly. However, this is erotic fiction, so I say it is to sexual fantasy what Tom Clancy novels are for arm-chair adventurers. As a prior comment noted, something can turn you on without your being even slightly inclined to actually give it a try, right? Thanks to you, and to all the folks who are stopping by. I enjoy the discussion!

Lisbeth Eng said...

The book sounds fascinating, but though this may come as a shock to you, Lise, I'm a bit on the prudish side, relatively speaking. I do enjoy a good sex scene in a romance novel (would that one occurred in my bed :)) but I've been a bit squeamish regarding erotica. Perhaps I'll take a gander at Fast Girls, if I can get up the nerve!
Great review!

Lise said...

Lis - I certainly hope that you do. There are so many levels to these stories, and for the fainter of heart several that speak to the heart as well as the flesh, sans the extreme acts that may leave you unsettled.

On the other hand ... you just never know!

Thank you for taking the time to read the post and comment - it is the best to read that people have found something to enjoy or think about in a post, and terrific that I may have intrigued folks enough to buy the book and enjoy it.

Rickstar said...

What a great post.. im amazzed :)