Thursday, August 02, 2007

"E" is for Excellent, Sexy Stories

Good things do come in small packages. I just got my contributor’s copies of E is for Exotic, the latest volume in Alison Tyler’s erotic alphabet series and I’m REALLY impressed with it! It’s a bit smaller than Cleis’ usual format and thus perfect to hold in one hand. Ahem. The cover art is awesome, with a 1930s vamp in a harem-esque green outfit casting her sultry spell over the viewer.

It worked for me.

Inside is even better. My story “Spider” starts off the show, which is a real honor—more background about my story later. Next comes the luscious “Native Tongue” from Shanna Germain--you can always rely on her for stories that arouse the body and the mind. This time she takes on the power of language to lubricate a relationship in its presence or absence. Not speaking the same language definitely adds a charge to an encounter—I will attest to that from experience!—but reading “Native Tongue” is a good way to find out if you haven’t had the chance in your own travels.

The third story is by Michael Hemmingson, who has been a favorite author since I read his “Naughty Yard” in Maxim Jakubowski’s Mammoth Book of International Erotica over ten years ago. I usually have some trouble with the way men write sex scenes, especially in mainstream fiction, but Hemmingson’s voice is absolutely mesmerizing. He’s so witty and cool, I find myself liking these guys in spite of their, well, maleness. Like this line: “We checked in, walked up to the room, and attacked each other. Seriously, we ripped each other’s clothes off, threw each other around the room like POWs being interrogated.” The scene continues with details (I don’t want to ruin it—read the book!) but I just loved the strange images those words create. Those bodies are still bouncing and banging around in erotic abandon in my head days later.

Another favorite was Kis Lee’s “Bus Ride.” And it’s not just because my husband and I just renewed our vows at the Graceland Chapel in Vegas. The story was hotter than a Las Vegas afternoon (104 degrees, anyone?) and reminded me how words can be the sexiest things. This one is definitely staying with me. Who thought Barstow could be the beginning of all good things?

Saskia Walker takes you to Greece in “The Things that Go on at Siesta Time,” where a maid with a “practical” turn of mind, the lovely young daughter of the house and a dark and handsome gardener don’t get much rest at naptime. I’ve been fortunate to appear in several anthologies alongside Ms. Walker and her work is always so sensual and seductive. I loved that scene in the closet….

The anthology ends with a bang—how else?—with Alison Tyler’s “Un, Deux, Trois." As promised in the first line, the story transforms and transports the reader as well as the narrator as you glide into a sex club for Parisian sophisticates. Every detail is provocative: the elegant clothes, the rooms designed for decadent pleasures, the unexpected softness of the stranger’s kiss each time the narrator’s boyfriend spanks her with his belt in front of a transfixed crowd. How could any real-life adult play club be any better than this? I literally could not put this story down, even when less fictional good times were proffered—just ask my husband!

The other stories linger, too, the special corset in Teresa Noelle Roberts’ “Learning His Ropes,” the smells and sounds of Bangkok (not to mention those of some gorgeous Thai men) in Lisabet Sarai’s “Mad Dogs,” the very dirty antics of a married couple in Mathilde Madden’s “Wet,” the delicious, haunting obsession of Nikki Magennis' "Essence." Sex and travel do seem to be a magical combination in life and in writing—E is for Exotic is proof aplently.

So, a bit of background about my story. Yes, it is based on a real event. While I was studying Japanese as a graduate student in Yokohama in 1987—88, I was living in a very cheap, tiny apartment in the suburb of Konan Chuo. My cold water-only washing machine was outside the front door and one day as I was hosing off the dirt from the lid, a HUGE spider jumped out from behind the machine. No, I’m not really that scared of spiders. It wasn’t just a daddy-longlegs. It was literally as big as my outstretched hand, with thick brown legs and a huge body. It was a tarantula. Honest. I screamed and turned the hose on the spider and it jumped across the path and disappeared in the weeds. When I looked up I saw a cute young man staring down at me from the apartments on the floor above. He asked me what was wrong in Japanese and when I told him I’d just seen a huge spider, he did not come charging down to rescue me by finding and killing the spider. He just laughed at me indulgently. The bastard. For the next few weeks I was terrified the monster would come back and attack me, but I never saw it again. And I was happily married at the time, so I didn’t start anything up with the cute neighbor. The scene, however, did come back to me all these years later. I took a character from my novel, Amorous Woman, put him in the place of the sexy neighbor and “Spider” was born. Another truth from the story--I don’t look at spiders in the same way at all. Read my story and see why!

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