I just got an early Winter Solstice present—my contributor’s copies of Alison Tyler’s newest anthology Naughty or Nice: Christmas Erotica. Alison always puts together a great anthology, but this one really rings my bells. It may be because I’ve always been enchanted by the year-end festivals of light (all of them, Diwali, Chanukah, Solstice…), or it may be that the stories are such a yummy winter buffet of sexy, smart, and funny with a dash of the bittersweet to add a satisfying complexity of flavors.
The book starts off with a champagne popping bang with Andrea Dale’s “The Queen of Christmas.” I ADORE this story! It’s so hilarious, I was laughing the whole way through, except when I was lusting after that very sexy, Christmas-loving electrical engineer across the street. And then I was kind of smacking my lips and making plans to attack my own electrical engineer husband later.
I’m next with “Fezziwig’s Balls.” When I review an anthology with my own story, I don’t pretend I can comment on its quality, but I do like to mention one or two of my favorite lines. In this case, the title is my favorite line! If you like corsets and dress up and fallen women and the electric thrill of waltzing with a stranger who dances divinely, you might like the story, too. I hope you do!
Get ready for a very sweet peppermint treat with Shanna Germain’s “A Good Little Girl.” Sparkling humor and glittering prose—it’s as magical as a Christmas tree. Really. I was grinning at the clever story and the awesome writing the whole way through. Sitting on Santa’s lap has never been so much fun, and I can’t seem to get that that Christmas tree dildo out of my mind. Someone has GOT to make one of those and give Shanna a cut of the profits.
Lisette Ashton gives us a witty, X-rated reinterpretation of Charles Dickens’ classic in “Carol’s Christmas.” Lisette knows her stuff, of course, as she hails from Merrie Olde England. The strong and silent Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come gives the heroine a chance to change her ways, posing the question dearest to the hearts of men--will she or won’t she? Come, that is. Read it and find out for yourself ;-)
Two of my other favorites are Joel A. Nichols’ “Nog” and Michael Hemmingson’s “Two Gifts.” Both have a bittersweet realism that strips away the fantasy of Christmas. What lies beneath is surprisingly and profoundly arousing. Kudos to Alison for giving us some savory stories as well as sweet ones to feast on in this book. Oh, and at that next Christmas party, remember to ask college kids in the house exactly what’s in the eggnog!
I’ve been a huge fan of Sharon Wachsler since I read her “Sappenschwester” in M. Christian and Sage Vivant’s Garden of the Perverse. “Tagged” fulfilled my yearning for more of her funny and very sexy stories. Thomas S. Roche’s “Hollywood Christmas” combines the delights of smart social satire with a steamy and very La-La Land interplay of voyeurism and exhibitionism. Of course at this time of year, interesting things happen when the lights are low. Saskia Walker’s “Caught Watching” is a perfect ambisexual cocktail of seeing and doing. You can always count on a red-hot story from Saskia and it’s always a thrill to be in her company in a toc.
Alison gives us a wham-bam finish with “Naughty or Nice?” It’s everything you ever wanted for Christmas—since you turned eighteen, that is. I could go on and on, but to keep it short—we all have shopping to do, right?--I highly recommend this anthology. I was told at the Cleis reception earlier this month that the major bookstore chains were stocking the book, so you can toodle down to Barnes and Noble and check it out. It’s a good gift for any naughty friend you want to be especially nice to this year!