What was originally titled Best Erotic Romance 2015, part of the Best Erotic Romance series that publisher Cleis Press started in 2012, has been retitled Best Erotic Romance of the Year and is out now!
This long-awaited collection contains my story “Lotus,” which was inspired by a conglomeration of my love for and interest in at the time a number of things—puzzles, botanical gardens, snowstorms when one is safe and well-equipped (heh) inside, baths, even dogs. Somehow this assortment came together into a story, and I’m delighted that it’s available now in this anthology edited by the illustrious Kristina Wright, with whom I’ve always loved to work.
Gavin was standing a few feet away, but he moved slowly toward her as she watched him. Giving her plenty of time to move had she wanted to, he finally said in a low voice, “You.”
The moment froze. Then he was kissing her, pressing her back against the counter as his body pushed into hers. Charlotte’s breath vanished, and heat shot straight from her belly to her cunt as Gavin reached his arms around her and pulled her somehow closer. A tiny moan spilled from her throat as she ground against him, and she found herself willing their clothes to simply disappear.
UPDATE: The audio version of Dirty 30, narrated, of course, by the anthology’s editor, Rose Caraway, is available now here!
Because really, it seems to me they might be of interest to any prospective employer. Who doesn’t face challenges, relate to others or certainly to themselves in the midst of their job, appreciate learning of the experiences of those who did so in a way they believe is nurturing and successful?
-from “Truth” in The Sexy Librarian’s Dirty 30, Volume 1
With the title of this anthology offering a foregone conclusion about the number of people involved in each imminent tryst, the fun in these stories lies in seeing how the three of them will get there. And in its own way, each one features a glimpse into the unique dynamic inescapable when another person is added to a traditionally two-person equation.
Even when on the surface two stories’ premises seem similar, there are significant distinctions that place each tale into its own unique niche in this book. For example, in both Rachel Kramer Bussel‘s “An Extra Pair of Eyes” and Kathleen Tudor‘s “Experience and Expectations,” a third person is being brought into a married couple’s relationship. But Rachel’s story showcases a woman who (delightfully) simultaneously exhibits the brazenness to ask a man she’s just met to come home with them alongside a solid tendency toward sexual submission and the desire to be taken once they get there; Kathleen’s tale, on the other hand, tells of a woman whose wife has never been with a man and seems to have come to feel she might like to try it….
Three of Hearts runs a gamut tonally as well, and there is indeed a whole lot of “more than just sex” among these pages. Some stories pulled forth relational empathy in me, submerging me in the fascination inherent in interpersonal contact, particularly in a sexual or romantic context—made all the more so in this instance because a whole other entity beyond that which is considered traditional in our culture is entered in the equation. For example, I found Annabeth Leong‘s “Whose Anniversary Is It, Anyway?” a beautiful and nuanced exploration of relationship, vulnerability, and commitment. “The Mistress in the Brat” by Skylar Kade affected me similarly, this time with the added context of Dom and sub BDSM elements.
“A Thief in the Night” by Giselle Renarde, on the other hand, got a lot of points for originality from me and was an example of a story with an entirely different kind of tone. I found similar unexpected elements in Cheyenne Blue‘s “What Happens in Denver,” one of a number of stories where sexual interaction was not already existent among any of the characters involved.
There were also stories whose prose I simply loved. I find it such a treat when a story I already otherwise like offers evocative imagery almost reminiscent of poetry. It’s not a prerequisite of enjoying a story for me by any means, but it tends to add to my experience like a touch of just the right spice. I found this in Angela Caperton‘s story (and have often experienced it in Angela’s writing), “Eve’s Apple Red,” as well as in “Uncharted Seas” by Chris Komodo. The rich prose of both effortlessly called up their exquisite scenery—which can include characters—in my consciousness as though it were right in front of me.
I experienced Three of Hearts as a smattering of hot, entertaining, diverse stories that do the topic of threesomes in their innumerable possibilities justice. In some instances, the identification of the “third” wasn’t even obvious. There were simply people in relationship, interacting within that core theme of a triangle of bodies, hearts, perspectives, circumstances. It all adds up to a great triple-decker ride—and one I recommend taking!
-Kristina Wright, in the introduction to Three of Hearts
Most readers of this blog or my work are aware, I imagine, that sex interests me. I don’t just mean engagement in it (though that is included!), but the topic itself: the vast, glorious, and fascinating subject of sexuality with its myriad psychological, spiritual, personal, social, and energetic implications. Whenever I have encountered another in the personal or public realm who seems similarly oriented, I have tended to take notice and go out of my way to discover said person’s perspectives and offerings on this subject of mutual fascination.
Joan Price is one of these people. And her latest book, The Ultimate Guide to Sex After 50: How to Maintain—or Regain—a Spicy, Satisfying Sex Life, published by Cleis Press, is a shining example of why I would seek out this kind of luminosity. I’m delighted to participate today in the official blog tour celebrating this brand new release—please visit here to see the rest of the schedule and follow along!
It is a beautiful book. If I were to describe it in one word, I think it would be “inspiring.”
I perceive this word from multiple angles. As a reader who hasn’t even experienced many of the things the book talks about, I could feel the energy of kindness, generosity, and encouragement with which it was written. I find that inspiring in and of itself. In addition, I saw inspiration in the following messages (explicit or implicit):You Are Not Alone
As a baseline, this book will let readers know they are not alone in almost all of their situations, concerns, or challenges. Running the gamut from issues of seemingly lost intimacy, changes in desire, the occurrence of widowhood, health challenges, medicinal side effects, and much more, what is presented in these pages lets those facing any of these circumstances know that many, many other people have and are too. I don’t underestimate the profound value of this.
Mainstream Social Messages About Older Sexuality Are (Generally) Bullshit
I have experienced mainstream culture as dismissing or denigrating the existence or appropriateness of sexual desire, expression, and health among older people. I find this nonsensical and unconscionable. So, it seems, does the author.
There Are Many Practical Solutions Available
The author devotes much pagination to addressing numerous practical matters, from medicinal side effects to the potential benefits of different kinds of sex toys. Personally, I could feel the caring and reassurance with which this was written, which it seems to me will be of particular support to readers who may experience a defeated relationship with their bodies or health challenges. Joan not only offers information to help readers understand the array of options and potential solutions that are available, she has also compiled an extensive “Recommended Resources” section at the end of the book and consistently reminds the reader to check them out if they seem relevant.
You Have a Right to Have Sexual Concerns Addressed in Professional Medical Care
There is a whole chapter devoted to speaking with medical professionals about issues related to sexuality, particularly in the context of health challenges. This chapter encompasses information on everything from finding a doctor willing to address this topic (and ceasing to see one who doesn’t) to how to convey to your health care providers that you find your sexuality an important part of life and want to attend to any concerns about it.
While the World—and You—Have Changed, the Very Fact That You’re Still Here Means You Are Capable of Adapting
I also saw a continual emphasis on openness and awareness of shifts in ourselves and our relationships. The straightforward assertion that things shift in our bodies and beings as we age and that this does not necessarily mean the “end” of something but rather an opportunity for something different struck me as a linchpin of the overall positive, caring, and encouraging note this book consistently sounds.
Not surprisingly (to me anyway), there were certainly things in The Ultimate Guide to Sex After 50 that it seems to me adults of all ages would do well to consider. Certainly I appreciated the emphasis throughout on expanding our view and definition of sex to mean things in addition to penis-in-vagina (PIV) intercourse. And, of course, there was a general inclusivity essential to any comprehensive book on sexuality that addressed populations such as the LGBT communities. There were also timeless offerings related to self-awareness, such as the recommendation to discern, articulate, and prioritize what one is specifically looking for in a sexual or long-term committed partner.
Joan also shares generously of herself in these pages. This did not surprise me, as I have seen her offer openly about her (sometimes quite intimate) experiences and how they have impacted her life and sexuality. I have experienced her as doing this at least in part with the earnest aspiration of supporting others in developing and living their own authentic sexualities. Again—inspiring.
Never for a second did I see this book as not relevant to me because I’m not (yet) in the target age group. (Really, how self-defeating would such a perspective be, since it seems likely I someday will be!) I actually love having had the opportunity to read this at this time; it prepares me with so much information for what to perhaps expect and how to address my own experience as I get older. Encouraging and practical, accessible and informative, The Ultimate Guide to Sex After 50 is a book I recommend without hesitation not only to the targeted age group but also to all of us who care about sexuality and want to support both ourselves and others in authentically appreciating it throughout the human life span.
-Michael Buble “Feeling Good”
I have been quiet during December. As I have mentioned here before, in Five-Element acupuncture, Winter is a time for stillness, silence, depth, and mystery. Our culture seems to throw that for a bit of a loop, but I personally aspire to do my best to respect the season’s offerings. At this time, that manifested as stepping away a bit from online promotion and interaction.
Of course, I was remiss in not getting a post up about the annual International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers on December 17. I absolutely did not forget about the day; I just (for the first time since I started blogging) did not manage to get a post written about it in a timely manner. I regret that.
Writing-wise, 2014 was a huge year for me, of course, with the release in September and October of my first single-author books. I found it big for me in other ways, too, and I can hardly believe 2014 is already coming to a close. To me, the year seemed to fly by. On that note, I’m a bit late in mentioning that I have an author interview about If… Then up on the Marketing for Romance Writers (MFRW) Author Blog that went live this past Sunday, December 28.
Before I close out the year here, I want to give a shout-out to two people I love dearly. The first is my colleague Alana Noel Voth, whose birthday I appeared to miss on December 27 (I say “appeared” because I actually didn’t forget about that either but just didn’t manage to publicly wish her a happy birthday like I meant to!). Alana released her first single-author short story collection this year as well: the extraordinary Dog Men is available now through its publisher, Tiny Hardcore Press. If you’re not familiar with Alana’s writing, all I know to say is that I have consistently found it breathtaking in its scope, depth, and capacity to move. I highly recommend checking her collection out.
The second is Ms. Donna George Storey, whose birthday is today! Donna is the author of Amorous Woman, one of my all-time favorite novels, and it has so been my pleasure and privilege to get to know her, mostly via our online communications, over the last several years.
Wishing all a beautiful new year (and always!) and transition into 2015.
-Jason Aldean “Just Gettin’ Started”