Review: Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Vol. 4

I have been a fan of the Best Women’s Erotica series since the very first volume. If you follow my blog, you also know I have a thing for short stories and anthologies. I have found some of my favorite writers through anthologies such as this. This year the anthology’s theme was Outsiders and Risk and features one of the most diverse collections of authors and stories in this series to date.
I was particularly stoked to see a few stories that featured diverse women, women loving women, trans characters, and unique situations. The heat level is what you would expect from a volume of erotica. Eliza David’s “Protest of Passion,” Megan Hart’s “Seven Sweets and Seven Sours,” as well as Alyssa Cole’s “Essential Qualities,” and Calliope Bloom’s “O Captian! My Captian” are poignant as well as hella sexy.

If you are looking for a sexy little something to keep you warm on cold winter nights you can not go wrong with this collection. It is available for pre-order now if you have a mind to give your one-click finger a workout. Bravo Rachel Kramer Bussel for another sexy well-edited collection. 

 

Brenda Murphy writes short fiction and novels. She loves tattoos and sideshows and yes, those are her monkeys.  When she is not loitering at her local tea shop and writing, she wrangles two kids, one dog, and an unrepentant parrot.  She reviews books, blogs about life as a writer with ADHD and publishes photographs on her blog Writing While Distracted. You can find her on Facebook by clicking here. Website: www.brendalmurphy.com

Books available at

Amazon 

NineStar Press

Knotted Legacy

Both Ends of the Whip

ONE  

Sum of the Whole 

Dominique and Other Stories 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review: The Devil’s Doorbell*

TheDevilsDoorbell-500x750

I am a fan of anthologies for two reasons. 1.) I really dig short stories. 2.) It is a  great way to sample work by new-to-me authors.  If you gave up on reading an anthologies after English 101 it is time to try again. Treat yourself to seven delectable stories in  The Devil’s Doorbell,  a collection of hot-as-hell erotic short stories that share a common theme: Women unapologetically taking charge of their own desires and seeking pleasure on their terms.

Seven stories, seven women deciding that they get to decide where, and who with, and how, and when they find pleasure.  Seven delicious stories that display women standing up, pushing through and reveling in their decisions. Survivors. Thrill-seekers. Fem-domes. Explorers. Adventurers. They are all represented here.

In a world that works hard at limiting women’s choices through draconian laws and social pressures this collection of stories is different. The women in these stories are not waiting around for someone to show up and show them a good time. Nope. These women are going for it. Erotica featuring empowered women? Bring it.

The book releases April 26, 2016. Preorder your hotness from your favorite on-line book seller.

“Here are seven tales of sexual empowerment and erotic defiance, featuring the hottest storytellers of erotic fiction.”

Anne Calhoun,  Christine d’Abo, Delphine Dryden, Megan Hart, Jeffe Kennedy, Megan Mulry, M. O’Keefe
In the Garden, by Anne Calhoun

Forbidden fruit is the most delicious… A wedding in the bucolic English countryside offers Kelsey ripe temptation in the form of a hot groomsman, Julian. Will the illicit attraction satisfy an old craving or stoke a new desire?

Exact Warm Unholy, by Jeffe Kennedy

Tonight my name is Mary… Or is it? Sometimes she’s Tiffany or Syd or Bobbi. But whatever face she wears, she returns to the same bar, to find a new man and seduce him, safe in the knowledge that no one will recognize her. Until one man does.

Red Leather, by Delphine Dryden

Some activities are definitely not safe for work. Maggie’s sadness over being dumped quickly turns to relief and excitement when she discovers a new freedom…a new Maggie she could have never been with her ex. Combine New Maggie with Tim the Hot Mailroom Guy and an unexpected vibrator…and the office supply room door becomes the portal to a world of devilish fun.

Drowning on Dry Land, by Megan Hart

Some doors stay open until you close them. Moving on from a past love, Bette Douglas has discovered a whole new world of satisfaction and contentment with her boy Damian…but when the past comes knocking, Bette’s decision to answer it could change everything.

Devil in the Dark, by Christine d’Abo

When developer Shona needs to beta test her new app – The Devil’s Doorbell – she goes out on the prowl for a man who will fulfil her wildest fantasies – oral sex in public. What could possibly go wrong when she finds her devil in the dark?

London Calling, by Megan Mulry

“Face-sitter wanted, in exchange for free accommodation in Mayfair.” -Craigslist

She hadn’t planned on being quite so adventurous when she decided to spend the year in London, but when she read the ad, she couldn’t resist.

We Are All Found Things, by M. O’Keefe

Rennie’s trying to forget her past; her mysterious new tenant is trying to keep his past a secret. But when Rennie finds out the truth about Luka she discovers as much about herself as she does her innocent lover.

Anne Calhoun – http://www.annecalhoun.com/

Christine d’Abo – http://christinedabo.com/

Delphine Dryden – http://www.delphinedryden.com/

Megan Hart – http://meganhart.com/

Jeffe Kennedy – http://www.jeffekennedy.com/

Megan Mulry – http://meganmulry.com/

M. O’Keefe – http://www.molly-okeefe.com/

Cover by Book Beautiful – http://www.bookbeautiful.com/

*ARC Review- See disclaimer page if you have any questions.

 

Thirteen for Halloween

Dark Secrets BIG

Halloween is the ultimate holiday for those of us who relish having the bejesus scared out of us. For everyone who loves the creepy, the gory, the freak show, the weird, and just plain scary this is our time. We delight in the month of pumpkin spiced everything to the core of our adrenalin soaked souls. In celebration of my favorite time of year, I have a list of thirteen reads for Halloween. So take a break from visiting haunted houses and treat yourself to these thirteen dark reads.

  1. Dark Secrets: A Paranormal Noir Anthology,  Rachel Caine, Cynthia Eden, Megan Hart, Suzanne Johnson, Jeffe Kennedy, Mina Khan. This is a marvelous anthology of paranormal noir romance. It is all here, ghost stories, dark fey, vampires, tormented djinn, murder, mayhem, and death. Hell, the devil himself appears in these pages. This anthology is a Halloween bag full of all your favorite reading time treats. It is hard to resist the sexy bite sized story morsels that beg you to read just one more.
  2. White is for Witching, Helen Oyeyemi. A creepy house, and a history of unfulfilled hunger passed down through generations, this book will have you swearing off of bed and breakfast accommodations.
  3. Boy Snow Bird, Helen Oyeymi’s lyrical and viscerally terrifying novel that turns Snow White upside down and sideways. I enjoyed this book so much I immediately read every thing else that Helen Otoyemi has written, so be warned.
  4. Family Dinner: A Tale of the Undead, Mark C. Scioneaux.  A family love zombie story with the best twist ending I have read in years..
  5. The Resurrected Compendium, Megan Hart. A collection of terrifying, angry stories of the undead that dove tail into each other. These stories were originally released individually but are now collected into this gore fest of a compendium. The undead in these stories are not mindless slow walking killers. They are resurrected, pissed off, and they want what they want.
  6. Apparition, Michealbrent Collings. A novel that creeped me out so bad I had to read it in small bits. It does for cockroaches what Steven King did for clowns. Read it in a well-lit room in the company of others.
  7. Every Dark Desire and the sequel Desire before Dawn,  Fiona Zedde. Yes, I know this is two books and it messes up the count, but damn these feature fierce vampires done right. Bloody, violent, and sexy as hell, these vamps will have you on your knees, baring your throat, begging for a nip.
  8. The Vines, Christopher Rice. Settle in for some southern discomfort as Rice spins this scary tale featuring family secrets, killer vines, and a hell of a twisty ending.
  9. The Headmaster, Tiffany Reisz.  A fun, not so scary ghostly love story in the best tradition of weird tales. The banter and dialog make this a must read.
  10. American Psycho, Bret Easton Ellis. Disturbing, darkly funny, and violent. What’s not to love about this book? If you are late to the party for this book, do yourself a favor and read it.
  11. Dawn- Book one Xenogenesis series, Octavia Butler. There are rumors that this will be coming to television and as a huge fan of the late Octavia Butler, I hope and pray that they do not screw it up. Dawn is a dark futuristic tale that reminds us that in the universe, survival has a price, and rescues can be expensive in more ways than one.
  12. Scary Stories to Read after Dark, Alvin Schwartz. Remember all those stories that you used to tell each other at over-nights to guarantee that no one slept, and that everyone was freaked out? This is a fantastic collection of all those tales, written down so that you don’t have to try to remember them. When your kids bug you to tell them a scary story, start them off right and read them one of these. This is best for older (9+) kids. Use your discretion. You know your kids better than anyone else, but be advised if you read this around the bonfire while camping be prepared to have your kids in your tent!
  13. Books of Blood, Clive Barker. No discussion of horror can leave him out. If you have not read this collection of short stories by the master you need to experience these wonderfully horrific tales.

There you have it. So go ahead light the fireplace, grab an adult beverage of your choice and settle in with any one of these books to enjoy the mayhem.

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An Eclectic Summer Reading List

 

I love to sit on my porch and read in the summer. As a kid I could not wait for school to be out for the summer, so I could read what I wanted to read instead of what was required. I would spend every rainy day curled up with a book. I spent most summer nights reading until I fell asleep with the book in my hands.
I still fall asleep with my book in my hands sometimes, and I don’t get to curl up and read as much as I would like to anymore, but summer is still made for reading. I put together a list of some of my favorite books. Some have been featured in my Year of Women’s Voices Series, some were published a while ago, and some are new. It is a pretty eclectic list, and if you are looking for something to read I hope you find something here.

Intense and Sexy Reads

By Fiona Zedde
Bliss
Broken in Soft Places
Dangerous Pleasures
Every Dark Desire
Desire at Dawn
For more about Fiona here is the link to my review of  Fiona’s books .

By Megan Hart
Tear You Apart
Vanilla
Switch
Everything Changes
Ride with the Devil
Out of the Dark
Lovely Wild
Precious Fragile Things
All Fall Down
For more about Megan here is the link to my interview with Megan .

By Tiffany Reisz
The Siren, and the rest of the series. Beware, this book is the beginning of an eight book series, don’t say I did not warn you.

The Headmaster
Seven Day Loan
The Mistress Files
Submit to Desire
The Last Good Knight (Serial Novel)

 

Memoir: if you only read one memoir this summer, make it one of these two:

Just Kids by Patti Smith. Here is the link to my review .
Let’s Pretend this Never Happened by Jenny Lawson. Here is the link to my review .

Science Fiction/ Fantasy/Urban Fantasy



Everything ever written by Octavia Butler, no seriously, and here is a link to my list to get you started .

By Helen Oyeyemi
Boy Snow Bird
White is For Witching
The Icarus Girl

By N. K. Jemisin
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms Here is the link to my review .
The Broken Kingdoms
The Awakened Kingdom  

By Jacqueline Carey
This is another long series (collectively Kushiel’s Legacy) but it is so worth your time. “Love as thou wilt”.
Kushiel’s Dart
Kushiel’s Chosen
Kushiel’s Avatar

Kushiel’s Scion
Kushiel’s Justice
Kushiel’s Mercy

Naamah’s Kiss
Naamah’s Curse
Naamah’s Blessing


By Katherine Dunn
Geek Love  Not for the squeamish, here is the link to my review.

Here is to lazy summer days, reading and summer fun, and an adult beverage or two.


 

A Year of Women’s Voice’s Retrospective

 

I started my Year of Women’s Voices project about this time last year. As an obsessive reader, book reviews are one of my favorite posts to write.  Each review features my thoughts on the craft of writing and observations about story telling learned from each writer. I have arranged my 2014 posts in chronological order, most recent first.  If there are writers here that you have not read, challenge yourself to read one new author this year.

 

Zoe Kessler: ADHD According to Zoe

 

 

 

Patti Smith: Just Kids

 

 

Jenny Lawson: Let’s Pretend this Never Happened

 

 

Megan Hart’s Lovely Wild_ A Year of Women’s Voices

 

I met Megan Hart at the CNRWA Spring Fling 2014 conference. She was charming and hella funny. One of the things we talked about besides RVs and family vacations, was music and writing. I appreciate Megan’s ability to write across many different genres. It is not often you find a writer that has a story for you, no matter what your mood.In Lovely Wild, Megan Hart’s most recent release, Megan brilliantly tells the story of Mari, a woman with a past that does and does not define her. Over a summer spent in her childhood home, Mari discovers past and present betrayals, encounters her hidden history, and finds her strength in the love she has for her children and herself. Reminding us all that people can be so much more than they appear to be, Mari is a character that you will remember long after you close the book. Lovely Wild is a story of growth, redemption, and family secrets that will keep you turning pages with that wonderful edge of your seat feeling that comes with a well written suspense novel. Be advised, do not start this book at bedtime unless you want to stay up all night reading.

Megan includes playlists in each of her books that enrich the reading experience in a visceral way. If you have read Megan’s other books, and let us be clear here, you should, listen to the playlists included, it is a way to enjoy the story all over again.  I had some questions about how Megan uses music when she writes and Megan has answered them here:
 1.    Have
you always written / worked to music?
Megan Hart: Yes!
Honestly, the iPod was the best invention ever, because before that I had to
make mix tapes and/or CDs and use them for playlists. So yes, I have always
used music while writing.
2.
Do
you sing along with the lyrics when you are writing? 
Megan Hart: Absolutely.
And sometimes I dance.
  
3.
Do
you have playlists for certain types of writing?
Megan Hart: Not
necessarily for different types of writing, but definitely a different playlist
for each book. The songs can be pertinent or somehow relating to the book or
just what I happen to be into listening to at the time, but what’s so crazy is
that when I look back at what songs are on old playlists, I can really sink
back into how it felt when I was writing that book.
4.
How
does music influence you? Is it a way to block distractions, or do you think
that the mood created by lyrics / music enables you to get where you need to be
emotionally for what you are writing?
Megan Hart: Both.
If I’m trying to write in a public space (which I had to do a LOT when my kids
were smaller and I’d write in a coffee shop or the playground or whatever) the
music definitely is used to block out the distractions. But also, when I put on
something sad or happy or ethereal it really gets me into the spirit of the
book. I have a long playlist of songs that stab me in the heart, and I listen
to them to get where I need to be for the writing, because fortunately my
default emotional setting is not woebegone angstmonster. So I have to find a way
to dig into that, and music helps.
 
5.
Have
you ever written lyrics, or considered writing songs?
Megan Hart: I have. I write lyrics a lot, but I can’t
read or write music, so it’s really not very productive! I wrote a song for a
story that will be out some time in 2015 and someone did write music for it,
which was amazing.
 
6.
Do
you listen to different types of music when you are editing versus first draft?
Megan Hart: Not
really. Pretty much the same throughout.
 
7.
Do
you listen to the same playlist each time you work on a project?
Megan Hart: Yes,
usually.
 8.
Does
the music suggest the story, or does the story come you and then the music?
Megan Hart: Story
comes first, then I find the music that fits. There have been a few times when
a song inspired something, or lyrics have prompted a scene, but usually the
music is backdrop.
9.
What
of music do you detest?
 Megan Hart: Jazz.
I hate jazz so much. Jazz makes me want to stab out my ears. Modern jazz, I
guess, all the boopdeleeboopedeedoo whatever. Once I went to a modern jazz band
with my husband and I wanted to both die and kill everyone in the room at the
same time, that’s how much I hate it.
10.  What kind of music is
your favorite?
Megan Hart: That’s
a harder question to answer. I love such a wide range. I love classical, pop,
hip hop, rock, hard rock, heavy metal…really, I love almost everything (except
modern jazz.)
As a writer this is what I have learned reading Megan Hart:

1. Great stories do not have to be set in exotic
locations.
2.  Internal dialogue is as important as external
dialogue.
3.  Pacing is essential to building suspense.
4.  Create characters that are capable of doing the
extraordinary when they reach the tipping point.
5.  Embrace the dark side of your characters, all of
them, not just the villains.
6.  Emotions are never
simple, don’t be afraid to show exactly how complicated they are.
7.  Do not back off from
social class conflict and social expectations, show just how deep and ugly they
can be.
 Mega Hart’s new novel Lovely
Wild is out now: You can purchase the book here or your favorite independent book store