Interview & Fiction Double!

I love my job here as Publishing Editor. And who wouldn’t. I get to write to, read, and talk to any number of exciting, dynamic new and emerging authors, and established writers looking for new venues in which to share their storytelling. What more could an editor wish for?

I’ve personally had a busy month, this month, as has the Kissed By Venus website. What with a slew of new fiction, and earlier in the month we also had an interview with Susan Gabriel. And now, dear reader? I’m pleased to share not only another insightful interview with you, this time with the delightful author of ‘Sometimes Quickly’, Anne Laughlin, but also a Kissed By Venus exclusive.

Anne is sharing her latest short story, 30 DAYS HAS SEPTEMBER, with us, and You, dear reader!

Grab that coffee and go have a read, now!

The Editor

Alexandra Wolfe

Alexandra is the founder, owner, and publishing editor of the Kissed By Venus web site and magazine.

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NEW FICTION!

Bonjour Dear Reader -

Once again I’m pleased to let you know we have a very diverse piece of fiction for your reading delight. This one—and our third submission from an author fast becoming a favourite of ours—Kara Evelyn brings us HOLLOW FULL, another quirky story of two women finding not only themselves, but each other, in this off-beat look at contemporary lesbian life.

Happy reading!

Alexandra Wolfe

Alexandra is the founder, owner, and publishing editor of the Kissed By Venus web site and magazine.

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White Flames: Erotic Dreams

Title: WHITE FLAMES: EROCTIC DREAMS
Author: Cecilia Tan
Publisher: Running Press, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-78672-080-4
Rated: 3.5 Stars
Genre: Lesbian Erotica

“It began in April, because she said that was when she began, and it was a time for new things. She taught me more than one new thing, like how to kiss her and fondle her at the same time without fumbling either one. She said my kiss resurrected her, and hers made me bloom.”

Thus begins a bittersweet little story, “Love’s Year,” in Cecilia Tan’s long-awaited new collection. This story neatly captures the flavor of a stereotypical affair between two women which lasts less than a year. The relationship is a cliché in lesbian culture, but the story is not. It could have been written in the 1970s, or in any decade since then. The narrator’s witty word-play suggests the irony of hindsight.

The title “White Flames” suggests that this book is a contrasting sequel to the author’s earlier collection, Black Feathers. Both titles suggest the sensory, concentrated, evocative nature of the author’s style. White Flames includes a variety of different stories, loosely divided into sections according to theme. The book as a whole is a smorgasbord of convincing fantasy and dream-like realism. The sex seems profoundly natural, even when it involves high-tech toys and immortal shapeshifters. Gender and sexual orientation in these stories are equally fluid. Although this book was not published by Circlet Press, the company that Cecilia Tan founded as a home for erotic fantasy and sc-fi, it has the characteristics for which she and Circlet are known.

Several of these stories appeared first in theme anthologies. “Love’s Year” was first published in a lesbian anthology of stories of less than 1,000 words. Two fantasy stories, “The Little Mermaid” (an erotic retelling of the Hans Christian Anderson story, as heartbreaking as the original) and “Rite of Spring,” were first published in the water-themed anthologies, Aqua Erotica and Wet: More Aqua Erotica.

”Rite of Spring” is a kind of ugly-duckling romance told by Melinne, one of the girls presented to a prince as a potential bride available for sexual testing. Melinne believes that the prince has inherited “the magic,” but she knows that her relative, who finds him unimpressive, is more likely to be noticed:

“Arnissa was next to me: her gown blue, her lily-white skin and her red hair glowing in the sun bathing the courtyard. My dress was red, my father’s colors of course, my black hair hidden inside the hat they made me wear to keep my skin–which browned as easily as a chicken’s in a fire–out of the sun.”

By means of a classic subterfuge, Melinne is able to fulfill her wildest dreams of submission to one who is worthy of it.

In a more daring story which was published in Starf*cker, an anthology of sex fantasies about real celebrities, the “ugly duckling” is clearly identified as the author. She claims that the object of her crush is baseball player Derek Jeter, and that “I can’t really impress him by telling him I’m a somewhat famous (or maybe infamous) erotic writer.” If Jeter ever read Tan’s fantasy, this reviewer hopes he was flattered.

The BDSM stories (to use a general term) in this collection are especially atmospheric. In “Storm Rider,” Stormclaw is an elemental spirit who rides a motorcycle from town to town, looking for macho bigots who need to be taught a lesson. They confront him, and he answers honestly:

“‘Jesus, look at you,’ one of them says. ‘What are you, some kind of a faggot?’

“Stormclaw lets a small smile onto his face. ‘No. I’m a fairy.’” The bar bullies come to learn the power of a realm that is invisible to Muggles, the ignorant and the philistine.

Stormclaw’s supernatural female companion is the Lady in Black, who has a story or two of her own. She drives down lonely roads, picking up male hitchhikers who consider her easy prey. She always punishes assailants, “And that is why all who harbor evil intentions should fear the Lady in Black.” But sometimes she encourages their violence, and this is something that even her eternal companion Stormclaw can hardly bear:

“Stormclaw does not understand her need for these spears of mortal flesh plunging into her. He does not understand her fascination with these animals and their appetites.”

Not until the superhuman strength of Stormclaw meets the superhuman hunger of the Lady in another story do they reach an ecstatic mutual awakening.

“Halloween” and “Lip Service” are more mundane stories of BDSM initiation, but they also have a pinch of fairy dust in them. In both stories, a brash young novice finds what she needs, partly by luck or by fate, in a bar which is a microcosm of the world. In “A Tale of the Marketplace,” Tan confidently enters the imaginary world of Laura Antoniou’s novels about an international organization which recruits, trains and sells voluntary slaves. Tan’s story first appeared in The Academy, a collection of “Marketplace” stories by other erotic writers besides Antoniou. In Tan’s story-within-a-story, an experienced trainer finds the female slave of his dreams and decides to keep her. The results are ironic, to say the least.

The uncanny intrusion of the timeless and the supernatural into the ephemeral culture of modern America seems to be most convincing in “Dragon Daughter.” As the narrator herself explains it, this is a coming-of-age story. It is also a kind of “roots” story, and a caper story about a quest for an elusive prize. It could also be read as the story of a one-sided lesbian crush, as the doomed Romantic search for the ideal in the real, and even as a meditation on the sex trade. This story is a chameleon. What you find in it is likely to reflect what you are looking for.

Two stories in this book deal with the eroticism of rock music. “Balancing Act” is a realistic male-on-male story about a counsellor who at first regards himself as a model of gay-male self-acceptance and responsible partnerhood, and the troubled, dominated rock-star waif who bursts into the counsellor’s life and shows him the cracks in it. “The Spark,” a story about a girl-band touring some of the outer planets (told by Luna from the moon) includes a theory about why so many performers have died young:

“Glory had told me once that the Spark runs its course like a fever–oh sure, it could be years and years, but the hotter it burns the more likely it is to burn you up. At some point it burns out and leaves you high and dry and unable to function.”

Most creative types (including erotic writers) occasionally wonder if this is the way inspiration and/or sexual energy works. Luckily, Luna finds a way to keep the Spark alight in each member of the group. The ending of this story makes a good conclusion to the book as a whole:

“‘I’m sorry,’ I said as I finished. ‘I should have told you before. For some it becomes a curse…’ I looked at Glory, still lying in state on the low table. ‘But it is a gift, too.’

“In response, they came and kissed me, both together. I already had the sound in my head of the music we could make together.”

The author’s relationship with erotic fantasy literature as a genre and its community of fans seems equally symbiotic. This book is evidence that the magic works.

REVIEWED BY JEAN ROBERTA

Jean Roberta

Jean teaches English in a Canadian prairie university, where she is also a consulting editor for the literary journal.

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The Price Of Fame

Title: THE PRICE OF FAME
Author: Lyne Ames
Publisher: Intaglio Publications
ISBN: 1-933113-04-9
Rated: 3 Stars
Genre: Romance

When local television news anchor Katherine Kyle is thrust into the national spotlight, it sets in motion a chain of events that will change her life forever. Jamison ‘Jay’ Parker is an intensely career-driven Time magazine reporter; she has experienced love once, from afar, and given up on finding it again…that is, until circumstance and an assignment bring her into contact with her past.

Kate and Jay’s lives intertwine, leading them on a journey to love and happiness, until fate and fame threaten to tear them apart. What is the price of fame? For Kate the cost just might be everything. For Jay, the price could be the other half of her soul.

I really wanted to give this book the four-star treatment as, for the most part, it is really well written…But, for one uber sticking point, it would have received that higher rating.

This book could have been so much more and, to start with, it was. Tantalizingly so. The first third had me engrossed and hooked with the hinted-at political-covert plotline, leaving me wanting more but, as I got futher in, I started to see where the author was actually heading as the plot suddenly vapourized and descended into just another uber romance. One featuring two very familiar characters…characters who spend the remaining two-thirds of the book gazing into one another’s colbalt blue/emerald green eyes.

That said, however, if you are simply looking for a well-written romance then go ahead, grab a copy, settle down on the couch and enjoy Kate and Jay’s journey of discovery.

REVIEWED BY ALEXANDRA WOLFE

Alexandra Wolfe

Alexandra is the founder, owner, and publishing editor of the Kissed By Venus web site and magazine.

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Susan Gabriel Interview

Hi All -

It’s that time of month again, time to bring you a new author-interview for your reading pleasure. This month sees us talking about the writing life with the delightful, Susan Gabriel, author of the recently released, ‘Seeking Sara Summers’.

What is not only amazing, but admirable, is that Susan gave up a successful psychotherapist private practice to concentrate full-time on her writing. And in doing so, spend quality time with her characters and in telling and writing their stories, for us to enjoy.

“In my more dramatic moments, writing feels like life and death to me. I guess I spent so many years without a ‘voice’ that it is crucial for me to have one. I have written novels for 14 years and at this point I can’t imagine not writing. I feel like I have certain stories that are mine to tell. I worry sometimes that I will die or become incapacitated in some way before I get to write them all down.”

Read the FULL INTERVIEW here.

Best wishes,
Alexandra

Alexandra Wolfe

Alexandra is the founder, owner, and publishing editor of the Kissed By Venus web site and magazine.

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