Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Offline by John Dylena

Please Note: The following review is suitable for adults only.

I love a little over-the-top exaggerated fantasy as much as the next gurl. In fact, I'm often guilty of it myself, concocting elaborate scenarios that I would so very much like to be true, but which I know are impossible. As much fun as that is, however, I am always delighted when I come across a story that's grounded firmly in reality, a story that strikes me as sincere.

In case you haven't already guessed, Offline by John Dylena is one of those stories. He immediately won me over when his narrator admits he doesn't have "the most ideal body for a crossdresser," owing to his wide shoulders and chubby past. Do you know how much that made me smile? All to often these stories begin with a young man who is perfectly slender, dainty, and androgynous. That body type makes passable feminization a bit easier, but it's not something that most of us can identify with.

On top of that, I loved the uncertainty and the confusion involved. Is he a crossdresser, or could there be something deeper to it? Is he gay? Is he straight? Is he bisexual? Does it matter that what he desires in his feminine persona is different than his masculine reality? These are all questions we have asked ourselves at some point, and issues some of us never stop struggling with. Dylena doesn't just pay lip service to those questions either. When his two crossdressing lovers meet for the first time, our narrator feels physically nauseous, and ultimately backs out. Not only that, but his lover . . . his Master . . . is left with tears of disappointment in his eyes. Now, don't take that wrong and don't worry yourself, because they do get together (and it is amazing!), but that initial trepidation comes across as genuine and honest.

The appeal here goes far beyond realism and being relatable, however. It is also a very well-written story that flows nicely, that uses some smart, literate turns of phrase, and which is lovingly detailed. Dylena is just as adept at getting into a crossdresser's skirt as he is at getting into their heads, and you can feel that shared pleasure. I will admit, I cringed a bit when the idea of cybersex first cropped up, but only because so many authors use it as a cheat. Not here. Dylena manages to balance the online conversation and the real-world experience very well, creating scenes of virtual domination that really work.

I could go on and on about this, but you really need to take yourself Offline for about 45 minutes and give it a read yourself. It's a fantastic story, and one that will have an crossdresser saying "Wow, that really could be me!" and smiling all the way to the end.


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Trans Before Christmas - Happy Holidays from Frock Magazine (FREE)

I am, as always, delighted to announce that the latest issue of Frock Magazine is now available.

Some great stuff again in this issue, including a cute Christmas piece from Kim Rydick, an exploration of the 5 Most Influential Trans People, and the usual contributions from gals like Crysti Hart.

Be sure to check out my regular "Frock Books" review column this month, which takes a look at a pair of memoirs - My Life In Stolen Pantyhose by Evie David Marks & Bent by Teri Louise Kelly - each approaching the issue of gender expression and exploring the issue of gender identity in their own way.

Completely free, and available digitally,  Frock Magazine is one of the finest transgender lifestyle magazines around, and one that prides itself on being coffee-table friendly (i.e. free of any erotic content, suggestive ads, etc.).


While you're at it, we're always looking for new and exciting stories and articles to share, so if you have a transgender related idea you'd like to see in Frock Magazine, or a 
story/article you'd like to share, please drop me a line (sally AT frockmagazine DOT com).


Don't just pick it up for my column, though - the magazine has a wonderful variety of articles and features, looks absolutely gorgeous, and is a wonderful read. Please hop on over to  Frock Magazine and give it a read today!

Gift Wrapped by Kylie Gable

Just in time for the holidays, Kylie Gable offers up for holiday-themed tales of forced feminization and female domination. Gift Wrapped is an interesting collection, with half incorporating the embarrassment and humiliation Kylie does so well, and the other half coming across as almost sweet (in a twisted sort of way).

Sissy Under Wraps is a classic Kylie story, focused on the act of feminization of an arrogant jerk who decides to break up with his girlfriend (via email, no less!) just 2 days before Christmas. Katie is devastated, but fortunately she has friends who know how to make her holiday season a bit brighter. Overcome as much by a few drinks as his own libido, Jack follows a strange woman home, only to find those very same friends waiting for him. His breaking and feminization is very well done (and appropriately holiday themed), leaving him as a gift-wrapped under his girlfriend's tree. There's an unusual Scrooge-worthy twist in the final scene that will make you smile, but please do yourself a favor and enjoy it yourself.

Regifted is a delightfully romantic story of lesbian love, and one in which sissies make only a fleeting appearance. It's the story of a dominant young woman who is desperate to afford a Christmas present for her best friend, lover, and soul mate. After much soul searching she decides to sell her well-trained sissy to another Mistress, and to use that money for a present. There's a sweet twist involved here as well, putting a romantic cherry on top of the tale, while subtly reminding us that Kylie's sissies are mere objects.

The Christmas Pageant is another classic Kylie story, once again focused on the act of feminization and the humiliation of the lucky boy at its center. Here we have an absolute brat of a brother who likes to embarrass and insult his sister at every opportunity. When his cruel taunts about a holiday pageant dress go a little too far, he finds himself on the other end of the exchange, forced not only into feminization, but into taking a place in the pageant. It's a fun, revenge-fuelled story with an open ending that promises even more cruel delights.

The final story, What Are You Doing for New Year's, is the shortest of the collection, but still a cute read. It's really all set-up, an introduction to a larger story that Kylie leaves in our imaginations, with a sissy and his wife preparing for a New Year’s Eve party at a fancy hotel. It's the dialogue that sparkles here, especially the way in which David's wife so casually reminisces about past embarrassments. She teases him mercilessly about his date, the best friend who covered for David's infidelity a year ago, but there's another twist to be revealed that puts a happy, sexy, sissy spin on things.

Gift Wrapped is a fantastic collection, and one that displays a newer, softer, happier side of Kylie - one that compliments the delicious cruelty we've come to expect beautifully!


Sunday, December 14, 2014

Player 2 by Lyka Bloom

I've said it before and I'll say it again, Lyka Bloom is one of the best in the business at gender transformation tales, with the original Gamer Girl being her best standalone tale to date. Of course, with a sequel now available, it no longer qualifies as a standalone, but that doesn't change a thing.

Gamer Girl: Player 2 is the sequel we all wanted, but didn't necessarily ever expect to see. As it opens, NuLife and NuWay are both long gone, the online multiplayer game a virtual ghost town, and the company itself completely out of business. Their existence is little more than an urban legend, and their product is something whispered about only in the forbidden chat rooms of the deep internet.

That's getting ahead of ourselves a bit, however. When we first meet Franklin he has no knowledge of NuLife, and no interest in NuWay. He's a rich loner who has never so much as dabbled in transgender fantasies, but who is more than willing to play along when a new girlfriend suggests a little experimentation. Before long, he finds himself enjoying this new life, and begins seeking out ways to more fully immerse himself in his femininity. Then, just as he's beginning to truly find himself, Chrissie decides she's had enough and wants to settle down with somebody a little more traditional.

Abandoned and already addicted to his own femininity, Franklin puts his free time and considerable wealth to use, finding a NuWay suit on the blackmarket, and a copy of the portal into NuLife from an IRC lurker who knows the legends. Unlike the first story, here we have a man who knows precisely what he's getting into, and who has full control over his transformation. It makes for an exciting tale of erotic self-realization, and the ways in which Bloom explores the conflict between what 'he' knows and what 'she' desires is fantastic. Of course, he's not about to stop at simply transforming himself, and that's where the story get really interesting.

Gamer Girl: Player 2 is more of a wish fulfillment tale than the forced feminization story of the first chapter, but it benefits from having already introduced the technology. Bloom is able to experiment a bit more here and demonstrate another side of her gender transformation talent, making this a more than worth sequel that can stand on its own.


Friday, December 12, 2014

Freebie Fiction Friday - Putting the TG in TGIF!

Well, if it's Friday, then that must been it's time for Freebie Fiction Friday . . . time to put the 'TG' in TGIF (and the 'FD' in Friday)!

Every Friday I take the initiative to search through thew newly free titles on Amazon, and to identify those that might be of interest to trans* readers, fans, and lovers. Even if you don't have a Kindle, you can still download the titles through one of Amazon's free reading applications, and covert it (if need be) with Calibre. I can tell you I do most of my reading on my iPad, using Kindle for iPad, and it works beautifully.

Please do be sure to check the price before downloading anything, though, as most freebies are limited time offers, and some are specific to certain regions.

A nice selection of titles this week, including a bundle from BJ Slippy and a new novel from Storm Constantine!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Congrats to the 2014 Rainbow Award Winners

Best LGBT Anthology / Collection
♥ Rainbow Briefs (edited by Kira Harp) was the first runner up. A lovely YA LGBT anthology of stories taken from the Goodreads Young Adult LGBT Books Group, I had the chance to review this back in May. Designing Sam and In Unexpected Places both has a trans aspect.


Best LGBT Erotica
♥ Breaking Free by Cat Grant took first place, and it was well deserved! It was one of the sexiest, most beautiful, most emotionally powerful books I have read in a very long time - a fantastic story, beautifully told, with such a realistic, positive approach to gender, sex, and love.

 


Best LGBT Visual Arts & Photography
♥ d.r.a.g. by Christopher Logan was the second runner up. For such a beautiful book that so quickly disappeared from shelves due to a publishing collapse, I'm so glad it got a second chance at life, and is garnering some attention.


Best Bisexual General Fiction
♥ Cythera by Jo Graham was the first runner up. I thought the bisexual aspect could have been more deeply explored, but I loved the world building, especially the creation of different cultures.

 


Best Transgender Debut
♥ If We Shadows by D.E. Atwood took first place this year. While the plot seemed a bit forced to me, with the magical element an awkward plot device, the trans element was handled very well (and portrayed positively).


Best Transgender Fiction
♥ If We Shadows by D.E. Atwood took first place here as well.
♥ Beloved Pilgrim by Christopher Hawthorne Moss was the first runner up. This was an exciting story, well-paced, with solid writing throughout, and I loved that the idea of a woman masquerading as a knight was done from a gender identity standpoint (rather than one of convenience).
Cevin’s Deadly Sin by Sally Bosco was the second runner up, but easily my favorite. Such a wonderful story about an adolescent cross-dresser, with no confusion, doubts, or angst attached.
His Fair Lady by Kimberly Gardner was the third runner up. This was a lovely story, with strong characters, a believable romance, and (most importantly) a carefully handled question of gender.
Collected by Solar Harris was the fourth runner, but probably my favorite (next to Cevin's Deadly Sin). It was a very well-written book that demonstrated great imagination and erotic ingenuity.

 





Best Transgender Non Fiction
Queerly Beloved: A Love Story Across Genders by Diane & Jacob Anderson-Minshall was the first runner up here, but probably the book I'm most interested in reading myself.


Best Transgender Book
♥ If We Shadow by D.E. Atwood once again took first place here.
Babette: The Many Lives, Two Deaths and Double Kidnapping of Dr. Ellsworth by Ross Eliot was the first runner up. I've read the cover blurb, but I'm not clear on where the trans element lies with this one.
♥ Queerly Beloved: A Love Story Across Genders by Diane & Jacob Anderson-Minshall was the second runner up here.
♥ Beloved Pilgrim by Christopher Hawthorne Moss was the third runner up here.
♥ Cevin’s Deadly Sin by Sally Bosco slips down to fourth runner up, but I'm just happy to see it getting some attention.


Friday, December 5, 2014

Freebie Fiction Friday - Putting the TG in TGIF!

Well, if it's Friday, then that must been it's time for Freebie Fiction Friday . . . time to put the 'TG' in TGIF (and the 'FD' in Friday)!

Every Friday I take the initiative to search through thew newly free titles on Amazon, and to identify those that might be of interest to trans* readers, fans, and lovers. Even if you don't have a Kindle, you can still download the titles through one of Amazon's free reading applications, and covert it (if need be) with Calibre. I can tell you I do most of my reading on my iPad, using Kindle for iPad, and it works beautifully.

Please do be sure to check the price before downloading anything, though, as most freebies are limited time offers, and some are specific to certain regions.

Whoops! Did I say just a small selection of titles this week? Well, we've updated with a ton of fun new titles!