Thursday, November 23, 2017

Working It edited by Harley Easton & CM Peters

If your idea of a workplace fling involves secretaries in short skirts, executives in power suits, and interns in the copy room, be prepared to have your horizons broadened. Working It may come with the tagline "Office meetings will never be the same," but it goes far beyond that. Harley Easton & CM Peters have collected sexy stories that are both blue collar and white, that span hotels, recording studios, restaurants, and (yes) office buildings.

While it is a solid collection, I would like to focus on those that are a tad different.

Overtime by Sonni de Soto tells the tale of a businesswoman (who writes erotica on the side), her husband (who is also her Dom), and her prudish boss (who has seen her boudoir photos). Sometimes love is the best revenge.

The Words We Share by Annabeth Leong is a powerful, deeply thoughtful tale of a veteran with PSD who connects with a Syrian immigrant. Here we have two women who bring back dark memories for one another, but who bond through that shared pain.

Nine Lives by Harley Easton is a story that I expected to be a lot edgier, relying as it does on a legacy of tattoos, but it was actually very sweet and passionate.

Best of Both Worlds by Terri Ley is, not surprisingly, my favorite story in the collection, with a cis-gender woman who does not realize just how close her perfect pre-op transsexual lover really is. It is a story that, in the wrong hands, could veer dangerously into fetishizing gender, but which works because of their already established friendship.

Sure Thing, Boss by James S. Davie was a delightful surprise, with a bisexual husband, a polyamorous marriage, and a clever wife who pushes him into the arms of the hot young man who works for him. It was fun, kinky, and so clever.

There is usually a few stories in these collections that do not work for me, but I genuinely enjoyed Working It from start to finish. Definitely recommended . . . and perfect (if NSFW) workplace reading.

Harley Easton is a Renaissance woman dabbling in everything life offers. She's worked at a major theme park, found expert witnesses for legal cases, been a guest lecturer at a well known national museum, and worked with medical students. Putting experience and insanity to good use, she's become an author specializing in fiction.
CM Peters would like to be ageless but hasn’t found the fountain of youth. She works in the communications field but her true passion is writing. She hails from Qu├ębec and has been back at writing regularly after a long break since college. An eclectic writer, CM is equally at home penning short erotica, quality fanfiction, and elaborate sci-fi and fantasy novels. Whatever genre she is working in, CM always centers her stories around complex, relatable characters. At the moment, she's hard at work on a new coming of age novel and a collaborative fantasy anthology.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

An Interview with Alex Milton (author of The Etiquette of Lying)

As we arrive at hump day of another week, I am delighted to introduce you to an author that I hope we will be seeing a lot of over the coming months. A new addition to the Wordwooze Publishing stable, I present to you Alex Milton!

♥ Thank you so much for taking the time to join us, Alex - we are so very delighted to have you! Can you give us a brief introduction?

Hi, Sally. It’s my pleasure. I’m Alex Milton, author of ‘The Etiquette of Lying’, and the “new kid on the block” looking to gate-crash the written erotica community.

I’m a British guy, so always do that self-deprecating thing when asked to talk about myself. However, a close friend describes me as: “Drinks like Oliver Reed, preens like Marie Antoinette, makes Christian Grey look like an amateur, dresses like James Bond.”

I think she calls me a lot of four-letter names as well…

♥ Alex, right? That is a 4-letter word. :)

You mentioned in your recent Goodreads blog post that you are working to re-acquire the rights to some old stories. How has publishing changed, and what attracted you to Wordwooze Publishing?

Social media has made it easier to get noticed, but with so many 21st Century distractions, keeping people’s attention is more difficult.

Many writers self-publish now, which is a good way of creating “a calling card” for your work. That said, a publishing company will have useful contacts within the industry, and often promote your work in ways you haven’t thought of. And what is it The Joker says in ‘Batman’?

“If you’re good at something, never do it for free…” That appeals to the mercenary in me!

Wordwooze came across as very professional, yet very open-minded on their website. They value quality writing as much as having a naughty imagination, which is refreshing. And their staff work like machines - I’m convinced they’ve perfected an elixir which enables them to function without sleep.

♥ The Etiquette of Lying deals with themes of polyamory and BDSM (among others). If it’s not too personal of a question, where does lifestyle experience end and vicarious fantasy begin within your fiction?

It’s not too personal, but this question’s always tricky, because a gentleman should never kiss-and-tell… I’m pretty adventurous. Close friends of mine are in a polyamorous relationship, so maybe ‘The Etiquette of Lying’ was a response to criticisms of their lifestyle.

Sorry, I’m being evasive, aren’t I? Let’s just say I wouldn’t have written a book on these sub-cultures unless I knew what I was talking about. The enthusiasts are protective of their “scene”, and rightly so. I hate criticising other authors, but I’ve lost count of the number of people I’ve met who felt ‘Fifty Shades’ neglected the basic rules of any BDSM relationship.

The bars, restaurants and tourist attractions in ‘The Etiquette of Lying’ are real locations. The novel’s partly a homage to Brighton and London – two cities I love.

♥ I like that - great answer! On a similar note (and just to get a little more personal), is there a personal fetish or a fantasy that you really want to explore in your fiction?

I’m keen to explore how BDSM strengthens trust in a relationship - it’s an aspect that often gets ignored. Having someone utterly in your power, yet choosing to focus solely on their pleasure… It’s an expression of selfless love on both sides.

There’s power dynamics everywhere: from bosses and their employees; authority figures and citizens; even how a friendship group selects its alphas. No wonder so many people are intrigued by BDSM… That might be a theme I look at.

It’s not a fantasy as such, but regarding polyamory, what happens when the thrill of multiple lovers wears off? I personally believe –as long as every partner is equal- those relationships can be just as intense and rewarding as monogamy. But can I (and my trusty laptop) convince the doubters through fiction?

♥ With a literary career in two parts, so to speak, what was it that prompted you to begin writing originally, and what is it that drew you back?

 My family gave me something invaluable: A love for written words. From weekly comics to handed-down copies of Shakespeare, they must have inspired me. As a kid I wanted to be a fighter pilot… a conservationist… Indiana Jones… I realised a writer can do all those things vicariously, and never have their expectations crushed by reality.

My first romance story was published when I was sixteen, which might have been a handicap – I thought this writing lark was easy. For ten years, placing my work was intermittent; to be honest, I was still learning my trade. This isn’t very sexy, but I also needed to focus on another career, to pay my mortgage!

The Etiquette of Lying’ started with a challenge. My friend is a fan of kink, and wanted to read: “A Fifty Shades that wasn’t about virgins and billionaires.”

Within two chapters, I was hooked. Some writers plot thoroughly; I give my characters personalities, then let them interact in front of me. I found giving Sean, Jen, David and Annabel real concerns didn’t make them less erotic at all – it just ramped up the tension. I needed to keep writing, to find out what happened to them.

♥ It is amazing when the characters just carry the story away, isn't it? Is there an author who inspires you, or a favourite author you turn to when you want to escape into someone else's imagination?

 There’s a hundred authors who inspire me! I’ll often re-read a favourite novel to recharge my creative batteries.

In terms of the classics, the intensity and darkness of ‘Wuthering Heights’ struck a chord in me, and ‘The Great Gatsby’ has been a major influence. A key theme in ‘The Etiquette of Lying’ is the determination of the characters to outgrow their pasts.

Contemporary writers all have their strengths. If you want to learn how to write dialogue, read Stephen King. For sheer beauty of language, try Iain M. Banks or Cormac McCarthy – ‘The Road’ took my breathe away.

I usually read books twice – once for enjoyment, then, second time round, I analyse the writer’s techniques. To my frustration, I haven’t got close to the exquisite bitter-sweetness of David Nicholl’s ‘One Day’ or the slow-developing horror of Lionel Shriver’s ‘We Need To Talk About Kevin’ yet.

♥ I have always been a huge King fan, and Banks is incredible. Great picks.

With reader reviews so crucial to generating exposure, what are some of the weirdest or most wonderful reactions you’ve had from readers?

 I’ll always value my readers – without them, I wouldn’t have a profession I love. “Word of mouth” is very powerful. Hopefully, people will enjoy your book then recommend it to their friends, who recommend it to their friends, and the effects ripple outwards.

I’ve had requests to write about fetishes which seem “weird” to me, but that’s only because I don’t share them. I rarely judge; life’s rich tapestry means we’re all into different things.

When a stranger’s kind about my work, of course that warms me – I’m only human. But I’m also pretty thick-skinned. I haven’t received a bad review (yet), but would accept it as long as there was a valid reason. I’m aware of my flaws, but think writers improve with each new project. It’s a great job; you earn royalties as you sleep and usually get better with age.

♥ Finally, with a new year already looming on the horizon, what can readers look forward to seeing from you next?

I managed to tie up all the loose ends in ‘The Etiquette of Lying’ (I hate cliffhangers!) but there’s still aspects of the characters I want to explore. Expect a sequel, and I plan to re-work those short stories you mentioned. A noir erotica and post-apocalyptic erotica would be interesting.

I’d like to write in every genre. Even within the field of erotica I’ll draft stories in all its sub-categories… The results I like will get published. Sex is one of the great human experiences, but even paradise can get boring day after day. That’s why we have so many different kinks.

♥ Post-apocalyptic erotica can be a lot of fun - I just played with that myself in my twinned Alpha stories. I look forward to seeing what you do with it. In the meantime, thanks again for taking the time to join us!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Freshman Futa by Saoirse Collins (#femdom #futa #erotica)

Freshman Futa: The Move-In Day is the story of Shelly Matthews, a young futa who has always wanted to be a real girl, but whose parents have convinced her to enroll in an all-futa college where they hope she will fit in. Saoirse Collins does a wonderful job of playing against expectations, giving her a small penis and a big butt, and making her a frustrated young virgin.

The college experience is even more exciting. There is, quite literally, an air of eroticism and arousal surrounding the place, overwhelming pheromones that test Shelly's long-held resolve. Things quickly come to a head when she makes a visit to the dorm bathroom and meets three of her fellow students - including Kim, the college's Alpha Amazon Futa. Collins very quickly establishes a hierarchy within the college, where sexual prowess brings with it natural dominance, and where a natural submissive is all too easily mistaken for a slut.

This first story is surprisingly dark, with issues of dubious consent and erotic humiliation at the forefront, but I loved it.

Freshman Futa: The Secret Message continues the story, picking events up the next morning, as Morgan helps her innocent young roommate navigate her way to the showers before class. Like Shelly, we learn the rules of college (and futa) life from Morgan, including the important distinction between feminine sitters and more dominant standers in the bathroom. She seems to be above all the hormones and pheromones, and only shares a shower for convenience.

Not surprisingly, Kim and her entourage show up in the showers, and what happens next continues that theme of darkness, dubious consent, and public humiliation. It is a very edgy scene, almost to the point of being difficult to read, but there is an underlying theme of eroticism to it that is incredibly powerful. More importantly, that encounter has consequences, adding a layer of unexpected depth to the story.

As for the message of the title, it is a wrong number that draws Shelly out of her shell, bringing her very close to realizing her increasingly erotic dreams of submission.

I cannot remember the last time a series so surprised and delighted me, and I intend to devour the rest of as soon as possible. Fortunately, there are already two bundles available - Freshman Futa - Welcome to Marigold Collection (Books 1-3) and Freshman Futa - Mistress Mischief Collection (Books 4-6) - so you have no excuse not to join me.

Saoirse Collins is just an average Irish-American with a dirty mind trying to get people to read her fantasies.


Monday, November 20, 2017

Futa Dojo: Futanari Denial Training by Kella Z. Driel (#futa #erotica #bdsm)

I like to consider myself to be reasonably athletic and in pretty decent shape. I hit the gym a couple of times a week to work my belly, butt, and legs, and then read for a half hour while I do the reclining bike. I wish I could do more, push myself harder, but self-discipline is something of a challenge for me.

Having said that, my pitiful little challenges have nothing on poor Tomoka. Not only is she a well-hung and perpetually-aroused, but she is training in the art of futahimedo, the legendary futanari fighting style, at the Futa Dojo. And, as if that were not challenge enough, it appears Kella Z. Driel is a cruel taskmistress indeed, for Tomoka has been designated for Futanari Denial Training!

This was such fun, a real tease-and-denial story, complete with erotic bondage. Tomoka spends most of the story tied up and in chastity, while her fellow students poke, prod, stoke, and slap her with their hard, glistening futa members. The idea is to push her arousal to the extremes, to force her beyond her limits, in what I guess could be called mental edging, since her own member cannot actually touched.

As for what it is all leading up to, what the goal of such training might be? Well, you will have to discover that for yourself, but there is a narrative climax here that I absolutely adored, and a sexual climax that still has me breathing heavy. An oddly intimate little story, tightly focused, and focused more on the tease than release, it will make you wish for some Futa Dojo training of your own.

Seriously, if Fang Li ran my gym, I would be in such good shape! :)
Kella Z. Driel is a top-selling author of transgender, lesbian and other erotic romance. Her stories range from contemporary college campuses to the mythological past and a thundering, awestruck future. Her tagline is “transgressive romance for a kinky world” and it shows in each new release.


Friday, November 17, 2017

Freebie Fetish Friday - Putting the TG in TGIF!

Well, if it's Friday, then it must be time to bend our way into the weekend with Freebie Fetish Friday.

Every Friday I search through the weekend's free titles on Amazon, looking for those that might be of interest to readers, fans, and lovers of bending gender and sexuality. 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 tablet, using Kindle for PC, 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.




Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Back Where He Belongs by Isobel Starling (#gay #romance #petplay)

Back Where He Belongs is a sweet, happy, funny romance about two adorable men who reunite after years apart . . . and indulge in a little kinky puppy play. Yes, I know what you are thinking, but the combination really works. Isobel Starling does such a marvelous job of establishing Kier and Douglas as characters, establishing their history, and deepening their relationship, that the transition from awkward reunion to hot, kinky sex is not entirely natural, as if the story could not have gone anywhere else without us raising our eyebrows.

This is a story about love, trust, and commitment. Kier and Douglas were madly in love, once upon a time, but Kier was still very much in the closet and not ready to proclaim his love to the world. It is pure chance that reunites them, but there are issues to be worked through before they can think of being back together.

I loved how the story played out, with Kier's desperate longing seemingly denied at every turn. It is not a harsh story or a cruel story, not by any means, but a realistic one where a grand gesture is needed to re-open another's heart. There is even a little bit of comic mistaken identity to cast some doubt as to where Douglas' heart lies. The puppy play is both a callback to their happier times and a gateway to their future, with the submission, the power play, and the role of belonging at the heart of the story. It is only a small part of the story in terms of page count, but such a huge part in terms of significance.

If you are a fan of M/M romance, true love, and second chances, Back Where He Belongs is just an altogether lovely story.

Isobel’s novel "As You Wish" (Shatterproof Bond #1) is an Amazon Best Seller on and Amazon France. Nine novels into her writing career Isobel has just released The Shatterproof Bond box set which contains all three novels in the series, and the first book in the M/M Romantic Comedy mystery series "Dick and the Sidekick" -"Detective Fox and the Christmas Caper"

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Double Boomerang Vol.1 by Mercedes Quinn

Having gotten to know Mercedes Quinn a little bit over the past few months, and knowing how much work she put into Double Boomerang Vol.1 A Tale of Revenge Gone Wrong, I really wanted to like it. It sounded like an interesting concept, and it really does have serious potential, but the execution is somewhat awkward.

Early on, this reads like a script - or like the narrative bubbles for a graphic novel that has yet to be illustrated. It is told in the present-tense, with short sentences, and an emphasis more on action than description. About a third of the way through, though, it changes, taking on more of a short story feel, and it switches to the past-tense. Unfortunately, the mistakes with spelling, grammar, and word choices continue to be distracting.

If you persevere and stick with it through all that, there is a very kinky story here of capture, bondage, punishment, forced feminization, and mind control (or conditioning). There are some very inventive scenarios in Christian's transformation, and he is subjected to some innovative equipment in his journey to Christina. Sexually, it makes for a very exciting story, and one that is a lot of depraved fun.

Double Boomerang Vol.1 has a lot of potential, and Mercedes Quinn is a creative author with a lot of imagination, but this could benefit from the polish of an editor.

Mercedes Quinn knew at 13 that she was in the wrong body and withdrew into herself because her mother came in on her while shaving her body hair away. She has been introverted for nearly 30 years of her life. After seeing shows like Jerry Springer, she realized that she was a Transgender woman."

Monday, November 13, 2017

You and Your Gender Identity by Dara Hoffman-Fox (#trans #nonbinary #queer)

While I have read a lot of gender guides, self-help, and reference books over the years, what sets You and Your Gender Identity: A Guide to Discovery apart is its interactive nature. This is less a book to be read, and more something to be experienced. Dara Hoffman-Fox guides us on the journey, setting up the questions and sign posts along the way, but leave it up to the reader to determine their own destination.

Dara opens the preface with a reference to Joseph Campbell and the idea of the heroic journey, which make sense because storytelling is integral to the book. We are invited to define ourselves as characters, explore our motivations, examine our back stories, and set out the story of our gender journey - our logline. It is almost like a transgender role playing game session, only with a licensed therapist instead of a game master.

Every reader will take something different from the book, but given the emphasis on mentors throughout, I thought I would explore a very personal take on what resonated with me - aside from the storytelling aspect itself, of course.

Building a Support Team is pretty basic stuff, but it means a little more to me of late. Growing up, I had no mentors, no bodyguards, and no support team. Looking back, I wonder, if I could have counted on just one person to listen, to understand, and to care, how differently my life might have turned out? We cannot change the past, but the future is always open, and having had the chance to act as something of a virtual mentor to a few people over the last year, I have an even greater appreciation for what a difference that support team can make.

The Role of Shame and Guilt struck me deeply, a chapter that asks us to look back at where those feelings come from, how they impact us, and how much they control our lives. I know the exact moment that shame and guilt entered my journey. I was in high school, relatively comfortable with my blossoming gender identity/expression, and thinking about university as a fresh start. I was confused, but I was also excited. And then I came home from school to find my mother had been snooping, had found everything (clothes, makeup, wig, falsies, books, etc.), and was absolutely disgusted. She taught me shame, she taught me guilt, and she forced me to begin the familiar cycle of guilty indulgence and shame-filled purges.

Keeping in Mind the Big Picture bothered me a bit, because it opens with so much discussion about internalized transphobia, but it goes on to share some fantastic thoughts on our identities and our sense of self. The main reason I bring it up, though, is the lengthy questionnaire at the end of the chapter (31 questions). It took me days to complete it, and the way it made me organize my thoughts and reflect on my sense of self was invaluable.

Deconstructing Gender is, perhaps, the most interesting section of the book. It is here that Dara gets into discussions of transgender, gender diverse, non-binary, and gender dysphoria. There is a bit of everything in this chapter - definitions, short questionnaires, checklists - with some really encouraging explorations of being non-binary. What spoke loudest to me, though, was the section at the end about removing gender from the equation, looking at interests, behaviors, and appearances on their own, free of stereotypes and expectations.

Wrestling with Uncertainty hit me hard too, especially, the section that asks, "Is it actually this . . . or is it just that?" So many of the questions I asked myself after that introduction to shame and guilt are captured here. There is a lengthy checklist, and I am sorry to say I have a lot of tick marks on that page - Am I really just gay/lesbian? Is it just a fetish? Am I really a cross-dresser? Is this just a kink? - the list goes on. Some of those questions predate that introduction, but the bulk of them only came about after I was forced to feel so disgusted with myself. I love how Dara breaks the questions down into clusters, and found the fetish/kink cluster to be particularly interesting, especially how harshly she dismisses the "dangerous and deceptive" model of autogynephilia.

Putting It All Together is where, well, everything comes together, helping us to determine all the possible destinations of our gender journey. Dara reminds us that it's okay to be wrong, and okay to change our mind later. The lengthy questionnaire from Keeping in Mind the Big Picture is repeated here, allowing us to explore how much our ideas and thoughts have changed over the course of the exercise, and I loved the gender identity options - there are approximately 90 listed, including a few that are culturally specific.

If you take it seriously, and put the work into it that it requires, You and Your Gender Identity: A Guide to Discovery is by no means an easy read (or a comfortable one), but it is an invaluable experience. Nothing can replace the one-on-one experience of a licensed therapist, but Dara Hoffman-Fox has done a wonderful job of expanding her services to a virtual pool of clients.

Dara Hoffman-Fox LPC is a queer-identified gender therapist, writer, educator, and transgender rights advocate. Frequently serving as a subject-matter expert on transgender and nonbinary issues for the media, Dara is a prolific thought leader on the topic of gender identity whose articles and videos have empowered thousands worldwide. Dara provides educational resources through a blog, YouTube channel, social media networks, trainings and presentations.