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The Collector’s Edition of Victorian Lesbian Erotica, World of Woman, Twilight Girl, The Devil Inside, Bosslady, The Erotic Writer’s Market Guide, The User’s Guide to the Rabbit


The Collector’s Edition of Victorian Lesbian Erotica
Available at: Amazon.com / Amazon UK

Why does lesbianism work so well in a Victorian setting?

According to common sense it shouldn’t. The Victorian’s were a misogynistic society where a woman’s place was firmly set in either the home, the brothel or any other place where she had no political or spiritual influence. Admittedly Queen Victoria reigned over the UK then, but her position did very little to forward the cause of feminism. It’s difficult to say whether this was because Queen Victoria was as ignorant of real life as all British royalty before or since. (I believe there is some grain of truth in the rumour that Queen Victoria vetoed references to lesbianism in a ruling against homosexuality because she maintained ladies did not do such things). Or if she simply didn’t care about the sex lives of the populace because she was highly satisfied by a husband who gave his name to one of the most notorious of male body piercings.

It can even be argued that lesbianism didn’t properly exist during Victorian times. Etymologists have difficulty locating references of that word prior to 1880 — two thirds of the way through Victoria’s reign. Up to that point lesbianism was referred to as tribadism, sapphism and urningtum. Rather than being known as “the love that dare not speak its name,” it would probably have been more accurate to call it “the love that has difficulty pronouncing its name.” Without wishing to go for the cheap gag: I would find it hard to get my tongue around any of those.

Yet, for some reason, The Collector’s Edition of Victorian Lesbian Erotica provides us with stories that are arousing, true to their time, and show that stories of lesbian erotica do work very well in the strict formality of those times.

Magic Carpet books have put together a delightful collection of Victorian stories that show, regardless of the era, girls just want to have fun. Complete with all the coy phrases, verbosity, and the overly formal language that is the hallmark of Victorian storytelling, The Collector’s Edition of Victorian Lesbian Erotica delivers a wonderful balance of lengthy and arousing short stories.

World of Woman & Twilight Girl
Available at:
Amazon.com / Amazon UK

Less salacious, but no less compelling, are the recent Cleis re-releases of World of Woman and Twilight Girl. These stories, marketed under the label “Lesbian Pulp Fiction” are delightful explorations of three-dimensional characters from the early sixties.

The erotic content of these stories is subtle. The focus is heavily centred on the interactions of living, breathing (and sometimes panting) characters. They live in a murky world of passionate relationships, broken hearts and an unforgiving society.

When these stories were first released they broke the mould of storytelling. In a century that was far more homophobic than the one where we currently reside, these stories provided reassurance to many and confirmation to others that female relationships were not evil, immoral or wrong.

And, while they deserve a commendable place in history for that small service, they should also hold a prize for being effective tools of characterisation and storytelling. Admittedly, the bedroom scenes don’t go as far as those contained in The Collector’s Edition of Victorian Erotica, but the sensual intimacy that leads to those scenes suggests enough compelling action to make them a worthwhile investment.

The Devil Inside
Available at: Amazon.com / Amazon UK

What can I say about Portia da Costa that hasn’t already been said? OK. I could say that we were in a chatroom the other night and she told me what she really thinks about guys who do the housework. Her words: “I’d rather be dead than domesticated,” certainly put me in my place.

Portia da Costa, as most regular erotic readers will know, is the successful author of many erotic titles. Her recent Black Lace title Entertaining Mr Stone is an amusing and arousing romp through the corridors of local government offices.

But The Devil Inside is something else.

Set in an idyllic and exclusive Caribbean resort the story begins as the heroine (Alexa Lavelle) is recovering from a recent head injury. Alexa hasn’t been seriously hurt but it has left her with more than a small bump on the back of her bonce: it’s left her with an ability that Portia describes as “Extra Sensual Perception.”

Portia writes sex for connoisseurs of quality erotica. The motive that adds rocket fuel to the heroine’s libido is made believable because it’s inexplicable. Alexa’s subsequent encounters, her desire to understand this new driving force in her life and her response to each intimacy are all delivered in a credible and convincing fashion. Definitely a good title to increase the temperature of the remaining summer nights and make things steamy and sultry.

Available at: Amazon.com / Amazon UK

For those of us who like our women strong, Bosslady includes twenty tales of women who wield the whip, rule the roost, and generally prove that the fairer sex deserves (and often demands) due reverence.

Those who know me will be well aware that I enjoy anthologies, especially when the pages are filled with writers who have proven track records. Michelle Houston “Sensual Bonds,” Rachel Kramer Bussel “Spike,” and D L King “Subway Story,” are all veterans of the genre and provide their usual fare of quality fiction that is designed to please on so many levels. D Musgrave “Plumb Bob,” Robert Buckley “Going the Distance,” and JZ Sharpe “In the Stable,” add a familiar style and high standard that should be trademarked to those who have written for ERWA.

There is a lot to be said for a strong and purposefully lady. Aside from the reflection in my mirror, there are few things sexier than a woman who is in control and knows exactly what she wants. Bosslady proves this with the panache and style that Justus Roux adds to all her anthologies.

Erotic Writer’s Market Guide
Available at:
Amazon.com / Amazon UK

I held the Erotic Writer’s Market Guide in my hand and thought: Why wasn’t this available ten years ago? Ten years ago I was struggling to break into the erotic writing market and had no idea where to turn, who to trust or what to do. A book like this would have been invaluable ten years ago.

Then I opened the book and discovered the book was effectively started ten years ago. According to the introduction The Erotic Writer’s Market Guide was originally the brainchild of David Laurents. As a work in progress it was added to by Cecilia Tan and then augmented by Rachel Kramer Bussel. Rob Hill, Nick Richardson and Kelly J Cooper are some of the others who have contributed to the finished product.

And what a finished product it is!

The advice in these pages comes from writing professionals who know the industry better than anyone else. There are chapters that objectively break down the forms of erotica; advise how to make a submission; and suggest how to deal with rejection. There are helpful tips on of contract negotiation, reprint rights, online rights and even advice on how a writer should meet their readership.

With only those elements, The Erotic Writer’s Market Guide would be a complete book and worth the read. But because this volume contains Market Listings for books, magazines and electronic books that specialise in erotica, it becomes invaluable.

If you enjoy reading erotic fiction, you will want to buy one of the previously mentioned titles. If you enjoy writing erotic fiction: you need to buy The Erotic Writer’s Market Guide.

The User’s Guide to the Rabbit
Available at: Amazon.com / Amazon UK

When I mentioned The User’s Guide to the Rabbit to a female friend her immediate response was: “Who would need a user’s guide for a vibrator? doesn’t everyone know what to do with them?”

I then mentioned one of the tips in Marcelle’s latest title and the lady replied, “Oh! I never thought of doing that.”

The User’s Guide to the Rabbit is essential reading for anyone who owns a Rabbit vibrator or is thinking of making the purchase. As Marcelle points out: “Although these vibrators sell in their millions, typically sex toys contain no product literature.” This book provides the much needed solution to that oversight — and more.

I don’t use the word “sexpert” often (mainly because my computer puts a wiggly red line underneath it and makes me feel guilty about writing a word that isn’t in the dictionary) but Marcelle is definitely worthy of the title. The User’s Guide to the Rabbit contains invaluable information on purchasing a rabbit, using a rabbit, maintaining a rabbit and even taking it safely on holiday.

© 2006 Ashley Lister. All rights reserved.

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