Tuesday, 29 September 2009
Ever since I read Mil Millington's hilarious introduction to this book, the phrase 'ecstatic syncope' has been rolling around in my head. I am angry that I didn't get to invent it, but I am certainly the opposite of angry that I get to be in this terrific collection which, if you weren't already aware, is in aid of the MacMillan cancer charity.
Many famous and wondrous names can be found inside the covers - Rachel Kramer Bussel, Karen Krizanovich, Elizabeth Coldwell, Jeremy Edwards, Maxim Jakubowski, Madeline Moore, to name just a few. And it's all held together at the seams by the magical sexy glue of editor, Emily Dubberley.
She has done a grand job. To get your hands on this anthology of 'detonator-cap short stories', surf on down to the Xcite Books website right here - it's available in print and as a PDF download - ooh, how modern!
Sunday, 27 September 2009
I had this beautiful, shiny thing delivered through my letterbox the other day - look at those lips! The very definition of luscious!
But it isn't just the cover I'll be devouring. This is the debut collection by Charlotte Stein, a new writer who is well worth a few of your spare quid, or dollars, or Euros, or yen, or (insert currency here).
The first story I read of hers was one of her pieces in Liaisons, a story called Men, and it made me weep for two reasons.
One: it was kind of meant to - the twist at the end is very poignant.
Two: it made me wish I could write like her.
But don't go thinking that Charlotte Stein is more likely to activate your tear glands than your, er, other glands. She writes hot, hot, hot scenes full of passion or dirty sex, or, most usually, both.
If you like two-dimensional characters with no emotional depth who find themselves in unrealistic and unthought-out sexual situations - well, she won't be for you.
Similarly, if you like bland, tepid, formulaic imaginings of sex, you won't find them here.
But if, like me, you love intelligent, precise and searingly sexy writing, this promises to be a must-read. I recommend it, before I've even read it!
(Also, check out her blog, linked on my sidebar. She is well funny.)
Friday, 25 September 2009
Wednesday, 23 September 2009
There is, however, something about a choirmaster. Hundreds of voices are his to command, and without the necessary force of personality, the performance will fall into cacophony. The combination of artistic talent, boundless enthusiasm and natural authority...well, y'know. I like that.
Saturday, 19 September 2009
Sunday, 13 September 2009
Saturday, 12 September 2009
Good news on so many levels - I am so pleased for him, and for all the writers he worked so hard to support and publish. This town was a poorer place without him.
Monday, 7 September 2009
Saturday, 5 September 2009
My story Office Sex kicks off the perverse proceedings - a Ronseal title if there ever was one*. The back cover gives a tiny teaser - 'Mr Morrell is hotter than hell and he proves it in the stationery cupboard'. Here is a tiny whetstone for your appetites:
I hear Mr Morrell shut the door, then take a quick breath when I hear a sound like a key turning in a lock.
“Turn around and face me,” he says. He is standing, arms folded, a pinstriped sex god with a key dangling from the fingers of one hand. He puts the key into a pocket, withdraws a Blackberry and, with total deliberation, switches it off before replacing it.
It seems I have become Priority Number One, marked ‘urgent’.
Oh, what on earth is in store for me, in the stores?
“That’s a very short skirt you’re wearing,” he remarks. “I’m not sure it’s entirely appropriate for the workplace.”
“Oh…aren’t you?” My conversational faculties have taken an early coffee-break.
“I’ll give you a choice, Hannah. You can go home, get changed and come back here in a longer skirt. Or…” The pause is just long enough for me to wonder if my heart is still beating. “…You can take it off. Here. Now. Which do you choose?”
Oh, I HATE choices. It takes me half my lunch break to pick a sandwich filling. This, though, is one of the easier decisions I have faced in life. The set of his jaw, the angle of his eyebrow, make it for me.
Fumbling fingers unclip and unzip; the brief strip of charcoal flannel slides over my hips and down to the floor, the nylon lining crackling static against my stockings as it falls.
“Plucky,” he says, smirking slightly. “I like that. I like it a lot.”
Only now does the implication of what I am doing sink in. I am standing in front of Morrell – my boss – in my tarty underwear. In a stationery cupboard. A cold stationery cupboard. My hands reach down to cover my goose-pimpled thighs, but he tuts and shakes his head. He swirls a finger in the air, the circular motion suggesting that I am to give him a twirl.
I remove my hands and perform a slow 360 degree turn. The knickers I am wearing are sheer and black with a red bow on the front. While not as revealing as a thong, they are cut high at the back, the filmy lace shearing away up to my hips so that most of my bottom cheeks elude coverage.
“Good,” he says eventually, then after another excruciating pause, “Shall we make a start then?”
I laugh nervously. “A start?”
“This stock inventory I have in mind. Why don’t you count the scissors in that box and then bring a pair to me.”
This was not what I have been expecting him to say. Wrongfooted, suspecting trickery of some kind, I go over to the box of scissors and count nineteen pairs, conscious all the time of his eyes upon my bum cheeks, taking the nineteenth gleaming pair of stainless steel snippers and handing them to him, nonplussed.
“Didn’t anyone tell you to offer the handle, not the blade?” he tuts. “Stay there. I want to make sure these are in full working order.”
He reaches down to the top button of my white work shirt, tugs on it and then, heartstoppingly, snips it off.
But it isn't just me contributing misbehaving minxes to the collection. You can also find fine fare from: Janine Ashbless ; Gwen Masters ; A D R Forte ; Alegra Verde ; Eva Hore ; Rhiannon Leith ; Portia Da Costa ; Jennie Treverton ; Sommer Marsden ; Chrissie Bentley ; Kimberly Dean and Charlotte Stein.
It's Black Lace's penultimate multi-author anthology, so show it some love - there aren't too many more where that came from.
* Ronseal, for those who might never have seen their advertising campaign, is a range of DIY products that do 'exactly what it says on the tin'.