This is the final installment in my review of the tantalizing new anthology, written For the Men (and the Women Who Love Them), edited (and narrated) by Rose Caraway.
Twenty-five tales: from bitter chocolate and acidic citrus, to lush caramel.
In this series, I’ve shared insights from the authors: their thinking as they wrote each tale…
The collection aims to show that erotic fiction isn’t just for women. The ‘erotic’ in literature has the power to speak to everyone.
In Part One, I looked at the theme of ‘watching and being watched’: our desire to exhibit ourselves sexually, the thrill of revealing, and concealing.
In Part Two, I delved tales filled with tension and conflict, exploring dichotomies of power: giving and receiving, vulnerability and strength.
In Part Three, I looked at stories in unusual settings: futuristic, supernatural, and off-planet: locations thrilling and unexpected.
In Part Four, I examined psychological and emotional depth within some of the stories, taking us to places unsettling, in which to face our own truths.
Here, I present tales which combine fantasy with ‘the everyday’: on journeys, within the home, on the simple setting of a farm. We see the meeting of strangers, and passion between those in established relationships.
Jade A. Waters and Spencer Dryden both contribute ‘handyman fantasies’ to the collection. Jade’s 73A portrays the fantasy of sex with a stranger. She recalls a crush on a handyman who came to work on her satellite dish, admitting that she considered trying to get him back for ‘more repairs’. Jade combined that memory with another of a good-looking painter working on a neighbour’s fence. The result is sassy and humorous.
“It came together like a lust letter in my head!” she admits, adding, “While I think the anonymous sex/no strings attached sex idea often appeals to men, I don’t think that’s lost on women, either.“
Jade muses on perhaps Emma Stone or Blake Lively playing her lusty heroine, with a confident, dude next door as her handyman suitor: Gerard Butler, Wentworth Miller, or Simon Baker.
Spencer describes his tender handyman story, MILF and Cookies, as a ‘holiday romance suitable for the Hallmark Channel, if Hallmark gave us erotic romance, told from the perspective of the male protagonist’. For his fantasy casting, he’d use Matt Damon and would love to hear reader’s thoughts on who’d be suitable for his female protagonist.
He tells us, “Like many of my short format male POV works, an earnest but somewhat clueless guy falls into the orbit of an enchanting woman… From that, I’m sure something could be inferred about my own romantic encounters!”
Terrance Aldon Shaw’s Making Hay is a re-telling of one of the classic Norse myths: a tale of lust, of longing, of restlessness, and our search for our place in the scheme of things. It’s set on a small tenant farm, such as his paternal grandfather worked upon, struggling to make ends meet and could be set ‘somewhere between the late 1930s and early 1960s’.
He asserts, “I wanted to write a story about men and women working side by side, doing real, hard physical labor, and respecting each other for their work.” He notes that people ‘close to the earth’ tend to be more ‘matter-of-fact about sex’. Meanwhile, ‘hard work in close proximity often becomes an aphrodisiac in itself’.
In writing the tale, Terrance gave thought to what a man in this setting would find attractive and desirable. He tells us, “Gunni is not just physically beautiful but is given the great compliment of being ‘a good worker’.” Meanwhile, she is physically strong yet has a certain vulnerability: a ‘subtle duality’ as Terrance puts it.
“I also thought it would be interesting to describe these people’s relationship with the machinery they depend on for their livelihood. (Is that ‘a guy thing’ or what?) The image of the baling machine as a kind of sexually voracious creature–comprising both male and female characteristics, really gets to the essence of this story.”
Terrance emphasizes that the need to harvest promptly, before the hay is ruined by rain, lends a sense of realism and urgency, which underscores the erotic elements in the story.
As for the inspiration behind the tale, Terrance explains, “The god Odin assumed human form to learn the ways of men. He plucked out one of his eyes in exchange for the gift of foreknowledge, and, in the guise of a farm hand, seduced the maiden Gunlöo.”
A fan of the TV series Vikings, Terrance imagines Kevin Durrand (who plays Harbard, the bard/wanderer) and Alyssa Sutherland (who plays Princess Auslaug) in his main roles, saying that Alyssa ‘would make a lovely Gunni, with just the right amount of vulnerability and spunk’.
Rachel de Vine‘s Hitchhiker gives us a female protagonist with an uninhibited attitude to sex. Rachel recalls her own youthful days of hitch-hiking around Europe, feeling that ‘anything was possible’. Rachel wished to present hiker Jezebel ‘without her being judged and found morally lacking’. She tells us, “I wanted my female character to be bold and fearless, and honest about her intentions and needs.”
For Jezebel, and trucker Hermes (the name Jezebel gives to him as the Greek god of travelling), Rachel imagines casting Aidan Turner and Eleanor Tomlinson from the TV series Poldark, admiring‘his dark intensity and fiendishly good looks’ and ‘her mass of auburn hair and strong character’.
D. Lovejoy describes Take It Like a Man as ‘a humorous story about a guy whose wife uses her seductive wiles to convince him to try pegging’; meanwhile, he is anxious as to what this means for his manhood. Dahlia explains, “I wrote a story I wanted to read—sexy and funny with a touch of the ‘forbidden.’ I love when erotica uses humor; it’s a great tool for lowering defenses and allowing the reader to explore new possibilities and discover new turn-ons. I wanted to show how sex doesn’t have to become stale or predictable. Exploring fantasies together is a great way to connect and keep the fires burning. And things don’t have to go perfectly. It’s fine to laugh together when they don’t.”
As for her leading man, she laments that Seth Rogen doesn’t make erotica.
Josie Jordan’s The After Party gives the reader a very steamy ménage, her female protagonist entering into a consensual encounter with two men.
She notes, “It’s the first erotic story I’ve written without a woman being the main character. I figured being approached in a club by a gorgeous girl who wants to go home with you would be a popular male fantasy. Except there’s a twist: she wants his best friend to come too. I thought couples could read this story together and imagine themselves in this situation.”
Josie imagines Channing Tatum as her leading man, and admits that the fantasy is one she has come close to enacting in real life. She muses, “I’ve always wondered what it would be like. I had so much fun fantasizing about it to write this story!”
Erotic fiction isn’t just for women. It’s for everyone.
Explore the unexpected, and the uninhibited.
To read more from the authors behind this exciting anthology, you may like to read parts one, two, three and four.
An audio version is now available to complement the e-book (narrated by huskily voiced, utterly fabulous Rose Caraway.
My darkly erotic story, ‘Labyrinth’, features in final place in the collection, following stories by authors Adrea Kore, Tamsin Flowers, Rachel Kramer Bussel, Allen Dusk, Terrance Aldon Shaw, Rachel de Vine, Jade A Waters, Dorothy Freed, D.L. King, Chase Morgan, Marc Angel, Charlie Powell, Landon Dixon, Sonni de Soto, D. Lovejoy, Erin Pim, J.T. Seate, Spencer Dryden, Winter Blair, Simon Drax, Lynn Lake, Josie Jordan, Daily Hollow, and T.J. Christian.
Find out more here, in Terrance Aldon Shaw’s interview with Rose: on creating an anthology attempting to encompass the scope of male desire, on advice to aspiring writers, and the importance of plain speaking when it comes to sex.
You may enjoy a peek at my own interview with Rose, and husband Dayv, on their superb work in creating erotic audio-fiction and anthologies.
More from Rose, including sexy snippets from each story, and her own interviews with each author, at Stupid Fish Productions.
Purchase your copy of ‘For the Men: And the Women Who Love Them’ from Amazon.