Dirty 30: a review



As Rose Caraway writes in her introduction to the ‘Dirty 30’ anthology: ‘There is power in erotic 51uoNnKDMtL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_storytelling. Our fantasies are infinite, and just as much a part of us as our arms and legs. Between identity and desire, we are complicated and beautiful and intense. And so is Erotica.’

It’s my pleasure to have a short story featured in ‘Dirty 30’: ‘The Honeymoon’ – telling of temptation and of relationships not being quite what they  appear. My own work often explores the darker side of desire, revealing what’s unconsciously hidden, or purposefully concealed.  Stories which play out similarly tend to make me smile and there are plenty of those in this collection: cleverly structured tales that offer a wry surprise and a bold twist at their conclusion…

Among my favourites are ‘Return of the Snow Queen’ by Tamsin Flowers, and Janine Ashbless’ ‘Sweet Hel Below’. I was in a swoon with both these tales, which play into my own love-affair with fairy tales, and with Norse mythology. Exquisitely told, and seriously seductive, both stories delve the struggle within us, between light and dark. Tamsin’s story, inspired by ‘The Snow Queen’ surveys the ease with which we are tempted (albeit within a world in which a sliver of magic mirror may distort our vision and lead us astray). Janine’s portrayal of  the Norse underworld is no less enchanting, exploring our fascination with mortality, and the dual nature we each harbour: of shadows, doubt and putrefaction, versus our vitality and capacity for self-sacrifice and love.

dirty 30 anthology janine ashbless

RA Goli’s ‘The Seer’ also draws on Norse mythology, using that rich seam of magical lore to explore universal truths: our desire to know what awaits us, and to understand what aspect of our frail humanity will bring us true contentment.

Sommer Marsden’s ‘Thunderclap’ and Malin James’ ‘Canvas’ also evoked a strong reaction from me, using gorgeous prose to delve emotional truths. In similarly sumptuous literary style is Brantwijn Serrah’s ‘Life Drawing 101’, and ‘A Polite Fiction’, by Terrance Aldon Shaw.

Meanwhile, Chase Morgan’s ‘Honey, I’m Home’, Elliot deLocke’s ‘Torrid Zone’, Sonni de Soto’s ‘Do Not Disturb’ and Michael Lewis’ ‘The Thief’ each use action and suspense to enhance their atmosphere of highly-charged eroticism.

And, I MUST mention Landon Dixon’s ‘Moby Tit’, and Spencer Dryden’s ‘The Dude’, which are both masterpieces in their own, unique style. Landon has skilfully woven his bawdy ballad of a man obsessed with breasts, while Spencer’s story, told anecdotally during  a radio phone-in, uses the brevity of dialogue to keep us hanging upon the turns of the tale, until the marvellous ‘punch-line’ of the ending.

Dirty 30 rose carawayIt’s always a delight to work with Rose, whose enthusiasm for our genre is inspirational and uplifting. I love her forthright attitude towards erotica, and sex! As an author and editor, Rose encourages us to read (and write) to liberate our sexual fantasies, to expand our self-knowledge, and to express ourselves without shame or inhibition.

Hooray for erotica!

As Rose says: ‘Erotica can be whatever we want it to be’.

The Dirty 30 anthology is incredibly diverse, well conceived and executed, and damned hot!

Time to discover your new favourites….

Find ‘Dirty 30’, published by Stupid Fish Productions, here


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Best Women’s Erotica (Volume 3)

It’s my pleasure to give a cheer for the release of Best Women’s Erotica Volume 3, in best women's erotica 3 rachel kramer bussel Emmanuelle de maupassantwhich I have a story, set in Rome, called ‘Through the Lens‘.

Pick up any of the books in the Best Women’s Erotica of the Year series, and you’ll find stories diverse and inventive and, foremost, hot!

However, those stories won’t just scratch an itch! By stealth, they’ll change you.

Erotica, at its best, has our brain performing a whole new Tango.

Best Women's Erotica teaser Emmanuelle de Maupassant - Cleis PressRead stories about women breaking conventions and refusing to conform to others’ expectations and you cannot help but feel empowered.  You cannot help but be changed.

In this anthology, you’ll find your own ‘scorchers’, of course, but you’ll also find stories to touch and inspire you.

My own ‘flaming chillies’ favourites include ‘Demon Purse‘ (I’ve just discovered an inner-demon-dominatrix fantasy – thank you Sommer Marsen!) and Annabel Joseph’s ‘Making It Feel Right‘ (I love stories which switch from where I first think they’re headed).

I adore Dee Blake’s ‘Bibliophile‘, whose protagonist is aroused not only by the reading of erotica, but by the physicality of the pages, and of the formation of the words. Her meeting with a writer of erotic fiction proves the perfect match for her own particular kink.

For their tenderness, in delving our uncertainty, fears and vulnerability,  Brandy Fox’s 512YDFWmS5LOverexposed‘ and ‘Watch Me Come Undone‘, by August McLaughlin, are especially moving.

Meanwhile, Lyla Sage’s ‘Romance and Drag‘ gives an interesting take on gender fluidity and how it can play into our sexuality.

What I love about the Best Women’s Erotica series, edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel, and published by Cleis Press, is that it encourages us to reassess our attitude towards sex, and to embrace our sexual fantasies, old and new. We see women navigating their way towards the sex they desire and emerging, as a result, with greater confidence.

Volume Three in the BWE series punches home this message more than ever before, showing us the many faces of desire, and emphasizing the validity of our choices. It encourages us to own our sexuality and to delight in it.

I’m raising my glass to that, every time!


Purchase your copy, here

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erotic fiction - Best Women's Erotica Volume 3