The Delicious Torment – A review

Alison Tyler and I agree on a crucial point: that it’s important to do things properly, especially when it comes to sex. At the start of her last novel, Dark Secret Love, she says:

I’m hoping to paint the proper picture. I want you to know the way the wood felt under my bare feet. I want you to be able to trace a cut-crystal whiskey glass with your fingertips, to feel the sting of a slap and feel the rising blush.

With erotica more than any other genre, I think, the details are important. A single ill-chosen word can squick the reader; for me personally, even the cover can be a turn off.

Continue reading

Dark Secret Love: A Review

Wow, the blog has strayed far from its original purpose, hasn’t it? Look at what my About section says: ‘I blog not only about my fiction, but also about the things that matter to me, both in the bedroom and out of it.’ My life in the bedroom is supposed to be secondary to my writing, and somehow it’s become the main focus. This isn’t leading to some big conclusion, or change of direction, it’s just a reminder to myself that the people in it are real and I should go steady here with what I write about them.

Anyyyway … this post is more about me doing something I’m uncomfortable with – reviewing someone else’s writing. I haven’t written a book review since I was in school, and honestly? I don’t really know where to start. Especially because, when it comes to erotica, I don’t always read chronologically, and some bits get, erm, much more read than others. But I do think it’s important. The erotica market, in the UK at least, feels to me like it’s in a bit of a mess at the moment, and surely if women want to see a range of high quality, well-written erotica, then we actually have to talk about the stuff we’ve enjoyed and recommend it to others.

Starting with something based on someone’s real life experiences seemed a good place to start – after all, it’s something I think I understand the motivation for. And the other thing I loved about Alison Tyler’s Dark Secret Love? The heroine has agency.

I think that’s a bigger deal than it might seem at first. I plan to review much more of what I read here, and I have no intention at all of comparing everything back to FSoG. But it’s worth doing here. In FSoG, Ana doesn’t have any submissive desires of her own – she desires Christian, and she wants to be sub because that’s what he wants.

Although in the UK edition, Black Lace have tried to suggest otherwise with the cover (‘It’s ok, bashful ladies, this is just a book about a rich guy with nice ties, nothing to be ashamed of’), there’s none of that in Dark Secret Love – Sam, the heroine, is very much submissive by her own choice.

The other thing I really liked is that she’s fundamentally monogamous. If you put FSoG and all its spin offs to one side, it can sometimes feel like erotica is dominated by people who are polygamous, and that, if you really love sex, you have to be having it with more than one person. Dark Secret Love proves that that’s just not true. Monogamous but filthy? Yep, that’s totally a thing.

For me, the only downside was that the type of BDSM Sam is into is the formal kind: whips, canes, spanking … whereas the type that gets me off tends to be more about psychological domination. That’s very much a personal thing, and if you prefer the former, there’s no doubt that this is a very hot book.

In the introduction, Alison writes: ‘This is meta-fiction, beta-fiction, masturbatory fiction.’ For me, it wasn’t the last of those, not quite. But for a lot of people it will be, and it’s good to know that Alison is happy for you to use it for that purpose.

Things I read in 2013: Part 1

Lots and lots of people are writing year in review posts right about now, I know, so sorry for not being particularly original and just jumping on the bandwagon. I thought though, that seeing as this blog hasn’t even been around for a year yet, rather than looking back at the highlights of what I’ve written, it would be better to write about the best things I’ve read. Part 1 is all about blog posts; Part 2 will focus on erotica and will follow in a few days when I’m back with my books.

Because Sex blog (of sorts) was neither a blog nor a Twitter account at the start of the year, I went back to my personal Twitter account in search of good things I’d read. In January, there was apparently nothing that I enjoyed enough to warrant a retweet or a mention; and my memory doesn’t go back that far, so I guess we’ll have to assume that there really was nothing good out there. 

The same was true of February. It’s going well so far, this year in review, isn’t it?

March was better. Not only did I discover that there’s such a thing as a Naked Man Orchid, Girlonthenet also wrote about the way men smell. Just rereading the words ‘active sweat’ makes me wriggle in my chair a little bit.

April was bittersweet. Nic and Lace posted this wonderfully hot story about losing your anal virginity, which I still go back to whenever I need a quick turn on, but April was also the last time that they blogged at all, which made me sad, because I thought so much of their writing was excellent. On the love and relationships side, I really enjoyed this article in the Guardian by Ruth Wishart about deciding not to have children, and on the general life/health side, this one on keeping your shit together when you’re depressed

I’ll start May off by cheating a bit. Technically, this post by Kristina Lloyd, with an extract from her novel Thrill Seeker, should probably be in the 2nd part of this post, but I was so excited that she’d written something new that you’ll have to forgive me for mentioning it all over the place. I’ll come back to Thrill Seeker at the end of this post. Completely different, but equally thrilling was the fact that Allie Brosh started blogging again, after a long battle with depression – if you’re struggling to explain to family and friends what depression feels like, show them this. 

June brought Mathilda Gregory writing in the Guardian about whether werewolf erotica has literary merit, and a great post by The Pervocracy on domestic violence. Most memorably for me though, it was the first time that Alison Tyler put up a call for submissions that I actually had the guts to send something in for, and better still, it was for a great cause. 

Nothing at all for July, I’m afraid.

In August, I went to a great erotica writing masterclass with Rowan Pelling as part of the Edinburgh Festival – no posts linked to this but it was memorable because it was the first time I started to think seriously about blogging/writing. I also read this guest post for Girlonthenet by Halfabear, about sex, disability and inappropriate questions, which rang very true with me and made me realise that ‘sex blogging’ isn’t necessarily restricted to people who are great in bed or know loads about sex, and that it was fine to approach it in a slightly different way if I wanted to. 

September was the month in which I wrote my very first blog post, which was a bit of an introduction to me, but reading-wise, I really enjoyed this piece that Sommer Marsden wrote for Alison Tyler about how far you should let your significant other define you.

In October, I really caught the blogging bug and amazingly, Girlonthenet, who is, y’know, someone I idolise just a little bit, let me write a post for her all about my first time. In the same month, she wrote about how words are hotter than pictures and I discovered  Rosetintedguy and this piece on the hotness of the walk of shame, which is something I plan to write about myself this month.

Most of November was taken up with NaNoWriMo (which I won, yay!) and listening to this great Kings of Leon cover version of Robyn’s Dancing on my ownbut I still managed to read loads and loads of wonderful stuff. Firstly though, this piece from the Telegraph, about flirting via text made me pretty uncomfortable – this is something I do a lot, and the thought that when someone appears to be engaged in a text conversation they could actually be giving you just 10% of their attention, struck me as the kind of train of thought that could very quickly drive you crazy. The stuff I agreed with/liked more? This piece by Mollysdailykiss on why we shouldn’t ban simulated rape porn and Rosetintedguy (again!) writing about fuck buddies, in a post which broke my heart a little bit (I can’t bear the thought of something not having a ‘proper’ ending.)

And finally, December. In a way, there are far too many posts to link to here – December was the month in which I realised that I was becoming more of a relationship blogger than a sex blogger (weird, seeing as I’m Little Miss Doesn’t Do Relationships) and added four bloggers in a similar vein to my BlogLovin feed because I was enjoying so much of what they wrote. I’ve linked to Juniper’s post on finishing her dating blog in a previous post, but it’s definitely worthy of another mention here, as is this piece by Laurie about avoiding married men not just due to moral objections, but also because they’re unlikely to be the ones who’ll give you what you’re really searching for.

So, that’s my year in blog posts. Anyone else got something they read in 2013 that they think I’d love?