Space Raptor Butt Invasion by Chuck Tingle

Space Raptor Butt Invasion
This was a first for me. I can quite safely say that homoerotic space erotica was not a genre I thought I would ever review. I bought this book in part because of the whole Hugo award 2016 drama but mainly because when I looked up the author on wikipedia the titles of his his books were pure gold. For that alone I was willing to give this book a punt (that is not a euphemism).

Tingle has a very straighforward and to the point style, usually the point of a throbbing member. The only way I can describe it is as a short scene from an adult movie in written form. The characters and scene are set and then the erotica begins, and usually climaxes (pun intended) in a loud and messy fashion.

I couldn’t help feeling there was more too it than that. Part of me was thinking that Raptor could be an analogy to a screaming drunk female and the rest of me was wondering if the raptor in question was an anthropomorhic personification of a Velociraptor. The nasty predator that hunts in packs. That lead my mind in to further think what if there was a whole pack of them and not just one.

This story really wasn’t my cup of tea but I enjoyed it and it was something I never thought I’d read much less review. I used the term homoerotica above but I’m not sure that counts between species. This book was all about the erotica with just enough science fiction and story to get you interested.

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Burning by Joan De La Haye

Burning by Joan De La Haye

Sometimes with a novella like this the cover art is an afterthought and feels discombobulated. Not only does this cover look good and relate to the story but the back cover is the rear of the tarot card pictured on the front. Time, effort and skill went in to this cover and that made me want so see inside.

I don’t read much erotic fiction. Partly because I can feel myself blushing as I read the raunchy bits but mainly because I’d rather read about gruesome murders. The bonus for me in this book is that the sex scenes are all part of the setup for the murders. For me this story is a bit like a sparkly vampire story except instead of mooning around after abs of steel the women are making best use of those bodies and instead of a little love bite there is the whole essence sucking death thing going on. So maybe not like a sparkly vampire story. Much better than that.

This story is set in South Africa and it was interesting to see a Wicca coven portrayed in much the way I would expect over here. I don’t know if that was a deliberate affectation or whether those aspects of paganism exist in South Africa. I’ll certainly be trying to find that out later.

This book was outside my comfort zone. I try to read things that I wouldn’t normally read once in a while. This book has left me thinking that I wouldn’t mind reading horror stories with a more erotic slant in the future. This book doesn’t take long to read and it will leave you wanting more.

Interview With K.A.Laity

The lovely Kate Laity was kind enough to answer some questions for me. If you want to find out more about her there are links to her many personas at the bottom.

Q. You write and get published a lot. That in itself is impressive. What gets me is the number of completely different types of writing you manage to juggle. How do you manage to keep these different aspects apart and do you have a different persona for each area?

A. The fundamental fact about me is I get bored really easily. Anyone who’s seen me sigh and fidget through a meeting knows how it is. If I had to write the same thing all the time, I would get so bored. On the negative side, pingponging through various genres has made discovering my work more difficult. While I keep writing whatever strange things come into my head, I created the other personas to identify things that do actually fit into genre labels. They’re easier to sell – in fact one of my alter egos is the only one of us to have a Big Six (or is it Five now?) contract.

Q. You don’t just write though. I first heard of you through the Noir series you edited for Fox Spirit. How does that hat differ from your author ones?

A. I keep swearing I won’t do any more editing, then I get an idea that someone like Adele at Fox Spirit Books says, ‘Hey, I’d publish that” and I find myself doing it again. And it’s always fascinating to see where people take the ideas and run with them. Editing is about designing an experience—and immersion really—for the reader. Even if they read out of order (I almost always do when I get an anthology), you want it to have that effect. So you have to read the stories in light of how they will affect one another. Juxtaposition is everything. Plus, it’s fun to persuade writers you really enjoy to write something they wouldn’t have done without that poke.

Q. Tell me about your book release schedule this year and what I should read, or a shameless plug if you like.

A. My noir novella Extricate is just out and very soon will be released again in print form with another novella Throw the Bones and a bunch of short stories. It’s going to have a double cover like the old pulps. I just saw Sarah Anne Langton‘s art for it this morning and wow! What a knockout one-two punch it’s going to be! Coming up in April will be my supernatural noir novel White Rabbit which will come out under my given name because it’s another genre straddling book. It’s like Séance on a Wet Afternoon mashed up with The Big Sleep and a little Blue Sunshine and maybe just a touch of Pynchon. That description should tell you why I love crossed genre publishers like Fox Spirit Books. And it’s got a classy cover by S. L. Johnson that captures the enigma of the book in a timeless image. In an era of cheap photoshop collage book covers I am so very grateful to have amazing artists designing covers that stand out from the crowd. I have lots more coming out: fiction and even non-fiction like my essay on awesome medieval woman, Christina of Markyate in Heroines of Comic Books and Literature and an essay on how I came up with my Chastity Flame thriller series in a collection on the pop culture influence of James Bond that’s supposed to be out this spring. And um, more stuff that I’m forgetting but will be on the websites…

Q. Nobody likes to choose their favourite child but which is your favourite genre to write?

A. At the moment I’m kind of noir-crazy. It’s one of those genres that I have loved for years and years but only started writing relatively recently. I blame Paul D. Brazill, who somehow lured me into the darkness and then got me to write a story for his Drunk on the Moon series and then (probably helped by the fact that I was living in Ireland on a Fulbright) I wrote more and more and more. I love noir: it’s all about people who don’t see the options, who live on the margins and who make bad choices because they don’t think they have a chance of winning.

Q. You’ve won a Clive Barker short story contest. Is that as cool as it sounds and did you get to meet him?

A. My first ‘professional’ acceptance! I won a signed script and the MGM website hosted my story for a time (it’s still at the official Clive Barker site), but I got a letter from him that I framed and hung on the wall because it said such nice things about my writing (‘full of fluent style and poetic dialogue’). I didn’t get to meet until a bit later. He was doing a signing for Sacrament and I waited in line to have him sign a copy. Clive is one of those writers who adores meeting his readers. While he was signing I thanked him for the letter and told him how much it meant to me. He looked up and said, ‘YOU wrote that story?’ He jumped up and ran around the desk and gave me a big hug and told me again how much he loved the story and so did everybody in the office. I nearly exploded with delight. A wonderful writer but also a terrific human.

Q. Talking of short stories. I love short and punchy works, do you see a long term place in the market for shorter fiction?

A. I think there will always be an appetite for it. I love writing shorts, but I swore off them because they just don’t pay anything. And then I keep writing them anyway every once in a while because I get an idea and it has to be written or I get itchy. I do love that ebooks seem to have brought the novella back as a saleable length. Publishing, as you well know, is all crazy right now. All kinds of things might happen. It’s a bit chaotic, but there are so many more options to find writers you might have missed in the old model.

Q. What’s the funniest thing you’ve seen on the internet this week?

A. Probably this.

Q. You are stuck on an island with only five books to read. Which ones would you choose and why?

A. Oh god, I hate choosing! My whole life is about having as many opportunities open to me as possible all the time. I’d cheat with The Riverside Shakespeare and The Collected Works of Christopher Marlowe because then I could entertain myself playing all the parts. I’d bring The Complete Jane Austen as I wouldn’t be able to do without it. Now the hard choices: hmmm. Let’s say Jane Eyre and The Thin Man. Or The Long Goodbye. No, The Thin Man. Probably. Can’t I just bring my ebook collection? I need art, too! And music! I hope there are pens, too. I suppose I can make a stylus and use blood. Five books! If nothing else, that would prompt me to escape. After a while—it would be nice to be stranded on an island for a while. The quiet would be nice.

All the sites:

KALaity.com (general madness), Twitter, Facebook, G+, Medium

GrahamWynd (noir & crime)

Kit Marlowe (historical/romance/adventure)

C. Margery Kempe (erotic romance)

Chastity Flame by K.A. Laity

I don’t read much erotic fiction but I do try and read one every year. I chose this book mainly because the author comes across as a really intelligent and interesting person when I see her post anything online. Calling the main character Chastity in a story with this much sex is a quick indicator that the author has a sense of humour. Wow there is a lot of sex in this book. Perhaps the more surprising thing about this book is that Chastity Flame really does work as a female James Bond. There is a well formed plot that is not reliant on the sexual encounters to make it work and instead show how lonely  the life of a government agent without permanent attachments could be. The characters are believable and the sexual encounters and reactions of the various supporting characters plausible.

This is a very finely balanced book. Traditionally as a society we view women with numerous sexual partners as slutty and denigrate them. Not so in this story. This part of the story is so well written that it is difficult to describe. Despite the pre-programmed social conventions running through my head I thought of Chastity very much the same way as I would a male character in the same situations. I certainly did not expect to be thinking about sexual politics. There is a lot more to this book than just an erotic fiction story with a plot. I plan to buy the second book and you should forego a frothy coffee and buy this one.

Harvest Moon by Tara Olsen

I don’t know what is more scary. That I just read an erotic fiction book, that I really enjoyed it, or that I didn’t think there was all that much sex in it. The Freya Press website purports to be a purveyor of ‘Female Erotica’. I know I’m not the target audience for this kind of fiction, but I really don’t see why other men wouldn’t enjoy this story. OK, I guess reading erotica as a man can result in embarrassing tenting, but as it is under 50k words it is easily read in a weekend.

The sexy stuff – I found all of the sex scenes to be believable both in terms of anatomy and of how things can actually happen (from what I can remember anyway). I found the oral sex descriptions particularly vivid and easy to visualize (I’m worrying myself here).  Most importantly there were no scenes of a male forcing themselves on a woman and her wanting it. In this book the sex is not only fully consenting, but the female lead is nearly as aggressive as the male. This worked really well for me.

The important stuff – The story was a lot better than I’d expected. I thought that the plot was going to be a thinly veiled vehicle to transport the reader between sex scenes. I was pleasantly surprised. The story was engaging and progressive. Rather than being a story and the sex scenes it felt more like a story that was enhanced by the passion portrayed through the sex scenes. I found myself wanting to find out when the second part is released almost as soon as I finished it. That is just about the highest complement I can give to a book.

What’s the book about though? Werewolves, love, lust and the fight for territory and morality. This isn’t a sanitized teenage friendly version of lycanthropy or a 1980s over the top Hollywood version. This is a more down to earth and gritty story about the loneliness of being a single person well in to adulthood and how a powerful bond of attraction can completely change your life forever. The main male character Joe is the kind of man that all men want to be and all women want to have. The picture on the front cover gives you a pretty shrewd idea about how well he’s built.

I can’t really compare this to any other books in the genre as the last time I read anything close to erotica was the Jilly Cooper Riders series over twenty years ago. I will say that it works as a story and is well worth a read.