Saturday, June 22, 2019

Review of 'Lust in the Dust: An Anthology of Post-Apocalyptic Erotica' (ed. Janine Ashbless)

The ten stories in this consistently engaging anthology take readers through a broad range of mood and emotion, from the sardonic to the heartbreaking, the breezily tongue-in-cheek to bullet-in-the-brain pan serious. Each and every one of them is finely-crafted, thoughtfully conceived, and damn sexy to boot! An embarrassment of riches, to be sure, yet no less a lambent example of something all too rare in our present throwaway age of planned literary obsolescence; an anthology that prioritizes quality over quantity: This is a credit to editor Janine Ashbless, whose introductory notes before each story lend a sense of unity to what could have been a rather rambunctious undertaking.

Every story, every writer, merits mention here. In In Pursuit of the Millennium, author S. Nano evokes the horror and the hope of a young maiden living through a hell on earth during the religious wars of the seventeenth century; when the horny “messiah” of the besieged city takes the young virgin under his wing, disillusionment and despair are sure to follow.

Elizabeth Coldwell’s Addicted to Disaster finds the self-absorbed participants in a reality TV show coming to grips (or not) with the end of civilization, which, contrary to popular belief, will not be televised.

In First Contact, Raven Sky portrays the clash of cultures, ancient and modern, where would-be lovers must learn to understand each other. Set in a remote wilderness far from the madness of the imploding cities, this story, related alternately by its two characters, delves their paranoia, mistrust, and cultural bias with writing at once stylish and enlightening.

In Ring of Fire, Sommer Marsden evokes a vivid, gritty post-apocalyptic atmosphere with a palpable sense of weariness and worry, the oppressive weight of responsibility versus erotic instinct too-long repressed when two guards in an isolated outpost keep watch against the coming zombie hordes even as they explore their deepest desires.  

Virtual Insanity by Carla Thereon finds a lonely, over-stressed soldier seeking refuge in her most brutal virtual fantasies, while in Hollywood by Jones, two lovers anticipate the end of their idyll as the flames of apocalypse close in on their dream home.

The zombie apocalypse gets its due in two very different tales: In Gregory L. Norris’s Mourning Doves in Limbo a man devastated by the loss of his lover looks back on their relationship and tries to see a way forward without him. In Better Than Therapy, Nicole Wolfe looks at similar tragedy through a humorous lens, with delightfully satirical musings on adultery and all the things we take for granted in modern society (like laws against murder and free coffee at the local bank branch).

Ashbless contributes a tale of her own: The Basque of the Red Death is a cleverly twisty-turny re-imagining of Edgar Alan Poe’s story of spoiled medieval nobles trying to hide from a ravaging plague by whiling away their hours in a secluded monastery—until self-absorption, debauchery, and hubris catches up with them in that dreaded black room with the crimson drapes…

Finally, Quiet Ranger’s Checkout Girl finds two strangers
sheltering from a world in which plants have gone rogue against humanity, waiting out the plague in the ruins of a supermarket. Soulmates find each other amidst adversity, but what hope is there for love when doomsday looms so near? Tragic, heart-wrenching, not to be missed.

Lust in the Dust is enthusiastically recommended!

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Excerpt from TAS' story 'Hung Jury' (from 'The Sexy Librarian's Dirty 30 Vol. 3')

Lose yourself in these thirty risqué adventures, loaded with fabulous characters in provocative situations. Get ravished by flirty-frills and sassy petticoats in our hot bodice-ripper romance. Keep it strictly confidential as you fall in love with a dangerous undercover spy. Feel your heart quiver as you lust after two brothers on the lone frontier. The choice is yours in this library of sexy-sharp stories! 

Aphoristic and lively, these tales are perfect for a mid-day quickie or an evening kiss before bed. Do you have twenty minutes for a brazenly sexy jewelry heist? Or maybe take that once in a lifetime cruise vacation and discover that mermaids really do exist! You can savor the heat rising in your cheeks as you confess your deepest desires to the town priest, then finish-off your evening with a run in Central Park and stumble upon a house made of…gingerbread?

FEATURING: Ria Restrepo, Janine Ashbless, T.D. Rudolph, Kenzie Mathews, T.C. Mill, Alex Slaine, Lynn Lake, Kendel Davi, Terrance Aldon Shaw, Rachel Woe, Eddie Monotone, Romey Petite, Chase Morgan, Clare London, Silas Bliss, Dr. J., Sommer Marsden, Eliza David, Alegra Verde, Kiki DeLovely, Emma Chaton, M.P. Clifton, Emily L. Byrne, Saskia Walker, Jaap Boekestein. Maxim Jakubowski, Alexa B. Forde, t s cummings, Jaycee Amore, and Janie James.

Hung Jury
by Terrance Aldon Shaw

Lady lawyers!” District Judge W. Hardin Longfellow shrugged off his robes with a weary sigh. “I assume you both know why you’re here?”
“Your Honor!” The defense attorney raised her hand. “If I may? I’d like to—”
“Purely a rhetorical question, counselor.” The judge draped his robes over an antique hall tree that dominated one corner of the room like a set of trophy antlers. The chambers in the small county courthouse were on the shabby side, with cheap veneer paneling where fine oak wainscoting would have graced grander surroundings. “Let’s get down to it, shall we?”
“But, Your Honor!” The young woman persisted. “My client—”
“Your client is a single-celled organism with serious boundary issues, Miss Bubachevski. A fact which, your most valiant efforts notwithstanding, everybody on that jury is unquestionably aware.” The judge grimaced as he sat down behind the desk.
“Ah!” He raised a finger for silence. “The Constitution of these United States guarantees even a scraping of unregenerate pond scum like Mr. Enos ‘Rhymes-with-You-Know-What’ Reeks the due process of law—much as we’d love to ignore that pesky little fact.”
“Speaking of pesky little facts,” the prosecutor interrupted, “I must ask if Your Honor deems such language appropriate?”
“I was wondering when we’d be hearing from you, Miss Apple.  Were you always the quiet one in class?”
The prosecutor was not amused.
“Your comments are clearly biased, sir. Need I remind you that it’s our duty as officers of the court to avoid even the appearance of…”
Give a bimbo a law degree!” The judge rolled his eyes.
“…and that such remarks could be interpreted as sexual harassment…”
“Are you quite finished, Miss Apple?”
“What is it that leads either of you to believe I was, somehow, born yesterday?” Hizzoner spoke evenly. “Hell!  I was practicing law before your daddies discovered their peckers were good for more than just taking a whizz.”
“Objection!” The defense shot out of her chair before remembering where she was. “Oh…sorry.”
“Dumbass,” the prosecutor stifled a cough.
“That, however, is not the question before us this afternoon,” Judge Longfellow said. “The question is: why in blazes, given you two young ladies’ behavior, should I not immediately declare a mistrial?”
“Thought so,” he said. “In fact, I am well aware of these issues, Miss Apple. But, seeing how the two of you have both been caught with your tits in the proverbial ringer—in flagrante dilecto no less—I am inclined to call it even and move on. What the bar association doesn’t know won’t hurt it.”
“Huh?” The defense attorney seemed confused. “What are you—?”
“Oh, give it a rest, Bambi,” the prosecutor sneered. “Can’t you see he’s figured it out?”
“Screw you, Candi,” the defense shot back. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Enough, you two!” Judge Longfellow pounded the desk with his fist in lieu of a gavel. “It’s already been a sow’s anus of a day, and the last thing I want to do is referee a cat fight. Got it?”
“Yes, Your Honor.”
“Good.” The judge continued. “This simple, open-and-shut case is rapidly turning into amateur night at a demolition derby. And why should it be thus, aside, that is, from you two D-cupcakes constantly trying to one-up each other in front of that jury? You, Miss Bubachevski, batting those big brown eyes as you finger the top button on that blouse, virtually inviting the men to undress you. And you, Miss Apple, not to be outdone, pouting like a porn star just before the cumshot, all the while tossing those platinum locks back across your shoulder. Hell’s bells! You’d make a mockery of a mock trial. I haven’t seen shenanigans like this since law school. Speaking of which, the two of you graduated in the same class at State, am I correct?”
“Yes, Your Honor.”
“Neither particularly distinguished?”
“No, Your Honor.”
“Dead heat for smack-dab in the middle, as I understand, which might explain these competitive antics of yours?”
“I suppose.”
“So tell me: how did you young geniuses finance your less-than-distinguished essay through the halls of Academe?”
“That’s hardly relevant!” The defense protested.
“And yet, I ask, Miss Bubachevski. So?”
“I worked as an exotic dancer.”
“And did you have a stage name?”
“There’s no shame in honest work,” Bambi insisted.
“True, my dear, but jury tampering’s another matter. So, how did they introduce you when you strutted out on that stage?”
“Foxxy Boob-a-licious.” She blushed.
The other woman snickered.
“And what of you, Miss Apple?” Judge Longfellow swiveled in his seat, fixing the prosecutor with a rheumy stare.
I worked my way through as a paralegal,” Candi said haughtily.
“Bullshit!” the former Foxxy Boob-a-licious muttered.
“All right!” Candi admitted. “I worked for an escort service on the side. Didn’t even have to change my first name.”
“Candi Apple… Bambi Bubachevski…” The judge smirked. “Hard to be taken seriously with names like that.”
“And, I suspect, both of you view this trial as a chance finally to break out of this podunk purgatory, do something other than standard contracts and wills for little old ladies the rest of your lives; get your pretty little behinds to the big city and real careers while the getting’s good. Or would I be mistaken in these rather clichéd assumptions?”