Sunday, 19 March 2017

Reviewing the Situation

... or, the One Post to Rule Them All, For Now.

It's time I put up a post here that plugs all the work I've done thus far with the fine people at Uruk Press in one place. You can, of course, access all these fine titles from my Amazon page and I would urge you to do so, dear reader, but I feel there's just something a little more personal about this approach. 

And I've got some big Space Princess-related news to deliver, too! The Season One Omnibus has arrived, so you can get the first five novellas all in one place and a heaping helping of bonus content, too! 

We're doing a draw for a free copy of this collection. More information about that -- and the NSFW version of Lady Amaranthine's fab cover art -- to be had below the jump.

Let's take a stroll through a galaxy of erotic delights, shall we?

The last shall be first, as Matthew said in a slightly different context. Starting you off with that Space Princess news:

The Space Princess: Season 1 Omnibus... Win a Free Copy!

The Space Princess: Season 1 omnibus is available in both Kindle and paperback formats! It features almost a hundred pages of exclusive Special Features! Check out a sneak peek at some of this bonus content over at Uruk Press' Tumblr page.

We're going to do a draw for a free copy of this fabulous collection. To enter, all you need to do is post a review on any of the existing Space Princess titles. 

The contest rules are simple:
  1. We will do the draw on April 3rd, 2017 provided we have at least six (6) eligible entries by that time; if not then by whatever date we reach that number.
  2. Eligible reviews should be at least twenty-five words long, and should show familiarity with the text.
  3. We will inform the winning reviewer by commenting on their review with an instructions on how to claim their prize.
So get on over to Amazon and put up your Space Princess review today! 

In the meantime, if you're wondering what this Space Princess thing is and whether you should read it, have a look below under "The Space Princess Series."

Now, without further ado, let's do that tour through the current titles:

This was my first published Uruk Press title, and it's one of my personal favourites. 

I was interested in writing a kind of "steampunk" tale which did interracial in a setting inspired by Victorian erotica. This posed something of a problem, and the problem wasn't whether the Victorian style would let me be dirty enough to suit a modern reader. By the later period, all of the elaborate circumlocutions and florid language people associate with Victorian prose were fading into echoes, and titles began to appear that used frank language like "ramming" to describe the sex act. And as subject matter went, Victorian erotica crossed many boundaries that are actually, believe it or not, pretty shocking by the standards of erotica today. 

However, one boundary the Victorians were rarely, in fact almost never, willing to cross was racial; all of the participants in a typical Victorian pornographic tale were lily-white, and the "lilier" the better. So I needed to concoct a setting that would provide an excuse to get some multi-chromatic sexual activities in there with your more typical array of Victorian erotic tropes.

The solution was alternate history. The tale is set in a version of Florida, rechristened Verderosa, that stayed in the British Empire and was eventually used--in preference to places like Sierra Leone and Liberia--as the focus of various British and American projects for resettling freed slaves. It becomes something of a "Black Zion," a lodestone destination for freedmen or escaping slaves from points across the Western Hemisphere... but it remains part of the Imperial economy, which means its society and priorities cannot be solely Black. 

This is all, to be sure, mostly an excuse to tell a story that features a prim White woman waking up to urges that she would never have guessed she possessed; but I do try to make the setting reasonably authentic. Most of the "historic" personages that get mentions are actually based on real people, whose destinies have often been re-imagined for the setting. The British and American resettlement programs were themselves quite real, and the first of them in fact fell at a time when Florida had been all but depopulated and had acquired a reputation as an unprofitable tropical wilderness, which explains how it winds up getting used as a Black homeland. All of this is kind of incidental to the erotic action but hopefully contributes to making the world feel a bit more convincing.

I really should give props to some the sites that provided research support: the Victorian Web was an essential resource for getting the "feel" of the time period. The Saxon Spanking Web's generous fiction archive provided a survey of Victorian erotic literature that helped me to craft a workable style that was period authentic without being impenetrable or boring. And the year-by-year summaries at Amazing Blacks provided great flavour about the Black experience in the late nineteenth century. All fun and worthwhile sites that you should check out.

The Space Princess Series

Yes, by now we've put up a full "season" of adventures, five novella-length episodes, in the Space Princess series. It is a hell of a lot of erotic bikini-girl mayhem for your buck, and I want to thank everyone who's been buying and reading along. 

As I've mentioned in prior posts, this series is inspired by Sixties-era sci-fi schlock, and in particular by a certain television series that also featured heroes who travelled the galaxy in colour-coded uniforms. It might be worth going into a little more detail about what this inspiration really means, and what you can really expect from the Space Princess series if you haven't read an episode.

There are times I wonder if some of the advertising copy might not be giving people the wrong idea. All of the books come with this cautionary message:

Caution: The Space Princess series contains extreme sexual content and graphic depiction of mind control and otherwise dubious consent. Never fear! The crew of the S.S. Ecstasy find strength even in submission and always triumph over adversity.

Perhaps owing to that reference to "mind control," many of the books being searched alongside this series are books from the "bimbo" or "bimbofication" genre. Now, I've got nothing against that genre, your thing is your thing... but I just want to be up-front with potential readers that it's not what Space Princess is. So, let me explain our "Caution" a bit more fully.

Space Princess does of course feature gorgeous chicks in bikinis and lots and lots of sex, but it owes its core DNA to the television shows it came from. Which is to say these books are literally written as episodes of a Sixties sci-fi action-adventure show, complete with the same four-act structure that the writing bibles of a show of the era would have used. The major differences are that the "action" part of the action-adventure formula focuses on sex (often very explicit sex) instead of violence; and it inverts the gender dynamics of the classic Sixties fare by making the sexy females the protagonists, with the square-jawed hero types showing up as love interests, guest-star sidekicks and/or potential erotic conquests.  

The "action" in action-adventure stories usually manifested as some sort of deadly threat, and because the "action" in Space Princess stories centres around sexuality, the specific threats the heroines face are often threats to their will and to their power of consent: ruthless madmen equipped with dangerous aphrodisiacs, interstellar plagues of wild nymphomania, aliens with manipulative psychic powers and so on. The erotics of bondage, submission, and attempts at control turn up plenty as a result, but these are still fundamentally stories about our protagonists overcoming a problem and where necessary, socking evil in the jaw. 

If you've been waiting to check out the series, The Fourth Rule is NOW FREE and is a great place to start. The episodes are self-contained and can be read in any order, but they do have a chronological sequence if you're into that sort of thing: Ill-Met By Moonlight is the one with the Fairies, The Pegasus Run introduces Galactic Queen Fantasia (sexy nemeses of Our Heroines), Summerland Blues pits our girls against a mad genius and his sex zombies, and Day Of The Bacchae sees them transformed against their will into femdom furies. 

ADDITION: The series now also includes the Pocket Rockets anthology, a set of five prequel shorts that includes a sneak preview of Season Two, which is coming soon.

"The Ballad of Little Bird" in Sex and Sorcery 3  

I'm in good company with some excellent authors in Sex and Sorcery 3, in which collection I'd have to say "The Ballad of Little Bird" is probably one of the darkest outings. The Maya Angelou epigraph probably gives that away. 

Why put a Maya Angelou epigraph on a porn story, you ask? Well, I'm not just trying to be portentous (or pretentious), it's just that the story happens to revolve around the use of the "Fae"--for these purposes the collective non-human races of the world in question, which include analogues to elves and dwarves and giants and goblins--as a metaphor for oppressed castes and their struggles in human history. Which... well, that's totally not portentous at all, right?

To be honest, I didn't originally set out to focus this story around material that heavy, it was just that the original story concept revolved around a rite of sexual magick--and resultant tensions among all the characters witnessing that rite--and I needed there to be a compelling reason for that ritual to be happening. As I searched for that reason I happened to read about the struggles of the dalit people for rights and recognition in India, and it was that history that most directly inspired the transformation of my Fae into the slum-dwelling "Iteni" or "outcasts" we meet in The Ballad, to whom are given the worst, dirtiest and most menial jobs that mainstream human society can discard. From that point on, the story's arc about a simmering revolt in the slums of the Iteni, about the heroine's part in it and her motivations and struggles, practically wrote itself.

There's still plenty of raw eroticism amidst all the other stuff, and I hope the mix of the two is worthwhile even if it's bittersweet. So if "The Ballad of Little Bird" should be one of the reasons a reader or two picks up this excellent anthology, I'll be happy. 

And if those people leave a review, even better!

The Honeytrap

My first title with the Biggest Blade imprint! This is contemporary erotic fiction, something different from the fantasy and SF fare I've published with the good people of Uruk Press thus far. Biggest Blade largely deals in hot wives, well-endowed alpha males and tales of delicious infidelity. The Honeytrap is an "interracial" take on this, ladling a big helping of graphic, steamy, and quite frankly outright filthy hardcore sex over the basic concept. 

Our "heroine," Gemma, is an affluent but restless young woman who seeks extra thrills in the wrong places, leading a perilous second life outside her respectable vocation as a nurse. Her alternate persona, "Gemma of the Night," masquerades as a hooker and uses drugs stolen from the hospital pharmacy to target, dose and rob unsuspecting Johns. At one point she gets sloppy and her antagonists turn this game around on her, leaving her drugged insensate and exploited in her turn -- and yes, that does mean sexually exploited while under the influence, so be warned if that's not your thing -- and in the course of these events and what follows she winds up engaged in everything from torrid cheating romps to public bondage and humiliation, double penetrations and even gang-bangs. 

The Honeytrap deals, of course, in a fantasy-friendly version of all these shenanigans in which the heroine ultimately derives profound pleasure from and fulfils her deepest, darkest desires through her raunchy misadventures. By the end she has either transcended "Gemma of the Night" or effectively been transformed into her; you can be the judge.

I have a more detailed post up about this book right here, so check it out!

Allow Me to Play You Out

The title of this post of course is owed to the musical Oliver! and Fagin's classic musical number "Reviewing the Situation.."

However, Fagin was kind of a terrible anti-Semitic stereotype and I'm reluctant to put that out there given certain things going on today, no matter how great Roy Moody's work was. Interested parties can search that song on YouTube.

So instead, here's "Motown Review" by Philly Cream.

And here's Patrick Stewart as Gurney Halleck busting out a little baliset action in Dune:

... because unfortunately we don't have video of anyone performing a certain Halleck song which appears in the book.

Review, Friends - Troops Long Past Review

Review, friends - troops long past review,
All to fate a weight of pains and dollars.
Their spirit's wear our silver collars.
Review, friends - troops long past review:
Each a dot of time without pretence or guile.
With them passes the lure of fortune.
Review, friends - troops long past review.
When our time ends on its rictus smile,
We'll pass the lure of fortune.

Until next time!

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