I am a dancer in the New York City Ballet. I wrote the pages that follow during one ballet season. I began on November 21, 1980, and finished on February 15, 1981. I was lonely; I was sad. I had decided to be alone, but I had never decided to be lonely. I started writing on a yellow pad. I wrote, and I smoked. Every page was covered with a film of smoke.

If you like that, you will like this book. It's one of those slim but pithy volumes that precisely captures a time, a place, and a state of mind.

I've always had a fascination with ballet, ever since my second-grade teacher offered a trip to see the Nutcracker Suite (it was at least ten years before I realized that the second word was not "sweet") to her top three students. I had no idea what that was, other than that it was clearly desirable, so I went all-out to make sure that I'd get the prize. I was sufficiently enchanted with The Nutcracker and the general air of specialness surrounding the entire experience that I begged my parents for ballet lessons, at which I lasted something like three sessions. I don't recall the exact problem, but based on my age I'm guessing that there was too much standing around.

After that I confined myself to reading ballet books, which was more fun that actually doing it. Had I tried when I was older, I might have stuck with it for longer. Based on Bentley book and everything else I've read about ballet dancing, it has an austere, stoic, boot camp, push your limits atmosphere that would have really appealed to me if I'd been three to five years older. And then I would have gotten my heart broken, because I am not built to be a ballerina.

Winter Season beautifully depicts the illusion shown to the audience and the reality experienced by the dancers, and how the dancers live the illusion as well. It's got all the fascinating details of any good backstage memoir, without bitterness or cynicism. Even as it ground down her body, Bentley never stopped loving ballet; she seems to feel that she was lucky to have the chance to live the dream, just for the opportunity to spend a few minutes every day being the perfect expression of her body and the choreographer's art.

Winter Season: A Dancer's Journal, with a new preface

And I will place the next bit under a cut in case you just want to read about Winter Season. As opposed to ass. Read more... )
Due to medical reasons, I have been living under a rock for the last seven months. So you may all already be aware of the pornographic novel about Aaron Burr, The Amorous Intrigues and Adventures of Aaron Burr, published in 1861 and attributed to aaronburrsmyastralhusband, I mean Anonymous. In other words, at least one person was writing Aaron Burr RPF smut 150 years before it first appeared on AO3. However, I had not heard of the book until Naomi Kritzer tipped me off yesterday. And in case the same is true for any of you, behold!

Reaching forth his hand, Burr seized that of Adelaide King, and drawing the beautiful girl to him, he pressed her plump bosom forcibly to his own, and inflicted a dozen kisses on her dainty red lips.

The biggest cliche of old-school trashy romance, the forcible yet welcome kissing, has rather deep roots. I have read similar lines in porn from Burr's own era. I expect that descriptions of brutal and forbidden yet strangely delicious kisses were once inscribed on lost tablets in a language of which not a single word now survives. And I bet some of those were RPF, too.

Smart Bitches, Trashy Books reviewed it, called it out for rapeyness, and gave it an F+. Talk less, fuck more, Burr.

A comment to that review says, "Is this the time to mention that a gothic Aaron Burr romance novel exists?

It’s a trilogy called “The Torment of Aaron Burr” and apparently in it, Burr creeps on Alexander Hamilton’s teenage daughter."

A TRILOGY. Martha Washington should have named her feral tomcat after him. Here's a picture of the cover. You know it's a Gothic because it has a woman fleeing a house.

This does not appear to be online, but luckily several people on Tumblr read and liveblogged.

The Amorous Intrigues and Adventures of Aaron Burr is available free online.

Miranda's Burr would probably have been appalled by the book - talk about giving ammunition to your enemies. But I think the historic Burr would have secretly read and gotten a kick out of it. Burr may now be remembered as a villain, but apparently he was remembered for quite some time as seriously hot stuff. And now an entire generation is going to picture him as Leslie Odom Jr. Hamilton got the protagonist's role and the ten dollar bill, but porn writers may never stop telling Burr's story.

Cut for Aaron Burr and a nun; not worksafe. Read more... )

I think I've found the inspiration for Harlequin Presents, circa 1970. Seriously, prose styles have changed somewhat, but I have spotted lava metaphors in a minimum of three modern romance novels. Not to mention modern fanfic. The more things change, the more they stay the same. "Anonymous" would be raking in money self-publishing on Amazon if he or she was writing today.

Also, you may enjoy this ad for more trashy novels at the end of the book. I can't decide if my favorite title is Kate Montrose; or, The Maniac's Daughter or Madeline, the Avenger; or, Seduction and its Consequences.

RICH, RARE AND RACY READING.
Attention is called to the following Catalogue of cheap Publications, just issued. These books are got up different from anything of the kind ever offered to the public. They are all handsomely illustrated with Colored Plates, which have only to be seen to be appreciated.

Cut for long list of dirty books Read more... )
Brandon Bettleyoun left his reservation decades ago, driven by the message in his early life of “You’ll never be anything, because you’re Indian.” He cut off his braids and dedicated himself to success. […] When a college student from the nearby college comes to interview him, she begins to awaken in him feelings he had forgotten in his striving to be more than he believed he could be. Can this beautiful young woman from a small reservation in Idaho be the one to fill the emptiness he has endured for so long?

This erotic romance short story was was recommended to me in my post asking for recs for good self-published books as an antidote to all those romances with stereotypical Indians ravishing white women, usually with “Savage” in the title (and sometimes containing plagiarized material from, among other things, scholarly texts on black-footed ferrets.)

I did enjoy the story. It’s well-written, engaging, and sensual. I can’t speak to its authenticity, but the characters and setting felt believable. There are definitely no noble savages here. I can see why the reccer thought I’d like it— I particularly enjoy protagonists starring in genres in which they don’t often appear, and I have never before come across a genre romance (as opposed to a mainstream novel with romance in it) in which both hero and heroine are Native American. If you know of others, please comment to inform me.

But it’s tough to do a romance in a short story and not have it feel rushed— I think you usually need at least novelette length. It left me wanting more, in the “has Eagleday written anything longer?” sense. Alas, no. There are other short stories out, though. (Link NSFW – they’re erotica, several involving Native American traditional stories.) I’d love to see “Sioux Billionaire” expanded into a complete novel. But in the meantime, I did like it as a short. You might too.

Sins Of The Sioux Billionaire
Disclaimer: The author is [personal profile] oracne, a pal of mine.

On the eve of WWI, English chemist Lucilla, who has been working in Germany with mostly-unfriendly male colleagues, gets trapped in suddenly-hostile territory. She teams up with Fournier, another scientist, a French man ten years younger than her, in order to escape. They end up in a room with only one bed. I’m sure you can guess what happens next, and is repeated periodically during their escape to France. While I had trouble suspending my disbelief that there would be quite that much sex when their time would be better spent running for their lives, the romance between two misfit geeks is very sweet and sexy.

Meanwhile, a number of English soldiers, with secrets ranging from being gay to being a werewolf, arrive in Germany to fight. They, Lucilla, Fournier, and others get enmeshed in a complicated tangle of romantic relationships, spy missions, battles, and a quest to take down a German scientist’s secret werewolf laboratory.

This unusual erotic novel reminds me of really excellent fanfic from some alternate universe in which there’s a TV show about werewolves in WWI. As fanfic, it would make complete sense: plotty, well-researched, and full of sweet character moments, interspersed with sizzling m/m, m/f, and m/m/f sex scenes.

As an original novel, it’s oddly situated in terms of genre: much more sex than one would expect in fantasy, and much more plot than one would expect in erotica. But taken on its own quirky terms, it’s highly enjoyable. The characters are likable and rather diverse (first Jewish hero I’ve ever encountered in erotica), the sex scenes are hot and varied, and I absolutely loved the werewolves.

The early scenes with Lucilla and Fournier turned out to be the only time when I didn’t really believe that anyone would have sex – the other scenes take place either when the characters get a break from the action anyway, or it’s psychologically plausible that they’d make a desperate grab at feeling alive when they think they might get killed at any moment. (My favorites, for the record, were the threesome and the foxhole frottage.)

I wish the book had been longer, and had a higher ratio of plot and character to sex, as it sometimes felt rushed and breathless. But I applaud the “everything and the kitchen sink” approach to story and character, and it’s better to be left wanting more than wanting less.

Since I know the author, I will take advantage of that to ask a question, since I got quite fond of the characters: they all miraculously survive the war, right? More or less in one piece? Right?

The Moonlight Mistress
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