Yesterday was a holiday for a lot of people but social media never stops and I got wind that a review had appeared in Publishers Weekly for the book I have releasing next week, TAKING THE LEAD. I was a little afraid to go read it so I made my agent read it first.
See, the last time a book I wrote was reviewed in PW, bookselling and publishing’s trade magazine, was in 1998. In that review, they panned my HarperCollins erotic short story collection (Black Feathers) by saying my “sinless creations” were “for people who didn’t like sex.” I’d called up Susie Bright after that and cried.
She’d heard that attitude before, and patiently explained that the reviewer was almost certainly male and one of those throwback guys for whom if the sex wasn’t “dirty” or “illicit” then it was only meant for “prudes” and therefore wasn’t any fun. Put another way, because the book was written by a woman to satisfy a woman’s idea of what was sexy, he was angry it wasn’t for him. The fact that everyone in my book was actually enjoying all the consensual sex they were having was a turn-off for this dude.
After that I felt kind of sorry for the reviewer, because although he’d panned my book, he almost certainly had a miserable sex life. I would encounter his attitude sporadically, always from men, in the nineties, and then I guess those dinosaurs died off because I stopped hearing it. Or maybe my message and the message of the other sex-positive women writing and publishing in those days was finally getting through–Susie Bright, Carol Queen, Annie Sprinkle, etc.–if not to literary critics at least to the bookstores and the readers.
Of course romance wasn’t ready yet for my style of BDSM and consensual power exchange, or for the level of explicitness I brought to the table, so back then my work wouldn’t have fit there, either. Thankfully that’s no longer the case, and a book like TAKING THE LEAD has all the BDSM and character angst and negotiation and arrival at consensuality that turns ME on, and it seems like both the world of romance and Publishers Weekly are super-happy about it!
They gave it a “starred” review! And I quote, they say my new series is off to a “sultry start.” The moneyshot in the review: “With a satisfying plot and an engaging cast of characters, the only thing slowing readers down will be their refractory period.” Yessss!
Read the whole review here: http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-1-4555-3363-3