By Jean Roberta (Guest Blogger)
Those of us who write short stories tend to collect piles of them. I have stories that were published once, but then the journal or the e-zine or the publisher went out of business. (Alas, this has happened to a lot of erotic publishing outlets since 2000.) I also have stories that I started writing in response to a call-for-submissions, but missed sending them in before the deadline. And I have stories which were rejected for anthologies, for one reason or another.
I whined on social media about my large number of homeless, orphan stories. I got a response from an editor/publisher who had published Obsession, an earlier collection of my short pieces. She asked me to send her my available stories, and we could discuss a way to publish them as a new collection.
I suddenly felt as if I had to make a guest list for a party. Who would get along with whom else? Do stories with hot-and-heavy sex scenes mix with stories of erotic romance, in which two people have to overcome obstacles to reach a happy ending? And do same-sex pairings (usually F/F in my stories) mix with ménage scenes?
My new collection has a loose theme of women-loving women getting acquainted, falling in love, losing their illusions, and regaining hope for the future. Some of these stories have been published before, and some are still virginal. Some are about desire, and some are about satisfaction.
For those who like variety, this collection includes erotica, erotic romance, a previously-published ghost story, a steampunk mystery that is still under consideration elsewhere (the publisher said he would consider it as a reprint). There are two fairy tales.
There is a story about a lesbian courtship that first appeared in 2010, in a charity anthology that was sold to raise legal funds for same-gender marriage equality in the U.S. The prospect of offering that story to a new audience warmed my heart.
Regarding gender, all the major characters in these stories are women. Never fear. The men don’t take over. Our progress is currently challenged by a rising tide of hate toward everyone who is not a heterosexual white man in the top income bracket, but just as an exuberant bag of popcorn can’t return to being a handful of kernels, lesbians or queer women aren’t likely to go back to the invisibility of yesteryear.
What can be imagined can’t be unseen. Welcome to the world of my imagination.
Here is a scene from the title story, “Spring Fever,” in which a divorced mother realizes that she might just have a romantic future:
Did Amanda, caretaker of the tragic life of the artist Erica Rasmussen, really want to hear the kitchen-sink drama of my daughter’s relationships? At that moment, I didn’t care. I needed a witness.
I told Amanda the story of Katie’s green hair, trying to make it as funny as possible. Amanda laughed as though tickled to the core.
“Don’t worry, Mary. Some kids do a lot worse. When I was that age – well, we can save that for another day. Your daughter is very lucky to have a mother who cares what happens to her.”
I couldn’t stand it. “I started reading her diary after that episode. I gave her that diary so she could keep her own secrets, but I went through her bureau drawers to find it, and I read it.” Mea culpa, I have sinned.
Amanda looked smug, as though she had found my own hidden diary. “I bet it’s a page-turner.”
“Oh, it is. Teenagers live in their own world, with their own language and culture. I know I’m invading her privacy, but I wish she would just tell me what’s going on in her life. I feel shut out.”
“Poor Mary. All children break their mother’s hearts sooner or later. If you can tough out this phase, I’m sure you’re the one she’ll always turn to for help when she needs it.” I wondered whether Erica Rasmussen had turned to her mother for help, or if she was too afraid of being lectured and blamed.
“I’d like to meet your daughter some time.” Amanda smiled. “You can read my high school diaries if you’d like.” She leaned forward to make this offer, as though offering me her breasts as well. “I dumped a lot on my parents when I was sixteen, then when I was eighteen. After that, I was pretty much on my own.”
It came to me that Amanda’s parents had probably wanted her to marry well and continue the family dynasty. Visions of sexual rebellion floated through my mind before I could censor them out.
“Amanda, are you flirting with me?”
“I’ve been trying to get your attention for months, girlfriend! You’re a tough nut to crack. I really want to know you better. Are you up for that or not?”
I smiled, showing her my teeth. “Um. It’s against my policy to date anyone I work with, but – yes, I’m willing to try it. With you. We should go out again when I have more time to spend.”
Amanda removed my hand from the stem of the wineglass I was clutching, opened my palm and kissed it slowly. The sensation was a shock to me. The heat of her mouth went right from the sensitive skin of my palm to my neglected crotch, and I felt an orgasm sneaking up on my clit.
Amanda let her eyes travel slowly up from my waist to my well-covered breasts to my chin, my hair and my eyes. “You won’t regret it, baby.”
Oh. My. God. The electricity that flew from her to me was like lightning, like a short in the wiring of the old house I lived in, like a jolt of understanding. Any lame beliefs I might have had about the sexual incompatibility of two women melted away like cheap plastic in an oven.
About the Author
Jean Roberta lives on the Canadian prairies, where the vastness of land and sky encourages daydreaming. She teaches literature, composition and creative writing in the local university. Her diverse fiction (mostly erotic) has appeared in over one hundred print anthologies, in three single-author collections, and in The Flight of the Black Swan: A Bawdy Novella (also in audio), set in the 1860s. A revised, expanded version of her out-of-print erotic novel, Prairie Gothic, is upcoming from Lethe Press (U.S.).
She loves historical and speculative fiction, and has written stories in the fictional worlds of Shakespeare, French fairy-tale writer Countess d’Aulnoy, Lewis Carroll, horror writers Edgar Allen Poe and H.P. Lovecraft, nineteenth-century operetta composers Gilbert and Sullivan, and science-fiction writer Jules Verne.
@JeanRoberta on Twitter
“JeanRoberta” also has an author page on Amazon.com and Goodreads.com
Contributor to these blogs: https://www.ohgetagrip.blogspot.com
The first three people to comment this post will receive free copies of SPRING FEVER AND OTHER SAPPHIC ENCOUNTERS. So far, it’s only available for sale on Kindle, but if you can’t read it in that format, something else can be arranged.