Erin's bookshelf: read

Private Pleasures
Vampyres of Hollywood
Religio Duplex: How the Enlightenment Reinvented Egyptian Religion
Four: A Divergent Collection
Mighty Dads
Cuffed, Tied, and Satisfied: A Kinky Guide to the Best Sex Ever
Heatstroke: Nature in an Age of Global Warming
Big Little Man: In Search of My Asian Self
The Casual Vacancy
Midnight Crossroad
Play Him Again
Just My Typo: From
This Star Won't Go Out: The Life and Words of Esther Grace Earl
Reasons My Kid Is Crying
Christianophobia: A Faith Under Attack

Erin O'Riordan's favorite books »

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Currently Reading: 'The Cuckoo's Calling' by Robert Galbraith

The audiobook I'm currently listening to (borrowed from my local library) while I commute is The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith, a pseudonym of J.K. Rowling. Thus far, I've listened to 5 of 13 discs.

Oh, Jo, how I've missed your expansive vocabulary, your encyclopedic knowledge of Classical mythology and folklore, your insights into human nature, your particular sense of humor, your casual familiarity with 400 years of British literature, and your use of the Latin language.

Two references to Virgil's Aeneid have occurred in the part of the book I've listened to thus far - is Rowling drawing a comparison between Lula Landry (the deceased fashion model around whom the mystery occurs) and Queen Dido of Carthage? I seem to remember that Dido commits suicide by throwing herself off a cliff; Landry is thought to have committed suicide by jumping from her flat's third-floor window. Carthage is in North Africa; Landry is of multiracial English and African descent.

Sidebar: I had to read the Aeneid in college and I distinctly remember barely being able to understand a word of it. I remember calling my dad and asking him if he could take me to Barnes and Noble to get the Cliff Notes. This was the late '90s, mind you, and I don't think Shmoop and SparkNotes were things yet.  If they were, I hadn't yet discovered them.

The statue of Eros - well, technically his twin brother Anteros, but commonly referred to as Eros - at Piccadilly Circus is where Robin Ellacot and her beloved Matthew got engaged to be married. Creative Commons image by Eriko Nakagawa.
Will Cormoran Strike turn out to be another literary example of Marry the Man with One Leg? He walks with the aid of a prosthesis after losing part of a leg in Afghanistan. You know who else in British literature was wounded in Afghanistan? John Watson in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories. Although Cormoran is the Sherlock Holmes and his Watson is Robin Ellacot, I tend to think it's an intentional homage.

And Now Some Harry Potter References I Have to Get Out of My System.

Will that pink "bekittened" death threat turn out to be from Dolores Umbridge?

(Actually, I already heard about the man with the not-cheating wife who sent the death threats. Umbridge was my first thought, though.)

How did Lula get that scar on her arm? Was it - Voldemort?

Cormoran's sister Lucy has three sons. In their portrait, the boys are wearing bottle-green school uniforms. Slytherins, then?

Tanacetum vulgare, or tansy, in a Creative Commons image by fir0002
I like the name Tansy, even if the character isn't a very lovable one. Neville Longbottom, Hogwarts professor of herbology, could tell you that tansy, a member of the daisy family, has also been used as a medicinal herb, although it should not be due to toxic side effects. WebMD can tell you that the word "tansy" derives from the Greek word athanasia, or immortality. The ancient Greeks used it for embalming.

Because the plant effects include stimulating blood flow, it has been used to treat fluid retention and to stimulate menstrual flow. It has been used for abortion. BUT it should not be used medicinally because of the serious risk of side effects that include kidney and liver failure and death.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Excerpt: 'Vanilla' by Megan Hart

My latest book from the Amazon Vine program is Vanilla by Megan Hart. I shall now quote a brief passage from an early chapter:

"We talked for a while about our favorite TV program. Alex had turned me on to a show about two monster-hunting brothers who drove around in a black Impala--sometimes in the office, we'd toss quotes from the show back and forth to each other, trying to stump the other. Because Alex was way more into the show and had been watching it for a lot longer, he was usually able to beat me at the game. Now, asking me which of the brothers I'd be if I could choose, he claimed he would always be Dean, the older brother, and I was stuck being the younger brother, Sam.

"'Except shorter,' he said.

"I made a face. 'And without a penis, don't forget that part. That's kind of important. Anyway, I'm totally Dean. Dean's way cooler.'

"'We can't both be Dean,' Alex pointed out.

"'You have Sam hair." I gestured at the raggedy mop of dark hair that spilled over his forehead.

"'But you're the smart one, and you do all the computer stuff,' Alex said. 'You have to be Sam.'

"We both laughed at that. He pushed the platter of spicy salmon toward me then took some for himself."

Tuesday, February 24, 2015 Presents ‘50 Shades of Reality: Insights from BDSM Pros’

BOSTON [Press Release] – Professional dominatrix Rebecca Knox and sex educator/sex worker Ava Mir-Ausziehen will lead the discussion in the upcoming “50 Shades of Reality: Insights from BDSM Pros” event, announced [Feb. 19].

Scheduled for Tuesday, February 24 at noon PDT/3 EST, Knox and Mir-Ausziehen will talk about a variety of BDSM-related topics, from the daily realities of the BDSM lifestyle to the positive and negative aspects of the explosively popular 50 Shades of Grey trilogy.

"Ava and Rebecca are both amazing and intriguing women who bring with them a wealth of experience in BDSM and kink culture,” said Angie Rowntree, owner of the award-winning porn for women site and producer of events. “I can’t think of two more ideal women to lead what I’m sure will be a fascinating and provocative conversation.

A Los Angeles-based dominatrix, Knox has trained with the world’s premier BDSM educators, including Midori, Cleo Dubois, and Eve Minax. She has participated in numerous kink lifestyle events, like DomConLA, SubmissionLA’s “Multi-Mistress” parties, The Bondage Ball, the Pittsburgh GRuE, The Upper Floor at, the Folsom Street Fair, and Kinky Salon, among others.  Knox currently is pursuing an MFA at UCLA and is a resident Domina at The Decameron.

Mir-Ausziehen has worked as an adult film and webcam performer for over a decade, with a focus on BDSM. She holds two Master's degrees and has studied extensively in the areas of sexuality, anthropology and gender studies in Canada and the Netherlands. Both as a volunteer for a non-profit organization and independently, Mir-Ausziehen has facilitated dozens of workshops on sexuality and practicing safer sex.

During the “50 Shades of Reality” discussion, also will announce the winner of its #Sssh50 kinky tweet contest, who will receive a copy of the 50 Shades trilogy, signed by author E.L. James. To enter, contestants just need to tweet a kinky short story using the #Sssh50 hashtag; each tweet using the hashtag counts as a separate entry in the prize drawing.

“We’re accepting new entries in the #Sssh50 contest through midnight on February 22, so there’s still time to tweet your story and get a shot to win,” Rowntree said. “It’s a great prize and judging by some of the tweets we’ve received so far, people clearly are having fun with it. I hope we get many more of these creatively kinky entries before the drawing is conducted!”

All MindBrowse shows are moderate by sociologist Dr. Chauntelle Tibbals.

For more information about “50 Shades of Reality: Insights from BDSM Professionals,” or to watch past events, go to For more information about or #SexTalkTuesday please email Angie Rowntree at

...and if you're not into the 50 Shades trilogy?

Try the Pagan Spirits Trilogy of erotic romance novels instead!

On CreateSpace: Book 1/Book 2/Book 3
On Amazon: Book 1/Book 2/Book 3
On Etsy: Book 1/Book 2/Book 3

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Final Straight by Charlotte Howard (@shy_tiger)


April Miller works for her best friend, Max Knight on his livery and competition yard. Their friendship has withstood many turbulent times, and while April is deeply in love with Max, she is also aware of his womanising ways and has refused to succumb to his flirtatious charms. When her ex, AJ, suddenly comes back with a business proposal, April finds herself torn between the two men.

Buy Links:

Coming soon to all other eBook retailers.


“You up there?” she called. The thud of footsteps grew louder as she made her way up the stairs. It wasn’t long before she was in the doorway, hands on hips, surrounded by a halo of curls the same colour as her temper.
The dog had followed and was panting by her leg. April batted her away, and Max rolled his eyes at the anger and frustration that exuded from her every pore, turning his back on her and dropping the towel.
“What the hell, Max?” she exclaimed, but it wasn’t because of his nudity. She’d seen him naked more times than any other woman.
He stepped into a pair of tight boxer shorts and turned around, preparing himself for the grief he had been hoping to avoid. “What have I done now?” he asked, walking towards the wardrobe and pulling out a pair of dark, shredded jeans.
“What’s the point? Do you even remember her name?”
He didn’t answer. She wasn’t expecting him to; she never did. Fastening the button on his waistband, he went to the chest of drawers and took out a clean T-shirt.
“Well, I’ll tell you what her name was,” April said, walking into the room. “Mellie Banks. Ring a bell?”
Max shrugged.
“It should,” she snapped. “Her father has three horses on this yard, or did until he turned up this morning and took them off.”
He moved behind her and started to massage at the knot of tension that had built at the base of her neck.
“Don’t try to appease me, Max,” she said, but he could tell that her anger was waning. He continued to press into her muscles, letting his thumbs make small circles either side of her spine. Bending his head to the curve of her shoulder, he placed his forehead on the sleeve of her polo T-shirt and took a deep breath, inhaling the dusty scent of straw and shavings.
“I’m sorry,” he murmured into her back.
She shrugged out of his touch and turned to face him. “You’re hopeless,” she sighed. The corners of her lips flickered into the smallest of smiles.
“We could just hide in bed all day,” he said, taking her hands and tugging her forwards. “Forget about Mellie Banks. Forget about the yard…”
“And who’s going to pay my bills when this place falls on its arse?”
The edge of the mattress connected with his knees and he fell backwards, pulling her with him. “You know I’ll always take care of you.”
She landed on top of him, inches away from his face. He lifted a hand and tucked a stray red curl behind her ear. With a frustrated groan, she rolled off of him and lay on her side.
“As much as I would like to be the next notch on your bedpost, we have a business to run.” She shoved herself up.
He watched as she straightened her clothes and ran her fingers through her hair.
“Anyway,” she said, glancing over her shoulder. “I’m not your type. I have a brain.” She flashed him a smile before bending down to pick up the towel and tossing it in his direction.
“Ouch.” He feigned a hurt expression before getting up to follow her. Bracken panted around his ankles.
“I’ll make you a coffee, and then if you need me I’ll be saving your business.”

Author Bio / Links:

Charlotte lives in Somerset with her husband, two children, and growing menagerie of pets and can always be found with a cup of tea in her hand. When she's not writing or running around after small people and animals, she loves to eat curry and watch action films.

Charlotte is an active (and vocal) member of the Yeovil Creative Writers.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

'Great' By Sara Benincasa: Gender-Swapped, Contemporary 'The Great Gatsby' Retelling

GreatGreat by Sara Benincasa

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What I liked about this book: In Sara Benincasa's young adult retelling of The Great Gatsby, Nick Carraway's stand-in is Naomi Rye, the Chicago-bred daughter of an upwardly mobile cupcake magnate who now summers in the Hamptons. (Rye - caraway seed - get it?) Her Gatsby is her mother's mysterious next-door neighbor, Jacinta Trimalchio, rarely seen in public but famous in the fashion world for her high-end style blog.

Jacinta's Daisy Buchanan is aspiring supermodel/congressperson's daughter Delilah Fairweather. Delilah and Jacinta were friends in primary school, then drifted apart, only to reunite in a flower-filled room in Jacinta's mansion.

They become a couple even though Delilah has a boyfriend. The Tom Buchanan of this story is Teddy Barrington, who was a child sitcom star. Teddy's Myrtle Wilson is a waitress named Misti, and Misti's George is a bartender named Giovanni.

Having some of the characters in this American classic be gender-swapped was a refreshing twist on an old favorite. Nice touch: Naomi spends an afternoon reading Save Me the Waltz. Benincasa doesn't mention the author's name, but the "old novel" happens to be the only extant work by Zelda Fitzgerald.

What could have been improved about this book: F. Scott Fitzgerald's writing in The Great Gatsby is so literary it's almost poetic. Fitzgerald's wistful, thematic prose has here been replaced with nuts-and-bolts storytelling that's not quite as much fun. Benincasa's narration in the voice of Naomi is rough in some places, inelegant in others, and downright clunky in some spots. Places where the narrator seemed much older than her supposedly 16 years, where she said things only us grown-ups would say, took me out of the story.

Not great: As narrator, Naomi refers to boys and girls as gay and to girls as lesbian. She seems to think Delilah's relationship with Jacinta makes Delilah a lesbian, but obviously that isn't necessarily the case. She's been in a long-term relationship with Teddy for years, so Delilah seems to be bisexual/pansexual. While it's not a requirement for every person to wear his or her sexuality label on his or her sleeve, it's not acceptable to pretend as if gay/lesbian or straight are the only sexualities that exist. Say no to bi erasure, kittens.

Overall, this was a fun book because of the thrill of the familiar, beloved classic American novel, combined with a new setting and new personality traits among the characters. If you haven't read The Great Gatsby but you saw the Leo movie and liked it, you'll probably think this is a pretty good book.

P.S. I looooove the Leo movie.

View all my reviews on Goodreads. I received an ARC of this book free from Amazon Vine in exchange for a review. This review represents my own honest opinion.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Fan Fiction Obsession of the Week: Bound and Gagged

"Bound and Gagged" by Caroline, a.k.a. BlackHoleCastiel.  That is the Destiel fan fiction I've been obsessed with this week. Hear me out on this:

1) In this fictional universe, Dean (he has no last name in this short chapter) is a god. He's sort of a Greek-style god, a male version of Artemis, only not so much with the chastity. But he's the god of wild things, with a large collection of hunters who serve him. He has sons; their number is not specified.

2) To appease him, his mortals have to offer him an annual human sacrifice, who is supposed to be a willing volunteer. This volunteer is taken to Dean's temple, where the god appears bodily to claim his sacrifice, in front of the entire congregation.

And get this: the high priest's name is Azazel. Apparently Azazel appears as a character on Supernatural? But Caroline describes him as a "mean old drunk," so I doubt he's the dazzling beauty of a fallen angel* we explored in Cover Him With Darkness.

3) A boy named Castiel - for the sake of not being creepy and gross, let us assume "boy" here refers to a man between the ages of 18 and 21 - is most emphatically NOT a volunteer. He's being sold by his parents to pay their rather hefty bar tab!

4) But do not worry, because Dean has no intention of killing his not-so-willing sacrifice. He has another kind of claiming in mind. Ancient Greek-style sex ensues. Yes, in front of everyone.

This is supposedly only the first chapter. Castiel now has the honor of being promoted from "temple boy" (I'm imagining something like a Roman Catholic church's altar server) to god's consort.

Some thoughts:

It's a nice twist to have Cas be the bewildered mortal and Dean the powerful supernatural being. It's the opposite of both the TV show and what I tried to do in the Cupid & Psyche fic.

Despite the title, it doesn't seem that Cas is actually gagged. He keeps screaming, so I'm imagining he's just tied up and allowed to scream at will.

Dean threatens to eat Cas, causing Cas to flinch away from his beautiful but intimidating god. However, Dean means this in a sexual rather than carnivorous way, and that is an adorable little detail.

Personally, I can't imagine young!Castiel being as attractive as present Castiel. This is Misha Collins in his early 20s.

He's skinny, his hair is a lighter color, and it looks as if he borrowed that suit from a larger person - Jared Padalecki, perhaps. Like Laura Prepon, Misha Collins gets better with age and with darker hair. He is much prettier at age 40 than he was at 24-ish.

So if I were writing this story, I would have a much older Castiel tied to the altar. And gagged. I mean, if we're going to play around with a light bondage paradigm, then let's do the thing.

Also, I would have played up the "I'm going to eat you"/oral angle A LOT more before getting to the actual intercourse. That's more of a personal preference than a literary criticism, of course.

The writer is very young (14, if her Tumblr page is accurate) and I certainly don't want to discourage anyone from writing, ever, but this is a literary criticism: This fic commits the big guy-guy erotica sin of omitting lube. Kids, when we write anal, we write in some lube, k? It's true that ancient cultures didn't have AstroGlide, but they at least had olive oil, which was better than nothing.

I think I would have made the setting private, too. I think in the fic, god!Dean likes the naughtiness of scandalizing his mortals by "consuming" his sacrifice in front of their eyes. But if Castiel and god!Dean are going to end up having actual feelings for each other - and it's not guaranteed that they are - their first time together would be much more romantic in private. Maybe Dean appears to Azazel to accept the sacrifice, but then tells the priest to leave the temple. Azazel leaves the temple thinking Castiel is going to be literally eaten as a snack, clueless that god!Dean is much more horny than hungry. But again, that's more of a stylistic preference than a literary criticism.

I look forward to a second chapter.

*Speaking of fallen angels, I forgot to mention in my Crouching Tiger, Forbidden Vampire review that Lucifer is described in that book as being indescribably, almost painfully beautiful, but with utterly dead eyes.

Mark Pellegrino is Supernatural's Lucifer. I added his monologue from John Milton's Paradise Lost, because literary.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

OUT NOW – A Different Kind of Cosplay by Lucy Felthouse (@cw1985) #erotica #romance #geek


Zachary has a dilemma. His girlfriend, Reese, has a special birthday coming up soon and he has absolutely no clue what to get for her. It doesn’t help that Zach does not share or really understand Reese’s biggest hobby—comic books, superheroes and everything that goes with them. Zach raids Reese’s DVD collection for inspiration, and what he finds there gives him an idea…possibly the best one he’s ever had.

Sure, Reese has fantasized about her favorite superheroes. All those muscles and rakish smiles are to die for. She didn’t think Zach would ever really understand, though. But he proves her wrong in the best way possible.

Buy links:


Zachary sighed at the calendar entry in his phone, which was reminding him for the third time about Reese’s upcoming birthday. And it wasn’t just any birthday—she was going to be thirty.

There were perks to dating a doctor—the uniform was pretty hot, for example—but when that doctor had no particular fondness for jewelry, flowers or chocolates, buying her presents was nigh-on impossible. And because of her work schedule, a surprise weekend away was out of the question. He’d long since learned to always keep the receipts.

Most people get their partners something to do with their hobbies or interests. However, Reese was even awkward in that regard. Her main hobby was so complex that Zach didn’t have the first idea what to get her to do with it—Reese was an uber-geek. Films, graphic novels, collectibles, all that jazz.

Obviously he could just ask what she wanted, then go out and get it, but then it wouldn’t be a surprise. And it was too easy—he wanted her to know he’d really made the effort.

Snoozing the calendar reminder once more, Zach threw the phone onto the sofa, then walked over and started rooting through their combined film collection for something to watch after dinner, which was almost ready. Reese was on-shift at the hospital until silly o’clock, so he had the house to himself and could watch whatever he liked. An action movie it was, then.

Running his fingers along the spines of the DVDs and Blu-rays, he suddenly paused. The Avengers leaped out at him, for some reason. He’d seen snippets of it before, as Reese watched it pretty frequently. The parts he’d seen hadn’t looked too bad, actually. It was essentially an action film, he decided, but with superheroes in it.

He pulled the case off the shelf, an idea beginning to form. Maybe if he watched it beginning to end, he’d seen what drew Reese into that world so much, why she was so fascinated by the films, the graphic novels and so on. Even if he didn’t get it, though, maybe it would still give him some inspiration for a gift. He had nothing better to do that evening, in any case, so it was certainly worth a try.

After putting the disc in the player, he headed into the kitchen to see how his dinner was coming along. A meal in front of the television was the order of the day, it seemed.

A few minutes later, he settled onto the sofa with his lasagna and garlic bread, a bottle of beer on the table next to him. Time for some Avengers action.

Within half an hour, he’d ascertained that the film wasn’t just for geeks. In fact it was easy to see why it had such a wide appeal—the cast was supremely attractive, whatever gender you were into, the plot was interesting and the dialogue seriously witty. He’d already developed quite the crush on the Black Widow, and Nick Fury’s right-hand woman had a lovely pert backside.

Trying to put himself in Reese’s shoes, Zach looked at the male characters. Okay, when it came to this film, straight women clearly had more eye-candy than they knew what to do with. He vaguely remembered a bunch of crazy stuff going around on the Internet about Loki—even the villain of the piece had sex appeal, for heaven’s sake! So much so that it had spilled over into even Zach’s limited social media presence. He barely used Facebook, and he’d never gotten the hang of Twitter. And yet he knew about the rabid fangirls. That was another score for The Avengers, then—truly mass-market appeal. If only there were mass-market gift-buying options.

Sighing, he tried to empty his mind and concentrate on the film. The more he tried to force an idea to present itself, the less likely it would be to happen. He’d just enjoy the entertainment and keep his fingers crossed that his subconscious provided something useful.

Once he’d made the decision, it wasn’t difficult to get sucked back into the narrative. It was engaging, easy-going and fun. Zach surprised himself by thoroughly enjoying the entire thing. Reese would be pleased when the next film came out at the cinema and he offered to go along with her.
He’d keep his new found admiration quiet for now, though. He didn’t want to arouse her suspicions, although she was bound to know he was planning something for her milestone birthday.

The question remained—what the hell could he do or buy to blow her away?

Author Bio:

Lucy Felthouse is a very busy woman! She writes erotica and erotic romance in a variety of subgenres and pairings, and has over 100 publications to her name, with many more in the pipeline. These include several editions of Best Bondage Erotica, Best Women's Erotica 2013 and Best Erotic Romance 2014. Another string to her bow is editing, and she has edited and co-edited a number of anthologies, and also edits for a small publishing house. She owns Erotica ForAll, is book editor for Cliterati, and is one eighth of The Brit Babes. Find out more at Join her on Facebook and Twitter, and subscribe to her newsletter at: