Announcing: Heart, Body, Soul: Erotica With Character!

What’s up, freaks? I’m home from TED2015, and I have not entirely recovered my sanity. I’ll be back in the blogging swing of things soon and I have a bunch of reviews and blog posts in the pipeline. April is STD awareness month, which is a great opportunity for me to tell you a bunch of awkward, hilarious, gripping tales about living with genital herpes. Get excited, yo. There will be tears. There will be romance. There will be herpes puns (probably).

Wow, I am punchy. Working a major conference will do that to you.

While I regain my eloquence, composure and stability, here’s something to keep you entertained: my second anthology! Tide yourself over with the beautiful book Heart, Body, Soul: Erotica with Character, new from the New Smut Project, which features my short story “Very Impulsive, Very Angry.” Here’s the low-down: it’s new adult fiction, full of hookup culture and feminist critique of the virgin/whore dichotomy. For those of you from Wesleyan, the bulk of it takes place in the PAC lecture halls and High Rise (apartments).

If that’s not convincing enough, New Smut Project openly identifies as a feminist project, with a focus on better representations of race, gender identity, and non-heteronormative erotica. They are the BEST. They are like, all of the things I love.

From the book blurb: “Characterization doesn’t stop in the bedroom. Discerning readers’ craving for emotionally and intellectually satisfying erotica will be fed by a spectrum of popular authors and new favorites as diverse as the smart, smutty stories they’ve written for this anthology. Sweet, kinky, romantic, magical, even heartbreaking, one thing they all have in common is a groundbreaking vision of what erotic writing can be.

Featuring characters who are queer and straight, cis and trans, from mature couples celebrating fresh firsts to new adults playing familiar games, these stories reveal and revel in how people tick when it comes to sex, what they take to bed—their desires, hopes, dreams, and fears, their pasts, their passions, and their power—and what they bring away.

A book of literary erotica celebrating sex as only these characters can have it.”

And because I love you so much—and I actually make royalties off this anthology and would love a new pair of summer high heels—here’s the beginning of “Very Impulsive, Very Angry.”

Devon Allbritt sat in the third row of the sloped lecture hall. Cora watched as he tugged a battered spiral notebook out of his backpack and dropped it on the desk before stretching an arm across the top of the row of chairs. The light threw each contour of sinew into relief. He waited for the professor to arrive and scanned the hall for a woman worth staring at, unaware of the blonde WASP sticking up her nose a few rows behind him.

Cora didn’t understand what made girls go after Devon. He wore his duplicity on his sleeve like a warped status symbol, collecting limp hugs from sorority girls with a smarmy smirk on his face as he sauntered around campus. He was the kind of asshole who flicked his still-lit cigarette into the bushes outside house parties and abandoned plastic cups full of booze in strangers’ kitchens. Yet over the years she had watched otherwise smart, logical women who must have known better chase whatever it was he had to offer.

Sure, Devon was good-looking. He had the lithe, forceful body of a swimmer—toned arms and defined abdominals, if the occasional picture in the school paper was anything to go by—and the cheekbones of a B-List celebrity. And he was not stupid either, not some simpleminded recruited athlete with a limited vocabulary. He practically reeked of lazy intelligence, the expensive product of a boarding school somewhere in the mountains of New England. On the rare occasions he deigned to participate during their American History class, he was never without a strong argument. But he was not a good person, and Cora did not imagine that involving oneself with Devon would be anything other than toxic.

Spoiler alert: Cora eventually understands his appeal.

Heart, Body, Soul: Erotica with Character is available from Amazon as a paperback or ebook here. You can find a list of alternative places to purchase the anthology (in case you think Amazon is the devil) here.

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Ella Dawson is a sex and culture critic and a digital strategist. She drinks too much Diet Coke.

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