Call me shallow, but there’s something immensely gratifying about having one of your stories chosen for an anthology with the word ‘best’ in the title. Somehow, it makes you feel you might be quite good at this sort of thing, after all.
It’s happened to me a couple of times recently. Heat, which was originally selected for the 2006 volume of Cleis’ Best Women’s Erotica series, appears in the second volume of Best Of The Best Women’s Erotica (http://www.cleispress.com/book_page.php?book_id=353). The story of a barmaid who is both repelled by and intensely attracted to the boorish temporary landlord the pub company foists on her, it was inspired by a visit to one of our favourite post-football drinking venues, the Roseneath in Gillingham. With a secluded beer garden, classic jukebox, table football game and the balcony which is the focal point of the erotic action, it was always worth a visit. Sadly, it had to close towards the end of last year as, like so many small backstreet pubs, it was apparently no longer financially viable – but it will live on in the guise of ‘The Red Mill’ as long as the story remains in print.
As for the rest of the stories in the collection, I’m still waiting for my contributor copy to arrive (should be any day now) so I can’t comment on them just yet, but the fabulous Violet Blue has picked out so many stunning and original tales for the anthologies she’s edited that it’s bound to be a memorable read.
Hopefully, I’m going to be taking part in a reading of stories from Best Of The
Best… in March at the Sh! women’s shop in Hoxton – more details nearer the time.
The second collection is this year’s Mammoth Best New Erotica 9 (http://www.constablerobinson.com), selected as ever by the redoubtable Maxim Jakubowski, which is actually the fourteenth volume in the series. The story here is Live Bed Show, originally printed in Best Women’s Erotica 2009, which is set in my favourite foreign city, Amsterdam. Again, it’s based on a real place – a bedroom furniture shop close to the Rijkmuseum which is visible from one of the main tram routes through the city. Spotting it from the tram one night, lit up when everything around it was dark, the story of a woman being employed to model the bed overnight, and the things she might get up to for her watching audience, started forming.
Not that I need an excuse to write about Amsterdam – it’s a place which never fails to inspire me (and not in the ways you might be thinking, given that I really don’t visit the type of cafe which has Bob Marley painted on the window…) – and I have another story coming out later in the year which is partly set there. That’s one for fans of older woman/younger man romance, and it’s one of my favourite things I’ve written – but I shan’t say too much now as it’s always best to leave people wanting more.