I was torn.
It’s December. December is a time when my ability to do much more than sleep and work goes out the window. I read fiction exclusively during December, if I read at all, because the brain power cannot handle much more than that. Tell me all the story, please don’t make me have to work at any of it. That sort of thing.
I long ago set aside any and all genre-specific snobbery. I will read anything. Anything at all, because I want the story. I want to be touched. I want to be moved. I want to connect — to the human condition, to other people, to fictional people, to great big experiences, to the small experiences, to different people at different times. I want to experience situations I might never otherwise experience, and I want to go places I’ll never likely get to in life. I will read any genre. I will read any age group. I will still read picture books. (Especially when they involve the work of either Charles De Lint or Charles Vess. Just saying).
So, I unabashedly read romance, and I unabashedly read erotica. I have preferences, of course. Just like anyone else, there are types of stories I prefer over others, and in the interest of full disclosure I’ll admit that erotica is not high on my go-to list. I enjoy explicit sex scene as much as the next person; it’s generally the story-to-sex content ratio that I dislike within the erotica genre.
However, Erzabet Bishop’s Erotic Pagan series came highly recommended. And, really, didn’t I want to be supporting pagan fiction, and pagan fiction writers, with not only my mouth but also my money? And, truly, could I not skip a few sodas and buy some reading material instead? Maybe a short story format would level the ratio to a more Jolene-approved balance.
So, I purchased Beltane Fires, the first of the Erotic Pagan series, and if there was ever a story to get me hooked into this series, this was it. Take one pagan woman, add Beltane, a bonfire, and a not-exactly-human deity into the mix, and I’m pretty satisfied before the sex even begins. These are my favorite stories to read, and to write: humanity brushing up against The Other. Magic and wonder alive and raw in our midst.
I, er. Tried. Really. To space out the rest of them. They’re short, you see. And there’s only three of them thus far. And I have all these other books out from the library still, and this other book i’m supposed to be reading for a review in a few months, and work is busy, and other things to be doing, and it’s Yule still, and . . .
But I bought the other two, during the week. A reward, you see. For having to deal with retail during the week before Christmas. Samhain Shadows and then Yuletide Temptation. Given how much I thoroughly adored the first of these, I was surprised that thus far, Samhain Shadows has been my favorite.
Bishops writing is fantastic. She reaches right in and touches you were it hurts. Her characters are fresh and alive, her dialogue flows naturally — or stumbles naturally, depending on the exchange. I’m so glad to have discovered her writing, and I hope that you will be, too!