Sex in the City
My contributor copy for the newly released Sex in the City: London (Xcite Books) arrived this morning and, oh boy, it’s fascinating! I haven’t read a single story yet but each one ends with a glimpse behind the scenes, a page or two from the author disclosing their memories of and feelings for London, the inspiration for their story and so on.
Justine Elyot tells us of ghosts at Blackfriars and how once she ‘could not walk from shop to pub to tube station without thinking of all the things that had happened on that soil before – violent things, tragic things, romantic things.’ Black Lace author, Carrie Williams, reveals how, as a journalist, she ‘came to know the city more closely than any other place on Earth.’ Series’ editor, Maxim Jakubowski, reminisces about staying with an aunt in Bayswater during school breaks and highlights London’s North/South divide, while erotica newcomer, Lily Harlem, recalls being poor and happy, living with a cute boyfriend in a flat so damp that one night, the wallpaper slid off the walls. I love how ex-Forum editor, Elizabeth Coldwell, describes the mood she was aiming for in her story: ‘late-night Soho in the rain, like an English version of Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks, with the feeling that anything could be about to happen‘.
I’m particularly looking forward to reading Elizabeth’s story since I’ve written about Soho in my own short, The Caesar Society. I do love these ‘About the Story’ sections. Sure, I’m nosy, aren’t we all? But I love them because I think the inclusion of these pieces echoes how we experience cities: we glimpse fragments of other people’s lives, and then these strangers are gone; we try to piece the fragments together to make sense of a person or place but in cities there’s both too much information and not enough; and all cities, as Justine observes, are haunted with histories, both known and unknown, and those lost layers tug at the imagination, giving a life you can’t see to the cities we inhabit.
Reading these authors’ thoughts on London feels a little like that. What was Maxim’s Bayswater aunt like? Who are all those people Lily’s watching at the party? Who else, apart from Clarice Clique, has revelled in the anonymity afforded by hotel rooms? In my own ‘About the Story’, I recall working in central London and muse on the shabby, sleazy romance and secrecy of Soho and my fascination for ‘magic’s tendency to become bleak and cracked in the cold light of day.‘
Here’s the opener for The Caesar Society, a tale of kidnap, code-breaking and sneering thugs.
I like Soho. It’s horrible. It used to be worse and I liked it even better then. Black doorways and neon-lit nastiness excite and appal me. I want to slip from the street and into a world where the women are all Rimmel and skag, where the carpets smell of come, and no one looks you in the eye except for cash. I hadn’t mentioned this to him though. You don’t, do you? Not before a first date.
We met on a website called Looking for Crooks. No, that’s a joke, it was called something else. His username was The Big Man and, if you ask me, that’s going to get any girl’s attention. After a few emails and a nice phone call, we arranged to meet in a bar in Wardour Street, some chi-chi place full of media types close to my place of work. It didn’t really suit him. In his giant’s hand, his pint glass was dainty and I couldn’t get over the size of his thumb. Nearly twice the length and thickness of mine, it rested against the glass, its broad, flat nail reminding me of the head of a cock. We talked about Spain (he was very tanned and said he had a holiday home there) but mainly I was thinking how his thumb looked like a cock, albeit a rather flattened cock, and I was wondering how it would feel to have him crushing his big fingers into my cunt, his great bulk looming over me as I came.
Sex in the City: London (officially released April 5th but already selling on Amazon UK; and for your Kindle in the US) is the first in a series from Maxim Jakubowski, to be followed later in the year by Paris, New York and Dublin. Contributors to the series include Booker and Orange nominees. I’m giving away a copy along with the recently released Best of Best Women’s Erotica 2, ed Violet Blue, which features another city-themed story of mine, On My Knees in Barcelona. (Read a sexy excerpt here.) As some of you may know, I had a bit of a run in with Blue over the cover of this book, resulting in my being blacklisted. So On My Knees looks to be the first and last story Blue will publish of mine. I’d planned to say more about this, and may do at some later point, but for now, that’s enough. It’s a great anthology and I’m proud my story was selected from the last 5-6 years of the BWE series.
So add a comment and you could win this dirty duo! I’ll select a name in a couple of weeks. And if you already have either of these books, you can select something else from my top shelf.
In other news, this weekend the World Horror Convention comes to Brighton. On Saturday, from 10-midnight, I’ll be reading some spooky smut along with a wonderful bunch of Black Lace authors, Janine Ashbless, Olivia Knight and Mathilde Madden. Wish us luck!