In Bed With – Various

As soon as I heard about this book – via this wonderful article in The Times, I was dying to get my hands on it. In the article, the somewhat moronic Richard Brooks implies that the erotic genre is somehow below all other forms of writing. For obvious reasons this has antagonised lots of erotic writers (many of whom are friends of mine), including myself. A (non-writer) friend said to me “If you can write, you can write. It doesn’t matter what it is.” And never was a truer word spoken. The contributors to this book are huge names in the business and have simply spread their wings and tried something a little different. It doesn’t make them worse writers, or worse, people does it?

In Bed With is an anthology of erotic stories, written by established writers of other genres. And when I say established, I’m talking household names like Adele Parks, Ali Smith, Chris Manby, Daisy Waugh, Kathy Lette and Maggie Alderson. You may not have read them, it depends what you’re into, but if you’re a reader then you’ve heard of them. The twist is that the stories are written anonymously. So, we know the names of all of the authors, and that they’ve contributed a smutty story to this book, but you don’t know which one it is. If you know the authors’ writing well, there’s a chance you’ll be able to work a couple out from their writing style, and also the fact that their pseudonym is a combination of the name of their first pet, and the first street they lived on. So stalkers and the like may be able to find this information out and solve the who’s who.

As a PR/Marketing person myself, I think this is a fabulous publicity stunt. This book will sell purely because of the names on the cover. I don’t think many people will be put off by the content, because it doesn’t scream ‘erotic’. The cover says they are ‘unashamedly sexy stories’. And to me, although it is just a matter of opinion, sexy is acceptable to most people. Sexy is just a little risque – maybe a bit of snogging and the finer details are skirted over. You get that in your average chick-lit novel, and nobody bats an eyelid. So many will pick up the book in a shop and buy it because they like one or two of the authors. Which is great. If they get it home and realise it’s more naughty than they realised, they can either fling the book away from them in disgust, or keep reading. And if they’re converted to erotica – then woohoo!

I’m sold on the concept of this book, I think it’s genius. But the content is variable. I don’t think it was as good an erotic anthology as your more traditional Black Lace or Xcite ones. But I do have a theory. I think perhaps that although the writers have used pen names so nobody knows which stories they have written, they also know there’s a chance they will be found out. So they’ve scaled back on the smut. Don’t get me wrong, not all of the writers have, some of the stories are full-on, damn HOT, erotica. They use naughty words and everything. But others are little more than contemporary fiction (there’s nothing wrong with contemporary fiction, of course, it’s just not what this book is about!) and don’t really belong in an erotic anthology.

So, I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with any of the stories, they’re all fantastic in their own way. It’s just that some of them aren’t, well, erotic. The ones that are though – wow! The two that really stood out for me were The Convenient Gardener by “Storm Henley” and After the Funeral by “Bunty B Road”. I’d still say get yourself a copy of this book, even if it’s just for the pure enjoyment of reading, regardless of the genre!

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