Zero Saints by Gabino Iglesias- A big ass review.

There is gonna be a LOT to unpack.

TL:dr- This is a great fucking book. If you like supernatural, crime and can handle some Spanish get it. Yes amazon link srry.

LONG VERSION. Some spoilers may happen.

I was given a copy of this book a bit after it came out by a dear friend who had read it and decided I HAD to read it.

Zero Saints starts with the kind of wry, first person humor during what builds to be an ass kicking that I like. The first four pages let us know that we’re in for a wild ass ride. The violence isn’t of the sort that is immediate and all the way in your face, Gabino’s style in this book is intimate, we are in Fernando’s skin (at least I am and we’ll get to that) so in the beginning of this book we know a few things. We know Fernando (not his name yet) is in trouble, big fucking trouble.

When I saw the line about Fernando praying to la Santa Muerta, y’alls….my lil woo self got all fucking excited. Following the mention came the first of much Spanish and I have enough Spanish to have gotten the gist of what was going on and this brings me to my first pointed remark. I have seen some reviews (too goddamn many) that make a point to complain about the amount of Spanish. Like…okay I don’t want to quote Junot Diaz but, the quote about folks willing to read Elvish or whatever and who will bitch about Spanish.

There is a lot of Spanish. Personally, I can read more Spanish than I can speak and I am not at all fluent. That said, when I felt like it really mattered, I looked shit up because like most of us I carry a computer in my pocket and the internet exists.


The action picks up very fast and things get real bloody. While the action is revving up, I really love that there is a low key grace in Gabino’s writing. It is brutal, it does go from 10 to 100 and there is beauty there. We know from jump that Fernando is no super badass, his fear is written in a very real way that gives us a glimpse of a well written and rich character.

Details like how Fernando stops being able to really think with everything happening, really grabbed me. This book is a really great example of why I love first person POV so much. Using this POV in this book gives us skin to skin contact, we get to be intimate with the story and with Fernando and that my friends, is my shit.

I don’t want to spoil stuff plotwise so let’s talk about skill and craft.

First let’s talk why I love how Fernando is written and thus love being so close to his skin. Fernando is written as a kind of mysterious type, we get glimpses of a life he’s lived before. he had problems. He has nightmares, he needs oxies to sleep on the regular but in particular during what’s going on in the book. We get this bloody meaty human which in noir circles can be sparse.

Gabino does a few sly little shifts to second person and I am here for it. What makes these so effective is that, the shift slows the eye. We are dragged into the reality of this situation almost gently and then there’s blood and teeth on the floor. Gabino does an excellent job of balancing Fernando’s horrific situation with glimpses into his tender heart.

He has a crush on a girl, this bit when we meet Yolanda is exquisite:

“How do you tell a woman you like that you’re a fucking coward?”

In the context of the things Fernando has experienced, the glimpses of his past we know he is not a coward and this line, just got me. I love a cis het dude with some self awareness and written with tenderness. Yes, this is a violent as fuck book that has a heart. Like most of the noir I love, our main character is someone I want to slap and hug and then put the fuck to bed.

It takes a firm grasp on one’s masculinity and a deft hand to write cis het men with heart. It just does. Especially in noir, especially when there is also violence. Too often, I think a lot of cis male characters wind up being all balls and no heart and that is boring. If you write cis het dudes, read this book.

Now, let’s talk about the super natural aspects of this book.

His use of diasporic spiritual practices is superb. When we meet Consuelo, that is where things get really deep to me. Again, I don’t want to be too spoilery but I do want to mention that, in researching to do this review, I noticed a lot of folks didn’t comment on the loveliness of the spirtuality and how the supernatural is handled in this book. That bugs me.

The introduction of Ogun changes the tone of the situation in this book. When I first read it, I said Oh Shit out loud. The violence and drug dealing by themselves didn’t quite give me the gravity of bringing in Ogun as part of the action. I think other readers, especially those unfamiliar with Afro/Latinx diasporic religions probably missed out on that. I am pretty sure that my familiarity, bred my excitement in this case.

In chapter 5 and the end of chapter 4, the depth of love Fernando is shown really touched me. Again I don’t wanna be spoilery but, the ritual and the egg, that’s fuckin love y’all. The novenas given to Fernando, the way in the book the prayers are set out in full touched my heart. These moments of love and hope are what balance the brutality of much of the book. I think in a lot of other reviews I read, I was missing the appreciation of as I said above, tenderness.


Before I go much further, let’s kind of ease to the end here because I wanna be super spoilery and I hate that.

The introduction of the Russian was another great touch to me and a perfect example of cross cultural understanding. This is transgressive because there is no push/pull in how Nando and the Russian communicate and come together. That is fucking real.

The thing I love best about this book is that without the tenderness, moments of gentle handling and sadness it would STILL be a good book.

Gabino Iglesias is a bad mother fucker.

WITH the tenderness, love, and tears this is a great book. Like most books I love, this little gorgeous thing is meaty. It is bloody not just in the violent sense but in the sense of it having a pulse, this work has a heart that as you are pulled into Nando’s fucked up life, you feel it in your hands.

And okay y’all, I don’t say this often but this book ended perfectly. Just, y’all it fucked me up in the best way. And like books I love, I want more.

What is greater is that I’m more familiar with Gabino’s work and hustle and I am here for it. This book is on my list of recommendations for actually transgressive work that lives outside of the Great White Western Ideals and does so in shining, haunting, bloody fashion.

Go read it. Read Gabino’s tweeter.

To The Dark Tower…I ran.

Too much of the world is pure awful right now.

So under the read more (because spoilers) I’m going to nerd about the Dark Tower because I just finished rereading the last book.

No, seriously. SPOILERS AHOY-

Continue reading “To The Dark Tower…I ran.”

Midnight Taxi Tango- The Big Ole Review

Yes this is a big ass image. But LOOK AT THIS FUCKING COVER.

This is my review of Daniel Jose Older’s Midnight Taxi Tango. First, I recommend going back here and reading my review of the first novel in this series Half-Resurrection Blues: A Bone Street Rumba Novel


The short version goes like this. I devoured about half the novel when it came in the mail, threw it on the floor and just sat muttering, “this motherfucker right here…” it is an excellent follow up to Half-Resurrection Blues. If grown folks urban fantasy and magic is what you like, this shit right here is what you want.

Okay, so I’m going to put a read more cause thar b spoilers and it’s about to get nerdy as hell up in here.

No, seriously, I’m about to dork out on a whole other level and if you want to not witness my nerd meltdown.

Y’all been warned.

Continue reading “Midnight Taxi Tango- The Big Ole Review”

The Grace of Kings- Review and Musings

I just finished Ken Liu’s epic, The Grace of Kings. I have some thoughts and we’re gonna get kinda nerdy.

I will put a read more in where spoilers start.

The short version. This is a silkpunk gigantic beautiful creation. There is an excerpt here and I highly recommend checking it out.

What I enjoy about this novel is the scope. I have the deepest admiration for writers in whatever genre who can create these huge worlds and do it with a fine enough eye to not lose the reader but still maintain the beauty of a new world.

I love the prose. Love it. The ease of the language that is unfamiliar is really well done. One of the things I am a huge fan of is when an author an take language that is all their own creation and make it seamless within the narrative. This from the glossary is one of my favorite things:

-tika: suffix expressing endearment among family members.

This is not an easy book. There are a lot of things to keep track of and people who aren’t fans of lots of background and detail won’t be fans. There are histories, poems, social information. It is a lot.

Personally, I love that sort of thing so it is right up my alley.

Overall, it is an intense and a lovely read. Totally immersive, almost to the point of distraction for me, but still very enjoyable. I did take a few issues, but there are spoilers, so read further at your own peril.

Continue reading “The Grace of Kings- Review and Musings”

Lamentation by Joe Clifford. A review.

All right y’all.

Review time.

I got a review copy of Lamentation by Joe Clifford recently and finished reading it last week. I’ve been a fan of Joe’s short work for a long time. I don’t remember where I saw it first, maybe Shotgun Honey or the Flash Fiction Offensive but yeah I dig it.

Let’s go in.

First of all the hardback has a really beautiful dust jacket. I just love it. And we know I’m kind of a sucker for good book design.

Look at it.


Super pretty.

Now overall the short review is that I really like this book. I’m going to give it a name in terms of how the subject matter is dealt with and call it Dirty Pastoral. Not dirty like perverse, but dirty as in grimy, it’s a glimpse into the ugly side of living in a small town. This isn’t Charming Small Town America, this is decaying America where if you gotta be there, you have to fight for your bit of okayness.

It is very well written. Had I not known Joe wrote it, I would know he wrote it. The pacing is nice and tight and y’all, the end…I won’t spoil it but I was not ready and had I not been on the bus I would have yelled at the book because that’s how I handle things I love.

Overall, if you like crime fiction and you want something that isn’t just gangsters or big city drug fiction pick it up. (Affiliate link sorry)

Time to get nerdy because there are some things going on that tickled my writer nerd.

First of all I want to talk about the character Jay Porter. Jay is our low key hero and the way he’s written gives me an Everyman who isn’t just bland.

When we first meet Jay he is ostensibly a loser. At first blush, he’s that guy we all know, has a kid and an ex he’s hung up on. He has a shitty job and we’re tired of telling him he can do better. He’s the guy we all know who half the time you don’t know if you want to punch or hug or both.

What I really love about how Joe write this character is that we get that loser Everyman vibe but he isn’t pathetic. I personally really am not into the pathetic anti-hero trope. It’s boring.

The thing I find masterful and intriguing is that in the start of the book we get flashes and hints that Jay has an inner life that is beyond his current position in life. He’s not an undercover badass, he doesn’t suddenly find big brass balls, there’s a very tangible realness in Jay’s character that is upheld through the book and I really appreciate that.

The plot revolves around Jay, his speed freak shitbag brother Chris, murder, an ex girlfriend, a baby and a lot of douche bags.

One of the other things that I really love about this book is the lack of machismo. I’ve read too many crime stories and books where regardless of where the hero starts out, at some point he hulks the fuck out and suddenly can do shit. He can shoot, he knows how to handle any situation. He’s like Stallone in fuckin Cobra. (SHUT UP don’t judge me I love that movie)

Most of the main male characters aren’t written to be bad masculinity tropes. There is vulnerability, hurt, there is depth in the presentations of hetero masculinity that I appreciate. It takes someone who can write from a place that is secure in their masculinity to present other men that way.

There are few women in the book. And with those few women they are different from each other. I feel like this is something that was paid attention to. They weren’t all hot versions of the same chick.

I think one of the appeals for me of Joe’s work overall is that it feels rooted. It feels real because things are grimy. This book takes place in this lovely New Hampshire place in the dead of winter and I felt the sadness, I felt being a guy like Jay living in a shit town, with shit circumstances and a dirty life.

Again, I don’t mean dirty in a pejorative sense.

This is dirty like hood life is dirty.

I think for me my enjoyment of this book comes down to the fact that it feels authentic. Granted, I doubt there’s a lot of Black ladies in this town, I feel like I understand it because I like the grimy. Hood dirt is comfortable for me.

Like his book Junkie Love I will come back to this book. This is a world I can get lost in comfortably.

The bottom line is the following:

  • Read this book if you like crime fiction.
  • This is the type of shit I like.
  • Joe Clifford is a fine damn writer.
  • Read his work.

Keep your eye out. The next book I review will be by Kola Boof and I’m probably going to babble about some really awesome things going on. AND some updates on Self Care Like a Boss coming soon.

And let me mention before I forget that if you are one of my Patrons or if you’re interested, head on over there and check it out. I put out a letter and the first in a series of new stories, like serious Urban Fantasy stories that my Patrons get first dibs on. So come drop a dollar in the bucket and get a download.

Half-Resurrection Blues: A Bone Street Rumba Novel – The Review

Okay y’all shit is about to get nerdy because this is the first book I’ve read in a while that gave me ALL the feels.

Buckle up.

Today I’m talking about Daniel Jose Older whom you can read all about here. I believe, I believe I found likely via a retweet. My memory for these things is crap but, I’ve read a lot of the stuff he’s written around and recently picked up Half-Resurrection Blues.

First impression- I read some reviews citing the “excessive” cursing and I was like, yes okay. Give it to me.

Short version of this review is, this book is fucking great. You know how I talk about Grown Folks Lit all the time? This is grown folks lit. The people in this story are my people. My friends talk like them. They are people in a NYC that I could picture myself fitting right into.

This is Urban Fantasy and I could fucking SEE MYSELF THERE.

We know I’ve blogged many times about my sad fangirl feels and feeling removed from any type of fantasy most of the time because Whiteness.

Not in this book.

SO, if you are a a little Black or Brown nerd like me and you want to read some grown up very well done Urban fantasy, read it. That’s all.

NOW hold on to your butts cause I’m goin in.

So here’s the blurb as it is on Amazon:

Carlos Delacruz is one of the New York Council of the Dead’s most unusual agents—an inbetweener, partially resurrected from a death he barely recalls suffering, after a life that’s missing from his memory. He thinks he is one of a kind—until he encounters other entities walking the fine line between life and death.

Now this book takes place in a New York that I would like to visit. Frankly, it is the antithesis of what shows like Girls would have you think. It is not populated by White people who might screw a Black person every now and then but weird everyone else is white.

That is what hooked me. This is the NYC I dreamed about visiting as a kid. The kind of NYC where among your friends you can say, you are not sure if so and so is Dominican or Puerto Rican, not because you don’t know the difference, but because the person you’re talking about might look like your Dominican cousin or your Puerto Rican Mom. Those type’s of details are what makes me believe in the placement of POC in any story.

Not far into the book I was there. The way you are supposed to be when you read a really great story. I actually had to pause and let that feeling happen. It has been a while since I’ve felt that little kid sense that I am right there with Carlos’ half dead ass.

That my homies is a very important thing. It is at the heart of why I don’t read more genre fiction, I am just not there.

Moving along.

That was the initial fangirl squee. I already really like his work and POV and this well…..okay. Squee ensued.

The writer squee is that at the beginning of the book, we know our narrator is kinda fucked up. He’s not super halfie, he’s not all powerful. I like that. I find it too easy in a lot of urban fantasy when the supernatural critters of whatever stripe are just too good.

We know my flavor is kinda grimy and dark and this is kinda grimy. Shit goes real wrong and I deeply appreciate it.

The other thing I enjoy is that he has an excellent ear for dialogue. The dialogue in this book Code Switches on a magical level. This is not something that can be done believably if the author has not done it. It’s one of those things.

It is deeply important for readers, especially White readers to take a second and appreciate what’s going on here. This is so well done that it is seamless in terms of realness and understanding that these people are each other’s people. The language is intimate in the way that my language with my closest friends and colleagues is intimate.

Sometimes, especially in genre fiction, more so in fantasy folks want to be super stylized and fancy and that just does not always work.

Now the action and the way it is built into this world is right up my alley. We have this authoritative pain in the ass New York Council of the Dead, we have our halfie discovering some shit they did not tell him and chaos ensues.

We get that noir, who done it mystery with magic, half dead dudes, and one bad ass girl. Like I don’t want to give too much away but she, she is a Bad. Ass.

He writes women I like. They are not all the same, they are not super duper holy shit hot and everyone is thinking about doing them all the time. I appreciate that the women are diverse in bodies, temperaments etc.

Okay down the nerdhole I go.

Let us talk world building.

I have long had a love of Urban Fantasy but most of it I have ever read was White elfs in the suburbs and I’m not into that.

This is what I have needed to read both as a reader and a writer. I have had a lust to write Urban Fantasy to my own detriment. When it comes to stuff I’ve never tried before, I need to read the good shit before I can see my own path.

Daniel Jose Older gave me the good shit.

This NYC is full of Black and Brown people both dead and alive doing shit I am into. I loved the Santeros. I LOVED that the Santeros were respected and not presented just as weird Black/Brown folks witchcraft. I have seen even POC do that and it torques my heart.

The magic and sorcery and depictions of the realm of the dead were not usual and I enjoyed them very much.

Here’s the real shit.

As I mentioned last week was it, if you purchase what we can assume is Grown Folks Lit of any stripe, get yourself ready for some Grown Folks Type Shit to happen.

That might be in the form of bad words, sex, violence of whatever kind. Grown. Folks. Type. Shit.

If you can handle liberal and beautiful Fbombs, code switching and for some of y’all more Black and Brown people than you see in a week, get this book.

My POC fantasy lovers.


Right damn now.

I have both the Ebook and the audiobook and as far as the audio goes, um. SIR HOW DARE YOU.

Y’all know I have a thing about being read to and this reading is really good. I suggest going and listening to a sample.

And buy the book.

In other news briefly.

Thank you SO much. Patreon is going way better than I expected and the single donations have been just..gosh.

Fuck. My feelings.

I will talk about it more but just thank you for sharing my thing and encouraging me to reach out.

Also probably next week I’m going to talk about the value of knowing so many other writers and maybe share some extra exciting news.

AND I’m launching a new feature soon. It shall be called: People and Stuff I like. Wherein I will share in depth review/squees about people, podcasts etc that I love. Cause I want you to love them too.

Now later taters I have spent my fangirl squeeing.

Suttree by Cormac McCarthy A review.


A new favorite book.
A new favorite book.

I just finished this book and wow.

Okay first thing is I’m already pretty into McCarthy’s work. Blood Meridian is one of my favorite book. We know I like it dark and grim and  he does it.

I think Suttree might now be my favorite McCarthy book. Read the synopsis here. 

The thing about this book that I love is how well McCarthy captures the casual racism of 1950’s Knoxville and also captures that singular usage of racial slurs that are not backed by implicit hate. They are there, a lot but not overdone and not as some authors make the mistake of doing always used in a very hateful context.

The Black folks in this book behaved appropriately. In their own neighborhood and establishments while they were a bit deferential, they weren’t shuck and jive negroes that populate other books.

There is something very specific about that time period and how Black and white people who are within the same socioeconomic (or close) class interact that was captured so well. It wasn’t the bucolic oh look they could ALL get along, but it wasn’t abject fear and horror.

I LOVE the language and usage in this book. McCarthy is a master with language and this book is no exception. The finesse of using the vernacular of the time, of the Black folks of the time, of the poor uneducated southerners and then every now and then slipping in this beautifully used 7$ vocabulary gave me chills. I am an absolute fool for the ability to manipulate language that way and this book, god damn it.

Even the language around how Suttree interacts with a black queer man up through the end of the book is palpably both loving and a little grossed out.

The whole book has that magic in it, the rhythm of the plot is meandering and at moments turns very sharp but never in a way that takes the reader out of the story. Shit happens and like most of McCarthy’s work there is a lot of darkness in this book and the darkness makes the beautiful moments glitter.

Often when I read books during this time period a few things happen. Often they are all White utopia’s where your average White dude spent a lot of time not saying nigger or worrying about race relations, the conflicts of the time are ignored, or it is Black folks pain porn in one form or another. Or it is LOOK THEY WERE FRIENDS AND LIVED PEACEFULLY TOGETHER IN THE SUPER DEEP SOUTH AND POWER POLITICS DIDN’T PLAY INTO IT AT ALL…*ahem the help*.

I am not old enough to have lived at the time but, I was very blessed to have had access to Black people who did. Some I was related to some not.

There is a lot of nuance in race relations during that time especially in the deep South. Beyond that there are shades of racism and realities that to write that time period successfully while including interaction between White and Black people, it’s just difficult.

This book will be difficult reading for some. The racism, the poverty, the grim winter and general darkness. For those who aren’t deterred, if you’re going to read McCarthy read this one.

It meanders beautifully. Some have said it is overlong but I don’t agree. The language is so beautifully done, it could have gone on more and I would have been happy. The POV shifts are done masterfully and smoothly.

This book reminds me of the blues, roots, bluegrass etc music I like. Some of it is so damn sad and terrible you want to lay down and cry. But it’s done so beautifully you want the pain.

So to wrap up.

Read this fuckin book.

That’s all.

I’ll be back with some craft notes maybe tomorrow and next week I’ll be back in Yeah Write with more flash.

I also want to mention that my dear friend Dena Rash Guzman talked about some recent lit world nonsense and said some nice stuff about my work. Get it at Luna Luna.

I feel like I might talk about subversion again. And the general lack of it in the lit world right now. I also probably want to talk about my poetry. I have some feels and whatnot.

AND (shit I have a lot to do, I’ve been sick for weeks and am way off my game) I really want to discuss some important feeling decisions I’ve made of late in regard to my writing.

So yeah LOTS to talk about.

Right now I’m gonna go try to write my first op-ed type thing and chug some mighty fine ass coffee.

A Love Letter to Antonia Crane

So we know I adore Antonia but this will be a combo review and love letter.

I’m having a very emotional week for a lot of reasons and I just finished reading Spent: A Memoir.


Okay first of all the hardback is really physically beautiful. For my fellow tactile book nerds, the cover has this beautiful artwork and is glossy. It feels nice under the finger tips and the little half dust cover is gorgeous.

And then you open it and start reading.

As soon as you start reading, you realize that this memoir is not tidy. It is not full of sunshine and flowers. It is not a story of a woman who dabbled in the dark and ran from it. While I was reading I was thinking of Antonia’s big beautiful smile and the prior readings of her words and I fucking got it.

You can see in her work that there is a sparkle in her eye and a knowing that you’re going for a ride.

In this book Antonia does not pretend.  She is naked in a way that is so important to me when I read memoir by other women especially sex workers and others who have been through it.

I personally cannot connect to women’s writing that sticks to the sunny and immediately redemptive. I can’t connect emotionally or (in my case) want to sit down and talk to a person who peers into the dark and skips away unscathed.

Antonia got scathed.

She wrote that shit like her life depended on it and even though I don’t know her super well, I’m going to assume her life did depend on it.

Now, I have been waiting for this book since the first time I saw her writing way back on The Rumpus. She had no book deal and I (sorry Antonia if I got creepy) followed her around the internet to get sips of her words. Even from the bits and bobs I read, I knew here is one of my people.

There is a power for me in coming across women who however they do it just take my heart. How they talk to and about other women. Certain styles of sex work writing. There are let’s call them (forgive my woowooness) vibes I get that make my say yes.

Now let’s talk about sex work memoir as a genre.

Back when sex bloggers/workers were the it thing in publishing and I was a semi sex blogger myself, there was a big explosion of shiny books written by madams, hookers, strippers etc.

For me during that time up through now the genre itself was lacking. I read them in a fairly greedy manner and after two or three I realized that the predominant narrative was fairly standard.

A lot of those stories were either handjobs to redemption and ‘saving’ from a illicit life. The heavy handed I AM FEMINIST THEREFORE I DO WHAT I WANT, the pretty White girl going to college and venturing into stripping to boost her self esteem etc.

The tragic was covered, the Red Shoe Diary salacious type semi stroke material.

What was missing to me was the grit. I have known and loved many sex workers in the last (I’m gonna round it out) 15 years give or take. From a beloved crack whore who taught me incredibly valuable life lessons, to peep show workers, strippers, high cost escorts and in talking to a lot of them and living some of it myself when I did a bit of sex work back in the day, the struggle in those stories was missing.

There was often the struggle to reconcile religious or feminist beliefs with sex work but not the how the fuck am I gonna pay my rent, how the fuck do I get out, where do I go from here type narrative.

A lot of sex work memoirs are designed more to give the reader a sense of satisfaction at the end that while sex work is glamorous and full of money and presents, it’s way better to retire gracefully into wifedom or something.

That doesn’t do it for me as a reader or as someone who has not really seen that happen.

Antonia’s book is full of the grit. Her writing is silky and funny, it is rough and gut wrenching but it is not glossy. There is terror. The way she writes about her Mother’s illness and death is going to haunt me.

That is why I love her and her work. I honestly cannot stand writing that seems too shiny. When people write about terrible things but there is a everything turns out in the end gloss. I have a thing about that.

This is not a Red Shoe Diary stroke memoir.

It is sexy but not fap material.

This is real and raw.

Antonia’s work is naked and glorious.

Spent is the kind of book I will return to because writing that is so full of power and beauty moves me. It makes me feel at home. It makes me feel a sense of community when I feel like I’m drowning in suburban bundt cakey blandness.

I am so deeply terribly thankful that I found Antonia’s work.

So before I start blubbering.

This book is fucking fantastic and I absolutely recommend it.

I fucking love Antonia Crane.

If you get a chance to see her read or take a class with her do it and tell her I sent you.

Bodies Made of Smoke. A review.

So not long ago I bought some books from Mr. J. Bradley.

Out of the tasty parcel of pretty little books I picked ‘Bodies Made of Smoke‘ to read first.

Go here to see where you can buy it.

First because I’m a nerd about these things let me talk about how pretty this little book actually is.


Terrible picture but look at it. That lovely starry design wraps around the whole book and it has a matte finish and I find it all terribly aesthetically appealing

Yes, I am kind of a fool for a beautiful design and this one just tickles me.

Now on to the content.

If you are a lover of linear stories that will make perfect sense immediately, this is probably not going to be your jam.

This novella is dreamy, strange and beautiful. The way J. Bradley uses language and the formatting of the language slows down the eye so the reader can linger over the prose. I love that. Slow me down, I read very fast (with an excellent retention rate..yes I am bragging) and when I feel my eye drag on really beautiful prose I am very pleased.

Look at this here.



Look at that typography.

Also can we talk about the top paragraph?

Mr. Bradley does this thing with this simple clean style that is still, the whole thing is just done beautifully.

So in my entirely not professional opinion this is a very beautifully done novella. From the time you have it in your hot little hand until you read it it will all be fucking great.

I actually read it twice because because I loved it. Also if you haven’t read more of Mr. Bradley’s work this will make you want to read it. I have some more of his work chapbooks and stuff I will be reading/savoring them and talking about them later on.

So go buy this book. Read it. Feel dreamy and I have to mention that some of it (I am trying not to be spoilery) hit this special delighted nerd part of my soul in a way that speaks to me on a deep level and gives me abject joy.

JOY people.

This is a beautiful thing. This is what I’m greedy for. I love it.

Thank you J. Bradley for bringing me some joy. I dig it.

When she makes magic.

Full disclosure.

First you should know that all I’m doing today is talking about my dear friend and someone I admire and love deeply Remittance Girl.

If you’re not familiar with her work, go back and read this entry with an interview I did with her.

Okay let’s get started.

First of all for background I was reading RG years before I ever said hello. I don’t recall if it was a writers list or via twitter or whatever but yes, I adore her.

Next I need you to read this post from the ERWA blog that she wrote.

If you don’t want to read it now read this bit:

But our challenge, as writers of the erotic, is to take that on. Not to flinch, not to look away, not to cheat by reducing the acts or the characters we write to caricatures or myths, or take refuge in the more socially acceptable sanctuary of romantic love.  And that’s why, unless our culture changes radically, we will always be transgressors in the literary world when we pursue the task of writing the erotic.

Now this is from the end is and is the part that speaks the most to me personally as an author.

Over the years I have realized that the work I do that moves me, that makes me feel the best as an author are always the things that hurt. They smart. In the last say five years or so, I have really tried to unlearn restraint.

Especially when it comes to writing erotica.

If you look at the story I posted the other day, this is clearly not a woman speaking who is necessarily after the warm gooshy feelings of love. She wants fuck. She wants degredation and to be punched in the mouth. In another story I have tucked away, the two characters are not quite hate fucking but absolutely not making love.

They are complicated.

I believe RG is correct about this not flinching being one of the reasons erotica will always be transgressive.

Outside of the usual heteronormative framework of boy meets, girl, dates, maybe fucks eventually everything turns out okay in the end, every other desire becomes transgressive.

More so if you consider that this framework is part of the White heterosexual is the default, everything else is outside of that and therefor becomes a transgression simple because it is not that.

This is not something I will argue about because it’s simply true.

Even in the context of LGBT fiction, anything outside of the very normative whiteness of it all is outsider.

This is something I wrestled with once upon a time. When I thought the only sites who would publish me would be the odd erotic website. Back then, I wrote what I felt I had to write in order for my writing to be published.

Everyone in my stories was thin, white and beautiful.

I hated a lot of them but I wrote them because sometimes I made a little money but mostly I just wanted my stories to be read.

Because I am not into those things, the normative ideas about sex beauty and romance, I spent a lot of time just trying to make it work. Occasionally I got in my subversive ideas. A lot of the time those “subversions” included such shockers as interracial sex that was not focused on the aspect of OMG BLACK ASS, fat lusty women without any fat asshole tropes or objectification, drugs all sorts of shit.

And then I stopped writing erotica all together save for filthy little things I sent to friends or kept for myself.

It is frankly exhausting to produce work that you know is outside of a.) what is selling like hotcakes and b.) will be challenging to people who rely on normative things for comfort and enjoyment.

Let me say here as well that if what you like is boy meets girl happily ever after type things, that is perfectly okay. If you read 50 Shades of Grey and think it is the epitome of awesome that’s great too.

For the people who don’t feel that way or need something different things can be exhausting. It’s demoralizing to a degree. It’s a hard spot to get through.

Back to RG.

As we know I love her work.

I just recently bought this book by her on kindle and have been reading it on my phone.

I’m going to try not to give too much away here.

So the main female character Sophie, I can’t stand her. I want to gag her and slap her. This is when RG does magic, because of my dislike of Sophie I love the male character that much more. The way he is written and how he treats her makes me empathize and want to see Sophie evolve as a character which, as I get further into the book is done masterfully.

This is why I love RG’s work so much and the thing I need to be turned on.

And yes, this story is hot stem to knee (I’m not quite to stern yet).

Frequently heterosexual sex doesn’t do it for me but because this is so well written, it’s fucking hot.

I’m saying you should read it.

Also she has a new book out which I will be buying sometime soon and you should read that one as well.

What I’m really saying here is that, I need from both the creative end and the enjoyment end for things to have some roughness. I don’t need pretty white people having nice safe sex.

It keeps me going. It turns me on. It gets me off.

In a world full of so many things that annoy, hurt and bore me writers who do this kind of magic keep me going.

It’s what I strive for in my own writing.

In summation, Remittance Girl=mother fucking beauty and I am eternally grateful for having discovered her and other authors like her.

That’s all.