Posts Tagged ‘heidi belleau’

Reviewed by Elizabetta

Bump in the Night, edited by Rachel HaimowitzTITLE: Bump in the Night
AUTHORS: Heidi Belleau, Ally Blue, Kari Gregg, Peter Hansen, Laylah Hunter, Brien Michaels & Sam Schooler
EDITOR: Rachel Haimowitz
PUBLISHER: Riptide Publishing
LENGTH: 210 pages
BLURB: Turn off the lights . . . and turn on your darkest fantasies.

Demon pacts. Ghostly possessions. Monsters lurking in the depths. The things that go bump in the night frighten us, but they also intrigue us. Fascinate us. Even turn us on.

Join us as fan favorites Ally Blue and Kari Gregg bring over-amorous aquatic beasts to life with their mythic twists on the Siren and the monster in the lake. Erotic horror pros Heidi Belleau, Sam Schooler, and Brien Michaels show us just how sexy scary can be with a pair of demon deals destined to curl your toes and set your heart thrashing. And literary masters Laylah Hunter and Peter Hansen weave haunting worlds where ghosts and dead lovers can touch our hearts (and other, naughtier places too . . .) and teach us lessons from beyond the grave.

By turns exciting, evocative, and exquisitely explicit, the stories in Bump in the Night are sure to scratch your sexy paranormal itch. Explore your wildest fantasies with us in this collection of dark erotic tales.

REVIEW:

This is one of the strongest and most provocative anthologies I’ve read in the slash genre. Each story is unique in its own special horror and all are well crafted. Warning: this is more horror than erotica. And while there’s little to no romance, there’s plenty of sexual intoxication. There are a lot of disturbing elements. If rape or dubious consent is a trigger, proceed with caution.

The endings are more ‘happy-for-now’ or even ‘this is as good as it’s gonna get’. But isn’t that what life in the ‘Twilight Zone’ is about? I have to admit that I gobbled these up, thrilled by the story-telling.

There is a common thread through the stories summed up by a line lifted from one of them, “I hadn’t stopped to consider the cost.” Just in time for Halloween, this is highly recommended for those who want a darker, no-holds-barred read. Please heed the tags.

Overall anthology rating – star_review

Resurrection Man by Laylah Hunter
Tags: historical, paranormal, gore

An interesting turn on the Frankenstein story, this is a perfect example of the adage, “be careful what you wish for”…  A young man desperately in love, practices the dark art of necromancy and sells his soul to bring a beloved lover back from the dead.

“The flesh is scarcely the trouble… the installation of a soul in flesh is the domain of God.”

This feels like a chapter out of a larger piece (which means I want more) but works fine as is. Chillingly horrific and melancholy.

Rated: four-stars_0

Mating Season by Kari Gregg
Tags: paranormal, monsters, tentacle-sex, slave/captive, non/dubious-consensual/rape, cock/ball torture, gore, bondage, medical kink

Oh*my*freaking*lord

This is over-the-top wickedness with a cherry on the top, and the bit of devious plotting keeps it from being purely torture porn. The author throws everything but the kitchen sink into this feast of tentacle sex depravity…

A lusty monster with very active suction-cupped appendages…

“… the suckers on the underside of the tentacles nuzzled and guzzled down my cock like dozens of tiny mouths slurping… siphoning… tenderly squeezing…”

Deception, bondage, non-con/dub-con/rape, mpreg, stuffing, fisting… torture…you name it.

Did I like it?

Yes… yes, I did.

It starts off innocently enough. Danny is on a back-to-nature camping trip in a bucolic setting… cue birds, bees, butterflies…

Then begins a descent into nightmare-hell as he is tricked and forced into an evil experiment and… let’s just say he finds a special connection with a large, slimy, tentacled lake monster. It’s not pretty. I can’t say more. Read it.

This comes so close to my (so-far) favorite tent-sex read, Charlotte Mistry’s Gay Tentacles from Outer Space! (discerning tent-sex readers will already know this one). But Kari Gregg (I Omega, Spoils of War) offers up her very own special brand of delicious torture in the tent sex genre.

It’s just all kinds of… no… and, yesssss… Read it, but heed the tags.

Rated: star_review

Flesh and Song by Ally Blue
Tags: contemporary, paranormal, gods/demons, sailing, tropical island

Noah Rose is a restless man. He has everything he could want, a thriving surf holiday business in Costa Rica, a beautiful sailboat, and an eight month vacation cruising around the Caribbean. He’s been searching for a mythic island, “La Terre de la Belle Mort” (Land of the Beautiful Death), but what exactly is he searching for? He has been desired by many men “who wanted to own him but couldn’t” yet he is alone, adrift on the sea, searching, until…

”… here he was, facing the island the old men swore would give you your heart’s most secret desire. For a price.”

A naked man shows up on the island’s pristine beach and Noah is called to him. The lure of the siren song, here with a twist, changes Noah’s life as, once more, someone wants to own and bind him. Has he found his “heart’s most secret desire”?

“Then the stranger spoke again, the words like bells and nightingales… making his heart race… intoxicating song words Noah didn’t understand but already needed the way he needed air and water.”

The story is well made, but in the end it felt like an interesting interlude. Noah is in a dangerous situation, we see it even when he doesn’t, but we don’t know or learn enough about him to really care. Points for the descriptive writing and Noah’s fall into a kind of madness— that was fun.

Rated: 535px-3-5_stars-svg

Out From Under by Brien Michaels
Tags: contemporary, paranormal, demons/monsters, slave/captive, bondage, vine sex, non/dubious-consensual/rape, three-way, stuffing & sounding, torture, gore-fest

Brant has been enslaved and imprisoned in an old, decaying mansion cellar by an evil demon that can take different physical forms. It can even manifest itself by turning the cellar into a lush, verdant forest, sprouting foliage and sex-crazed vines. And it is hungry, it needs a certain type of nourishment. One guess what that is…

“… leaves sprouted beneath my feet, moist and lush… the first string of cum jettisoned from the tip of my cock, and the leaves glowed where it landed.”

The author outdoes himself, this is such a randy gore-fest of demon badness. And Brant is no innocent. He’s a pain-loving nympho, hooked on vine sex, reduced to procuring men for the monster, keeping its secrets; he’s sold himself for it and is lost to the pleasure.

“… the demon’s curse amplified every feeling, made me need that caress so badly I ached.”

And yet, there are lines like, “This nymphomania was really a burden sometimes. It made life so much harder…” and… “(the demon’s) head walked toward me (saying): “Things may not have worked out quite the way I’d planned.” The cheeky humor is welcome and balances the nightmare nicely.

The author switches back and forth in describing the demon’s sexual appendages… are they vines or tentacles? Confusing and irritating. Discriminating tent sex readers will want an important detail like this kept clear and consistent!! *nods* For this reader ‘vine’ works just as well as ‘tentacle’.  I have to add that the demon’s ghastly, human form with its tattoos that could ‘peel away on command’ into 3-D vines— so cool. I also liked the ending, how things resolved for Brant, though there is a lot of gore to wade through to get there. Be warned!

Rated: four-stars_0

Sleeping With Ghosts by Peter Hansen
Tags: paranormal, alternate universe, ghosts, violence

An odd, grim alternative universe, this, and slow-going at first as the reader is dropped coldly into it with little preparation.  Brother Yordan Korvechi is a Bookman, he works for the Church of She Who Turns the Page and their job is to protect against the soulless who roam this world (it seems there are a limited number of souls to go around). “Turning the page” being a euphemism for death, and Yordan wielding the power of the Grim Reaper.

What happens when an aged person needs a little nudge, a little help with separation from life and soul? Who you gonna call?

Yordan is dispatched to such a task, equipped for action… “He had a knife up each sleeve and a slim pistol in his coat lining, a garrote in his breast pocket just aching to be unwound.”  His task is critical, as somewhere, an unborn baby is waiting for the recycled soul, must have it.

But when Yordan discovers that he has been used in a political rivalry, he begins to have second thoughts about his work. Things have become more complicated when he is touched by the soul of the not-so-aged man he has just dispatched, and he is forever changed.

This was well written and atmospheric with a brooding sense of tension, dis-ease and suspicion, but it didn’t feel especially horrific or erotic. It left me almost as cold as poor Yordan’s interaction with the soulless ghost… I couldn’t help but feel that a little more info and character development would have greatly helped. (I recall that I’ve read another short by this author (Changing the Guard) which left me feeling much the same.)

Rated: 535px-3-5_stars-svg

Blasphemer, Sinner, Saint by Heidi Belleau & Sam Schooler
Tags: paranormal, demons, rape, ‘shock-value’

Holy cannoli, this is all kinds of messed up. Disturbing and mesmerizing.

Things start off relatively quietly. There’s David who has to sell himself on the streets to get by, and is dying from syphilis, and Tobias, his self-righteous, sanctimonious ex-lover who runs a boy’s orphanage, steeping himself in ‘good works’.

Told from Tobias’ POV, we see that they were childhood lovers, but Tobias was unable to accept his ‘unnatural’ feelings for David. So he abandons him, and buries himself in religious conviction that it’s for the best. David, meanwhile still loves Tobias, and comes asking him for help.

Part-way in I felt that this was looking to be the most romantic of all the offerings in this antho. Yeah, Tobias is a prick, but he eventually enters into a deal with a strange man he meets in a church, whereby he can give David his life back, give him a chance at redemption. It seems that Tobias still cares for his old lover and does want to help him. But are his intentions completely unselfish and in good faith?

This also has an underlying message of the need for compassion— that sometimes there is no choice— that we must accept who we are, and that love is love. Too bad Tobias learns this too late because the bargain he makes for David’s soul turns out to have a horrific and shocking payment. He has literally sold his soul to the devil for it.

Most of the important action happens in a church and there is an act that is so shocking that it stopped me cold… it will offend some, I suspect. But this is some special mindfuckery— that the horror here, lies in messing with our perceptions and boundaries. There is a twist in the act that makes it work in the end, though. In the end, everyone gets what they deserve. But at what cost?

Rated: four-stars_0

Elizabetta’s Overall Rating – star_review

BUY LINKS: Riptide Publishing

==================================
Elizabetta is one of the official reviewers on The Blog of Sid Love.

To read all her reviews, click the link: ELIZABETTA’S REVIEWS
=====================================================

Working in a Porn Store: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

ApplePolisher_150x300Hi! I’m Heidi Belleau. All week long, I’ll be stopping by various blogs promoting my new series and novel, Apple Polisher (Rear Entrance Video #1), out now from Riptide Publishing! I’ll be around to answer all your questions and comments, and I’m doing a very naughty week-long giveaway, so stay tuned!

Today, I’m talking about my real-life experiences working a porn store, which is what inspired the whole Rear Entrance Video series!

The Good: Cool Co-workers

Porn store staff kind of get a bad rap in Apple Polisher. Christian’s co-workers are lazy, manipulative, rude, dishonest and just all around nasty to be around. In the real world, my co-workers were the hands-down best part of the job. Sure, working in a seedy sex shop attracts some less-than-savory people, and then there’s the stoners applying for the job as a joke, but they get weeded (ahem) out quick, leaving some pretty amazing people.

You have to have a certain special something to make it selling porn. You have to be clever and assertive enough to not get tricked into talking dirty, but you also need to be open-minded and cool and even a little kinky yourself, because customers who feel judged are customers who don’t spend money or come back.

The staff of my porn store was me (secretly kinky nerd girl who almost didn’t get the job because I looked too “straight laced”), a retro bombshell submissive, a movie geek professional Dom, our tiny goth manager with full arm sleeve tattoos and an inexplicable love of country music, and a sweet pagan girl with a penchant for Birkenstocks and flowy skirts. Almost all of us were queer, but more than that, because our jobs got so damn weird sometimes, we were family. We understood each other. We loved each other. I can’t say a single bad thing about anybody.

The Bad: It’s Still Customer Service

Anybody who’s ever worked retail or food service knows what I’m talking about. Demanding customers. Shoplifting. People trying to return used sex toys thinking “the customer is always right” means they can share their body fluids. People who yell at you for no reason, other than because you’re there and they know they can get away with it.

One of the hands-down worst parts of the job was hunting down late fees. Nobody liked to do it, no customers liked to pay them, but it had to be done. If you collected off their credit cards (as the contract they signed gave you permission to), you might have a furious customer storming in as soon as the bill came through. If you asked them to pay up before renting their next title, they might toss their rental right in your face and storm out, never to be seen again. If you called their home number to remind them they had late items, you might wind up talking to a significant other or child who didn’t always appreciate you saying you couldn’t say why you were calling.

The Ugly: Sex Shop Sex

I’ve worked a fair few customer service jobs, and it’s a reality of the position that sometimes you get hit on. At Subway, I had customers smooshing their faces against the sneeze guard to ogle my breasts.  At the movie theatre, I had guys asking when my shift got off, if I’d join them in the cinema.

At the porn shop I still got hit on, but the nature of the business meant that things got a little more . . . x-rated. Even if I didn’t want them to. In my year working at an adult video store, I was groped, asked if my boobs are real (do I look like I can afford fakes?), propositioned to peg a guy, even told if I was a “good girl” a customer would “pay my tuition”.  One man brought me nude photos of himself.

Luckily, because of the nature of the store, my manager was way more used to dealing with dudes with boundary issues than any of my managers at my more conventional jobs. When it went too far, or I felt threatened, she was always there and had my back. One night when I had a particularly shady character say he was going to come back at closing to take me out, one of my coworkers bussed across town with her boyfriend to make sure I got on my bus safely. Now that’s what I call loyalty.

About Apple Polisher

Apple PolisherBLURB: This straight-A student has a dirty little secret.

Christian Blake dreams of being a kindergarten teacher, but making the grade means maintaining a squeaky clean image: no drinking, no drugs, no swearing, no sex. And definitely no falling for his new roommate—tattooed bad-boy Max, who may or may not be a drug dealer.

Most of all, it means no working at a porn store. But Christian’s aunt has cancer, and her beloved Rear Entrance Video will go bankrupt if Christian doesn’t take over managerial duties. Soon enough, Christian finds himself juggling sticky twenty-five cent peep show booths, a blackmailing employee, and a demanding professor who likes to make an example of him.

And then there’s Max, who doesn’t know anything about the store, but hates Christian’s preppy sweater vests and the closet Christian forces him into when they’re together. Max just wants Christian to be himself—even though Max is keeping secrets of his own. Christian struggles to find the impossible balance between his real life and the ideal one he thinks a teacher needs to live . . . all while trying to keep his aunt’s dream alive without losing his own.

ELIZABETTA’S REVIEW:

Christian thinks he has to be an apple polisher, thinks that in order to be a good kindergarten teacher, he has to be a goody-goody, perfect, by-the-rules kinda guy. Unfortunately, he thinks this also means living a lie in the closet.

Christian is a college student in a teacher training program that has an unbelievable list of decorum and comportment requirements. This gets him into a quandary when he falls for one of his hunky housemates, Max, who doesn’t believe in closets and may or may not be a drug dealer. It also makes Christian hesitant about helping his sick auntie Beverly with running her small business while she is under-going chemotherapy. Managing a porn shop called Rear Entrance Video doesn’t quite fit in with that whole kindergarten-teacher persona.

So Christian is conflicted about who to be true to… himself, his family and friends, or the demands of his chosen profession. Really, it’s all about him not worrying about what others will think of him and learning to grow a pair. You just want to give him a good shake. But that’s Max’s job.

“Apple Polisher” starts off a bit slowly for me, the story quietly meanders around Christian, his auntie, and his four new housemates of which Max is one. It isn’t until Christian and Max hook up that it feels like the plot starts cooking— when Christian is faced with his prejudices and self-doubt. Can he and Max make a go of it? They seem to keep a lot of secrets from each other…

Max and Christian are far from perfect, they are not glossy, pretty-boys, they have real life issues. I like how they bumble through the ups and downs, and how Christian finally gets a backbone. I had a small issue with the story towards the end when Christian, who has been so overly concerned with his image, throws caution to the wind to commit an act that goes against everything he has been fretting about. Don’t get me wrong, it is a hot, sexy moment, but it just seems too soon and feels too out of character to me.

The author nicely shapes a community of quirky characters including Rob and the other housemates who come through for Christian, and even a motley crew of porn shop employees and customers. And that porn shop is a perfect setting for a good dollop of humor and the absurd (and, yes, sex). This is the start of a series where we’ll get to know the other housemates better. I look forward to more Rear Entrance Video shop adventures and continuing on with Rob’s story, up next.

ELIZABETTA RATES IT: four-stars_0

Buy it now!

Add it to your Goodreads shelves

GIVEAWAY

What would a series about a porn store be without the porn? And so, to celebrate Apple Polisher’s release, I’m doing the only sensible thing and giving away a week long membership to super high quality gay porn website CockyBoys (link obviously NSFW!), home of Christian’s favourite performer, Jake Bass!

Prefer your gay sex in written form? Not legally able to view pornography in your region? You can still enter and get the value of the prize put toward a Riptide Gift Certificate instead!

Either way, all you have to do is leave a comment here with a way for me to get a hold of you. At the end of the week, I’ll pick one lucky winner. Every comment counts as one entry, so be sure to follow the whole tour for your best chance at winning!

::~::~~::~::

About Heidi Belleau:

Heidi Belleau was born and raised in small town New Brunswick, Canada. She now lives in the rugged oil-patch frontier of Northern BC with her husband, an Irish ex-pat whose long work hours in the trades leave her plenty of quiet time to write. She has a degree in history from Simon Fraser University with a concentration in British and Irish studies; much of her work centred on popular culture, oral folklore, and sexuality, but she was known to perplex her professors with unironic papers on the historical roots of modern romance novel tropes. (Ask her about Highlanders!) When not writing, you might catch her trying to explain British television to her newborn daughter or standing in line at the local coffee shop, waiting on her caramel macchiato.

You can:

find her tweeting as @HeidiBelleau,
email her at mailto:heidi.below.zero@gmail.com,
or visit her blog: http://heidi-below-zero.blogspot.com.

ApplePolisher_TourBanner