Lesbian BDSM tales by Valerie Gray. Done in a way that it reminds one of Sloane Britain.
Archive for lesbiana
First, 21 Gay Street is a real address:
In Block’s novel, the brownstone apartment complex at the address in the center of most of the action. Joyce Kendall, fresh from Ohio and a graduate of Clifton College (setting of many Andrew Shaw campus Corniths), ready to start her job at Armageddon Publishing, rented the place sight unseen from an ad in a paper. She wanted a furnished apartment when she arrived in Manhattan, prepared to take the publishing community over by a storm.
She meets three neighbors: Terri Leigh and Jane Fitzgerald, two lesbians who live and love together; and Pete Galton, a former PR writer now taking time to write his first novel, which isn’t coming along as he had hoped.
Joyce is disappointed in her job — Armageddon does not publish literature but pulp magazines in the true confessions, romance, and men’s adventure genres. She thought she would be a first reader of manuscripts — which she is — but mostly she does letter typing and filing.
Joyce is lonely and bored. ane and Terri have third third sex eye on her — she’s cute, she is unattached, is she gay or in the closet? Jane incites Joyce to dinner. When Jove makes the moves on her, she freaks out and runs to another neighbor, Pete, who has been rude to her. She asks Pete to take her to bed, so she knows she is a woman desired by men.
Pete takes her to a wild party, instead. An orgy in fact. Joyve drks several juice drinks spiked with qualludes. She blacks out and later learns that she had sex with dozens of men, including Pete, whose bed she wakes up in.
A romance happens, despite the sordid encounter at the orgy. They click. Pete knows his novel is trash and worries about money. Joyce tells him he could write cofessioons romances and make $150 a story. She knows what her employer wants, so he writes to order and starts a career as a pulp writer, with pregnant Joyce at his side.
A sappy tale but not bad. The lesbian aspects are not as prominent as the wonderful Paul Rader cover suggests. The sex is almost a tad more explicit than your usual 1960s Midwood, too.
This is the story of Lisa McBride, a somewhat naive young lady in New York, attending the New School for Art and modeling on the side to make money. Her mother was once a model, and has sent Lisa to Fran, an agent and PR person. But Fran is also an aging lesbian with an eye for the young ones, and just when she thinks she has Lisa for her lover, Lisa meets a hunky “he-man” model, Craig Phelps, and instantly falls in love with him.
Fran is annoyed but she doesn’t think the romance will last long. Craig is a user, moving into her place and getting her to buy loads of marijuana, which starts off slow but becomes a daily, hourly obsession for him. He sees Lisa as his property, and at a party, he tells his buddies “what’s mine is yours” and they can all have sex with Lisa if they want.
“Craig! Do you really mean that? You . . . don’t care if I have sex with other men?”
“Not all the time, baby. Just on certain occasions, when I feel in the mood. And tonight I felt like sharing you and our pad with some old buddies. I still feel like it, as a matter of fact. So let’s get going and get you high.”
Lisa fell bac into his arms, stunned and hurt [...] She had no rght keeping him from entertaining his buddies — just because she was so jealous and didn’t want to share him with anyone. So he wanted to show her off to his buddies. Nothing wrong with that. It was kind of nice, as a matter of fact [...] He carried her into the living room. Pausing on the threshold, he shouted for attention. “Now here this, all you cats. Here’s my chick, Lisa. And for tonight, what’s mine is yours.”
Three husky crew-cut young men, clad only in jockstraps, fell to their knees in front of Craig. They stretched out their brawny arms toward him. Craig spread his arms and let her drop down into their midst. Her startled shrieks were lost in their roar of laughter and clapping from the others in the room. (pp.94-5)
There’s some lesbian sex too, like when Lisa spends the night in a Park Avenue pad and a maid who resembles her has sex with her, making Lisa like “she’s having sex with herself.”
Fran meanwhile has found a new young female paramour, Sally, to replace Lisa. She hears of the crazy pot parties and orgies and admonishes Lisa that it’s only a matter of time before Craig starts pimping her out for money. Lisa guffaws.
But in a matter of days, their money gone, Craig is desperate. He has been opening her mail and cashing checks not his, pawning her jewelry, telling her that what she owns he owns, vice versa — including her body. He also seems to be hooked on heroin but denies it — similar in fact to The Needle, where the husband pimps his wife for junk and dollars, Craig talks Lisa into attending a “party” for a rich businessman they know, who will pay her $200 to “entertain” some out of town buyers. She thinks she’s just supposed to talk and act nice and then finds out she’s expected to have sex with any man at the party who wants it. She narrowly escapes gang rape.
Lisa is a lot of Terry Southern’s Candy, so naive and always finding her way into sexual adventures she didn’t ask for; sometimes you can’t feel sorry for her for being so dumb, but she leans the hard way, with the help of Fran, who winds up getting murdered by Craig in a moment of madness.
That Other Hunger also has a lesbian-positive ending, where Lisa and Sally, grieving for Fran, wind up in each others’ arms, in bed, “wide awake and performing the ageless rituals of love” (p. 188). Does the title refer to the twilight desire, or to heroin over pot?
The novel starts off slow, a tad too New York chic, but we slowly get sucked into Lisa’s sad glamor world of modeling, drugs, and sex.
Another gorgeous Paul Rader cover. Lynn Munroe has this to say in his Rader/Midwood Checklist:
This cover may not actually make sense (how many psychiatric patients remove their dresses for therapy?), but it is an eyeful nonetheless. The poor dear has twisted herself around so much that both her breasts and bottom are heaving out of her slip, and even the good doctor is flashing a bit of stocking top and thigh.
Marion Zimmer Bradley didn’t think highly of this title, feeling BNritain/Williams had succumbed to the demands of commercial lesbian fiction.
And the book does tend to lean toward a commercial, predictable format, not as personal and riveting as other Britain novels like The Needle and These Curious Pleasures.
Dr. Erika Hathaway is a psychiatrist who crosses the ethical boundaries of her profession in many ways, with patients and co-workers. She has her private practice and she is on staff at a hospital, working with committed patients who are, well, nuts or manic. One, Arlene, is a nymphomaniac who seduces both men and woman and whom Erika has the hots for.
She also has the hots for a nurse, Mavia, who has latent lesbian feelings as well…and feelings for Arlene. Erika gets jealous.
One man, Tom, a medical writer, is in an influencing position of power with a foundation that is about to give the psychiatric wing a large grant for research. He lets Erika know that if she sleeps with him, she will be on the team and benefit from the money and status of the research. He tries to rape her one night but she hits him with a beer bottle.
Erika also sees her own psychiatrist for her own issues, especially those crossing ethical lines.
Throughout the story, we peer into Erika’s head and the past, with her first lesbian love, whom she lived with. It ended with heartbreak and Erika has been seeking out a woman to experience those feelings again.
An okay read. Now and then, Britain delivers remarkable one-liners, such as: “The world does not die when the heart does” (p.89).
A B-minus all together.
Set in Provincetown, Rhode Island, instead of the usual Greenwich Village Block/Lord gay novel, Of Shame and Joy is about three people looking for an answer to their lustful longings and need to for love and connection.
First there is Sheila, a tall blonde nymphomaniac who loves sex but cannot reach orgasm, so has more sex to try to. She is tormented by her own desires.
There is Maddy, a young dark haired lesbian disowned by her family who falls in love with Sheila on first sight, but when she approaches Sheila, Sheila is appalled by the advances of “a dirty queer.”
There is Hank, who rescues Sheila after a crazy drunken night of a gang bang, having sex with over a dozen men. He’s a 21 year old virgin and loses his cherry to Sheila and falls in love with her.
Seems everyone falls in love with Sheila, except Sheila can love no one
It is a little soap opera-esque, the broken hearts of lovelorn men and women in P-town, and while not as good as some of Block’s other Sheldon Lords, a fairly good read. I’d give it a B-minus.
One ting I did like was it did not have that slease-era patent “lesbians are evil” ending; instead, it has a romantic, happy lesbian ending with plenty of alluded to oral sex.
The sleaze book era of the 1960s gave rise to the fictional medical case study book, after the bestselling status of Masters and Johnson and The Kisney Report. Publishers wanted to cash in on this genre so hired writers out of Scott Meredith to pen bogus academic studies — Lawrence Block was Benjamin Morse, Robert Silverberg was L.T. Woodward. I know Art Plotnik did one of fetsihes.
I have wondered how many people picked these books up back then and thought they were real, and if students or researchers cited them in papers. And what’s the danger of such for academic accuracy and scholarly evidence in research, something that has been an issue lately with global warming and other research. Indeed, the notion of “the politics of evidence” in academics has been a point of heated debate the past two years.
Today, of course, these books would never pass muster; what they really are: collections of short stories linked by a fake sexologist, much like the recent studies by Dr. Garth Mundinger-Klow. Entertainment, no less!
This book was published when “homosexuality is illegal. Yet common sense tells us that it should not be” (p. 136). Men and women could be, and were, arrested if caught in the act, even in the privacy of their homes, and often in hotels when management would turn them in. ”Queer friendly” motels were common.
Block/Morse goes through the gambit of “types” of lesbians that he interviews, from the college girl, the office girl, the career gal a literary agent in this case), the prostitute, the matron, the man hater, the bohemian, the frigid wife, the “unsuccessful heterosexual” and the dull dyke. Some he deems are not true lesbians but just girls experiemnting, or who are bi-sexual; others he deems are born lesbians.
But how accurate is this book, knowing it is fiction and written by a man? Block knew the gay community well, writing about lesbians as Leslie Evans, Jill Emerson, and Sheldon Lord. A more authentic typology would be Ann Aldridge’s We Walk Alone.
In conclusion, Morese write:
There is no way to sum up a book such as this one. It is not a novel or a biography. It is not even a single complete argument… (p. 140)
What is it then?
Pulp sleaze written for a quick buck.
This Paul Rader cover is the first of his lesbian couples, which he did many more, most of them quite stunning. Rader seemed to tackle the cover for most of the Sheldon Lords, but not always the reprints…
Another Lawrence Block tale set in Greenwich Village, his favorite setting for his sleaze books, and where he (still does?) live. The building at 69 Barrow Street also appears in Passion Alley by Andrew Shaw.
This one is somewhat soap opera-esque about the love and sex woes of hipstes in the Village. Ralph is a painter who lives with a somewhat wild and nutty lesbian, Stella. Ralph sets his eyes on a new tenant, Susan Rivers, and so does Stella.
Ralph is looking for love but Stella just wants another woman to fuck, and she has a long list of them. Susan, however is a recent lesbian the past two years, six lovers and no more interest in men. So she fears Ralph’s interest, but she poses for him for a painting on the condition they are just friends. Of course, he slowly falls in love with her.
There’s a great reefer madness party Stella throws for 1 people where they all get high and have various sexual connections. One girl, Maria, keeps asking every man do do it “Greek style” with her but no one wants to. When Ralph asks her if it hurts she says she wants the pain. Some BDSM and D/s comes into play here as Maria moves in and becomes Stella’s “bad girl.” Maria calls Stella Mummy and Stella gets her kicks from punishing and spanking Maria.
Pretty bold for a 1959 novel. But like many lesbian themes books back then, the dykes had to be portrayed as deviant and disturbed, so Maria soon lapses into insanity with the D/s mommy/bad girl game, and Stella becomes homicidal-maniac jealous of Susan and Ralph.
There’s also rape in the book — a lesbian rape, and a drunken moment when Ralph attacks Stella when she taunts him about her making love to Susan, and he rapes his friend.
The novel falls into strange violence at the end like some of Block’s Andrew Shaw Nightstands tend to do.
Overall, a decent Sheldon Lord, but not in the same ball park of greatness like Candy, The Sex Shuffle, or A Strange Kind of Love.
The enigmatic Elaine Williams aka Sloane Britain shows us the petty, micro-world of lesbians in the Broadway play world: manipulative, scheming, shallow, using sex to convince people with money and power to help with careers in writing and acting.
Britain/Williams addressed the issue in previous books Unnatural and These Curious Pleasures and Insatiable, that all the problems, joys, pleasure and insecurities in heterosexual relationships exist in lesbian relationships, despite some lesbian claims that only women can truly love another woman and men are bad. The rich aging dyke in this novel says it best to Hallie, the playwright:
“You know I never wanted you in this . . . life. I feel now as I felt then, you don’t belong in it. You came to me with your tears and your sorrow and your hurt after David left you. You thought you could find solace in the arms of another woman. By hating one man you thought you hated them all. Hallie, women leave one another too . . . ” (pp. 104-5)
And Wanda knows this well, for the young women she takes under her wing, who pretend love, often leave her for the next best thing, when they’ve gotten what they want. The current young sex kitten, Carol, has slept her way into a role in Hallie’s new play, Summer Ends Too Soon, making the New England rounds and heading toward Broadway.
Carol has gone from the money backer, Wanda, to the playwright, and who knows who next. Hallie knows it, and is afraid of her feelings for Carol. Hallie doesn’t let her lesbian desires known — for instance, her director, Elliott, is in love with her, and Hallie has kept him at bay by telling him their love is pure and sex would only ruin it.
Carol has also been sleeping with Ellis, the female lead, and a notorious theater-scene dyke. The issue: Carol looks good, but she can’t act as well as she thinks, and each time she is on the verge of being fired from the p play, she sleeps with the right person to keep her in.
It’s obvious that something bad is going to happen with all of Carol’s bed-hopping. It’s a world I know well — the sexual side of the theater scene, not Broadway, but it’s the same wherever you go, small towns or big cities, when you put a bunch of people in the arts together, and they like the same things, and get into bed now and then, affairs and trysts and hurt feelings are inevitable.
Harry Mandl is the producer, a former dress salesman who once married into a theater-family. He doesn’t have a clue about what makes good or bad theater — he’s simply a salesman who put projects together with backers, who gets shows booked into theaters. He’s a lot like TV producer Harry Broadman in These Curious Pleasures, based on Harry Shorten, publisher of Midwood Books that Elaine Williams worked for.. Ellis bursts Harry’s bubble:
“Harry, don’t you realize if you divorce Ceicily now, you’re out of the family theatrical agency too? [...] Wake up! ou didn’t produce anything. You wouldn’t have attracted a single play or a single penny if it hadn’t been for the agency backing you up. You haven’t been a producer all these years . . . you’ve been a puppet.” (p. 117)
Could the same be said for Midwood’s Shorten, who never read a single manuscript he published, whose editors — like Williams — attracted writers and edited the books to make them the best they could be? Shorten was a publisher from the money he made from a successful panel cartoon, There Ought To Be a Law. Eliis goes on:
“The only talent you have is that you let people with talent run you. If it hadn’t been for all the strings Ciecley and her family provided for you, you’d be back on Seventh Avenue peddling dresses.” (p. 117)
Nothing much happens in this book, it is more character-driven than plot, tending toward banter. Not Williams/Britain’s best. I’d give it a B-minus for at least being entertaining and showing how shallow those in the stage arts can get.
Block was (and perhaps still is) at his best when writing in the first-person, whether his narrators are criminals, lost young men, con artists, burglars, hit men or private eyes.
Such is the case with Passion Alley, the story of Jack Edwards’ downward spiral after being kicked out of college (it’s also interesting to read a “sex” book from 1962, after Block started to come into his own, publishing under his own name at Gold Medal, like with Mona and others).
Jack is a little older than your usual undergrad, 23, having served in Korea and hitching onto the G.I. Bill. Block adds an interesting aside about how the college campuses of the U.S. changed after Korea, when all these battle-hard young men began to mix in with the soft rich kids and intellectuals who were worlds apart from the battlefield. Jack is also in an upper-crust fraternity, only because he’s a good football player, and the football team is important to the college. A teammate gets killed one game, and Jack punches out the other player at a frat dance party, which causes a scandal and gets Jack the boot.
Before leaving for New York, Jack talks his girl into giving him her virginity, promising to marry her, and leaving her in the morning a ruined girl, his final act of defiance against the conservative social and political environment that has always treated him like a slug, a guy without a rich family, a grunt on the G.I. Bill.
He heads to New York because he has a notion–like a number of Block’s male characters, such as in Shame Dame–of becoming a writer. New York is the place to go, right?
In the vein of Sloane Britain, BDSM Books has published Daring Karin by Kim Mitchell, who says she was influenced by Britain’s work. It’s a pretty wild lesbian D/s novel in ebook format.