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Decadent by Shayla Black

Dear Ms. Black:

042521721301mzzzzzzz.jpgI have to say that the cover of this book was hot. It looked Decadent, just like its title. Unfortunately what was inside the covers was more of a hot mess. I’ll admit that the sex scenes were all that was advertised, but everything around the sex scenes was incomprehensible, and not in a good way, if being incomprehensible can ever be denoted positively.

The heroine, Kimber, drives 100 miles to ask a favor of a guy she hasn’t seen since she was 17. The favor isn’t, “I’m new to town, introduce me around”. Instead its “I’m in love with a guy who lives the menage lifestyle and so I need some training in the menage lifestyle so I can show the guy I am in love with that we are meant to be together.” I know that authors want readers to just go with the setup, to have an open mind, but already I am thinking that Kimber is not the brightest lightbulb in the Costco 12 pack. The man she is supposedly in love with is Jesse, a rock star, and her relationship with Jesse is best characterized as pen pals.

To make matters even less understandable, Kimber’s backstory with Deke includes having a crush on him, making advances, and then being rebuffed. Kimber was extremely hurt by this but despite her hurt feelings, goes to ask him to introduce her into the “depraved” lifestyle (her connotation) so that she can be the appropriate spouse for her rocker boyfriend/pen pal. I’m thinking to myself (amongst other things) why she just doesn’t go to the man/pen pal she loves and tell him that she wants to see if she is ready to fit into his lifestyle? Why track down someone who has rejected you years ago and ask for training to see if you would fit with the man/pen pal you love?????? (I could not put enough question marks here to appropriately express my total confusion and WTF-itude).

If this setup isn’t bad enough, Kimber is a VIRGIN and she wants to maintain her virginity for her rocker boyfriend who is into menages. So if Deke chooses to fulfill her favor of being introduced to the menage lifestyle, he must do it without breaking the hymenal barrier. Everything else is okay though, but the pussy canal is sacred and not to be exposed to penile flesh that does not belong to the rocker boyfriend/pen pal. Other flesh is okay though. This is proof of Kimber’s love for her boyfriend/pen pal. I know, it is time for the insertion (no pun intended) of more ??????????????. As a friend of mine said “If vaginal intercourse were a requirement to losing one’s virginity, then there must be thousands of virgin gay men in the world.”

Deke isn’t up for it. I mean, of course he is “up” for it, but he’s had a thing for young Kimber for a long time and isn’t really thrilled with the idea of grooming her to go off with some other guy even though Deke’s cousin, Luc, is all for it. But Deke is really perfect for Kimber because of his past sexual hangups, Deke cannot penetrate the pussy of a woman for fear that his super sperm may impregnate her and then lead her to her death. For years, he’s had sex with a woman only with Luc. That’s some fierce sperm there. Despite being fearful of the negative consequences of his men getting free, Deke does not cut off the source. “He’d considered a vasectomy. He’d even had an appointment once. Then… something had stopped him. He’d never known what. Never looked at it too hard, figuring condoms and menages would cover his bases.” 

Deke and Luc, of course, cave to her demands and Kimber, after being scared off a bit, comes back to the house for her training. The way in which Kimber is described, though, is quite childlike. Maybe that explains the total lack of reasoning that Kimber displays. She was all “promise of sweetness, white lace and innocent sighs.” She even has a “sweet, litle girl voice”. Err. But then Deke says three paragraphs later that her voice had a “husky sound.” I’m not sure how I reconcile the “sweet, little girl voice” with “husky”. I guess if the little girl smoked three packs a day for a few years, she could have a sweet, little girl voice with a husky sound.

One thing about Kimber, though, is she is consistently and relentlessly lacking in good sense. Deke treats her like she’s lower than dog poop on his shoe and Luc treats her like she’s a goddess. He cooks for her, is totally inexhaustible in bed, and holds her when she needs to be held. Kimber, of course, likes being treated lower than dog poop and prefers Deke.

As an aside, it’s really special that in this threesome, one of the guys is dark and one is tawny haired. I think that there must be some rule that threesomes involve two different looking guys – one light and one dark. Maybe a guy’s fantasy is that the two women look the same – you know, like twins – but women’s fantasies are way evolved and include two DIFFERENT looking guys. Just another way women are totally superior.

What capped off my complete confusion was that at the end of the book and pages and pages of threesome activity, Kimber and Deke go it alone, as if having a happy ever after with three people is too depraved for even the menage lifestyle. It’s a conundrum, like most of the rest of the book. D.

Best,

Jane

This book can be purchased in trade paperback. No ebook format that I could find.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

61 Comments

  1. TeddyPig
    Dec 12, 2007 @ 05:32:13

    I'm not sure how I reconcile the “sweet, little girl voice” with “husky”.

    Why do I suddenly hear Harvey Fierstein in Torch Song Trilogy yelling “momma!” out the window.

  2. Jayne
    Dec 12, 2007 @ 05:54:59

    So…she stays with the one who treats her like dog doo? But wait, he’s the one with the super sperm. Or fierce sperm. Or whatever…

  3. Gina
    Dec 12, 2007 @ 06:18:30

    “Treated like dog poop” and “fierce sperm” – had I had those two phrases when I tried my luck in online dating you can BET they would have been in my personals ad. I have a good friend still desperately trawling those match.com’s like an addict, I’ll have her try them and see if she gets her Deke out of them :)

  4. Danielle
    Dec 12, 2007 @ 07:11:47

    Oh….I thought I was the only one that didn’t like this book. This book was a wallbanger for me. What really did it for me was when one of her brothers near the end of the book questions her for going back to Deke and Luc and her come back was……”well at least I don’t need to whip a girl” HUH!!!

  5. Angela James
    Dec 12, 2007 @ 07:29:57

    As an aside, it's really special that in this threesome, one of the guys is dark and one is tawny haired. I think that there must be some rule that threesomes involve two different looking guys – one light and one dark

    Heh. I always think it’s because when you have a sex scene with more than one he or one she, the pronouns get to be confusing so you need new descriptions to differentiate the two, so the author makes sure they look totally different so you’re not then describing two blonds as well.

  6. Meriam
    Dec 12, 2007 @ 07:33:56

    The editor’s perspective!

  7. Jia
    Dec 12, 2007 @ 07:34:01

    Luc treats her like she's a goddess. He cooks for her, is totally inexhaustible in bed, and holds her when she needs to be held.

    Who wants a man like that? Don’t you know the best kind of man is the one who treats you like crap?

    Maybe Jayne’s right. Maybe it’s because of his super sperm.

  8. jmc
    Dec 12, 2007 @ 08:14:28

    ménages would cover his bases

    Am I missing something? When did participation in a menage become a method of birth control? Was I absent that day in health class when this was discussed? Dammit, who knows what other fascinating BC methods I’ve missed out on!

  9. Sarah Frantz
    Dec 12, 2007 @ 09:04:31

    I hate the “cure” at the end of books with alternate sexualities. Emma Holly was good at doing this in her older books. Her BDSM characters are cured by Twu Wuv and don’t “need” the BDSM anymore at the end of the novel. And that bugs the hell out of me.

  10. Ann Bruce
    Dec 12, 2007 @ 09:25:16

    Uh, can I point out ménage is French for housekeeping or household. A ménage à trois is really a household of three, i.e. an arrangement, usually a sexual one, between three people. Whenever authors use ménage as a short form of ménage à trois or à quatre or à [INSERT NUMBER], I shake my head. Unfortunately, too many readers make that assumption as well.

    Never looked at it too hard, figuring condoms and ménages would cover his bases.

    So, when I read the above, I get confused (and it’s not only because, like JMC, this is a birth control method I was not aware of until now).

  11. francois
    Dec 12, 2007 @ 09:55:15

    “Then… something had stopped him. He'd never known what. Never looked at it too hard”

    Oh I hate characters that do that! Blatant plot device to put off a revelation to later in the book. I’m not saying people don’t do it in real life, but I’m sure they don’t have regular occasions where they register it and then decide not to think about it. Either you’re thinking about it or you’re not!

  12. Jane
    Dec 12, 2007 @ 10:07:48

    Ann – you are so right about the word “menage” and I used it incorrectly in the review. I was actually thinking of that while I was brushing my teeth this morning because “menage” is a free rice word with the meaning “household”, just as you said. I’ll need to re-educate myself.

  13. Robin
    Dec 12, 2007 @ 10:10:20

    Are you sure this book isn’t supposed to be a parody of those chastity pledge programs – you know, the ones where the kids end up engaging in all this risky sexual behavior and contracting STDs in the process of trying to avoid having the “penile flesh” invade the “sacred pussy channel” before marriage? Like a pussy political manifesto, maybe? No?

  14. Angela James
    Dec 12, 2007 @ 10:22:44

    Uh, can I point out ménage is French for housekeeping or household. A ménage à trois is really a household of three, i.e. an arrangement, usually a sexual one, between three people. Whenever authors use ménage as a short form of ménage à trois or à quatre or à [INSERT NUMBER], I shake my head. Unfortunately, too many readers make that assumption as well.

    Taking the subject totally off topic now, hopefully no one will mind… While this might be the technical translation/meaning, I disagree that menage a trois can’t be used as a term for a sexual interlude among three people. I would argue that phrases and words can evolve to mean what a group of people understand them or want them to mean within their culture.

    In my opinion, the culture of romance has adapted/adopted the term as a broad means of describing a sexual relationship or interlude between three (or more, in the terms of quatre, etc) people. I don’t think it’s any different than any other culture, group or body of people doing the same. The Urban Dictionary is full of instances of this. It’s one of the main reasons the Urban Dictionary exists. Because people have adapted a word or a phrase for their own purpose. I think it’s what makes language a living, evolving and rather fascinating thing.

  15. Jane
    Dec 12, 2007 @ 10:27:09

    I was responding more to the term “menage” as having a specific sexual connotation. I agree with you that menage a trois has probably gained a broader definition, but menage by itself?

  16. Angela James
    Dec 12, 2007 @ 10:37:42

    I was responding more to the term “menage” as having a specific sexual connotation. I agree with you that menage a trois has probably gained a broader definition, but menage by itself?

    I would argue yes, it has. If you wrote: they had a menage, this book has menage, etc., I’d be willing to bet that the preponderance of romance readers would believe you were saying there was some sort of sex among three people. In the context of the romance community, I think it’s identified with in that way. Or maybe it’s just me ;)

  17. Jane
    Dec 12, 2007 @ 10:39:21

    I guess then the question is how far does the living organism of language go? I.e., why not try to have individuals correctly use the language. Lots of people use irregardless to mean regardless but it doesn’t make irregardless mean regardless.

  18. Angela James
    Dec 12, 2007 @ 10:46:10

    I really don’t know the answer to that. I think there are a lot of words that shouldn’t mean what they do, especially in terms of sexual slang (pussy, gay, etc.). But on the other hand, we could argue the use of words evolving into slang versus words being used incorrectly out of ignorance (supposebly?). Then again, someone could argue that menage is used incorrectly out of ignorance, not as slang. I’m not really sure there’s a right answer about that line, because it’s going to be subjective and move differently for different people.

  19. Ann Bruce
    Dec 12, 2007 @ 10:48:46

    I disagree that menage a trois can't be used as a term for a sexual interlude among three people.

    Angela–I’m not disagreeing with you on this point. Like Jane said, it’s ménage used on its own as a short form of ménage à trois that I take issue with. When I use “i.e.” I mean “that is” or “that is to say.” Looking back, I really should’ve replaced “i.e.” with “or more commonly.” My bad.

    And, Jane, I think Ms. Black used ménage incorrectly in the passages you quoted first. It’s harsh, but I hold authors responsible when they get foreign words and phrases wrong because it’s their name on the cover.

  20. Mary
    Dec 12, 2007 @ 11:09:46

    I’m so tired of books that are basically a sex fest with no plot or moronic plots with moronic characters.

  21. sherry thomas
    Dec 12, 2007 @ 11:13:13

    As a suburban soccer mom, this is a question that I’ve been meaning to ask for a while. Are there really a lot of two-men teams out there? Or is this the modern equivalent of regency dukes? I.e., there are far, far more regency dukes in regency-set romances than ever lived in real life. Is this the case for two-men-one-woman menages?

  22. Ann Bruce
    Dec 12, 2007 @ 11:36:45

    Oh, man, one day I’m going to get fired for doing this while at work…

    Anyway, I always find it strange that a lot of fantasy threesome books are set in patriarchical war-torn worlds and the threesome is always M/M/F because there is a shortage of women. Um, in a war-torn world, wouldn’t there be a shortage of men because the men would be off killing each other? Or am I applying way too much logic to these fantasies?

  23. bam
    Dec 12, 2007 @ 11:38:20

    there are probably a lot more two-women one-man menages out there. Some women would do it to please their men, but a guy would be too “ewww, dude, I’m not gay!” about it.

  24. Jane
    Dec 12, 2007 @ 11:41:36

    I find in a lot of erotic romances that the setups are full of the WTF. I think authors feel that it is there to provide the “conflict” and readers shouldn’t get so hung up about it.

    I think it’s a mark of a good author that the conflict is plausible and not contrived because if the reader spends most of her time going “WTF” she isn’t enjoying any of the story. And isn’t the conflict a big part of the story or is ER just about the sex?

    As for Ms. Thomas’ question, I have no idea. I wonder if there is some code to figure out about these male packs. i.e., what type of foot taping, hand waving in a bathroom stall will help you lure the men pack into your minivan?

  25. TeddyPig
    Dec 12, 2007 @ 11:45:33

    I totally got what you meant by menage and the person correcting you totally got what you meant too. It is considered a category term of Erotic Romance.

    I hate the “cure” at the end of books with alternate sexualities. Emma Holly was good at doing this in her older books. Her BDSM characters are cured by Twu Wuv and don't “need” the BDSM anymore at the end of the novel. And that bugs the hell out of me.

    I am with you Sarah. I hate the other way they get out of it too where one of the characters gets portrayed as this mega awesome BDSM expert and the other wants to explore their submissive side and by the end of the book they decide no BDSM because they want a “real” relationship as “true” equals. I am usually gagging by then wondering how far the writer got reading the one or two “how to” books she bought on the subject.

  26. Charlene Teglia
    Dec 12, 2007 @ 13:39:30

    To answer the question, ER shouldn’t be just about the sex. Even straight erotica should have conflict and resolution. Which is hard to pull off because sex scenes diffuse tension, so you have to find ways to keep building it and raising the stakes…But different people have different expectations of erotic romance, so I don’t think there’s a one-size-fits-all answer. And I think Angie’s right about it being easier to keep who does what straight when the physical descriptions are different. *g*

  27. Lorelie
    Dec 12, 2007 @ 13:59:59

    the culture of romance has adapted/adopted the term as a broad means of describing a sexual relationship or interlude between three (or more, in the terms of quatre, etc) people

    Penthouse Variations beat us to this long ago. Which is a way of saying I’m in the camp that thinks “menage” is taking on a new interpretation in American speech, despite its original meaning. And perhaps this is wrong of me but I’d give more leeway in the adaption of foreign words into our language before I’d accept new interpretations of current words.

    there are probably a lot more two-women one-man menages out there. Some women would do it to please their men, but a guy would be too “ewww, dude, I'm not gay!” about it

    :::cough:::Don’t be so sure:::cough::: Involvement between the males does seem to be a Romancelandia exaggeration though. You know, how they’re relentlessly hetero ’til they’re actually in the room with another excited penis. And the secwet, secwet desires take over.

  28. DS
    Dec 12, 2007 @ 14:20:25

    Re: sf menage a trois– Melissa Scott wrote three novels in which she set up a marriage between the heroine and two men in her Empress of Earth trilogy. Although this is a situation that would make me go EW if it’s done badly, she made me root for the relationship. It probably helped that there was no explicit sex and the reason for the relationship– a menage of convenience, if your would– was well set up in both the culture of her far future and the plot.

    I remember reading a statement by Marion Zimmer Bradley about her days of writing erotica that first she set up the plot and characters, made sure there were no holes then went back and stole some sex scenes from Henry Miller. I’m not sure about the stealing sex scenes but it does seems like the plot and characterizaion needs more attention than it gets.

  29. DS
    Dec 12, 2007 @ 14:23:34

    I’m so cotton headed these days. I went back and read my last rather graceless post and found myself wondering what possible kind of erotica would have “no holes”. MZB (and I) meant no holes in the plot or characterizaion.

  30. Robin
    Dec 12, 2007 @ 14:52:42

    I went back and read my last rather graceless post and found myself wondering what possible kind of erotica would have “no holes”. MZB (and I) meant no holes in the plot or characterizaion.

    LOL. The one author who has made the menage scenario work for me is Emma Holly, both in Personal Attractions and Fairyland. And in both cases it’s two men and one woman, and it’s definitely established as a domestic arrangement, not just a sexual one (although in Fairyland it’s sort of intermittent, IIRC). Anyway, I think it comes down to the way in which she treats her characters with kindness as an author, and they, in turn, treat each other with respect and kindness, which makes the whole thing feel, well, respectful and not exploitive.

    I haven’t yet read the Gail Dayton “Rose” books, but don’t they feature polyamory, as well?

  31. Brie
    Dec 12, 2007 @ 15:01:22

    “He'd considered a vasectomy. He'd even had an appointment once. Then… something had stopped him. He'd never known what. Never looked at it too hard, figuring condoms and ménages would cover his bases.”

    Seriously? Is this his reasoning for not getting the vasectomy? “Something had stopped him” was it ever explained or was that the end of his thoughts on the issue? And since when does a menage keep a woman from getting pregnant?

  32. Imogen Howson
    Dec 12, 2007 @ 15:11:04

    I have a horrible feeling of tempting fate when Jane’s reviews make me laugh. However, this one was really funny, and I did.

    I thought Marion Zimmer Bradley did a great job of writing non-erotic polyamorous relationships in her Darkover books. She sets up a culture in which it is expected and normal for sisters, for instance, to share the husband of one of them. She also set up that society’s own taboos–against sexual contact with anyone old enough to be your parent, for instance–which I think helped make the whole thing believable, because she wasn’t presenting a sex-romp society where no hole is left empty (sorry, DS, I couldn’t resist).

    Re. menage. I tend to be pretty rabid about misused words. But in this case, ‘menage’ as used to mean ‘menage a trois’ seems to me to be a convenient shorthand, rather than a real misuse. People generally know what it’s short for, like we know in the same context (of erotic romance) ‘anal’ is short for ‘anal sex’. Whereas if I apologise for being so anal–which, as it happens, I never do–everyone similarly knows it’s short for ‘anally retentive’.

  33. TeddyPig
    Dec 12, 2007 @ 15:26:00

    The Forbidden Tower in my opinion was Marion Zimmer Bradley at her peak writing skills in the 20 or so books she wrote in the Darkover series, what gets written about the Darkover society here is much more detailed than she had ever been and that is probably why she decided to rewrite the older book The Bloody Sun in 1979 in order to make it more consistent with the world she evolved and elaborated on in this book. The Forbidden Tower is more than just a sequel to a simplistic story she wrote at 16, it’s an exploration of how even in the fictional world she described the chracters lives do not come with easy answers, convenient labels, and every decision has a sometimes unknown price. She also goes to great lengths to intelligently explain her worlds culture and I don’t think you can get more intimate culturally than learning about their sexuality and how they express it. The sci-fi clich� telepathy aspects provided Marion with understandable reasons for why these people are so alien in contrast to our own world but what she explores is never graphic or vulgar like say Robert Heinlein.

  34. Ann Bruce
    Dec 12, 2007 @ 19:25:49

    But in this case, ‘menage' as used to mean ‘menage a trois' seems to me to be a convenient shorthand, rather than a real misuse. People generally know what it's short for, like we know in the same context (of erotic romance) ‘anal' is short for ‘anal sex'.

    WARNING: Rant ahead!

    I can accept ménage being used as shorthand for ménage à trois in DIALOGUE, but not outside of it. Personally, I think it’s fine to use slang, informal language, shortcuts, and misused/incorrect language when characters are speaking because, well, that’s how people talk with one another. Maybe it’s old-fashioned, but outside of dialogue, 99% of slang/shortcuts/popularly misused language simply don’t look professional and can be misconstrued as laziness on the part of the author. (Frankly, I think laziness is a worse sin than ignorance.)

    Otherwise, I should be able to use TSTL to describe an idiotic character in a book instead of writing out the entire phrase, shouldn’t I? Everyone in romance generally knows what TSTL means. How about OED? How about IIRC? How about IHMO? How about just D/s? They’re all more convenient, aren’t they?

    And, heck, if we’re going to take liberties with the meaning and spelling of ménage (the author dropped the acute accent), let’s start spelling chère without the grave accent or mixing up the genders and just use cher for everyone, male and female. And while we’re at it, let’s use bien sur instead of bien sûr because it’s more convenient to drop that pesky accent. Sure, sur and sûr are COMPLETELY different words, but who cares? Everyone knows what the author is trying to say, right? It doesn’t matter if it annoys Francophones–who, by the way, might also read these books–that their language is being bastardized for the convenience of the author.

    Okay, I’m ready for people to call me cranky and anal retentive.

  35. K. Z. Snow
    Dec 12, 2007 @ 19:32:17

    I’m all for polyandry. Guess I won’t be voting for Mitt Romney! (Oh, simmer down, I’m just kidding. Or maybe not.) Anyway…

    I find lately I’m as intrigued by bad books–i.e., those widely disparaged by people whose opinions I respect–as I am by good books (same definition, antonymous first verb). It’s a case of learning by negative example, I guess, which can be very effective.

    P. S. Angela, the word is supposubly. I know, because I learned the correct pronunciation from my SO, the linguist. I even blogged about all the words I learned from him, I was so impressed.

  36. sherry thomas
    Dec 12, 2007 @ 20:07:12

    I hate polygamy with a seething passion. I really don’t see polyandry as any better. Isn’t life complicate enough with one spouse/partner?

  37. Jane
    Dec 12, 2007 @ 20:08:48

    I have a problem with MZB.

  38. Jackie L.
    Dec 12, 2007 @ 21:10:03

    Old ethnocentric joke: 3 Americans, 3 Germans, and 3 French people are marooned on a deserted island. Oddly enough, in each group, only one person was female. The French set up a menage a trois (sorry too lazy to look up the shortcuts for the proper accents, forgive me Ann Bruce) and settle happily into island life. The Germans set up a strict schedule to share evenly the only German female. The American woman announced that she needed to find herself, and moved to the far side of the island. The 2 American men committed suicide.

    Of course, a guy told me this joke. So I said, “So you’re saying American men are wusses?”

    Hey Ann, when I lived in France, they used menage as a slang word for a mess. Quel menage! What a zoo! So when I read menage a trois, I see zoo for three.

  39. rose
    Dec 12, 2007 @ 21:12:53

    well, you learn something new everyday. I must have been missing something because I have never read a book with a threesome(I am staying away from the whole french thing). Are these strictly fantasy books or what? Even though I am intrigued by the idea, I am not going to run out and buy this one. Jane I found your review funny. The whole premise sounded so stupid, I don’t know how you all managed to get through this book, but it’s good that you all did, because I feel like I read it, and since the plot seems so thin, I can fill in the rest and leave this one on the shelves.

  40. DS
    Dec 12, 2007 @ 21:48:33

    The only culture I remember reading about where there was institutional polyandry was in Tibet, but I understand it is outlawed now. Most of the books I have read which involves polyandry are fantasy/sf. But they aren’t erotica, just an exploration of how a stable relationship between two men and a woman might be worked out and what cultural stresses might bring it into existence. Well, except Heinlein. His non-juvenile works always seemed to have a strong Gary Stew component and the Gary Stew character always made me cringe.

  41. Shannon C.
    Dec 12, 2007 @ 22:10:44

    My take on the menage thing is that I simply don’t hear people say, “So, yeah, Mom, I’m involved in a menage now.” or, “So, I got drunk Saturday night and had a menage.” Generally what I hear is, “I got drunk Saturday and had a threesome.” or “I’m in a polyamorous relationship.” I know that menage (sorry, I do not have acute accent foo) is shorthand in romancelandia, but I maintain that if you’re writing a contemporary story set in contemporary America, you probably shouldn’t have the characters use the shorthand either.

    Oh, and I just discovered Marion Zimmer Bradley earlier this year. I like her well enough, but I found her about ten years too late if I wanted to lurve her books. They’re mildly entertaining, but I’m mostly outgrown of the need to read science fiction about uber-special little girls with magical healing vaginas and nifty telepathic powers.

    And I agree about Heinlein–he does strike me as a bit of a dirty old man.

  42. TeddyPig
    Dec 12, 2007 @ 23:47:03

    I maintain that if you're writing a contemporary story set in contemporary America, you probably shouldn't have the characters use the shorthand either.

    I agree with the idea in a book if you use the term ménage continually that same way. I can forgive someone going for the shorthand occasionally. But… I find the term polyamorous too eeeeeh most times to like to use it even in discussion. Something Mormon, crazy cult, about it. Threesome is cool for describing the sex. Just saying something more simple like they are both my lovers works even better for me.

  43. TeddyPig
    Dec 12, 2007 @ 23:49:33

    I like her well enough, but I found her about ten years too late if I wanted to lurve her books.

    That is too bad I grew up with her so I ot to sorta grow with her books and make discoveries. You are right in that there are only a few books now out of the whole series I consider must reads.

  44. Ann Bruce
    Dec 12, 2007 @ 23:51:53

    sorry too lazy to look up the shortcuts for the proper accents, forgive me Ann Bruce

    Ladies, I don’t hold blogs to the same standards as books. I’m not THAT anal retentive.

    Hey Ann, when I lived in France, they used menage as a slang word for a mess. Quel menage! What a zoo! So when I read menage a trois, I see zoo for three.

    My French roommates didn’t mention this to me (then again, they were guys and we didn’t bond over discussing romance novels; we bonded over DIE HARD), but I’m going to be giggling every time I see it now. Of course, with all the shapeshifting going on in erotic and paranormal romance, “zoo for three” might be very apt.

  45. Ann Bruce
    Dec 13, 2007 @ 00:27:17

    Despite being fearful of the negative consequences of his men getting free, Deke does not cut off the source.

    Deke’s sperm might really be all super powerful. IIRC, in SWEET LIAR, Jude Deveraux mentions one of the Montgomery men had a vasectomy and still managed to get his wife pregnant. That’s some fierce sperm. (Picturing FAMILY GUY’s Stewie in his little spaceship-like craft taking out Peter’s sperm in the “Emission Impossible” episode.)

  46. Jenyfer Matthews
    Dec 13, 2007 @ 01:57:22

    Haven’t read the book, but based on your review, it’s this sort of erotic romance that give the rest a bad name.

  47. Jules Jones
    Dec 13, 2007 @ 03:42:47

    Okay, have any of the other science fiction fans been having flashbacks to Larry Niven’s Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex?

  48. Imogen Howson
    Dec 13, 2007 @ 05:21:47

    lol, Ann, you care about language–how dare you! ;-)

    If we’re talking within books, then I pretty much agree with you. I think authors should be aware of the words they’re using, and use them correctly.

    I was thinking more of using ‘menage’ (I would use the accent but I don’t know how to do it on my keyboard) as shorthand in reviews of books, and in that context I do think it’s a reasonable shortcut, as are WTF and TSTL.

    Teddypig, The Forbidden Tower is my top MZB ever. It was pretty much my first exposure to polyamory in fiction, and initially I was kind of horrified, and felt that it weakened Andrew’s love of Callista that he also had a relationship with Ellemir. But that was to do with my own taboos, rather than a fault in her writing–on re-reads I appreciate the complexities of the society she’s portraying.

    I don’t remember any magic vaginas in MZB, but I will never outgrow my love of reading about special tiny beautiful telepathic redheads. I have a shelf of MZBs–they’re all keepers, and I re-read them lots. If I could write like her I would be a happy happy person.

  49. Angela James
    Dec 13, 2007 @ 08:05:53

    IIRC, in SWEET LIAR, Jude Deveraux mentions one of the Montgomery men had a vasectomy and still managed to get his wife pregnant. That’s some fierce sperm.

    While improbable, not at all impossible. A few years back I had two co-workers, they were having an affair. He was in his 50s, she was in her early 40s. He’d had a vasectomy some years back and…yep, you guessed it. She got pregnant. Turns out, vasectomies? Not 100% reliable birth control (though more reliable than just about anything else) Who knew? So, in Jude Deveraux’s defense, it can happen, and has happened in real life and it’s possible she knew this.

  50. Tracy
    Dec 13, 2007 @ 09:49:49

    Angela James~I was going to say the same thing. It’s been known to happen. The key is that lot of men don’t go back for the “re-check” a few weeks after the vasectomy. They need to leave a deposit with the dr. and they check to make sure the swimmers are all dead. TMI coming up, but my hubby had a vasectomy a couple of years ago and at his first appointment he still had a few “stragglers” LOL The next appointment they were all gone. I also think it’s recommended to have a dr. check to make sure it’s still effective after x amount of years (not sure what the number is).

    As fertile as we are, he’ll be at those check ups! LOL

  51. Chicklet
    Dec 13, 2007 @ 10:46:07

    I haven't yet read the Gail Dayton “Rose” books, but don't they feature polyamory, as well?

    And how, Robin! The heroine, Kallista, lives in a matriarchal society where polyamorous marriages are the norm — in fact, a marriage isn’t considered legitimate unless it involves at least four people. Kallista herself ends up with eight spouses by the end of the first book. I don’t want to spoil y’all by going into too much detail, but let’s just say that it’s not every day you read books containing magic-laced orgies. *g*

    FWIW, I thought Dayton handled this aspect of the story very well; polyamory isn’t something that would work for me, but within the world Dayton builds, it works.

  52. Jackie L.
    Dec 13, 2007 @ 11:24:39

    Failure rate nationwide for vasectomies and tubal ligations–1 in 250. I had a patient who had had a vasectomy and his second wife had a tubal ligation, yet they got pregnant. Now that beat the odds! Tracy, most people recommend checking again in a year to be certain all the snappers are gone. (Dunno why we call them snappers, that’s also the nickname for TB germs–although they’re red snappers.)

  53. Robin
    Dec 13, 2007 @ 14:00:28

    I remember reading a statement by Marion Zimmer Bradley about her days of writing erotica that first she set up the plot and characters, made sure there were no holes then went back and stole some sex scenes from Henry Miller. I'm not sure about the stealing sex scenes but it does seems like the plot and characterizaion needs more attention than it gets.

    I haven’t read MZB, and goodness knows I try really hard to separate an author’s biography from her art, but this might be an uncrossable line for me, especially in terms of reading erotica written by her.

  54. Ann Bruce
    Dec 13, 2007 @ 14:15:28

    Wow. Until today, I never heard of someone with a vasectomy fathering a baby. I was 13 when I read SWEET LIAR and thought Ms. Deveraux was only making it up to show her Montgomery men are a step above other mortal men.

  55. Lorelie
    Dec 13, 2007 @ 15:07:27

    And I agree about Heinlein-he does strike me as a bit of a dirty old man.

    I find myself slightly embarrassed to admit myself a Heinlein devotee. Lazarus Long’s daughter, Lorelei Lee Long? :::blushes::: His books are fun! Come on ladies, pantheistic solipsism? Isn’t the idea of Oz being real somewhere out in the cosmos kinda nice even if it’s absolute b.s.?

    Failure rate nationwide for vasectomies and tubal ligations-1 in 250.

    You freaking betcha! Which is what I lecture my friends with (minus the official sounding numbers) when they ask incredulously why I still have an IUD if the hubby got a vasectomy. It’s also why I raised an eyebrow when my doc asked why I wanted that IUD if hubby was getting snipped. Doesn’t he know there’s a fail rate?

  56. TeddyPig
    Dec 13, 2007 @ 15:22:57

    Heinlein always always made me cringe even when I was young and supposedly impressionable but Gay.

    I thought his writing was misogynistic in tone.

    Then I read some of his quotes and that spelled it out in no uncertain terms.

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  60. Christy
    Nov 30, 2010 @ 15:57:25

    Decadent has to be one of the BEST books I have EVER read. If you did not like the book then you have very bad taste. Or you perfer boring books. In Decadent Deke does treat Kimber like crap. BUT He is IN LOVE with her and dosent want to hurt her. Kimber feels as drawn to him as he is to her. She can see behind his “tough man” fascade. There soulmates. No matter what the other does…They will always love each other. I admire Shayla Black for her amazing writing skills and i thank her for writing one of the best book i have ever read.

  61. Jane
    Nov 30, 2010 @ 16:05:42

    @Christy Thanks for your input, Christy. Glad that Decadent worked for you.

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