By Lisabet Sarai
In approximately two weeks (assuming the world doesn't end and that I don't step in front of a speeding car because I'm preoccupied with working out some plot point), I'll turn sixty years old. As it happens, my husband's birthday is the day after mine, so we're throwing a big party. I have always believed one should celebrate at every opportunity. Even though it's breaking our budget, we're planning quite a bash: a buffet dinner for fifty people on the riverside terrace of a fancy hotel; a case of wine; a band; door prizes – plus a brunch the next day for folks who've taken the trouble to come from out of town. On our invitations, though, we've specified “No Gifts”. At this stage in our lives, we have more than enough material things, and we're trying to reduce rather than increase the amount of stuff we have to cart around.
I hope that our friends don't take this the wrong way. Indeed, it's a joy to give – I'd just like our guests to understand that the fact they've invested the time and energy in joining us is the best gift they could offer.
Anyway, I've been thinking about gifts. There's a quote from the Scripture to the effect that each of us has unique gifts, unique talents to contribute to the world. I definitely think that's the truth.
I've been blessed with the gift of language. Not just the ability to write, but also the skill to teach others how to express themselves in words. I sometimes take this for granted. Then someone asks me for help with a story, or my sister calls asking for feedback on a marketing brochure, and I realize how fortunate I am.
Once we recognize our personal gifts, I think we need to use them for the good of others. That's why I work as an editor for , the altruistic erotica imprint. Since it was founded by a group of authors on Literotica in 2005, Coming Together has released over three dozen books and earned nearly twenty thousand dollars for charities ranging from breast cancer and AIDS research to hurricane and forest fire relief – one book at time. The authors who participate in Coming Together donate their work free of charge, and each book or series supports a different cause.
Since 2009, I've edited five volumes of the Coming Together Presents series, which are full-length collections of short fiction by outstanding individual authors. Meanwhile, December saw the release of my first multi-author charitable anthology, .
As you might guess from the cover, Coming Together: In Vein is a collection of vampire erotica and erotic romance. Why vampires, you might ask? Because despite the abundance of vampire fiction in the market, the undead seem to be perennially popular, and I wanted to make as much money as possible for the charity associated with the book, (Médecins Sans Frontières). MSF works in nearly 70 countries providing medical aid to those most in need regardless of their race, religion, or political affiliation. Right now MSF is busy in Syria, in Haiti, in Mali, in South Sudan – anywhere people are threatened by disaster or conflict. If I had millions of dollars, I'd give a big chunk to MSF. Since I don't have much money to spare, I'm donating my time, my energy and my skills – my particular gift – instead.
If you're a fan of erotica or erotic romance, you'll find many names you recognize on the Every one of these authors has provided his or her work free of charge, to support the charitable aims of the project. Furthermore, I'm giving away a giving away a free copy of my short story collection to everyone who buys a copy of Coming Together: In Vein. (For details of this offer, .)
Here's a brief excerpt from my In Vein own story, “Vampires Limited”.
He was so close, she should have felt the heat of his body, but it was as if a mannequin was pressed against her, instead of a living person. She could smell him, though, a sharp grassy scent that made her think of the country and wide open spaces.
Casually he trailed a finger up the side of her neck and circled her earlobe. A shiver raced through her, winding tight around her nipples, spiraling down to her sex. He nipped at her ear, playful, but hard enough to make her gasp. “As for me, you know who I am, don’t you? Or at least, what I am.”
Lara knew what he was saying. She just couldn’t accept it.
“Here.h Still behind her, he grabbed her hand and placed her fingers on his throat. His skin was cooler than the air, cool and smooth as marble. gDo you feel any pulse?h
“No―but―it’s just not possible. It’s just a myth. A fashion, a fad. Everyone these days pretends...”
He brought her wrist to his lips, flicking his tongue over the spot where the veins were closest to the surface. His mouth was hot, unlike the rest of him. A violent shudder of desire rocked her body. “Close your eyes,” he murmured.
I should call off this farce now, Lara thought, but she obeyed anyway. Something pricked at her flesh where he held it against his mouth, the tiniest sting, hardly deserving the name pain. Then there was heat, and a pulling, not at her wrist but somehow at her heart, which leaped up in response and began to pump at twice its normal rate.
Red flooded the space behind her eyelids, scarlet, crimson, three-dimensional eddies of color like billowing clouds. A brief icicle of fear stabbed at her, then melted as warm, sweet pleasure flowed through her limbs. Her nipples, her pussy, everywhere there was this hot, wet current, aching and yet somehow not urgent.
“Relax,h he whispered. gLet go.h She heard his voice, coming from a long way off. She saw his eyes, burning through the red haze. They had darkened from blue to empty black. She felt herself tumbling into their depths. Some last fragment of self-consciousness cried out for her to resist, but she ignored it. He was too strong, his will irresistible, the gifts he offered too precious to refuse. She let herself drift. He cradled then released her. She felt herself beginning to drown in the scarlet river of his blood lust.
Speaking of gifts, I'm giving a copy of a print book from my backlist to one lucky person who comments. Just be sure to include your email in the comment.
Give a gift of your own. Buy a copy of Coming Together: In Vein in , , or . Then help spread the word! Every copy we sell has the potential to save someone's life.
More than a decade ago, Lisabet Sarai experienced a serendipitous fusion of her love of writing and her fascination with sex. Since then she has published six single author short story collections and seven erotic novels, including the BDSM classic Raw Silk. Dozens of her shorter works have been released as ebooks and in print anthologies. She has also edited several acclaimed anthologies and is currently responsible for the altruistic erotica series COMING TOGETHER PRESENTS.
Lisabet holds more degrees than anyone needs from prestigious universities who would no doubt be embarrassed by her chosen genre. She loves to travel and currently lives in Southeast Asia with her highly tolerant husband and two cosmopolitan felines. For more information on Lisabet and her writing visit Lisabet Sarai's Fantasy Factory () or her blog Beyond Romance ().