Circlet Backlist Read Along: Roundup, Poll & Giveaway!

The first month of the Circlet Backlist Read Along experiment has come to an end. (And the second month is just about to as well.) Now is the time to reflect and look ahead. After the jump, we have highlights from our conversations about Telepaths Don’t Need Safewords and a poll to choose next month’s selection– which you could receive for FREE in our giveaway!

Continue reading Circlet Backlist Read Along: Roundup, Poll & Giveaway!

Steampunk Bundle Teasers #4: In Which the Major Makes Good on a Deeply Held Personal Conviction

There’s only a few days left before the Steampunk Bundle disappears! In the lead-up to that heartbreaking moment, we’re running one more hot excerpt from the bundle. This is from 1901: A Steam Odyssey by Lionel Bramble.

The Circlet Press Steampunk Erotica Bundle
Five full books for the price of one! Available for a limited time, Circlet Press's steamiest steampunk works all in one bundle. A discreet brothel staffed by robots. A theatre that enacts your most secret fantasies. A mad scientist whose machines are powered by human arousal. And more. Each of the stylish, sexy, and surprising books here takes Victorian science fiction to delicious new places!

(also available at Amazon, iBooks/iTunes, Smashwords, Kobo and Barnes & Noble)

“There is one small problem,” the Captain said, as he took us aside. “My hull-repair crew is now using each and every pressure suit, save one. I shall have to ask the Major to make haste, to return so that Milady may the use it for her share of the necessary task. There is not a moment to be lost.”
“Nonsense,” I said, regarding the huge bulk of the roomy pressure suits, with their oversized domes. “The two of us will share the same outfit. The Major may look over my shoulder and supervise my movements.”
“Milady!” exclaimed the Major. “Such a thing has never been done. The strenuousness of the operation—”
“If I may boast,” I said, “there has never been a question of my fitness for physickal endurance. As to the issue of precedent, I daresay we shall shatter many records before we return to the Earth.”
How prophetic those words!
“Perhaps it might be done at that,” said our practical Captain, eyeing the bulky suit. “Bit of a squeeze. But it could be done.”
I said, “Captain, I take it the suit itself is sufficient to protect us from the vacuum and ionising radiation?”
He nodded in the affirmative.
“To make room inside the suit for two, we cannot allow our garments to encumber us,” said I, removing my jacket and corset and bidding the Major to do the same with his gold-braided blue uniform. “Come, Major—as the Captain says, there is not a moment to be lost. Unfasten those huge buttons!”
At this the Captain blushed. He represented a generation unprepared for the societal changes which accompanied our rapid technological process. I admit to feeling meanly amused by his embarrassment as I stripped off blouse and bodice and corset. I waited till he excused himself before I divested myself of bloomers, pantalettes, etc. and stood naked and shameless before the Major.
For the Major, I had no sympathy whatsoever. After we completed our tasks, I would have him. Or I would know why not.
“Given our shared body heat in the pressure-suit,” remarked I, “we are more than likely to perspire profusely. May I suggest, Major, that you remove that union suit? That’s it. And what is that you’re wearing under it? And there’s still more under that? Good heavens! Off with it, Major. All of it.”
It took some coaxing, but soon he was like myself, clad only in his skull and mermaid tattoos and his neatly matched piercings—and, I could not help but noticing, the rings like Saturn’s still stacked neatly about the root of his manhood. I was touched by this oddly sentimental gesture.
Yes, Reader, I did waggle my bottom enticingly in his face, as I clambered into the suit he already occupied. Now we both faced the same way, looking forward through the transparent dome of the great helmet. And even before I had slipped my legs into place before his, and leaned back into the muscled expanse of his chest, I could feel Saturn’s rings rise to greet me.
Continue reading Steampunk Bundle Teasers #4: In Which the Major Makes Good on a Deeply Held Personal Conviction

Steampunk Bundle Teasers #3: Miss Pierce’s Position

There’s barely more than a week left before the Steampunk Bundle disappears! In the lead-up to that heartbreaking moment, we’ll be running some hot excerpts from each of the volumes in the bundle. Our third excerpt is from The Erotofluidic Age by Vinnie Tesla, from the second story, “Miss Pierce’s Position.” This passage does contain implicit spoilers for the first story in the series, so if you have the book already but haven’t read it yet, you may wish to hold off on reading this.

The Circlet Press Steampunk Erotica Bundle
Five full books for the price of one! Available for a limited time, Circlet Press's steamiest steampunk works all in one bundle. A discreet brothel staffed by robots. A theatre that enacts your most secret fantasies. A mad scientist whose machines are powered by human arousal. And more. Each of the stylish, sexy, and surprising books here takes Victorian science fiction to delicious new places!

(also available at Amazon, iBooks/iTunes, Smashwords, Kobo and Barnes & Noble)

“Ah, Daedalus,” the new Mrs. Dalrymple sighed, “if it is any comfort, you do make rather a handsome Geoduck.”
As she spoke, she gently stroked along the length of my siphon, her soft fingers producing powerful sensations along my bare, wrinkled skin. I found myself shivering slightly under her touch.
“The time in London was lovely, but it was awfully lonely just Victor and me,” she said softly. “I have been looking forward to having my dear friends about me again.” She leaned down and kissed me softly on the top of my siphon.
Her breath seemed at that moment unutterably sweet, full of thrilling promise. I felt the heat rising from her skin, causing my own to prickle and warm in sympathy. My Geoduck senses, attuned to detect the immaterial substance of human arousal itself, caused her to fairly glow with a thrilling radiance. I could see her skin flush and her eyes sparkle as my prehensile siphon swelled beneath her hand, thickening and lengthening slightly as its wrinkles smoothed and its limberness gave way to near rigidity.
At that moment, Dewey appeared at the end of the corridor. “Uncle,” he said, “is Miss Pierce still–”
His voice broke the spell of Eleanor’s intoxicating proximity, and I sprang into the air, flying gracelessly towards the shelter of my nephew and the relief from temptation that he appeared to offer. He held out his arms for me to land on, then attempted to stroke me soothingly once I had perched. Another overwhelming wave of unwelcome pleasure overtook me. DON’T, I squawked, and he withdrew his hand apologetically.
A moment later, I was fairly crushed between two bosoms as Eleanor embraced Dewey, peppering his face with affectionate kisses. “Oh, Dewey, dear boy! How I have missed you!” she exclaimed.
It would perhaps be best to explain at this juncture that Eleanor is endowed by Nature with a temperament warm and generous almost to a fault, a quality which has served only to endear her the further to her husband, who, secure in her affections, permits her the greatest freedom in what other enjoyments she pursues.
In this case, however, the pursuit offered little enough sport, with the game fairly caught ere the first horn had been blown. Seducing my nephew is no great challenge for near any biped with a mind to do so, and Dewey’s acquaintance with Mrs. Dalrymple had been of the very warmest sort since before his elevation to the human race.
“Eleanor,” he gasped, “your kisses make me quite giddy.”
“Come, Dewey,” she answered, taking him firmly by the hand, “let us waste no time in renewing our friendship.”
Wherewith, she pulled him, stumbling, in the direction of her and Victor’s bedroom. I struggled to free myself from his grasp, but he had apparently been rendered insensible to my very existence.
In a moment she had dragged him into the room and was prodding him towards the bed. Release me this very instant! I quacked, and he absentmindedly complied, tumbling me painfully to the floor just as the door swung shut behind Eleanor’s impatiently flung heel.
Continue reading Steampunk Bundle Teasers #3: Miss Pierce’s Position

Steampunk Bundle Teasers #2: The Other Library

There’s less than a month left before the Steampunk Bundle disappears. In the lead-up to that heartbreaking moment, we’ll be running some hot excerpts from each of the volumes in the bundle. Our second excerpt is from The Innocent’s Progress by Peter Tupper, from the second story, “The Pretty Horsebreaker.”

The Circlet Press Steampunk Erotica Bundle
Five full books for the price of one! Available for a limited time, Circlet Press's steamiest steampunk works all in one bundle. A discreet brothel staffed by robots. A theatre that enacts your most secret fantasies. A mad scientist whose machines are powered by human arousal. And more. Each of the stylish, sexy, and surprising books here takes Victorian science fiction to delicious new places!

(also available at Amazon, iBooks/iTunes, Smashwords, Kobo and Barnes & Noble)

The Other Library

Miss Ccri sang “Pirate Jenny” loudly as she drove the auto-carriage up and down the rolling hills of the countryside, swerving around the odd hay wagon or dog cart on the narrow lanes.
She parked it outside the Hough estate’s gated entrance, noting the well-tended grounds and stately manor house. After lifting her goggles above her cap’s brim and a quick touchup of her face powder, she walked up the driveway to the front entrance, wondering if Lord Hough’s neighbors had any inkling of the contents of this house. Decency wouldn’t dare nose about here.
Miss Ccri lifted the wrought iron knocker on the front door and rapped it, twice.
A maid opened the door a crack, whispered, “‘Round the side, mahm,” and shut it hastily.
So that was how it was going to be, was it? Frowning, Miss Ccri walked around to the side of the house, found the service entrance and knocked, this time with the handle of her umbrella.
The same maid ushered her into a side hall. “I didn’t get your brolly, mahm,” said the maid, hand outstretched.
“That is correct,” said Miss Ccri lightly. “Is this the way?”
She found Lord Hough in the next hallway. His white hair and beard contrasted with his large size and energetic manner. “Ah, Miss Ccri, welcome!” He took her hand in his large, bony grasp and kissed it lightly. “Please excuse this minor diversion. Neighbors, what?”
Lord Hough led her through an impressively large library to a heavy door made of iron-shod oak. He took a key off his watch chain, unlocked the door, and with some effort pushed it open. “We all have our little hobbies,” he told her.
“I enjoy needlepoint,” she answered, and followed him inside.
The door swung shut behind her with a distressingly solid sound, enough to make Miss Ccri immediately search for another exit. Instead, she found a naked girl, holding an amphora.
“A statue?” she said, examining the eerily lifelike paint on the marble. Apart from the lack of motion, the only real giveaway was the gilded pubic hair.
“Delightful, what? That’s how the ancients actually displayed them.” He blew a kiss to the statue as he walked past. “Come along.”
As she followed him through the stacks and past barred, frosted windows, he pointed out various volumes. “Aretin… Meibo… Argen… Prevo… Dider… Volt… Saad, of course.”
“Of course,” she said.
“And here, from the Orient: The Thread of Desire, The Boat in the Sea of Love—only in translation, alas—and some others. Our nation’s contribution to the field is over there,” he said, pointing at another set of shelves. “Clel, Swynne, and of course the late Lord Yron. The finest collection in the Empire, nay, the world, regardless of what that vulture Aysche would tell you.”
“I can’t imagine there’s any comparison,” she said, flattering him out of habit.
They came to what seemed to be the primary work area. A difference engine in a glass case clicked and sparked to itself. Lord Hough pulled on a pair of white cloth gloves. “Let us see our subject.” He extended a large hand to her.
She removed the book from her clutch and gave it to him. “My uncle passed on recently, and all he left me were the contents of his foot locker. The only thing of any potential value is this. I’m in some financial embarrassment at the moment, and I hope it would be legal to sell.” It was a carefully crafted story: the promise of a rare edition, sweetened with a little “damsel in distress.” If Hough did detect the forgery, she could plausibly feign ignorance. She didn’t share Carrig’s confidence in his works.
Lord Hough held the book by his fingertips, turning it around, then actually sniffed it. “Rag paper, not the cheap pulp you find these days.” He opened it. “Typeface is period.” He turned away from her and placed the book directly beneath an electric light. “Hrrm… haaah…” he muttered, examining the book with the aid of a magnifying glass.
As he worked, Miss Ccri tried to look about unobtrusively. She had hoped that she might find the Braen manuscript just on a desk, but she had underestimated the sheer size of the collection. She had scanned only one of the bookcases when Lord Hough spoke up.
“I regret that you have been deceived, Miss Ccri,” he said. “An excellent forgery, but a forgery nonetheless.”
“Are you sure?” she said, the right note of dismay and disbelief in her voice.
“Quite. There are too many counterfeits in circulation, impeding the study of this field. Now, why don’t you tell me why you’re really here?”
“I don’t know what you mean, my lord.”
“You were not browsing. You were looking for something in particular. Whose cat’s paw are you? Aysche? Swynne?”
She decided to abandon the ruse. “I was looking for Captain Braen’s manuscript. I have been retained by an interested party—”
“Ah, the widow. She’s more persistent than I thought.”
Miss Ccri believed too strongly in her clients’ privacy to give the game away. “—to obtain the twenty-first chapter. I am willing to negotiate its purchase.”
“No.” He sat back in his chair.
“May I ask why not?”
“Braen’s moments of genius would only be misunderstood by lesser minds, as would his more frequent moments of folly. Releasing the manuscript to the public would result in either its destruction by Decency and a great loss to scholarship, or in the corruption of the lower classes and the tarnishing of Captain Braen’s already dubious reputation. The best place for it is in my collection, where it will be circulated amongst those who are intellectually prepared for such ideas. I will show it to a gathering of like-minded gentlemen tomorrow night.”
“Obviously, your lordship will be unmoved by gross coin. I can offer you something in exchange for the manuscript.
Continue reading Steampunk Bundle Teasers #2: The Other Library

Steampunk Bundle Teasers #1: The Gunner’s Daughter

There’s less than a month left before the Steampunk Bundle disappears. In the lead-up to that heartbreaking moment, we’ll be running some hot excerpts from each of the volumes in the bundle. Today we start with Elizabeth Schechter’s House of Sable Locks, winner of the Passionate Plume award, and finalist for the Magnolia Award.

The Circlet Press Steampunk Erotica Bundle
Five full books for the price of one! Available for a limited time, Circlet Press's steamiest steampunk works all in one bundle. A discreet brothel staffed by robots. A theatre that enacts your most secret fantasies. A mad scientist whose machines are powered by human arousal. And more. Each of the stylish, sexy, and surprising books here takes Victorian science fiction to delicious new places!

(also available at Amazon, iBooks/iTunes, Smashwords, Kobo and Barnes & Noble)

Chapter Four: Gunner’s Daughter

William stopped outside a door that was almost identical to all the other doors on this floor, and all the doors that he’d gone through on his other nights in the House. This one was made unique solely by the brass plaque that read “Brigantine.” Nothing in the name gave any hint of what to expect inside the room.
This was the last room. He’d tried all the others, on both floors. Some were interesting, others bored him. Most of them had bored him, to be honest. He had promised Gerald, though, and now this was the last. After this, he could return to the fourth floor. He pushed open the door and went in.
He was met inside by the attendant automaton, just as in all the other rooms, and once again, he allowed himself to be prepared for what lay ahead. His mask and gag were removed and laid aside, and clothing was laid out for him to put on. William dressed slowly, intrigued by the fact that he was putting on the uniform of a Captain in the Royal Navy, complete with epaulets, an empty sword belt, and boots. He adjusted the coat and turned to let the attendant add the finishing touches. Leg irons were fitted around his ankles, and then his wrists were bound before him with rough rope that smelled heavily of tar. The final touch was a gag, a simple length of cloth forced into William’s mouth and tied there tightly, almost painfully. The attendant took his arm and steered him to the inner door, and without ceremony shoved him through.
He stumbled, nearly falling as his bad leg went weak under him, and was caught by a multitude of rough, grasping hands. He looked up, startled, to see himself surrounded by men who laughed and jeered as they pulled him further into the room, away from the door. The room was made up to look like the main deck of a sailing ship, but none of the men who were manhandling him were dressed in uniform. Rather, they were dressed in ragged, mismatched clothing that was dark with dirt and sweat. William realized immediately just what this room was meant to represent: a pirate attack. No doubt he was supposed to be the captain of a ship taken by pirates, and somewhere in this crowd was the pirate captain to whom he would be presented as a hostage. Even as he struggled and fought to pull away, even as the pirates pulled him steadily forward, their harsh hands tugging and tearing at his clothes and groping at his arse and his crotch, William was examining the room, the automatons that made up the crew, weighing the possibilities. And growing aroused.
Continue reading Steampunk Bundle Teasers #1: The Gunner’s Daughter

Life is fragile and so are stories: Goodbye to A.R. Morlan aka Renee M. Charles

UPDATED 4/28/2016: I’ve contacted the folks at Catkins Animal Rescue in Park Falls, Wisconsin, a no-kill shelter that we feel Ana Rose Morlan would have approved of. All royalties from the sales of her Circlet Press titles will be donated annually to Catkins. I’ve set the prices to a sale price of $2.99 permanently. Thank you all for supporting A.R. Morlan’s work and her imaginative vision.

An enigma is gone from my life, a writer I published so many stories from that Circlet issued two separate collections of her work, but who communicated so infrequently that I knew hardly anything about her. A.R. Morlan, who published erotica under the name Renee M. Charles (and also gay erotica under the name Karl Rene Moore), sent me a cryptic package this week, her handwriting nearly illegible. Today I learned she is dead, likely a suicide.

“I don’t know what to think,” I wrote to another editor when I heard the news. I literally have no context for parsing this information, or for understanding the life or death of this writer. I caught the news via Twitter, a message from another longtime editor who forwarded a link to a news story about her death. I was at the American Library Association Midwinter convention at the time, surrounded by the massive bounty of books that this industry produces, and the thought that this reclusive writer I’ve known through glimpses of correspondence over 20 years is simply gone does not compute. My car radio seemed to be mocking me on the drive home, playing first The Police “So Lonely,” and then Jim Carroll “People Who Died.”

The radio mocking me while I was trying to make sense of hearing of her death.
The radio mocking me while I was trying to make sense of hearing of her death.

The way I understand things is by writing about them, so this essay (elegy?) is as much about my struggle to make sense of her life and her death as it is about her.

A.R. Morlan had a restless pen, and, I always assumed, a restless mind. She wrote relentlessly, short story after short story, in rambling sentences that often contained parentheticals (and multiple clauses inset with em dashes) long before David Foster Wallace made that cool. I would venture to say there was not a single editor of short fiction in the science fiction and fantasy markets of the 1990s who did not receive submissions from her. (A quick Google search turns up her old SciFi.com author bio and bibliography and it lists 93 short fiction credits before 2001.)

Although SciFi.com is defunct, remnants of the website zombie forward. I grabbed this screencap of a bio that had appeared there.
Although SciFi.com is defunct, remnants of the website zombie forward. I grabbed this screencap of a bio that had appeared there.
She wrote those maddeningly complex sentences on a manual typewriter, laboriously producing each manuscript while creating a realtime duplicate with carbon paper because, she said, there were only two copy machines in the small town where she lived—one which rarely worked and the other charged 25 cents a page. (I just looked it up: population 3400.) Her letters to me were usually about one of two things: her cats or her ongoing feud with the US postal service. A recent note implied she did not drive. My impression was that she was a recluse and that the US mail was her only lifeline to the outside world. The one time she tried to call me by phone the call was so static-laden and tinny it sounded like she was calling from a past era in time, not Wisconsin. (The call was to say her phone didn’t work really but had I received her story?)

I always edited her sentences ruthlessly—repunctuating them so that although when read aloud the flow was nearly identical, but on the page they could be parsed—but I never edited her fecund, expansive ideas. Perhaps that’s why she kept sending me stories, despite the low pay. At first lesbian erotica, then later adding a gay pseudonym as well. Her gay submissions were preceded by a note saying she was thinking of trying to write for our gay anthologies but she “needed to do some research first.” I never asked what her research was going to consist of. This was a woman with no computer, no Internet, and no cell phone.

All I really knew of her in the ’90s was that her main source of income was as an instructor for the Writers Digest correspondence courses and that she had 35 cats, half who lived upstairs and half who lived downstairs. I only know those things because she told me herself.

There was one other thing I knew. I heard she had published two fantasy novels through a mainstream publisher (Bantam) but that they had dropped her after her baffling insistence that the books never be distributed in the state of Wisconsin, lest her family figure out that she had written a book. I heard this story from other editors, because her name would often come up in conversation at gatherings like Worldcon or other places where sf/f small press editors would meet. She was such an enigma that when her name did come up any other editor in the room would always pipe up with, “Do you know her? What’s the deal with her, anyway?”

I don’t think she was so notable to editors merely because she was an enigma but because her stories made such an impression. She sold to just about everyone eventually. Her narratives were multilayered, original, often incorporating rich cultural or historical details–my presumption is she must have read every book in her town library, and every new thing she learned inspired her to fantasize about something other than the life she was living.

Her erotic stories were lush and unabashed, often exploring female empowerment through stories of hard-won erotic freedom. I’ve had many many writers in my 24 years of editing erotica whose erotic lives on the page were wildly imaginative and unrepressed, while their real lives were the opposite, and I assumed she was one of them. More than once I’ve had a female author disappear–phone disconnected, email bouncing–only to have them reappear later with a tale of how they fled an abusive husband with nothing but the clothes on their backs. (Sometimes with children in tow.) Other times they disappear and leave only a message that they’ve changed gender and cut off everything from their previous life. Sometimes there’s no message.

But this is the first time an author sent me her back catalog as a prelude to suicide.

Some of the erotic magazines and anthologies Renee M. Charles was published in.
Some of the erotic magazines and anthologies Renee M. Charles was published in.

From what I can tell, misfortunes began to visit A.R. often after 2001. As technology marched on, short fiction markets shifted gradually to online submissions only, some to online publishing only. Even the places to find out about markets moved online and many directories that used to be published ceased to exist. She was dropped from the Writers Digest job. I know a few people tried to get her to computerize. At least one editor tried to donate a used computer to her and teach her to use it, to no avail. So far as I know she never went to conventions or had any other contact with people in the business except by paper post. I imagine it must have seemed as if her lifeline were fraying down to a thread–as people abandoned paper correspondence, did it feel like they were abandoning her?

By the mid-2000s Circlet Press was mired in debt and not publishing much, so correspondence between me and A.R., which was never voluminous to begin with, dwindled to mostly Christmas cards. In one she mentioned severe health problems and wanted to know if I would be the executor of the “Renee Charles” literary estate. I said yes.

In another she wrote, “My VERY bible-belt relatives–they don’t even know who/’what’ Harry Potter is!!– have said to me that they wish they could make my erotica [and horror and sf too] just ‘go away’ which is why I’m planning to formally disinherit all of them in my will! I can’t stand them!”

Then things seemed to pick up for a little while. After ebooks took off in 2008, we contracted with her to do digital collections of her short stories with the intention that Borgo Press, who had done one of her “tame” collections and had reprinted her novels would do those also. However after I sent the electronic copies of the manuscripts off to the editor at Borgo, only silence returned. I eventually gathered that Robert Reginald was in poor health himself, and passed away in 2013. I did get a letter from A.R. in March 2011 thanking me for the royalty check, and telling me of her woes when becoming her mother’s caregiver had fallen to her:

“Getting that check meant the world to me; the past week+ has been hellish — my mother (who will be a very old, out of shape/in bad health 72 in May) has been sick with the flu, a cold, constipation (which is what a person gets when they 1) don’t eat right, 2) don’t walk anywhere besides the bathroom/kitchen all day long, and 3) just sit around either watching TV or reading virtually all day, and napping sporadically 24/7), and on top of that a bout of gout… and thanks to her problems with being violent, foul-mouthed, and a rageaholic, there’s no way any caregiver will take her on. (There are multiple care giver-places in town, all of whom can refuse unruly/aggressive clients, alas!) So it’s been me 24/7, not only for the past week+ but for months… needless to say, I’m physically/mentally worn down lately!”

That was typical of her punctuation and writing style. In this same 2011 letter she thanks me for agreeing to take on her erotica as executor and includes a few photocopies of manuscripts.

I heard from her very little after 2011, mostly holiday cards, but there was one from February 2014, accompanied by photos of her house and five new accidental kittens (when one of the not-yet-neutered males managed to sneak over to one of the unspayed females). It was one of the longer missives–which was still fairly short–typed with manual typewriter onto a card and then overflowing onto a slip of paper and covering both sides. In it she detailed the travails of the weather dipping to -25 degrees in the “polar vortex” preventing her from finding food for her cats in dumpsters (she would look for hamburgers and eggs to chop up, apparently) so she had to switch to kibble she couldn’t easily afford. Although I never knew what “A.R.” originally stood for (I assumed the “R” was for Renee, given her pseudonyms), she wrote this:

“I ended up paying $700 in total to change my name to Ana Rose but my father’s family STILL won’t use it or my initials (they preferred the hideous name he gave me!) so I keep getting letters addressed to ‘Hey girl’ or ‘daughter’ or ‘the lady with the cats’!!

A card I received in May 2014 complained of red tape regarding her name change, trying twice to get a new birth certificate — bureaucrats insisting she provide documentation of her name from BEFORE she turned 19, when of course the legal change of name was recent. “Numbskulls” she called them, and mailed the paperwork and court documents again.

That same card complained of arthritis so bad that she could “barely type.” Typing, which was her primary means of communicating with anyone.

It was the last letter I got from her until a few days ago. A large cardboard box arrived at my home office containing a heap of books and magazines. She sent it all to me via insured parcel post, along with a mostly illegible, handwritten note:

“These are the contrib copies of all the erotica I’ve published — a few odds and ends of unpublished stuff is (down) here, plus I can’t find all the UK erotica copies. Whole life destroyed, cats dead. Very sick emotionally and physically. You were a good friend & editor. Thanks.”

Another person she sent a similar package to contacted police, and when they went to her house discovered she had been dead “for several days,” according to the news reports. The police presumed suicide. The news stories say this past summer she had been charged with cashing her mother’s social security checks since 2011. She had apparently told police in the summer that her mother had run off with two women in their 30s in May 2011. Her mother is still missing: the only bodies they found upon searching the property were those of 200 dead cats–along with 30 live ones.

I can’t presume to know from these glimpses what her life was actually like. Nor can I truly know what it would be like to live a life where my only lifeline was writing erotica and fantasy–essentially in secret for most of my life and then after my family found out, withstanding their constant hatred–much less what I would do if that lifeline were to be choked off.

All I can do is follow my own restless path toward dealing with her death, pushed by cultural values regarding remembrance being the primary way of honoring the dead and my own deep discomfiture about her actions. I believe she wanted to be remembered and this was why she sent me these materials. I believe her legal name change was her final attempt at making herself into her own person and not a product of her parents. I believe she wanted to be remembered for her writing and not for suicide.

It’s now midnight as I’m writing this and the news about David Bowie’s death is rocketing through all my social media channels. As if I didn’t just spend this entire afternoon and evening pondering these questions of a creative legacy and the fragility of life and ideas and the impact of death. Anyway. As I’ve been writing and processing my thoughts I’ve decided the thing to do is make sure as many people read her stories as possible. Here at Circlet we published two collections, SHADES OF PLEASURE which is all erotic science fiction (mostly lesbian), and CINNAMON ROSES, which is all vampire stories, lesbian and bi/pansexual. I’ve set the ebook prices to zero on Circlet.com (links below) and on Smashwords and have dropped the price to 99 cents on Amazon–the lowest I can set the price myself. Amazon’s price-matching robots will soon catch up with the $0.00 price elsewhere, though and it will drop to 0.00.

If I had to pick one story for you all to read, it would be “Like a Reflection in a Mirror Without Glass” which is in SHADES OF PLEASURE. But each story was different, even though at their cores they were nearly always about lonely women who yearned for connection. “Diving Into Oceans of Air” features a telepathic shut-in and a paraplegic. Please use the links below to download the books in mobi (Kindle), epub, or PDF format. I feel that sharing these fragile dreams from a departed soul is all I can do.

(Add both books to your shopping cart. It’ll then ask you to fill in your contact info and hit submit. You’ll then be taken to a page with unique download links *and* you’ll also receive those links in email. You will not be added to any mailing lists. -ctan)

UPDATED 1/30/2016: I’ve since received a copy of her will in the mail from her attorney. I have hit upon an idea. Since I have no wish to profit monetarily from her death and she left none of it to her family (as she promised), my idea is to donate whatever royalties her books make annually to a cat rescue or animal shelter in her area. -ctan

UPDATED 4/28/2016: I’ve contacted the folks at Catkins Animal Rescue in Park Falls, Wisconsin, a no-kill shelter that we feel Ana Rose Morlan would have approved of. All royalties from the sales of her Circlet Press titles will be donated annually to Catkins. I’ve set the prices to a sale price of $2.99 permanently. Thank you all for supporting A.R. Morlan’s work and her imaginative vision.

Cinnamon Roses
Cinnamon Roses
by Renee M Charles ISBN: 9781613900468 44710 words **All royalties will be donated to Catkins Animal Rescue in Park Falls, Wisconsin, in memory of Renee M. Charles aka A.R. Morlan.** All of Renee M. Charles's erotic vampire stories collected into one volume! Lush and varied, the book contains the following stories: Cinnamon Roses, Drink To Me Only With Thine Eyes, The Twelve Nights of Callicantzaros, Opening the Veins of Jade, Initiation Into Club Sanguis, Mist Kisses.
Price: $5.99
Price: $2.99
Format :

Shades of Pleasure
by Renée M Charles
**All royalties will be donated to Catkins Rescue in Park Falls, Wisconsin, in memory of author Renee M. Charles, aka A.R. Morlan.**
These eight sizzling tales from the ever-inventive Renée M. Charles look at sexuality through a futuristic lens, each with its own vision of the future--good or bad. In these stories, people--women, men, and everything in between--have erotic encounters in zero gravity, in repressive dystopian societies, and even in worlds not so far off from our own.
Price: $5.99
Price: $2.99
Format :

Circlet Press Arisia Event: Meet the Authors Tea Party!

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Boston’s big winter event for those into science fiction and fantasy is the Arisia Science Fiction Convention! Happening annually on the MLK weekend, Arisia draws together lovers of sf/f books, movies, costumes, games, and fandom itself. Circlet Press has been throwing an annual party at the con since 1993.

This year we decided to try something a little different! Join us at the Westin, room 461, for a Meet the Authors Tea party! When? Tea time of course! 4pm to 6pm on Saturday January 16th.

There will be both Chinese and English-style tea, snacks, and of course books to peruse and authors to chat with (or receive autographs from)! First 20 guests will also receive a free ebook and whatever other fun swag we may have…!

Among the authors and editors who will be on hand:

with more to be announced!

Erotica for Geeks