The world’s hottest lesbian authors wantSmall Bella After Dark (BAD) Logo.
you . . . to lie back and surrender to the erotic world of Bella After Dark!

Seductive surprises from your favorite authors, plus sexy scenarios from the hottest newcomers, equals enough steamy stories to satisfy your deepest butch/femme desires. Pleasure yourself with the best of:

Karin Kallmaker Lesléa Newman Jean Stewart Barbara Johnson
Julia Watts Peggy J. Herring Therese Szymanski Laura DeHart Young
Nairne Holtz Amie M. Evans Joy Parks krysia lycette villón
M. Christian L.E. Bland Jean Roberta Jesi O’Connell
Elizabeth Dunn D.L. White Nathalie Graham Carol Rosenfeld
Sabrina Wilcox M.J. Williamz Jennifer Collins  

This compelling collection of Butch/Femme sense and sensuality will take you on a fantasy journey—on the road, in the pool, against the wall, and wherever else you long to go.

Whether you dream of long-legged soccer stars, the girl next door, your favorite bartender, a sultry tango dancer or a traffic cop who’s packing more than handcuffs, you’ll find her waiting for you inside . . . Back to Basics.


Story Excerpt Introduction What the Critics Say Behind the Book

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Story Excerpt

I chose excerpts from my stories for this site so that I don't have to worry about pissing off some other writer or violating copyright. This doesn't mean that my story is necessarily the best, just the only one I can excerpt from.

The Fan

by Therese Szymanski

“. . . she turned and looked into the most amazing deep blue eyes she had ever seen. ‘Haven’t we met somewhere before?’ he asked, a hint of a smirk touching his finely chiseled features. ‘I . . . I’m not sure,’ she said, feeling faint. She really wasn’t sure if she knew him or not,” I finished reading in my most seductive, teasing voice.

The only sound was the background noise of the bookstore, but even that was faint. None of the fifty or so women sitting in the area was making a single sound.

“Fallon McGuire, ladies! Isn’t she wonderful?” Cynthia said, coming to the front of the audience. Her words made my audience break into applause. Cynthia was one of those older ladies who was perpetually cheerful. A bookstore employee, she obviously lived for the moments when she could see the likes of Fallon McGuire, internationally known romance novelist, weave her spell over a group of women whose only romance was in the pages of whatever stories beautiful, young, feminine women could give them. “Does anyone have any questions for Miss McGuire?” Cynthia asked when the applause quieted down.

“Oh, yes,” one middle-aged woman at the front said, meekly half-raising her hand. “How do you create such vivid romance?”

I shyly looked up from under my eyelashes in a carefully practiced look. “Well, now, you should know a real lady never reveals her secrets.” I shaded the words with just a hint of the Southern accent my agent had carefully trained me in.

It would probably blow their minds if they knew what this particular beautiful, young, feminine woman really thought about when she was writing such stories.

Which was about the same thing I thought about when I wrote my sleazy lesbian romance novels.

I wrote mainstream romance for the money, I did the lesbian stuff for fun.

“Miss McGuire,” another voice chirruped, this time from an older woman in a wheelchair. “However did you start writing?”

I almost didn’t hear her question because I was entranced with the woman standing just behind her, obviously a relative who had brought her to the reading, because she certainly wasn’t the sort to read my Fallon McGuire books and probably wouldn’t even read my lesbian romances. But she was the sort of woman I thought about when creating both.

I was on autopilot while I finished answering questions. I’m sure I smiled demurely, and kept my legs crossed at the ankle under my light sundress with its long skirt. I knew all the questions and answers, and every movement was scripted, as was every word. Fallon McGuire was the perfect twenty-first-century Southern Belle, Georgia accent and all.

It was a good thing I knew the part so well, because although I’m a femme who plays demure at times, I am not exactly the lady they think I am. In fact, the lady I am was quite distracted by the slender, dark-haired butch who guided the old woman’s wheelchair into line when I began signing books.

After all, it was women like her who lit the fire under my romance and gave my sex scenes all of their heat and passion.

• • • • • 

“God, it’s a gorgeous day,” Sandra said, her strong hands lightly caressing the steering wheel of the Bronco as we drove across country, “but all this sameness is gettin’ to me.” She looked over at me with her deep blue eyes. “Think you can come up with somethin’ to keep me awake?”

“Coffee?” I asked, sitting up to grab the thermos.

“Nah, that’ll just make me hafta pee again.”

“Well, I’ve got this book of trivia . . .”

“Aw, don’t make me think too hard. It’s too nice of a day.”

“Um,” I said, searching my mind for games to play on a road trip. “How about we keep track of how many different state license plates we see?”

“Oh, c’mon, when was the last time you saw another car?” She looked at me over the top of her dark sunglasses. “Though I was thinking of something kind of visual . . .” A slow grin began to spread across her features.

A faint chill enveloped me. “What’re you thinkin’?”

She just grinned back.

“What do you want?”

“Something to keep me awake.” She reached over, ran a finger lightly across my chin and down my neck, pausing at the dip in my shirt.

“And just what are you thinking?” I asked, grabbing her hand and sucking her forefinger into my mouth, running my teeth lightly over it as I sucked in and out.

“I want to watch.”

“Huh? Watch what?”

“I want to watch you touch yourself—y’know, play with yourself.”

A thrill ran down my spine. “But it’s broad daylight!” It was so bad, it was exciting. I knew I wanted to do it, but she had to convince me.

“When’s the last time you saw another car—or saw anything at all? C’mon, babe . . . Y’know you want to do it.” She looked at me hard. She pulled her hand out of mine and her nimble fingers began quickly unbuttoning my shirt.

I let her do it. “Sandra . . . I . . . can’t,” I said, pulling back away from her, playing hard to get.

“You want to, you know you do. C’mon, babe, show yourself off. You’ve got an incredible body, and since I can’t do you right now . . .”

“Sandra . . .” I was so wet, I could feel it trickling down my thighs. The very thought of getting naked for this hot butch, showing myself off for her, touching myself, was almost enough to make me come. It took all my will power to stay put, to not squirm, to not show her how hot just the thought was making me.

“I could pull over if you weren’t so hell-bent on making Boise tonight . . .”

“What’s so great about Boise?”

“You’re the one who wants to spend the night there.” She again glanced over at me.

I knew what I wanted. I wanted to strip for her. I wanted to fuck myself for her. But I had to keep her, us, in the car, on the road for that. That would be my only excuse.

“You’re pantin’ baby, you know you want this as much as I do.”

She could read my mind too well. “Do you want me completely naked?” My hands were at the buttons of my shirt.

“Yes. Take it all off.”

It was so bad, it was good. I was wet even as I pulled off my shirt and undid my bra. I leaned against the door and looked at her, running my fingers over my breasts, my nipples, and then squeezed them. Hard.

Her gaze was like a touch. I felt naughty, bad, like I was doing something I shouldn’t be, which I was. It was broad daylight, and I was stripping in a moving vehicle—I mean, what if we got pulled over? What if a trucker came by? He could see right down into the car!

I was already barefoot, so I just had to unzip my jeans and pull them and my underwear off. Totally naked, I opened my legs wide, stretching one through the space in the seats and into the backseat while I put the other on the floor.

If I was going to do this, I’d do it all the way, and leave nothing to the imagination. I’d show her everything.

“Keep your eyes on the road,” I ordered, tugging at my nipples. I was so turned on, I was practically dripping onto the seat.

“I am,” she said while her eyes ping-ponged between the road and me.

I smiled at her, and dipped my fingers down between my legs, where they slid across my swollen lips. I traced them up and down, quickly finding the hardened nub . . .

I wanted to hold off, but I was so ready, I needed it and couldn’t help myself. My fingers began beating across my clit, while my other hand teased and squeezed my nipples.

“Oh God, oh God,” I moaned, my pelvis rising and falling, my body acting of its own accord. Her gaze was hot upon me as I spread my legs even farther, opening myself up to her smoldering gaze, wanting her hands on me, but still knowing what I was doing, and feeling so bad about it because it was so damned hot.

“That was pretty fuckin’ hot,” Sandra said when I was done.

I reached down for my clothes.

“Don’t. Stay like that. After all, you might just get the urge to do it again.”

I spent most of the Midwest naked after that, stripping as soon as we got into the car in the morning, and only putting my clothes on for food and restroom breaks, and when we were driving through cities.

I was shy about my body, but I loved showing it off to her—it felt so naughty, and so very, very good . . .



Well, I can’t include the intro to this book, since I never wrote one. Instead, I’ll use my old Amazon post on it, and then say more in the “Behind the Book” section. So, anyway, here is the post:

I guess one of the things I could do with this space/time is to put out the intro to Back to Basics: A Butch/Femme Anthology. The one that was never printed. Because I never wrote it. (Realistically, if I had been allowed to write one back then, it likely would not have been this. It would have focused almost entirely on the butch/femme experience. For my next anthology, I just went ahead and wrote an intro.)

So consider this a rough draft of the intro I might’ve written for that book:

A few years ago I was walking down the street with a gay male couple, and both of them were editing some anthologies, and so they asked me to write for them, which I did do. They also told me I ought to edit an anthology myself. I said I’d think about it—because I didn’t want to just edit an anthology for the sake of doing it—I wanted to do something that ought to be done.

So with that in the back of my mind, I went back to life. And then I started to realize that there weren’t any books of butch/femme erotica—there were books of essays and poetry and other things relating to butch/femme, but nothing purely erotic, even though there were books of butch-on-butch erotica. I reckoned there had to be a bigger market for this than that, so I pitched it to my publisher. Well, actually, I mentioned it to my publisher, planning on pitching it elsewhere, but Bella wanted it.

I agreed to go with Bella, because I realized it would be Bella’s first anthology, and thus I could set some precedence for Bella—like contractual items, as well as ensuring that all stories be erotic and on theme, and that it not be only Bella writers.

I decided, beyond all that and also bringing in some bigger names, I could also usher in some new names—not only give them the opportunity, but perhaps help teach some newbies so that I wouldn’t have to keep reading the same stories by the same people in all the erotic anthologies I read.

But then I got down to the nitty-grittiness of editing this puppy—like, doing all the work and making choices and working through drafts and negotiating further with the publisher. All that wasn’t so much fun. (Except perhaps when, just after 9/11, during the Anthrax scare in DC (I live in DC), my postal worker came to my front door with a letter-thingie from down under, one that required a signature. He was pretty much like, “Do you know this person?” and I was all with the, “Uh, no,” so he went with, “Are you sure you want it?” “Oh, yeah. Why not?” That was fun.)

And it was during that work that I started to learn what editing an anthology meant to me: All of the above, plus.

See, I started deciding on the stories to accept, and there were some that didn’t fit all my specifications, but were too good to turn down—and that was when I realized the anthology comprised a longer story, and just so long as all tales within told more about butch/femme, that was all right. I’d realized, with my little marketing brain, that many readers who weren’t so familiar with butch/femme might pick up the book, and thus I could share some thoughts with them.

So I created this book as a full-length project, not as a collection of individual short stories, but as a tale that leads from one part to the next to the next till it reaches its conclusion. I hope you’ll enjoy it for this read as well as many other readings.

As for the butch/femme elements, yes, I could wax eloquently on all that. But if that’s what you’re looking for, perhaps you might try one of those books of essays, poetry and fiction. I’m in it for the hot wetness of it all.

And I think the the work speaks for itself.

What the Critics Say

THIS FIRST OF A NEW SERIES OF naughty “Bella After Dark” books, from a publisher better known for its gritty mysteries and happily-ever-after romances, has all the required elements of a butch-femme anthology.

Therese Szymanski edited “Back to Basics: A Butch-Femme Anthology,” in which a lady cop falls for a dyke trucker, leather meets lace, good vanilla girl learns to love dildos, and sex happens in bathroom stalls as often as on rumpled sheets.

But there’s more than steamy stereotypes in the 23 fine short stories collected by Szymanski. Most contributors ably work gender politics into their polished storytelling, though entertainment always trumps dogma. Among the best: “Touching Stone,” by Joy Parks, is poetic prose in erotic motion; “Found in An Antique Trunk,” by Julia Watts, is a bit of bittersweet history; and “Miss August,” by Nairne Holtz, dwells elegantly on class issues and sexual boundaries.

And demonstrating that gender fluidity is at passionate play in this standout anthology of lesbian erotica, M. Christian’s witty “Coming Out of Left Field,” about rediscovering the inner Princess, is by a male writer. (Bella Books published this 315-page paperback.)

—Richard Labonte, Washington Blade, 3/26/2004


Behind the Book

Now, what would I add to the intro materials? Well, maybe that I originally conceived of Back to Basics (B2B) as a good bathtub read. Also, that I really hated the lag time between when it was supposed to come out and when it did. So there were a few frustrations in it for me, and I almost took it somewhere else before the change in Bella management occurred and they got it out.

Then I was a happy camper. (And FINALLY I could stop sending them the same darned sample contracts over and over again. I had to do that at least a dozen times, but only once more with new management, and that was lovely. (Fortunately, I’d kept the materials around, since I’d had to scan them in and all… but it took a while to send them over my dial-up connection.))

Oh, on another note, I think, of all my anthologies, this one made the greatest statement. I don’t know what I’m most pleased with about this book—the attention it got, the precedences with Bella it set, the statements it made, or what, but it goes into the list of anthologies I’m pleased with. I don’t have one out that I’m not happy with, and that’s a right nice thing to say as an editor.

One other note: I was very glad of Bella’s proofreaders when I did this anthology. I’m not a real editor, but I play one sometimes, so it was nice to have amazing proofreaders to help me out (and I’m sure my good relationship with them didn’t hurt!)

On a final note, I went through a bunch of story drafts with this anthology with some folks. As in, we went around and around up to 10 drafts to get ‘em right. I now know that editing, especially editing five anthologies (to date), one full-length novel (to date), and tons of stuff for my day job has all made me a better writer. I now know why some rules exist, and don’t try to slide around them. In fact, IMHO, I know a bit more about what works and doesn’t, and why rules exist, and thus do things better myself. ‘Cause, y’know? Analyzing stuff for others? Makes you really pay attention to details.

And I’m even becoming a better line editor and copy editor from it all as well.

BTW: It was really weird e-mailing Lesléa Newman and a few other notables for this book. Obviously, I only got Lesléa, but it was still all weird for me, since, in that realm, I’m a relative no one, so I was a big ol' literary geek there.


Buy the Book

A Butch/Femme Anthology

© 2004
ISBN-10: 193151335X
ISBN-13: 978-1931513357

And you can buy the book from your local independent/feminist/LGBT or rockin' lesbian bookstore, or any really cool store that might sell books like mine.

Oh, and of course, you can buy it/find out about its availability and such from my terrific publisher, Bella Books.

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