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Twilight Tales: Tales of Forbidden Passion
edited by Tina L. Jens
11th Hour Productions, 52 pages

Twilight Tales: Tales of Forbidden Passion
Twilight Tales
Twilight Tales: The Reading Series is a weekly event held at the Red Lion Pub across from the infamous Biograph Theatre in Chicago. Writers from the greater Chicago area and periodic visitors from away take to the stage every Monday night at 8PM spotlighting both published and unpublished authors of all genres. In 1998, they began a series of illustrated chapbooks. Many of the stories made their public debut at the reading series, some in the form of first drafts or works in progress. You can find ordering information and prices on the website.

Twilight Tales: The Reading Series Website
Tina L. Jens Website

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Rodger Turner

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Each of the chapbooks in the Twilight Tales series contain stories that are linked thematically. The first is titled Tales of Forbidden Passion. Its hot pink cover should have but didn't prepare me for this collection of adults-only horrific erotica. Not all the stories are horror in the sense of what readers these days have come expect. Rather, words such as steamy, compelling, uncomfortable are a few that came to my mind as I read the stories in this slim volume.

First up is "Humiliation" by J.D. Smith. A fellow searches the ads for a little love and humiliation. He trolls the personals and makes an appointment with Mistress Sabine, a dominatrix. Little does he know how sadistic one can be as she sends him on his way. It's an interesting twist on what the submission/domination ritual can do to a man who has trouble with relationships.

Bill Breedlove's "That Dreamy Feeling" starts out with our hero in a fog both literally and figuratively. His stroll leads him to a bar, knocking back shots and knowing that he should take his medication. He meets and is picked up by what TV would call a wicked woman. She leads him to her place for a brief tryst -- urging him on, teasing him to be even more shocking than others she's had before and warning him to hurry in case her even more dangerous room-mates barge in. Our hero, befuddled by drink and lust, begins to realize that he can do that, perhaps to her chagrin. If you've watched too many made-for-TV and B-movies like I have, the end of this story will be telegraphed from the git-go. If you haven't, this tale can serve as a warning against spending too much time in bars.

This fellow is one sick puppy. Martin Mundt shows us what can happen when you combine tabloids with those wanting their 15 minutes of fame. "My Love is a Dead, Dead Rose" follows the loopy adventures of a newspaper letter writer who digs up a dead celebrity and wants to sell the rights. Creepy, smelly and terribly original all serve to describe this little number done in letter form.

In the author notes, Leigh Jensen is credited with past work as a stripper and a dominatrix. This may go some way to explaining why the couple who serve as the main characters allow themselves to be degraded as they are in "They Can Look and They Can Touch." He can't get it up unless she is humiliated and debased by strangers, co-workers and even a dog. She needs him in her life. After one dark and stormy evening, she realizes she needs this and he figures out he doesn't. Frustrated, she decides it is her turn. Ms. Jensen's story illustrates dramatically why revenge is best served cold.

Rick Reed's "Waiting for Tom" is apparently one of a series of stories featuring the sex-crazed Amelia and her overbearing mother Helen. Take some milk, tuna, an open window, a cat on the fence, a restless Amelia and add a mom who is awakened by the sound of what seems to be a cat fight going on in her daughter's room. Given the title of the chapbook, I don't think I have to go into any more detail about this peculiar little tale. Well written, but this a piece that makes you go "eeyyouh" which I had thought would be harder to do than the previous one, but it did.

The last story is Yvonne Navarro's "Touch Me." What does it take to get a porn actress off off-camera? This is a tale of tawdry characters who have spent too much time delivering the goods to others. It circles around Noelina the fragile porn star looking for a certain amount of privacy, Matthews the still photographer who brews up an unusual emulsifier for his pictures, and Ernie the assistant director who caters to her every whim. She's being touched all over by hands unseen, the cameraman has a well-worn stash of her stills and Ernie knows that he can take her away from the day-to-day crustiness of being a two dimensional film-toy. Care to guess how it ends?

Most of the stories work, but it seems to me that a few of them are better read aloud to feel their true impact. But be prepared for thoughts and ideas you never heard from your parents.

Copyright © 1999 by Rodger Turner

Rodger has read a lot of science fiction and fantasy in forty years. He can only shake his head and say, "So many books, so little time."


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