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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just in time for your spooky autumn reading!
The latest Bella Books anthology, Call of the Dark, has arrived. The 23 stories represent the work of well-known authors as well as new writers. Selected and arranged by Therese Szymanski, this collection is thoughtful and entertaining, sometimes witty and touching, often creepy and always arousing. The focus of the collection is "erotic" and it is not surprising that...
Published on September 29, 2005 by M. J. Lowe

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1.0 out of 5 stars Don't Bother
It is a shame that so many queer writers still feel pressure to let their work revolve around camp and poorly written sexual musings in order to collect a paycheck. After so much social and political progress, queer writers like Szymanski continue to paint homosexuals in an embarrassing single dimensional light and waste our time with middle school pornography, rather...
Published 14 months ago by Jacob Sterling


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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just in time for your spooky autumn reading!, September 29, 2005
By 
M. J. Lowe "www.mjlowe.info" (Denver, Colorado United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Call Of The Dark: Erotic Lesbian Tales Of The Supernatural (Paperback)
The latest Bella Books anthology, Call of the Dark, has arrived. The 23 stories represent the work of well-known authors as well as new writers. Selected and arranged by Therese Szymanski, this collection is thoughtful and entertaining, sometimes witty and touching, often creepy and always arousing. The focus of the collection is "erotic" and it is not surprising that most of the stories fall into two categories: possession by or seduction at the hands of a vampire or a spirit. Nevertheless the stories are neither repetitive nor entirely predictable.

The vampires range from the dashing, charismatic Daron in Szymanski's "Dream Lover" to the horrific entity in Patty G. Henderson's "In the Blood." Henderson's tale questions the price of life, the cost of loyalty and the pain of survival. Victoria A. Brownworth's "The Feast of St. Lucy" is an aching little tale of loneliness and survival filled with vivid images of the ancient and ageless New Orlean's French Quarter and the scent of bergamot. Perhaps one of the most interesting twists is Ariel Graham's "Games of Love" wherein she illustrates how a really long-term couple keeps the relationship ... fresh, and answers that nagging question of what is the appropriate gift for your 500+ anniversary.

The spirits (formerly human, and now ghosts or demon) who haunt these pages are equally varied. An ultimate surrender overwhelms the lead in Radclyffe's "By the Light of the Moon." In Heather Osborne's "That which Alters," the succubus finds herself falling in love with her victim in a fascinating role reversal. "Specter of Sin" allows Kristina Wright to provide a new variation on a traditional kind of ghost story set in the lonely despair of the Texas desert. The switch in perspective is explored by several writers, as when Rachel Kramer Bussel (a contributing editor at Penthouse) opens the door to "The Haunted, Haunted House." There, a ghost provides a heated coming out for a lovely young visitor.

Without question, the most amusing entry of the collection is "Lilith" by Karin Kallmaker. In this wry tale of a queer succubus who outlives her creator and is left to drift through the dreams and fantasies of humans without intent to consume them. Kallmaker opens the anthology and a discussion of the nature of fantasy, focus, and consent.

Szymanski's skillful selection and arrangement of the stories provides valuable contrasts and flow for the reader. Thus, Julia Watt's charming "Visitation" is followed by Barbara Johnson's "Loving Ophelia." The former provides the reader with a satisfying "all is right" even in the "other world" with a psychic who helps a wronged spirit, and has several of her own questions answered in the process. In the latter, Johnson pens a creepy little story worthy of the Twilight Zone.

This placing and pacing of stories allows the reader to read several stories in a row, moving between the touching, humorous, and thoughtful, to the downright creepy, then back again. The lighter entries, like those sunny days or well-lit rooms in a horror movie, serve to lure the readers into letting down their guard for that unexpected twist or nerve-jolting revelation of the next story. And while readers might not find all the stories entirely to their taste, it is not from lack of imagination or skill of writing. None of the stories failed to elicit a response in this reader.

Kallmaker's Lilith laments at one point, "I gathered ever more fantasies and yet had no witch with whom to share them. Truly, to have tales and no one to tell -- is there anything sadder?" p7

Thankfully, Kallmaker and the other writers in this collection have lots of readers with whom to share their fantasies and we are all the richer for the experience. Pick up a copy of Call of the Dark, light a candle, pour yourself a glass of rich, red wine, and enjoy.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sizzling Hot and LESBIAN, January 24, 2006
This review is from: Call Of The Dark: Erotic Lesbian Tales Of The Supernatural (Paperback)
Like Szymanski's first anthology, Back to Basics, this collection sizzles, start to finish. Every story is strong and well-told and focuses almost exclusively on really hot lesbian sex. Women with women doing women in the dark. It's a keeper.

Full of names I don't recognize and many that I do, I think this anthology makes a real effort to find good stories foremost and not just the same old names. But the new writers (at least new to me) are not amateurish. Clunky sentences and tired cliches can ruin a good sensual buzz, and there was none of that in this anthology.

A warning, though, these stories are meant to be creepy and spooky (though some are amusing and light) and in a few cases, demons of the dark have their way with unsuspecting women in less than consensual acts. If that's going to bother you you might want instead to pick up Back to Basics, another great anthology. If you can roll with the occasional vampire who doesn't wait for a signed consent form, you're going to love every page of this book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Goosebumps at its best, May 28, 2008
By 
Cheri Crystal (Southwest United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Call Of The Dark: Erotic Lesbian Tales Of The Supernatural (Paperback)
I'd like to add that both "Call of The Dark: Erotic Lesbian Tales Of The Supernatural" and "Shadows of the Night: Queer Tales of the Uncanny and Unusual," live up to their hype. The impressive list of contributors deliver the expected chills and erotic thrills. Putting horror in a new light, you'll be pleasantly surprised at how titillating being frightened can be.

It's been a while but just flipping through the pages, "Call of the Dark" has sent delicious shivers up and down my spine. From "Her libido took off like the proverbial bat out of hell," (p. 5) sound familiar? Where "Reality was the dream..." (p. 23). Or "full lips parted, teeth sharp against her tongue, the taste of blood lingering in her mouth" (p. 43). Is there anything more erotic than a kiss? "My skin felt worshipped and then as if I was being flayed alive. Pleasure and pain, pain and pleasure. Who knew where one ended and the other started?" (p. 70) Good question. Vivid mind paralyzing imagery and who would think that "Pale, rotting flesh...worst nightmare come to life...and smell my own terror" (p. 72) could be sexy? "She sucked on my neck before biting. Hard. I cried out" (p. 80). Or succumbing to the suffocating thoughts of inhaling icy water rather than air but drowning in lust before long (p. 89). So much stuff, from haunted houses (pgs. 101-6), weapons of mass pleasure, autopsies, honoring the dead on Halloween, to the feel of your spine turning to mush (p. 198), I could go on and on, but I will leave the rest for your own sweet horrified discovery. If these bits don't cry out for you to answer the "Call of the Dark," then find out why LGBTQ people seem to be so attracted to the supernatural. I did.

Cheri
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Read, February 15, 2010
This review is from: Call Of The Dark: Erotic Lesbian Tales Of The Supernatural (Paperback)
If this is your type of story it is well worth the purchase I really enjoyed reading the stories inside very much.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Don't Bother, December 2, 2013
This review is from: Call Of The Dark: Erotic Lesbian Tales Of The Supernatural (Paperback)
It is a shame that so many queer writers still feel pressure to let their work revolve around camp and poorly written sexual musings in order to collect a paycheck. After so much social and political progress, queer writers like Szymanski continue to paint homosexuals in an embarrassing single dimensional light and waste our time with middle school pornography, rather than challenging themselves AND their readers to insist on more. If you are looking for middle school level pornography, maybe pick up some of Szymanski's 'work.' (I use the term loosely, as it's any wonder if anyone gave her ramblings a second look after she spewed them out.) If you're the least bit interested in literary craft, or take the queer canon seriously at all, you won't waste your time with this idiocy.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Sapphic Sinistre, October 13, 2012
By 
Bryan Weber (San Angelo, TX) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Call Of The Dark: Erotic Lesbian Tales Of The Supernatural (Paperback)
Bought this book out of curiosity. Was intrigued and interested through the reading.
These tales of lesbian eroticism, mingled with the occult, the supernatural, and the eerie are a good read for a rainy autumn evening.
Some of the stories are sweet, tender, and romantic. Others trend towards more sinister ends, since, as everyone knows, romance and tragedy often go hand in hand. Vampires, specters and ghosts abound in these twilight tales.
I found myself utterly engrossed in the read.

Some of the stories, however, weren't my cup of tea, and so I cannot rate it a full five stars. One story switches from first to third person voice towards the end. And while the point of this tome is relationships between women, most, if not all of the few male characters who appear are utterly two-dimensional, and are usually cast either in villainous roles, or as dimwits who invite whatever bad ends meet them. Is it not possible to portray a loving romance between women without vilifying men?

However, to be fair, some of these tales show some of the female characters suffering badly for ill-informed decisions and bad choices or behavior.

In all, a spicy read to keep one warm by the fireplace on a night with suitably sinister atmosphere.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed this anthology tremendously, August 4, 2006
This review is from: Call Of The Dark: Erotic Lesbian Tales Of The Supernatural (Paperback)
I am not normally a reader of `Tales of the Supernatural' but with 23 stories from a superior list of authors how could I not buy it?

Among the authors -

Radclyffe
Karin Kallmaker
Therese Szymanski
Barbara Johnson
Julia Watts
Lynn Ames
Laura DeHart Young
Peggy J. Herring
Jane Vollbrecht
Victoria A. Brownworth
Rachel Kramer Bussel
Amie M. Evans
Patty G. Henderson
Lynne Jamneck
Heather Osbourne
Joy Parks

This is a Keeper !
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Call Of The Dark: Erotic Lesbian Tales Of The Supernatural
Call Of The Dark: Erotic Lesbian Tales Of The Supernatural by Therese Szymanski (Paperback - July 1, 2005)
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