I will also say, though we talk on the phone on a regular basis now, the first time she called me I was a ball of nerves. I seriously felt like I was going on a date. Like I had to change to the nice knickers for the call. Now...I just pick up the phone already in mid-sentence. Ha!
I'm thrilled my best friend I've never met is here to help me celebrate. And boy does she have a doozy of a prize for you!
Our winner from yesterday is Sammi. Sammi, Rose will be in contact. And as always, everyone who commented was tossed in the giant goblet of happiness for a chance to win the $50 Amazon gift card prize pack! Today remember to *leave your email address so we can contact you if you win. You do not want to be caught with your pants down today. We're talking a prize pack of 9 paperbacks here. Oh...my...god. That's a lot of reading to do!
The First Time
The first time I ran into Sommer was on New Year’s Day, 2007. She’d subbed me a story for Love At First Sting, and I fell in love with her words. If I’d seen her story in a bar, I would have flirted, bantered, sent over a drink. (A fruity one with a paper parasol.) As it was, I wrote her an acceptance note, she thanked me, I responded, she joked, I thrust, she parried.… I walked out of the office into the living room to tell my man that I was “talking” to someone online I felt I had always known.
It was an instant friendship—bold and brash from the get-go.
That was 2007. Holy hell, right? In seven years, I have had the exquisite pleasure of publishing Sommer’s sultry stories in multiple collections. And the thing that always strikes me about her work is how I feel as if I know her characters—the way I felt as if I knew her.
I can close my eyes and picture the couple in the story “Underpass” that Sommer wrote for J is for Jealousy. I have a mental Polaroid of the concrete, the graffiti, the woman’s dress, the man’s hands. Reading Sommer’s work is a visceral experience for me. I mean to say: I feel her words at my core. They resonate within my head. I cradle the emotions inside me. I wear her dialogue to sleep. She whispers in my dreams.
That’s how fucking good she is.
Now, lists are problematic for me, because I’m at that ever-so-forgetful stage of the early 40s. So don’t yell at me if I let something slip through my fingers, but I think the following 30+ collections I’ve edited all feature Sommer’s stories: Love at First Sting, Open for Business, Hurts So Good, Twisted, The Big Book of Bondage, Frenzy, Bound for Trouble, Heat Wave, Three-Way, Slave to Love, Sudden Sex, Morning Noon and Night, Alison’s Wonderland, With This Ring I Thee Bed, 69, I is for Indecent, J is for Jealousy, Slave to Love, Open, Cuffed, Bad Ass, Smart Ass, Kiss My Ass, Happily Ever Anal, Skirting the Issue, Eat Me, Torn, Stocking Up, Playing with Fire, Afternoon Delight, Pleasure Bound, Never Have the Same Sex Twice….
And even after enjoying all of those stories, I can still get a little electric thrill at re-reading the first words of Sommer’s I ever did:
West stuck his hand in his jacket pocket, rubbed the paper, removed his hand. He shook his head at himself. He was going to rub a hole in the fucking paper if he kept rubbing it like a worry stone.
You know, that is truly how I feel about Sommer’s words. I hold them. I put them in my pocket. I rub them with my fingertips. And now you can, too.
The winner of my give-away will win nine paperback books, each featuring one of Sommer’s stories.
Happy, happy birthday!
Visit Alison Tyler at alisontyler.blogspot.com and follow her at twitter.com/alisontyler.