Friday, May 15, 2009

Taste Test: Artistically Yours by assorted authors

TITLE: Taste Test: Artistically Yours
AUTHOR: Andy Slayde & Ali Wilde, C.T. Piatt, & Z.A. Maxfield
PUBLISHER: Torquere Press
LENGTH: Anthology (roughly 18k)
GENRE: Gay erotic romance
COST: $2.49

A trio of gay erotic romances featuring artists and their models.

This anthology of erotic short stories all feature artists and their male models. The first of these is “Drawing Conclusions” by Andy Slayde & Ali Wilde. College students Zed and Alex have been lifelong friends, but when Zed discovers Alex has been sketching him while he sleeps, his anger gets turned against his best friend, with interesting consequences. The dialogue in this is sure and natural, but the gay for you storyline felt like a convenient excuse to write best friends having sex for the first time. There is also no clear resolution to the short, hinting at future installments, and because of that, I wouldn’t even label it as a romance in its current incarnation.

Next comes “Solitude of the Photo” by C.T. Piatt. Photographer Jonah has a crush on a race car driver who all of a sudden hires him because he's in need of pictures for a portfolio. While Michael, the driver, is little more of a figure in this, the quiet longing of the 1st POV protagonist more than makes up for it. There is a gentleness to this story that took my breath away, twisting me up with every new moment. By far, my favorite of the group, and an author I want to watch.

Completing the anthology is Z.A. Maxfield’s “The Artist’s Model.” This is the story of Emile, a struggling artist forced to resort to modeling, who has been in love with one man his entire life. When he finds Fournier, he finds a man trapped in denial about his own desires. Unlike its predecessors, it’s a historical, though that’s not evident from the blurb nor from the beginning of the story. In fact, my inability to immediately place it on a timeline held me back from getting immersed into the story, regardless of the fact that Maxfield has the most sophisticated prose – by far – of the group. I really liked some of her imagery, but I had an incredibly hard time getting past what felt like overly melodramatic dialogue (even if it might have been appropriate for the period). Lines like, I could die from wanting you, make me roll my eyes when they’re not in paranormal stories (I guess I almost expect that kind of over the top sentiment from creatures insisting on soulmates), and as such, distanced me from experiencing the characters’ emotions.


9/10 – Maxfield’s more sophisticated prose pushes this higher


5/10 – I don’t see one of the stories as a romance at all.


6/10 – Some of the character strokes in these seem too broad to resonate

Entertainment value

7/10 – The Piatt story was by far my favorite of the bunch.

World building

7/10 – Solid enough, though I was frustrated by the third story because it felt like it should be a historical but it took too long into the story to actually discern that one way or another




airi71 said...

In Drawing Conclusions the characters are Zed and Alex, not Andy.

Book Utopia Mom said...

Oh, my god, I can't believe I made that mistake. I'm so sorry for mixing up the name. I had one of the author's names stuck in my head and clearly didn't catch it when writing the review. I'm fixing it. Thank you for pointing it out!