Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Review- Boardroom by Jade Buchanan

Boardroom
by Jade Buchanan
May 30, 2009
Contemporary/ Erotica/ F/F/M, F/f- bisexual
6K words- $2.50
Ebook

Buy it Aspen Mountain Press, All Romance Ebooks, Omnilit

Kay Baardsson arrives late to lunch, expecting her husband to be waiting for her, only to find that Nils has been called out of the office. Lucky for her, his business partner, Thalia Mason, is more than up to the task of keeping her occupied… until Nils interrupts and things get a little more interesting.

Boardroom is basically a short erotic quickie involving a man who wants to fulfill his wife’s fantasy of having sex with his female business partner. Really, there’s not much to this story at all. No plot, nor any real characterizations. Just two sex scenes, a fantasy only. As a fantasy though, this is a good one and hotly written.

Kay is a bisexual woman who is married to Nils. They have this open arrangement in which they’re both willing to experiment and bring in others. Nils knows that Kay has an attraction to his business partner Thalia, who is a lesbian, so he sets up a sexual encounter unbeknownst to Kay. Nils comes a bit later, during the seduction, and joins in briefly to Kay's delight. Their next time together, it’s about all three of them getting it on.

Since this is so short, maybe better for an anthology really, I can only judge this as a written fantasy and not as a fully developed short story. I didn’t get why Thalia would go along with this since she doesn’t have a sexual attraction to Nils. And it seemed she just did it just to be nice to Kay, since no prior interactions between her and Kay occurred outside of briefly meeting at the office to give the feeling that Thalia has had the hots for Kay already.

Part of the problem for me was that it seemed Thalia was holding back and not really going for it even though she’s the sexual aggressor and dominant with Kay. I felt the author was holding back some energy between these two women in the way she wrote the scenes. Technically they’re kind of hot, but something was missing.

On a positive note, one thing that did come across very clearly is that both Kay and Nils really love each other and that while it’s Kay’s fantasy to be with Thalia, she needs him to be a part of it, which I liked. Also good for me was that this was a f/f/m ménage fantasy in which it’s set up for the female partner’s pleasure and not the two chicks for a man scenario. Nils does this strictly for Kay's pleasure.

I’d say if you want a quick erotic f/f/m fix read then Boardroom is a good one to go with. And although I don't think it's worth $2.50 since it only took me a half an hour to read and there’s not much development in this story, Jade Buchanan does have a way with writing a juicy f/f/m sexual scenario with some feelings clearly expressed.

Sex rating: Wet panties- f/f scene, f/f/m scene- not too elaborately or graphically written.

Grade- C+

8 comments:

M. A. said...

Leah said:
Part of the problem for me was that it seemed Thalia was holding back and not really going for it even though she’s the sexual aggressor and dominant with Kay. I felt the author was holding back some energy between these two women in the way she wrote the scenes. Technically they’re kind of hot, but something was missing.

I can't speak for the author, but I know I sometimes have problems with my bisexual fiction if I don't concentrate on developing my characters very well in the planning/prewriting stage. If I don't work hard on that I think my characters read as "phony."

Another thing, too, is the story's very short. Maybe the author felt it unrealistic to express too much chemistry between the two female characters and thus detract from the m/f (married couple) chemistry and romantic bond.

I'm on the tail end of completing a menage a quatre, and I can tell you these stories are not at all easy to write. The choices are:

A) Have a "primary" couple with the "real" romantic relationship and the additional "playmate/s" as a more casual relationship, or even superficial relationship (think a married couple hiring a call-girl to satisfy wife's bicuriosity, for example.) This scenario is specifically about fulfillment and romantic bonding between the primary couple; the "playmate" is almost a human sex toy. This is probably the easiest scenario to portray as short erotica because it focuses on one relationship.

B) A "primary" couple seeks a third love interest due to a genuine romantic attachment by one or both for the "third." Kristen's books are a good example of this type. Multiple relationships spring up and develop through the storyline. It's much more challenging and takes more time/word count to portray convincingly, especially if all three/more characters are in love.

kirsten saell said...

Multiple relationships spring up and develop through the storyline. It's much more challenging and takes more time/word count to portray convincingly, especially if all three/more characters are in love.

Oh, totally. I've found a lot of menage stuff feels kind of porny when the third is just a sex toy. I think that's probably why my second release, Healer's Touch (m/f+f), was on the whole less highly rated by readers than either Bound by Steel (f/f/m) or Chancellor's Bride (m/m/f), despite the fact that the third had her own reasons for engaging in sex with the MCs.

I think the fact that in HT the third was a woman, contributed to a sense of HBB (hot bi babe) that can make women feel objectified and disrespected. There's a backlash with m/f+f that there isn't with m/f+m, I think because sex is supposed to be a deeper thing for women than for men, and because women have historically been sexually objectified.

That is, female readers expect that sex and love are supposed to be inextricably entwined. To have a female third engage in some spectacular three-way action for reasons other than romantic love is a hard pill to swallow. When a guy does it, you don't end up feeling so much that he's been used. But women have been taught for so long that their bodies are equal to their hearts.

HT came in at 50k--and that included a secondary romance between the third and another secondary character. BBS and C'sB were 80 and 70k, because yeah, you have to build a more complex relationship between the MCs. After some feedback, I'm thinking C'sB should probably have been longer than it was to develop the romance better.

But again, there's just something so appealing about a multiple relationship where all three (or more) characters love one another deeply. Not sure I'll ever try a menage a quatre. It would probably end up 130k long...

M. A. said...

Kristen, Hey!

*sighs* I'm polishing the novel now. It's just over 90K. One thing I really loved about writing this book, though, was the sheer "fluidity" of it. It was pure fantasy material, and the more I "talked" with my characters, the more unique the individual relationships became.

Overall, I find it very charming, but I do feel a touch "burned out."

MB (Leah) said...

Mia and Kirsten-- both of you are right.

I have a hard time believing that a woman would join in as a third who has no emotional connection to either party really unless she were a professional prostitute or such.

And sexist as it is, I do believe a guy can join in and not give a shit about either party. LOL

Although, for me, it's always the best scenario if the author can convince me that at the very least, there's some kind of affection there.

Personally, I didn't really get the point of this book, why it was published really. Even as a pure fantasy, it's way too short and unsatisfying. And I know it can be done.

In this case, because the main m/f relationship was portrayed as loving with the third party joining, I think for a fantasy I would have preferred then that the third party woman be a stranger if she is just there to satisfy the wife.

I didn't include it in the final review, but originally I did comment on the squick factor for me in what seems to be a professional, platonic only- business partner relationship suddenly becoming a sexual thing when there's no background story to let me know how the husband related to his female business partner before their sexual encounter.

It was just too squicky for me.

I guess there's a part of me also that was pissed off with a story so short as to not really contain much development of anything. It shouldn't be sold like that, like an unfinished or underdeveloped product.

I don't blame the author on this though, I blame the publisher. Too many epubs are putting out ridiculous short stories that are not worth what they are charging and that does affect my overall enjoyment or opinion of a book. But I don't blame and author if she can get something published then why not?

M. A. said...

I don't blame the author on this though, I blame the publisher. Too many epubs are putting out ridiculous short stories that are not worth what they are charging and that does affect my overall enjoyment or opinion of a book. But I don't blame and author if she can get something published then why not?


Epublishers publish what they can sell. As a rule, shorter works sell better than longer works. Shorter novellas (about 18,000-30,000 words) tend to outsell other books.

To put it succintly, the market is a tough customer. Readers want all the drama, romance, action, and quality of a novel in HALF or LESS THAN HALF of a novel's word count. Attention spans and reading time are much shorter than they used to be.

So...in an effort to cater to the market and get published, good writers are cramming as much storyline as they can into much smaller parameters.

Bottom line: this can only be done well if one sacrifices elements of the writing craft (character development, subplots, etc.)

Then it goes to market. People buy because it's short. Then readers and reviewers express dissatisfaction, citing the missing elements. (my favorite critique for my two novella length works: "I think this would have made a great novel.")

I have the deepest respect for writers who can "write short" well. It is NOT easy to do, and it is often a thankless endeavor.

Buying short story or novella length fiction and expecting all the "bells and whistles" of a novel is the equivalent of buying a kitten and expecting it to behave like a puppy.

Writers aspiring to work as full-time writers take advantage of these trends by producing "quickie reads." Why invest several months to a year in crafting one good-quality novel that won't sell well (because it's "too long") when one can make more money churning out several shorter works a year and the market snatches them up like hotcakes?

The epublishing market seems to be mostly about convenience. And the readers seeking their "quickie read fixes" don't seem to comprehend they're being screwed by the prices in terms of getting what one pays for.

M. A. said...

"I didn't include it in the final review, but originally I did comment on the squick factor for me in what seems to be a professional, platonic only- business partner relationship suddenly becoming a sexual thing when there's no background story to let me know how the husband related to his female business partner before their sexual encounter.

It was just too squicky for me.

I guess there's a part of me also that was pissed off with a story so short as to not really contain much development of anything. It shouldn't be sold like that, like an unfinished or underdeveloped product."


I think labeling is a HUGE problem in the industry. You are basically describing "porn without plot." There's nothing wrong with PWP, provided it is labeled and sold as such.

But it's being labeled and marketed as "erotic romance." "Erotic romance" implies a romantic/love story plotline.

If I wanted to write a story like this, I'd probably fill it out with a good romantic backstory like this: a happily married wife has a craving for bisexual love, so her intrigued husband "treats" her to an appointment with a pricey call-girl. During the "ordering" phase, Wife specifies to the broker the specific looks/attributes of her "fantasy woman," citing the appearance of an old college pal or "girlcrush" from high school. The happy couple shows up at the hotel for their "date," and lo and behold, their "escort" is in fact Wife's former classmate. And Wife's Classmate likes her "assignment." Very much.

When you utilize a plot like that, there's romantic potential. Even in a short/condensed story focussing on erotica, there's still "room" for the reader to "romanticize."

But typing up that extra plotting, even such simple plotting, takes word count.

MB (Leah) said...

As a rule, shorter works sell better than longer works. Shorter novellas (about 18,000-30,000 words) tend to outsell other books.

Yes, I get this and actually the novella length is kind of perfect for me.

But what I'm seeing are more and more 3-7k stories and I just don't think you can do too much with that amount and not have it be porn if erotic or having absolutely no plot. So I guess I just don't see the point of selling something like that.

I was going to do a rant post and I think I still will as soon as I get it together, but this has a lot to do with the subject matter as well. F/f, f/f/m.

As we who like this know very well, there's a distinct lack of material out there.

Normally, I'd NEVER buy a 3-7K book for $2.50 or even just a 3-7K story even if cheaper because my experience is that they fall way short on satisfaction.

If I can read a book in 1/2 hour that's not that satisfying.

In my case, I buy these books for the purpose of reviewing them and getting books on this blog. And also because I want to read f/f and f/f/m. I have to take what's being offered so yeah, I'm going to bitch about it.

If I were finding lots of f/f in 18+K words, I'd be in heaven. Believe me. I wish that were the case that I had a lot of choices.

But I will only pay this in f/f. I would never pay that kind of money or even buy a book less than 10K in m/f or m/m. Never.

But see this is my point. Why bother writing a story that people will be totally unsatisfied with because it's too short? I don't see the point, really.

Mia, your scenario would have worked for me totally.

M. A. said...

In my case, I buy these books for the purpose of reviewing them and getting books on this blog. And also because I want to read f/f and f/f/m. I have to take what's being offered so yeah, I'm going to bitch about it.

Understandable. I'm mystified by the entire f/f and f/f/m market. On the one hand, it's not supposed to be easy to publish. You'd think editors and epublishers would only accept the best quality stories.

What do I mean by "best quality?" Even keeping in mind taste's subjectivity, I think most readers, consciously or not, enjoy a quality reading experience based on these attributes: sound plot/story structure, good technical writing,and genuine "heat" and/or romantic chemistry between romantic pairings.

In such a niche market, you'd think only the cream of the crop submissions would ever see light of day.

Mia, your scenario would have worked for me totally.


It's "working" for me, too, actually. I've jotted down a few notes to consider later.