LIKE A CUNNING PLAN: EROTIC TRICKSTER TALES (Circlet Press, 2012)
Every culture has its tricksters. They’re the wild cards, the capricious forces of nature operating on a level only they understand or appreciate. They break the rules, tweak the noses of authority, upset the status quo, and act as agents of change. Sometimes they’re accepted, appreciated, even worshiped. Sometimes they’re cautionary tales, explaining why certain rules exist or why things are the way they are. There are as many kinds of tricksters as there are people to be tricked.
Every mythological tradition has someone who just doesn’t play nice with others. Or rather, who only plays nice when it’s part of the plan. They’re instrumental in origin stories, influential in hero tales, and legends in their own minds. They don’t suffer fools lightly, even as they play the fool for their own purposes. They succeed as often as they end up hoisted by their own petard. Often, the only way you can tell when a trickster has been present is by the mess they leave behind.
Naturally, tricksters are a randy lot. Sex is as much a motivating factor as anything else where this bunch is concerned. For a roll in the hay or a good time, tricksters will change shape, make deals, swap penises, cross-dress, lie, cheat, steal, beg, borrow, blackmail, and suffer unspeakable indignities… and often skip away laughing afterwards, using the back door just as the cuckolded spouse comes in through the front.
You’ll notice that so far, I haven’t been naming names or telling specific tales. That’s the beauty of a trickster tale: it’s as universal as it is culture-specific. I could be talking about Coyote or Loki, Odysseus or Prometheus, Eshu or Wisakedjak, Raven or Don Juan, and I’d only scratch the surface of a very old, very large set of traditions. Some are heroes, some are villains, and more than a few swing both ways.
Oh yes. Tricksters swing in all directions, as you’ll see in this collection. I asked authors to tell me their favorite trickster tales, whether inspired by actual mythology, or brand-new. All I asked is that they be playful, sexy, and interesting. I said, “It’s all about well-played tricks, cunning plans, disguises and fast talk, lies and half-truths. It’s about having fun and occasionally outwitting oneself. It’s about wondering what the hell just happened, but realizing you had a good time.” And my authors delivered!
Nica Berry and Sunny Moraine turned in two very different looks at the kitsune of Japanese tradition, forcing me to break my own self-imposed rule about “one story per trickster figure” right off the bat. How could I resist their lush, sensual interpretations of such nuanced creatures?
Newcomer N. Violett gave me a Coyote-influenced story that nailed every one of my requirements on the head, knocking me right out of my socks. Curiously enough, her story has some very interesting parallels and contrasts to Circlet veteran Kaysee Renee Robichaud’s story of tricksters and con men in the big city. (Dear Readers, it’s amazing what sort of patterns I started to see when I began juggling the selected stories around.)
Two authors gave me original trickster stories, set in fascinating, sexy worlds of their own devising. Another newcomer, Nadine Wilmot, delivered a story of masks, secret identities, and indulgences, while the versatile Elizabeth Schecter spun a tale of the thief who dares to rob a god’s temple.
Finally, Gayle C. Straun, also a familiar face in Circlet works, plays up the whole gods vs. men angle. Who needs whom more?
So get ready to dive into a world where things aren’t necessarily as they seem, where the pursuit of pleasure is married to unpredictability and cleverness, and where you may or may not still have your pants in the morning. In this collection, you’ll find encounters of all sorts, and a few that might just blow your mind. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
(Okay, Coyote, you have your book. Can I have my porn stash back? And my wallet?)
Michael M. Jones
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Winter Spirit by Nica Berry
Good Bad Habits by N. Violett
The Fox Hunt by Nadine Wilmot
Fools Rush In by Elizabeth Schechter
Come the Revolution by Gayle C. Straun
Tricksters Are Made, Not Born by Kaysee Renee Robichaud
The Kitsune’s Laughter by Sunny Moraine