#CaitTacklesTBRPile features the covers of Rear Admiral by ’Nathan Burgoine and The Final Decree by Jeffrey Ricker

#CaitTacklesTBRPile: Rear Admiral, by ’Nathan Burgoine and The Final Decree, by Jeffrey Ricker

I’m so grateful for authors who write shorter works of fiction. I must have said this dozens of times in the past 14 months. With my brain having concentration issues, it so lovely to get a full meal in a smaller package.

And smaller package might not be the correct term for the first of these novellas. *cough*

Rear Admiral, by ’Nathan Burgoine

Cover image for Rear Admiral. Black background with grey centre. A man in grey clothes swats at the top of the cover. On the bottom of the cover is a man in a beige shirt and blue jeans, lying down. Red words from the top man to the bottom man are: REAR ADMIRAL. White text around the words in an arc read: Ten Days. Eleven inches. One chance. An Erotic Short by ’Nathan Burgoine.
Burgoine merges the sweet and funny with in this erotic story.

Erotica is not my go-to choice as a reader, but I cannot resist a plot-line that tickles my funny bone. Russ is a charming, delightfully awkward soul with a mission: he has ten days to acclimatize himself to the Rear Admiral sex toy, which is based on an adult film star’s actual package. Why ten days? Because Russ will be meeting Matteo Rossi at a wine-tasting party then. Hey, you never know, right? Is it so bad to be prepared for possibilities?

I just love how Burgoine always manages these, “Awww,” moments in his erotic scenes/stories. There’s a sweetness, a vulnerability that makes his stories seem real, and the characters like friends you’d actually know.

And I like how Matteo was a fully-flushed person. Not just some empty physical manifestation of that toy. I think it’s really important for authors to humanize characters who have been or are currently in sex work, such as adult film stars. That was a delight to read as well.

Also, pizza. I really wanted pizza after this. In my opinion, no romantic pursuit should ever be written without the inclusion of good food.

If you like charming characters and the sweet and the sexy, I highly recommend Rear Admiral. You can find it at these online booksellers.

The Final Decree, by Jeffrey Ricker

The Final Decree cover image: A man in a red space suit with brown boots and who has fiery red hair holds a black blaster. Vertical stripes in gold to teal gradient surround him. IN white text over a gold circle: The Final Decree. Bottom text in white: Jeffrey Ricker.
Marriage, divorce, and PEW PEW PEW!

Again, I was seduced by the plot-line:

Bill Templeton needs a divorce. To get it, he may have to save the galaxy first.

From The Final Decree blurb

I mean, I know divorce can be difficult, but this seems to take the cake. So, I dived into Bill’s world. Seems like he and not-quite-ex Travis got into a lot of trouble in the past. That tends to happen when you fall for a smuggler. (Right, Leia?) But now, Bill is ready to get married again and lead a safer, more posh life with the man he now loves. All he needs is Travis to sign the divorce decree. How hard can that be? It’s the future. I bet their WIFI is awesome.

Well, Travis won’t sign remotely. He will only sign in person. Did I mention he lives hundreds of light-years away from Bill?

Oh dear.

But Bill is determined, and packs a kit to fly through space to the dangerous backwater planet where Travis resides. A planet that has untapped energy resources. And Bill’s family’s company has a rival corp who wants that energy source. Planetary blockade anyone?

I really enjoyed this story. Great characters and world-building. Loved the pace of the action, too. In fact, I enjoyed the story so much, I felt I wanted to know much more. I kind of hope there is a prequel and sequel to The Final Decree, because Ricker has created a galaxy and a cast that I feel is way worth exploring!

(If you’re reading this, Jeffrey, and there are more stories, please link to them in the comments!)

You can find The Final Decree at these online booksellers.

Greyscale headshot of Cait Gordon wearing a dark shirt.

Cait Gordon is a disability advocate for the written word who is trying to tackle her TBR pile during a pandemic!

Cait is also the author of humorous space opera novels Life in the ’Cosm and The Stealth Lovers, and she is the co-editor of the Prix Aurora Award nominated anthology Nothing Without Us. When Cait’s not writing, she’s editing manuscripts and running The Spoonie Authors Network, a blog whose contributors manage disabilities and/or chronic conditions. Her latest new adventure is hosting the In the ’Cosm podcast, which is really an excuse to gush over creative humans she admires.

I smell like two people! Or, how I write sex scenes.

Relax, all you authors and writers of erotica; your jobs are safe. Nobody will accuse me anytime soon of trying to steal your thunder. Not by a long shot.

This week I confessed to my publisher that no matter what genre I try to write in, everything comes out silly. I said, “I think my genre is Silly.” My publisher feels it’s a perfectly acceptable genre. I like this person.

bowchikawowowBecause I love writing with humour, I just had to extend it to our most vulnerable space–the bedroom. While sexual activity can be mind-blowing and magical and filled with fireworks, sometimes the clunkiness of life and the quirks of people can take it to a different place. A ridiculous place, really. I know in my life some of my biggest laughs with my spouse have been in bed, when things haven’t gone to plan. Yet, those odd, imperfect moments always created a deeper intimacy between us. Made everything a bit more real, and somehow a bit more perfect.

If you’ve not read Life in the ’Cosm, then warning, spoilerishy things are imminent

As most of the book was a stream of consciousness, I didn’t limit where I went in my writing. I got the first two chapters down, and then opened chapter three with:

Self-gratification was not an easy task in the flat.

Okay, so we’re going with masturbation in this scene, I thought, refusing to delete what I’d written. It made sense. My protagonist had been longing for someone he literally couldn’t have and the poor guy was ready to explode. I gave Virj some release, but not without adding a little mortification to the mix. (You never know where Splot is slithering, or when Sonny will barge in with breakfast questions.) A beta-reader loved that scene and told me they could totally relate to Virj’s embarrassment.

Later on in the book, there’s that infamous moment when you’ve had too much to drink and only just realised you’ve slept with someone but have no memory of it:

She paused again, frowned, lifted the sheets over her head, and inhaled deeply. Then she screamed on top of her lungs.


A valid question. We all know our personal perfumes, so when a foreign scent is blended with ours, we’d obviously like some answers. In my life, I’ve often said after a passionate tryst with my beloved, “Gee, it smells like two people who love each other.” Because doods, it truly does smell like two people! Amirite???

Also, sometimes there’s that gloppy sensation:

She shifted her position and immediately pulled a face. “Ew, I’m so goopy down there. When did you last masturbate, in your teens?”

Again, a valid question, if you cannae remember anything from the night before. Am I the only one who feels this way?

I loved adding the awkward things about sexual activity. It made me laugh, and I think it made my readers laugh, too. We can relate to the embarrassing, smelly, and goopy side of sex because that’s often what it’s actually like. Not every sexual encounter is a well-choreographed dance that ends in simultaneous orgasm. The films might want to have us believe that, but I think we writers need to tell the other side of it from time to time. We need less, “She was enthralled by his throbbing love-wand,” and more of, “OWWW! Get off my hair!”

Or is it just me?

Watching people work through those clumsy moments makes them more endearing to me as a reader, too. I don’t want to roll my eyes at the sexually unattainable. I want to laugh with empathy. I want to say, “Oh, heck, yes, I totally get it.” I want to see the sexy in the awkward, because people are still desirable when they’re goofing up. Maybe more so than when they’re suave, in my opinion. I want to make love to a real person, not a robot.

Unless it’s a cute and clumsy robot who blushes and reads poetry. I’d have to mull that one over.

Anyway, here’s to klutzy sex! Sláinte! (Raises cupcake in a toast.)


CGAuthorCait Gordon is an Irish-Canadian warrior princess and author of Life in the ’Cosm, a space opera about a little green guy who’s crushing on the female half of his two-headed colleague (Renaissance Press). Cait’s also the editor of the Spoonie Authors Network blog.