Seven Deadly Sins: Lust.  A Scribophile Anthology, 2019.

Twenty-one aspiring writers, who critique and assist other writing neophytes on Scribophile, were selected to have their short stories published in Seven Deadly Sins: Lust, the final volume in the Seven Deadly Sin collection. The other six books in the series include Gluttony, Wrath, Avarice, Sloth, Envy, and Pride. The stories chosen for Lust varied in approach to the subject, setting, and tone, but they have one thing in common; they leave the reader panting for more.  

Scribophile is one of the websites that encourage the building of writing communities by enabling authors to confer with others regarding the development of their work as they compose and edit. Sites such as Scribophile give inexperienced writers an opportunity to share their novels and short stories during the writing process, and engage in productive conversations that enable them to see clearly how to enhance their work as they compose.

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Having been solicited by many “indie” writers, I have read some wonderful books over my five years as a reviewer for tapinto. Authors such as Bill Garner, who penned Me, Boo, and the Goob, a humorous novel based largely on Garner’s childhood memories, now have opportunities to get their books out to the public, even when a large publishing house won’t take the risk of printing their first time works. Scribophile encourages newcomers by publishing contest winners in such volumes as Seven Deadly Sins: Lust, and in doing so, gives awesome talent an opportunity to see themselves marketed.

Several of the stories involve supernatural characters, such as werewolves, dragons, and witches,. Take “Living Next Door to Amy” by Sarah Hergerty. Ash, whose best friend, Steve, lives next door to Amy, is envious of the proximity of his friend’s house to the girl whom Ash adores from afar. When Steve makes a bet with Ash that he can’t get Amy to kiss him before summer break, Ash is determined to “kiss de girl,” and win the wager. Ash’s plan is simple; befriend Amy and catch her interest, which he manages to do.

But Ash has another problem with which he is wrangling. He was bitten on the leg by a neighborhood dog, and for some reason, the bite won’t heal. When Ash video tapes his big move to kiss  Amy, he and Steve get an unexpected surprise at what they see on the tape. And the reason for the stubborn bite becomes clear.

Johnston Wicker and Winston Broom, the heroes of Shauna Ivory Evan’s tale, “Dragon’s Flame,” are facing a dragon on the morrow. The two teens have been magically transported to an alternate universe called Vortok, a world where fairies, mermaids, and vampires are the norm. As Johnston lays awake, pining for a chance to love his dream girl, Winston, she strides into his tent with an outrageous proposal. “I’ve never had sex,” she blurts out. “I’m a virgin. I might die tomorrow, and I’d still be a virgin.”

Although Johnston has professed his love for Winston, she has shunned him continually. He wants to take her up on her offer to sleep with him but argues that such an act could change forever their status as good friends.

As he is in the middle of the argument, Evans writes, “Suddenly, no voice was coming out of his mouth. It took him a moment to realize her lips pressed firmly against his. He stopped breathing, dizzy, the lack of oxygen and his pounding heart and having Win’s velvet lips on his swirling together and sweeping him up in their twister. He dropped his shoulder, his pretenses, and kissed her back.”

Wow! Right? The story of Johnston and Winston is so hot that the words seem to rise up in smoke as you read them. “Dragon’s Flame” is a gem of a lust/love tale.

“Oren” by Cherish D. Smith is a painful story, told in free verse. Tabitha and Rowena are slave girls, forced to sleep with Old Massa Adam and his son, Young Massa Adam. Although Tabitha and Rowena are closely watched by Miss Shoney, they manage to make their way to the horse stables where Rowena first sees Oren.

His strength make lines on his body

Like the twist of an oak or maple tree, glistening’ with sap

she says.

Their need for each other is something the two young slaves can’t control. Shoney cautions Rowena to be cautious. “Crazy girl,” Shoney scolds Rowena, to which the girl replies, “We crazy. . . crazy with lust,” What happens to the lovers is . . . well, you read it for yourself!

“Oren” is original and stunning in its simplicity,.

The writing in all of the brief tales of lust is polished and poignant. The set of Seven Deadly Sins can be purchased at Barnes and Noble, Walmart, and, or course, Amazon.