Melanie Abrams
Julius Addlesee
Shelley Aikens
A. Aimee
Jeanne Ainslie
Fredrica Alleyn
Rebecca Ambrose
Diane Anderson-Minshall
Laura Antoniou
Janine Ashbless
Lisette Ashton
Gavin Atlas
Danielle Austen
J. P. Beausejour
P.K. Belden
Tina Bell
Jove Belle
Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore
Ronica Black
Candace Blevins
Primula Bond
Lionel Bramble
A. J. Bray
Samantha Brook
Matt Brooks
Zetta Brown
James Buchanan
Louisa Burton
Angela Campion
Angela Caperton
Annabeth Carew
Julia Chambers
Dale Chase
M. Christian
Greta Christina
Valentina Cilescu
Rae Clark
NJ Cole
Christina Crooks
Julius Culdrose
Portia da Costa
Alan Daniels
Angraecus Daniels
Dena De Paulo
Vincent Diamond
Susan DiPlacido
Noelle Douglas-Brown
Hypnotic Dreams
Amanda Earl
Hank Edwards
Jeremy Edwards
Stephen Elliott
Madelynne Ellis
Justine Elyot
Aurelia T. Evans
Lucy Felthouse
Jesse Fox
I. G. Frederick
Simone Freier
Louis Friend
Polly Frost
William Gaius
Bob Genz
Shanna Germain
J. J. Giles
Lesley Gowan
K D Grace
K. D. Grace
Sacchi Green
Ernest Greene
Tamzin Hall
R. E. Hargrave
P. S. Haven
Trebor Healey
Vicki Hendricks
Scott Alexander Hess
Richard Higgins
Julie Hilden
E. M. Hillwood
Amber Hipple
William Holden
Senta Holland
David Holly
Michelle Houston
Debra Hyde
M. E. Hydra
Vina Jackson
Anneke Jacob
Maxim Jakubowski
Kay Jaybee
Ronan Jefferson
Amanda Jilling
SM Johnson
Raven Kaldera
J. P. Kansas
Kevin Killian
D. L. King
Catt Kingsgrave
Kate Kinsey
Geoffrey Knight
Varian Krylov
Vivienne LaFay
Teresa Lamai
Lisa Lane
Randall Lang
James Lear
Amber Lee
Nikko Lee
Tanith Lee
Annabeth Leong
James W. Lewis
Marilyn Jaye Lewis
Ashley Lister
Fiona Locke
Clare London
Scottie Lowe
Simon Lowrie
Catherine Lundoff
Michael T. Luongo
Jay Lygon
Helen E. H. Madden
Nancy Madore
Jodi Malpas
Jeff Mann
Alma Marceau
Sommer Marsden
Gwen Masters
Sean Meriwether
Bridget Midway
I. J. Miller
Madeline Moore
Lucy V. Morgan
Julia Morizawa
David C. Morrow
Walter Mosley
Peggy Munson
Zoe Myonas
Alicia Night Orchid
Craig Odanovich
Cassandra Park
Michael Perkins
Christopher Pierce
Lance Porter
Jack L. Pyke
Devyn Quinn
Cameron Quitain
R. V. Raiment
Shakir Rashaan
Jean Roberta
Paige Roberts
Sam Rosenthal
D. V. Sadero
C Sanchez-Garcia
Lisabet Sarai
R Paul Sardanas
R. Paul Sardanas
Elizabeth Schechter
Erica Scott
Kemble Scott
Mele Shaw
Simon Sheppard
Tom Simple
Talia Skye
Susan St. Aubin
Charlotte Stein
C. Stetson
Chancery Stone
Donna George Storey
Darcy Sweet
Rebecca Symmons
Mitzi Szereto
Cecilia Tan
Lily Temperley
Vinnie Tesla
Claire Thompson
Alexis Trevelyan
Alison Tyler
Gloria Vanderbilt
Vanessa Vaughn
Elissa Wald
Saskia Walker
Kimberly Warner-Cohen
Brian Whitney
Carrie Williams
Peter Wolkoff
T. Martin Woody
Beth Wylde
Daddy X
Lux Zakari
Fiona Zedde
American CoolAmerican Cool
By: Susan DiPlacido
iUniverse, Inc.
ISBN: 0595448771
June 2007

Reviewed By: Steven Hart

First it must be said that Susan DiPlacido can write, as her edgy story “Neon Nights” in her collection, American Cool, illustrates. Here is a Vegas denizen’s view of tourists,

I know what these tourists are seeing.  High heels and wild hair, can’t walk a straight line, night-hardened, booze in the sunshine while they’ve got their fanny packs and cameras, freaking normal people ready to snap pictures of botanical gardens and Bugsy’s plaque; bright-eyed tourists assaulted with the anachronistic reality of one of Sin City’s living ghosts – me.

Her prose has the feel of her stories’ terrain, and they vary a great deal from hardcore super sex in “Coyote Blues” to a gritty search for rough justice in “Bloodlines.”  DiPlacido can inspire with a story about women’s college baseball, ”Like a Girl,” in which some of the team love each other as actively and violently as they love the game.  She can write hilarious misadventures in the form of a bumbling poker player with big ambitions and bigger issues that she allows to distract her attention, like the size of her butt, and a particularly nasty bee sting.  Then again she can wax engagingly girlish in “Right Hand Diamonds” though it may not be safe to say that to her face.

DiPlacido is an excellent stylist, and that alone would set her well above the vast majority of writers of erotica.  Of equal importance is that she is an able storyteller, and that is even more rare.  American Cool is entirely devoted to the search for outsiders in American society who long to get “in” or be cool, which means being “in” on their own terms. None of them make it because their uniqueness as individuals will forever set them apart one way or the other.  Some of them come to terms with that and seem ready to lead happy and fulfilling lives, but just as often they seem as likely never to understand why they are forever “out.”  In some cases it costs them their lives.

It is a feeling that most Americans in the arts share with her characters and I think most young people experience at some point in their lives as they struggle to find a balance between what makes them special as individuals and what allows them to belong even if only in a world of misfits.  It is here that DiPlacido’s sense of sex shines most brilliantly in her work because she is able to capture the myriad ways in which Americans use sex as a safe haven, a bargaining chip, a weapon, a tool, and, most importantly, as a vehicle of self-realization.  Sometimes that can be a bitter revelation as in the last story, “American Cool” which is also the title of the book.

She writes a full range of sexual tastes and so if there is not quite something for everyone in this book that suits your particular kink, I assure you there is something that is close enough.  What is more, she is writing about sex as a means of celebration, understanding and discovery as well as a good way to get off.  That is no guarantee that sex is the cure for anything, nor is it even the central theme of every story in this volume, but it most certainly plays a key role in the book’s vitality.  I must credit Rebel Press that if there is any sloppy editing in this collection, I didn’t find it, making them one of the last serious book publishers doing erotica.  More to the point DiPlacido is absolutely literate and absorbing with a funky lilt to her prose and a keen eye for the American scene, making the book nearly impossible to put down.