No shades of grey for lust in the dust tales

PUBLISHERS are billing the book as ''agricultural erotica''.

Trailing in the wake of Fifty Shades of Grey, an Australian ''lust in the dust'' short story collection has been launched.

The satirically named Fifty Bales of Hay features amorous truckies, rodeo clowns, shearers and stockmen, opportunistic trysts on ride-on mowers, hanky-panky in the dairy, orgasms in the saddle and lusty women experiencing the ''dry spell'' of divorce, widowhood or separation.

The short stories are by the Tasmanian farmer and writer Rachael Treasure, who admits she is ''more likely to be found in bed with a thesaurus than with an actual bloke''.

Originally due for release in January, Fifty Bales has been rushed into stores for Christmas, just as the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy has been trumped by a Wimpy Kid's quest for old-fashioned romance and Jamie Oliver's recipes for time-poor cooks.

One independent bookseller, Jon Page, reports selling a lone copy of the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy in the Christmas lead-up, while parodies are ''walking out the door''.

''For us [Fifty Shades of Grey] has completely died off, but what is working is the parody books,'' says Mr Page of Pages & Pages Mosman. ''We have Fifty Sheds of Grey and we've just got in Fifty Shades of Chicken, which is a proper cookbook on how to stuff and truss a chicken.''

The title Fifty Bales of Hay comes from Treasure's short story in which the owner of a strawberry farm finds rapture with a blond delivery lad with ''naughty but nice eyes''.

The sex is explicit and consensual if conventional and unlike the tortured Fifty Shades' Christian Grey its bucks are swaggering no-nonsense types who prefer beer to vintage champagne, and whose ''gear sticks'' are not for finding reverse.

HarperCollins describes it as an ''imaginative exploration of everyday men and women getting down and dirty on the land''.

Its publishing director, Shona Martyn, said Fifty Bales was in ''keeping with the author's authentically Australian voice and wit''.

''If you are living on the land, you are dealing with earthy things and, like anyone, you have your furtive ups and downs in relationships,'' Ms Martyn said.

''What Rachael has done is cleverly encapsulate the same spirit and fun of her previous books in these stories.''

The story No shades of grey for lust in the dust tales first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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