BROUGHT TO HIS KNEES: Q&A With Sabrina York & Lynne Silver

21 Aug Big, Hot & Heavy: BROUGHT TO HIS KNEES IS FINALLY HERE!

By Madeline Iva

Ladies and other naughty readers, today we have a treat for you–BROUGHT TO HIS KNEES is an anthology of eleven scorching stories about hot hard heroes brought to their knees by love.

Sabrina York and Lynne Silver–both authors included in the anthology–are here to roll their eyes,  and trash talk about how ‘the harder they come the harder they fall.’

Big, Hot & Heavy: BROUGHT TO HIS KNEES IS FINALLY HERE!

Big, Hot & Heavy: BROUGHT TO HIS KNEES IS FINALLY HERE!

“Whipped” by Sabrina York.

Dane Coulter is mourning the loss of his best friend, fellow Special Ops buddy, Cody. Oh, Cody didn’t die. It’s worse. He’s getting married. Cody is, in Dane’s opinion, whipped.

Dane swears he will never suffer the same fate. But when he meets a woman who can take all his dominant loving and beg for more, he realizes he may have met his match. It’s a damn shame she’s the one woman in the world his man-code deems untouchable…his best friend’s sister.

Click to buy.

Click to buy.

“CRUISING FOR LOVE” is a short story by Lynne Silver.

When Andi Greene heads out on a cruise, she’s pumped for a fun week of sun bathing and chilling with her best friend. Little does she know her best friend has a number of surprises in store.

The first is the cruise’s theme of bondage and domination. The other? Ship’s doctor Jonah Coleman, Andi’s first love, her high school boyfriend—the boy she thought she’d marry before he moved across the country and eventually dropped her cold.

But there’s nothing cold about their reunion. Instead sparks fly, and Andi’s relaxing cruise seems set to turn into a week of hot loving.

SABRINA YORK: Hi Madeline! Let’s get this party started! What do you want to know???

MADELINE IVA: How did a couple of nice girls like you get involved in an anthology like this? ;>

SABRINA YORK: Um, nice girls?  Actually I was thrilled when I was invited to play along with this group, because of the theme for the collection. OH. MY. GOD. Write a book about a man brought to his knees by love? Yes, thank you. What woman doesn’t have a fantasy like that??

LYNNE SILVER: I’m just here because they promised me alcohol.

You might also want to check out Lynne Silver's CODED FOR LOVE series. Click to buy.

You might also want to check out Lynne Silver’s CODED FOR LOVE series. Click to buy.

Seriously, I got an email from Anya Richards asking me to be part of it, and since she writes some scary hot doms, I knew I had to join up or face the consequences.

MADELINE IVA: So we like a man brought to his knees. (Love that title!) In real life do you dine or do you dash when you encounter super-dominant he-males? What about men with ridiculously hard bodies?

SABRINA YORK: I wish I could say I am bold and brash and grab life (or hot guys) by the balls, but I must confess, I am a runner. Put me face to face, breath to breath, chest to chest with a hunka hunka burning hotness…and my inner teenager emerges with a passion. Like with braces and everything.

MADELINE IVA: Lynne, I know we’ve discussed hiding under the table from cavemen before–any thoughts?

LYNNE SILVER: Sabrina, you’re braver than I am posing for Caveman pictures at Romanticon. I wasn’t brave enough to do it.

If you look closely, you will see a woman buried in all that Ellora's Cave manflesh.

If you look closely, you will see a woman buried in all that Ellora’s Cave manflesh.

SABRINA YORK: I did it on a dare. See, what I lack in courage, I make up for in gullibility…and the inability to resist a dare.

Did I mention I have pictures? I pull them out of my secret hiding place sometimes, curl up in a corner, stroke them and murmur, “my precious.”

MADELINE IVA: Why do we like seeing the big strong guy made weak in the knees?

SABRINA YORK: IMHO, nothing, nothing, is more attractive than a man who is totally, utterly and completely in love with a woman. (This is, of course, assuming she loves him back and he’s not some random dude peering in her window).

I delight is taking a hard hot hero–especially a hero who is resistant to love–and presenting him with the one woman he cannot live without, a woman who will make him question all of his assumptions about life and force him to make some difficult choices & sacrifices to win her.

Aside from that, I think it’s every woman’s fantasy to have this hot, handsome, horny hunk train his piercing attention directly on her.

MADELINE IVA: I think I have to stop for a moment and fan myself, Sabrina.

SABRINA YORK: That in my mind he almost always looks like Jason Momoa, is purely coincidental.

Jason Momoa hot studly guy from Game of Thrones.

Jason Momoa is that hot studly guy from Game of Thrones.

MADELINE IVA: So, when you have a hot hard hero who is resistant to love —Does the heroine have to work to get him? Or does he just see her and ba-bam!

SABRINA YORK: LOL Madeline. There is always a ba-bam! in my stories. But I do not make it easy on him! My girls usually drive him batty until he breaks. In “Whipped” it’s not until the next morning that the hero discovers who the heroine really is. His best friend’s sister, the one woman in the world his man-code deems untouchable.

Want more of Sabrina York's BDSM stories? Click to buy.

Want more of Sabrina York’s BDSM stories? Click to buy.

MADELINE IVA: You know, when you said that, I was like really? But then I asked my husband if that whole “yer buddy’s little sister” is really SO off limits. He said yeah, because your friends know exactly what a shithead you are to women and so they don’t want you near their kin.

SABRINA YORK: PMBO. Sooooo true. Dudes have such double standards when it comes to their baby sisters.

LYNNE SILVER: I don’t know exactly how it works in real life, but since romance novels are a fantasy escape, I think readers like to see the man pursuing the woman in a non-stalker way. The reader wants to see the guy have to work for it so the pay off in the end is worth it.

SABRINA YORK: LOL Lynne is right. While the readers really dig a darkly determined hero…you have to be careful that he doesn’t come off as creepy. To me, the dividing line between off the charts romantic and stalker-land is how the heroine feels about the guy in her heart of hearts. If she digs this guy and his persistence, it’s hot. If she doesn’t, then yeah, it’s time to call the cops. ;)

MADELINE IVA: Do either of your stories relate back to any of your previous works? In theme perhaps or romance flavor if not in actual characters in a series…

SABRINA YORK: My story, WHIPPED, is a brand new piece of work. I wrote it at the same time I was writing Stone Hard SEAL (for the Hot Alpha SEALs Collection) and since I was doing so much research for that story, I think the special ops vibe leaked into WHIPPED.

Part of Sabrina York's HOT HARD SEALS Series. Click to buy.

Part of Sabrina York’s HOT HARD SEALS Series. Click to buy.

Aside from that, it takes place in Vegas, one of my favorite places.

LYNNE SILVER:  My story, CRUISING FOR LOVE, is in first person for the heroine. I loved getting really inside Andi’s head as Jonah is dominating her. It’s also a bit lighter and more fun than my Coded for Love Series which can be a bit darker.

Part of the CODED FOR LOVE series by Lynne Silver.  Click to buy.

Part of the CODED FOR LOVE series by Lynne Silver. Click to buy.

MADELINE IVA: Lighter how?

LYNNE SILVER: Andi (our heroine) thinks it’s a normal cruise, but is surprised by her best friend who informs her the cruise has a BDSM theme. Surprise! Jonah (our hero) THINKS she’s on the cruise for the BDSM and tries to give her what he thinks she wants. So it’s two vanilla people pretending to be a dom and a sub because each thinks the other wants it. They quickly discover their mistake, but they also discover they kinda like the role playing.

MADELINE IVA: I *love* it! Do any other writers inspire you?

SABRINA YORK: I am pleased to say, some of my faves are in this collection. Tina Donahue has always been one of my heroes, and not only because she is one of the most generous people on the planet! Jennifer Kacey and I have been friends since she was a baby author celebrating her first release. She is crazy talented and loads of fun to be with. Cynthia D’Alba introduced me to Shane Rice, her steamy cover model, at RT. You gotta LOVE a woman who will introduce you to hot guys over lunch. Just sayin.

Shane Rice contemplates his freakishly gorgeous abs.

Shane Rice contemplates his freakishly gorgeous abs.

LYNNE SILVER: There are a few authors I read as my benchmark and I pray that one day I can craft a story as compelling as they do. Some of those authors include: Kresley Cole, Nalini Singh, Kristan Higgins, Eloisa James, and recently- Courtney Milan (Huzzah Suffragette!)

MADELINE IVA: Lynne, our faves list is almost identical…I recently read something that indicated if you write erotica or erotic romance these days you simply MUST be in anthologies. And why do readers just gobble up boxed sets?

Click to buy.

Click to buy.

SABRINA YORK: Why do readers gobble up box sets? Because they’re smart. It is a great deal for them and they have the benefit of trying new authors for a very low price.

LYNNE SILVER: I agree, I think it’s a great chance for readers to try new authors, often for a very good price point.

MADELINE IVA: Any wild and raucous moments from your last romance conventions that you can recall thinking “No one could believe this is happening outside a book.”

SABRINA YORK: Yeah, I gotta plead the fifth here. But let me say OMG it was fun!

LYNNE SILVER: I attend the Washington Romance Writer’s retreat. Let’s just say what happens at Romance Jeopardy, stays at romance jeopardy.

But I’ll give a few juicy deets: Cathy Maxwell in a kilt, an editor singing show tunes, and an author (who will remain nameless) flashing her boobs.

MADELINE IVA: Now I have a picture in my mind of Cathy Maxwell dancing the Highland Fling.

What happens at Romance Jeopardy STAYS at Romance Jeopardy.

What happens at Romance Jeopardy STAYS at Romance Jeopardy.

LYNNE SILVER: Also there was much dodging of candy missiles.

Okay Kittens, now it’s your turn. Go snabble up BROUGHT TO HIS KNEES AT AMAZON by clicking on the photo cover.

Big, Hot & Heavy: BROUGHT TO HIS KNEES IS FINALLY HERE!

Big, Hot & Heavy: BROUGHT TO HIS KNEES IS FINALLY HERE!

You can also find SABRINA YORK and LYNNE SILVER at their websites by clicking on their names.

And follow LadySmut.com. We’ll bring you to your knees with delicious blog posts 7 days a week.

 

 

Scorching Heat and Rivers Of Sweat

20 Aug

Sweaty breasts

By Elizabeth Shore

Thinking about Alexa Day’s alternate history steampunk-inspired short story Turnabout Day this week has got me feeling the heat. Steamy, glorious, sultry heat. Her story, after all, is set in Jamaica in August – a place so hot even fire starts to sweat. Before writing this post I looked up the forecast in Kingston. “Dangerous heat index. Limit outdoor exposure.” It’s 91 degrees F but feels like 111. And the big kicker – intense humidity. The kind of humidity that makes your hair more frizzy than sticking your entire hand in an electric socket. Sweat pours down the sides of your face, between your breasts, in rivers down your back. You have to peel away your clothes and then ring them out. Yeah, that kind of humidity. That kind of heat. Some people try to beat it. Me? I say, go ahead.  Get hot and bothered.

I wrote a short story years ago that I decided to set in a factory. The jobs people performed there were intentionally ambiguous because, frankly, that mattered not a whit to me. What I was after was the heat. I wanted this nondescript factory to have something to do with welding. Lots of fire, lots of heat, lots of sweat. The characters were covered in it: a thick, slick coating of sweat glistening on writhing bodies as they did the bump and grind atop big industrial machines. They got a little sooty, too, in a sexy kinda way like a factory worker in a Herb Ritz photograph.

Sweat’s just sexy for a whole lotta reasons. It’s wet. It’s slippery. It’s shiny. It emphasizes toned muscles like nothing else, except maybe oil. I mentioned in another post not too long ago about how yummy Matthew McConaughey looks in a scene from A Time To Kill when he’s talking to wife Ashley Judd and light reflects off the sheen of sweat coating his muscled chest. Mmmm ….

And then there’s Body Heat. Remember that one? William Hurt and Kathleen Turner turning the temperature up to about 1,000 degrees in their sizzling affair set during an intense Florida heat wave. That movie takes heat and sexy to a whole new level, emphasizing that there’s just something about skyrocketing temps that equals sex. I think that’s why I set my latest book, Hot Bayou Nights, in sultry Louisiana. I wanted the sizzling sexy element of heat to play a parallel role to the development of the characters’ sizzling sex.

Perhaps the sexiness of heat is nothing more complicated than the fact that when it’s hot, clothes just gotta come off. And when you just can’t take the heat anymore, there’s always skinny dipping. If you’ve never done it, do it now! Wait until it’s dark, get outta your sticky clothes, and then take an au naturel plunge in cool water with a hot guy. This is an awesome thing. And if you happen to be in Jamaica, like the characters in Alexa’s story, well then you’ve got the added benefit of swimming naked in the Caribbean.

Celebrate summer by getting hot and bothered and by following us at Lady Smut, where we turn the heat on for you with new posts seven days a week.turnaboutday-200

Celebrating Romance—ALL Shades (Read a Romance Month!)

19 Aug

By Liz Everly

I’m so happy to be asked to be a part of Read a Romance Month (RARM) blogger day, especially during the week when we at Lady Smut are acknowledging one of our own—Alexa Day, whose short story “Turnabout” is published this week!

When I first started writing romance, I read about the “rules ” or “conventions” of the romance genre. Rules about which time periods and settings to write about, rules about how many sex scenes to include, and rules about the mixing of races. Write outside of these conventions and you’d have a hard time snagging an agent or a publisher.

When I wrote my first historical romance, I was inspired by an actual interracial romance where I live. It’s on the books—an ex-slave (Edward Tarr) and white woman who were married and living in the Shenandoah Valley in the 1760s. I mentioned this to my agent, who said, “That will never sell.” And she was probably right. Unfortunately.

But things are changing—very slowly. We’ve discussed this a bit on Lady Smut. We love our men and women of color—Asian, African-American, Latino—and some of us are writing about interracial romances. This week on Lady Smut we are celebrating Alexa Day’s Turnabout, which features an African-American woman and a white man.

This is one HAWT cover, wouldn't you say?

This is one HAWT cover, wouldn’t you say?

Here is the blurb for the story:

The mistress of the manor will finally have the man she longs for … but only if she obeys his every command.

Sugarcane heiress Chloe Newton said goodbye to indentured servant Peter Darrow with her first kiss, on a hillside one long-ago summer night as mechanized cane cutters worked the fields below them. Now Peter’s returned, no longer a boy and no one’s servant, to take charge of the fleet of machines that work Chloe’s estate. On Turnabout Day, Chloe takes on the uniform and duties of a maid, and she seeks the courage to offer Peter more than a celebratory drink. By giving in to his commands, she’ll surrender to his need and become mistress of her own desire.

In my own books, one of my characters is Sanj, who is gorgeous, dark, sexy Indian man featured in all three of my SAFFRON NIGHTS books. He has a serious  affair with a white American woman, then marries a white British woman. His story is mostly told in the the second book in the series, CRAVINGS, which is set in Ecuador and Saint Lucia. Plus, I write about many different nationalities in my EIGHT LAYS AROUND THE WORLD SERIES.

Egyptcover2Hongkongcover2MoroccoB***Francecover1*

 

 

 

 

 

For me, variety is the spice of life. Why shouldn’t our romances celebrate diversity? In a genre where we examine love and romance, isn’t it time to embrace all forms of it? From all people? Cultures? Sexualities?

When  Fifty Shades of Grey swept through the charts, it felt to me like that was another kind of celebration and acceptance. Even though I remain unimpressed by the actual writing in the books, I was thrilled that many people who have felt a sense of shame about their proclivities were now celebrating them. I am also ecstatic that it became a little more okay to say among SOME circles “I write erotic romance.”

It’s a fantastic and wild time to be writing (and reading) romance‑whether it’s erotic, sweet, spicy, paranormal, and so on, good romance gets at the heart of what makes us human. Let’s celebrate, my friend.

Here are the questions  asked of all of the bloggers participating in Read a Romance Month:

1 – Describe the most daring, adventurous or inspiring thing you ever did.
Hell no. I don’t kiss and tell. Grin.
2 – Tell us about your journey to becoming a writer. (How did you decide to get started? Did you always know or was there a specific moment when you knew?) I’ve always loved to create stories, which I did on the stage as a dancer and actress for many years. In college, I switched majors to journalism because I thought it was more practical.  During all of this time I wrote fiction and poetry, just for my own entertainment. I started a novel when I was about 12. I started and finished one when I was in high school. Years later, after making my living as a freelancer and mostly nonfiction, I found fiction again. I don’t think there was ever one moment for me. My career path has been non-linear.
3 – Tell us about The (or A) Book That Changed Your Life. (Why?) This is a tough one! I suppose I should write something sexy here…Lady Chatterley’s Lover? I loved that book and the way in which it was written so well and elevated the erotic to the literary. But a book I DO return to time and time again is a book by Anne Morrow Lindbergh, “Gift from the Sea.” Every time I read it, I take away something powerful and rich from it. It changes my life every time I read it.
UnknownCravingsSaffron
To usher in the celebration, I am giving away one of the three books in my SAFFRON NIGHTS series (your choice, e-book versions, only), and one of my EIGHT LAYS AROUND THE WORLD serial, PLUS since we are celebrating the release of ” Turnabout” I’ll give away a copy of that, too! Quite a haull! Please leave a comment to be entered to win.

 

Liz Everly writes under a pen name to escape expectations and to embrace all possibilities.  She’s the author of the SAFFRON NIGHTS SERIES (e-Kensington), the EIGHT LAYS AROUND THE WORLD serial, and a contributor in LADY SMUT’S BOOK OF DARK DESIRES.  She also writes regional bestselling cookbooks and Agatha-award nominated traditional mysteries under her own name. On any given day, you may find her researching and writing about murder, sex, or cooking techniques. She’d not have it any other way. Please stop by her website for more information. Twitter @Lizeverly1. She’s a member of RWA, Kiss of Death chapter, and Washington Romance Writers. Contact her at Lizeverly@rocketmail.com.

Make the First Move

18 Aug

by Kiersten Hallie Krum

Even the most staunch feminist would have to admit we live in a remarkable (though imperfect) era of immense opportunity for women, an era in which the prestigious Fields Medal, the Nobel Prize of Mathematics, is awarded to a woman for the first time. Yet despite the many advances in women’s rights over the last century, hell over the last half century, the idea of a woman asking a man out on a date is still…wonky. The tradition of “the man asks” still holds general sway.

Or does it?

past-love

A 2011 Psychology Today article that calls the act of asking someone out a “risky initiative,” found that the majority of women surveyed still wished to be the ones being asked while the majority of men surveyed prefer to do the asking. The results of the actual asking reflect this as women reported being asked out an average of five times in one year while the men reported being asked out an average of once a year. “So, after decades of increasing sexual equality, why are women not assuming equal ‘risky initiatives’ responsibility?” Good question.

0099_275_169_c1

Fortunately, things seem to have improved two years later. Cosmopolitan magazine–that great bastion of sexual truthiness–quoted Match.com reports in 2013 that 91% of men were A-OK with a woman making the first move to ask them out. Additionally, more than 50% of women surveyed reached out first after the first date and 40% initiated sex.

A survey on Debate.org found an 80% return of YES when it asked “Should women ask men out?” A variety of explanations for this result included that tradition was made to be broken, men shouldn’t be the only ones to take all the emotional risk, and the all-encompassing, life is short, so why not? “Why is this up for debate?” replied one poster, “It’s 2013 for crying out loud! Women can do whatever they want.” Even dating sites like eharmony.com  offer a helpfully meant if patronizing list of clues for “When you should ask him out.”

Body language and flirting, the traditional nonverbal lures of women to signal a man she’s open to his advances, still have their roles to play in modern dating life. Frankly, they’re fun too. It’s flattering to be the pursued, to have a man value you enough to put an effort into courting you. That said, there’s no better way to establish equal footing at the start of your relationship than for a woman to show she’s not afraid to take the emotional risks starting with The Big One. Far more preferable than following some antiquated “rules” that passive-aggressively manipulate your prospective mate.

After all, turnabout’s fair play.

turnaboutday-200

Turnabout is fair play.

 

The steam punk erotica short story Turnabout Day from our own Lady Smut blogger, Alexa Day, debuts this Friday. Find out what happens when relationships in an alternative Jamaica get turned upside down.

She Also Serves: What Makes Obedience Hot?

17 Aug

By Alexa Day

On Friday, Musa Publishing launched Eros, its new line of erotic stories, and I’m proud to be one of the line’s first authors. My short story, “Turnabout Day,” will be released this Friday. Check out my smoking hot cover, friends!

The story takes place in a steam-driven alternate to Jamaican history. Turnabout Day is one of that world’s holidays, a day when the upper class serves its servants. It’s a chance for Chloe Newton to spend a little time with Peter Darrow, a childhood playmate who’s grown into a very hot engineer. Although Peter is technically Chloe’s consultant now, not a servant, she’s very interested in taking orders from him for one evening.

Ready to be of service? Go ahead and click.

Ready to be of service? Go ahead and click.

But why? What makes a successful woman like Chloe, a woman in charge of her family’s sugarcane estate, want to become any man’s sexual servant?

Well, it could be anything, really. Just the fact that it floats her boat is sufficient, once she’s found a willing partner. But it’s still easy to think of a woman’s desire to submit to a partner sexually as something less than modern, less than powerful, and less than attractive.

Consider this, though.

Chloe’s made the choice to surrender to Peter. It’s her idea. So if he’s in control, it’s only because she’s given him the keys. And while she enjoys testing the boundaries of this new relationship, her willingness to obey actually directs their encounter.

On top of all that, Chloe enjoys a special advantage here — she gets to watch Peter pushed to the limits of his self-control. That’s definitely a position of power.

In any case, regardless of her motivations, do Chloe’s sexual preferences really make her any less powerful? Do they make her less of a businesswoman? Is she somehow less capable outside the bedroom because of her preferences in it?

While you’re thinking it over, here’s a little something to savor until “Turnabout Day” arrives this Friday.

“Don’t you want to be in charge for a day?” Something stirred within her, lending illicit intent to the innocent question.

His eyes met hers. “Of course.” His voice lowered in a way that awakened long-dormant desires in her. “But you aren’t a girl now. And I don’t think you’d much like what I asked you for.”

She swallowed hard. What might he ask for? Would he want to restrain her and take his pleasure? Would his hungers be more exotic than those of her own past lovers? Would she be able to satisfy the needs he alluded to?

She tried to breathe.

“How will you know, Peter?” Unable to help herself, she looked down at the floor. “How will you know unless you ask?”

She reached for him and found the soft fabric of his shirt damp with sweat. “And in any case,” she said in a near-whisper, “my understanding is that on this night, it doesn’t matter whether I like what you ask me for.”

He gazed down at her, his dark blue eyes almost black. She’d seen him look down at his columns of figures and pages of schematics the same way, exercising his full attention, the focused power of his mind. She liked the feeling.

She reached for his mouth, wanting to stroke his full lips. He intercepted her hand and pressed her fingers together almost painfully.

“Tonight, you must do as I say, love. You must do anything I say. Is that what you want, Chloe?”

She flattened her hand against his chest and summoned her friend Beryl’s flirtatious spirit.

“What do you think?”

Be sure to join my colleagues here at Lady Smut as we count the days to “Turnabout Day.” In fact, this is a good time to make sure you’re following us. We’ll keep you on your toes year round.

Sexy Saturday Round-Up

16 Aug

By Liz Everly and the Lady Smut bloggers

LS Fb squareHello, Sexy! It’s Saturday. Need I say more? Each week the Lady Smut bloggers offer up some tasty Internet treats for you. So here we go!

A good reason to inspect your vagina.

Great piece on hair-removal. hehehe.

Rules for writing a novella.

From Madeline:

A Straight Male History of Sex Dolls

CYOA meets Erotic romance at Silk Words.com

Three high tech engineering toys for girls.

But they’re so cute–Why we hate condoms.

The Economist study on how prostitution is changing in the global markeplace because of the information age

Vanilla is the new black some say.

Caress his soft spots to drive him crazy.

An offensive man trying his very best to be even more offensive if he possibly can discusses 5 types of guys that make him horny.

From Alexa:

A lesson on less being more, brought to you by Lauren Bacall.

Competitive air sex is real. Oh, yes, it is.

The dick pic has much to show us (ha ha, yes!) if we give it half a chance.

 

LonCon and ShamroKon

15 Aug Hot-hot-hot! Click on image to buy.

by C. Margery Kempe

I’m away this weekend in London for the 72nd World SF Con and then next week I’m off to Dublin before returning to NY to teach. Busy doesn’t begin to cover it. Look for me under my given name, K. A. Laity.

LONCON 3 The 72nd World Science Fiction Convention 14-18 August 2014

LONCON

Tove Jansson’s Moomins: Their Legacy and Influence

Thursday 12:00 – 13:30, Capital Suite 13 (ExCeL)

It’s 100 years since the birth of Finnish author/artist Tove Jansson, the award-winning creator of the beloved Moomins. Moomins appeared in novels, illustrated books, comic book strips and today are celebrated with their own theme park called Muumimaailma (Moomin World).

Why did Jansson’s Moomins capture the attention and affection of the panellists, and how do Moomins continue to fire the imagination of new generations despite being nearly seventy years old?

What is the legacy of the Moomins, and how do they continue to influence European comic books today?

K. A. Laity (M), Lynda Rucker, Alexander Dan Vilhjálmsson, Mary Talbot, Karrie Fransman

You can watch the BBC documentary ‘Moominland Tales: The Life Of Tove Jansson’ here: http://youtu.be/tSZKzLHI5wg. There will be a showing of this documentary at the convention in the Capital Suite 17, at Thursday at 17:00.

Medieval Influences and Representation in SF/F

Thursday 15:00 – 16:30, Capital Suite 6 (ExCeL)

Three academics each give a 15 minute presentation. These are followed by a 30 minute discussion jointly held with the audience.

Constance G. J. Wagner, “FRODO AND FARAMIR: Mirrors of Chivalry”
K. A. Laity, “The ‘Old Weird’: Recognising the Medieval Roots of the ‘New Weird’”
Julie Hofmann, “The Year of the Fruit Bat, the Middle Ages, and the Long 19th Century”
Shyamalika Heffernan (M)

Fantasy and Medievalism

Friday 13:30 – 15:00, Capital Suite 7+12 (ExCeL)

High fantasy is almost invariably set in invented worlds inspired by medieval Europe. Can we put this down to the legacy of Tolkien and to genre works being in close conversation with each other? Or is there something about the place that medieval Europe occupies in our imagination that makes it a perfect companion for tales of epic striving and larger-than-life Good versus Evil? Either way, does this help or hinder the genre?

K. A. Laity (M), Gillian Polack, Robin Hobb, Marieke Nijkamp, Lynda Rucker

The Weird on Screen

Friday 16:30 – 18:00, Capital Suite 13 (ExCeL)

In their introduction to their anthology “The Weird”, Ann and Jeff VanderMeer describe the form as “unapologetically transgressive, imaginative, and strange.” Where can we find the weird on screen? What differences are there between the written weird and the weird on screen?

K. A. Laity (M), Dominick Grace, Robyn Talbot, Alexander Dan Vilhjálmsson, Jaq Greenspon

Vox Populi: the new voice of comic book criticism?

Sunday 10:00 – 11:00, Capital Suite 3 (ExCeL)

Anyone with a blog or social media presence can send their opinion directly to comic book creators. How is this affecting comic book criticism?

Is this the death of the old stuffy regime of taste-makers, or the rise of a new type of creative pressure? How is the closer connection between creator and audience affecting the work?

And what happens when the collective force of a fanbase focuses upon ‘punishing’ critical voices?

K. A. Laity (M), KT Davies, Emmeline Pui Ling Dobson, Marcus Gipps, Didi Chanoch

What does Ireland have to offer?

Sunday 11:00 – 12:00, Capital Suite 2 (ExCeL)

Ireland is distinctly different as a nation and its people posses a unique identity. How does this work through the creative fiction of modern times? Has the mighty weight of Irish Mythology that have permeated fantasy had an impact on modern writers in Ireland? Where is the new fiction coming from, and what issues of interest are explored?

Liz Bourke (M), Susan Connolly, K. A. Laity, Ruth Frances Long, Bob Neilson

Full programme here. If yo know Debi, you know she’ll be everywhere and she’ll cajole me into going to more things than I would on my own. I hope to see a lot of friends, but there will be thousands of people there O.O so I’m glad some folks like Maura McHugh will also be heading to Dublin –

SHAMROKON 22-24 Aug 2014

European Focus: Missing Medieval Women

Friday 15:00 – 16:00, B. Lansdowne (Double Tree by Hilton Dublin Burlington Road)

Women farriers, Viking Shieldmaidens, Court Poet Christine de Pizan… there were lots of women who weren’t damsels in distress or burnt at the stake. So why don’t we see them in high fantasy?

Liz Bourke (M), Susan Bartholomew, K. A. Laity, Gillian Polack

As you can see, I won’t be too busy in Dublin, so I will likely be catching up with friends (I hope including my publisher Kem from Tirgearr) and reacquainting myself with some of the finer pubs around the city. On Sunday morning (24th) I will be NY bound as classes begin on the 25th. So much for giving myself more leeway…

Full programme here.

…And The Award for This Summer’s Hottest Blockbuster Goes To…

14 Aug
Divergent

Click to buy at Amazon.

by Madeline Iva

You know how it goes. There is the movie you want to see…and then there is the movies HE wants to see.

The boys-club, he-man movie, the ‘let me save you little lady’  summer blockbuster film.

Since compromise is the soul of virtue, you get dressed up and bring along yer cute little summer sweater with you because it’s going to be crazy-cold in the movie theatre.  Once inside, you brace yourself for some white-man-centric action adventure. Hoping there’s a Legolas or SOME kind of hotness factor to carry you along, you prepare to take a little cat-nap through the twenty minutes of bing-bam-boom! climactic ending where all story narrative comes to a dead halt as things blow up.

Well, not this summer mah friends.

This summer heralds a new day with action adventure mega-flicks. Some contenders for Actually Decent Action Blockbusters are:

1) Divergent Hotness factor: Theo James who plays Trice’s training instructor is hotness on a stick.  Seriously.  I mean, seriously.

Hotness on a stick.  And not a bad actor, either.

Hotness on a stick. And not a bad actor, either.

2) Captain America: The Winter Soldier Hotness factor: Sebastian Stan who plays the Winter Solider is all mysterious-tragic hot–yet I’ll confess that the intense bromance between him and Captain America made me smirk.

Who are ya, mysterious bad boy?

Who are you, mysterious bad boy?

3) Edge of Tomorrow Hotness factor: Emily Blunt’s yoga moves.

Blunt

I mean common, who–male or female–would kick Emily out of bed?

4) LUCY Hotness factor: Meh. Alas, there was none.

Wah-wah-waaaaaah.  Lucy Sucks.

Wah-wah-waaaaaah. Lucy Sucks.

AND THE WINNER FOR HOTNESS FACTOR TOTALLY BY A LANDSLIDE WAS: Theo James.  I’m still shaking my head over how his charisma carried that respectably okay film.

In the book she goes after him which *totally* makes sense.

In the book, unlike in the movie, she goes after him–which *totally* makes sense.

Stan2

The winter soldier is *sad*.

But which film was the HOTTEST SUMMER BLOCKBUSTER overall?

DIVERGENT is a strong contender. Unlike another YA super-seller book that became a film, (Did Vampire Academy even see a movie theatre before it became a DVD?) Divergent delivered a strong female-centered heroine and yer basic action-adventure satisfaction for a teen audience.

Bonus points for THEO JAMES the alpha and the omega for why you’d see this film. He looks good – I mean, it could be a silent film and I’d watch him engrossed – but his acting isn’t bad either.

Overall, however, I just don’t like whats-her-face’s stinking looks. She’s so very commercial. I would appreciate a heroine with a few quirks and wrinkles to her.

Meanwhile, Sebastian Stan is HOT.

Meanwhile, Sebastian Stan is HOT.

Props to Kate Winslet playing the bad guy while preggers. See, even pregnant women can be evil these days—that’s equality for ya.

CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER I’ll give him this – Captain America has a perfect body. Absolutely perfect. And he’s not a bad actor.

This movie gets props for having a black man in charge, a couple female side kicks, and a black man side kick. I mean, the white male ends up being in the minority—that’s when I started thinking Hey, whoa, what’s going on here?

This is not what action adventure usually looks like – is it?

It does now, sistah!

Ultimately, this film’s most compelling actor was it’s villain, the Winter Soldier.

He’s fairly hot in person too – here’s a clip from Chelsea Lately.

Cap Am

Click to buy at Amazon

I’m not even going to talk about LUCY except to say….YUCK! Loaded with bad stereotypes–from intelligent people talk like robots, to super-genius’s are all selfish socio-paths, to brain scientists and cops are all men…this movie stank, just stank of pseudo-intellectual pretention from top to bottom. NOT Scarlet Johannsen’s finest hour.

Skip it – skip the DVD, seriously, like even if it’s on cable for free and nothing else is on.

SO THE WINNER FOR THIS SUMMER’S HOTTEST BLOCKBUSTER IS…..EDGE OF TOMORROW

Personally, I think LIVE DIE REPEAT is a pretty good title too.

Personally, I think LIVE DIE REPEAT is a pretty good title too.

Or as I kept calling it–Live Another Day.

Or, as it should really be called: Die Another Day.

What you have here is a movie about endless repetition. Bill, played by Tom Cruise is dropped in a war zone against evil aliens and dies in minutes.  But he’s sprayed by blue alien goo first, and ends up coming back to life over and over to repeat the day.

It’s action adventure with edge of post-apocalyptic horror. It’s GROUNDHOG DAY at the end of the world–so what’s not to love?

And in this film you have not a solo woman or man hero – it’s a man and woman team.

Out of all these movies Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt are by far the best actors – and there is a strong dose of dry humor about the movie that helps it along.

One of the themes played out in the film is the same as a theme in Divergent. I call it the Men Who Have a Hard Time Watching Women Getting Hurt/Killed theme. This theme relates back to discussions about whether women should serve on battlefields with men. Look, I’ll just say this: it’s hard—we hope—watching anyone get hurt or killed, not just women. But hey, it’s better than the old action motif: Man Grieving Over Dead Wife.

Because that just served the purpose of not having any women in the film at ALL, not even a romantic love interest. Ugh.

It's pretty wacky that her fav weapon is a mondo cricket bat, but when you see the movie it works.

It’s pretty wacky that her fav weapon is a mondo cricket bat, but when you see the movie it works.

Emily Blunt’s character is great. While Tom Cruise sometimes wants to smell the roses or take time to pause or just turn back and go home, she is 110% committed. She had discipline on her side, as well as mad soldier chops. Her attitude is total “we can do this” toughness/utter commitment.

I think what made the film so strong was that along with her utter dauntlessness (take notes Divergent) came along with the desire to keep her inner walls very high. As a soldier in dire conditions she accepts that the people around her will most likely die. It hurts to get to know them well first, so logically, she doesn’t want to get to know anyone, or have them know her.

Cruise however seems to utterly love her—he can’t help it. But he doesn’t say it. He knows they are a team, and his final total commitment to the team comes from his total commitment to her.

It’s pretty f***ing awesome.

You do get your money’s worth for this film. It’s a big, complicated, and long. Much to chew upon, yet in the end does it all hold together? Well, almost. The ending—and I mean the very very very end is a tad incomplete. I crossed my eyes trying to figure out how it logically worked and just couldn’t. I even cheated and looked up the film on Wikipedia and the comic book it was based upon just to get a sense of the original ending. But the comic it was based on was very hodge-podge and…not so coherent either. So let’s just agree that it all works out and not fuss too much over the details, eh?

Edge

Click to pre-order from Amazon

Blunt’s character espouses a “by sacrificing ourselves to save everyone we win” while Cruise’s sense to win and stay alive. It’s kind of like a battle between standard Asian heroic tropes vs. American heroic. So guess who wins in the end? I’m not telling, you’ll just have to see the movie to find out.

Yes, Virginia, it’s a whole new action-adventure world out there these days. Given the changing climate in the movie industry – what would you like to see in an action adventure blockbuster next year?

Meanwhile, follow the action at LadySmut.com.  We’ll leave you panting with anticipation for our next adventure.

Elizabeth Is Up North – Way North

13 Aug

sexy man

By Elizabeth Shore

Hey, Lady Smut readers! I’m away this week in Finland so I’m leaving you with two things to keep you occupied until I return next Wednesday. Below is a post I wrote several months ago that I’m re-posting in case you missed it last time. And above is picture of a hot guy. Why? Because seriously, why not? ;-)

You may remember a post I wrote several months ago about frustrations of love in the digital age. It was inspired by a friend of mine who’s in the throes of a serious long-distance relationship. She and her guy met online, they “dated” online, they even fell in love online – all without ever having actually met one another in person. They live really far apart – on separate continents – so airline tickets are über expensive and cash is tight for both of them. This situation went on for close to a year until finally, last month, they met in person. He flew to where she lives and stayed for four weeks. By all accounts, it was amazing. Now, alas, he’s gone back home and they’re left pondering the age-old, long-distance relationship question: should one of them move for love?

It would be a massive, emotional life change. It would mean leaving behind friends, family, job, and familiar comforts. It’s not something everyone can do. It’s not something everyone should do. But how’s a girl to know?

Writer Amy Spencer posted an interesting blog article on match.com’s online site (tagline: “because love doesn’t come with instructions”) about her own experience on taking the moving-for-love plunge. She recently relocated from NYC to L.A. and shared some good insight about how to know the time to move is right. Her tips mostly focus on making sure that a couple’s long-term goals mesh. Dreams for the future, whether the relationship is “in it for the long haul,” that kind of stuff. She also wrote that the two of them having a new place together, instead of her moving into his existing place, was vital to success. She writes, “Now, instead of feeling like I’m encroaching on his pre-me life, I feel like we’re on an “us” adventure.”

The interesting dynamic in the situation for my friend, and for any couple involved in a long-distance relationship, is that ultimately there needs to be an end game. At some point, the relationship has gotta happen in the same location for it to deepen and grow. Skype and Hangout are great, but they only go so far. The truth is, if you’re not together, you’re not together. The physical doesn’t happen. Phone sex and Skype sex hold a certain appeal, but only for so long. You don’t want to be building up callouses (heyo!) from an over-abundance of self love.

While I was thinking about my friend’s situation and reading some articles on long-distance relationships, I came across something interesting. Blogger Eric Ravenescraft wrote that a friend once told him, “A long-distance relationship isn’t really a relationship. It’s the promise of one.” Interesting theory, but I don’t agree. Neither would my friend. She and her guy are definitely in a relationship, and have been for the past year. They’ve spent the bulk of their time apart and have only met once. Yet they are partners in every classic sense of the word. They share life’s ups and downs with each other, their dreams and their goals. They offer support to one another, they laugh; they love. But at some point, if they want to go on, one of them’s gotta move. Question is who? And when?

Have you ever moved for love? Would you? Let us know how you feel on the topic and don’t forget to follow us here at Lady Smut, where we’ll always try to move you.

 

Lusty Wenches and Hawt Spies–Loving the Historicals (A revisit)

12 Aug
Photo by Alaska Dude

Photo by Alaska Dude

By Liz Everly

Note: This blog post is a reblog of one that I wrote some time ago. I’m running it again because I’m celebrating the fact that the historical romance I wrote has now found a home with Tirgearr Publishing. It turns out the Kemberlee Shortland, one of the owners of the company loves this time period in history as much as I do. You just never know, do you?  I’m thrilled to share this news with you. Please stay tuned for more details as they come along.

I’ve been thinking about historical romances ever since I read that Dear Author post about the death of them. Also, I sat in on the Shindig historical romance panel that included the RITA nominees. The Dear Author post was a topic of conversation.

I adore historicals. I wrote one several years ago and it’s one of my favorite books I’ve ever written—even if it’s never been sold. So many of us have books like this, don’t we? Books that we loved writing but just have not found a home yet?

A little about my own homeless historical

“Tempting Will McGlashen” is set in 1765 in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. This was the frontier. Roads were being blazed out of old Native American trails. People were seeking opportunity for more land at cheaper prices came to the Valley, mostly from Pennsylvania, which was becoming crowded and expensive.

Photo by OZinOH

Photo by OZinOH

My heroine is an innkeeper’s daughter and my hero a blacksmith that comes to work for her father. Both my agent and my current editor loved the book, but he could not get the rest of his committee on board. The main reason was that the time period and the place are just not easy to sell. (And would be even harder with a first time novelist.)

I’ve thought about self-publishing it—and I probably will at some point. But right now, I don’t have the time. (Kudos to those who can do it and do it well.) I’m writing two series and several blogs, and do have a life. (Imagine that.) But it’s a project that is very near and dear to my heart. I loved the research and the writing. And I keep the thought of doing something else with it tucked back in my mind.IMG_0269.JPG (1)

Mathilde, the innkeeper’s daughter , is second generation of German descent. She’s 20-years-old, loves to cook, and converse with the travelers who eat and stay at their “ordinary,” which is what inns were called in Virginia then. Oneof the reasons I set the book at in and ordinary is I wanted her to meet many people. She has a lively mind and when her father mentions that it’s time to consider marriage to a young man who owns a farm in Pa., she balks. She doesn’t want to be tucked away on a farm, and she can’t imagine marrying Joshua. But she tries to consider him because she’s a dutiful daughter. She goes along with her father up until a certain point.

In walks Will McClashen, fresh from Scotland, whose voice “sounds like song” and makes Mathilde’s heart race. Will has a few secrets of his own and knows that acting on this heated attraction with Mathilde might put his new job (and new life) in jeopardy with his new boss, her father. Where he comes from, marrying outside of your class is not done. And besides, as far as he knows,  Mathilde is going to marry Josh. So even though he has a burning desire for her, she is off-limits. Or so he thinks.

A little about the tension therein

Is there anything worse than wanting a lover you can’t have for whatever reason?

Photo by Happyhippysnacks

Photo by Happyhippysnacks

This kind of plot is not unique—feeling love and attraction for someone that society deems unacceptable. This convention exists is many, many romances. What makes each story unique is the setting and circumstances along with the characters, complete with their own foibles and quirks. And of course, the narrative the author places over that “structure.”

This scenario is even popular in contemporary romances. Think about  the colleagues who should not have an affair, or the boss and employee, and yes there’s definitely still “class” lines drawn in the sand, especially in other cultures. And let’s not forget the multicultural taboos. But all of those lines are more sharply dawn in historicals. And I wonder if that’s one of our fascinations with them. We also love history coming alive, imagining ourselves back then, how would we have reacted? What would we wear? What station of life would we be in? Would we be one of those who went against convention or would we have the courage to walk our own paths?

I think that good historical romance writers are some of the best writers. Think about it. Not only must they be accurate in the historical manner, but they also must bring some kind of modern sensibility to their storytelling or today’s reader could not relate. Achieving that balance in an artistic, yet readable  fashion is not easily done.

What do you think about historicals? Are they dying? In the mean time, I’ve started a pinterest board about Tempting Will. Enjoy!

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