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Heroines of Destiny!

23 Mar

You could go to college and get married — or you could be a brown fairy with wings instead! Choices, choices, choices.

by Madeline Iva

Go to college, have a career, get married, have children.  Is this the modern woman’s destiny? What if you don’t tick one of those boxes? I’m moderating a panel called HEROINES OF DESTINY on Saturday, 10AM at Virginia Festival of the Book, so I’ve been questioning the concept of destiny lately, especially for women who swim against the strong current of societal expectations.

The ancient Greeks thought of destiny as inescapable–your fate would find you no matter what.  Struggle as hard as you could against your destiny, the outcome would still be the same.  Cassandra is the ultimate heroine of destiny — Her inescapable fate was signed the moment she rejected Apollo’s advances, and that was that.  He cursed her with the gift of prophesy; no matter how often or how much she warned people of their fate, she was never believed. Yet she kept trying to over and over to change the outcome, only to watch events play out the way she foretold–even her own death.

Moving forward a thousand years or so, our panelists (including Pintip Dunn, NYTimes bestselling YA author) will discuss how their book’s heroines are fighting a certain destiny — whether it’s to marry and have children, to accept the loss of a lover, or to remain locked up in prison for a crime that hasn’t been committed yet.

I love the idea of a heroine who changes the course of her life because she’s fallen in love.  I see these works as feminist because the women go against the grain of their lives according to society’s expectations yet it all works out in the end.  Here are some of my fav fantasy examples:

THE LITTLE MERMAID: having fins while your loved one has legs is a pretty big romantic obstacle to overcome.  The Little Mermaid was very bold and plucky when it came to pursuing the object of her love–right down to changing her fundamental physical being–even though she had to pay a very large price.  Let all those considering plastic surgery and other gendered forms of modern torture beware.

STARTDUST: Yvaine is a star, who’s destiny is to twinkle in the sky and watch the doings of men from afar.  Yet she decides to abandon her place, and come down to the world of men to explore their hearts, as well as experience their joys and suffering.  I have some serious issues with parts of this novel/movie, but I appreciate the idea of a great and powerful star forging a new destiny for herself–with the man she loves.

Yvaine is a star who rocketed to earth and met her one true love.

Another way to think of HEROINES OF DESTINY is to think of powerful women who shape the lives and change the future of those around them.

THE FORGOTTEN BEASTS OF ELD: Sybel is content with her own solitude and magical menagerie far from the world of men until fate brings her a baby and a flame haired hero.  Then she is drawn into the snarled paths of men’s destiny.  I love how McKillip shows Sybel, using her various powers to shape and thrust aside the male forces around her rather than become their pawn.  Sybel takes her time and sounds her own heart in her decisions about how to forge the future.  Though the world of men shakes and angers her, ultimately, she finds a way to shed their petty resentments, fear, and bitterness. She finds her way to true love by the end, yes, but more importantly she discovers the path back to the calm stillness of her heart that makes her serene and content.

Sooooo good!

And finally — by far and away my favorite:

MALEFICENT: A fairy creature (Maleficent) and a boy become friends–the first way in which Maleficent goes in a different direction from the other creatures in fairy land.  At one point Maleficent (now grown) is betrayed and loses her wings–a kind of symbolic fairy tale rape.  What happens after that is partly shaped by Maleficent’s determination to avenge herself, and partly shaped by her wounded heart.  The movie offers an unexpected twist at one point — wherein Maleficent, now the wise protector and leader of her land in times of crisi, can shed her identity as victim once and for all.  I LOVED THIS FILM SO HARD.  It really made me want to cheer.  Though it is not in a typical m/f  love story or romance, it provides that same kind of deep joy and overcoming of obstacles that make us romance peeps so very happy.

In my novel WICKED APPRENTICE, Zephyr averts disaster for the people and the land all around her once she becomes a powerful sorceress.  Meanwhile, her desires and magic work upon the hero until he goes from being a tortured, reclusive wizard into a magnificent hero who is the only one that can end a decades long war. She is most definitely a Heroine of Destiny — and if you haven’t read the book yet you should– it’s only .99!

Are you the heroine of your own destiny? What great heroines do you love –and how do they shape the the lives of those around them?

And follow us at Lady Smut–we’re fated to be together.

Madeline Iva writes fantasy and paranormal romance.  Her fantasy romance, WICKED APPRENTICE, featuring a magic geek heroine, is available on AmazonBarnes & NobleKobo, and through iTunes.  Sign up for Madeline Iva news & give aways.

The Enduring Romance of Beauty and the Beast

20 Mar

by Kiersten Hallie Krum

I remember the first time I saw Beauty and the Beast in 1991. It was in the Berkeley Heights movie theater. Thursday nights were buy one, get one, but I went with my friends for a matinée. Funny, I can’t remember who I was with, but I distinctly remember that first moment when the curtain drew back (yes, it had a curtain across the screen) and the first image of the movie filled the frame.

I gasped. For real. I spent the first 90 seconds wavering back and forth between thinking it was real and believing it was a cartoon. The colors were so bright, the images so crisp, it was breathtaking, as in it literally took my breath away. Minutes later, the opening number “Belle” began and I was officially enraptured. The complexity of the song, the brilliance of the lyrics, the timing of the animation. This was revolutionary. It was pre-motion captured, when digital was only just becoming part of our vocabulary. There were no DVDs yet, CDs were only just becoming known, laser disks were still the premiere idea of home movies. The Little Mermaid had taken the world by storm barely a year earlier. But Beauty and the Beast was a wunderkind of animation never seen before. Its music was fresh and exciting. Its story took a well-known tale and infused it anew with adventure and romance.

And don’t even get me started on the ballroom scene.

A few days later, I took my sister to see it before I went back to college, and after she had to endure me going on and on about it. Within the first few minutes, she turned to me and whispered, “You were absolutely right.”

Last Friday, I saw the new live-action version of Beauty and the Beast, not another retelling of the story, but the same 1991 animated film remade with live people as opposed to cartoons. I’ve been anticipating this movie but at the same time, had little expectation as to what it might turn out to be. Like looking forward to seeing a favorite book brought to the screen, there was bound to be new interpretations to the story that would tick me off (I’m a purist, I confess), but as I was coming off a long convalescence from surgery, I went to a matinée solo simply to enjoy seeing an old friend given new life.

It was, in a word, perfect. Absolutely perfect.

Was it flawless? No. That’s an impossibility. But as Sleeping Beauty’s castle in the Disney logo was replaced by the Beast’s enchanted castle and the familiar words of the prologue filled the air now in a female’s voice, I knew this was going to be the rare film that met the demands of its source material. Perhaps even exceeded it.

I’m not going to go over the particulars of the new movie as it’s enough to say it’s a near perfect match to its animated doppelgänger. OK, scratch that idea. A few quick thoughts: the new movie does address a few loopholes the animated film skipped over that have plague fans for years–or maybe that’s just me. Things like, why does no one in the village see the honking huge palace in the forest? Why is it beautiful autumn in the village and winter around the castle? How come no one seems to remember there was ever a prince in residence nearby? How the hell does wee Belle manage to get huge Beast up on Philippe the horse after Beast collapses following the wolf attack? Answers are finally found. Also, where I often loathe new music added to an established libretto (Phantom of the Opera, I’m looking at you), the new songs added to this version of Beauty and the Beast fit in perfectly. Oh and Luke Evans nearly steals the show as pitch-perfect Gaston. Finally, visually, it is a masterpiece. I don’t even want to know how it was done, which part is motion capture and which part is actual people, or where the animation begins or which pieces are on a set and which are in a proper 18th-century palace. It’s a sumptuous feast on par with the magnitude of its counterpart for its time. You will not be disappointed.

But what struck me as I teared up over the ending (and yea, I did sniffle, and applaud while the credits rolled) was how this well-known and beloved story still had the power to move me. Women are weened on romantic fantasy and Disney has made a killing exploiting that deeply ingrained expectation. But archetype stories like Beauty and the Beast endure because they resonate with truth that is better than any fantasy.

In both films, the key is that Belle must fall in love with a “hideous” beast in order to break the curse. But the prince’s outward beast is merely the reflection of the inner asshole that was hiding beneath his human pretty face. As he learns not only to love, but to be lovable, the core good person who yet lives beneath both beastly versions comes back to life. This is another aspect this film has the time and means to address. Mrs. Potts informs Belle of how the prince was warped by his cruel father after his mother’s death when the prince was but a boy. Adding the somewhat rout psychological element adds layers to the prince’s repulsive behavior prior to his beastliness being made manifest, which also explains why the staff remains so loyal to one who appeared to be so horrible in both guises.

Beast also learns the sacrificial aspect to love, that truly loving someone means putting their needs first and that sometimes can cause great agony for the lover. In the new film, when Beast releases Belle to go to her father, he watches her flee through the maze, her gold dress a beacon, and sings the beautiful, new, heart-wrenching song “Evermore”.

Sidebar: Holy cats, can Dan Stevens sing. Strewth.

In “Evermore,” Beast sings about how Belle has changed his life and how he knows he’ll now be haunted by her for the rest of his days. But even as he despairs over this and the expectation that he’ll never see her again, especially since, in this film, there is a very real threat to his and the others existence, (outside of Gaston and the mob, that is), Beast knows he’s forever been changed by falling in love with her. Whatever the future brings him, he will not be the same person, man or beast, because of Belle.

Now I know she’ll never leave me
Even as she runs away
She will still torment me, calm me, hurt me
Move me, come what may

Now I know she’ll never leave me
Even as she fades from view
She will still inspire me, be a part of
Everything I do

Wasting in my lonely tower
Waiting by an open door
I’ll fool myself she’ll walk right in
And as the long, long nights begin
I’ll think of all that might have been
Waiting here for evermore!

– “Evermorefrom Beauty and the Beast 2017 ©Disney

Poor Beastie. Fortunately, we know he’s not meant to waste away in his lonely tower without his Belle, but still! Sob.

In this live-action version of the story, as Belle and her prince dance through the final moments, she makes a cheeky request of him that makes it clear she actually prefers or at least misses his hairier visage, a request that makes the prince laugh because he knows exactly what she’s saying. She doesn’t love him more or less for now being human; she loves him period. But having fallen in love with his beastly component, she’s not adverse to his human self sporting a sartorial reminder. (And I think, for those of us who may know, there was a sly sexual component to her request as well.)

But it’s not only the Beast/Prince who is loved for himself. Belle too doesn’t fit in her environment. She’s thought to be odd and out-of-place because she reads and longs for a life far beyond that of a provincial village. In the original film, when Belle has her Sound of Music moment running up the hill while she sings “I want adventure in the great wide somewhere, I want it more than I can tell. And for once it might be grand, to have someone understand. I want so much more than they’ve got planned…” my young heart swelled and I got chills. When Emma Watson did the same move and sang the same words in the live-action film, my battered, weary heart swelled and I got chills as I smiled and sang along.

So many of us were that girl, nose in a book, dreaming of more, maybe a prince or at least that one person who “got” us, who didn’t think we were weird because of who we are or what we like to do. Who wanted to be with us because of what others thought made us odd, not in spite of them. Who wanted us for us. Now, as women, some of us have been fortunate to have found that person. Some of us are still looking but remain hopeful. Meanwhile, we read and, in my case, write romances to keep that hope alive. Not because we’re entrenched in romantic fantasy, but because we know the truth that fantasy exploits: happily ever after isn’t just for fiction.

This is why Beauty and the Beast is such an enduring romance. And it’s why those of us who write romance continue to believe. Be it romantic suspense or epic fantasy or erotic romance or BDSM romance or Amish romance, whatever the genre or subgenre, whether we write about hot alpha heroes or handsome beta heroes or gorgeous women who’ve got it going on or ladies in search of their own kind of special who are the heroines of their own stories, at the core, we’re spinning relationships where the parties involved find the one who loves them for themselves, for who they are at the best and worst of times (thank you Victor Hugo), who love those moments when we’re all a unique beauty and more, when we show our inner beasts.

Women may be weened on romantic fantasy, but stories like Beauty and the Beast remind us that true love sees and loves all.

And that is no fantasy.

Writer, singer, editor, traveler, tequila drinker, and cat herder, Kiersten Hallie Krum avoids pen names since keeping her multiple personalities straight is hard enough work. She writes smart, sharp, and sexy romantic suspense. Her debut romantic suspense novel, WILD ON THE ROCKS, is now available. Visit her website at www.kierstenkrum.com and find her regularly over sharing on various social media via @kierstenkrum.

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I Was Enjoying DARK MATTER ‘Til They ****ing Killed My Favorite Character

23 Feb

by Madeline Iva

***Yeah, this post is chock full of spoilers.  You’ve been warned.*** Dark Matter is a successful comic book made into a Canadian television show that you can binge watch on Netflix–which is what I did.  The gloomy ship, the tough characters and the cloudy mystery about their identity sucked me right in until I was devouring episodes left and right.

One. He's the good guy on a ship of tough criminals. So how did he wind up with them?

One. He’s the good guy on a ship of tough criminals. So how did he wind up with them?

WHY I LOOOOOOOOVED DARK MATTER SO MUCH:

The premise is pretty brilliant.  Six people wake up in sleep pods on a dark ship in space.  Their memories have been wiped.  In addition to that, the android that sort of runs the ship wakes up and starts attacking them, so they knock her out and end up injuring her.  To get her back up requires a memory wipe, so she too doesn’t know what happened to them all.  It’s science-fiction, but it’s also mystery.  Who are they? Who did this to them? Why? 

darkmattertwo

Two. She’s hot.

They give themselves numbers and I knew that they’d eventually run into their pasts and get names, but it made me extraordinarily satisfied that they call each other by numbers.  It becomes an alternative identity.  Later on Three learns his name is Marcus–but if the others still call him Three, it’s like they’re disavowing his messed up Marcus past and saying that he can go back to being their three–i.e. annoying, but not a completely heartless dick.

I like One best.  He is a good looking guy–but I mean, they’re all good looking, so really, it isn’t only that. However, in a ship full of tough people, he’s the good guy.  Which is a little scary, because the rest (Five excepted) so obviously are not. I usually don’t like the super good guys.  I like the maybe-villains.  But One is played by a very talented actor, who via subtle expressions and delivery squeezes a three-dimensional performance out of a two dimensional character.

Three is all walking id, questioning every decision that isn’t based on pure selfishness–so of course, he is fun to watch and a bit of a wild card. Later on, we see Three has a real soft spot for women. At one point we think Two has been executed and Three’s face is really something to see in that moment.  Three, also, is one of the best actors on the show–at certain moments.

THREE

THREE. Also the show’s id character. Also kinda hot. Sometimes. Also a good actor.

Two is the toughest character in the beginning.  Played by an asian female with some extraordinary thighs, she takes command of the ship with her bad-ass attitude.  One is quickly drawn to her, but when she wants to scratch her bootie itch and have a little meaningless sex, it’s Three she calls upon, not One. Which makes One smart.  So there are tensions between One and Two because: love triangle!  Not to mention that One and Three are diametrically opposed in terms of morality.

Yet pretty soon, it turns out that One discovers he’s got a BIG secret to keep and Three is right there when this secret is revealed to One.  So the two are connected in that way for a while and it’s massively uncomfortable for One. Which is great! (Although I hope you can follow what I’m saying, because it’s starting to sound like weird SFF algebra.)

Probably the most handsome guy on the show. But....meh.

Four is probably the most handsome guy on the show. But….meh. He adds the most in ensemble moments.

The show delivers Big Secrets every so often and they are mostly yummy.  The show is at it’s best when it returns to its gloomy mystery origins: you just don’t know who you can trust.  Goodie!

It’s often young Five who circles us around to these gripping plot reversals. I think I liked her at first simply because I associated her with these moments. But I also delight in Five being a Young Adult character–a main character and a girl–in a sci-fi television show.  I’m trying to think of another major adult SFF show where that’s the case, and I can’t.

Five aka "The Kid."

Five aka “The Kid.”

I enjoyed watching the Android–though you and I know her as Lauren  from LOST GIRL.  She gets dinged up from the git go and starts to go “off program”. For instance, she starts seeking approval from the humans.  The “right” thing to do would be to wipe her system and reboot–a kind of android seppuku. At one point there’s the potential to “upgrade her system” to make her feel and seem more like a human and a ‘rouge android’ element is introduced.  The program upgrade makes the Android seem like a whole other character.  The actress performs this well, but…ugh! (more later below).

So there was something here for everyone–I thought a lot of the ideas in the show were fabulous.

WHAT WENT WRONG…

I’m not saying this show was perfect.  One problem I had with five is that she’s so obviously an older actress playing a younger character.  She and Two are equally short, and she has far larger breasts, so buying that she was a teen was a challenge (She’s was twenty-two when they filmed).  I had to keep squinting to suspend disbelief about her.  I mean, it’s not just that they all decide she’s a young teen when she looks anywhere from sixteen to twenty-three, it’s that they keep saying things like: “She’s just a KID!” like she’s only twelve or something…But that’s not saying anything against the actress, who is quite good. Another thing is that she keeps having new clothes to wear when a) she was a stowaway, presumably on the ship without luggage, and b) everyone else on the show seems to be in the same-o, same-old clothes.

Android fail. Every few episodes she's getting zapped and it's lights out.

Android fail. Every few episodes she’s getting zapped and it’s lights out.

I had problems with the android ‘upgrade program’, although it was more like an epiphany. The plot of this particular episode struck my robot-romance fixated nerve.  It made me realize that the ‘upgrade’ shortcut would never work for a successful robot/human romance.  What do we love about idea of a cyborg/AI/robot/android romance if it’s not that the android represents the most difficult challenge of all? Huge boundaries (impossible boundaries some would say) exist in terms of getting a cold and emotionless being to develop attraction, love, and passion. That’s a HUGE obstacle. A quick upgrade to the system???? That’s just cheating. )

I delighted in watching Six waiting in a doctor’s office for a very long time where they continuously ran ads about adventuring off world via clone proxies.  Your body and mind are scanned in a pod, and your look-a-like clone wakes up on some other world.  Your clone enjoys your vacay and then all the memories from your clone are downloaded back into your memory while you’re in the pod.  You wake up and come out of the scanner remembering the events and sensations of your vacation.  Meanwhile, the cyborg that looks like you and is walking around as you, is taken somewhere, has a memory wipe and is put into a vat for recycling…

Six

Six. Nobody trusts nobody–not even the android.

I thought the show was creating an ironic situation in which Six was ignoring a bit of information crucial (and funny) in terms of unravelling the core mystery.   My hope was that someone had wanted a bad guy dream team to go do bad deeds across the universe.  So they made clones of the original criminals and when those deeds were done, wiped the clone memories–but for some reason the clones weren’t put in the vat.  Instead they ended up in the sleep pods on the ship — To me this TOTALLY explained the mystery of how they wound up on the ship together and why they had no memories…

Six wakes up as a clone from the pod...

Six wakes up as a clone from the pod…

Alas, that was not the actual solution to the mystery.  This was the writer in me, weaving together my own plot soup based on ingredients provided by the show.

My sweetie hated the clone device.  He hated it because real clones (one day) are/will be real people. This show perpetuates the idea of clones as objects to purchase and discard.  The clone thing is used as a plot device later on in other ways, but the clones when badly hurt tend to simply disintegrate a la Buffy stabbing the vampires and making them go poof. Why would a clone do that, he asked? It’s stupid. A clone–because it’s an actual human body–would go splat, not poof. It would not disintegrate into a cloud of clumpy dust.

Yeah, so that was kind of a regrettable choice.  Meanwhile, I loved my idea of the crew being memory-wiped clones.  The show has them on the ship starting from square one in a state of distrust, but circumstances make them pull together.  We know they were probably very bad in their former lives, but rallied by the influence of Five, aka ‘The Kid’, they have a chance to become new, better people. (Insert here your own philosophical discussion with a friend over the role of memory in personhood and if one can change merely by starting over. This is the good kind of sci-fi.)  As they slowly pull together to become a unit they build loyalty to each other and we know that many of the forms their enemy will take are elements of their past coming to haunt them. Everyone knows karma is a bitch–but it’s very enjoyable to watch.

One finds out that there is indeed a very bad guy out there with One’s face. (See! One is a clone!) Unfortunately, however, for my pet theory, the bad guy Derek Moss says something like “I’d think you were a clone, but someone would have had to scan my body to do that, and no one did.”

Booooooooo!

dark-matter-season-2-coverHowever, I was still delighted that One had this evil Doppleganger out in the world that could cause him no end of trouble.

But here’s the big problem.  They f**king killed One.  Whyyyyyyy? It seemed gratuitous and unnecessary given that they never really followed the conspiracy plot path the killing seemed based upon.  You eventually find out where the crew’s memories are stored and I knew that Evil One aka Derek Moss was still out there.  So my FTL plotting muscles realized ‘the gang’ was going to kidnap Evil Derek and stick One’s memories into him.  But that didn’t happen either. 😦

But! When Derek reappeared, I was like: Yay! Evil Derek is better than no One at all.  Alas, in that very episode the show killed off Evil Derek.

Oh people.  I was so disgruntled.  One was the glue that kept my interest in the show at super-high levels. Yeah, I liked all these ideas about the others and sometimes their interactions were okaaaaaay, but for me, One was the secret sauce.  Yes, the whole prison break thing was good. Yes, finding out Two’s backstory was pretty cool.

Frankly, since One/Derek’s death, I’ve only made it through about four more episodes while mostly folding laundry and checking email.  I just don’t care anymore–Maybe other audience members, more familiar with the comic books than I am, are looking forward to what’s around the corner.  Maybe they know stuff that I don’t.  Apparently DARK MATTER  has a very loyal following.  But I, good people, am done.

If you know the Dark Matter comics, tell me — is there reason to hope? Should I give the show another chance?

Have you ever suffered torment from the character you were rooting for being killed off? (I’m looking at you SLEEPY HOLLOW fans.) Did you slog onward or just give up?  I’ve resorted to writing DARK MATTER fan fic as a way of detoxing.  Sigh.  It’s premised on my rogue clone idea…Maybe it’ll become its own thing one day.

Follow us at Lady Smut where we make the darkness matter.  And subscribe to our newsletter if you want fabulous free reads. ; >

Meanwhile, here’s something to pluck up your spirits — we ran a giveaway from Lux Aromatica last week, and to say thank you to our readers Lux made a coupon just for you.  2017-02-ladysmut-flash-sale

Madeline Iva writes fantasy and paranormal romance.  Her fantasy romance, WICKED APPRENTICE, featuring a magic geek heroine, is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and through iTunes.  Sign up for Madeline Iva news & give aways.wickedapprenticefinal-fjm_low_res_500x750

Transgender Romance, Anyone?

8 Dec
Andreja Pejic--a globally successful trans model.

Andreja Pejic–a globally successful trans model.

by Madeline Iva

In a wonderfully reassuring moment on Facebook — yes, I *know* how strange that sounds — I was in the middle of a discussion about transgender romances.  They’re out there.  And if you’re looking for something new when it comes to contemporary romance–something a little m/m but not–transgender romance might just be the ticket.

How do you come out to your folks that you're trans? "Mom, Dad, there's this really funny TV show I'd like you both to watch," could be your conversation starter.

How do you come out to your folks that you’re trans? “Mom, Dad, there’s this really funny TV show I’d like you both to watch,” could be your conversation starter.

Meanwhile, I would consider the last year to be “Year of the Trans”.  From Laverne Cox to Transparent, to using bathrooms, we’ve had more exposure and acceptance of this tiny group of individuals than ever before.url

With that increase in recognition and acceptance, of course the romance community has swelled to include romances starring trans hero/heroines.  HERE’S A GOODREADS LINK TO SOME TRANS ROMANCES you can scroll through. The descriptions at first may not SOUND like the romances are typical m/f.  But read closely and follow the reviews–you’ll see they are a bit more wiggly and complicated–breathing fresh life into familiar romance tropes.

Trans models are rocking the fashion world--which seems totally open to anyone and everyone--as long as they're skinny. It's a twisted kind of radical acceptance.

Trans models are rocking the fashion world–which seems totally open to anyone and everyone–as long as they’re skinny. It’s a twisted kind of radical acceptance, I guess.

For my part, I’ve become fascinated with trans model Andreja Pejic and this interview with Madeira Darling got me all revved up imagining a trans-sexual hijinks vampire plot that my obsessive brain will not leave alone.

Also, G.G. Andrews has started this whole #ReadHotter challenge at Lady Smut.  Trans romance really fits the bill for stretching my reading boundaries–how about you?  ; >

Carry on my wayward kittens! And if you’re bored and looking for sparkly-bright distractions, follow us at Lady Smut where we purr and snarl over all things fascinating in the world.

wickedapprenticefinal-fjm_high_res_1800x2700Madeline Iva writes fantasy and paranormal romance.  Her fantasy romance, WICKED APPRENTICE, featuring a magic geek heroine, is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and through iTunes.  Sign up for Madeline Iva news & give aways.

A Wicked Little Excerpt: Our Simply Sinful Giveaway Event Continues

25 Nov

by Madeline Iva

Like booze, books, and bath bombs? Then you’re in luck!  This weekend is our Lady Smut Simply Sinful Black Friday Event. Here’s an excerpt for your reading pleasure. (Don’t forget to comment on this or any other post from today to be entered in our giveaway. See details below.)

This snippet is from Wicked Apprentice. (Book one in the Wicked Magic Series).

BLURB: Zephyr, apprentice of magical arts, is having a really bad day. Under orders to capture an uncanny creature for her mistress’s latest spell, she chains up a tall, gorgeous elf in a decaying castle only to find out he’s really a wizard with potent powers over human women. Uh-oh.

Theo has suffered heartbreak and betrayal more than once. He’s got a plan to escape, and when he does, he’s taking the curvy little apprentice with him. He’s vowed never to unleash his powers of enchantment upon a human woman—yet while she kisses and teases him, longing for an elf romance, his fae side is slipping out of control.

Got sexy elves?

Got sexy elves?

~~~~~Excerpt~~~~~

He whispered. “Will you help me?”

“Yes,” she whispered back. There. She had said it. She had committed herself. The walls of her loyalty to Hulgetta toppled. All that was left was a healthy fear of her mistress and a strong sense of self-preservation. But she was obsessed with the elf man before her.  It didn’t feel right. To promise him anything.  To be two-faced with her mistress. In some measure she felt she owed the sorceress. The woman had taught her magic, given her room and board. It was a debt.

A thought suddenly occurred to her.  What if to get the elf-man free from that manacle she had to cut off his hand? Her stomach turned over and her fingers turned to ice. She pressed them into his.

His eyes changed. He looked down into her face and down at her mouth. Those eyes were black. She could see her own face in them. Oh, what was this? A thick syrup of languorousness poured over her head. Her skin and lips wanted to whisper to him.  Her mind was strangely hushed.

“The book. Bring it to me.” His voice held a compelling tone.

“Yes.”

His eyes. They could suck in galaxies. Under their gaze all her worry leached away, like a puddle dried up in the sun. At the same time her loins were licked by that mouth and the steady hammer of his gaze bent towards hers.

Like dark, slow treacle dumped upon her head, a sense of bonding with him enfolded her. Thick and full, it poured down her throat, trickled across her breasts, and down the center of her core. She stood under his gaze, but really she was swallowed whole in it.

He bent to kiss her, their mouths opening slowly, eyes closing, his chain clanking as she yielded softly and fully to him. He pulled her up by her bodice, his hands high around her waist, one hand coming round to pull her hair aside, letting his lips rove across her neck. She felt an involuntary clenching deep down and pulled his hands lower, towards her hips.

He pulled her up against him. She was falling into a thick featherbed of need. His long fingers held her face upwards, as she basked in his touch. Yet there was a touch of despair in his desire. She drank it in, ready to defy it, her soul suddenly brave. She’d die saving him if that’s what it took.

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His head hanging above her own, he watched her clear eyes grow heavy. He watched as her irises shot wide, becoming vulnerable, her expression filling with a delicious resignation. He held her arms, letting one slender inch between his body and hers.

“Bring the book to me. You’ll return it quickly. Hulgetta will never know,” he said, the gold cuff rattling against the bar, holding it to the wall.

“She’ll know if you escape.” She spoke like a woman asleep, like someone resigned to her fate.

He let her go. In theory, her will was not entirely her own. He had never deliberately tried to enthrall anyone before. Was it working? He had no idea.

Among his mother’s people he’d be put to death for even trying. The mindless instinct to survive had acted before he could stop it. Now it was done.

She was staring at his naked chest, and the elf in him wanted it that way. Crave me. He relished the challenge she presented. She was under his thrall. He loved the feel of their agony mixing with desire. He wanted to feel his powers wrapped about around her, protecting her. He wanted her to struggle, try to resist, and discover all her will to resist was gone.

Stop. He forced himself to look away. He held onto her shoulders and, with a hard inner twist on himself, gave up the thrall. His eyes ceased to throb. He was back, the world hollow and dim, a pale shadow of what he felt in his elfin state.

“If she discovers I’ve taken a book from her lair—”

“She won’t. You’re too clever.” His eyes dragged across hers. He felt the slender skein of magical connection. “You’ll be careful.” She left the cell.

He fought the urge to call her back. He was the one she should fear the most. He was cursed, unlucky—a betrayer with dark secrets she couldn’t even guess. Then she was gone.

He let his vision darken, felt the fae-half pulsing inside and this time he did not fight it.

He stalked back and forth the short three paces his leash allowed. Every bit of the elf inside him wanted to fight. If it could not fight Hulgetta, then his fae side wanted to take that pretty little maid apart inch by inch until she died from the tormented pleasure he’d give her.

Want to read more? Find Wicked Apprentice at major, online retailers for just 99 cents. Includes one hot elf, one magic geek heroine, and a lot of sexy magical mayhem.

Madeline Iva writes fantasy and paranormal romance.  Her fantasy romance, WICKED APPRENTICE, featuring a magic geek heroine, is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and through iTunes.  Sign up for Madeline Iva news & give aways.

 
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Here’s how you win the giveaway: Leave a comment below–or on any post published today, November 25 and you’re entered for the Simply Sinful basket of book goodness.

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Giveaway closes at midnight (Eastern), November 25, 2016.

Next up in the LadySmut Simply Sinful Reader Event is Alexa Day at 3 p.m.

 

I’ve Got a Plan & It’s Just Not That Complicated

17 Nov

by Madeline Iva

Sometimes you need to retreat, huddle up, hunker down, and regroup.  For introverts like me, this is actually our natural state of being.  The thing is–you gotta have a plan.

I love the part in BOURNE LEGACY, where Jeremy Renner (yum!) needs some information from Rachel Weisz who is sputtering over her suddenly-everyone-wants-to-kill-me reality.  Jeremy Renner cuts through her confusion and says, “Now I’ve got a plan, and it’s just not that complicated.  What I’m going to do is wait for the next person to come and kill you.  Maybe they can help me.”  Well, I’ve got a plan, Lady Smut readers, and it’s just not that complicated.

  1. There’s a romance plot spinning in my brain.
  2. I’m going to binge write all weekend long and get as much of it out of my head and splatted onto the page as I can.

That’s the good kind of binge, of course.

westworld

I’m going to try HBO NOW to watch Westworld. This is their new streaming subscription. (Like Netflix only all HBO.) First month is free…

Then there are the other kinds of binging.  Hey, let’s face it, I’m a binge-y kind of woman.  If a little is good, a lot is better.  My favorite types of binges: TV, movies, food, and romance novels.  But first, I will be productive.  I will lay down five thousand words a day (eek!)  and only then will I reach out to find other forms of comfort.

TV Series to Binge:

  • Westworld
  • The Crown
  • Luke Cage

    Dr. Who? Who knew Matt Smith could play the perfect consort?

    Dr. Who? Who knew Matt Smith could play the perfect consort?

At the movie theatre:

  • DR. STRANGE
  • ARRIVAL
  • FANTASTIC BEASTS
  • MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN

    Hey look--it's Jeremy Renner again!

    Hey look–it’s Jeremy Renner again!

Meanwhile, Thanksgiving is next week.  We’re making two pies: cherry and sour-cream apple pie. Well, it’s vegan sour cream apple pie, but it’s still completely awesome.

Along with the usual suspects: garlic green beans with toasted almonds, mashed potatoes, and homemade stuffing, (though my grandmother always called it ‘dressing’) we’re in the midst of deciding what the main dish will be.  You might think as vegans we’d be terribly limited for options.  Not so, my friends.  Here are the candidates:

  • chickpea crepes with cauliflower & shiitake mushroom filling
  • panko crusted sweet potato cakes with mushroom ragout
  • black bean & acorn squash empanadas
  • pumpkin gnocchi
  • three-sisters savory pie–with corn, beans, and pumpkin
Add yummy mushroom sauce and devour! I have it out for T-day dinners that are only shades of tan. Get some color on that plate, people!

Add yummy mushroom sauce and devour! I have a grudge against T-day feasts that are only shades of tan. Get some color on that plate, people!

Finally, I’ve been reading Patrick Rothfuss’s NAME OF THE WIND, (so good!) but I’m almost done.  There’s a whole world of  fantasy goodness by new authors on my kindle just waiting for me to dive on in and check them out.

I ***LOVE*** this cover!

I ***LOVE*** this cover!

And an advanced copy of Cara McKenna’s BRUTAL GAME is in there as well — Think of it as a kind of sexy, contemporary palate cleanser for all the fantasy.

Click to buy

Click to buy–.99 cents!

So that’s the plan.  This afternoon, I’m piling on the sweaters and slippers over the pj’s and sinking into the primordial stew of my creative subconscious.

When I emerge after the holiday, the anxious stew in my brain will be quiet.  I will be ready to be fed–both literally and metaphorically.  At that point, I think I’ll be fit to rejoin the world again.

See you on the other side.

–Madeline

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wicked Winter Wonderland: Kristen Ashley’s MIDNIGHT SOUL

2 Nov
midnightsoul

Click to buy! 🙂

by Madeline Iva

Kristen Ashley’s Fantasyland series has come to an end. Since I prefer my heroines with a little streak of edgy kick-ass, I was beyond thrilled see that Franka Drakkar, b*tch-cousin of leader Frey, is the heroine of MIDNIGHT SOUL, the fifth book in the series.

In the first book, Frey gets together with Finnie.  I seriously loved this book.  It inspired me. It’s set in a winter wonderland, and Frey is this hot, alpha, warrior dude–see Jason Momoa.  While the heroine, Finnie, is as cute as a basket full of kittens.  From the git go, Franka was pretty much the wicked villainess of the piece. Someone you loved to hate.

Yes Franka is back! She may be on everyone’s sh** list, but she helped to save their asses and save their world–so there. However, she lost her lover in the fight. He is gone, but he’s definitely not forgotten by Franka.

And who do we love more than a character we-love-to-hate? That same character crushed by love of course! Franka’s big, sad, wary eyes attract the notice of Noc–the latest in the Kristen Ashley collection of tall, dark, Alpha heroes.

Someone suggested David Gandy in the role of Noc–why thank you, don’t mind if I do!

Um. *Yeah.*

Um. *Yeah.*

[If you haven’t read the series–the premise is awesome! There is a parallel world to ours, and we all have a twin in this other world.  Sometimes individuals from our world trade places with the twin of that world.  Also, sometimes the doppleganger is kinda evil. Cue the sound of thunder and horses screaming.]

That Kristen Ashley picked a bad girl for her latest heroine had me all like:

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Okay, but first I have to say it’s REALLY unusual for a Kristen Ashley heroine to be kinda wicked. The Rock Chick girls definitely have some serious mojo, but every Ashley heroine is like a really good chocolate Easter bunny.  Never bitter and never hollow.

Some readers might saying, “But you’ve seen things Franka’s done. How are we supposed to like her? How? How? How?” Good question. How do you make people like a wicked character?

A) You have a character we like fall in love with her.  Enter Noc, stage right.

B) You torture your bad girl character.  That’s how.

And indeed as we open our story, everyone is hating on Franka and she’s giving back as good as she gets, until she’s offered a mountain of wealth as payment for helping, you know, save the world.

The caveat is that after she takes the loot, she’s supposed to scram.  They want her gone, outta town, and like right now.  There’s a moment where Noc thinks she’s won’t take all the furs, jewels, diamonds, and gold coin. He even tells ‘the gang’ she won’t take it.  After all, Franka helped to save the world and sacrificed her lover in doing so.  Surely she has strictly honorable intentions just like the rest of them and will turn it down?

Ha! She’s gonna take the loot.  But Noc’s reaction really gets to her.  Why at this point in her life, is anyone trying to think she’s a nice woman? She’s been fighting and clawing away for survival since she was tiny, which makes it very difficult for her to face two sets of eyes–the condemnation in everyone else’s eyes and the hope in his. Ashley lets us inside her heroine’s head and we find out that people really know nothing about her.  She has her own  hidden agenda.

While it’s a common trope in romance for the heroine to like a bad man we don’t see the reverse played out as often as I’d like.  The men are not really bad, you know, they’re just misunderstood.  Mmmhmmm.

Kristen Ashley has flipped the trope and flipped it good.  I like the bad woman who is withdrawn and guarded with her emotions.  It reminds me of my horrible youth and how hard it was to let anyone get beyond my blazing torch of bitchy to the soft creamy center of my core goody-two-shoes inside.

I like the guy who is interested in peeling back her exterior and who’s gut is saying People, you don’t get it.  You don’t really see her.  Only *I* really see her.

I appreciate that for Franka, who’s had her motives twisted and judged for as long as she can remember, it’s a very powerful thing to have someone see you in a nice way.  It hurts–probably more than being hated.

Which is not to say it’s fun being despised.  I highly related to Franka when she experiences the wretched moment where she just knows everyone–every single person wants her gone and gone now.

Franka's like a kitty with it's head under the faucet. Yeah, you get a drink, but sheesh people.

Not fun, not fun at all.

And when thanks to events, people finally do begin to understand her and are like Ooooh, poor Franka, it doesn’t matter to her.  She’s still just as badass as she ever was.  High five, Kristen Ashley.

When Franka faces down her personal enemy and even though everyone (probably feeling really guilty) rushes in to help and support her, she’s like – people, I got this. Her hurts may be exposed, but she is still powerful. She’s not gonna turn into a runny pile of soggy because at last people understand.

SO GOOD IT HURTS.  Other complications ensue.  Because this is a Kristen Ashley story there’s tons more of the book—I won’t spoil it for you. Not only does Ashley flip things around for once by having the girl be from Lunwyn and the hero from our world, but Franka also comes to our world instead of the reverse.

About one third of my joy in the first book of the series is being in the snowy, snowy Lunwyn–b97ef46859e8ae50ea15cd63ce4c5aac

with winter palaces, sleds, warm wraps, luxurious clothes, crackling fires, and a general overall sumptuousness.

In this book we do the opposite. We get a vice-cop, pizza, tacos & reality TV. (Can we go back to Lunwyn now?)

It’s a great encore to a great series.  In letting her wicked aristo Franka and even poor Circe have a happy ending, Kristen Ashley is showing her own relentless need for an HEA. Cause Everybody deserves a happy ending! I was so overjoyed that finally even poor put-upon Circe finds Dax–who is a hunka hunka burning love.

I’ll leave you with that.

If you love Kristen Ashley the way we love Kristen Ashley but by some twist of fate you didn’t get this book, then my friends, you are in luck.

Oh look! ****A Giveaway****

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All you have to do is like my fb page.  But wait!!! What if you haven’t read WILDEST DREAMS–the first book in the series? Not to worry, my friend.  I’ll toss it in with the other two books and you can settle in for some fun times.

You can also follow us at Lady Smut where we do our very best to explore the side of you that wants to be bad.

Madeline Iva writes fantasy and paranormal romance.  Her fantasy romance, WICKED APPRENTICE, featuring a magic geek heroine, is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and through iTunes.  Sign up for Madeline Iva news & give aways.  

How to be Wicked: A Lesson in Three Parts

1 Nov
Anyone want to guess what Lesson One is?

Anyone want to guess what Lesson One is?

The Wicked Theme Week continues as we celebrate release day for Madeline Iva’s Wicked Apprentice! Did you already preorder yours? Is it time for you to order right now, before you read another word? Go handle your business.

By Alexa Day

I often feel like the representative for the wicked lifestyle in my circle of friends and colleagues. It’s a great job, but it’s not without its challenges.

I do think people want to be wicked. They’re a little timid about it, which is kind of cute. I think they wish they could engage in recreational wickedness with a close circle of carefully chosen associates, all the while avoiding guilt and other unpleasant side effects.

But I don’t think people know how to ask about becoming wicked. Instead, they’re over on the sidelines, watching all the wonderful, wicked fun.

Well, I’m here to serve you. Let’s begin with a word about what wickedness is.

Wickedness is fun. It’s flirty. It’s mischievous. It’s kind of edgy. Unpredictable. It’s sexy, but sex itself is not required. I think of it as a hard-core whimsy.

Doesn’t that sound lovely? Let’s go there together with a hypothetical.

Let’s say that I’m enjoying this prelude to the holidays with a bottle of wine and two very good friends, Mark and Jason. You’d recognize Mark and Jason if you saw them. I mentioned them briefly in an old post.

So the three of us, Mark, Jason and I, are coming to the end of a bottle of wine, and Mark says he has a new car. Nice, luxuriant Jaguar F Coupe. It’s black, he says, and it has a surprisingly large trunk. Large enough that a person with an abduction fantasy could be swept away in it and driven to an alternate location for fun and games.

How does that sound?

Well, here’s how the wicked would approach such an invitation.

1. Stop caring about what Other People think. This is hard. A lot of people have spent a lifetime caring about Other People’s thoughts, and to some extent, participation in society demands that. This summer, I had a devil of a time evaluating my performance on a job interview because I’d gotten so used to not caring about Other People’s thoughts and feelings. I’m not asking you to abandon Other People altogether. I’m asking you to put them into perspective.

We can safely presume that Other People are going to get all pinched up about you volunteering to be manhandled into the trunk of the Jaguar, even it is by two hot, sexy male friends who know that’s what you want. It isn’t Other People’s business, to be sure. But here they are anyway. Are you sure that’s safe? Are you sure it’s what you want? Is it sending the Right Message?

If that doesn’t seem to be working, they will invoke still more Other People. I will never forget that on my last trip to Vegas, a friend of mine vetoed a return trip to see the Chippendales because “Certain People might think one is obsessed.” Unless Certain People can offer me some reason that a real lifeform is being harmed by my watching the Chippendales as often as I want, I don’t have half a f*ck to spare for their opinions. I don’t. I have so few f*cks to give. I can’t offer them to strangers at this point in my life.

Here’s the bottom line. If you want to be wicked, begin by distancing yourself from Other People who are not affected in any way by your wicked behavior. Let them get pinched up. Not your problem.

The only question that matters is this one: Is that what I want?

2. Cultivate the Right Relationships. It’s possible to be wicked by yourself, but it isn’t easy, and it’s not nearly as much fun. You’ll want to be with someone who will appreciate, facilitate, and expand your wickedness. How do you find those people, while avoiding Other People?

It’s not hard, once you stop caring so much about Other People. You can throw something like robot sex or abduction fantasy out into casual conversation if you don’t care about the objections of Other People. Try this icebreaker:

Hey, you know, Alexa is down with being manhandled into the back of a car for sexy fun and games.

Go ahead and use my name. I don’t mind.

Other People will respond with shock and resistance. No problem. Just let that go. That’s the price of wickedness.

There are some more people who think that means you want to get into their trunk right the hell now. Let those people go, too. First of all, they need to remember that you are talking about you and not offering to fulfill a fantasy for them. More importantly, it takes time to determine if you’re with people who will support your wickedness, and it takes confidence, too. The person who wants to go right to the car is afraid he’s going to lose his chance — and fear isn’t wicked at all.

Somewhere in the middle is the person who can have a long, intelligent conversation about the abduction fantasy, without judging anyone or putting pressure on you. Wicked people find the idea as interesting as they find you. By the time those people lead you into the trunk, it’ll feel like the best idea in the world.

Quick word to the wicked: If you are the wickedest person in the room, you just might be in the wrong room. Think it over.

3. Keep an open mind. An open mind separates the genuinely wicked from the poseurs. I hate to admit it, but it’s become necessary to test the wicked wannabe. We need to know if you’re Other People in disguise. We need to know if you’re really up for anything, within reasonable limits. Are you actually wicked, or are you just curious?

More importantly, though, your open mind grants you access to new dimensions of wickedness. That kind of growth is what makes life worthwhile.

Let’s go back to Mark and Jason and the bottle of wine. We’ve agreed to the Jaguar joyride, and now we’re moving to next steps.

What would I say to a little rope bondage? I say yes.

Wax play? I say yes.

A spirited game of I Never? I say yes. Don’t laugh. Have you ever played I Never while tied to a chair? Ever played with another person who was tied to the chair? Okay, then.

From time to time, we all have to say no. That’s just how the world works. Everyone’s got a hard limit somewhere, and I don’t care how often it shows up in books, I’m not down with someone pushing me beyond my hard limits because they know better. Hell, even the softer limits warrant the occasional no. Wicked people respect no; that’s what differentiates wickedness from evil.

But if you’re only saying no because of the perceptions of Other People, it might be time to try a little wickedness on for size.

There’s a wonderful, wicked world in Madeline Iva’s Wicked Apprentice! Of course you’re curious. Check this out.

wickedapprenticefinal-fjm_high_res_1800x2700Zephyr, apprentice of magical arts, is having a really bad day. Under orders to capture an uncanny creature for her mistress’s latest spell, she chains up a tall, gorgeous elf in a decaying castle, only to find out he’s really a wizard with potent powers over human women.  Uh-oh. 

Theo has suffered heartbreak and betrayal more than once.  He’s got a plan to escape, and when he does, he’s taking the curvy little apprentice with him.  Her seductive curiosity about all things elvish makes his heart race, driving him into a sexual frenzy. He’s vowed never to unleash his powers of enchantment upon a human woman—yet while she kisses and teases him, longing for an elf romance, his fae side is slipping out of control.

Their world overturns when Zephyr unleashes a curse involving two magic rings.  Under its spell, she becomes a mighty sorceress while the elf-wizard who loves her becomes her apprentice. As Zephyr works to turn the brooding, mistrustful elf into the hero the people need, Theo must find a way to contain Zephyr’s new powers before her wild magic destroys them all.

Are your buttons pushed? Good! Mission accomplished. Go get yourself a copy right now.

And follow Lady Smut.

Wicked Ways on Halloween

31 Oct

by Kiersten Hallie Krum

halloween

Happy Halloween, Lady Smutters! I hope all your ghosts and ghouls treat you well today. Or tortured vampires and fierce werewolves, whatever floats your boats. May your intermittent candy fugue is worth every bite.

Last week,  I was so excited about Lady Smut blogger and guru extraordinaire Madeline Iva’s new release, Wicked Apprentice, that I completely jumped the gun for the theme week!

*This* week is theme week for Wicked Apprentice to coincide (obviously) with all the spooky, wicked goodness of today. To keep theme alive, I’m going to re-post last week’s post, Ways to Be Wicked, with an added bonus at the end that includes a picture of me in costume at last night’s steam punk themed Halloween party where yes, indeed, I did get my sexy on (the garters and boots can’t be seen in the picture, but they’re there, I promise). It very nearly became a costume that said Amazon Princess more than Steam Punk, but, hey, what’s wrong with both, amirite?

Were you wicked today? Do you plan to be? Hit us up with your wicked deeds and ways in the comments.

And follow Lady Smut where our wicked ways are too much to contain to only one day–or week.

WAYS TO BE WICKED–AGAIN

It’s theme week here at Lady Smut as we celebrate the release of Lady Smut blogger and all-around guru, Madeline Iva’s, new novel Wicked Apprentice, a high-fantasy romance filled with betrayals and power juggling and chained up lovers and all sorts of sexy, magical hi-jinks just in time for Halloween!

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Click on image to buy!

In Wicked Apprentice, the heroine, Zephyr, a magic apprentice, has to do a wicked deed in order to satisfy her mistress. This deed backfires in a delicious way when her captive elf becomes her captive lover and soon after, a power shift makes her his master–but you’ll have to read the book to find out how that comes about.

Wicked can mean different things to different people. Evil, obviously. That’s a given. Those from the Boston area have been known to use it as an expression of cool. I tend to use it more along the lines of “naughty”–a little bit of wicked to spice up life. For a couple of weeks now, I’ve been musing on the many ways one can be “wicked” (again, not the evil kind because, bad). Musing and occasionally–let’s say testing things out. A step-by-step approach in ways to be wicked, so to speak.

Enter Halloween, that bastion of wicked deeds done right. The one day a year (other than comic-cons) when people can legitimately dress up in costumes with varying flamboyance and indulge that wicked, naughty side that is otherwise kept, for the most part, under wraps and behind closed doors. It’s the time of the pagan solstice, of Samhaim, a night historically meant for remembering the dead, but one that is now more about costumes and hordes of candy. Hordes.

Every year, my inner feminist heartily frowns–frown, frown, frown–at the proliferation of sexed-up costumes for women. It’s hard to find an advert for an adult woman’s costume that doesn’t include the word “sexy” or pictures that require no added description. Honestly, it’s ridiculous. Sexy maid, sexy cat, sexy pirate, sexy teacher, sexy school girl, sexy plumber (you never know). These days, there’s even sexy Harry Potter characters, though, okay, yeah, who wouldn’t be tempted by thatespecially after a peek at this set of Harry Potter boudoir pictures. Acc-ee-ohhhhh.

ruth-ginsberg

Ruth Ginsberg Halloween costume

Fortunately, MTV and PopSugar have put together a list of feminist friendly costumes that may also be sexxed up to the wearer’s preference. Though, admittedly, I think “sexy tampon” or going as a (very large) vagina is a tad too on-point and, well, tasteless. But that’s me.

This helpful post from Bustle even gives assembly tips on how to construct your feminist-friendly costume. Here too is a Pinterest board of the same, and I gotta say, I’m sorely tempted by the Justice Ruth Ginsberg option. Because she rocks that SCOTUS bench hard.

A quick trip through the options left me with an overwhelming sense of pantsuits, but if it’s good for the (soon-to-be) POTUS-elect, then bring it on! Which is, of course, another feminist-friendly and seriously timely costume option (sexy quotient left up to the wearer, natch): Senator Clinton. If I had to guess, I suspect there’ll be a plethora of Clinton costumes on the adult Halloween party circuit this year. What would be really cool if a group of lady friends got together to be Clinton throughout the years. Cue the Google search.

birth-control

I don’t care how sexy safe sex is. No. Just no.

That said, when I found myself in need of a costume for a Halloween party with a Jazz Age/Steampunk theme (compliance not required, bless them), I did not immediately search for a feminist-friendly costume. I immediately wondered if there was a prayer my red flapper dress might fit (it doesn’t) and then immediately went Amazon searching for the bustier/ruche skirt/high boots route. I may even have ordered thigh-highs and garters–okay, I totally did. Because, dammit, I wanna get my sexy on!

And that’s the key. Like lingerie, sexy costumes should, in my opinion, be about what makes the wearer feel sexy, not for another person’s prurient pleasure. (That’s just a bonus, am I right? *rim shot*.)

Look, I’ve been wearing some version of a Wonder Woman costume since I was five years old (surprising no one, I’m sure) and that’s basically just a leotard and a tiara (and a lasso!). I can see me revisiting that tried and true (and awesome) homage in future years, especially given the update the costume is getting in the new Wonder Woman movie next year. And I can’t imagine anyone claiming that Wonder Woman, of all female icons, is not feminist. Ditto the sexy. Because kicking bad guy ass in a sparkly leotard and a tiara (with a lasso!) is freakin’ sexy, y’all. Even a five-year old knows that (kinda) (you know what I mean).

wonder-woman-movie-poster

Ah. Yeah.

Bonus: Here I am in all my wicked ways as a steam punk diva.

Here I am in all my wicked ways as a steam punk diva. Kids, don’t try this at home.

There was a day and age when women’s sexuality was deemed to be wicked and evil. Women were called witches and heretics for daring to speak up for themselves. These days, thankfully, women–even the nasty ones–don’t have to eschew their wicked, sexy ways to avoid being burnt at the stake. They can indulge their inner naughty side and really, they don’t have to wait for Halloween to do it either. In the 60s, women burned their bras in protest. Me, I like my bras–the sexier, the better–and I’m way too frugal to burn them. Instead, this Halloween, I plan to embrace the spirit of the occasion and indulge my wicked, sexy ways without setting aside my inner feminist to do it. A little bit of wicked never hurt anyone…for long.

 

Be sure to check out Madeline’s Wicked Apprentice and follow Lady Smut so you never miss any of our wicked, sexy ways. 

Writer, singer, editor, traveler, tequila drinker, and cat herder, Kiersten Hallie Krum avoids pen names since keeping her multiple personalities straight is hard enough work. She writes smart, sharp, and sexy romantic suspense. Her debut romantic suspense novel, Wild on the Rocksis now available. Visit her website at www.kierstenkrum.com and find her regularly over sharing on various social media via @kierstenkrum.

Ghosts Making Booty Calls

28 Oct

by Elizabeth SaFleur

It’s a wild wicked week at LadySmut. Not only is our very own Madeline Iva coming out with her latest, Wicked Apprentice, but we’re tackling all the Halloween myths, legends, costume angst and deep, dark truths lurking around this favorite holiday.

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Let’s talk ghost sex. As in, how they do it. You’ve wondered this, too? Well, good. Because I’ve lost some sleep over figuring out how do ghosts get it on. I mean, they’re transparent. How does “that” get into “this.” (Picture the hand gestures being made right now.) Wouldn’t it just, ahem, slide right through? And not in a good way. In a completely ineffectual way.

An answer must be found. It simply must. Because apparently fifteen perfect — FIFTEEN PERCENT! — of real, live, breathing people are getting it on with a non corporeal being. Even the Travel Channel did a documentary called Ghost Lovers (now officially in my Netflix cue. Oy, the things I endure for research.).

Consent isn’t such a thing in ghostland, either. Some people who’ve been the recipient of such a spiritual encounter did not make the booty call. The horny apparitions just appeared and started groping like Donald Trump. Oh, the horrors.

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According to experts, however, just a fraction of the world’s ghost sex is non-consensual. Well, whew. But wait a minute. This means some of them DID ask for it? Yeppers. In fact, a whole community has cropped up around ghost fetishism. You just have to be open to such an encounter, say the people with spectrophilia, the official name for a fetish or condition where people display a strong sexual attraction to ghosts and spirits. So, settle in, relax your mind and bring on the invisible ding dongs? Even if you could request ghost sex, the original question stands.

HOW does it work?

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I turned to my favorite kind of research: buying and reading erotic romance books (as if the incentive was required). The amount of available ghost erotica is impressive. Succubus, demons and Casper-like beings are all getting it on between the pages. Carolyn Crane, Beth Kery, and our very own Alexa Day have written ghosts tales.

Check out Alexa’s short story, Three, After Midnight, in Mysteries of the Macabre: a Halloween Anthology. So. Much. Hawtness.

So, how do they do it? you are shouting  right now. The answer is simple my friends, thanks to Carolyn Crane’s Old Salt, a delightful short about a disenchanted tour guide in a small town whose claim to fame is the nightly hauntings from a drowned sea captain called “Old Salt.” Turns out “Old Salt” is really “Young Hot Guy.”

****SPOILER ALERT****

She dies. But all is not lost. He teaches the tour guide how to become corporeal for short periods of time. Guess what they do during these times? They concentrate really, really hard and bam! Bam-bam-bam-bam!

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He-he-he-he. So there you go. Who knew the answer was so easy? You just gotta want it. Like anything in life, I guess.

Follow LadySmut. We’re easy. We won’t make you have sex with invisible critters for fun. Just pick up one of our books, like Madeline Iva’s latest, Wicked Apprentice, for all the salacious fun and fantasy you can handle.

About Wicked Apprentice

Zephyr, apprentice of magical arts, is having a really bad day. Under orders to capture an uncanny creature for her mistress’s latest spell, she chains up a tall, gorgeous elf in a decaying castle, only to find out he’s really a wizard with potent powers over human women. Uh-oh.

Theo has suffered heartbreak and betrayal more than once. He’s got a plan to escape, and when he does, he’s taking the curvy little apprentice with him. Her seductive curiosity about all things elvish makes his heart race, driving him into a sexual frenzy. He’s vowed never to unleash his powers of enchantment upon a human woman—yet while she kisses and teases him, longing for an elf romance, his fae side is slipping out of control.

Their world overturns when Zephyr unleashes a curse involving two magic rings. Under its spell, she becomes a mighty sorceress while the elf-wizard who loves her becomes her apprentice. As Zephyr works to turn the brooding, mistrustful elf into the hero the people need, Theo must find a way to contain Zephyr’s new powers before her wild magic destroys them all.

Madeline Iva’s high fantasy romance will enchant readers who love all things elvish, brooding heroes and bold heroines.

*****

Elizabeth SaFleur writes contemporary erotic romance and she’s not afraid to get a little graphic about it  — “it” being the smex, the BDSM or Washington, DC society, which she regularly features in her series, the Elite Doms of Washington.

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