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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.

Madame X & My Book Hangover: Guest Post by Thien-Kim Lam

2 Sep
Click to buy.

Click to buy.

Hello Dear Readers! Madeline here.  I am exceptionally excited to have Thien-Kim Lam guest post on our blog today. 🙂  Alexa Day was bemoaning declawed alpha males earlier this week, but I think Thien-Kim has found a ringer here—check it out, Alexa!

When I first pick up a romance, it’s the heroine I fall in love with first.

It doesn’t matter who she is, I root for her. Sometimes she’s funny or ambitious (or both!). She doesn’t need a man in her life, but she’ll glad take him for a hard ride. (Maybe more than once.) I love her because she chooses her own path and expects to be treated equal to others. I adore that romance authors give my (our?) heroines agency in their lives.

Agency is what makes all romance heroines feminists.

Then I met X. That’s Madame X to you.

In opening pages of Jasinda Wilder’s Madame X, our heroine is calculating and demanding. Her confident tone would be heralded if she had a penis between her legs. Despite her expertise, the recipient of her reprimand refuses to accept her instructions. She’s unwavering in her demands and he eventually accepts his reality: Madame X won’t take shit from her man-child client.

I loved Madame X mere paragraphs into the novel.

Who is Madame X? It might be easier to define who she is not. She’s not a prostitute. Nor is she a dominatrix. She teaches spoiled, affluent clients how to exude confidence and control inside the boardroom and out. She uses great skill to force these young men into (psychological) submission. Madame X always succeeds. Thus, her services are in high demand.

She is one badass woman who’s not afraid to take control. I want a friend like X. Someone I could drink some 12-year-old single malt scotch with and talk about everything: men, work, sex, and definitely orgasms.

My heart stopped when Caleb entered X’s apartment. Suddenly her personality changed. Around him she spoke softly, acted demurely, and instantly responded to his command to strip. He takes what he needs from her: her mouth, her breasts, her sex. She feels she has no choice but to give Caleb what he demands. He saved her when she had no one else to take care of her. He’s given every material thing she touches and every memory she has. Even if her heart and mind tries to stand up to him,her body responds to his touch. 7e7bd95b7d149c15b55241f1f5d75dd3She never fails to reach her peak under his hands.

Madame X submits to Caleb’s dark eyes and roving hands while wishing for the freedom to choose what she wants. A freedom that Jasinda Wilder’s opening pages led me to believe that X had. A freedom that I wish for X as badly as she wishes for herself.

As a reader, I expect an emotional roller coaster ride, but Jasinda’s novel was more like Space Mountain than the Seven Dwarves Mine Train. I had no idea where she would take me but I blindly–and happily–hung on for dear life. She had me hooked. I was determined to keep my eyes open during the thrill ride, even if I could only see tiny little lights ahead.

It’s been almost a month since I finished Madame X and I cannot stop thinking about this book.

Did she fit into my idea of a feminist heroine? Her lack of freedom, the options available to her, and the choices she made said no. More confounding to me was the desire she had for Caleb. How could a strong woman like X need approval and affection from cold, calculating Caleb?

I relive X’s journey in my head over and over. Why did she make the choices she did? Caleb held the key to her gilded cage, but surely she could have stood up to him the way she stood up to her clients. Maybe he wouldn’t give her complete freedom. Maybe she could ask him to let her decide when and if she would submit to his sexual demands. Why didn’t she just ask?

Then it hit me. I’m projecting what *I* would do onto Madame X.

c666b4943fc8ee0ee370f1b4b6a93198X makes the best decision based on the information she has. Even though the novel is written in first-person, I–the reader–feel omniscient. I see how Caleb is gaslighting X. I see the cyclical signs of emotional and verbal abuse followed by remorse. X’s circumstances have not given her the knowledge bank to realize Caleb may not have her best interests at heart.My knowledge and background are different from hers so my choices are different from hers.

Madame X may not be the feminist heroine that I envisioned when I first met her, but I never got the impression that she was weak. I had to have faith that Madame X would choose what she felt was best for herself even if I didn’t like her decision.

I’m not a fan of cliffhangers, but it fits for this dark romance. Just like my personal journey, X’s intense emotional journey can’t be told in just one book. I’ve fallen in love with X, and I want her to be happy. I’m not ready to let her go. Madame X caught me tightly in its web. I’m ready to take deep breaths and buckle in for the next two books in the series.

If you haven’t read Madame X yet, be forewarned that you’ll have the biggest book hangover ever.

Just make sure you’re buckled in for the Jasinda Wilder roller coaster ride.

Thien-Kim Lam is a feminist who loves erotica and romance. She is the founder of Bawdy Bookworms, a subscription box that pairs sexy reads with bedroom toys and sensual products. Batteries are always included. Check 5 Steamy Book & Sex Toy Pairings for Your Pleasure Chest for buzzy recommendations.

He’s Hot, He’s Tied Up, and He’s All Yours–Now What Are You Gonna Do?

30 Jun He's hot, he's tied up, and he's all yours.  Now what are ya gonna do?
Some days a woman feels her inner spank more than others.

Some days a woman feels her inner spank more than others.

by Madeline Iva

Let’s talk about women in seriously tight leather, wielding whips. While everybody hates a shrieking bitch, we all respect the woman who has her sh** majorly together.  This woman is my role model when I encounter her–be she a mom or a boss.

She is unflappable when it comes to getting results.  ‘Results’ often means putting man or man-child back in his place and making him behave.  I respect this kind of woman–but do I identify with her as my heroine in an erotic romance story? Sure I do!

In the DEVIL’S DOORBELL anthology I was raving about last week, the heroine in Megan Heart’s story is a domme, with a hot sub.  His dick may be in chains (literally) but he is clearly empowered with his own agenda.

Our heroine in this story is heart sore (but then again, what Megan Hart heroine isn’t? ; >) She tends to his needs, until her own needs become so large, that her sub puts his role aside.  He takes his turn being the comforting one, the one to hold her and fuck her hard if that’s what she needs.

All of which helps when a demon from her past comes back into town.  This bad boy who once wrecked the heroine shows up to befuddle her head and break her heart. Again. Yet thanks to her domme experience and her sub, who’s shown her just how good a real man can treat her, she is no longer the broken woman her ex left behind. She finds an emotional power to deal with her ex calmly and firmly—putting him in his place sexually–even in her highly vulnerable state.  Not your typical spanking sub tale.

Click to buy to read this forceful, sexy, hero's story...

Click to buy to read this forceful, sexy, hero’s story…

Joey Hill has probably been most successful writing domme heroines and sub heroes. In NATURAL LAW, the hero is a cop going undercover at a sex club as a sub to catch a murderous FemDom.

Mac is an interesting alpha-sub. The heroine thinks he throws himself into the submissive roll with the cocky idea that he’s so tough, no woman can break him.

Such attitude makes her itch to try, of course.

Letting himself be restrained, Mackenzie, full of male pride, insists he can take anything she dishes out. There are two scenes when Violet violates his sense of old skool masculinity.  As he roars with primal fury, he’s helplessly getting off – and getting off – and getting off some more.

Reading these scenes, I was like ‘Oh my God!’, my eyes glued to my Kindle.

Viola breaks her bucking bronco, and leaves us with a wounded, sexy beast, weary and full of feels as she holds his large head in her hands.  He’s more humble, his primal force banked in the tenderness he feels towards her. I’m sure this scene hits all the right pleasure button for women readers.

MADELINE IVA: How are you the rare exception when it comes to erom writers in being able to have really successful FemDom sex that actually sells? What’s your secret sauce?

JOEY HILL: When I started writing my first FemDom/male sub story, I didn’t expect to BE writing that genre. Holding the Cards was intended to be MaleDom/female sub, because that’s what I liked to read myself. But it didn’t work, and I became so frustrated, I flipped the roles and suddenly the book took off. That was the story that taught ME that I could enjoy reading about that type of relationship.

I didn’t quite get my feet under me until the next one, which was NATURAL LAW. When I wrote Mac and Violet’s story, I figured out “the secret sauce” so to speak. Like most of those who were writing erotic romance at that time, I was a traditional romance reader. I loved romances with uber-alpha heroes (aka Dom wannabes that the world wasn’t ready to call Doms yet, lol). So when I wrote NATURAL LAW, I wrote a hero who had all the elements of those traditional heroes. Mac Nighthorse was protective, strong, and sensitive at the right moments in a masculine way (not a girl hiding in a guy’s body, lol), but he had the intriguing twist of desiring to submit sexually and serve… Full stop.

He's hot, he's tied up, and he's all yours. Now what are ya gonna do?

He’s hot, he’s tied up, and he’s all yours. Now what are ya gonna do?

It was that word “serve” that clicked for me. Since then, I’ve called this form of submissive the “palace guard” sub. He’s the type of guy who might be a cop or in the military, with such a craving to serve the woman he loves that it translates into a submissive orientation. I am a submissive myself, so I used my understanding of the submissive psychology to guide me through the scenes, but integrated it with how I’d expect a male hero to react and handle those scenarios.

Of course, the nice thing about how the erotic romance genre has evolved is it also now has room to explore the beta male subs.

Oh behave!

Oh behave!

It’s also REALLY important not to forget the Domme side of the equation. Just as my male sub still has traditional qualities of romance heroes, my Domme has vulnerabilities. She doesn’t stop being a woman in love; far from it. Her Domme side is all part of how she loves. She’s tough and amazing, but she still needs to be held when she cries. Which is genuinely the way a Domme is in real life as well. Dom or sub, these are still human beings whose needs and desires are pretty much the same as what we all have – they just express them through a Dominant or submissive orientation.

MADELINE IVA: Do you think FemDom will be more embraced by romance audiences as we move along?

JOEY HILL: As the erotic romance readership has grown more sophisticated, they’ve become more willing to try storylines they wouldn’t necessarily have considered when they first started reading erotic romance. So yes, I think as readers hear from other readers “Hey, this is really good and you should try it,” they will. That’s how NATURAL LAW gained in popularity and became the book that launched my career. Pretty funny, since I assumed in the beginning I would only ever write Male Doms, lol. Now I do Dommes, Doms, threesomes, you name it. I guess erotic romance authors become more diverse and sophisticated as we go along, too.

But final note, if an author wants a FemDom book to take off get it in the hands of readers/reviewers who will give it a try and crow from the rooftops to other readers if they love it. I’m seeing more and more requests from readers looking for “good” FemDom/male sub stories.

MADELINE IVA: Thanks Joey for being here today and answering these questions! Our very own Alexa Day has a FemDom story out in the new anthology HERO TO OBEY.

Click to buy it now---only .99 cents!

Click to buy it now—only .99 cents!

The hero in this story is young-ish, hot-naturally–and performs as an excellent bar back for the owner of a restaurant and bar on the seashore. The heroine’s female employee is like “Can we keep him? Can we?” because he really puts an strong work ethic into his physical labors in an efficient and conscientious way. The heroine, however, has other ideas about what to do with such an obedient, gorgeous employee who responds so well to her commands.

There’s a great scene in the store room where nothing is said really, but the chemistry is palpably felt to the point where the relationship cannot go back to the way it was.  You’ll have to read the rest to find out what happens.

Meanwhile, do you have a favorite FemDom read? A favorite Joey Hill or Megan Hart book you adore? Does FemDom do it for you? Do you think this sub sub-genre is a growing trend?

As we become more comfortable with women in positions of enormous power, *cough* woman president of the United States *cough* do you think more women will see themselves in the FemDom role and look for more of these romances? Or do you think it will drive women even further into the fantasy of submission as they seek a break from all that responsibility?

Do tell.

Meanwhile make your mistress happy–follow us at Lady Smut and subscribe to our newsletter.

Madeline Ivaimgres writes fantasy, paranormal, and contemporary romance.  Her novella ‘Sexsomnia’ is available in our LadySmut anthology HERE, and her fantasy romance, WICKED APPRENTICE, will be out Fall, 2016.

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