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The Sexy Dane Solution

5 Jan

by Madeline Iva

hyggeHere’s a Danish word for ya:  HYGGE

Pronounce it Hoo-gah, but try throwing a little “U” into that ‘oo’ sound and you’ve nailed it.  Hygge translates to “cozy” in Danish, but it’s not just a word to the Danish, nor just an emotion—it’s a genius cultural ideal!

It’s cold outside, my peeps.  And we are in desperate need of ideals right now.  Also, after the holidays we’re poor. Yet we can still pull on a big pair of wooly socks, make a delicious pot of hot soup, and settle down in front of the warm lights of the fire.  Or Xmas tree you still haven’t taken down.  Or your space heater.  Whatever. We can still embrace each other and cling to everything in our world that is simple, good, and warm.

Like hot guys in winter sweaters. hygge2

My romance ideal is founded on the concept of Hygge and I think you may already recognize it:

SEXY + HYGGE = SMYGGE (SMOOGAH)

Hygge is not at all contradictory with a bit o’ sexy. In fact, if you’re like me, this is the package in which you actually prefer your sexy. Show me a guy with great bed head in a big ole sweater with jeans, or conversely some boxers and hot abs and I’ll show you my clenching ovaries. Give him a mug of coffee or a kitten to hold and…my God, you’re killing me here.hygge4

Yes to Hygge! Yes to Sexy! Put them together and you’ve got Smygge – my new sensual ideal. Happy New Year!

Got Smygge?

Got Smygge?

(To find more of all things Smygge, go to my PINTEREST page. ; > )

Icy Hot.

Icy Hot.

GOT MIRTH?

And while we’re at it–materialistic American beasts that we are–let’s embrace the wider ramifications of Hygge and Smygge. We’re not just talking Nordic sweaters, kittens, and mittens—we’re talking about the fundamentals of creating social joy.

In Denmark, Hygge means means having your friends over for an informal dinner with candle light. (Cough. While candlelight is very Hygge, it also hides a vast amount of housekeeping neglect. Cough. Cough.) Or better yet, leave those dust bunnies to roam, and wander down to the local pub with your mates to drown your winter sorrows in an amber pint of excellent Danish lager. (Preferably while wearing a nordic sweater.) I’m talking an informal sense of togetherness and peace – this is very Hyggelig.  (Hoo-glee)

When you create warmth for you, your loved ones, and friends–and without spending a lot o’ money–you are essentially creating social joy.   For me, 2017 is going to be all about creating maximal hygge warmth and mirth as a big wholesome buffer against the forces of evil and uncertainty that loom.

My ovaries! My ovaries!

My ovaries! My ovaries!

So embrace these velvet fog days, snuggle down in your warm flannel sheets, and draw your loved ones (or pictures of your favorite tv/movie stars—I won’t judge) close.

And for that added kick of joy, put a little smygge in your life—pop on that warm wool sweater and socks (but nothing else). You won’t regret it. ; >hygge-7

Follow us at Lady Smut — we’re an excellent daily source of Hygge.  And subscribe as well! It’s free and fun stuff is coming to our subscribers very soon.

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.

 

I’VE SEEN STRANGER THINGS THAN BAD MOMS WEARING CROWNS

1 Dec

 

by Madeline Iva

How was your Thanksgiving? Mine was inspired. As promised, I binge-watched a ton of TV and movies letting my brain waves rest for a few days. And yes, I’ll be talking about foreskin before I’m through with this post. But let’s talk about STRANGER THINGS***–before we get to the turtleneck.

STRANGER THINGS takes place in the 80’s and yet I noted how it was different from the actual movies of the 80’s:

1) Weirdness wins!

2) Unlike any proper 80’s horror movie, the popular ‘slut’ doesn’t get slaughtered in the first act. Instead her stodgy ‘good girl’ friend is the one who ends up bloody and eventually missing. Huzzah!

Anorexic girl with a P.E. folder--so 80's it hurts!

Anorexic girl with a P.E. folder–so 80’s it hurts!

3) The weirdest of the weird in this show is a girl named Eleven–AND I LOVED HER CHARACTER SO HARD. She’s beautifully androgynous, as well as full of raging destructive and weird powers.

Note to self: Why am I not writing characters like this?

Warning: you're about to get a skewed sense of this TV series, as scene through the distorted lens of my obsession with Eleven.

Warning: the skewed sense you’re getting of this TV series is because it’s through the distorted lens of my obsession with Eleven.

4) The single mom Winona Ryder (who’s a mess) doesn’t need a man in the end.  I walk around with romance colored spectacles all the time, so I’ll admit I kept a keen eye on Winona, wondering if she and the gruff, hulking chief would connect as they started working together to find her missing son. Nope. By the end of the season she’s still a single, shambolic mom–and perfectly content to stay that way. For her it’s a happy ending (but not for everyone else—bwa-ha-ha!)

STRANGER THINGS explores how parents had to communicate with their children before cell phones existed.

STRANGER THINGS explores how parents had to communicate with their children before cell phones existed.

Ultimately, this show was mega-inspiring. Totally rad. Hella bitchin cool. To the max.

Speaking of BAD MOMS–No—I can’t go there yet.

Let’s talk about the Bad Mom with a Crown first.

THE CROWN — It’s like Mad Men for women. Elizabeth is not well educated, or at all prepared to be queen. She was only in her twenties when her father surprised everyone by dying and leaving her to inherit the crown. Her work in the first season is to repair her own deficiencies in the very best British way—by honestly admitting them and tackling them head on.

THE CROWN--in which power carries a handbag and waves funny.

THE CROWN–in which power carries a handbag and waves funny.

I like this show. Yes it’s British propaganda and yes, the attitudes of the people are excruciatingly conservative. But upholding traditions four hundred years old necessitates a bit of a conservatism, doesn’t it?

What I enjoy is that Elizabeth is not the kind of person who glitters, charms, or has brilliant moments of insight. She’s not the princess in a fairy tale who sweeps through the grand palace. She is excruciatingly ordinary.  She sighs over the necessity of living in a giant, ugly, palace and she dresses up with the same stoic attitude I have while doing stomach crunches at the gym. She’s also not really a mummy. Charles and Anne have their nurse, and that should be sufficient. Elizabeth seems at her most content as a mother watching from a distance while her handsome husband plays with the children out in the yard. The show portrays her without a maternal bone in her body. (Why is this so exciting to me?)

Huzzah to Clair Foy, meanwhile.  She’s the actress playing Elizabeth AND also Anne Boleyn in WOLF HALL.  Nice work if you can get it.

While I’m not saying Elizabeth’s not smart, at the same time she clearly wasn’t precocious or intellectually curious as a child. Punctilious in her duties, she’s a bit of a worker drone all in all. She loves horses, her husband, and her sister–perhaps in that order.  But in the beginning she makes mistakes in these most important relationships, promising her husband and sister things that she can’t deliver because she didn’t at first understand the forces who control and apply pressure to someone in her position.

At the same time she must face up to people seeing her exactly as she is–warts and all. I admire this and I cringe.  She doesn’t hide or lie about who she is–ever. I, meanwhile, constantly vacillate between anxiously wanting to please people only to swing right around in the other direction where I’m being so intensely, brutally myself that I alienate them. Gah!

In her role as queen, Elizabeth is not nurturing, motherly, or accommodating to others in ways we tend to expect of women; she’s simply in charge. She does her job with exactitude and diligence. Elizabeth learns the very difficult task of figuring out what this other persona is that she’s expected to inhabit–being The Crown. We see her negotiate being that persona out in the world and at home, and perhaps it’s because she has such a firm grip on herself in terms of who she is and who she isn’t that she gets through smoothly most of the time.

When people (i.e. politicians) attempt to walk all over her, she reminds them—in the very best British way–that she is the queen, and a woman of character, and in her own stead-fast way, a force to be reckoned with.

SPEAKING OF BAD MOMS – No. I still can’t.

SPEAKING OF THE 80’s: If you’re looking for a light comedy—check out WORKING GIRL on Netflix. I’d seen it when I was very young and really loved it. Seeing it again, I realized it is a transgressive fairy tale for the 80’s.  (I assume it was made in the 80’s.  The hair is REALLY big, and shoulder pads are everywhere.) It’s a million times better than Pretty Women, IMHO.

Transgressive 80's Cinderella story.

Transgressive 80’s Cinderella story.

Despite what the title suggests, Melanie Griffith is a lowly Staten Island secretary who wants to leave her life as a wage slave and become an executive. (Become an executive–snort–such an 80’s theme!) Her new female boss, Katherine (played SO WELL by Signorney Weaver) points out that

  • you have to finesse the scum bags—Hey, hasn’t Megyn Kelly has been telling us the same thing lately? Nuts to that, a lot of feminists say.
  • you have to make your own opportunities.

Yes! I hadn’t realized how much this movie influenced me.  When I saw it the first time I was a lowly minimum wage worker.  I then managed to become a creative writing instructor through creating opportunities for myself—and not always asking for permission before doing so, mind you.

Although the female boss Katherine turns out to be the villain of the movie, Melanie Griffith takes her advice. She makes her own opportunities. She doesn’t ask for permission. No guts, no glory. And with a lot of support from Harrison Ford, she succeeds.

OKAY – so now let’s all embrace foreskins and talk about BAD MOMS.

The best part of bad moms--the part that made me cry, was where the actresses were hanging out with their own real moms during the credits...

The best part of bad moms–the part that made me cry, was where the actresses were hanging out with their own real moms during the credits…

I watched it at my sweetie’s insistence.  Poor guy, he’s been so sick, he was looking for some light-light-light comedy to watch and because we both really like Kristen Bell, we decided to check it out. But I came to the film with very low expectations having seen Jezebel’s review/snarl/yawn.

Even so, I was mightily underwhelmed. Let us be clear—there was one bad mom in this film.  One. And she was not the lead–she was the rebel side-kick.  But let’s not dwell upon all that was meh about the movie. Let’s dwell instead over the one weird pause in the film where the women stop to have a frank discussion about foreskin.

–Particularly about how to deal with it face to face when knocking boots with a guy.

Let me first confess that the only foreskin I’ve ever seen is on baby boys while changing diapers when I was a nanny. Sweetie says based on what he sees at the gym (not that he’s looking closely or anything) foreskin was once rare for U.S. men his age or older, but now it’s something you’re probably going to encounter as a single woman dating men of the millennial generation.

Just the same I have to wonder–is this really a big deal? Is this a thing? I mean, yes, the evil world of marketing strives to make us cripplingly insecure about our bodies in every possible way. (Vaginoplasty anyone?) Are men being subjected to the same twisted pressures? Are they now expected to feel less-than because of a perfectly natural part of their bodies?

I vaguely recall some TV episode (was it House?) where a teenage kid took a razor to himself because he felt less attractive to girls. Are we really going there?

On one hand, Bad Moms seems to validate this ‘issue’ by showing some anxiety about encountering foreskin.  Yet they also seem intent upon delivering a message of acceptance.

And how could you not love the moment where the rebel Bad Mom side-kick tells Mila Kunis how to manipulate the foreskin during foreplay while using Kristen Bell’s head to demonstrate?

On the other hand, I’m just goggling over the fact that the movie kind of comes to a dead halt to deliver this rather hilarious PSA.

Oh well. Thanksgiving is over. Back to the daily grind for me.

I’m writing my next book about a Wicked Enchantress–who is NOW going to be a beautifully androgynous character full of raging destructive and weird powers. Huzzah!

And if you like weird, powerful, smexy women, then follow us at Lady Smut.

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.

***I must offer up a humble apology to my writer friend S.A. Hunter. She recommended STRANGER THINGS to me back in September before anyone else was talking about it. People, life is too short to sort through all the crap out there. When a good friend makes excellent recommendations, you listen to her. You treasure her. You don’t turn up your nose and shrug off her suggestion as I did. I was wrong to do so, and hang my head in shame. You are the more discerning, better friend, S. A..

 

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.

#

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.

 
15135890_1228426473898292_8779656534610873350_n
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.

 

The Magicians: A Novel That Stabs Itself in the Heart

6 Oct
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Go ahead and click here to buy, but don’t say I didn’t warn ya.

By Madeline Iva

How do you destroy the genre of your own book? Lev Grossman managed this nifty little trick in his breakout novel THE MAGICIANS–a book that SFF people love to hate.  Meanwhile, everyone else is raving about it.  This fantasy book was clearly a huge best seller, but when checking out the reviews I noticed among the glowing accolades, a few ominous warnings: the book was derivative–HIGHLY derivative, and critics questioned the experience of reading the book, saying “What did I ultimately get out of it?” Nothing positive, I’ll tell you that.

By ‘breakout novel’, technically we’re talking about a novel that sells so well it changes an author’s life forever.  Harry Potter is an excellent example of this.  However, if you look at many other breakout novels, you’ll see that they often conform to a similar structure. While they have a genre framework, the story inside that frame is not really genre at all.  Such is the case with THE MAGICIANS.

Often a breakout novel disappoints readers of that genre.  Why? To hear Donald Maas tell it in his book HOW TO WRITE A BREAKOUT NOVEL, many breakout novels don’t fulfill the conventions that die-hard genre readers expect.  Instead the author explores a literary theme, talking about WWII or about the breakdown of entitled-yet-morally-corrupt-youths, or societal reform almost as if it were as important–if not more–than solving the murder.  These books also don’t end with the bad guys punished, order restored and chaos vanquished, or even with happily ever afters–which is why we read genre, isn’t it?

Here are some examples of break out novels: SMILLA’S SENSE OF SNOW, THE SECRET HISTORY, THE DA VINCI CODE, THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, and LET THE RIGHT ONE IN. These books may start off being mysteries, thrillers, or horror novels, but they have literary themes and are written in a literary style.  The genre shell is merely a spoonful of sugar that makes the literary medicine go down.

Case in point: THE MAGICIANS.  When I started reading it – I loved it! I thought: This is my kinda book. Really well written, I lurv the main character and all the other characters, yes! Quentin is a tall, mopey, unhappy brilliant teen.  I was all over that.  He gets invited to a college where he can learn magic. Fabulous!

And then it’s Harry Potter in college–but with a lot of drinking, drugs, n sex.  In fact it was a LOT like another crazy brilliant break out book that I highly recommend: THE SECRET HISTORY. Really, it’s THE SECRET HISTORY meets Harry Potter.  I said to myself—Okay, I’m seeing the derivative stuff they mentioned, but it’s SO GOOD that I don’t CARE.

Even up to the middle of the book, I was like, Where is this going? Not sure and I. Don’t. Care. At page 274 I said to myself FINALLY!! Now we have a direction once again–Here we go! Wheeeeeee!

And then the author ruined it for me. How? Why? What went wrong?

First I have to ask myself: what do I get out of Fantasy? Why do I like it as a genre? I like it because it’s anti-high school irony.  There is an earnestness to fantasy. Enthusiasm and triumphing over difficulties is at the core of many a fantasy novel.  Also there are deeply held values of the characters often in play.  Even GAME OF THRONES has these aspects–(What is GAME OF THRONES, meanwhile, but a breakout novel about a fantasy world that–aside from a few dragons–explores the bloody brutality of what it took to survive in the middle ages?)

The point is, I savor these fantasy qualities because when I’m operating in the real world I feel out of step. I feel the world is too harsh or complicated, or sophisticated. I am looking to retreat into my sensitive shell, to enjoy something simple, and sincere.

Certainly Harry Potter is sincere. Even Game of Thrones is sincere—as my Sweetie said: the bad guys are sincerely bad. And one token of their sincerity (some of them) is that when they realize they’re being bad, they change. (I’m looking at you Jamie Lannister.) This is what I want out of a fantasy book.

THE MAGICIANS is not such a book. When Quentin realizes he’s being weak–he  keeps on being weak. There is no character change. There is no fundamental growth and development. It’s as if the author believes character growth and change are impossible.  All there is is time. Time for one to grow older and see over the scrim of youth to the backstage area, where nothing is as wondrous and captivating as you hoped it would be.

What a jaded attitude — especially for characters who learn magic, and travel to new fantastical worlds.  To embed a theme of chronic dissatisfaction in the face of such glorious adventure and then turn around and claim, it’s not really adventurous, we don’t know what we’re doing, and it’s all going to shit–it’s disgusting, really.  Yes, disgusting.

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This is the one. Click to buy this book.

Now, Donna Tartt does something similar in her book (which came out long before Grossmans, and I highly recommend it,) but there was a point to it.  We know the students in THE SECRET HISTORY killed their good friend.  We’re told that on page one.  The book explores why and how they tried to get away with it.  Relationships are destroyed.  They suffer–and this makes sense to us.  It’s satisfying because THEY COMMITTED MURDER.

I think Grossman is reflecting back some kind of commentary about the lives of the privileged elite – and yeah, I’m calling him that. If you went to both Harvard AND Yale, and you mention that on your freakishly successful book cover jacket, what else could you be?

So what’s he saying? His characters are living lives of fantastical proportions, but it never seems quite real to them.  They are always waiting for their “real” life to start.  It’s like being in a house where all the doors open onto each other. You keep going through doors, but you only end up going in circles.

Which makes the novel rather nihilistic at its core.  This is the antithesis of what fantasy novels and the fantasy genre are about.  Lev Grossman stabs his own novel in the heart until it’s dead and the reader is appalled.

Unless, of course, the reader doesn’t particularly care for the fantasy genre and is as jaded as Grossman.  Then they might love the book.

Another crime this book commits is that it starts out a leetle derivative, and swiftly towards the last third becomes crazily derivative. The former magic students enter a world called Fillory where we have trees like Tolkien’s Ents, we had Rams like the lion in Narnia, we had bears similar to The Golden Compass. We had a school for magic, like in Harry Potter.  I suspect Grossman intends to be derivative.  The more derivative the book, the more meta comments the characters make.  The meta elements, like the derivative  elements spread through the end of the book like a virus, snuffing out a fantasy reader’s pleasure. In the end, the amoral laxity that Grossman injects into his book kills the flourishing novel he’s created.

It’s like watching someone kill a unicorn. What’s the point?

All of this is done with maximal writing skill. I hate him. AND I envy him his writing chops. They’re making the book into a series–I wonder if they’re going to change it at all to accommodate fantasy TV viewer expectations?

CAVEAT: I know someone who is ready to defend the novel to the death (and does so frequently). She is willing to take on all comers. So she must have cared by the end of the book. Or loved NOT caring.

Follow us at Lady Smut.  We promise never to kill unicorns.

And come back tomorrow, folks–I’m having cover reveal for my fantasy novel WICKED APPRENTICE, including an excerpt and other fun stuff.  You can already pre-order the book on Amazon.

41tek67q8lMadeline Iva writes fantasy and paranormal romance.  Her fantasy romance, WICKED APPRENTICE, featuring a magic geek, is available for pre-order and releases November 1st.

 

 

 

 

Illicit Impulse: A Tempting Little Excerpt

2 Oct
What's a little experimental drug testing between friends? Click to find out.

What’s a little experimental drug testing between friends? Click to find out.

By Alexa Day

My colleagues and I have been celebrating the re-release of Illicit Impulse, my hot story with one sexy scientist, lots of experimentation, a spirited friend with benefits, and a pill designed to improve women’s sex lives. Sound complicated? Well, here’s the story in a nutshell:

Scientist John March has a problem. He needs the perfect subject to test out his new project, a sex pill called Impulse. His best friend, Grace Foley, might be the right woman for the job. She’s more than willing to see just how far these pills will take her … and her friend with benefits. But can John maintain his objectivity when he wants Grace for himself?

Grace wastes no time testing the big red pills and her own boundaries with her buddy, Tal Crusoe. Grace’s real fantasy is to spend more alone time with the sexy scientist who gave her the drugs, but her best friend has already refused her once. They’ll never go to the next level, but sharing her experiences with him – in explicit detail – might be the next best thing.

Want some more? Let’s join John and Grace at their first interview.

***

“Big smile,” John said. He shut the laptop. “Does that mean you’re a satisfied customer?”

Grace folded her coat over one arm. “More than satisfied.”

“Is that so?” John asked.

She nodded. “Want to hear all the juicy details?”

Of course he did—until she asked. Now, as the end of the question hung in the air, he wasn’t so sure he still wanted exactly what he had asked her for. And the smug look on her face said she knew it.

Grace draped her coat over the empty chair on her side of the desk before sitting. “I’ll go easy on you at first.”

John rearranged his notes, the microcassette recorder, and an overabundance of pencils and pens on his side, just as he had with dozens of other people, sitting close enough to observe their physiological responses and distant enough that they couldn’t see his notes. He tried without success to make himself comfortable in the cheap desk chair.

“Do you mind if I tape you?” he asked. “I want to make sure I get everything. I tell everybody that nobody else will hear it, but that’s doubly true in your case.”

Grace picked up the recorder. “You still use actual tape?” she asked.

“Instead of digital?” He nodded. “But just for you.”

She returned the recorder to its place on the table. “Why?”

“Three reasons. Nothing is ever left on the recorder—once I take out the tape, the recorder’s empty. The tape is easy to keep private—if it’s with me, no one else can get to it.” He looked up at her and smiled. “And if anything goes wrong, the tape will be easier to eat.”

Grace laughed and leaned back in her chair. “Can’t argue with that.”

“This is more of a conversation than an interrogation.” He slid the recorder to the center of the desk. “So you might not feel like I’m asking you many questions. I just want to hear what happened.”

“Sounds simple enough,” she said.

He engaged the recorder with a click. Then he sat back with one of the notepads, which he tapped with one of the over-sharpened pencils. “Okay. Let’s hear it.”

John turned his attention to the blank page, writing the date and time in the upper right corner and waiting for Grace to begin. Often he’d found that his subjects would communicate more if he wasn’t looking at them. In this case, he worried that he wouldn’t be able to concentrate.

“You know I went to see Tal right after I saw you on Monday,” Grace said. “He thinks this is a great idea, by the way. He wants to be first on the list when you come up with one of these pills for men.”

Still holding the pencil, John rotated his hand, listening to the tendons pop. Tal is helping you, he reminded himself.

That’s right. Good ol’ enthusiastic Tal is helping you.

“I know this is a secret,” Grace said, “but I didn’t think it was fair to ask him to do all this without knowing.”

“No problem.” John popped his wrist one last time and glanced up at Grace. “As long as he doesn’t say anything.”

“His lips are sealed. So what do you need to know?”

“Let’s start at the beginning. Right after you took it, did you…feel anything?”

“Anything…like what?” she asked playfully.

“The little chill we discussed.”

“I did feel that. Really cold, but just for a few minutes, until I got to Tal’s.”

The pencil’s scratch seemed very loud between them as he took note of the chill. “And then what?”

“As soon as he opened the door I felt really…agitated.”

“Nervous?” he asked. “Jittery?”

“Horny.”

John looked up from his hastily scribbled notes. Almost everyone had reported fidgeting, pacing, or generally feeling antsy. No one had mentioned an increase in arousal. Not to him, anyway.

“You look surprised,” she said. Her self-assured smile was back in place.

“Me? No, no, no. Not surprised.” And he wasn’t, really. It was just that she was so matter-of-fact about it.

“You’re sure?” she asked.

“I’m sure. Keep going.”

“Okay.” Grace stretched her legs out in front of her, gazing at the ceiling. “So as soon as I saw Tal, I felt this rush. I just had to have him.”

John watched her take a long breath before she moistened the center of her upper lip with the tip of her tongue. She was reliving it now, whatever she had done that night after she’d left him. Inside him, something uneasy buckled and knit, pulsed with his heartbeat as her mind returned to this other man. He wrote down the counter number from the cassette recorder and reminded himself that he’d sent her on this errand. He’d chosen to be in this position, and if he was bitter about it now, he had no one else to blame for the bad taste it left in his mouth. He forced himself back to business.

“Any chance this was just your normal anticipation? For your friend, I mean.”

“No.” She took a deep breath and slid her palms down her thighs. “Usually we’ll talk a little or have a beer first. That night we were all over each other.” She glanced over at John. “It was a little scary, to be honest.”

“Increased urgency.”

“Yeah, definitely.”

He took note of her symptoms and of her movements now as he looked on. Her fingers twisted on her lap. Reluctance. This couldn’t be uncomfortable for her, too, could it? “Okay. Then what?”

Grace turned back to the ceiling. “Everything was more intense. When he put his hands or his mouth on me, it made me so…so wet. Everything he did made me want more.”

Had she lowered her voice for his benefit? The color that bloomed on her face told a different story. She wasn’t spinning a yarn for his entertainment. The recollection was turning her on.

More. He could practically hear her saying it. More. Please. More.

Damn. What would he have to do to make her blush? Would he ever be the one to make her breathless?

He idly traced the margin’s red lines. He’d had his chance with her already.

“And then?” He tried to maintain a neutral tone of voice.

She bit her lip. “I don’t know. It’s hard to describe. I was ready to come as soon as he touched me. It was like being a teenager again.”

“Out of control?”

Her eyes met his. “Yeah! Mmm. Out of control.” Her voice lowered again, as if she was sharing a secret with him.

“Like being in heat. That have-to-have-it feeling, you know? There is something…liberating about losing control. Giving in to biology.” She smiled. “But then I don’t mind having the extra scoop of ice cream either.”

He chuckled. “So you’re aroused.”

She blinked, and he savored that moment, enjoying the rare sight of Grace in shock. He might never share a bed with the woman, but he could still manage a surprise or two. He pointed at his notes with the pencil.

“Oh!” she said. “With Tal. Yes.”

“Everything he does makes it worse.”

Slowly, she shook her head. “Oh, no. Better.”

“Stronger.”

He watched her consider the choice of words. “Stronger,” she agreed.

He took note of her increased sensitivity, careful to use the word they’d chosen together. “And then?”

Silence stretched out after his question until he looked up to find her grinning at him. “Oh my God,” she said, amusement in her voice. “You’re blushing.”

“I am not.” Blushing. He snorted. He did this every day. He’d heard far worse than this. Hadn’t he?

“You know,” she said, “it’s going to get pretty graphic before I’m finished.”

Like he needed the reminder. “Well, that’s why we’re here.” He turned back to his notes and pushed his glasses up on his nose. “So get graphic. I can take it.”

***

Ready to follow the Impulse? Go grab a copy right now.

And follow Lady Smut. There’s always something new to try around here.

Why Do We Wanna Boink Smart Guys So Badly Anyway?

29 Sep
Smart, lean, uncomfortable, but trying. God, I love a geeky man.

Smart, lean, uncomfortable, but trying. God, I love a geeky man.

by Madeline Iva

People, I have long adored the sexy geek as an iconic romance hero.  Show me a fit, dorky guy with a great smile and glasses — and I’ll show you an obsessive crush.

This week we’re heralding Alexa Day’s re-release ILLICIT IMPULSE and OH! the memories when it first came out.

Waaaaaay back, Alexa and I went mano-y-mano against each other in an unpublished author’s contest with similar science-y erotic romance plots.  My book pitch went down in flames, while Alexa got a publication deal.  Glory with me now in my lost manuscript and Alexa’s triumph.  The two books had similar premises, yet while hers was publishable, mine was soooo wonderfully whack.

Good times! But back to the business at hand:

Why do we wanna boink smart guys so badly anyway?

Buy it, try it, lurv it. Click here.

Buy it, try it, lurv it. Click here.

You see a book you wanna buy (please do). I see 5 reasons below:

Is it just the glasses? I consider the question in F**k my brains out: why are smart guys so sexy?

Is it the Ph.D. maybe?  Yes Professor: Confessions of a Sophophiliac

Is it that he was on the most famous geek TV show EVER?My obsession with the impish, irritable charm of David Tennant

Is it his geek-i-tude obsessions? CRAZY SEXY GHOULISH.

Do we just wanna have smart babies? Or is it because the sexy geek is the antithesis of a male stripper? Talking with Lynne Silver ’bout why we love a good geek.

As for the rest of these links, if you’re a geek–or in love with one–you might want to canvass a few of these other geek-related topics.  Enjoy!

Sexy-Geeky-Goodness: 4 Great Geek Reads.

The whole Sex Bot Thing–seriously, don’t get me and Alexa started.  #WeWantMaleSexBotsNow

Here’s a review of a book about a movie geek who encounters a movie star.

Heck! Who am I kidding? I *am* a movie geek.  What is this movie geek freaking out about? The same thing every other SFF movie geek is freaking out about–the ridiculously hot new Aquaman.

Finally, a little discussion from a while back (God, it seems like we’ve gone full circle since then) about some great interracial romance recommendations, including some awesome geeky paranormal IR: They’re Hot, They’re Naked and They’re Two Different Colors

So follow us at Lady Smut and hug a geek near you–Cheers!

Madeline Ivaimgres writes fantasy and paranormal romance.  Her novella ‘Sexsomnia’ involves a biology geek, and is available in our LadySmut anthology HERE. Her fantasy romance, WICKED APPRENTICE, featuring a magic geek, is available for pre-order Oct 1st and releases November 1st.

The Great Sexperiment, or Bodies of Knowledge

27 Sep
Buy it, try it, lurv it. Click here.

A man, a woman, and an experimental drug. Click to buy!

By Alexa Day

Great news — Illicit Impulse is available for your reading enjoyment right now! I hope you’ll grab yourself a copy and find out just how far two best friends will go to test an experimental sex drug called Impulse.

The Impulse experiments sound simple enough at first. Test subject Grace Foley just has to take the pill, have the sex, and report the results. Sure, her best friend, John March, is the one taking notes on her encounters, and she’ll have to work around her feelings for him. But aside from that, there shouldn’t be any trouble, right?

(There’s trouble. I promise. Just in case you were worried.)

As I was working on John and Grace’s story, I discovered that there’s a long tradition of sexperimentation quietly simmering beneath science’s sedate exterior. My personal favorite is the anatomical study of sexual intercourse conducted inside the MRI machine.

That’s right. Two people had sex inside an MRI so that we, the inquisitive public, can see what happens. Talk about sacrificing your body. I’ve been inside an MRI machine, and I’m a pretty open-minded woman. But I don’t see how two people can have missionary-style sex inside that thing. When I asked the tech —

What? Of course I asked. As expensive and unpleasant as an MRI is, I figure I get to ask whatever the hell I want.

Anyway, when I asked the tech, he said that there’s more space in the machine than I suppose. He’s been inside it a few times himself (for maintenance purposes, not for sex, you nasty people) and suggests that it is not as impossible as I think it is. Indeed, the report (please, you’ve got to read the report) says that when the couple was in position, only 3 centimeters of space separated them from the top of the tube.

Intrigued? Well, this European report comes with a video. Enjoy!

Creating Impulse and the tricky experimentation that went with it … that was a labor of love for me. So many of the modern sexperiments focus on men’s sexuality. Their testosterone levels, their arousal, their performance. Studies focused on women tend to produce mind-bending conclusions like “Jinkies! Women apparently want to have sex, too!”

Seriously, the number of results I got when I Googled “the enduring enigma of female desire” was both surprising and disappointing. Is it an enigma? Why does it endure so? Could it be that female desire would be less of an enigma if — I don’t know — someone were studying it more?

Illicit Impulse is built around a sex drug that only exists for women, a drug whose sole purpose is to allow women to enjoy sexual adventure. In the hands of a woman who loves her freedom and a man devoted to studying her pleasure, Impulse lives up to its potential. And that’s before Grace’s friend with benefits gets involved.

If you’re down for a little sexperimentation, grab a copy of Illicit Impulse. And stay tuned as Lady Smut’s smart, sexy theme week continues.

Follow Lady Smut. Give it a try and see what happens.

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