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When All Else Fails–Find Love: Rogue Desire

10 Aug

Hey political vaginas! If you’re still seeking refuge from the news but wanna romance hero who will fight the good fight–ROGUE DESIRE is the political anthology for you.  I read Adriana Anders’ story in which a young woman fighting for the community approaches that big spooky house on the block.  Lurking within it’s shadowy rooms is a recluse.  Major hacker geek hotness ensues. You should check it out —

Here’s a blurb:

Eight brand new romances for fans of the West Wing, fired-up #resistance fighters, and everyone who ever had a crush on that guy at a protest…

Whether you’re into reclusive hacker heroes, secret billionaire park rangers, or a healthy bout of hate sex, there’s a story for your heat level—from sweet to scorching hot.

$2.99 — buy it now!

ROGUE DESIRE anthology buy links:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2vlOOok

B&N: http://bit.ly/2umuu62

iBooks: http://apple.co/2uxymlq

Google play: http://bit.ly/2urDuaY

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2tQWvCl

Authors: Stacey Agdern, Adriana Anders, Emma Barry, Jane Lee Blair, Ainsley Booth, Amy Jo Cousins, Dakota Gray, Tamsen Parker.

STILL HESITATING: Okay, well check out this story by Ainsley Booth and see if that convinces you.  It’s free right now–but grab it today before it’s gone!

Check out a peek at Tamsen Parker’s story here.

 

 

Girl’s Guide to Top Ten Adorable Cult Films

3 Aug

by Madeline Iva

It’s August! Time to make with the grabby hands before the slow, relaxed days of summer give way to the hustle of September. Grab a peach smoothie and your favorite guy, and let all your worries go while you enjoy these 10 Adorable Cult Movies — each is it’s own funky mix of whimsy and romance, sprinkled throughout with subversive feminist tropes, and SFF joy.

Here are some films that subverted the 80’s ethos.

Desperately Seeking Susan:

80’s fashion deliciousness and the essence of Madonna distilled.  She was a free-spirit, a mooch, a not-just-one-man kinda woman–the definition of a woman who didn’t draw inside the lines.  You couldn’t be her, but you sure as shit think she’s cool.Note the subtle Alice in Wonderland devices, as Susan steps through her sliding door (i.e. The Looking Glass) into a new world.

Earth Girls are Easy:

Jeff Goldblum is hot.  Okay–geek-hot, but this movie recognized that!   EGAE is a movie that rolls around in sexual objectification, even as it rejects old skool values for 3rd wave feminism and a hard core ‘whatevs” attitude.  The iconic song “I Want ‘Em Big and Stupid” was a cry from the heart back in a time when erom didn’t even exist.  When this movie came out, Jeff and Gina were married, and no one knew who Jim Carey and Damon Wayans were.  Seriously.

Clueless:

America was clueless when this film came on the scene that it was a clever remake of Jane Austen’s Emma.  (Not me! I watched it the first time thinking “Elton? Elton.  Why is that name so familiar?” And blurted out “Oh My GOD, it’s EMMA!” in the movie theatre when she got out of the car. With great styling, this story of valley-girl redemption is fluffy and fun –but also a solidly crafted movie.  R.I.P. Brittany Murphy, before you went blonde & skinny and you know, died.  Props to Alicia Silverstone for holding onto her vegan ethics in Hollywood.

The Adventures of Buckaroo Bonzai:

Peter Weller, you may teach art history now at Syracuse University, but once you were an 80’s cult legend.  Pre-Robo Cop, pre-Naked Lunch, here was a role in which you showed what a movie star you could be.  The film had a very interesting low-budget SFF style we’ve never seen before or since.  Alas, Ellen almost ruins the movie with her overwrought acting, but then again, she has to go eye to eye with an evil slug that’s going to sting her face to death, so.The classic quote from this movie shouldn’t be “Remember: where ever you go, there you are.” It should be, “Hey, hey, hey.  Don’t be mean.” The film is a cult legend, but also is everything the 80’s wasn’t about–which is why I lurv it so hard.

Then the 90’s came: sigh. We finally got to look back at the 80’s and shudder.

Romy & Michelle’s High School Adventure:

I was the Janeane Garofalo character in this movie–minus the cigarettes.  At least that’s what it felt like on the inside. (I’d still rather stick a cigarette in my eye than go to my own high school reunion.) You might be surprised that I would hail a movie which in turn celebrates Pretty Women (shudder), but this movie was groundbreaking as it planted a flag in the quivering flesh of America, advocating female friendship first.  Fromance–you never looked so good.

More recently:

Bend It Like Beckham:

Yes, you get John Rhys-Meyers.  Yes, you get a fabulous multi-cultural feminism that will carry you away, and YES, you get to cheer the idea that women can have what they want — but it doesn’t have to be the same thing for every woman.  Huzzah!

Life After Beth:

You just won’t know just exactly where this movie is going.  A shout out to Matthew Gubler in his supporting role.  This is a small film about a guy’s big problems with his girlfriend–which we ultimately realize really are HIS issues…and symbolic.  Audrey Plaza stars in this film — which is reason enough to watch it in my book.

Warm Bodies:

R is Nick Hoult, and Nick Hoult is hot.  Nuff said. 

Maleficent:

Oh, this film did not go where I thought it would.  It was FABULOUS! Have you seen it? You gotta check it out. How I wish this film had been around when I was a little girl.

Austenland:

The one…the only.  I’m sorry, but J.J. Fields is the *best* Darcy evah!!!!!!! I’ll just confess here: we watch this film allllllll the time.  I could quote the lines to you by now.  This is the film to watch if you’re having a sad day–it will make you feel better.  Our heroine finally decides to take charge of her narrative—you’ll want to as well, after you see this film.

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.

 

 

It’s the End of the World as We Know It : Sexy Sunday Snippet

27 May

Hey folks! Here’s a snippet of C.M. Moore’s latest 1:05.A.M. And check out the interview I did with him about his ex-soldier past here.

Blurb:

In a dystopian future, an assassin must choose to fulfill a final contract or keep the love of her life alive.

Yearning for a normal life, assassin Karmen-Marie has had enough of of the post-apocalyptic world. Forced to take one last assassin’s job, Karma sets out across the frozen landscape of Earth.

Rea MacBain’s job is to ensure the safety of Earth’s precious few water purification plants. He believes his abusive past must stay buried under the snow that encases his domain.

Ice cold assassin’s blood drives the woman sent to kill him, yet it ignites the fire which thaws Rea’s heart.

Karma rolled out of bed and landed lightly on her feet. She grabbed one of Rea’s button-up shirts out of the plastic drawers and slipped the garment over her head. Without making a sound, she crept into the bathroom and used the facility before returning to the bedroom again.

She came out to check on Rea, who was snoring. He looked handsome even while he slept. A lock of red hair covered one eye. His face seemed serene, and worry was no longer evident. She resisted the urge to crawl back in bed and wake him in a very naughty way. He looked so calm she didn’t have the heart to wake him, even if it would be fun. It made sense why he was sleeping so hard. They had both been up most of the night. Not that she was complaining.

Last night, she’d been awakened by him twice, and both times were everything she had missed about him.

The first time he woke her, he was sweet and loving. He carefully pulled her to him and touched every inch of her as if trying to memorize her skin. She could tell by his murmurs of approval that he missed her screams of pleasure and her declarations of love.

The second time was when she’d stroked him until out of pure frustration, he flipped her over and took her from behind. She thought she should be more tired after a night like that, but for some reason, she was refreshed.

Instead of getting back into bed she meandered over to the computer and clicked on a few of the buttons that showed different areas of the water bases. Strange, but snooping around the computer seemed natural. Nothing looked familiar on the screen like she’d hoped, so she roamed into the kitchen space. She figured she could make Rea food, and she ambled past the dark wood cabinets and tan counter. She opened some broken drawers and the fridge, but she didn’t know what he would want to eat.

Frustration flooded her that she couldn’t remember even the most basic item of what he ate for breakfast. Giving up on food, she glanced at the clock on the microwave in the kitchen. The time blinked 7:11. Her body had summoned her awake fairly early. She thought about that. She was restless and fidgety. Did she normally get up this early? She used to love to sleep in and snuggle all day in bed with Rea.

As she glanced around the room, a few other thoughts struck her as well. From what she gathered, this was an entirely different water base than the one they grew up on. If that was the case, everything looked exactly like she remembered. The broken plastic drawers that held his clothes were in the corner. The blanket on his bed was the same thin rag with the blue diamond pattern. The few plates and cups in the cabinets were adorned with the same green flowers, and even the bathroom layout was identical to what she remembered. If she and Rea were so much older, why was their home the same? Why had the two of them not cleaned his room and decorated together? Did Rea’s father still hate her? She remembered how bad life got right after Rea’s mom died. Was he still being beaten? Too many unanswered questions nagged at her, and she resolved to get some answers today. When Rea awoke, she’d ask him then.

Karma started to head back to the computer, not bothering to turn on any of the lights since her eyes had adjusted to the dark perfectly. As she moved silently, so as to not wake Rea, she passed by the kitchen table. When she reached one of the pushed-in chairs, her ears picked up the sound of footsteps outside the door. She moved around the table and checked to see if Rea had awoken.

Curious about who’d be here this early, she opened the door. Gears was standing just outside the door with his fist raised in a position ready to knock. A look of surprise was written on his face when she appeared. He cleared his throat uncomfortably.

“Good morning,” she whispered with a slight nod.

She didn’t know why, but around the doctor she was edgy, like there was a secret he wasn’t telling her. Gears looked at her with apparent distrust, and she considered all the actions she could’ve done to warrant that look.

“Good morning, Karma.” Gears gave a solemn smile. He looked around the hall nervously. He then tried to lean past the doorframe. “Is Rea here?”

“He’s sleeping,” Karma answered. She kept her voice low so as to not wake Rea. Why did everyone keep asking stupid questions? Of course, Rea was here, where else would he be? She waited for Gears to say more. Did he regularly show up this early? That seemed odd to her also.

“He’s sleeping, really?” Gears’ eyes went wide with astonishment, but Karma couldn’t think of what could possibly be so shocking about that. People had to sleep, didn’t they?

As a snore cut into the brief pause in the conversation, Gears began looking her up and down. She could tell he was assessing her and drawing conclusions as to what they’d been doing during the night. She tugged at the bottom of Rea’s shirt and wished the fabric was longer. She also awkwardly brushed some of her wild hair so the tendrils didn’t look like she had just been rolling around in bed.

“He had intercourse with you?” Gears voice went high on the last word. He cleared his throat and pushed his glasses up his nose in an almost nervous gesture. Karma thought she was either getting used to that particular move, or his action was familiar.

“We’re grown adults. I don’t think you should be concerned. People do sleep, and they have sex, and they eat too. It’s all really boring, actually. I thought you were a doctor.”

There was something about how Gears reacted to her that bothered her. She had the impression that when she was talking to him, he was silently interrogating her. Maybe she had caused some type of rift between Rea and Gears. It was also possible Rea’s father could favor the doctor over Rea. There was a chance Gears worked for Rea’s dad and was reporting back. If they’d just tell her what was wrong, she was sure she could make amends.

Gears seemed to recover and collect his reaction. She noticed a tiny smile play on his lips.

“That came out all wrong. You’re right. I’m a doctor. I was making sure you were healing. I didn’t want you to engage in any activity that might not be good for your health. I know you’re an adult. I was concerned as your doctor only. Just keep your wounds clean. That’s important. I always say cleanliness is next to godliness.” Gears paused awkwardly, like he wasn’t sure what he should say next. “I brought you some clothes my girlfriend left at my place. I thought you might need them.”

Karma looked down at the pile of fabric in his arms and relaxed. Maybe she’d gotten Gears all wrong. She offered him a small smile. She shouldn’t be so quick to judge him. He was the doctor here, and she should give him the benefit of the doubt.

“Thanks for the clothes. I didn’t know I didn’t have any here. Where are my clothes normally?”

Gears looked uneasy and glanced past her again. Was he hoping Rea would answer her question? Another awkward silence filled the air between them.

“Maybe you should wake Rea and tell him what time it is. You can ask him your questions. This is a friendly doctor’s suggestion.” With that curious sentence, the doctor quickly departed.

Karma was left standing in the doorway, and as Gears left she mulled over what to do next.

She supposed the first thing she should do is get dressed. She closed the door and went into the bathroom to try on the clothes he’d brought.

One by one, she tried them on, only to find nothing fitted properly. If this clothing was Gears’ girlfriend’s, then the other girl was a lot shorter than she was, Karma concluded.

Finally, she discovered a pair of black stretchy pants that had enough fabric to cover her legs down to her knees. She then chose the largest shirt she could find. The shirt was royal blue, and the garment covered her breasts but clung to her like a second skin. Since she couldn’t find anything else that looked like it might fit, she dressed. She then brushed out her hair with a hairbrush she found on a shelf.

As soon as she got back into the bedroom, she decided it was probably a good idea to take Gears’ advice and wake Rea. A part of her didn’t want to wake him, but if he had somewhere to be, she’d hate if he slept all day and missed his appointments.

From what she gathered, Rea was somewhat of a busy man. If his father were still around, he wouldn’t be happy if Rea wasn’t doing whatever he was supposed to be doing. The idea of meeting an irate Rea’s father was a frightening thought. She remembered how he used to bust into Rea’s room. She hoped he didn’t still do that.

Karma lay down on her side and cushioned her head next to Rea’s face. She softly kissed him and waited to see if he’d wake up. He mumbled incoherent words in his sleep and moved closer to her, as if seeking her out. When his hand found her breast, he brushed his fingers over her shirt and then gave a lazy smile. She loved when he did that, and she scooted closer so he could wrap his arm all the way around her.

“Hey, handsome,” Karma purred as his eyes leisurely lifted open.

“What’s going on, Kitten?” he mumbled sleepily, still caressing her.

“It’s past seven, so I thought maybe I should wake you. We could have breakfast or…”

The word “seven” brought out the strangest reaction in Rea. One moment he was snuggled next to her making lazy circles on her back, and the next second he’d thrown himself out of bed like he’d been laying on razor blades.

“After seven? Shit!”

Karma scooted to the edge of the bed as Rea started to wildly throw on clothes. She was amazed at the speed with which he could get fully clothed. When he was dressed, he shoved his feet into boots that lay next to the bed.

“What’s wrong with seven?”

“I’m late for training. I haven’t been late since—” Rea looked like he was going to say more, but he stopped himself and ran his hand through his rumpled hair.

Frowning, he crossed to the door of the bathroom and disappeared. Karma sat on the side of the bed and waited for him to come back. How was she supposed to know what time he had training? She didn’t even know where her clothes were.

Rea rushed out of the bathroom and headed straight for the exit. He paused at the door with his hand on the knob. For a moment, she thought he was going to exit without saying anything more to her. He spun around and looked at her like he’d completely forgotten she was there. Karma was mildly annoyed.

“Damn it. What am I supposed to do with you?” He swore two more times and then swiveled his head back to the door.

Karma stood up and went to stand next to him. She could tell he was worried, and she could see the war within him starting.

Ignoring his frantic state, she wrapped her arms around his shoulders and brought his mouth down to hers. She kissed him with barely leashed passion, not letting him go for a second. She swept her tongue inside his mouth to taste the toothpaste he used. She clutched at his muscled upper arms. She didn’t let go until he wrapped his arms around her body and crushed her to him. When he finally surfaced from the kiss, he looked at her with a bemused expression on his face.

“What was that for?”

“I wanted to say good morning before you left, and tell you I had a great time last night. I can wait here for you. I can sit around and try to get my memory back while you’re out. You don’t need to worry about me.”

Rea’s expression turned grim. He ran his hands through his hair again. Her words had the opposite effect on him than what she’d intended. He looked more worried now than before.

“No, you can’t stay here alone. Your boots are over by the chair. Put them on and come with me.”

“You want me to go with you… to training?” Karma was truly astounded.

Once she’d snuck in to watch his training with his dad. After his father had humiliated him in front of everyone, he then pitted Rea against two men who were better trained.

Karma remembered keenly watching Rea get slammed into the mud repetitively. When Rea found out she’d seen it, he had made her promise to never come to training again. She’d honored his request because she couldn’t watch his sadistic father in action ever again. Watching the love of her life get crushed had been a hell like none other.

“Hurry up.” He pulled a pair of socks from a drawer and tossed them at her.

Karma was still stunned he invited her. She fumbled with the socks as she put them on. She grabbed the soft black leather boots he pointed to and sat in a chair by the table. They felt like they were made for her, and she zipped them up over her calf. These boots gave her a measure of comfort because out of everything, these were familiar. A memory of her zipping up these boots popped into her head, and the thought was comforting.

Rea didn’t spare her another glance as they hurried out into the hallway. As Karma trotted along after Rea, she glanced at the empty rooms to the right and left. The plain cement walls were smooth on either side of the large walkway. Bright round lights hung every few feet above them. Each room they passed had the door open, and empty beds and sparse furniture came into view.

“Why are all the rooms around here empty? Are we antisocial?”

“It’s ‘coz once I leave to build a new base my room and all the rooms in this area go to the scientists and their families. Once the men are trained, they’ll be the police and the safety of this water base. Scientists, women, and children can’t move onto the base until it is safe. It’s my father’s rule.”

“I didn’t know this was a new base. Thank you for bringing me along while you build it. I heard you’re not supposed to do that.” Karma mulled what they’d been discussing. Was having no one around him hard, or did he want it that way? Maybe he liked that his life was just her, him, and his dad. Karma shuddered at the thought of Rea’s father. She was glad she hadn’t run into him so far.

After a few seconds of silence while they walked, she started to wonder if they were going to stay on this base or if they were going to move on to build another one.

“After this base is fully operational and people move in, will a family or a couple live in your room? After the scientists and workers move here and this base is safe, where do we go?”

They turned a sharp corner and headed down similar hallways of cold cement with large fat columns. The walls were sterile, like they were waiting for someone to decorate them. She thought that adding finishing touches to a base might be fun.

“My room and the others around me are for single people and sometimes for couples. Down further, there are rooms for larger families. This way is past the greenhouses that grow some of the food. Spouses and children are responsible for the underground farms that get added after I leave.” Rea sounded resigned to this, like he was a tour guide educating her. “All the best shit gets added after I leave.”

Rea hurried Karma along over the rock flooring, past the different areas of the water base. They rushed past large equipment rooms where the scientists would clean water from the surface and put it into huge tanks. They passed barracks for the single men and an enormous empty cafeteria.

Something about the greenhouses was familiar to her. The time 1:05 a.m. leaped into her mind. As soon as she tried to catch the memory, it was gone again.

“Until the families get here, who takes care of the greenhouses?” she asked to chase away the perturbed feeling seeping into her. She was practically running to keep up, and she was irked she had no memories.

“All the men have to spend time in the greenhouses. It’s partly ‘coz we have to grow our food, but mostly it’s mandatory that we all have to be under the sun lamps. Gears gets after us if our vitamin D drops too low. He checks our health once a month.”

“That makes sense, but you didn’t really answer my other question. Where do we go after this water base is built? What do we do when we don’t have Gears with us? Does he come with us, or is there another doctor?”

“We?” Rea gave her a quick side glance and kept up his jog.

“Yes, we. Are we going to a new base to train others, or are we going back to an already established base? Do we stay here? Where does your father go? Does he come with us? Does Gears move with us? I thought he was a close friend of yours.”

Rea abruptly stopped. They came to a large metal door and paused. His hand reached out and grasped a long metal handle.

“That’s a lot of questions, Kitten. We’re going to work it out.” He spoke meticulously. He stopped and turned around to look at her. A fierce frown wrinkled his brow as his eyes slashed over her. “What are you wearing?” he added after studying her.

“Clothes.”

“That’s not clothes. That’s a second skin, only in color.”

Karma looked down at herself and shrugged. The boots came up to where the black stretch pants left off, and the blue shirt covered her torso even though the top was snug. The clothes did fit, but he was right about the fabric not hiding much. It seemed tight, but she could move easily.

“Gears gave the clothes to me this morning.” She smoothed her hand over the bottom of her shirt. “He also told me to wake you. I think he was surprised you slept in.”

“I bet he was,” Rea grumbled. He then mumbled under his breath a few more words about how Gears was trying to make his life miserable. With a frown now permanently plastered on his face, he put his hand on the doorknob and swung the door wide. The entrance was a large double door, but the opposite one stayed firmly shut.

“I would’ve worn my clothes if you’d told me where they are,” Karma commented to his back. What did he expect her to do, run around the base naked? This was better than nothing.

“We can work that out too,” he grumbled, preoccupied.

It was apparent he was now dismissing her from his thoughts.

Rea’s stride was swift. He entered the room with head held high and back straight. Karma followed him, and she recognized the huge training room. The massive room had only a mud floor, but the ceiling was cement and at least twelve feet high.

She looked up at the columns, which held up the giant chamber, and she let her eyes pass over the different things going on around her. On her left side, near where they entered, two shirtless men were fighting with jagged looking knives. On the opposite side, a large group of men was practicing with some type of club and shield. The center of the room was only a big ring, which wasn’t occupied, but all the way around the circle, men were standing as if waiting for someone to enter it. The ring in the center was familiar. She remembered Rea in the center, being beaten to the floor while everyone stood by watching. A part of her knew this wasn’t the exact same ring, but the area was so recognizable a feeling of helplessness swamped her.

To banish the raw memory, she looked at all the different sizes and shapes of the men around her. Every male was fit, but they were as different as light and dark. Some were black, some Hispanic, and some maybe Asian or Indian. Tall, short, and medium, the room was a collage of sturdy warriors, and all of them were intimidating and well built.

“I want you to stay close to me. Don’t talk or draw attention to yourself. You already look too damn sexy. These men haven’t been around a woman for a few months. Dad says women are a distraction and shouldn’t be around during training. Especially, not a hot woman like you.”

“You think I’m sexy?” she purred.

“I said don’t talk,” Rea groused, but Karma couldn’t help but smile anyway.

“If women aren’t allowed on the base because they’re not safe, then why did you let me come?”

Karma knew she shouldn’t ask, but she couldn’t help herself. She hated that she still didn’t have the ability to recall even the simplest information.

“We’ll talk about it later.”

He was brushing her off again. Karma wanted to be offended, but she wasn’t. She could tell Rea wasn’t happy about bringing her near a bunch of men while they were in training mode. If Rea hated doing this so much, he must have an excellent reason to have asked her along. He wasn’t the kind of man to jeopardize her safety or cause problems for his men.

Even though he told her not to say a word, it didn’t matter. Her presence caused enough of a stir that she might’ve shouted at all of them instead of meekly walking behind Rea.

“Boss-Mac got a piece of ass?” someone in the back called out.

“I thought he was gay!” Another man remarked loudly.

“I heard that, Essie,” Rea yelled over his shoulder as he kept striding forward.

A few other men gave out hoots and whistles behind her.

“Now we know why he slept in.” A man to her left gave out a sharp bark of laughter at his own comment.

“Did you bring us a prize to fight for? I heard your dad used to do that. If we get to do her when we win, then I’m first up to fight.” A large Asian man to her right spoke, as his eyes raked her body like she wasn’t wearing a stitch of clothing.

He adjusted the small pistol on his belt so he could grab his balls and wink at her.

The vulgar way he looked at her made Karma’s blood run cold with rage she didn’t even know she had inside of her. She thought she wasn’t a violent person, but the idea of grabbing his gun off of his belt and beating him over the head with it filled her head.

“I’m up for fighting this morning if she’s the prize,” a shorter blond with a big nose called out from the back of the crowd. “Hell, I’d even marry her.”

Karma felt like a piece of meat thrown to dogs. She quickly assessed what other weapons were around the room and which ones would be easiest to steal.

“Hey, Boss-Mac,” a brawny brunet man standing next to her side spoke up. “You said if we’re late for training then we have to be in the ring first thing to fight you, so who do you fight if you’re late?”

Karma studied Rea. His face looked like it could’ve been carved in granite. He seemed like he didn’t care if anyone had sex with her or if he had to fight in the ring with all of them. He took bored to a whole new level. Karma couldn’t believe this was the man she’d had sex with last night. When he was with her, he was so expressive and caring. Now he looked like an icy stranger.

“First off, I’m the Water Base Boss. I get the women around here. If you guys want to get laid, then become better fighters. Learn the rules to make this base secure. After it’s safe, you can chase as much trim as you want. You can also bring your girlfriends and wives here once this is fully operational.

“Second, as boss, I can be late. However, to honor the rule, I’ll step into the pit. Who is first up for me to beat?”

Rea strolled into the center of the ring without even looking back at her. Karma found her hands going up to her hair. She began swiftly pulling the strands into a tight ponytail. She didn’t know why she was doing it, but the action was as if it was ingrained in her to have her hair out of the way right at this time.

From behind her, she heard some of the men grumbling about fighting Rea. She could tell from his overpowering confidence he wasn’t worried about sparring with any of them. She recalled a bandage near his rib cage that she’d seen last night. She couldn’t believe he’d fight with an injury. He didn’t appear concerned about any of it, injury or men.

As he stood casually in the center of the mud, he waited like he had all the time in the world. His body was hard and muscular, with strength radiating off of him. Karma’s body felt like her insides were winding up. As if someone was twisting her internal organs. She could feel the heat of the men around her pressing in, and a deeply rooted battle cry was trapped in her throat. She wanted to fight all these men. She wanted to defend Rea even though he was standing so mighty before her. She didn’t want him to stand alone.

“I’ll take you on, Boss-Mac,” a Hispanic-looking man, with a thick accent, called from behind her.

Karma turned slightly to look at the tall, husky, curly-haired man casually striding toward the ring. He stopped when he came to her, and something about him seemed recognizable. He smiled at her, but the flash of teeth wasn’t friendly.

“How about you watch a real fighter?” Curly spoke as he walked up to her. He was talking loudly enough for Rea to hear from where he was standing.

She glanced to Rea to gauge what he wanted her to do. Once Curly had Rea’s attention, he wrapped an arm around her waist and pulled her to him.

“Playing a damsel in distress, Karma?” he whispered to her before he nuzzled her neck. No one seemed to hear what he said, and she had no idea what that meant.

Disgust filled her at his smell and touch. She tugged away from him. He only laughed at her squirming, but he let her go and slapped her ass. She restrained herself from striking him, but her muscles tensed to do so.

The slap seemed loud in the space. Although it only took seconds for him to touch her, it was as if time had slowed down. She saw Rea’s eyes darken only slightly, but he kept his face as an unreadable mask.

“Quit fucking around,” Rea barked out.

When Curly entered the ring, Karma could tell he was slightly shorter than Rea but just as fit. The two of them looked evenly matched. Karma’s heart dropped to her stomach. Curly was a good fighter. He was dangerous. She didn’t know how she knew that, but she did, and she trusted her knowledge.

As soon as the two men faced each other, Rea’s eyes narrowed. Karma started to study Curly as if she was going to enter the bout with him herself.

“Who are you?” Rea asked as they eyed each other.

“My name’s Nash,” Nash spoke with a slow drawl. “I’m new.”

“I don’t remember seeing your name on the roster.” Rea’s voice was flat.

“I transferred here from another base. I showed up yesterday, around the time you kicked out Charlie and Josh. I heard about what went down. Guess I can’t blame you. If I were fucking an ass as fine as that bitch, I wouldn’t be sharing either.”

Rea’s anger swelled noticeably. He threw the first punch.

Nash blocked Rea’s fist. He landed his elbow straight into Rea’s gut. Rea bent over with the hit. The crowd of men cheered. The room filled with noise all the way up to the ceiling. Rea got back up quickly, and his eyes flashed with rage. He threw his entire body at Nash, wrapping his arms around the other man’s waist. They wrestled to the floor. More cheering followed.

Karma moved closer to the ring. Rea’s eyes caught hers for a moment. She shifted slightly through the men, who were now captivated by the spectacle before them. They cheered and shouted. None of them even noticed her any longer.

As Karma moved through the crowd, she had the urge to call out the command for Rea to focus on what he was doing. He needed to stop looking for her.

Biting her tongue, she moved until she was standing on the opposite side of the ring. She was following Nash’s movements. She didn’t know why. As she moved, the two men exchanged hit after hit. Nash was pounding at Rea’s injured side. Blood could be seen smearing across his shirt.

She thought she should be appalled at the blood, which splattered on the dirt, or at the crack of bone hitting bone, but she found the fighting dull. She was resigned, bored even. An odd jaded feeling was filling her. She shifted her weight to the balls of her feet. She was waiting for something. Even though she was waiting, she didn’t know what she was looking for.

The air crackled with unexplained discord. What was she expecting to happen? It was the way Nash moved, the way he glanced at her. His actions were speaking silently to her. She trusted her instincts.

Everything happened so fast Karma wasn’t sure why she did what she did.

As she saw Nash pull a sleek steel dagger from the side of his boot, she turned and grabbed a handle-heavy throwing knife off the belt of the man shoved next to her. For some reason, she wasn’t happy with his knife selection, but that idea came like a quick bolt of lightning. She balanced the rusted blade on her palm. The action was as if she’d done this a thousand times.

With ease, she threw the cumbersome knife with practiced grace. The throwing knife lodged in Nash’s hand. Swiftly, she moved again between two more men. Nash hollered with pain and surprise. His eyes shot to her for a second. Her actions startled the man next to her, but she slinked away from him around the circle. None of the men moved quickly enough to stop her.

Stepping to the edge of the circle, Karma assessed what other weapons were within arm’s reach. The dagger Nash had held now lay on the ground, forgotten. The knife was stained with mud and splattered blood. The blade had never reached its intended destination.

Nash swore at her in fury.

Rea stumbled backward. Shock etched into his features as he rotated his head toward her.

Nash brought his hand, with her knife stuck between the bones, down to his middle. With a concentrated effort, he pulled the oxidized blade from his skin. Dark, rich blood spurted in all directions.

Now that he had the old throwing knife clutched in his good hand, Nash turned to her. His eyes were ablaze in outrage.

“Fuck you, Karma. I knew you switched sides, you sneaky bitch.”

The entire room stilled collectively as if they were holding their breath.

Nash charged her. In a flash, she felt the swipe of the knife at her belly. Karma jumped back before the next swing of Nash’s weapon. Warm blood and ripped cloth fell to the ground. Her body reacted even as her mind went blank.

Karma crouched low, sweeping her leg under Nash. She knocked him backward to the dirt. As her hand reached for the gun hung on the belt of the man behind her, her mind rejected her actions. She fought to focus on what was happening. This was starting to feel like a dream… or a nightmare.

Rea threw his body over Nash. He kept him pinned to the ground. They grappled for the knife Nash still held. Rea’s hands forced Nash to stab himself in the neck.

The sound of a single shot being fired reverberated around the room. Scared, she glanced around to see who’d fired a gun.

Finally, there was only an eerie silence in the training room.

Blood flowed freely from the huge gash that had been cut into Nash’s throat. As the dirt around him turned red, she spun away. She was lightheaded and trying valiantly to not vomit. What had she done? She looked around the room. The weight of every man’s eyes was on her. This time, they weren’t assessing her figure; they were afraid of her. Every man, including Rea, looked tense and alert.

Rea stood unsteadily. He stepped between her and the lifeless body. He didn’t speak but merely stared at her like all the other men. Her eyes jumped to him. She wanted to beg him to hold her, to chase away what had happened. She wanted Rea to comfort her, to tell her he was there for her.

“Karma?” Rea said her name slowly.

His voice wasn’t more than a whisper of sound, but she felt it in her heart. She could feel the persistent connection that said he’d be there, no matter what. Rea would be there for her. He loved her.

“Kitten?” Again he spoke slowly, like he was trying to soothe a wild animal.

He took one tiny step forward, then another, until he was only a few inches from her. Carefully, with his hands steady, he reached out to her.

Karma looked down at her hands when he reached for them. She realized she was tightly gripping a gun. Where had she gotten it? When?

Wildly, she spun around. She let her eyes return to the dead man on the floor. A perfect bullet hole was in the center of his forehead. What had she done? Tears welled up at the corners of her eyes, but she couldn’t seem to let them fall. Everyone was waiting for her to give up the weapon she still clutched. This was evident without the words being spoken. She didn’t want to let the gun go. That idea frightened her more than anything that had happened so far.

She released the small pistol into Rea’s hand and waited to see what would happen. She had killed a man who worked for Rea. What would Rea’s father say when he found out? What would Rea do?

“Gears,” Rea called to the doctor, who appeared at his side. Karma was stunned to see him. She didn’t even know he’d shown up in the training room. “Take Karma back to my room and check her injuries. Check her memories.” Rea linked his fingers through hers. They rushed through the men who moved out of their way like they were an avalanche.

They got to the far side of the room with Gears following them. Rea opened the door. The hallway looked like a welcoming sanctuary that would let her escape this madness. She turned to Gears, who was now standing next to her. Gears and Rea exchanged a look. The men were silent, which made the training room seem abnormal.

“Gears, I’ll stay here and handle the body. I have to speak to Ken. Take Karma home. I’ll be there soon.” Rea pressed the gun she’d had moments ago into Gears’ hand. Gears looked at the weapon and wagged his head back and forth.

“Back to your room again? Really? Don’t you think you should reconsider that?” Gears pushed the weapon back at Rea. Rea pushed it back again.

“Take her to my room. Do what you have to do to look after her. I’ll tell Ken what happened and have him handle it. I’ll be there soon.”

“I don’t think so.” Gears shoved the gun back again into Rea’s hand. “What if this triggers all her memories? Does Ken know what’s going on? Maybe I should talk to him instead. You go with Karma. I’ll stay.”

Gears’ hands were shaking. He looked like he was scared of going with her. She hated that. He took a step away from her and moved closer to the training room door.

Rea was not to be swayed. He stepped in front of Gears, handing the gun to him one final time.

“I’ll only be a minute. Ken will help me remove the body and talk to the men. He’s efficient.” Rea started to push him out into the hallway. Karma meekly followed, feeling dejected.

“What if she…” Gears trailed off.

“She’ll be fine,” Rea insisted.

Rea returned to the crowd of men around the body. At this point, she didn’t believe him. She thought she’d never be fine again.

Want more? Buy it, bitches! Available on AMAZON  or KOBO.

 

 

 

 

Blown Up & Ice Bound: Q & A with Male Romance Author C.M.Moore

25 May

Click to buy…

by Madeline Iva

MADELINE IVA: You’re really one-half of a whole.  Who’s your other half?
 
C.M. MOORE: I do rely on my wife Monica. She is my editor, my muse, my battle buddy, and my best friend. She tells me when something isn’t “sexy” and she is my brain when my Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) gets the better of me. I will be the first to say that without her none of my books would be possible.
 
MADELINE IVA: You’re a former soldier, right? Tell us about that — how long were you soldiering? Where were you stationed? And you saw action — what happened? I get the feeling you were blown up.
 

C.M. MOORE: Yes, I am. I joined the military just out of high school. I spent my first seven years as a 13 Foxtrot, Fire Support Specialist. An FO’s (forward observer) job is to aim indirect fire and air support. I deployed twice under that occupation. After my second tour, in Iraq, I decided to reclass my career choice. I went with the craziest job imaginable. I joined the ranks of 12 Bravos, the Combat Engineers.       When I was pitched the idea of engineer work I was told: “You will breach obstacles by the use of explosive force”. That sounded awesome! What they didn’t tell me was I wouldn’t be placing explosive, but finding what is hidden along the road. Yuck. My first two tours were a cake walk, but the third one damn near killed me, ten times. I was the lead security gun truck commander. I have been mortared, shot at, and blown up nine times. The ninth I.E.D. (improvise explosive device) awarded me the Purple Heart. I retired from my military career not long after. I sustained a compressed spine, six bulging discs, left shoulder and right knee are shot, and a traumatic brain injury. Which all lead to my writing career.

Connor Moore

 

MADELINE IVA: How’d a nice guy like you come to hang out with a bunch of romance women like us?
 
C.M. MOORE: My wife loves to read. We both own a little bookstore in the middle of nowhere Minnesota. I’m a fan of authors like Robert Ludlum, and their stories of espionage. I have fancied the idea of writing my own series under the same genre. Monica came to me one day and told me she ran out of books to read. Seriously? We own a bookstore.  How do you run out of things to read for fun? With this new found information I told my wife, Monica, I wanted to write a story. When I was about page two into it, my wife pitched to me adding a love story. She pulled on my heart strings to accommodate her. Surprisingly, I had a great time merging the two stories. I haven’t looked back ever since. 
 
MADELINE IVA: Your first book 1:05 a.m. is a (Fill in the blank here.) Hint: I’m looking for a genre…
 
C.M. MOORE: 1:05 a.m. is a futuristic romance. Set after the fall of the U.S. government and the dawn of a new ice era. 
 
MADELINE IVA: What’s the heat level of 1:05 a.m.?
 
C.M. MOORE: I would say a 3.5 out of a 5. It does have some hot sex, but it has some story too.

In a dystopian future, an assassin must choose to fulfill a final contract or keep the love of her life alive.

Yearning for a normal life, assassin Karmen-Marie has had enough of of the post-apocalyptic world. Forced to take one last assassin’s job, Karma sets out across the frozen landscape of Earth.

Rea MacBain’s job is to ensure the safety of Earth’s precious few water purification plants. He believes his abusive past must stay buried under the snow that encases his domain.

Ice cold assassin’s blood drives the woman sent to kill him, yet it ignites the fire which thaws Rea’s heart.

MADELINE IVA: What I really really really really want to ask is this: So many women’s jaws fall open when it comes to military men in romances.  Are we doing something really screwed up when we objectify military men as sex objects?
 
C.M. MOORE: I don’t have a problem with romance novels objectifying and glamorizing men in uniform… what I don’t like is when the story doesn’t properly review what happens to those men after they come home.
 
No one is the same after they return from a deployment and as long as a writer shows a character’s real struggle and their growth, I’m happy to see them writing about the men (or women) who fight for our country. 
 
Look, in the end, I understand that this is a fantasy… that’s okay and what’s more, it’s fun. Read for fun! Read hot sexy firefighters, and cops, and soldiers with muscles, who can bench press you into the bed. (For the record, I used to be able to do that. You can ask Monica if you don’t believe me.)
 
MADELINE IVA: Then what the hell? Why aren’t you writing military romances, Connor?
 
C.M. MOORE: I find writing contemporary romances not as entertaining for me as writing the future in the way I envision it. However, there is a definite military feel in my books that does come from my background. I hope no one holds that against me. ; >
 
MADELINE IVA: And Monica! We can’t forget Monica. She was a soldier too — can you answer #2 for her as well?
 
C.M. MOORE: Monica wants to answer that for herself, so… perspective change. 
 
MONICA: I joined the service after high school. I was in the service for eight years, most of that time as a 38A (Civil Affairs Specialist). I deployed to Afganistan as a Civil Affairs Specialist. CA was an interesting job. I had an officer who liked to say that they hand out “hugs and lollipops” to foreign countries to get them to like the United States a little better. I did things like help build wells, taught English classes at an orphanage, and helped build schools and hospitals.
MADELINE IVA: So, like, did you guys meet in uniform? If you DID then you know I’m totally expecting you to twist/distort the story, however, necessary to make it — pick one: romantic/sweet/hot/fraught with romantic tension.
 
C.M. MOORE: Monica and I did not meet in uniform. I am sorry to disappoint! Actually, as the story goes, It was my senior year of high school and I had a friend named John who claimed he had met this “hot” girl in the next town over and was dating her. I didn’t believe him, so one night I drove to said “hot” girl’s house and knocked. Monica appeared and I was tongue tied. She was about to slam the door in my face, but she recognized another friend (Richard)  who’d tagged along. I told her why I was there (to prove she didn’t exist) and she didn’t take that too well. So to help my poor pounding heart and sweat soaked shirt, I invited her to a party at my house. 
 
At the party (I threw together), I thought I would show off and I challenged a tiny elf-sized woman to a drinking game. What I didn’t know at the time was she wasn’t a light weight. I could bearly keep up with her and before long I was blitzed. While stumbling around I noticed that Monica was leaving with Rich so I thought I would ride along and make my move. I wanted to sing her sonnets and maybe pet her hair while I fed her grapes, but honestly, I could bearly sit up straight. 
 
I had claimed a seat next to her in the backseat of Rich’s car when my friend made a vicious u-turn at the end of the street. My hand flew to my mouth to stop the alcohol that had decided to exit my stomach, but it was no use. I threw up all over Monica, part of the backseat, and finally, I got the door open and colored the pavement.
 
So yeah, after I vomited all over Monica she became mine forever! We’ve been together 17 years and married for fifteen. Monica is strong, smart, kind, and most of all… forgiving. Any woman you can throw up and stays with you is a keeper.
 
MADELINE IVA: Let’s go back to talking about your experiences in the army when it comes to gender. What’s the proportion of men to women in the units you served in?
 
C.M. MOORE: I served mostly in male-dominated units. Only a few headquarter units I was assigned to had females. Monica was in more blended units.
 
MADELINE IVA: How does having women around affect things–if you have any insight into that?
 
C.M. MOORE: In my experience, I know the female perspective is needed on and off the battlefield. Women soldiers bring certain aspects to the table that men don’t think about. For example, compassion. Compassion for the civilians caught in a war-stricken country. 
 
MADELINE IVA: How does being in the middle of soldiering affect the way men think of women?
 
C.M. MOORE: Speaking for just myself, and what I saw, I know that the men had no problem if the female pulled her own weight in her duties. I also noticed women who pushed and sustained themselves to the male standards were held in higher regard.
 
MADELINE IVA: What do we need to know about the whole world building in your novel — it’s post-apocalyptic.  So what are the fundamental big issue they face? Water? Cold?
 
C.M. MOORE: A meteor has struck the pacific, causing massive climate change. Earth begins another ice era. After the U.S. lost the Oil Wars, the remnants of the population are either migrating to the Equator for warmth or burrowing deeper into the Earth’s crust. However, the cold brings its own issues. Issues that create a new rare precious commodity. 
 
MADELINE IVA: Why are the titles certain times of the day?
 
C.M. MOORE: The title starts with Karma and her story in 1:05 A.M. She is tasked with completing her mission by 1:05 A.M. I didn’t want the cover to blend in with all the hot half naked dudes on the cover. Plus, I am a little jealous of their abs.
 
MADELINE IVA: You know I have to ask the next question—so what comes after 1:05 A.M.? 1:10A.M.? ; >
 

C.M. MOORE:  My fans fell in love with a secondary character nicknamed Gears. So, naturally,  Gears got his own Novella. It’s called “Grinding My Gears, An Off the Rails Ice Era Chronicle “. That will be released next month. It will be free for my newsletter subscribers. You can sign up at www.authorcmmoore.com

Click and subscribe to C.M. Moore’s newsletter, and get this free story…

 
In August/September 2:05 A.M. will be released. We will follow Gears’ daughter on her own romance adventure.  
 
MADELINE IVA: Thanks so much for being with us today, Connor! Ladies (and gents?) if you want more of Connor, you can find him cracking wise on facebook here:
 
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.

Person Of Interest: My TV Show Hangover

30 Mar

He’s a soft-spoken, hot killer–if you like that sort of thing.

By Madeline Iva

The upside to having a week long bout of stomach flu was enjoying a PERSON OF INTEREST marathon, aka watching Jim Caviezel eye candy.

I’d never been interested in watching the show until I saw a recommendation on i09 that was like: The last season is out! You have to go check out the entire show on Netflix! Well, okay then.

Now I’ve finished the last episode, and I am in the thrashing throes of a terrible TV show hangover…So thanks, i09.

Of course, seeing commercials for the show at one time, I thought: Hey! It’s that guy who was the leader of the Others on Lost.  And hey! It’s that guy who was in that whack sci-fi alien/Viking film (Outlander—but not the Outlander you’re thinking) and G.I. Jane. Damn he’s hot. Even when he’s looking anxious and sad.

I *liked* Carter and am following her from this show to other work she’s done.

So why wasn’t I interested? Cause it seemed to be about these wistful attractive women in danger, and this creepy-yet-competent ex-military guy who saved them with some slightly futuristic computer device. Yawn. Happily, it’s not like that AT ALL.

WARNING: SEMI-SPOILERS AHEAD!

Even in the first episode there a tart reversal and the heroine in need of saving turned out to be something else all together.  That made me happy and kick-started my whiffling through all five seasons before pulling the plug on Netflix. (I have a book deadline coming up and need to buckle down.) Also, I had no idea that it was a bit futuristic. (Though since the election it leans into that zone where it’s not completely Science Fiction, it’s really more like Really Scary Science Fact.)

The show with an AI called “the Machine” spitting out numbers that saved people morphed a lot as it went on. It started out as a kind of surveillance heavy 24, with a lot of white, male characters. Instead of dumbing down like most shows do, it went the other way…We saw more POC story lines and actors join the show, more female characters & LBGT references—and more female villains. The show found a sci-fi geek audience and as a result, leaned into progressive, liberal ideas and concepts as it went along, reversing its stance on the surveillance machine from “I know it violates our rights–but look! It does good things!” to “I’ve created a monster! A MONSTER!” wails of despair and gnashing of teeth.

But when we’re talking the best parts of the show, I’m sorry, CHARACTER IS KING! Pontificate on all the weighty discussions you like including:

  • AI and personhood
  • Safety vs. privacy in the modern state
  • Misuse of governmental power

my true obsession will still lie with Jim Caviezel and powerful story arcs about Carter, Sameed and other human characters. The AI lacked all qualities I want to spend time my with: sexiness, humor, cleverness, and personality.

Jim Caviezel, on the other hand, is this reader’s hero proto-type. The character he plays, John Reese is brooding, handsome, soft-spoken with a sense of humor, and yet, um, deadly.  Because he’s in mourning for his dead one true love, every episode leaves you wondering–will he feel the pull of desire/love/passion again? Oooooh how I wanted him to! But then I’m a complete masochist for the unattainable hero.

A do-er, not a talker, Reese has done bad things to a lot of bad guys—and yet, he can no longer tolerate the grim, clandestine life where he was given orders, but no iron clad proof of guilt for those he assassinated. Unquestioningly following orders eats at his soul, until he’s at the point where despite orders, he can’t betray his partner—who at the same time betrays him.  At the top of the show, he’s lost his mission in life, his identity, and even his one true love.  He needs redemption and a purpose—enter Harold who has a quirky all-powerful machine and gives John Reese’s ex-CIA black ops dude a goal in life.

Tarij Henderson – so sparkly bright and fun off the TV show, plays Detective Carter–who goes looking for “the man in the suit” out shooting knee caps of bad guys and breaking a thousand laws while doing so.   Now, I knew from Kiersten Hallie Krum via facebook, that Carter left the show at a certain point. For Kiersten it was hard to keep going after that. For me, knowing Carter was going to leave but not when or how ended up giving the show tremendous suspense — and like a horror movie I waited, tense and clutching my pillow to see when It Happened, getting more and more wrenched about it the more I liked her character. Henderson did a phenomenal job with developing her character and growing it. By the time she left the show, I was nodding my head thinking about what Lexi says about the infuriating state of racial diversity in entertainment today…This is another tragic example, and though the actors actually sought to correct that as much as they could in their penultimate scene together, grrrrrr. And now I’ve followed Tarij over to not just her Oscar nominated role in HIDDEN FIGURES but also over to EMPIRE where she’s did an actor 180 and portrays a completely different kind of role. (Why has no one on Lady Smut talked about Cookie yet? Why?)

Kevin Chapman plays detective Lionel Fusco, a crooked cop who finds redemption after some swift strong-arm tactics from Reese sorts him out.  Lionel got some great noir-ish lines and had fabulous delivery. I wonder if they had planned on making him such a big part of the show from the beginning, or if he was a happy discovery.  Reese has done much worse and seems less fundamentally tethered to the world.  As Jim Caviezel said at one point (I paraphrase from an interview I found on You Tube that took place at some con) Reese is a shark.  If he stops moving, he dies.  Other men have described him as batman in a suit.  It’s very interesting that the show portrays these two paths to redemption, each with its own singular flavor.  Lionel’s character has some charming grit, and a less tragic trajectory.

Michael Emerson was born to play the role of Harold, reclusive billionaire dork.  Harold builds the machine that plunges the characters into their episodic heroism.   Amy Acker (you know her from Firefly) got the thankless task of spending half her time having moral dialogues with Harold, while the other half was spent voicing the words and motives of the AI. Not fun—not fun at all, and yet she carried the weight of a whole other character upon her shoulders to the point where you felt like there actually was a machine with some proto-personality hovering about inside the internet ether.

I enjoyed the inclusion of Sameed – a short, female version of John Reese’s character, showing that a woman could do whatever a man could– and playing a kind of sociopath role to boot. No guilty torment for Sameed!

Although the show starts off Reese and Harold as the stars and swiftly includes Lionel and Carter as side kicks, the show changes direction in a fundamental way.  Soon, it becomes more of an ensemble cast with Harold and Amy Acker’s character, Root, in the staring roles.  We often see a lot more of Sameed as well, and John Reese’s role shrinks substantially over five seasons.

I think this was a wise move on the part of the producers…nor did a greater sense of inclusivity (fall out from Carter leaving the show?) seem to bother Jim Caviezel much in interviews about the show.  There was a way in which the show settled his character arc and then let it rest there.

Then they turned to other topics that more heavily involved Michael Emerson’s role as Harold, and his moral responsibilities as the one who created the surveillance AI machine. By the end, the AI character, AKA “The Machine” had as much character growth and backstory as any of the other characters—not an easy trick to pull off.  

Another thing that I liked about the show was that it started off grim, and only got more grim as it went along. But I’m perverse that way…

I’ve watched all five seasons now, and I now have a horrible tv show hangover. I actually went to You Tube and started watching a lot of videos taken at various Comi-Cons to ‘learn more’ but really to ramp down my addiction until I could walk away.

Hangovers I now think, are more than any other reason why we authors have social media platforms…So people have a place to go when they can’t say goodbye.

In all these interviews, I never really wanted to hear anything about what the creators had to say about the show, even though they were articulate men of ideas. I wanted to hear from the actors instead. This is because in essence the creators HAD their say…and we saw it all play out. Choices about character deaths, romances, etc, we saw the creator’s ideas were splatted across numerous episodes and dialogue everywhere. I was more interested in the background behind the show. What kind of training the actors go through? What kind of humor did they share? How did cast members related to each other? (Jim Caviezel trained with special delta forces men in San Diego, Tarij told all kinds of Jesus jokes poking fun at Jim, and Michael Emerson is every bit as articulate and intellectual as his character.)

Now I’m going to go off and write something in Jim Caviezel’s character’s voice…buh-bye!!!

Follow our blog — we’re not soft spoken, we’re outspoken, but charming nonetheless.

And check us out at RT Booklovers convention where we’re going to have a really fun event:  Never Have You Ever, Ever, Ever — and win crowns, toys, books and more. (Ooo, and we’ll have brownies….) Goodybags (with fun stuff!) to first 100 people in line! Wednesday, May 3 at 1:30 p.m. Link: https://www.rtconvention.com/ event/never-have-you-ever- ever-ever

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.

 

 

 

 

NEVER SWEETER: The Sweet Darkness in Charlotte Stein’s Dark Obsessions Trilogy

9 Mar

This one is going into my “special” kindle folder. ; >

by Madeline Iva

We posted a fun excerpt from Charlotte Stein’s story NEVER BETTER last Sunday.  NEVER BETTER is the final book in her Dark Obsession trilogy, so of course, I read it first, and then worked my way backwards, cause I’m perverse like that. I gobbled down NEVER BETTER like a chocolate chip cookie and advise you to do the same.  Now I’d like to take you on a journey through the open-mouthed, kindle-clutching, eye-squeezing moments I had while reading NEVER SWEETER, the first book in the series.  How to do so without delivering any spoilers is gonna be hard, but here I go…

CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE GOES TO THE DARK SIDE

What really keeps a man and a woman apart these days if they want to be together? Not much. After plundering the treasure chest of meet-cutes and other fabulously quirky ways to bring two people together and then keep them apart for two hundred odd pages, contemporary romance has gone to the dark side.

I personally blame paranormal romance.  Let’s face it–paranormal romance is just so much easier.  Look at the obstacles a heroine faces—Example: “He’s a vampire who’s killed THOUSANDS of people and he’s hundreds of years older than me.  How could we ever be together?” it’s a really messed up situation.

CRAZY-WRONG “I’D HAVE TO BE INSANE TO BE WITH SOMEONE AS EVIL AS YOU” SITUATION= STRONG ROMANTIC ROAD BLOCKS = LOTS OF ROMANCE FEELS & GREAT TENSION

After all, 50 Shades was based on a paranormal romance, wasn’t it?  E.L. James just fished around for a modern day ‘real’ equivalent for a evil-but-not-really, self-loathing, brooding hero.  She came up with a billionaire sadist, around the same time other authors were also plonking down flags into anti-hero territory. Do we want to blame 50 Shades for all the motorcycle clubs, hit-men, crime families, and other anti-hero-ish trappings that are so popular these days? No, but I think the E.L. James phenomenon illustrates a sweeping trend, and Charlotte Stein has taken some steps down the same path.

BUT CHARLOTTE STEIN ISN’T LIKE THAT! SHE’S SO SWEETLY DIRTY…

But maybe sometimes she isn’t. INTRUSION and some of her other works have strayed from abused heroines into more plum-colored territory. Which brings us to NEVER SWEETER.  Let’s look at the blurb:

Letty Carmichael can’t believe her eyes when she catches a glimpse of her high school tormenter, wrestling champ Tate Sullivan, on campus. College was supposed to be her escape from Tate’s constant ridicule. Now he’s in her classes again, just waiting for his chance to make her life hell.

skipping, skipping, skipping…

Loving him is impossible. Craving him is beyond all reason. So why can’t she stop?

Falling in love with your high school bully is messed up, peopleKids, don’t try this at home.

However, line by line Stein just sucks you in.  Great dialogue, great side-kick friend, very specific descriptions of torments she endured and then Tate — a classic Stein-i-an hero, just takes over.

What do we like about Tate? We like that he’s open, agreeable, and fast on his feet.  We like that he’s hotness plus, and can read people–especially the heroine–quickly.  We like that he’s a sexual beast wrapped up in a Nice Boy package–but is he really trustworthy?  It’s that last part that keeps readers furiously turning the pages and riding all the highs and shocking lows.

Why was he such a monumental dick? This is the big answer we need to know. Stein gives you answers, and then sweeps on by.  Do we believe these answers–ah! This is where she’s brilliant, because doubts may  linger, and she plays upon these same doubts later.

I just went through such a roller coaster of emotions with this book.  It really was so incredibly sweet at points–which is what I do look for from Stein–and so sweetly filthy at others–which is what I relish about Stein–and at other times it was kinda like a horror movie.  There’s a Carrie reference and it’s seriously well earned.

I think at one point I shouted “No!” in shock.  At another point I kinda cried, almost.  The whole time I felt as guilty as the heroine for being so sucked into a kind of situation that I would NEVER EVER EVER!!!! endorse in a million years in ‘real life’.

So go buy it already.

Meanwhile, I got the skinny from Charlotte Stein about RAW HEAT — her so good it hurts post-apocalyptic romance that’s out of print right now. Talk about bullying! It’s really unfair clobbering my friends and even total strangers over the head for not having read RAW HEAT if it’s not even in print. Stein has said she’s going to re-pub it in a collection with some of her other post-apocalyptic/paranormal stuff.  So happy about that. Soon none of you will have any excuse.

Okay, I’ve started going into Charlotte Stein withdrawal, so I’ll sign off for now.

Follow us at Lady Smut–if you want to.  It’s your own choice.  Really. We’d never bully you about it.

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

 

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

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.

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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.

 

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