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Sexy Sunday Snippet

7 May

Morning ladies—We reallllly like Afton Locke, and she’s got a new serial romance for us to savor. DRUNK ON MEN is an interracial romance set in the roaring 20’s.  After reading the excerpt below, go to her website for the first THREE INSTALLMENTS and get addicted!

When three African-American women meet at a resort on the Jersey Shore in the 1920s, they say goodbye to their old lives. Finding men as intoxicating as bootleg liquor, they pin their futures on happily ever after. But love can be worse than a hangover when the men’s flaws threaten to destroy them.

Hannah knows it’s time to replace her fiancé who died in the war, but the abrupt white man who rescues her from rough surf hardly fits the bill. Belle longs to ditch her latest meal ticket, but is the rich African-European owner of an upscale hotel out of her league? And while Edie struggles to face her upcoming arranged marriage, a rugged Hispanic-white fisherman decides to stake his own claim on her.

This 8-volume serial is a heady romance cocktail stirred with addiction, abuse, betrayal, and scandal. These women aren’t perfect and neither are their men. If you think you can handle it, read on and watch three steamy interracial relationships explode across the pages.

You may think it’s sloe fizz gin

But honey we’re sober, just drunk on men

“You’re a bootlegger,” she stated.

He sighed and made a rude gesture with his hand and chin. “What did you think, Belle? The booze simply drops out of the sky into my bar? I am performing a necessary service for the town of Ocean Promenade.”

Excitement rippled down Belle’s arms and legs. Tonight’s joyride was the most thrilling thing she’d ever done.

“How much booze does this town drink, anyway? The Sands is the only place I see that’s even wet. I have a hard time believing you could buy a car like this on that speck of business.”

“I see you are shrewd businesswoman.” He leaned between the front seats and shot her an admiring glance. “I am much impressed. Since you ask, the product also gets shipped to Washington, Philadelphia, and New York City.”

“So, what happens next?” she asked. “Where’s the booze?”

He slid his jacket sleeve upward with two fingers and glanced at his watch. “It’s coming. Please join me in the front seat where I can see you.”

“Not with the gun lying there. A girl could get her cha chas blown off with a thing like that. Besides, how do I know you’re not planning to bump me off for knowing too much?”

“You are too beautiful to kill,” he crooned as he moved the monstrous weapon to rest against his door. “However, you have become heavily involved. I wanted to protect you from this.”

“It’s okay,” she said, shrugging as she scrambled to the front passenger seat. “I’m a big girl. I’ll survive.”

He reached over and grabbed her chin, forcing her to face him. Adrenaline flooded her body. Without thinking, she smacked him across the face.

He reared back in his seat. “What was that for?”

“Don’t manhandle me,” she said coldly. “I don’t care for it.”

She hadn’t pegged him as abusive, but she wasn’t about to take any chances. Especially in this abandoned place. She’d do a lot for money, but she refused to tolerate violence.

Please tell me you’re not one of them, Raoul. I don’t want to have to give you up.

“Bella, please. You shocked me, and I think you broke my jaw.” He stuck out his bottom lip like a little boy and dazzled her with another smile.

She couldn’t help laughing. “Oh, you’re all wet. I did not.”

“I’m only trying to make you understand something.” He leaned closer but without touching her this time. “You will see things and people who don’t want to be recognized. If you do not keep your pretty kisser shut, you could endanger your life and mine.”

Belle took a shaky breath. “Understood.”

“And it means you are my lady. You cannot walk away from me. Not after tonight.”

As if she wanted to. They sat in silence for a moment. He caressed her hand and then the thigh it lay on through the thin hem of her dress, making her breath draw in with a hiss.

“I want to show you my hotel room soon,” he said, lazily stroking. “I have a circular tub with flowing water. It is like the ocean, yes?”

“Sounds divine,” she whispered.

“We don’t have much time, and I need you to show me your loyalty.” 

Loyalty?

Belle watched, fascinated, as he reclined his seat until it lay almost horizontal.

His voice dropped very low. Very soft. “Come here, Bella.”

25954402 – art deco vintage frames and design elements

Afton Locke is a USA Today Bestselling Author who prefers romantic fantasies to everyday reality. Fantasies take her to different times, races, places, and beyond. She lives with her husband, several unnamed dust bunnies, and a black cat that can be scary or cuddly, depending on the current book. When she’s not writing, Afton enjoys hiking, cooking, reading, and watching retro T.V.

Find Afton here:

Web site: http://www.aftonlocke.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AftonLockeAuthor

Twitter: http://twitter.com/aftonlocke

Newsletter: http://www.aftonlocke.com/mailing-list.html

The Woman in the Skull Dress: SFF & Paranormal Round Up From WRW Lunch

13 Oct

by Madeline Iva

THE WOMAN IN THE SKULL DRESS:

I went to the Washington Romance Writers blogger & reader’s lunch and all I got was THIS FABULOUS BAG OF GOODIES!!! The turquoise skull bracelet was the show stopper. Let’s chat with the woman in the skull dress who gave me this cool bag — Urban Fantasy author, JT Bock.

I went to the Washington Romance Writers blogger & reader's lunch and all I got was THIS FABULOUS BAG OF GOODIES!!! The turquoise skull bracelet was the show stopper.

MADELINE IVA: Jennifer it was a pleasure to sit next to you at the luncheon yesterday.  Your goodie bag *rocked*.

I joined for a moment in a conversation you were having with a reader named Sarah about the righteousness of Buffy.  Tell me more about that convo:

JT Bock in her rockin' dress at the WRW luncheon.

JT Bock in her rockin’ dress at the WRW luncheon.

JT BOCK: Regarding Joss Whedon, we both agreed how Buffy was one of the first female characters to lead a TV series that was focused on action and being a hero. She was the savior, not a prop of a male savior who is constantly needing help or a footnote in the inciting incident that sets the male hero on his journey.

Although she did deal with teenage issues of dating and choosing the wrong boys 😉 she was her own agent. Her identity wasn’t tied to whom she was dating or the approval of the opposite sex. She called the shots. We also agreed that the dialogue was so different. It was quotable because they spoke like our generation does with references to pulp culture and making up words to describe their lives and experiences (http://www.buffyworld.com/slanguage/slang.htm). Here was a woman who fought vampires and made mistakes and had these incredible friendships and awkward encounters at school. He made her relatable.

She felt that she liked Angel with Buffy. Although I did agree that he was better suited for her, I did prefer Spike overall as a character. (I have an affection for sarcastic British-accented men.)

JT Bock when she's not being a woman of mystery.

JT Bock when she’s not being a woman of mystery.

MADELINE IVA: Meeee too! I agree that they maybe weren’t right for each other, but I liked him best.  I liked that line “I may be love’s bitch, but at least I’m man enough to admit it.” (me: groan of joy)

JT BOCK: I enjoyed his overall arc, especially the final scene where he sacrifices himself to save the world. Buffy tells him that she loves him. He replies, “No, you don’t. But thanks for saying it.” A powerful moment that’s lightened with a bit of sarcastic humor showing how much he’s grown to become a man Buffy could love.

MADELINE IVA: Here’s a short blurb from you first book–love it! 51nft4dz8ql

UltraAgent Surefire’s plan is simple: Capture the transhuman thief Raven. Win back the respect of her father. Get a raise.

Easy, right?

Moving along…

SEX AND THE SINGLE VAMP

Robin hanging out at the luncheon with Sarah Wendell, from Smart Bitches Trashy Books and Joy of Joyfully Reviewed

Robin hanging out at the luncheon with Sarah Wendell, from Smart Bitches Trashy Books and Joy of Joyfully Reviewed

ROBIN COVINGTON: A highlight for me was bonding over the love of reading. I had an amazing conversation with Sara Mallion about our love of male/male romance. We had a blast squeeing over books we both loved and then we introduced new ones to each other.  It made the time fly by so quickly.

MADLINE IVA: My friend said your good bag rocked, btw. I’m gawping at this cover–let’s share a blurb:51wlqdsobxl

Cici Trent, vampire and media darling, spends her days finding true love for humans and supernaturals (the “Others”) at her dating agency. But someone is trying to sabotage her business and she needs help. Unfortunately, the best man for the job is the one who broke her still-beating heart two hundred fifty-four years ago.

HOT CONVICT SEX ON A STRANGE PLANET

ALISON AIMES: I LOVE your blog. Just read the first couple blogs and laughed my ass off.

MADELINE IVA: Thanks Alison. 🙂 What was your take away from the lunch?

ALISON AIMES: It was so much fun to actually have time to hang with readers, rather then a quick hello and a sign of the book.  One woman I spoke with came from as far away as Colorado. Another from Tennessee. Amazing! We dished about hot men and sex in your 40s, and the bliss of reading romance. Oh, and the need for more diversity in romance book covers and subject matter. It was like chatting with a bunch of girlfriends I known forever. LOL.

MADELINE IVA: I have to say–the cover and blurb of your latest series is smokin’.51r1qg8gnpl-_uy250_

His Planet. His Rules.

When Bella West crash lands on prison planet Dragath25, the only thing standing between her and a mass of brutal criminals is one of their own, a ruthless loner known only as 673. But what starts out as a desperate trade based on protection and raw lust soon blossoms into a scorching need that will push them both to the edge….

AND THUS…A BLOG HOP WAS BORN

It was so much fun connecting with other authors — I sat at the same table with Alexa Egan who does historical paranormal.  Here’s a blurb from her book WARRIOR’S CURSE:

imgres-5
Will their desire conquer evil ’s wrath?

Major Gray de Coursy, Earl of Halvossa and exiled heir to the five clans of the Imnada shapechangers, must regain his throne in order to save his people from a deadly war with the Feybloods.

I think historical fantasy is going to be a really big trend in the coming years, but at the lunch I suffered the curse of being seated all the way across the table from Alexa, and we didn’t get to chat much.  And isn’t that the way it always is? The other bloggers and I left the lunch hungry for more, so we decided to form a blog hop where we could talk with authors more about their books.

Here’s a list of the other bloggers in the blog hop.  Check our Lady Smut social media (Twitter and FB page) where we’ll post links to the other blog hop posts.  Here’s the first one with Kimberly Kincaid, Harper Kincaid, MK Meredith, and Robin Covington (again!)luncheonbloghop2

Meanwhile, seeing all these authors and bloggers got me mighty amped for my own first book coming out — and I’m having a give away to celebrate.  Stay tuned!

wickedapprenticefinal-coverfjm_high_res_1800x2700Madeline Iva writes fantasy and paranormal romance.  Her fantasy romance, WICKED APPRENTICE, featuring a magic geek heroine, is available for pre-order and releases November 1st.

Would You Like Me To Ravage You?

23 Sep
Click to buy.

Click to buy.

by Madeline Iva

She’s baaaaaaack! You liked her Madame X post so much that we’ve asked Thien-Kim Lam to come back for another guest post.  Happy Friday!

A couple of months ago, my husband interrupted my animated retelling of the sex scenes in Tessa Dare’s Any Duchess Will Do. (The scenes are quite creative, and the power dynamics between the main characters heighten every movement.)

“It sounds like a fun book. Can we read it together?”

I was shocked. He had never expressed interest in reading any of my romance books.

We’ve read books together before, in audiobook form. Most of the books we’ve listened to have been thrillers: Girl on the Train, The Girl with All the Gifts, and The 500. Books with action and adventure that move quickly. Books that mirror his favorite kind of movies. Coincidentally, those three books are being made into movies.

For the past year or so, we’ve been listening to the same audiobook in tandem. Even though I listen at faster speeds, we try to stay within a chapter of each other. He has more time during his commute and work day to listen so I’m usually the one playing catch-up. After the kids go to bed, we talk about what’s happened so far in the book. It’s become our couples book club.

Reading together has given us something to talk about that isn’t related to work or our children. Our television habits are different, save for handful of shows. We didn’t use to read the same books. I read widely across genres, while he gravitated towards graphic novels, his magazines, and Neil Labute plays.

After my shock wore off, we agreed to read Dare’s first Spindle Cove book A Night to Surrender since I was almost done listening to Any Duchess Will Do. I still couldn’t believe he wanted to read a historical romance book with me!

Click to buy.

Click to buy.

I was nervous the first day we started A Night to Surrender. Outside of the a couple of scenes from Fifty Shades of Grey that I read aloud to him, he’s a newbie to romance and erotica. Would he like it or hate it? What would I do if he hated one of my favorite sub genres?

Earbuds in hand, he kissed me goodbye and left for work. Time to queue up the audiobook. As I listened to the first chapters, I analyzed each scene. Would my husband think the main characters’ meet cute too contrived? Would he understand the nuances of clothing in this period? How could he react to the arrogant alpha male hero?

As soon as my husband stepped through the door that evening, I attacked him. No, not that way. I asked him what he thought about Tessa Dare’s book. “It’s cute. I like it.” He was actually grinning! I was relieved.

Over dinner we discussed the attraction between feisty, independent Susanna and arrogant but adorably clueless Lord Rycliff. He compared the novel to the romantic comedy movies we love to watch. Over the next several nights we discussed the comedy of errors of the couple’s first kiss and the first time super sexytimes. He even quoted seductive lines from the book–partly in jest, but partly to try get in my pants. Try keeping a straight face when your husband gives you a seductive look and says in a British accent, “Would you like me to ravage you?”

Ladies, my husband has still got it. And he’s all mine.

Click to buy.

Click to buy.

Since then, we’ve listened to other romance books, most recently Maya Banks’ Forged in Steele. Her KGI series contains everything we like: suspense, action, explosions with plenty of romance and sex. Forged in Steele’s high drama and cheesy dirty talk has elicited a flurry of texts between us throughout the day. Mostly us cracking up over the dirty talk.

After fourteen years of marriage, I’m glad that we can find new mutual interests. I should not have assumed that he wouldn’t be interested in reading romances. The past year I’ve forced him to listen to me as I debate on which sex toy I should pair with certain erotic romances when I curate my Bawdy Bookworm Boxes. I guess I finally made him curious enough to jump into the romance world.

Now we need to pick our next romance audiobooks. Please share your recommendations!

Do you read romances with your partner?

Thien-Kim Lam cut her teeth on historical romances and they will always have a special place in her heart. She is the founder of Bawdy Bookworms, a subscription box that pairs sexy reads with bedroom toys and sensual products. Batteries included. Check 5 Steamy Book & Sex Toy Pairings for Your Pleasure Chest for buzzy recommendations.

 

 

From Naughty to Nice: Following My Muse Across Genres. A Guest Post From Jackson D’Lynne

12 Sep

There seems to be a misconception among romance readers; once an author has written in a specific genre, they are locked into the genre, and therefore spice level, until they give up ghost.

What a load of shit.

Guest author Jackson D'Lynne

Guest author Jackson D’Lynne

Most authors are driven by their passion, their muse, and the money they make from writing, which means that while one genre birthed their careers, they are in no way shackled to it. The market dictates what is popular and therefore what readers are buying.

Lots of authors change up their genres to fit the market, and I’m all for that as long as you can do it while still staying true to your muse.

I began writing fiction in elementary school, and I have been writing bits and pieces here and there over the years. But I didn’t begin writing books until 2012. I published my first book in March of that year, and guess what? It was a book of Christian poetry and short stories.

How then did I end up on this website, you ask?

Click on image to buy!

Click on image to buy!

Well, in 2014, I switched it up and wrote and published a deliciously smutty time travel paranormal novel, The Diva and the Duke, the first book in my The Three Goddesses Series. While I am a born-again Christian, not every story idea my muse conjures up is SFC (safe for church), and the idea for that particular book series plagued me until I gave in and wrote it.

I officially switched up genres, in a big way.

The Diva and the Duke was so unlike what I’d written before that my mother-in-law refused to read it. Her right, her loss. While my MIL didn’t like it, someone did because it reached the Amazon Bestseller’s List twice.

In 2015, I wrote and published my second smutfest, The Rancher and the Renegade—it was full of smexiness, filthy language, and an utterly deviant villain. It was longer and naughtier than the first book, and therefore even further from the squeaky clean book I’d written in 2012.

Now, were in 2016 and my muse is no longer happy with just writing paranormal romance. She wants adventure, she wants dark tales, she wants clean, sweet romantic tales that would make fans of Little House on the Prairie sell their last pail of milk to own it.

Click on image to buy!

Click on image to buy!

My muse, who I lovingly call “Ellari, Sorceress of the Pen”, is now conjuring up story ideas for several YA Sci-Fis and thrillers, a sweet fantasy standalone, a bloody and suspenseful adult thriller, a time-travel pirate trilogy, a dark medieval fantasy, a series of erotic novellas set in space, and the book series I am currently writing for Dragonblade Publishing: Dry Bayou Brides.

As someone who lives and dies by her muse, I’ve never been one to tell her no, and so I’ve decided to give her the lead. She’s told me to write a brand new sweet western romance series, and so I am. The first book in my new Dry Bayou Brides series is The Shepherd’s Daughter (set for release September 27, 2016), and it is so far from what I’ve written before that I am petrified at what fans of my naughty books will think.

Will they like it? Do they expect me to sneak sexy bits in between the pages? Will they think I’ve turned my back on spicy books?

Coming September 27, 2016!

Coming September 27, 2016!

As an author, readers are my bread and butter, and without them I am left with lots of words to write and no one reading them. But because writing is my passion, and my muse and I are a team, I am taking a chance at writing outside the box in which my career began.

I’m taking a chance on my new genre, will you?

Jackson D’Lynne is one of the pseudonyms of a hardworking mother of four trapped in rural Pennsylvania. When she isn’t writing naughty paranormal romance, she is writing sweet historical romance as Lynn Winchester. When she isn’t writing at all, she is reading, playing Diablo III, having long conversations with her cat, Nix, or watching Netflix and chilling with her husband of 12 years.

You can catch up with Jackson on Facebook and Twitter.

Follow Lady Smut–we’ll be super nice to all your naughty.

What’s that rattle? Just the skeletons in my closet

13 May

by Isabelle Drake

skeletons-in-the-closetAccording to Wikipedia, the absolute number one site for accurate information, the exact source of the expression ‘skeletons in the closet’ is unknown.  It was first noted in use November 1816–not that long ago. Kind of odd, considering there certainly would’ve been a need for the phrase prior to that. People have been making mistakes they would like to forget for a really, really long time.

To my thinking, each skeleton represents a former piece of you, a part of your earlier life or self you left behind. It might be something you did, said, wrote, or participated in. But the bottom line is that you gave it action. Had you simply thought this evil thing, and not turned it into a deed, you wouldn’t have given life to it. Hence, there would be no need for a body. Your action brought it to life.

Here’s the thing–at least you had the nerve to do it. Whatever it was, it was obviously intense, controversial, or counter culture. Those are the things that take the most nerve. Those are the things that change the world. What if none of us ever did anything intense, controversial or counter culture? Sure, some of those actions we realize later were mistakes, but isn’t making mist1386e49242606f998653319999d876ddakes one of the best ways to learn? To grow into the person we most want to become?

As I write this, I wonder whether or not I have any skeletons rattling around, threatening to break out from behind the closet door and shake up my life. I haven’t done anything that’s generated a secret dark enough to take to my grave. That makes me worry. Will I be bored in the afterlife? The good news is, it’s not too late. I still have a while, so there’s hope for me.
What about you? I can’t ask, what are the skeletons in your closet, because shouting that out would defeat the whole purpose of you shoving them in there in the first place. Wouldn’t it? So, instead, I’ll ask a number–how many do you have? A single lonely one? A pair, each there to keep the other company? Or perhaps you have enough for a soccer team or two?

The end of an awful marriage might be the beginning of something smoking hot. Click to buy.

Catherine Sheffield, the heroine in LadySmut blogger’s Elizabeth Shore’s new erotic historical novella Desire Rising, has a skeleton in her closet–her former identity as Lucy Kirby.

When an urgent summons threatens her identity, Catherine must choose between saving a life and sharing her secret with Miles, possibly losing him forever. It shouldn’t matter…except desire rising has resulted in matters of the heart.

Set in 18th Century England, Desire Rising, is the perfect mix of sex and sophistication.

Get yourself your copy then offer up a skeleton count. Maybe see how you compare. And, follow Lady Smut, we’re always here to inform, entertain, and keep you up to date.

Isabelle Drake writes erotica, erotic romance, urban fantasy, and young adult thrillers. Best Friends Never, her newest release is the first in the Cherry Grove dark YA series.

To Have AND to Hold: Bad Marriage Turned Very Good

10 May
The end of an awful marriage might be the beginning of something smoking hot. Click to buy.

The end of an awful marriage might be the beginning of something smoking hot. Click to buy.

By Alexa Day

I can still remember the time I discovered my first book boyfriend was married.

His name was Edward Rochester. I was in seventh grade.

Jane Eyre‘s Edward was not perfect. He had a mean streak a mile wide. He flirted with other women where he knew I — Jane, I mean Jane — would see it. His child was kind of obnoxious. But I was willing to live with that. He wasn’t any worse than my movie boyfriend — Max Zorin from A View To A Kill. Max wasn’t married, but he was really bad news.

I was willing to overlook Edward’s faults until I found out he was married. I couldn’t decide which was worse. The timing of this particular revelation or the fact that he was willing to marry me — Jane, I mean Jane — without mentioning that he was already married.

By the time Edward and Jane found their way back to each other, I guess I thought he’d been sufficiently punished for his behavior. I found I was happy for Jane. Still, the whole episode made me wonder.

No, I will not calm down! Married?! You're married?!

No, I will not calm down! Married?! You’re married?!

A few years later, my confusion was compounded by two more books. Wifey by Judy Blume and Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence teamed up to convince me that a woman could either be happy or be married. To read the back cover blurb from my late 1970s edition of Wifey, a girl might think that the story’s heroine, Sandy, is about to make a grand escape from her tedious marriage. “Mysterious motorcycle flasher”! “Her wildest fantasies taking flight”! That sounds like a lovely idea, right?

But that’s not how it goes. And Lady Chatterley, whose ideas about class, intellect, and sex are turned upside down by an affair with her groundskeeper? Yeah, that doesn’t end so well for her, either.

Marriage started to look like an obstacle, designed to keep people from being happy.

Thankfully, modern hot fiction is a little more generous with marriage. It’s just as complicated, but today’s fictional marrieds often face two different but familiar problems: disclosure and consent. With disclosure and consent, the unsatisfying marriage need not be a trap. It can be a gateway.

So how does Grace turn this problem into a choice? Click to get Satisfaction on DVD.

So how does Grace turn this problem into a choice? Click to get Satisfaction on DVD.

You’ve heard me talking about Satisfaction, the now cancelled (sob) TV series in which a man discovers that his wife is seeing a male escort and responds by becoming an escort himself. By discovering more about himself, learning more about women and their desires, and picking up the ins and outs (ha ha, heyo!) of the escort business, Neil reunites with his wife, Grace, and together, they start their own escort service. This was such a beautiful story, wonderfully complicated and unabashedly sexual. Its loss makes me fear for television’s future, but thank the stars, you can get it on DVD.

Consider Tempted by Megan Hart. In fairness, these two are not really in an unsatisfying marriage. James’s friend, Alex, comes to stay with the happy couple for a while, and something about him intrigues her. That way lies dissatisfaction. James, for his part, encourages his wife’s flirtation with Alex. He opens his marriage enough to make room for Alex, but he does so in a way that’s … well … not altogether open.

Sound complicated? That’s pure Megan Hart gold.

Consent and disclosure transform adultery into cuckolding, a marital kink we’ve discussed a few times on Lady Smut. Isabelle Drake talks about her Cuckold Beach series here, and we go super deep with Cara McKenna’s Crosstown Crush. If you want to know about what makes a man want to see his wife with another man, and just how hot that can get, you’ll want to investigate all that.

But sometimes the solution for a woman living with a horrendous marriage is just the refusal to let it define her, even after it’s over.

This is what happens to Catherine Sheffield, the heroine formerly known as Lucy Underhill. In Elizabeth Shore’s Desire Rising, Catherine hits the 18th century equivalent of the reset button when her horrendous marriage ends, and she transforms herself into a completely different woman, one determined to seek pleasure and avoid attachment. Then she meets Miles, who seems to be on the same wavelength. When her past catches up, will it push them together or apart?

And how hot will things get before they make a decision? That’s where the carriage wheels meet the road, right?

Go score your copy right now, and then follow Lady Smut. We know how to make you happy.

How Romance Saved My Life

24 Mar
Doesn't this book look delicious?

Doesn’t this book look delicious?

by Madeline Iva

Last weekend was #Love Fest at Virginia Festival of the Book.  All the panels were well attended, but the biggest event of the weekend was showing LOVE BETWEEN THE COVERS–the latest documentary all about the romance world–followed by a discussion with Maya Rodale and Eloisa James and a book signing.

I experienced rapture from meeting Eloisa James in person.  Her stories have made me laugh and cry–almost at the same time.  We went out to dinner together along with Maya Rodale, and a smattering of other authors.  First of all, bringing people together always makes me feel kinda high.  Second of all, Maya Rodale’s husband was like a walking romance hero.  Handsome, British, and also, oh you know, an artic explorer.  Ba-bam!  Romance authors always have the best husbands.  It’s like they say, Write What You Know.

At the same time I was full of revelation.

First revelation: OMG, why am I sniffling and sobbing all the way through this documentary? Okay, any ‘we women‘ vibe gets me going.  Mix that with comments like (I paraphrase) “This is the one genre where women are the center of attention, where their needs are important and they are active in getting those needs met. Romance shows women as sexual creatures in a possitive way.  They get to have satisfying sex without being punished for it.”

Whoa! That’s so true–damn straight!

Sue London and Eloisa James at dinner. Sue's a good friend. Eloisa is so generous and friendly.

Sue London and Eloisa James at dinner. Eloisa is so generous and friendly.

Second revelation: We are pioneers! I was moved to witness women who wanted romances about them, and when they didn’t see those romances on the shelves, they went out and wrote them.  That kind of “If you build it they will come” ethos makes me bawl. Beverly Jenkins in particular comes to mind.

Third revelation: Romance can save your life. I already knew this one.  There was that crucial time in my teens that was spent in ER waiting rooms. Many, many hours I sat in uncomfortable chairs, my face buried in a Georgette Heyer novel.  How did I get through those horrible years full of stress and crisis? How? I always credit romance novels.  I desperately needed an escape, and we had no money.  Instead of dropping out of school, having babies, becoming a drug addict, breaking the law, or doing all those other things traumatized teens without parents tend to do, I escaped into a world of civility. It was full of small kind, intelligent, sane, and responsible people.  Who knows what would have happened if I hadn’t read romances? I’m sort of dubious that I’d even be here.

What I didn’t realize was that:

Kim Castillo on the left. Famous authors wuvs her.

Kim Castillo on the left. Famous authors wuvs her.

Fourth revelation: Romances taught me how to live happily ever after.

Kim Castillo–assistant to Eloisa James and other romance authors–talked about growing up in a home without good role models for relationships.  That’s when the real hard sobbing started.  Me too, Kim. Me too.  Then she talked about how romances gave her hope.  How she found her true love — and now all is good.

I don’t know what Kim went through.  But what I saw at home–it was ugly.  And sad. A lot of domestic violence–while my mom was pregnant, mind you.  Guns.  A house full of guns.  That day my step-father almost shot my mother in the face.  BAD, HORRIBLE, AWFUL stuff that I don’t even want to go into.  Events that left me taking sleeping pills when I was eight, alone in the house at night, and couldn’t get to sleep.  Events that left my mother poor, mentally unstable, and broken. Events she did not recover from.

Tragic.  Traumatic — but you know, I never questioned how I went from Dysfunction-ville to being in my first serious relationship at 19, and married to that same guy 30+ years later. Where did those crazy excellent relationship skills come from? Cause I didn’t learn it at home…that’s for sure.

This documentary–and by documentary I mean Kim Castillo–revealed all: it had to be romance novels. Kim, I love you. I AM you, Kim.

Jenn Scarpa drove hours to have Eloisa James sign a stack of her books.

Jenn Scarpa drove hours to have Eloisa James sign a stack of her books.

“Romances provided me with hope,” Kim said. They provided her with models of caring, support, and bonding, just like they did me.  In a world bereft of good male role models, romances provided me with examples of men who were responsible, even tempered, loving, and tender.

There’s a shot of Kim–my new personal hero–clasping hands with her husband, and, dear readers, I know that clasp. It’s the One True Love hand hold.  I dissolved, readers.  I dissolved like a f***ing pillar of salt.

I kept thinking, the movie’s going to be over soon and I have got to stop crying.

You’d think I’d know better, but no.  I had to share my new insight at dinner with Eloisa and Maya and everyone.  And while telling them about it, I sobbed.  So embarrassing, but so not at the same time.

Got Duchesses? Eloisa's latest.

Got Duchesses? Eloisa’s latest.

Because I thought I was writing fluff, here.  It’s much more important than that. Or at least it can be.  I’m proud that I survived that time. Okay, all the trauma left me a bit on the weepy side, but ultimately, who cares?

I’m blessed that I found my One True Love.

I’m proud to be one of these women creating love on the page.  I’m proud to be sending it out into the world.

Have you seen the documentary? What did you get out of it?

While I type this at the cafe, my writing buddy Joanna Bourne is dancing to “What I Like About You.” I love you Joanna. I love you readers.  Okay, I need some kleenex.

Follow us at Lady Smut for other tips on surviving this cold, cruel world with some blazing hot romance.

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

Laura Kaye and Stephanie Dray were also at the fest with their latest collaboration.

Two authors I adore–Laura Kaye and Stephanie Dray–were also at the fest. Bet they were swarmed–people at the fest love all things Jefferson.

My Obsession with Richard Armitage’s Nose

17 Mar
Sinister villain? Grim factory owner? Doesn't matter, you still want to crawl up him like he was a granite mountain and start ripping the cravat off his neck.

Sinister villain? Grim factory owner? Doesn’t matter, you still want to crawl up him like he was a granite mountain and start ripping the cravat off his neck.

By Madeline Iva

I’ve seen Richard Amitrage’s nose, and I cannot go back.

The other day while finishing up my Netflix’s binge I watched NORTH AND SOUTH and just about swooned over Richard Armitage every time he went into profile.

NORTH AND SOUTH is based on a fabulous book by Elizabeth Gaskell, one of Charlotte Bronte’s friends, and I highly recommend it. But the plot always made me shudder a little. What woman who lived in such soft rural splendor of the South of England would want to voluntarily stay up in a grim northern mill town of Milton, in–I kid you not–Darkshire–when it was painted generously in shades of coal, poverty, and dim rooms?

A woman who met Armitage playing Mr. Thornton that’s who!

The mini-series filled in the lines of Margaret’s attraction. It’s a pretty faithful treatment of the book, yet still somehow remains a visual feast, and I include Richard Armitage’s face as a part of that feast, but also his whole alpha vibe.

He’s like an interesting mix of Darcy and Heathcliff. Part stiff pride, part wild violence—and overall contained in a man who wants to be better educated. (Who knew continuing education could give one such a thrill?) Underneath it all, Thornton is a man who is extremely sensitive, even if his harsh words come out a bit before his softer feelings.

He looks thoughtful here, but he's just about to go thrash a worker who was lighting up a cigarette.

He looks thoughtful here, but he’s just about to go thrash a worker who was lighting up a cigarette.

Meanwhile, I don’t know what’s wrong with me these days. (Doing massive edits perhaps) But I’m all about lowering stormy skies, and loving all dark Victorian interiors. Darkshire? Bring it.

The moment Richard Amritage showed up on screen he was as North as it gets. Buttoned up, with a voice you could file nails on, he’s looking down his nose at Margaret–cause it’s such a magnificent nose to look down, so how could he not? He was a perfect fit with dark rooms and the grinding of a man who wants to do the right thing, but must carefully look about him to keep his mill going and keep his workers earning a wage. The book gets into strikes and strike busting, the mini-series saves us much of it, keeping only the bits we need to forward the romance, i.e. the misunderstandings and connections between the two.

Margaret is a soft southern British woman with a sensitive heart, good common sense, and having been raised a clergyman’s daughter, doing good works is in her blood. She has a desire to understand the suffering of the mill workers, even when she doesn’t quite grasp the politics at play between the workers and the owners in their town. At first Thornton is repugnant to her as he beats his workers, and seems to lash out with total confidence at their efforts to unionize.

The actress playing Margaret is good too. One problem with the series abridging the book is that it seems like every other second someone wants to marry Margaret.

The actress playing Margaret is good too. One problem with the series abridging the book is that it seems like every other second someone wants to marry Margaret.

The book presents a man of complex character—along with his mother—and tells us how they had to claw themselves back up by the nails after his father made a fiasco of their finances. The scars from that time still throb, and the mini-series goes light on the severe sacrifice the mother made for her son. From the book, I remembered the mother, Mrs. Thornton very well. In this mini-series both actors were magnificent and it’s a little unfair because you don’t quite get to explore all the events that made Mrs. Thornton the thorny woman she is. However Sinead Cusack is just amazing in the role despite this. If you loved Les Miserables at all, you’ll feast on this mini-series like a vampire on the neck of a hemophiliac.

I was talking with Wendy LaCapra, historical author and friend, about Richard Armitage the other day. She said that he’s narrated a few abridged versions of Georgette Heyer books. I asked her if they were good, and she said that normally she would never recommend abridged anything, but she keeps his audio on her phone, if only because “It takes me to my happy place,” she laughed.
He’s narrated Venetia, and also narrated Heyer’s Sylvester—one of my very favorite books of hers, along with A Convenient Marriage. Check it out readers! And check out NORTH AND SOUTH if you haven’t already. It’s on Netflix and the book is probably in your local library.

The more grim he looks, the better. Wouldn't be surprised if there was all kinds of BDSM fan fic about him.

The more grim he looks, the better. Wouldn’t be surprised if there was all kinds of BDSM fan fic about him.

And hey – If you live in Virginia or near Virginia, the VA Festival of the Book is this weekend. Free panels –a documentary on romance no less– and Eloisa James will be there! Also a lot of other smashing authors including two of my faves – Kimberly Kincaid and Avery Flynn. Here’s a link. : )

And follow us on Lady Smut — where we’ll lead you around by the nose.

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

Anywhere But Here: Why We Love Another Time, Another Place in Romance

3 Mar

by Madeline Iva

Hey lady-kittens.  I’m off on a trip tomorrow.  Hoping to see the sea, shore birds, sand—even some alligators if I get lucky. 🙂  For once, I’m excited to travel, happily packing up and running errands around town, getting fancy chocolates for the folks we’ll be visiting. And Just. In. Time. Cause I realized last night I am ready to be anywhere but here.

960THE GLORIOUS 20’s:

I realized this while I was watching THE DANISH GIRL the other night, which is a sweetly tragic tale of the first person to get a sex change operation.  But what I noticed most about the film was not the gender politics at play, but the sets, the costumes–it was set in the 20’s and so very gorgeous!  I cannot believe how intensely I wanted to just live in that twenties world.

Some of that may also have had to do with the film’s plot. Just as Einar is becoming Lily for good, his wife Gerta must wrestle with the fact that saying ‘hello’ to Lili, means saying goodbye to Einar –i.e. goodbye to their sex life (Lili’s preference, not necessarily Gerta’s), goodbye to having a husband, and goodbye to financial support.  Gerta’s up to the challenge, but she’s emotionally wrung.

Just at that point Matthais Schoenfield shows up.  200_sYou remember Matthais, don’t you? He was Mr. Oat in FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD.  So hot. So sympathetic! He arrives and really wants to, um, console Gerta.  Thank goodness! It’s just such a sad, sad, sweet film, it needed a injection of sex to hotten it up at that point.

I tried writing a post about THE DANISH GIRL, which was a fictionalized novel first but got tangled up with all my questions, despite liking the film.  (Why another tragic tale of transgender-hood? Why not a triumphant one? Why does being a ‘real woman’ mean being a mother when being a real man doesn’t seem to include being a father?) At ANY RATE, the upshot was that I was drooling more over the costumes and settings than I was the film.

I’m in a phase where I’m just done with contemporary romance and the here and now for awhile.

HISTORICALS: — yes, please!  In the words of Liz Lemon I want to go to there.  Last weekend I found myself fuming that there were not another five or ten romance novels as perfect as Pride & Prejudice that I could pick up and read.

GOT GOTHIC ROMANCE? I got me some! A novel by friend Elf Ahern, A ROGUE IN SHEEP’S CLOTHING, and I can’t wait to dive into it on the plane.  Think I may have to watch CRISMON PEAK again too.  I’m just chittering for anything Gothic.  If you have some good Gothic romance recommendations–please leave them in the comments section below. I’m all ears!

I mean, this cover is to die!

I mean, this cover is to die!

DARK CASTLES & MAD SCIENTISTS — sounds good to me! I got this book I’ve been drooling over from afar for a long time.  Don’t know why Samhain felt the need to retitle it and change the cover — but it’s original title was FRANKENDOM (now called Julian’s Sins), and sometimes a girl just needs a little cray-cray BDSM to bright up her day, you know?

DEEP SPACE: Sure! Just re-read Charlotte Stein’s THE HORIZON.  So good.  So very very good.  A quick little novella with moment by moment tension of the Did-he-just-say-that-and-is-my-face-now-exploding-in-response kind of stuff that is to my mind the best kind of erom writing evaaaaaaaaah!

I have been working hard lately.  There’s a whole lot of adulting going on in our house and plenty more to deal with (Can you say bathroom remodeling?) Don’t get me wrong–it’s all good, and I’m very happy, but the introverted reader part of me has just got to go away for awhile.

And I mean far far away, even if it’s only in my head with a good book for a few hours.

All in all this little trip is coming just in time.  Going to go sync my kindle and say shhhh! to anyone who tries to interrupt my reading for the next few days.  Unless they’re pointing out an alligator. ; >

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

Getting Comfortable over the Knee: An Interview with Lee Savino

1 Mar
Conflicted about spanking? Not to worry. Lee Savino is here to help. Click to buy.

Conflicted about spanking? Not to worry. Lee Savino is here to help. Click to buy.

By Alexa Day

If you’ve been hanging out with Lady Smut for any length of time, you know that spanking is a very popular subject around here. Kiersten Hallie Krum walks us through the Outlander spanking. Rachel Kramer Bussel educates us on how to climax from a good spanking. Elizabeth Shore shares The Art of the Spank.

They all make it sound like such wonderful, subversive fun. I love wonderful, subversive fun.

And yet, I struggle with spanking. I’m not sure I even want James Spader to spank me, which is saying something.

That kind of conflict — the kind that has me asking, “Do I? Should I? Am I?” — led me to pick spanking as the new-to-me kink for this year’s #ReadHotter challenge. I turned to Lee Savino’s Rocky Mountain Dawn, which features a very specific brand of spanking — domestic discipline — set against the backdrop of the Wild West. Newlyweds Esther and Johnathan definitely bring the heat in an undeniably kinky way, and there’s a lot of historical detail packed into this story, too. If you’re looking for new dimensions to add to your exploration of spanking stories, check out the whole Rocky Mountain Bride series! And if you’re down for a little think with your kink, I’m delighted to share my conversation with Lee. She helped me work through my feelings about the whole over-the-knee-okay-with-me thing.

AD: Lee, what is hot about spanking? What about it is such a turn-on for women?

LS: This is something I wonder about a lot. I write stuff that turns me on, and I’m the sort of person who has to know the reason behind my kink.

There are basic physical reasons why a real-life spanking turns people on—pain triggers an endorphin load, and the impact gets the blood flowing to your sexy bits. And I can tell you that the raw, floaty feeling you get after having a partner whale on your ass is addictive.

Psychologically, spanking is hot for a few reasons:

Power exchange. Being helpless and dominated takes away performance anxiety. When you give up control, you don’t have to make decisions, you can just relax. It’s like someone forcing you to eat a giant slice of cake; you get to enjoy the experience without the guilt or having to justify all those calories.

If I have a lot of baggage about sex and my sexual identity, then giving up control is a way I can enjoy it.

In real life, I’m a responsible, successful woman. In the bedroom, sometimes it’s nice to let go and let someone else lead. There’s something sexy about having your partner take care of you—and aftercare with real and fictional spankings is the best part!

Biology. I think women (and I’m generalizing here) are wired by biology to desire a dominant alpha male. The reason is perfectly primal: we are looking for a mate that can protect us while we raise our young.

So here’s this big strong guy who puts you over his knee and gives you a little taste of his power. What does that say to our primal selves? “I’d be a good mate because I’m strong. I can hurt you a little to prove it. See? I can care and provide for you, even when you are at your most vulnerable, carrying and raising our young.”  

It may not be in vogue to talk about this, but there are basic evolutionary reasons why traditional gender roles came about. Writing stories set in the 1860s Wild West drove this home for me. Most women in that time period where either pregnant or breastfeeding 90% of the time. Right now, I’m actually pregnant myself (due in May) and I understand the urge to find a mate who can provide stability and care. That’s why billionaire romances are so popular: they satisfy this deep need for security.

It’s taboo! I’m supposed to be a strong, feminist woman, and here I am fantasizing about being treated like a naughty little girl. It’s humiliating, degrading and taboo—and the psychological embarrassment gets my adrenaline pumping, which gets the blood flowing…you know where. Spanking incites the same reaction as having sex outdoors, or performing any sex act you think is outside the norm of what you “should” do. Being naughty is half the fun.

Domination, submission, and breaking the rules -- sounds lovely, right? Click and buy some spanking subversion.

Domination, submission, and breaking the rules — sounds lovely, right? Click and buy some spanking subversion.

AD: So, power exchange is part of the turn-on. It seems like the whole spanking scenario is designed to place the spankee in a position of submission — the physical position and the frequent use of spanking as a form of punishment.

LS: Yes, absolutely. And submission is hot. So is domination. Some people want to give up control and let go. Others want to take over and not have to conform to society’s rules of “be nice and polite.” Some people want to switch it up and do both!

AD: In the initial stages of the romance in Rocky Mountain Dawn, it seemed to me that Esther was really being spanked for punishment and not for play. Bearing in mind that spanking and domestic discipline were just part of life during this time period, is it difficult to portray less-than-completely consensual spanking as something arousing to the modern reader?

LS: Rocky Mountain Dawn and Bride (Book 1 and 2), the characters practice domestic discipline, a sort of power exchange that taps into traditional gender roles. So instead of “this is sexy pain/pleasure” it’s “you broke the rules, you get the consequences.”

This helps readers who need the submissives to be spanked for a good reason. Most of the time, the reason is the wife put her life in danger, and the husband “takes her in hand” to teach her not to do it again. If you feel a twinge of repulsion at that, I understand, but for me the touch of humiliation “I’m your husband so I’m the boss” dynamic make the submission more delicious.

This is a fantasy, and it’s not going to appeal to everyone. By modern day standards, most of my main guy characters are assholes! If a man acted the way they do in real life, I’d probably kick him in the nuts and run in the opposite direction. I worry about my heroes coming across as cocky dickheads, but then I realize that it’s part of the fun: watching this aggressive male get tamed by a woman’s love. Their bossiness makes the tender moments more powerful. My latest book, Rocky Mountain Rogue (book 5), was a huge hit because of this. Jesse is a supreme jerk, but he knows it, and in the end he’d do anything for his lady love, Susannah. She’s a pretty little school teacher from Boston, Massachusetts, and he’s a gun-slinging outlaw who robs her stage coach.

FYI, the premise for Jesse and Susannah’s meeting in Rocky Mountain Rogue was based on a true story I read in a book called “Heart’s West, The True stories of Mail Order Brides on the Frontier.” After reading that book, I knew I wanted to write this series. The 1860s time period lends itself to power exchange. Ordinary men had to be tough and dominant, not just the billionaire alpha bosses or MMA fighters we see in contemporary BDSM novels. And women, while strong and tough as men, also needed care and community when they were married—because they were most likely bearing and raising children.

Crime does pay in the Wild West. Click to buy.

Crime does pay in the Wild West. Click to buy.

AD: Are there elements of age play in Rocky Mountain Dawn? Some of Esther’s punishments — I’m thinking of the apology notes Johnathan makes her write — are reminiscent of the sorts of things that make up children’s punishments.

LS: In Rocky Mountain Dawn and Rocky Mountain Bride, Book 1 and in Book 2, the couples practice domestic discipline, where the husband leads and the wife follows. I don’t know why that dynamic is so hot to me, but it is.

Esther is very, very submissive and enjoys following her husband’s lead. She’s also a painslut so spankings turn her on. In my mind, my characters are very real. They tell me what they will or won’t do in the bedroom.

So Dawn doesn’t quite contain age play—Book 6 with Calum and Phoebe is more of a true age play—but the punishments Esther and Johnathan practice are meant to be humiliating, along the lines of Christian Domestic Discipline. One reader complained that my hero treated his wife like a two-year old; that was actually the point. Having a husband belittle his wife in that way is pretty taboo in our post-feminist world, but maybe that’s why it turns me on.

AD: Let’s talk about the rest of the series — are there more Rocky Mountain Bride books coming?

LS: There are going to be 8! There are 5 out so far, and the next one, Rocky Mountain Wild, stars Calum MacDonnell, a Scottish-American mountain man who’s a total teddy bear Daddy Dom. I had to follow Rogue Jesse’s book with a gentler hero. Calum’s book has a lot of age play elements.

The thing about kink: it’s not vanilla, so there’s 30 plus flavors. And you can mix and match as you wish! I write about spanking, non-consent/reluctance, age play, menage, anal play and punishment.

AD: What else are you working on?

LS: I just wrote an erotic Western about a brothel worker who is kidnapped by five of her regulars to be their shared bride. It’s so hot! I realized as I was writing it that part of the menage fantasy is having five men see to your needs, sexual and otherwise. Back to that need for security. Of course, the sex is scorching (this would be a menage a six, with one woman and six men), but I also had fun going deep into the different characters and their personalities, and how they all want to connect to Pearl, their captured bride. That book is called Pearl’s Possession and it will be out with Blushing Books in a few months.

AD: Annnnd what are you reading?

LS: Everything! I read about a book a day, from romance to nonfiction (most popular topics are business, marketing, and now babies). As far as romance, my old favorites are Knight or the Rock Chick series by Kristen Ashley. I just picked up a new fantastic author, Melanie Merchande. Both those ladies’ books have some spanking, though for some good spanking action check out authors Renee Rose, Sue Lyndon, and Vanessa Vale. I recommend these authors’ entire oeuvre.

I’d never read a Western before starting the Rocky Mountain series, so I had a blast researching this time period. I already mentioned the nonfiction book “Hearts West: True Stories of Mail Order Brides on The Frontier.” I also love “Covered Wagon Women”, an amazing eleven book anthology made up of real 19th century women’s diaries, written during their time on the Oregon trail. The entries are mind blowing: “Left today. Didn’t tell my ma and pa that I’ll probably never see them again.” or “Husband died yesterday. I hope I can make it to Colorado Springs before I give birth to my seventh child.” Their voices are funny and sad and triumphant. Men claimed the West, but women civilized it. I read about those tough pioneer women and I wanted to tell their stories.

I just added sex and spankings to make it fun.

***

So spanking is wonderful, subversive fun! What wonderful news! And just what I hoped to find about a new-to-me kink — it’s like hearing that someone’s been waiting for me.

Follow Lady Smut. We’re down for discovery around here.

 

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