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Kinky F*ckery in 50 Shades: Interview with Jackie C. Horne

11 Feb

Ladies—Jackie from ROMANCE NOVELS FOR FEMINISTS is here with me today to delve deeply into the core themes of the 50 Shades phenomenon. We focussed on two questions:

Why do women love this fantasy?

Two reasons I love this fantasy--and they're big and blue.

Two reasons why I love this fantasy–they’re big and blue.

Does 50 SHADES represent a step forward in women’s sexual freedom—or a step back?

If you like 50 Shades and smart discussion – you’re in for a treat!

MADELINE IVA: I’m very interested in focusing on what it is that draws women to the 50 Shades fantasy…

JACKIE C. HORNE: To answer that, you first have to answer the question “what is the fantasy” that these books and films hold out to us? And that fantasy may be different for different readers and viewers. As a literary critic, I see three different fantasies at play in books 1 & 2. First, the fantasy that an ordinary girl (ordinary in both looks and intelligence) can catch the attention of a wealthy, handsome man (the cornerstone of much romance writing).

Second, the fantasy that said ordinary girl can rescue/save an emotionally messed-up man (again, a foundational trope in romance).

And finally, the fantasy that indulging in “kinky fuckery” is something to take pleasure in, rather than something to be ashamed of, even for an ordinary girl. The latter fantasy is the most progressive one, the most positive one as far as women’s rights and women’s sexual freedom goes. But the two former ones are what makes it safe, I think, for readers to accept the latter one. It’s the combination of all three that made the books such a phenomenon. Romance tropes as the life preserver, if you will, that allow readers to imagine themselves swimming out into the less familiar waters of sex with a touch of kink.50

MADELINE IVA: I’ve never heard it stated so well, Jackie! We’ve touched upon this topic before: I see the role of BDSM in the romance genre as representing a fundamental evolution in the role of consent.  Women are now asking for the sex they want and negotiating with their partners for sex that they want –or don’t want!–tons more than they used to.  I’ll be interested in hearing your thoughts about this after watching the first movie.

JACKIE C. HORNE: I think this depends on the reader’s relationship with BDSM and the BDSM community. In the book 50 Shades Darker, when Ana is talking about Christian’s sexual needs with Christian’s psychiatrist, Dr. Flynn explains that “of course there is such a thing as sexual sadism, but it’s not a disease; it’s a lifestyle choice. And if it’s practiced in a safe, sane relationship between consenting adults, then it’s a non-issue” (412). If you are a reader who is a sexual sadist, or who is familiar with the BDSM community, then you’re probably going to find 50 Shades problematic when it comes to consent. The reason why I didn’t read these books until you asked me to participate in this discussion was because I had heard from romance writers who write erotic & BDSM romance that the books aren’t an accurate depiction of BDSM or of the BDSM community.

MADELINE IVA: True, but there’s a crap-ton of fantasy in BDSM erotic romance already. Inaccuracies abound and many fans want the fantasy—not the reality. (Esp. when it comes to sex clubs.)

JACKIE C. HORNE: If you’re not familiar with BDSM, though, if you read the consent to kinky sex not as a realistic possibility but as a metaphor, then yes, it can definitely be a metaphor for female consent.

It takes Ana a while (all the way to the end of book 1) to figure out what she wants, and doesn’t want, out of her sexual relationship with Christian. She’s up for bondage, up for spanking, up for lighter sexual pain, all things she never would have imagined she’d liked before she met Christian.

MADELINE IVA: Yes! And in the movie — what we see dominates what we hear. What we SEE is Ana enjoying lite kinky play…In the book, which is so much internal, her confusion and ambivalence take center stage.first-kiss-50

JACKIE C. HORNE: But in the book’s climactic scene, she realizes that she is not up for being punished, for being the object upon which Christian takes out his anger. Refusing to consent to the linking of love and male anger, the idea that male anger is always a part of male love—that may be the key shift from Old Skool romance novels to contemporary romances.

MADELINE IVA: This is a great interpretation, and I agree that if the fundamental message is not to accept male anger as a part of male love, that it’s a good one.  But I don’t know….(more on that later.)

What I saw as I watched that final scene in the first movie was her seeing his emotional pain and wanting to take on his pain — like a martyr.

Meanwhile, Cara McKenna is my touchstone for an author who shows consent VERY well without bogging down the plot or making us fall out of the fantasy.  50 Shades maybe does this less well, but it might be interesting to contrast how consent is carried out in the movie vs. the book.

JACKIE C. HORNE: Did you think there were major differences between book and movie in this regard? I didn’t notice any myself, but if you have specific scenes you can point to, I’d be happy to go back and re-watch the film again.

“Please, Ana, let me make love to you.”

“Yes,” I whisper, because that’s why I’m here. (50 Shades of Grey, 113) 

MADELINE IVA: I’m thinking of the contract stuff.  In the movie she was actively negotiating with him face to face and crossing out elements she vetoed. It seemed like there was energy to this exchange. To me this showed strong female agency — and have we ever seen a woman in a film before negotiating over sex so thoroughly? (Excepting scenes with sex workers–and even then not so much.)

In the book, meanwhile, the contract seemed (this is my interpretation) a packet of doom.  It seemed to make her cringe, and the details dwelt upon had to do with total control over her as well as painful sex acts.  It dragged her down into a pit of (again my take)  “No, no, no, no, OMG. Am I going to have to do this stuff? Gah!

JACKIE C. HORNE: Oh, yes, the contract scene is so great in the film! It shows Ana being far more empowered, and really enjoying the negotiating with Christian. Many film reviews cite that scene as the best thing in the movie.

In the book, the language of the contract appears not just once, but four times (at least in part). Is it just sloppy writing, that repetition? Or is there something really important in that legal language to James? The idea that this is a business relationship, rather than a personal one, to Christian? Which is an idea that Ana ultimately cannot accept.

MADELINE IVA: I’m interesting in talking about Jamie Dornan as a man/actor who was a kind of reluctant participant himself in the movie.  Yes, he did it for his career, and didn’t have long to think about his choice.  Also he is most definitely NOT a fan of the life style.

Dakota Johnson seems to have adapted a bit more (maybe because it’s the corner stone of her career?)

There are interviews where Dornan apologized profusely to Dakota Johnson before each take.  Do we care as much about male consent as we do about female consent? Is this going to be a problem? (Is it one already? Can men refuse sex without having their sexuality challenged, or facing aggressive repercussions –even if not physical violence?)

JACKIE C. HORNE: Your questions make me think about 15-year-old Christian, at the start of his affair with Elena. Did he consent? He says he did, but Ana is consistently appalled by the mere thought of an adult woman inviting a 15-year-old boy to have (kinky) sex with her. Ana never asks Christian to tell her more about his experience; she instantly assumes that he had no agency, no ability to consent, that he was molested and abused.50-shades-shower

I was disappointed that the books, which initially reserve judgment on this issue (was Christian abused? Or was his relationship with Elena a positive, even life-saving one?) end up coming down hard on the side of abuse by the end of book 2. Rather than presenting Ana’s intense jealousy of Elena as misguided or immature, the end of book 2 reinforces the idea that Ana is right to be wary of Elena. I thought this a very sexist move, complete with bitch-slap for the erring woman (not by Ana, but by Christian’s adopted mother).

I wished we could have heard more about Christian’s experience with Elena, that Ana had been more curious rather than judgmental about it. In some ways, you could say that Ana is infantilizing Christian by refusing to grant that even as a 15-year-old, he might have been capable of making informed decisions about his sexual desires.

MADELINE IVA: And this goes back to the core fantasies.  What you saw as the ordinary young woman saving/healing the wounded man I saw as a kind of mothering thing — the power of soothing.  “Let me make the hurt go away” kind of actions.

No cigarette burn scars on his chest in the first movie. Whoops! They fixed it for the second film.

No cigarette burn scars on his chest in the first movie. Whoops! They fixed it for the second film.

JACKIE C. HORNE: The larger issue—about male consent in general—is an interesting one. Yes, a man who turns down a chance to have sex is still likely to have his masculinity, or his heterosexuality, called into question, even in this day and age. But a man who turns down BDSM sex, or feels squicky about it, there’s something different going on there. BDSM sex isn’t as widely accepted, as widely admired, as straight heterosexual sex; there’s a taint attached to it for many people. Wanting to dominate women is a big no-no in our purportedly post-feminist age. So not consenting to participate in Dom/sub sex, or expressing uneasiness or discomfort with having to act as if you enjoy it, can be read by many as a positive thing, an endorsement of more equal power during sex between partners. A women’s rights kind of thing, no?

MADELINE IVA: Well, I actually know men who say “whatever she wants sexually I kinda have to do” and that with one man it’s kinky stuff with his wife. He’s okay with it, because she enjoys it.  With another man it’s about his incredible discomfort playing out semi-rape fantasies with women he’s having sex with…I think part of his discomfort involves reinforcing the perception that in some way he LOOKS predatory, etc.

JACKIE C. HORNE: I haven’t heard similar stories from any of my male friends or acquaintances. But your friends’ experiences do show how men can be subject to (or even victims of) sexual stereotypes. (I’m in the midst of reading a book about a gay asexual man, and he feels quite similarly, that he is surrounded by the imperative “men always want sex”). No man, or woman, should feel like they HAVE to do anything, sex-wise, that they don’t want to do. Ever. I hope your latter friend can find women to date who won’t push him to play the semi-rape game.

MADELINE IVA: Yup, I agree. The singles world of dating, hook-ups, etc, is a jungle—the price we pay for more sexual freedom seems to be more social pressure about sex and displaying sexuality in increasingly artificial ways.

Part of the conundrum of playing up one’s sexuality is that some men I know have that bad boy vibe, but at heart they’re good guys. They draw women to them, but eventually hit an impasse when looks and who he is just doesn’t match her expectations.  In this film the bad boy is gradually revealed as a ‘good boy’ on the inside. So maybe there’s hope for my friends…fifty-shades-ball-1486048963

Moving on! Has Trump ruined billionaire romances? Or put a significant dent in them? I remember thinking: “Consent all you want young woman from a poor family. Once you’re in handcuffs in his home he could do anything he wanted to you and probably get away with it…” and I know this is a direct line of thinking from the news/publicity about Trump during the election…

Yet there’s always one side in the romance world shouting “IT”S JUST A FANTASY!” Is there a problem with saying it’s all just a fantasy? And what are we to do with the constant  demand from women for forbidden sexual fantasy? Should we be pragmatic and accept this?

OR for instance, (as one who grew up watching male fantasies of women in the media), do we understand that this has deeply impacted and harmed our culture?

JACKIE C. HORNE: I was recently interviewed by a reporter for the Village Voice, who asked if I thought the billionaire romance trend had contributed to the acceptance of Trump by many women. Rather than ruining billionaire romances, Trump might be the logical outcome of this romance trend. Because billionaire romances paper over the trouble that actual billionaires present, don’t they? Unlike saintly Christian, whom we only ever see engaging in business that is meant to help the powerless (donating food to Darfur; developing solar technology; donating money to the university to develop sustainable food programs), most real-life billionaires make their money through capitalistic competition, competition that often relies on shortchanging the average Joe (or average Ana) worker. To fantasize about a powerful billionaire falling for them, women have to forget or ignore all the other women (and men) upon whom his billions were built, and upon whom his continued wealth still relies.

And they also have to keep imagining that the only path to power is an indirect one, by being in a relationship with a wealthy man, rather than imagining that they could gain power themselves. Those are both fantasies that limit, rather than empower, women.

So I don’t buy the “it’s just a fantasy” explanation/excuse. What is the fantasy, and why are we having it? That’s a far more productive question, and avenue for exploration.

MADELINE IVA: I have no problem with this, only sometimes the liberal peeps can be as judgmental and shaming as conservatives without exploring the needs, frustrations, and context of those who are very different from them in terms of race or class.  If we could explore all of these issues without a dose of shaming, it would be nice.

But you know, scientific research on sexuality seems to indicate that what sexually turns us on seems to be fixed.  Maybe the “Why” of the fantasy and the turn on go back to that slushy mix of our evolution and what we were exposed to in our youth/teens and that’s that…Which takes us right back to your point about Christian’s first sexual experiences…

Let’s turn to talking about the differences between the first book and movie.  Some things just not translate well from book to movie? I don’t recall when in the book he showed up in Savannah that it was as big a deal to me.  But in the movie I had an involuntary “Stalker!” reaction. He seemed so much creepier in the movie.  Or is this just that I’m coming off watching him in THE FALL where he played a serial killer? ; >50shadesbathrobe

JACKIE C. HORNE: Funny, I had just the opposite reaction!

MADELINE IVA: — Okay, I hang my head and accept that I am having a post-The Fall Dornan experience.

JACKIE C. HORNE: I thought he was far creepier in the book than he was in the film. Dornan just smiled too much to feel like the controlling Christian of the books to me! (Must say I’ve never seen The Fall, though). The film cut out many of book-Christian’s more stalker-y/controlling moves—no mention of him moving her to first class on the plane without asking her, and he’s not so insistent about her eating all the time—so he didn’t come across as quite so control-freakish in the film as he does in the book.

MADELINE IVA: The eating thing.  Ugh!  It also made Ana seem SO PASSIVE and waify/victim-y.50-touching-lips

JACKIE C. HORNE: On the other hand, in book 1, when Ana teases Christian in an email “Have you sought therapy for your stalker tendencies?” he tells her (and us) that “I pay the eminent Dr. Flynn a small fortune with regard to my stalker and other tendencies” (290). This reassured me; I had thought from what people had told me about the books that they normalized stalkery/über-controlling male behavior. That Christian is actively seeing a psychiatrist about his issues sends the opposite message: that stalkery/über-controlling behavior is psychologically problematic. I was disappointed that Christian’s shrink did not make it into the film.

MADELINE IVA: Yes! Anastasia seemed to enjoy most of what they did a whole lot more in the movie than her internals showed in the book.  And did that tilt the scales of problems some people had with the book?

ana-shirt-2JACKIE C. HORNE: For all that we get so much of her internal thoughts in the books, Anastasia of the novels is a pretty empty character. That’s not a good or a bad thing; it’s just a way of telling a story, a way that allows the reader more easily to project herself into the novel than if Ana’s character had more individuality, had been more fully developed. Ironically, though we get little of her internal thoughts in the film, seeing Dakota Johnson up on the screen made her more of a person to me, an individual with thoughts and emotions different from mine, rather than just an empty placeholder for me to project myself onto.

The lack of access to Ana’s thoughts makes her wishy-washy-ness re: the kinky sex less apparent. I agree that in the film, she seems to enjoy the kinky sex more than she does in the books. And that made the story more interesting to me—the story of a woman exploring the boundaries of her own sexual desires.

MADELINE IVA: I agree that Dakota Johnson did a great job of seeming vulnerable and kinda raw in her own skin, but also very fluid and interesting in the kinky scenes.  She also just seemed older, which I found reassuring…

Going back to how this series explores typical/conservative romance values side by side with the more progressive idea of a young woman exploring kinky sex—Ultimately, Ana rejects kinky sex.  Do you think that this is on par with the other more conservative values of the book’s romantic tropes and again, makes it more safe for more conservative romance readers to accept it?  (Noting that this move seems to enrage many BDSM erotic romance authors more than anything else.)

Are we back to the “forced seduction” sexual tropes of the 80’s? In those romance novels it was okay for the woman to have sex in those situations because she didn’t ask for it… In the 50 Shades franchise, is it okay for Ana to explore BDSM-lite because ultimately she rejects it and therefore is still ‘a good girl’?

Meanwhile, what are we in the audience doing throughout the movie if not enjoying Ana’s engaging in forbidden kink?

weredoingwhat

We’re doing WHAT? Everyone seems to agree that both actors are much more comfortable filming together now. Not surprising, given the success of the franchise, and the boost to their respective careers.

JACKIE C. HORNE: Funny, I was thinking about what title I would give this discussion and came up with “Having your kink and condemning it too”!

I agree with you that Ana’s disgust with and rejection of the punishment aspect of Dom/sub play does dovetail with the more conservative values of the book’s romance tropes. Her rejection gives readers an “out,” a having your cake and eating it too safety valve. Which does undercut the progressive message to a large degree.

But on the other hand, Ana doesn’t rejects ALL kink (at least by the end of book 2). As I noted above, she enjoys being tied up, being restrained, being spanked. And in DARKER the book, she’s bugging Christian all the time to go back to the Red Room of Pain. Which doesn’t seem to me to be just about serving Christian’s needs; it seems to be a deep curiosity of her own about kinky sex.

Ana’s rejection of Christian’s sadism (and the book’s rejection of that label for him) enrages many BDSM erotic romance authors because Ana’s decision at the end of book 1 has a larger ideological weight: it tells the reader that the power dynamics in ALL Dom/sub relationships are both shameful AND are signs of psychological damage that needs to be repaired. Which is exactly the opposite message of current psychological thinking, as Dr. Flynn explains. Someone is a sadist just because he (or she) is one, not because he or she was traumatized as a child.

Perhaps Ana should pay Dr. Flynn (or another qualified psychologist) a visit to talk about her own ambivalences about BDSM?

MADELINE IVA: Perhaps!

Thank you Jackie SO MUCH for chatting with me! And readers, don’t forget our KAMA SUTRA giveaway.  All you have to do is hit our pink subscribe button above and to the right.

kama-sutra-giveaway

This giveaway includes massage oil, candle, soap, and lip balm.  (Continental US only!)

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 Men Who Dare To Go There In Erotic Fiction

27 Jan

By Elizabeth SaFleur

The evolution of Viagra’s marketing from Bob Dole to 40 something men during football games (so now she wants it) has given me further insight into the degradation that women experience every day, living up to impossible standards of beauty and sexuality. ~Spencer Dryden

You pretty much have to love a guy who emails you the above lines in response to your interview request related to why he writes erotic fiction. And then when he—and other male erotic writers—jump in with other awesomeness, well, it’s hard not to let pride swell one’s little heart that these gentlemen are part of our book tribe.

Authors DaddyX, Spencer Dryden, Daily Hollow and Ian Smith graciously shared their experiences writing erotic romance and erotica, including why (oh, why?) they went there. Few men do. Let’s hear from the few, the proud and the brave.

ELIZABETH SAFLEUR: Okay, guys, how did you get here? Why do you write in the erotic genre?

SPENCER DRYDEN: Nearly all my life I have been enchanted by female allure. I come from a time and background where anything sexual was obscured by a cloud of guilt and shame. When I reached my early 60’s (I’m 66 now) I gave myself permission to explore those fantasies through fiction as it would be much safer that trying to carry them out in real life. I have learned so much about sex and sexuality in the process, things I wish I had known as a younger man. A guy could learn a lot by reading my stuff.

DADDYX: To be honest—and I will be honest—being horny. And in appreciating the fact that I still felt sexy rather late in life. It’s what was always on my mind, even at 64 years of age, when I began writing erotica. Figured to document my libido before it went away.

ELIZABETH SAFLEUR: We love honest guys.

daddyx-cover

Good things come in plain brown wrappers. Daddy has stenciled a big red “X” on the cover of his new collection to warn the reading public. Open this book only if you’re ready for X-rated excesses beyond the ordinary. The five tales Daddy has chosen for this volume are X-tra outrageous.

IAN SMITH:  I read some ‘chick lit’ for relaxation, and enjoyed the development of the characters and the romantic story, but felt the lovemaking scenes were a bit tame. I decided to try writing this sort of story, but with rather steamier scenes. Sex is an integral and important part of most people’s relationships, and I thought it must be possible to be realistic without being ‘porn’.”

DAILY HOLLOW: I wanted to get back into writing fiction so a few years ago I googled ‘writing competitions’ and stumbled across Literotica. After reading a few stories I was like “I can totally do this.”

ELIZABETH SAFLEUR: There’s that honesty again. You all come from different walks of life so I’m calling you my ‘representative sample.’ Here’s what I want to know. Why aren’t there more male authors in the erotic genre?

DADDYX: Hah! Momma X says that when a woman writes smut, it’s considered cute. A woman can get away with appearing something akin to adventurous without looking like a perv. Conjure a naughty picture of a cute girl, book in one hand, masturbating with the other. Isn’t that sweet? But a guy in a basement who can’t get a date, one hand beating Red Roger, typing like crazy with the other? Let’s just say it’s a different picture.

ELIZABETH SAFLEUR: Okay, true that.

SPENCER DRYDEN: I don’t have a clue other than women weren’t seeing what they liked and have systematically taken over control of the ship. Very admirable. We need to get more male readers into erotica but I don’t see many characters I can identify with. Until men can identify with character and plot in erotica, what little fiction they read will continue to be action genres.

DAILY HOLLOW: I think because there are more female readers of erotica, so it would make sense more women would write it. Men (such as myself) tend to gravitate more toward action, horror, etc. Honestly, I very rarely read the genre, unless one of my friends has a new book or I am beta reading for someone.

IAN SMITH: There appears to be a widespread opinion that “men can’t write romance’” which I disagree with. Men feel romantic and get emotionally involved, probably in similar ways to women. Fewer men appear to write romance, or at least not under male pen names. I know the market for romance generally is predominantly female, and I can understand that people reading for escapism will typically identify more readily with their own gender.

ELIZABETH SAFLEUR: So as a man, do you feel responsible or obligated to write erotica or erotic romance a “certain” way? Such as more respectful (or more blatant) in certain areas because people know you’re a man?

DAILY HOLLOW: Not really. I write what I feel, then send it off to the betas. I have never had anyone tell me my writing was derogatory or disrespectful.

plumbersotherlovers300

Plumbers and Other Lovers is collection of four short stories about tradesmen who find unexpected rewards in home repairs as they stumble into romantic encounters during the course of their everyday blue-collar lives.

DADDYX: Not at all. But I sure get told when I get it wrong. :>) Much of my experience in offering, receiving and observing criticism is through The Erotica Readers and Writers Association lists. I have acted as Storytime editor for either flash fiction or short stories for the past few years. There, I see varying perspectives of criticism and as many ways of interpreting the same work. Everyone has his/her own way of perceiving and receiving erotica. That’s one of the more intriguing aspects of writing in our genre. Everyone absorbs the material according to their own turn-ons and squicks. In fact, with all the variety out there, it’s a miracle a writer ever connects with a reader.

SPENCER DRYDEN: My writing reflects the way I feel about women, which is that I hold them in high regard, especially the way they can use their powers of enchantment.

ELIZABETH SAFLEUR: See opening lines above.

IAN SMITH: No, I try to write with my own “voice.” I like my male lead characters to be decent, nice guys, and be courteous to the women they’re involved with, but that’s at least partly because it’s how I hope I am myself. I find it difficult to imagine being anything else, but that might be something fun to play with when I feel more confident about my writing.

ELIZABETH SAFLEUR: Do you find people hold you to a higher standard? Like a woman can get away with writing certain things, but a man would get his hand slapped for “crossing a line?”

DAILY HOLLOW: Not really. I have heard some male writers feel that way, but I have never encountered any issues.

SPENCER DRYDEN:  I don’t know if “higher standard” is quite the right term for what I feel. I have read lots of short form F/F erotica (which I love) as a way to improve sensual vocabulary. Often these stories move fast and feature plots that move quickly from initial encounter to sex. (Hi I’m a girl that likes girls. Oh I like girls too….begin humping) My stories have the same structure and character arc as F/F stories but my are frequently labeled as “stroke” or “only about sex.” So it’s more like a double standard than a higher standard.

DADDYX: Some of my characters can be despicable. I do have to work to tone them down upon occasion. Though assholes make for interesting subjects, there should be someone for the reader to relate to. Often the reader equates a character with the author, so I wouldn’t want to alienate readership of any sexual orientation. Despite everything as personal as squicks and triggers, I’d like my work to be universal; but that’s nigh impossible, considering that many people wouldn’t open an erotic book in the first place.

kings-captain-cover-1000x633

Paul is Hayley’s lover and now her leading man. But acting and portraying a hero on a period TV show takes far more than a suit of armour. He’s totally out of his depth, personally and professionally. Help arrives with dramatic lessons in leadership and courage, when strange events put him and his friends in harm’s way.

ELIZABETH SAFLEUR: And, you Ian?

IAN SMITH: I don’t think so. Well, aside from trying to write from a female POV and getting it wrong!

ELIZABETH SAFLEUR: In general, men’s fantasies vary wildly from female fantasies. They experience sex differently in real life. Do you believe that colors a male author’s viewpoint when writing erotic fiction? Do you try to write something that will appeal to what females (the bulk of erotic fiction readers) want to read?

DADDYX: Wish I had an inside track for success with female readers. Any readers. It sure would be nice. Maybe then I could sell some books. :>) So here’s what I think:

Again, I can’t really say that I write to a particular gender. To me, it’s all about the story, no matter who’s reading. The plot has to be fresh, intriguing, and hold together. The story arc must be accessible, if not immediately obvious. I like to give my readers credit as intelligent people who will extrapolate content and subtleties by my prompts and suggestions. I don’t want to alter or conform my work to appeal to the lowest common denominator. By the same token, while I’m writing, I wouldn’t want to distract myself imagining my readers as any particular gender. I feel that engineering the delivery by gender could effectively limit scope in development of the story. I like to think of literature as universal.

That said, I also like to get my readers juices flowing, no matter their gender. Problem is, how would I know?

DAILY HOLLOW: I write what I feel. I’ve actually written a few F/F stories, and honestly my novella, Leslie’s Dilemma, may be my best fiction piece to date.

SPENCER DRYDEN: “I hope that female readers will find my male characters to be genuine and memorable. There are no billionaire bad boys, alpha males or self- destructive ego-maniacs in my stories. I feature ordinary guys who fall into the orbit of sexually assertive women. [As for a different viewpoint?] Absolutely. It’s why we are more visual and more mechanical in our fiction writing.

ELIZABETH SAFLEUR: Confession time: Are you writing stories you wish would pan out in real life?

DADDYX: Heh. I’m 72 years old, for chrissakes. My fantasies will remain as such. :>) If Momma and I can achieve orgasm in the missionary position without injuring ourselves, we consider ourselves lucky. Best fantasy these days is a sexy dream. Or a trip to a thong beach.  In truth though, I often write situations I’d like to have happened. Other situations, not so much. Depends on the character. He/she may think like me. Or decidedly not.

IAN SMITH: In a general sense, of people meeting and forming solid, emotionally-fulfilling relationships, and having a few adventures along the way.

daly-hollow-book

Mark Jenson is a handsome, easy going man who enjoys drinking with his buddies and the occasional Myrtle Beach golf outing. Gabriella is a beautiful, yet intimidating Jamaican assassin who has nearly fifty kills to her credit. Because Mark unknowingly insulted a mobster’s daughter after they had a drunken night of sex, Gabriella is hired to end Mark’s life

DAILY HOLLOW: LOL, who doesn’t? I also try to throw a little personal experience in as well. I’ve been in several multi-racial relationships and have written a BWWM novella and short story. I’ve also had sex in public and one of my works in progress is going to have a scene where my MC has sex in a river at a popular college hangout. In my short story “Charlene’s Surprise”, my MC is tied up while his wife and her best friend “put on a show.” I guess that would be something I wish would have panned out in real life. 😉

SPENCER DRYDEN: I think fantasy; especially sexual fantasy is a very important part of a balanced life. Fantasy helps us set boundaries and then offers us a risk free way of seeing life on the other side of the boundary. In my case, through fiction, I can make love to any woman I want, my wife could care less and the woman even likes it. I think it would cause lots of marital difficulty if I were to ACT on my fantasies. I can also brutally murder people I dislike without fear of jail time.

ELIZABETH SAFLEUR: Isn’t that the best? I digress… For you, what is the most satisfying part about writing erotic fiction?

DADDYX: Positive feedback. Connecting with a reader in an erotic endeavor. Nothing feels better than hearing a reviewer you don’t know say: “That’s the most erotic book I’ve ever read,” as has been said about “The Gonzo Collection.” Considering the aforementioned variety of erotic preferences (and the odds against of making that connection) the connection, once made, may be on some level equivalent to sharing sex with those readers.

SPENCER DRYDEN: When I see the whole story arc. I write most of my stories backwards, that is, I start at the end and work my way back to the beginning.

IAN SMITH: Readers telling me they enjoyed my storytelling. If they found it hot and steamy as well, that’s a bonus!

DAILY HOLLOW: Typing the words “the end.” One of the most challenging parts about writing is actually finishing. I currently have about five WIP going at once.

ELIZABETH SAFLEUR: So, I guess in the end, it turns out all writers are alike!

Thank you, gentleman. Keep up the great work. Readers, below is how you can stay in touch with our male cohorts in sexy crime. And follow LadySmut. We know all the great writers…and lovers of sexy romance.

 Love Links

Daily Hollow’s Facebook and Amazon author page

DaddyX’s  Oh Get A Grip blog  (where he posts fortnightly with nine other accomplished erotica writers) and Amazon author page

Ian Smith’s Facebook, Facebook Author Page and Blog

Spencer Dryden’s Facebook, Twitter and Amazon author page

~~~~~

Elizabeth SaFleur writes contemporary erotic romance and she’s not afraid to get graphic about it  — “it” being the sex, the BDSM or Washington, DC society, which she regularly features in her series, the Elite Doms of Washington. Join her Sexy, Saucy, Sometimes Naughty exclusive reader’s group or follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Authors That Keep Vibrator Sales a Hummin’

23 Dec

Ho-ho-ho and a bottle of rum. Jimmy Buffet’s iconic Christmas song about a stressed out Santa who’s run off to the Caribbean may be exactly how many of us are feeling riiiiiight about … now.

funny-christmas-lights-04

Well, kittens, take a load off your shopping-swollen feet, grab a shot of rum* or whatever is your pleasure and reminisce with some favorite LadySmut authors we interviewed over the last year.

One minute diversion: Husband and I discovered a new drink at the Kimpton’s Mason and Rook hotel in Washington, DC this past week during a little R&R getaway: hot Chai tea (made with coconut milk) and spiced rum. Can you say “Christmas in your mouth?!” 

On to the authors we love and the books that bring us entertainment, provide a break from reality and keep vibrators sales a hummin’….

Renee Rose – including a smexy excerpt!

Sierra Cartwright – who got to kiss William Shatner, by the way.

Kristen Ashley – carnation pink, Jimmy Choo pumps and sooo much more.

Other posts by moi posed the Really Important Questions, like how do ghosts do it (Ghosts Making Booty Calls) and have what we consider a good-looking man changed much in the last century (A Century of Hot Men)? Ya know, think tank level stuff…

About this time last year, we also posted a list of books the LadySmutters couldn’t stop thinking about in 2015. What are yours this year? Any really great reads that we MUST check out? Post in the comments because one can never have a TBR pile that’s too tall.

Also, follow LadySmut where we post all the questions worth answering. And pictures of hotness. And books. And more books. In other words, all the good things in life.

Happiest of Holidays to you and yours.

May 2017 be the year where everything “goes right” in your life.

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~~~~~

Elizabeth SaFleur writes contemporary erotic romance and she’s not afraid to get graphic about it  — “it” being the sex, the BDSM or Washington, DC society, which she regularly features in her series, the Elite Doms of Washington. Join her Sexy, Saucy, Sometimes Naughty exclusive reader’s group or follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

All I Want For Christmas is…Orgasms For Everyone

15 Dec

by Madeline Iva

Dear Santa: I gave a down & dirty questionnaire to the ladies at UNBOUND whose mission is to pry open your imagination… ; > …and inspire the sexual fantasies of women everywhere.  Here are their replies, along with a few naughty gift ideas for that special someone–yourself.

1. What have you seen/experienced going on with sexual relations in real life that gives your job at Unbound meaning to you?

POLLY (CEO of UNBOUND): For me, it was going through a radiation treatment from cancer without one single doctor acknowledging that I was going through menopause or how it would affect my sex life. As I got older, I realized that, relative to male sexuality, female sexuality is often swept under the rug or dismissed. Every day at Unbound we work to acknowledge female sexuality and to provide a place where women can explore and enjoy whatever sex means to them.

Got stocking stuffers? Ice Cube Nipple Balm--in Choco-Mint!

Got stocking stuffers? Ice Cube Nipple Balm–in Choco-Mint!

2. Any specific incidents you are willing to share that resulted in a ‘I’m-going-to-give-up-dating-and-go play-with-my-sex-toys-by-myself” kind of mood?

POLLY (CEO of UNBOUND): Unsolicited DPs are always great for that.

3. Any warnings or hilarious anecdotes about sex toys gone wrong/performing poorly? (Obviously not Unbound products, right?)

POLLY (CEO of UNBOUND): When I first started Unbound we kept all our inventory in a closet at our coworking space which was full of older accountants (i.e., *not* your hip coworking space, by any means). One day I went to grab something out of the closet and an entire case of bullet vibrators fell out on top of me and started actually vibrating all over the floor. Everyone in the coworking space watched as I tried to turn them all off and get them back in the closet.

These handcuff bangles come in gold too. They come with a little bag that says "There is freedom in restraint."

These handcuff bangles come in gold too. They come with a little bag that says “There is freedom in restraint.”

4) Explore how you wish people saw you vs. the ego-crushing reality of how your friends see you.

POLLY (CEO of UNBOUND): I think people often assume that the life of a startup is glamorous and truthfully it is anything but. Being responsible for a company means that it’s up to you to make things happen — this can mean anything from spending weekends in a warehouse to answering customer service emails at 2am. That’s not to say I don’t love it (I DO!) but it’s like having a baby — you love that baby and you’d do anything for it, but there are many times when you just want to get some damn sleep.

Gasp! Bondage Tape $8. F*** yeah.

Gasp! Bondage Tape $8. F*** yeah.

5) Do you all live in NYC? I hear it’s brutal there in terms of finding love.  Care to share any stories that contradict this/validate this hypothesis?

POLLY (CEO of UNBOUND): I love dating in NYC because there’s always the opportunity for serendipitous romance. I was walking in Washington Square Park a couple months ago and a guy ran up to me and insisted on getting my number and going out on a date. I’m pretty sure he was homeless because when he showed up for the date he had all his belongings with him but it was still romantic! (Note from Madeline–See Arrested Development, Season Two where Lindsay dates Tom Jane.) Similarly, I fell off my bike a month ago and my license went flying and the guy who helped me look for it ended up asking me out. Only in New York can you fall off your Citibike and look like a complete idiot and end up with a date.

6) Snap-chat? Tinder? How are cutting edge gals like yourself hooking up these days?  Any advice? Words of caution?

POLLY (CEO of UNBOUND): Sometimes I use Bumble, I like that the power to start the conversation is in the hands of the woman. But honestly the swiping is exhausting and I struggle to find dedicated time for the polite small talk and vetting. In my experience, romance and sex and love have a way of finding me when I’m least looking for it, and that’s kind of how I like it.

7) Finish this sentence: In a future world of perfect sexual equality and empowerment we’d all be….

POLLY (CEO of UNBOUND): …having orgasms daily.

Thanks Polly! Now we turn to Lorraine—

1) What have you seen/experienced going on with sexual relations in real life that gives your job at Unbound meaning to you?

LORRAINE (HEAD of CURATION): I find it tragic that so many people are afraid to try or ask for things in bed that they might be curious about or even know they find pleasurable from having experimented alone, simply because they are concerned that their partner or their friends may judge them to be somehow deviant or weird.  Because we’re all so different, finding out what works for you is by nature a trial and error proposition and if you’re only willing to try the narrow sliver of things that are conventional the odds are that you’re not going to experience as much pleasure as perhaps you could.

Ladies, it's a vagina pillow. Are those feathers? No, they're little, tiny, vaginas...

Ladies, it’s a vagina pillow. Are those feathers? No, they’re little, tiny, vaginas…

2) Any specific incidents you are willing to share that resulted in a ‘I’m-going-to-give-up-dating-and-go play-with-my-sex-toys-by-myself” kind of mood?

LORRAINE (HEAD of CURATION): When I encounter people who are excruciatingly boring, humorless or otherwise terrible I can seldom make it past a second drink and often turn heel to do exactly that.  If everything is “epic”, if you think that “all lives matter”, if you show up in *that* goddamn gingham J Crew shirt and proceed to talk about your love of IPAs I’d rather listen to the buzz of a hitachi than your nattering on.

3) Any warnings or hilarious anecdotes about sex toys gone wrong/performing poorly? (Obviously not Unbound products, right?)

LORRAINE (HEAD of CURATION):I was once giving someone an erotic massage and reached for what I thought was oil, but which turned out to be clitoral stimulant- something I only belatedly realized after having already slathered it on my subject’s back.  Their skin started to get red and warm and I tried to play it off as having been a warming massage oil.  Whoops.

Unbound has really cool curated boxes. This is a menopause box -- click to buy.

Unbound has really cool curated boxes. This is a menopause box — click to buy.

4) Explore how you wish people saw you vs. the ego-crushing reality of how your friends see you.

LORRAINE (HEAD of CURATION): I’m a total Instagram whore and so someone only viewing me through that lens would probably think my life is leisurely travel and fancy cocktails.  But the reality is I’m always glued to my phone or laptop working, no matter where I am and that I only sleep like 4-5 hours any given night.  Working all the time with so many deadlines and things to juggle can mean that I’m often looking to get to the point in conversation and sometimes social niceties can fall by the wayside. While in my mind I’m also an outgoing, open-minded, fun-loving person, my friends would probably say I can be a little (ok, strike that, very) blunt, cynical and overloud in public spaces and polite company.  I’m pretty sure it’s only gotten worse as I’ve gotten older but it’s made me appreciate the friends who stick by me despite my coal black heart and sharp tongue all the more.

5) Do you all live in NYC? I hear it’s brutal there in terms of finding love.  Care to share any stories that contradict this/validate this hypothesis?

LORRAINE (HEAD of CURATION): I’m by no means the first to point this out but it’s a double-edged sword.  On the one hand there are a multiplicity of options- with 9+ million people to choose from (more if you count the B&T crowd I guess) you can basically find every combination of body type, personality, career etc.  On the other hand, because everyone knows they have options, people are more reluctant to get emotionally invested in who they date and can tend to treat people as disposable.  Ghosting is a big problem (which isn’t to say I’ve never done it)- but I get it.  Why settle down with one person when the entire city is at your feet?  It’s a hard sell.

6) Snap-chat? Tinder? How are cutting edge gals like yourself hooking up these days?  Any advice? Words of caution?

LORRAINE (HEAD of CURATION): I like to meet people in person at events or through friends I know to be a better judge of character than I am, whenever possible.  But apps are alright- though I don’t really read into matches much because some people just mindlessly swipe right.  My litmus test is much more the conversation- I can usually tell in few lines of interchange whether someone is passably witty, funny, not deterred by something like Unbound etc.  Of course apps introduce the risk of getting catfished (which fortunately has only happened to me once, albeit in hilarious fashion: the person turned out to be four feet tall and he talked in a high-pitched movie villain German accent just like Dr. Strangelove.)  Yikes.

I love how when you go to Unbound's Shop page, Anal is the first category. I love how this anal stimulator is called MOODY. I love how it resembles an evil gnome, ready to kill you with orgasms.

I love how when you go to Unbound’s Shop page, Anal is the first category. I love how this anal stimulator is called MOODY. I love how it resembles an evil gnome, ready to kill you with orgasms.

In any event I try to look for people who seem progressive and comfortably self-assured, because such things typically bode well for more confidence and open-mindedness in the bedroom.  Unfortunately until we life in a dystopian nightmare where there is a Yelp for people’s sexual prowess, however, you never know what you’re working with until you know.

7) Finish this sentence: In a future world of perfect sexual equality and empowerment we’d all be….

LORRAINE (HEAD of CURATION):…less stressed, uptight and more willing to try things.

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.

Your New Romance Cover Model Is Here: Grigoris Drakakis

9 Jul

Grigoris purple2By Madeline Iva

My friend the famous historical romance author would occasionally bemoan the fact that her cover model for two of her books had many, many more facebook followers than she had…

And indeed, her cover model-turned-online-cheff Nathan Kamp occupied that coveted Fabio spot for awhile when it came to romance covers.

http://www.nathankamp.com/

But who will take his place? Well, peeps, one day an email popped up in my inbox introducing me to a new contender for Supremely Hot Romance Cover Super-model. He is Greek and his name is Grigoris Drakackis – and he is every paranormal author’s dream come true.

Hot. Broody. Dark.   He belongs in a decaying weird castle, festering with tortured secrets.

There’s something dangerous about his look, something wild. He’s a serious bad boy.

Well, on the cover of a romance novel at least. Here’s what he had to say to us at Lady Smut.

GORGEOUS SUPER ROMANCE MODEL GRIGORIS DRAKAKIS: My name is Grigoris and I am from Lavrio, Greece.

(In case you don’t know, readers—Lavrio is a sunny port city –bustling with men who work on the docks ships, covered in sweat, muscles bulging.)

GORGEOUS SUPER ROMANCE MODEL GRIGORIS DRAKAKIS: But I also travel to the US as well to visit friends.

MADELINE IVA: Do you enjoy being every paranormal reader’s fantasy of a dark, brooding hero?

GORGEOUS SUPER ROMANCE MODEL GRIGORIS DRAKAKIS: My look of course helps open new opportunities in modeling but most important is personality and character. I believe this is the key for success!!!

MADELINE IVA: What are some of the ‘rules’ you’ve learned when it comes to modeling with women at a shoot?

GORGEOUS SUPER ROMANCE MODEL GRIGORIS DRAKAKIS: It is very important to have respect with a woman at a shoot and to make her feel at ease to have a successful result.

MADELINE IVA: What is involved in creating a successful romantic clinch?

GORGEOUS SUPER ROMANCE MODEL GRIGORIS DRAKAKIS: Of course chemistry is very important and a must for best results…Most of all it is what you emanate…

MADELINE IVA: How is modeling in America different from modeling in other places you’ve worked?

GORGEOUS SUPER ROMANCE MODEL GRIGORIS DRAKAKIS: Modeling in the US is very different because it is very advanced.

Grigoris also likes going to the gym and working with weights, (not surprising, right?) catching a movie now and then, and listening to music. And he has a dog.Grigoris chains3

MADELINE IVA: Thanks for stopping by Grigoris! We wish you the best of luck in L.A. and hope you are plastered all over hot romance covers across the land.  And don’t forget to enter our Goodreads giveaway for a free print copy of our Lady Smut anthology.  Today’s the final day of the Giveaway!

 

 

Vampire Menage with a Historical Twist: Q&A with Tracy Cooper Posey

6 Jun
Book1

This is the first book in the series.

Tracy Cooper Posey is known for her paranormal MMF menage time travel books.  She’s here today to celebrate the release of book two in her Kiss Across Time series.  Book two–KISS ACROSS SWORDS released on June 1st.

MADELINE IVA:  Tracy, you’re known for your awesome plot twists.  Tell us how you craft these wonders.  

TRACY COOPER POSEY: Aww, really?  People say that?  That’s very cool.  Can I quote you?

It’s in the beginning stages of the plotting phase that all the really cool stuff happens – the what-if’ing, and what could make it worse? brainstorming.  That’s where all the plot twists and subplots get built into the story.

Despite all that, as I’m actually writing the novel I’ll still sometimes come up with a way better idea, and I’ll stop and incorporate that into the novel instead.  It usually involves back-trekking  because by that stage I’ve usually got a better handle on the characters, setting, conflicts, etc., any ideas I get as I’m writing are usually stronger than my original ideas, so I tend to use them rather than not.

MADELINE IVA: You’re from Australia– is there an Australian mind set in terms of romance that is different from the American way of thinking about romance? 

Aussie AussieTRACY COOPER POSEY: Yes, there is a different mindset toward romance in Australia, both in real life and in fiction. I think my different “upbringing” has an impact on the sort of romances I’m writing now.

As for real life romance in Australia…well, the attitude of the men towards women was borderline misogynist and romantic gestures like flowers and gifts make the average Australian male break out in hives.

MADELINE IVA: Tell us (in gritty detail please. ;>) what difficulties writing MMF can present? I’ve heard some people use barbie dolls to work out their sex scenes. 

This book is Tracy's latest.

This book is Tracy’s latest.

TRACY COOPER POSEY:  Sex scenes in general are a bitch to write, and I’d raise my brow at any erotic romance author who says differently. It has nothing to do with coyness (not after a decade of doing this), but everything to do with the challenge of writing romantic sex scenes properly – keeping the incredibly delicate balance between sensual, sexual and romantic, and not wandering into “eeewww” territory, and finding a different or at least interesting place for the couple or group to do the deed…

I’ve never used Barbie dolls – that’s a new one!  But I do visualize the scene in Technicolor to ensure that I haven’t got bodies doing impossible things.  Sometimes that means having to go back through the already-written portion of the scene to track who was doing what.

All this work and on top of that there’s avoiding my own personal clichés, which I’m sure my regular readers could recite for you without too much thought. For MMF scenes that involve double-penetration, there are only so many ways to arrange the bodies, unlike MF sex.  So coming up with something fresh when there’s three people in the bed/on the counter/in the backseat/frolicking in the meadow is one of the biggest challenges an MMF author faces.

Two1Even then, there are outside factors at work that an author can’t predict:  Some readers, for instance, can’t stand the word “cunt” while others don’t mind it at all, or even like it.  Others object to the word “vagina” used for the same piece of anatomy.  I’ve had readers tell me that the use of either word has killed the scene, the book and the entire series for them.

Other readers have no problems with Anglo-Saxon nomenclature, but object to “profanity” (a whole other discussion)…

MADELINE IVA: You’re prolific.  How did you come to set the terrific pace for yourself, and what kind of writing schedule do you keep? What’s your go-to strategy if you sit down at your desk and you just don’t feel like writing today?

TRACY COOPER POSEY: Uh-oh.  I don’t write enough.  I wish I had the luxury of writing full time.  My writing schedule is appallingly inefficient, because it’s so stop-start.  I catch a bus to and from work.  So in the morning, I get about 50 minutes of writing in, on my laptop on the way to work.  I write at lunchtimes as often as I can (not always an option).  I write on the way home, on the laptop again.  In the evenings, after dinner, I prefer to be able to write for another couple of hours, but I only manage to pull that off maybe every second day, sometimes less.

Two2Saturdays are my big writing days. There were two or three Saturdays when writing KISS ACROSS CHAINS that I sat down at 5 a.m. and didn’t get up again except for bio breaks, until 6 that night.  On those days I can produce 40+ pages and I love those days.  Sinking into a book like that is one of life’s little luxuries.

The full-time all-day Saturday sessions outline in hard figures that I’m better suited to writing marathons than the short sprints I get during the week.  My wordage on Saturdays, per hour, is much higher than weekdays.

Sunday mornings, I try to get in another couple of hours.  Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn’t.  Life has a way of interrupting, and there are some things you can’t afford to ignore in favour of writing, although I do a dazzling (and some family and friends would say ‘obsessive’) job of cutting off anything that isn’t genuinely important.

As for ‘not feeling like writing’ – this occasionally happens to me when I’m starting a novel.  The first hundred pages or so are sheer slog as I’m still coming to grips with character, setting, and channelling the plot lines into my brain.  It’s during this phase that I’ll get the “I don’t wanna” mood.  The only cure is to keep writing.   Sometimes, if I’m being a real two year old about it, I’ll make myself sit there for five minutes and write one paragraph.  That’s the only expectation I set.  At the end of five minutes or one paragraph, I’m free to close the computer and go veg on the sofa.  I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve actually got up and quit after that five minutes has passed.

Three1I suspect that most writers’ block and procrastination habits are an outcome of not knowing where the book is going.  If I find my writing pace slowing or the two-year-old raising her voice too much, I stop and replot, or fine-plot the next few scenes.  Invariably, getting to know the characters better, and developing the plot so I know exactly where I’m going gets the juices churning once more.

MADELINE IVA: You have two series, Kiss Across Time and Beloved Bloody Time, both of which use time travel, vampires, and MMF menage. Any do’s and don’ts you’d like to share about using time travel in a book? In your writing which came first–vampires or the time travel? (This is not the set up for a bad joke, ;> ) 

TRACY COOPER POSEY:  I’ve always been drawn to time travel stories.  I was encouraged to write MMF paranormals – actually, I was asked to write MMF urban fantasy, originally, which is how I got into paranormals at all.  However, writing true urban fantasy, with a first-person point of view and an über strong female lead who kicks butt all over the place doesn’t work so well in MMF romance, where it simply has to be in third-person, and feature two other protagonists, as well.  I borrow everything from urban fantasy that is great about it:  Fantasy creatures in our suburbs and cities, fighting a war while humans may or may not know about their existence, plus the tough-nut heroine.

Three2I realized that I could add time-travel into the mix because it’s a paranormal element, too.  I could wallow about in history, leap centuries inside a single novel, and do all the funky time-twists that came with the territory…it was like opening up a cupboard and finding it full of chocolate.  I’m still gorging on it.

As I was already writing vampires and MMF ménage, the blend was just the next step.

I’ve read other authors’ time travel novels and some authors seem to grasp the consequences of moving through time, while others treat time travel as a handy way of getting a modern character into an historical setting and after that, they screw around with history, famous characters and political events with nary a mention of how it might affect events further down the road.

Veris, one of the heroes of the Kiss Across Time series, says in KISS ACROSS CHAINS“Einstein’s theory of relativity doesn’t go on a holiday just because you’ve lived through it once already. You go back there, you stand a real chance of fucking up your own future.”  All of my time travel books bear this constantly in mind.

MADELINE IVA: You live with a man who seems larger than life.  How does your family handle living with a mom who writes erotic romance and a dad who’s larger-than-life?

Book Three of the Kiss Across Time series comes out July 1st.

Book Three of the Kiss Across Time series comes out July 1st.

TRACY COOPER POSEY: Mark is very supportive of my career, and I of his.  He was a professional wrestler, now he’s building up a blogging career.  We attend conventions together, which is much more fun than going alone, as Mark can talk to anyone and often does.  Now he’s blogging, I’ve had the surreal experience of Mark telling me he can’t do xxx tonight, he has to write.  I’m the one that has been doing that for sixteen years!  Saturdays are an intimate twosome; both of us slaving over hot keyboards.

Our kids considered a romance author as a mother, and a professional wrestler as a father a mixed blessing.  They both loved and hated how different it made them at school, and my daughter still gives me grief about the copy of one of my historical romances that circulated her junior high school, with all the sex scene pages turned down at the corner.  For the record, I was not responsible for the copy escaping into a school full of adolescent girls!

MADELINE IVA: Ouch! Well, thank you very much for taking the time to be with us today.  Readers — KISS ACROSS SWORDS was released on June 1.  This is the second book in the Kiss Across Time Series.  The third book in the series, KISS ACROSS CHAINS, will be released July 1st.   You can find Tracy and her books at her website here: http://tracycooperposey.com/

Sweaty Dirty Fun: Avery Flynn’s Treasure Hunting Erotica PASSION CREEK

2 May
PassionLady Smut put five questions to Avery Flynn, author of PASSION CREEK. Flynn was praised for “totally erotic hot scenes” by one reviewer.  Here’s a blurb:
 
Uptight history professor Sam Layton may have the abs of a movie action hero, but he stopped believing in the joy of adventure a long time ago. However, when a one-night stand with a tattooed bombshell leads to a treasure map for the long-buried Rebecca’s Bounty, the call to action is too strong to ignore.
All Las Vegas cocktail waitress Josie Winarsky wants to do is paint. But when she lands smack dab in the middle in a mob plot, she has to push aside her dreams to find a treasure in Dry Creek, Nebraska and save her family from harm. With Sam at her side and a Vegas loan shark on her tail, the treasure she finds turn out to be much more valuable than emeralds and rubies.
 

SeductionMADELINE IVA: I’m always drawn to erotic romance authors who like including mucho hot sex, but also a solid plot.  Are you the same way as well? Tell us about the plot of Passion Creek?

AVERY FLYNN: Oh yes, every book needs a plot. For Passion Creek the plot centers around a treasure that has been missing for more than a hundred years. Even though Sam doesn’t want to work with Josie they end up going on a treasure hunt together.
 
MADELINE IVA: One of your books stars a Hot Nerdy Guy – I LOVE hot nerdy guys!!!! What do you think is the appeal of a hot geek?
 
AVERY FLYNN: Smart is sexy. Oh my God, is smart sexy. 🙂 Add a great butt and you’ve got my favorite type of hero.

TemptationMADELINE IVA: Did you face struggles on your road to publication?

AVERY FLYNN: It did involve a couple of nights of crying into my beer. 🙂 I’ve always wanted to be a writer. The first stories I wrote were about my stuffed animals. These were not romance (thank God). My love of romance wouldn’t come until years later when I discovered Johanna Lindsey’s Mallery family. Temptation Creek was the first book I ever wrote. Evernight took a real risk on a new author who mixed in smartass with suspense and a whole lot of steam.
 
MADELINE IVA: Tell us a little more about Evernight Publishing.
 
AVERY FLYNN: Evernight is open to authors who want to take risks and mix genres, which is so much fun.
 

JackMADELINE IVA:  I love humor in romance myself, and I’m always scanning the horizon for funny erotic romance authors.  Who’s out there writing the smexy that makes you laugh?

AVERY FLYNN:  One of my favorite funny authors is Dakota Cassidy. She is hysterical. My favorite erotica author is Maya Banks. Damn is she hot.
 
–Thanks so much for having me over. It has been a blast!
 
MADELINE IVA: My pleasure!
 
You can find Avery and her books at any of these links: WebTwitterFacebookWaterworld MermaidsThe Naked Hero Temptation Creek,  Seduction Creek & Passion Creek
 

Devilish Fun: Q&A with Samantha Kane

4 Apr
devil theifHello lovely readers! Today the daffodils are blooming, the cherry blossoms are ravaging the blue sky, and at Lady Smut we’re continuing to talk about melt-the-dress-right-off-ya steamy historicals.  Today, my guest is Samantha Kane who first burst onto the scene with pulse pounding m/m/f historical erotic romance.  She’s going to tell us about her most recent work and who else is out there writing erotic historical romance.
MADELINE IVA: I first became aware of you as an author at Romanticon two years ago. At that point you were writing menage historicals which totally engrossed me.  I see you have a new book published by Bantam Loveswept/Random House.  Is it an erotic romance historical? Are you still writing erotic romance historicals, or has your writing branched out into other less *ahem* explicit genres?
 
SAMANTHA KANE: THE DEVIL’S THIEF, my Loveswept release, is the first book in a new series called THE SAINT’S DEVILS. THE DEVIL’S THIEF is out now, and the second book, TEMPTING A DEVIL, will be out July 8.
They are not erotic romances, but they are pretty steamy. I’ve been told by readers with more traditional tastes that they’re very erotic for mainstream books. Let’s just say it’s pretty obvious I wrote them (lol).
CourageI’m still writing erotic romance as well. I just finished a novella for my erotic historical series BROTHERS IN ARMS, from Ellora’s Cave. DEFEATED BY LOVE will be out later this year. And I’m currently working on yet another Brothers in Arms, LOVE BETRAYED, which will also be out later this year. Both books are about Daniel Steinberg, a recurring character in the series since the first book. 
MADELINE IVA: We at Lady Smut Luv luv luv erotic romance historicals — what drew you to writing them in the first place?
SAMANTHA KANE: As a reader, I like sex in my romance. I discovered erotic romance through Ellora’s Cave, after reading some reviews in Romantic Times magazine. I was advised by Mary Kay Andrews at a book club meeting to join RWA. I saw through the RWR, RWA’s magazine for members, that Ellora’s Cave was taking submissions. I’d read Lora Leigh (who hasn’t?!) and thought, I can write that. So I sat down and wrote THE COURAGE TO LOVE. I couldn’t believe how easily it came to me. I knew then that that was my niche. So long story short, I write what I like to read.
Kate Pearce writes erotic historicals too.

Kate Pearce writes erotic historicals too.

MADELINE IVA: Any thrilling erotic historical romances by other authors that you’d recommend to our readers? (Especially books that motivated your own writing?)

SAMANTHA KANE: The truth is I don’t read a lot of erotic historical romances. First of all, there aren’t a lot out there, or weren’t when I started writing them, so there was no influence at work. Lora Leigh’s contemporaries influenced me in terms of writing menage, but I took that a step further and wrote m/m/f menage, where you have a m/m love element as well as m/f, which Leigh’s book didn’t have.  Sahara Kelly was writing them before me, one of the very few erotic historical authors out there at the time, and her books were some of the first erotic romances I read.  Kate Pearce began writing erotic historicals soon after I did, of course, and Elizabeth Amber as well.
 
MADELINE IVA:Tell us about The Saint’s Devils series.  What inspired this series?
 
empting devilSAMANTHA KANE: The Saint’s Devils series was inspired by Sherlock Holmes, the latest movie version with Robert Downey Jr. I love his Holmes. So I created the character of Sir Hilary St. John, an amateur sleuth and rake extraordinaire. He’s brilliant, hedonistic and tons of fun to write. The Saint’s Devils are his old friends from school, rakes in their own right and prone to trouble.
I’m working on book three right now, which is Sir Hilary’s book. His sleuthing skills will be put to the test in THE DEVIL AND THE DAMSEL, as he tries to keep his lady love from hanging for murder with the help of all of his friends.
MADELINE IVA: But you will keep writing drool-worthy erotic historical? 
 
SAMANTHA KANE: DEFEATED BY LOVE, the Brothers in Arms novella I just finished, is about Daniel Steinberg, a popular and well known character from Brothers in Arms. After seeing him in action in the last nine Brothers in Arms books, I thought the readers would appreciate a look at what exactly he did in the war and how he got where he is now. I’ve alluded to his background as a special agent for the War Office, and to his lost love, Harry, and this is that story. Readers should be advised that Defeated By Love is a m/m story, not m/m/f like the rest of the series. I have always said in the books that Daniel prefers men, and is not attracted to women. That is not going to change.
love n warMADELINE IVA: So are you content to stay in the historical genre?
 
SAMANTHA KANE: I have entire series planned that I haven’t even started, including historicals, contemporaries, thrillers and erotic romances. I think you’ll see me exploring some new genres in the future and taking some chances. It’s important not to get into a writing rut, and once in a while it’s nice to do the unexpected.
 
MADELINE IVA: Excellent! I noticed you were sashaying around at Romanticon in a dashing steam punk outfit, & I see you belong to a group of steam punk writers.  Have you been published in any steampunk anthologies we might have heard of? 
 
Samantha is on the right, Mari Freeman on the left.

Samantha is on the right, Mari Freeman on the left.

SAMANTHA KANE: Thank you! I’ve co-written a steampunk with author Mari Freeman which our agent has diligently been shopping around. I love, love, love the genre! The book we wrote is titled ENGINE NO.9 and it’s about a group of female secret agents in 1869 in the American West. There’s adventure, train chases, mystery, romance, and the British Navaho airship fleet.

MADELINE IVA: Sounds like so much fun–thank you Samantha for being with us today. 
Readers, you can find Samantha Kane’s amazing Brothers In Arms series at Ellora’s Cave.  You can also find The Devil’s Thief here, and if you love her work like I do, please give Samantha Kane a shout out in our comments section below.
 

Shhhhh! The Seductive Secrets of Hot Urban Fantasy Writers

28 Mar

harrisonKim Harrison, Jeaniene Frost, Pamela Palmer, and Vicki Pettersson four sirens of the urban fantasy landscape hung out with me at The Virginia Festival of the Book last Saturday sharing their magic with a large audience who had assembled to see them.

The panel was called Strange Brew: Urban Fantasy Authors ‘Spell’ Out Their Secrets.  The spillage was excellent.  Here’s what we learned from the authors:

KIM HARRISON: How does she create that magic edgy relationship between Rachel and Ivy?

Kim Harrison is the author of The Hollows series. Rachel is a kick-ass witch living with Ivy the bi-sexual vampire who’s chosen not to feed.  Rachel and Ivy live together and co-own a sleuthing biz, but the close proximity puts Ivy into a constant frenzy of sexual/feeding hunger around Rachel.  As Ivy’s scent winds around Rachel’s body, they fight the nasty beasties that haunt this other worldly Cleveland.  Rachel’s intimacy with Ivy grows and she accepts Ivy’s friendship, as well as her preferences. Yet that knife-edge of tension remains between them. How long can Ivy manage to hold back before nature takes its course?

HER SECRET: Harrison says if she had tried to write about such a relationship it never would have worked.  It just popped out onto her computer screen one day and she sat staring at what she’d written scared witless. Yet she put it out there–and readers have lined up ever since.  Scare yourself, folks.  This is the take-away from the birth of the first Ivy/Rachel homo-erotic moment.  Scare yourself with what you write and don’t ever stop.

blood seductionkiss of bloodJEANIENE FROST & PAMELA PALMER

How do Frost & Palmer write such bad boy heroes that we readers find sexy-hot instead of villainous?

Palmer reveals that she thrives on writing a seriously flawed hero.  Her type of man needs to find the serious commitment to change.  They’ve got to dig down deep to touch base with the better man within.

I like that.  I like someone who has to work to find his better side and make it stick.  Meanwhile, what woman doesn’t love a challenge? These sexy guys need a moral make-over, and Palmer’s heroines have got to be strong enough for two.   If you’ve read her latest work–VAMP CITY–you know the hero’s not a nice guy.  Meanwhile, in a world full of bad options, he’s the heroine’s only hope, her one small flame in a dark, dark world.

frosttwice temptedI don’t know about you, but something in me is so happy when you have a desperate heroine who needs a guy so much, she’ll even choose–even in a vampire who feeds off her fear as she fights to survive.

Frost, meanwhile, maintains that her new hero, Vlad the Impaler, is over his pointy stick phase.  He’s come through the middle ages with all of history shaping him into who he is.  So yes, he’s taken the heroine’s friend and tortured him for information.  Yes, he can set people on fire just by looking at them. It’s been a hellishly long 600 years of history, most of it was violent and bleak, so sue him for being a little slow to learn about compassion and mercy.

Frost said her secret was that no matter who her hero skewers, his heroine is always safe in his arms. Frost says if the hero is trustworthy when it comes to the heroine, then we know we can trust him too.  Vlad keeps his heroine safe and everyone else in danger–a sexy combo of protectiveness and threat in one package.

Finally

the lostVICKI PETTERSSON

Pettersson is writing about a PI noir figure who makes his first appearance with black wings.  Shaw is a centurion, the most simple form of an angel, sent to usher others into the great beyond.  When he’s suddenly sucked from his heavenly duties into an earth bound body, he’s finally has a chance to solve his own murder from years before.

The best part is that he immediately encounters an uber-curvacious rockabilly chick who’s hunting for her bff’s killer as well.

Pettersson’s secret is to create great characters that know why they are and what they like without caring about what others think.  Her distinctive writing wears a retro patina to the point where her work isn’t so much paranormal–it’s para-noir.  Yum!

Seducing The Princess: Q&A with Mary Hart Perry

7 Mar

seducingMary Hart Perry, author of THE WILD PRINCESS is here today to discuss her second book in the series: SEDUCING THE PRINCESS.  (What a delicious title, btw!) This book focuses on Queen Victoria’s painfully shy youngest daughter Princess Beatrice. Here’s a short blurb:

Convinced she is unattractive and unloved, the dutiful Princess Beatrice finally accepts that she will never marry and vows to devote herself to the queen in Victoria’s waning years. In fact, her mother secretly discouraged suitors for Beatrice’s hand. Then Beatrice meets Henry Battenberg, a dashing nobleman from the Continent who risks his life and liberty to woo Bea.

But Henry isn’t the only man interested in being welcomed into Beatrice’s bed. The timid princess has become the target of a cruel plot.  Enemies of England have sent a ruthless agent, a charming Scot, to seduce the naive princess and spy on the queen. Will Beatrice discover which of the two men pursuing her she can trust, before it’s too late? 

Princess Beatrice as a young woman.

Princess Beatrice as a young woman.

MADELINE IVA: Your heroine is faced with a choice between a dashing nobleman-good guy and a bad boy Scot. (Yum!)  Which are you more drawn to when writing fiction? The good boy or the bad?

MARY HART PERRY: I think I’m initially torn between the man who’s safe and protective…and the one who’s sexy and dangerous. The good guy wins out for me though, because he’s strong and sexy in his own way, and he acts on the heroine’s behalf rather than plotting against her, for his own selfish reasons.

MADELINE IVA: I myself like the sound of the Scot, especially because he’s a spy. Knowing that sometimes people drawing from history have to massage the facts to make the fiction compelling can you tell us if these two men were actually vying for Beatrice?

MARY HART PERRY: The “real” suitor was Henry of Battenberg. According to all accounts, he was quite a handsome man and persistent at winning both Beatrice and the Queen’s approval. He and Beatrice really did fall in love and bring about the match against the Queen’s early objections. So that much is true. It’s also true that Henry’s older brother was foiled by the queen when he made an attempt to catch Beatrice’s interest when she was much younger. Victoria didn’t want Bea to marry at all. The fiction comes in the form of the Scot. After all, we need an antagonist who is a strong match for Henry.

MADELINE IVA: So glad you made him up, then. :> Queen Victoria was a bit of a long distance micro-manager with her daughters.  Were you surprised by the lengths she went to in keeping them under her thumb?

Beatrice's nickname--even as a grown woman was "Baby."

Even as a grown woman, Beatrice’s nickname was “Baby.”

MARY HART PERRY: Oh, yes, you’re so right. Micro-managing–she was formidable. As far as Beatrice was concerned, the queen came right out and said Bea would never marry. She was to stay at her mother’s side, as her companion, until the queen was in her grave. And when the young woman showed any interest in breaking this rule, her mother punished her by refusing to speak to her. She reduced their communicating to passing her notes, instructing her how to spend her day, or giving her jobs about the palace.

MADELINE IVA: Sheesh! Meanwhile, how steamy is your novel in terms of love scenes? Do we get to see that bad boy Scot undressed?

MARY HART PERRY: I knew you’d ask-heh, heh!  It gets steamy in a few places, mostly because Bea is so innocent so the least bit of touching really shakes her up. The Scot as partially undressed in the climactic scene.

MADELINE IVA: Partially undressed sounds excellent. And talking about stripping down–Queen Victoria seems ready to undergo some revisionist work by feminists.  How are our ideas about her changing now that we’re taking a fresh look at her as a leader, a mother, and a historical figure?

I am the queen!

It’s called patriarchy, b****es!

MARY HART PERRY: The thing is…everything I’ve read, accounts of her life and her letters, she really didn’t like the idea of women working or even having the vote. She believed, and said, that women should stay at home and let the men in their family take care of them. The problem was, not all men saw that as their duty, so there were literally thousands of women left homeless with no way of supporting themselves. If you weren’t married or didn’t have a father or brother who was able to shelter and feed you, you were in a bad way during most of the 19th century.

VIcky looks ready for some wicked adventure.

VIcky looks ready for some wicked adventure.

MADELINE IVA: Patriarchy at it’s best. Bleah! So Mary, you’ve written about  a wild princess and now a shy princess.  What’s next in the series?

MARY HART PERRY: The book I’m working on now focuses on a few months of horror that completely paralyzed London. I’m pitting Vickie, the Crown Princess against the famous (but never revealed) serial killer, Jack the Ripper, who roamed the streets for victims. Should be fun!

MADELINE IVA: Yes she does. 🙂 After doing all this research, which child of Victoria and Albert is your favorite?

wildMARY HART PERRY: How can I choose? They’re all so amazing in different ways. I will always hold a warm spot in my heart for Beatrice. She had to struggle so hard to get out from under her mother’s thumb. She did it, and deserves credit for making a life of her own. Louise the heroine of the first book, The Wild Princess loved art and was determined to get the education she needed, the same as a boy or man would have expected to receive, so that she could be a professional artist. She persisted, bucking not only her mother but Victorian society, and became a talented sculptress. I think that’s just so wonderful. We all should be that brave–focussing on what we want in life, then going after it with a vengeance. Right?

Princess Louise--the 'beauty' of the family.

Princess Louise–the ‘beauty’ of the family.

MADELINE IVA:  Right! I wish I was Louise–an ideal heroine.  Vicky’s got a bit of a wicked look in her eye that beckons to me as well. Meanwhile, I just love the idea of innocent, shy Beatrice having these two forceful men bent on winning her over at the same time.  So delicious! Thanks so much for talking with us today–and good luck on your new release.

MARY HART PERRY: Thanks for the lovely visit. I’ve enjoyed our chat!

Hey readers–today we’re having a giveaway of SEDUCING THE PRINCESS in e-pub kindle format.  Leave a comment below and you just might get lucky. 

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