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“Up On the Hog Babe, Let’s Go For a Ride”: The Hot Men & Sexy Voices of Male Audio Narrators

27 Mar

HOT MEN, SEXY VOICES: Last Saturday was #VALoveFest at Virginia Festival of the Book 2017.  Among the excellent panels during the day by far the most popular was THE MEN OF ROMANCE panel where audio narrators shared their experiences about the work, a bit about their backgrounds, and their appreciation for the romance genre.  Below is a video that you must watch/listen to if–like me– you twitch involuntarily at any real man who is into romance.

Andi Arndt was the fabulous moderator. She spoke with David Brenin, Luke Daniels, Will Damron, Derek Perkins and Aiden Snow. Jennifer Dodde Conner captured this video of the event. (Caution! It looks like the video goes sideways for a second–but it’s just for a moment and then gets righted again.)

Details of note:

Luke Daniels has done audio for Heather Graham and Sylvia Day among many, many, others.

When Will Damron does the really sexy stuff he uses the name Jeremy York.

Aiden Snow mostly does military romances, but he likes romances that play out deep gender and relational dynamics.  Most of the time, however, he said “it’s like: ‘Up on the hog babe, let’s go for a ride.'” And all the women in the room about fainted.

Speaking of Aiden Snow —  I saw him walking across the lobby at the festival — and having been converted by my friend Adriana Anders to beardy hot goodness, I said to myself ‘Damn, who is *that* guy?’ (Shoulda stopped him and gotten a picture.  I’m just kicking myself now. Oh well!)

Derek Perkins is British and does a mean Scottish Accent.

I, for one, find a man’s voice at the top of the list for the sexiness factor.  I think that romances often neglect the serious ear appeal of the right voice.  There are men who I find reasonably attractive, but when they speak and their voice is like low thunder, I’m suddenly riveted by their whole being.  I want to chitter like a cat at the window watching birds fluttering around outside.

Perhaps it’s because there is something fundamentally right and reassuring to me about a relaxed, warm male voice.  It’s a verbal embrace, a reassuring caress in my ears that everything is going to be all right.

I’m so curious to find out if any of you listen to audio books and if you do listen to audio books, are you aware of who the audio narrator is? I know Richard Armitage narrated two Georgette Heyer book, but do you actively seek certain narrators?

Are you like me? Does the right male voice send you?

If you want to listen to more of the panels from Love Fest, including HEROINES OF DESTINY — which is the panel that I moderated–go here on facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/events/1905127766399699/permalink/1909010616011414/

Kiersten Hallie Krum will be back next week — and I’ll be blogging more on Thursday about other fascinating & fun parts of Love Fest.

Meanwhile, get on the hog, babe, and follow us at Lady Smut. ; >

Madeline Iva writes fantasy and paranormal romance.  Her fantasy romance, WICKED APPRENTICE, featuring a magic geek heroine, is available on AmazonBarnes & NobleKobo, and through iTunes.  Sign up for Madeline Iva news & give aways.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heroines of Destiny!

23 Mar

You could go to college and get married — or you could be a brown fairy with wings instead! Choices, choices, choices.

by Madeline Iva

Go to college, have a career, get married, have children.  Is this the modern woman’s destiny? What if you don’t tick one of those boxes? I’m moderating a panel called HEROINES OF DESTINY on Saturday, 10AM at Virginia Festival of the Book, so I’ve been questioning the concept of destiny lately, especially for women who swim against the strong current of societal expectations.

The ancient Greeks thought of destiny as inescapable–your fate would find you no matter what.  Struggle as hard as you could against your destiny, the outcome would still be the same.  Cassandra is the ultimate heroine of destiny — Her inescapable fate was signed the moment she rejected Apollo’s advances, and that was that.  He cursed her with the gift of prophesy; no matter how often or how much she warned people of their fate, she was never believed. Yet she kept trying to over and over to change the outcome, only to watch events play out the way she foretold–even her own death.

Moving forward a thousand years or so, our panelists (including Pintip Dunn, NYTimes bestselling YA author) will discuss how their book’s heroines are fighting a certain destiny — whether it’s to marry and have children, to accept the loss of a lover, or to remain locked up in prison for a crime that hasn’t been committed yet.

I love the idea of a heroine who changes the course of her life because she’s fallen in love.  I see these works as feminist because the women go against the grain of their lives according to society’s expectations yet it all works out in the end.  Here are some of my fav fantasy examples:

THE LITTLE MERMAID: having fins while your loved one has legs is a pretty big romantic obstacle to overcome.  The Little Mermaid was very bold and plucky when it came to pursuing the object of her love–right down to changing her fundamental physical being–even though she had to pay a very large price.  Let all those considering plastic surgery and other gendered forms of modern torture beware.

STARTDUST: Yvaine is a star, who’s destiny is to twinkle in the sky and watch the doings of men from afar.  Yet she decides to abandon her place, and come down to the world of men to explore their hearts, as well as experience their joys and suffering.  I have some serious issues with parts of this novel/movie, but I appreciate the idea of a great and powerful star forging a new destiny for herself–with the man she loves.

Yvaine is a star who rocketed to earth and met her one true love.

Another way to think of HEROINES OF DESTINY is to think of powerful women who shape the lives and change the future of those around them.

THE FORGOTTEN BEASTS OF ELD: Sybel is content with her own solitude and magical menagerie far from the world of men until fate brings her a baby and a flame haired hero.  Then she is drawn into the snarled paths of men’s destiny.  I love how McKillip shows Sybel, using her various powers to shape and thrust aside the male forces around her rather than become their pawn.  Sybel takes her time and sounds her own heart in her decisions about how to forge the future.  Though the world of men shakes and angers her, ultimately, she finds a way to shed their petty resentments, fear, and bitterness. She finds her way to true love by the end, yes, but more importantly she discovers the path back to the calm stillness of her heart that makes her serene and content.

Sooooo good!

And finally — by far and away my favorite:

MALEFICENT: A fairy creature (Maleficent) and a boy become friends–the first way in which Maleficent goes in a different direction from the other creatures in fairy land.  At one point Maleficent (now grown) is betrayed and loses her wings–a kind of symbolic fairy tale rape.  What happens after that is partly shaped by Maleficent’s determination to avenge herself, and partly shaped by her wounded heart.  The movie offers an unexpected twist at one point — wherein Maleficent, now the wise protector and leader of her land in times of crisi, can shed her identity as victim once and for all.  I LOVED THIS FILM SO HARD.  It really made me want to cheer.  Though it is not in a typical m/f  love story or romance, it provides that same kind of deep joy and overcoming of obstacles that make us romance peeps so very happy.

In my novel WICKED APPRENTICE, Zephyr averts disaster for the people and the land all around her once she becomes a powerful sorceress.  Meanwhile, her desires and magic work upon the hero until he goes from being a tortured, reclusive wizard into a magnificent hero who is the only one that can end a decades long war. She is most definitely a Heroine of Destiny — and if you haven’t read the book yet you should– it’s only .99!

Are you the heroine of your own destiny? What great heroines do you love –and how do they shape the the lives of those around them?

And follow us at Lady Smut–we’re fated to be together.

Madeline Iva writes fantasy and paranormal romance.  Her fantasy romance, WICKED APPRENTICE, featuring a magic geek heroine, is available on AmazonBarnes & NobleKobo, and through iTunes.  Sign up for Madeline Iva news & give aways.

I Was Enjoying DARK MATTER ‘Til They ****ing Killed My Favorite Character

23 Feb

by Madeline Iva

***Yeah, this post is chock full of spoilers.  You’ve been warned.*** Dark Matter is a successful comic book made into a Canadian television show that you can binge watch on Netflix–which is what I did.  The gloomy ship, the tough characters and the cloudy mystery about their identity sucked me right in until I was devouring episodes left and right.

One. He's the good guy on a ship of tough criminals. So how did he wind up with them?

One. He’s the good guy on a ship of tough criminals. So how did he wind up with them?

WHY I LOOOOOOOOVED DARK MATTER SO MUCH:

The premise is pretty brilliant.  Six people wake up in sleep pods on a dark ship in space.  Their memories have been wiped.  In addition to that, the android that sort of runs the ship wakes up and starts attacking them, so they knock her out and end up injuring her.  To get her back up requires a memory wipe, so she too doesn’t know what happened to them all.  It’s science-fiction, but it’s also mystery.  Who are they? Who did this to them? Why? 

darkmattertwo

Two. She’s hot.

They give themselves numbers and I knew that they’d eventually run into their pasts and get names, but it made me extraordinarily satisfied that they call each other by numbers.  It becomes an alternative identity.  Later on Three learns his name is Marcus–but if the others still call him Three, it’s like they’re disavowing his messed up Marcus past and saying that he can go back to being their three–i.e. annoying, but not a completely heartless dick.

I like One best.  He is a good looking guy–but I mean, they’re all good looking, so really, it isn’t only that. However, in a ship full of tough people, he’s the good guy.  Which is a little scary, because the rest (Five excepted) so obviously are not. I usually don’t like the super good guys.  I like the maybe-villains.  But One is played by a very talented actor, who via subtle expressions and delivery squeezes a three-dimensional performance out of a two dimensional character.

Three is all walking id, questioning every decision that isn’t based on pure selfishness–so of course, he is fun to watch and a bit of a wild card. Later on, we see Three has a real soft spot for women. At one point we think Two has been executed and Three’s face is really something to see in that moment.  Three, also, is one of the best actors on the show–at certain moments.

THREE

THREE. Also the show’s id character. Also kinda hot. Sometimes. Also a good actor.

Two is the toughest character in the beginning.  Played by an asian female with some extraordinary thighs, she takes command of the ship with her bad-ass attitude.  One is quickly drawn to her, but when she wants to scratch her bootie itch and have a little meaningless sex, it’s Three she calls upon, not One. Which makes One smart.  So there are tensions between One and Two because: love triangle!  Not to mention that One and Three are diametrically opposed in terms of morality.

Yet pretty soon, it turns out that One discovers he’s got a BIG secret to keep and Three is right there when this secret is revealed to One.  So the two are connected in that way for a while and it’s massively uncomfortable for One. Which is great! (Although I hope you can follow what I’m saying, because it’s starting to sound like weird SFF algebra.)

Probably the most handsome guy on the show. But....meh.

Four is probably the most handsome guy on the show. But….meh. He adds the most in ensemble moments.

The show delivers Big Secrets every so often and they are mostly yummy.  The show is at it’s best when it returns to its gloomy mystery origins: you just don’t know who you can trust.  Goodie!

It’s often young Five who circles us around to these gripping plot reversals. I think I liked her at first simply because I associated her with these moments. But I also delight in Five being a Young Adult character–a main character and a girl–in a sci-fi television show.  I’m trying to think of another major adult SFF show where that’s the case, and I can’t.

Five aka "The Kid."

Five aka “The Kid.”

I enjoyed watching the Android–though you and I know her as Lauren  from LOST GIRL.  She gets dinged up from the git go and starts to go “off program”. For instance, she starts seeking approval from the humans.  The “right” thing to do would be to wipe her system and reboot–a kind of android seppuku. At one point there’s the potential to “upgrade her system” to make her feel and seem more like a human and a ‘rouge android’ element is introduced.  The program upgrade makes the Android seem like a whole other character.  The actress performs this well, but…ugh! (more later below).

So there was something here for everyone–I thought a lot of the ideas in the show were fabulous.

WHAT WENT WRONG…

I’m not saying this show was perfect.  One problem I had with five is that she’s so obviously an older actress playing a younger character.  She and Two are equally short, and she has far larger breasts, so buying that she was a teen was a challenge (She’s was twenty-two when they filmed).  I had to keep squinting to suspend disbelief about her.  I mean, it’s not just that they all decide she’s a young teen when she looks anywhere from sixteen to twenty-three, it’s that they keep saying things like: “She’s just a KID!” like she’s only twelve or something…But that’s not saying anything against the actress, who is quite good. Another thing is that she keeps having new clothes to wear when a) she was a stowaway, presumably on the ship without luggage, and b) everyone else on the show seems to be in the same-o, same-old clothes.

Android fail. Every few episodes she's getting zapped and it's lights out.

Android fail. Every few episodes she’s getting zapped and it’s lights out.

I had problems with the android ‘upgrade program’, although it was more like an epiphany. The plot of this particular episode struck my robot-romance fixated nerve.  It made me realize that the ‘upgrade’ shortcut would never work for a successful robot/human romance.  What do we love about idea of a cyborg/AI/robot/android romance if it’s not that the android represents the most difficult challenge of all? Huge boundaries (impossible boundaries some would say) exist in terms of getting a cold and emotionless being to develop attraction, love, and passion. That’s a HUGE obstacle. A quick upgrade to the system???? That’s just cheating. )

I delighted in watching Six waiting in a doctor’s office for a very long time where they continuously ran ads about adventuring off world via clone proxies.  Your body and mind are scanned in a pod, and your look-a-like clone wakes up on some other world.  Your clone enjoys your vacay and then all the memories from your clone are downloaded back into your memory while you’re in the pod.  You wake up and come out of the scanner remembering the events and sensations of your vacation.  Meanwhile, the cyborg that looks like you and is walking around as you, is taken somewhere, has a memory wipe and is put into a vat for recycling…

Six

Six. Nobody trusts nobody–not even the android.

I thought the show was creating an ironic situation in which Six was ignoring a bit of information crucial (and funny) in terms of unravelling the core mystery.   My hope was that someone had wanted a bad guy dream team to go do bad deeds across the universe.  So they made clones of the original criminals and when those deeds were done, wiped the clone memories–but for some reason the clones weren’t put in the vat.  Instead they ended up in the sleep pods on the ship — To me this TOTALLY explained the mystery of how they wound up on the ship together and why they had no memories…

Six wakes up as a clone from the pod...

Six wakes up as a clone from the pod…

Alas, that was not the actual solution to the mystery.  This was the writer in me, weaving together my own plot soup based on ingredients provided by the show.

My sweetie hated the clone device.  He hated it because real clones (one day) are/will be real people. This show perpetuates the idea of clones as objects to purchase and discard.  The clone thing is used as a plot device later on in other ways, but the clones when badly hurt tend to simply disintegrate a la Buffy stabbing the vampires and making them go poof. Why would a clone do that, he asked? It’s stupid. A clone–because it’s an actual human body–would go splat, not poof. It would not disintegrate into a cloud of clumpy dust.

Yeah, so that was kind of a regrettable choice.  Meanwhile, I loved my idea of the crew being memory-wiped clones.  The show has them on the ship starting from square one in a state of distrust, but circumstances make them pull together.  We know they were probably very bad in their former lives, but rallied by the influence of Five, aka ‘The Kid’, they have a chance to become new, better people. (Insert here your own philosophical discussion with a friend over the role of memory in personhood and if one can change merely by starting over. This is the good kind of sci-fi.)  As they slowly pull together to become a unit they build loyalty to each other and we know that many of the forms their enemy will take are elements of their past coming to haunt them. Everyone knows karma is a bitch–but it’s very enjoyable to watch.

One finds out that there is indeed a very bad guy out there with One’s face. (See! One is a clone!) Unfortunately, however, for my pet theory, the bad guy Derek Moss says something like “I’d think you were a clone, but someone would have had to scan my body to do that, and no one did.”

Booooooooo!

dark-matter-season-2-coverHowever, I was still delighted that One had this evil Doppleganger out in the world that could cause him no end of trouble.

But here’s the big problem.  They f**king killed One.  Whyyyyyyy? It seemed gratuitous and unnecessary given that they never really followed the conspiracy plot path the killing seemed based upon.  You eventually find out where the crew’s memories are stored and I knew that Evil One aka Derek Moss was still out there.  So my FTL plotting muscles realized ‘the gang’ was going to kidnap Evil Derek and stick One’s memories into him.  But that didn’t happen either. 😦

But! When Derek reappeared, I was like: Yay! Evil Derek is better than no One at all.  Alas, in that very episode the show killed off Evil Derek.

Oh people.  I was so disgruntled.  One was the glue that kept my interest in the show at super-high levels. Yeah, I liked all these ideas about the others and sometimes their interactions were okaaaaaay, but for me, One was the secret sauce.  Yes, the whole prison break thing was good. Yes, finding out Two’s backstory was pretty cool.

Frankly, since One/Derek’s death, I’ve only made it through about four more episodes while mostly folding laundry and checking email.  I just don’t care anymore–Maybe other audience members, more familiar with the comic books than I am, are looking forward to what’s around the corner.  Maybe they know stuff that I don’t.  Apparently DARK MATTER  has a very loyal following.  But I, good people, am done.

If you know the Dark Matter comics, tell me — is there reason to hope? Should I give the show another chance?

Have you ever suffered torment from the character you were rooting for being killed off? (I’m looking at you SLEEPY HOLLOW fans.) Did you slog onward or just give up?  I’ve resorted to writing DARK MATTER fan fic as a way of detoxing.  Sigh.  It’s premised on my rogue clone idea…Maybe it’ll become its own thing one day.

Follow us at Lady Smut where we make the darkness matter.  And subscribe to our newsletter if you want fabulous free reads. ; >

Meanwhile, here’s something to pluck up your spirits — we ran a giveaway from Lux Aromatica last week, and to say thank you to our readers Lux made a coupon just for you.  2017-02-ladysmut-flash-sale

Madeline Iva writes fantasy and paranormal romance.  Her fantasy romance, WICKED APPRENTICE, featuring a magic geek heroine, is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and through iTunes.  Sign up for Madeline Iva news & give aways.wickedapprenticefinal-fjm_low_res_500x750

One Hot Zombie Husband, Please!–And Other Lustful Zombie Stuff

2 Feb
santaclaritadiet

Let that repressed manic side out, Timothy Olyphant.

by Madeline Iva

On Friday night I’m watching a new show called THE SANTA CLARITA DIET on Netflix. Why? Two words: Timothy Olyphant. The guy has a kind of restrained mayhem vibe that makes women purr. He’s good when he’s a bad boy, and I like it when he does the humor thing, but really underplays it. Let’s hope he gets to do both in this new TV show.

What’s unusual is for Olyphant to be part of a duo, for he often plays the lone wolf.  Yet he’s a supportive husband (awwww) as his wife’s body goes undead and her twisted feral id coming to life. (Peeps, this could be my own marriage we’re talking about—esp. when I’m on deadline.)

As for the rest of the show–we shall see.  I lurv Drew Barrymore and early reviews say the supporting cast is excellent.  The creator is Victor Fresco who did the short lived but great (!) show BETTER OFF TED, which walked the line of absurdism and also had a supportive, understanding, and munch-a-licious lead.

But hey, let me be your zombie pimp and recommend some other zombie joy you may have overlooked. My preference is for zombie comedy/satire. Take R in WARM BODIES.  So cute and so protective in his own teenage, shuffling, groan-y way.

Click to buy the DVD

Click to buy the DVD

 

There’s also a wonderful funny little book call BREATHERS.  Subversive and with a sexy element that I quite enjoyed.

Click to buy.

Click to buy.

Have you seen the movie SEAN OF THE DEAD? It’s a bit like The Office meets zombies. Quite surprisingly daffy and satiric all the way through.

Imagine The Office as a zombie flick. Click to buy the DVD...

Imagine The Office as a zombie flick. Click to buy the DVD…

Meanwhile, let us not forget some serious Zombie smut, like what you’ll find with our own Isabelle Drake’s SERVANT OF THE UNDEAD along with Daisy Harris’ mix of not-quite-human stuff.  I lurved Hariss’ “Steins” and sex bots.  In BUILT FOR IT Harris discovered M/M erotic romance and never looked back. (Can you even get these books anymore Daisy?)

 

557e4e368babb5e201b7f2d2b531d8cbOnce upon a time, Lexi waxed philosophical on the ethics of sex with an undead body. I, dear readers, completely understand.  Who really wants to kiss decaying flesh?  On the other hand, a zombie is nothing if not a metaphor.  Give me your metaphors–satiric, comedic or full of pathos and killed by societal excess and ennui.  Sometimes we all seem a little rotten to the core.  Zombies get to wear their decay on the outside where it’s all embarrassing and visible.  Ultimately, they’re monsters and I dearly love a monster-hero, even if his heart is dead and cold.

That’s not to say that one can’t enjoy zombie horror.  Lexi has traced the path of an end-of-the-world romance on the Walking Dead that I’ve followed probably with more enjoyment that I took in watching the actual show.  Check out her posts:

LIFE AMONG THE DEAD: IS MICHONNE READY TO LOVE AGAIN?

THE DEAD DELIVER: IS THIS THE SEASON FOR RICHONNE? 

DEAD ON! REJOICING FOR RICHONNE

If you do like your zombies with a lot of blood splatter, there’s a movie coming out called THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS.

You'll slurp it up if you like post-apocalyptic action/adventure. Click to buy.

You’ll slurp it up if you like post-apocalyptic action/adventure. Click to buy.

The book was gripping–I stayed up all night reading it.  I’m sure the movie will be excellent too, but check out the book first. It’s post apocalyptic, British, and I liked how the balance of characters in the book were female.  They seemed to have deliberately switched around the race of the characters in the movie.  Hmmmmmm.

There’s also World War Z — not your typical zombie genre book.  It’s totally different and only about a thousand times better than the movie. (Sorry Brad Pitt.)

Another book I've read in one sitting. Click to buy.

Another book I’ve read in one sitting. Click to buy.

Well, time for me to do some groaning and shuffling myself as I sign off to go jog, shower, and write. Follow us at Lady Smut.  We give you reasons to live.

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.

 

A Wicked Little Excerpt: Our Simply Sinful Giveaway Event Continues

25 Nov

by Madeline Iva

Like booze, books, and bath bombs? Then you’re in luck!  This weekend is our Lady Smut Simply Sinful Black Friday Event. Here’s an excerpt for your reading pleasure. (Don’t forget to comment on this or any other post from today to be entered in our giveaway. See details below.)

This snippet is from Wicked Apprentice. (Book one in the Wicked Magic Series).

BLURB: Zephyr, apprentice of magical arts, is having a really bad day. Under orders to capture an uncanny creature for her mistress’s latest spell, she chains up a tall, gorgeous elf in a decaying castle only to find out he’s really a wizard with potent powers over human women. Uh-oh.

Theo has suffered heartbreak and betrayal more than once. He’s got a plan to escape, and when he does, he’s taking the curvy little apprentice with him. He’s vowed never to unleash his powers of enchantment upon a human woman—yet while she kisses and teases him, longing for an elf romance, his fae side is slipping out of control.

Got sexy elves?

Got sexy elves?

~~~~~Excerpt~~~~~

He whispered. “Will you help me?”

“Yes,” she whispered back. There. She had said it. She had committed herself. The walls of her loyalty to Hulgetta toppled. All that was left was a healthy fear of her mistress and a strong sense of self-preservation. But she was obsessed with the elf man before her.  It didn’t feel right. To promise him anything.  To be two-faced with her mistress. In some measure she felt she owed the sorceress. The woman had taught her magic, given her room and board. It was a debt.

A thought suddenly occurred to her.  What if to get the elf-man free from that manacle she had to cut off his hand? Her stomach turned over and her fingers turned to ice. She pressed them into his.

His eyes changed. He looked down into her face and down at her mouth. Those eyes were black. She could see her own face in them. Oh, what was this? A thick syrup of languorousness poured over her head. Her skin and lips wanted to whisper to him.  Her mind was strangely hushed.

“The book. Bring it to me.” His voice held a compelling tone.

“Yes.”

His eyes. They could suck in galaxies. Under their gaze all her worry leached away, like a puddle dried up in the sun. At the same time her loins were licked by that mouth and the steady hammer of his gaze bent towards hers.

Like dark, slow treacle dumped upon her head, a sense of bonding with him enfolded her. Thick and full, it poured down her throat, trickled across her breasts, and down the center of her core. She stood under his gaze, but really she was swallowed whole in it.

He bent to kiss her, their mouths opening slowly, eyes closing, his chain clanking as she yielded softly and fully to him. He pulled her up by her bodice, his hands high around her waist, one hand coming round to pull her hair aside, letting his lips rove across her neck. She felt an involuntary clenching deep down and pulled his hands lower, towards her hips.

He pulled her up against him. She was falling into a thick featherbed of need. His long fingers held her face upwards, as she basked in his touch. Yet there was a touch of despair in his desire. She drank it in, ready to defy it, her soul suddenly brave. She’d die saving him if that’s what it took.

#

His head hanging above her own, he watched her clear eyes grow heavy. He watched as her irises shot wide, becoming vulnerable, her expression filling with a delicious resignation. He held her arms, letting one slender inch between his body and hers.

“Bring the book to me. You’ll return it quickly. Hulgetta will never know,” he said, the gold cuff rattling against the bar, holding it to the wall.

“She’ll know if you escape.” She spoke like a woman asleep, like someone resigned to her fate.

He let her go. In theory, her will was not entirely her own. He had never deliberately tried to enthrall anyone before. Was it working? He had no idea.

Among his mother’s people he’d be put to death for even trying. The mindless instinct to survive had acted before he could stop it. Now it was done.

She was staring at his naked chest, and the elf in him wanted it that way. Crave me. He relished the challenge she presented. She was under his thrall. He loved the feel of their agony mixing with desire. He wanted to feel his powers wrapped about around her, protecting her. He wanted her to struggle, try to resist, and discover all her will to resist was gone.

Stop. He forced himself to look away. He held onto her shoulders and, with a hard inner twist on himself, gave up the thrall. His eyes ceased to throb. He was back, the world hollow and dim, a pale shadow of what he felt in his elfin state.

“If she discovers I’ve taken a book from her lair—”

“She won’t. You’re too clever.” His eyes dragged across hers. He felt the slender skein of magical connection. “You’ll be careful.” She left the cell.

He fought the urge to call her back. He was the one she should fear the most. He was cursed, unlucky—a betrayer with dark secrets she couldn’t even guess. Then she was gone.

He let his vision darken, felt the fae-half pulsing inside and this time he did not fight it.

He stalked back and forth the short three paces his leash allowed. Every bit of the elf inside him wanted to fight. If it could not fight Hulgetta, then his fae side wanted to take that pretty little maid apart inch by inch until she died from the tormented pleasure he’d give her.

Want to read more? Find Wicked Apprentice at major, online retailers for just 99 cents. Includes one hot elf, one magic geek heroine, and a lot of sexy magical mayhem.

Madeline Iva writes fantasy and paranormal romance.  Her fantasy romance, WICKED APPRENTICE, featuring a magic geek heroine, is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and through iTunes.  Sign up for Madeline Iva news & give aways.

 
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Here’s how you win the giveaway: Leave a comment below–or on any post published today, November 25 and you’re entered for the Simply Sinful basket of book goodness.

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Giveaway closes at midnight (Eastern), November 25, 2016.

Next up in the LadySmut Simply Sinful Reader Event is Alexa Day at 3 p.m.

 

I’ve Got a Plan & It’s Just Not That Complicated

17 Nov

by Madeline Iva

Sometimes you need to retreat, huddle up, hunker down, and regroup.  For introverts like me, this is actually our natural state of being.  The thing is–you gotta have a plan.

I love the part in BOURNE LEGACY, where Jeremy Renner (yum!) needs some information from Rachel Weisz who is sputtering over her suddenly-everyone-wants-to-kill-me reality.  Jeremy Renner cuts through her confusion and says, “Now I’ve got a plan, and it’s just not that complicated.  What I’m going to do is wait for the next person to come and kill you.  Maybe they can help me.”  Well, I’ve got a plan, Lady Smut readers, and it’s just not that complicated.

  1. There’s a romance plot spinning in my brain.
  2. I’m going to binge write all weekend long and get as much of it out of my head and splatted onto the page as I can.

That’s the good kind of binge, of course.

westworld

I’m going to try HBO NOW to watch Westworld. This is their new streaming subscription. (Like Netflix only all HBO.) First month is free…

Then there are the other kinds of binging.  Hey, let’s face it, I’m a binge-y kind of woman.  If a little is good, a lot is better.  My favorite types of binges: TV, movies, food, and romance novels.  But first, I will be productive.  I will lay down five thousand words a day (eek!)  and only then will I reach out to find other forms of comfort.

TV Series to Binge:

  • Westworld
  • The Crown
  • Luke Cage

    Dr. Who? Who knew Matt Smith could play the perfect consort?

    Dr. Who? Who knew Matt Smith could play the perfect consort?

At the movie theatre:

  • DR. STRANGE
  • ARRIVAL
  • FANTASTIC BEASTS
  • MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN

    Hey look--it's Jeremy Renner again!

    Hey look–it’s Jeremy Renner again!

Meanwhile, Thanksgiving is next week.  We’re making two pies: cherry and sour-cream apple pie. Well, it’s vegan sour cream apple pie, but it’s still completely awesome.

Along with the usual suspects: garlic green beans with toasted almonds, mashed potatoes, and homemade stuffing, (though my grandmother always called it ‘dressing’) we’re in the midst of deciding what the main dish will be.  You might think as vegans we’d be terribly limited for options.  Not so, my friends.  Here are the candidates:

  • chickpea crepes with cauliflower & shiitake mushroom filling
  • panko crusted sweet potato cakes with mushroom ragout
  • black bean & acorn squash empanadas
  • pumpkin gnocchi
  • three-sisters savory pie–with corn, beans, and pumpkin
Add yummy mushroom sauce and devour! I have it out for T-day dinners that are only shades of tan. Get some color on that plate, people!

Add yummy mushroom sauce and devour! I have a grudge against T-day feasts that are only shades of tan. Get some color on that plate, people!

Finally, I’ve been reading Patrick Rothfuss’s NAME OF THE WIND, (so good!) but I’m almost done.  There’s a whole world of  fantasy goodness by new authors on my kindle just waiting for me to dive on in and check them out.

I ***LOVE*** this cover!

I ***LOVE*** this cover!

And an advanced copy of Cara McKenna’s BRUTAL GAME is in there as well — Think of it as a kind of sexy, contemporary palate cleanser for all the fantasy.

Click to buy

Click to buy–.99 cents!

So that’s the plan.  This afternoon, I’m piling on the sweaters and slippers over the pj’s and sinking into the primordial stew of my creative subconscious.

When I emerge after the holiday, the anxious stew in my brain will be quiet.  I will be ready to be fed–both literally and metaphorically.  At that point, I think I’ll be fit to rejoin the world again.

See you on the other side.

–Madeline

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ghosts Making Booty Calls

28 Oct

by Elizabeth SaFleur

It’s a wild wicked week at LadySmut. Not only is our very own Madeline Iva coming out with her latest, Wicked Apprentice, but we’re tackling all the Halloween myths, legends, costume angst and deep, dark truths lurking around this favorite holiday.

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Let’s talk ghost sex. As in, how they do it. You’ve wondered this, too? Well, good. Because I’ve lost some sleep over figuring out how do ghosts get it on. I mean, they’re transparent. How does “that” get into “this.” (Picture the hand gestures being made right now.) Wouldn’t it just, ahem, slide right through? And not in a good way. In a completely ineffectual way.

An answer must be found. It simply must. Because apparently fifteen perfect — FIFTEEN PERCENT! — of real, live, breathing people are getting it on with a non corporeal being. Even the Travel Channel did a documentary called Ghost Lovers (now officially in my Netflix cue. Oy, the things I endure for research.).

Consent isn’t such a thing in ghostland, either. Some people who’ve been the recipient of such a spiritual encounter did not make the booty call. The horny apparitions just appeared and started groping like Donald Trump. Oh, the horrors.

ghostbusters-ghost-blowjob-o

According to experts, however, just a fraction of the world’s ghost sex is non-consensual. Well, whew. But wait a minute. This means some of them DID ask for it? Yeppers. In fact, a whole community has cropped up around ghost fetishism. You just have to be open to such an encounter, say the people with spectrophilia, the official name for a fetish or condition where people display a strong sexual attraction to ghosts and spirits. So, settle in, relax your mind and bring on the invisible ding dongs? Even if you could request ghost sex, the original question stands.

HOW does it work?

ghost-movie

I turned to my favorite kind of research: buying and reading erotic romance books (as if the incentive was required). The amount of available ghost erotica is impressive. Succubus, demons and Casper-like beings are all getting it on between the pages. Carolyn Crane, Beth Kery, and our very own Alexa Day have written ghosts tales.

Check out Alexa’s short story, Three, After Midnight, in Mysteries of the Macabre: a Halloween Anthology. So. Much. Hawtness.

So, how do they do it? you are shouting  right now. The answer is simple my friends, thanks to Carolyn Crane’s Old Salt, a delightful short about a disenchanted tour guide in a small town whose claim to fame is the nightly hauntings from a drowned sea captain called “Old Salt.” Turns out “Old Salt” is really “Young Hot Guy.”

****SPOILER ALERT****

She dies. But all is not lost. He teaches the tour guide how to become corporeal for short periods of time. Guess what they do during these times? They concentrate really, really hard and bam! Bam-bam-bam-bam!

ghost-kiss

He-he-he-he. So there you go. Who knew the answer was so easy? You just gotta want it. Like anything in life, I guess.

Follow LadySmut. We’re easy. We won’t make you have sex with invisible critters for fun. Just pick up one of our books, like Madeline Iva’s latest, Wicked Apprentice, for all the salacious fun and fantasy you can handle.

About Wicked Apprentice

Zephyr, apprentice of magical arts, is having a really bad day. Under orders to capture an uncanny creature for her mistress’s latest spell, she chains up a tall, gorgeous elf in a decaying castle, only to find out he’s really a wizard with potent powers over human women. Uh-oh.

Theo has suffered heartbreak and betrayal more than once. He’s got a plan to escape, and when he does, he’s taking the curvy little apprentice with him. Her seductive curiosity about all things elvish makes his heart race, driving him into a sexual frenzy. He’s vowed never to unleash his powers of enchantment upon a human woman—yet while she kisses and teases him, longing for an elf romance, his fae side is slipping out of control.

Their world overturns when Zephyr unleashes a curse involving two magic rings. Under its spell, she becomes a mighty sorceress while the elf-wizard who loves her becomes her apprentice. As Zephyr works to turn the brooding, mistrustful elf into the hero the people need, Theo must find a way to contain Zephyr’s new powers before her wild magic destroys them all.

Madeline Iva’s high fantasy romance will enchant readers who love all things elvish, brooding heroes and bold heroines.

*****

Elizabeth SaFleur writes contemporary erotic romance and she’s not afraid to get a little graphic about it  — “it” being the smex, the BDSM or Washington, DC society, which she regularly features in her series, the Elite Doms of Washington.

Selene & Her Cold, Cold Heart: UNDERWORLD #5 Where Are We Going? Where Have We Been?

20 Oct
Cold kick-ass heroine? Yeah. LURV IT!

Cold kick-ass heroine? Yeah. LURV IT!

By Madeline Iva

I’m an Underworld follower—are you?  UNDERWORLD #5 BLOOD WARS comes out January 6th. I’m not a big movie franchise person. Didn’t see all the Twilight films. Didn’t see all the Star Wars films, Star Trek films, Hobbit films, etc, etc.

I’m going to go see UNDERWORLD BLOOD WARS for three reasons: Theo James, Theo James and Theo James.

If you’ve missed the whole Underworld franchise, below are reasons why I loved the original film-as well as which of the films to watch and which to skip. For those of you who have seen Underworld #1 – 4, check out down below where I parse the preview for Underworld #5.

WHY UNDERWORLD? It vampires vs. werewolves–or Lycans as they call them, and I’m all about cool, glittery Vampires with style. And even more about Theo James.

Before Theo popped up in Underworld #4, what first drew me into this world was Selene—cold, rational, ruthless Selene. All alone and perfectly bad-ass. Wearing head to toe black with ice blue eyes, she is a liquid ripple of lethal grace in a sapphire city. A female action adventure lead who sees trouble with a slight irritated wrinkle of her logical brow, and then proceeds to ruthlessly shoot up whatever needs obliterating.neehz2hlbagphk_2_b

But you haven’t seen the movies? You poor thing. Come with me, let me guide you through them.

UNDERWORLD #1 is awesome! Great casting. Great style. Great photography–shot in shades of elegant blue and black. Where are we? Who cares. Probably America. But not really.

The toys are fun too: Vampires invent liquid silver bullets–how do they stay liquid at room temp? Reasons. The silver spreads through a Lycans’ bloodstream killing them dead.  But the Lycans find a way to create these glow-y untra-violet liquid bullets.  It’s sunshine in a bullet and also kills vampires dead.

However, while the Lycans run around like homeless hipsters through the underground all fight club-ish in the sewers, the vampires have retreated mostly to their gated gi-normic estate where they hold parties and such.  Selene seems to be the only one out there doing the gritty job of nailing the Lycans with a spray of bullets in the subway system, while her cohorts are all obsessed with the pecking order and some stupid party.

michael

Michael is hot. And kinda cursed, poor guy.

One would think that Selene is without any feelings at all, but when she spots Michael she finds him interesting. She watches him from above – as he starts to experience a “my life is about to get pretty trippy right now” moment.  He’s hot in a Heath Ledger on steroids kind of way.

And yes, there’s a love story that develops.  Though at first it’s a “Shut up while I save your ass, idiot human” story.

The number one bad guy is played by the actor, Michael Sheen.  Michael Sheen’s greatness impresses me–I’m convinced he can do anything.  He was fabulous as “the pedantic one” in MIDNIGHT IN PARIS, and so very good in MASTERS OF SEX.

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Michael Sheen–he’s soooo good!

To have a great story, your villain must be as compelling and as charismatic as your protagonists. We have that in Michael Sheen – he rivals our lovers in sympathy by the end, as well as in acting chops. Yet he’s willing to chew the scenery a bit, while the other two commit to underplaying their moments. (I love underplaying.  Seriously.)

And what’s-his-name –Bill Nighy, is GREAT as a clammy ancient vampire risen from his freeze-dried stasis. You get the feeling that if he was once human he’s long forgot all about it.  (It takes a certain kind of actor to sell that larger-than-life mythic quality–and Bill N is perfect.)

So we get a very good first half of the film, the beginning of the third act is great as well and the end wraps up with lot of fighting mixed with some dirty politics, then a lot more fight fight fight –and then we’re done.  Overall, Underworld #1 is very much worth seeing.

UNDERWORLD EVOLUTION is a great title–but a miss. Our protagonist from Underworld #1, Michael–aka Heath on Steroids–can transform into this bizarre, ferocious, black gargoyle thing.  The black gargoyle thing likes to fight.  And that’s what this movie is: fight fight fight, politics, politics, blah, blah, blah, fight fight fight. Selene, as always, has to get Michael back, fight everyone, then fight some more and–Yawn. Also the movie is shot too much in daylight. The Underworld franchise works best during the hours of midnight to 4am. I recommend skipping this movie.

Bill Nighy plays Viktor with relish.

Bill Nighy plays Viktor with relish.

UNDERWORLD 3, RISE OF THE LYCANS is freaky deaky. We go back to the past – and the past is bleak, my friends. It’s all stone castles, whips, and people layered in furs, wearing swords.  You know what I mean. I actually didn’t make it through the movie.  This ur-myth of the Lycans and how they came to be at war with the vampires for All Time was missing a crucial component for me–Selene.

I stopped watching when Michael Sheen and Rhona Mitra are making forbidden love. But they’re like, doing it sticking over the edge of a cliff. That was just odd. She was on top, and Michael Sheen was the one hanging over an abyss.  His character seems to like it.  Cliff kink.  Who’d a thunk it?

SIDE NOTE: Kate Beckinsale, by this time, was married to the director.  Which is like, uh-oh.  Because when she first came into the first Underworld movie she was married to Michael Sheen–with whom she has a child.  So there’s this whole personal relationship issue between Kate, the director Len Wiseman, and Michael Sheen–but Kate says they’re all cool.  Apparently she and Wiseman eventually broke up.len-wiseman

So although UNDERWORLD RISE OF THE LYCANS had it’s moments, it had no Selene. No Selene –and no Selene/Michael-Ledger-on-Steroids romance. This was a problem. Without Selene, I didn’t care.

But I’m still a believer!

the

Theo James is the kind of hero I can get behind.

UNDERWORLD AWAKENING got a big boost of energy in the form of Theo James and a tight new script that wasn’t exactly just the same-old same-old.  Selene had been caught and frozen.  She wakes up at the beginning of the film to find that we’ve gone from the kinda present to the near future – awesome! But wait! What about Michael? Selene is busting out of some nasty lab facility but before she leaves, she uses her sense of connection to track down Michael in another vampire popsicle container.  Only, when she busts in, it’s not Michael in the container.  It’s some tweener girl she’s never seen before.  Cool! But what about Michael?

They escape and discover Theo James.  Hell yeah—but what about MICHAEL?

I mean, the bite of love Selene feels for Michael–this is why we root for team Selene. And yet, I have to admit, if Michael has to die saving his little family or something and then Theo James steps in, I could live with that. I’m ready.

Ultimate decision: Underworld #4 is a decent movie. Plenty of Selene, and I’m able to let go Michael and move onto Theo.  Definitely worth watching.

Moving on!

UNDERWORLD 5: BLOOD WARS.  Here’s the trailer:

Okay, what can we ken from this 2:41 minute trailer?

Well, we’re back to Selene. And…there’s more Theo James.  (Fist pump!) What else can we glean from this preview? It’s shot in that blue-y light which makes me very very happy.

However, it’s not a good sign that they spend the first minute or so of the preview on the past.

marius

Marius–watch out. Selene is coming for you.

The villain looks GOOD. It’s that British actor I see in lots of things that I think of as Not-Cumberbitch. (He’s tall, has the same coloring and small squinty blue eyes too. He plays a Lycan named Marius. I like the way Selene spits out the words “Tell your leader—Marius–” Ptwoo! “I’m coming for him.”

Theo’s around and he’s protecting Selene.  Great! Bring it on! Apparently the Lycans want the blood of Selene and her daughter and…somehow this will make someone invincible?  There are kick ass Lycans, power-hungry vampires, and a woman with long white hair. There’s some winter wonderland stuff that ends with Selene wrapped up like a mummy being dunked in ice water…and some kind of cage match.

Sign me up! I know, it all sounds sort of muddled, but I have faith.  They clearly have great actors, the blue-y light, and Selene plus Theo. This is what I like and for the rest, I’ll cross my fingers and hope for the best, because this movie has such a great fantasy/paranormal vibe.

Alas, it’s going to come out months from now.  Meanwhile, my own fantasy romance is out in two weeks — and I’m having a give away to celebrate.  Stay tuned!

 

Right now you can click to pre-order it for .99 cents. Crazy, right?

Right now you can click to pre-order it for .99 cents. Crazy, right?

Madeline 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.  Sign up Madeline Iva news & give aways.  Follow her on facebook.

 

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:

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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.

Fantasy, Fairy Tale, & Fashion: The Smexiest Parts of TALE OF TALES

15 Sep

by Madeline Iva

I’m becoming more fantasy obsessed as I get closer to the releasing of my FIRST NOVEL which—you guessed it—is a fantasy romance.(Shameless plug: it comes out November 1st) Yet what is it about fantasy that does it for me, exactly? Well, for one thing, I’m a total sucker for ye-olde poofy dresses.  Yup.

Pair up a ye-olde poofy dress with a dainty princess crown, add in some gloomy tall interiors–preferably with a brooding mysterious hero lurking in the background–toss in a general air of gothic funk, and yeah: that’s me swooning at your feet.

That’s not to say TALE OF TALES is an amazing movie. Is it romantic and heartbreaking? No. Disney would not approve. But I think it’s worth watching, especially if you view the movie more as a kind of fantasy fashion show. The stories are based upon the writing of Giambattista Basile who in 15 whatever was a fairy tale collector. Fairy Tale Collector—now that’s a job I want! I was transfixed like a cat chittering at the birds as I watched the plush costumes and how they blended with the settings of the film. ****SPOILERS AHEAD****

Here are my fav fashion moments from the movie:

  • THE QUEEN:

I loved the sea monster–and was very unhappy to watch a critter minding its own business die–even a mythical one. tale-of-talesThe sea monster’s heart is about the size of a Thanksgiving turkey and contrasted artfully against the Queen’s black dress.  She has to eat the whole thing in order to conceive a child.  The smeary red all around her mouth makes just the right statement of glorious depravity in the moment. And the amazing stone backdrop provides a minimalist contrast–so lux.960

Note the awesome stone labyrinth –I want one for my yard! (No more mowing.)  I loved this scene, because the pale stone set off her crimson dress with black velvet detailing so well! THAT dress. lttgwmo13fe-maxresdefault-1  That dress is TO DIE!!! Chasing after son in play, she runs along, gaily calling his name while she scampers about, her dress flowing behind her, the sleeves all a swirl –and her little gold crown wiggling around the corners—lurv!foto-il-racconto-dei-racconti-11-low-1150x748

How the Queen’s fashion sensibility continues, even as she takes a turn toward the homicidal. The Queen, while attempting to bash in someone’s head with an elegant black poker, wears a matching black taffeta dress with tight sleeves at the top of her arms and a tight bodice, both of which billow out into graceful bell sleeves and a voluminous skirt below. Bravo!

  • THE PRINCESS:

tale_of_tales_princessHere is Violet with girly hair d’jour.  I want to squeeze her to death! You’ll note her dress has little dangly pom-poms. In the words of Rachel Zoe: Ba. Nanas.tumblr_oc6xx9rrmz1s2a00zo2_1280-1

Our round faced, dimpled princess goes from this – to this.tot1

What a before and after transformation! Yet who can resist her in such a besplattered state, full of post-trauma gravitas, as she comes all covered in blood and gore to deliver to her father the head of the ogre he married her to.

Aw! He loves her. She however, has had enough.

Aw! He loves her. She however, has had enough.

It says something about the depth of my romance convictions that I kept waiting for this relationship to work out.  Look at the tenderness on his face — and look at the knife in her hand.  Yeah, it’s never gonna work out.

  • THE OLD MAID

One day an insatiable lusty King hears a maid singing with a lovely voice, but she nips inside before he can see what she looks like. He assumes from her youthful voice that she’s young and pretty. Alas, she’s not – not at all. But she desires him too!

From the other side of a locked door she protests her modesty and vows she’ll sleep with him–but only in the dark. Sneaking into his bed chamber doesn’t work out, however. When she’s exposed in the early morning light, the king orders his guards to throw her out.  She winds up getting tossed out of a window all tangled up in a crimson bedspread.

Caught in the tree limbs far below, the bedspread winds up saving her life, acting as half hammock, half straight jacket.  A boar-woman comes by and cuts her loose, and she falls down onto the mossy rocks.  Half-stunned not just by her fall, but even more so by the humiliating events she just endured, she groans and frets.  The boar-woman suckles her (!) comforting her in all her childish wounded vanity, misery, and woe, until she falls into a daze.  She wakes up transformed into a youthful maiden ROCKING THE CRIMSON BEDSPREAD.tale-of-tales2

Of course the King comes along — he’s boar hunting — sees her, and instantly falls in love.  il-racconto-dei-racconti-tale-of-tales__20They marry.  Here she is in a divine wedding gown with a gold jester’s collar (the joke is on the King) with little danglies (people I am a sucker for danglies). Her beautiful hair is all piled up and topped with an extra-dangly pearl headdress – Swoon!35166-002

What I liked best about this film is that eventually the enchantment wears off and she’s back to being her old self again.  She scutters off before the King can see her.  Isn’t that really the lesson we need to learn from life? Sometimes after going through a sh** week you get a little boon. But soon enough the boon fades away and life is back to normal once again.

Disney would SO not approve!

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

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