Tag Archives: Fantasy

A Super-Sexy Shifter Hero in ARROWS OF THE HEART

12 Oct

by Madeline Iva

Shifter alert! Jeffe Kennedy talks to us about her just released ARROWS OF THE HEART which includes a sexy play-ah hero.  Go git that bad boy today!

Shapeshifters are super sexy – isn’t that true?

All that delicious animal nature and passion guided by human intellect. And the magical ability that gives them all that shimmering power, beauty, and near-immortality. The shapeshifters in my Twelve Kingdoms and Uncharted Realms books are the Celtic variety. Not weres, they are true shapeshifters with the ability to take on multiple forms. The most accomplished and magical among them are able to shift into the greatest variety of forms.

And, yes, they’re sexy.

Though there’s always that line. You know the one, between shapeshifter sex and, well, bestiality. Because nobody likes bestiality. It’s the ultimate lack of consent – as animals can’t consent – and it’s pretty much just icky.

So, most of the time, when we’re writing shapeshifter stories with smexy goodness, sex occurs only in human form.

ARROWS OF THE HEART is written from the perspective of Karyn, a woman exiled from her (decidely non-magical) home country, who falls in love with a shapeshifter. Zyr, irreverent, mischievous, a self-proclaimed excellent lover and happy to share his skills. He is a powerful shapeshifter, too, one of the most prolific of his generation, and able to take many different forms—including a gryphon.

A gorgeous, powerful, sleek black gryphon.

Though Karyn comes from a culture where women remain virgins until marriage – and she’s steadfastly clung to her “honor” – she doesn’t stand a chance against Zyr’s seductive charms. Especially when he wins her heart.

But along the way, they’re on a critical quest to stop a looming war. Just the two of them, for days on end, with Karyn riding on Zyr’s back.

This cover is breath taking. See the giant black gryphon in the back? Click to buy.

I thought about those lines. She’s a human. He’s a gryphon, with a feline body. People, he can purr.

Now, any woman who’s ridden a horse can vouch for the sensuality of the experience. Imagine if that steed had the heart and intelligence of a charming person, and could purr. Imagine what happens if he can selectively shapeshift parts of his body while in human form. So he’s still human but we also get to experience his purr, a raspy tongue, and what the ability to selectively enlarge parts of his body can do…

So, yeah. I totally had to go there!

Because THE ARROWS OF THE HEART is a fantasy romance, the quest takes precedence. And Karyn is an honorable woman, not easily swayed or seduced. But they get there.

It’s totally hot.

Jeffe Kennedy is the author of an award-winning fantasy romance trilogy The Twelve Kingdoms which includes Book 1, The Mark of the TalaThe Tears of the Rose and The Talon of the Hawk. Two more books followed in this world, beginning the spin-off series The Uncharted Realms. Book one in that series, The Pages of the Mind, was nominated for the RT Reviewer’s Choice Best Fantasy Romance of 2016 and won RWA’s 2017 RITA® Award.

Her other works include the fantasy romance novels of A Covenant of Thorns; the contemporary BDSM novellas of the Facets of Passion; an erotic contemporary serial novel, Master of the Opera; and the erotic romance trilogy, Falling Under, which includes Going Under, Under His Touch and Under Contract.

Jeffe lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with two Maine coon cats, plentiful free-range lizards and a very handsome Doctor of Oriental Medicine.

Find her at her website: JeffeKennedy.com, every Sunday at the popular SFF Seven blog, on Facebook, on Goodreads and pretty much constantly on Twitter @jeffekennedy.

 

 

 

Seasons of Sorcery: Fab Fantasy Anthology–Check it out!

12 Oct

by Madeline Iva

seasons of sorcery

This cover is scrum-i-licious! And these female fantasy authors are fabulous — you’ll seriously want to check out the pre-order.

The amazon link doesn’t give us any info about the authors, so let me introduce you to ones that I’m familiar with:

Grace Draven is a USA Today Best Selling Author.  I saw her in person in Houston a few weeks ago at a book signing with Illona Andrews–the husband wife team who write under that name.  The event was at a fabulous bookstore called Murder By The Book--if you live in or near Houston you’ll want to visit.

Grace Draven is tres charming in person. Readers at the event commented on their love of the way she creates gripping battle scenes in her novels.

Grace Draven at Book signing

Grace Draven on the right, speaks at a book talk with good friends Illona and Gordon–who together write as Illona Andrews.

It turns out Grace’s husband Patrick is her ace in the hole.  He is into the ye olde thing *big time*.  He owns a collection of antique swords which are displayed around the house (even in the bathroom!)  She doesn’t look far for fight scene inspiration and he critiques her scenes for authenticity.

Jeffe Kennedy is an author I’ve become familiar with in romance circles. Her book covers just keep getting better! Last summer she won a big ole RITA award from the national romance association.  See our other blog post on her latest book ARROWS OF THE HEART –it was just released yesterday.

We’ve talked about Amanda Bouchet before on Lady Smut.  She had a smashingly successful debut with her KINGMAKER CHRONICLES series a few years ago.  She writes strong heroines with all the romance feels.  You’ll also lurv her world building chops.

Anthologies are made to introduce us to new authors and for me, the new author in this bunch is Jennifer Estes. I hadn’t heard of her before. I’m excited to get my hands on a copy of the anthology in order to check her out.  If any of you out there have read any of the authors above and want to share what you think, I’m all ears. Please comment below or on our LadySmut facebook page.

Madeline Iva is a fantasy author who writes characters that like to play in the shadows.  Join her cult following newsletter or her new Gothic Lair on fb.  Check out Madeline’s other Lady Smut blog posts.

 

 

 

 

I Vote October Sexiest Month of the Year

3 Oct

by Madeline Iva

I’m just orgasmic when it comes to October.  I wish it was three months long.  Seriously.  October is the perfect time to dive into a hot, paranormal romance or to enfold oneself in an elegant, gothic thrillfest.  It’s the home of fantastical fantasies–whether they take place on other worlds or with paranormal sexy beasts.

The season delights my senses. Between leaves crunching, the low angle of afternoon sunlight or the smell of apple cider on the stove, one is in an orgy of sensual delights.  Wool sweaters come out. Your thinking turns all crispy with the cold.  But more importantly, this is the time that we touch fingers with the otherworld.  This is the time to let sensual urges begin to bubble, toil, and cause you trouble.  The time to let primal passions ripen.  The time to welcome an unexpected knock on the door.  No one knows what you do in the dark; in October darkness begins to engulf daylight.  Witches, vampires, along with other things unseen and only grasped in the shadows tease and taunt you to come out and play.  Aren’t you already shivering with delight?

My Halloween pleasures come in a variety pack:

Creepy, Kookie, Mysterious & Spooky:

Over on Facebook, I’m part of a new, fun Halloween Romance FB group.  Yesterday we were talking about what kind of Halloween movies we adore: Beetlejuice, The Adams Family (I like the old TV shows best), and all that other cute fun Halloween-y stuff.  It’s all about the embrace of ‘the other’ isn’t it?

I have a feeling as the days roll by we’ll be shuffling through the leaves and into hotter, more forbidden Halloween topics. ; >  But for now, I love the innocent, goofy “if-you’re-weird-and-ya-know-it-clap-your-hands” kind of vibe as much as I love anything else about Halloween.

We’re having a THE CRAFT movie watching party  on facebook Wednesday night, October 4th.  Join us! It’s at 8:30pm CDT.

Fantastical & Romantic:

October is the perfect time of year for one’s over-the-top urges, whether it’s dressing up, or more fully exploring your pagan side.   For me there are many movies & TV shows that are so flawed, and yet…they feature the kind of fantastical costuming & majestic vibe I lurv so hard.  Here are a few:

Bram Stoker’s Dracula (directed by Francis Ford Coppola) — This movie is flawed, but this side story where poor Lucy is mesmerized, ravished, and then succumbs to Dracula–and how her relationship plays out with her bestie Mina–is to me the most evocative and best part of the movie.

#sowrongsoright —
Lucy having erotic-no-holds-barred sex w dracula inmonster form. On one hand: ew. On the other hand, she’s clearly getting off big time.

Have I got a tale to tell you. Hands down best part of Bram Stoker’s Dracula was the homoerotic/innocent scenes between Lucy n Mina. Thus a thousand fan fic stories were born….

Lucy gets the best and worst of it, clearly. But her costumes were definitely the best part.

Penny Dreadful — I’ll confess I couldn’t make it through this TV show.  Slow pacing and just unorganized weirdness.  But on the other hand, I slobberingly adore Eva Green–esp in her “we’re all doomed” kind of mind-set.

Crimson Peak — didn’t care for the bloody slithering spooky parts of this film that tried to add a dash of horror in what otherwise was a perfect gothic set piece.  The costumes and the set were to die.  I worship it in this Lady Smut blog post and again talking about women in Gothic romances & movies.

What are those things hanging down from the ceiling? I wants them.

Sleepy Hollow —  Just watched this the other night.  There’s a complicated backstory that’s hard to follow–and we just don’t care.  There’s a complicated mystery that Johnny Depp must piece together, but it’s hard to stay focussed with all the over-the-top mayhem and Christopher Walken magnificently chewing the scenery.  The story just gets lost, people.  BUT — Christina Ricci (though her role is dumb) is so angelic and yummy and delicate you just want to strangle her to death.

A+ costumes for Sleepy Hollow!

Underworld — the styling of the first movie is as good as any of the rest of it.  The vamps are cool as f*ck.  Just sayin’.

A Sense of Wit & Humor:

If Halloween were a hero, he’d be the one quietly laughing at himself.  I love humor in all Halloween movies & TV shows. Have you seen all of these?

  • Crazy Head (British, TV)
  • Santa Clarita Diet (Netflix)
  • iZombie (TV)
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer (TV)
  • Warm Bodies (Movie, Romance)
  • Shawn of the Dead (Movie, Zombies, Satire)
  • Scream (Horror Movie)
  • Ghostbusters (Movie, Humor)
  • An American Werewolf in London (Old 80’s Horror Movie)

Gothic, Perverse, & Grotesque:

Something about fall gives me an almost manic sense of possibility.  A go-to-hell attitude that spurs my imagination, allowing me to uphold my true love for all things a wee bit twisted.  In fact, my Pinterest board Halloween Smexy is a document of my favorite Halloween cultural delights.

Today I’m fixated (again) on AMERICAN HORROR STORY: COVEN.  There’s such a dark-girl-power theme, I can’t f***ing get enough. Shivers.

Speaking of dark-girl-power! I’m going to be at this Barnes & Nobel event in Charlottesville, VA on Saturday October 28th, from 12 to 3pm. (singing) It’s gonna be freaking awesome…We’re talking about the world of genre fic — specifically the world of SFF–and ‘what it feels like for a girl‘ in this genre, whether we’re attending cons or being someone with a vagina amongst all the writer-men.
Queens of Damned postcard, Barnes & Nobel event

In summation, because of the ebullient change of seasons, the dark embrace of Halloween, and all it’s fantastical, twisted, grotesque excellence–I vote October sexiest month of the year.

But Wait! There’s More!!!!

Here are two other events I’ll be attending this season:

This Sunday, Oct 8th, 2017, I’ll be at the HEARTS TO YOU, WRW Luncheon for bloggers and readers.  You want to sign up? It’s not too late.  Click the link for the registration form.

Click on this photo to go to the registration page…

The other event on Nov 4th is at the LOUDEN COUNTY Library. I’ll be talking plot and how character is king! Click on the link:

BASICS OF THE ROMANCE FICTION GENRE

And if that’s not enough of me, you know you can always subscribe to my newsletter or find me on fb.

Witchy kisses & hugs to you! XOXO, Mads

 

The Enduring Romance of Beauty and the Beast

20 Mar

by Kiersten Hallie Krum

I remember the first time I saw Beauty and the Beast in 1991. It was in the Berkeley Heights movie theater. Thursday nights were buy one, get one, but I went with my friends for a matinée. Funny, I can’t remember who I was with, but I distinctly remember that first moment when the curtain drew back (yes, it had a curtain across the screen) and the first image of the movie filled the frame.

I gasped. For real. I spent the first 90 seconds wavering back and forth between thinking it was real and believing it was a cartoon. The colors were so bright, the images so crisp, it was breathtaking, as in it literally took my breath away. Minutes later, the opening number “Belle” began and I was officially enraptured. The complexity of the song, the brilliance of the lyrics, the timing of the animation. This was revolutionary. It was pre-motion captured, when digital was only just becoming part of our vocabulary. There were no DVDs yet, CDs were only just becoming known, laser disks were still the premiere idea of home movies. The Little Mermaid had taken the world by storm barely a year earlier. But Beauty and the Beast was a wunderkind of animation never seen before. Its music was fresh and exciting. Its story took a well-known tale and infused it anew with adventure and romance.

And don’t even get me started on the ballroom scene.

A few days later, I took my sister to see it before I went back to college, and after she had to endure me going on and on about it. Within the first few minutes, she turned to me and whispered, “You were absolutely right.”

Last Friday, I saw the new live-action version of Beauty and the Beast, not another retelling of the story, but the same 1991 animated film remade with live people as opposed to cartoons. I’ve been anticipating this movie but at the same time, had little expectation as to what it might turn out to be. Like looking forward to seeing a favorite book brought to the screen, there was bound to be new interpretations to the story that would tick me off (I’m a purist, I confess), but as I was coming off a long convalescence from surgery, I went to a matinée solo simply to enjoy seeing an old friend given new life.

It was, in a word, perfect. Absolutely perfect.

Was it flawless? No. That’s an impossibility. But as Sleeping Beauty’s castle in the Disney logo was replaced by the Beast’s enchanted castle and the familiar words of the prologue filled the air now in a female’s voice, I knew this was going to be the rare film that met the demands of its source material. Perhaps even exceeded it.

I’m not going to go over the particulars of the new movie as it’s enough to say it’s a near perfect match to its animated doppelgänger. OK, scratch that idea. A few quick thoughts: the new movie does address a few loopholes the animated film skipped over that have plague fans for years–or maybe that’s just me. Things like, why does no one in the village see the honking huge palace in the forest? Why is it beautiful autumn in the village and winter around the castle? How come no one seems to remember there was ever a prince in residence nearby? How the hell does wee Belle manage to get huge Beast up on Philippe the horse after Beast collapses following the wolf attack? Answers are finally found. Also, where I often loathe new music added to an established libretto (Phantom of the Opera, I’m looking at you), the new songs added to this version of Beauty and the Beast fit in perfectly. Oh and Luke Evans nearly steals the show as pitch-perfect Gaston. Finally, visually, it is a masterpiece. I don’t even want to know how it was done, which part is motion capture and which part is actual people, or where the animation begins or which pieces are on a set and which are in a proper 18th-century palace. It’s a sumptuous feast on par with the magnitude of its counterpart for its time. You will not be disappointed.

But what struck me as I teared up over the ending (and yea, I did sniffle, and applaud while the credits rolled) was how this well-known and beloved story still had the power to move me. Women are weened on romantic fantasy and Disney has made a killing exploiting that deeply ingrained expectation. But archetype stories like Beauty and the Beast endure because they resonate with truth that is better than any fantasy.

In both films, the key is that Belle must fall in love with a “hideous” beast in order to break the curse. But the prince’s outward beast is merely the reflection of the inner asshole that was hiding beneath his human pretty face. As he learns not only to love, but to be lovable, the core good person who yet lives beneath both beastly versions comes back to life. This is another aspect this film has the time and means to address. Mrs. Potts informs Belle of how the prince was warped by his cruel father after his mother’s death when the prince was but a boy. Adding the somewhat rout psychological element adds layers to the prince’s repulsive behavior prior to his beastliness being made manifest, which also explains why the staff remains so loyal to one who appeared to be so horrible in both guises.

Beast also learns the sacrificial aspect to love, that truly loving someone means putting their needs first and that sometimes can cause great agony for the lover. In the new film, when Beast releases Belle to go to her father, he watches her flee through the maze, her gold dress a beacon, and sings the beautiful, new, heart-wrenching song “Evermore”.

Sidebar: Holy cats, can Dan Stevens sing. Strewth.

In “Evermore,” Beast sings about how Belle has changed his life and how he knows he’ll now be haunted by her for the rest of his days. But even as he despairs over this and the expectation that he’ll never see her again, especially since, in this film, there is a very real threat to his and the others existence, (outside of Gaston and the mob, that is), Beast knows he’s forever been changed by falling in love with her. Whatever the future brings him, he will not be the same person, man or beast, because of Belle.

Now I know she’ll never leave me
Even as she runs away
She will still torment me, calm me, hurt me
Move me, come what may

Now I know she’ll never leave me
Even as she fades from view
She will still inspire me, be a part of
Everything I do

Wasting in my lonely tower
Waiting by an open door
I’ll fool myself she’ll walk right in
And as the long, long nights begin
I’ll think of all that might have been
Waiting here for evermore!

– “Evermorefrom Beauty and the Beast 2017 ©Disney

Poor Beastie. Fortunately, we know he’s not meant to waste away in his lonely tower without his Belle, but still! Sob.

In this live-action version of the story, as Belle and her prince dance through the final moments, she makes a cheeky request of him that makes it clear she actually prefers or at least misses his hairier visage, a request that makes the prince laugh because he knows exactly what she’s saying. She doesn’t love him more or less for now being human; she loves him period. But having fallen in love with his beastly component, she’s not adverse to his human self sporting a sartorial reminder. (And I think, for those of us who may know, there was a sly sexual component to her request as well.)

But it’s not only the Beast/Prince who is loved for himself. Belle too doesn’t fit in her environment. She’s thought to be odd and out-of-place because she reads and longs for a life far beyond that of a provincial village. In the original film, when Belle has her Sound of Music moment running up the hill while she sings “I want adventure in the great wide somewhere, I want it more than I can tell. And for once it might be grand, to have someone understand. I want so much more than they’ve got planned…” my young heart swelled and I got chills. When Emma Watson did the same move and sang the same words in the live-action film, my battered, weary heart swelled and I got chills as I smiled and sang along.

So many of us were that girl, nose in a book, dreaming of more, maybe a prince or at least that one person who “got” us, who didn’t think we were weird because of who we are or what we like to do. Who wanted to be with us because of what others thought made us odd, not in spite of them. Who wanted us for us. Now, as women, some of us have been fortunate to have found that person. Some of us are still looking but remain hopeful. Meanwhile, we read and, in my case, write romances to keep that hope alive. Not because we’re entrenched in romantic fantasy, but because we know the truth that fantasy exploits: happily ever after isn’t just for fiction.

This is why Beauty and the Beast is such an enduring romance. And it’s why those of us who write romance continue to believe. Be it romantic suspense or epic fantasy or erotic romance or BDSM romance or Amish romance, whatever the genre or subgenre, whether we write about hot alpha heroes or handsome beta heroes or gorgeous women who’ve got it going on or ladies in search of their own kind of special who are the heroines of their own stories, at the core, we’re spinning relationships where the parties involved find the one who loves them for themselves, for who they are at the best and worst of times (thank you Victor Hugo), who love those moments when we’re all a unique beauty and more, when we show our inner beasts.

Women may be weened on romantic fantasy, but stories like Beauty and the Beast remind us that true love sees and loves all.

And that is no fantasy.

Writer, singer, editor, traveler, tequila drinker, and cat herder, Kiersten Hallie Krum avoids pen names since keeping her multiple personalities straight is hard enough work. She writes smart, sharp, and sexy romantic suspense. Her debut romantic suspense novel, WILD ON THE ROCKS, is now available. Visit her website at www.kierstenkrum.com and find her regularly over sharing on various social media via @kierstenkrum.

Now available exclusively from Kindle. Click image to buy!

The Complexity Of Desire

1 Feb

Sexy coupleAn interesting statistic published in the most recent issue of Psychology Today states that 50% of men aged 18-25 think about sex at least once every five minutes. Yowza! The drive to copulate stays pretty healthy as men age, too. According to that same study, only 25% of men still couldn’t go five minutes without sex coming to mind. That’s a whole lotta sex going on in our heads, although not necessarily in our beds. I wonder why this might be. If men are thinking about sex that much, there’s gotta be a certain percentage of the gals who are thinking about it, too. But how come there’s all this thinking without as much doing. How come we’re not having as much sex as we apparently want, or having exactly the kind of sex we truly desire?

British philospher Alain de Botton has a theory. In his new book,  How To Think More About Sex, he states that most people lie about their true desires. We’re not gettin’ it the way we want it, because we’re not being honest about exactly what we want.

The problem, according to de Botton, is complicated. What’s erotic to one person can just as easily be disgusting to another. Revealing what we desire sexually to our partners makes us vulnerable and open to ridicule. A guy who longs to give his gal a facial might be met with a look of revolt and annoyance. How could he even consider such a thing?! And just like that, revealing his desire gets him nothing more than a big fat reject slip. But let’s say that the girl is cool with having her face sprayed with his cum; in fact, thinks it’s the most intimate thing she’s ever heard. That’s what makes moments of true eroticism so intense, says de Botton, because the revealed desire is accepted and welcomed rather than scorned and rejected.

Sex is a wonderful thing, but it’s also exceedingly complicated. De Botton says that it’s always going to cause us angst because we often suffer privately with our sexual thoughts. Well, that in itself is kind of dismal, but I can see where he’s going with it. Sex isn’t just one thing. It’s not merely the psysiological act of intercourse. It’s the whole ball o’ wax. The longing, the arousal, the shared intimacies, the (hopefully) shared desires which all lead to sex.

This is another reason why I love erotic romance. The stories reflect how we feel, how we struggle, how we perform the dance of love and sex. It doesn’t all have to be a journey of sugar-coated happiness. Our characters can be put through their paces, they can be tested, they can suffer. But along the way they have really hot sex where no one is rejected, where women always achieve orgasm, and they end up happily together in the end. Fantasy? Sure. Escapism? Absolutely. But if, in real life, we have to suffer through everything including our own desires, then I’m cool with leaving those struggles behind when I open the pages of a hot erotic romance.

Hmm, I think I’ve got some reading to do. Have a great weekend!

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