Tag Archives: Vikings

All Alphas, All the Time: A Guest Post by Megan Crane

3 Jul

by Kiersten Hallie Krum

Happy Independence Day, Lady Smutters! Okay, so I’m one day early, but given the greatness of my usual lateness, I’m gonna go with that. I hope you’re enjoying your long, holiday weekend, celebrating our great country and reading lots of hot romance.

Due to day job crazy and book deadlines, I will be taking the month of July off from blogging here at Lady Smut. But fear not! We have some fab guest posts for you and lots of Lady Smut smexy to keep the heat of summer raging high.

For starters, USA Today bestselling author Megan Crane is back with us today on Lady Smut. Last week, I set aside my regular alpha love to extol the goodness of the beta male hero. Today, Megan Crane reminds us why it’s still good to be all alphas, all the time.

Take it away, Megan!

Author Megan Crane

Some people are sick of alpha males, or so I read on the internet, but here’s a confession for you: I’m not one of them.

I think the classic alpha male—the reason I, personally, fell deeply in love with romance novels when I discovered them at age twelve, which did not exactly help me navigate the rocky and treacherous social life available to me in middle school—is unfairly maligned.

If you don’t like “alphaholes” or smug, dictatorial jerks, well. Who does?  Those aren’t classic alphas, as far as I’m concerned.  Alpha heroes can certainly be awful, because everyone needs a character arc, but the strong alpha heroes I love the most have a soft spot down deep inside all that powerful, compelling masculinity they wear so easily. Some call this their protective side. They’re usually possessive and laser-focused on whatever it is that’s given them their power, because those are the qualities that put them in their exalted positions (whether that position is King of the Universe or a quietly confident farmer) in the first place.

They’re usually unapproachable in one way or another. Sometimes stern and grim, sometimes charming and fun, but always in control. Of themselves. Of their world. Of the people and things around them.

The heroine—and his feelings for her—is the one thing this man can’t control and he’s not going to like it. At all. The heroine is the only person alive to see that soft spot lurking there inside of this man, and she’s going to have to work for it. Especially because the fact the soft spot exists—and that this woman is aware of it—is likely to make this man deeply, deeply unhappy.

Click on image to buy!

Click on image to buy!

But then, you know. He decides that rather than make himself unhappy, he can make her his.

Or try.

And I am always thrilled to be along for this journey as a reader, because nothing makes me happier than that moment of realization on the part of an alpha hero. It’s when he finally understands, with shattering certainty, that he can never be happy without the heroine. He can’t be complete without her, he can’t be himself without her, and he needs her the way he needs nothing else in his life.

Magic.

However hard and ruthless and possibly awful the alpha hero is at the beginning of a book, especially to the heroine, that’s how hard and ruthless and awful the fall for him is going to be. The fall into love and usually, flat on his face besides.

It makes me smile just thinking about it!

In addition to reading as many books featuring tough-as-nails alpha heroes, I write them. This means I get to play with power dynamics and tough guys feelings and all sorts of alpha goodness as my job. Lucky me!

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This summer I have a whole bunch of books out for you to try, should you want to get your alpha on.

If you like your alphas oozing wealth and consequence and all kinds of arrogance, I’d suggest my pair of separated-at-birth princesses who switch places and find love—while pretending to be each other! Shenanigans ensue, as your run of the mill alpha hero generally tends to dislike being lied to. The Prince’s Nine-Month Scandal and The Billionaire’s Secret Princess are Harlequin Presents written by my alter-ego, Caitlin Crews.

A significantly hotter and more dangerous option is Devil’s Own, the third in my biker series featuring outlaw bikers and the women who…well, love them, because taming them isn’t an option! Devil’s Own features a club enforcer who terrifies the most dangerous men, his teenage daughter’s high school teacher who isn’t afraid of him at all, and what happens when the two of them give into a passion neither one of them wants… or can deny.

Or you could try Cody, which is my take on a veteran bull rider, his last year on the circuit, and the woman who should have been nothing more than a buckle-bunny… but isn’t. Skylar Grey is looking to change her life after the tragedy that killed her fiancé two years ago, and she expects absolutely nothing from the too-hot bull rider she decides to get a little crazy with. But Cody Galen is used to winning—and after riding bulls professionally for over ten years, he’s not afraid of a fall or two en route to getting what he wants…

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And coming next month is Edge of Ruin, a boxed set of alpha goodness set in my post-apocalyptic, dystopian world of futuristic Vikings. My raider warriors redefine alpha-ness. Hallelujah!  In this collection of three novellas, we experience my fierce and uncompromising raider warriors in a variety of situations.  There’s the raider who finds himself swept out to sea in winter, surely a death sentence…until he finds himself nursed back to health on the floating city he thought was a myth by a woman who’s all too real. There’s the raider who betrayed his clan and relocated to what’s left of the European Alps, where he lives a quiet life as a farmer—with a new mail order bride every fall to ease him through the long winters.  Imagine this gruff, commanding raider’s surprise to discover that his latest mail order bride has no intention of leaving, no matter how hard he is on her. And then finally, a fan favorite raider who’s appeared in all the previous books finally gets his happy-ever-after… assuming he can finally convince the woman in question to accept what he and everyone else has known from the start: they’re made for each other.

Still not convinced that alphas are for you? Feel free to get in touch with me and I’ll happily draw you up a reading list: All Alphas, All the Time.

Because as far as I’m concerned, alphas really are love.

USA Today bestselling, RITA-nominated, and critically-acclaimed author Megan Crane has written more than fifty books since her debut in 2004. She has been published by a variety of publishers, including each of New York’s Big Five. She’s won fans with her women’s fiction, chick lit, and work-for-hire young adult novels as well as with the Harlequin Presents she writes as Caitlin Crews. These days her focus is on contemporary romance from small town to international glamor, cowboys to bikers, and beyond. She sometimes teaches creative writing classes both online at mediabistro.com and at UCLA Extension’s prestigious Writers’ Program, where she finally utilizes the MA and PhD in English Literature she received from the University of York in York, England. She currently lives in the Pacific Northwest with a husband who draws comics and animation storyboards and their menagerie of ridiculous animals. Find out more about her and her books at http://www.megancrane.com.

Now available exclusively from Kindle. Click image to buy!

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 a finalist for InD’Tale Magazine’s prestigious RONE award! Visit her website at www.kierstenkrum.com and find her regularly over sharing on various social media via @kierstenkrum.

 

It’s RT Week and the Sexy Is High

1 May

by Kiersten Hallie Krum

The RT Booklovers convention burns through Atlanta this week, a hot time in the old town tonight. This is an inauguration year at RT for Lady Smut, and, in true Lady Smut style, we’re kicking it off with the “Never Have You Ever, Ever, Ever” special reader event filled with crowns and swag…and sexy confessions. Later in the week, those of us here at Lady Smut who are not blessed enough to be attending with share a few naughty confessions of our own with you lovely readers. So be sure to keep checking in with Lady Smut as we work to bring the sexy all week long…in Atlanta and beyond.

While our intrepid bloggers are winging their way southward to the RT convention, I’ll be headed to the Great White North for a long weekend in Toronto. Speaking of Toronto, how in the WORLD did I miss these hilarious ads from Harlequin? What ads, you say? I’m glad you asked…

They may not be Ellora’s Cavemen, but a  Toronto-based advertising company has put together these fantastic ad campaigns for Harlequin Books featuring every woman’s current favorite hero: the viking and the cowboy. Have you ever wanted to go bowling with a six foot six viking? Or have a romantic mid-day lunch with a hot cowboy–horse and all? Well, these ladies are living the dream.

The ladies are professional actors who are in on the joke–and comfortable with improvising–but it’s the expressions on people’s faces as they watch the date unfold that kill me, especially when the viking lifts the woman’s leg up to put on the bowling shoe. And the looks they get when they start making out after Viking man bowls a spare? I giggled, I won’t lie.

Or maybe your dream has been to ride down the middle of a major metropolitan city on the back of a horse, arms wrapped around you cow-poking honey, who comes complete with chaps and a lasso? Rope ’em, cowgirl. When he flips the coat check girl at the swanky urban restaurant a quarter to stable his horse, I cracked up. Most of the lunchers in this one are women, so the looks our romantic couple garner here are much more of the envious variety. And really, who can blame them?

Want more Make A Date with Harlequin action? Head over to the “Make a Date with Harlequin” event at RT this week on Thursday morning from 8:30 to 9:45 AM. This is a chance for readers to meet their favorite Harlequin authors, but who know? Maybe there’ll be a viking or cowboy making a romantic appearance! Come back here to Lady Smut and tell me/us who showed up to make your morning!

This isn’t this ad agency’s first foray into the fields of romantic tropes on behalf of the romance novel publisher behemoth. Last year’s campaign was about how you could carry a myriad of romantic heroes in your moderately sized purse, helpfully sprucing up the hours of your humdrum life. What will they come up with next year? Paranormal in the boardroom?

The marketer in me is tickled purple by the campaign. The feminist in me has issues, and not only because these women think girly giggles are the way to go here. I’m not thrilled with the stereotype that women who read romance are on the plump and/or homey side of attractiveness, nor do I adore that the idea is that this romance is fantasy and not that romance is feminist fiction (because, it is). But I’m amused and entertained enough to let my feminist pique take a Diet Coke break.

Whatever direction you’re headed in this week–north or south–be sure to stick with Lady Smut all the way. If you’re at the RT conference, check out our Never Have You Ever, Ever party…and bring along your naughtiest confessions.Win crowns, fetish toys, books and more! Goodybags to first 100 people in line! Wednesday, May 3 at 1:30.

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.

Now available exclusively from Kindle. Click image to buy!

Her debut romantic suspense novel, WILD ON THE ROCKS, has been nominated for InD’Tale Magazine’s prestigious RONE award! Visit her website at www.kierstenkrum.com and find her regularly over sharing on various social media via @kierstenkrum.

Gushing Over Gladiators

8 Feb

SpartacusThe new season of Spartacus started a couple of weeks ago and, for a gal who writes historical erotic romance, I couldn’t be happier. I mean, this show’s got it all . . . ancient Rome, captivating storylines, fascinating characters, romance, lots of sex. Oh, and did I mention GLADIATORS!!! (hold on, wiping off drool). Yeah, I got a thing for gladiators.

A few months ago I wrote a post about bad boys and specifically focused on Vikings and pirates. But the thing is, those guys were really bad bad. As in, raping women, looting villages, killing innocent people. And maybe if you just happened upon a Viking or pirate, not knowing his true profession, you may very well gaze upon that buff, rock-hard body and think, hey, that’s one sexy dude. But then, see, once you learn that he’s a Viking or a pirate, the hotness appeal gets muddied because they were often not so very nice. Downright awful, in fact. But that’s where gladiators stand out from the pack.

The muscles and the hotness factor are certainly there (I mean, would ya look at that guy in the picture!) but unlike a Viking or pirate, a gladiator’s main goal in life was not to willingly cause misery to others. Sure, they killed plenty of men – ’cause they were forced to. It was a kill-or-be-killed life for those guys. But in my gladiator fantasy, the strapping hot muscle-bound guy longs for a simple, quiet life, sharing his incredible sexual prowess and commitment with only the heroine (me) while living off the land in some idyllic, pastoral countryside, like maybe Tuscany.

Some historical information on gladiators points out that they were of low birth, often slaves or enemy soldiers. There actually were also gladiators who had volunteered for the job. Crazy, but true. The thing is, gladiators were able to keep their winnings, and if you were good enough at your job the winnings could be substantial. Being good at the job, though, required substantial fighting prowess, and gladiator schools for developing those skills were big business at the time.

But imagine the storyline possibilities! Huge, brawny, sexy guy, wronged in life by some bastard of a slave-owner, forced into deadly combat just to survive. His enslavement has taken him away from everything in life he’s ever known or cared about. Our hero’s superior fighting skills, however, begin to attract attention, including the eye of a wealthy Roman senator’s wife. She despises her ruthless husband and longs to be free but doesn’t know how. Gladiator hero is in the same boat. Senator’s wife and gladiator meet and have hot, illicit sex, knowing that they can never be together because circumstance just won’t allow it. But what if he escapes? And what if he escapes and takes the senator’s wife with him? They’ll also manage along the way to rid the world of the jerk senator and retain the substantial earnings the gladiator has made in the ring. Oh, and the senator’s wife makes off with some serious loot, too, so the gladiator and the senator’s wife make their way to some beautiful little pocket of the world where they live in tranquility and heart-pounding sex for the rest of their days.

Truthfully, being a gladiator was a pretty horrible life. But sometimes it’s just not fun to focus on reality. Isn’t that what romances are for, after all? They allow us to escape into our fun, fantasy life, insert ourselves as the heroine in the story, and have hot, sexy gladiators always winning their fights.

Vikings and pirates and bad boys – oh my!

3 Oct

I first started reading romance when I paid a visit to a local used bookstore and picked up a bunch of cheap paperbacks. I’d not read romance prior to that as my tastes were generally straight fiction or horror. But for some reason a used Johanna Lindsey caught my eye and from the moment I started reading it at home I was hooked.

Ms. Lindsey spins a good yarn, but thinking about her books got me thinking about bad boys. Why do we like them? What’s the appeal? And just how bad is truly bad? Several of Johanna Lindsey’s bad boy heroes were either Vikings or pirates. WTF? Vikings and pirates? For real? Because Vikings and pirates were actually bad. As in “I’m gonna kill your entire family, rape you at will, then throw you to my fellow raiders for their sexual entertainment” bad. In Fires of Winter, this actually happens. Heroine’s entire family gets killed by Vikings and she gets raped by her would-be husband, whom she eventually grows to love. I’m not making a statement about the book but rather posing some musings about bad boys and how we define them.

Nowadays we seem to prefer redeeming qualities in our bad boys even if said qualities are not immediately obvious to anyone except our heroine. So superficial “bad” things such as (gasp!) tattoos, or motorcycles, having ‘tude, or an inability to hold down a job are really just fine. Our bad boy can be huge and muscle bound and shave his head but he’s definitely into the heroine, and since we picture ourselves as that heroine, it’s cool that the bad boy is into us! There’s something appealing about the forbidden, which is part of the bad boy allure. We wouldn’t necessarily spend time in prison, or get fired from our jobs for not showing up, or stay out too late drinking and stirring up trouble (not super serious trouble, of course), but it’s hot if our bad boy does. Especially since he was probably in prison because he was wrongly convicted, got fired because he’s an artist and, well, Corporate America just isn’t his bag, and is drinking too much because he’s obsessed with us. Er, I mean obsessed with the heroine. Oh, and did I mention that our bad boy likes having lots of sex? Maybe even in illicit places (public park, in a closet at a party)? Yeah, he’s into sex with the heroine, really into sex with her, which makes her (us) feel pretty darn bad as well.

Some bad boys in today’s romance are actually bad, but I don’t see the romanticism of Vikings and pirates like we used to see in the ‘80s. Today’s bad boys are brooding, and reckless, and might even be vampires or shapeshifters or wolves, but they’re not bad bad. Are they?

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Until next time,

Elizabeth

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