Heart N Seoul: Why I love Korean Drama

They have hot hats in Historic K-Drama

They have hot hats in Historic K-Drama

Annyoung! I just posted about Korean Drama over at Lady Smut today–but there wasn’t even enough room in that post to fully express my love of Korean Drama. So here’s more!

I first discovered Korean Drama at an excellent Korean restaurant.  It was playing on TV. The men are shockingly beautiful and in historical dramas the men wear these amazing mesh witch’s hats. SO cool.  The women in their han boks were pretty awesome too, but I’ve never seen such pretty yet strong men cry so beautifully before.

Soon I was a KOREAN DRAMA ADDICT, but not on the historicals.

Gisaeng sporting a beautiful hat.  Women had cray-cray hats too way back when.

Gisaeng sporting a beautiful hat. Women had cray-cray hats too way back when.

These han bok dresses are TO DIE!

These han bok dresses are TO DIE!

Instead I got hooked on the dramas that featured illicit relationships. There are sweet Korean dramas too, don’t get me wrong, but the best K-drama have a bite of the forbidden.

Who's not a real boy? Do we care?

Who’s not a real boy? Do we care?

It's okay that they're kinda-brother sister, because he's the most gorgeous man on the planet and she's dying.

It’s okay that they’re kinda-brother sister, because he’s the most gorgeous man on the planet and she’s dying.

–A wealthy young man who employed a poor cross-dresser to foil his parents matchmaking schemes has undeniable chemistry with the boy.

–A wealthy hotel owning young man employs a plump older woman pastry chef and goads her into an affair.

–A wealthy young man falls in love with his sister—and defies his family to be with her.

First of all – are we sensing a pattern here? The gorgeous man is almost always from a wealthy important family.  Secondly, it’s not quite sooooo illicit as all that. The cross-dresser is really a girl (Twelfth Night anyone?). The sister is not really his sister—though they were raised together as such. Thirdly, the rule of K-drama is that any guy has to be three times as good looking at the heroine.

The REAL androgynous hottie in Coffee Prince.  He's half-Japanese.  Yum!

The REAL androgynous hottie in Coffee Prince. He’s half-Japanese. Yum!

Here are the TOP TEN REASONS I LOVE K-DRAMA–and by extension, all Koreans:

10) Koreans are fearless when it comes to being cute. Contact names for each other on cell phones range from Princess Smiles and Dimples Gangster to Noisy Woodpecker.  They’re also gorgeously androgynous.  Who’s male–who’s female? Does it matter? I’d do them all.

9) Kdrama shows a lot of people like me: they eat anything for breakfast, no matter how un-breakfast like: often soup, but sometimes Kimchi pancakes. “Ah, the smell of kimchi pancakes in the morning–I think I’m gonna barf,” sez Dear Husband.

8) The hero first starts to fall for the heroine after she gets really drunk and he has to carry her home on his back as she babbles away about what’s really in her heart.  When he spills his heart later on, he cries one perfect tear.48

7) Korean women often whine very charmingly in a cooing fashion to their family members or significant others. I’m just fascinated by this. It’s bewitching and yet nagging–an oxymoron that somehow they carry off time and time again.

Cry you beautiful man, cry.

Cry you beautiful man, cry.

6) Aigoo! –is a Korean expression equivalent to forgetaboutit. Awesome in its ability to express almost any emotion.

5) When Korean women get really disgusted they introtroduce a fascinating hawking sound somewhere towards the end of a sentence, not to mention the eloquent one-nostril-curl.

Older, unmarried, and over-weight.  This is Korea's version of a hag.

Older, unmarried, and over-weight. This is Korea’s version of a hag.

4) Kdrama lovers are separated by vast almost insurmountable barriers: she’s a nun, or dressed like a guy, or over thirty, or larger than a size 4. Yet she’s a simple, good hearted, passionate work-a-holic.  The hero meanwhile is totally hot.  He’s also almost always wealthy, spoiled, arrogant, selfish, and shallow.  Despite his snobby parents he WILL fall for her in the end. Then she can continue being a work-a-holic while doing his laundry and cooking for him on top of everything else, because his parents are NEVER going to let them get married.  And that’s what true love is all about.

3) HOW DO YOU KNOW S/HE LIKES YOU IN K-DRAMA? Because playing handsies is a no-no.  If the k-drama hero grabs you and haul you off into another room to chide you for being so annoying, he’ll grab your wrist. Meanwhile, K-drama women stay away from touching a man’s hand. Touching a man’s hand is the equivalent to grabbing his penis.  If the guy is absolutely overcome with lust, then he’ll try an embrace that’s front-to-back.  It’s a much better, much safer form of saying “I like you”.  Yet a korean women usually only finds out that a guy is really serious about her if the guy addresses her father as ‘dad’ when they happen to meet.  Or if he grabs her and drags her into a surprise hug.  Keep those eyes open at all times, ladies–even for the kiss.  Otherwise you’re not showing enough surprise–you slut.

2) I love the way in k-drama that a potential mother-in-law neatly express dislike for the future bride by politely requesting her not to get pregnant before the couple’s wedding date.  Sarcasm, it turns out, is a universal language.

1) And finally–nothing beats the K-drama version of foreplay: a twelve minute staring match.535368


Boys Don’t Cry – Unless They’re REALLY Cute

James 1

Don’t cry out loud — or, well, okay, go ahead and cry buddy.

Have you been watching the World Cup this hot July? The conclusion of the semi-final and the final are Saturday & Sunday.  I will be glued to the set.

One thing to note–aside from how fit and attractive 9 out of 10 soccer players are—is the bursts of unfettered bromance happening at the end of games. Men embracing, men sweating, then crying, and laughing—and then embracing some more.  I’m making little chittering noises, like the cat watching at the window while the birds flutter about.

James 2I haven’t watched many World Cups before – is all this emoting new? Is this the rise of a new generation of men much more in touch with their feelings? Are foreign men just more emotionally expressive? I’m not sure, but I know one thing: it’s kinda hot.

James 3There was one moment last week that had me absolutely transfixed. James Rodrigues-*so cute* was on the Columbia team which was matched against Brazil in the quarter finals.  Then Columbia lost.

Brazil's Luiz and Marcelo console Colombia's Rodriguez after their 2014 World Cup quarter-finals soccer match at the Castelao arena in FortalezaAfter the game, David Luiz came over to James (Are they normally teammates on a soccer team? Players unscramble from their normal teams for World Cup into national teams.)

Brazil's Marcelo and David Luiz console Colombia's Rodriguez after their 2014 World Cup quarter-finals at the Castelao arena in FortalezaSo I’m only half watching the end of the game UNTIL: Luiz embraces James, consoling him as James experiences a burst of emotion.  But then after a really long hug, they take shirts and exchange them (Okay, I know that they often do this in various sports.)

Brazil v Colombia: Quarter Final - 2014 FIFA World Cup BrazilYet bare chested, then they continue to embrace some more, as emotion overwhelms James again.

Brazil v Colombia: Quarter Final - 2014 FIFA World Cup BrazilAt this point I’m riveted? We’re seeing a lot of man-flesh pressed together in a long sweaty embrace, of tender consolation….and….

James 8Luiz continues to embrace James, exhorts the audience to cheer James as a winner, and then helps to escort him off the football pitch. Other guys are popping around to console James as well.

EPA BRAZIL SOCCER FIFA WORLD CUP 2014 SPO SOCCER BRASomewhere I know gay men are still transfixed by the memory of this moment. Also readers of m/m romances.

I recently did Q&A interview with Ellis Carrington where we discussed the popular queer romance trope of hurting/caring. Check it out here. This seems to be a real life caring/hurting moment…I’ll let your imagination drift with the players back to the locker room and fantasize about what comes next.

Meanwhile, we’re in countdown mode over at LadySmut.com.  Our anthology, LADY SMUT’S BOOK OF DARK DESIRES, is releasing in August.  Stay tuned for more updates on the release in less than one month!

Advice About Writing Y.A. from Editors

Madeline Iva:

Excellent advice about tackling the YA market from two editors at Romance Festival!

Originally posted on Lady Smut:

368Hi Readers — there was an awesome discussion with some editors about Y.A. at #ScriptDoctor this morning with Anna Baggaley of Mira UK and Emily Thomas from HotKey.  Here are some highlights —

Early on I asked this question:

Madeline Iva: Is paranormal getting old for editors?

‪Anna Baggaley No, though the term is. A good story is a good story. A fresh angle on paranormal will be seductive.

A lot of people asked variations of my question. She also added later on:

Anna Baggaley paranormal and dystopia are quite done so something diff would be exciting to see.

And further on she said:

Anna Baggaley I’d love to see more UK voice in YA and strong contemporaries

Emily Thomas Your reader needs to fall in love with your character and root for them. Make them loveable.

Someone asked: What’s the new theme for YA at…

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The Lady Smut Story: From Blog to Book


LadySmut.com has over 10 thousand followers. We blog 7 days a week about romance, erotic romance, and anything sexy that’s going on in our culture.

Hi Readers!

Liz Everly posted today on LadySmut.com about our story–how we went from creating a successful romance blog to having our own anthology.  Her post is HERE.

It’s really interesting how it all went down.  We had originally started our blog with Elizabeth Shore, and it was going along swimmingly.  We added C. Margery Kempe, and were headed towards the end of a triumphant first year.  But how were we going to celebrate our anniversary?

Well.  For about two years every now and then Liz Everly would mention this story she really wanted to write about a vampire and technology.  I thought it was a great idea.  So finally, we talked about putting together an anthology and that would be her part of it — her vampire story.  I had an idea for a story too — about someone who had sexsomnia, and then the others had ideas for stories that all fit into this theme of paranormal steamy sexy stories with a hint of spooky.

photo taken from youbringthatsmarthaircut @tumblr.com

photo taken from youbringthatsmarthaircut @tumblr.co LADYSMUT’S BOOK OF DARK DESIRES is an anthology of sexy, steamy, paranormal stories with a hint of spooky.

Then about a month later it was May, and Elizabeth and I were saying to each other “Um, are we supposed to be writing these stories or just writing a pitch for a story or what?” when Liz emailed us both saying, “Okay, I finished my story, Margery has finished hers –so where are yours?” and we were like ‘doh’ and scrambled to catch up. [Just you so you know, folks, Liz Everly is one fast, prolific writer.]

Liz put together the proposal with me cheering her on and sent it off to her agent who was excited about the project and thought it would sell quickly.

Boy was she right.  We had just gotten two new bloggers to join us (Alexa Day and Kiersten Hallie Krum) when we got the news–there was interest in the anthology. In fact, it was *exactly* when we were celebrating our one year anniversary–but we couldn’t tell anyone because it wasn’t official yet! It almost killed me to not share the news.  I was extra excited because this is going to be my first romance publication.

Liz Everly’s agent Sharon Bowers has been a doll. With her incredibly generous, encouraging, and enthusiastic support our anthology LADY SMUT’S BOOK OF DARK DESIRES will be released by HarperImpulse in August. Meanwhile, our publisher is holding the first ever online romance festival on June 7th & June 8th  Check it out HERE.

Saturday is an author day. Sunday is a reader day. They're having twitter chats and google+ hangouts, etc.

Saturday is an author day. Sunday is a reader day. They’re having twitter chats and google+ hangouts, etc.

And that’s our happy story.

The two best things about creating our own group blog is that we can take it in any direction we like. While right now we’re the Jezebel.com of erotic romance, who knows what the future will hold? The other great thing about our group blog is how much the other bloggers at LadySmut inspire me. They keep me in a whipped up froth of feeling confident and sexy.  I’m never at a loss for what to write about because I just want to respond to the interesting things they all say and share.

Haven’t checked out the LADY SMUT blog yet? (Quelle horror!) You can find it HERE.



Bad Girl

Hi ladies!

beyond-shameSo, Kiersten Hallie Krum posted yesterday about Kit Rocha’s Series.  I read Kit Rocha’s first book BEYOND SHAME.  It’s not totally my cup of tea, (reasons below) yet she hooked me in because she paints that to-some-degree-still-innocent heroine who has a strong/ secret/guilty/melty yen to be bad.

Now that is definitely a place where my own writing impulses come from as well.   Sometimes we just wanna be bad.

But…but…but…it’s so interesting to consider this appealing urge and how romance, erotic romance, and erotica take this trope and spin it like a top.

Great EscapeLike it could be a genre all it’s own. And there’s such a wide spectrum to how this “I wanna be bad” trope plays out. Me, I write about the good girl who has i-wanna-be-bad impulses.  But my heroine is always mighty conflicted about it.

Looking to the sweeter side of the spectrum Susan Elizabeth Phillips (SEP) works with conflicted bad girls too. SEP almost always puts it out there and then she almost takes it back again.  One of her secondary heroines gets a spanking–that doesn’t hurt.  SEP sex scenes can get pretty steamy, and yeah, in the latest book her heroine knocks boots with a biker.  But even though she meant it to be a ‘let’s be dirty and then walk away’ kind of sex–the heroine’s encounter gets complexicated almost immediately.  The event is the beginning of something more sweet and more sincere–because at heart SEP’s readers understand the impulse, but don’t really want their heroine’s to face the consequences that come with being very bad.


Kit Rocha’s books are the good girl’s version of dark erotica…

And way over on the other end of the scale you have erotica.  In erotica girls are bad, very bad, and they don’t give a F*&%.  Strippers, call girls, or women who’ve just been pushed to the limit and want to dive over the edge.  Dark Erotica authors push things even further.  Their heroines are so deep in the bad zone that the word loses all meaning.  They lose their minds, and give it up to the darkness, until they are pure raw passion and emotion.  At least I think that’s how it goes–I am hiding my eyes too much to really be sure.  When it comes to Dark Erotica about all I can handle is reading the book blurb.  My mind kind of shorts out pondering what might be in the book, and that’s enough for me.

Kit Rocha stays in that murky zone somewhere between erotic romance and erotica. However, Kit Rocha really goes there with the sex scenes. Rocha includes foursome-ish scenes, and public sex where the heroine goes down on the big leader. How does the heroine feel about some of these things?

Madonna drying her armpit at the Port Authority bus terminal in Desperately Seeking Susan was NOT a good girl.

Madonna drying her armpit at the Port Authority bus terminal in Desperately Seeking Susan was NOT a good girl.

How did I feel? I did not like the public B.J.  But other women probably would, you know? It’s a fantasy.  The heroine knows she’s exposing herself, putting herself in the hands of others, making herself vulnerable, and her heart seems to ache with the uncertainty of it all.  It makes the reader’s heart ache as well…but I guess I’m a simple girl.  I think there’s almost a kind of pack philosophy involved.  I bet people who like shifter stories would love these.

Myself,  I have a feeling that I’m going to wind up writing about the kind of heroine who wants to be bad–does something about it–then goes scrambling back to hide under her rock, convinced she never ever wants to be that bad ever-ever-ever again.

SmoulderYet that one moment will have consequences which won’t let her go back…and that’s where her story begins.  We’re in a count down over at Lady Smut.  The release of our anthology LADY SMUT’S BOOK OF DARK DESIRES is five months away.  I can’t wait for you to get a chance to read my novella in the anthology.  The heroine in SEXSOMNIA definitely makes a transformation from fairly naive to worldly.

What about you reader? What flavor of naughty do you like your heroine?