The Science Behind Dark Gothic Feels — Lady Smut

by Madeline Iva Hello lovely people! How are you? I’m pretty obsessed these days with one thing and one thing only: dark, gothic feels. I like all aspects of suspense–preferably set in intriguingly gloomy surroundings, and chock full of complex, morally ambiguous or hard to read characters. I love how gothic reads make the heart…

via The Science Behind Dark Gothic Feels — Lady Smut


Hello, I’m Madeline and I’m a Plotting Dork. (Mumbles from crowd: ‘Hi Madeline’)

Morning lovely people!

I’m bubbling with joy because on September 16th, I’ll be in Leesburg, VA for the 2017 Publishing Summit where I’ll give a 90 minute workshop on plotting

Did I have you at ‘Publishing Summit?’ REGISTER HERE.

Here are topics I’ll cover:

  • Understanding Aristotle’s theory of drama in 5 minutes.
  • How and when to use backstory and flashbacks & how to avoid info dumps
  • What’s the difference between action arcs, narrative arcs, & character arcs–and how should you use all 3 of them in your story?
  • What if your plot doesn’t fit the hero’s journey?
  • Fun ways to brainstorm your plot with friends
  • Why are endings so hard? What’s a coda?

Why should you take this workshop if you’re an advanced writer and already published? It’s a stretch to say that one workshop is ideal for every writer, yet many published authors are very intuitive when it comes to writing.  The downside with being an intuitive writer is that when you get stuck at some point in your novel you’ve no idea how to analyze what’s wrong and fix it. This workshop will help you to clarify your understanding of the elements of narrative structure so you’ll have a knowledge base to lean on in times of trouble.  Register now.

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.

Jane, You Promiscuous Slut: What Romance Readers Want/Don’t Want

1At Lady Smut today we had a guest post by Jill Sorenson which focused on sex workers as heroines in romance fiction. My mind is exploding with responses to this fascinating topic.

First of all, someone in the comments sections said: don’t sex workers deserve an HEA too?

*Of course* they do! Yet as Clint Eastwood said in UNFORGIVEN: “It ain’t about deserving.”

A great romance is about more than just a happy ending. THEORY: a great romance is about the specialness that a couple (or threesome) finds in each other, and the intimate connections they discover and build upon, until their love is strong and enduring.

6Years ago, I got a final ‘no’ from a big publisher after getting close to a ‘yes’ with the editor. Those crushing moments are always really motivating for me.  I realized I didn’t know what the f*** I was doing when it came to writing erom.  My husband suggested get my heiny down to a bookstore and start doing research. I ended up getting an armful of erotic romances and THE COMPLETE IDIOT’S GUIDE TO WRITING EROTIC ROMANCE. Here was the first thing I learned:

A) Reader’s don’t like promiscuous heroines.
B) It’s okay if a heroine has been sleeping around BEFORE she meets the hero, as long as she’s miserable.  But AFTER she meets him no more nookie with other men.

And–the same rules apply with the hero (or heroes as the case may be).

At first I was huffing with disapproval. It seemed an un-feminist attitude at the least. And they didn’t discuss WHY — they just said, ‘hey readers don’t like it, so boom!’

Not everybody read this book, of course. You can find TONS of erotic romances out there that breaks these rules. Yet I soon learned that when a book breaks this rule and has a promiscuous heroine I don’t like her.


I’m not talking erotica, that’s a whole other kettle of fish. I’m talking romance.

On the other hand, I don’t like promiscuous heroes either. If anything, I’ve been jonesing lately on Charlotte Stein’s sexually repressed heroes. She paints a portrait of the nice guy who needs the dirty talking girl to strip the nice off of him, and let his inner, filthy, lustful desires come whiffling out. A virgin guy, a near virgin guy, a nice guy–I like ’em all!

The man-whore who sleeps all around and up and down? Him?  Not so much.

2Yet in the end I think it has little to do with a lack of feminism, little to do with ‘well, that’s just people’s preference, what can you do?’ and much more to do with the building blocks of romance.

It goes back to that special and intimate ideal.

A woman happily sleeping with a lot of guys and then after she’s met the hero sleeping with a lot more? Where’s the special in that?

There’s a word scientists use — fungible. That means exchangeable. Replaceable. When the heroine is sleeping around–it doesn’t mean she’s a slut.  Maybe she’s a free spirit, ya? But it probably means the hero is fungible to her.

But we don’t like being considered fungible as humans. We want to believe we’re unique and irreplaceable.

On the other hand, if a hero or a heroine has slept around trying to scratch that itch, whether physically or mentally –but no one does it for them? Then suddenly THE ONE comes along–THAT’S special. THAT works. That person is giving them what no one else could, and it makes that person unique.

5Same goes with intimacy. When I read a book where the hero and heroine have boinked, you know, the whole world, or had five spouses between them, etc, it’s hard for the author to establish intimacy through sex. Why? Well, they’ve been there, done that.  What are they saying that they haven’t said before?

Okay, so what’s an author to do about this? I say what if the hero or heroine was still sleeping around, but there was some OTHER way in which H/h were special to each other? Some other form of intimacy that they bonded over?

You could show it in other ways. Soldiering together could do it. Hurting/caring for each other is a stable trope in fan fic, and it’s divine. I think that would work.  Whatever — just as long as the erotic romance authors who violate the promiscuity ‘rule’ makes sure to nail down that special and intimate thing between the two of them in some other way.

3I mean, isn’t this why we get so hung up on bromance? Isn’t this why we whinny at the whiff of homoeroticism in the air?

These ‘friends’ are learning to view each other as unique.  They are having special intimate moments no one else can share. They are building a powerful bond–even without sex.

THAT’s what romance is all about, in my book.

There was this great moment in the movie HER where the main character is in love with an A.I. (an artificial intelligence operating system) named Samantha. They can’t have sex, they can’t physically be together, but it’s okay ’cause they’re in love, and they’re emotionally intimate with each other. Until…

*SPOILER ALERT* Samantha reveals that she’s in love with, oh, 641 other people as well as him. Ptank goes his heart. Not so special or unique is he? They’re intimate–but she’s intimate with many, many, many others as well.  He’s not so special after all.

SO. Bring on your sex worker heroines. If she’s forced to do it (like in some Skye Warren books) then it de-facto makes all the men she’s sleeping with un-special and all the sex not intimate. So that’s not really promiscuity, is it? It satisfies the miserable with others rule.

4If she is gonna boink others cause that’s how she makes bank — then sex isn’t special to her and they’ll have something else they do with just the two of them together, in private. Something that matters to them both. Something that makes them very close to each other – so close that they’ll never be able go back to just being lovers or just friends.

Then you’ve got a romance cooking, mah friends, and I’d read that puppy, no problem.

I wince a little, because you may not have an erotic romance at this point — unless the sex they have together is radically different and special (or so satisfyingly kinky) compared to the sex she has with other people.

But I mean, it’d have to be different to the point where the sex she’s having with others doesn’t even seem like sex by comparison, like it might as well be fly fishing or something.

Yet I think it can work.  In the same way we like the repressed male stripped of his repressive covering, we like the shut-down-miserable-worm heroine who has numbed herself out and removed her mind elsewhere to feel herself suddenly respond, suddenly come alive.  We want to see her helplessly reveal herself–her passions, her intimate desires to someone.  You CAN do it, I believe, but you just have to do it the right way.


3 Problems w One Night Stands & Romance

BarA quick note — Over at Lady Smut, Alexa Day posts her blogs on Sundays.  My responses to her posts are often the length of full blog posts, because she puts these really great profound topics out there, and there’s just so much to say in response.  So, f*** it, I’m just gonna start posting my responses here.  Why not, right?

Okay, so this week Alexa Day posted on

Easy Come, Easy Go: Are We Good With One-Night Stands?

In which she advocates for them, and bewails America having issues with a single woman who only wants to get it on, yo.

Yeah, I agree with her, a single woman who’s got the itch to boink and wants a one night stand should be able to do so, and walk away without taking a hit from society.  I also agree that the neurotic complex America has around women and one night hook ups is multi-layered and profound. Here are FOUR REASONS WHY society shakes it’s heads over women and one night stands:


Some women don’t really want a one night stand–they want more of a connection with a guy but they’ll boink right off the bat simply to get his time and attention. This I’ll-take-what-I-can-get-and-hope-for-the-best happens perhaps out of loneliness, or perhaps on the oft-deluded hopes that the sex will be so ravingly wonderful the guy WILL call them the next week, etc. So when their secret hopes are disappointed, then chagrin, upset, and scorned-fury follows. Men sometimes experience this too.  At any rate, I think some tsk-tsking over one night stands is due to feeling that some (most) women are setting themselves up to be hurt, to get the short end of the stick, etc.  It’s a protective response.

Men and women like this should just stay away from the one night stand world–clearing the field as it were.

QUESTION: is it the man’s or woman’s ethical responsibility to appropriately vet partners and avoid the women/men above who deep down — or not so deep down are expecting/wanting more? The real conundrum is this: would the vetting time it takes to ethically clear someone take longer than one night, thus defeating the purpose of a one night stand?

At any rate, a lot of guys and some women know they’re gonna get burned with the false pretenses kind of one night stand partner mentioned above, and yet they never learn. Sigh.


Then there are women and men out there having one night sex for other reasons. Competitiveness is one I think.  The younger generation often wants to show she’s bad-ass. She wants to show that she can f*** just like the guys do.  That she can f*** just like her girlfriends and earn her equal bragging rights. She wants to show she’s not all talk and no action, so she sucks it up and puts it out there. But that doesn’t mean she’s getting off, and come Monday even though she’s bragging she’s not cringing a little on the inside.  I’m not saying all women go through this, but I’d bet at least 25% do.  Guys too. The worst of the worst is having to have sex with someone because your wing-girl/guy has dragged you along, and you’re stuck at someone’s house over night in someone’s bed, and there are expectations on the part of three other people that you’re going to put out and you cave rather than make a fuss for everyone. This makes me cringe.

Alexa would greatly benefit by all these women just clearing the field.  Another problem Alexa mentioned is safety.  But there’s a problem for one-night-standers that lies somewhere between the perfect one night stand experience and escaping a serial killer.  I’m talking the skeeze-ball in hiding.


You connect with a handsome guy over pricey drinks –a single doctor no less, and a liberal, animal-loving, beemer-driving stud.  But the next morning you wake up in bed with a married, part-time car salesman,who doesn’t remember your name much less what political party he said he voted for last night, and asks you to crawl out the door past all his hunting trophies before his wife comes home with the kids from visiting her folks.  Next week you get a call from him next week because he’s got an STD and passed it on to you. Yes, I’m talking the Mr. Cringe.  Some of us are more sensitive to Mr. Cringe than others. Some no doubt, see Mr. Cringe as merely the price of doing business.


Finally — I myself just never reached that place of sexual sophistication, maturity, and self-sufficiency until looooooong after I was in a committed relationship to handle anything like a one night stand. I mean, some people–like me–just can’t handle it. We’ll walk away feeling empty.

On top of that, I’ve yet to be able to contemplate physically wanting a guy to the point where I didn’t care what he was like on the inside.  Fantasizing about a guy’s outsides is one thing, actually rubbing my sensitive bits against him when I don’t know what’s going on behind those eyes is another. I’m too over-sensitive and overly vulnerable to handle it.  (Which is not to say that people who have one night stands aren’t sensitive and vulnerable. Just not in this way.)

Nor have I ever reached a place where I don’t care that a guy doesn’t care what I’m like on the inside.  Back when I was available I had a perception problem. I felt like I was SO different on the inside from what I looked like on the outside, that a guy being attracted to me based on my looks just left me cold.

Now I see that sometimes people can be cool and humane with each other and boink just for boinking’s sake and that’s enough. But ultimately, I’ve always been challenged with simple interactions like that.

I’ll admit that I’ve drunk the romance cool-aid, ladies and gents.

Click to buy.
Click to buy.

I’ve been talking about Anne Calhoun’s LIBERATING LACEY here lately — which folds right into this discussion.  In this book, Lacey, goes out to have a one night stand and boy does she ever — with a younger guy who’s a cop.  But she wishes it would go on, and it does!  Then she wishes it would go even further–and it does!  Then she hits that point where she realizes that a) she’s never going to be able to have another one night stand–clearly she’s the kind that needs attachment to go through with sex and b) she worries that if the relationship doesn’t continue to grow and deepen, she’ll get really badly hurt.

Not to fear — because this is a romance fantasy and this guy wouldn’t begin to dream of letting her go.  LURV IT!  The book’s resounding popularity speaks to the fantasy I mentioned above–where the guy who has a one night stand with you and just can’t quit you cause the sex is so hot.  The book’s success shows this fantasy is alive and well throughout the heartland.  The more people realize this IS a fantasy and act accordingly in their best interests, the better.

Summer Fun: Stylish Vampire Movies


imagesIt’s summer and it’s hot! I’ve been reading Travis Leudke’s The Nightlife San Antonio

(it’s free on Amazon right now, btw.  We’re talking fast paced erotica. The main character is an ex-soldier/possible sociopath who saves petite vampira with all the Mexican Drug Cartels after her. Think of it as lite dark erotica, if that makes sense.)

–which was making me think of True Blood.  That started me thinking about all my favorite vampire movies–and how some are set in the heat (True Blood and Interview With A Vampire take place close to New Orleans) and some are dipped in cool.

Since it’s hot outside, this is a list of stylish vampire films dipped in cool.  They are all as pleasing to look at as they are to experience.

UNDERWORLD 1 & 4 –Kate Beckinsale is sleek and chic in her portrayal of cold, pissed off Celine, who shamefully falls for a lycan in this action adventure film. (Why only two out of four? Because 2 was a less good version of 1 and 3 went back into the past and wasn’t Urban Fantasy. 4 is not as good as 1 but it’s not bad, plus it has Theo James in it.) imgres

THE HUNGER –Catherine Deneuve, Susan Sarandon, and David Bowie star in this 80’s minimalist classic of rich NYC vampires, bittersweet betrayal, and how the more things change, the more they stay the same.images-1

NOSFORATU THE VAMPYRE — A German film, by a famous German director, with famous German actors. (Note the references to the paintings of the Pre-Raphealites!) A romantic, suspenseful film.  This is the film that Coppola tried to imitate with Keanu (what was he thinking???) images-3

SHADOW OF THE VAMPIRE  — If you’ve seen Nosforatu, then this movie takes on even more layers–but it’s not necessary. This film is two parts edgy, one part satire, one part daffy, one part scary.  You really don’t know just exactly what’s going to happen next.images-2

LET THE RIGHT ONE IN — Vampires, Swedish style.  images-4

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE — Cool vampires looking back while avoiding death in a toxic world.  I could look at Tilda Swinton and her hair all day.  Meanwhile, Tom Huddleston sends me.images


Horrifically, Perversely Romantic: Madeira Darling After Party

madeiraHello my sweet kittens! I’m snuggling up next to the space heater on another snowy day after posting a blog on about Madeira Darling. I am still pondering the rapture of our mutual interests.  This is like an after-party to my post, because I am just so frickin inspired.  I want to celebrate a gothic erotic revival going on — if only in my own brain.

I got to ask Madeira, a professional dominatrix who’s interested in writing erotic romance/erotica, about her own sexual fantasies.  What a private a topic to share – but share she did and I was just fascinated with what she had to say.

She knows what she likes.  I like it that she knows what she likes.

I like a lot of what she likes myself–especially in terms of gothic tone, hot androgynous men, cross-dressing men and all over pluviophile joys.  I want to write a hot gothic horror romance just for her.

Boy? Girl? Glam.
Boy? Girl? Glam.

I get angsty now and then about my own writing because it’s a bit off the beaten track, but Madeira is all about reveling in what you like and licking your fingers clean when it’s done.

She mentioned Poppy Z. Brite & I *LOVE* Poppy Z. Brite.  There’s just so much perverse goodness out there, people.  I want to knicker and scream for joy sometimes at all this good stuff.  And it’s not just in novels — or would-be novels either.  I think that TV is a part of this gothic erotic revival as well.

I wonder if Madeira likes AMERICAN HORROR STORY? AHS is a new obsession of mine, though as always, I’m way late to the party on this one.  In general I am more of a fan of creepy sexy suspense than I am a fan of true horror. I’ll admit to fast forwarding through great swaths of AHS the first season as well as season three: Coven.

With the first season, for me it was all about the young love story.  I liked the he’s-not-a-bad-boy-he’s-just-misunderstood story line in season one.

Evan you heartbreaker.
Evan you heartbreaker.

Whups! Turns out he really *is* a bad boy, but we know exactly why and how he got turned along the way, and at the end he is as redeemed as he can be given his situation.

With Season Three, Coven,I like the way that they bring back the same actors in different seasons–making it a theatre ensemble.  That is so cool.  Season three is my favorite if only because it’s all about girl power/women’s power and that really turns me on when you make it witchy and wonderful.  Jessica-Lange-Emma-Roberts-Jamie-Brewer-Taissa-FarmigaGabourey-Sidibe-American-Horror-Story-CovenI think it was a little less squicky overall–perhaps because they knew that they’d have a younger teen audience tuning in?  Again, the romance story hooked me hard. There’s something just so good about the sweetest romance ever that falls like an egg off the counter, and there it is, cracked, the sweetness leaking out all over the ground, marred and un-fixable.  It’s the best thing EVAH!

Then there’s Bates Motel.  Another wonderful mash-up of tension, suspense, sex, and shame–with a glittery sprinkling of innocent curiosity over the whole.  Yum! I could eat it up with a spoon.

Love your mother, Norman, just don't *love* your mother.
Love your mother, Norman, just don’t *love* your mother.

What brings you perverse fragrant joy in this spam-in-a-can society?  Share with me your fav cult books that celebrate young love gone splat in a world gone dark.  Bonus points for romance titles. Here are a few culty-favs of mine below.  Warning: this is difficult reading hour presented to you — none of these are glossy romance titles.  These are cult-hugs sent to you like a late valentine on a blizzard-y winter day.  Mmmmmwhaa!

xo, Madeline

The Secret History — mystery novel about why a group of beautiful friends kill their buddy

Boarderliners — young Danish love in a wicked prep school

Jamestown — post-apocalyptic romance between Pocahontas & Capt. Smith

NP — Japanese incest wrapped up in a minimalist ghost story





Sunday, Bloody, Sunday: Our Paranormal Tea Party

bloodthirsty teaOur LadySmut Paranormal Tea Party on FB last Sunday was fuuuuuuuuuuun!

Joey W. Hill and Kate Douglas were our special guests. It was a part of #Romance15, the online romance festival put out by our publisher, Harper Collins UK.  I know what you’re thinking — yes, we enjoyed our frivolous little online gathering, but what exactly did we learn from the experience?

Welp.  Joey Hill is awesomely nice – and I learned that she has a LOT of other paranormal out there that’s not just vampires. (Witches and mermaidsoh my!) I am going to read up and report back to you on that.

I learned that there is no fan like fans of werewolves/shifters.  In honor of Kate Douglas I asked fans to post their fav wolf references and kicked things off with Duran, Duran’s HUNGRY LIKE THE WOLF.

If that doesn’t bring back the mid-80’s to you, nothing will!

Fan responded back with Florence and the Machine’s HOWL:

Love that wolf thang!

The Paranormal tea party was also a opportunity to post photos of bloody tea cups and women wearing adorable little tea cup hats. (Thank you Liz Everly!)

#Romance15 -- online festival held by those wacky brits at HarperCollins UK
#Romance15 — online festival held by those wacky brits at HarperCollins UK

Speaking of Joey Hill – if you don’t know about her (and how could you not? But maybe you’ve been living on mars–I dunno) We got to chat with her about her dominant vampire queen who gets together with a submissive hero.  How did she get away with it?  I mean, let’s face it, most authors couldn’t, because most romance readers like their men very dominant.  But this is a no less intense romance series.  Joey indicated that what does it for readers is the point where her human servants are bound to their vampire mistresses/masters for good.  And they want that.  They’re ‘all in’.   It’s a kind of “I promise to live for nothing and no one but you” perverse romantic ideal.  A romance hero who’s ‘all in’ definitely sends out alpha vibes.

Kate Douglas, meanwhile, is kicking off a whole new series for St. Martin’s Press. This time her series is with werewolves as opposed to her wolf shifter romances.  So in her posts she was asking us how we like our werewolves. Bitten, cursed, or born that way?

We were all over the map.  One thing we agreed upon is that we love broody heroes – but don’t like them too angsty.  Tread carefully with that cursed thing, Kate.  One reader said “bitten – I love biting.” Yes, dear reader! Yes to biting. (Unless you’re in first grade and some horrid little boy is biting you.)

I'm more a vampire romance reader m'self.
I’m more a vampire romance reader m’self.

Of course, our tea party wouldn’t be complete without weighing in on the big question of the universe.  Why do some women like vampires while others only like werewolves?

The difference seems about controlled power vs. primal release.  Joey W. Hill is into the controlled power.  Although her vampire queen may be fragile and like a twisted china doll in some respects, she is still definitely in control.  Joey also goes to the BDSM side of life–this too is all about having control. Kate Douglas on the other hand likes the primal thing – a different kind of “all in”. Uninhibited, in the moment, raw.

Let me pause a moment to say that when you describe it that way, I clack my teeth with happy desire. I admit I lean more to the vampire side in general.  But I don’t know, I also like my people au natural and the wolfie side of romance seems to uphold a no fuss, no muss approach to life.

I hope the next time we party you join with us.  Meanwhile, I’m giving out a copy of our anthology to anyone who answers the eternal question in the comment section below: vampires or wolves?

Vampires or wolves? Either way...bite me.
Vampires or wolves? Either way…bite me.







Pinterest Presents Under the Tree

de40f6e5faf4bb4db66ea1f451820818Hello Kittens,

Are your stockings hung on the chimney with care? Are you looking for a break from all the Xmas madness? I’ve got just the thing for you — some fun holiday themed Pinterest links. Happy Holidays! 🙂

peace n nutmeg,


Hot Men in Xmas Sweaters.

Holiday–Scandanavian Style.

Here are some Xmas posts–Lady Smut Style.

792719222aa0e74844c520cd39b1117cIn a Nutcracker kind of mood? Here are dancers.

And in case you missed it–here is some Sexy Holiday Cheer from two years back–A page of blog links to keep you entertained for a while.


What Happens At Girl’s Night Out…

983814_867797489899395_5290300558811181875_nWe had an anthology contract.  We formed a plan.  The plan was to have FUN while promoting our forthcoming anthology.

So here’s what we dreamed up:  GIRL’S NIGHT OUT.

Women only.  With spiked pink lemonade & nibbles.  And chocolate. In a really swank lingerie shop.

And now it’s actually happening! Our dream is coming true.  In between the partying and trying on lingerie, we planned some evening events — because you know, we want this event to be *cough* educational.

Hi Mr. Bunny.  What do you do? Oh, you go in the bathtub. Okaaaaaay.
Hi Mr. Bunny. What do you do?

7:30pm Who is LadySmut & Why the Party?  We’re talking about Lady Smut–the blog, and THE LADY SMUT BOOK OF DARK DESIRES–our anthology, as well as our stories in the anthology.  (My story is called Sexsomnia.) Then we give out lots of romance novels.  Rating: PG-13.

8:00pm & 8:30pm Food Play Fun & How To Have Sex With the Internet.  Liz Everly is going to talk about food play — complete with Do & Don’t list.  Later, we get the skinny from Alexa Day on all the interesting stuff on the internet, all the scary stuff, and everything in between.  All You Wanted To Know But Shuddered To Ask About Timber.  Post Sex Selfies. Then we give out bags of erotic romance novels, erotica, & flavored condoms.  Rated R.

Is that a computer mouse? Um, nooooooo...
Is that a computer mouse? Um, nooooooo…

9pm – 10pm  Hold onto your knickers, Nelly. All I’m saying is that Derriere de Soie sells more than just lingerie *and* the door prizes at this point in the evening don’t look like what they really are.  If you know what I mean. And I think you do. ; >   Rated R — very R.

Sound like fun? Oh, you betcha! Thanks again to Derriere de Soie for hosting our Girl’s Night Out party and to Sven for making the party happen.  We love you folks!

If you live in Charlottesville, VA, love romance, are female (or close enough) and want to come to our party — find me on fb for an invite:

If you DON’T live anywhere near Charlottesville, not to fret: you can treat yourself to some sexy, flattering lingerie at Derriere de Soie’s awesome website.  Check it out, my lovelies!


A Sexy, Shivery Delight!

Sleep 1(This is me chanting like a school girl) I wrote a no-vel-la! It’s get-ting pub-lished! It’s called Sex-som-ni-a.  It’s really awe-some! (Academy award speech) I’d like to thank my fellow Lady gals for banding together with me to make this great anthology THE LADY SMUT BOOK OF DARK DESIRES.  Liz Everly, Elizabeth Shore, and C. Margery Kempe, I couldn’t have done this without you all.  Smootchies! And if you want to pre-order this shivery, sexy, paranormal delight at B&N, you can! Right HERE. But if you prefer Amazon, they can notifiy you when it’s available HERE. It’s coming out November 6th.  I’ll post a cover and news as I get it from our AWESOME publisher, Harper Impulse.Impulse

Unconventional Love at Fall For the Book


I’m going to be talking about Unconventional Love at a Fall For the Book panel on Sunday, September 14th.  I hope you take a look — it’s free and it’s going to be mondo interesting.

UnconventionalWe’ll discuss romances that were once far more unconventional than they are now — like interracial romance, as well as m/m, f/f, and all sorts of variations therein.

These romances are being folded into the mainstream — but we’ll also look at how some communities WANT to remain unconventional when it comes to their kind of sex thang.

And that’s cool, too! Personally, I love how the romance world is often a big gob of acceptance.

Meanwhile, I leave you with Tom Waits, dreaming about Tony and Maria from West Side Story finding “a place for us.”  The original is below —

We’ve Got the Love…From Our New Publisher!

ImpulseHello Kittehs —

I know I spilled the beans a while back, but Harper Impulse just announced they’ve acquired our blog anthology LADY SMUT’S BOOK OF DARK DESIRES.

What’s that you say? You haven’t followed Lady Smut yet? Quelle horreurGet thee to Lady Smut right now, hit the follow button, and you can say you knew us when.

Here’s the classy-snazzy Harper Impulse website blog announcement:

Charlotte Ledger
I think Charlotte said she took this selfie in the loo. Because *that’s* how cool an editor she is.

Woot! Can’t wait to see the cover.  Which, my ever lovin’ people, I will share with you the minute I get my hands on it.

We already quite like our new editor Charlotte Ledger.

So stay tuned for more Lady Smut adventures.  I can’t wait to hear what people think of “Sexsomnia” the novella I wrote that’s included in the anthology.  It was incredibly fun to research.  Hee-hee!

I heart Harper Impulse

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  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!

The Lady Smut Story: From Blog to Book

LadySmutBanner1024 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 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
photo taken from youbringthatsmarthaircut 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 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.