Spotlight on The Nightlife: Moscow – An exclusive casting session with author Travis Luedke

There’s been a lot of buzz recently about our favorite steamy reads getting movie deals – It seems Hollywood finally got the hint that turning Best Sellers into Box Office Hits isn’t exclusive to YA Fiction – Scripts for several Romantic series are being passed around to film and television producers.

This got us thinking about our favorite series and which ones deserve their time on the silver screen…

One of the first series to come to mind was The Nightlife Series by Travis Luedke. This series is full of badass Vampires, blood, gore, action, and deliciously hot sex – PERFECT for the big screen, so we cornered Travis and asked him an important question: 

If The Nightlife Moscow was turned into a movie – how would you cast your characters?

So grab a bowl of popcorn and get comfortable as Travis Luedke puts faces to all the characters we’ve come to love (or love to hate). You’re about to find out why we’re completely enamored with this blood-soaked and sinfully sexy series!

The following is Travis Luedke’s response, in his own words.
You can see all the cast members on Travis Luedke’s Pinterest board!

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An Interview with Shurrn

Interviewing the most talked about Blogger of 2014:

A few days ago, The Smutsonian introduced you to our new Guest Bloggers – Today they’re putting their interview skills to the test by interviewing Shurrn – The Creator and Head Curator of The Smutsonian. She’s a world famous book reviewer, an internet celebrity, and she can fire us from the blog if we don’t give her an awesome introduction, so here goes:

2014 saw the launch of a blogger nobody saw coming, but everyone was clamoring to work with. At the end of a whirlwind year, Shurrn is sitting down with a panel of The Smutsonian’s 2015 guest bloggers and learning what it feels like to be on the other end of some of her infamous interview questions.

Shurrn – Creator & Head Curator of The Smutsonian

What is a Shurrn?
It throws people when they see the name in print. “Shurrn” rhymes with “burn” if that helps 🙂 My parents named me Sharon. When I was in high school, my oldest nephew was just a toddler and couldn’t pronounce my name properly. He called me “Annie Shurrn” instead of “Auntie Sharon” also, when he wanted attention, he would say “talka you” as in, “I want to talk to you”.

One day I was hanging out with a group of friends when my nephew ran around the corner and screamed at the top of his toddler-sized lungs “ANNIE SHURRN! TALKA YOOOOOU!” – My friends thought this was hilarious. The next day the whole freakin’ school was yelling “Shurrn Talka You!” in the hallway. My friends and family have called me Shurrn ever since… Well, except for my nephew (who is in high school now, and is probably still hugely embarrassed by the story) he carefully pronounces “Aunt Sharon” now.

How did you get started blogging?
I didn’t choose the Blog life… The Blog life chose me 😉

I am a voracious reader. I was keeping a hand-written book journal just so I could recall details and favorite quotes from the books I’ve read. I’m a child of the digital age, so posting my reviews on the internet seemed like an easy decision. I started blogging my reviews on GoodReads and gained quite a following there. More followers, more likes, and eventually I was being ranked in the Top 100 Reviewers in the country… then Top Reviewers in the World. At the at the end of 2014, GoodReads had me ranked as the following:

How did you become a Professional Reader of Erotica?
I was approached by a publishing house looking to cash in on the rising popularity of Erotic Romance after the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon. It took them a year to realize that the traditional methods of promoting new releases through stuffy literature critics weren’t working out… Even though sales of Erotica were going through the roof.

They needed people reviewing their books who wouldn’t immediately turn their nose up at the genre. They went looking for reviewers…

I had a following already, I wasn’t easily offended, and I was reading several hundred books a year. I was drafted faster than an eight-foot basketball player to an NBA team. I spent a year reviewing books for that publisher, eventually two more publishing houses contracted my services… and the rest is history I guess. I no longer have contracts or receive any type of monetary compensation from any publishing house or author, but they still send me mountains of books.

How and Why did you create The Smutsonian?
Freedom. There are a ton of content restrictions on book review sites and I find it stifling. I read about sex, write about sex, review the quality and hottness of a sex scene… But I couldn’t post any photos considered to be “graphic” by random people who might stumble across my reviews. Anyone can flag a review as being inappropriate for any reason. When you’re a popular reviewer, someone who isn’t interested in Erotica might check you out to see why so many people are reading your reviews and BAM! – I’m talking about gang-bangs and deep-throating. Poor bastards might die of shock! So I created The Smutsonian. I own the site outright and can post anything I want here. Plus, with a name like “Smutsonian” you know exactly what you’re getting here.

How did you come up with the name?
That one is easy, I didn’t! I owe 99% of the credit for The Smutsonian’s name to my dear friend Terry. He had the name rolling around in his head for a few years before I forcefully borrowed it – with his permission of course. Since I owe him so much on that front, I should probably mention that Terry is single, handsome, educated, has a great sense of humor, and is (I’ve heard) delightfully kinky – Message him on Facebook.

I also owe at least 1% of the credit to a national group of museums who shall not be named but to whom I am infinitely thankful for not sending me a cease and desist letter. 😉

What do you feel sets The Smutsonian apart from your competitors?
I don’t consider other Blogs or Bloggers to be my competitors. We share a common love of reading and we’re all looking to introduce our followers to awesome new books.

That being said, The Smutsonian doesn’t operate like a normal book blog, but I think our followers appreciate the differences. We don’t participate in the usual book tours or “book blitz” posts. This means that all of our content is original, and we’re not talking about a book unless we’ve read it or plan to read it. Our content is unique, and I’m always looking to discover new Indie Authors.

We get excerpts to include with 99% of the books we review, and I interview authors like I’m a smutty Barbra Walters.

The Smutsonian only publishes one post per day (so our readers know that we won’t bombard their email) and we save all of the New Releases, Cover Reveals, Sales, Freebies, and general news for our Weekend Updated posts each Saturday. This means that we keep our readers informed, but we’re not filling anyones inbox with a ton of extra stuff.

You recently polished off a seemingly impossible reading goal. Would you talk about that for a moment?
Sure, I set a goal to read 200 books in 2014. I surpassed that number the final total for the year was 214 titles.

How the hell do you read that many books?
I’ve always been a quick reader, and I’ve always got a book within arm’s reach. Just like with anything else – you can make time for things that you love. Honestly, if I wasn’t blogging full reviews, I could easily read over 300 books a year, but where’s the fun in that?

Do you blog reviews for every book you read?
Yes, but not at The Smutsonian. This site is reserved only for Erotica and I still read many books which don’t fall into that category. Those reviews are posted on GoodReads but not here.

What is your all time favorite book?
My absolute favorite book isn’t erotica (shocker) it’s Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. I’ve read every book and collection Gaiman has published. While I was in college I would carry around paperbacks of his novels and sneak chapters in between my studies. It was a beautiful reward for my hard work. I think I’ve purchased Neverwhere at least fifteen times – hardcover, paperback, eBooks – I loan out my copies, I wear out paperbacks, and buy them as gifts… I think if you asked me the top ten books I’ve ever read, Gaiman would have at least three on the list. There’s something about his writing style which brings me joy each and every time.

OK, so if your favorite book isn’t an erotic selection, what is your favorite piece of Erotica?
Ah… Not getting out of this one, eh? My Favorite books change all the time. Erotica is an ever-expanding and evolving genre, so I find something new and different to love every month.

  • Everything Alessandra Torre writes is magnificent, especially her novel Black Lies. Her books Black Lies and Sex Love Repeat are the only books I’ve ever rated 6 of 5 Stars.
  • I love Shay Savage’s Evan Arden Trilogy and all of her wonderfully damaged and twisted male POVs. Her books always take me on a jouney and leave me with book hangovers.
  • As far as series go, I’m a big fan of the whole Cut and Run universe (with all it’s spinoffs) from Abigail Roux. I schedule days off of work for the release of new books in that series.
  • I’m a big fan of the hot and hilarious Beautiful Bastard series from author duo Christina Lauren – their character Max Stella is my number one book boyfriend 😉

The Savage Trainer (cover model), Shurrn, & Shay Savage (Author of Transcendence & The Evan Arden Trilogy)

Would you say becoming a Blogger has changed you? In what way?
Well, as I mentioned before, I don’t read as many books as I would like because it takes a great deal of time to write a thoughtful and engaging review.

What would you say was the toughest part?
Blogging is incredibly time consuming. In addition to reading and writing the actual review, there’s graphics, formatting, scheduling, emails, interviews, LOTS of Social Media cross-promotion, and staying “in the know” about all the things happening in this industry.

As far as reviewing is concerned – Writing a Five Star review is hard for me to do. Since I rarely rate a book so highly, I feel obligated to justify my love of the book… Which is odd, I guess, because all these reviews are simply my opinion. Occasionally I suffer a blogger version of writer’s block, but most of the time, a review just flows out of me.

What is the most rewarding part?
When I introduce readers to an emerging Indie Author and they see a wild boost in their sales and followers, it puts a smile on my face. I’ve also done quite a bit of publicity for books, authors, and anthologies who donate their profits to charity.

Before you think I’m the Mother Teresa of Bloggers, I’ll admit the best thing about doing this is when an author mails me a copy of their book with a personal inscription. At the end of the day, I’m just a fan giving my opinion, so I’m always touched with an author reaches out to me.

Alessandra Torre’s inscription inside Shurrn’s copy of The Dumont Diaries

Was there ever a time when you felt like giving up? What made you change your mind?
Life is more important than Blogging, so sometimes I would fall a bit behind or feel that I had over-scheduled myself. I’ve (*knock on wood*) never missed a deadline, but I feel the time crunch every now and then. That’s why I brought in a crop of Guest Bloggers this year. I’m still writing the majority of the reviews for The Smutsonian, but there’s not as much pressure.

What does your day-to-day life consist of? What else do you do, aside from running The Smutsonian?
I have a full time job as a Personal Assistant at a corporate office… And my co-workers have no idea that I run a smutty empire when I’m off the clock. I’m not trying to hide what I do, but I don’t advertise it to my co-workers either. Eventually I’ll be discovered, and that will be a fun conversation LOL!

What about the people who know about your “smutty empire” what kind of reaction do you get?
There aren’t a ton of people in my life who know the full extent of what I do. I became world famous in this industry in a matter of months. Things seemed surreal on the upswing, and I think I was waiting for my fifteen minutes of fame to end… I love the attention, but I wan’t expecting it to last this long, I guess. Now it feels weird to bring it up to someone in casual conversation like,

Yeah, so I’m one of the top 10 Book Reviewers in the World, I have over 20,000 subscribers, and I’m kind of a big deal…

I’m quite conscious of the fact that if you have to tell someone you’re a celebrity… You’re probably not that big of a celebrity. I’m hoping that one day I’ll be outed and my family, friends, co-workers, and acquaintances can have their moment of confusion and we can all move on.

I love doing this, and I plan to continue blogging on The Smutsonian for a long time. It’s not something I’m trying to keep hidden, I’m just not sure how to break the ice most of the time. I live in a happy little bubble right now and it’s awesome.

What advice do you have for new Bloggers?
Read what you love. Don’t agree to read a free book if you wouldn’t buy it based on the information you’ve been given. Highlight your books so you can go back after you’ve finished and refresh your memory before writing a review. And most importantly, don’t be an asshole.

What’s next for The Smutsonian?
Well, we’ve got a new crop of Guest Bloggers this year and we’re looking for more. We’ll be hosting MM March again this year – a very popular event where we only read MM titles during the month of March.

Shurrn & Emma Chase (Author of Tangled)

If you could turn back in time and do things differently, would you? What would you change?
I’ve been half-assed writing a novel for a little over a year now. I don’t spend much time actually writing, but I think about it frequently. I regret not giving myself enough time to finish that book, and I’ll admit that I use this blog as a convenient excuse not to write. It’s funny, when I ask authors that same question, I’m often told that they regret waiting so long to devote themselves to their writing.

Fun facts:

If you could wish for any one thing, and it would immediately come true, what would you wish for?
I’d love to be independently wealthy enough to blog full time.

If you were stranded on an isolated island, what’s the one item you’d absolutely wish to have with you?
The mountain of books I haven’t had a chance to read yet.

Name your favorite fruit.
Pears

Favorite season?
Spring

How about favorite time of the day?
I am a late night kind of girl.

Were you a Girl Scout?
Nope. I did ballet, tap, and I was classically trained in violin.

Favorite food for breakfast?
I don’t really eat breakfast, but I drink as much coffee as I can stand.

What is the latest book you’ve bought and read?
See that “bought” part can be tricky because I’m provided with about a squillion books a year from publishers, agents, and authors. That being said, I still buy the crap out of books – and if I get a free eBook of something I love, you can bet I’ll buy it in print.

The last paperbacks I bought were the first three books in Sylvia Day’s Crossfire series. I have them on my Kindle, but the paperbacks were on sale at my local bookstore for $4 each.

What was the last book you absolutely fell in love with?
I fall in love often, but my last real “WOW!” moment was while reading Claiming Addison by Zoey Derrick – it’s the first book in her series 69 Bottles and it blew me away. It’s a Rock Star MMF Romance with an amazing cast of characters and I promise it will knock your socks off.

Is there a book you keep meaning to read, but haven’t gotten around to it? Don’t worry, we all have ridiculously long TBRs!
Yes, and I’m making an effort in 2015 to rectify the situation.

  • I want to catch up on J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series by the time the next book comes out. I’m on book 11, so I’m not far behind.
  • I’m just starting The Fever series by Karen Marie Moning, and I’m kind of embarrassed it took me so long. I recently read the first two books in the series – you can expect a review of  Darkfever on January 11th & Bloodfever on January 18th.
  • I’d also really like to read the PsyCop series by Jordan Castillo Price – I think it’s going to be one of the first things I tackle in MM March.

Do you recall the first piece of Erotica you ever read?
The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty by A. N. Roquelaure (pen name of Anne Rice) and I read it at an age which (in hindsight) was wholly inappropriate for my level of sexual awareness… Due to that fact, I was completely overwhelmed with what I read in the pages of her book.

I remember being completely sucked-in and transfixed by the elaborate (and oftentimes absurd) fantasy world full of debauchery within. That tiny paperback, pages now yellowed, spine cracked and flaking, was once tucked away under my mattress like a Playboy… Now it sits proudly – though tattered with love – on my bookshelf…

Do you collect things, like stamps, or key chains, or shoes?
eBooks. If all the books in my Kindle magically became paperbacks, I could stack them up and build a three-bedroom home out of them.

Favorite color, you know you want to tell us!
Blue

Coffee or tea?
Coffee, with sugar and milk.

Sweet or salty?
Both at the same time

Drama or comedy?
I like them both, but favor Comedy in all things.

Cats or dogs?
I have two adopted dogs. A nine year old Jack Russel Terrier named Conor and a four year old Beagle named Trillian Tiberius (Yes, that’s a Douglas Adams and Star Trek homage. Yes, I’m a giant nerd.) Here they are with Santa a few weeks ago:

Dinner by candlelight or a night out clubbing?
Dinner by Candlelight. But I’ll listen to club music while I get ready 😉

Do you have a favorite Book Boyfriend/Girlfriend?
I keep a harem full of Book Boyfriends. My top man of the moment is Max Stella from Beautiful Stranger by Christina Lauren, but you can check out my Top 5 Book Boyfriends here.

Christina Lauren (Authors of the Beautiful Bastard series) & Shurrn

Do you have a guilty pleasure?
I have a serious thing for gay porn… Particularly Jake Jaxson‘s whole crop of Cockyboys… And everybody knows I have a crush on Jake Bass… So, maybe I’m not so guilty about it afterall 😉

Favorite Swear Word?
A good solid use of the F-word is the foundation of the English Language. It’s fucking classy.

2014 “OVER IT” List

Welcome to the First Annual “Over It” List!

Yesterday The Smutsonian released a list of our Favorite Books of 2014 and we really enjoyed remembering the stories which stuck with us this year. Reminiscing about our favorite books also got us thinking about all of the things we’re tired of seeing in Erotic Literature.

These are elements, characters, or plot-points which are so obnoxious or over used that we’re simply #OverIt – We felt obligated to compile a list of those themes.

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The Smutsonian’s Favorite Books of 2014 & Giveaway

Smutsonian Top 5

‘Tis the Season to look back and remember the best things we’ve read all year!

We read so many amazing books this year, we couldn’t narrow our favorites down to our usual Top 5! We’ve added several sub-categories so we can honor all the books that made 2014 a fabulous year!

Feel free to click on the covers to learn more about each of the books, and when you’re finished browsing, enter our Giveaway! We’re going to give one lucky winner a $10 Amazon Gift Card! 😉

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J.R. Ward’s Love of brands

The following Rant is related to the Black Dagger Brotherhood Series:

   

Allow me to begin this post by stating that I’ve mostly enjoyed the books in the Black Dagger Brotherhood which I’ve read so far – J.R. Ward presents a wonderfully crafted Urban Fantasy universe which is easy to get sucked into… But I’ve held my tongue long enough about one of the greatest weaknesses of this series:

Brand over-saturation

By the time I read the fifth book in the series, Lover Unbound, I was exhausted by the constant superfluous brand dropping. My mind started turning it into a joke – a parody – after all, the Brotherhood enjoys their rap music… and J.R. Ward was basically turning her novels into a tacky Hip-Hop Music Video.

Conspicuous consumption is clashing with this world of Vampires, warriors and antiquated traditions…

It was like watching a movie on network television and being constantly interrupted with commercial breaks. So as I read the seventh book in the series, Lover Avenged, I resolved to write down every single brand name mentioned.

The Result was Staggering.

The following is a visual of all the brands mentioned by name by J.R. Ward in one single novel. Keep in mind, I’m reading these books in paperback, and putting down the book to write out each new brand. I barely got through two or three pages of this novel – which clocks in at 655 pages – without stopping to add to the list. Sometimes there were five or more on each page, and many of them were repeated… I was a busy girl…

Here are the fruits of my labor:

Keep in mind, I’m not including all of the movies, Tv shows, albums, actors, singers, celebrities, bands, and songs which were all mentioned… And there were a ton of those as well. These are only the object brands…

             

                                              

                                                

                         

                          

               

           

    

  

  

         

  

   

           

         

    

      

   

 

  

        

       

     

 

       

                  

             

Holy. Fucking. Shit.

Did you wear out your scrolling finger? Did you get tired of seeing all of those logos and wonder what the hell they had to do with the Black Dagger Brotherhood?

Me too…

I’m not sure if J.R. Ward is getting any cash for all her name dropping, but I feel like I need to state clearly that all of the brands, images, and logos I just posted are the property of the companies who produced them. I’m only posting them because they were mentioned by name in a book, and I am a book reviewer. I receive no money for what I do… That was over 150 logos, so that’s 150+ companies with more money for lawyers than I could ever hope to have. I’m getting the sweats just looking at all those registered trademarks. Yikes! Please don’t sue this blogger!!!

So here’s the question:
Were all those brands really necessary to tell this story?

Hell No.

Being brand-specific occasionally pays off. Giving the brand of a cologne, aftershave, or even alcohol is appreciated because it helps to evoke the sense of smell. Saying that someone is wearing a designer suit is usually specific enough, but when you name the designers for the suit, belt, shoes, etc… You start to deviate into American Psycho territory. Too much information.

Was the brand of water really necessary to the plot? Could we have survived knowing that there was a bottle of water? Did we need to know what grocery store Ehlena shopped at? The coffee shop she stopped at? The stores in the strip-mall surrounding the coffee shop?

I can only imagine what’s going to happen when someone picks up these books in fifteen years… How many of these brands are going to be relevant? Several of the companies have already gone belly-up in the 5ish years since the book was published. It’s not only distracting… Mentioning all of these companies dramatically decreases the shelf life of the book.

Have you ever stumbled across a movie from the early ’90s and marveled at the ridiculously huge and bulky cell phones? Floppy disks? That’s precisely the kind of staying power J.R. Ward is ensuring with this unnecessary over saturation of brands…

They’re not improving anything other than the word-count of these books.

So, what about you darling reader? What are our thoughts on excessive branding? 

This Man Trilogy: The Jesse Ward Rant

The following rant is specifically related to the This Man Trilogy written by Jodi Ellen Malpas..

   

 BUCKLE UP.

Is anyone else freaked out at the amount of young girls crying “Book Boyfriend” at Jesse Ward?

How is anything other than his dick desirable?

There are a lot of really nice dicks out there…

The kind of dicks that will talk dirty to you,

Dicks that will hold you down and fuck you,

Dicks that will cuddle after spanking you,

Dicks that want to spoil you,

Dicks that just want to love you,

And most importantly…

Dicks that respect you,

Dicks that won’t alienate your friends and family,

Dicks that aren’t more needy than a girl with her first period,

Dicks that are proud of all you’ve accomplished in your career,

Dicks that haven’t fucked every woman he’s ever introduced you to,

Dicks who don’t delight in treating you like a child,

Dicks that don’t constantly lie to you or evade the truth,

Dicks that wont steal your motherfucking birth control pills!

 Jesse Ward is not the dick to set your sights on…

Go find another dick.

A polite, socially adjusted, non-codependent dick…