Sunday, 12 January 2014

Fashions from the Time of The Phantom of the Opera

I thought I'd share some of the fashions from the era the Phantom of the Opera was written. Some are elegant and some are well, hard to figure out how to get into. Grin. Read on!

By English: House of Rouff Français : Maison Rouff , Paris, France (LACMA Image Library. Photograph LACMA.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Can you imagine having that tiny a waist? It's a beautiful garment, but does question how easily one can have a spur of the moment hot exchange...

By Liberty & Co., London, England (est. 1875) (LACMA Image Library. Photograph LACMA.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By Корзун Андрей (Kor!An) (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
This one is gorgeous, too. A beautiful wedding dress that makes it very clear he'd better want you because it's going to be hard as heck to get you out of it.
Men's clothing seems to be easier to handle, but there is still a lot to it.

Adolph Menzel [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The fashions aren't so bad, but complicated. What do you think? I kind of like them. 


Here's the blurb:
The Classics Exposed…

A chance sighting at the Opera, fated love, and three lives in turmoil.


One man pledges to own her, while another wants her heart. The Opera sets the stage for romance and intrigue. In the catacombs below the building lives a man rife with sorrow and passion. The Phantom. But he’s not content to live alone. He wants to possess the one woman who can set him free.

His Christine.

Viscount Raoul de Chagny doesn’t believe the rumours of a Ghost living below the Opera. He only has eyes for Christine, his childhood friend and first love. Together they embark on a sensual journey of discovery and fiery desire.

But she can only have one man. Will love raise her up or tear their world apart?
Available here!

Teasers are so great, aren't they? I'd love to share a snippet from Phantom with you! Happy Holidays!!!

“What are you asking of me?”

“Your submission. Allow me to direct you as if I were the composer of one of your songs. Do you trust me?” Raoul smoothed a lock of her hair between his fingers. She smelt of flowers, a most intoxicating scent. Although she trembled in his arms, she met him for a kiss. Christine whimpered. Damn the blanket and the layers of fabric between them. He longed to feel her body next to his. He parted her robe and shoved the garment from her shoulders, leaving her in her nightgown. He swiped his tongue along her bottom lip and palmed her breast.

“Raoul,” she gasped, but didn’t swat him away. “I trust you.”

“Let me make you feel the magic.”

Christine stared at him a moment. “What do you want me to do?”

“Give me what I want. Can you do that?” He unbuttoned the top button on her nightgown. “Show me the depths of your soul.”

“I can.” She whipped her nightgown up over her head, exposing her body to him. Her rosy nipples peaked and the flush spread across her entire chest.

Raoul shrugged out of his nightshirt and tugged her back onto his lap. Skin to skin, mouth to mouth, he lost himself in her sweetness. His desire to conquer her took over. Christine slid her hands up his chest and twined them behind his head.

“Do you still wish to learn? This will not be what you expect.”

“I do.”

He sat back on his heels and hazarded a glance to the door to reassure himself it was locked.

“Raoul?”

“I do not wish to be interrupted.” He grabbed the chair at the small table and dragged it to the couch. “Sit.”

Christine hesitated, then moved from his lap to the edge of the bed. Raoul eased her onto her back. He crawled between her thighs. “I will pull out so I don’t leave my seed inside you, but I cannot guarantee this won’t hurt.”

She nodded, but didn’t look particularly agreeable. He braced himself on his knees and one hand. With his free hand, he stroked her cheek. “I will make you feel precious when I’m done.”

“I’m yours.”

@Copyright 2012 Wendi Zwaduk and Gaston Leroux
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Monday, 6 January 2014

The real scoop on Northanger abbey

With a great deal of thanks to Schmoop.

I hope by now you have read Northanger Abbey with my “spice” sprinkled through it. Actually all of the Clandestine Classics will heat you up, especially is you’re in the frozen north now.


Northanger Abbey was Jane Austen's first novel and was written between 1798 and 1803. The novel is a coming of age tale, focusing on the comedic adventures of a sheltered seventeen-year-old girl who learns to navigate the polite society of Bath (a popular English resort town) and Northanger Abbey (the fancy home of one of the book's wealthiest families). Her travels are full of mishaps with new friends and love interests.

Though this was Austen's first novel, it actually wasn't published until 1818, after her death. Oddly enough, it was published along with her last novel Persuasion, a much more mature work than the often screwball Northanger Abbey. What was the hold up with Northanger Abbey? Well, publishing was pretty different back in the day. No one had contracts or anything like that. And publishing was also very expensive. So Austen's publisher bought Northanger Abbey in 1803 and then sat on it for ten years since he didn't think he could make any money from it. Austen bought the book back in 1813 with something along the lines of a 'thanks a lot, jerk' to her reluctant publisher. OK, so Jane Austen was more polite about it. We bet she was thinking that, though.


What's ironic about this publishing delay is that, out of all of Austen's novels, Northanger Abbey has one of the most specific historical contexts and agendas. The agenda here was satire and the targets were the Gothic novels that were hugely popular in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. What on earth is a Gothic novel? Well, this type of novel is a romantic adventure riddled with soap-opera plot twists, dramatic emotions, over-the-top narratives, and supernatural elements. A good example of a Gothic novel would be Frankenstein. However, Austen was mocking somewhat more low-brow Gothic novels, the kind that aren't taught in English classes today. Basically, Northanger Abbey is the equivalent of a novel that decided to spoof a popular book like Twilight today.

Austen also mocks the conservative social commentary surrounding Gothic novels. These commentators railed about the damaging effects novels had on impressionable young (and female) minds. Out of all of Austen's novels, Northanger Abbey is the most outrageously comedic.

Northanger Abbey is also firmly rooted in a specific historical context. It was totally possible to read and enjoy this book when it was actually published in 1818 (just like it's very easy to read and like this book today). But a lot of the book's "contemporary" references to other authors and novels were a bit dated by 1818, which is something Austen actually brings up in her preface. Nearly all of the novels that are name-dropped here were published in the 1790s. Aside from its historically specific references, the novel overall is pretty universal. It looks at things like love, friendship, and growing up. Like Austen's later novels, Northanger Abbey humorously focuses on human behavior. This timeless element is a reason why Austen's novels are all still so widely read today.

Northanger Abbey is available in both print and digital. If you haven’t tries it yet, come on. Be adventurous.







Friday, 20 December 2013

Steamy Excerpt From The Fall of the House of Usher

In just one week my new Clandestine Classic, The Fall of the House of Usher, will be released! I am thrilled to share with you today a sexy moment between Lady Madeline Usher and her brother Roderick's houseguest - Edward.

There is quite a mystery surrounding the family that involves a mysterious illness.  Edward is captivated by the lovely Madeline, but can he save her from the awful curse that the Usher family has endured for generations?



Traversing the corridors to get to Madeline’s room, I mused on the irony that less than a week before I had been hopelessly lost and confused in the manor. Now here I was, an absolute expert at finding my way. Given my earlier exchange with Roderick however, I was extra careful. When I reached her door, I did not even have a chance to tap on it before it was opened. It startled me.

I was greeted with the most stunning vision. Madeline stood before me in just her chemise, the firelight silhouetting her naked form. The lush waves of her hair tumbled about her shoulders and fell down her back. The candlelight glittered in her emerald eyes, and her full red lips were slightly parted. She was exquisite. 

“Oh, Madeline, you are…” I could not even finish my words, all I could do was drink in her beauty. The pull in my cock, the aching want consumed me. No more would I be able to wait for her. I needed to squeeze her soft flesh, twine my fingers in her luxurious hair, bury my face in her quim, then ravish her until we were both spent.

“Please, Edward, come inside quick.”

I could barely get my legs to move, I was so awestruck by her. Once she closed the door behind us, she slowly walked towards me and extended her arms. All thoughts of worry and anything that had occurred earlier were whisked from my mind as I swept her into my arms and gently laid her upon the large canopied bed. I had never even dared to go near it prior to that night, the promise of what we hoped would happen too much to resist.

At last I found my voice. “You are the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. Sweet Madeline, know that I truly love you.”

She smiled up at me as I lay on my side next to her. 

“Are you afraid, my love?” I asked.

“I will never be afraid again, as long as you are with me.”

Then I kissed her with a hunger I had not known I possessed. I invaded her mouth, made her mine with my tongue alone. I held her face with one hand, and embraced her to me with the other. She grasped my hair and clutched at my shoulder. I could feel the intensity of her need as it mirrored my own, and all I could think of was how I wanted to see her naked before me.

Breaking our kiss, I ripped her chemise down the centre and tore it from her body. She gasped, but did not protest. At last I could view her completely, and she was even lovelier than I had imagined. She had full, ripe breasts with tiny rosebud-coloured nipples that were tantalising to me. Her frame, while still on the thin side, was shapely at the hips, and I knew with better nourishment she would fill out even more. Between her legs she had a small patch of dark curls hiding her quim, and I brushed my fingertips lightly through them.

“Do I please you, Edward?”

It was the first time I had heard any real nervousness in her voice since the day we had first met.
“You are more than any man could ever wish for, be assured of that, my love. Will you let me do as I will? Other than when I first enter you—which will be quick—I promise I will not hurt you.”

“You know how I have longed for this, Edward. Do anything you like. Do not hold back in any way out of concern for my virginal state. I want to experience the most that physical love can offer. Show me, Edward, I am ready for you.”

Pick up your copy Friday, December 27th!

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Fun Facts about the Phantom of the Opera

I know it's been a while since I've posted over here, but I thought I'd pop over with some fun facts about the Phantom of the Opera. These are courtesy of The Examiner . Com
Check them out!

By 2007 the number of film adaptations of Gaston Leroux's novel amounts to 40. including shorts, cartoons, TV, films, and variants.
You can now include my version as well! *G*

In the theatre variations of the musical, the “Red Death” mask the Phantom wears during the Masquerade sequence is a full skull complete with moving jaw.
Huh. I never knew that!

The musical cannot be performed at any venue that can’t accommodate its massive chandelier.
That makes perfect sense.

Gaston Leroux’s novel was first published in English in 1911; it was first published (in France) in 1909.

The original Frod book publication of 1910 was illustrated with five paintings by André Castaigne. The paintings served as an inspiration for the 1925 film, and have appeared in many subsequent reprintings and translations.

Brian DePalma wrote and directed a 1974 film called Phantom of the Paradise, which was loosely based on The Phantom of the Opera.

Universal released a “talkie” version of its silent film in 1929. The 1925 film is 107 minutes long, the “talkie” version has a runtime of only 93 minutes. The 1925 silent movie was filmed in Stage 28 at Universal Studios, Hollywood.

In 1943 Universal remade its silent classic with Claude Raines
I've seen this one and loved it.

Iron Maiden recorded a song in 1980 titled “Phantom of the Opera.”

Horror icon Dario Argento filmed an adaptation of the film in 1998 starring his daughter Asia Argento and Arachnophobia star Julian Sands. In Argento’s version, the Phantom is not disfigured at all. Instead, he is a classical romantic anti-hero with telepathic powers.

Lon Chaney put egg whites on his eyes to give them a cloudy appearance. To achieve his skull-like make-up, Lon Chaneyattached a strip of piano wire to his nostrils with spirit gum, pulled it back until he got the tilt he wanted, then attached the other end of the wire under his bald cap. According to the film’s cameraman it cut into Chaney's nose and caused a good deal of bleeding. Cheeks were built up using a combination of cotton and collodion. Ears were glued back and the rest was greasepaint shaded in the proper areas of the face.

Gregory Peck’s earliest movie memory is of being so scared of the 1925 film he asked his Grandmother to let him sleep in her bed.

Selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry in 1998 as being "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant."

The Andrew Lloyd Webber musical never gives the Phantom a name, but in the novel he is referred to multiple times as Erik.

Now that's some trivia! I had no idea on a lot of those. What trivia do you know about The Phantom of the Opera?


Here's the blurb:
The Classics Exposed…

A chance sighting at the Opera, fated love, and three lives in turmoil.


One man pledges to own her, while another wants her heart. The Opera sets the stage for romance and intrigue. In the catacombs below the building lives a man rife with sorrow and passion. The Phantom. But he’s not content to live alone. He wants to possess the one woman who can set him free.

His Christine.

Viscount Raoul de Chagny doesn’t believe the rumours of a Ghost living below the Opera. He only has eyes for Christine, his childhood friend and first love. Together they embark on a sensual journey of discovery and fiery desire.

But she can only have one man. Will love raise her up or tear their world apart?
Available here!

Teasers are so great, aren't they? I'd love to share a snippet from Phantom with you! Happy Holidays!!!

“What are you asking of me?”

“Your submission. Allow me to direct you as if I were the composer of one of your songs. Do you trust me?” Raoul smoothed a lock of her hair between his fingers. She smelt of flowers, a most intoxicating scent. Although she trembled in his arms, she met him for a kiss. Christine whimpered. Damn the blanket and the layers of fabric between them. He longed to feel her body next to his. He parted her robe and shoved the garment from her shoulders, leaving her in her nightgown. He swiped his tongue along her bottom lip and palmed her breast.

“Raoul,” she gasped, but didn’t swat him away. “I trust you.”

“Let me make you feel the magic.”

Christine stared at him a moment. “What do you want me to do?”

“Give me what I want. Can you do that?” He unbuttoned the top button on her nightgown. “Show me the depths of your soul.”

“I can.” She whipped her nightgown up over her head, exposing her body to him. Her rosy nipples peaked and the flush spread across her entire chest.

Raoul shrugged out of his nightshirt and tugged her back onto his lap. Skin to skin, mouth to mouth, he lost himself in her sweetness. His desire to conquer her took over. Christine slid her hands up his chest and twined them behind his head.

“Do you still wish to learn? This will not be what you expect.”

“I do.”

He sat back on his heels and hazarded a glance to the door to reassure himself it was locked.

“Raoul?”

“I do not wish to be interrupted.” He grabbed the chair at the small table and dragged it to the couch. “Sit.”

Christine hesitated, then moved from his lap to the edge of the bed. Raoul eased her onto her back. He crawled between her thighs. “I will pull out so I don’t leave my seed inside you, but I cannot guarantee this won’t hurt.”

She nodded, but didn’t look particularly agreeable. He braced himself on his knees and one hand. With his free hand, he stroked her cheek. “I will make you feel precious when I’m done.”

“I’m yours.”

@Copyright 2012 Wendi Zwaduk and Gaston Leroux
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Edgar Allen Poe and a Happily-Ever-After

I'm a little behind the times here this month - there have been so many projects I've been working on, that I forget what day it was! But I want to talk to you about my new Clandestine Classic that will be out on December 27th - The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allen Poe.  I have always loved Poe, and House of Usher is one of my favourite stories. I've even seen the Vincent Price film rendition many times. But there is one singular thread that runs through all of the interpretations of Poe's story that I've encountered - poor Lady Madeline is doomed to a gruesome death. Not exactly the height of romance.

In searching for something to pair with The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, it was necessary to choose a classic that would be in the horror genre. Horror, in and of itself, isn't the most romantic of genres - although no one can deny the romance of Dracula or Phantom of the Opera. Even Sleepy Hollow had the rivalry of two men over the fair Katrina at the heart of the story. I'll admit, I kept returning to Poe as an option - not because of his love stories - but because I love his prose so much.

My first choice of Poe's was always House of Usher, but it seemed an insurmountable task. The only female named is the Lady Madeline, and she is only in the story twice - and never speaks or is spoken to. I tried to see if there were other stories by Poe that would better prospects, but in my opinion, there weren't. After reading and re-reading it over and over, I finally figured out how to make Lady Madeline a more central character, and to bring about a romance between her and the visitor to Usher. Since I couldn't change any of the original prose, it became necessary to interject my words in between so that it was plausible that Lady Madeline doesn't die horribly. Here is a small excerpt of one of her early encounters with her brother's visitor, Edward.


I went past the doorway on my right where I had sworn I had heard a scraping noise, and paused. I was tempted to knock on the door, to see if my guess was correct about the Lady Madeline. After Roderick’s little burst of temper that morning however, I found myself suddenly cautious. I could not seem to find the normally brazen courage that would allow me to put my theory to the test. My own trepidation about being caught where I should not be, then being put out of the house, made me unusually timid.

“Fool,” I mumbled to myself, and determined I should like to see the space below the stairs first before I made any rash decisions. I walked about a dozen paces to the railing above the ballroom and looked down. It was indeed a grand room, and must have been spectacular at one time long ago, lit by a thousand candles, sparkling lights and festive garlands reflecting back from the solid wall of mirrors on one end. But now it lay in disrepair—the cracks in the mirrors left unfixed, the marble floor scuffed and chipped, and the enormous chandelier dulled by a thick layer of dust. I focused instead on the terrace doors at one end that appeared as though they would open onto a courtyard. As I had suspected, this explained the light I had seen.

I jumped and turned around swiftly at the creak of a door. Frozen, I stared in horror at the very doorway I had stood in front of just moments before. The door was opened , yet no one came forth. I thought to myself what a silly coward I had become since my arrival at the gloomy mansion, and resolved that I must have the frights due to the atmosphere the house exuded.

Gathering myself, I slowly advanced towards the room where I imagined I had heard a scraping noise the previous night. I startled once more, but this time I was rewarded for my fears. It was the lovely Madeline herself, timidly peeking out from the archway to her quarters. She caught my gaze and covered her mouth with her delicate fingers. I fear I had caught her by surprise as well.

“I thought I heard a voice,” she said softly.

“My dearest lady,” I said, bowing before her. As I rose, I continued, “Please forgive me if I have alarmed you. I am Edward, Roderick’s boyhood chum, and he invited me to stay here with him. I…”

I stopped myself from mentioning that I had seen her that first night, concerned that she either would not remember she had done that, or would be mortified that I had witnessed her in such a state. 

“Well,” I continued, “I was actually just in the midst of exploring whilst the valet was occupied on an errand in town, and Roderick was napping…”

“You must come in at once,” she said in hushed tones.

I will be back next month for a spicier excerpt - see you then!