Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Sugar Plum'd by Leon Mauvais (with bonus interview!)

A bit of an early holiday treat for you today, my review of Sugar Plum'd (the debut novella from Leon Mauvais) and an interview with the man himself!

My oh my, where do I even begin with Sugar Plum'd? This is a book unlike anything I have ever read, a post-apocalyptic story of shifter reindeer and narcotic elves. There is a definite power exchange here, elements of BDSM and pony-play (à la reindeer), gay erotica, and paranormal horror. It left me confused at times, forcing me to backtrack in order to separate the flashbacks from the current story, but that may just be the way it formatted on my e-reader.

Leon Mauvais weaves a dark tale here in which Santa is dead, the reindeer are starving, the elves have gone feral, and the North Pole is at war with itself. It is, at times, a sad and violent tale, especially with the blood magic and teleportation (just wait until you understand how that all works!), but Pembroke's backstory reminds us that things were once much happier.

The erotic aspects are easy to lose track of within the wider story, but they are hot! The first flashback sees Pembroke charging into the stable of another reindeer, shifting as he goes, until we are left with two men who seem to be fighting for dominance, before disengaging their antlers and falling into an embrace. Being in a stable, it is almost natural that a bridle, bit, and blinders play into the scene, but as man-on-man action goes . . . oh yummy yum-yum wow!

It takes a while before the plot finds its groove and we understand what Sugar Plum'd is all about, but the last third is fantastic. There are elements of racism and betrayal there, and a redemption of lust, with a few final twists that make this really interesting. You will not read anything like it this Christmas. I promise.


Now, as promised, Leon agreed to put aside his holiday shopping and decorating to grace us with a quick chat!

♥ I know Sugar Plum'd is your debut (Yah! Congrats!) so, for starters, why don't you tell us a little about yourself?

Thanks so much! I'm excited to start on this new venture! There is a fount of stories ready to be released! I can't wait to share them with everyone!

So about me, I'm originally from Pennsylvania, but was lucky enough to study art in Ireland, teach in Moldova and trek up the  Amazon River to end up in the slumberless city.

I've always told my friends zany stories.  I've been called weird more times than I can tally. I finally decided to jot them down, and it's been so thrilling to create these worlds filled with quirky,  subversive, mostly kinky characters!

♥ Rudolph, 50 Shades of Gay, and Mad Max. All at Santa's workshop. It's so unique, I have to ask, where did that idea come from?

Everyone looks fondly back at the characters they bonded with as children. They long for them waaaay into adulthood! What's Dumbo up to? Is Poo still craving honey? Look at the "The Cursed Child." Readers are still crying out for the continuation of the Harry Potter Saga. Does Luna Lovegood whip up a mean Nicoise Salad sans magic?

We end up dragging our childhood characters into our adulthood fantasies. When it comes to Christmas, the tale of Rudolph always stuck with me. Here's this hotshot with such a gift and all he wants to do is obey a Zaddy Clause and guide his sleigh?

The idea of a reindeer or any creature actively choosing a sub position especially to someone as mythical and powerful as Santa himself is wondrous! The longing for a powerful man with a whip and leather boots is not isolated to dear Rudolph.

It's so erotic and powerful! It's almost too electric not to explore!

♥ If you don't mind me asking, how does your past influence your writing? Are you conscious of relating the story to your own experiences? I mean, clearly you can't shift into reindeer form - or so I assume - but any bridle experience, maybe?

Power dynamics always fascinate me. I like to think about the kind of power a man would have to possess to be King of an entire Polar field, command a fleet of loyal shifter weredeer and workshops full of toy-making elves. He'd have to be a dark Zaddy with extreme force. Like Pembroke, I tend to gravitate towards men in power.

The whole mythos of sitting on an older man's lap and whispering your holiday desires into his ear, is very loaded in itself.

Santa had a  list. And I guess I always longed to see what would happen if I was put on the naughty one.

Concerning bridle experience, I've never pony played,YET,  but I have definitely found myself with a ball of red wedged into my mouth or a muzzle buckling my jaw shut before play!

♥ That tickles my fancy like you cannot imagine! To shift gears for a moment, for some authors, it's coming up with a title, and for others it's writing that first paragraph - what do you find is the most difficult aspect of writing?

Once I have a concept, I like to dress rehearsal the process before laying down the scenes physically on paper. Let the MC's roam in my imagination and test out the concepts in the scenes I plan on writing. Since I haven't written the scenes down concretely, they are not confined to my text and characters can still make leaps. The hardest time for me is when I have to solidify plans,  taking the pen and writing the sentences down, ie:  Drift sits here. Dapo leaves. With the pen engaged, the story's physical shape begins and there is no going back till you start to redraft.

♥ When you're not writing (or reading), what are some of the hobbies and passions that keep you happy?

I love film, ballet, theater, opera! Anything infused with whimsy and wonder! I'm all for and will be there!

 Whimsy and wonder. I love it! Is there a particular author who has influenced or inspired your writing? Somebody who either made you want to write in the first place, or who refreshes your literary batteries?

Samuel R. Delaney. Samuel R. Delaney. Samuel R.  Delaney. He's been writing Afrofuturism since the 70's! He is such a craftsman! He knows how to thrust you into these bizarre, beautiful, erotic worlds where Starships are steered by tarot cards and there are Interstellar Matchmaking services. Everything he writes is lush and fresh and it was written DECADES AGO! Each page brings you somewhere completely new! He's also been writing queer scifi MC's who roam the nebulas and chart apocalyptic planets for years! I can't bow before his feet enough.

 Just for fun, who would you single out as your number one celebrity crush, and what would you like most to do with/to them?

Ryan Murphy. I would love to get stranded at sea with him for a week. A yacht full of 420, matches, champagne and empty pages to fill with collaborative visions to bring back to the world of TV/Film!

 Is there a particular theme or message you're expecting readers to take away from your work?

I would say enjoyment first off! I want my readers to be taken on voyages to places where they didn't realize they could explore and have insane amounts of fun. Empowerment too is very important. When I was a sapling, there wasn't much access to queer MC's in scifi and fantasy. So if I can give readers another spine to crack with characters like them, jingle bell yeah!

 And, finally - since I'm sure you either have gifts to shop for or sugar plums to harvest - what can we look forward to from you next? Is there a project on the horizon that you're really excited about?

I'm currently finishing the final act of a werelobster tale about ferry boys on a cursed island! Also, working on an Mpreg tale about a MerHunX named Drift who realizes the eleven seas are a dangerous place to swim.

♥ Werelobster? OMG, that sounds incredible! A huge thank you to Leon for sharing his story - you really do need to give it a read! - and for entertaining my curiosity. :)
"Sugar Plum'd" is Leon Mauvais' debut! He's a beret-wearing sprite who fell asleep in the cornfields of Pennsylvania. He dreams in the husks, hoping his tales taste like taffy, but help build crystallized armor. Once, he lingered in the corners of the last used bookstores searching for forbidden adventures on exotic worlds. 


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