Posted in inspiration, Thoughts, Writing tips

Sex Scenes versus Love Scenes

How much sex should there be in a romance novel? Are you a less is more or give me all the nitty gritty?

If you are a romance writer, you have heard the debate over the term “clean” romances. For those who aren’t familiar with the name, it’s about romances with no sex what-so-ever, usually Christian romances. Now I’m not knocking the Christian romance genre or even the choice to have no sex in the story, I love Hallmark movies and they barely even kiss. I like everything from chaste romances to the more erotic motorcycle club romances.

My biggest problem with clean romances, other than the name, is that they take out the sexual tension. Even the squeaky-clean movies of the 1950s had a little tension in them. I just don’t think it’s believable to have a romance with no sexual tension. Even Christians planning to abstain from sex until marriage should desire their person. To do honor to their vows of chastity, we should see their struggle. What do they do to ensure they remain celibate? Do they employ a chaperone to avoid temptation? Do the abstain from touching one another? What is their reaction when they do touch? Do they blush or jump apart when someone comes around? Innocent touches, holding hands, and longing glances show their desire. I believe you can honor the genre and give respect to the real people who are trying to remain chaste by showing honestly the effort to battle “the desires of the flesh.”

But romance isn’t just about sex, it’s about falling in love. While sexual tension is a big part of romance, it is also those tender scenes where the couple is getting to know each other. It’s that ah-ha moment when they realize this is their person, and learning their true heart. It is the emotional and well as the sensual that makes a believable romance.

So, whether you’re reading or writing a chaste romance or something a little dirtier showing the journey to falling in love is an important part of the process. For me, I like to see the couple becoming friends or learning to respect each other, and I definitely want to know their hot for each other. What is most important part of the romance story for you? Do you want sexy, sexually tense or chaste romances?

Posted in audio books, Book Review

Who Wants to Marry a Duke

Who Wants to Marry a Duke by Sabrina Jeffries Narrated by Beverley A. Crick

There are very few authors who I pre-order, Sabrina Jeffries is one of them. I love this series and was anxious to read it. It was worth the wait, another fabulous story.

Women of strength and substance people Jeffries’ novels, the latest heroine is chemist Miss Olivia Norley. When she offered to clean a stain from the new duke’s waistcoat at a party, Thorn, aka the duke of Thornstock, Marlowe Drake believes she set him up to get caught so they would have to marry. When she refuses his proposal, he misconstrues her reasons.

Years later the pair finds themselves teamed up when Thorn’s half-brother Grey needs a chemist to prove his father was murdered. The attraction is still there but Thorn’s secret could tear them apart.

Raised to believe that every young woman wants to marry a duke and will stop at nothing to catch one, Thorn is twice surprised when Olivia refuses him. What will it take for the beautiful and intelligent chemist to say yes?

Sabrina Jeffries makes the reader believe in possibilities. For a moment we can believe in a world where a young woman of the ton carries the necessary chemicals in her purse to clean wine from a vest. We believe in love at first sight. She even makes us believe in the strength of a young woman’s character that she would refuse a proposal not given with his whole heart. We also believe that love will win in the end, that the truth will come out and the bad guys will be punished.

I impatiently wait for the next story in The Duke Dynasty Series.  

Posted in Thoughts, writing inspiration

Writing Sex Scenes

Sensuality, Intimacy and Sex

I recently attended RWA’s virtual conference, during which I took a couple of classes on sex and sensuality: “Let’s Talk About Sex” with LaQuette and “Writing Intimacy and Sexual Tension” with Molly O’Keefe. I’ve also been reading or listening to a variety of authors and paying attention to how they write intimacy.

Lush Money by Angelina M. Lopez has a sexually aggressive female protagonist, and she initiates sex very early in the story. Billionaire Roxanne Medina takes matters into her own hands and sets up a contract with an impoverished prince to get pregnant. While this story is sexually explicit, I would not call erotica even though much of the conflict in the story is based on their contract for sex.  For Roxanne sex is easy but intimacy is difficult. Seeing how Angelina creates the romance through the couple’s intimate revelations and builds on each new shared discovery is a fascinating process.

The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams sex plays a big part in this relationship too but it’s quite different from Lush Money, the couple Gavin and Thea Scott’s marriage is on the rocks. The issue of sex is part of their marital problem. Lyssa brings humor to the story to help deal with intimacy as the couple reconnects and learns to open up to each other.

Both stories show that a sex scene is more than the act of sex, it is sensuality and intimacy. Intimacy is the toughest part of any relationship. It is the vulnerability of opening up and sharing that vulnerability with someone else that is the key to making a sex scene impactful.

Who Wants to Marry a Duke by Sabrina Jeffries, sensuality and sexual tension adds a little conflict to her story as chemist Miss Olivia Norley and the duke of Thornstock, Marlowe Drake are thrown together in this suspenseful story. For Oliva and Thorn, the sexual attraction is another part of the plot. They don’t want to be attracted to each other but as they learn more intimate details about each other they become more attracted.

As in the contemporary romances, Sabrina Jeffries’ characters have no problem with the sex part of the relationship but the shared intimacies are where the plot develops and we learn more about the characters.

After taking these classes at the conference, I’ve noticed more of how my favorite authors accomplish the intimacy between their characters. Like peeling an onion, the best authors reveal one layer at a time until the reader gets the whole story. The information the reader needs to understand what makes the characters act and react the way they do. It is also these revelations that allow the characters a more intimate connection. If done well, the author can use their darkest secrets to create that moment of “false death” when it seems all is lost.

I’ve heard it said that a sex scene is often choreographed much like a fight scene, it is also mentally and emotionally challenging, not to mention physical. Whether fighting or making love, more should be involved than just body parts. Understanding the weaknesses of each character involved and how it affects and changes things for them is more important than the act itself.

Posted in audio books, Book Review

Angels’ Blood by Nalini Singh, read by Justine Eyre

Chirp Audiobook

Vampire hunter Elena Deveraux is the best at what she does but she’s not prepared for the Archangel Raphael or the mission he has for her.

In a world where the monsters are real, and vampires and angels are interdependent upon each other, a human has little chance of survival. Thankfully, Elena is a little more than human. A born hunter, she heals faster and has a greater ability to hunt, smell, and decipher clues than a regular human.

The sexual chemistry between Elena and Raphael threatens to set the city of New York against itself. He is the most powerful being in New York city and she is the estranged daughter of one of its wealthiest families, both are haunted by nightmares.

Raphael is in danger of becoming one of the monsters. Falling in love with Elena could mean the loss of his mortality. Could one’s weakness bring greater strength? As their romance heats up so does the case that brought them together. The two risk everything, including their own lives to stop a true monster and rescue a city endangered by darkness.

The twist of fate that Nalini Singh creates at the end of this story is truly a stunning feat of fictional writing. I loved it. This is an action adventure paranormal, with tough, strong, dynamic characters. I am in awe of Nalini, her craft, style and fictional world.

Justine Eyre is a fabulous narrator, I’ve enjoyed her reading of several different books. Her reading of Angels’ Blood was fantastic. She brought the characters to life and made it seem as if I were inside the book. I could see, hear and feel the world around me. Justine was a great choice for this work and added another layer to the entertainment.