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 my books, promo

Saint John

John has sacrificed his own happiness to ensure the happiness of everyone else his whole life. As the oldest of the Harrell brothers, he believed it was his duty to protect his younger brothers. When Charlie came to him and told him his high school girl friend was pregnant, he left the farm he loved to join the military so Charlie would have a way to support his family. He never asked, he just did what he felt was best.

When he met Willow, he knew she was amazing. He was willing to accept her on whatever terms he could keep her. He knew she wasn’t the typical farmer’s wife, but he didn’t care, he loved her. When his father died, he didn’t ask her to come back to the farm with him. She had a chance to work at one of the most prestigious hospitals, he couldn’t take that from her. He never asked, he just did what he felt was best. He packed up their son, Walker and moved back to the farm to take care of his mother and brothers.

A farmer and a psychiatrist, can they find a place where they both belong?

Will John continue to sacrifice his own happiness to give those he loves what he believes they need, or will he finally learn to ask?

I believe in happy endings, but some take longer to achieve.

It only took them thirty years to get it right.
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 Book Review

His Until Midnight

by Reese Ryan

A Harlequin “Texas Cattleman Club” series

Tessa Noble and Ryan Bateman have been best friends since they were children. Tessa is the girl next door. His friend, Tripp’s little sister. A promise made to Tripp when they were just fourteen has kept Ryan from allowing his feelings for Tessa to show. He hides his desire for her behind his good buddy, keep his hands to himself façade.

A Cattleman Club Bachelor’s auction, her brother Tripp’s food poisoning and Tessa steps into the spotlight. “Do something that scares you.” No longer looking like one of the guys, Tessa turns the heads of several men, but it is her best friend Ryan that forgets his promise and makes the bid for her. When their friends make a mistake that could embarrass the club, Ryan and Tessa agree to up the glamour or their auctioned date to distract the local reporter.

Tessa has been in love with her best friend since she was a young girl, this date seems the time to let her feelings show. Do what scares you.

Can their friendship withstand a weekend of perfect passion? Will they be able to go back to the way it was before? Or will they be brave enough to take that next step?

Reese knows how to make us fall in love with her characters. She touches our hearts with her sweetness and bravery, showing us a woman can be both innocent and bold. Her heroes may be flawed but they are real and like life, sometimes their beauty is in their flaws.

Posted in Book Review

Addicted to Lady Sherlock Series

The Hollow of Fear by Sherry Thomas read by Kate Reading

The series of stories about a lady Sherlock Holmes/Miss Charlotte Holmes and her friend, Lord Ingram have become a new addiction. I love the time period when new things are happening in the world of forensics. I also think a lady Sherlock is intriguing, especially in an era when women were allowed to do little more than stay home and make babies.

Charlotte is a modern woman ahead of her time. She is sharp witted but often hampered by her lack of understanding the finer emotions. The sexual tension between her and Lord Ingram make the story compelling for the romantics but her deductive skills are a treasure for any who love a good mystery.

The Hollow of Fear pits Charlotte’s skills against those of a true mastermind. Can she uncover the truth about Lady Ingram’s murder in time to save her friend from the hangman?

The recurring characters of Treadles the police detective and Mrs. Watson add a richness and a familiarity to the story that makes a series like this even better.

The Hollow of Fear is Ms Thomas’ best so far, it puts Charlotte’s friend in true peril with a ticking clock winding down. Real danger hovers just over their heads and one wrong move could end in their deaths. Charlotte has to explore her own feelings and emotions, something she isn’t comfortable doing, during her investigations. We see more of who Charlotte is deep inside, the person she hides behind the fluff and flounces of sweet pastries and fancy gowns.

If you’re looking for a true mystery that pays homage to the original Sherlock Holmes, or if you like a little romantic suspense set amid a Victorian English backdrop, you need to check out this series.

The audio version with Kate Reading is like being dropped in the middle of the story and experiencing it all first-hand without leaving the comforts of home.    

The cover of The Hollow of Fear will make chills skitter up your spine.
Posted in Book Review

Two Hot Novels

Tall, Tatted and Tempting by Tammy Falkner
The first in the Reed Brothers Series is not just sexually charged but sensually breathtaking. An exploration of first love, sacrifice and the myriad obstacles of relationships and communication. This story is so hot it should come with a warning: may melt your Kindle. As Kit and Logan’s relationship develops into something neither is emotionally prepared for, we are carried away with the intensity of their emotions and struggles. Ms. Falkner lures us in like a drug dealer, giving us our first taste FREE because, like any addiction, she knows we’ll be back. Beware you will want more.
Tall, Tatted and Tempting is also part of The Perfect Date collection.
Another story in The Perfect Date collection is Drive Me Crazy by Marquita Valentine, this racing love story is a speedway of sexual tension as Melanie Ann Smith sets her sights on Carter Ambrose and he drives headlong into her waiting arms. These strong, flawed characters are compelling and fun. This is fast paced read with strong influences of small town living and the thrill of NASCAR.