Posted in audio books, Book Review

How-To Manuals for Romance?

The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams, Narrated by Andrew Eiden, Maxwell Caulfield

What do smart guys do when their love lives are on the rocks? They turn to romance novels for advice. When second baseman Gavin Scott of the Nashville Legends discovers his wife has been faking it in the bedroom, he is hurt and angry, his pride destroyed. He behaves badly. When his wife Thea asks for a divorce, he realizes he must do something, anything to get her back.

He is desperate and willing to listen to anyone who has a plan. When his friends show up and take him to a meeting of book club, he is skeptical but with nothing left to lose agrees to read the book to get ideas on how to reach his wife. At first Gavin’s goal is to just stop his wife from divorcing him but it soon becomes more. He realizes he needs to get to know his wife.

This was a fresh idea on relationships and romance. I love how the guys were all willing to help their friend get his wife back, but their plan is forever not just a temporary fix. The friendships of these Alpha males is a wonderful part of the story. They explain the use of the romance novels is to help them better understand their own failings and what their wives and girlfriends need from them. One of my favorite parts of the story is when Gavin starts thinking and arguing as a Regency Count.

Lyssa Kay Adams did an excellent job portraying these characters and using humor to deal with real issues. They were fun but deep. When Thea explains that faking it in the bedroom wasn’t the only place she was faking it, the couple begins to find their way back to each other. Like all happy endings, it didn’t come easy but when they finally reach that moment it’s so satisfying.  

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.