Monday, August 29, 2011

Sizzling Scenes

The first love scene in a book is really crucial to nail I think. I’m not too bad at writing sexual tension, but I always find it more difficult to allow the heroine to finally give in to the gorgeous protagonist, and grace his bed with her presence.

Some authors allow their main characters to leap into bed together within a few pages, but I prefer to make the male MC work hard for his woman! When I reached the (long awaited) love scene in Fledgling, I did wonder at the time whether it had been worth waiting for, and as my editor thought not – albeit very politely – I felt the urge to spice it up.

Easier said than done. Getting the balance just right is not as easy as it you might think. In the UK there’s an award for the ‘worst sex scene in a novel’ and some very famous UK celebrities have won it. But the very fact there is such an award, shows just how easy it is to make a love scene laughable.

Of course we authors at Black Rose write about paranormal romance, so that presents even more of a challenge. After all, if the hero is a centuries-old vampire, he would be very experienced in the art of making love. Vampires exude sex, they’re sensual and predatory, and if they just happen to be drop-dead-gorgeous as well ... who would ever resist them?

My heroine, Ellie managed to keep Will at bay for some time, she’s definitely a stronger woman than me – I think I’d have given in long before she did. Although if memory serves, Laurell K Hamilton’s Anita Blake didn’t succumb to the beautiful Jean-Claude until the fifth book in the series, although possibly that stretched things a little far. But once Anita got going, there was no holding her, and her role call of lovers now sounds like the Twelve Days of Christmas (as in, ‘One Werelion, Two Wereleopards, Three Lovely Vampires,’ and so on!)

The most difficult thing in writing a love scene is to make it believable. If you’re writing in the first person, it’s a little easier, because you can write from inside the MC’s head. Senses, thrills and fears can be experienced through the heroine, enabling the reader to become the heroine.

In Ellie’s case she felt really nervous, inhibited, and terrified she wouldn’t be able to hold Will’s interest, yet she wanted him with all her heart (eventually). I think these would be natural emotions to feel the first time one sleeps with a vampire – not that I have!

My editor advised me to never write anything I felt uncomfortable with – anything that wasn’t really me. This was very good advice, because it’s all too easy for embarrassment to show through the writing. I admit when I first started writing the scene, I felt awkward, almost like a voyeur, but then the characters took over, and the more I wrote, the easier it became. I’m very proud of the end result, and I’m now actually in the middle of a passionate love scene in my new book – without a blush in sight!

Excerpt . . .

When we were both in the bedroom, I turned to find him closer than I’d thought, and a twinge of panic fluttered through my stomach.

Will leaned down and rested his forehead briefly against mine. As he raised his head, he cradled my face in his hands. “Elinor, I will never hurt you, you know that.”

His soft lips brushed mine, and his arms encircled my waist, as he pulled me close. I breathed in his expensive cologne and the heady masculine scent of him, and reached up to wrap my arms around his neck. His tongue flicked a path along my lips as it sought its way into my mouth and began to tease my own tongue in a slow sensuous dance. Any coherent thoughts I had scattered, as I melted under the onslaught of his hot passionate kisses. I felt positive my legs wouldn’t support me for very much longer.

His hands slid down my back, and with one swift movement, he cupped my bottom, lifted me effortlessly, and carried me over to the bed. When he’d put me down, he positioned himself close to my body, and propped himself up on one elbow, watching me with feral eyes that glittered with nefarious promises. I looked at his handsome face, so close to mine, as he ran his forefinger slowly down my neck and between my breasts. “We appear to have too many clothes between us.”

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Love Scenes or Sex Scenes

I have a real problem writing the intimate details of a romantic sex scene. I've had readers ask if I'm writing from experience and know I blush. My response is always the same. I have a very good imagination, but my head fills with all kinds of pictures. Me tumbling around on tangled sheets with my dark, dangerous hero? Me sprawled on the top of a desk? Me in the forest on a carpet of flowers? Wow!

Writing sex is passionate, but writing a romantic love scene takes a lot more to make it real to my readers. It isn't enough to describe where he puts his hand or kisses. His emotions must show, too. He not only wants sex, he wants love, fulfillment, a committment for her so he can be fulfilled.

And the heroine? Her emotions are tearing her apart even as she recognizes what being with this wonderful man will mean to her. Somewhere deep inside she knows she loves him, but is she also wary? Longing for him to commit? Afraid he will disappear with the dawn?

I took my hero and heroine on this journey in Ancient Blood.

“Lily?” His strong hands gently cupped her shoulders.
“Don’t, please don’t.”
She pulled away, fully intending to flee. Her resistance shattered, and she turned into his embrace. It was too late to escape. Pressing against his strength, she wound her arms around his neck and pulled him closer. His erection prodded her stomach, and she moaned. A heavy groan filled his throat as he lifted her from her feet. He kicked the bag aside as he sat her on the counter.
“I can’t wait,” he growled. His flaring aura spiraled with colors she couldn’t name. She caught her breath. One hand burrowed through her hair, keeping her still as he stepped between her thighs. “You’re all I could think about all day.”
Clasping her bottom, he slid her to the edge of the counter. With his lips claiming her mouth, he unbuttoned her slacks, than lifted her slightly to push them down and off.
The cold surface only made her more aware of his scorching heat. His rough denim pants scraped her inner thighs in contrast with the silky hair under her palms. Her pulse leaped, and she gasped. His male scent mixed with hints of the wild forest filled her nostrils. When his fingertip explored the heated moisture gathering at her juncture, she tightened her thighs around his hips.

Lily Alban escapes a murderous stalker, but his vicious attack leaves her with the ability to see auras. She finds safety in the tiny hamlet of Rhodes End where a stranger stands out like a red light. Try as she might to deny her growing desire for Cole, she seeks his help but soon discovers the man she loves is not a man at all.
Werewolf Cole Benedict resists his attraction to Lily. A botanist researching the healing herbs to find a cure for Lycanthropy, he’s determined to protect Lily from her stalker as well as himself even in human form, but instinct takes over when he changes to his inner beast.
Together they must use their extraordinary gifts to catch Lily’s stalker before he attacks again, but revealing their secrets to one another could destroy their growing love or save them both.

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Friday, August 19, 2011

Putting the Heart in the Heat

Sex scenes. For my money, no good romance is complete without ‘em. I like them hot, steamy, full of sexual tension, and apt to leave me breathing harder by the end.

But the thing sure to get me most worked up is when the author gets into the head and heart of the characters, and makes you feel what they’re feeling—not just physically, but emotionally. Why does the physical connection feel so good with this person? Why is this liaison meaningful and significant to the characters? What does this partner make a character feel that no one else has ever brought out in them before? What former hurts or insecurities does this joining begin to heal? How and why does each sex scene bring the hero and heroine closer together?

When an author puts that kind of heart into the heat of a sex scene, it can go right off the charts.

For me, writing the physical action of sex scenes is relatively easy. I have the great fortune of seeing my stories play out in my head like a movie, and I can move around within them as if they were 3-D sets, seeing how bodies are positioned, where hands are placed, etc. This usually helps me create detailed descriptions of the physicality of the scene. More challenging for me is to get the emotional reactions to each physical experience. Something I’ve learned about myself as a writer is that, in first drafts, I tend to nail the physical action and dialogue, but skim over the emotion in places, so further developing the emotional reaction is always on my revision agenda.

Here’s a peek at some heartfelt sex from my paranormal romance, FOREVER FREED:

And then she lowered herself down fully and took me inside her. And it was over. At that point nothing mattered. Not the past, nor the future.
Only now. Right now. This second. This feeling.
I’m home.
I’d had other women. But everything I thought I remembered about being inside a woman was obliterated by the intense pleasure and sense of connection I felt with Samantha wrapped around me. Decades had passed since I’d felt the slick ecstasy of a man and woman joining together. More than a century had passed since I’d experienced how true love could make the act a spiritual experience full of bliss.
Samantha lifted her body up slowly, nearly to the top of me, before lowering herself down again. I watched myself disappear within her, a sight so full of belonging and eroticism, I simply surrendered to the perfection of the moment.
“Ah Cristo, I’ve wanted you.”

So, that’s my take on this month’s topic: love scenes. Hope you, ahem, enjoyed!

Laura Kaye
Hot, Heartfelt Romance – Because everyone longs to belong…

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Secret of Love Scenes

A good love scene draws me in, makes me feel like I'm one of the characters. I feel the best way to accomplish this is with the sensory details. If we're talking about a kiss--because yes a love scene can be made of a single kiss if done properly--then where are the hands, what are the feeling? How does the breath feel caressing the cheek before the kiss? What does the person taste like? Details. Details. Details. That's the key.

That said...details, details, details is also the hardest thing for me to write. I have to go back again and again and picture the scene happening to make sure I get everything just right. This, of course, means the easiest thing for me to write is the down and dirty action.

The first love scene I ever wrote hasn't been published yet. I'm actually in the process of editing the story with hopes of getting it published. The first love scene I ever wrote that has been published was for His Hope, Her Salvation. Click here to read the blurb and excerpt.

I will freely admit the whole thing had me squirming when it went into edits. Whenever I write a love scene, I feel like a voyeur, and then to have someone critique the scene makes me feel like I've been caught in the act of spying. Maybe this is the very sensation that inspired my first erotica, Twice is Not Enough, which is also available from The Wild Rose Press?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Love scenes

When I first started writing romance, I had the worst time writing love scenes. Oddly enough, it wasn't so much the embarrassing aspect of people I know reading about my take on bedroom activities, but that the scenes had about as much emotion as a squashed tomato. No one wants to read about a squashed tomato. You know it's bad when you don't want to read your own love scenes!

So I turned to some of my favorite authors for advice. Good thing some authors post writing advice on their webpages for newbies. :) One of the authors stated that to make good love scenes, you needed for each scene to bring the hero and heroine closer together. It's not about tab A into slot B mechanics, but it's about drawing the reader into the emotions. Showing how each stroke, each kiss causes the hero and heroine to fall more in love. I try to do this when I write now. At least I can read my scenes, as opposed to yawning my way through them. :)

What do you look for in a love scene? Is it sex for the sake of sex, or do you prefer to see the deepening emotional attachment of the hero and heroine?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Love Scenes

Writing love scenes isn't as fun as well, making love. Getting the right words on the page and trying to convey emotion as well as sexual tension is often difficult. I don't write erotica or erotic romance, but I do write full-exposure love scenes. And sometimes, it's hard for me to write those scenes without blushing. My mother and daughters read my books!

 In a non-erotic romance, there should be more to a love scene than just inserting tab A into slot B. A love scene should serve a function besides expanding on the romance. It should somehow move the plot forward or reveal something about the hero and/or heroine. A love scene should be written in such a way that the story line would suffer if it were removed from the book. Which isn't to say that it shouldn't fulfill the readers' expectations. A love scene should have sex. Hot, wild, or romantic sex. But it needs to be peppered with internal or external dialogue that allows the reader a closer glimpse into the characters' hearts and minds.

And while there needs to be a physical description of the act, there are certain words I never use in my romance novels. Maybe it's my age, Baptist up-bringing, or a combination of both, but I can't use any of the "C" words. The "D" word also makes me cringe. And, I don't particularly like the "F" word either--unless it's used as a profanity. And Lord help me, I've used it myself in that manner. But, I just don't feel that a heroic hero would ever refer to making love in anyway that utilizes the "F" word.

But, maybe that's just me. What do you like or dislike about love scenes?