Tuesday, 25 June 2013

How To Write A Sex Scene Without Making Your Reader Laugh or Cringe

Now, there's an attention grabbing title, and for most writers, the scariest one, for this is the hardest section of their book to write. It's the crucial scene which explores the pent-up feelings of either hero or heroine, delving into their thoughts and motives and even exposing their vulnerabilities - an emotionally charged scene meant to give the reader an 'aah' moment, and one which leads to the characters Happily-Ever-After.
So, how does one write a convincing love/sex scene and create that perfect steam factor without causing the reader to burst into unintentional laughter, shake their head in disbelief, or stop reading altogether?

Solution? I went to my writers group.
These fabulous writer-ladies have been my saving grace on more than one occasion, and there doesn't seem to be a literary or grammatical problem which they cannot solve - especially if there's caffeine and chocolate involved!

With cups of coffee in hand, we discussed - some more openly than others - our varied sexual experiences! Now, this didn't replace our usual manuscript critique. We simply headed to our favourite cafe afterwards and discussed the issue - between fits of giggles and laughter induced tears - much to the amusement of the usual afternoon crowd.
So, with my notes in hand and a caffeine induced brain, I sat down to my laptop and over the next few days produced a sensitive love scene between my two protagonists.
Now, my aim was not to write erotica but a beautiful scene in which the male lead, in particular, physically expresses his love for the woman when he's unable to do so in words.

And, here it is.

‘Now, let’s discuss this,’ he said.
I spun around to face him, but as I was still out of breath all I could do was stand there, with my arms clenched by my side, and glare at him. He moved away from the door and came slowly toward me. I took a step back.
‘It occurred to me, I don’t like the idea of becoming a single mother!’ I managed to say between breaths.
‘You should have thought of that sooner.’ He pulled his T-shirt over his head and dropped it on the floor.
I stared open mouthed at his chiseled body, the rippling muscles of his torso and the sword and serpent tattoo on his left breast. It was identical to the image on the stained glass window. On impulse, I reached out and touched it.
‘All the men have one. It marks us as belonging to Luc’s clan,’ he said.
‘Does he have one, too?’
‘Yes.’ The look in his eyes intensified. ‘Keep touching me, Laura.’
My hands traced the hard planes of his chest, stomach and the delectable trail of dark hair that disappeared below the top of his jeans.
‘You told me never to touch you, again. You still feel that way?’
‘If I did, I wouldn’t be agreeing to this. It’s only sex, nothing more. A means to an end.’
‘Did I promise anything more?’
No, he didn’t. This was, as he so succinctly put it, a business arrangement.
He leaned down, as if to kiss me.
I turned my head away. ‘No kissing.’ I couldn’t afford my heart to be engaged any more than it already was. I needed this to be mechanical, detached, void of emotion. If he could be like that, then so could I.
Something flickered in his eyes. ‘Sorry, darling, but it comes with the whole package!’ He drew me to him, and any protest on my part ended the moment his mouth touched mine.
How did he know to part my lips just the right way and delve into my mouth like he owned it, kissing me with an almost fevered energy I couldn’t help but return?
How wrong I’d been to tell him never to touch me again, nor kiss me, when my whole body came alive when he did; when it ached for him. There was no way I could fight this, and if I lost my heart to him, what then? Could I stand it if he went away?
The thought frightened me. This is only sex; only sex, I repeated over and over in my head, but I knew I was fooling myself. It was far too late for late.
Slowly he undid the buttons on my shirtdress, slid it off my shoulders and let it  drop to the floor. My bra soon followed, my nipples hardening at the touch of his hands as they caressed my breasts, while his mouth teased and taunted mine, reducing me to a near-quivering mess.
He scooped me up and laid me in the centre of the bed then took my face in his hands and tenderly kissed my eyelids, my nose, cheeks and chin, before returning to my waiting lips.
The Serpent Rings blazed into life, eclipsing the sad, little light emanating from the bedside lamp. Alec leaned over and switched it off. The room was bathed in a warm, red glow as if the rings themselves were endorsing what we were about to do.
He lowered his head and this time his mouth and tongue explored one breast while his hand cupped the other, his thumb and forefinger circling and teasing my already sensitised skin.
I closed my eyes and revelled in the sensations he aroused in me, arching into him as my body purred at his every touch. My hands roamed his back; his firm shoulders, and as he eased down the length of my body, leaving a burning trail with his lips, any coherent thought disappeared. As his tongue dipped into my navel, his fingers hooked into the top of my panties and slowly drew them down. They joined my dress and his T-shirt on the floor.
I lay there totally exposed and as vulnerable as any woman could possibly be.
Alec rose and removed his jeans. His naked body was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen, and for what seemed like ages, we simply gazed at each other. In the glow of the unearthly light provided by the rings, I could see his eyes had darkened into a deep purple whorl from which I never wanted to emerge.
‘You’re breathtaking,’ he said, then crawled onto the bed, parted my legs and lay between them.
His kisses seared my mouth as his hands further explored my body, touching, stroking and sweetly torturing my most secret place till I was scrunching the sheets and moaning his name.
He lifted his head and looked at me through hooded, almost drunken eyes; his breath as ragged as my own. Then raising himself slightly, Alec hooked his arms beneath my knees, lifted them and spread my legs as wide as they’d go.
My heart hammered in my chest like a construction drill. I could almost hear it. I’m sure Alec could, for his eyes blazed just before our mouths meshed once more and he surged forward into me.
I sighed in sheer relief as his body fit perfectly into mine. There was no discomfort, no hurt, only the sweet friction as he plunged fully into me, moving slowly at first then increasing the pace until my body tightened like a coiled spring, building, building until it broke and my body shuddered with the strength of my release. But Alec continued until another peak washed over me with such intensity I cried out, and only then I felt him tense as he took his own pleasure and spilled deeply within me.
I lay there breathing heavily, unable to think, unable to move, utterly at bliss with the pleasure my body had just experienced. It was something Matt had never been able to do.
‘Oh, no, I’m not finished with you yet,’ Alec said. He slid down the length of my body again and when he reached the apex of my thighs, he looked up at me, and the hunger in his eyes was clear.
I nodded, grasped the bars of the bedhead behind me and held on for dear life
as Alec dipped his head between my legs. His fingers gripped my thighs and held them apart as his tongue lapped at my sensitive core. It was such exquisite torture that when his fangs penetrated the soft skin of my inner thigh, I came so strongly I nearly ripped the bars from their sockets. The mix of pain and pleasure was exquisite and unlike anything I’d experienced before.
Alec rolled off me and to the side, taking me with him. I lay cradled in his arms,  utterly sated and content, and for a while neither of us spoke. Just the sound of our breathing filled the darkened room. Eventually I angled my head up to see him looking at me. His eyes caressed my face then swept down to my mouth, before he lowered his head and kissed me again, long and deep, his tongue stroking and enticing mine into total surrender.
 Soon he was on top of me again, holding my thighs wide apart and plunging even deeper, his groans and sighs mingling with my own. He lifted my hips for even greater penetration, moving within me in a steady, all consuming rhythm, and as I threw my head back, his mouth locked onto my nipple, drawing it into his mouth, teasing and sucking till my whole body convulsed with the intensity of the coming climax. And when it did come, I screamed and felt the tears trickle down my face.
Once again, I lay there panting, exhausted, while Alec rained delicate kisses on my face. ‘Go to sleep…’ he said softly.
I was sure I heard him say, “my darling” as I closed my eyes and surrendered to the darkness.

This scene made it into my first book, Bloodgifted, which comes out the end of July.
Did I get it right?

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Zombies Don't Do a Thing For Me! Or, Why I Won't Be Seeing 'World War Z'

There's something singularly unappealing about a guy who's literally falling apart - face, fingers, toes and various other body parts hanging off his body at odd angles - and whose conversation consists mainly of grunts and growls. (Yes, I know the latter sounds like most teenage guys, but at least they're alive!) And, who wants to kiss someone whose lips are likely to come off on your own, and to whom the term personal hygiene are simply two words found in a dictionary?
Nope, I've decided that zombies are 'not my cup of tea'. Rather, give me the dark, brooding, sensuality of a vampire with his promise of dark pleasure, than a mindless half-rotting creature who's only interested in my brains (and for the wrong reason!)

In the last couple of centuries, the vampire has conquered the popular imagination for the erotic nature of their forbidden blood lust - the throbbing vein in the lily-white throat; the gentle pressure of his mouth on her wrist; that delicate stroke along the artery in the inner thigh... see what I mean? Can a zombie match that? Not bloody likely! (Excuse the pun.)
Okay, so the blood dripping from fangs can be somewhat off-putting, but it's a darn sight better than a putrefying face covered in congealed human brains! One can survive a bit of blood loss but, apart from teenaged boys who've just received their driver's license, no one can function without their brains.

Now, if I was given the choice between a zombie apocalypse and a vampire one, I know which I'd choose. What's more romantic? Being chased by a shuffling, gangrenous corpse with bad breath or hanging out for eternity with a well-dressed, sophisticated hunk with a restricted diet and an allergy to sunshine?

Courtesy of Google images - World War Z
So, sorry Brad, but I won't be going to see your latest flick, nor any movie which features zombies. They just don't do it for me!

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Support For Indie Authors is Growing.

Since making the momentous decision to become an indie author, I've become more aware of the number of writers who are choosing to take this road to publication. It's not that we've never been offered a publishing contract - many of us have - it's that we simply don't want it!
Traditional publishing is on the reject pile, and the old stigma once associated with self-publishing is fast disappearing as professionally written and produced books are beginning to equal the number of traditionally published ones.
And what is more exciting, is that respected organisations, such as the RWA (Romance Writers of Australia), the ARRA (Australian Romance Readers Association) and Dark Side DownUnder, are now actively supporting indie authors. Why? Because they realise readers don't care how an author is published, as long as the story grips their imagination! And if it does, than they keep coming back for more and eventually develop into a loyal fan following.

Lately, I've been impressed by the number of indie author interviews and book reviews on both these well known sites, and as far as I'm concerned, they're now my source for finding some great reads. I tend to trust the veracity of reader reviews from organisations such as the AWA and the ARRA more so than the ones on Amazon. Why? Because they tend to weed out the trolls.
Only recently I've seen one such nasty troll attack a fellow author's work, out of - what I consider - pure spite; a sick-minded individual who enjoyed tearing down another writer in order to enhance their own twisted identity. And, unfortunately, there's a lot of them out there.

What do readers look for?

1. A great cover -  That old adage, "Never judge a book by its cover" was never more wrong, for it's precisely that which initially attracts a reader.

2. A great story - If an author is in love with their story, chances are, so will their readers. Better still, if it's part of a series.

3. Well written - A professionally written - and edited - book will attract and maintain a loyal fan base. Some readers may overlook bad writing, poor grammar, endless typos and a plethora of adverbs, but the majority won't.

So, to all the indie authors out there I say, keep writing and entertaining us with great books.
As for me, I'll be joining the ranks very soon - now that all the final proofs have been completed.
My debut book, Bloodgifted, Book 1 of The Dantonville Legacy, is due for release at the end of July on Amazon.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Trials of a Newbie Author, Pt 2 - CreateSpace Policy Changes

Sometimes, there are days when you feel like staying in bed with a good book - either reading one or writing your own and hoping the world would go away. Unfortunately, it never does.
I've just spent the last four days proofreading (again), editing (again) and polishing my manuscript, till I can't bear to look at it any more! I've reached the conclusion that there is such a thing as over-editing.

Well, I'm done, and so are all the corrections, and now that it's finally ready to go back to CS, I find they've made changes to their Corrections Sheet. Or rather, there is no longer any Corrections Sheet.
While I was busy redoing my eighty-seven typos, CS had introduced a new policy allowing an unlimited number of corrections to be made directly onto the "native" manuscript, which is then resubmitted.

I think it's brilliant! I disliked the old system, as it only allowed for fifty corrections, and any more after that had to be paid for. I went through several of those wretched sheets as my typo skills are legendary!

Part of the new policy also includes CS sending customers a physical proof of their soon-to-be-printed book to check for errors in cover design and interior formatting. But, what if there are errors? Mine's sure to have them - I know, I counted. There are eighty-seven!
As per their instructions, I completed all my revisions on the "native" manuscript, and now I'm waiting for my copy to appear on my doorstep. If there are no problems with the cover, all I then need do is resubmit my script, wait ten days for the online proofs to arrive, check over them and hit the "submit" button.
Maybe, just maybe, my debut novel will be released in paperback form by the end of July, and the ebook, four weeks after that.

Yep, publishing is a slow process, but what's the old adage about slow and steady winning the race?
I believe in creating as near perfect a product as possible; for not only is it a sign of respect for myself, but for my readers. After all, they'll be paying for it.

I'd love to hear your thoughts. Please, feel free to share.