When you write steamy fiction it can spark some interesting conversation. Once all of the flushed faces dissipate the good stuff starts flowing and soon you are either turned on, laughing so hard your stomach hurts or you're riveted at your friends political ideals. Okay, so here is a share from a stomach killer.
I was talking with some friends about naughty bit terms. There are only so many ways to describe body parts and we went through a ton of them, remarking on how we felt about their impact (if there was one) and their usage. Here is a few of my opinions on some naughty bits:
Vagina - The word is too formal for me. I want my doctor to use it, not my lover. It's not a favorite of mine, I am not even sure if I've used it.
Cunt - This one was about 60-40 in favor. I personally like it. I think it's hot and heavy. Not my first choice when writing a romantic scene though.
Cooter - I'm giggling already! And I don't know what to say other than this is a confession, take it as you like, I dig it. I like the word cooter. I don't know why, what the hell? It's going on a sticky right now. There it is. I've never used it in a book, but I like it anyway!
Love Tunnel - No. Just no.
Hot Box - Forget it.
Muff - A tad boring.
Snatch - No. You can do this to my purse not to my body.
Cum Bucket - definitely not sexy. I have no use for it, although cum slut might be fun.
Va-jay-jay - In conversation among girlfriends certainly, in description never.
Twat - I don't like and wouldn't use it, but I have no hate for it either.
Pussy - my absolute favorite. I love this word. It can be naughty or sexy.
Penis - It's formal but I do like it more than I do vagina. I have used it and it works for me (pun intended!)
Cock - My favorite word for the male side of things. It just has a rough edge to it but is still sexy.
Dick - Sure, why not? He's a nice guy.
Schlong - I just think of dildos, bright pink or purple!
Pole - Not sexy and I don't ever want to run into one with my car. I mean that would suck.
Rod - Conversation possibly, descriptive scene? No way.
Boner - Sure a guy might call it that. I'll bite. Oh I mean, no, I don't bite honest.
Dipstick - I've met plenty so no thanks
Tool - I have tons of them and they are all so different!
Chubby- How dare you!
Okay so as you can see being an romance writer has its perks, great dinner conversation! Seriously folks, next time you are rolling into a restaurant with your besties try discussing their preferred terms. I guarantee fun will follow.
The popularity of Fifty Shades of Grey catapulted the romance genre (especially erotica) into the spotlight. There were some who seemed surprised at the immense appeal. It's not a new phenomenon. Romance outsells all other genres combined.
The romance category is filled with much more than handcuffs and collars. In fact, that is a very small portion of what it offers readers. Whether it's a relationship developing on a sprawling ranch in the 1800's, another planet, in the bedroom of strangers or in the flux of danger, romance is about the human connection.
Romance readers are potentially every one of us.
Let me share something. I was sitting in a drive-thru just today and behind me I witnessed a couple who were in the middle of an argument. The woman passenger was very animated, her hands moving, her face looking flushed and upset. The man behind the wheel looked away, his lips hardly ever moving. At one point, he opened his mouth wide, blinked hard and seemed to draw in a deep breath.
Of course I couldn't hear anything that was being said, I could only see their faces. I'm sure anyone else who noticed them might feel for the man, but how do we know he doesn't always meet her with that stoic, dull reaction and she was just exasperated? She would drop her hands and gaze out the window with a faraway look in her eyes, as if she were seeing something otherworldly. Maybe she was. I don't know.
As a writer who writes about relationships that couple in the car meant more to me than pure public spectacle; it stayed with me even after I'd pulled away. We have all experienced love. The bridge that brings us together can just as quickly separate us. No one person has the ability to hurt us more than someone we've loved. I think, in that notion, lies the heart of the romance author. We pull the tiny threads from the web of human relations and sift them back together into a story.
It appeals to anyone. They may see themselves as they were, or as they want to be. Sex is a small part of our relationships. It only becomes bigger when all of the other pieces of the puzzle are placed on the board. A picture is formed, a portion of someone's life with another. It has an intensity that draws readers.
I am very glad to be a part of it. I lose myself in it when I write and it follows me even when I am far away from the desk.
So happy writing and happy reading, straight from the heart.
Avid readers are a priceless commodity for writers. I would like to share a recent conversation from some romance fans that I found particularly helpful.
The conversation turned to recent romance reads and the fact that so many of them have things in common, not all of them good. One reader pointed out that it shows a lack of originality and instead of making the book exciting, it makes the book fall flat. So, of course a writer will perk up when they hear that!
Here were some common things they found in recent romance books (some of these I've heard before and some I hadn't):
1. The women were having orgasms with no clitoral stimulation (a smoldering look won't cut it. It's not possible.)
2. The men would have an orgasm and immediately get hard again (where are these men and why haven't I met them?)
3. Every single woman is SO tight! (get to those pelvic exercises girls!)
4. The girl has never had an orgasm before, is a virgin or both (come on! this is 2017!)
5. All penises are HUGE (penises come in all shapes and sizes it's nature)
6. Women have no problems deep throating (with those huge dicks? this is not an easy thing to do, how are all these virgins pulling it off?)
7. The guy hates women, UNTIL he meets the deep throating virgin (he'll always hate women but congrats on the virgin!)
8. Women faint after sex. (I've never read that but the readers insisted they had I think it's funny! Oh my that was so good I passed out!)
9. Billionaires always meet women who don't care a thing about money, even though they have none (where all these women? My billionaire friends want to know, badly!)
10. No one ever farts in bed (I laughed so hard at this one I had to include it)
This was fun and I hope you got a laugh out of it and maybe some good information. I glean a lot of great information from readers groups and highly recommend that you join a readers group in your genre in your area (they are so much better in person). It will give you priceless information that a writer should always have: reader feedback!
When writing my novel, Losing Her, I decided the story should be told from the point of view of James Day. After all, it's about his life. Before I began, I realized I would have to approach that book quite differently. I would be speaking in the voice of a guy. My personal experiences and knowledge weren't going to help with the realism.
I've noticed in many romance novels that female writers will make their male characters (in first person POV) curse constantly and say really gruff things, along with grunts and spitting in order to prove themselves more 'male.' I've always found that to be disingenuous. I grew up a tomboy and was always more comfortable around guys. They certainly had a different way of looking at things, but they weren't all vulgar, rude assholes. I believe writing from the male POV takes some consideration, not just a change in dialogue. He can't only be a male when he's talking.
There were things I had to keep in mind for every scene and are general enough that I thought I would share them:
There are other considerations for your guy that might not have applied to mine (some men are more sensitive than others etc.). Example: Most guys don't know much about clothes, but James Day became interested in the role of clothes in attracting women in college, so he knows a bit about his own clothing and cologne. He is also a male escort so he cares how he dresses and wants to be pleasing to a woman's eye.
DIALOGUE: James dialogue wasn't going to be as specific or as detailed as the women in his life. His reactions were more physical and he struggled with putting his emotions into words. He was much more direct in what he chose to actually say. It was the reason I made his story first person. His thoughts and reactions were better indicators of what he was feeling than his words.
HIS SEX LIFE: When it came to sex I had to consider how he would react to touch. Like anything else, I did some research. You'd be surprised the information out there, when you ask guys about their penis, they are more than happy to talk about it on the worldwide web. You don't even have to ask, someone else already has! I read these two books as part of that research also:
Guide to Licking and Sucking - How to Impress Him with the Best Blowjob - Jean-Claude Carvill.
The Men's Health and Women's Health Big Book of Sex: Your Authoritative, Red-Hot Guide to the Sex of Your Dreams
HIS LIFE: I researched motorcycles, repairing them (a quite focused look for a particular scene), beer, physical therapy (he is a physical therapist), amputees and prosthetics (his job and his twin sister Jenna is a double amputee). How he kept his hair and what he wore (when he wasn't dressing for his clients, he liked jeans and shirts)
Don't let gender frighten you. When you're writing as a different gender I believe it's important to consider their experience of the world around them. Women are naturally more in tune with emotion and broad details. Men tend to be more logical, reactive and specific. Write your character out on several pieces of paper and start! Don't let it stop you from making the story as direct as it can be.
I was recently asked by a co-worker how much time it takes to write a book. Of course, it varies, but I added that I generally don't count the time I prepare for a novel. They seemed perplexed. Prepare? Isn't that book about sex and relationships? Yes, some of my novels are domestic and even erotic, yet research is still required.
The assumption that domestic fiction won't require research is probably based on the perceived content: it's just about ordinary life and sex!
Well, I don't know anyone, even book characters, that have sex 24/7. Characters have careers, some have disabilities, mental illness and a slew of other issues that the author has never experienced. That correlates to research.
Let's look at my most common research elements:
The manner of research varies. Most includes internet searches leading to blogs, forums, articles and then there is the focused research that includes reading non-fiction books (which is where I get most of my information), or getting out there and asking someone! People love to talk about their work, they really do.
Admittedly, some of my novels contain graphic sex. I don't shy away from this fact and often have to explain it. The novels aren't typical 'romance', the novels aren't 'feel good' chick lit. So why all the sex?
I didn't predict that I'd write graphic sex. Who would have? The first novel I wrote when I was sixteen was a ghost story (The Lake). My second novel, some years later, was a coming-of-age story (The Butterfly and the Moonbeam), my third novel was a police procedural (Secret Lives) and the fourth was fiction (The Farther I Am).
That leads to my next four books, respectively the fifth - ninth book I've written. Each of them, is sprinkled with explicit sex.
The books are standalones, with crossover characters that are involved in some way with an escort service tailored for women and founded by a woman, Alicia Porter. Three of the books are from the point of view of the male escort.
Writing explicit sex occurred by accident. Intrigued by an article about heterosexual women utilizing male escorts, I began thinking about such an proposition. A discreet, upscale male escort business tailored for women.
What would the escorts experience? What would be asked of them? What would these women that used the service be like? How would Alicia Porter find customers? How would she recruit escorts?
I answered those questions in four standalone novels. The books aren't romance. The sex is an active part of the story, there aren't gratuitous scenes thrown in for a quick nipple twist.
*Eyes widen* Understand now how I came to write explicit sex, but not write about explicit sex?
I don't think of the novels any differently, then the others I write. Some have vampires, some have detectives and some have escorts. Capicse?
Be who you are, write what you want. That is what art is all about.
Yesterday I saw a post on Facebook from an artist/author asking for links to books that featured people of color. I thought, oh my book Broken Moon has an Hispanic hero and (one of) his love interest (s) is an African American. I could link that, I thought. Funny thing though, I'd never really thought about that being a 'thing' before; characters being people of color.
Broken Moon's hero, Mannie Romero, Jr., is Hispanic. I grew up in Arizona and I had more friends of Hispanic decent than I did caucasian. When I envisioned the girl he would become interested in I saw a beautiful, long-legged African American girl with an afro (I have a strange admiration for afro's) named, Rain. Was race a choice I made? It didn't feel like it.
In my YA novel, Butterfly and the Moonbeam, one of the heroes is Native American (Dell Kayani) and again, this occurred because of my life. Arizona is home of the Navajo reservation (among many other historical sites), I had friends who lived there. It's part of my influence. I never sat down and said, I'm going to write about characters of color.
Her request for books featuring people of color, and the array of wonderful books that followed, got me to thinking.
Should I start to think more purposefully about the race of my characters? I believe the answer is yes. I realized it is significant that the love triangle in Broken Moon takes place between 3 people of different race (Caucasian, Hispanic and African American). Even thought it happened quite organically, it is something to be valued. The whole, love is universal theme, is a beautiful one. I think romance especially should promote diversity. The world is a colorful palette after all.
Do you consider diversity when you're writing?
I write about: love, fantasy, hate, vampires, jealousy, lust, supernatural, murder, deceit, attraction. And sex.
I write what I like.