"I wasn't a Master when it was convenient for me, I was always a Master, and being that I had a submissive, I had to be ever mindful of our bond. I had to control myself and in that, I was entirely alone."
Alex Butovsky, Hollywood Giant
'Master'. The word froze me in place, my back rigid and my heart racing. It thrilled me. Only from her lips, did it thrill me so." - Alex Butovsky, Hollywood Giant by Zoe Blackwood.
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 romance? Yes, some of my novels are romance and research was still required.
The assumption that romance wouldn't require research is probably based on the perceived content: 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.
When you consider the personality and the life of a romance writer, what comes to mind? You might imagine a woman who enjoys gardening, the Lifetime channel, cats and reading anything with a naked man chest on the cover. That stereotype, like all stereotypes, is not accurate for so many.
I love Batman, Star Wars, hard rock music, video games and dark television shows. My interests qualify me for the 'geek' or 'rocker chick' label, but romance author? When I began my publishing journey, my friends would ask what all people ask when they find out you're a writer: What are your books about? They always seemed surprised to learn I wrote quite a few romance books.
To be honest, I hadn't predicted that I would write romance. The first novel I wrote when I was just sixteen was a ghost story (The Lake). My second novel some years later was Young Adult (The Butterfly and the Moonbeam), my third novel was a police procedural (Secret Lives) and the fourth was women's fiction (Living with the Lights On). So, now you reach the Desert Pleasures Series, respectively the fifth - eighth book I've written. They were all romance novels, with crossover characters. And when I decided to publish, I chose to go with those first.
So where did they come from? I don't regularly read romance, at least not erotica. I have read Anais Nin and Henry Miller. That's the extent of my exposure to erotica early in life. My favorite authors are Robert McCammon, Stephen King, Anne Rice, Clive Barker and Joe Hill. They can all fit nicely in the 'horror/suspense' genre. So, why am I writing romance?
The reality is, those four books in the Desert Pleasures Series aren't much different from my other novels. The biggest change is that the sex is explicit and plays a larger part in the challenge and growth of my characters. All of my stories focus on relationships. Whether it's the relationship between two young sisters( Butterfly and the Moonbeam), or the professional and personal relationships in a detective's life as he is working a crime (Secret Lives), they are vital to the story. I am a firm believer that writer's should write their book, not their genre. Say what you want to say, because no one can say it like you.
Write your book, not your genre.
There are those who will advise new writers to stick to one genre. For some, they are happy in one genre, like comfort food. But for me, I like not knowing what my next book is going to be about. Hugh Howey, a successful science fiction writer, wrote and published a romance book. He wrote the story he wanted to write and it was well received.
The advice is based on the data that shows in general, readers don't cross genres. Liliana Hart is a best selling self published author who writes romance and dark suspense novels. She has said many times that her Mackenzie's are often too sexy for her suspense readers and her suspense novels are too dark for some of her Mackenzie lovers. But had she never written her suspense novels, she wouldn't be nearly as prolific and I am fairly sure she wouldn't be having as much fun as she is now writing what pleases her.
So yes, this 'geek' writes romance. This 'rocker chick' has also written over 100 short horror stories that will never see the light of day. They are better in the dark, away from public eyes. Too scary! The reality is you are very likely to see me write in several genres as time goes on and I still have something to say.
Be who you are, write what you want. That is what art is all about.
The instant our eyes met, Alex knew more about me than any man I’d ever known, even the few I’d been with intimately. He instinctively knew I was submissive and there was a part of me that recognized that I was bare to him. — Nadia Petra, Hollywood Giant.
HOLLYWOOD LOOMS GIANT IN THE STRUGGLE FOR WHAT MATTERS MOST
For Alex Butovsky, a Dominant, the relationship with his submissive, Nadia Petra, is the focus on his life. He came alive when he took care of her. For Nadia, Alex was her savior and beautiful, loving and devoted Master. Having always existed outside of conventional monogamy, Alex being an escort has never distressed Nadia. She empathized with women desperate to explore their submissive qualities. Nadia had never worried about losing Alex to another.
Cara Valencia is different. She is the biggest movie star in the world and one of the most beautiful women alive. And she wanted Alex for herself. Nadia's struggle to maintain her devotion and honesty under fierce jealousy is matched with her Master's own struggle to manage his desire for another. Their very existence is at the mercy of fame, lust and deceit.
Romance author Zoe Blackwood blog.