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Thirteen Ways I Learned to Write About Sex

I’m thrilled to welcome Marian Perera, a fellow Samhain Publishing author. She’s celebrating the release of her paranormal fantasy romance, The Highest Tide and has a fun post about sex. Smile with tongue out

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen ways I learned to write about sex

Thanks for hosting me, Shelley! I like interesting lists, so when I found your blog I read through all the Thursday13 posts first. Those gave me the idea of this guest post.

But here’s the story behind it. I grew up in the Middle East, in a devoutly religious family, a sex-segregated school and an extremely conservative country. How conservative? If a couple kissed on a TV show, this was cut out before the show was broadcast. So speaking of kisses, my first had to wait until I went to college in the States. I was that sheltered.

And now I write romances with explicit sex in them.

Of course, this transition from saint to sinner didn’t happen all at once. So here are a few of the steps I took to become an enthusiastic proponent of the open-bedroom-door policy…

1. Read every romance novel I could lay my hands on, from Sweet Savage Love onwards.

2. Bought and read Stacia Kane’s book Be A Sex-Writing Strumpet. The book is so blunt it overcame a lot of my inhibitions.

3. Reminded myself that it’s not about what I’ve been taught, or what my family believes. It’s about what’s right for the characters and the story.

4. Reminded myself that my editors have read hundreds of steamy romances, so there’s no need to be embarrassed if they refer to certain, uh, technical aspects of the scenes.

5. Kept sex scenes in-character. If the couple enjoy verbal teasing, there can be a rest in the action where they playfully spar with each other.

6. Put the characters in unusual locations. Not only is this fun, I get to think about where they could have sex long before they reach that point. Cave on a deserted island? Got it. Inside a hollow baobab tree? Came out earlier this year.

7. Pushed my personal envelope. Most of my romances are a slow burn where the sexual tension builds up until the characters finally give in. With The Highest Tide, they got their clothes off in the first chapter—and had good reason to do so.

8. Used sex to heighten the characters’ emotional struggle. At the end of The Coldest Sea (coming out later this year), the heroine has settled down with a job she enjoys, and she reluctantly tells the hero, a freighter captain, that she can’t just leave to marry him. So he makes love to her in an intense, the-last-time-we’ll-have-each-other way. The story ends happily, but I milked that scene for all it was worth in terms of heartache.

9. Read some really bad sex scenes. It’s good to know what not to do—for instance, I don’t believe it’s ever arousing to mention the heroine’s urethra.

10. Learned to drop the occasional f-bomb. I don’t use this word very often, so when it occurs—especially when the hero says it in a sexually charged moment—it packs a punch.

11. Held true to my convictions. I believe that even in fiction, when a woman says no, a man should back off (unless they’re play-acting or the scene is written as assault). So I’ve written hot makeout scenes which stopped when the heroine remembered a good reason not to go further. That made it even better when she did want it.

12. Figured out how to incorporate contraceptives into fantasy romance. Or, if they’re not used, to show why not. One of my heroines is infertile, and knows she is, and doesn’t end up with a surprise baby at the end.

13. Wrote sexy fanfics. Less pressure there. Plus, they were Transformers fanfics. If I can write about giant robots having sex, I can write about anyone having sex.

Bio : Marian Perera started reading fantasy at 6 when she found a huge hardcover copy of The Lord of the Rings. Her parents replaced that with a more age-appropriate paperback of The Hobbit. Later she discovered another book with an adorable bunny rabbit on the cover. Yes, that was Watership Down. She had to wait ten more years for romance novels, but once she discovered those she never looked back, and now combines the two for maximum fun.

Marian was born in Sri Lanka, grew up in Dubai, studied in the United States (Georgia and Texas), worked in Iqaluit and lives in Toronto. For now. With five hot fantasy romances published by Samhain and Loose Id, she’s just getting started. She blogs at Flights of Fantasy, is on Twitter, has lots of excerpts on her website and still writes the occasional giant-robot-smutfic with no guilt whatsoever.

The Highest Tide

BLURB:

One touch, and the tide isn’t all that’s rising. When brothel health inspector Jason Remerley finds a uniformed woman waiting impatiently in the Velvet Court parlor, wanting to hire a man’s services, he’s struck by lightning. His intense, immediate attraction compels him to pretend his way into her arms.

Enough silver, and most men forget about Captain Lera Vanze’s half-burned face. She senses something off about the handsome, ill-dressed prostitute who sells himself so cheaply. But with his first touch, goose bumps turn to shivers of desire—right before the truth drives them in opposite directions.

Her fury is still simmering when they face each other in a more “official” capacity. She’s joined a warship to stop a terrorist only Jason can identify. Though trust is scarce, they’re swept away in a tidal wave of murderous plots and an explosive attraction that could leave them marooned in an emotional—and very real—minefield.

Warning: She knows how to wield her sword, he knows just how, when, and where to apply his…mind. Contains deception in a brothel, sex in a cave, a shark with a bad habit, and one very large wave.

Samhain Publishing | Amazon

Do you have any questions for Marian or tips to add to her list?

A Rock Star Romantic Lead is Born!

The Flower Bowl Spell

I’m thrilled to introduce Olivia Boler and her new release The Flower Bowl Spell. Olivia’s book is a blend of genres and elements and is a fun read. I’ll let her tell you about her book and the inspiration for one of her rock star characters. Over to Olivia.

Thank you so much to Shelley Munro for letting me guest blog today. How cool to reach an international audience from my San Francisco, California home base!

My novel, The Flower Bowl Spell, is about a Chinese American witch named Memphis Zhang, who, after abandoning magick for two years, suddenly finds herself pulled back into that world when a fairy shows up while she’s waiting for a Metro train. She’s also a journalist, writing kind of fluffy articles about music, movies, and entertainment. It just so happens, one of her interview subjects, a rising rock star named Tyson Belmonte, is connected to her past, and she finds herself drawn to him despite the fact she’s in a “normal” relationship…with her former high school French teacher. Admittedly, the love triangle is not the main focus of the novel, but there’s definitely a tension there.

Doug RobbTyson has become a fan favorite, I’ve noticed, so I thought I’d tell readers a little bit about the inspiration for his character. He is Asian American—Filipino, to be precise—and the lead singer of an alternative rock band. As I came up with Ty’s back-story, I thought a lot about guy friends I’d grown up with in San Francisco, many of them Asian (if you didn’t know, San Francisco has a big Asian population—I myself am mixed race, half Chinese and half Caucasian). Many of these guys were cool, smart, athletic, funny, and sexy—just like Tyson. One of my goals for the novel was to spotlight my community without getting into heavy issues (e.g. racial tensions). In general, I find myself creating characters that are like the people around me.

Anyway, one day, my husband was watching TV and I heard this song come on that’d been getting a lot of play on the radio. I glanced up from my book and lo and behold, there was this good-looking Asian guy singing his heart out in a music video. I found out later hat he was Doug Robb of Hoobastank and the song was “The Reason.” I hadn’t seen a lot of Asian lead singers outside of Asia, and to discover Doug was such a gift for Memphis’s story because in that moment I knew that Tyson was a rock star. So, in addition to everyday life influences, I also got a little inspiration from the world of pop music. In a way, “The Reason” is the perfect song for The Flower Bowl Spell’s soundtrack.

What about you, readers? What songs do you imagine hearing when you read or write? How do songs inspire your creativity?


clip_image002THE FLOWER BOWL SPELL

by Olivia Boler

Blurb:

Journalist Memphis Zhang isn’t ashamed of her Wiccan upbringing—in fact, she’s proud to be one of a few Chinese American witches in San Francisco, and maybe the world. Unlike the well-meaning but basically powerless Wiccans in her disbanded coven, Memphis can see fairies, read auras, and cast spells that actually work—even though she concocts them with ingredients like Nutella and antiperspirant. Yet after a friend she tries to protect is brutally killed, Memphis, full of guilt, abandons magick to lead a “normal” life.

The appearance, however, of her dead friend’s attractive rock star brother—as well as a fairy in a subway tunnel—suggest that magick is not done with her. Reluctantly, Memphis finds herself dragged back into the world of urban magick, trying to stop a power-hungry witch from using the dangerous Flower Bowl Spell and killing the people Memphis loves—and maybe even Memphis herself.

Praise for THE FLOWER BOWL SPELL:

"Olivia Boler’s The Flower Bowl Spell is a genre-bending ride with sexy rock stars, Californian witches, children with potentially otherworldly gifts, and the occasional fairy. But it is also a story of identity, of the sometimes warring facets that make and shape a human being. Beautifully written, witty, and brimming with both ordinary and fantastical life, The Flower Bowl Spell will charm readers everywhere." — Siobhan Fallon, author of You Know When the Men Are Gone

Purchase The Flower Bowl Spell

Book Trailer http://youtu.be/tq2bMQNyLeY

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Author Bio

Olivia Boler is the author of two novels, YEAR OF THE SMOKE GIRL and THE FLOWER BOWL SPELL. Poet Gary Snyder described SMOKE GIRL as a "dense weave in the cross-cultural multi-racial world of complex, educated hip contemporary coast-to-coast America…It is a fine first novel, rich in paradox and detail."

A freelance writer who received her master’s degree in creative writing from UC Davis, Boler has published short stories in the Asian American Women Artists Association (AAWAA) anthology Cheers to Muses, the literary journal MARY, and The Lyon Review, among others. She lives in San Francisco with her family. To find out about her latest work, visit http://oliviaboler.com

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/OliviaBolerAuthor

Twitter http://twitter.com/oliviaboler

Here, Kitty, Kitty… with Ruth Hartman.

Ruth HartmanMy special guest today is Ruth Hartman. Ruth started out life as a dental hygienist but morphed into a romance writer. She has fun working the dental industry into her romances. While her new release Pillow Talk features a dental hygienist/tooth fairy, her next romance Flossophy of Grace also follows the love life of a dental hygienist. Who knew the dental world was so romantic?

Ruth’s first book was My Life in Chains, a memoir about her struggle with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Ruth, her husband and two very spoiled cats live in rural Indiana where Ruth dreams up new and exciting romances. And flosses regularly. Really!

Maxwell paws at my leg with unsheathed claws. Roxy smacks Maxwell’s skimpy striped tail. Ah yes, it’s the nightly ritual. The time has come for…greenies. Or colors, which is what we whisper when we don’t want to raise suspicion among the cats prematurely.

For those of you not familiar with the tasty kitty treats, greenies are the cat’s meow. Literally. My cats go nuts when we get the package out of the cabinet. Or if we walk near the cabinet. Or even glance in the direction of the kitchen. They can even be sound asleep in a kitty-coma, and if one of us tiptoes into the kitchen, they somehow know.

Cats have always been a huge part of my life. I’m a womb-to-the-tomb feline admirer. Thankfully, I was able to morph my husband into a full-fledged cat person after we got married. At first, he acted as if it bothered him to be around them. He even said, “I just don’t want us to be known as those people at the end of the road with 50 cats.” Although I would see nothing wrong with that, I simply smiled and nodded. But now, he picks the furry creatures up, flips them on their backs, and holds them in his huge arms like babies. And he’s always disappointed if they choose not to sleep with us every night. But no, he’s not a cat-person. Right.

My cats greet me at the door after a tiring day of scraping, polishing, and rinsing teeth. They sit in the bathroom while I’m in the shower, then stare at me when I get out. Disconcerting, yes. But I feel the love, nevertheless. And what could be better at five o’clock in the morning than a freezing wet nose or a fluffy tail in your face? I mean, who wouldn’t want that?

It’s for these reasons that I believe every novel’s main character should have a pet. My heroine, Trixie, has three cats. They keep her company since she lives alone. My hero, Graham, also has three felines. And Trixie and Graham even each have a cat named Cuspid. A shout-out to their respective dental professions, even though Graham doesn’t know about Trixie’s night job as the tooth fairy.

Just as pets add interest and spice to our lives, so do fictional pets of fictional characters. Just because Trixie lives inside the covers of a book, why should she be pet-less? Even figments of our imaginations deserve furry love, right?

CONTEST: Win a copy of Ruth’s book, Pillow Talk. All you need to do to go into the draw is ask Ruth a question or tell us if you like your ficitional characters to have a pet. If so, what type of pet?

(Note – the contest is only available to those who live in America or Canada)

PhotobucketTitle: Pillow Talk
Author: Ruth Hartman
Genre: Romance/Fantasy/Contemporary

Synopsis:

Trixie Trident is much too busy to worry about her love life. Her shop Necklaces, Bracelets and Rings, Oh My! has her up to her elbows in beads; Benson the parrot is hungry; and she just chipped her tooth. Plus she’s seriously sleep deprived—that happens when a tooth fairy hits a busy stretch. That’s right, tooth fairy.

But somehow the ideal man drops into her life. Actually she drops into his office. Is it time for Trixie to give up her night job as tooth fairy? Or should she give up the handsome Dr. Graham Keebler? Of course she won’t have to worry about either if he’s stolen from her! Can a magical tooth fairy find true love with a practical dentist?

Visit Ruth at her blog
Purchase Pillow Talk

Interview: Emily Gee

Thief With No Shadow by Emily GeeTHIEF WITH NO SHADOW is New Zealander, Emily Gee’s debut book. I caught up with Emily and asked about her recent release.

1. Tell us a little about yourself and your new release, THIEF WITH NO SHADOW.

Me? Well, I’ve spent quite a bit of time studying–everything from ancient Greek to canine behaviour to geophysics. I love to travel, and have lived in Sweden, worked in Scotland, and backpacked in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. Currently I’m home in New Zealand and have a job in the wine industry in Marlborough.

THIEF is a dark and romantic fantasy novel. It’s set in a world where magic runs in certain bloodlines and nightmarish creatures live alongside men. The heroine Melke is a wraith and can become unseen. She’s forced to steal in order to save her brother’s life. Unfortunately her theft has devastating consequences….
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