Saturday, October 11, 2014

Turning Up the Heat: A Writer’s Journey From “Sexy” to “Erotic”

I’ve always enjoyed writing love scenes … the steamier the better. I take pride in the fact my editors often say that they pour themselves a cool drink before they start reading my work.Readers seemed to really like those scenes as well, often mentioning them in their reviews. What more could an author want?
What more indeed?
One day I was editing a short novella andI realized that I was repeating myself. I’d become complacent, relying on tried and true emotions and similar love scenes from one book to the next. I panicked. If I was boring myself, what was I doing to my readers? I needed a jump start on my creativity. And, I needed it fast.
Just how was I going to do that? I truly hadn’t a clue.
A writer friend of mine mentioned her publisher was looking for submissions for an anthology, historical but with sexier elements than their usual books. They were open to almost anything ... same sex, menage, BDSM … the hotter, the better.
Perhaps, I thought, writing one over-the-top novella would re-start my muse. I have to admit, I was worried. I knew I could write a great romance, with hot sex, but could I take it a step further.
I was about 3 chapters into the story when the publisher cancelled their submission call and, because I was working on another project at the time, I put the beginning on a virtual shelf. That was when it happened … something I’d never expected. Something I’d only heard about in conversations among other writers.
The book called to me. It demanded I finish what I’d started.
I’ve been in this business long enough to know … you don’t argue with your muse. So, I kept going. I struggled, especially with the bolder language required of an erotic romance. I’m not a prude by any means and have been known to swear like a sailor when the occasion calls for it. However, there are words that I just find very unromantic. I put my reservations aside, did my research on sexual terms of the time period and kept going.
Slowly but surely, the book took shape. The characters spoke to me in the wonderful 1920’s slang I love so much. Wise up, doll face … get off your keester and bring us joes to life!It’s going to be the bee’s knees when it’s done!And so it went, slowly at first. But then, with the momentum of a great orgasm, the story suddenly took flight!
Now that I’ve written one erotic romance, I find myself wanting to write another. I want to delve into characters and situations I usually reserve for reading. I’m not sure just how daring I’ll get but I know one thing for certain … I’ll enjoy the process.
I do hope you enjoy reading The Muse as much as I enjoyed writing it.

She turned her attention toward the stage. The orchestra was preparing for the appearance of their latest singer, the music slower than the previous song, gearing down just enough to come to an about-face when the Temptress of Torch took the stage. Holly Winters, one of the most talented singers the club had ever featured, was due to perform at any moment. Susan loved the woman’s soulful voice, her total command of the stage and the audience every time she took the microphone into her elegant hands.
“Miss Leland, Mr. Carlson.”
Susan glanced up and met the gaze of the club’s owner, Randall Blankenship, purveyor of fine food and even better music, yet still one of the sleaziest characters she’d ever met. Reluctantly, she raised her hand for his attention. When he brushed her fingers with his long handlebar mustache, she pulled in a deep breath to keep from gagging.
“The music is the bees’ knees, as always,” she admitted. “I’m looking forward to hearing Miss Winters sing.”
“And so you shall,” Blankenship confirmed. “In the meantime, though, I’d like to introduce you to someone, a young artist whose work I’m thinking of hanging on the walls here at the Black Swan.”
Blankenship turned and motioned someone forward. “Miss Susan Leland, Mr. Steven Carlson, I’d like to introduce you to Evan Forrester.”
Susan glanced upward and met the artist’s dark brown gaze. Her throat closed tightly, nearly stealing her breath. Words failed her. “Ah…we….”
Evan Forrester nodded in her direction. A smile bent the corner of his well-shaped mouth. “Miss Leland. How delightful to see you again. Fortunately, for me, there’s not a car or a parking lot in sight.”
Steven shot her a questioning look. “I take it you two know each other.”
She swallowed and pushed past the dryness in her throat. As badly as she wanted to dismiss the handsome artist, she found herself admitting, “Yes, we’ve met.”
Quite dramatically, she thought, he held up his arm and wiggled his wrist for emphasis, drawing Steven’s attention and her chagrin. His wide grin taunted her, yet his gaze was dark, serious. “You might say our meeting was purely by accident.”
Susan shook her head in exasperation. “Oh, for heaven’s sake, don’t be so maudlin.” Wanting to escape his mocking smile, she turned back to her good friend. “Remember me mentioning the car accident I had last winter? It was Mr. Forrester I hit with Will’s Model A.”


Nikki McIntosh said...

Nancy .... glad to see you diving in! I'm with you ... there are certain words I find unromantic too ... sometimes it's hard for me to read them, let alone write them! Glad to hear you're keeping at it!

Margo Hoornstra said...

Thanks for sharing. Interesting to learn how other writers approach things.

Alicia Dean said...

Enjoyed the glimpse into how this book came to be. I am not good with the steamy stuff, but it sounds like you certainly got it down. Best of luck...sounds like a great read. (Isn't it wonderful when our muse calls to us like that?)

Unknown said...

It's great that exploring another level of heat jump started your creativity! Looking forward to checking out The Muse.

M.J. Schiller, Romance Author said...

Interesting that the muse calling you became THE MUSE! Enjoyed your post!

RT Wolfe said...

Here's wishing you many sales!
-R.T. Wolfe