Tag Archives: sex scenes


Now that I have your attention…

I’m still staying even (and slightly ahead) on the 1K-a-Day Challenge.  I did take a break from the novel to write some unpublishable stuff, though.  I needed to write – wanted to keep the habit intact – but just didn’t feel like working on the novel and didn’t want to start something new or work on another exiting project.  It was a nice change, and it was fun, but I do feel a little bit guilty.

Not because what I wrote was some really weird porn (which it was), but because I wasn’t working on my current novel.

But I’m back at it now, and, truth be told, I’m not really feeling all that guilty.  It was fun, no one else will ever to have to see it, and it got… Well, I don’t want to say it got my juices flowing because, well, it was porn and that’s not what I’m talking about.

But that break from “serious” writing did get my (creative) juices flowing again and made me eager to dive back into the current novel without a name.

And, even better, because it wasn’t related to anything that I’m working on, like my little side story that will be part of one of The Academy of the Accord books, and isn’t part of anything that I plan to develop in any way, I don’t feel pulled to continue working on it at all.

I’ve mentioned before that writing a sex scene in your novel can break you out of a run (even if you edit it out later).  Apparently writing flat out unrelated porn also can get you out of a rut.

Or maybe I just needed a brief break.


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No, not the kind that involves a hot piece of metal applied to flesh.

And not the kind that sits on a grocery store’s shelves, although that might be a closer analogy.

No, I’m talking about recognition and expectation.

(I am far from being an expert on this (I’m probably as non-expert on it as you can get!) but I do have a few thoughts and things I’ve learned so far that may or may not make sense to anyone else and may or may not help anyone else, but I thought I’d put them out here for people to take, leave, or laugh at. )

Let’s start with recognition.

Is there something about your book covers that people can look at it and say, “Hey, that’s by So-and-so!  I like his/her stuff” without even seeing the name?

Yeah, mine either.

Of course, I only have one book out right now (Song and Sword)  but Sanguine will be out next month (knock wood) and will have a totally different look to it.

Of course, one is fantasy and the other is sort of science fiction.

(On the other hand, all of my science fiction books may end up with similar covers.  Sadly, I write fantasy more than I do sci fi.)

I am hoping that the books of The Other Mages trilogy will have similar covers. (I haven’t even thought that far yet!) and all of the books of The Academy of the Accord series will (hopefully) have an identifying logo on them.

Future books?   Hard to say, but unless they belong to a series they probably won’t be immediately recognizable as mine.

Why not?  Well… Because I didn’t think this whole “brands” thing through very well because I didn’t really understand what it was.  (I’m still not sure that I do and I never did find a good explanation of it other than, “you’ll know it when you know it.”)

I’m not quite sure how to fix it, so for now I’ll muddle along the way I am until I get an “Aha!” moment.  (If I ever do I’ll share it with you.)

So, moving on to expectation, because that’s pretty much what sparked the idea for this post.

When you go into a bookstore (remember those?) and see a book by your favorite author, you have certain expectations of what is inside.  Examples from a couple of my favorite authors:

Philip K. Dick: sci fi that is not far from current reality but that is going to break my mind into little pieces and scatter it across the cosmos and then reassemble it into something that looks almost but not quite how it looked to start with.  His books always bend my mind.

C.J. Cherryh: I expect to encounter alien worlds and alien cultures and a human trying to adapt to it or understand it.

Now, as above, I don’t have enough stuff out there for people to have a set expectation yet, and this is where my current dilemma lies.

In Song and Sword there was some romance, all M/F, but nothing erotic.

The Other Mages doesn’t have any, really.   (There may be some in Book Three but since it’s in for a drastic rewrite when I get to it, there may not be.)

Sanguine has a fair amount of M/M erotica (even after cutting one scene that was pretty much just gratuitous sex.)  (The other sex scenes may still get cut or at least toned down, depending on feedback from my beta readers.)

The Academy of the Accord series… is complicated.  The bond between wizard and Warder does sometimes lead to physical relations and there are some gay male characters.

But in none of the books is the focus on romantic or erotic relationships.  Yes, in some of them it happens, but it happens in real life, too.

So readers of my books can expect that, regardless of any relationships, there is more to the book than whether or not two people are going to hook up.

But lately a friend has been urging me to write some erotica.  (I mentioned the Love Spanks weekend on Friday.  I’ll have more details on it this Friday.)

But erotica… it doesn’t fit my brand.

So, if I yield to temptation, it will be written under a pseudonym and will be kept completely separate from my other stuff.

And maybe this time I’ll do the recognition thing right…




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One More Chapter

So I finished the first edit of Sanguine, and it turned out to be not quite as bad as I thought.  At least, I don’t think it’s as bad as I thought.

(And for anyone who is keeping track, I did manage to finish the first edit before Christmas. Yay!)

Except it’s not quite done… I have to add a chapter in the middle.  (Fortunately, I found a place where I could slide it in fairly seamlessly.)

Why add a chapter at this point?   Well, because as I read through the first draft it occurred to me that a lot of things that happen near the end are not going to make sense to someone who’s not inside my head.  (And as a friend of mine pointed out, the inside of my head is a scary place and probably no one wants to be there.)

I’m hoping to get the chapter finished so I can take it for another printing this weekend.  The second read-through and edit probably won’t take as long as the first one did, so there’s a good chance my beta readers can get it by the first.  (Hopefully none of them will be dealing with hangovers.*)

That is, of course, unless I end up making some major changes.  (Yeah, I’m still waffling over the sex scenes.)

I think that the hardest part of writing is editing.  Not so much finding grammatical errors (some of those are going to slip through no matter what you do) but checking for internal consistency, making sure that the same conversation isn’t in there twice, and deciding if scenes should stay or go.

And the hardest part of all of that is looking at it from outside my head to see if it’s going to make sense to a potential reader, to someone who doesn’t know everything that I know about the characters, the world, etc.

Oh, and settings:  I really have to focus on describing settings more.  That’s related to “not inside my head” issue, though – I can see the scene: I just forget to draw it for other people.

And this is why beta readers are important: I can find out how the story looks from the outside looking in.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
*Note to beta readers: 
Jamie: you’re not allowed to drink that much.
Richard: you’re not allowed to drink at all.
Rowland: eh, never mind – you’re Di’s problem.








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Progress, Sex, and Christmas Wishes

Okay, so that’s a lousy title.  I never claimed to be good at them.  (In fact, I admitted that I was horrible at them.)


I have just passed the halfway point of the first edit of Sanguine. So far it’s going better than I had hoped, but I’m pretty sure that as I get into some of the later scenes progress is going to slow down.  I haven’t looked ahead but I’m pretty sure that I left myself a lot of notes to check this, that, or the other.

Oh, and it doesn’t seem to be sucking as much as it did on Friday.

(Writers measure progress by such small things…)

I’m hoping to finish the first go-round by Christmas.  (Hear that, Editing Gods?  That would make an awesome present…)

Maybe I’ll pack up my editing bag tomorrow and go hide in the library where there are no distractions. (That works as long as I leave my laptop at home.)

I’m making a little less progress (okay, a lot less progress) on writing, but I still hope to finish the first draft of Book One of The Other Mages trilogy by the end of the year. (But then, I do tend to be something of an optimist.)

I have to admit, I’m a little nervous about Sanguine.  It contains a fair amount of sex scenes, at least at first, and I’m uncertain how they will be received.  I would cut them out, but I’m not sure I can without leaving huge gaps at the beginning of the novel.

(Cue the headache.)

I do wish that I knew how other writers deal with sex scenes in their novels.  I mean, it’s expected in erotica, but this isn’t erotica, exactly.  It’s also not romance.  It’s science fiction with elements of a semi-paranormal M/M romance. But the romance isn’t the plot.

(Cue the headache on top of the headache.)

Ah, well… I’ll sort it out… either in the next edit or the one after the beta readers get a crack at it.

Meanwhile, Merry Christmas to those who celebrate it and Happy Holiday-of-Your-Choice to those who don’t.  May all of your reading and writing wishes come true.

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