How personal does a sex scene have to be?

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Even though I write romance, sex scenes are one thing I don’t want to write. They’re uncomfortable. Sex is the most intimate act between two people. So intimate that it feels personal to me. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard the advice write what you know. You’ve got to dig deep down and put yourself on those pages. That advice can be hard enough to follow in the best of circumstances. When it comes to love scenes, I really don’t want to go there.

One of the reason love scenes are difficult for me to write is I’m breaking one of the cardinal rules from my youth. You might have sexual experience but you certainly don’t talk about it. That might come off as bragging. And if you brag, the world knows what you are. A loose woman. Yeah, I know times have changed but that ingrained inhibition is hard for me to get around.

Then let’s say I write a sex scene that is a little over the top. Very spicy with some naughty activities. If my friends (okay not all my friends) and family read it, it would not be pretty. You do what? I never thought you were that sort of girl. No matter how much you smile and tell them it’s fiction of course, it’s already out there and they don’t quite believe you. At least that’s what I fear.

Yet many types of romance stories not only require love scenes, they are expected to have a certain number of sex scenes. That means that I must write sex scenes if I want to write romance.  A few weeks ago I had the privilege to attend the Romance Writer’s National Conference in New York. I attended a session titled ‘Insert Sex Scene here…” that changed my view on sex scenes. Vivian Arend, Kristen Callihan and Tessa Dare explained what sex scenes were really all about in a romance story.

Turns out they aren’t just scenes to include after a certain number of pages. They are much more than that. The love scenes show the evolution of the character’s relationship. It’s about the character’s experience told from their point of view. Is this their first time? Has the character had sex many times but this time is different?

This approach made so much sense. I will never forget when Dr. Who rebooted. My daughters were still in elementary and middle school. They couldn’t understand what I saw in the show. Then one day they sat down and started watching it with me. My youngest said to me “Mom, I like this show but I don’t watch it for the science fiction. I watch it for the relationships.” Both of them did that. They witnessed the relationship between the Doctor and Rose, then the Doctor and Donna and the Doctor and Amy. How these characters interacted with each other, felt about things and taught each other were the elements that held the show together. This is true for any story.

So if I approach a love scene from the point of view of the character complete with their attitude and what it teaches them, then the scene has nothing to do with my experience. That’s a relief. Those talented writers helped me reach an epiphany that has freed me up on a very difficult aspect of my writing. We’ll see if it works.

There is more to their talk. If you are having difficulty with this area of writing I would highly recommend you listen to it. The full session is available on the Romance Writers of America website.

That’s all I have for now. Thank you for reading my post.

Krysta

So Many Projects, So Little Time…

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I’m freaking out. (Well, not really, but I should be). Currently, I have 11 stories, (some novels, a few shorts), that need to be written. Yes, 11. I am almost finished with one, and another of them is actually just compiling some of my already written shorts into one collection and revising. However, the rest are due or long overdue. And some of them will require sequels…

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You know what? I take on too many projects, I agree to too many things, and I set too many unattainable goals. But, since I have committed to all of this, I need to figure out a way to make it happen. I am trying to finish Book 3 in my Isle of Fang series, then I MUST write Book 3 in my Northland Crime Chronicles series. Until I complete those two, I can’t write my Martini Club 4 1940s stories, and my friends are counting on me. Plus, I’ve got a good handle on the story and characters, and I’m sooo anxious to get started.

I also work full-time and edit for Wild Rose Press and freelance edit. I blog and I have a promo loop. I love to watch TV. And hang out with my family and friends and visit my mother in the nursing home at least once a week. Yesterday, my sisters and our friend went to dinner, then out to hear my brother and the band he plays for at a bar. I hadn’t been out to a country bar in ages. We had a blast and it was awesome to hear my brother play. He’s an incredible lead guitarist. Here is a snippet I recorded: (The quality of the recording sucks, but you can see how awesome he is :))

 

Unfortunately, I also waste a lot of time when I could be writing. (and none of those things I mentioned are what I consider wasting time. I meant things like playing around on the internet) I need to become more disciplined, and I have a few ideas on how to up my production. One is to use the ‘Speech Recognition’ function to speak my scenes instead of typing them. The other is to make myself get up two hours earlier than I have to. So…wish me luck. After all, those books aren’t going to write themselves. (But, how cool would that be???? :))

Any tips for me? Any tricks you use to be more productive?

The Big Apple and not a Mac – Kathy L Wheeler

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Back Home with my MC4 minus 1 Buds!

I returned just this past Thursday night from the Romance Writers of America National Conference in New York City. I was lucky enough to spend ten days—six of which, were running around the city, pretending I was a native. But how can that be when there is so much to see and do. And anyone who knows me, knows how much I love the theater…and not just theater, but in particular The Phantom of the Opera. So here is what I did laid out Day-by-Day.

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Outside the Empire State Building w/Sourav Pati

Monday July 20th – 12:30p. World Rogers Airport for 3:30p TSA PRE flight! (That’s always nice. You don’t have to take off your flip-flop sandals.) Layover in Houston. Not so bad only about an hour.

11:14p. LaGuardia, New York City. My plane landed early! Unfortunately, the shuttle was REALLY late. And gas fumes were coming in. It seemed as if the driver didn’t quite know where he was going…but I landed at the Marriott Marquis Times Square by 1:20a Tuesday morning.

Tuesday July 21st – New York City. I ran into Cindy Kirk first thing in passing. She is a friend and also the current president of RWA.  After which, I bought my metro pass (subway card) and hit The Metropolitan Museum of Art and activated my “City Pass.” (Great value, by the way). I took some fabulous pictures!

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Walter Kerr Theater A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder

5:30p. Marriott Marquis Times Square. Though I braved the MET, I wasn’t feeling so hot. I think it was from the fumes in the shuttle van. Anyway, I decided to take a short nap. I had tickets to see Aladdin at 7p.

6:20p. Marriott Marquis Times Square. I shot straight up and out the door. I couldn’t miss my show! It was pretty cute. I especially loved it when the Genie broke out into other Disney songs from Beauty and the Beast.

Wednesday July 22nd – 7:30a. The Beau Monde Mini Conference. The conference was different from the last time I’d attended a couple of years before. It was still great and the workshops were most informative. (Which reminds me, I need to send Cheryl Bolen an email regarding the “Great Houses of London” floor plans.)

7:00p. The Majestic Theater. Phantom of the Opera. Yes, I blew off The Beau Monde Soirée to see Phantom for the 11th time. And, yes, it was worth it. Oh, and a drink at Sardi’s just before the show.

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The Plaza Hotel Ballroom

Thursday July 23rd – Marriott Marquis Times Square. I started off the day with a good breakfast then made my way to the ballroom for the opening talk by Barbara Freethy. Sadly, I was unable to stay because I was obligated in assisting set up for the National Reader’s Choice Awards (NRCA) Ceremony that was to begin at 10a.

10:00a. NRCA. This was the first year I made the announcements. It was great fun. I will be taking over the running of the contest in the coming year from Silver James. Next year is our 25th!

2:00p. Indie Book Signing. Not quite as successful as the previous time I participated, but in the end everything worked out.

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Statue of Liberty…duh!

6:00p. Broadway Times Square. My phone is pickpocketed on the way to the subway.

7:00p. Little Italy. Dinner was fab…then we had gelato.

Friday July 24th – 7:45a. Marriott Marquis Times Square. Breakfast of course! Then I was off to my assignment at Agent/Editor Appointments where I was a runner. Looking for agent and editors whose appointments were either cancelled/forgotten or some poor author freaking out deciding they could go through with it. This was an enlightening position that I hope to volunteer at again.

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Guggenheim Museum

2:00p. My first actual workshop: Seven Deadly Sins of Self-Publishing that should have been titled Etiquette Lessons for the Author…What Not to Say and Do… truly….

3:15p. Back in my room getting dressed for dinner with Sharon Sala and her Harlequin editor Leslie Wainger for a 4:30p meet up.

4:30p. Meet up.

6:30p. Drinks and appetizers with Heather Graham, husband Dennis, Sharon and Leslie just before the Harlequin VIP Party.

8:00p. Harlequin Black & White Ball where my dress had the time of its life!

Saturday July 25th – 8:30a. Made the early morning keynote with Nalini Singh. So inspirational…

9:00a – 4:30p. More workshops. Oh, and a late lunch with Jade Lee.

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Oklahoman’s at the Harlequin’s VIP Party Jill Monroe, Sharon Sala, Merline Lovelace, Kathy L Wheeler, Gena Showalter, Deb Cowan

6:15p. The Annual Ritas and Golden Heart Ceremony. Where Jodi Thomas invited me to sit at her table and meet Berkley editor, Katherine Pelz. It was fabulous (I’ll be sending her my historical once I’ve completed the edits. Yay!)

Sunday July 26th – Once everyone vacated the room, I slept in. Then my friend Sourav Pati whom I worked with at Devon, now located in New Jersey, came in on the train and we hit the Empire State Building. (Now I need to rewatch An Affair To Remember.)

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Outside Fish In The Dark with my M&Ms.

7:00p. Something Rotten! A hysterical musical featuring William Shakespeare as a rock star.

10:00p. The pizza place next door to the theater where I met a guy whose friend got misplaced somewhere. He is apparently Andrew Bynum’s nephew, David. Poor thing was shitfaced doing shots all night and had decided to take a nap upstairs of the restaurant. (They got kicked out).

Monday July 27th – 10:00a. Sprint store to contact the insurance company about my phone. Statue of Liberty on Liberty Island. Lunch at Les Halles near Wall Street where I met Nelson Ospina and his friends Igor and Emily.

Tuesday July 28th – 10:30a. Checked out of the Marriott Marquis (No more excellent conference room rate…) and checked into The Gregory Hotel in Herald Square. The person checking in before me went to the bathroom and a room became available which went to ME! I’m the luckiest person in the world.

11:00a. Walking down the street where I found the Plaza Hotel. I snuck upstairs to the ballroom and snapped some pictures. The hotel played a part in the 1920s MC4 Series. Also, did the Guggenheim Museum and a fun bus trip.

7:00p. Fish in the Dark. A play written by Larry David (Seinfield) and played by Jason Alexander. Very funny show that was like a 90 minute Seinfeld episode. Still…who doesn’t love Seinfeld…

Wednesday July 29th – 10:00a. Back to the Sprint Store. The

The dress that had its own great time along side me.

The dress that had its own great time along side me.

insurance never sent out my phone. So…got a new one.

2:30p. Tea/Coffee with Charles Greimsman. Just catching up.

Thursday July 30th – 8:20a. Bought tea at a Starbucks that had no tables then walked down the street and sat in a small park at Herald Square and enjoyed the birds and reflecting on my 10 days from home and living it up in The Big Apple.

9:30a. Called Uber and hightailed it to the airport. <*>sigh<*> Back to the grind….