How personal does a sex scene have to be?


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.



So Many Projects, So Little Time…


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…


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?

How Busy Are You? – Kathy L Wheeler


Okay, I know I’m NOT the only busy person in the world. But, hey! I was laid off from my programming job back in March. Early March, I might add. And rather than hunt down another job, my husband and I talked things over and came up with a little test plan.

1) to see if my writing can take off within the 3-year-lease period of his Law Office;


2) to help him out at his Law Office. (by the way, he does SSI, DUI, Personal Injury and, my favorite, Entertainment Law)

So, since I began “helping” him out. I’ve missed a total of 2 days. One afternoon I had to have a permanent crown affixed and the dr recommended I go home and take a nap. Another day, I had a book signing. There may have been another 1/2 day in there somewhere, but I really can’t remember. (Now I have that song going through my head–err.)

I’ve also completed book iv of my Cinderella Series The Price of hilda2 375x600Scorn – Cinderella’s Evil Stepmother (that is now up for preorder — only $.99); Wrote The Mapmaker’s Wife for the To Love a Spy Boxed Set with five other amazing authors – Marie Higgins, Bess McBride, Aileen Fish, L.L. Muir, Melissa Lynne Blue);

Put together the my contributions of the OkRWA Holiday Anthologies into print and ebook – Trust In Love. Also, put into til cover for promoprint The Bloominton Series. Redesigned the Cinderella Series books in print and ebook. Desgined the NovelNoteAuthors Newsletter. (please sign up – fun article on #DinoPorn this month — yes, I said it.)

And, have mapped out my story for the Martini Club 4 Series – The 1940s – Pampered.

Now, if I could only quit mailing the wrong checks out to clients…err…uh. That’s not what I meant to say.

Okay, now I need a nap…

Martini Club 4 Does Dallas


Ahem…now that I have your attention… 

The Martini Club 4 group traveled to Dallas this past weekend for a writing retreat. Our little jaunt wasn’t quite as titillating as the title of this blog post might lead you to believe. We were there to work. Seriously. I promise! Although, we did goof off a bit. One of the things I love to do almost as much as writing is to, in the words of the Cleaver boys ‘give people the business.’ And, when my poor MC4 friends are stuck with me on a road trip, business-giving ensues. Kathy was so pleased at my antics on this trip, she thought I should share them on this post, so, here’s what happened…

We stayed at the Market Center Renaissance Hotel in Dallas, and it was an excellent place to stay, really nice and offered a lot of extra amenities. We had access to Club Level, where they served breakfast, snacks, and dessert. In the room was a conference table where the four of us could spread out our notes and laptops and work on our stories. On Saturday, Kathy and Krysta were upstairs already, and Amanda and I were in the room. (We had adjoining rooms, so that was really nice. I roomed with Krysta and Kathy and Amanda roomed together).  Anyway…Kathy texted and asked if… Well, I’ll just show you:

Kathy: Can one of you grab that tour book and map when you come up? It’s of the Northeastern States.

Me: If I can find it

Kathy: Thank you. I think it’s on the desk.

(I located the tour book and map quite easily, although it was NOT on the desk. It was on the nightstand. I’m just a really shrewd detective, because I STILL found it.)

Me: This?

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Kathy: Yes

Me: I can’t find it

Kathy: That’s it. The tour book. If you don’t find the map, don’t worry about it.

(See how patient and calm she is? I was impressed. I mean, if I couldn’t find it, how the hell did I send a pic of it, right?)

Me: Is this the map?


Kathy: Yes

Me: Is this the way I go to get to where you are?

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(our hotel room door)

Kathy: Smart ass

(It appears she’s run out of patience.)

Kathy: Look for us here

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🙂  (The ‘in’ door to the Club Level (that’s Krysta Scott hard at work)

Besides all the tomfoolery, we also had a productive weekend. We pretty much nailed our story lines for the Martini Club 4 1940’s series, although, before I can write that story, I have a few other books I need to finish. Krysta helped me brainstorm Isle of Fangs 3, so maybe I can get that one wrapped up so I can work on Northland Crime Chronicles 3. Then, I’ll be ready to dive into the 1940’s story.

Oh yes, and about the teaser of a blog title, if you’re still in need of titillation, maybe this will help. I spotted this on one of the hotel doors:

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Hahaha, pretty funny, right? I guess we weren’t the only ones giving people the business!

Be sure and check out our MC4 stories while they’re on sale for only 99 cents each!


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Please Help Me Find a Title. Also…a Fun Giveaway!!!


Happy Easter everyone! Hope you’re having a great weekend.

**** BE SURE TO follow the blog in order to enter our giveaway! (Button can be found on the lower left side)

Yesterday, our MC4 group took a road trip to Anadarko for a book signing. We had a great day, not only at the signing, but the drive time of nearly three hours, round trip (with a stop off in Okarche for chicken and okra at Eischens), gave us an opportunity to brainstorm the next books in the Martini Club 4 series. These books will be set in 1947 Boston and will be about the offspring of our characters from the 1920’s series. We came up with some fun ideas for all four of the stories. Spending time together like that is so beneficial.

This is the four of us at the signing:

Me, Kathy, Amanda, Krysta

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I’ll let the others share their story ideas when they’re ready, but I’ll give you a brief glimpse of my idea. Also, we brainstormed titles, and where we went with ‘R’ before, it appears we’re going with ‘P’ for this one. I believe the other girls have decided on their titles, but I’d like some feedback on a few that I’m considering.

If you don’t mind, read the brief summary of my plot below, and let me know which of the potential titles you prefer.

A very rough summary:

Nina Taggart, at the prodding of her mother, is engaged to be married to a wealthy member of Boston’s blue-blood society. Nina isn’t madly in love with him, but as her mother pointed out, he’ll make a good match for her. But, when a dark secret from her mother’s past surfaces, Nina’s fiancé is horrified. He publicly humiliates her, calling her unspeakable names.

Sylvester is a World War II hero, now police officer, in Boston. He has loved Nina since they were children and has protected her reputation all these years. When her fiancé degrades her, Sylvester flies into a rage and beats him senseless. The man’s family insists on Sylvester’s removal from the force, and his superiors comply.

Sylvester has been working a case involving the kidnapping of wealthy Bostoners for ransom. Now, he’s taken off the case and has lost his job, not to mention, Nina is furious with him for nearly killing her former fiancé. In the blink of an eye, he’s gone from war hero and protector to unemployed outcast. With or without the force, he’s determined to solve the case. And to prove to Nina that he is worthy of her love.

Titles from the other stories: Krysta Scott: Priceless, Amanda McCabe: Perilous, Kathy L Wheeler: Pampered. (of course, these may change as we go forward)

For mine, I’m considering:






What are your thoughts? Any preferences? Any new ideas?

GIVEAWAY – Exclusive, Customized MC4 Martini Glass and a print copy of all four Martini Club 4 – The 1920’s stories in one volume, signed by all the authors. To enter, simply use the ‘follow’ button, found at the lower left, and follow our blog! Winner will be chosen at the end of April. (Only residents of the Unites States are eligible)

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Where Were You in 1924?



Actually, since we only had two commenters other than members of the Martini Club 4, both Calisa Rhose and Diane Burton win a signed  copy of all four novellas in print. Congrats, ladies! 

The fun facts that made it into RUINED are 2 and 3. Although the spy incident happened in 1919, I found it so fascinating, that I still felt compelled to use it, so I had my hero recalling the incident as he arrives at the Bellevue.

I used ‘Coffin Varnish’ rather than ‘Panther Piss’ to describe booze, although, I was sorely tempted to use Panther Piss. I love that colorful phrase! 🙂

For the answers to my If you’re young like me, you weren’t yet born in 1924. 😉 However, many interesting things took place that year. When we decided to set our MC4 stories in 1924, I began researching events, styles, terminology, etc, although I didn’t end up using all of them. I’ve shared some tidbits I discovered below. See if you can guess which of these made it into my Vintage Romance Novella, Ruined:

*** One commenter will receive a print copy of Martini Club 4 – The 1920’s, containing all four novellas, signed by all four authors (only U.S. residents eligible) Winner will be drawn a week from Monday, March 16th.



1) In Chicago, two wealthy young college students, Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb, kidnapped and murdered 14 year old Bobby Franks, simply because they thought they were clever and wanted to get away with the perfect crime. They made some mistakes, and were imprisoned, although they were represented by Clarence Darrow. Loeb was murdered in prison in 1936, slashed to death with a straight razor. Leopold was released in 1958.


2)  This didn’t happen in ’24, but I discovered it while researching Bellevue Hospital, and found it fascinating: After his arrest in New York, and while awaiting extradition to Britain, German spy Fritz Joubert Duquesne pretended to be paralyzed. He was sent to the prison ward at Bellevue Hospital. On May 25, 1919, after nearly two years of feigning paralysis, he disguised himself as a woman and escaped by cutting the bars of his cell and climbing over the barrier walls to freedom.

3) The 35th presidential election was held on Tuesday, November 4, 1924. Incumbent President Calvin Coolidge, the Republican candidate, was elected to a second, full term. One of the slogans used at the time was ‘Keep Cool with Coolidge’

4) The first ever Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was held after Macy’s stores expanded an entire city block from Broadway to Seventh Avenue along 34th Street. Although the parade was thrown on Thanksgiving morning, it was originally about Christmas. Macy’s intent was to bring in shoppers for the upcoming Christmas holiday.


5) As everyone knows, prohibition was in place and the manufacturing, transport, and sale of alcohol was prohibited at the time. What I found interesting, that I didn’t know before, was that it was not illegal to possess or drink it. Also,  whiskey could be obtained by prescription from medical doctors. (Does that remind you of anything? Like, medicinal marijuana? :)) I ran across some colorful terms for booze during my research. Which of these did I use in Ruined? Panther piss or coffin varnish?

So…what do you think? Out of these, which were mentioned in my story? (Hint, two of the first four were used)

Leopold and Loeb

The German spy’s escape from Bellevue

The presidential election

Macy’s first parade

Did I use the term panther piss or coffin varnish?




She vowed she’d be no man’s doxy, but fate had other plans… 

After the Earl of Goodwin attempts to force himself on her, housemaid Eliza Gilbert flees England for New York, hoping to build a better life. But the land of opportunity proves as harsh as the London docks, and she finds herself in a situation more dreadful than the one she escaped. 

When Vince Taggart’s childhood friend disappears, he heads to New York in search of her and meets Eliza, a woman with a less than honorable reputation. Inexplicably captivated, Vince can’t force himself to stay away, especially when he learns Eliza may be the key to finding his missing friend. 


Her gaze bounced over a man, then zeroed back. The bloke was looking directly at her. She caught her breath. He was leaning on the bar a few stools down, talking to Charli. He had this…magnetism, some kind of forceful presence that made it impossible to look away.

He was broad, muscular and dressed like a dock worker with brown suspenders over a yellow shirt and a newsboy cap over his dark blond hair, but what caught her attention right off was his smile. His white teeth flashed, and a dimple creased the right side of his face.

Charli moved away, and the man looked up and caught Eliza staring at him. His grin widened. His eyes were so blue—so electrifying, that Eliza could feel their allure even in the dimly lit, smoke bar.

He winked and gave her a finger salute off the brim of his cap.

A tingle ran from her toes, all the way through her body, making her head swim. My, but he was a fresh one. With superhuman effort, she dragged her gaze away, but it didn’t keep her heart from racing faster than a thoroughbred at Churchill Downs.

She swallowed and took a deep breath, fingering the pendant at her neck, trying to slow her heart rate. What on earth was wrong with her? She met plenty of handsome men—men more pleasing to the eye than he with his workmen clothing and slightly crooked nose. But never had any man sent her blood rushing through her veins like this.

She gulped from her glass. Get ahold of yourself. She was not the kind of girl to pick up strange men in bars—even if they did have a devil of a smile and eyes like an angel.

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