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Sex and Fiction Revealed

From the Archives:
Rodin 250px-The_KissI once sat through a reading of four fairly well-known romance writers, who had great stage presence, read beautifully from their new best sellers, and answered the audience’s questions with the level of expertise one would expect from people who make their living as writers. That is until they were asked about writing sex.

There was a frisson of embarrassment across the stage and a lot of shifting and shuffling and throat clearing as all four made excuses for why they were uncomfortable writing sex and therefore didn’t do it if they could avoid it. Then the question was dismissed with all the gravity a question about the proper shade of lippy might have been.

I wanted to shout, ‘This is sex! It’s the biggie! It’s what romance leads to! It’s what made us all! Beyond the shouting, sex is the powerful leveler of persons that strips us of our facades and brings us down to the deepest part of ourselves, and occasionally the best part. It exposes our animal nature with all its crudeness and all its charm. Sex is one of the best ways for a reader to get to know a character. With that in mind, I can’t imagine why all writers aren’t dying to write their next sex scene.

I appreciate a good sex scene in a novel – any novel – because sex in fiction, no matter how dangerous, is always safe sex. I enjoy writing erotica because it allows me, and my reader, to experience sex vicariously, safely, in ways we would never experience it in the real world. In some cases it’s only to see what the appeal of being there is. In other cases it’s the fulfillment of fantasy on the written page done safely without leaving the comfort of the recliner. For me, as writer and reader, there’s also the added excitement of sharing fantasies with total strangers.

I’m told I don’t look like the type of woman who would write erotica, but the more I write, the more I
wonder why the type of woman who writes erotica shouldn’t be Everywoman. We all have fantasies, and I can speak first hand as to how hot it is to write those fantasies down – in detail. No one needs to read them but ourselves. Hey, it’s a cheap sex toy – a piece of paper and a pen – a hot pink one, maybe??? It’s safe sex at its best. The world of the written page has always allowed us to walk in other dimensions, other realities, other times, and to see the world through the eyes of other people. Why shouldn’t sex be included in those other realities?

Coming home from the States on a night flight a couple of years ago, unable to sleep, I found myself watching the film, The Ugly Truth, with Gerard Butler and Katherine Heigle. Butler’s character is trying to help Heigle’s character develop a relationship with a hot doctor. He asks her how often she Naked guy readingmasturbates. Horrified, she says she doesn’t do that sort of thing, to which he replies, ‘If you don’t want to make love to yourself, what makes you think anyone else will want to?’

According to Wallace Shawn, “Sex really is a nation of its own. Those whose allegiance is given to sex at a certain moment withdraw their loyalty temporarily from other powers. It’s a symbol of the possibility that we might all defect for one reason or another from the obedient columns in which we march.”

I’ll admit it; I’m a defector to that nation of sex. It’s a large nation with lots of room, and I’m inviting everyone I know to defect and enjoy.

You can read Wallace Shawn’s great essay about writing sex here:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/stage/2009/jun/20/wallace-shawn-writing-about-sex

 

Smut By The Sea! It’s Almost time!

SBTS 2014 posterYES! That’s right! It’s almost time for Smut by the Sea Year Two! Look out Scarborough, here we come!

I’ve been waiting anxiously for Smut by the Sea 2014 ever since, well ever since I attended the first SBTS and had such a fantastic time meeting other writers and readers and vendors, and then there were readings and a Tombola and panels and tea and biscuits and wine and a launch party and karaoke and …*takes deep breath* Well you get the picture.

Year two, and the fabulous Team Blisse, Victoria and Kevin Mitnik Blisse have done it again with even more exciting offerings this year than last.

Here’s what the lovely Victoria Blisse has to say about Smut By The Sea:

When you think of Scarborough, many good things jump to mind. From the beach and many arcades to fish, chips and ice cream but I don’t suppose erotica is automatically one of those things. Well on the 14th June this year for the second time Smut by the Sea will take place at Scarborough library and it’s going to get really smutty.

What is it? Good question. It’s a gathering of authors and readers of erotica and erotic romance. There will be talks on Inspiration from Victoria Blisse, Writing Better Erotica from KD Grace and Social Media and promotion with Lucy Felthouse.

There’s also an afternoon stuffed full of sexy snippets read by the authors themselves, a free lunch and the unique and much loved Erotic Tombola and book stall, to feed your need for smut! If you ask nicely you can get your favourite authors to sign the books for you.


What you can expect:

Smut by the Sea is an Erotic Social Get-Together taking place at Scarborough Library on the14th June SBTS 2014 poster 22014, it’s a chance for erotica readers and writers to gather, share ideas and interact with one another in a friendly smutty enviroment.

In the morning there’ll have a few simple workshops where the authors will pass on their advice to those who have a desire to start writing, or to improve their existing writing endeavours, you’ll be able to ask questions and share your own experiences and gain some valuable knowledge from these talented authors.

The afternoon will consist of the erotic reading & poetry slam, authors will get up to 6 minutes on stage (and not a moment longer, the trusty timekeeper and her pesky paddle will see to that!) to read a short excerpt from one of their stories; with excerpts spanning the wide world of erotica you never know just what you might hear next and what ideas it might spark 😉

Throughout the day we’ll have refreshments on hand, and if you are feeling lucky you can try your hand on our Erotic Tombola  with some fabulous prizes on offer. We’ll also have our Book Stall where you’ll be able to pick up some special smut to tale home and maybe even get it signed by the author themselves.

 So come along, and bring your friends. It’s going to be a very special day and a great first step to take if you are wondering about breaking into the world of Erotica and Erotic Romance and even if you just come along for the Reading Slam it’s a chance to maybe experience something a little different if you’ve never heard erotica read aloud before.

A snippet from my experience at SBTS 2013:

For a writer, sharing a story is like breathing. We can’t NOT do it. That’s why we write. And to be able to read it out loud to an audience that’s there specifically to hear our words is like the rich, thick, butter cream icing with sprinkles on the cake. It’s a very physical reminder of why we do what we do.

I love to hear the stories other writers are reading, and I especially love to listen to first-time readers. I love to share their excitement, and I love to be one of the old timers who can encourage them and tell them not to worry it’ll be amazing. I love the looks on their faces when they’ve finished their first ever reading for an audience, the look that always tells me they’re hooked, just like I was, just like every one of us who has stood on that stage is.

In between the readings there was another key component that made SBTS such a fantastic experience, and that was the chance to chat, to share ideas, to meet people face-to-face who we had only ever talked to online before and to discover that they were just as amazing face-to-face as they are on social media.

And, of course, the thing writers love to do almost as much as they love reading their work out loud is to talk craft with other SBTS post1writers, and there was a lot of animated talking shop that went on in Scarborough.  We talked fears and pleasures, we talked nuts and bolts, we talked failures and successes. We talked works in progress, we talked new and old publishers, we talked self-publishing and self-promoting, we talked about our characters and about our plots, we talked about what fun it was to be who we are and do what we love most. The celebratory atmosphere was very contagious.

 

 

The good news is that Smut by the Sea 2014 is only two weeks away! 

The even better news is that you can still get tickets so you won’t miss out on the fun. 

Click here for tickets, and details. 

 

SBTS2-image

 

 

 

Nominations are Out for ETO Awards 2014! Be Sure to Vote!

ETO Awards 2014 Lucy Kay and meI’ve just been nominated for Best Erotic Author in the 2014 ETO Awards! And I can tell you it’s very hard to keep my fingers on the keyboard when I’m happy dancing the can-can.

I’m especially excited this year because I’m in THE most amazing company I could imagine for that honour. And the fact that half of that esteemed company are Brit Babes is just one more reason to happy dance! In addition to Sylvia Day and the fabulous Violet Blue, Brit Babes – and totally sizzling writers and amazing friends – Kay Jaybee and Lucy Felthouse are nominated too! Excited much?!?!

The ETO Awards are held every year in Birmingham at the banquet after the big trade show. Kay Jaybee and I were lucky enough to have been nominated last year and attend the glitz and glam of the awards banquet. I’m happy to say there’ll be even more sexy glitz and glam this year with a good representation of Brit Babes there to join the celebration. The place will be rammed with many of my other very favourite people. The ETO Awards are a bit like a big family reunion for all us naughty folks.

britbabes_badge_1Also nominated this year for Most Innovative Retailer is my favourite London hang-out, Sh! Women’s
Erotic Emporium
. And the very yummy icing on top of the Sh! Cake – one of my true heroes, Sh!’s manager Renee Denyer, is nominated as Best Store Manager. I couldn’t be more pleased.

And as far as Best Erotic Journalist goes – wow! Look at this list – Emily Dubberley, Mia Moore and the fab Cara Sutra, to name some of the loveliness.

Xcite Books is once again nominated for Best Erotic Books Brand, along with Cleis Press, Sweetmeats Press and House of Erotica.

Of course the fabulous folks at Lovehoney and Sextoys.co.uk are up for multiples (heh heh). It promises to be a great time.

The Brit Babes will be celebrating at the awards banquet in the company of the lovely folks at Velvet Books.

I said it before and I’ll say it again, I’m already a winner many times over just to be included in such a stellar celebration of excellence. Thanks ETO. You’re the best!

ETO picNEWS_AWARDS2014_SPONSORVOTE!

Aaaaannd … now it’s all up to you! Be sure to show some love and vote for your favourites. The polls are open and the best thing about the ETO Awards is that it’s the opportunity for all of YOU to give your favourites two thumbs-up. And speaking as a writer, I can tell you we authors love nothing more than to know that we’ve pleased our readers. So please cast your vote!

 

Nature and Magic in Story

I just finished another instalment of Demon Interrupted for my blog, so of course my thoughts keep wandering back to the natural beauty of the Lake District and the magic I feel every time I walk the fells there.

The first time I lived in South England, I spent several years as a part of a Wiccan coven. That experience has helped me and very much inspired me with the writing of The Lakeland Witches books, especially when creating the rituals that drive the stories, from the very first protection spell cast on the high fells to the final cleansing ritual and everything in between. That experience is no less helpful as I revisit the Elemental Coven in my Demon Interrupted serial, which appears every three weeks on my blog. I’m especially excited about Demon Interrupted because it’s my chance to revisit Elemental Cottage and suss out one of the many stories yet untold of the witches of the Elemental Coven, and the people and beings who affect them, and I can’t revisit the coven, their Lake District home, or any of the new story unfolding without thinking of how connected and grounded in nature all of the Lakeland witches’ concepts of magic are. But then, it would hardly be a KDG story if that weren’t the case.

There was no sex magic practiced in the real coven of which I was a part. In fact, sex magic, as I’ve written it for the Elemental Coven, doesn’t exist anywhere else. All of the sex magic within The Lakeland Witches stories is a product of my fertile imagination. I chose to make the magic my witches practice sex magic because I wanted to experiment with the idea of what might happen if it were possible to take such a strong part of human biology, such a strong part of the human psyche, such a strong part of all nature, and harness it, shape it, use it as a force to drive magic.

The creative use of sex for magic, as I’ve chosen to write it, is unique to the Elemental Coven and the world in which they live. Covertly, however, all earth-centred spirituality has at its core sex, fertility, and the drive to bring about the next generation, the drive to bring about the next bountiful season. Sex and reproduction are at the very foundation of our existence. That’s pretty obvious, I know. But that sex is so much more, for humans, than just the need to procreate is a powerful driving force in erotica, and it is, in my opinion, a powerful source of magic in which even a sceptic like me can believe.

For me, the very best part of being involved in a pagan tradition was celebrating the seasons and the moon cycles, which automatically brought about an effort to live closer to the rhythm and flow of the earth. That meant an effort was made to be closer to nature, to be aware of the time when the buds on the apple trees begin to swell, to be aware of the time when Orion disappears from the spring sky and Sygnus climbs to prominence, and to be aware of how my own body’s rhythms sync with those of the planet. For me the sense of connectedness, the sense of being a part of the natural world, the sense of being a part of something far greater than myself was magical, and still is. Though I no longer practice with a coven, I find those natural rhythms are still within me, and I find them still deeply moving. Really they always were there, as they are in all of us. Sadly our modern, hermetically sealed life often separates us from those rhythms.

castlerigg_Stone_Circle1I learned a lot about nature while I was a part of the coven. I paid more attention to what was going on around me. I became more aware of the subtle changes happening all the time. That new awareness and that desire to know nature more intimately also inspired the Lakeland Witches Trilogy, as it does now Demon Interrupted. The writing is continually inspired by thoughts of how much else I might be missing out on because my awareness just hasn’t been sharpened enough. I suppose writing, in a way, is an effort to do just that, to sharpen my awareness.

It was thinking about that heightened awareness and contemplating my own dreams that inspired my interpretation of the Ether and the Dream World as places where my witches and their consorts could go to do magic, create spells, and affect changes in the World of Flesh. They were also places where my baddies could bring about fear and destruction, and also escape to when there was a need.

Though the world of my Lakeland witches is far more magical and frightening than was my own coven experience — for which I’m very thankful — I tried to infuse all of my characters with a love and an appreciation for that natural world. Because I’m deeply in love with the English Lake District where the Lakeland Witches stories are set, I tried to bring as much of the reality of that world into the stories as I could so that whether it’s Anderson and Cassandra’s story or Ferris and Elaine’s story, there is a firm grounding in a very real, very wonderful place.

But beautiful, inspiring Lakeland can also be a place of terrifying power and great danger when the storms ravage the high fells. I wanted the world of the Lakeland Witches to feel real and concrete, to express all the facets of the place I love. And I believe that by setting the stories in a real place and drawing that real place as vividly as I’m able, the magic, the interactions with ghosts and witches and demons will be grounded and just a little more scary and a little more sexy and a little more true to life.

Read Demon Interrupted here

If you want to know more about the Elemental Coven’s adventures, check out the Lakeland Heatwave Trilogy: Body Temperature and RisingRiding the Ether and Elemental Fire. Enjoy!

Lakeland heatwave banner1

 

Kelly Lawrence Talks ‘Passionate Plots’ – Using Dialogue to Convey Sexual Tension

Kelly Lawrence Passionate Plots postI wrote my new book, Passionate Plots as a guide to writing sex scenes both for emerging erotica writers and writers looking to branch out in this area, or who feel that their current story might benefit from some added heat. The main thrust of the book – as well as specific advice on writing a good sex scene and writing exercises to help you do this – is that sex scenes, whatever your genre, need to be integral to the overall plot and make sense in terms of your characters. One way to ensure that your erotic scenes don’t just pop up out of nowhere is to ensure that there’s some build-up of sexual tension between the characters involved. Here’s a little extract from the book on conveying those tension levels….

‘What is sexual tension? It’s that simmering between two people who are attracted to each other but are fighting it, or can’t be together for whatever reason, or the first time you talk to someone and you look at each other and just know you’re going to end up between the sheets, but you’ve only just met and you’re in public/company so it wouldn’t be polite to say anything. If the couple becomes long-term, sexual tension evolves into chemistry, where you’re finishing each other’s sentences and even your friends sense the simmering heat between you.

Sexual tension is crucial for your story if you’re writing an erotic romance or erotica; think of it as foreplay. In these genres sexual tension will be one of if not the major source of conflict. It sounds like an obvious point, but I’ve read a few erotica novels where, although the sex scenes come fast and furious, there’s little or no sexual tension, which results in the reader not really caring about the characters or even what happens next, flicking through to the sex scenes and discarding the book.

Even if you’re writing in another genre, if you’re planning on including erotic scene, it’s still important to have some levels of sexual tension that give the reader a build-up. Otherwise the sex scenes appear to come out of nowhere and can jar the reader out of the story. Sexual tension serves to give the reader a hint at the scenes to come, so by the time they reach the first love scene they’ll be not just expecting it but looking forward to it. It can also serve your plot in other ways; a little sexual tension simmering away can work with other points of conflict in the story to up the overall rising tension and drama. Particularly in thrillers and action-adventure novels, two characters battling outside conflict while sexual tension simmers away between them really adds to the levels of excitement and urgency. Just look at some Hollywood films for examples of this. The same principle can work in horrors and Westerns too. Historical fiction can also benefit from a good dollop of sexual tension and done well it can really add to the plot; think of the restrained and corseted Victorian era with all that passion bubbling under the surface for example.

Of course sexual tension is subtle and hard to describe; like that all elusive chemistry you know when it’s there but it’s almost impossible to pin down and define. Therefore, although our stories might need this form of tension, it’s not the easiest thing to convey in words, unlike a film where you can practically see the sparks fly between characters. Here is where you really need to be able to ‘show not tell’. Telling your readers there’s sexual tension between your characters, even in the first-person, won’t let them feel it.

So how do you do it? There are a variety of ways, from body language to interior monologue, but dialogue is one of the most powerful ways to convey that simmering sexual tension….

The use of banter between two characters trying to fight or avoid their attraction to each other is a strong device in romance novels, and if this is an area you’re not familiar with I suggest you read a few and see how other writers do it. ‘Banter’ can be used to refer to flirting, teasing, even a heated debate if it’s already been made clear the characters would rather be ripping off the others’ clothes than their head.  Whatever the context, banter is witty, fast-paced dialogue with a sexual edge. You can make this sexual aspect quite clear with the use of flirting or innuendo, or subtle with the use of subtext.

How do your characters flirt? Think about their personalities and don’t make your heroine turn into a pouty-lipped giggling hair flicker if she’s usually quiet and serious, or a ballsy no-nonsense kind of gal, or your down-to-earth guy metamorphoses into Mr Charmer. Let your characters lead.

Sexual tension between characters often arises due to some interpersonal conflict between them. This may be because of the situation they’re in, one a cop, the other a fugitive, to give an obvious example much beloved of Hollywood screenwriters, but is at its most effective when there is a conflict between their personality types. As we all know, opposites attract.

Innuendo is a great way of injecting an element of simmering sexual attraction into a conversation without the characters blatantly saying ‘I really fancy you.’

The only thing to be careful of is that your dialogue doesn’t become too obvious, with your innuendoes becoming blatantly sexual in a 1970’s skin flick kind of way. No ‘gun in the pocket’ jokes, please.

Sub-text is a subtler way to show tension of any kind in dialogue – it’s the reading between the lines, what the characters don’t say – and it only works in the context of what has gone before. For example, look at this simple exchange;

John ‘I’ve always liked to dance.’

Jane ‘I remember.’

This could mean anything. John and Jane could be old friends having a casual conversation at a school reunion, with no further implications. However if we already know that John and Jane are old flames that are still attracted to each other, and that this is the first time they’ve seen each other since a brief night at a friend’s wedding where John asked Jane for dance that turned steamy and ended up with him sweeping her out of the ballroom onto a balcony for a passionate embrace, then the exchange takes on a different meaning. We know they are now both thinking of that last frenzied embrace, and that the tension is growing between them.

What isn’t said can be as powerful as what is.

About Kelly Lawrence:
Kelly LawrenceUnconditionalRei Bennett Photography - Kelly 10Kelly Lawrence is a writer, teacher and mother from the West Midlands. She is the author of the bestselling erotic memoir ‘Wicked Games’, New Adult romance ‘Unconditional’ and two writing guides, of which ‘Passionate Plots’ is the first, to be followed by ‘Building Your Story’ in August 2014. She is currently working on a book aimed at young adults called ‘The Anger Games’ exploring teen trends in digital activism, and also writes historical romance and contemporary crime for Harlequin as Michelle Kelly, with ‘Sins of the Children’ her first major crime novel being released later this year.
You can contact Kelly here:
@lotuswriter
Buy Passionate Plots Here: 

 

 

 

 
© 2017 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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