Wednesday, October 23, 2013

One Thing I Fear --- Is Sex by Margo Hoornstra

I do fear my writing.

However, I write romance. If you check out my website, I advise; Be Good To Yourself, Snuggle Up With A Little Romance. Or Sometimes sweet, sometimes sensual, always satisfying. That's another line I use to define my stories. Lofty promises, so I'd better deliver.

Though I constantly ask myself, how much is too much? What, exactly, is just enough? How detailed should I be in describing the love scenes? What are the logistics of it all? To paraphrase a presenter at a conference I attended, "We all know what goes where. So, it's a matter of how to get there."

I suppose the amount of sex used in any given work depends on the audience. Case in point.
A copy of my first book was on the end table one day. Enter my oldest daughter, who is well over the age of eighteen by the way, who decided to peek inside. Wouldn't you know, she opened to the one and only explicitly detailed love scene in the entire book. One, in my naivet√© as a new author, I felt obligated to put there. As far as I know, to this day she has never read another word I've written. For good reason, I suppose. She later shared with a mutual friend her eyes were on fire for days.
I took that as a compliment.
As I wrote and sold more and more books, I found I preferred to, if not close the bedroom door behind my characters, at least keep some of the details in the shadows. Allow them a bit of privacy in their love scenes.
Or maybe I gained confidence my readers will be able to, shall we say, fill in the blanks.
A cherished snippet from one of my reviews reads: "Her love scenes are sensual and sexy, but full of sweet romance."
My latest work is part of the Dearly Beloved series from The Wild Rose Press. In Only If You Dare my heroine struggles with her own questions surrounding sex, romance and love--in that order.
When recently divorced Cynthia Buckingham meets well respected judge Jonah Colt their mutual attraction is immediate and strong. They both believe a one night stand will suffice. Which is so nice, they indulge in  another, then another, and another. Cynthia cares about Jonah, she really does, but isn't ready to share his existence with her only daughter. As their relationship inevitably progresses, neither Jonah or Cynthia is prepared for the quickly growing avalanche of emotions that threaten to sweep them away.

She had no business stoking a fire she never should have started in the first place.

This is an excerpt:
“Jonah. I was wrong, and I’m so very sorry.”
His hand froze on the gear shift. “About picking up your car? I can just give you a ride home then.”
He obviously wasn’t going to make this easy for her, but who could blame him? “You know, I always tell my patients they need to focus on reality, to believe in what is, and go from there.”
“I understand you care about your patients. I’m not one of them.”
What did he think? That she was creating notes for one of her counseling session? “I was wrong about—I should have admitted to myself how much you mean to me and let you know, too.”
“It might have been nice.” He didn’t respond with anything more, just put the car in gear and pulled away from the hospital.
The litany of confessions had already formed in her mind and, when she couldn’t contain them any longer, began to gush out. “I tried to pretend what we had together—” She paused when her voice cracked. “—wasn’t incredibly special. I wanted to believe I could enjoy a physical relationship and dismiss my emotions.” Her voice lowered. “As irrelevant.” She laid her hand on his arm, and a bicep muscle twitched then tensed. “And that was my biggest mistake of all.”
“You were only doing what was working for you, I suppose.”
Squaring up in her seat, she concentrated on the scenery passing by outside. He’d said very little as she went on and on. Because she hadn’t given him a chance to speak? Or because there was nothing he cared to share with her? Either way, she had to go for broke.
“I love you, Jonah.”

Only If You Dare comes out on Amazon October 28th. It will be free on their KDP Select December 10-14, 2013.
Before you go, I have another issue, sex related. Covers. Covers for my books have included beach scenes with a shadowed couple holding hands, head shots of a man and a woman kissing. A caricature of a knight in shining armor. A chin to waist shot of a very handsome, tuxedo clad hero. All in all though, they have been relatively tame.

Along comes an author friend who knows of such things. She suggests I may want to push the envelope a bit. Go for a tad sexier cover. Anxious to try new things, I took her advice. This is what my publisher and I came up with. What do you think?

My days to blog here are the 11th and 23rd. Information on me and my books, along with the link to Only If You Dare when it's available, can be found at:


Leah St. James said...

I love the cover! I think it conveys that there's some sensuality in the book, but not blow-by-blow descriptions. On that topic, I think you should write what you enjoy, and readers who enjoy the same will follow. Great excerpt, by the way! Sounds like a terrific story.

Margo Hoornstra said...

Leah, thanks so much for the kudos. I sure wouldn't want to promise what I couldn't deliver. Only If You Dare is free in December!

Patricia Kiyono said...

Yup, that cover is definitely not tame. I wouldn't expect a sweet romance after looking at that. And I love those words of wisdom - we all know what goes where, it's a matter of how to get there - brilliant! As you say, the focus should be on the romance. Great post, Margo!

Melissa Keir said...

I love that cover... such a hot guy! I think that even as an author and reader, there are different amounts I want in my stories. Sometimes more and sometimes less. :) That's why I read such a variety.

Rohn Federbush said...

A bridegroom cover is perfect. Sex is more in the heart and brain than any other part of anatomy anyway.

Diane Burton said...

Great cover! It conveys the same idea as the title--daring. I love your daughter's comment about her eyes on fire. LOL

Barbara Edwards said...

Love the cover and looking froward to reading the book.

KatB said...

Ack, I saw nipple! lol Love the cover. Provocative, but not too racy. :)

Great post - I'm struggling with the same thing. My first book, Lucky in Love, I let it all hang out there and I don't think I've stopped blushing yet. With the second book, though, I toned it WAY back. Looking forward, I hope I can find a happy medium. I'm flailing around everywhere right now.

Also, love that your daughter's eyes being on fire was taken as a compliment. Still laughing over that one. :)

Jannine Gallant said...

Writing sex scenes isn't my favorite. I feel like a peeping Tom. Give 'em some privacy! But certain types of books require more details than others. I'm not big on describing body parts, either. Great cover and excerpt!

Alison Henderson said...

My first couple of books had much more explicit love scenes than the last two - of course, I had hormones when I wrote them. LOL. My daughter refuses to read anything I've written, and I think that's probably for the best. Wouldn't want to set her eyes on fire. Love your cover!

Margo Hoornstra said...

Patti, Glad you approve of my cover. Wish I could take credit for those words of wisdom. Kind of says it all, doesn't it?

Margo Hoornstra said...

Melissa. I will take credit for picking out the cover model picture. I needed a guy in a tux!

Margo Hoornstra said...

Rohn. Good call. How true, of course the heart and brain must be involved!

Margo Hoornstra said...

Diane. I'm pretty pleased with the cover. If I do say so myself, my daughter has a great sense of humor.

Margo Hoornstra said...

Barbara. Thank you. It's FREE December 10-14 on Amazon!

Margo Hoornstra said...

Kristen. It's always a balancing act. Continue flailing. That's how we learn.

Margo Hoornstra said...

Author Friend Who Knows of Such Things, er I mean, Jannine. I like your Peeping Tom characterization. I feel the same way.

Margo Hoornstra said...

Alison. Nothing wrong with a little help from hormones now and then. Probably best our daughters don't read our stuff. Too restricting.

Anonymous said...

Hot cover! Love it! I like the tension that builds to those scenes, but prefer not to write them, lol. Great post, Margo!

Alicia Dean said...

I am also afraid of sex...the real kind. JUST kidding! Although I'm not sure I remember... Anyway, I love your post and your excerpt. The cover is fantastic. It's sexy but understated and doesn't promise erotica. Looking forward to reading the story. I have written sweet to really hot, and I prefer not to be too detailed in sex scenes. I love the build-up and the angst and yearning better than the actual act. :-)

Jana Richards said...

I love the cover! Beautiful.