When it comes to sensuality ratings in books, the hot or cold designations have always confused me.I’ve read wonderfully sensual passages where the couple reached the bedroom door and then..well, the rest was left to the readers’ (often very fertile) imaginations.
And I’ve read scenes where the writer has tried so hard to be outrageously hot that the love scene reads more like a sex ed manual.And then there’s the totally I’ll-write-erotic-or-die scenes where I’ve wound up giggling in amazement and thinking, gee, that would be physically impossible unless you were eight feet tall and built like an Orangutan.
And who but another Orangutan would find that kind of sexy description hot?
Yep, in my humble opinion, writing really hot and sexy scenes that make the reader all hot and bothered is an art form and is done well only by really exceptional writers who have a knack for it. These scenes are usually highly emotionally charged as well as very physically hot.I write romantic suspense, so the sexy hot and the murderously hot have to balance. It's also a mistake to try to forcer oneself to write hot - at least, it never works for me. Possibly because when I get to a certain point where it’s obvious I’m trying too hard to get erotic - I’ll read it to my DH and we both fall about laughing.
My books usually have a couple of sensual scenes in them, but also a lot of banter between the hero and heroine which is both funny and sexy. I’ve been amazed when a couple of reviewers have described my heroines as bitchy, when they’ve actually been showing irritation or standing up for themselves with an Alpha male who’d swamp them if they didn’t. I wonder if these reviewers think women should always be meek and submissive and hide their true feelings?Still, I’ve always considered my books to be in the ‘mild’ rather than ‘hot’ category, and I’ve often wondered if I should make them hotter. I’ve been surprised when publishers have put them in the ‘sensual’ category. And even more so with reader response. Here’s a few of the reader comments I’ve got:
“Phew – that book is sooooo hot!” Reader fanning herself with said book.“Gee, I didn’t know sex could be like that!” Uhmmm, wistful reader….
“I marked the sexy parts in yellow highlighter to read to my partner.” What could I say to that?"Hey, if you ever want help with the research, you know where to find me." Yeah, and I know where to find your wife, as well.
And the all-time most embarrassing of all? “I just loved the sex in that book. Do you think your husband would give mine some tips?” Okay, my poor DH is still squirming from that one, spoken loudly at a party.Going sort of off-topic: when I was a kid, I used to watch old war movies with my dad. (Yes, I was a Daddy’s Girl). One of them involved a battleship slowly sinking in the freezing cold Atlantic. The Captain talks to the crew about abandoning ship. “We can either wait and hope we get rescued before she blows up, or we can take to the life boats. Would you rather freeze or fry?”
Freeze or fry. Be cool or hot. It’s a question I’ve wrestled with ever since.Maybe I’ll solve it in the next book.
I'd love to hear comments about how other people feel on the hot/cool/cold issue! To get an idea of how I'm coping with the 'heat', click here to read the first chapters of some of my books. :-)