Saturday, November 1, 2014

Release day post: Writing erotica isn't as easy as it looks

Today is release day for Planning an Addition, the fourth and final novel in the Love Under Construction series. No, it's not the last you'll hear of the Walters clan - there are three Citadel books and four Legacy books coming, so hang in there and you'll be richly rewarded.

But there's something that's different about this book from anything I've done so far. This time around, I wound up with M/M components in the love story, and that's a new thing for me. So how does a hetero female write M/M?

She does a lot of research.

First, I read a few other M/M works, but I try not to do that. I don't want someone else's voice in my work, and that's a really good way for that to happen. I chose carefully, but I found that none of the works I read helped because my scenes are VERY different from those.

So next I found some works written by gay men, not stories, but actual accounts of their romances and encounters. Those were pretty interesting. Unfortunately, those were also not much help because the two individuals in my M/M were entirely different. One is bisexual, and the other considers himself to be straight. And that pretty much shot those works right out of the water.

Then I did the thing I always do. I started reading works that explain exactly how the sex act is performed between two men. I'm talking mechanics, physiological responses, etc. Not the most fun reading, but definitely the most accurate. I learned lots of things, some that I really wish I didn't know, but that's okay - that kind of information lends itself to far more realistic-sounding scenes. So I read and read and read.

And in the end, I had to do something I knew I'd do all along.

I just asked the characters. I let them talk, let them develop the relationship, let them experiment on their own. Their personalities are the key to virtually everything they experience in the books, of course, and letting them form their own relationship was the real answer to every dilemma in writing the work. It did something important. It let them do it their way and got me out of the way. How I felt about their relationship no longer mattered. They spoke, and I listened and wrote down the account just as they wanted it written. And guess what?

It worked.

What I wound up with was a rich, multi-layered, transparent look into the lives of a couple of people, one of whom is deeply in love, and the other, terrified. It also gave me a portal into the thoughts and feelings of the other person they brought along for that ride, and her perspective was interesting too, not to mention her inclusion in the relationship. Well, okay, it's more than interesting - it's frickin' hot.

I also discovered something else as I wandered down this pathway, and it's that there are very few menage books that feature all three of the characters actually in sexual relationships with each other all the way around. And I found they interacted in ways I never expected but loved. Some of those interactions were way past kinky, but that suited them. Not only that, they made no apologies for the way they felt about each other, but finally embraced it and let it grow. That encouraged me.

In the end, they were sweet and sexy and loving toward each other in a protective, familial way. I loved them before; I love them even more now. And holy hell, are they ever hot. Hot, hot, hot. Flaming hot. No, I didn't mean it that way, just hot. Okay, maybe I did mean it that way - sue me. But I love them and I'm especially proud of one of them for doing what he knew he wanted to do but was too afraid to admit to at first. You, Peyton Stokes, are my guy, and you rock. I'm so proud of you I could . . . no. I'm not going there.

I love this book, and I love that I'm getting to bring it to you. I hope you enjoy it, every hot, sweet, painful, sorrowful, joyful minute of it. And if you don't, you can blame them. They wrote it, after all.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

My Reads: My Body-His (Marcello) by Blakely Bennett

When I picked up Blakely Bennett’s first book in the My Body series, I was hooked – so hooked, in fact, that I went ahead and bought the other two, then spent the entire weekend reading them. A few weeks ago I told you about My Body-His. Now I’ll tell you about the second book, My Body-His (Marcello).

First, let me just say that if you know me, you know how I feel about Italian male protagonists – love ‘em. And this book just fed that passion. We go back to visit Jane and Luke, and watch as the relationship becomes more and more dysfunctional, if that’s even possible. There’s a push and pull as Jane both tries to be the submissive Luke wants and tries to keep some of herself. Unfortunately, she fails on both accounts. After she’s disobeyed at a party, Luke sends her to Marcello as discipline. She doesn’t want to go, and when she stands up to him, the beating he gives her forces her to do the one thing that pushes him past the point of no return.

Having nowhere to go, she winds up at Marcello’s anyway. Marcello is one of those characters, not the ones you love to hate, but the ones you hate to love. For all his harshness and abusiveness, he also has a tender side, and uses some common sense in his use of Jane and the handling of her emotional fragility. Marcello had told her early on that she would be his, and due to her own actions, that winds up being the case. But exactly what that means is unclear, and she’s subjected to yet more pain and degradation under his tutelage. Problem is, even bound to a whipping horse and used as a toy by every man in attendance, something about the sex and the unsteadiness in her love of being used by men brings great instability and yet great peace to Jane’s life.

When this book ends, Jane has become Marcello’s, even if only through attrition. But Marcello may be one of the better things that’s happened to Jane. Or may not. That’s left to be seen.

I loved this book. Once again, Blakely took me into a world of extreme BDSM with enough mind fucks to turn the strongest submissive into a blathering fool. Luke’s behavior made me hate him even more, while Marcello’s understanding, patience, and temperance gave him the human touch he’d lacked before and helped me both like and appreciate him. I also loved Blakely’s exploration of Jane’s relationship, or lack of, with her father, a clue that let me see into the reason Jane could so easily allow herself to fall for Luke and be totally controlled and manipulated by him.

These books are must-reads. I can’t say enough good things about them, and in a few weeks I’ll bring you the final one, My Body-Mine. Until then, grab these two and get caught up on the series. Once you start reading, you won’t be able to put it down.