Let me tell ya', writing the hot, sensual, erotic, pulse-throbbing, limb-numbing love scene is only slightly less fun than participating in one. Writing it might be better, because there are usually no miscues, no unseemly noises, no falling asleep right after it's over.
Actually, I like to write a scene that doesn't quite make it. I love to frustrate my hero. He becomes embarrassed in his "failure" and then obsessed with making it up to the heroine. I love a man who tries harder.
In truth, who can live up to what we come up with in our imaginations? The kind of love making we write primarily takes place at the beginning of a relationship and/or during some dangerous or suspenseful situation which is often hotter than what it devolves into as the years go by. That's what makes it a romance novel. The initial pulse-pounding excitement of new love, whether it's graphic or more sweetly written.
And I'm not saying that love making down the road in a relationship can't be pulse-pounding, limb-numbing sex, but generally, romance novels are about the dawn of love.
Let me list a few guidelines that I use — certainly not a complete list — for writing my love scenes. I'll use some of my own favorite scenes to illustrate my points:
1. Close my eyes (many of us are probably touch typists), go into my "zone," and run the scene through my imagination.
From THE BRIDE TAKES A POWDER - available here - http://amzn.com/B018BK1J6Y - for 99 cents preorder until December 15, 2015.
…I love writing dancing scenes…
Norah shook her head. Unbelievable. He'd been accused of cheating on test scores, and here he was hanging with the people investigating him and then calmly dancing with her.
And you're enjoying him, aren't you? Good God, he felt fine, amazingly buff for an English teacher. Although there was no reason an English teacher couldn't be a hunk. His soft shirt clung to his torso, her palm resting under his on a hard pectoral where she felt the solid pump of his heart. The jeans hugged his thighs all hot and firm brushing against hers. "Isn't it a conflict of interest for those two?"
He didn't seem to be worrying about his legal problems. "Do you know when the meetings were?"
Her eyes drifted closed at the heat of his breath wafting on her ear. Her stomach clenched, her clit throbbed at the feel of his large erection pressing against her belly.
"The grade changing ones," she murmured, almost forgetting what they were talking about.
Then he rubbed his cheek against hers and brushed his lips over her cheek right next to the already tingling ear.
She shivered, swallowing heavily. He was moving a bit too fast. Maybe he was using her as a distraction to keep his mind off the scandal. Maybe she was using him…
"I'm not thinking about that right now. Not with a very appealing woman in my arms," he whispered.
Lord, he was holding her tightly, and Lord, it was still wonderful. If she forgot for the moment why she was in this town she'd say she felt safe in his arms. She should run away as fast as possible but didn't truly want to. Running away two times in one week was excessive. She silently chuckled at that. Yeah, sure, use any excuse to stay in his arms. His marvelous, glorious, welcoming arms.
It seemed as if they'd been dancing for hours. "Why is your hair so long?" She fingered the strands on his collar. "Is that approved for a small-town teacher?"
He laughed, angling his neck displaying pleasure in her touch. "No, there's no rule. You should see the biology guy. He has a ponytail."
"How very progressive."
"This may be a small town, but we do know about the outside world," he murmured mockingly.
"Okay, okay. I'm sorry," she apologized. "You know, when I first saw Birchwood Falls from the train, it appeared from the mist lit by the sun like Brigadoon. So, in a way, it does seem like a magical town." He pulled his head back, narrowing his gaze, she supposed to see if she was making fun of the place. She calmly met his inspection, feeling a warm smile spread across her face.
His expression softened, his lips parted, lashes lowering. Oh God, he was looking at her lips, lips that started to tingle, to swell in anticipation, lips that wanted to touch his. He was going to kiss her right here on the dance floor. No. This can't happen. Must change subject. "How many people live here?" Stupid, stupid. In her oddly breathy voice the inane question sounded sensual to her ears.
2. Sometimes I use humor to give the scene another dimension.
From THE GUNNY & THE JAZZ SINGER - available here - http://amzn.com/B017X3K5L0
A big man at the back of a truck directed movers into the house. It was a small truck so there wasn't all that much furniture. An iron bedframe balanced against a tire while the man bent over, his gray t-shirt riding up exposing a muscular back and giving her a peek at a gorgeous ass in snug jeans. He and another man in work clothes hoisted a black leather couch into the air and marched it up the porch steps and through the door.
She put out a hand to balance against the window frame, too curious now to go back to bed. When the man bounded back down the porch steps, his chin lifted and his gaze riveted on hers.
His face with its hard features, strong chin, and dark shadow of a beard tugged at her heart. Short black hair stuck up over his forehead, which would have made him look boyish if he hadn't been filling out that t-shirt and jeans so well. She saw all this clearly. The street was only two lanes wide. Did this small amount of furniture mean the fascinating-looking man didn't have a wife and family? Not that it would make any difference to her.
He lifted a hand to shade his eyes, a big grin splitting his face.
She shivered. The arm holding her up shook. "Oh my God!" Slamming back to the side of the window, she pressed both palms against the wall's rough plaster.
Naked! She'd just shot him full-frontal nudity. She'd been so engrossed in the sight of him she'd completely forgotten her own bare-assedness. Oh shit! He'll either never speak to me or he'll be over here in five minutes.
How the hell was she going to get back to the protection of the bedroom? Her tiny house offered a clear view from the front window all the way through to the back. Afraid to peek around the curtain to see if he was still watching, she realized how cold she was. Her nipples—with a little gold ring piercing one tip—stood out like ripe, hard raspberries. Of course it was the chilly temperature and not her immediate attraction to the man's jeans. And chest. And flat belly…
Okay. Pull yourself together. Just sprint to the bedroom. He's probably not looking any longer. Just go!
She flew through the bedroom door, threw herself onto the rumpled bed, and pulled the covers up to her chin. A fine time to be embarrassed by her nudity but she liked to pick the time and place to grace a man with her body.
And welcoming a new neighbor with a buck-naked flash wasn't quite the same as taking over a plate of cookies or a tuna casserole.
Then it hit her again. She had just flashed the new neighbor. Laughter pealed out in a rush. Jesus. What a nutcase. Well it probably wasn't the first naked woman he'd ever seen. Unless maybe he was gay?
Crap! What a waste that would be.
"Well I'll be damned."
"Did you say something, Mr. Rahn?"
His balls had instantly drawn up into the hot shelter of his groin, his cock swelling in interest. Swallowing heavily the last spit in his mouth, he stood transfixed.
3. Pretend I'm the camera circling around my couple, viewing them from all angles.
From ANCIENT TIES, available here -
…focus, choreograph, and circling like a camera…
"Take it off me," she countered.
His breath caught in his throat. Aroused beyond what he thought possible by her demand and the low rumble of her voice, he roughly jerked her tunic to her waist. Her bare breasts swollen and quivering, his mouth watered at the compelling sight of their cherry red tight nipples. Groaning, he bent his head and closed his mouth around one, suckling hard, massaging her with his tongue. Sweet woman. Salty from sweat and tasting of desire. He curled his big hands around her middle and pulled her up, wanting her closer. She squirmed and wiggled, cried out, raked her fingernails on his shoulders. Arousal building to the bursting point, he drew on her breast and rolled her nipple with his tongue until he heard her shrill moans over the pounding of his heart.
Abruptly, he released her and dragged his bare chest across her soft breasts. Gripping her cheeks, he angled his head and took possession of her lips. Parting them, he swept his tongue roughly in, greedily invading every corner the same way he wanted to shove his cock into her ripe pussy.
The tunic clinging to her hips had to come off. Reaching behind his neck, he grabbed her wrists, pulling her arms above her head, pinning them to the wooden door.
"Yes," Janney growled. The man he'd fought, it had been the man from last night.
This was a different Marek. The primal warrior she'd only glimpsed last night. His breathing, harsh and loud, puffed on her face and neck as he kissed her hard. Her breasts bobbed with her choppy breaths. He roughly palmed them, cupping and squeezing then together in one large hand. Groaning gutturally, she arched into him. He jerked her tunic down. She twisted her hips, frantic for him.
The soft material of his leggings barely restrained his taut erection. She wanted that. Wanted his thick cock. Inside her. She rubbed her pussy against his thigh and panted, "Fuck me!" Hot and ready, begging. "Please…"
Two quick shoves and his leggings came off. Kicked away.
She was dizzy at the sight of his jutting cock, as hard and feral as he was. His muscles glistened—bulging shoulders and thighs. He was huge, overwhelming, overpowering and she wanted him to master her. To surround her in his potent heat.
His eyes glittered savagely and he raked his gaze over her body from her confined wrists to her bare scrunching toes. He ground his cock on her belly, his body slipping and sliding with sweat against hers.
She hissed in carnal excitement.
With an answering growl, he released her hands, roughly gripped her bottom and lifted her. "Spread your legs."
He thrust. Deeply.
Triumphant, she tightened her arms around his neck and her legs around his waist.
Belly to belly. Chest to breast. He was in. Her slick pussy closed around his heat, taking him home. "God, yes…" The cry tore out of her. She rocked, felt her interior muscles fiercely massage him, tighten around him. Started coming.
4. Choreograph my characters' actions step by step, knowing where their hands and legs and lips are at all times.
From JAKE AND IVY, available now at - http://amzn.com/B00OEFC9LK
…focus and choreograph — literally, choreograph…
He didn't know exactly why but one dancer, eyes downcast, drew his gaze. Her feet slowly tapping a pulsing rhythm, she raised her skirts above her ankles, white frothy petticoats contrasted against her deep red gown. Then she hiked her skirts further, the ruffles cascading down her side. He stared at her narrow stamping feet, her long slim legs encased in black stockings. Her free arm sinuously, gracefully waved above her head. At the same moment his gaze touched her face, her head snapped up and her dark eyes met his.
And all hell—and heaven—broke loose.
Frozen in place, his arm, whiskey glass in hand, arrested as it rose to his lips. He clenched his other hand into a tight fist. Holding his breath, aware of the heat blanketing his chest and flaring through his belly, he heard a buzzing, like dozens of bees all fighting a range war in his ears. Blinking once, slowly, and realizing his mouth was open, he closed it with a snap of teeth. Grasping the warm stone arch next to him helped recover his equilibrium.
Turning her face away, she twirled around tapping out a beat echoing in every thud of his heart. Young innocent eyes, wide eyes, locked on his again. As she moved, bending and weaving her graceful dancer's body and arms, her sensuous Madonna smile teased him. After every spinning turn, she unerringly found him in the crowd. His body, after its long deprivation of female companionship, reacted to the messages sent down by his brain. Heat radiated from his trembling middle like too much whiskey on an empty stomach. Except this feeling was a hundred times more joyous and a hundred times more terrifying—and baffling. The heat washed over him warming his cold lonely heart. Sweat broke out over his upper lip. Nothing existed except this moment—no future, no past. Just this. He had lusted before certainly. But this was more.
And he knew it. Down deep.
I want her. He hoped he hadn't said it aloud. I need her.
No! Panic-stricken, he argued with himself. Damn it. I don't need anyone.
The girl was a fine dancer. The footwork was simple enough but her arms and hands were the focus of her movements. Her long slim arms demonstrating the push-pull of the lovemaking of the flamenco hypnotized him. His lips pursed in a silent whistle. He wanted to wrap his hands around her lean supple waist and caress every inch of her. He wanted to trail his mouth all over her too—very slowly.
It was almost painful to watch her face, her amazingly changeable face. She looked sweet and innocent as a kitten one minute, the next she became sensuous and pouty, eyes flashing, hair flying. Her dark eyes and red full lips contrasted startlingly against the white of her face. His throat ached with the rapid beating of his heart and he passingly wondered why a Mexican girl's skin was so pale.
5. Use a delicate flick or brush of a fingertip to focus attention in a particular place. This makes the love scene, which is already a personal thing, even more intimate and focused.
An example from LOVING VALENTINE, available now at - http://amzn.com/B007JCTXRS
…focus and choreograph…
"Oh, God, do it."
"Do what, Val?" He made his voice ingratiating, as if he didn't know what she wanted. I know what I want. To push her knees apart and thrust his cock as far in as it could go. Restraining his wild need, he gazed directly into her eyes. "What do you want me to do, sweetheart?"
"Unh, you know." She arched her back, thrusting her breasts in his face.
Her gem-hard, little nipples rasped on his cheek. His voice went low and whispery. "Tell me what you want me to do," as his lips caressed the outer curve of one breast.
"Say it." He lapped a wet path down her center, then nuzzled his nose into the fold under her breast. "Tell…" Nip. "…me." Lick. Nip.
"Put…your…mouth…on…" She was obviously in shivery agony, her quick breaths joggling his head.
"Where?" Rafe's mouth hovered over a nipple, letting his hot breath bathe her. Letting her anticipate. Torturing himself in the process.
"Nipple." She stretched the word out, a shrill order.
With a loud, snorting, flumping sound, Rafe obeyed and engulfed as much of her breast as he could get into his mouth.
He heard her, knew it was more than she expected, and chuckled inwardly. Then he drew his lips up and suckled her in earnest. Suckle. Swirl. Suckle. Nip. Lap. Her head rolled from side to side. She'd drawn her knees up on either side of his hips and knocked them frantically into him.
"Rafe," she begged.
Here are a few questions that have been asked about erotic writing. These are just my opinions.
1. What makes erotic romance good?
If it turns you, as the writer or reader, on then it's good. What's the point of it otherwise? Warm and fuzzy, hot and bothered, or you need to run into the other room for your partner or a device — whatever — that's the point of erotic romance. Whether there's a story or not, if it doesn't turn you on, then it's not erotic. Sweet or mild sex may turn you on, but erotic must!
2. Do you write only what appeals to you or cater to the marketplace?
You write both. You can do both if you're creative. Readers expect certain acts from certain authors or certain publishers. I've had to creatively write to that without sacrificing how I want my scene to be. If there are scenes or sex acts or words that you do not want to write, then look around for another publisher or publish the book yourself. There's a heat level for every taste out there.
3. Do you incorporate scenes toward the male audience?
I think we primarily write for women. I think romance novels are a primer for love making. They show men how women like things done and what women like. They should be "required reading" for the male population.
4. What appeals to males?
I cut out an article from Cosmo a couple years ago called, "101 Hot Sex Tips from Guys." I thought it would come in handy. There were some very interesting and surprising things listed from the very obvious to the very specific. For example:
Say my name.
Nibble my bottom lip.
Never knock your body.
Watch me go in and out of you.
Wear high heels.
Suck on my stomach right below my belly button. (Now, that's pretty specific!)
And now a word for my latest release!
The Bride Takes a Powder
A Birchwood Falls Novel
by Jane Leopold Quinn
The Bride… is a companion novel to The Gunny & The Jazz Singer. Both books take place in Birchwood Falls. The Bride Takes a Powder features a big city runaway bride and a small town English teacher whose family also owns a local bar. Norah opens her eyes on the train and sees a sign—Birchwood Falls-You've Come Home. Taking that as an omen, she climbs off the train and finds a completely different life from what she's used to. Mike remembers the new woman in town from college, but back then she was way out of his league. Norah doesn't plan to let another man—no matter how sweet, smart and sexy—get close enough to hurt her again. But Mike's passionate pursuit of her, the way he seems to know just how to arouse her, awakens a sexual hunger she didn't know she had.
Sensual fantasies were locked in my mind for years until a friend said, "Why don't you write them down?" Why not, indeed? One spiral notebook, a pen, and the unleashing of my imagination later, and here I am with nineteen books published. The craft of writing sensual romance has become my passion and my niche in life. I love every part of the creative process—developing characters, designing the plot, even drawing the layout of physical spaces from my stories. My careers have been varied—third grade school teacher, bookkeeper, secretary—none of which gave me a bit of inspiration. But now I'm lucky enough to write romance full time—the best job in the universe! And I'm fortunate enough to have found my own happily ever after love.
Jane Leopold Quinn
My Romance: Love With a Scorching Sensuality