Saturday, 28 February 2015

Sex in Fiction

We've all heard the old adage that sex sells. Its entirely true. The human being is obsessed with sex and sexual practice and orientation more than any other creature on the planet. Most writers now include some hint of sex in their novels for adults. There are whole novels where sex is the main theme - romance, erotic romance and erotica - sex at its undiluted form.

What I am asking today is what do readers prefer? To my mind there are three basic type of sex in books - Behind Closed Door, Soft Sex and Hard Sex.

Behind Closed Doors is the safest form of sex in literature. This is the kind where nothing is really said, there are a few hints in the text that implies that a couple have spent the night together but its not discussed in any detail. Not in the prose and not by the characters. You tend to see these scene trace along the lines of "And they headed for the bedroom." Then suddenly it cuts to the next morning, one or more character might be wearing a bathrobe and making coffee or breakfast. I personally find this sort of thing in books a little boring and certainly unsatisfying but its the most some people can handle.

Soft sex is what you find in most main stream romances. The love making is written in soft flowery language and the two involved are often deeply in love. Whether it is an instantaneous love at first sight or a draw out courtship doesn't matter, the first sex scene is always something special. Romance, oozing passion and tenderness. Don't get me wrong it can be hot but its usually sweet too.

Hard Sex doesn't always have to have the romantic element to it, not a first. This is more lust at first sight, you get it more in erotic romance and just plain erotica where the point of the narrative is just for the characters to get down and dirty. You often find a wider range of positions and language used. Some very coarse and dirty. It is also often where you find the author strays or takes full on trips into the worlds of BDSM and Menage. The love making is meant to be hot and sticky with everyone getting satisfaction multiple times.

So back to my question, for the modern woman whether she reads in secret or in full view which is more popular? Please comment below with what you prefer. Behind Doors for don't ask, don't tell. Soft for the romantic, always a gentleman or Hard for the rough and ready kink.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Love Webs

Most main stream fiction has an element of romance to it. Boy meets girl or Girl meets boy and falls in love. However you then have the love webs that form when its not quite as simple as all that. I have observed three different types which I want to explore a little here.


Yes I am starting with this triangle between the human, the vampire and the werewolf. Its a classic where two boys are in love with the same girl and despite herself, she can't help having feelings for both. As this is a teen book the adult option of just having both of them is ruled out straight away. Trust me there are more than enough fiction out there that handles the adult option.

In a young adult world the choice is tougher. You have the werewolf who you could have a normal life with, have a family (I am ignoring the fact about the later "vampire baby" on purpose), and grow old with.

Or you have the romantism of marrying the eternally young vampire and becoming like him. Living an eternal life seeing everyone else around you grow old and die.

The main drama in this type of triangle is the two men fighting for the attention of the one woman, that the young men do not like each other and try to make the other look bad. Its entirely unfair on the poor girl especially if they are both hot.

What I didn't like about this triangle in particular was the way Bella kept insisting forever that Jacob was just her friend only then to admit that she was in love with him too. It seemed to me like she just wanted to have her cake and eat it, or was using the admission to keep a friend rather than lose him, which I don't deem as entirely fair on the friend.

Mortal Instruments

The romance structure here is different from the triangle above for two reason. One it involve more people and two the other two love interests are unspoken and there for ignored by the principle couple. Clary falls for Jace almost instantly and their burgeoning romance is very intense. She having lived a very normal life is being drawn into a dark world which Jace inhabits and she too should have been a part of if not for the actions of her mother. Coming off from this normal pairing, we have the unspoken loved interests.

On Clary's side we have her best friend Simon. A geeky young man that has never had the courage to Clary how he felt about her and she is completely oblivious to his attention because she herself has never seen him that way. A willful blindness as it were. Only when someone else comes into her life does he decide that perhaps its time to let her know but its already too late.

On Jace's side is Alec. Alec's attraction is unspoken because of the general taboo still existing about same sex romances. His attraction has never been noticed because its never been overt, its always been a secret and gone unnoticed by Jace because he doesn't think such a think possible. I think Cassandra Clare was very brave to include a gay character in teen fiction as it could so easily have gone bad. Not from the teen audience themselves who are far more open to the possibilities and acceptance of same gender feelings but from ultra conservative parents.

The crux of this web is though that the main characters are going to be together and eventually the two unrequited piners will drift away seeking to become part of their own pair rather that a spare wheel.

Anita Blake

Here we enter the world of the adult options. We have Anita Blake, Animator and her two beaus. Once again we have that vampire against werewolf dynamic with Jean-Claude the Vampire and Richard Zeeman the Werewolf. Although Anita often claims to want to be a one man woman in the first novels the fact is she develops feeling for both and ends up having a relationship with both of them.

However this is not the end because she ends up having meaningful relationships (and by meaningful I mean more than just sex) with several other men. At first its blamed on the metaphysics but eventaully Anita come to enjoy the pilgamist lifestyle and spends more time defending it as not being wrong.

All these romantic scenarions however bring up the old question of can you really love more than one person at once? I don't mean physically, you dirty minded people ;) but the connection of hearts that for most of our lives we are taught should be between just two people. Of course these days there is a far more flexible attitude to whether that be one man, one woman, two men or two women - which I have to say I am thankful to see. It means we're evolving. The exploration of love in fiction should continue. Books and movies are one of the ways we are first introduced to the ideas of love and relationships, no matter who they are between.

Monday, 16 February 2015

Meet A Writer Monday Presents...

...Elysa Hendricks

1. Tell me about your book Must Love Cats - The Nine Lives of Thomas Cash Riley and where you got your inspiration for it?

I've been a cat lover since before I can remember. The idea of Must Love Cats came about because if I died and came back as an animal, I'd chose to be a cat.

2. If you could sing one song on American Idol, what would you sing?

Sing? Who me? Not a chance. I know my limitations. While my father has a beautiful voice, and even sang with the likes of Frank Sinatra and Mel Torme, I did NOT inherit a single note. So, while I can hear the song in my head it'll never come out of my mouth. Simon Cowell is so relieved.

3. Are the titles of your books important?

I love titles. I have a file filled with titles that someday I hope to write stories for.

So yes, I think titles are important. A title can give the reader a clue as to what kind of book they're going to be reading. Star Crash and Star Raiders, both scream sci-fi adventure, Or it can tease them into picking up the book to find out more. Must Love Cats - The Nine Lives of Thomas Cash Riley makes the reader curious.

While with traditional publishing authors don't always have control over the titles of their books, with the advent of indie e-publishing authors can chose their own titles.

4. Are there any occupational hazards of bring a novelist?

Poverty. Carpal tunnel syndrome. Gaining weight. Becoming a hermit.

5. Have you ever written a book that you loved but were unable to get published?

I've written many books that haven't been and aren't likely to be published. My first novel Children Of The Mind, which still holds a special place in my heart, I never even submitted because I knew it wasn't ready to be seen. It was my kindergarten book. The story I used to learn how to write. Someday I may pull it out and see if it can be rewritten and edited into something fit for publication, but for now I'm busy with new story ideas. So it remains safely tucked under my bed, guarded by killer dust bunnies.

6. Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?

Yes, I'm a masochist, I read my reviews. Bad reviews hurt, but I learned early on, however, to NEVER respond to them. My favourite "bad" review is for my sexy sci-fi romance Star Crash. The reviewer said, "this isn't anything other than pure porn, and badly written porn at that." While this review stung, my question is, how much porn do you have to read to know the difference between bad porn and good porn? My husband's answer, there is no such thing a bad porn. He has a twisted sense of humor. Guess that's why we managed to stay married and best friends for over 42 years.

7. Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?

There are subjects that don't inspire stories in me such as, vampires, politics or religion, but I can't say I'd never write a story with those subjects as a backdrop. I'm also not much into mysteries (I can never figure out who done it,) thrillers or suspense, but if a story idea comes to me that falls into one of these categories then I'll write it.

8. What do you like to read in your free time?

I love reading romance because I'm a sucker for a happy ending, but I'll read just about anything from historical to sci-fi, as long as it's a good story.

9. Do you have any suggestions to help someone become a better writer? If so, what are they?

First read - a lot. Join a writer's group. Take a writing course, at your local college or online. Read books on writing. Learn the art and craft of writing, what makes a good story as well as the technical aspects of putting words together so the reader wants to read that story. And write - a lot. Like any skill it takes practice to get good at it.

10. What are you ambitions for your writing career?

My ambitions are simple - write good stories that people want to read. I've reached an age where the thought of fame and fortune no longer motivates me to write. Of course, a few extra dollars in my bank account wouldn't be turned away. I write because the characters who live in my mind and heart need me to tell their tales. Without me they'll never exist. Writing for me is like the escape valve on a pressure cooker. If I don't write, my head will explode.

11. Have you written any other novel in collaboration with another author?

A friend and I co-wrote a humorous women's fiction book.

Grannies & Trannies: Vegas or Bust combines the best of The Golden Girls with The Bird Cage on a wild, wacky, and heartfelt road trip to Las Vegas to rescue a friend from the mob. We're shopping it around to publishers.

12. Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages a day?

I wish I were organized and disciplined enough to set myself daily goals, but I'm more of a hit and miss writer. When an idea hits me I'll sit and write for hours. Other times I have to force myself to keep my butt in the chair and my fingers on the keyboard. Writing is hard work. I usually tell people I hate writing, but I love having written.

13. What are your thoughts on writing a book series?

While several of my books are loosely linked together by subject and location, I don't really consider them a "series." My fantasy Moon books are set in an alternative universe and have some cross-over characters, but each book can be read and understood without having read the others. Same with my sci-fi romances Star Crash and Star Raiders. They're set in the same futuristic timeline.

The closest I've come to doing a series is my Council Falls stories. The Baby Race, Maggie Undercover and my Holiday in Council Falls short stories - Cupid's Apprentice, Lucky's Leprechaun, A Kitten For Christmas and The Christmas Village. Each story is set in the small town of Council Falls, IL and characters from one story are likely to show up in another.

My latest book Must Love Cats - The Nine Lives of Thomas Cash Riley is also set in the town of Council Falls and is the first of what I'm hoping will be a series of nine books following the adventures of TC Riley as he plays matchmaker to various couples and redeems his soul.

14. What do you think of “trailers” for books?

While I enjoy watching trailers and have one for Dark Stat Dawning and Must Love Cats, I don't know how effective they are in marketing or selling books.

15. What happens when you get half scared to death twice?

A man finds a genie. The genie grants him three wishes, but warns him that whatever he wishes for his worst enemy will receive twice as much. He wishes for a million dollars and his enemy gets two. Then he wishes for a mansion and his enemy get two. For his last wish he asks the genie to scare him half to death.

16. What’s the best Halloween costume you’ve ever worn?

Since my birthday is near the end of October every birthday party I had as a child was a Halloween themed costume party. Every year I was a witch. When I was young I was the scary, dark witch complete with warts. As I grew older I morphed into good, white, sexy witches ala Glinda. After raising two boys and dealing with their friends idea of Halloween fun - eggs thrown at the house and cars, garbage strewn on the front porch, and my car lifted and set sideways on the driveway (okay, that one was funny,) I became disenchanted with the holiday and stopped wearing costumes.

17. What would be the most gratifying thing a fan could do in your opinion?

Write and post a review then tell their friends, family, and strangers how much they love my work and why. Word of mouth is the best form of advertising a writer can have.

18. What’s your star sign? Do you read your horoscope and do you believe them?

I'm a Scorpio. Occasionally I'll read my horoscope, but can't say I believe in them. I know we're all made up of star matter, so the idea that the moon and stars can influence our lives isn't entirely out of the realm of possibility. I just don't think the horoscopes published in the paper or online really have much to tell me.

19. If you could choose to stay a certain age forever, what age would it be and why?

I've enjoyed every age I've been so far. As long as my body stays healthy and my mind stays sharp, age is merely a number. It's not how many years you've lived, it's how well you've lived them. That said, thirty-nine seems like a good age to be. Old enough to know things and young enough to care. Of course, I wouldn't want to live forever at any age unless the people I love could do so as well.

20. What did you do growing up that got you into trouble?

Growing up I was the "good girl." I never gave my parents grief or caused any trouble. My motto for "real" life is and has always been "boring is good, excitement is vastly overrated." I save all the trouble, adventure, and excitement for the characters in my books.

21. Where’s Waldo?

Last I looked Waldo is in central Ohio, just north of Columbus. Population 331. If you want to know more: Looks like a nice little town.

22. What was the last movie, TV show or book that made you cry or tear up?

Dolphin Tale and Dolphin Tale 2. I love movies about animals, especially ones based on true events. Since I live in the Tampa, FL area, someday soon I'm going to take a ride over to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium and see Winter and Hope, the dolphins that the movies are based on. I'll just have to get someone else to drive because just thinking about them makes me tear up.

23. What is the one thing you always wanted as a kid but never got?

When I was eleven my beloved cat, Spooky died just before Halloween. That year I wanted a kitten for Christmas. Christmas came and there was no kitten. Not wanting to upset my family I went down into the basement and cried, more for the cat I'd lost than the one I didn't get. In March of the next year I got a calico kitten I named Casandra, Sandy for short. She was with us for eighteen years.


Thomas Cash (TC) Riley is mad, bad and –dead. Killed in a one car wreck the twenty-nine-year old playboy is given one last chance to redeem himself for living a selfish, unfulfilled life and to determine his soul’s final destination.

To help his young daughter recover from the loss of her mother, Daniel Bishop, a widower who dislikes the country and is allergic to anything with fur, has moved back to his wife’s rural hometown to be close to her large family.

Katherine Sinclair, the local veterinarian and the single mother of an adventurous ten-year old son, is wary of the handsome newcomer. Once before she’d given her heart to a wealthy, charming man and she’d ended up pregnant and alone.

With the help of a lonely little girl and a brash young boy, can TC find a way to bring these two damaged people together? Can he remember his past and save his soul in the allotted time?

And can he do it all as a cat?

Check out the book trailer here

About Elysa
Elysa Hendricks is 5'6" tall. She has curly hair and brown eyes. She's an author, a wife, a mother and a daughter. Everything else is subject to change without notice. Elysa enjoys writing stories set in different places, times, and realities. She's published 14 full-length books, ranging from sweet contemporary to sexy sci-fi, as well as numerous short stories. While living in north east Illinois she helped found several chapters of Romance Writers of America. She's taught workshops on writing at writer’s conferences and at community colleges.
Recently relocated to sunny Florida, she and her husband Vern are volunteer staff at the new Sun City Center community radio station WSCQ-FM 96.3

Web site:


Saturday, 7 February 2015

Top 5

Top Five Romantic Gestures you see in movies that rarely happen in real life

#5 - The Notebook - Noah (Ryan Gosling) builds Allie (Rachel McAdams) the house of her dreams years after they parted ways in the hopes that it would somehow bring her back to him.

Where did the money come from for such an elaborate project? I mean I would be impressed if a guy built me a house but not enough to go running back to him if I knew our relationship had such elaborate difficulties that it caused me to run off for years. Your average guy can't afford to buy you a house in this climate let alone build you the house of your dreams.

# 4 -  Say Anything - When Llyod stood outside Diane's window playing the song they were listening to on their first night together

Holding up a boombox playing a song outside the window. Tres Romantic. Never going to happen though, not without some serious reprisal from the other people in the house this would wake. I imagine her daddy throughly ticked rushing out to whoop this boys ass and refuse to let him ever date his daughter again.

#3 -  Beauty and the Beast - Where Beast gives Belle a whole library (Yes I am aware this is animated and its for the bibliophiles)

Of course these days finding an enchanted castle with a hideously transformed prince brooding inside are far and few between. I'm not saying a whole library isn't a great gift, it is. Hell if a man gave me a library I would probably end up marrying him to. I'm just saying realistically that its unlikely. Also its not like that library wasn't already there.

#2 - Ten Things I Hate about you - Where Patrick serenades Kat in from of the whole Soccer Team.

Sounds so romantic right. How often have you met a guy willing to embarrass himself on a grand scale like this? Especially in the cruel world of high school where nothing stays secret for long and if you can be taunted for it then you will be. Also, why was the door to a room full of expensive audio equipment not locked while not in use? How did a guy with no previous hint of technological know how happen to know how to operate it?

#1 - How to lose a Guy in Ten Days - When Benjamin sends Andy the white roses at her work

I happen to like white roses too but how realistic is it to expect a guy to do this. The amount of preparation he'd have to do - knowing what hours you worked, the address and that you'd even be there (not out of the office or off sick). I'd be more worried about how a guy I had only briefly met had all these details. Can we say stalker anyone?

Monday, 2 February 2015

Meet A Writer Monday Presents...

...Susan Whitfield

1.    Tell me about your book Slightly Cracked and where you got your inspiration for it.

I’m in my 60s and finished with menopause so I can now laugh at some of the horrible flashes I had. I decided to write about two middle-aged life-long friends who support each other through some truly stressful circumstances.

2.    What is one misconception people have about you?

That I’m not particularly friendly. Honestly, I’m quite introverted and sometimes quite uncomfortable in a crowd.

3.    What do you think is the biggest challenge of writing a new book?

Um, I guess getting it straight in my mind so that I don’t have to waste time outlining and reoutlining as I go along. I seem to have trouble with time. I also don’t like interruptions like phone calls and unexpected visitors. I’m easily distracted.

4.    Are the titles of your books important?

I think so, especially my Logan Hunter Mystery series, each one named after a place. The title Slightly Cracked came about due to gaggle of geese who returned to the same pond each year to nest and hatch their young and also because of Daisy’s concussion.

5.    How much of your book is realistic?

Well, my readers who are mostly 40-70 years old say they can relate to Sugar Babe and Daisy Marie, so it must be fairly realistic.

6.    What is your favourite character from your book and why?

I love Daisy Marie Hazelhurst because of her malapropisms. She doesn’t mean to be hilarious but she is.

7.    Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing/etc. come from?

I started reading when I was four years old and still read when I’m not writing. Our home was filled with books and I usually got some for my birthday or Christmas.

8.    What do you like to read in your free time?

I read every genre except fantasy, sci-fi, vampires and such.

9.    What are you ambitions for your writing career?

I have seven published novels and am currently writing my first historical fiction, the most challenging project I’ve ever undertaken. I hope to complete it during 2015. It is titled Sprig of Broom.

10. What are your thoughts on writing a book series?

I thoroughly enjoyed writing the five novels in the Logan Hunter series but knew I wanted to try some other genres as well. I decided to end the series with Logan in a much better position and move on to some other genres. I have written one women’s fiction and authored a cookbook. I’m not sure if I’ll do another series but I certainly plan to write another women’s fiction.

11. What is the strangest talent you have?

 I am a great whistler.


Daisy Marie Hazelhurst and Sugar Babe Beanblossom have been friends since infancy. The only thing to ever threaten their lifelong friendship is the Old Dickeywood subdivision goose controversy.

All if forgiven when Sugar Babe realizes that she must encourage and protect Dairy through difficult circumstances and "Driving Miss Daisy" takes on a whole new meaning.


About Susan

Multi-genre author Susan Whitfield writes the Logan Hunter Mystery series with gruesome weapons, strong women, quirky characters and humor. Mysteries include Genesis Beach, Just North of Luck,Hell Swamp, Sin Creek and Sticking Point. She authored Killer Recipes, a unique cookbook, and wrote a women's fiction, Slightly Cracked. She's currently writing an historical fiction. Susan interviews authors and industry experts on the blog.