Talk‌ ‌Dirty‌ ‌to‌ ‌Me‌ ‌😉!‌ ‌

Disclosure: May contain book spoilers but only in relation to… relations 🤣 Also, this is about sex in literature in case it was unclear. This is also about sex in fantasy novels that play heavily on romance as opposed to romance and erotica. Also, just in case it needs to be disclosed, I do not encourage underage sex, though it exists, so it exists in fiction too. Not so important but an FYI, this was planned for Valentine’s Day, but I kept changing my mind on how I wanted to write this. Finally, here it is.

As an adult who loves a full emotional journey in her reading, love and lust tend to play a big roles in most of the books I read. I’ve also written various levels of explicity in my sex scenes, and each one suits the book’s tone and the characters in the scene. I’ve been told I’m good at them, so between my reading and and feedback on my writing, I’d say I got this down. This means I have very specific opinions, and I’m going to share them. 

Let’s breakdown my thoughts..

  • Dirty talk. Don’t get me wrong, some sex talk is pretty realistic and fun for the characters, but there’s a limt. Sure, romance or erotic can get away with however much they like. But when romance is paired wih another genre, it all depends on the readership you’re going for. 
  • The tone should suit the characters’ age and experience. YA can totally have sex scenes since YA includes late teens, but I’d expect it to be more emotional than physical. A good example is Cassandra Clare’s love scenes. Adult or NA however… go as smutty as you like. I’m looking at You Sarah J. Maas. Love her smut. I find that many explicit books are mislabelled as YA when they should be NA (new adult) but I have another rant on that. 
  • The MC’s experience should play a huge part in how they feel before, during and after sex. Some might be nervous because it’s their first time even though they’re adults like in A Touch of Darkness by Scarlett St. Clair. But it’s still ok for a first love to cause butterflies even if it’s not the character’s first time like Feyre in A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas.
  • Balancing the emotional and physical makes a much fuller experience for me. And by physical, I mean physical reactions and sensations, though please avoid using the words, explosion and fireworks if you plan to write love scenes. One of the best scenes I’ve read was in Serpent and Dove by Shelby Mahurin. 
  • Speaking of explosion and fireworks… language is also important, and readership’s age should be considered. When I read YA, I expect some delicacy. When I read adult, I expect more specificity but still… we know what goes where so there’s no need for a play-by-play of every cringe-worthy thrust and pump and pound. Please, just NO.
  • Bodily fluids. Eww. I recently read a book with quite fun sex scenes, until… the mention of his seed dripping down her things. I’m looking at you Sarah for A Court of Silver Flames. That kinda spoiled it for me. Eww. 
  • Timing is everything. When emotions are high, it might seem like a good time to get spicy. Not necessarily. Any situation where the character feels vulnerable then safe with their love interest is good. However, when someone’s just died (maybe after the funeral when the shock has worn off is… ok-ish), or after a fight when the characters are still covered in blood is NOT romantic in my opinion. That’s what stunned me in Jennifer L. Armentrout’s A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire
  • Quantity. Too many sex scenes can bore me and make me skim. This is when summarising is best after the first two or three unless there’s a particularly special moment between the characters, which leads me to…
  • Special moments. These are pretty much exempt from all my previous opinions because they need that extra umph. I’m not talking the first time in general or first time with a specific love interest. I’m talking about that moment when they realise this is it. Whether its “I love you,” or “You are my mate,” or some other unspoken words that equal love or a magical bond, these are the moments that need to be consummated and emphasised to the reader. 

So there you have it. Lots to think about when writing a sex scene, and lots of ways to satisfy or disappoint readers. 

Image by Bingo Naranjo from Pixabay

Stranger in My Brain

Enjoy another piece from my Embracing Darkness collection.

There’s a stranger in my brain. She let herself in a while ago. I asked her to leave, but she wouldn’t. Now, she sits there all comfortable with a smug look on her face. She used to stay out of my way, someone in the corner of my eye. Not anymore.

There’s a stranger in my brain. She shouts and screams at me. She beats me and leaves me bleeding on the floor. The abusive little bitch kicks me when I’m down and won’t let me get up. I’ve fought back plenty of times, but she’s strong. 

There’s a stranger in my brain. She locked the door and shut the curtains so I can’t see the light. They block out the world and the people along with it. I found a way to stay in contact for a while, found others who understood and helped me fight her.

There’s a stranger in my brain. She hates my friends. She’s jealous of them and their growing happiness while she and I struggle to find it. She said I didn’t need them, and I only needed her. We were better off alone. The bitch tricked me.

There’s a stranger in my brain. I see her sneer in the mirror, see the vileness in those eyes that used to hold so much shine. They don’t shine anymore. She stole my shine, my perkiness, my cheerfulness. 

There’s a stranger in my brain. She laughs now I have no one. She made me push everyone away, the only people who gave a shit about me. She taunts me and now I’m alone with this stranger in my brain.

Image by MLARANDA from Pixabay 

For My Goddaughter on Her First Birthday

The With Love collection is for the special people in my life.

They say good things come in small packages, but your heart is forever growing.

Your heart can hold immeasurable love and beauty.

Your heart can keep you going when life tires you.

Your heart can light your path when darkness falls.

Your heart can warm you when you are cold.

Don’t let your heart stop growing.

With love,

Your Fairy Godmother.

A Fantasy in Darkness


Check out more from my Embracing Darkness series.

Darkness consumes me in its obsidian, a welcome relief from the blinding light of day. It wraps me in its coldness, and I let it. A black veil draws closed another day, and here, in my stillness, I have only myself.

I am free, yet Darkness traps me in my own imagination. It follows me like a shadow. Never ceases. Never strays. Never stops. Constant thoughts battle in deafening war of truths and lies. They steal the reality of the light and turn them into what I please.

Fantasies grown from a single seed, and I reap the bounty as if famine had denied my imagination of its sustenance. Vines of lies and illusions twist and entwine, but all I see is life and beauty in this dark place. Why can I not see the lie?

I reach for what I think is real only to grasp at air that chokes me. I lose myself in the toxicity of it. Breaths do not come, only retching and agony. Fallen, I flail, reaching for something sturdy, a hand, a rail, anything that can help me up. But here I stay on the floor in my darkness with the fantasies and lies.

Tell me the truth. Why lie?

Image by Kellepics at pixabay.com.

Whispers

Check out more from my Embracing Darkness series.

Through the cold abyss, Darkness whispers. 

You’re weak. You don’t deserve friends.

You lie. 

You’re not good enough. You’re nothing.

I cover my ears, hum a happy tune to drown it out. 

They hurt you. Hurt them back.

No. I won’t.  

You’re a vengeful person. Go on, take your revenge.

Shut up!

You can’t silence me. I’m your worst fears, your nightmares, your pain and suffering.

I said, shut up!

Do something crazy. Do something to show them how they can’t get away with this.

Go away.

You can’t fight me. I’m you.

And I’m you. So shut up and do as I say.

Silence. 

Yeah. I thought so.

Image by SuperHerftigGeneral at pixabay.com

Pondering Publishing Processes!

I’m still deciding if I want to self-publish or go for traditional. My novel is one line edit away from finished (as best I can finish it anyway) and there are things I need in place if I choose self-publishing, and it doesn’t hurt to read up on all the ins and outs of the process. 

There are pros and cons to both self and traditional publishing, but my biggest issue is paying upfront for self-publishing. I find it hard enough to save for a €500 PC let alone thousands for editors, cover designers and ebook designers, just to mention a few self-publishing costs. I just don’t earn enough, hence the reason I need another career. 

But if I could, I would seriously consider self-publishing. I have the time to put into marketing and self-promotion. I have the drive and technological knowledge to use things like social media and design and writing software to my advantage. I even studied media and graphic design, albeit a lifetime ago, so working directly with designers would not be daunting for me. I lack the skills to create the kind of cover I want myself, but I know what I want and what it would invoke in the average person skimming book covers and spines in a bookshop. 

After years of critiquing and having my worked critiqued, I feel confident about working directly with an editor. They know the market better than I do, but I also know what I want my story to achieve. Too many changes would take away from that and it I might have to consider what risk that poses to potential sales. There are sacrifices I’m willing to make, and some I’d rather not not. But if I go with traditional publishing, I won’t have that choice.

So it all comes down to choices, and how long I’m willing to wait to save up so I can keep those choices. Traditional publishing takes a long time, so maybe it’ll take just as long for me either way. 

Title image by Pixel2013 at pixabay.com

Great Writing Advice!

Read more. Read less. Get writing books and learn as much as possible. Plan and outline everything. Just sit down and write. Honestly, even the best writing advice doesn’t work for everyone. 

People regularly ask about the best writing advice on the writing website I’m on. So many people jump in with great thoughts and helpful tips for newbies. Honestly, I wish I’d asked when I first joined the site after drafting a 500+k pentalogy without having a clue. There’s so much information on how to write that it can be overwhelming for newbies.

I think the best advice is to take it one element at a time. 

What newbies tend to forget (me included when I started writing) is that writing is so much more than sitting at a document and typing away. It’s creating interesting characters, having your plot points make sense, considering your genre and target audience. There’s a ton of planning and research that goes into a WIP. Some people do this before they write while others do it as they go. 

I started by just writing and seeing if I came up with a story I wanted to make something of. I wrote a horrible first draft, even by first draft standards. But I considered it a very detailed outline. My next version was from scratch after looking up various writing techniques. But again, it was all too overwhelming with the options. 

After banging my head against my computer screen, I decided to get a couple of books. I started with “Writing Fiction for Dummies” because that’s what I was in relation to writing. It gives some great tips on each aspect of writing without overloading newbies. When I wanted to know more, I looked it up online with the basics already in my head. I then bought “Dialogue” and “Grammar for Fiction Writers” from Mary Kennedy’s “Busy Writer’s Guide” series. I also have “How to Writer Science Fiction & Fantasy” by Orson Scott Card. Between these books, I got more than enough advice to start my journey as a real writer. 

Over time, I found more advice and tips online to build on the basics I’d already learned. The best place I learned is from the critiquing website critiquecircle.com. check it out. You’ll be amazed what you learn by having others critique your work as well as you critiquing theirs.

I discovered some great YouTubers who not only gave great advice, but help writers think about what kind of writer they want to be. For me, this was the best advice I’ve found.

Firstly, Jenna Moreci. She has a variety of writing advice as well as marketing tips for those who want to self-publish. But it’s still helpful to know about these things like creating a social media presence, having a personal website, and being part of online writing communities. Below are some of my favourites from Jenna. 

She’s great with getting people to think about how they want to write rather than telling people how to write. I also just adore her realism over how the writing world works. 

Then there’s Abbie Emmons. She covers many of the topics Jenna covers, but delves deeper into the hows and whys of human behaviour to help build believable characters and plots.

Another favourite of mine is Meg LaTorre. She’s done a couple of collaboration videos with Jenna, which I really enjoyed. Their major books, The Savior’s Champion (dark fantasy) and The Cyborg Tinkerer (space steampunk fantasy) are very different in plot and characters. But they’ve still created really great literature. I’ve read Jenna’s Savior’s Champion and am halfway through Cyborg Tinkerer. So far so good.

I also like Sacha Black. She doesn’t beat around the bush and has a fun podcast.

You need to find a few sources who offer advice suited to you and stick with them. That’s not to say you shouldn’t keep looking for other perspectives. You should never limit your learning. But why change you main teachers if you’re learning what you need from them?

Jenna, Meg, Sacha, Abbie, and my critique partners are my teachers, so I’ll stick with them while seeking an occasional lesson from other authors.


Title image by Geralt at pixabay.com.

Chickpea Salad for a Hungry Writer!

This is a nice filling salad for any season and super healthy. 

Ingredients 

  • 1 jar or chickpeas (I use the whole jar, but for a side salad, use half or less)
  • 1 large red pepper
  • 1 pack of cherry tomatoes
  • 2 sticks of celery

Dressing

  • 2 tbsp or olive oil
  • 2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar 
  • 1 tbsp of ground pepper
  • 2 tbsp of parsley

Method

Halve the cherry tomatoes. Chop the peppers and celery into small pieces and mix with the tomatoes. 

Rinse and drain the chickpeas and mix with the vegetables. Add the dressing and adjust to taste.

Additional ingredients

  • Slicede hot dogs
  • Feta cheese cubes 
  • Thick slices of ham
  • Boiled egg

Enjoy as a yummy side salad or full meal. Image by Alexdante at pixabay.com.

Figuring out My Social Media and Scheduling My Blog Posts!

Books, Smartphone, Hand, Keep, Mobile Phone, Computer

Not very exciting news, but I’ve decided to start posting every Saturday and sometimes on Wednesdays if I have a lot to say. But it’s part of my

I keep dipping into future marketing ideas like playing about with quirky logos or getting back on Instagram. I forgot I even had an account. Then there’s my Twitter account. The only activity on there is my WP and Instagram posts. So why do I keep it? No idea. My Facebook is private and purely for friends and family. I’m on Discord, which I’m not sure is classed as social media or not, but I have a writing group on there.

But do I really need all of this right now? I have a day job, which allows me my mornings free to work on making writing a second career. If not, it’s a pretty intense pastime. But I’m serious about making something of my writing, so every morning, I sit at my PC and churn out new scenes and chapters, revise WIPs, critique my writing buddies (although I’ve lacked there lately), blog and plan and plot and do whatever writing related thing I feel needs attention that moment.

I need Discord to rant about writing, and I like this site since it’s a great creative outlet for me. But Twitter and Instagram??? I decided that I do need them, at least for Instagram, which is more suited to me than Twitter. I can’t explain it. But There’s something more comfortable about Instagram. I suppose that if I do become a successful (that’s subjective, of course) writer, then I could simply keep posting on WP and Instagram with the posts sent to Twitter. And I’ll just have to activate my Twitter notifications so I’ don’t miss anything. Right now, I hardly look at it.

Below are a couple of videos from two great author on social media and marketing. I already do some of what Meg and Jenna suggest, but thanks to their advice, I’ll be working on a few things gradually.


So I think for now, I have it sorted. I post one or two pictures a day on Instagram, and at least weekly on WP. I’ve actually started scheduling posts to keep to the same one or two days per week. That way, when I have the time, I can churn out a few posts, schedule them for the next couple of weeks, and then focus on my novel writing. 

Here are some of my Love Fantasy social media images…

It’s never too early to start working on these things if you have the time. Just remember, if you don’t work on your novels, you’ll have nothing to market.

Title image by Geralt at Pixabay.com