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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Guest Blog & Contest with Linda Thomas-Sundstrom

My author guest this week is no newbie to the Paranormal genre. Linda Thomas-Sundstrom has quite a few books already under her belt and I am sure there are more to come!

Linda's lastest release is Golden Vampire which is part of the Vampire Moons series. If you haven't already checked out Linda's books then maybe her guest blog will inspire you to do so! And if you enter the contest you may even win a copy of Immortal Bad Boys!


"Tall, Dark, Fanged and Sexy" - Helps to make writing sex scenes a breeze.

Hi everyone. Good morning. I'm Linda Thomas-Sundstrom, guest blogger, and author of paranormal romance books for Kensington, Dorchester, and Harlequin Nocturne — joining you today to chat about sex scenes in paranormal romance stories, and what makes them exciting. I'd like to tell you what I think about what makes them work, and hear what you like/dislike about the things you read. I just love to network and share ideas. Connect.

Well, okay. Sex is always exciting, you're probably thinking. And oh yes, we'll all agree. But how about sitting down to write about it, getting descriptive, and plotting where it needs to appear in a book? What if there is more than one such scene in a story? How do we keep the tension alive between characters after the deed is done? How do we make each scene different? Can careful planning ruin a perfectly good tete-a-tete?

Welcome to the world of the romance writer. I'm sure there are several of us here today, right? And since there are so many differing opinions and heat levels in books, what we can all probably agree upon is this:

If we're not writing in the erotica genre, which is basically sex for sex's sake, then our wild, tame, understated, or over-the-top bedroom scenes, which of course don't have to actually be in a bedroom, have to be in the right place in the story. We know that for the sake of building sexual tension, sex between main characters can't be too soon in the book, or the story is usually over.

Anyone here a Moonlight fan? Once the hunky vamp star slept with the reporter he was attracted to, the show was over. Finished. To our dismay. And now, we're watching Castle, wondering how long they'll keep this show going, with its hot and sometimes steamy tension between Beckett and Castle, while remembering this tried-and-true romance no-no. No real hanky panky.

Of course, this is where writing skills come in, hopefully. Main characters can sometimes get their clothes off and get together, but if they do, they run a big risk. And there has to be a good reason they then pull apart, immediately afterward. More tension has to be in place between them, maybe even more than before, so that all of us romance lovers get back on track, hoping they'll beat the odds and do it again. (*Yay!*)

My first book was labeled erotic romance, for Kensington Brava. It was a historical vampire tale in the "Immortal Bad Boys" anthology. Dark stuff, with sex. Then I wrote a goofy girly tale for Dorchester about the perils of paranormal dating. "Barbie and the Beast," which had a sort of off-camera sex scene that went with the style of the story. I'm currently writing dark, sexy paranormals, vampires and werewolves, for Harlequin's Nocturne imprint, and digging this. Because creating even more tension to a sexy story excites me. Adding an element of danger, a chase, a full moon, and plenty of atmosphere . . . brings a whole new element to sex scenes. Makes them hotter, wilder, and a real pleasure to write, from book to book.

Paranormal atmosphere turns me on! Ha.
And no - you may not interview my husband about this! (*grinning*)

I'm a firm believer, both as a writer and an avid reader, that there's a time and a place for sex scenes in a story, and that those concerns have to drive the story, and make sense. Whether the scenes are terrifying, electrifying, wild, or just plain sensual as heck, we readers can't be left satisfied until the end. We need to be left wanting more.

I try to remember this when I write. And maybe I get super descriptive and describe in sizzling detail what's going on between my characters, and maybe I don't. But I do always try to fit the scene to the story I'm telling . . . and in doing so , I often fall in love with writing romance, all over again. What could be better than that?

As for my process, and whether I try out these scenes I write out, just for the sake of believability . . . I'll never tell. I mean, the internet lasts forever! But when my fictional characters get together, the sizzle of those moments, in print, tells something about the writer, eh?
I sure hope you've read some of mine.

Okay . . . my opinion here. So . . .
What do you like about a sex scene? Graphic? Not? Perfect timing? Not?
Maybe you don't like them at all?
Are you a paranormal fan, like me, with plenty of ideas on what to do with a pair of fangs?
I'm really hoping you're willing to share.




Contest Time

This week the prize up for grabs is a copy of the anthology Linda took part in, Immortal Bad Boys! U.S/Can only.

How To Enter

Linda already asked a few questions! Answer one to be entered in the contest!

No answer = No Entry

Earn more entries for each link you place about this contest on the net. You can post on Facebook, Twitter & MySpace but make sure you add links here for me to confirm your entries! However please do not make individual postings for each entry. Please post all your entries in one post.

Advertise Amberkatze's Book Blog on your site and get an extra entry for this and every other contest!

Amberkatze's Book Blog

You can also earn extra entries by emailing your friends about the contest. Just make sure you send a copy of your email or receipt to me at Amberkatzes_book_blog at gmx dot net.

Make sure you post your links here so I can confirm your entries.

Keep the contests going by using the Bookdepository.com and Amazon.com links/Banners below and around the site!

The Book Depository

The contest will stay open until Sunday 29thof May 2011 4pm CET and the winner will be picked by a randomizer. Entrants should check back to see if they have won. I do not hunt down winners and will pick new winners for any prizes not claimed within 7 days.


Barbara E. said...

What I like about a sex scene is more emotions than actions. I don't need to know every little touch and where each body part goes, I'd rather know what they're feeling. So no to graphic, and as far as timing goes, I think it should fit the story, not just be thrust in at any opportune moment for the obligatory sex scene. Yes, to the fangs, I do like having a bite as part of the act between a vampire and their lover. I guess you could say I'm more into the slow fade than the graphic descriptions.

Linda Thomas-Sundstrom said...

I Barbara. Thanks for leaving our first comment! Hoorah! And I'm glad to hear you're with me on this one. Building sexual, sensual tension is what my writing process is all about. I prefer stories that sizzle and build.

I believe that Golden Vampire is a good example of this. Plenty of story, heat, and lots of tension to keep main characters apart, even though we just know they will at some point break down some barriers. I mean - YUM.

Cheers for now-

Terry Spear said...

Hi, Linda! Love your books. Hmm, sexy is great, lots of tension is great. Lots of heat is great. Lots of emotion is great. Yep. Works for me! :)

Angela McCallister said...

Hi Linda! Just picked up your newest yesterday at the RWASD meeting. I was very glad to see you didn't shut the door on the reader. Sex is a pretty big part of a romantic relationship, often revealing the emotion there, so I prefer it as a part of the story. I also feel like each instance should serve a purpose, not exist as gratuitous (erotica may be the exception). Sometimes I don't mind where it happens as long as that criteria's met. My second MS has the first sex scene early because it actually causes much of the conflict in the relationship.

Graphic's good, but I don't really appreciate courser language and I prefer the scenes to have a link between emotion and action rather than just a tab A in slot B blow by blow--pardon the pun!

JeanneD said...

Hey Linda! I'm with you that a sex scene needs to have a reason in the story, not just for shock value. To each their own on this of course, but I just like the tension leading up to the act, and "the act" can happen behind closed doors.

Linda Henderson said...

I do like a good sex scene, but sometimes less can be more. Not that I object to a graphic scene, but it depends on the story whether or not I prefer a graphic one or not. In real life there usually isn't any perfect timing so I don't think it has to be in a book. A little biting is not bad either.

SimplyME said...

Sex scenes are always a good tension builder in a great vampire and lover scenario. People see vampire movies and read books that dont go into a hanky panky scene and although some dont admit it think "What would it be like to have sex with a vampire?"

To much graphic description can be well lets say too much of a good thing can turn bad. And a vampire and lover sex scene cant be complete without the bite and the sensation described.

I have read some where it leaves room for the imagination of the reader and can continue the story with great tension and desire. Which is always a great thing it gives room for the reader to dive in and think of the scenario in the mind and the thrill of the bite.

But too much graphic not so much my cup of tea. But a good well in the moment, with room for my mind to roam wit, and the excitement of the lover getting the bite is just right for me.

debbie said...

I think the most important thing about the sex scenes is when they happen. If it fits into the story, they can be great. I don't mind it being graphic. I just don't like it when they are used as a crutch to prop up a story. That just throws me out of the story.
A little fang is okay. What else would you expect out of a vampire?
I would love to read these books, they sound really good.

Meredith said...

Not too graphic, but somewhat descriptive. And they don't have to have perfect timing. Characters can be spontaneous.

meredithfl at gmail dot com

Barbara Monajem said...

I prefer a maximum of two or three sex scenes in a full-length story, and each one should have something to do with the growth of the characters. Too many sex scenes is often boring -- both reading and writing. One of the advantages in writing paranormal is that there are added elements that perhaps make it easier to sustain the sexual tension and suspense. :~)

Linda Thomas-Sundstrom said...

I am so glad some of us (well, actually all of us here, so far) agree that a build up of sexual tension is just so... hot!

As a writer who has written erotic romance as well as non-actual-sex-on-camera, more girly light romance, I really like the balance that I've found when listening to my characters' needs, as well as my own, as the storyteller.

It's not exactly "what would I do here, if there were me..." but of course my innate sensibilities often go into the mix. The "chase," even if it's so much more than that one word could possibly describe, get me, interests me, engages me every time.

You all are terrific! Can't wait to hear more.

Say what? Uh-un.

Linda Thomas-Sundstrom said...

Oh - adding this for tomorrow...

WHAT FUN !!! Good research here!!

What is the sexiest drink you can think of? You see Tall, Dark, and Handsome holding a drink... so what would it be? (And don't say O positive.....) *wink*.


Linda Thomas-Sundstrom said...

Yes - someone just emailed me through my web site to ask a question - so I thought I'd answer it here. Thanks for the comment, Jeanne D.

I do write both dark and light paranormals. My light side started with "Barbie and the Beast," not now available. (I do have a few copies).

Next month (June) I have a new, very girly and frivolous paranormal along the same lines arriving online.

"Veronica and the Vampire" has a terrific cover (I adore this cover)!!! It's a long novella, and I plan to make this a series, since I get email asking me for more of my light side.

I say, about this series, that it's a romp through the perils of paranormal dating.

Yeah, I know. You get whiplash trying to keep up with my dark stuff and light stuff. HA!

Dual personality, anyone?


Lisa Kessler said...

Fun blog Linda!!! :)

I like sex in the paranormals I read and I'm fine if it gets graphic as long as the characters stay in character.

It's often a let-down to me as a reader when there is this hot alpha male and we FINALLY get to the bedroom and the scene fades to black... ugh!

I think that makes me pro-sex scenes... LOL

Love you books!

Lisa :)

Unknown said...

I like erotic scenes. But I prefer making love rather than just hard porn.


Linda Wisdom said...

Great post, Linda!

I've always loved a lot of foreplay. Getting it even more hot and heavy.

Linda Thomas-Sundstrom said...

AH, yes, Linda W.... "foreplay" is a great word, and even greater concept.


Unknown said...

For me, its not the number or how graphic in nature the scene is, it's the connection between the characters. If the author hasn't made me feel the bond between the characters, I'll skip the sex scene.

Gabriella Hewitt said...

Like others have said for me it's about the emotion. I don't need the graphic description as much as I want to see a connection between the characters develop. Sexual tension done well can really keep me hooked from page to page.

I've read your stories and you do know how to keep it "hot!" ( :

Sharon Stogner said...

hmmm, I don't like to much detail. I am not an erotica fan. I like lots of tension building scenes before the big "moment" .

I love your covers!

Andra Lyn said...

Hmm...I had to think about this one lol. Well, I think almost anything goes when it comes to the sex scenes as long as it fits with the characters having sex. Have they emotionally or what not been readied for this scene? I think the emotions and the foreplay are almost more important than any actual graphic depictions of the sex...I hate it when it seems like the sex just came out of the blue, and there is no reason behind it, and the characters don't connect in any other way than physically lol

hense1kk AT cmich DOT edu

Unknown said...

I love paranormal books. I do love sex scenes. I would love to know what they are feeling. I like having some details. I love it to be very romantic. Please enter me in contest. I would love to read this book. Tore923@aol.com

Linda Thomas-Sundstrom said...

Hey - Tore - my main character's name in RED WOLF is Tory!

Good morning, everyone.
Still listening...


Victoria said...

What I really like is the build up to the sex scene. Then I like to actually see the scene. Those glossed over ones drive me nuts. I'm an adult reading an adult book, I can deal with sex ;). Like others have already mentioned there has to be a reason for the sex too. Not just sex to have sex in the book. I've tried reading a couple of those and they don't make it past my 100 page rule.

Basically all I read is paranormal. I'll throw another genre in every now and then but paranormal is my mainstay.

It really depends on the characters if I like the bite being part of the sex between the two.

Gail said...

Hi Linda,
I’m a huge paranormal, romance & erotic romance reader.
I agree with you that the lead up to sex is almost better than the act. It all has to mesh and blend without compromising the story. I’ve read some books that the story is good, but it all falls apart with the sex. There’s nothing worse for me than to be bored in the middle of a book, it spoils the whole story for me. Then there are others even erotic romance that I’ve read have a great story line & the author makes it all work.

You’re a new writer to me, but I’m going to search out your books. Thank you for sharing some of your writing process with us. I really enjoyed this blog.

Aurian said...

Hi Linda, I haven't read your books yet, but I do plan to do so. I don't like sex scenes in the first few chapters of the book, let the relationship develop a little first please. And then it is how it fits in the story about how detailed it is. For my personal tastes, there is too much sex in the books and not enough story or suspense.

Linda Thomas-Sundstrom said...

Love these comments. Thanks.

I wonder if you believe that you'd have your characters do what you'd do in their place?


Lisa G said...

Depending on my mood, I enjoy both extremes of sex scenes and the various levels in between. The more detailed or graphic the scene, however, the more likely I am to be destracted from the storyline by trying to figure out how the couple is achieving the position(s) being described. IMHO it takes a very talented author to pull this off.

While I read pretty much all of the various romance genres, paranormal is my favorite, especially shifters of all types. I find the mating mark and permanency of the shifter mating found in most of the shifter genre to be a big draw; I guess due to the frequency of divorce and break-ups in our real world.

I have several of your Nocturne books and have enjoyed them greatly. Thank you!

Magaly Guerrero said...

I think a believable sex scene is the most difficult thing to write. Not because I can't handle the heat, but because in order to make it believable I find myself having to skip some of the real details. For instance, fluids are rarely sexy, but they are there. Also, because after great sex in a book, the only thing that can top it, is even better sex. In other words, I think the best way to keep the tension is to build it and bring the climax of the couple and the story very closely together.

Linda Thomas-Sundstrom said...

Well, google has been "erroring" my message I try to post, so sorry for the delay. Hoping to get this one through as a test.

But the comments are terrific. Thanks!


wanda f said...

I think a sex scene needs to have a reason in the story, not just for shock value.I agree with what Barbara said about it being more about emotions than actions not to graphic.

Linda Thomas-Sundstrom said...

The week is winding up soon, and there had been so many great new comments on face here, for me. I'm heartened to hear that I'm on the right path with my own personal thinking on this issue, and that some others agree.

And I hope you will keep me in mind when you read the books you're reading, and what we talked about here.

Happy Thursday, everyone!
www. lindathomas-sundstrom .com

Unknown said...

What I like about sex scenes is the emotion and the passion you feel between them. It isn't all about sex. It is about how they feel about each other and their need to be together. I like hearing details. I like the sex scenes to be romantic also. I love reading paranormal books. I especially enjoy reading about vampires and I also like wolves. Please enter me in contest. I would love to read your books. They all sound very good. Tore923@aol.com

Pam S said...

I have to say I agree with most everyone's comments already so far.

I for one love variety - I read all heat levels from sweet to scorching, with that said I have favs from both ends of the spectrum. I prefer connections and tension to be built, emotions to be conveyed, those are what draw me in way more than the mechanics.

As for fangs... die hard vamp fan that could come up with lots of uses lol.

Pam S
pams00 @ aol.com

/\Heather/\ said...

Hmmm, it depends on my mood. Sometimes, when I read a scene, I'm like, that's IT?? Sometimes, I sigh and move on. I do have a little fang flinch going on...just can't imagine someone biting me where the sun don't shine. Ouch.
heatherpooh (hotmail)

Kelly g said...

I'm kind of a perv I guess. I like graphic sex scenes.

kgrant77 at gmail.com

Kelly g said...

I'm kind of a perv I guess. I like graphic sex scenes.

kgrant77 at gmail.com

Unknown said...

Great sex scenes make a great story but it is tricky to get the right scene. I think you have to build it up based on the characters and events. I don't object to graphic scenes if it seems true to character. garrettsambo@aol.com

Erica G said...

Sex scenes are fine, but it depends on the book and how well it flows. Sometimes a littel is enough. Sometimes something more graphic fits better.

cinderwhims at gmail dot com