Can there ever be too much nooky?

I’m on the home stretch in my rewrite for ‘MMMM’ but as I rewrite/edit I’m having to ask myself the question, how many sex scenes are too many!? They are all there for reasons but at last count I have five, which seems quite a few for a 50k novel.

First one is the ONS – and as it’s a ONS-that-turns-to-much-more hook, that one’s kind of a necessity.
The next is the night he propositions her for more and she agree to a no-strings attached affair.
The third is there to show their relationship developing into more than just sex – to show them also have fun and getting to know each other.
The fourth occurs after a heavy conversation which spurs him to wonder if they should end it cos she’s obviously the marriage and babies type. She says no, she can handle it.
The last one, is in her office, when she knows she’s pregnant but hasn’t told him yet and he’s basically decided it needs to end. But he can’t resist her charms one last time.
So what do you think… does that sound too many for MH? Anyone keep a record of how many are in the books they’ve read? Hey… I know it’s a long-shot but figured it was worth asking.
If any of these scenes have to go… I think it’s the last one. And that might just happen since I’m having to rethink the BM completely!!!!
Added: This post on Bitten By Books was just brought to my attention by someone on the RWA Aus e-loop and it seemed pretty fitting. Interesting reading!
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The Ed’s Verdict!

I know you’re probably all dying to hear what the editor said regarding my query about the Black Moment being plot contrived or not!?

Well… the short answer is YES, it was! Extra character (as much as I loved him) is not required at all. In fact, the ed would much prefer if he was no where near the hero or heroine when they come to the realisation about the future of their love.
So… bye bye love sick secondary character!!
The long answer… she actually thinks my whole Black Moment has problems and wants me to rethink how I’m going to approach this. ARGH – can you hear me screaming from where you are!?
I’m sure if I ever manage to finish and sub this mss, I’ll deserve whatever treat I can think of to give myself… cos right now it feels so hard!!!
But I am WOMAN. Hear me ROAR! I will conquer this writing this. And I WILL get published – one day or another !

Plot Contrivances – the bane of my writing life!

In my revision letter, I was pulled up a lot on ‘plot contrivances’.

One eg. ‘It did feel very coincidental that P and C ran into Tim (that’s her nasty ex btw) and his wife together.’

In the above scene, running into her ex-fiance with the hero triggers an important conversation about P’s backstory and conflicts. The editor however wanted me to think of another way to make this happen. She suggested maybe they run into a doctor who delievered some bad news to P instead.

Now I can see how this is slightly less contrived – cos both P and C are working for a children’s charity in a hospital and therefore could more likely run into a doc. But it STILL feels a little contrived to me.

I find it really hard to decipher what’s contrived and what’s an okay coincidence!?

Take the BM (which I’ve written in the original incarnation but am not up to in the revised version yet). P cooks a lovely, romantic dinner for C and just when she’s expecting him to turn up, another man who really, really likes her, turns up instead and is in the throws of proposing to P when C arrives. I’ve hopefully foreshadowed this enough through the story so that readers won’t think ‘What the?’ when he does. The reason I wanted the other man to show up is that I wanted C (the hero) to realise that in just having a ‘fling’ with P, he’s holding her back from what she really wants. Then he sees the hugely romantic dinner laid out and freaks.

This triggers a heated discussion where he makes her confess that she does want marriage, babies, the whole shebang and he leaves.

So my question is… is the other man a plot contrivance or because I’ve foreshadowed it throughout and am using him to make C sit up and think, is it okay? Would love to hear your thoughts.

I could do this scene without the other man. Have C come upon the romantic dinner and simply freak out, but personally I think it’s much stronger if he sees that there’s someone who loves P enough to want to give her marriage and babies and so he realises he should take himself out of the equation. But I could be too close to this, so I’d love your thoughts and opinions.

I think I’ve realised I actually quite like it when external forces (not earthquakes and fires etc, but things that are more likely to happen) give the hero or heroine a shake-up! Perhaps that’s my downfall – I like a bit of action 🙂

The trouble with MY heroes…

Is that they’d only be able to be nominated for Best Supporting Actor in the Oscars and let’s face it, we want our heroes to hog centre stage!

Have I confused anyone yet?

I’ve just started Laurie Schnebly’s Masterclass: From Plot To Finish. The aim is to plot an entire book in two weeks using the resources, ideas, etc that we got together in the previous course.
I’m planning a Superromance – didn’t want to do a Modern Heat for fear I’d get confused between the course book and the wip – about a runaway bride who returns to a small country town ten years after she left their golden boy at the alter.
Her goal is clear – she returns to help her godmother recover from an accident and also do another thing, which I shall keep secret at this point 🙂
His goal was to make her life miserable so that she leaves town again. While this goal is okay, I’ve learnt that he needs a goal that would still be there if I removed the heroine from the equation. And I’m stumped. Every goal I think of for him comes back to the heroine and the worst thing is I’ve noticed a pattern.
I wrote a list of all my ‘current’ and ‘recent’ wips and realised that my heroine’s usually have quite strong, tangible goals but my heroes? Not so much.
So it’s back to the drawing board for cattleman Tom! And if anyone has any brilliant ideas, please feel free to jump up and down with them – or just leave them in the comment box 🙂
Here’s a little bit about Tom to get your creativity flowing…

Having asked his high school sweetheart to marry him, he was devastated when she left him at the alter. He’s a wealthy, land-owning cattleman who is the town’s golden boy (or man now). He’s a success in everything except love. He has a teenage girl in his care (not sure exactly who she is yet). Now his runaway bride has returned to town and turned his world upside down.

Oh the HEARTBREAK!

I’m up to chapter five on my rewrites. Need to write three more chaps before I can get on with finishing the book. And it’s gut-wrenchingly, heart-breaking. Must of what I’ve written must go to fit with the new direction of the book as requested by the editor.

Phrases I’ve slashed today, which caused me great pain to do so include:

*What did she expect? She’d walk into his office and he’d immediately start unbuckling his belt?

*His gaze trailed down to an illegally short skirt and indecently high, indecently sexy black f-me boots. He almost swallowed his tongue.

*Perhaps he’d like to push a few of her buttons and see just how many sparks they could make fly if he made her lose her cool, calm and collected persona once again.

*She bit down on the grin that threatened, daring to hope his intentions weren’t entirely honourable.

*P’s mind ran feral with thoughts of what the night could entail if she played the next thirty minutes right.
What about you? Have you cut any smashing lines lately? How do you ease the pain?

Introducing Leah Ashton!

I know, I know we all spend far too much time surfing blogs when we should be writing as it is but I just have to intro you to another blog and writer to watch out for.

My good mate and fellow sandgroper Leah Ashton has just started a blog. She’s targetting M&B Romance and is hugely talented. I won’t say much more cos she’s done an intro on her blog… but go on over and say hello!!!

Happy Cupcake Award

A WHILE back the lovely Lacey Devlin nominated me for a Happy Cupcake Award – now this truly made me smile, for since being pregnant with High Maintenance I’ve been a cake fiend!!

The reward says I must write a list of ten things that make me happy so here goes – in absolutely NO order at all:
1) Writing – it’s my absolute dream job. Who wouldn’t want to be able to show up to work in their pjs in winter and only their underwear in summer!? Now if only I could make it a paid one 🙂
2) My boys – all FOUR of them (including hubby). They drive me insane most of the time and make me tired (no one asks me if I was a child bride anymore) all the time but I wouldn’t want to live without ANY of them!
3) My MUM – she like totally rocks. She loves my boys (including hubby) sooooo much and would (constantly does) go beyond the call of duty for all of us. She even irons hubby’s shirts and High Maintenance’s school uniforms. I didn’t meet my dad until I was 17 but have been more than blessed in the Mum Department.
4) Diet Coke – I know I’m probably gonna get lectures from at least half of you on how it’s so bad for me and killing me slowly but I DO limit myself to one can a day and its my only vice. Besides chocolate!
5) My friends from school – five of the best friends a girl could ever hope for. They are totally different, all totally stunning and beautiful inside as well. I don’t see them nearly as much as I’d like but when I do, it’s like we’ve never been apart.
6) Cats – they have so much personality and are clean, unlike DOGS!
7) Romance Writers of Australia – through this fabulous organisation I have come so far in my writing and met the most amazing people!
8) Reading – it’s a pleasure I don’t get to nearly enough.
9) My part time job working at the local library!
10) When my house is clean! It rarely is and I HATE housework but for those few moments it’s spotless – I’m one happy woman!
Now am supposed to play tag and nominate other people for this brilliant award but most people I know have already been nominated – so if you want to play and haven’t yet been nominated, then I nominate YOU!!!

Sex please!?


Now… that got your attention, didn’t it 🙂

I’ve been reading over (and over and over and over) my revisions – highlighting them, pulling them apart and typing up notes on what needs to be done for me to move forward and make this mss sparkle enough for Mills and Boon to WANT IT!! And one of the main things I need to focus on fixing is the SENSUALITY.
It’s not that I’ve been told my love scenes are crap – more that I could make them A LOT steamier, more unique, more emotional. One phrase the editor said in regards to these scenes was that I should really try to PUSH THE BOUNDARIES OF SENSUALITY.
Now… I’ve been mulling this over for a day or two now and I’m pretty doggone certain that she doesn’t mean I need to introduce hand cuffs, blind folds, sex toys or veggies!
In the current version I had my h&H getting nice and cosy in the bath far too early and I’ve been told I need to really ramp up the sexual tension here. So I’m probably gonna lose the candles and the bath and go for something much more special… when I can think of what that special is.
There’s a black out and my h&H ‘sleep’ together in near pitch black with only the natural acclimatization of their eyes to help them see. I’m thinking I could use this whole dark element and bring into play the other senses – touch, taste, smell – a WHOLE lot more!?
Before I dive head first into these rewrites, I’ve been catching up on a little reading (am WAY behind on my TBR pile) and hoping that I’ll have some sort of light bulb moment while reading the love scene of my fave authors.
Finished Natalie Anderson’s ‘To Love, Honour and Disobey’ last night – loved it, no surprises there – and am about to start Kate Hardy’s ‘Good Girl or Gold Digger!’ Oh and I just read Heidi Rice’s sneak peak of her new book on her site and am thoroughly bamboozled – but in a good way.
Of course… while hubby thinks I’m reading instead of doing housework, I can say it’s ALL in the name of research. He’d actually prefer we did some research of another sort entirely – wink wink, nudge, nugde!!!
So what do you like in a love scene? What WOWS you!? Come on ladies, inspire me!!!

I’m in LOVE!

Okay perhaps infatuation is a better word.

I was gonna write a post about the hero I’ve been brainstorming for my next mss and how utterly divine he is but that I’m having issues with setting his conflict directly against my heroine who is also very strong to me. But I was only playing with this mss while tring to NTA the sub that was currently sitting on someone’s ‘desk’ in Richmond.

Anyway I’ve heard back on my sub, which was just over the first half of the novel. I heard back in a WEEK, which is why I’m in LOVE with the editor I’m working with. She’s so kind and yet professional and helpful in her letters and she really MUST get some type of award for her speediness! Really, she must.

But you’re probably all dying to know what she said, right?

At first my heart beat wildly and I almost died without reading the rest. She opened with something along the lines of my mss having strong elements but NOT QUITE achieving that elusive emotional complexity and sexual tension that I’d achieved in the partial. ARGH. Fighting the urge to slam the laptop shut and bang my head against the wall, I jumped to the end of the letter to find my fate.

Bottom line was despite a number of revisions on what I sent, she STILL wants to see my full.

Am excited by the fact I still have a full request and hugely daunted by what I must do in order to sub it.

The revisions all make HUGE sense. Everytime I read a revision letter I find myself thinking – of course! Why didn’t I see that?

But once again – as seems to be the case with a lot of revision letters doing the rounds lately – I was relying more on convenient plot devices than following the true nature of my hero and heroine.

So now… it’s kinda back to the drawing board. Allowing my heroine to feel angry about seemingly being used for sex and my hero to really feel the guilt and betrayal of his late wife while feeling immense attraction to the heroine!

Wish me luck! And I promise I’ll try to write less self-centred posts in future!