I write romantic comedy, and I’ll be the first to admit…I totally suck at sex scenes. Why? Because what it boils down to is my comfort zone. I’m totally private about that part of my life. I can be open when talking to a single person, one-in-one, but to say it in public, that’s not comfortable…it’s not my norm.
I can read erotica, in fact, I love just about every genre of books, but for me to try to use the language, tone, words, descriptions of erotica just doesn’t work…it’s just not me...in fact it makes me laugh. So how does a person who wants to add steam to a story go about finding that middle ground/tone to take?
Some days, I think it’s a generational thing…some days, I think it’s how I was raised, old-fashioned Southern Baptist. There’s good and bad, but it’s all a perception thing.
How do you teach a person to find a new comfort zone?
I consider myself a fairly open-minded person, but I won’t change for anyone, it has to be for me, with my understanding of why it’s necessary.
I can swear like a drunken sailor, but I usually only do that when I’m in private and 99 times out of 100 I’m swearing at my computer. I’ve slipped and dropped the “F” bomb occasionally and end up feeling horribly guilty.
How do you let go of repression…whether it’s language, sex, or whatever, and still feel like you’re being true to yourself, evolving as a human being, a woman, even an aging woman? I’m almost at the point of feeling like I won’t find myself until I’m in my 80′s and can finally say WTF, nobody matters enough for me to watch it anymore…look out here I come.
I was recently told I needed to up my sexy quotient in my books. That’s all well and good, but what about my comfort zone? Telling me to write sexier is as good as telling me I’m not sexy. I don’t know of many women who are 100% comfortable with themselves, me included. I’d love to be skinnier. I’d love to be prettier. I’d love to say I have it all…not gonna happen.
I recently asked an author friend: Why can’t I feel my own value? What’s stifling me? Am I doing it to myself because of the beliefs drummed into me at an early age? What’s it gonna take to be able to finally say “screw it, just do it”?
Her response was: it’s between your thighs GIGGLE! Sweetheart, only you can decide that. You have to do what YOU are comfortable with and it helps to push that envelope when you feel comfortable enough to do it. Start small and work your way up.
During our chat on the phone my answer became clear. She said you write romantic comedy…romantic comedy isn’t about your hoo-ha getting’ happy, it’s about the humor of the situations. Instead of worrying about the descriptions of what they’re feeling and doing, it’s about how crazy and wild they’re getting…like going at it so hard and fast they bang their heads together…to which I replied or going at it so hard one of them bangs the wall and leaves an imprint of their heads.
So to stay true to myself…I’ll keep writing, but at the same time I’ll keep my characters true to the genre and keep my mind open and keep moving forward, and let go of the stress.
What is it about a hero that appeals to us, not only as writers, but as readers?
I like to read to escape the insanity of everyday life. When I read I want to go on a mini adventure. As both a writer and a reader, I can tell you about my preferences. First, I want an imperfect man…a human being. By no means does he have to be gorgeous, in fact I personally don’t trust a gorgeous man. What I happen to be attracted to is a smile, a laugh, the eyes of a man who sees humor in things.
John Wayne is one of my all time favorite heroes. He’s not gorgeous by Hollywood standards, but what appeals to me is several things. He’s a big man. In ANY of his movies he makes me believe if I were in trouble, he’d be there to save me, might be just in the nick of time, but he’d be there. He also has a very expressive face. Whether he’s hollering orders to a platoon of men or shouting orders at someone or ready to knock someone on their keester…you know what’s on his mind. JW isn't the mushy type...he’s gruff, intimidating, but at the same time his appeal is so strong you can’t deny he’s all man. Without a doubt he’s brave, courageous, knows the meaning of valor and sacrifice. This is why I think of him as the perfect military man.
Give yourself a treat…click on the two links below and have a listen:
John Wayne’s version of "The Pledge of Allegiance"
John Wayne’s version of "America, Why I Love Her"
He’s my type of hero.
There’s the strong silent type…who doesn't say much but then again, he doesn't need to. He has goals and aspirations, he knows what it means to be honorable, to be trustworthy, I don’t ever want to worry about where his eyes are when I’m in the room or nowhere in sight. I want to admire him, what he stands for. I want to believe in him. At the same time I want him unafraid to whisper sexy taunts or to let me live out my own secret desires with him. I also want to see that he’s human with the ability to grow as time marches on. Believe it or not there are men like this who still exist. I even know a few.
There's also the real life hero, someone who does something noble and self-less. I wrote an earlier blog about Cody Walker, Paul's younger brother in an earlier blog. This guy is so impressive. The more I learn about him the more I like him.
And finally there are the ones we make up for our books. I'm kinda partial to cowboys...go figure, and I like to believe my heroines have my same general likes in men. Give me boots and jeans over suits and ties any day (my one caveat here is I love a man in uniform). I'll take hunting and fishing over tennis and racquetball. A man who can do a physical days work instead of pushing papers. Let him take me on a picnic near a creek instead of a fancy restaurant. Let him share his interests with me, not make me arm candy. Let him offer to help me with the chores, not tell me if it's indoors it's my job and outdoors is his. In my opinion, there is nothing sexier than a guy willing to help in the house. I want to share a life with him, not just be married to him on paper with nothing of substance to hold us together. And finally let him love ONLY me, be true to me, and never be afraid of showing me what I mean to him. I don't want a relationship in name only, where's the fun in that?
In real life or on paper, give me a hero to love.
What makes up your hero?
I'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject.
I had to share my new book video for Sinners' Opera! It came about in a rather strange way. I had a blog guest, Noelle Adams, a USA Today Bestselling Author. I complimented her on her stunning trailer and asked who'd created it for her. She said, "I did." We then talked, and she said she'd do the video for me.
A friend of mine who is a heavy metal musician was going to write the music. He also writes more classical music! I wrote the script. As it turned out, he was very busy. Noelle finished the video, and we needed music. I found a piano piece on Video Blocks. Amazingly, this music sounds as if it were written for the video. It rises and falls at the right times and turns ominous when the dark scenes arrive. See what you think!
What is a Hero?
According to the dictionary: A person who is admired for great or brave acts of fine qualities. An illustrious warrior. One who shows great courage.
As writer's we visualize. I like to have a visual image of my characters to study their movements, actions, gestures, which is why I prefer if they're an actor and I can watch their movies over and over again.
This is my share for today, a few of my personal heroes:
Who doesn’t know John Wayne? The mere mention of his name conjures an image of a man larger than life, no matter his age, in any given movie, he’s my number one hero…always will be. There isn't a stinker in his movie line-up. My son, Michael, is named in honor of him, chosen by my dad before he passed away. Dad was John Wayne’s biggest fan EVER!!!
Who could forget Robert Mitchum in River of No Return with Marilyn Monroe? Mitchum fights for all their lives and brings them home; but it's the final scene where he tosses Kay (Monroe) over his shoulder and hauls her out of the saloon and then she drops her red high heels into the street as he and his son take her 'home'.
What about Cary Grant in An Affair to Remember with Deborah Kerr? My favorite scenes are when 'Nickie' takes 'Terry' to visit his grandmother and the final scene when he realizes she cripple. Cary Grant was a great actor, just sayin'.
Or Kirk Douglas as Spartacus. The movie itself was terrific, but as far as I'm concerned, no one but Kirk could have played that part.
I’ll never forget Bill Holden and Steve McQueen in Stalag 17 or Richard Widmark in The Alamo. They were their characters.
I love the of visual of Clark Gable standing at the bottom of the stairs, looking up, as Scarlett descends in Gone With The Wind.
Or of Errol Flynn standing on the crest of the hill saying Welcome to Sherwood in Robin Hood.
Then there’s Audie Murphy. What’s not to love? A real life military hero, his Destry character, but I love the movie about his true life story, To Hell and Back.
And what about Jimmy Stewart? He too was a military man, a 2- Star General. But when I think of him I think of It’s a Wonderful Life, Strategic Air Command, The Glenn Miller Story, The Shop Around the Corner, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington…and the list goes on.
Let not forget Red Skelton. The Fuller Brush Man, Neptune's Daughter, or his many televison series, all designed to bring us laughter at his expense.
And not to be left out, Clint Eastwood. I’ll take Dirty Harry on any given day. And the man can sing…don’t believe me, watch Paint Your Wagon, or listen to the final song of Gran Torino. That’s my personal favorite movie of his. Don’t get me wrong, I love all his stuff, but it’s his old grizzled character of Walt Kowalski that has my heart.
There are many, many more:
Gary Cooper as Sergeant York, in High Noon, and They Came to Cordura.
Howard Keel as the eldest Adam Pontipee in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Calamity Jane, Showboat (boy that man can sing to me any day of the week) and don't forget him on the series Dallas.
Gregory Peck in To Kill A Mockingbird, Moby Dick, The Big Country, Guns of Navarone, and How the West was Won.
Jerry Orbach’s character of Lenny Briscoe in the original Law and Order is one of my favorites. Everything about his charcter is memorable.
I need to stop, I could go on forever...but there you have it, some of my favorite characters.
Who are your favorites and why?
Have a great day.
On to the purpose of this post:
Lauren Gilbert, the author of Heyerwood, was kind enough to tag me for the Writing Process Blog Hop. Thank you, Lauren! You can visit her blog here: http://laurengilbertheyerwood.wordpress.com/2014/04/27/the-writing-process-blog-hop/
A few simple rules apply to this blog hop: 1. You publish on a Monday the week after being tagged and answer four questions and 2. Link back to the blog of the person who tagged you to let him or her know you appreciate it. You’re also supposed to tag someone else, but I haven’t been able to find anyone to take it on, as most of the authors I know have already participated! I was out of town for several weeks in March and April and not on the Internet as much as usual, so I missed most of the fun. However, these blog hops tend to recur, so maybe next time I’ll find someone to tag. In the meantime, here goes: