BEA'S BOOK NOOK "I can't imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once." C. S. Lewis “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” ― Oscar Wilde

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Sex...More Sex....Most Sexks, Sierra Dean's Guide to Romances (And A Giveaway)

Now that I have your attention... :D

Sierra Dean, whose debut UF novel, "Something Secret This Way Comes" was released Tuesday, the 10th, very kindly agreed to come and stop by for a bit today. We were chatting on Twitter and I threw some ideas her way for guest posts for different blogs. One of my ideas was about classifying romances and eroticas and where to draw the line. Her book has some romance and sex though it's not primarily a romance. We chose this as the topic for her visit here and I promised, heck I threatened, to use her joking description as the title.  As you can see, I did. :P

The Author - Sierra Dean is a reformed historian. She was born and raised in the Canadian prairies and is allowed annual exit visas in order to continue her quest of steadily conquering the world one city at a time. Making the best of the cold Canadian winters, Sierra indulges in her less global interests: drinking too much tea and writing urban fantasy.  Ever since she was a young girl she has loved the idea of the supernatural coexisting with the mundane. As an adult, however, the idea evolved from the notion of fairies in flower beds, to imagining that the rugged-looking guy at the garage might secretly be a werewolf. She has used her overactive imagination to create her own version of the world, where vampire, werewolves, fairies, gods and monsters all walk among us, and she’ll continue to travel as much as possible until she finds it for real. She’s also a book lover (of course!), obsessive collector of OPI nailpolish and the owner of way too many pairs of shoes.

The book ~          
Some secrets are dangerous. This Secret is deadly.

Secret McQueen, Book 1

For Secret McQueen, her life feels like the punch line for a terrible joke. Abandoned at birth by her werewolf mother, hired as a teen by the vampire council of New York City to kill rogues, Secret is a part of both worlds, but belongs to neither. At twenty-two, she has carved out as close to a normal life as a bounty hunter can.

When an enemy from her past returns with her death on his mind, she is forced to call on every ounce of her mixed heritage to save herself—and everyone else in the city she calls home. As if the fate of the world wasn’t enough to deal with, there’s Lucas Rain, King of the East Coast werewolves, who seems to believe he and Secret are fated to be together. Too bad Secret also feels a connection with Desmond, Lucas’s second-in-command…

 Product Warnings

This book contains a sarcastic, kick-ass bounty hunter; a metaphysical love triangle with two sexy werewolves; a demanding vampire council; and a spicy seasoning of sex and violence.


The following is from my internal dialogue right after getting a contract offer on my first novel:

            “Oh my GOD, this is the most exciting thing EVER. I have to text every human I’ve ever met! I have to call my mom! OH MY GOD THERE’S SEX IN THIS BOOK AND MY MOM IS GOING TO READ IT!”

Yes, my inner soliloquist is prone to dramatics. I probably wouldn’t be a novelist otherwise. Point being, one of the key aspects of any romance novel is the sex factor. Be it sweet, subtle and understated; naughty and R-rated; or “Holy crap, did she just say what I think she just said?”, sex is a part of romance in fiction just as it is in life.

So when it comes to sex in fiction, what’s the difference between sexy and smutty? (I loves me some good smut, so please don’t think I’m using the phrase as an insult) When does a book go from being “wow” to being “do I need the morning after pill with that chapter?”

I wish I could say I remember my first sex scene in a novel, but I genuinely can’t. For some people it probably sticks out in their minds, but sadly, I’m such a romance fiction whore I’ve read too many sex scenes at this point to remember them all. I’ve read everything from the tameness of a Patricia Briggs love scene all the way up to the recent Alisha Rai novella Never Have I Ever which left me needing a cold shower and a cigarette (and I don’t even smoke). I love it all.

Let’s break it down into three categories, shall we? (I like lists!)
  1. Sex – aka “Romance 1.0” we’ll call this the base level. Boy meets girl, boy lusts for girl, boy and girl share a tryst that lasts roughly a paragraph, and if you’re too fast a reader you might miss it. Or sometimes the author is so subtle about what’s happening, you’re not entirely sure if they had sex or just fooled around a little. This is typical of YA fiction, where you have to be careful just how much you show and tell.
  2. More Sex – aka “erotic Romance” this time you get the fun descriptions, the heat level is amped up considerably, and you’re never left doubting what just happened between the couple. “More Sex” is where most romance novels available for mass market would be categorized according to my insane system.
  3. MOST SEXKS – aka “smut” more commonly, and appropriately, known as erotica. This is the carnal category, where descriptions of the acts can eclipse all other plot points. The sex, typically, is the plot. Which is not to say these books are without plot, because that’s not my intended message. But with categories 1 and 2, the sex is a stepping stone along the way. With category 3, the story wouldn’t function the same way without the sex. Characters in erotica are just as developed, interesting and well-written as any of those in the first two categories, they just get to have crazier sex than their counterparts.
With those categories in mind, we can begin to see where our choice romances fit into the list. I’m not really picky, I’ll take a good book in any of those categories, as long as the love feels genuine. Give me a hot couple and I want them to want each other. But fictional couples are like real couples. Sometimes it would be disingenuous for a beloved fictional couple to rip each other’s clothes off and go at it doggy style in the kitchen. And similarly, not every reader is going to want a primal free for all in EVERY book.

I remember reading Jeaniene Frost’s One Foot in the Grave on a public transit bus and I think I turned a hundred shades of red when someone sat next to me. Similarly, I won’t let myself read certain authors when I’m at work because the content gets me a little too flustered to function properly, and I look a little weird when I abruptly cover up my Kindle.

So here’s my general rule of thumb:
If the descriptions are so graphic a Catholic priest would suggest you spend a month in confession to absolve yourself of the impure thoughts… don’t read it on the bus.

By and large I guess my favorite books are the ones where the love scenes are hot, but don’t feel unnatural, and where the sex seems realistic and not overly corny. I can’t handle love scenes where the men wax poetic and say the most cheesy things to their heroine. It takes me out of the moment.

What about everyone else? Do you prefer your love scenes safe and PG, or do you want them so hot you’re afraid to touch your Kindle? (oh my, yes! :D  ~ Bea) Or, like in life, does it depend on the mood and the characters involved?

And for a chance to win a copy of my debut novel Something Secret This Way Comes, give me your recommendations for the most memorable love scenes you’ve ever read, be they G or NC-17 (R rated for US readers).

Sierra has generously offered up an ebook copy of "Something Secret This Way Comes"  to one lucky commenter. 
 To enter, leave a comment telling us your recommendations for the most memorable love scene that you've ever read, in any book. The scene can be G-rated, completely safe for work and kids or all the way up to just short of X-rated (I reserve the right to edit comments).
Don't forget to leave a way to contact you (see the giveaway policy here)
The giveaway runs through midnight EST of Thursday May 19th, 2011.  Because of Blogger's maintenance issues Wednesday evening through Friday afternoon, this post had a delayed publication. As a result, I'm extending the giveaway through midnight EST Friday May 20,2011.


  1. Most memorable scene for me was one that I read in "Deep Kiss of Winter" with Murdoch Wroth and Daniela the Ice Maiden which is Kresley Coles Immortals After Dark #8 and the most I will say because it is not something safe for children or work place is the pair were very inventive and they gave "blue B***s" a new meaning! You have to read it to find out for yourself...

    However recently Cat and Bones topped that one in Jeaniene Frost's latest release with some hot candle wax and fangs applied to a very interesting spot and the rest as they say is in Chapter 21 of This Side Of The Grave-Night Huntress #5...

    Thanks to Bea and Ms. Dean both this has been a very thought provoking post for me and I too own way too many pairs of shoes but they last longer because do not wear the same ones every day!


  2. I like David Gemmell's love seen between parmenion and Dearae in Lion of Macedon. Its tend, it's caring and its a crime for which they can be put to death.


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