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September 10th, 2007
The Power of Sex Talk

First, I have some thrilling news to announce. Last week, I had two sales to publishers! I will be writing a sequel to BLOOD ROSE, and wrapping up my erotic vampire series by asking the question: Can the most dangerous vampires be redeemed by love?
And I sold on auction to Bantam/Dell in a two book deal for regency historical romance. These will be mass market, which is also really exciting for me.

Last night I saw myself on Canadian National t.v.—back in March, I taped a game show called “Test the Nation—Watch Your Language”. I had a brief sound bite interview. The host asked me, “What makes a romance erotic?” Well, we were talking about language, so I pointed out that the language is frank, we don’t use euphemisms, and the stories are hot. It’s a family network and the show had an airtime of 8:00 p.m. Also, I knew the network wanted schoolchildren to watch the show. So in my answer, I had to walk a fine line. Capturing the “erotic” in erotic romance is far more complicated than blunt language, and here’s why:

I’m a member of Romance Writers of America, and our local chapter met yesterday for a wonderful workshop given by USA Today Bestseller Nancy Warren (Kensington Brava and Harlequin). She gave two excellent talks on sexual tension and on using screenwriting tips for dialogue. Nancy also quoted the scriptwriter of the Colin Firth version of Pride and Prejudice who, when reading the book, was amazed by the blazing sexuality on every page. I watched the series on DVD again this weekend, and was impressed with how the writer portrayed that—in the “unspoken dialogue”, as my husband termed it. The facial expressions revealed what the characters did not even quite understand themselves—they “fancied the pants off each other” as Nancy Warren put it. So if a story without explicit sex can be blazingly sexual, there’s obviously a lot more to it!

If the unspoken dialogue is so powerful, what can lovers actually say to each other that is more powerful than that? In my current WIP, my heroine, after years of feeling like a coward in her marriage to an abusive older husband, is widowed and meets the hero, with whom she is angry enough to be blunt. And honest. As my hero puts it—he’s never met a woman who wielded honesty with such brutality. And that’s the power of sexual banter to me—it’s those moments when desire strips away sense, and vulnerability becomes less important than joining and pleasure, and honesty is what comes out of our mouths.

Just for fun, I’ve picked out some of my favorite bits of fun sexual banter from my stories:

“So you wouldn’t spank me in punishment.”

“You are a grown man, Mr. Swift.”

“Would you spank me in fun?”

A blush. He’d expected her to blush, to be a little embarrassed. Instead, Serena walked calmly to the edge of the bed and picked up the whip. She curled her fingers around the grip, weighing it. “If I were to spank your bottom, Mr. Swift, I would be tempted to do it with the flat of my hand.”

From SIN:

“You plan to walk in public completely bare beneath your cloak?”

“No one would know but you,” she protested.

Agony flashed across his handsome features, twisting his sensual mouth. “God, and that’s the bloody magic of it, isn’t it?”

The opening line of BLACK SILK (Coming April 2008):

“You spend a night allowing a woman to drip molten wax on your chest, and afterward everyone casts you as the villain.”

Would other Crumpets like to share some of their favorite banter? Or if you have a favorite snippet from a beloved book, please share!