Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Avon Impulse Debut Author Lizbeth Selvig

Today we're welcoming Lizbeth Selvig, one of Avon Impulse's newest author to The Morgan Diaries. Liz and MorganO go back several years to when Liz lived in Alaska for too short a time. Below she blogs and then treats us to a very special excerpt. One she hasn't posted anywhere else. It's from my favorite scene! Oh heck, all her scenes are my favorite, but this one is extra Morgan HAWT.

How Little Miss Goody Two Shoes Writes a Sex Scene

First, I want to thank the Morgans for inviting me to the Diaries today. I’ve known about their site since its inception, and it’s got a great reputation for fun topics and awesome discussions. They don’t shy away from reality (or fiction!) here. So what better place for my mama’s “nice girl” to talk about sex?

Some time ago I got the reputation of being a “good” girl—you know, the kind who gets warned with lines like, “Well, you might not like this book, it’s pretty spicy.” I don’t precisely know how I got the rep (because I tell really good naughty jokes) except that I’m a wimp about a lot of things like graphic violence, the death of a hero I love, too much swearing, more than six sex scenes, and heavy bondage. Hmmm, well, maybe that could sort of describe a goody two-shoes, couldn’t it?

Nevertheless, let me tell you what I am not too Miss Goody Two Shoes to enjoy: great action, great passion, great romance AND, above all, a great sex scene. (Apologies to my beautiful daughter, who prefers to believe she was a test tube baby or delivered by a stork, take your pick.) A good sex scene can transport a reader to “somewhere else.” An excellent one can make her fall in love with the characters in your book. The best scenes will make your reader believe the characters will do more than just love each other—they’ll love each other forever, no matter what else they face.  And the very, very best sex scenes will make you forget the characters are figments of someone’s imagination.

So, how, you ask, does little miss wimpy-me me write that kind of sex scene with no handcuffs and lots of euphemisms? Two words: relationships and setting. Here’s what I mean.

Relationships. In my own books, I prefer fewer sex scenes per book, ones that contain no bondage or dominate/submissive themes, and that feature a man and a woman. This is based 100 percent on taste and zero percent on me making judgments. What I like in my level of graphic description might be different from what others might want, but whatever that level is, the most important thing for me is to believe the characters involved are committed and caring and honestly intending to share the best of themselves with their partner. I’ve read many books—by writers I thoroughly admire—containing elements I’m not comfortable writing (or am not good at writing) but that show a super high positive relationship factor!  Handcuffs or no, I approach every sex scene by working foremost on the relationship.

Setting. To me, the setting is fundamental in creating a love scene that’s unforgettable and not just another boring Tab A in Slot B scene in the book.  The most traditional setting for sex is obvious—a bed. And a fine setting that is! But, with a common setting like that, what will make my scene stand out? How do my hero and heroine get to the bed? Where is it? I have to try to come up with something a little unique so we forget they’re on sheets and not in the branches of a tree. (Of course, a tree might be exactly what an author needs to make a scene unique.) I always work to come up with a setting that’s imaginative all on its own, while still flowing from the story and being conducive to building that all-important relationship.

Which brings me to the shameless plug for my new book, “The Rancher and the Rock Star.” It has lots of sensuality and one sex scene. That scene would be described as “vanilla” – meaning the sex is fairly traditional with no “kinkiness.” But I’ve also had it called (by our own knowledgeable Morgan among others), “one of the hottest love scenes” ever.

I definitely doubt that—but I’ll take the compliment. Why do I think it worked? It was a pivotal scene in my hero and heroine’s relationship, and I set it in the woods next to a campfire and then had the hero do a work out! Unusual? I hope so. Meaningful? It was to them. Hot? Well, at least the campfire was!

I’ll let you decide if it works.  But first, tell me your thoughts about love/sex scenes in books. Do you prefer no sex, some sex, vanilla sex, or hot and steamy  no-holds-barred sex? Do you skim love scenes, avoid them, or relish them?  If you’re a writer – do you have a process? I have one fellow writer who keeps a book of her scenes and is known to recycle them. Is sex a controversial or uncomfortable subject for you?
After you think about all these steamy questions, have a peek at the exclusive excerpt below. My critique partners and I call it “The Push up Scene,” and you’ll only find it here on the Morgan Diaries or in the book itself. Then have at it and share your thoughts.

Most of all, enjoy!

(Exclusive to TMD)

Turning back to the campfire, Abby closed her eyes. She loved the heat on her face—the ultra-hot flush from the flames. The heat was intensified tonight, in every secret spot of her body. Gray’s presence owned her awareness, along with the cricket songs and the pounding of her pulse in her ears.
“You look cold.” Gray's voice startled her, banishing the last thoughts of horses and losses.
A laugh spilled from her lips. “That’s ridiculous.”
“It’s not. I say you’re shivering.” He unfolded his powerful legs, pushed to a stand, and Abby’s stomach moved into a rocking samba of excitement as he strode to stand over her. “I can see you shaking from here.”
“You need glasses.”
“No, I need something much different.”
He knelt in front of her. Her stomach dipped; her breathing accelerated.
“I think my plan to slow you down has backfired.” She swallowed. “You need to work off some of this sugar high.”
He placed four fingers between her breasts and pushed with gentle, steady pressure until she lay on her back, her head just off the quilt. Walking his hands up either side of her body, he crept forward until he was suspended over her, balanced on his hands and toes.
“Good idea.” He lowered his body, and his hot breath, sweet with a lingering scent of the schnapps, swept her face. She sucked it into her lungs like the smoke of a drug
His biceps contracted then straightened. A perfect push-up. “One,” he said.
“Oh, jeez.” Her breath escaped like steam from a valve.
His arm muscles bunched—down and up again. “Two.”
The third time, his torso whispered against hers, prickling like static electricity. “Three.”
Next he brushed her full body, breast to thigh. Blood pounded to her core. “Four.”
“Who does pushups anymore?” The words squeaked past her larynx.
“I do. Five.”
The campfire’s heat jumped from the pit to Abby’s body, and she fought to keep from pulling him onto her to end the teasing.
“Oh. Gray.” She closed her eyes as throbbing settled between her thighs and radiated until it pounded behind her navel.
She thought she’d been ready for him, but she’d never imagined anything like this. Push ups. Just—push ups. She’d never think of them the same way again.
Soft lips touched her forehead. Foreheads weren’t supposed to have this many nerve endings.
She reached around and grabbed hold of his biceps. She arched her back and when he came down again, her pelvis grazed his with a slick shot of current.
“Nine.” His lips found her nose, and she whimpered.
“Ten.” Lip to lip. Wet, lingering, he pressed against her for several seconds before pushing up. He hadn’t even broken a sweat, and when she forced herself to open her eyes his were riveted on her, a dreamy, opaque, cousin-of-blue color like new steel.
“How many can you do?”
“As many as you want. Twelve.”
“How many can you really do?”
His full weight came to rest atop the length of her and the melt-down began.
“Tonight? Only twelve.”