Monday, February 6, 2012

Pen Names and Sensual Authors

Are erotic romance authors as sensual as the characters in their books? I had a reader ask me the other day if I was. After I stopped blushing, (YEP! I blush. Lol) I gave the question some real thought.

The truth is that I’m just plain not sure. How can that be? What I write is a direct product of my mind. Shouldn’t I know? All I do know for a fact is that I’ve never had any complaints from the male species. LOL At least not complaints of a “bedroom nature”.

I had a man tell me once that there was no such thing as bad sex. He said that he got off every single time and, of course, the only foreplay he required was to simply know he was about to get some. LOL Yep, he was one of those kind of men. Regardless, I liked him. He was funny.

But what has sensuality got to do with sex?

Everything and nothing.

Strictly defined, sensuality is basically engaging your senses for the purpose of enjoyment or gratification. You could feast on a bowl of juicy red strawberries and say it was a sensual experience. It’s all about what you experience through your senses.

As writers, one of the things we are supposed to do is put the reader in the scene. I like the idea of putting the reader in the shoes of my characters. So how do we do that? Well, first off we paint a picture for them. We use descriptors to let the reader “feel” their surroundings. But more importantly, we consult our characters’ senses. What are they seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, smelling…and thinking? If we let the reader in on all this then the reader can indeed walk in the shoes of our characters.

A lot of times I write about things I’ve never personally experienced. And that’s where imagination and—well, what I’d like to think of as talent—come into play. In my most recent release, Strip Down from Ellora’s Cave, I had a scene in which my two main characters watched a man and a woman have sex, and then they allowed themselves to be watched. Realistically speaking, that’s not something I’d ever do. In Scarlet Memoir, a book soon to be released from Ellora’s Cave, there is a scene with wax play. And WOW! When I read it back to myself? We’re talking hot, hot scene in more ways than one.

But am I personally, in real life, going to allow some dude—even one I’m madly in love with—to drip hot candle wax on my nips? HELL NO!!! My nips are precious, delicate. NO HOT WAX!!!

So does that make me less sensual than my characters? Nope. Just means I have a great imagination and can make a loaf of bread seem sexy as hell! Damn sure sensual. LOL Erotic romance is all about slowing down the scenery and making it real. Give the readers DETAIL. Make it last.

But let’s not confuse sensuality with different ways of doing it. It’s the way you enjoy it. How it makes you feel. How you make your partner feel that makes you sensual. So why different positions, situations, locations? Why show readers sexual scenarios that might not be the norm in their bedroom or our own? To engage the reader. Broaden their knowledge. Reinforce their fantasies—let them know we think about these things, too! We share a bit of ourselves with those who read our stories.

But just because we all share some of the same sexual fantasies it doesn’t mean we should act on them—or at least some of them. Lol Fantasy is fantasy. I sometimes fantasize I should be ruler of the world. Yep! I think I could straighten out a lot of things. LOL But should I try for that? Hell no. Gives me a headache just thinking about taking over the world. Lol Some women fantasize about something as simple as picking up a guy in a bar—sex with a stranger. Should they? Well, that happens quite a bit all over the world. Do I recommend it? No. Why? It can be dangerous. We all know that.

Let’s face it. Fantasies are just that. Fantasies. Acting on them doesn’t necessarily prove sensuality. But simply having them is very sensual. At least to me. LOL So do I advocate NEVER acting on a fantasy? Oh hell no. lol I simply say you should be careful.

To me, sex is most sensual when shared with someone you care about. Sex without emotion isn’t good—but that’s just the way I look at sex. Millions of people have sex all of the time without any emotional attachments. It’s just not for me. And that’s why I write romance.

Love is always at the center.

Now, by nature I’m a pretty reserved individual. I’ve even said on occasion that I’m kind of shy. And I’ve been laughed at for saying that, too. LOL Well, as we all know, it’s a helluva lot easier to jump online and talk trash and open up than it is in real life sometimes. No, I’m not a prude. If I were, I couldn’t write what I write. But I am a private person which is why I use a pen name. There are a few tried and true friends on the Internet that know my real name and even know what I really look like.

I’ve had requests from readers for pictures and even my mailing address. I’ve always declined to give out that information. Will I ever reveal my real name? No. Never. That’s a done deal with me. Unless I get to know someone incredibly well, that is. How about pics? As of now I still have a kid in high school. I seriously doubt I will post any public pics of myself until he’s out of school and maybe not even then. I’m not sure there is even a need. If I end up needing to do book signings? Then maybe. If I end up at a convention? Maybe. But for now? No.

I write about love and sexual fantasies. Maybe…just maybe…maintaining a little mystery for the author is just what the doctor ordered. LOL

I’ll be offline most of the day as I have some business appointments. I’ll check in later and see what everyone thinks of pen names and author sensuality. In the meantime, I hope everyone is happily reading, writing, and editing. Until later…


Eileen said...

What a great post! Thank you for your honesty. Thank you for setting the mood for the reader. That is what I want from any book I am reading is to put in the scene with the characters. That's what brings me back time and time again.

Tess MacKall said...

Thanks, Eileen! Setting the mood is all-important.

anny cook said...

Interesting post, Tess. I missed this one. I too use a pen name. I believe fantasy is a wonderful gift, but like you, I value my privacy.