When I wrote Vacation with a Stranger, I included explicit sex scenes. These scenes include descriptions of the characters’ sex organs. I suppose you could consider this a mechanical or anatomical approach to erotic scenes. Since then, I’ve reconsidered what actually constitutes an erotic scene. Is it important to explicitly point out the erection or lubricated vagina? Does that make the scene light up for the reader?

I don’t think so. Vacation isn’t porn. It isn’t directed at a horny male audience. Explicit sex doesn’t require anatomical detail. The reader’s primary sex organ is her brain. Presumably, she has a good grasp of the mechanics. She knows what an erection looks like. Male readers have the equipment and certainly know how their penises work.

I have to admit that I like writing sex scenes. OK, I like sex. I love sex. It turns me on to write about it. That doesn’t mean I should publish material that inspires me to masturbate. Well, let me correct that. I don’t have to write mechanical sex scenes. It turns out that a good sex scene doesn’t need to include anatomical descriptions at all. For example, I find, “She could feel herself melting. He pressed against her, and she could feel his excitement…” I think that’s pretty hot.

It’s much hotter than reading about the physical components of their heat. My brain easily fills in the blanks. I get just as hot reading the less explicit text. What do you think?

One of the most challenging parts of writing is deciding how much sex and what kind to include. The books I’ve read on the subject of writing sex scenes suggest that explicit descriptions of sex organs and how they get used is a turnoff to women. I suppose, as a general rule, that makes sense. I don’t like extensive descriptions of giant penises and soaking vaginas. I never need that to build a picture in my mind.

Vacation with a Stranger has a lot of sex scenes in it. Actually, earlier drafts of the book had twice as many. I wanted my protagonists to be highly sexual and to freely enjoy one another. Truth be told, writing sex scenes turns me on. They are the easiest part of writing for me. I get it. I’m just naturally horny.

I want my readers to get aroused too. I want them to feel the raw power of sex as a positive, playful force in a relationship. That’s how I want Les and Steve to demonstrate. Their sex has nothing to do with physical beauty or extra-large penises. It is a playful expression of love. They understand that sex isn’t the glue that holds them together. It’s a nice bonus that comes from trusting one another. My goal was to explore how much fun this can be. I hope that comes across.

I am slowly learning how to take advantage of online tools to help my writing. There is a website called Scribophile that is a community of writers who offer help to one another. A particularly valuable service is getting feedback on chapters. I put the first pages from my next book on the site for feedback. I got great help. Four people offered line edits of my work. This is incredibly helpful.

I had no idea that such valuable help was around. The site isn’t free, but it isn’t terribly expensive either. It’s worth every penny. One of the most challenging areas of creative writing is getting beta readers and feedback. Scribophile provides both. I’m learning so much from the other writers who have taken the time to help me.

Check it out.

I apologize for my last post. I was feeling down about the intense lack of interest in Vacation With a Stranger. It’s not so much the book isn’t good or bad. It’s just that no one knows about it. I get regular emails from people claiming to provide reviews for pay. They create their own website featuring the reviews that writers buy. Wow, isn’t that amazing; not.

I did get one review. The August 2021 edition of the Midwest Book Review published a very nice review of my book. Diane Donovan wrote:

Romance fans looking for something both steamy and edgy will find Vacation With a Stranger more than fits the bill with its three-dimensional characters and satisfying blend of romance, sex, and intrigue that keeps readers guessing to the end.

Thank you, Ms.Donovan!

First novels are rarely a writer’s best. I am learning why from my own experiences. I recently reread Vacation with a Stranger. I liked reading it. I was surprised how well it holds together. Over the last eight months I have been studying techniques in writing fiction. I made lots of mistakes in Vacation, but the book still works for me. My second book has been much more difficult to write. I’m not even half done with it yet. I’ve cut more out than I’ve added. I’ll never finish if I keep that up.

Partly, the problem is that my confidence has suffered badly. I imagined that when I self-published Vacation, the world would embrace it and I would sell thousands of copies. Actually, it has gone unnoticed. I have no idea how to market the book. It could be the greatest work of fiction ever written and nobody would ever find out about it. So much for my success fantasy.

I’m going to try to find an agent for the new book. This is nearly impossible to do. It’s not exactly a novel concept to look for representation. Agents are overwhelmed with authors sending unsolicited manuscripts. It may turn out that my hard work writing fiction is nothing more than a hobby.

As you might have guessed, I’m pretty discouraged. For the time being, I’m going to keep working on the new story. It’s a good one. If I can avoid the pitfalls, maybe it will be published.