Monday, August 8, 2011

It's not Hot, it's SCORCHING

UPDATE: ARC winners of TEMPTED announced:

Shiloh Tolbert & Lisa at Once Upon a Chapter

Winners, please email me at elisabeth (at) elisabethnaughton (dot) com with your snail mail addy.

Congrats to the winners and thanks to all who played along!

Anyone who has read my books knows I tend to write on the steamy side. My scenes have made my husband blush several times, my neighbors wonder just what happens in our house and my mother refuse to read any book that has the word "Bed" in the title. Personally, I blame the atmosphere. You see, my husband works for a pharmaceutical company and used to sell Levitra (an ED drug) and my neighbor conducted at home sex toy parties. I ask you...how can a romance author NOT write hot when she's surrounded by that?

Seriously though, I've read a lot of romance novels over the years and don't think I write any "hotter" than a lot of other authors. My books tend to have only 2-3 love scenes per book, but I do play up the sexual tension whenever I can. And because of that, if I were to be honest, I would tell you (shh...this is a secret) the steamy, sexy scenes are the hardest ones for me to write (no pun intended). Give me blood and gore and fighting and emotional angst over a lip lock or love scene any day. I can write 25 pgs in one day and be on a real roll but once I get to the part where the main characters have to kiss, I stop dead in my tracks.

Why? I think because in a romance novel, getting the heat right is so important. Important to the characters and the story and the organic unfolding of the novel. And as a writer, I want to make sure the steamy scenes play out naturally, that they fit the characters and that readers won't recognize them as cookie cutter. I also want them to work with the plot. We've all read novels where the romance felt forced. Since the romance is what readers are reading my books for, it makes sense the heat level is the place where I tend to get hung up the most.

RT has labeled my last few books "scorchers" rather than simply "hot". This was news to me as I don't particularly think the heat level has gone up that much in my books, but I'm not complaining. Luckily, I write about some sexy guys, so it's not exactly a chore to turn up the heat when they're on the page. Though it is hard work and (fortunately...pun intended this time) someone does have to do it.

Thanks to the awesome peeps at Sourcebooks who sent me a few extra ARCs of my very hot upcoming Eternal Guardians novel, TEMPTED, I'm giving away TWO ARCs here today. Just leave me a comment and tell me what heat level you prefer to read in your romances - mild, hot or scorcher. Or...all of the above. :)

56 comments:

  1. I read in the public sometimes & while I don't mind scorchers it would be a mite embarrassing to turn bright red reading at the dentist's! I need to learn how to control my blushes.... :)

    I prefer my books heavy on the romance and the storyline which does not necessarily require hot steamy scenes; not that I would complain if there some scorchers.

    thumbelinda03@yahoo.com

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  2. All the above! I read for the story and as long as the sex scenes are appropriate to the plot/character development, I'm all for them! I read everything from no sex to erotic books.

    ironss [at] gmail [dot] com

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  3. I prefer my heat level to be hot. A sizzling chemistry between the hero and heroine is definitely a must have for any story but so is a great story line. Too much and it can be overwhelming if the story line isn't strong enough. Too little and I'm wondering if there is any chemistry between the couple. I also think it depends on the people's personalities and the story. I don't mind stories where the heat level alternates according to the scenes, it could build up to scorching level even. I'm fine with all heat level as long as it suits the story and come across as natural.

    Cambonified(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  4. I'm not sure if this contest is international, but I want to comment anyway :)

    I tend to read books at the scorching level! I read erotic romance as a preference to erotica, so the majority of my tales have a heavy romance plot and the sex serves a purpose rather than just being there for titillation! I have read and enjoyed all types of heat levels, it really does depend on the book

    Nic

    Scorchingrevs AT gmail DOT com

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  5. Absolutely all of the above. I dont blush as easily as Linda mentioned so reading in public is not a problem unless someone asks about the book while I am reading a scorching scene. Then I might stutter a bit before I answer. My first preference is for romantica however.

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  6. I would go with all of the above. I think that the tension if written consistent and building through the story makes for a more enjoyable read.

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  7. Elisabeth, thanks for the fun post. It would be interesting to find out from an RT rep what is the difference between hot and scorcher. I wonder if it is subjective or if they have a set of guidelines.

    Can't wait until TEMPTED is out in September!

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  8. I have no preference. If the story is good and the characters are well-developed, I'll read it regardless of heat level.

    Alice DOT mcelwee AT gmail DOT com

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  9. I used to like the mild ones with lots of action, but the older I get the more I like the scorchers! And I can not wait for Tempted to come out! I have reread the other books atleast 3 or 4 times each waiting for Tempted!!

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  10. All of the above! But I do tend to keep the scorchers for when the kids are in bed!

    The building of the tension is what I enjoy more to be honest. I love the developing relationships and if that takes 200 pages or 3 books it doesn't matter.

    mmcmichael79(at)googlemail(dot)com

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  11. I LOVE a scorcher and this series has been great. I can not wait for the next book. Everyone in my book club has read this series from my recommendation.

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  12. I would love to win an ARC, so I'll answer that I like "all of the above." I really love all kinds of books, as long as they are well written!

    redbird_the_redbone (at) yahoo (dot) com

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  13. It depends on the book. I'll read just about anything, from a single chaste kiss to kinky erotica and everything in between. I love a good story that has the right amount of heat for that story. I don't like it when it's misplaced somehow or when it's all sex and no story.

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  14. Elizabeth: LOVED, LOVED your post! My writing has covered from sweet with only a chaste kiss or two and no tongue (heaven forbid) to spicy (way past tongue, ma'am). As a reader, I want the sex scenes (like you said) to be natural and fit with the flow of the book.

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  15. I think it's about the chemistry of the characters, sometimes the banter and innuendo between them can be as hot as an all out scorcher. I can't wait for TEMPTED and thanks for the chance to win an ARC?

    claddagh64 at yahoo dot com

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  16. I'm less concerned with how hot than I am with the qualities you allude to, Elizabeth: Is the heat appropriate for the characters and where they are on their arcs? Is the tone of the interaction right for them, is the emotional content of the scene rendered as effectively on the page as the physical activity?

    Oddly enough, I've been told hot scenes and fight scenes can both be difficult to write and in the same way. Wonder what that's about?

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  17. I do prefer romances where the characters develop their feelings for each other over time, or when it just takes them a really long time to recognize their feelings for what they are. The friction and chemistry of these stories are fun to follow and made that much better if it ties into the central plot line. Though, after this point if they scorch the pages...all the better! I like variety in my romances :)


    meljolene(at)gmail(dot)com

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  18. I like to read anywhere, but its always fun when you read in front of someone and its a super hot scene. It almost makes you feel like you have a little secret. But, I do like all the above for my sex scenes. :)

    blueyedgal623@gmail.com

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  19. All of the above! All I want is for the steamy scenes to fit the plot and not, as you say, be forced. There is nothing worse than to see two characters so not ready for what is suddenly forced on them. Ugh. I'd prefer a whole book of fabulous sexual tension than a book with forced sex scenes. Bah!

    Would love to win a copy of your book! cparagraphs at that gmail place. :) Thanks!

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  20. I'll read all of the above! Really it's whatever is appropriate to the story.

    I'm super excited for the new book!!!

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  21. I like all heat levels. As long as it fits the story, I am satisfied. Thanks for the awesome giveaway. I love your series.
    Crystal816[at]hotmail[dot}com

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  22. All the above for me, anyway I don't care if someone see me blush or smile when I read some hot scene! Love the post and the giveaway, thanks!

    proserpinecravedfor(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  23. I like those scorchers, but the waiting room issue can be a problem with an e-reader. I had an elderly gentleman ask politely to see my Nook in the doctor's office the other day, and only after I handed it to him did I realize I'd just started a Carolyn Brown sex scene. He seemed very interested in the e-reader and hung onto it so long I had to grab a magazine to read:)

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  24. ALL OF THE ABOVE!! Each book has such a unique story line and set of characters, sometimes the "steam" seems natural while other times insinuated intimacy is more than adequate. As long as it's a good story, it's worth reading!

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  25. Actually I like all the above. Sometimes a plot or story line is awesome without the hot and scorching sex scenes. As a reader of fantasy books there is no sex to mild in those books so I find I'm okay with my romance.

    As long as the characters are well thought out and seem real, the plot and storyline is gripping, that sometimes the sex is not necessary.

    Raonaid at gmail dot com

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  26. Molto molto CALDO! *naughty grin* Luv ur series. Looking 4ward 2 ur next bk.

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  27. I actually prefer scorcher, though these days we have many small town contemporary series which can be classified under mild but my first preference are scenes that make me fan myself ;)

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  28. As long as it's a really good story, it really doesn't matter. BUT you know hot to scorching is a little more interesting. Lol.
    Dpbussie@yahoo.com

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  29. Also wanted to say that I LOVE your books. Great reads!
    Dpbussie@yahoo.com

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  30. I like all levels of heat~as it depends on the seasons and my mood. But, scorcher is the best!
    Hope I get a chance to read this book. Thanks for the contest.
    Sherri A. Dub
    sheropatra@yahoo.com

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  31. MARKED was the first romance novel I ever read. I had no idea it was a romance novel when I started it. It was a free download for the Kindle and it just sounded good, so I downloaded it and started reading it right away and couldn't put it down! Half way through this book I downloaded ENTWINED because I loved it so much I knew I would want to read more. Upon reading the next book, I was a little sad to see a shift in characters, but stuck it out and ended up loving this one as well. I've been dyeing to get my hands on TEMPTED and can't wait for it's release date. So.... to answer your question, I would have to say: All of the above!! I just can't wait to see what happens next!

    katietastefully {at} gmail {dot} com

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  32. Some scorchers, but mostly hot and mild. It really depends on whether or not the scorchers are making sex the entire focus of their plot or not.

    jennlovesed14 at gmail

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  33. Elizabeth, you have some interesting neighbors and obviously a lot of fun! I'm more into the build up of the romance than the sex, but certainly want to make sure that sex mild or hot is in the books.
    Amelia

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  34. I love all romance! No matter how hot it is. I just love to read about the chemistry between the characters. I am very excited for Tempted!

    megonski216@yahoo.com

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  35. I like Hot, but I will read a scorcher once in a while and I'll read Mild, too. I really this this delineation is subjective. One person's Hot is another's Scorcher.

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  36. I usally don't like extremes which would be inspirationals or eroticas but that said, if I enjoy the story and love the characters, you can do anything you want and I will like it. What a gorgeous cover too!!

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  37. I love a variety of different books, I love to read mild stories when I am in the garden with my children playing around me, I love hot stories where the hero and heroine are evenly matched, I enjoy these when the children aren't around as I can really get into the book and I LOVE the scorchers, when I am only around my hubby or on my own as I can share parts of the story with him, As my children can all read, I have to be very careful, You never said if anyone can enter or is it only in US/Canada, I am from the UK, Thank-you x x

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  38. Congrats on the upcoming release, Elisabeth. I like my romances to be hot or scorchers. There are some books where mild works, but it's not as satisfying to me.

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  39. Generally, I like 'em hot! lol

    One or two love scenes is what I enjoy reading in a novel. That being said, I've read plenty of mild books and scorchers that I've enjoyed just as well.

    lisa(at)onceuponachapter(dot)com

    Lisa @ Once Upon A Chapter

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  40. I like all heat levels depending on the chemistry of the characters. It has to fit with the story too. Scorchers are really nice when written well.
    vsloboda(at)gmail(dot)com

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  41. I'll definitely say All of the above. Depends on my mood lol
    Breezyobreezy(at)gmail(dot)com

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  42. I prefer it mild to slightly spicy, but I love the angst and tension. Can't wait to read Tempted. Thanks for the giveaway.

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  43. Definitely mild! I'm not a bodice ripper person at all. The plots of these books sounded great but I saw some "hot and sexy" blurbs about them and, though I was a bit terrified, I read them and loved the second one even more than the first. Can't wait to read the next in the series.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

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  44. All of the above. I just like being swept away in the story and if there happens to be smex in there than cool. I don't go out of my way to buy books for smex scenes.

    Danielle @Ramblings From This Chick
    iqb99(AT)yahoo(DOT)com

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  45. The hotter the better for me;) But I'll try any of them... mild, hot or scorcher.

    yadkny@hotmail.com

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  46. It is hard... Ahem, difficult for me to write a good steamy scene too. It is such an important scene to get just right.

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  47. I'll read all of the above. I love stories, love to see what choices characters make, and if those choices involve something mild, or hot, or scorching, I'm all for it. :)

    csolinda(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  48. warm, simmering, hot, boiling, scorching, it doesn't matter as long as the characters, plot line are great.

    loribooklover62@aol.com

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  49. I'm with you, Elisabeth, I think the heat level has to be right for the characters, though, my characters always seem pretty hot. I've read some books with very little sex on the page and incredible sexual tension that were awesome, and I've read some books that the love scenes didn't ring true and felt stilted, as if the author needed three love scenes and just tossed them in haphazardly. When I write, my love scenes are usually scorchers but they're also turning points. They're there for a reason, and if you were to take them out, I don't think the story would hold together. A great love scene either makes everything better or makes everything much worse.

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  50. I love my romance levels at all levels. Give me a good hot hero and I'm happy to read him work! Looking forward to reading the next installment from the Eternal Gaurdians Series!!

    hmbutchart(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  51. It depends on my mood I guess but then also on how well characters are written- love scenes will seem bland even if it claimed to be a scorcher if I'm not invested or could care less about the h/h, or if they get together too fast.

    midnite dot fantasy at gmail dot com

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  52. I am probaly the only guy here but as a lot of other people have said, I read for the story. The sex scenes are are great. my girlfriend also agrees the hotter the better.



    brianschwant(at)gmail(dot)com

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  53. It really depends on my mood, but I enjoy all heat levels. I've read some great sweet romance and some great erotic romances.
    thanks for the giveaway
    marlenebreakfield(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  54. My preference is scorching, but the storyline has to be believable and the characters strong. Sex for the sake of sex isn't good either, it actually weakens the story imho. A good story line, strong characters, and the right number of good, steamy sex scenes keeps me coming back for more.

    Anne_Lange66@yahoo.ca

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  55. Thanks to all who commented on my post about heat levels. And a big thanks to the readers who had such great things to say about the Eternal Guardians. I hope you enjoy TEMPTED as much as I enjoyed writing it!

    Now on to the TEMPTED ARC winners:

    Will the following two people please email me at elisabeth (at) elisabethnaughton (dot) com with your snail mail addy?

    Lisa Jo @ Once upon a chapter

    and

    Shiloh Tolbert!

    Congrats to the winners!

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  56. I love them all. If it has romance and a hot alpha male I am good to go. I think that is why I love the Eternal Guardians and cannot wait for Tempted to come out!!!!!

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