Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Guest blogger: Kassie Burns

Please welcome today's guest, author Kassie Burns. Be sure to leave a comment or question for her and make her feel welcome. Kassie Burns writes erotic SF and fantasy romances designed to set your heart on fire. She's published with Loose Id, Changeling Press, Extasy Books and Carnal Desires. You can visit Kassie on her Web site at http://www.kassieburns.com and on her blog at http://enjoytheburn.blogspot.com

What was your path to being published?
I've been telling myself stories for as long as I can remember. It's sort of like having a never-ending matinee playing in your head. I was still in grade school when I started writing them down. Needless to say, those stories have since vanished and no one has mourned their loss.
Naturally, I studied English and journalism in college and then launched a career as a journalist. That was more than enough writing for many years, but eventually the fantasy world of fiction drew me back. When I discovered the Internet and the concept of e-books, I was hooked. I loved the idea of simply emailing off a manuscript instead of trudging down to the post office. Can you tell I have a lazy streak?
My first book came out in 2001 under my real name. It was the first of a fantasy series that went on to win several awards. When my interest shifted from writing fantasy to romance, I decided to take on a pen name, and Kassie Burns was born. Kassie has since written nine novels and novellas combining romance with SF, fantasy and paranormal adventures. You can find excerpts on my Web site at http://www.kassieburns.com.
What is your favorite animal, real or mythical and why?
At the risk of offending cat people everywhere, I love dogs. (I love cats, too, of course, and have had a couple of sweeties over the years). Dogs are special, though. A few years ago I fell in love with a little Silky Terrier puppy and haven't looked back since. I often think the world would be a better place if dogs ran it. We'd all know our place in the pack and we'd stick together. Plus, we'd get a lot more sleep.
If you decided to no longer write, what would you do instead?
I can't imagine not writing. I could tell these stories as movies, though. That would be exciting. And if I were a computer whiz, I could work on developing some sort of virtual reality game where you could be the heroine in your favorite novel. Wouldn't that be great?

What part of the world is your favorite? Where would you like to visit that you haven’t yet?

I love the sea and I love the mountains, so I imagine my dream home perched on a high cliff overlooking the ocean, with a mountain range rising behind it. In the real world, I'll always remember the glorious wonder of my first visit to New England in the autumn. Who knew there were so many trees in the world, and all of them breathtaking in their fall colors. Plus, New England has some lovely mountains and a beautiful coast, not to mention really good seafood.

As for places I'd like to go, I'd love to visit the mysterious East, especially Thailand. I love Thai food and the people I've met here in the U.S. are all so warm and friendly!

What is your most dearly held fantasy? (non-romance related)

My noble fantasy is to be named leader of the world and declare world peace. My not-so-noble fantasy is to hit a hole-in-one at golf.

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Spicing up that sex scene

By Kassie Burns

Have you wanted to write an erotic romance but found yourself freezing up when it comes to actually putting words on paper? When I started teaching workshops on writing sex scenes, I found this was a common problem. Some people just have a censor in the back of their minds, whether it's the result of a strict upbringing or comes from a mental image of their mother reading over their shoulder.
When they finally do manage to get something down on paper, it's often mechanical and forced. They have trouble getting beyond the describing the motions and how A and B go together.
Here's a little mental twist that might help: Keep telling yourself your sex scene is not about sex. While sex is a wonderful thing, the basics have remained unchanged for thousands of years and come as no surprise to any adult.
Your reader expects you to describe the motions, of course, but they are really looking for something more. A reader wants to experience connection, relationship and emotional intimacy through your story, and the sex is just a way to get there.
Okay, let's imagine that you've set the scene of your romantic encounter and engaged the senses of sight, smell and taste. Your lovers are poised and ready, so how do you get to the emotion which will provide the blazing fuel behind the sex?
Answer: you make the scene a dance between your hero and heroine where each touch, each word brings on a emotional reaction which drives the characters toward more intimacy in an ever-escalating journey toward arousal and orgasm.
Here's an example from one of my novels, Earth Storm. Since I don't want to get too explicit on a guest blog, I've picked a scene that is aq prelude to sex, but hopefully it will illustrate my points.
To set the scene, the main characters, Mercy and Noah, are in the middle of a disaster. There's a plague in Chicago and now a series of earthquakes have hit the city. I've going to mark the emotional components of this scene so that you can see how each emotion engages the other character and builds the interaction that will eventually lead to really hot sex ....
Mercy glanced around her apartment. “So what do you think? Where could we go that would be safe?”
Noah set his jaw. [EMOTION. His reaction to her question is to be strong for her. ] His dark eyes flashed with determination [EMOTION] as he gazed at her. “Don’t worry. I’m not going to let anything happen to you.”
His words sent a wave of warmth through her. [EMOTION. Her reaction to him starts to create their intimacy] She laughed, trying to sound unconcerned. [EMOTION] “Those scientists may be panicking over nothing. They have no way of knowing for certain if
there will be an eruption or how strong it will be.”
“The signs don’t look good.”
Mercy laid her hand on his knee. Touching him steadied her nerves. He radiated a calm confidence. She wished he’d put his arm around her again. [EMOTION rising as she responds to his concern for her] “Okay, so we’ll be prepared. You said something earlier about making a plan.”
“I did. I don’t think it’s smart to stay here in the city. There’s too much chaos right now. Chicago has too many people and not enough resources if civilization starts to break down. Anything could happen.”
Mercy had watched her fair share of disaster movies on late-night TV, and she knew exactly what he meant. The power could go out at any moment. People would raid the grocery stores and then there’d be no food. If the plague reached Chicago, the hospitals, already strained by the earthquake, would be unable to cope. People would turn against each other in fear.
“What should we do?”
He smiled at her, a dimple forming in one cheek. Despite the danger they were in, butterflies fluttered in her stomach. [EMOTION. Her reaction to his action.] Lord, her survival instincts must be kicking in big time. All she could think about was getting her hands on that strong body.[EMOTION]
A matching intensity glowed in Noah’s gaze, [EMOTION. His reaction to what he sees in her.] but he stuck to the subject. “My father owns a vacation home on Lake Cumberland in Kentucky. If we left soon and drove all night, we could be there by tomorrow. He’s always been a bit paranoid so he keeps it stocked with survival food, and it has its own generator. It might be the perfect place to ride out this crisis.”
Relief flooded through her like a surging tide.[EMOTION. Her reaction to him.] Then she frowned as an objection occurred to her. “But what about your father and the rest of your family? Will they want me there?”
Noah bit down on his lip. [EMOTION. His reaction to her. ]“There’s only my mother and my father and unfortunately, they were in Europe when the plague started. All flights back to the U.S. were canceled as soon as the danger of contagion became evident. They can’t get back. I just keep praying that they’ll be safe there.”
She touched his cheek, her heart filling with compassion. [EMOTION. Her reaction to him. The dance is getting faster and closer. ] “I’m sure they will be.”
“Thanks!” His dark eyes shone with gratitude. He leaned closer, brushed a gentle kiss across her lips. [EMOTION. His reaction and the dance goes to a new level of physicality.] At that moment, the floor jolted as an aftershock let loose. Mercy tumbled into his arms, as they both fell onto the couch.
She caught her breath and realized she was lying on top of him. The world stabilized once more. I’d run but there’s nowhere to hide. The scientist’s words echoed through her mind. What if the super volcano erupted before they could reach Kentucky? What if the end of the world really was at hand? She and Noah had some unfinished business that she definitely wanted to finish first.[EMOTION]
She propped herself on her elbows above him, then slid her hand over the hard muscles of his flat stomach until she reached the zipper to his shorts. Gazing down at his face, she lifted her eyebrows in an unspoken question.
Noah licked his lips and nodded slightly. She undid the button at the top of his shorts and pulled down on the zipper. The shorts fell open, exposing his briefs.
“Ummm,” she murmured. She leaned down to kiss his mouth, a long, leisurely kiss. She didn’t care if the earth shook again, or the roof came tumbling down on top of them. [EMOTION, growing ever stronger.] She wanted this man, and wanted him now, with an urgent, primal need. Maybe it was the urge to assure the survival of the race, but it wasmore than that, she knew. She wanted him, needed him, had to have him, before everything ended.
Stopping now ... but that's the basic idea. Fill your sex scene with more than just physical touch. Add the characters growing and strengthening emotions and the scene will just flow from your fingertips.
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Blurb on Earth Storm:
Disaster comes in threes, they say. The first disaster strikes the United States when terrorists release a deadly plague on the East Coast. Despite the government’s efforts to contain it, Mercy Johnson fears it will soon reach Chicago. Alone and single, Mercy welcomes the diversion of a date with Noah McKnight, the new hunk at work. In the middle of their date, an earthquake rocks Chicago. Neither one wants to wait for the third disaster to strike. Together they head south to a secluded cabin Noah owns in the Kentucky woods, just one step ahead of a volcanic eruption in Yellowstone Park that has triggered a new ice age. Caught in a raging blizzard, Mercy and Noah find their humanity tested as they are called upon to help other refugees in need. Meanwhile, Mercy begins to suspect that her new lover has a secret. As they near their final destination, Noah fights to win Mercy’s love and trust, the love and trust he needs to save humanity. Bound by shared erotic passion, they take an epic journey to save the Earth from ultimate disaster.
Link to the publisher:
You can find Earth Storm at Carnal Desires Publishing.
Thanks, Kassie! You've been great.
Let me segue for a moment. Today is the first day I'll be a new blog resident at: http://www.jeannieruesch.com/wordpress/ under my pseudonym "Elaine Hopper". I'll post every Wednesday. Also, today is my blog day on the Total-E-Bound blog so be sure to pop over and visit me there, too. I'm there the 5th of every month. You'll also want to see what Amarinda Jones, Anika Hamilton, Anny Cook, Barbara Huffert, Brynn Paulin, Bronwyn Green, Dakota Rebel, Kelly Kirch, Molly Daniels, Sandra Cox, Regina Carlysle, and Cindy Spencer Pape are up to, so make sure to visit them also. :)

3 comments:

DJ Kirkby said...

Morning. I would love to visit Fiji and to write full time. xo
P.S. did you get my latest email and could you open the attachment?

L2 said...

This book is a must read!

Kassie writes characters you can believe in, and her books are full of emotion and realistic situations.

But she can’t rule the world – that’s my job. BWHAWHAWHAWHA

Silicon Valley Diva said...

I just love this post. The examples with EMOTION describing the gesture/s really helps illustrate all the nuances of writing a believable and interesting sex scene. I'm not sure which genre I'll be writing in, but chances are sex is going to come at some point so this post benefits all fiction writers.

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