Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Guest Blogger: Betina Krahn

Today's blogger won the Rita last summer for Best Short Historical Romance, but her career is taking a turn in a different direction and she's sharing about this with us today. I straightened up the playground, put more wood on the campfire and got things all toasty warm for today's guest blogger. Please give a big Writing Playground welcome to Betina Krahn.


When I started writing, I was enthralled by the impact of words. . . by the way they could reach into a reader and make something visceral happen. The way they could make someone laugh, cry, tremble in fear, or even get turned on sexually was magic to me.

Well, a whole lotta books later, I’m still amazed by it. And I’m at something of a turning point in my career. And I’m turning to you for help.

Which would you rather read, a sexy book or a funny book?

You see, I’ve contracted myself for two Blazes and I face the prospect of having to turn up the heat in my writing. I fully intend to do my part to keep the BLAZE line ablaze. (I’m considering it a personal as well as a writing challenge!) But there are ways to heat things up and ways to heat things up. Most of the sex I’m into these days has an element of fun or playfulness in it. . . writing wise, of course. That’s just my personal preference. And I’m wondering if there’s a way to heat up funny love scenes.

So here’s the question: Have you ever made mistakes or gotten the giggles in the middle of making love? And do you think it always wrecks the mood? Could it potentially make you feel closer to the guy—assuming that you’re already fairly close and that he’s not furious that you’re laughing during his big moment. If it does ruin the mood, would you be willing to buy that a “ruined mood” taken in stride could bring two people a lot closer together?

And here’s another question: Do you think that “bad sex” is ever appropriate or even good in a book? Can “bad” love scenes still be sexy. The only “bad love scenes” I can recall happen to be in Jenny Crusie’s books. And they’re hysterical. Not, however, wildly sexy. Anybody else you know write bad sex with a verve? (In fairness to Jenny, the couples always end up with great sex later in the book—it’s just the opener that is a disappointment for the heroine!)

What makes a love scene memorable for you? Do you like characters who talk all the way through a love scene, or do you want them to keep their traps shut?

Sigh. I think I might have to do some more research. One of the “erotic advice” books I just got has a chapter on “spreadables.” I was floored. “Philly” brand cream cheese with pineapples. . . in the BEDROOM? What the heck do you do with the crackers?

Enlighten me. What makes a book a BLAZER for you?

One lucky commenter today will win a copy of Betina's Rita-winning book THE BOOK OF TRUE DESIRES. I just read this and you're going to love it! Great hero and heroine, wonderful setting, lots of adventure and, of course, a HEA.

You can visit Betina online at her website, and she blogs regularly at Riding with the Top Down. They ride around in this cool convertible and have hunky guys and everything. It's a cool place to hang out.

P.S. We need to catch up with posting come contest winners, so here goes. Shari and Theresa N are our Valentine's winners, and Crystal GB is the winner for Kerrelyn Spark's book from a few weeks ago. Please contact Angel with your full name and snail mail information. All winners have 7 days to claim their prizes or forfeit the prize.


Anonymous said...

What beautiful flowers!

Not too much talking but funny talk and dirty, flirty talk is wonderful.

Pat L.

Problem Child said...

Hi Betina! Welcome to the Playground!

I'm a sucker for funny books--a rom-com junkie all the way. Sexy's good, of course. I like the playfulness aspect too--it's sex, not the LSAT exam. Don't take it so seriously (or silently!).

Sex is often funny. The odd faces and undignified positions aside, there's just so many things that can go wonky at an inopportune moment. You just gotta laugh, and that ability to laugh can bring the two people closer together.

Let's see--funny stories? Hmm, there was the time *someone's* leg managed to knock over a very expensive drafting table. I'm still not sure how that happened.

And would DG's mother walking in on us be considered a "bad" love scene moment? (Traumatizing at the time, but funny now.)

Barbara Vey said...

I love the funny Jenny Crusie style love scenes and I reread her books more than once.

Funniest sex moment: My ex and I at his mom's house, on his old bunk bed. I opened my eyes and was starring right into his beagle's eyes. The ex thought my scream was of pleasure. I could never look at beagles again without feeling embarrassed. ::g::

Instigator said...

Welcome, Betina! It's nice to have another Blaze Babe on the Playground :-)

I love Jenny's funny sex scenes! Faking It is my absolute favorite!

And yes, I think you can have a bad sex scene and have it mean something to the characters. Often it's that moment when they fall out of the closet in front of everyone (complete with a mop on the heroine's head and panties around her ankles) that give them some experience to share. Those life moments also tend to show you someone's true character - an important thing for someone falling in love.


robynl said...

at times talking during sex adds to the moment as well as giggling/laughing does. I believe it could/does bring the couple closer together.
How about the time my partner's 3 kids walked into Daddy's bedroom and started talking to him whilst we were heating things up so I joined in the conversation and everything was fine.

Playground Monitor said...

I like for the sex scene itself to be hot and sensuous. But before I like sexy, funny banter that helps to build the mood. Fill it with innuendo and double entendres and you'll have me hooked.

Barbara's beagle story gives a whole new meaning to the term "doggie sex." ;-) I wonder if she was excited when Uno won at Westminster last week?

I'm blanking on funny sex stories but then I'm also floating on pain pills so I'm blanking on a lot of things. I'm SO tired of having to keep this foot elevated and I'm trying not to whine too much, but I'm bored. It's hard to read under the influence of pain pills and writing is out of the question. Poor me.


Betina Krahn said...

Hey, Pat-- I'm with you on the "not too much talk" thing. And oooh, the dirty, flirty talk sounds great. Gotta use that phrase!

Problem Child, a mother walking in would definitely be a "bad" love scene moment for me! And knocking over furniture-- wounds like some potent affection going on there!

Barbara, my dh and I barred the dog from the bedroom altogether after a similar incident. First we had a talk with him about how impolite it was to stare, but --alas-- he was just a really rude schnauzer and didn't take the hint.

Betina Krahn said...

Instigator-- another Blaze Babe! I am so excited about doing my Blazes! I love Brenda Chin and I'm delighted to be among such fabulous, sexy writers! I was thrilled at the idea of doing contemporary, then Brenda asked me to make the first one a historical! Huh? Then I learned they're launching the first historical Blazes this summer. Cool! So now I have to put my noodler on and come up with a shady lady who wears long skirts!
Oooh,oooh-- I just got a GREAT idea! Does that mean I have to credit you guys in my dedication?

Robynl, having kids walk in is the worst to me. Locked doors. Even in the night. One of my sons's bedroom was right below ours when he was growing up. I worried for years that we'd marked him somehow.

Playground Marilyn, I'm so glad you came through the surg. well! May your tootsies continue to thrive so you can soon be on them and jive! Okay, okay. Put down the pitchforks and torches-- no more attempts at poetry, I promise!

Playground Monitor said...

Does that mean I have to credit you guys in my dedication?

We graciously accept any and all book dedications. :-) And we'll be happy to have a book signing and autograph the page. LOL!

I'm intrigued by the idea of an historical Blaze. Will your heroine be like Cordelia in The Book of True Desires? She was such a strong woman for the era and I could totally see someone like her in a Blaze.


rebekah said...

I would also have to say funny books. It is so hard to find a book that has some humor in it. So when I find a book that makes me chuckle or better laugh out loud it is like finding a pearl in a sea of oyster shells.

Wendi said...

Hi, Betina! *waving* I have no doubt you'll turn up the heat just fine for your Blazes. I'll be first in line to buy them both. :)

I definitely think funny sex can be hot, and as far as the chatty characters go, I really think it depends on the characters and the tone of the book. I think the trick to any good love scene is making the reader feel what the character feels, just like you do everywhere else in the book.

Man, with answers like that I could be a politician. :) On a personal note, I'm ticklish. Sometimes more than others. A couple of times the timing has been extremely bad. And while I was laughing hysterically ...let's just say I was laughing alone. :)

Michele Hauf said...

Hey, Betina! I would love to read a hilarious sex scene. I find in most books I read, of late, I skip over the sex. It's all been done before and the same. I want something new, different, unique. And if that means laughs, then yes! And even an awkward entanglement, would be new and interesting to read about. Because that's how it is in real life. I mean, how often, in real life, does it happen that a sexy muscled, tanned man makes all the right moves on us, and hits all the right spots, just so, and brings us to a singing orgasm?

Hee... I'm just sayin'


Carla Capshaw said...

Betina!! So excited for you and your new Blaze venture! :-)

Who doesn't love humor in everything...well, just about everything?

Can't wait to read your duet.

Helen Brenna said...

Hi Betina!

Funny guys are sexy. And while funny in the bedroom CAN be sexy, I wouldn't want all of it to be funny. Does that make any sense whatsoever?

Jill Sorenson said...

Hi Betina! I've read several of your books and I don't think you have anything to worry about! For me, great sex is nothing without great characters. If I don't care about them, I'm not "there" with them in the bedroom. Or on the kitchen table. Wherever. Sexual tension, humor, emotion...the build up is at least as important as the deed itself.

And a little dirty talk never hurt! Can't wait to read them.

Karen Rose said...

Yay on the Blazes, Betina - can't wait to read them! I, too, love Cruisie's love scenes - Sophie and Phin on that squeaky bed with the pokey springs in Welcome to Temptation are my favorite. I also like the dark edgy scenes - I think it depends on my mood.

We also banished the dog at night. Who knew what secrets he'd tell the other dogs at the grooming salon?

The flowers in your picture are amazing!

Anonymous said...

A little humor gets me everytime. I have found too many sex scenes that are trying for serious and come off cheesy. Or better yet if it starts with a flirty humor and turns serious - oh great fun.

Funny story - How about being so aroused and into ones own orgasm that you don't notice your partners involvement until you collapse beneath him in exhaustion and then he says "do you mind if I finish?" The laughter got the appropriate rhythm going again.

Betina Krahn said...

Rebekah and Wendi, I'm glad to hear that there's a desire out there for sexy and funny together. Ooooh, I found a great quote this morning:

"It's okay to laugh in the bedroom so long as you don't point."
Will Durst

Of course that's a man's POV. For a woman's try actress Glenda Jackson:

"When I need to cry, I think of my sex life. When I need to laugh, I think of my sex life."

Michele, Carla, Helen, Jill and Karen ::waving:: hey there! Great to see you here! And five more votes for funny and sexy together. I'm getting so psyched about these Blazes!

And since two of you have mentioned the flowers: the orchids are located at the Selby Gardens in Sarasota, Florida. It's one of my very favorite places-- it has mad orchids in bloom year around. I was there with my fiancee's brother and his wife. He's a photographer and snapped this pic of me with some big, flashy blooms. It's one of my favorite pictures ever.

Diana Peterfreund said...

I like funny sex scenes. I write funny sex scenes. I do not, however, like bad sex scenes in a romance. I don't know. maybe it's a realistic conflict, that too people aren't sexually compatible, but I don't read romance for the realism!

Nature Nut /JJ Loch said...

Betina, wild wave!

My hubby and I are ALWAYS getting hurt during sex...sometimes it's an ankle, sometimes a knee, sometimes a back, get the picture. LOL But we have a great romantic relationship and it only adds to the charm. I LOVE funny love scenes and have begun writing them myself. I vote for funny romance scenes.

WOOT! on your career taking another direction. :D How exciting!

Hugs, JJ

Betina Krahn said...

Diana, I know what you mean. I was a little worried about the heroine-hero connection in a couple of the "bad sex" scenes. . . afraid the two wouldn't be compatible. Maybe if it were a little more exterior conditions interfering. . .

JJ! ::waving back:: You and the hubby must have great senses of humor. . . and great health insurance! Actually, that would be a great way to inject humor into a love scene. . . having some off-the-wall, unforeseen disaster strike resulting in injuries. In a most believable way, of course. heh.

I'm getting lots of ideas here, guys. You're the best!!

Lori Devoti said...

Betina, I love your historicals--how fun that you are going to write for Blaze! I will definitely look for them.
As far as funny sex scenes, as Barbara said Jennifer Crusie definitely comes to mind. She had at least one where the h/h had some, uh, issues. :)Loved it!
Best of luck!!

catslady said...

Historicals are my favorite and no matter what genre I'm reading, I always like some humor. Books that can make me laugh and cry are my favorite :)

Anonymous said...

I've read alot of your books and have enjoyed them.
I think some authors describe the sex scenes like it is a book on the biological process-too long and involved and descriptive. I like to have a bit of my imagination tested as I read a book.
And I like for thw characters to have fun and not be so serious.

Maureen said...

I think there can be funny moments and sexy moments combined. In Linda Howard's book Open Season there's a really funny scene where all the heroine Daisy has are colored condoms and they're arguing over which color to use.

Betina Krahn said...

Maureen, I have to look up that book! This brings up a whole raft of fun possibilities!

Hey, guys, I'm tickled pink that you all chose to join us on the Playground today. This is such fun! And educational. I'm all the more sure now that the book I have in mind (sexy and funny-- hopefully) is the right way to go.

Playground Monitor said...

In Linda Howard's book Open Season there's a really funny scene where all the heroine Daisy has are colored condoms and they're arguing over which color to use.

Oh gosh yes... the Party Pack. Such a funny scene!

And thanks Betina for joining us today. It's been fun to read everyone's thoughts about sex scenes.


Angel said...

Chiming in late... It's been that kind of day. Betina, thanks for joining us on the playground! I've enjoyed reading the post and comments.

And I think funny sex scenes are totally doable. Like someone else said, they are a step away from the ordinary. Something unexpected is always good. And historical Blazes!!!! Can't wait to get my hands on those!


tetewa said...

I enjoy funny sex scenes in books, they always give me a good laugh. Congrats on your release!

ILuvLA said...

Worst real sex scene ever: she was on top and broke both of his legs. Happened to friends of my parents.

(He had a congenital condition that left his legs very weak and fragile. Still ...)

On laughter: Yeah, we've broken down laughing at times and "lost the mood." Of course, laughter means that you're in a good mood (and usually relaxed), which makes it a lot easier to get back in "the" mood.

Maureen McGowan said...

Hi, Betina! **Maureen waves**

For me, sex scenes are great as long as the hero and heroine are still in character and the sex somehow moves the story along.

It's hot for me if I care about them... the wildest sex can turn into "insert tab A into slot B" when writers forget about their characters. And the tamest (is that a word?), simplest sex can be super hot, if we're right there with the heroine.