When I was a teenager going out on dates, I remember in every movie there was always an obligatory love scene – whether it was relevant to the story or not. This became a great opportunity to hit the candy counter, eventually returning with two cokes and an enormous bucket of popcorn. Looking back, I find myself wondering exactly why this would happen. Was it just that boys weren’t interested in love? We were both old enough to feel the physical pulse of sex, yet the love scenes in these movies consisted of over dramatic kisses and bedroom scenes with one foot on the floor. They didn’t move us and held no power to involve us in what was happening on the screen.
Later, while learning the trade of fiction writing, I realized the typical Hollywood love scene of the late 60′s and early 70′s was perfunctory – thrown in because with two hot stars involved some making out was mandatory. There had to be sparks, but this activity rarely advanced the plot or deepened character knowledge, which is why there was nothing to be missed by escaping for five minutes.
Lots can be said about how to write about love, specifically how to write a good sex scene. Elizabeth Benedict has written an excellent guide, The Joy of Writing Sex – but my general advice comes down to three simple points:
1) Make sure the scene reveals something about the characters we didn’t know before: an awkward truth revealed in the heat of the moment.
2) Make sure the scene, or something in it, has consequences down the line, complications that one or both of them must face. The characters’ relationship is altered. Emotions are enhanced or altered, causing unforeseen consequences.
3) Make sure the description of what the lovers do isn’t a collection of generic, off-the-shelf “moves,” rendered in cliché phrases we’ve all read a million times.
Although it can be subtle, sex is a great way to reveal character, if you approach it that way. A man might reveal his inherent cruelty, lack of confidence, or his sexual confusion. A woman could expose her buried hunger, innate fears, or an unexpressed need to dominate or be dominated.
From a sheer writing standpoint, sex is a collection of specific behaviors. If you have difficulty on the show/tell axis, writing sex will inevitably place you comfortably toward the “show” end. Why “inevitably?” Well, have you ever read a sex scene like this:
Bob led Jane through a full menu of pleasurable actions, while Jane pleased him to no end with her interesting variety of responses. Sometimes these were malleable and yielding, other times demonstrating a surprising degree of leadership. However, by nightfall, they had accomplished all their goals and were unable to perform further, so they dressed and went out for dinner.
Did you enjoy this brief, silly paragraph? If you did, I’m surprised. Did it increase your fascination with either character or did you feel like you were reading about cardboard cutouts? Were you interested in reading on or left unimpressed? Personally, I would skip this scene or anything like it in a blink of an eye and would probably toss the book aside. However, I guarantee you won’t suffer a similar fate if you make sure your love scenes have specific, dynamic story values. If, that is, they reveal through action something essential or surprising about either character or situation or, at best, both.
The most spectacular example I can think of occurs in the movie, The Crying Game (if you’ve seen it you’ll know what I mean). But good literary sex doesn’t have to be shocking or extreme. All sorts of less sensational but well-crafted erotic moments occur in the best Hollywood scenes and books and are capable of keeping our attention riveted to the story as long as they reveal something – a hidden secret, insecurity or emotion – about the individuals involved. It’s all a matter of creating interesting, complex, multi-faceted characters that linger in our memories long after the last page is turned.
Stories that touch the soul…
About the Author:
Kaylin McFarren is a California native who has enjoyed traveling around the world. She previously worked as director for a fine art gallery, where she helped foster the careers of various artists before feeling the urge to satisfy her won creative impulses.
Since launching her writing career, McFarren has earned more than a dozen literary awards in addition to a finalist spot in the 2008 RWA Golden Heart Contest. A member of RWA, Rose City Romance Writers, and Willamette Writers, she also lends her
participation and support to various charitable and educational organizations in the Pacific Northwest.
McFarren currently lives with her husband in Oregon. They have three children and two grandchildren.
Her latest book is Buried Threads (Book 2 of the Threads series).
Visit her website at www.kaylinmcfarren.com.
Connect & Socialize with Kaylin!
TWITTER | FACEBOOK | GOODREADS
About the Book:
Rachel’s mouth sagged. “You mean you’re really a monk? But how’s that possible? You’re not even wearing a robe, and your hair…”
He simply smiled.
A disturbing prophecy sends a treasure hunting duo on an urgent race to rescue a country in Kaylin McFarren’s heart pounding new novel, Buried Threads. Full of erotic suspense and wild adventures, this is one trip that readers will never forget!
Rachel Lyons and Chase Cohen work together as the successful owners of a treasure hunting company. But a seemingly simply assignment – to track down a priceless gem that is believed to buried in a shipwreck deep within the Sea of Japan – takes a starling, and dangerous, turn.
Faced with a monk’s dark prophecy that a natural disaster will soon strike Japan, killing millions, Rachel and Chase must embark on the mission of a lifetime in order to uncover the three cursed samurai swords that can avert the catastrophe.
Chaos ensues as their adventure takes them from shark infested waters and creepy caves to haunted hidden tombs and a confrontation with Yakuza gang members.
Time is running out as the prophecy’s day of reckoning draws near. Will Rachel and Chase succeed before disaster strikes?
Title: Buried Threads
Genre: Erotic Romantic Suspense
Author: Kaylin McFarren
Publisher: Creative Edge Publishing LLC
Purchase at AMAZON
Rachel Lyons and her partner Chase Cohen accept a contract to recover a lost priceless treasure in the Sea of Japan. However, upon arriving in Tokyo, they soon discover their mission is more complicated and dangerous than they originally believed. In order to prevent a natural disaster from striking Japan and killing millions, they must form an alliance with yakuza members, dive into shark-infested waters and recover three ancient cursed swords...before time runs out.
The mystery begins…
Kenji Otadidn’t fit the description of a bloodthirsty killer. Upon meeting him, it would be difficult to believe he’d gotten away with murdering at least twenty-five men. He was intelligent, intuitive and physically attractive. His black hair was kept short and neat, and from the professional manner in which he dressed and carried himself, he could have been mistaken fora television announcer or successful business executive. He socialized in mixed circles – with stockbrokers, politicians and street-smart hoodlums alike – and his charming, larger-than-life personality drew the attention of women everywhere. However, after meeting Mariko Abe, his taste in the fairer sex had been spoiled forever. No one in his mind would ever compare to Kyoto’s most beautiful geishaorbe foolish enough to keep her away from him.
At 8:45 P.M., he stepped inside RAIN, one of the hottest nightclubs in Japan’s Roppongi district with his face hidden behind a katou anime mask. He knew only the “big” people in Tokyo could gain access to this place, and at the age of 29, he was already considered one of the largest. His loyalty to his yakuza family, the Zakura-kai, carried great weight and had earned him three rankings within the Japanese syndicate: Kaito Mitsui’s body guard, his personal advisor, and captain of his own crew of soldiers. Yet his hard-earned promotions were not the result of monies earned, smart business dealings or his ability to entice new, ambitious recruits. They came as the result of his eight-year incarceration on behalf of his boss for a botched extortion scam.
With renewed interest in the noisy scene before him, Kenji pulled off his mask and tucked it into his black studded belt. He ran his hand across the back of his sweaty neck – the irritatingresultof another muggy August night. Unlike the devoted men in his crew, he shied away from solid black suits by wearing tight jeans and a loose white shirt most days. And although the police had released him only four days earlier, across his back he carried a red wakazashi– a lethal 31” sword.
Associates who were below Kenji’s rank moved quickly aside and bowed in respect as he passed. On more than one occasion he’d proven himself a deadly adversary with his sweeping blade, the most memorable occurring ten years earlier. Boss Mitsui had called a meeting between Katsu Nagura and all the underbosses in the Zakura-kai to discuss territorial issues. Foolishly, Nagura had challenged their supreme leader, bringing him to his feet.
“You’re not even worth killing! You stupid ingrate!” Kaito Mitsui yelled at the top of his lungs.
Dedicated to his mission to protect his boss at any cost, Kenji appeared in front of Nagura in the blink of an eye. He whipped out his sword and slashed the yakuza boss’s face twice across both cheeks. Within seconds, four of his men jumped in and were dropped to their knees with gaping wounds and severed arteries. The ones that could stand scrambledto get out of there. The two that couldn’t were carried off and deposited in a common grave. Strangely, the whereabouts of these men were of no interest to local officials or members of Nagura’s group. Kenji was never confronted for his part in the bloody incident and was left to conduct business as usual in the Zakura-kai with the same unaffected attitude he exhibited tonight.
As he neared the DJ’s booth, the base-infused rock music grew louder. Hundreds of bodies were bouncing to the techno beat. Dresses were shimmering beneath flashing strobe lights and the surrounding bar was filled three deep with thirsty customers. By Kenji’s estimate, it was unusually busy for a Monday night, even with the discounted drinks andRockabilia theme.
While he continued to eye the club’s glitzy interior, contemplating owning it one day, two girls crossed the dance floor and were heading straight for him.“Ken-chan, come dance with me,” the girl in the skimpy red dress called out. She was swaying her hips to the music provocatively and angling a come-hither look. Her friend in a micro blue skirt joined in, matching her move for move. In his book, with their thigh-high stockings and hemlines barely covering their assets, they looked like Sasebo bargirls. But another quick look around convinced him they weren’t alone in their meat market attire.
“You promised last time,” the girl in red persisted.
Right. Kenji feigned a smile. He knew these girls belonged to Tak – a “family” member who enjoyed cheap whores and spending his money in by-the-hour love hotels.
“He’s not interested in you,” the other girl said, tugging at his arm. “He promised to dance with me. Right, Kenji?”
He didn't, of course. He had better things to do and would have remembered if he’d made a promise to anyone…especially these two. He pulled his arm free with little effort. “Sorry, Tak’s waiting. Maybe another time.” Kenji could hear their annoying little whines as he stepped away. Hustlers like these were more disappointed in the watered-down drinks you didn’t buy them than the time you weren’t willing to spare.
He edged his way around the crowd and spotted his friend at the back of the room. As usual, the acme-scarred rebel was holding court in one of the club’s high-back chairs with drinks on the table and two girls seated before him hanging on every word.
As he drew near, Tak’s eyes lifted. “Hey, man! Been waiting for you. What took you so long?” Unlike most of the people Kenji socialized with, Takashi Bekku lacked proper manners. He was slow at paying tabsunless there was someone at the table he needed to impress. Although he was street smart, his education ended at junior high. The knife scars on his arms and cheek came from his father and not from gang members as his girlfriends were lead to believe. But despite it all, Kenji Ota valued their friendship and was confident that if worse came to worst, Takashi would be there for him – watching his back all the way.
“Sorry I’m late,” Kenji said. “I had some business to take care of.” He pulled up an empty chair and two new girls came over to join them. They giggled, prattled away and padded his shoulder, but he paid them no mind.
By the look of excitement in Tak’s eyes, he knew exactly what Kenji was talking about. Earlier that night, Mitsui-san had ordered a hit on Nobu Kimura. He was a retired detective who had spent half his life trying to bring down the Zakura-kai. The man was clever, considering he was old, half blind, and favored a leg from a childhood injury. But he was also brazen and secretly corrupt. He had raided their clubs, planted wires and hassled their business associates. He even went so far as to interrupt the boss’s birthday party just when his cake arrived. All because Mitsui refused to drop a dime – hand him a boss on a silver platter to make him look good with his department heads.
Of course, it came as no surprise when Kenji got the order to get rid of him. Yet the recollection left him grimacing. He didn’t mind taking care of the competition or squirrely guys in the organization, but this was different. Kimura was an outsider, a well-known official people were likely to miss.
Tak was grinning over the top of his drink. “So how’d it go? As good as I'm guessing?”
Kenji glanced away, recalling the white bathroom’s blood-splattered walls. He grew anxious and started bouncing his heel under the table. Like chewing on fingernails, he found it hard to sit still and not move when surrounded by people.
“C'mon, gimme the gory details,” his friend insisted.
Kenjileaned in and lowered his voice. “I sliced his neck from ear to ear like I’m gonna do yours if you don’t shut up."
Tak laughed and slapped his fist into his hand. “Aw, man! Nice. Quick death. Now if it was me, I would’ve delivered slow torture.”
“Yeah, that sounds like you. Anyway, you didn't ask me to come here to discuss Kimura. There must be something else on your mind, right?”
The girl on his left handed him one of the beers from the table. He nodded his thanks and twisted off the cap. After a long pull, he sat back and waited for Tak’s answer. “I heard Satoru Yamada hooked up with an American treasure-hunting company and is flying in from Los Angeles tonight. The lead diver showed up three days ago and has been real tight with your sister Yuki ever since. They’ve been buying gear and going to libraries…checking out history and treasure-hunting shit. No one seems to know much, but I got a good feeling about this one.”
Kenji listened closely, thoughtfully nodding.
“Anyway, it turns out this guy has been trying to line up a dive boat. Since you got one stored in that marina you own, this could be your chance to pull in some real dough…maybe even throw a few crumbs my way.”
Kenji snorted a laugh. “Yeah, right. What else do you know?”
“They’re getting together for a meeting on Friday night andYamada invited that geisha Mariko Abe to join him. He was checking out rings before leaving town. Before the night’s over, they might be celebrating more than a partnership.”
Shit. Kenjiswallowed hard. He lowered his crossed arms but managed to keep his eyes level, knowing the slightest sign of weakness could undermine his position. “Is that it?” he asked.
“So far. I’m going to do a little more snooping around to see if there’s anything worthwhile to report. Just wanted to give you a head’s up.”
Ah...now it made sense. The real reason Tak had called and insisted he show up. It wasn’t about his sister forming an alliance with Yamada. They’d been friends for years and were always covering for each other. But when it came to his boss, if the American was here to recover something of value, stealing it and handing it over to Mitsui could result in gaining his favor. Maybe even expedite a promotion.
“So, where’s this meeting going to take place?” Kenji asked. “If it's anywhere near the Tanahashi mansion, you won't make it in there alive. There are hundreds of guards surrounding that place. You'll be cut into tiny pieces if you take one step on their ground.”
Tak was quick with a comeback. “No way in hell. You think I'm stupid? My connection at the Garden restaurant said they’re due at 6:30.”
“Fancy. Yamada must’ve swindled some rich gaijins out of their money,” Kenji said. “So you got any idea what they’re after?”
Tak half shrugged. “Not a clue.”
“Well, if you hear anything, I’d be interested in knowing.”
“Sure, you got it. Anyway, I'm thinking of crashing their party.”
Kenji huffed a laugh. "Why would you do that?”
“First hand information, of course.”
“Well, good luck with that.”Kenji stood up and started to leave.
Tak reached out and grabbed his arm.“Wait a minute! I need your help.”
“No way. It doesn’t matter how much I hate Yamada, I’m not going anywhere near him. Not without the boss’ say-so.”
Tak’s eyes narrowed. “Whatever I find out could benefit the Zakura-kai,” he reminded him.
It was no secret Kenji would do anything for the family: infiltrate investment companies, circulate meth, demand protection money…even destroy their enemies should he be called upon to do so. And even though friendships were short-lived, they were equally important. He didn’t want to waste the rest of his life looking over his shoulder. Too many years had been spent that way.
Kenji heaved a sigh. If he didn’t go along to keep Takashi Bekku out of trouble, the next execution order he received could have his name written all over it. "All right,” he finally said. “What do you want me to do?"
“You’ll love it. I picked up a wig and borrowed some women’s clothes. I heard they’re looking for wait staff, so I thought we’d sneak into the restaurant pretending to be servers.”
Kenji unleashed a cynical laugh. “You’re kidding, right? Women’s clothes? And who do you think is going to wear those?”
Tak’s brow furrowed. “You got a better idea?”
“As a matter of fact I do.” Kenji thought about Yamada and Mariko, and the promise he made to himself to never let anyone have her…especially that ridiculous self-serving monk. “I might have to clean out half my bank account before I’m through,” he said, “but in the end, it will all be worth it.”
$100 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway:
Pump Up Your Book and Kaylin McFarren are giving away a $100 Amazon Gift Card/Paypal Cash!
Terms & Conditions:
•By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
•One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash.
•This giveaway begins October 7 and ends December 31.
•Winners will be contacted via email on Monday, January 3, 2013.