Posts tagged with: romance

Sex: Fiction or Reality?

By On Jan 28 2014, 12:53 pm

I went to the pub with a friend the other day, to celebrate the imminent release of my second book, A Case of Possession. This book has substantially more sex in it than my first (it’s a sequel, and my heroes are now an established couple), and after the second round my friend demanded: “What’s it like, writing sex? Isn’t it weird? Is it fun?”

Which led, inevitably, to two things: a discussion of whether reading, writing or having sex is best, and a completely silenced pub for a radius of six feet around us.

(This is an occupational hazard in romance. A few years ago I was an editor for a big romance house and another friend worked for the erotica imprint Black Lace. We went to a tiny neighborhood restaurant and got talking about work. Ten minutes into a fascinating professional discussion of the finer points of editing dubious consent under the restrictions of publisher guidelines, I looked up to realize that literally everyone in the room was staring at us, and the waiter was standing by my shoulder with a plate of congealing fish and a slack-jawed expression. We never went back.

And I recall with great fondness going out to dinner with some Samhain staff and authors at the last London book fair. One author present was asking opinions on her recent cover – where did it fall on a spectrum that went from ‘tastefully sexy’ to ‘marvelously erotic’ to ‘something quite a bit beyond appropriate’?  We passed her phone around to have a look, each commenting, until at last a lone businessman at another table couldn’t take it any more and sauntered past us towards the ladies’ toilets, craning his neck desperately to get a look at the phone as he did it. Poor businessman. We’d have shown you if you’d asked.)

Anyway, here are our conclusions as to the relative advantages of real vs fictional sex:


  • You don’t have to clean up. (Unless the scene makes you spit out your tea.)
  • You can skip ahead if it gets dull. Or if it’s really good, you can have it all over again, just the same, as often as you like.


  • It’s exactly how you want it to be. You decide how long it lasts, how fun it is, how many people it involves.
  • But if it all goes horribly wrong, a simple click of the delete button means it never happened.


  • You don’t need synonyms for every significant body part. You can use the same word repeatedly, or just point.
  • There is no danger of getting confused as to which person is doing what. (“Sorry, sweetie, I’ve lost track of the pronouns. Is that your hand or mine?”)


What did we miss? Feel free to add to the list in the comments!

KJ Charles is the author of The Magpie Lord and A Case of Possession. Find her on Twitter @kj_charles or at, where she blogs about reading, writing and editing.

Samhain author Heidi Cullinan breaks new ground in gay romance fiction

By On Jan 3 2014, 3:23 pm

Congratulations to Heidi for the well-deserved recognition of her work in gay romance fiction! She is featured in both USA Today and in a more detailed article in The Des Moines Register. Author Page USA TODAY The Des Moines Register

What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?

By On Dec 30 2013, 9:37 am

New Year’s Eve. Valentine’s Day. You birthday, your anniversary. For all of these sorts of events, it feels like people start asking you months ahead of time: what are your plans? And the pressure, man, the pressure. I think it’s somehow the worst for New Year’s Eve because there are all these images of fancy [...]

Writing Christmas Romance

By On Dec 20 2013, 7:00 am

The world never gets tired of reading Christmas novels. Readers love holiday romance, and it’s fun to use all those wonderful sights and smells while writing a Christmas themed book. Gingerbread cookies, peppermint canes, evergreens, fairy lights and snow fill us all with excitement, and memories of Christmas past. Writing a Christmas romance you want [...]

Falling in Love with ‘Friends to Lovers’

By On Nov 30 2013, 8:00 am

I’m a firm believer in the idea that every love story is different. That said, there do seem to be a few themes that come back over and over again, especially if you read enough romance. There are tropes like secret babies and marriages of convenience, which while fun, tend to be a little divorced [...]

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