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Bloodroom Review

Horror writer Carl Alves gave my vampire novel a cool review, calling Bloodroom’s characters”compelling” and saying it “presents some interesting elements in vampire lore.” Thanks Carl! Check out the review and then explore Carl’s books. I’m currently enjoying his novel Blood Street on audiobook.bloodroom3D4blog


Bloodroom is now an Audiobook!

 

audiobook cover for Bloodroom

Bloodroom

Who could resists those eyes! Wait’ll you hear him speak! Yes, Julian Mouret now has a voice, courtesy of award-winning narrator, Paul Heitsch. Bloodroom is now a downloadable audiobook. You can listen to a sample at Amazon, Audible, and iTunes.

Neither Julian’s power as a ruling vampire or his place in Charleston society could prevent the savage incident that put Natalie’s life in his hands. Unable to resist the lush curve of her lips and the sensual promise in her brilliant eyes, Julian’s playing for time in the riskiest game of his life.

Book bloggers, contact me if you’re interested in a review copy of this audiobook.


Winner Announced in Goodreads Giveaway

Martin Turner won an autographed print copy of The Bad Death. When I host a Goodreads Giveaway, I note with interest the distance of  the entrants from my home on the Redneck Riviera. Today, I’m almost ridiculously psyched to send my novel to the quaintly named area of Bexhill on Sea in England.

If you’re not Martin Turner, don’t despair. You can buy an autographed e-book of The Bad Death (and my other books, too) from Authorgraph, for no more $ than you’d pay Amazon for the non-autographed copy. You’re welcome 😉


Sex Scenes: Are You Doing It Right?

Yesterday, I wrote a sex scene in my novel The Bad Death and added a little to a preliminary scene where they’re lying in each other’s arms and he’s lost in her eyes. Sex scenes in a romantic storyline are harder to write than readers suspect (and people who don’t read romance would never suspect how hard it is to write a romance well).

You can’t use ‘penis’ or ‘vagina’ because that’s too clinical. But you have to choose euphemisms carefully because if you get too inventive it sounds ridiculous. A romance I read recently used ‘love muscle’ for ‘penis’ twice. I’m sorry, not only is ‘love muscle’ not romantic, I don’t think it’s even accurate! ‘Peachy globes’ for a woman’s ass is funny too. But I’m not against using the word ‘ass’ when the scene gets rockin’, especially for the guy, who can be a little objectified in this genre. The sex scene starts out small (no pun intended) and builds to orgasm, which can’t be described in porn-y terms. You can use the word ‘came’ after they’ve had sex a few times, but you usually can’t get away with using ‘orgasm’. Why not? I think it’s because intimacy, itself, is a fragile state. You can be in bed with someone you’re wildly attracted to and if it’s a new relationship, a word wrongly spoken by either person can bring the whole house o’ cards crashing down. So reading a sex scene in a romance; well, it’s a fantasy and a non-fantasy word punctures the illusion. To use a non-sex scene example, it’s like that episode in X-Files when Mulder was put in this hallucinatory state in which he’d been injured and Scully was nursing him very tenderly. Her attentiveness deepened the illusion because Mulder was secretly in love with Scully. But when she says something like (I dunno …), “I hope you feel better soon, Fox” he snapped out of it. He told her later he knew right then it wasn’t real because she would never call him by his first name, Fox. Like when I read ‘love muscle’, I giggled and the moment was lost.

Yesterday, I first set the mood for writing with music. In this scene, the mystery girl is very assertive so I created a Youtube playlist called ‘Seducing Julian’ with videos such as Chris Isaak’s Baby Did a Bad Bad Thing. Then, I started out with word salad. The English language has thousands of sexy words and I can’t keep them in mind all the time, so when I hear or read one I like I write it down. I then fold that piece of paper up and drop it in my salad bowl. To start a scene, I grab a folded slip from the bowl. Whatever that word is, I write a sentence using it. That gets me moving forward instead of sitting like a lump waiting for a stroke of genius. Write enough sentences with word salad words and pretty soon I’m thinking up words and sentences on my own. Then, I’m off! I know I’m onto something when I start getting turned on by what I’m writing.

So, I wrote my sex scene. It’s a bit long and shaggy (two words you definitely shouldn’t use together in a sex scene) but tomorrow I’ll refine it.

Readers, what are your likes and dislikes about romantic sex scenes? Writers, what are your challenges and tricks? Has Fifty Shades of Grey changed the rules for sex in romance and paranormal romance genres?


Sally Hemings and Interracial historical romance fiction

Sally Hemings was an enslaved woman believed to have been Thomas Jefferson’s mistress and the mother of five children by him. It was a great scandal when Jefferson was President. For centuries, historians denied it, but rumors persisted. I heard recent DNA tests actually proved it. Historical observations of Sally Hemings suggest that she would have appealed to Jefferson for reasons beyond the physical. And there was much about Jefferson that would tempt a woman to see beyond the obvious injustice of his lifestyle. Two films bring their personalities to light and focus on their relationship. Both run on plot lines and dialogue that are mostly conjecture, as no documentation, such as personal letters, exist to prove the depth of their attachment. I’ll give mini-reviews of each, briefly review two books, and then tell you the main reason why I’m on this kick.

Sally Hemings: an American Scandal shows how the relationship between Jefferson (Sam Neill) and Sally (Carmen Ejogo) developed and how it matured over decades. It’s even romantic at times. The film focused a lot on Sally, her extended family, and fellow slaves and the cruelty they faced from racists and legal racism. I like that this film portrays Sally as spunky and outspoken, yet also a tactical thinker. The screenplay made her a total person with difficult decisions to live with.

By contrast, Jefferson in Paris showed Sally Hemings as a cross between Prissy from Gone with the Wind and …oh, I don’t know … Lolita, maybe. Nick Nolte plays Jefferson; Thandie Newton plays Sally. It’s kind of creepy, actually. Watch it yourself and tell me what you think. It’s a typical Merchant Ivory film — a visual feast of period costumes, sets, and scenes that brought joy to my eyes. The film ends with the biggest decision of Sally Hemings’ life.

That decision is the main reason I find Sally Hemings one of history’s most poignant and compelling women. In her teens she literally held freedom in her hands and made the conscious decision to relinquish it. The Hemingses of Monticello: an American Family examines her decision, as well as the lives of her extraordinary family. This nonfiction account by Annette Gordon-Reed is a thorough and compassionate book.

The Slave Master’s Son by Tiana Laveen is an interracial romance set against the backdrop of the Civil War. In my opinion, it needed an editor. I applaud the writer for taking on such a tricky topic, though. And the cover’s dead sexy. The Slave Master’s Son has many favorable reviews on Amazon, so don’t let mine be the last word. Download the free sample and tell me what you think.

Which leads me to why I’m on this kick as I ready my novel for publication later this year. The Bad Death is an antebellum vampire-slayer novel. Its heroine, Anika, is a slave on a South Carolina rice plantation in the late 1700s. Her love interests are Marcus, the enigmatic slave driver (who is himself, a slave) and Julian, Anika’s master. How not to fall flat on my face with an interracial, slave-era love triangle? It’s important to get this right. I know I can’t please everyone, but I want to know my subject and live inside my characters in order to tell their story in a way that does them justice and is respectful of the history underlying the fiction and fantasy.


bloodroomthenovel.com

Bloodroom, my vampire novel of romantic suspense, has its own website: bloodroomthenovel.com. You can also access it on my website, naimahaviland.com. Learn more about Bloodroom’s characters (the good, the bad, and the hot). Download the first four chapters, free. Naturally, you can buy the Kindle-exclusive e-book there, but come back soon for a chance to win an autographed copy of Bloodroom in paperback!

Bloodroomthenovel.com was designed by Clever Ogre, a Pensacola-based creativity shop with talent and style.


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