Two things happening today

My book Secrets and Charades is on sale for 99 cents until the 25th. Part of some marketing I am doing to promote it.

This was my attempt at a meme on Canva. Still have a learning curve. I have other memes but wanted to try something new. Sometimes it feels like I do more marketing than writing.

Also today I am live on Wordplay, Kristen Raymond’s podcast. It was a fun interview. Being unrehearsed made it interesting and also very nerve-wracking. You can check it out at the link below. It gives you several options to use to listen. Listen quick because I’m talking fast. LOL! If the link doesn’t work for you from here cut and paste it into your  browser.

 

https://www.wordplaypodcast.com/2020/06/episode-176-guest-cindy-ervin-huff.html

I waited to post my blog today so this link would be available.

If you’d like to promote your books with a podcast interview you can also sign up to be a guest on Kristen Raymond’s podcast at http://www.kristenraymond.com.

 

 

Sex in Inspirational and Clean Romance

I know I am opening a can of worms here, but It’s my blog and I’ll say what I want too. 😊

As a romance writer whose audience prefers a clean read the question authors have is how to define it. Clean or cozy romance general means all the steamy stuff happens behind closed doors. The details are left to the readers’ imagination. But the attraction, the warm fuzzies, and sexual tension are part of what the reader sees on the page. Hugs, kisses that grow in intensity, cuddling close, and pressing close fully clothed are all acceptable in this definition. Lots of sparks and tingly sensations and a head full of thoughts of the love interest. Keeping the bedroom door closed is the basic definition of a clean romance. Inspirational romance falls in that same category. There may be intense moments and a suggestion of sex, but the shades are drawn for the reader.

Marriage bed

Now we come to the burning question, what about married sex?  That is an interesting question. I recently read a series of inspirational historical romance where among the scripture references and prayer the reader watches the main characters have sex for the first time. The author I suppose did it tastefully, but it still mentioned body parts and what the couple was doing including groans. Not something I’d want my middle-school granddaughter to read. And that is the key. Most people who read clean romance, especially of the inspirational kind will share the book with the younger generation. The characters are an example of the kind of successful relationship I would want my granddaughters to experience. Although we live in a very liberal society I find it discomforting to think she might stumble across something explicit on my bookshelf.

In the middle ages when royalty wed there were witnesses on their wedding night. A priest and perhaps another man would watch the couple consummate their marriage. Then there was no doubt that the two were truly married in every way. I’m sorry—but EWWW! I wouldn’t be married today if someone had been permitted to watch.

But it’s make-believe

Yes, I know, romance novels aren’t about real people. But explicit descriptions stir things in a reader that may make them uncomfortable. When they pick up what they expect to be clean and find more than they bargained for they will either throw it across the room or give the author a terrible review or both.

Because the scripture is my guidebook and every reference to sex in the Bible leaves the details to the imagination I use that as my guide as I write my stories. Sex in the confines of marriage is to be celebrated. Even if we have characters who struggle with the issues of intimacy the writer can show how they overcame it without giving graphic details.

Let’s define graphic

Graphic details have a different meaning from one person to another. Some readers don’t even want the name of body parts mentioned i.e. breasts would become upper torso. (I know that is extreme.)  For others, the steam can get intense but at that key moment the door is shut for the reader and we rejoin the couple the next morning.

Most publishers have their definition of what is acceptable in the pages of their novels based on their audience. Before you begin to craft those scenes, read books from their romance line, and learn what they expect. If it makes you feel uncomfortable then find a different publisher who fits your preferences.

A well-written romance will sell even without sex scenes. The story arc, the characters’ inner struggles, and eventually victories of the hero and heroine are what these readers want. A truly happily-ever-after ending leaves them giddy.

This whole post is about clean romance only. Now I’m going to ask you: –

What are your thoughts on the subject?  

 

Fiction outside the Box

I’m so excited to have Norma Gail here again to talk about her newest release Within Golden Bands. Could not put this wonderful books down.

Fiction Outside the Box

By Norma Gail

 

Fiction Outside the Box could be my tagline instead of Fiction to Refresh Your Spirit. My new release, Within Golden Bands follows the lead of my debut novel, Land of My Dreams in that it’s not a predictable “Hallmark Movie” scenario. I write Christian romance, and romantic suspense. However, if you don’t read romance because of worn and repetitive elements, you’ll find more than one twist in my books.

 

Set in contemporary times, American female protagonist, Bonny, moved to Scotland in Book One, where she met Kieran MacDonell, a Scottish sheep farmer. My second book, following the same characters, enters the realm of romantic suspense. Some elements edge toward women’s fiction, since the story explores infertility and adoption. Add in long-hidden family secrets and a crazed stalker who seeks to steal their livelihood and their lives. Kieran and Bonny, never have a dull moment.

Lest the term women’s fiction sound too heavy, throw in a blend of ingredients from happily-ever-after, to fast-moving suspense, with a dash of heartbreak. In a world where nothing goes as planned, fiction shouldn’t be predictable either. To borrow from one of my reviewers: anyone can write a love story where the couple falls in love and lives happily ever after. Within Golden Bands offers a tale of deep commitment, hardship, and loss, tied together by an abiding faith in Christ.

 

Abortion is a hot topic once again. As the adoptive mom of two adult children, I believe more people should see adoption as a positive option for an unplanned pregnancy. No spoilers, but fertility treatments can create tension in any marriage. This isn’t my story but Bonny and Kieran’s emotions are typical.

 

For added interest, tie in a desert-dweller’s adjustment to life in the rainiest part of Scotland. The comparison and contrast between New Mexico’s high desert mountains and misty Scottish Highlands create a backdrop for Bonny’s ping-pong ball emotions as a head-over-heels-in-love new wife to a frightened woman who longs for safety.

I invite you to hop over to my blog at NormaGail.org to read the free first chapters of both books under “Norma’s Book News.”  Here’s hoping that my books will be your cup of Scottish Breakfast tea!

 

Author Bio:

Norma Gail writes Fiction to Refresh Your Spirit. Her contemporary novels, Land of My Dreams, which won the 2016 Bookvana Religious Fiction Award, and Within Golden Bands (released May 19, 2020), explore the theme of women whose faith triumphs over trials. A women’s Bible study leader for over 21 years, her devotionals and poetry have appeared at ChristianDevotions.us, the Stitches Thru Time blog, Inspire a Fire, and in “The Secret Place.” She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Romance Writers of America, Historical Writers of America, and the Women’s Fiction Writers Association. Norma is a former RN who lives in the mountains of New Mexico with her husband of 44 years. They have two adult children. To connect with her, you can follow her blog, or join her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Goodreads, BookBub, or Amazon.

 

I am excited to announce that anyone who comments on my blog will be put in a drawing for a chance to win a copy of Within Golden Bands. The winner can choose either e-book format or paperback ( US only).