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Tuesday, December 11, 2012


Thank  you, Ms. James. The success of your Fifty Shades series has set a new standard in publishing for we struggling writers to aspire to. Now it seems that every publisher wants “hot”, “hotter” or “hottest”. Fantastic news for those who are comfortable writing in that genre and I cheerfully wave and smile at my wonderful writer friends who write in that genre (and much better books than Fifty Shades!). Go for it girls…now is your time.

However not all of us are comfortable either writing or reading about endless ways to get the jiggly bits to connect. Page after page of complex choreography and new and exciting ways to describe the aforesaid jiggly bits.  The human body is a beautiful creation but personally, I find it much more alluring with clothes on, just as I find the slow build to a deserving coming together of two people so much more interesting than jumping each others’ bones the first minute they meet.  It’s what goes on with that big muscle between the ears that fascinates me as a writer (and a reader).

Let me just say I don’t write 'inspirational' stories. My characters do make it into the bedroom and I don’t close the door (or at least not all the way). As one reviewer said of my book,  BY THE SWORD “… is not the rip off your clothes and run through the sprinklers naked kind…” but for the characters it is a hard won and deserved consummation of a deep and abiding love for each other. As that same reviewer said “…It is slow and builds…All this adds to the reality…”

Have we forgotten how wonderful sexual tension can be? That gradual move from initial attraction, the increased heart rate as the object of desire enters the room, the brush of a finger... In the Keira Knightly film of “Pride and Prejudice”, Darcy assists Elizabeth into a carriage, as he turns and walks away the camera moves to his hand…the hand that has just touched hers and you see his fingers curl and flex. That’s all-- a simple gesture,  that would be missed by a casual onlooker, gives such an insight into his feelings. It gives me goosebumps just thinking about it!

The other day I introduced my 16 year old niece to one of my all time favourite films, WITNESS with Harrison Ford. This is a flawed film in some ways but when it comes to 'sexual tension', the following scene does it for me every time. You can cut the tension between them with a knife. Their clothes stay on at all times…they almost come together…


At the risk of spoilers.  Witness is not a romance, it’s primarily a thriller with a love story. There is no HEA for for them as a couple (but certainly the promise of a HEA for her). He says at one point “If we had made love last night either I would have to stay or you would have to leave” .  He can never belong to her world (of the Amish) just as she could never belong to his (tough Philadelphia street cop) but oh, for those few short days they are together, the air crackles and as the film builds to a crescendo they do come together in what has to be the most passionate kiss of all film making time as their yearning for each other reaches a climax...and how they yearn...

The director made a decision before the release of the film to delete the next  scene and we, the viewers, are left to our imaginations as to what follows the kiss… AND IT WORKS. It doesn’t matter that we don’t see the 'rumpy pumpy', what has carried us through the story is the growing attraction between these two characters and it is entirely satisfying.

So where are these stories in today's post Fifty Shades world?  
Surely not every reader wants hot and spicy?
Or am I wrong? Am I swimming against a tide or will the tide turn and the reading (and publishing) world will bore of the choreography of jiggly bits and return to stories that stir the imagination rather than any other part of the anatomy?

My personal feelings on the subject.... ;-)
Readers of the world...UNITE (without touching!)...and tell me what you think about the current trend to hot and spicy?

Maybe I will leave the final word to Ellen de Generes... "They do what with a spatula...?"