Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Romance Scenes - How Hot is Hot?

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic/

Most authors probably start out knowing how spicy they want their love scenes to be. Hotter scenes seem to be the most popular currently with books like Fifty Shades of Gray hitting the top of the charts.

When I first decided to write romance, I figured I would write scenes where I closed the door on the bedroom, or sweet romance. A few kisses and we're done. After all, I knew my mom was going to read my books. 

However, I found that my characters insisted on having things a little spicier. I ended up writing the sort of love scenes that I like to read. I've not read a lot of erotica and don't really like the language involved in a lot of that. I guess my goal is to keep my love scenes sexy and sensual without going over the line into having something too graphic. 

What's interesting to me is the different reactions of my readers. On a scale from one to five, I rate myself as a three on the heat index. I don't use the more derogatory terms in my descriptions and only have a few scenes per book. One reader told me I was writing porn, to which I was a little concerned because I didn't think it was quite that hot. I kept things in Crime & Passion about how hot they were in Always & Forever, and reactions to readers who told me specifically what they thought of the love scenes was favorable. However, the reader accusing me of writing porn went on to add that it was "really, really good porn," so I decided it was probably fine. 

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic/
My first book review has come in on a blog, and I'm so grateful to Susan B. Anna for reading Crime & Passion and giving it a review (she had previously read Always & Forever). You can read her review here -

What surprised me is she rated me at a two in how hot my scenes were on a scale of one to five. According to them, that is a sensual rating and three would be steamy. Four is sizzling (which I actually think my scenes are sizzling, but they aren't frequent enough that I would consider my book at a four on the heat level).

So, it's a little confusing to me. Am I writing porn or just a sensual trip with Madeline and Donovan? I don't really want to be seen as writing smut (although, hey, smut sells!) and like the title of sensual. But this all makes it a little hard to know how to market myself, since people have varying opinions. 

I read a message board the other day, and some people were complaining about the sexual content in books these days. It seems a few still like the door closed on those scenes, but I've also read surveys that seem to suggest readers are more and more looking for those books with either a 3 or 4 rating on the heat index. 

I suppose as a writer all I can do is write love scenes with the heat level I'm comfortable with and the kind I like to read. Hopefully my readers will be satisfied to either skim read if they feel the scenes are inappropriate or be happy enough with my level of heat, even if it's not quite as hot as they'd like. Of course, when my characters do make love, it's always to advance the plot and I try to avoid crude language. I'm writing for myself too, after all, and that's what makes my heart go pitter pat. 

What do you look for in the more physical side of a romance book? How hot is hot enough?

Happy reading, my friends. Have a great rest of your week!
~~ Chantel~~


  1. Great post! I was in the same boat -- I knew my mom and dad would read my book, but the characters always want MORE! :) I write what I read, so I love the sensual stuff. Congrats!

    1. Yeah, I guess we just can't write for our parents ;-) Thanks for stopping by! Can't wait for your book to come out Monday!

  2. It really varies with the reader. I've had readers call the same book porn whereas another reader said the scenes weren't obvious and she had to really stretch to imagine they were having sex. This is all in the Amazon reviews for the exact same book.

    Ultimately, the story is king, and I go where the story goes. It differs with different set of characters, of course.

    Good luck! and I love your scenes. :)

    1. That is true. Opinions differ so widely on this, there probably isn't one, true answer. I guess the most we can do is write what we like and hope we find the readers who like the same things!


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