Thriller/Horror Writer gets Sexy


How's that for an intriguing headline? It's true though. And it's happening right here.
Today.
When I found out thriller/horror writer JA Konrath/Jack Kilborn was embarking on a blog tour to promote his new book AFRAID, I jumped at the chance to feature him here. In addition to writing under two different names, Joe also writes one heck of an industry blog--A Newbies Guide to Publishing--a must for all writers.

Whoever he is, Joe/JA/Jack, he's always entertaining. This year he'll be attending the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention. If you're attending, like me, you'll get to meet him! Make sure to attend one of his workshops. The man's a natural-born charmer, er, teacher. You'll also be able to purchase one of his books at Saturday's bookfair. If you ask nice, I bet he'll even sign it. :)

Anyway, I asked Joe why a thriller/horror writer would want to attend a convention that focuses on romantic fiction. His response was entertaining--as I knew it would be. I just wasn't expecting a sexy excerpt from an upcoming book. Um. It's racy. You've been warned. ;)

Take it away , Joe.

* * *

I write thrillers, not romance. I have a Y chromosome. And I'm straight (even though I pinch Barry Eisler's butt whenever I see him.)

So why am I attending the Romantic Times Convention this April?
I write thrillers about a female cop named Jack Daniels, all of which are named after drinks.

I also write horror novels under the name Jack Kilborn. The first one, called AFRAID, comes out in March.

AFRAID has a tiny bit of romance in it, but mostly the book is a scare machine. I tried to write the most frightening book of all time, and many people think I've succeeded. If you think you're woman enough to handle it, I'll be giving away copies (for free) at RT. You can read the first few chapters at www.JackKilborn.com. A warning, though. It's pretty intense.

But that's not the real reason I'm going to RT. The real reason is to show off my sexual abilities.

You see, I just wrote my first sex scene.

It's in my sixth Jacqueline Daniels book, CHERRY BOMB. All the books are named after drinks, and all the books are told from Jack's point of view.

In Cherry Bomb, for the first time in the series, Jack makes love. She does it with a guy she's been friends with in the previous novels. In this scene, the friendship becomes something more. While chasing a killer, they share a bed in a cheap motel room to catch some sleep, no hanky panky at all.

Then morning comes, and it gets complicated.

Here's how the scene begins:


* * *

He touched my back again, and this time I didn’t flinch. But since I’m cursed with the burden of overanalyzing everything, I ruined what could have been a romantic moment by asking, “Why are you here, Phin? Why are you helping me? This isn’t your fight. Am I a diversion? Any port in the storm? A way to kill some time so you don’t have to think about your life?”

Damn my big mouth. If he walked out the door right then, I couldn’t have blamed him.

But he didn’t walk out. He just stared at me. Not angry. But patient. Understanding. And I filled in the blanks. He wasn’t with me because he wanted a little action, or because I helped him take his mind off his problems. He actually cared about me. I saw it in his face. Here was a guy who divorced himself from life, packing his feelings away like winter clothes in the summertime. He worked to keep people out.

And he let me in.

And I realized I wanted that as well.

In one quick motion I billowed up the sheets and cast them off the bed, exposing Phin in his boxer briefs. His body was long and lean and cut, and I wasn’t sure where I wanted to touch him first. I chose his abs, running my hand along his six-pack while sliding alongside him and hooking my leg up over his thigh.

The kiss could have been morning breath bad, but all I tasted was heat. Heat and passion and possibilities that I promised myself would be explored.

His arms encircled me, fingers of one hand running through my hair and tingling my scalp, the over wandering over the back of my sports bra.

I smiled while his tongue probed mine, then pulled slightly away.

“Sports bra,” I said, “no clasps.”

I dug under the elastic, stretched it up over my arms, and he helped me pull the bra over my head and arms. I paused, letting him look at me, drinking in how much he seemed to like the view. Then I grabbed his wrists and put his hands on my breasts.

He rubbed the flat of his palm over my nipples, rolled one between his fingers, tugging on it gently, making it stiffen. Then his arm was around the small of my back and he tugged me next to him, urgent, his mouth on mine.

His lips trailed down past my jaw to my neck, and I locked my legs around the side of his thigh and ground against it, feeling my first jolt of full on arousal, building inside me like a wave. Right then I was ready to go at it. I wanted him in me. Wanted to wrap my legs around his hips and ride him until I made him moan.

Phin had other ideas.

He kissed his way along my neck, sliding his body down next to mine, breaking my leg-lock on him. His arms encircled my hips, hands grasping my ass, and his mouth found my nipples. He caught one in his teeth, held it between them while bathing it with his tongue. I tried to open my legs but he held them together, which drove me a little crazy as he switched from one breast to the other. He was too low for me to touch anything other than his head and back, so I locked my fingers in his blond hair and held on.

His head moved lower, licking my rib cage, my navel, and then slowly, maddeningly, to the top of my red panties. He rested his mouth there, letting my feel his hot breath through the fabric, and then began to kiss.

I moved my arms down, trying to help him tug my panties off, but he held my wrists and wouldn’t let me, continuing my move his mouth and jaw over my pubic mound, up and down and in small circles until it felt ready to catch fire.

I tried to fight him, wanted to end the foreplay and flip him over and straddle his face and let him devour me. I pressed up against his mouth, but he moved his face away each time I did. Even though the panties stayed on, even though he deliberately avoided hitting the right spots, I felt the orgasm welling up. And then I understood what he was doing, other than teasing me.It was okay to not be in control.I moaned, turned my head to the side, took a corner of the pillow in my mouth and let him have his way.

* * *
So that's how it begins. After that, things start to get a little hot.

The reason I'm going to RT is so I can read the entire scene, aloud, to romance writers and fans, and hopefully learn how to get better at doing these type of scenes. If you want to learn how to become a violin virtuoso, you go to a Juilliard. If you want to find out how to do effective love scenes, you go where the experts are.

Romantic Times, April 22-26, Orlando.

Hope to see some of you there. I'll be the guy passing out free horror novels.
* * *
Beth here. I'd like to thank Joe for stopping by this romance novelist's blog. (Does know his target audience, or what?)
BONUS! I'll be giving away a copy of FUZZY NAVEL (the 5th book in his thriller Jack Daniels series) to one lucky, randomly chosen person. All you have to do to be eligible is comment!

Comments

JA Konrath said…
I hope I win the Fuzzy Navel copy. I heard it was pretty good...
Jude Hardin said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mary Stella said…
I've read Fuzzy Navel. It's terrific. You have a unique ability to make me laugh even when bullets are flying, blood's splattering and the body count is piling up.

I can't believe you put Phin and Jack together, but I like it. Phin's hot. Not that Latham isn't a nice guy, but he isn't tough enough for Jack. That's why I think he... hold that thought. Suffice it to say, I took the poll at your website.

I don't usually read horror. I can right intense love scenes without fear, but horror scenes scare me silly. Unfortunately you've now thrown out a dare with that whole, "woman enough to handle it" comment, so I must get my hands on Afraid.

Looking forward to seeing you at RT.
Phin, huh. Well, that takes one person off the "dead pool" list for us. Thanks!!!
Jude Hardin said…
Jack and Phin??? Holy crap.

I have to admit I'm pretty chicken when it come to sex scenes. I just show some waves crashing and then cut to breakfast, like they used to do in the movies.
I'm lovin' this tour. . . in a, you know, platonic, respectful sort of way. *wipes brow* Yeah.
Kaye Manro said…
Way to go Joe! It's just great that you'll be at RT this year-- that said from another romance writer who thinks you did a good job with the sex scene!
Mary Stella said…
I can right intense love scenes without fear

I can also usually write the right write.
Brian Crawford said…
You've pulled off a very difficult scene, Joe! I've been struggling with whether to/how to write a sex scene in my novel. I think I'm just going to skip over it with something like, "he spent the night."
Vickie said…
Yeah, I think you've got the sex scene nailed....er down..um, you write good sex! woof!
Diggin' the tour! Adding another blog to my roll for future looksees...
Cursing Mama said…
Adding the whole series to my "to be read pile"
David said…
So, Phin comes out of the dead zone. I was right again! I've read Afraid and it's awesome. Bloody awesome. (In the Brit and American sense)

Can't wait for the new Jack novel. Glad I stopped over here today and caught the excerpt.
Oh, no, Joe at RT this year? Havoc.

Pretty hot, there - I'm glad Jack finally gets her man.
RowenaBCherry said…
Hi, Joe,

I can't wait to have you on my blog.
Beth Ciotta said…
What makes this sex scene 'sexy' (and powerful) is the emotion behind it.

"...He actually cared about me. I saw it in his face. Here was a guy who divorced himself from life, packing his feelings away like winter clothes in the summertime. He worked to keep people out.

And he let me in...."

Great set up, Joe! Thanks so much for being here.
JA Konrath said…
Thanks for having me, Beth, and thanks to everyone who has commented.

The really sexy part of the scene happens right where I left off here. :)
Jessa Slade said…
Lucky Jack that her first time was with someone so caring. I mean Joe, not Phin, of course.
R.J. Mangahas said…
Nicely done Joe. Now, you can be honest with me. Was this whole scene inspired by your many grabbings of Barry Eisler's butt? Just wondering ;)
Hi, Joe

It's funny, but you must write good characters because learning from your post that Jack and Phin are getting together made me think, "Wow, it's about time those two figured got together." lol

But I have a question that might seem kind of puritanical on this site, but why do a sex scene at all? Esp. as graphic as this one is. I remember reading Patterson's Kiss the Girls and just about gagging at all the sex in it. If someone wants porn, well, there are places they can go, but why put stuff like that in the middle of a good detective yarn?

I love the relationship angle and the caring they both have, and sure, sex might have been an emotional outlet that they both needed to give to each other, but I just don't think it's necessary, esp. with all the details.

My .02
Yes! I'm glad Jack is with Phin--and great job on the sex scene, Joe--really one of the hardest types of scenes to write.
Megalion said…
I love Jack Daniels!

Glad she'll finally get it on with Phin in Cherry Bomb!

And um... I haven't yet bought Fuzzy Navel though I do own the first four in hardback so ... yea sign me up for the chance to win :)
Beth Ciotta said…
Megalion, you just reminded me... I don't think I mentioned WHEN I'd announce the winner. That would be tomorrow. :)

Also, I have to say, as a romantic fiction writer, I've found these reactions to a thriller writer's sexy scene quite interesting. Interested to know how Joe felt writing this scene. Looking for to his workshops at RT!
Beth Ciotta said…
Oops. I meant 'looking FORWARD'... Jeesh.
cas2ajs said…
Gosh, I think you nailed that scene. And I'm with Mary Stella - I don't usually read horror either because I'm a big baby. But when the gauntlet's thrown down like that . . . I may have to grab a copy of Afraid also.
Thanks for sharing the excerpt with us.

Cheryl S.
Mary Stella said…
If someone wants porn, well, there are places they can go, but why put stuff like that in the middle of a good detective yarn?

Wayne, all sex scenes are not porn -- not in books, not in movies, not anywhere.

To me, describing sex between two characters is no different than describing a murder. If those scenes are integral to plot and character, then including them, and writing them well, enhances the story. They involve the reader more deeply and draw on all of the senses.

Joe is a master of description. Sometimes the graphic level of the violence and blood in his scenes really pushes me to the outer boundaries of my personal comfort zone.

I sure wouldn't suggest he tone them down or leave them out. The impact, and consequently, the effect on me as an engrossed reader, would be greatly reduced if Joe set up a scene and then ended it with, "then he shot her".
Hi, Mary Stella

I respectfully disagree. Not to get all CSI on you, but Webster defines pornography as:

1 : the depiction of erotic behavior (as in pictures or writing) intended to cause sexual excitement

2 : material (as books or a photograph) that depicts erotic behavior and is intended to cause sexual excitement

3 : the depiction of acts in a sensational manner so as to arouse a quick intense emotional reaction

The level of erotic detail in this scene from Joe's book easily fits the definition.

Now, of course, some people like to be stimulated that way through what they read. Sex gets attention. Sex sells, etc. etc. I just hate to have a great piece of genre fiction spoiled because of an explicit sex scene that just-didn't-need-to-be-there.

I don't want to presume anything about your moral standards. They may indeed be very different from mine. But I can't tell you how many times, I'm watching a great movie or reading a great book, and then BAMM, the author hits me over the head with this explicit sex scene. I think to myself each time: Why?

I suppose, in theory, a sex scene could be pulled off in a tasteful way. I have seen some movies and read some books where I felt the scene was love-making rather than sex and that it was endearing rather than voyeuristic. But when the level of detail is as explicit as this scene, it's just gratuitous.

Joe is a phenomenal writer, and I believe he could have pulled off their "sex scene" much more artistically. Even something as simple as "They gave themselves to each other..." can be more poignant than all the details.

Was it Lovecraft (no pun intended) who said the monster you don't see is far scarier than the one that you do see? I believe the impact of an implied scene can be far more heart-felt than something this detailed.
Kerryn Angell said…
The definitions of pornography state that it is "intended to cause sexual excitement" and I think this is the important distinction to make when choosing to include a sex scene or not.

Is the intent to add it for the sake of the sex and the readership that might draw or is the intention to add depth to the characters and their story?

Of course, even if the writer intends it to add to the story the reader might not perceive it that way.
Mary Stella said…
Wayne, I'm glad we agree that Joe is a phenomenal writer.

As for the rest of your second post, we could debate the subject forever. You can cite dictionary definitions while I argue for common usage and interpretation based on current cultural reality.

What one person views as gratuitous, another sees as physical expression of emotion and bonding between two characters.

For that matter, what one person considers explicit, another views as mild, and vice versa -- whether the scene depicts sex or violence.

You might think the scene spoils the book. I might think that it illuminates new aspects of Jack and Phin and explores new paths for favorite characters.

My moral standards are strong and healthy. As for whether they're different from yours, given what I've surmised after reading your posts, I sure hope so.
M. L. Kiner said…
"The Hong Kong Connection" is a legal thriller about a gutsy female attorney who takes on high ranking International officials. It's a taut, rollercoaster of a ride from New York to Palm Beach to Washington D.C. to Hong Kong. The plot is expertly woven, the characters persuasive, and the dialogue snappy and spot on.
www.StrategicBookPublishing.com/TheHongKongConnection.html
Beth Ciotta said…
Mary,

Beautifully (and diplomatically) put. To which I'll add a respectful and direct... To each his own.
JA Konrath said…
I think that's a good question, Wayne.

In fiction, the best scenes serve more than one purpose.

In this case, the sex means more than just two people enjoying one another.

As the scene progresses, it becomes increasingly about control.

In the Jack series, she's a control freak. She has to be, with her career, and the psychos she chases.

There has been an ongoing story arc for the past five novels, that is coming to a head in Cherry Bomb. Namely, that being a control freak has done nothing but hurt Jack and those closest to her.

I thought about how to make Jack aware of this problem, and a sex scene seemed the smartest way to do it. After all, sex is when we're naked, vulnerable, not in control.

This scene allows her to let down her guard, for perhaps the first time int he whole series. For once, she doesn't have to be the leader. For the very first time, she realizes that she doesn't have to be in control all the time.

To fully play that scene out, it had to be somewhat graphic. As the scene continues, and the reader finds out what Jack is thinking and feeling, this becomes an actual turning point for her character. A defining moment.

I wanted that moment to have impact, passion, and intensity. So I used a bit of detail.

Also, to be candid, I had a lot of fun writing it. :)
JA Konrath said…
Also, I gotta comment on "The Hong Kong Connection" by M.L. Kiner.

While I admire the moxy of using BSP in a thread to plug your own book, there are much better ways to do it. Especially from someone whose website bio states she's worked in advertising and copywriting.

We're all trying to sell our books. But the way to do is it by contributing to the ongoing conversation. Spamming a thread won't work.

Self promotion is about what you have to offer, not what you're selling. Allowing people to know you and like you as a person is what leads to people checking out your website.

But popping into the middle of a thread, posting a rave review for your own book, without even pretending to contribute to the ongoing conversation... LOL.

I wish you much success, but I don't think this type of behavior is how you're going to find it.
JA Konrath said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
JA Konrath said…
I apologize, but I can't let this one go yet... ;)

M. L. Kiner said...
"The Hong Kong Connection" is a legal thriller about a gutsy female attorney who takes on high ranking International officials. It's a taut, rollercoaster of a ride from New York to Palm Beach to Washington D.C. to Hong Kong. The plot is expertly woven, the characters persuasive, and the dialogue snappy and spot on.


After checking out Ms. Kiner's site in more detail, I have more constructive comments for her.

http://www.strategicbookpublishing.com/TheHongKongConnection.html

I'm not trying to be mean here. These are just some things that new authors need to learn.

First, create a Blogger account, so people can check your bio, and so your name is correct. (You posted as M.L. Kiner, but you're actually S.G. Kiner.) That's a way to link to your website and book without blatant self promotion, which turns many readers off.

Second, your website has to be more than just a big advertisement for your book.

Check out some other author websites. http://www.bethciotta.com is a terrific one.

Beth knows it's all about what she has to offer, not what she's trying to sell. She's got a forum, a blog, photos, interviews, news, lots of excerpts. It's sticky--which means there's a reason to stick around.

Third, when you're writing copy for your own novels, it's less about the blow by blow plot details, and more about the type of book it is. Read some back jacket copies to get the flow right.

Fourth, when the occasion arises to use blatant self promotion, saying your own book is "expertly-woven" sounds a lot like bragging, which is a turn off unless you do it in a clever, or softer way. When talking about your own books, use what other people are saying, or compare it to books by other authors.

I say my Jack Daniels books are a cross between Janet Evanovich and James Patterson. I don't say that my books have snappy, spot-on dialog.

Finally, you should return to the threads you post on, and respond to other posters.

I have no idea if you'll visit this thread again, or if you were just a hit and run. But if you do come back, I hope you consider some of the things I said, because I think they'll help you sell some books.
Beth Ciotta said…
Mary S said... "To me, describing sex between two characters is no different than describing a murder. If those scenes are integral to plot and character, then including them, and writing them well, enhances the story. They involve the reader more deeply and draw on all of the senses."

Now that I'm free of the day job with a little more time to respond, I just wanted to mention how much I appreciated Mary's observation. I think she makes an outstanding point here. I, for one, never write a sex scene strictly to 'excite'. It has to serve a duel purpose. There must be emotion. There must be motivation (aside from the obvious). I write about people falling in 'love' and sex is a natural extension of that.
Beth Ciotta said…
JA wrote: "To fully play that scene out, it had to be somewhat graphic. As the scene continues, and the reader finds out what Jack is thinking and feeling, this becomes an actual turning point for her character. A defining moment."

Joe, I'm glad you hopped over and expanded on your reasons for writing this scene. Very interesting. I also love that it's a turning point for Jack and I am more anxious than ever to read this story!
Beth Ciotta said…
Oh! I wanted to add a huge thank you to Joe for his kind words about my website. As a techno-goober who muddles through, managing her own site, I'm really glad to know that it's effective.

I'll shut up now.
Beth Ciotta said…
Okay. I wasn't going to say anything, but since Joe opened the door, I just have to peek in.

Regarding the spammer... Self-promoting by making it 'all about you' backfires.

A subject near and dear to my heart, and the only one I typically do workshops on is 'Networking'.

Networking is the most cost-effective marketing tool around when it is used wisely and professionally. It works best when you approach people with the mindset of: What can I do for you? Not: What can you do for me?

Be gracious, genuine, courteous, and above all, generous. Expect nothing in return and you’ll be rewarded tenfold.

For all of you who cringe at the word 'Networking', I have a fabulous read that I'd like to suggest. “Power Networking – 55 Secrets for Personal & Professional Success”, by Donna Fisher and Sandy Vilas. I don't know how to link here, but you can find it on Amazon. It's amazing!

Lastly... everything Joe said. ;)
Meredith said…
Mr. Konrath,
I'm not much of a fan of thrillers or detective novels. I've been skimming your blog for a while, because you talk about writing and that is what I'm interested in. I'd had never really intended to buy any of your books. I've changed my mind now (and not because of the sex scene :).

Your reaction to that spammer lady stunned me. Most people would just ignore it. A few would flame the person. But I had never seen someone patiently teach and advise them. I was blown away. A lot of people bill themselves as teachers, but few would see that as an opportunity to teach and serve. Wow.

Thank you so much for demonstrating to that spammer a little discussed way to earn fans. Admiration for the author.

I think I need to go read my first JA Konrath book.
might want to check your typo's. Obviously, most people were so engrossed in the sex scene to notice, or maybe I'm just too annal!

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