So, as soon as I’m done writing BUBBLES REBOOTS for my old friend Josh Simon who is battling a helluva cancer diagnosis, I’m thinking of giving Bubbles a chance to express her more sensual side. The recommendation from another author was to call the series BUBBLES AFTER DARK, which I love if only because my drafts will be slugged B.A.D. The B.A.D books would be relatively short and sweet, about 40k words, but they would definitely be sexier. Ideally, downright hot.
Of course, I risk ticking off some of my more conservative readers, of whom there are many. On the other hand, they wouldn’t have to buy a B.A.D. book if they didn’t want to, and the regular Bubbles books wouldn’t be tainted by the image of what Bubbles is up to sans tube top.
Why take the chance? Several reasons, some noble, some not so much. If I’m being honest, I’ll admit that in this ruthless publishing world today, sex sells. But also, sex is difficult to write or, to be more accurate, difficult to write well. I know because the first time I tried it, the then publisher of Dutton, the great Carole Baron, had to call me at at home and talk me through the scene. This goes down as one of the more embarrassing moments of my publishing career. I could only imagine my regular editors passing the buck, “No, you call her. No, you!” because the chapter was so awful and the prospect of setting me straight so awkward. Yuck. Still gives me shivers.
Anyway, I did rewrite (and rewrite and rewrite) the scene and was rewarded months after it was published by an amazing letter from the grandmother of a rape victim who appreciated the underlying message that true love conquered prior abuse. (Thank you, Carole.)
I ended up loving that experience and wanted to write more, except back then, under the strict branding that Bubbles enjoyed, the general consensus was that she should definitely not be steaming up the pages. Okay, but now that I’m self publishing these Bubbles books, I’m free to chart my own course and, ipso facto, fall on my own sword. I feel like a teenager who’s just passed her driver’s test and is taking the car a virgin solo spin. Look out because I could be driving on the sidewalk.
That said, developing the sensual side of a character who is obviously so sexual in her dress, appearance and kindness, is an irresistible challenge. I also like the idea of incorporating humor into what can too often be an needlessly serious genre. (Yes, I realize there are tons of great romance writers who can juggle both.) And I believe sex is a healthy, normal part of life for a grown woman – so why should Bubbles be denied?
I’d be interested to know what books you’ve loved that incorporated hot romance and humor. Because if there’s anything I’ve learned as an author, it’s that in order to write, you have to read – a lot. And I can think of worse assignments than having to spend some evenings poring over bare-chested cowboys and rugged highlanders.