Welcome to the Riptide Publishing/Aleksandr Voinov/L. A. Witt blog tour for the newest Market Garden story, Payoff!
Every comment on this blog tour enters you in a drawing for a choice of two eBooks off our backlists (excluding Payoff) and a $10 Riptide Publishing store credit. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on February 9th, and winners will be announced (by Riptide) on February 10th. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries.
Collaborating on Sex Scenes
(Or How Typos Make L.A. Witt Blush)
So I’ve been a full-time erotic romance writer for almost six years. In the late 1990s, as many of my readers well know, I spent a year editing adult films. If you watched any such material back then…you’re welcome.
Now, you would think the experiences and necessary skills for those jobs would be fairly similar, but they’re actually quite different. For one thing, my erotic romance author self doesn’t waste time staring at the ceiling and wondering when the stupid video will finally finish rendering so I can continue working. My porno editor self didn’t spend much time or energy concerning herself with plot. Both selves have done plenty of agonizing over transitions, but in decidedly different contexts.
There is one place where the two paths cross, though—the production of sex scenes with other people. Back then, most of the crew had already done their work by the time the video came to me, but I still had to work with the director(s) to make sure the final product worked. It meant frank, businesslike discussions about sex scenes, much like the conversations I have today with my editors and, especially recently, co-authors.
It should come as no surprise that while I do take my work seriously, these conversations can reduce me to a giggling fifth grader. Imagine, if you will, e-mails you might get from your boss regarding a project you’re working on. Say, a PowerPoint presentation you’ll be giving at the end of the week. Imagine the e-mail looks something like this:
Dear You Who Has Done My Bidding,
It looks great so far! Just a few tweaks, and I think we’ll be there.
I’m a little concerned about the pacing. It moves along nicely, but then suddenly seems too fast in the last 20% or so. Could we smooth that out a bit?
Oh, and while we’re on the topic of consistency, his cock ring disappears and then reappears later on. Please fix.
The Powers That Be
Hand to God, those are from an actual e-mail I received while working for the porn company. So as you can imagine, I learned a long time ago not to read work-related e-mails while consuming a beverage, lest my sinuses become burning storage facilities for Dr Pepper. In that line of work and in this one, you just never know when an e-mail from your boss is going to include a reference to a vanishing sex toy.
This brings me to co-writing.
Many people have asked how my co-writers and I go about co-writing. Cat Grant and I alternate chapters – she writes one, I write the next one, etc. Aleksandr Voinov and I write in real-time, alternating every few paragraphs in a live Google document. This means I can see the words as he’s typing them, and he can see mine as I type them.
Including during sex scenes.
Generally speaking, I’m so caught up in the story (and tethered to Aleks’s brain by some invisible USB port that science has yet to explain) I don’t really think about the fact that we’re writing A Naughty Scene together. Admittedly, I was a little panicked the first time we wrote one, because… look, you try writing a sex scene with an author who totally makes you fangirl/fanboy and see if you don’t break a sweat.
After the first time – okay, okay, get it out of your system – it wasn’t such a big deal. The inner frat boy usually stays pretty quiet, and if anything, Aleks and I start trying to outdo each other. “Oh, you think THAT’s hot? CHECK THIS OUT.” “OH. IT’S GONNA BE LIKE THAT. BRING IT.” “IT’S ON.” (Sometimes we actually say that out loud. This can get really amusing when we’re writing face to face. Especially in public. *sigh* That poor librarian…)
But I have to admit, every once in a while, when I’m fretting over a word choice or trying to remember where all the body parts are, I pause and think, “Oh my God. Aleks is watching me hem and haw over which word to use instead of ‘penis’.” Or when I get flustered – NOT LIKE THAT – and can’t type properly, it’s “Great. Aleks just watched me fail to spell ‘lubricant’ seven times in a row. Awesome.” That last bit is especially awesome when we’re writing in person because my face invariably turns red, and I just KNOW Aleks thinks I’m that kind of flustered. Because, yeah, typos just make me—
So basically, much like collaborating on a video at the adult film company, co-writing a sex scene consists of occasional moments of blushing over things that shouldn’t make me blush in between unashamedly writing about things that probably should. And trying to one-up each other from paragraph to paragraph, which can certainly make a two-person sex scene hotter than a solo one.
Wait. That didn’t come out right.
So in the end, collaborative sex scenes do take some getting used to, but they’re actually a lot of fun, and that competitive one-upping Aleks and I do seems to crank up the heat on our scenes.
Then we turn in the book, wait for edits, and try to remember not to take a drink when we get to the sex scenes.
‘Cause you just never know when you’re gonna be blindsided by a disappearing cock ring.
Aleksandr has been published for twenty years, both in print and ebook. He has ten years’ experience as a writing coach, book doctor, and writing teacher, and he works as a financial editor in the research department of a pan-European investment bank.
After co-authoring the M/M military cult classic Special Forces, Aleksandr embarked on a quest to write edgy, dark, sometimes literary M/M and gay fiction (much of which is romance/erotica)—the only way he can use his American Literature degree these days.
He’s been published with Heyne/Random House, Carina Press, Samhain Publishing, Loose Id, Dreamspinner, Storm Moon Press, and others.
Connect with Aleks:
L.A. Witt is an abnormal M/M romance writer currently living in the glamorous and ultra-futuristic metropolis of Omaha, Nebraska, with her husband, two cats, and a disembodied penguin brain that communicates with her telepathically. In addition to writing smut and disturbing the locals, L.A. is said to be working with the US government to perfect a genetic modification that will allow humans to survive indefinitely on Corn Pops and beef jerky. This is all a cover, though, as her primary leisure activity is hunting down her arch nemesis, erotica author Lauren Gallagher, who is also said to be lurking somewhere in Omaha.
Tristan and Jared have got it made. When they aren’t raking in the cash together at Market Garden, they’re burning up their own sheets and getting closer by the day. But something isn’t right. Tristan’s on edge, and Jared doesn’t understand why.
Before they can hash things out, their services are requested by none other than Rolex. And Rolex doesn’t just want to be a bystander this time. He wants Jared while Tristan watches, and he’s more than willing to pay for it.
But Tristan’s reached a breaking point, and even that huge wad of cash might not be enough to keep tonight’s arrangement from crashing and burning.
Payoff is available today from Riptide Publishing.