Posted On May 6, 2011 by Print This Post

It’s a BLAZE Invasion!

Romance University is ablaze with romance authors today, as several authors from Harlequin Publishing’s Blaze line let us pick their brains in a Q&A panel discussion. Not familiar with Blaze yet? You’re in for a sizzling treat!

Brenda Chin, Blaze Senior Editor, says, “Blaze is Harlequin’s sexiest series – period. The books in this line are super-sensual, highly romantic, and innovative, offering stories that are sexy in both premise and execution. The editors expect authors to push the boundaries in terms of characterization, plot, style and explicitness. Finally, Blaze books are very contemporary—in tone and in language. They capture what it’s like to be young and single today.”

Today’s author panel features CANDACE HAVENS (CH), KATHLEEN O’REILLY (KO), JOANNE ROCK (JR), CARA SUMMERS (CS) and TAWNY WEBER (TW).

RU: How has Blaze changed (or NOT changed) over the past few years?

KO: I think in the early days of Blaze, the editors wanted a very sexy hook into the story, love potions abounded, and lists of fantasies were invariably written down and found by the hero. Now, it seems like the editors and readers have said they don’t care as much about the sexy hook, they are mainly interested in a sexy contemporary romance.

How has Blaze NOT changed? In my opinion, Blaze has always been about a very contemporary heroine. She can rich, poor, pretty, plain, a workaholic, looking for a job, but she knows what she wants in the bedroom, and isn’t afraid to wrangle the hero to get it. As for the hero, he can be working class, or a billionaire, he just needs to be heroic and worthy of the heroine—and hot. Note that he doesn’t have to be 6 foot 7 with washboard abs that can not only do laundry, but also deflect bullets. However both the heroine and the reader need to see the hero as sexy. I will say that I love writing ordinary men who are sexy and capable and heroic—and hot. :)

CH: I had a chance to talk to Brenda Chin and Kathryn Lye about what they are looking for in Blaze these days. I feel like that answers how the books have changed. Brenda told me they want bigger stories than the average series romance, complex characters and a strong sexy or romantic-turned-sexy hook, and a believable conflict. The sex also has to have emotional context. The characters have to feel something for one another. I know for me, I’m doing action-adventure-mystery with a strong romance in my Blazes. As Brenda says, the stories are bigger.

JR: Blaze is still red hot, but the authors have upped the effort in the last two years to ensure the line consistently delivers emotional romance underneath the sizzle! We want the emotional payoff to be rewarding in Blaze and we want our characters connect well beyond the physical. The romance has always been there, but I’d say that—as a group—we’ve really turned extra attention on that aspect recently.

TW: I’ve only been writing for Blaze since my first release in 2007, so I haven’t seen a lot of changes. Word count has gotten tighter and for awhile Blaze was open to more paranormal and historical elements, which it isn’t any longer. But otherwise, I think it’s still the same hot, sexy line it’s always been.

CS: For me the Blaze line has become more story oriented over the past few years. I’ve been able to write so many kinds of books–gothic romances, romantic comedy, suspense/adventure. The variety of stories I can write is what keeps writing for the line so much fun.


RU: What does it take to break into the Blaze line? What advice would you give writers submitting to Blaze?

KO: The first rule is that you have to write a book and actually you know, submit it. That trips up a bunch of people. If you love reading romance, especially category (I grew up reading a gazillion Harlequins), then it helps a lot. If you don’t like reading romance, don’t try and write it. You’d be surprised how much it shows on the page. That said, I think if you do love romance and want to write romance, keep trying. Write a manuscript, submit it, and then while you’re waiting, start on the next one. If you get rejected, start on another book and keep submitting. As in all things, practice hones the craft.

CH: What advice would I give writers submitting to Blaze? Read, read, read the current Blazes. We all write so differently and the stories are so varied. You really need to read them to get a good feel of what you can do within the context of Blaze.

JR: The best advice to break into any line is to become an avid reader of the series you’re targeting. In particular, read the newest authors and the most recent releases. Those books help point the direction in which the line is headed and reflect the most recent preferences of our editors. Beyond that advice, I would suggest writing a strong, savvy heroine and a hot, believable hero. Put them in a sexy situation and then let the conflicts come to the fore. You’ll have a Blaze story in no time!

TW: I think the most important thing necessary in writing for Blaze (or, really, in writing for anything) is a strong voice. I think that’s the best piece of advice I could offer—to know your voice and to play to its strengths. Other than that, I suggest reading the line and getting a feel for the types of stories that readers are looking for and how the sexy hooks are played in each book to see how the writer’s make it work.

CS: I think you have to have a strong heroine that the reader can instantly like and connect with. If the reader has empathy and a connection with the heroine, she’ll go along for the ride wherever it takes them. Of course, you then have to have a great hero.

RU: What kind of feedback do you get from your readers about your Blaze stories?

KO: Most of the people who write me are people who love romance and love great stories. I have a lot of really, really nice, supportive readers.

CH: I come from the world of single title paranormal romance. My readers are surprised by how much they love the Blaze stories. They aren’t like what they thought series romance was.

JR: Readers fall in love with the heroes! They love the escapism of Blaze and the experience of being swept into the story world. Mostly, they enjoy falling for the hero along with the heroine.

TW: Mostly I just hear if they liked a story. Thankfully not too many have written to tell me they didn’t but I did get a note once complaining that there was too much sex in one of my books. I have heard from people who were excited to see certain aspects of stories –one who was really happy with the science aspects of RIDING THE WAVES as she worked in that field and thought it really well written. That’s always fabulous to hear- to find out that the research paid off and I can get those types of elements right.

CS: My readers like my stories and my characters. Some recently said they liked the quality of my writing too. (Nice to hear since I teach writing).

RU: Did all of you start as category writers or did you come to realize your writing suited the Blaze line? Or did you specifically target your story(ies) for Blaze?

KO: When I first started writing romance, I actually was writing historical romance, but a friend of mine was writing for Temptation, and she told me about Harlequin Duets, and suggested I try. So I submitted to Duets, and I sold. After the Duets line was killed, I started writing for Temptation, until the Temptation line was killed…. I try not to take these things personally. However, the Blaze line is doing great, and this year celebrated their ten anniversary. Here’s to another ten!

CH: I started in single title. I’d always wanted to write something like THE WOMEN’S MURDER CLUB but with romance and spies. Kathryn told me she would be interested in something like that. And that’s how it started for me about two years ago. Now I’m three books in, with a fourth coming out in November and I love it.

JR: I have been writing series in some form or another from the very start. Although my first release was a Temptation, I wrote a manuscript for Blaze before the line even hit the shelves. That story went on to be Blaze #26, SILK, LACE & VIDEOTAPE, and I had the pleasure of being part of the line’s debut year.

TW: When I started out with the dream to write for publishing, I noticed a common thread of advice: Write what you love to read. I’ve always loved to read category and my favorite line was Temptation. That worked pretty well for me, since my voice tends toward the snarky side of humor. So my goal was to write for the Temptation line, but the line closed (sob) so I switched focus to Blaze. At first I was a little worried…I mean, Blazes are HOT! But the line’s senior editor, Brenda Chin, encouraged me to try so I did. My first sale was to this line and the story, Double Dare, was written with Blaze in mind. And really, given my voice and writing preferences, I don’t know what other line I’d fit as well :-)

CS: I started out as a category writer. My first two books were long contemporary series, but I switched to short category after they were rejected. I decided to target Desire or Temptation and eventually sold to Temptation. I made the move to Blaze because I thought it would be a fun line to write for, and I was
right!!!!!

RU: What are the pros and cons of writing for a tightly defined line such as Blaze?

KO: I actually think Blaze is one of the loosest (pardon the pun) lines around. All the editors ask for is a contemporary romance with a modern feel. We don’t have to have babies, or billionaires, or ranches, or sheiks, or sheik babies. We just have to have a hero and heroine and the romance—and the sex. We can have billionaires and ranches if we want, but we don’t have to.

CH: I don’t find it tightly defined. I’m free to pretty much write the stories I want to write. As long as they are imaginative and have a strong, sexy romance — it’s all good. Be a great story teller, that’s what they really want.

JR: Well I’m not sure I’d view Blaze as tightly defined. It’s committed to the core reader promise of delivering a red-hot read, but beyond that, we can take a lot of risks in Blaze. I’ve written a Viking-era historical, a medieval time-travel, a ghost story, and stories set in Mexico and Puerto Rico. I’ve written romantic suspenses and lighter, more humorous stories, all under that satiny red Blaze banner. So one of the pros in writing for Blaze is that we are allowed so much leeway. The editors are always eager to hear our ideas for miniseries and anthologies, welcoming input on the series. I think that’s a huge benefit. As for drawbacks, I’m not sure there are any for me since I sought out the line and wanted to write for them. It’s a great fit for me, personally. But I think you need to choose the line you want to write for carefully so that you enjoy the kinds of story you’re telling.

TW: I love the parameters of Blaze because it’s all about the sexy hook. That definition is a really solid launch pad for the stories—ensuring they are sexy and hot, but also that the sexual hook is central to the characters conflict. I think that’s a definite pro to writing for the line. I mean, doesn’t the best sex add all kinds of conflict? At least in stories? I think that only becomes a con if you don’t write sexy, don’t write contemporary or don’t write the type of characters that fit the Blaze line; which would be strong, sexually empowered heroines and heroes who are confident enough and sexy enough to handle that kind of woman.

CS: To me it’s all pros. Writing for a short, tightly defined line makes you really hone your writing skills. I’m always challenged by having to accomplish so much in such a short amount of space.

RU: Are there any new trends you’ve noticed – changes in what your readers are looking for or that your editors want?

KO: This is only Kathleen gazing into the crystal ball—I think readers are wanting less anti-heroes than before. They want someone who is strong and courageous and walks the heroic line. Same goes for heroines. This doesn’t mean perfect, I don’t think we’re going back to the 80s where the heroine is beautiful, doesn’t cuss, can handle a bow and knife. and twist the entire community around her little finger. But I do think readers will be wanting someone that they can admire (and not just physically). Again, no editor has ever told me that, no reader has ever told me that, but I can see how my reading habits have changed and I’m usually a very standard-definition romance reader. Oh, and also the family, community thing. I think we’ll see even more of that than before — and this actually was told to me by someone who follows the genre and is usually right. I think they’re right. In the past few years, there’s been a lot of the community/family books, but I think we’ll see that seep a lot more into the regular romance genre as well.

CH: I mention this above.

JR: I’ve noticed that Blaze readers love military men! The feedback I’ve received on my Uniformly Hot! stories has been really positive and encouraging, so much so that I’m writing another one in 2012. The Encounters stories seem to be popular too, and I think the Encounters concept is a great example of how forward-thinking our editors are. No other line releases these connected novellas penned by one author, yet they’ve been really well-received by our readers.

TW: Military heroes are hot! And fantasies are always a good thing. Other than that, I think it’s just about writing the best story you can, making sure your voice is strong and that you have a solid handle on the sexy hook that makes the story a Blaze.

CS: I notice that I’m writing more connected stories with sets of characters that the reader can follow through three or more books. My readers seem to like following these characters.

***

Are you a Blaze reader? What do you like best about this line?

Join us Monday, May 9 when JORDAN McCOLLUM will talk about effective websites. She will choose three websites to critique from our commenters. Check back on Thursday, May 12 to read Jordan’s critiques. On Wednesday, May 11, Douglas Mendini of Kensington Publishing responds to our questions about marketing. Hope to see you there!

***

Bios:

Tawny Weber is usually found dreaming up stories in her California home, surrounded by dogs, cats and kids. When she’s not writing hot, spicy stories for Harlequin Blaze, she’s shopping for the perfect pair of boots or drooling over Johnny Depp pictures (when her husband isn’t looking, of course). In May 2011, her eleventh Blaze, JUST FOR THE NIGHT hits the bookshelves. Come by and visit her on the web at www.tawnyweber.com

Candace “Candy” Havens is a bestselling and award-winning author. She is a two-time RITA® Award winner, Write Touch Reader and Holt Medallion finalist. She is also the winner of the Barbara Wilson Award. Candy is a nationally syndicated entertainment columnist for FYI Television. A veteran journalist, she has interviewed just about everyone in Hollywood, from George Clooney and Orlando Bloom to Nicole Kidman and Kate Beckinsale. Her latest Blaze, TRUTH OR DARE, comes out this month. Visit her website at www.candacehavens.com

Three-time RITA® nominee Joanne Rock turned a passion for writing into a career when imaginary characters kept her awake at night, demanding she tell their stories. The author of over fifty romances in a variety of subgenres, she enjoys writing medieval historicals and sexy contemporaries along with the occasional romantic suspense. Her work has been reprinted in twenty-five countries and translated into nineteen languages. Her latest Blaze, HIGHLY CHARGED! came out in April 2011. Visit her website at www.joannerock.com

Kathleen O’Reilly wrote her first romance at the age of 11, which to her undying embarrassment, was read aloud to her class. After taking over 20 years to recover from the profound distress, she is now proud to announce her new career—romance author. Kathleen lives in Austin, Texas with her husband and their two children, who outwit her daily. Her new Blaze, JUST SURRENDER… is a May 2011 release. Visit her website at www.kathleenoreilly.com.

Cara Summers sold her first Temptation to Harlequin in 1994, and that book, C.J.’s Defense, also sits on her desk — right next to the dictionary. When she isn’t working on her next Temptation or Blaze, Cara teaches writing to college freshmen at Syracuse University and roller blades (weather permitting). Her Blaze TAKE MY BREATH AWAY was a February 2011 release. Visit her website at www.carasummers.com

Be sure to check out the Blaze authors blog here: http://blazeauthors.com/blog/

Visit eHarlequin here: http://www.eharlequin.com/

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Discussion

94 Responses to “It’s a BLAZE Invasion!”

  1. Waving hi to everyone and sending Becke a big happy thanks for having us here today to share our love of the Blaze line :-)

    Posted by Tawny Weber | May 6, 2011, 1:49 am
  2. Good morning Blaze ladies and thank you so much for joining us!!!

    I love how everyone answered the questions in a slightly different way. Shows how varied our tastes, talents, and expectations are for the line.

    Can you tell us how many books you’re asked to produce in a year’s time?

    Joanne, I believe I read a historical Blaze by you (fabulous, btw!). After Brenda’s intro comments, does that mean no more historicals, you think?

    Thanks!
    Tracey

    Posted by TraceyDevlyn | May 6, 2011, 4:34 am
    • Tracey, I think the answer depends on the author and their particular situation. I do three books a year, but a lot of Blaze authors write for more than just Harlequin, and in that case, they can opt to do less if they choose.

      Posted by Kathleen O'Reilly | May 6, 2011, 7:57 am
    • Tracey, my understanding is no more historicals right now. But Blaze is full of surprises and seems to mix it up quite a bit. I really appreciate their willingness to try new things.

      Posted by Joanne Rock | May 6, 2011, 11:41 am
    • Hi Tracey :-D

      I think the number of books an author writes per year depends on a lot of factors; how many they can write, what their other writing commitments are (Like Kathleen said, some write for other lines or houses), etc. and how many other authors are scheduled with books that year. I write 3 a year now and could comfortably write more if there was room LOL.

      Becke, whether a book is stand alone or part of a series is really up to the author and what they come up with for their proposal :-)

      Posted by Tawny Weber | May 6, 2011, 12:46 pm
  3. I’m an aspiring Blaze girl/author (they are way cooler than a Bond girl) and I love this line. It is sexy, funny, emotional and smart (the most important part to me). What is better than reading and writing about that first moment when the H/H connect and they just can’t keep their hands off each other? Yum!

    Excellent post!

    Posted by Robin Covington | May 6, 2011, 4:56 am
  4. Hello to all,

    When I first heard of the Blaze line, I had to laugh. A good friend’s husband’s nickname is Blaze. I recommened the books to her and she has no complaints.

    Mary Jo

    Posted by Mary Jo Burke | May 6, 2011, 7:17 am
  5. Welcome, Blaze authors!

    Thanks so much for answering our questions about your careers and about the Blaze line!

    I’ve been a Blaze fan since the line first started. I even subscribed to it for a long time, until I started getting buried in books. (I also subscribed to a couple other lines.) I have save a lot of my favorite Blaze books over the years, and I just did a Google search to see if I could find the first books in this line (curious if they were on my bookshelf!). I found a Blaze Authors Blog by Julie Leto; here’s a quote from it:

    “The main speaker that weekend was an editorial assistant named Brenda Chin. She gave her speech and mentioned that she was working with an author named Lori Foster who had just turned in a Temptation so incredibly hot and sexy, they were giving it a series flash, “Blaze.” …

    Lori Foster wrote the first Temptation Blaze, which was her second book, “Outrageous,” and was released in April 1997.”

    Lori (who did a live author chat here just recently) is a favorite of mine, and I think there’s a good chance I do have that book. I haven’t pinned down the other debut Blaze’s, but I know have a bunch of Temptations and Blazes in my keeper pile!

    Posted by Becke Martin/Davis | May 6, 2011, 7:18 am
  6. Morning all!

    What a wonderful group – I’m so excited to have you all here! =) I’m trying to become a Blaze girl too….

    Kathleen, your book Hot Under Pressure is what made me decide to try for Blaze – I loooove the humor in it! Laughed all the way through. Does the Blaze line put any limits on how much humor you can have in a book? Do you have to tone it down?

    Ladies, I know from having Tawny on here before how fast of a writer she is! How quickly do the rest of you turn out a book?

    Grrrrrrrrrreat having you here today – Love the Blaze Line! =)

    carrie

    Posted by Carrie Spencer | May 6, 2011, 7:27 am
    • Hi, Carrie, and thank you for the nice words. My editor has never asked me to tone down the humor, but you can’t sacrifice emotion and conflict to humor, so IMHO, it’s important to keep the balance right. Know when you want the reader to laugh, to sigh, or to cry. :)

      Posted by Kathleen O'Reilly | May 6, 2011, 7:55 am
    • Hi Carrie :-)

      I’ve never been asked to tone anything down, neither the humor or the sex *g* I have been asked to explain a few things, though LOL

      Posted by Tawny Weber | May 6, 2011, 12:48 pm
    • Good luck targeting the line, Carrie! I personally like a good eight weeks to work on a Blaze, but some books take longer and some books take less. It depends on a couple of things– how much outside research I need to do and how well the characters are communicating with me! Sometimes the characters are really vivid for me and they seem to pull me right through the story (love those folks!). Other times, I get turned around and my characters glare at me while they wait for me to figure them out. Good brainstorming buddies help with those times. And I think part of the benefit of the waiting time before selling that first manuscript is that you have time to really figure out your own writing process and surround yourself with other creative folks who can help you through the tough times. Then, once you sell the book, you’re less likely to panic when a story doesn’t come together. You’ve had the experience and know how to tackle it.

      Posted by Joanne Rock | May 6, 2011, 6:24 pm
  7. Wonderful job, ladies!

    Posted by brenda | May 6, 2011, 7:32 am
  8. Hi Everyone! Thanks for hanging out with us today.

    I’ve only been writing for Blaze for two years. And I have to admit I love it. :)

    The question about how many books a writer does for Blaze a year varies. I know some of my friends just write one book, maybe two, a year. Some of us write three or four and then there are some who do six, maybe more.

    -Candy

    Posted by Candace Havens | May 6, 2011, 7:49 am
  9. Carrie – I’m a fan of Tawny’s books, too. I don’t do reviews very often, but I reviewed one of Tawny’s books at Romance: B(u)y the Book awhile back:

    http://romancebytheblog.blogspot.com/2009/09/feature-review-feels-like-first-time-by.html

    And now I have more authors to watch for when the new Blazes come out every month!

    Posted by Becke Martin/Davis | May 6, 2011, 7:52 am
  10. great interview.

    i am one of the many who likes the sexy military man. something about a guy in uniform (even though i never actually see him, he’s there in my mind’s eye). love the blaze line. i’m thinking the covers have definitely gotten hotter over the years! :)

    #ww

    Posted by meaghan k | May 6, 2011, 8:00 am
    • I’m with you, Meaghan – love those military heroes!

      Posted by Becke Martin/Davis | May 6, 2011, 9:26 am
    • Meaghan, I’d never written a military hero until a few months ago. I have to say, I’m a fan now too. He’s probably one of my favorite heroes ever. Ever! If he were real I’d so leave my husband for him. The book is “Model Marine” and it will be out as a Blaze in November.

      Posted by Candace Havens | May 6, 2011, 10:35 am
    • Aren’t the covers gorgeous?! I love the art dept at Harlequin, they definitely showcase our stories nicely.

      Ooooh man, I love military heroes. I wrote my first one (BREAKING THE RULES, 2/11) and had a blast. Those heroes are so yummy, I’d do another in a heartbeat. Um, book. Although the heroes are doable, too.

      Posted by Tawny Weber | May 6, 2011, 12:52 pm
  11. I’m a fan of many Harlequin lines, but Blazes have always been my favorite, but when I first started writing I made the rookie mistake of writing a story targeted to the Intrique line. It just wasn’t feeling right to me. Then I saw an awesome post online from Harlequin author Olivia Gates that spoke about making sure you can write muliple books for the same line. So don’t have one idea for Intrigue and then ever other book idea be for Presents or Blaze. Make sure the story you are writing is for a line you already have other ideas for.

    That really got me thinking about my story from a different angle and I realized that what was wrong with it was that it wasn’t a Blaze. I’d been trying to force so much suspense and details to fit the Intrigue line when really I needed to take the same story in the direction my heart – and hopefully my voice – needed it to go. I’m now reworking the entire story with Blaze in mind.

    Thank you so much ladies for all the great insight and for being here today!

    Posted by SabrinaShields | May 6, 2011, 8:01 am
    • Good luck with your revisions, Sabrina!

      Posted by Becke Martin/Davis | May 6, 2011, 9:12 am
    • Sabrina, I don’t think it’s possible to write that first book without a few rookie mistakes! It’s a big undertaking. I vividly remember talking to my brother on the phone when I was trying to write my first book. He asked how it was going and I could *not* stop talking… mostly about how tough it was! There’s so much to think about from pacing and character to story and backstory. Targeting is a whole other level of writing savvy. Glad to hear you’ve got the problem diagnosed and good luck with it! As challenging as writing is, the rewards are really gratifying :-).

      Posted by Joanne Rock | May 6, 2011, 11:53 am
    • Good luck, Sabrina!!

      Posted by Tawny Weber | May 6, 2011, 12:53 pm
    • Sabrina,

      I think that you have to write the story that’s in your heart and then find the line it’s right for. I was thinking I would sell my first book to Desire, but an editor there told me to try Intrigue. But Temptation is where it ended up, and I didn’t think of that line first.

      Posted by Cara Summers | May 6, 2011, 1:08 pm
  12. Hi, ladies. Thank you for a great post. I love these group posts. It’s such fun to see all the answers!

    You talked a little bit about working with Blaze, but I’m curious if you write for other Harlequin lines as well. If so, how does that process work? Do you have seperate editors for each line or does your Blaze editor work with multiple lines?

    Posted by AdrienneGiordano | May 6, 2011, 8:25 am
    • I know one of my favorite authors, Vicki Lewis Thompson, writes for Blaze as well as writing single titles – I don’t know whether to call them paranormal romances or contemporaries with magical realism. I liked the books she wrote for Temptation, too. I loved that line!

      Posted by Becke Martin/Davis | May 6, 2011, 9:16 am
    • Adrienne, I have separate editors for Blaze and Historicals. That’s not always the case, but with the lines being edited out of different offices, it ended up being easier that way. And it’s fun, too, as there are lots of great editors all around the company. I’m always dazzled when we meet with the London editors – lots of sharp wit in that group!- and think how fun they must be to work with. I think the people who stay in publishing are people who really, truly love books. So I guess it makes sense they’d be fun to visit with… they’re a lot like us!

      Posted by Joanne Rock | May 6, 2011, 11:56 am
  13. A big wave to the Blaze authors who so willingly shared their stories with us today. And many, many thanks to Becke who made this day possible.

    Posted by Leigh Duncan | May 6, 2011, 9:07 am
  14. Hi Ladies,

    Great post. I’m curious about the heat. Did you all write ‘hot’ from the start or did you have to work on that?

    Cia

    Posted by Cia | May 6, 2011, 9:11 am
    • Good question, Cia! Let me add to that – do your parents read your books? I love to write hot scenes myself, but I wouldn’t want my parents reading them!

      Posted by Becke Martin/Davis | May 6, 2011, 9:28 am
      • Cia and Becke,
        My single titles were pretty sexy so it wasn’t much of a reach for me to do Blaze. :) The sex does have to have emotional context though. That’s something I’ve always tried to do.

        And my parents do read my books. But they’re pretty cool parental units.

        Posted by Candace Havens | May 6, 2011, 10:32 am
      • Becke … I really want to know if any of the ladies successfully negotiated their way from ‘hottish’ to sizzling! And how they did it.

        Cia

        Posted by Cia | May 6, 2011, 10:40 am
        • Cia,

          I’m with Joann. I had to work to get from hottish to sizzling. And one of the ways I did it was by really looking at how the authors I admired did it. Love scenes take me the longest to write. And I go back to revise them more than any of the other scenes.

          Hope this helps.

          Posted by Cara Summers | May 6, 2011, 1:03 pm
      • Cia, to a certain extent, I had to work at virtually every element of my storytelling! So yes, I had to work on paying attention to the sensuality. My natural inclination was to write a sexy story– I liked to read them, so it made sense I’d want to write them. But for me, it wasn’t necessarily an innate talent. I had to study the writers I admired to see how they incorporated steam. It still fascinates me because some writers write explicit scenes that are very much in the characters’ heads– less action, more thought. And others mine heat through dialogue/banter. Whereas some authors have just the right level of beautiful, different sensual details. It’s a trick to find your kind of sensual voice, I think. And it’s one of the more fun aspects of learning the craft, IMHO .

        Posted by Joanne Rock | May 6, 2011, 12:00 pm
      • Becke,

        My mother used to read all of my books. My sister who is a nun reads them too. But my brother is my biggest fan. (He tells everyone he poses for my covers, too!)

        Posted by Cara Summers | May 6, 2011, 1:05 pm
    • Let’s just say I wrote warm when I started and had to work at turning up the heat LOL. I remember when Temptation closed (again, sob) just as I was >thisclose< to my first sale and Brenda Chin suggested I try for Blaze. I swore, there was no way I could write that hot. Nope, couldn't do it.

      But hey, a glass of wine, some nice candlelight, and tada… I do seem to lose more inhibitions with each book I write. Or, I suppose, get more comfortable with pushing those sexual boundaries (on paper *g*).

      As for parents, my father reads all of my books. My mom has tried but said I make her blush. My gramma has a special bookcase for my books, but she hasn't read them either LOL.

      Posted by Tawny Weber | May 6, 2011, 1:00 pm
  15. Hi everyone! I’m chiming in late. Thanks so much, Becke, for doing this.

    And thanks to all of you who are such fans of the Blaze line! And for those of you who are targeting the line, good luck and don’t ever give up. Persistence is very important.

    I’ll try to answer some of the questions. I think I always must have written a little bit hot because I sold first to Temptation. But I had to really work on my first Blaze.

    I started out writing two books a year because it’s good to have your name out at least twice a year (at least that’s what I was told), but now I write three and sometimes four. And each one takes a different amount of time. It just depends on how big a hole I dig myself into with the story.

    My best to all of you! Keep reading and writing.

    Posted by Cara Summers | May 6, 2011, 9:35 am
  16. Awesome interview, ladies! I’m lucky enough to be a CNYRW chaptermate of Cara Summers and loved the amazing workshop she gave us last year. I’m a huge, huge, huge fan of Tawny’s books…snap up every one that she writes! As for Kathleen, a short story she wrote in a Christmas anthology for Blaze a few years ago holds the title of the only Blaze that’s ever made me cry (so far.)Samantha Hunter’s and Michelle Rowen’s books are also auto-buys for me.

    I love finding new Blaze authors to try. I also love writing Blaze-targeted stories myself and have a full ms submitted to Blaze right now. New ideas keep popping up all the time so I just keep writing them down, LOL.

    Thanks so much for such a fun and informative post! :)

    Posted by Cari Quinn | May 6, 2011, 4:15 pm
  17. Wow, LOVE the Blaze line and what a great invasion today! I enjoy the fun, flirty, hot stories that Blaze puts in my hands, and it’s such a talented line up of authors! There’s such a variety in terms of story line and characters!

    Posted by Fedora | May 6, 2011, 5:02 pm
    • Hi Fedora – I’m with you, I love these books! After chatting with everyone today I don’t know whether to run out and buy the new ones or to pull some old favorites off my shelves!

      Posted by BeckeMartinDavis | May 6, 2011, 7:38 pm
    • Hi Fedora! I think that’s one of the greatest things about the Blaze line… The wonderful variety. If you like light and funny, it’s there. If you like intense and gritty, it’s there too. The line is so great.

      Posted by Tawny | May 6, 2011, 8:20 pm
  18. Thanks so much for the invasion today. I LOVE the Blaze line, and am revising a full as we speak. It’s so great to get a bunch of varied insights all at once, especially since the revisions cave gets lonely after a while.

    Posted by Robyn Thomas | May 6, 2011, 5:25 pm
  19. Hola Blaze Authors!

    Terrrific questions, Becke!

    Thanks to Tawny, I started reading the Blaze line last year. I’m in awe of authors who can write category because I write long.

    Do any of you have tidbits of advice you can offer the rest of us on writing a sensual love scene? Also, do you think you’d ever consider writing outside of category, like a single title again?

    Thanks so much for being with us today on RU!

    Jen

    Posted by jennifer tanner | May 6, 2011, 5:42 pm
    • Jen, my tip for writing a sensual love scene is to be sure you’re incorporating the five senses. Allow the characters to experience the moment with all their senses and you help the reader to be right there with them :-)

      Posted by Joanne Rock | May 6, 2011, 6:31 pm
    • Jen – I think you came up with a couple of these questions! ;-)

      Posted by BeckeMartinDavis | May 6, 2011, 7:40 pm
    • Hi Jen :-)

      I’m so glad you’re checking out the Blaze books and enjoying them! I’d echo Joanne’s great advice for writing sensual by really focusing on the senses. Also, I always ask myself what the purpose of the love scene is… besides gratification, of course :-) How does it need to shift the conflict or change the dynamic.

      I love writing Blaze and as long as they let me write enough books to keep me busy, I’m thrilled to write them. So, no, I don’t see ST happening for me anytime soon :-)

      Posted by Tawny Weber | May 6, 2011, 8:33 pm
  20. Thanks for making this a fun day, ladies! And thanks to everyone who commented!

    Posted by BeckeMartinDavis | May 6, 2011, 9:26 pm
  21. I thoroughly enjoyed myself :-). Thank you so much, Becke!

    Posted by Joanne Rock | May 7, 2011, 9:06 am

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