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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Sizzling PR: Guest Post: Sarah Ballance - Unforgiven

Today I am very lucky to welcome Sarah Ballance to the stage, to talk about writing sex scenes! I can completely imagine how difficult it must be to write one, so lets sit back and see what she has to say! Welcome, Sarah! Take it away!

Riley Beckett's past just came back to haunt her . . . and this time, he's got a gun. 

When Gage Lawton finds his brother shot dead on his back porch, every shred of evidence points to one person: Gage's former lover, Riley. He and she didn't part ways on good terms, and he's not planning to rekindle anything now--not when he's got a revolver pointed at her head and a finger on the trigger.

A year after Riley swore she and Gage were over, he returns in a hail of gunfire. One look into those achingly familiar blue eyes and she knows how wrong she was to let him go, but now far more than their heated past stands in the way. A twist of fate puts them in the crosshairs of a killer, leaving Riley with two slim options: trust her greatest betrayer or face a murderer on her own.


Sarah Ballance: Sex in the Middle

Okay, I admit it. Sex scenes hate me. I don't force them onto the page—heck, they're as natural as, well, sex—but the fact is, like me or not, they belong in my stories. Most of my writing is in the romantic suspense genre, and there's something about the marriage of life-on-the-line intrigue with sexual tension that always comes to a rather explosive culmination of needs. But seriously, that's on paper. Because in real life (if I get to call made-up things "real life"), when we get to the good stuff my characters are suddenly all too aware that I'm in the room, staring, waiting to jot down whatever they're about to do. Can you say awkward?

But the problem isn't so much my characters. It actually stems elsewhere. Fact is, I'm incapable of writing explicit sex. There's a list of words I just can't use in every day conversation, and a lot of them are used in the writing of uber hot sex. And it's not that I have anything against erotica, because I love it . . . in every aspect but the one preventing me from writing it.

Of course, there's always the flipside. No sex at all. I've done that once. (Writing, I mean. Not IRL, because that would be unconscionable. *glares at you for even thinking such a thing*) My novella HAWTHORNE is utterly sex free, and darn if it didn't make the Amazon best seller list for ghost stories. Absolutely there is a market for "clean" fiction—and it's one of which I'm proud to have a very small part—but my characters demand action, and I can't say I blame them.

Which leaves me in a bit of a pickle. (Don't go Freudian on me. I just mean "pickle," although I have no idea what pickles have to do with rocks and hard places. 

In the ain't-nobody-effen-anybody middle.

Postscript: Contrary to pretty much everything just mentioned, the naughty bits of UNFORGIVEN were unbelievably easy to write. Was this change on the horizon ? Nope. Along came TIDE OF LIES, releasing April 2, and I'm *still* picking plaster out of my head from beating my skull against the wall. Which, by the way, is not conducive to character sex. Kills the mood a little.


Sarah and her husband of over fourteen years live on the mid-Atlantic coast with their six young children, all of whom are perfectly adorable when they're asleep. She often jokes that she writes to be around people who will listen to her, but her characters aren't much better than her kids. Fortunately, her husband is quite supportive, having generously offered to help her research "the good parts." She's never had to ask twice.


  1. Thank you so much for hosting me today! You are simply fabulous. ;c)

  2. Great post!

    I dislike writing sex, too, but it always shows up in my books. Can't write clean. I tried, once. That manuscript didn't last long!

    1. Clean is ok, but dirty can certainly be a lot of fun LOL. :) Thanks for stopping by!

    2. LOL! Mine are always ... in the middle. Snort. One, maybe two scenes and nothing too explicit, but at least they're doing what they want to do. ;c) And I'm LOL about your ms not lasting long. That's hilarious! *grin*

    3. Great post! I would really, really like to read this book!
      As a writer, I don't do explicit stuff but, a little bit of naughtiness never hurt anyone.
      Janiera @This is From my Heart

    4. Thank you, Janiera! I really appreciate your interest. And I totally agree with you! I think I most love the build-up and sexual tension, and to leave that unfulfilled would just be awful, LOL.

  3. You know I've read all of your books, Sarah, and I think you've done a great job of writing the sex scenes appropriate for each story. And sometimes what you don't say is sexier!

    1. Aw, thanks, Karen! And I agree. I love sensual romance, especially when I can get caught up in the emotions. (Not that I dislike the physical, of course, LOL.)

  4. Sarah, by now just about EVERYONE knows how much I LOVE "Hawthorne",(I tell everyone about it), but I don't think that you can call it'sex-free'.In case you didn't notice, Kiddo, the main characters have plenty of heat and sexual tension going, esp. in the flashbacks.
    You do fit your 'real' sex seens into your stories... it is obvious that that is not what your stries are about, just part of your characters' lives. Continued good luck!

    1. LOL! There was definitely some longing in there, but nothing lurid on the page. Elaina Lee (who asked me to write for the charity line, which is how Hawthorne came about) had to talk me into adding the kiss, even. ;cP

      I have to say I truly appreciate your kind words and support. I am thrilled you see my books as stories first. That makes me feel so good! ;c) Thank you!


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