Monday, November 15, 2010

What gets a tortoise hot?

On Friday, I got my editor's revision notes for MAKING WAVES.

To say I'm thrilled would be a ridiculous understatement. Though I normally give myself 24 hours to marinate on feedback, I was so eager to implement my editor's suggestions that I wrote half a scene on the palm of my hand with a ballpoint pen.

One of my favorite parts of the letter was the request that I amp up the romance. It's something I'd been fretting about. Though MAKING WAVES has several blush-worthy love scenes and a lot of bawdy humor, I knew it wasn't as "hot" as the two books scheduled to follow. I wasn't certain which my editor preferred, but I got her message loud and clear on Friday. "Turn up the heat, please!"

Fortunately, "heat" is one of my favorite things to write. I feel like a kid in a candy shop, though sweaty flesh is much more fun to play with than gumdrops and peppermint sticks.

I know I have to temper my enthusiasm. I don't write erotica (though I've been tempted on occasion) so a little bit goes a long way when it comes to love scenes. It's a fine line between titillating a reader and making her want to scrub herself with a Brillo pad, and the line isn't in the same place for everyone.

Take tortoises, for example. When we were in Barbados a few years ago, we paid a visit to the Barbados Wildlife Refuge. It was impossible to walk without tripping over a pair of them in the throes of tortoise passion. Averting your eyes was useless, as the grunts of tortoise lovin' echoed in every corner of the park.

After my post about the monkeys a couple months ago, you're probably thinking I plan my vacations around the best places to see animals getting frisky. You're right. This is simply not true, though I will admit I'm fascinated by what passes for romance among the different species. Do the tortoises enjoy themselves, or is this just what they have to do to keep the species going? Are the lady tortoises feeling "hot," or would they rather be sunning themselves on a rock?

Tell me what you think. Behold, I give you the tortoise version of "heat." Make sure your sound is turned up so you don't miss the best part of this one minute and three seconds of pure tortoise ecstasy:

I'm not sure that's what my editor has in mind for MAKING WAVES, but it's something to consider in the grand scheme of romance writing. What works for tortoises may not work for monkeys, and what works for you may not work for me.

And now that I've conjured up all sorts of bestiality images, where'd I put that Brillo pad?

16 comments :

Sarah W said...

I just envisioned scenes from a weretortoise romance and fell off my chair laughing.

Actually, the male's grunts were surprisingly musical . . . The Song of the Tortoise?

Oh, crap, now the idea is stuck in my brain

Linda G. said...

I'm guessing your editor would prefer the new scenes to be shell-less. But that's only a guess.

Noelle Pierce said...

My eyes, my EYES!
...incidentally, she didn't look like she was enjoying it much. Sad state of affairs for the tortoise feminists.

I hate writing love scenes--I always feel I'm writing the cheesiest garbage out there. But oh, do I love reading them. *happy sigh*

Matthew Rush said...

Can't watch this video here (at work), but you are hilarious. Glad to hear your editor wanted more of what you love to write so much (and do quite well, BTW).

Michelle Wolfson said...

Too funny. I think your commentary during the video is by far the best part.

Claire Dawn said...

You went to BARBADOS???? WHAT!!! That's where I'm from! Granted, I'm not there very often, but still...

Yeah, the tortoises at the Wildlife Reserve are pretty notorious. It's inevitable that you'll get dragged there by your school or summer camp or something, and the thing we always remember is humping turtles. :)

LadyGenette said...

As I'm at school and they look down on us looking at naughty videos on the web, I'll have to save that for later.

I do think you plan your vacations around mating seasons. Your timing is always just too coincedental.

Tawna Fenske said...

Sarah, he did kinda have a nice rhythm going, didn't he?

Linda G, shells are sexy, aren't they?

Noelle, I love reading AND writing them (though sometimes I blush when reading my own!)

Matthew, you'll have to report back after you watch it at home. The sound effects are priceless.

Michelle, you like the running commentary? Well she didn't look very satisfied.

Claire Dawn, we were on Barbados about 5 years ago and loved it. There are actually a few scenes in MAKING WAVES that are set there.

LadyGenette, the school might consider it a biology lesson rather than tortoise porn :)

Thanks for reading, guys!

Tawna

Teri Anne Stanley said...

OMG, ROFLMAO. Seriously. I had no ideas that tortoises could make little grunty noises like that...how sexy! And I'm going to have to do some Googling on this, because I didn't actually think that tortoises have intromittent organs (that's science geek for "penis-like appendage"). I may have to return my Zoo degree.

Danica Avet said...

Okay, it kind of makes me wonder if tortoises use pick-up lines? You know, "So, your shell or mine?"..."Want me to polish your shell for you?"..."Slow and easy, that's how you win the race." Okay, I'm scaring myself.

I can honestly say I always learn something new on your blog, Tawna.

Elizabeth Flora Ross said...

I love that feeling when you can't to get back to work on your writing! That's awesome! As for the turtle sex, well... Let's just say it did not leave me wanting more. I'm sure your love scenes will. ;)

Elizabeth Flora Ross said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Abby Minard said...

Ha, I've seen that at our zoo. Not only are there grunts, there are the rather loud scraping of tortoise shells. We told my daughter they were playing leap frog when she asked.

Dr. Goose said...

You must realize you are about to get 55 comments or else you wouldn't be writing back so soon. This compelling scene is sure to draw comments.

His eyes are open so I assume he is a little bored too. Both are just going throught the Darwinian motion. Might as well have a big screen in front of them.

demery bader-saye said...

Who knew!?!?

Really.

Posey said...

ROFL! "She looks kind of the bored by the whole thing." Best blog ever!