Sex in Verania: The Ins and Outs (Ha!)

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So, before we begin, a warning: I am going to be frank here in my opinions. Apparently some people don't like that. If you are one of those people who don't like authors having opinions, please click the back button, and I'll see you for next week's blog post. No hard feelings.

For those still reading, welcome. I appreciate it. However, it's not necessary to do the whole they don't know what they're talking about! comment thing. You'll know what I mean in a moment.

Cool?

Cool.

I've sat on this topic for a long time, unsure if I was actually going to write about it or not. I didn't it to come across that I was bitching about something, because I'm really not. This is meant to be some insight in the behind-the-scenes aspect as to why certain things happen. But now we are a few weeks out from Consumption, and I decided to just lay it all out.

Here we go.

I love receiving messages from readers. Those that take the time out of their day to write to me thoughts on books or whatevs means a  lot to me.

However.

For some reason, I've somehow managed to give off the vibe that some people can write to me to complain about my books. I don't know why that is, but I usually say  fuck it and don't respond. What's the point? It usually only happens once every couple of weeks, and it's easy to ignore it. There are those first world problems again that I seem to have.

But something recently stuck out to me.

On the same day last year, shortly after the release of Wolfsong, I received two separate messages, one through email, the other through FB messenger.

The email asked me why I had to put "porn" in a fantasy book like The Lightning-Struck Heart. "Porn isn't necessary in books," they wrote.

A couple of hours later, I received a FB message asking me why I didn't write more sex scenes in books, that the reader was "okay" with my stories, but wished they had more "steam."

Normally, I'm able to do what I mentioned previously: say fuck it, delete the messages, and move on with my day.

But for some reason, this bothered me. I've been around long enough to have thick skin, but I was having an off day, and it rubbed me the wrong way. Here were two different people with completely contradictory points about my writing.

I didn't respond to either, because I don't know that I could have remained cordial. I even felt bad that I was annoyed, but it didn't make my irritation stop.

I was in the middle of writing The Consumption of Magic. And I was still deciding if a sex scene was even necessary and if so, where I would put it. A lot of stuff happens in Consumption. Big, big stuff. Would any sex scene need to be more towards the beginning? Or maybe closer to the end? Would it even add anything to the story? I hadn't decided.

But after getting those two messages almost back to back, I made a decision.

I was going to write a vindictive sex scene for Sam and Ryan.

I was going to make it fully involved, intricate, and the most explicit thing I'd ever done.

And then I was never going to do anything like it again.

Spiteful? Yeah. Immature? Probably. But those messages just hit me on the wrong day at the wrong time. I've never been known for my sex scenes. To me, sex is almost the least important part of my books. And no, it has nothing to do with me being asexual.

There are some very good sex-scene writers out there, done in books that are not considered erotica. There are some tremendous erotica writers out there who can do marvelous things with dicks in butts. It's just never been my thing.

I was reading an article by a film critic earlier this year who said that he thought sex scenes in films were, for the most part, unnecessary. In summation, he asked what was the point of a sex scene in a movie that actions and dialogue couldn't show you? Why did people need to see simulated sex in a film?

I have nothing against sex. I have nothing against erotica. I have nothing against pornography. I'm good with people who like sex in their books/films/lives/whatever. I'm just peachy with people who don't.

But it has never been my thing. I've talked about this before, but sex scenes in my books aren't ever going to be the focus. At most, there will probably be a single sex scene in a story of mine, if even that. I wish I'd never written a sex scene in Into This River I Drown, but I thought I had to in order for it to be published or considered a romance (and no, the publisher never said anything like that to me--just my own baseless assumption) or for people to even read it. It's probably the one thing I'd want to change out of any of my books.

Back to Consumption.

I figured out where the sex scene would go. And I went to town. Just because I don't write multiple and/or explicit sex scenes in my books doesn't mean I don't know how. I do. I know how sex works. I've had it before.

I wrote the longest, filthiest sex scene I'd ever written in my life. By the time I was done, I felt better. I was, of course, going to immediately delete it and write something much tamer, but still. It felt good.

And then I thought those two words I think sometimes that usually ends up with me getting into trouble or writing a book about werewolves, even though I told myself I never would.

Two words:

What if?

What if I kept it in? What if I left it exactly as it was? What if, what if, what if.

In the end, I kept it.

Look, folks. I love you. Thank you for buying my books. Thank you for helping me to continue to do this thing I love so much. I am literally doing my dream job, which is something many people don't get to say. I am humbled by the position I'm in, and I am grateful for it.

That being said, I do not write to order. I don't write what people tell me to. I never have, and I'm not going to start now. The only reason this sex scene exists was because of I was having a bad day. (Apparently, when I'm annoyed and need to write an explicit sex scene, my mind goes to double penetration, and so that's what I did--I don't even know.)

You wish my books had more sex?

That's okay!

You wish my books had no sex?

Hey, dude, you do you, and that's good too.

I just wish the focus wasn't always about how much sex a book has (or doesn't have) in it. I know I write in the romance genre, but why does sex have to equal romance? Why does any sex at all automatically have to equal "porn"? I am aware I won't ever please everybody (that would be a weird day), or that I won't ever win with certain people. Even now, I am sure some are reading this and wondering where I get off (ha!) sounding so high and mighty, though that isn't anywhere near my intention. I am just trying to explain why this specific scene exists at all.

The sex scene is almost (I think) seven thousands words long for those who want it.

For those that don't, it's in Chapter 7 which is titled Don't Read This at Work or Church (Because of Butt Sex).  Yes, I love writing chapter titles for this series almost as much as the stories themselves.

For those that don't give a shit one way or another, hey. Thanks for letting me get this off my chest. (ha!)

Next week, I'll talk about Sam and that little bird in the forest that he brought back to life. Just because you can do something, does it mean you should? Sometimes, true power is not doing the thing you want most. See you then.

Pre-Order (only at DSP for now):

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/the-consumption-of-magic-by-tj-klune-9026-b

Thanks,

tj

PS: No, I still don't have a release date for the audio of A Destiny of Dragons. When I know, you'll know. It'll be worth the wait!