Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Calling me on the Gross - the benefit of beta readers

Thank God for beta readers.  I mean, truly. I would be sunk without them.  I am fortunate enough to have some amazing friends who give me beta reads.  Among my colleagues, I am lucky enough to have had beta reads from Celeste Jones, Anastasia VitskyNatasha Knight, Trent Evans, Emily Tilton, and Katherine Deane.

I found myself chuckling this week because both Celeste and Katherine consistently call me out on being gross. Usually related to bottom play. :)

It's not that I don't think of these things!  I really do!  I mean I would never have my characters switch from anal to vaginal (unhygienic!). But sometimes, I can't quite figure out how to work a quick wash up in, especially in the historical setting where bathrooms aren't around every corner.

Both Katherine and Celeste asked that Jean-Claude from Humbled wash his finger after a little foray into anal penetration.  Okay, okay!  I added a wash basin in their cabin.  Not sure if those really existed, but hey, I aim to please.

Celeste also informed me that talking about menstruation in "Unmet Desires," my story in Milestones (released on V-Day!) is gross.  Unfortunately, I just felt I couldn't get around it.  Claire is trying to get pregnant, so her menstrual cycle is pretty relevant.  And then if you mention it starting, you have to mention when it's over, etc etc.  You get my drift?  I can't have them having sex a few days later and have people wondering if she's still bleeding, right?

In a new fairy tale piece that's in the works with Katherine Deane and Casey McKay, Katherine couldn't allow my hero to pull the butt plug out and toss it on the hotel room floor.  She implored me to think of the lodge staff who would have to pick that thing up-- EW!  I guess I thought the reader could fill in the details that he picked it up and washed it later, but I have learned that if one beta reader says something, guaranteed a reviewer will say the same darn thing!  So, I obliged, adding that my amazing hero not only can use a butt plug on his adorable girlfriend, but he's the kinda man who cleans up afterward, too. :)

The last one, I lament, I could do nothing about.  It's in Held for Ransom, my new medieval (coming out Feb. 20th!).  They are way out in a barn.  No sink, no stream, no water bottle. Nothing.  And yes, he uses his finger for anal penetration.  I'm sorry!!  I just couldn't figure out how to clean it up.  Hopefully you'll forgive me this one time...




36 comments:

  1. LOL! This made me laugh Renee! Well...everyone has to be known for something right??? You're the gross author! hehe

    hugs
    p

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  2. Lol - hygienic beta readers, very useful. Let's be honest, sex is messy!

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    1. giggle-- sex IS messy!! I think that's a quote of the day!!

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  3. Suspend your disbelief, I say!!! Anal penetration ROCKS!! :) I do try to have my heroes wash their hands afterwards but sometimes, not possible - medieval for example...just go with it people - think of the hotness!!!

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    1. Ha ha! thank you, I'm glad you're with me on this one! :)

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  4. Hee hee very funny. I think I agree with you though...I think readers can be trusted to fill in the blanks sometimes! ;)

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    1. I always think they'll give me the benefit of the doubt, but guaranteed someone will point out anything outside the lines in a review!

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  5. Lol! All barns have a well nearby right? ;)

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    1. Gah! Why didn't I think of that?

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    2. Lol no worries, I always assume good hygiene unless otherwise mentioned. ;) Oh, and if you ever need more beta readers for your gross errr awesome books, I am happy to read and or review. Love your books and my HoH has me on a tight amazon budget! Lol

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  6. lol - actually I'm all for mentioning a woman's 'menses' after all, some people are into that ;)

    And as for throwing the plug on the floor, that's kind of sexy, as though he was so excited, he had to have her now. No time to deal with the damned plug. :D

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    1. Why do I always forget there's a fetish for everything?! Ha ha. That's exactly right! But I guess someone does have to clean up when it's all over. LOL!

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  7. HA! Well, honestly, it would never even occur to me, if I was a beta reader for someone, to point out that someone needed to wash a finger. And I'm sure my blindspots on some things like that are why I've run into a lot of problems (ahem) in my own books -- and had to write some really big all caps warnings for them -- they're definitely not "how-to" manuals, they're fiction, right? We all see things so differently, it's fascinating! Great post, Renee, love the behind-the-scenes peek into how your process works!

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  8. I have lots of blind spots too! I have a couple beta readers who are good about pointing out the PC, which I think I'm pretty good at, being a liberal hippie, but I still sometimes manage to possibly offend.

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  9. I'm in favor of washing up after anal play. What if he wipes his eye afterwards? If he's not in a place where he can wash up, perhaps he ought to forgo anal play until he can. Who wants to go around all day with a hand that smells like, well, shit?

    Those are the kinds of details that might squick out readers who will ding you for it in reviews.

    If Celeste objected to your menstruation "talk" in Unmet Desires, she is going to freak if she reads Terran. *Waves at Celeste*

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    1. Oh man...one of my favorite things about Breeder was no periods. I have a feeling things are different for Terran.

      Grumble...grumble...

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    2. Also, I think wiping his eye after anal play is what happened to Bob Costas.

      Who's gross now?

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  10. LOL, Renee, great post!
    I really was looking out for the poor maid, who would come in later.
    I have cleaned in a professional setting before, and that thought of discovering something, just tickled me. :)

    Thanks for washing his hands too.:)

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  11. Are you telling me he didn't have an antibacterial wet wipe in his pocket? LOL

    I tend to think about things like that relative to the time in which they are happening and things back then were not as hygenic as we expect, but good pulls.

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  12. I would just assume that he took care of such things without having it explained. The benefit of reading is that you can picture the scene in your head and not have to worry about the little things. Yet I sometimes wonder how some people have no much free time that they are able to do all that they do. Don't people work in stories?

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  13. Oh God so funny, I am a little innocent and don't think about the afterwards. You write what you like lovey
    love Jan.xx

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  14. I've read a couple of your stories bite and have yet to be grossed out, but I think I'm one of those readers that just automatically fills in the blanks!

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  15. LoL Renee, this made me giggle. Never really thought about the importance of hygiene and the little details lol. I agree too readers can be trusted to fill in the blanks.

    Hugs,
    Roz

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  16. Jolynn writes about butt sex in her books, and quite a few are historical romances, she might have a few tips about things like that if you want.

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  17. I must be gross too. I never think to have them wash a finger... and James just had me remove rat droppings on the floor from a spanking scene on a ship. Hey, I was going for reality, but instead I got a big ole romance book FAIL. :)

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  18. I love the conversation here. Again - things I simply never thought much about. On the anal / vagina I know order matters if you don't want to stop and shower, but the plug on the floor? I would assume they washed and took it with them as well as any paddles or other toys they had. But again, great conversation.

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  19. Those are the little things I notice, too. Someone once mentioned that one of their pet peeves is for a man to kiss a woman directly after having oral sex with her without wiping his mouth first. That wasn't one that ever occurred to me, but it grossed her out. I do watch for activities after anal play, since I once caught a really bad infection when it was done to me out of order. TMI? However, I've been reading a lot more scenes where kisses are happening there, too. There's a bit of an "eew" factor for me with that activity, but some women consider it hot, so guess that's all a matter of personal taste (no pun intended).

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  20. LOL Renee! I think that when I am reading , I probably am forgiving to those kinds of details being left out. I think that I just assume that those kinds of things are taken care of. I tend to not be so picky when I read and just enjoy the story.

    I can see how it might be helpful when the beta readers point that stuff out. Takes away the chance that someone might bring it up. Those kinds of things don't bother me as a reader. Many hugs,

    <3 Katie

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  21. Haha, you are too funny. I can see how that may gross out some people, although honestly as a person who does enjoy anal sex and play, I am not grossed out by it. I mean of course we are hygienic, always, but so far your writings haven't grossed me out at all yet. And as a person who has read her share of historical fiction, inaccurate details would bother me more.

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    1. I kept thinking about this last night, and really wanted to add that maybe your beta readers are not big on anal sex in general? Just a thought...

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  22. Does he at least wipe his finger on his shirt?? The gross does not bother me and if the trade off is a hot anal sex scene, I say rock on with your grossness girlfriend!

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  23. Don't worry. A couple of times I've had to write something gross, too.

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  24. As a reader, I think this is overthinking. I have been reading for years and have never paid any attention to washing up afterwards, that to me is a given. NoNo's are ass to mouth, gross and cross contamination of holes-UTI or PID city!!! Usually I find a man doing clean up before round two, very hot, or sending his woman for a quick clean up with a plan for oral gratificaiton even hotter. And I actually think pulling out to wash off, sanitize or applying gloves as a big turn off romantically because it takes me out of the moment. I can fill in the blanks well enough, give me my romance.

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  25. Honestly, when I'm writing I struggle with these hygiene issues all of the time. But when I'm reading, I neither notice nor care if he washed his hands. Except sometimes where cleaning up disrupts the flow, then its not a good thing that I notice it.

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