Subscribe on Apple | Stitcher | Spotify Nina Crespo is this week’s Steam Scenes guest and this ep is on fire! We talk about African American cowgirls, why the one-night stand is her favorite trope, writing sex scenes that fit the characters in each moment, and how romance gives us the happily ever after payoff we so desperately need. Nina’s latest book The Cowgirls Surprise Match came out yesterday! Snag a copy here. Find Nina online: www.ninacrespo.com BookBub Instagram Facebook Author Page Twitter Transcript Elle I am so stoked that Nina Crespo is joining me today. Nina lives in Florida where she indulges in her favorite passions the beach, a good glass of wine, date night with her own real-life hero, and dancing. Her lifelong addiction to romance began in her teens while on a borrowing spree in her older sister’s bedroom, where she discovered her first romance novel. Nina currently writes small-town sexy to sizzling stories for Harlequin, Harlequin, romance and entangled publishing, read her books and feed your own addiction for love romance, and happily ever after. I agree wholeheartedly with that statement. Nina, thank you so much for being on this podcast. I am really honored. Nina Oh, I’m just excited to be here with you. I’m glad we were able to work it out. And you know, have time to chat. Elle And I appreciate it because I know you’re on a deadline. So I really appreciate the time. You know, taking the time to do this. Nina Yeah, a nice break, it’s a nice break to just be able to talk to someone Elle I know, imagine having a conversation with someone instead of like your computer, Nina Exactly. Elle Someone who actually is gonna answer back, yeah, you know, not character, a real person. Because sometimes they do talk to my computer. And there’s no response, which is fine. I mean, we need that response. So I guess we’ll just jump into the first question of when did you realize you wanted to become a writer? Nina Wow. Um, I think you know, because my bio is pretty accurate in terms of reading these books in my sister’s bedroom, you know, from bed I took from her bedroom. And then what would happen is that I wouldn’t get a chance to always finish them. And so I would spend the night agonizing over in my head like, well, what did these characters do and what happened next? So I think that actually sparked the storyteller in me. And then over the years, just a love of reading, and particularly a love of romance stayed with me. And I’d always kind of had it in the back of my mind, it would be kind of fun to write one, it would be interesting to write one. And then one day, long story short, a friend called me on it, it was like, Well, why aren’t you doing that? Well, why are you doing this thing that you’re doing now? Instead of writing romance? And I didn’t have a good answer. So I started writing the next week, and I fell in love with it, and I haven’t stopped. Elle Wow. So can I ask what you were doing that wasn’t writing romance? Nina I recently was in the health-related field. I was a fellow entrepreneur in the health industry, and so totally different than what I’m doing now. Elle Yeah, no kidding. That is a big difference. So did you do it sort of concurrently? Like at night, you were writing your steamy books and doing your day job during the day? Or were you able to just sort of like, let go of one and be able to focus on the other? Nina I wasn’t able to completely let go, I definitely still kept my day job because I had my own company at the time. So I couldn’t just kind of, you know, tell all you know, my clients and be like, Okay, I’m sorry, I’m not, I’m not gonna be able to, to help anymore, I’m out. So I did just take some time to work my way into it. And I’m the type of person that I like to know how things work. So I spent those early years actually working with a coach, a writer’s coach, who I still work with today. Kathy Yardley. Elle Really? Nina Yeah. So I just spent time with her learning about how to write a romance, you know, the the proper way, if you can, you know if I can say that, but just kind of not only about writing, but she she is and was knowledgeable about the industry. And so she was able to guide me in understanding the process of what I would have to go through in terms of, you know, submitting the book and what that experience would be like, and just being my accountability partner, to keep me going through the entire process. Elle That’s really cool. I’d heard about writing coaches like snippets here and there. And I don’t think I’ve ever actually talked to somebody who’s worked with one and you’ve had a really good experience. Nina Yeah. And actually, I’m a writer’s coach. In that, you know, let me clarify, there’s a difference between a writing coach and a writer’s coach. I do not work with writers in terms of how to write their books or critique their books. As a writer’s coach, I’m there as a sounding board and again, an accountability partner that allows them to gain clarity about, you know what they want for themselves and in their careers, what they want for themselves and their writing, so that they can continue to move forward. So I know how valuable that was for me with Kathy. And actually, Kathy is more of a, I think a hybrid for me, because we do brainstorm my stories, and talk about different aspects of that. But also just the sounding board piece, I think is important. Because as we talked about, you can sit in front of your computer, and you’re alone and by yourself. You’re trying to figure these things out. And it can get pretty lonely sometimes. And so being able to have that sounding board, as I said, has been important for me. And if I can be that for someone else, then I think that’s important, too. Elle Oh my God, absolutely. Now, I sort of feel like I like that might be the missing part for me right now. Like, I’m sort of like, in this place where, you know, we were talking about this a bit beforehand, like you’ve done four books this year, you know, and I’ve actually done four books this year, too. And you’re you got, you know, and I’m sort of going okay, I did four books, and this is big for me, like I’m COVID unemployed. So usually, I’m like, a book every three years, because I still have a day job, that’s, you know, that was pretty intense. And so, you know, to all of a sudden have this time to write and I’ve used it. But now I’m sort of like, Alright, four books damn. Now what? Nina Yeah, I mean, it’s a lot. And from my perspective, I was not, I think, I guess kind of like you not expecting to do that much this year. And, you know, I had some things that kind of juggled some situations around in my life that ended up having this all pushed together and in a way that was not expected. And so it was, it was a challenge. I don’t know that I want to do four books in a year. Like, I don’t think that’s what I want, because it just it took a huge chunk of my life, and it wasn’t over a 12 month period, it ended up being like over a nine month period. That I had to, to do this. So not exactly the way that I would didn’t happen in the way that I would want to do it. You know, if I could balance it out a bit better, then maybe I would tackle four books again. But coming at the tail end of it, it’s like, No, no, no. Let’s not do that again. Elle Like I need a breather. Are you a plotter or a pantser? What is your process? Nina I am a pantser. Who has learned over time to plot certain pieces when necessary. You know, there just comes a point where, yes, I do have to sit down and actually figure out some things. But overall, I’m a pantser. I have a tendency to go where the story and the characters lead me. Elle I was not expecting that answer. Nina No? Elle Your books are so tight. Like they’re so tight. I was not expecting you to be a pantser. I was like ready for you to be like I plot within an inch of my life. Nina I try. I mean, the interesting thing is I have you know, some friends that you know, fellow writers that I’ve brainstormed with. And if you were to talk to them, they would tell you that I am a total plotter. Right. Because our meetings have hone, well, this is how you know you might want to try to do it is you know, do this, this and this. And I do those things. But I think it ends up being more of a loose framework, if anything. It might be like a little jumping off point. But when I start a book, normally those first chapters are just, you know, getting words on the page and the characters. Like, well, what if the characters are in this situation? What if, and so those first five to 10,000 words are very much that what if, and then if any plotting takes place, it’s really after that point, which is probably sounds a little weird, and unwieldy, but you know, kind of works for me. Elle Actually that’s not weird at all. That’s pretty much how I handle my writing, I get an idea and I guess I don’t know if you have the exact same sort of like knee jerk reaction where I’m like, I’ve got this idea and I’ve got to get it down now. And so I go for the first couple of chapters and then I have to stop myself and say, Okay, hold on, hold on. Now we need to plot this out a little bit. Nina Yeah. We have to figure out where this is going. Elle Because I get so excited. I just want to start writing right like I want to do it now. I want to do it and then I get and then I do it and then I get stuck. Yeah. And that’s Like I have a 30,000 word outline right now on a book that I’m probably never gonna write. Nina Oh, never say never. Elle I keep saying I kept saying, well, this is your outline, I was like kind of forcing myself to outline and I said, Well, you’re gonna sit down and do an outline. And I ended up like writing part of the book and I kept saying, No, this is my outline. And they say no, it’s 30,000 words. I’m like, that’s a book, stupid. Like no, that’s a book. Okay, so I’m very curious. You were digging, you’re snatching books out of your sister’s bedroom. I’m guessing she was older. Nina Mm hmm. Yeah, she was in college at the time. Elle Okay, so you didn’t go into a room and sneak out like a police procedural or like lit fiction. It was romance? Why? Not always shoot she read or were you? Or was it that that was where you were drawn? Nina That’s what was predominantly there, but I have to say that it was just, I think the whole happily ever after factor of things that it’s like, oh, I’m going to read this book. And there’s going to be this wonderful ending. The exciting part was okay, all of these endings are, you know, a little different, you know, happily ever after, but how did they get there? And so I think that was the part that really drew me in is that I knew that there was going to be this wonderful nice payoff at the end of the story. Elle The happily ever after and the journey to get or the happily for now, like the happy like, you know, you’re gonna get to the happy but you get to go through all this drama. Yes. Before you get there. So do you remember the first romance you read? Nina I do not. I mean, I just remember it being a Harlequin Presents. That’s all I remember. So, yeah, okay. No, idea. I can barely remember the last book I read last week or two weeks ago. You’re asking a lot. It was that first book? I have no idea. Elle So I know it is a big question. And a lot of people remember what it was about, or rough sketch of the plot. So we have a lot of “find that books” moments on the podcast, which is kind of cool. Because some of them I’m like, I’d love to read that. Nina Yeah, I mean, I can definitely. You know, I can definitely understand that aspect of it. I think the book that probably kind of really opened my eyes to some things and oh gosh, I remember the title but unfortunately, the name of the person who wrote it escapes me, but it was…Oh, I know Sandra Kitt The Color of Love. You know, it was an interracial story. And as far as the exact details of. you know, I don’t remember everything. But I just remember seeing that interracial couple on the cover and just being intrigued about Oh, okay. You know, this is interesting. And I think that book almost set the path for me when it came to writing interracial romance. Elle Okay, okay, cool. I’m gonna look up that book, cuz that sounds really good. Okay, so what do you think now we’re gonna dive into the naughty bits? What do you think makes a sex scene good? Nina Oh, gosh, there are so many layers to it. I think first of all, what makes a sex scene good is that it fits the characters? I think every, every couple is different. And so you’re really writing it from the perspective of this couple, their relationship, and actually where they are in the relationship. I think that the sex scenes that are at the beginning of the book, are going to be different than the ones that are at the end of the book, because they’re at a different point in their relationship. Right. And so I think that also is what makes a sex scene a wonderful thing, because it’s very much an integral part of the story and a reflection of the couple in their relationship. Elle I love how you’re sort of, you know, bringing up that the sex between the couple actually does change throughout the course of the book and it almost mirrors the, well, of course, it mirrors the emotional trajectory that the couple is going. Nina Absolutely, absolutely. Elle Which I think I don’t you know, I don’t know, I certainly don’t consciously do it. And now I sort of go, Oh, yeah, I should consciously do that. Because that’s actually really important because it is gonna change. Yeah. First time sex is completely different from 20 year married sucks. Nina Oh, absolutely. You know, Elle And one’s better than the other but Nina There’s going to be a difference. And you know, and so like, for me, I, you know, one of my favorite tropes happens to be, you know, the one nightstand. The flame that turns into a thing. And so definitely, you know, that first fling, when that couple gets together, and they’re not expecting it to be anything, it’s just, you know, a night of fun and night of passion, or however they’re perceiving it, that experience is definitely going to be different than what they experienced at the end of the book. It has to be, because it’s a reflection of that journey, like you said, so you know, being cognizant of that, in whatever the trope is, I think is, is part of what adds those, you know, the good stuff to the scene, and makes it satisfying. Elle Yeah, well, it’s so funny, because I had a question, which was because you have so many tropes, like you have, you have your cowboys, you have your billionaires, you have your rock stars, and like, but your favorite trope is the one night stand. Nina Yeah. And I don’t ask me why, I mean, it’s just the one that I gravitate toward the most, because I just love that sense of the unexpected aspect of it, you know, from the characters perspective, you know, they’re not expecting this, to turn into something and then to be able to build that over time in the story that it does become something meaningful for these couples, I just really enjoy that. Elle Here’s a wild question. And you can just be like, Oh, my God, stop. Do you think maybe because there are no expectations, we might bring our most authentic selves to a one night stand? Nina Interesting question. Yeah, I mean, I think there could be I think there’s some logic to that, you know, because, you know, if you’re looking at it from the couple’s perspective, they’re thinking, hey, we’re not gonna see each other again, and so definitely you can dive all in. And so I think is, as an author, that’s kind of the fun part of it as well to be able to look at, you know, as you’re saying, the authentic thoughts and wishes and things that are going on with that couple that they’re able to go all in at that moment, because there is no expectation afterwards. They are their full selves. Elle Sorry. I went a little deep there with that one. Nina No, you made me think and I’m, like, I’m thinking through different, you know, books that I’ve written. It’s like, I think that’s kind of true. And you know, I’m thinking about that. Elle Yeah. Well, even just thinking about, you know, the Last Rule of Makeups, which we will be digging into. And we’ve got, it’s sort of a one night stand, but it’s a one night stand between a couple that had a relationship beforehand. And there was this sense in that their first time together of well, I can just be me with this person and have this really great night because it was always explosive whenever we got together, and there are going to be no strings and no expectations and I can go back to my life the way that it was. Nina Yeah, absolutely. And I mean, the Last Rule of Makeups was actually a twist for me that it does have that one nightstand aspect, but it’s the first romance that I’ve written between, you know, a reunited, lovers romance, second chance romance. This is the first one I’ve ever written. Elle Really? Wow. Okay. Nina So, yeah. It was interesting to be able to come at it in the way that you just described because I actually hadn’t thought of it that way that this is with this, you know, Corey and Gray, this couple, this is a one night stand with a couple has been together before because they’re not expecting anything beyond that. And they would be their authentic selves, because there was that sense of, of comfort of being together, that understanding that they had with each other in the past, and still we’re experiencing at the start of this story. And so, yeah, definitely, I can see all of that. Elle Yeah. So because with these tropes, like I said, you have your cowboys, your bosses, billionaires, rock stars, I’m probably missing a bunch, because you have a lot of books out there. What like, how do you? How do you transition? How do you research? You know, cowboys are very different from rock stars, or are they? Um, yeah, so I was that’s something that really fascinated me with like, how, how diverse just the themes were in what you were working with. Nina Yeah. Well, the interesting thing with the the books with Harlequin that are more small town romance and did involve, or does involve, I should say, a family of cowboys and cowgirls. That was very unexpected in that. It actually, well, gosh, how do I, How do I explain. I had come across an article in I want to say, Variety. I don’t remember where I was kind of scrolling around online, probably during a time when I shouldn’t have been scrolling online. But I was and came across this article about these women who are cowgirls; African American women who are cowgirls in Maryland. And I read it and they had this beautiful photo spread. And I was like, Oh, isn’t this interesting. And then, about a month later, as my agent and I are, you know, putting together proposals and shopping them to different places. She came back and said, Well, you know, an editor mentioned that they didn’t see a lot about African American Cowgirls and, you know, do you think that would be something you might want to write. So in my mind, I thought, well, maybe it’s a sign. Let’s go ahead and explore that. So I went ahead and took that on, and just loved it in terms of digging into the research, and just exploring that whole aspect of African American Cowgirls, African American cowboys. A lot of the times people think of it in terms of the past, of what used to be there, but there is this thriving, rich, wonderful culture that is here, you know, still has been here for years. And so just being able to get a glimpse of that, and put that into the series was a wonderful thing to do. And so in contrast, you know, as you say, Well, how do you move from that? I don’t know that I really have a definitive answer, because it just kind of happened. Well, we’re going to write about this. And then there’s the Hollywood aspect of it. And so being able to find someone who could talk me through that. And then with the Breakup Bash series, which is part of the Last Rule of Makeups. The last Rule Makeups, we have a DJ. And so I said, Well, I kind of need to talk to someone about that. So I was able to find a DJ by the name of, you know, David, Michael, he has The Passionate DJ podcast and website and he was very generous with his time to talk to me about these things. So for me, it was fun to be able to kind of inhabit these different spaces. And I always love to learn so for me, I think that’s the catalyst is the opportunity to learn about something new. It propels me and just kind of gives me the, the courage to just jump in and do it. Elle I absolutely love it. By the way, it just sort of aside do you know, the jazz artist Alan Harris? Nina That’s not ringing any bells. Oh, he Elle wrote this really wonderful musical called Cross That River which I actually worked on when it was in New York a few years ago, and it’s all about like celebrating black cowboys. And he did a whole lot of research and you know, I mean, he’s looking at it from the musicals, looking at it from a historical perspective, but it was really pretty fascinating. With the historical fact that he wove in and it was a really great, beautiful piece and his music is just fabulous. I mean if you like jazz Allen’s great. Yeah, it’s called Cross That River is so good. So, so good. So yeah, it was a fun show to work on. Nina Very cool. Elle Yeah. Okay, so this is a fun little aside. Yeah. Okay, so your process for writing the steamy scene? Do you have one? Do you just sit down and do it? Like you’re writing about, you know, the characters day at work? You know what I mean? Or is there? Is there something? Is it, you know, is it easy for you to just kind of like, Okay, I’m writing a steamy scene now? Or do you need a minute? Nina I have to, like, almost fall down laughing in the sense of, is it easy? And you know, what is funny to me, just, you know, with my writing, in general, is when I first started, and kind of didn’t know any better, then yeah, you know, just sitting down and just writing the scenes, it was, it was no big deal. But now, I probably do spend a little more time in my head with these stories. And so they’re, you know, with the sex scenes, and they’re not necessarily is as easy as they used to be. Because in all honesty, because I am more conscious of the things that we just talked about in terms of the characters and where they are at this point of the story. So I do have to, I do think about it a little bit, before I write them. So I may skip over that part of the story, and come back to it, when I’m in a frame of mind to write it, when I can really focus in on it. Elle So you will do like that sort of insert sex in here and then move on. Nina Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Or it just might be a very bare bones type of sex scene, and then I’ll go back in and add the necessary layers. And sometimes, particularly, if it’s at the beginning of the book, I may need a minute to get to know these characters a little better. So that I can go back and put those layers in based on the characters. Elle This is like life affirming. Nina Is it? Am I making any sense? It’s like, whatever, just write it! Elle This is absolutely life affirming. Because I struggle, I struggle, you know, and I’m my regular listeners gonna be like oh shut up, I write urban fantasy as well. And that’s actually what I started with. And I can just plow through a fight scene, like nothing 2000 word fight scene, I’m done with that in 10 minutes, like I have, okay, maybe not that but I’m really quick. But then when I’m doing the intimate scenes, just like it just like torture is like tooth extraction is like, Oh, God, you know, like, all of these feelings, you got to get out all these and feelings are hard. Nina And not only that, I mean, I think that there’s a pacing to them that you, you have to get right. Or from my perspective is you’ve got to get this right. And so, you know, a lot of that time for me is spent in trying to iron out the pacing of what’s happening in that moment, and just making sure you know, that we don’t end up with, with, you know, like an elbow in a place that it doesn’t belong. We’ve got, you know, the couples doing all these things and in realistic in terms of where they are, could this happen? Just being aware of all of those things? Elle That’s yeah that, you know, it’s so funny that you bring up the pacing, because we are going to be talking about that when we dig into your scene because your pacing in this scene was exquisite. I mean, like, just exquisite. I was like, oh my God. This is so good. And like, okay, I wouldn’t call this a slow burn romance. But it was like the slow burn scene. That was how, like, I kept going slow burn and then I’d be like, no, it’s not a slow burn because they have sex. It’s like, the first like two chapters. These two are having sex, you know? Um, so it’s not it’s not a slow burn. But the pacing of the scene gave it that slow burn quality that we love so much, you know, it’s really amazing. So we might as well just dig into it. But before we do, I would love you to sort of talk a little bit about the series because I thought the idea of the Breakup Bash was completely inspired. Is this a real thing? Nina In terms of women celebrating their breakups, yes, that is what, that’s what inspired it. I, again, was probably scrolling through the internet when I should have been doing something else. But I came across a story about a woman who had experienced a divorce and then had a party with her friends, it was the, like the un-bachelorette party. So they did all of these things, but in celebration of the divorce, and so they had, they had brought in a male dancer for her. And she ended up having a relationship with this male dancer for a period of time after this party. So that just kicked off, I don’t know, a research moment for me and going what is this? And so finding, like more examples of this, and you know, you go on Pinterest, and there’s like a whole thing of decorations just for this type of party. Cakes are decorated this way. Yeah, so it’s, you know, it’s a real thing. And so I decided why not write a series about that? Elle Oh, my God, because and the story with the dancer. That was one of the books, right? That was book one the first book and my God, I love that. I love that. Because I was like, Oh, this is kind of a fun idea. Breakup bash. Okay, wait, is that a real thing? Nina Yeah. If anyone has thrown a big party, in terms of you know, what these characters, you know, attended, but as far as people having their own parties. Elle Yeah, it was like, it was like, in this book, The Last Rule of Makeups it seemed like they had like a whole like, club dedicated to like, just this breakup bash. Like, it was like, it was like a Tuesday night, like, you know, you have like a Ladies Night or you have whatever those nights are. And one of them is going to be breakup bash night. Nina It was a private party, where divorced women got together and said, okay, we want to have a private party. And they hosted it at Club Escapade, which is the club in the book. So that’s, you know, how I perceived it to be that somebody said, hey, we’re gonna celebrate this not only with ourselves, but a bunch of people. And they rented out a room. And that’s what they did. Elle That’s so awesome. So awesome. So The Last Rule of Makeups, can you set this up for us? Or set the scene up for us? I should say, not the whole book. Nina Okay. Well, the scene that I handed to you, and I have to think, because I’ve handed a couple of scenes, but this particular scene, it’s, it’s the first time that they get back together as a couple, in an intimate way. And from the heroine’s perspective, she’s been through a lot. She’s accidentally run or unexpectedly run into her ex boyfriend, who was someone that she loved, and it just didn’t work out seven years ago. And so from her perspective, it’s like, why not have one night of just being able to let myself go, to feel good and to be with this person that I know that I am, can be safe with, right that I can just have this moment and enjoy it. And so from his perspective, he has never forgotten Cory. The couple’s name is Gray and Cory, so Gray never forgot. Cory, she hasn’t been far from his mind. And when he sees her, all of the old feelings that never went away are still there. And so that first moment of being together, is in my mind, you asked me to either pick your favorite scene from the book, right? As far as the intimate scene, and that is, is my favorite of these two people being able to come back together and just have this wonderful, comfortable, sexy, satisfying. experience together. Yeah. Elle We should say I want to add that Corey and Gray run into each other while Cory is at her own breakup bash celebrating the breakup of the long time boyfriend. Nina I should have added that. Yes. She and her friends are at this party that we’ve been talking about. And she, while she’s at the party, she runs into Gray, who is a DJ and he happens to be there just visiting his friend who’s DJing in the main part of the club, and when they run into each other things just unfold in unexpected ways that bring them together. Elle Yeah. And you know, I have to say like if they didn’t continue the relationship, which of course they do. It’s a romance. I still felt like this moment between them was, like, so beautiful and perfect and could have just bookended a really great, “Oh, God, thank you. I needed this” night. You know, like, that was sort of like what I was, I was sort of, like, if they both want it, like, I would be bummed out, because I think that they would be really great together. But I can see that as a, you know, hug in the morning. Like, it was really great to reconnect. And, you know, let’s stay in touch kind of thing. Nina And the way that you describe it, that’s the way that I imagined it from the character’s perspective, that’s what they were thinking. Elle That’s exactly what I got from it, too. So it was perfect. It was amazing. Okay, so I do want to say it was really hard for me to pull excerpts from the scene, because I was basically like, clutching my heart the whole time. I was like, like, I’ll just read the whole damn thing, but I can’t do that. Time. And also, I mean, I know some people don’t like to hear their stuff, read out loud. I don’t want to do that to either. Nina I didn’t read it out loud lately so it’s like, oh, go in. Elle Okay, so this is The Last Rule of Makeups. He steered her to an apartment to the left that was almost to the end of the hall and opened the door. As soon as it shut behind him he backed her up against it and kissed her. A moment later they broke apart. He reached to the wall beside her and flip the light switch. Track lighting in the ceiling illuminated a sunken living room with a steel blue U shaped sectional and dark wood furniture. Gray stared down at her, his gaze reflected what she felt. Urgency and need. Still, he took a long breath and closed his eyes a moment. Cory, you and me together like this. Is this what you want? As he studied her face, she saw a concern as if he sensed something was wrong in her life. Did he still know her so well? The realization was comforting and unnerving. What did she want? For one night for a short while she just wanted to give to take to own her pleasure without worrying about anything else. Doing that with the guy she just met would have been impossible. But she’d always felt safe with Gray. She still did. He’d never broken her heart. Cory slid her hand down and cut his cock Just for tonight. I can do that. Gray led her down the beige carpeted hall to the left to a bedroom at the end of it. Moonlight shone through the window onto a king sized bed against the wall. She laid her clutch on the nearest side table coming up behind her he brushed slow kisses down her neck as he unzipped her dress. Imagining you out of this has been distracting me all night. Okay. There’s such buildup here. They haven’t even really done anything. Like. I mean, like, nothing’s really happened. I’m all like, Whoa, I need some water. Nina I’m sorry. I know. This is the nervous laughter. Elle But it’s true. I mean, I was like, oh my oh my god. I actually read this a couple of times, because I kept going, are you missing something? Because this is what I keep getting like this is so and this goes back to, right, the pacing. Like I’m like, I am so melty here. And nothing has really sort of happened between them to kind of go woo but yet, you know, it’s like the clutch going to the side table. But like there are all of these like, you know, flipping the light switch, leading into it. Like they’re all these sort of like short little moments that each one is almost oh shit the word just escaped from my brain. Oh, foreplay. It’s like, it’s almost foreplay like something as simple as turning on a light putting down a clutch like the way that this is written it feels like foreplay. Nina Oh yeah. Yeah. Now that you put it that way. I mean, yeah, I think I think all of those moments go into an intimate scene. It’s just not the act itself. It’s all of those things that lead up to it. And it’s also the things that that happen afterwards. It’s all part of it. Elle Yeah. Like I’m beginning to sort of say, okay, like I slow myself down as a writer or you know, whether consciously or unconsciously slow myself down when I get to the naughty bits, but maybe I actually need to slow down in those moments leading into the naughty bits. You know, because that will just build even more, I guess, suspense. I mean, it’s like you’re not even writing a suspense thriller over here but there’s such suspense. And like, Oh my god, her dress. And I can just see it, like, I can just see it, you know, that that sort of slow zipper comes down, and you can almost feel it against your own back, you know, when you’re sort of like, you know, that into the moment with characters. Nina And I think I imagined with these with this couple, I don’t know, for some reason that and now, you know, now that I’ve heard you read it, and now that I’ve heard you explain it, I, I want to go back and look at the other scenes and go, Hey, you know, with these other books, what’s out there? But I think that this couple, it was even more important to have that there. Because for them, it wasn’t just again, the act, it was the whole essence of being together, of having that experience of how they feel with each other. Elle And that kind of like their history, even though we don’t really know much about it at this point, because this is super early on in the book, like we don’t really have too much of their history, but you can just feel it all in this scene. That history, which is like, you know, really, I mean, exquisite. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. Exquisite. Nina That makes me feel you know, really, really great that okay. I did that part. Right. Thank you. Thank you! Elle Okay, I’m gonna keep going. There’s more. But wait, there’s more. Stepping out of the dress that puddled at her feet. She faced him. Now it’s my turn. I’ve been imagining you too without the shirt. Gray cocked his brow just without the shirt. He dragged his shirt up and over his head. The view made her pauses? Wow. She had been right Cory ran her hands over his solid chest and defined abs. Was he this hard all over? As she dipped low on his abdomen grooves of definition carved deeper under her fingertips with his intake of breath. He halted the exploration crushing her against him capturing her mouth and heated kiss. She needed him now. Cory took her mouth from his. She fumbled with the button on his jeans. Once she got it open she went for a zipper. But Gray took hold of her hands. He tipped up her chin and whispered, we’ve got all night. Let me see you first. Blue’s my favorite color. My God, we’re still not there yet it is so steamy, and intimate. And we’re still not there. I mean, like basically, I have a note you have elevated removing clothes to an art form. Yes, you have. It’s amazing. Nina Well, isn’t that part of the experience? Elle This is like, but this is so…again, it’s like the pacing and the patience that you had with it. I mean, that is like I was like, oh my god there’s skill right here that is such skill. How do you have the patience with it? Nina Well, yeah, I mean, and I think with as we’re talking about, well, are love scenes easy to write? I think part of it is, you know, when I say okay, I have to skip this and come back, is that sense of needing, you know, wanting to be patient with it, wanting to be very patient with it. And you know, having a wonderful editor as well, you know, who’s able to kind of look at that and say, okay, and be able to just kind of help bring that awareness factor of is this just kind of moving too fast? Are we getting enough of, you know, the understanding of these characters together? Because I mean, it’s interesting is that as I think about it, even as I say it, one of the beginning versions of this, the editor came back and was like, you know, I guess she just really wasn’t feeling the intimacy that we’re talking about. She’s like, you know, there’s just a lot of sex in this book. And that’s a problem? It was like, oh, there is a lot of sex we need more. And so is that problem, a lot of that, or I would probably say that attention to detail piece came part of it came from that comment from my editor of that I really did need to take my time in writing the scenes and with this couple. Elle So just sort of like pull back a little bit and slow down, because I do think that sort of like, you know, I know, my immediate impulse is, rip their clothes off and get to it. Right. And, I don’t think that I trust myself, I think that’s a trust thing, right, and trusting yourself as the writer to be able to give the readers what they want, which is not maybe not sex, although, yeah, it is. But more of that unfolding of the intimate moment. Nina But I think also is you’re talking about scenes where couples are, you know, definitely like ripping those clothes off and getting right to it. I think that there’s a moment for those scenes, it comes back to the characters where they are in the story, what’s happening, and what their motivation is, for being intimate with each other in that moment. And, you know, being able to just rip off the clothes and get right to it might be the right thing for that couple at that time, depending on what you’re writing. Elle How do you get into their heads? Because you do dual perspective. So you know, we’ll jump, you know, at one point it, it turns to Gray’s perspective, because right now we’re with Corey. So I’m just kind of curious how you get into their heads. Nina Hmm. I guess I’m always looking at it. Or I try to look at it from the standpoint of who has the most to lose? Who is most vulnerable at a particular point in time, I think dictates the scene. You know, who’s feeling the most vulnerable in that moment? Who’s feeling the most in terms of emotion? Who’s taking the risk, right, who’s thinking that they’re taking the greater risk? And so that, I think helps me get into the mindset of the character in that moment. And what to write. Elle One more little bit. As if in a trance Grey cupped her blue lace covered breasts. He feathered his thumbs over the peaks and her nipples tight and his desire pooled inside of her. the confines of her bra grew unbearable as he traced a leisurely path to the front clip holding the thin triangles together. The soft graze of his fingers made her breath hitches he opened it, revealing her heavy breasts. He slid the straps from her shoulders and the lace bra fell to the floor. His gaze traveled down and back up again. And he released an unsteady breath. You’re even more beautiful than I remembered. Oh, I love him. We all need a Gray in our lives. Nina I just need to record you like reading this and just put this on my website. That would be the perfect excerpt you know, just have you reading that. And I would just sell tons of books. Elle Holy crap, you know. We were talking about this earlier. This scene isn’t over. This scene continues. And it gets even steamier like they have sex. They have gorgeous, beautiful, amazing sex. And you had said you were you weren’t sure if you wanted to send me this scene? Or the one that comes right after this, which is when they get down to do it. Which is absolutely, I mean, just as good as the build-up to their moment together. So I’m curious what made you decide on this versus the one that was I mean, more explicit, let’s say? Nina I don’t know. I think well. I was like, well, is it too explicit? You know, is it okay to send this or not? And so I think that probably went into the thinking and also having read the second part of that a couple of times. I was like, because I have read it, I won’t say where. But I had read it, and people enjoyed it. But also kind of see the eyes got to go. And you know, and I was wondering like, Oh, you know, was this? Okay for this moment? And so I am very kind of conscious of…I don’t know what I’m saying. I really don’t I guess I guess I was just, you know, concerned? Well, you know, is it going to be too much or not enough? You know, because of the wording? Is it okay to have these words in there isn’t? Isn’t not. So I just wanted to go kind of middle road, if you will. Elle We say all sorts of dirty things on this show. I just yell out the C word like, Yeah, no problem. We don’t care, we don’t mind the dirty bits at all. Oh, can you, imagine like, like, you know, a quilting circle and you’re reading? Like, well, I had to read that part out once and I’m like, ooh, was she in a quilting circle? That may be awkward. Nina But also too, you know, is I think about, you know, as we’ve been talking about, you know, writing sex scenes, you know, that piece, it to me is just such an integral part. I almost feel like, if you don’t know that part, then the second part may not, I won’t say it doesn’t make sense. But you kind of miss out on something. If you’re not reading, if you don’t have an opportunity to read that second, or that first part. And the other thing that came to mind was length. I was like, well, she doesn’t have all day. If I give her a six page sex scene, what’s she going to do with that? So let me just pick the piece. And then you know, from there, it’s like, oh, okay, we understand what’s going on. And you know, okay, let’s dive deeper into it. So that’s also part of it as well. I think that that moment for them is just as important or even more important than the act itself. Elle Yeah, I would, I would agree with that. Although I have to say, I think I maybe didn’t read ten lines from your excerpt. I was like, I can’t read the whole thing, but I’ll read most of it. It was so damn good. But yeah, I completely agree. I think that, um, you know, if I had had all of it right to read from I would, I would have definitely included this beginning but because it does lead so nicely. And it’s not that it wouldn’t have made sense, but I do think that it just elevated it to a whole different level of, passion. That I think you probably would have missed if you just like jumped to the deed itself. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So that was beautiful. It’s gorgeous. So um, I do know, like, you have just released a whole bunch of cowboy books. Yeah. Which we did not read. So it was in your Cowboys … No. Tillbridge Stable series. Cowboys Claim is the first book. Her Sweet Temptation is Book Two, which is like just like recently came out October. Nina Yes. Yes. Elle And then The Cow Girl’s Surprise Match comes the first of February. So can you just tell us a little bit about that one, because this will probably air around the time that our book will be coming out. Nina The Cow Girl’s Surprise Match, as you said is the third book in the Tillbridge series. And this involves one of the sisters in the sister of one of the characters I should say, and the cousin of another. And she up into this point has experienced a lot of responsibility in terms of keeping the family enterprise going, which is a horse stable. And so she has not had the opportunity to really experience love. To have the experience or the luxury of exploring what makes her happy and her own pleasure, so to speak. And so in this story, she’s actually taking on planning her cousin’s wedding because the cousin is marrying a celebrity. And because of her status, it makes it hard for them to plan this wedding and they don’t want it to become this celebrity frenzy if you will. So she’s secretly helping him plan the wedding and the person that she’s planning the wedding with is someone that has noticed her in terms of Oh, this is a pretty interesting person that I would like to get to know. He’s a little bit younger than her so she’s never looked at him in that way before. He’s always been like the cousin’s friend, someone that she used to tutor when he was in high school. So here’s an opportunity for them to get together and planning this wedding. And as the tagline says, it’s a sweet charade that takes an unexpected turn as they pretend to be the ones who are planning the wedding. And they’re not. And they’re not getting married. And as they go through this experience of planning the wedding together, they fall in love. So there’s a sweetness to it. But also, it was fun to dive into this character, who up until this point, as I said, has not had an opportunity to really indulge in her own happiness. And just watching her have an opportunity to do that with someone who was compassionate and understanding and very much wanting and understanding. It was fun to write. Elle Cool. And so her cousin was that the character that’s a character from Her Sweet Temptation. Nina The cousin is actually the hero in the Cowboys Claim. Elle Okay, Nina And her sister is in the second book, Her Sweet Temptation. Elle Okay, got it. Got it. Nina So there’s some family drama in this and in terms of, you know, both of them, or all of them, have inherited this horse stable from their parents. And there’s been some questions about, you know, who’s been loyal to the stable and who hasn’t, and some drama that has happened in the past that has influenced their relationships. So yeah, so there’s, there’s some fun family saga drama as well. Elle Well, I hope the TV executives are listening, because this would make a great Netflix series. Nina One would hope. Elle So come on TV people get on this because this would be a fabulous series. You know, I love and one of the things that was sort of unexpected for me on writing rockstar romances, and I hadn’t even honestly thought about it, was how unusual, I guess it is to have the female characters be the career focused musicians or, you know, obviously, I’m branching out from that, too. But, you know, the first three books are these sisters, and they’re all they’re in a band together. And they’re the musicians. And I feel like you’ve got the same thing going on here with the cowboy, you know, because most of the, that sort of, you know, Western romance, I guess you could call it or cowboy romance is a cowboy romance, and they’re not looking at cow girls, and you know, particularly not African American cowgirls. And I love that there’s a history of that, in addition to the African American cowboys to sort of dig into. Nina Yeah, yeah. And you know, with these books, I’ve just kind of scratched the surface of it, there’s definitely more that could be put on the page in terms of their experiences and in how that works. And so for me just wanting to put a realistic family on the page. Yes, you know, we’ve got a you know, a little bit of the of the soapy drama aspect of it in some things, but just being able to realistically put people on the page, living their lives, you know, falling in love. I just felt that that was important to put on the page as well. Elle I think the whole takeaway from this is procrastination is good. The Google rabbit hole is awesome. Nina Yes, it is. Very productive aspect of it. Don’t knock it. Elle The next time y’all beat yourself up for sitting on Google for too many hours think of Nina and all phenomenal books that came out of like, just like, you know, the Google rabbit hole. Really. You know, where can we find you on the internets? Nina Oh, gosh, you can definitely find me on my website, nina crespo dot com. Of course, I’m also Instagram is my happy place. So you can definitely find me there. But I’m on all the social media places. Twitter, Facebook, you can find me there as well. Elle I will have links in the show notes to all of these as well as to the books in the series so thank you so much for doing this. It has been such a pleasure and an honor to have you with me. Nina I’ve enjoyed talking to you. This was a nice way to end the week. I really appreciate talking to you. Elle Anytime you want to come back, I am all ears. I would love to have you. Nina Thank you. Take care.