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When Beth Bolden decided to write a sports romance without athletes as the main characters, she set her m/m romance career in motion. In this episode, Beth and I talk about transitioning genres within romance, the struggle of sticking to an outline, and writing a coming-out story. Then we get sexy with an excerpt from her rock star romance Hazardous Things.

Hazardous Things is part of her Star Shadow Box Set, which is available on Amazon.

Connect with Beth online:

FB: https://www.facebook.com/bethboldenauthor

FB Reader’s Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/bethsboldest

Instagram: http://instagram.com/bethboldenauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/beth_bolden

 

Transcript

Elle
Beth Bolden is today’s guest! A lifelong Oregonian. Beth recently moved to North Carolina with her supportive husband and their sweet kitten. Earl Grey. I love that name. Beth still believes in keeping Portland weird and intends to be just as weird in Raleigh. She has been writing practically since she learned the alphabet, publishing since 2014. Beth is the author of 22 novels and seven novellas. That’s very prolific. I’m so impressed by that. Welcome, Beth to Steam Scenes.

Beth
Thank you so much for having me. I’m so excited. You’re my very first podcast, so hopefully I am not incredibly boring.

Elle
No, this is a podcast of firsts because you are my first. M/M. Right? Do they call it male male or is it M/M,

Beth
I’ve heard it said both ways. Yeah, I think it’s kind of interchangeable.

Elle
Okay, okay. Well, Beth writes, really fun, M/M romance. I know that, like I know, I submitted, you know, a list of questions. So these are gonna all be out of order. But I totally want to talk about because the one thing that just tipped me to you, and I was like, Oh, my God, I have to talk to her was the food truck series. And I was like, what an oddball idea for a series. And I fucking love it. So I mean, you know, we’ll back up and get to the other stuff. But I totally want to talk about this.

Beth
Yeah, I mean, so it kind of came about kind of accidentally, like so many other things that happen in life, right, that the best ideas are just kind of one to stumble into. I had, I had written a series. Well, first off my second M/M book did kind of deal with food It was like, was kind of like a reality show series where there was like a guy that got paired with a chef, like a celebrity that gets paired with the chef, and they have to like make it through all these challenges – if you’ve ever seen the show Cutthroat Kitchen – but that was my first like food. And that was super fun. I loved writing it. So this is when we still lived in Oregon. After our wedding, we thought we should go to Napa for vacation because we can drive there and it’ll be cheaper. But no one tells you as you buy like, I don’t know, five cases of wine and it’s not cheaper. Driving back Oregan with your backseat full of wine. Anyway while we were there. I had been looking into writing a series and I thought wouldn’t it be fun to write a series about chefs and Napa and I really love to cook. So I thought oh, this will be right up my alley. So I wrote that that series about chefs which is called Kitchen Gods. And these are like chefs that are really high on restaurant. It’s got Michelin stars that the head chef is affectionately nicknamed The Bastard.

Elle
Oh my God, that’s awesome.

Beth
Yeah, his name is Bastian. And he’s called the bastard, which is a nickname he does not really enjoy.

Elle
I’m sure he doesn’t.

Anyway, so I really enjoy writing about chefs like it was really fun. But the thing that no one also tells you is that chef’s worked a lot like they work six, seven days a week, like 17/18 hours a day. And I was like, there is no room for romance. It was really, really hard to find a way to like, have them still work at the restaurant or like in other equitable restaurants and have enough time to have a romance. So I thought, you know, when I do this, again, I should do the spin off because there was a brother of a character that everyone really loved. And I should he should start a food truck and food trucks are so much more like they’re easier. Like there’s a lot less pressure. They can work a lot less hours. It’s more flexible. I was really thinking of it from how to make my life easier perspective. And being from Portland like, obviously, we did not invent food trucks, but we have definitely perfected them. And there are so many like lots that just have like, I don’t know 15, 20, 25 food trucks just parked there all the time. And I know that it’s like a thing that more and more cities are getting into but like Portland, Portland, it was definitely really popular. So that was kind of how I got the idea of I should write a series about food trucks was I kind of fell into it accidentally trying to be lazy.

That’s actually really cool. I have in my series I just wrote in a chef character in my last book, who is going to get her own story at some point. And um, and so I was actually thinking about instead of giving her a restaurant giving her a food truck simply because it seemed just so much more attainable.

Beth
It is. I mean, there’s a lot of reasons. I mean, the nice thing about I mean, when you’re actually planning a series, and usually I end up accidentally falling into them, like I do so many other things

Elle
I do, too. So I’m glad you said that.

Beth
But when I actually, I did actually plan out the food truck series and I, I introduced a bunch of different characters in the first book. And they all do food trucks for different reasons, like some of them, because they just really have no interest in like the whole kitchen hierarchy thing. Like I have a short novella that just came out where one of the guys, Alexis, he runs like a Greek food truck. And he’s basically like, I know how to cook. I don’t need someone screaming at me all the time.

Elle
It’s a very good point,

Beth
And then Tony, just Tony’s like, the lead character of Drive Me Crazy, which is the first food truck book and that’s, that’s out now. He, he just really doesn’t. Also, I mean, he also doesn’t like being screamed at, but he’s worked in restaurants, he didn’t really do well, in that kind of really rigid hierarchy of like, you have to listen to this person who listens to this person who listens to this person. And he didn’t enjoy that he also dropped out of cooking school. So he actually he finds a lot of joy, in like, kind of the experimentation and trying different things and not having like a super rigid menu and not having, like, basically he works with his brother, and then his boyfriend. So I mean, he really likes that he doesn’t have like a whole kitchen full of people he has to answer to. But it’s been really cool to like, kind of explore some different things. And different reasons why people, you know, have chosen to do that instead. Because like you said, I mean, it’s a huge investment. Finding the money to create a restaurant from scratch is tough.

Elle
Yeah, yeah, it really is. And you’re absolutely right about the time. I mean, you know, if you’ve worked in restaurants, which I’m assuming you have,

Beth
I have not.

Elle
What?

Beth
I’d really love to cook.

Elle
You’re so knowledgeable though.

Beth
I have done a lot of research. I’ve read a lot of autobiographies. Some people will say to me, like, like you, oh, you must have worked. Because you I have had a lot of people that work in restaurants actually come to me and say, you got all the details, right. And that that is an incredible compliment, because I work really hard to try to make it accurate. But no, I really love to cook, I wanted to go to cooking school. And I’m actually really glad I didn’t because it’s something I enjoy as a hobby. I wouldn’t want to do it as a job. For me, would kind of remove some of the enjoy joy ability factor. But no, I’m not a professional in any way, shape, or form.

Elle
That is so funny. Because like, yeah, like you’re talking just the way you’re talking about it. You seem so knowledgeable. And I was like, Oh, she’s spent plenty of time in restaurants like working behind the scenes. But no, that’s not the case. I mean, I do have a, I do have a question then. Because, um, you know, you write a lot of genres or themes, because they’re, you know, with rock stars, food trucks. So what are you doing to research these topics, because they are so different.

Beth
They are so different. I actually had a sort of revelation, maybe a year ago or so. And I was like, you know, what, I really think why I’m drawn to like these three very disparate things, rock stars, the chefs and the food truck people and then the professional athletes is they all have an ego that needs to be taken down a notch. And I’m always like, I’m the person to do that. But, I mean, it’s it varies. Obviously, I did a lot of research for the food books, you know, the food trucks there. I mean, I have talked to some people. It’s been pretty cool our neighborhood that we live in, in North Carolina, they have actually started bringing food trucks in a couple of times a week. And you can like order in advance, you can go pick up your food, and it’s been a really good way to like, try a bunch of different things, especially during COVID. And so I’ve talked to some people that own trucks and have kind of like, you know, gotten some inside info but a lot of it’s just research. The rock stars, that series was a long time coming, I spent a lot of time kind of researching the music industry, and all the ways that really sucks. It’s not really a resounding marketing plug for my rock star series, but really the ways that the marketing and the push to be popular kind of contorts everything in puts people in these very like little boxes. And the whole idea of the series was I was going to blow the boxes up. And of course, that was another series that just was going to be a standalone book and then that didn’t happen. And then more books…seriously the story of my life. And, and, and the football books I actually wrote because I really enjoy football. And I know a lot about it. And I really liked reading sports romance, but I get really frustrated when I feel like the book has like a wallpapery sports background like, Oh, I know the rudimentary, I talked to my husband and I know a little bit. And so that’s how I got what I’m, you know what’s in the book. But I was like, I want a sports book, I want to write a sports book that like feels really grounded in sports, like, there’s actual like game scenes and stuff, which is really hard to write. But, and I want to make sure it’s right. And so like sometimes, I know a lot, but I’ll like check with my husband. I’ll do some research, I actually wrote a book about a kicker, which is not a position that anyone ever thinks about writing a book about.

Elle
Yeah, I was gonna say that seems really unusual.

Beth
I did not know much about Kickers, I had to do a ton of research about Kickers, it was fascinating. Like, there’s all this stuff about them that you don’t know and that you would never think and like, they just come out like a couple of times a game and do their thing. But like otherwise everyone forgets about them.

Elle
You can correct me if I’m wrong, I could swear that I read somewhere that because they use the one leg like one leg is more developed than the other? Did I read that? Or did I make that up?

Beth
I did not read that but it would make sense though, based on like, so many of the things that they’re doing, like, one of the things I read that I found really fascinating was that they’ll, like go through the whole progression of like kicking, kicking off or kicking a field goal or an extra point, they’ll go through that whole routine, like hundreds of times in a row until like, literally, it is exactly the same every single time. So I would think that that would naturally develop one leg more than the other. I mean, if you’re gonna do that hundreds of times 1000s of times. I mean, I think that’s kind of an inevitability. But

Elle
That seems so bad for you.

Beth
There’s a lot of mental pressure. I mean, it’s not just physical pressure. It’s like mental pressure.

Elle
But that sort of repetitive motion just seems like Whoa, oh, that’s crazy.

Beth
Yeah.

Elle
How do you do this? I mean, like, the research thing. I mean, I, I struggle with the research thing. I always feel like I’ll read a lot or like, I pull things from my own life. Like, for me, I worked with bands for a number of years, and in the entertainment industry, so I have a fairly good background with what I’m doing. Because of my day job. But when like I really want to branch out, but when it comes to research, apart from reading things, I’m like, super shy about like approaching people and being like, Hey, can you tell me all about this thing? Because I just feel bad. Like, I feel like I’m wasting their time.

Beth
I mean, I think sometimes it helps like if I come to someone, and I have like a very concrete question. So for example, I wrote this book that had a Puerto Rican baseball player in it, it was one of the Kitchen Gods books, the other one was, was a chef, the other guy was a chef. And I was really determined that I was going to get all the details, right. And so I ended up picking up this beta reader who was Puerto Rican. And she helped me a lot like I did a lot of research on my own. And then when she read the book she went through, and she kind of identified some things that I could tweak a little bit. She actually donated one of her grandmother’s recipes, because they make it together in the book. And I thought it was just a really cool thing. And we we became really good friends because of it. But I think that people people really want to help. You know, like, that’s the thing that I’ve learned the most is being an author is like other authors want to help readers are like dying to help. Like, it’s like the greatest honor of their life, which I still kind of find wild. But yeah, I really do think it helps like to not say, you know, tell me everything about this subject. Like that’s like just that’s overwhelming for both of you. Like if you do your own research and you write the scene, you say, Hey, can I just send the scene over to and make sure that it’s right. It really adds a nice concrete, like there’s a beginning and an end of the project. And if they want to help more, they can always volunteer and if they don’t get this done, and you got what you needed. Right.

Elle
Oh, that’s really great advice. Thank you for that. Maybe I won’t be so shy now. Okay, so let’s backtrack now. You it said your bio says that you started right, you were writing practically since you learned the alphabet, which is super cool. So, when did you realize that this was something you wanted to do professionally?

Beth
Um, well for so I was writing from a very early age, but I, I became convinced in college that I, I could only write nonfiction. My degree was in English literature, and we wrote a lot of like analysis papers, right? Often, I will say that I got kind of brainwashed into this idea that like, genre fiction was not okay. But that was definitely an opinion that my university had was that anyone in the Creative Writing Program, like was not allowed to write romance, to write mystery, to write suspense. You could only write super serious stuff. And I was like, Wow, that sounds horrible. I hate that. I took like, one creative writing class. And I was like, this is death to all creativity. I kind of got like, very convinced that I could write from a removed point, like write analysis and stuff, but I couldn’t write fiction. And then a couple years out of college, I discovered fanfiction. And that’s really where I kind of was like, you know, I think I could do this, but I really don’t know. But the beauty of it is that nobody knows who I am. And if it’s totally terrible, then they’ll tell me and I’ll move on, and it’ll be fine. And of course, it wasn’t terrible. And I didn’t move on. And that’s kind of how I got into writing my first novel, was that I kind of got bored with fandom. And it was kind of like, Okay, time to move on. And I was like, I kind of want to write my own stuff. And so I did NaNoWriMo one year, and discovered that that was the worst way for me to learn write a book, because then I had to rewrite it three times afterwards.

Elle
I can’t do NaNo. I just can’t.

Beth
Well, it’s funny, because now I’m like, I write way more than that a month now. But back then I was like, didn’t know what I was doing. And so I was just like, putting words down to put words down, and I didn’t really have a direction and it was just terrible.

Elle
For me, I feel like all of a sudden, this overwhelming amount of pressure to get the words done. I know, some people thrive under that kind of pressure. I completely buckle. I’ve tried it a couple of times, I’ve been in rooms with friends. And I am just like, the shame one that does like 2000 words for the month. Like I’m just like, I can’t do it.

It just doesn’t work for some people. And you know, I find that like, so this was like back in like 2013 so it’s been like eight years. I have changed considerably my habits. And you know, it’s now I actually find a lot of comfort and like, I use this program called Pacemaker and I’m like, it says, you need X number of words for the day. And that’s very reassuring to me. I’m like, I’m on track. I’m gonna meet my editing deadline. You know, I’m moving forward, because if I just like left it up to me, like I would do pretty much anything else. I would do the laundry, I would probably scrub up the tile with a toothbrush. I would. Yeah, I really need someone to hold me accountable because otherwise it’s like, nightmare.

So I’m curious what fandoms did you start writing in with the fanfiction?

Beth
Um, so I was an original Twilight fanfiction girl back in, like 20 Oh my god, like 2010 2011. And I did that for a while. And then I kind of got out of it. And then I did my own thing. And then I totally so I wrote my first book, which was an m/f romantic comedy, kind of the sports book called The Lucky Charm. And I published that and did really well. In fact, it did a lot better than I thought it was going to, it would probably have been better for me if it didn’t do anything. But it did and like the pressure was intense. And I wrote the second book, and it didn’t do very well. And like that was I didn’t have the emotional resources to deal with that at all. And so instead of dealing with it, I got into another fandom, which was the One Direction fandom which was ended up how I became interested in the music industry. So that’s kind of how so then I was in that for a couple years and I finally kind of got tired of all of that and was like, you know, I kind of want to do something else. And that’s how I started writing again. I have a total Funny story about how I started writing m/m. But I will save that for a later time.

Elle
Save that for the m/m part.

Beth
Everyone asks, I think there’s like this deep meaningful story. And it’s like, it’s not at all, like so many of my other stories. It’s just like I accidentally fell into it.

Elle
Oh, let’s just go for it. Let’s just go for it. Now that we’re there, we’ve opened the can, the worms are coming out. Let’s do this.

Beth
So I’m in 2016, I decided to come back to publishing. I had been I spent a couple years out of publishing. And my friend who is actually an awesome, very prolific writer named Angel Lawson. She says, wouldn’t it be fun if we wrote books about the Rio Summer Olympics? This was in 2016. And we could publish them right when the Olympics are starting. And I was like, that’s a really great idea. I like writing sports romance.

Elle
That’s a really fun idea.

Beth
Yeah except I of course defeat myself like I always do. And I’m like, Oh, I would really love this idea. But of course, no one else would love this idea, which is that neither of the people in my book were atheletes. They were just there. I mean, it’s a good book with a terrible concept. And it did not sell anything.

Elle
We’re gonna do an Olympic sports book. But my characters aren’t Olympians?

Beth
Terrible plan. Don’t do that. I pretty much like, so much of the time. Now. I’m like, what’s my first instinct? Okay, let’s do the opposite thing that’s not my first instinct. Which is a lot of trial and error. So I write this book this girl that ends up having to take her boss’s place in Rio, because he did something he wasn’t supposed to do. And he ends up in this really rough Avella and he gets stabbed. Whoa, okay, he gets mugged. And he won’t give his phone up because it has like this recording of his interview. And so the guy gets pissed off and stabs him. So she ends up going to Rio instead. And so she has this best friend, that’s a quarterback in the NFL. They have had this like weird relationship where he’s had this kind of crush on her forever. And she doesn’t feel that way about him. And so he’s finally like, trying to move on. And then she has her boss. And this friend that’s reading this book says to me, she sends me this message. And she says, wouldn’t it be so funny if the boss and the best friend ended up together? And I said, that would be so weird, but it would be awesome, too. And she was like, You’re not serious. I was like, Oh, I’m serious. She says, but, you know, he’s like, he’s got this crush on her. And I said, What if he was bisexual, I’m like, then it wouldn’t matter. And I said, I’ve never established what sexuality the boss has, because he’s barely in the book, because he’s in the hospital. And I was like, that would be really awesome. So I wrote this book, which was my first m/m called The Rainbow Clause, which is about the the quarterback who ends up becoming hugely successful in the NFL. And he decides, he has this clause written into his contract where he can come out if he chooses to, and he decides to and the guy that writes the coming out interview is, is the boss, who is like a sports journalist. So he goes and stays with the quarterback for a couple of weeks. And they of course, fall in love.

Elle
That is friggin brilliant.

Beth
It was a complete accident. Because I mean, no one read the first book. Like it was like, you know, no one has read the first book. But tons of people tell me Still, I mean, Colin and Nick are some of my most memorable characters. And people still say that that’s their favorite book of mine. People still, like all when are Colin and Nick showing up because they have shown up in so many books I’ve like genuinely lost count because they just, they always want to be involved. It’s kind of like one of those gifts that keeps on giving. So that kind of at the same time, too, is I had been I had been thinking about my own sexuality. And I had discovered quite late in life that I was bisexual. So that was kind of my whole big dedication to bi people everywhere. Because a lot of people were very rough on him because he was bisexual and he’s like, Listen, this is how it is. He was my mouthpiece. But yeah, it was a really cool book. And you know, the gay romance community has been so incredibly accepting and welcoming. And I just, I found that I just, I really loved writing it and I don’t want to stop.

Elle
I kind of love that you fell into it by accident and that story sounds, honestly it sounds brilliant. It really does. I mean, that premise itself is just truly spectacular. And I am totally going to pick up that book and take a look. Because I’m just in love with the premise. In terms of the writing, so going from f/m more traditional straight romance, to m/m romance, was there a transition that you were dealing with? Or did it just come completely, like, natural?

Beth
You know, I think pretty much came pretty naturally. Um, I am very much of the opinion that, you know, pretty much love is love is love. And, you know, it really kind of didn’t feel a lot different for me. Obviously, sometimes in the sex scenes, you have to really think things through like, you got to be like, prepared, and it really opened my eyes to like, a lot of people and I have a lot of readers still that be like, the only sex that really counts as sex is penetration. And I’m like, well, actually, let’s talk about that. And it’s really given me a lot of ways to, like, explore, like, different things instead of, you know, just having like a traditional sex scene. But you know, really, you know, I did a lot of reading and it was already a genre I enjoyed reading. And so like, I feel like I did kind of did going back to the research topics in my research. And I really just felt like it just kind of after the first one, and never even was a question for me if I was going to write something else again. It was exactly what I wanted to do. So I kept doing it.

Elle
Are you still writing male/female? Or are you strictly now? Male/male?

Beth
I am strictly male now since 2017,

Ele
Because you just love it so much.

Beth
Yeah, well, actually, well, I did end up writing the third book in that trilogy. Which I didn’t intend to do. And then of course, as soon as I was like, yep, I’m definitely not doing that. I woke up with a really great idea to do it. And I was like, oh, uncooperative brain.

Elle
I swear to God, our brains are the same.

Beth
Like, yeah, like, it’s very frustrating.

Elle
I’m always like, is it shiny object syndrome? Like, what do you do?

Beth
That’s right. So I think I published that in 2017? I think that was in 2017. So that was my last that was the third book in that series. And that was the end of the trilogy. And I was like, I’m done. And I haven’t really looked back. It’s just, I’m just like, I have so many ideas. I don’t think I’ll ever write them all.

Elle
That’s amazing. So this is a little bit more of a marketing question than a craft question. But I’m really kind of wondering in terms of like your readership, switching from male, female to male male, did the readers come along with you? Or did you have to find a whole new audience?

Beth
I mean, it was kind of serendipitous, because I had published those first two books in 2014. And then I taken like, a really long break, like two plus years. And I kind of let you know, two plus years in romance land is like an eternity. Yeah. And I had never really established a real audience at that point. And then. So that horrible Summer Olympics book came out and no one read it. And I was like, Well, I guess we’re starting from scratch. And I’m thinking, Well, I’m starting from scratch, I might as well do something I really want to do, which was at that point was to write that book about Colin and Nick and so I ended up doing that. And I basically built my audience up from scratch. In the mm romance community. To be perfectly honest, I sometimes will still sell some of the MF books, but I don’t really promote them or I don’t really spend a lot of marketing energy on them. Okay, they’re there. They exist. People want to buy them that’s great, they’re probably not very good. didn’t know what I was doing back then.

Elle
I know. I think my first book came out in 2013. And it was an urban fantasy. And I don’t want to say I mean, I’m proud of it. I finished it. That’s a big deal. It did really, really well. I’m kind of like you I wasn’t expecting it. And then I don’t know it’s just in that now I took a few years off because I wanted to get into romance writing and I had a day job. I just couldn’t write fast enough. And, and now I’ve kind of like lost those readers, I think which, you know, sucks. But yeah, I’m writing in a new genre, too so I don’t know. Yeah, I don’t know if they’ll love it, but like, I kind of feel the same way about my first books. Like, I’m like, I don’t really promote them. I’m proud of them, but they’re not as good.

Beth
They’re there, they exist. Yeah, probably everyone still, I mean, I do sell them still, I actually sold. I sold, I have the first three are in a box set. And I sold a box that copy the other day. And I was like, Wow, that’s cool. I haven’t I mean, I couldn’t remember the last time but they’re all in Kindle unlimited. So I’m sure that, you know, sometimes I will occasionally get a reader that’s very adamant that they have to read every book that’s connected to every book. And how I’m like, you know, hey, I’m not gonna stop yet. And they’ll go and they’ll take out Summer Attractions, which is the Rio book, they’ll be like, this is where Colin and Nick started. And I’m like, Well, sort of, they never actually meet.

Elle
So are all of your series intertwined somehow?

Beth
Oh yes. That is something that I’m actually like, kind of notorious for. If I have the opportunity to use an existing character, I will use them as just making a new character. So there is definitely there has been crossovers between my Rockstar books and the Kitchen God’s books, there’s been crossovers in the literally a book that is coming out in April, which is the second Food Truck book, it has all the football people and all the food truck people and some of the like, I don’t know, 1000 existing characters in it. That’s a mash up of all my books, the only people that doesn’t have is Star Shadow, which is the rock star band, but that’s okay. Because there wouldn’t be room anyway. But yeah, it’s a great way to revisit old characters, it’s a great way to introduce new characters, but pretty much and it’s kind of like, like one of those things that I fall into accidentally, everyone kind of ended up in LA. So everyone’s kind of like in LA area.

Elle
I love it too. Because it gives it kind of gives your readers little easter eggs to follow. You know. I’m trying to sort of do that with, with a new series that I’m breaking out from because I just think it would be really cool.

Beth
If I tell you like my readers love it, like a lot. They’ll be like, Oh, I was so excited to see x in this book. And I was like, Yeah, I was excited to put him in there. But that’s, like, Colin and Nick, the Rainbow Clause guys, they literally show up over and over and over and over. They are never happy unless they get to seen pretty much. They do have minds as their own. And they they definitely they tell me I would like I’d be like you’re just gonna get like a little mention. And they’d be like, No, no, we’re gonna get a whole scene. We’re gonna get two scenes.

Elle
On no, we’re in every chapter.

Beth
Right? This book is really about us. Who are we kidding?

Elle
Egos, right?

Beth
Oh, yeah. I actually I made Colin retire kind of off page. And I was like, maybe that will mean they won’t show up anymore. Nope. They showed up. They showed up in the in the book that’s coming out in April, I I was like, I can’t help it. Even though he’s not playing. He’s still there.

Elle
That’s great. So I’m curious. Before we dig into your sex scene, I’d love to know to you what do you think makes a sex scene good?

Beth
I really approach sex scenes from an emotional point of view. And I actually think the things that are sexiest about sex scenes are actually like, I put tab A into slot B. I really think it’s like things that are unexpected, that they find unexpectedly sexy about each other. Like I have lots of sex scenes where there’s like humor in them. Like they make jokes. Which doesn’t sound very sexy when I say it. But like things that they find. They’re just unexpected that you wouldn’t you wouldn’t necessarily think are sexy. Like I was actually thinking about this scene. This is not technically a book but in Bridgerton where he takes her glove off or he buttons her glove. I think he did both. And I couldn’t remember if that was in the original book, because I read it so long ago, the Duke and I by Julia Quinn, but I was thinking I’m like that’s something that we wouldn’t necessarily think today is really sexy, right? Because like we see more skin all the time than we do. Like a hand right? But like that’s really sexy because like he’s getting to see something that he didn’t get to see before. And it’s like, it’s like taking off her public armor so to speak. And like to me that’s what makes a sexy really sexy is when the armor either physical or literal. Or metaphorical comes off. And there’s like vulnerability underneath.

Elle
Oh, I love that. Absolutely love that. That’s excellent. That’s amazing. file that one away. So, do you have a process for writing them? Do they come easy to you in terms of the intimate scenes?

Beth
They’re way way harder for me to write. Way harder. Usually, I have a sprint group. And usually I’ll be like, Guys, this is a terrible thing. It’s Monday morning, and I have to write sexy. I think because I was actually having a conversation with a friend about this the other day she was she was worrying because she had it was like this. She just written this, like 50,000 word book. And she was like, I only have four sex scenes. And that’s not enough. And I was like, thinking to myself, how many sex scenes were my last book? I don’t even remember. And I was like, counting, and I was like, I only have four and this one’s 85,000 words.

Elle
Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. I was like, I’m like, maybe I had three in an 80,000.

Beth
Okay, I think she’s, yeah, she tends to over worry. But um, and I say that with love, because I’m also an over worrier. But I was like, you know, I think that I tried to approach my sex scenes, like, I tried to make them kind of like, really important scenes. And not necessarily longer, but more just, they feel like, a lot more vibrant with like, more emotion and everything. And so like, I never have readers Tell me, I don’t feel your books aren’t sexy enough. Like, I never get that complaint, I often get the other way. The other, the other side is all I think that book was so sexy. And I’m like, you know, it’s funny, because usually, that’s not what someone would say when it’s like an 85,000 word book. And there’s only like three sections in it. But I try really hard to compensate for the number with making them really important and big and really come to, you know, come off the page. And I think that’s why they’re harder for me, because I know that there’s that pressure, they’re like, this is gonna have to be really good, because I’m only gonna have so many in this book. Right?

Elle
Do you have any sort of process in terms of writing it or any rituals before you dig in, or just you just sort of like, grit it out?

Beth
Same as any other scene, to be honest. I have a really good friend who skips all of her until the end, and she regrets it every time. Oh, God every time.

Elle
So your not the one that writes insert sex scene here, because you’re like, I just can’t go there today?

Well, I mean, the thing is, is that, to me, it’s like I have to write an order. Every scene builds on everything that comes before. I’m also a huge proponent of the fact that every scene in a book is a scene that has to be there. So something has to happen in that sex scene that is important to the relationship. And so I can’t really skip it and go on because then I don’t know what that is. And usually I have a general idea of what it is, but so much when I’m writing characters will pop in and be like, oh, by the way, did you tell this? No, I did not know that actually.

That oh, I need to tell you something.

Beth
Right. Funny story. I was writing this book called The Rivalry which is about two quarterbacks that both are trying to be on the same team in the same position. And one of the guys is a lot like, tougher, like he’s just very tough mentally, he’s very contained. And he meets Sam for the first time and he just I don’t even know where this came from, like genuinely, he I just started writing. Like he had never been attracted to anybody before. And I was just like, oh, for Pete’s sake. Like, we’re not going there now Are we in he just like insisted on it? I was like, Well, I guess we’re totally changing what this book is going to be like, cuz I had envisioned into some kind of like, white fluffy Oh, locker room shenanigans type of thing, which did not end up being anything like that at all. Probably, almost, definitely. Hugely, because of that thing that he just inserted. I had not even considered that about him. And, and that’s what he said he was and so I decided that he must be demi. And so we were gonna go with that and that he wasn’t a virgin, but he had definitely never enjoyed sex before. And I was like, wow, this is gonna be interesting.

Elle
So based on this, I’m guessing that you are, are you a plotter or a pantser?

Beth
I do write a very short outline. Like when I say short, I mean, like, usually a couple sentences for the main beats of the story. If I over outline, these things don’t happen and most of the time, they’re very Good things. Occasionally they’re incredibly frustrating, like that moment was very frustrating.

Elle
I can imagine.

Beth
But yeah, I have to have some idea of where the story is going. Or it’s just, it just flounders.

Elle
Like kind of meander. It’s funny, I kind of do a mix of like plotting and pantsing, because I will do a really pretty solid outline. And then all of a sudden, like, I’ll move off, I’ll just, I like, won’t consult it. And I’ll just be off on this tangent, and then I’ll be like, Oh, shit.

Beth
I have done that. Actually, the last couple of books I’ve written, I wrote the outline, and then I totally ignored the outline. There is something very reassuring about the fact that the outline’s out there, like if I wanted to look there, it makes me feel like I’m not just like, starting with nothing.

Elle
So I think it’s true that there’s something to say… because, you know, I don’t I know the characters, but I don’t know them that well. So it’s sort of like as I get deeper into the story, then I then I make these kind of realizations with characters, where I’m like Oh, well, wait a minute.

Beth
Right. I mean, that’s the thing is, is that like, I do some character work at a time, but you don’t really know someone until you start writing their story. I’ve actually also done this thing recently, where all write, like the first half of the story, like in an outline form. And I’ll have like a very loose idea of how the end goes. But usually that ends up changing. And I’ll end up modifying the outline at the end, to kind of change what I’m doing and how everything comes together. Usually, there’s at least one unexpected twist in there that I wasn’t anticipating when I started the book. And that’s if we’re lucky. If there’s only one sometimes there’s more than one.

Elle
Okay, so I wanted to get into your intimate scene. This is from Hazardous Things, which is Book Three of the Star Shadows series, correct?

Beth
Yes. So yeah, so that whole, that whole box that’s coming out in next, next week, the fifth, the 18th, but you can’t read them on their own. And this is one of those series like you really should read in order. I had some people say, Oh, you could read number three as a standalone, I guess you maybe could, but it really adds something to read the whole thing together. But yeah, so that is Book Three.

Elle
Cool now and Star Shadows is the rock star series. Yeah. Can you set up the scene for us?

Beth
Okay, so without getting into too much detail, there is this band, they were a, I guess we could call them a boy band, for lack of a better description, because they became famous very young. And they were very controlled by their management to be market friendly, there was two of them that were in love and had to hide that they were in love. And one of them could only handle it so long, and he ends up basically leaving and running off and no one hears from him for five years. Which is not the way to handle your problems, by the way. So the first book is about them finding each other again in the band reuniting. And then the second book is about two other members in the band. And then this book is about Max who is the drummer. And Felix, who is one of the guys from the first book, his younger brother. Okay, so Felix has kind of been on the fringe of the band, but never part of the band. At this point he has, he’s basically become the started as kind of like their PA when they reunited, and now he’s kind of moved into more of a management role. So he, he’s, he basically is like the organization behind the band. And he has been out and gay for many years and has had a not so secret crush on Max, except Max doesn’t know. And everyone Felix included thinks that Max is straight, including Max. So I wrote the first two of these books in 2019. And then I took a long break. And then I wrote the next two that came out last last summer. And a lot of people were like I can’t wait for Max and Felix’s book and I was like, oh, how am I going to do this? I always write myself these impossible things. And I’m like, oh, how am I going to figure this out? But basically, I decided to trap them in the house together. I gave Max a bad knee. He had to have knee surgery and someone had to take care of him. And it was going to be Felix because they’re very good friends. And so, when I decided to give Max knee surgery, I interrogated my husband who had had knee surgery before we met, and I said, what are some of the things that were really difficult for you? He’s like, oh man, showering was the worst. And I’m like, Yes. Perfect. So I was like, at this point, Max just started thinking, you know, the thing, maybe I might not be as straight as I thought I was, I think I might be attracted to Felix, Felix is terrified, because he’s basically going to see Max naked for the first time. And this is not how we wanted that to ever happen. And he’s afraid because he’s like, this is ruining everything. I knew nothing was ever gonna happen. But this is like really hard for me to deal with. And Max is terrified, because he’s like, this guy he thinks he might be attracted to who he doesn’t know is attracted to him is gonna see him naked for the first time. And it’s like this really awkward scenario. And it was genuinely the most fun scene to write.

Elle
It was a fun scene to read.

Beth
So much stuff going on, and like so much undercurrent that they’re not saying to one another, plus, every time anyone gets naked, like actually naked, when they’re not going to have sex is like really fascinating to me. Because there’s, like, so much like vulnerability there.

Elle
One of the things that I loved about the scene was that you really dug deep into what happens when two friends kind of like, realize that they want to leave the friendzone. You know, and then you add the layer on top of it with Max having that confusion about like, Well, wait, I thought I was straight, like what’s going on? You know, right. And, and then, but there was still that the conflict and confusion and concern that this other person isn’t going to feel the same way. And you’re about to like, ruin the friendship. Right? I was like, I was like, This is so I thought you handle that type of, I don’t know, angst for lack of a better word so well in the scene, and it came across like my stomach was clutching for the two of them.

Beth
And then obviously, like, it ends pretty much as well or as badly as it possibly could.

Elle
I mean, through the through the scene, and we’ll you know, we’ll get into it for listeners who are like, I don’t know what the hell she’s talking about. And we really think it’s going to be like Max who’s kind of like, has that is the one that reveals his feelings, because Max is the one with the busted up knee, Max is the one that has to get naked and get in the shower with Felix helping him, you know, and but then it ends up like, you know, that sort of phew he’s, you know, he’s not, I mean, for lack of a better word out. Right, you know, it and then Felix is the one that actually ends up getting outted and completely by accident. And it was, it was funny, and it was devastating. And it was sweet. And it was like, Oh, poor Felix.

Right? Well, I was like, I had to find a way to kick off. I mean, they had to find a way to end the stalemate, right, because neither of them were going to take a step toward the other one. So I was like, well, let’s just shove him into like, the most awkward scenario we possibly can.

It was definitely the most awkward scenario, you could possibly shuffle these two guys. I’m like, Oh, I felt for Felix. I was like, Oh my god, like what a way to find out like the person that you’re crushing on who you also think is straight or you’re not sure, you know, and he’s a friend and then you’re like…anyway, we’ll get into it. I was like, I wanted to give him a hug. All right here, I’m gonna read a bit.

Felix rolled his eyes. “Clean a guy’s kitchen once, and he never lets you hear the end of it.” “What I want is for you to clean me,” Max said, before he could think of just how that sounded. Felix flushed, and Max opened his mouth to correct his statement, but then he thought about it, too, maybe the exact same way that Felix was thinking about it, and suddenly, he was hot and cold all over. All that pale golden skin, wet and flushed and soapy, those blue eyes staring at him like Max was all he would ever need. Unexpectedly, every single molecule in Max’s body craved to be just that, nothing more and definitely nothing less. “I mean,” Max said, taking a deep breath. “I mean I would like to be clean. At some point today.”

Okay, so I really loved this moment like is this the moment where Max is like realizing that he has an attraction to Felix and this is kind of like that aha moment for him.

Yeah, I think so. Um, yeah, I think this is the first time he really thinks about him in like a really sexual way. And once that cat out of the bag, there is no going back. And of course, if it happens and he doesn’t have time to recover from it because they’re immediately going to go into the bathroom, and he’s gonna have to take his clothes off. So like I said, I’m a really mean author, I maximize the suffering as much as possible.

I probably skipped ahead a little bit too far because I because I just kind of loved the whole clean the kitchen one when I wanted to start with that. But there is like, you know, were a couple paragraphs before: Max came back to reality, back to the present, in which he was almost sure he didn’t have a secret, long-buried crush on his best friend’s brother, to find Felix standing over him, hands on his hips, a frown on that stunning face. Pillow creases and sleep crusties and all.

I was like, oh, oh, um, it was super awkward to between them. Yes. Or at least with Max in that moment, that was really sweet. And, and it’s kind of like that kind of stutters throughout the whole, the whole scene, which I really, really love. I thought it was adorable. I was like, oh, they’re so cute.

Beth
I know, it’s not like the traditional sexy scene. But I was like, thinking I was like, Well, I was like, you know, I was like, technically someone gets off at the end of it. And I mean, I imply that Max does at some point. But like, I was like, you know, I think this is like, this is like the microcosm of like, what I really enjoy writing is like, is like shoving two people together, and then like, forcibly stripping like their armour our way and like, what’s going to happen after that? And so that’s why I shared this particular one.

Elle
Well, I think and I think that that’s actually a really great point. And something like I keep saying that I loved about how awkward they are. When we’re confronted with intimacy, particularly for the first time, it’s always awkward.

Yeah.

Right. I mean, nobody like tumbles into bed with like, you know, their hair perfect. You know what I mean? Like, they just don’t work like that. It’s weird and uncomfortable, and you don’t know each other’s bodies. And you’re afraid to make the first move, but the other person is afraid to make the first move. And so I think that that’s one of the things that I so appreciated that was going on, was this sort of you really embrace the awkward between these two? And that made it so compelling, and also really touching? And, and really, I guess, relatable? That’s the word I’m looking for. Totally relatable.

Yeah, I have had people telling me that my positive as an author, that I write people to feel too real. And that’s also a drawback. And I’m like, well, it is what it is, at this point.

I don’t see that as a drawback.

People are like, well, it feels like you’re like, saying something about me. Like sometimes I get that from, from feedback from readers like, Oh, I feel like you’re, you’re making a judgment about me. And I’m like, Well, I really wasn’t, but, okay. It’s a compliment. It’s absolutely a compliment. Whichever way you take it, because it’s one of my romances are all character driven. So you know, I want them to feel like they could step out of the page and talk to you the way that they talk to me. So, so that’s, that’s, I can only take that as a compliment. But still take you. I made it so awkward.

Okay, so now, Max is going to get into the shower. Yeah. So, and Felix is growing very impatient, because, you know, he just wants to get this over with. Okay, and Max is like, really not feeling like he wants to take his pants off at the moment because, well, well, we’ll see, Okay, here we go.

“What?” Felix demanded testily. “Is it usually so hard for you to take your clothes off? Do I need to turn around?” The very last thing he could admit was that it wasn’t hard at all, except it suddenly was, right now, with Felix. They couldn’t have this conversation now. Max semi-hysterically thought that he didn’t want to have this conversation at all. Felix finally threw his hands up and made a sound of epic frustration. “I’m going to go get the plastic bag and a few rubber bands. You’d better be naked when I get back.” Weakly, Max gave him a joking salute and let out a deep breath that he hadn’t realized he was holding as soon as Felix disappeared. Without overthinking it, he quickly slid his shorts off and thankfully it was chilly enough in the bathroom—all that tile and marble had seemed like a good idea at the time, but the truth was, it was fucking cold—that he didn’t get hard at the prospect of Felix looking at his dick. He’d be back, of course, but at least Max had gotten this over without Felix staring as he did it. And it wasn’t like it was a bad dick. It was actually a pretty nice dick. Max had gotten more than a few compliments on it. But suddenly the possibility of Felix seeing it made Max question the accuracy of those statements. Maybe those girls had been lying because he was a rock star. Maybe he had a terrible dick, and he’d just never known differently because by the time he’d lost his virginity, he’d already been most of the way to both rich and famous. Now, Max thought as he stared at his dick, he would never know if his money and success had bought a better dick than he really had.

This was phenomenal. I was dying when I was. I mean, he is like, he is a rock star. He’s rich and famous. Women have been fawning over his dick, and he’s like, wow, maybe it’s not that fabulous. After all, what if they were lying? I mean, the self doubt is extreme. I mean, really, I mean, the self doubt that is pouring out of him is so again relatable and and just was fantastic. And I think really again touched you know, get gave this gave the scene a really great, I don’t know I intimacy, there we go. But in a different way, you know, it’s not like intimacy in terms of the two of them together in bed. But it was just a really raw I think, moment for him as funny as it was, this was a really revealing and raw moment that we see with Max.

Beth
I tend to approach humor. Not really like situationally, but like, very much from an ironic point of view. And like, that scene is like, definitely a really good example of like, the humor in my books, like, it’s not usually like there’s a whole slapstick II scene. But like, there’s so there’s a lot of layers going on there. And that’s usually how my humor works. And some people love that some people don’t and I’m like, that’s how it is at this point. 22 books in this is kind of like, this is gonna change. No, no, no, no. And if you don’t like to, like have like an ironic chuckle, like in the middle of the sex scene, and I’m also not the author for you. Definitely not.

Elle
Alright, so we’re gonna move away from poor Max because he’s had enough. But Max did make it into the shower, and Felix is left in there to his own devices so that he can get himself cleaned up much to Max’s relief. And now we’re off with Felix.

He couldn’t count how many times he’d desperately wanted to see Max fully naked. He’d seen him without a shirt plenty of times, and sometimes even without pants—just enough to make out the outline of his cock through the thin fabric of his boxer briefs, and if Felix was really lucky, a heart-stopping rear view. But totally naked? That hadn’t ever happened before today. When Felix had walked into the bathroom to see Max on the bench, all those long rangey muscles wrapped up in pale skin, a smattering of golden brown hair dotting his chest and down even lower, Felix thought he might have stopped breathing for a second. He’d never been attracted to anyone the way he was attracted to Max—and that didn’t even take into consideration how much Felix just plain fucking liked him. He was funny and kind and loyal. The kind of guy you’d always trust to have your back, and who would make your mom laugh and be there for you if anything ever went wrong. It was for those reasons that Felix had told himself that he needed to do this, even if it killed him. Shucking his sweatpants and his briefs, his rock-hard cock bobbing and lightly smacking his lower abs, Felix hissed. It was definitely going to kill him. Death through orgasm. The only unfortunate part of that was that they were all going to be solitary orgasms.

This exchange reminded me of those moments in movies where two characters that are perfect for each other, just keep missing each other by like seconds. So like, you know, what is going coming in the front door, the other is going out the back door, you know. And so we’re all just waiting for fate to intervene. Yeah, while you were writing this, is that sort of like, what were you is that kind of what you were going for? Because I Those are some of my favorite scenarios to see in movies. But it’s super hard to play out a novel.

I really like to toy with the idea of I don’t really write supernatural books at all, at all. But I really like the idea of fate and how we’re in the moment that fate needs us to be in. Even though it might not seem like that’s the right moment at all, which is very much like this moment. And that is pretty much the worst possible scenario that Felix can imagine this whole thing is the worst possible scenario that he can imagine this can’t be anywhere else and he knows that. So he feels really stuck. And obviously Max is literally stuck because he just had the surgery so he’s not going anywhere. But I definitely wanted to like, try to give a nod to fate here because the chance of this happening, the way it happened is extremely slim. And in, in previous books in the series, I’ve kind of given like a little hint here or there that like, there have been other moments like this, where they just missed each other, like, not quite ready to see how Felix felt about him. And Felix was not ready to reveal anything that he felt because he thought it would ruin the friendship, it would ruin the relationship he has with the rest of the band. And so he’s so neither of them are willing, even at this point, to reveal their feelings for each other. So I was like, at some point, fate, Scott to step in and say, you know, enough is enough.

I’m kind of curious, because this is essentially a coming out story for Max, correct? And how did how did you end up handling that as a writer,

Beth
Um, I actually thought about this a lot. I wanted him. So he’s obviously been around a lot of queer people in the band specifically. And to him, it’s like, I wanted it to not feel like the revelation isn’t that he might not be straight. The revelation is that he has feelings or feelings. He has no issue with his sexuality. And he’s like, you know, whatever makes me feel that I’m fine with. So it very much is a non issue, which is actually a very deliberate choice that I made, because I, I kind of get, I kind of get, I mean, I’ve written this book too. So I can’t really like rag on it too much. But I get kind of get tired of the whole, like, Oh, I might not be straight. Like whole big angst thing. I just like I kind of like, you know, there’s a time and a place for that. That’s great. I was like, I’m kind of tired of writing it. I’m kind of tired of reading it. I’m like, I want to write about somebody that’s just like, Hey, cool, I’m gay. Hey, come on bi. And so that’s really how Max approaches It is like, he’s grown up so much around it, that to him. It’s like, Okay, this is just something I didn’t know about me. That’s fine. But like this thing with Felix, that’s frickin blowing my mind apart.

Elle
I kind of feel like, particularly with like, Gen, where are we? Gen Z? Gen? Where are we with the generations? Gen Z? Are they the new ones?

Beth
I don’t even know you.

Elle
I don’t even know either. But with the, with the kids coming up these days, I think the urgency. The one the ones after Millennials, I kind of feel like there is a little bit of that. I mean, again, it’s all dependent on the situation, you know, who the parents are, what community they’re raised. And, but there does seem to be a little bit more of a relaxed feeling around around, you know, not being straight, like just a much more relaxed approach to it. And a relaxed approach to sexuality and saying, I can be fluid, I can be gay, I can be straight, like there just seems like a little bit more comfortable in the embodiment of that.

Beth
I think the other thing too, is, is a lot of it comes down to education. Like when I was growing up, you know, I was growing up in the suburbs, in what’s, you know, fairly a liberal city, Portland, but we were in the suburbs. And I was in, you know, a fairly standard middle class home. And, you know, we never talked about bisexuality, that was not something that was even mentioned. Like, I didn’t even really know what it was until I got to college. And it never occurred to me, that that’s what those feelings were. And I was just never, I was just, I mean, I thought to myself, well, I like guys. And so I must be straight. Right? Like that was that was an easy, easy connection to make. And I think that, you know, the great thing is, is that there are so many more ways that kids can educate themselves these days on, like, you know, how many different kinds of sexualities there are. And, you know, the information is so much more readily available, people are much more willing to share it. Parents are much more willing to talk about it at home with their kids. And I think it makes a huge difference. You know, I think that, that that’s that there’s an opening up in a de clausing. so to speak. Yeah. of sexuality in general. And I think that that’s made a huge difference.

Elle
I do think I find it like really refreshing that like, it’s a coming out story, but it’s not that coming out story. It’s somebody just saying, oh, okay, I’m, you know, I’m gay or I’m bi in Max’s case, you know, and I’m in love with this man right now. And, you know, he’s my happily ever after and I’m okay, let’s go.

Beth
Yeah. And Felix is really shocked because he keeps expecting Max to have this big gay freakout and it just doesn’t happen and like Matt and Felix is like terrified because he’s like, it’s gonna happen, it’s gonna happen, and like they could go out To on this date and and they’re like in this restaurant and like Felix is like, Are you worried what people are gonna think and Max’s like though? Like, he doesn’t care. It’s not like he’ll be the first person in his band to come out because it’s like everybody else has so it’s one less and he just really doesn’t care what other people saying i think i think if you grow up in this situation that they did, which is that you know, they basically got discovered when they were 16 years old and became famous very quickly after that. I think you have to somewhat learn to discard what other people think of you or you go insane so he has fairly early on but Felix has been in a different situation because he’s been just kind of next to the band but not part of the band and he hasn’t had that really shine bright shining light of popularity on him. And so he still thinks that Oh crap, like this is going to be the moment when max freaks out. So he’s kind of his has this like, this like breathless feeling to him like the whole book? Like he’s really afraid that that’s going to be the moment that max freaks out. And of course, everyone shock max never freaked out at all, and it’s fine. But yeah, that’s Felix definitely thinks it’s gonna be that kind of coming out story.

Elle
Okay, let’s see how Felix is faring here. Hold on.

He usually needed to at least cup his own dick, coaxing himself the last little bit of the way to orgasm, but with the way the pleasure was sizzling through him, fierce and alive, Felix knew it wouldn’t even be necessary. He thrust the vibrator in and out a few times, feeling himself begin to flex around it. Finally, he shoved it the rest of the way in, and let it rest directly against where he was most sensitive, and that was all it took. He shook and shuddered through an orgasm that he wouldn’t forget soon. It felt like he’d been emptied out and remade with the drugging pleasure. Fumbling for the button, he turned it off, and collapsed onto the bed. He was aware of two things, almost at the exact same time. One, he was amazingly, miraculously still horny, even after that orgasm where he’d basically come his brains out. Two, impossibly the door had come open and even worse, there was a figure in the doorway. Max’s expression was surprised, maybe, but he didn’t look disgusted. He looked interested. He looked intrigued.

Okay, I’m gonna pause here. Fate just intervened.

Beth
Fate says, We’ve had enough of this.

Elle
So here’s the thing. I have no idea how men have sex two men have sex. So how do you make these moments authentic?

Beth
Well, you know, some people, I hear a lot of authors who say, Oh, I watch a lot of porn. I don’t watch any porn. I don’t know. I’ve done a little bit of research. I guess I’ve read a lot of books. I don’t know, I’ve never had anyone tell me it doesn’t feel authentic. So I guess I’m going in the right direction.

Elle
Whatever you’re doing is the right thing.

Beth
I mean, I wish there was like some magic answer. But like, I mean, I kind of just sort of feeling my way and I’ve never had anyone complain. The other thing that probably not a lot of people realize is that like, I’ve seen a lot of figures, but like 80 to 90% of gay romance readers are actually straight females.

Elle
Yeah, that was actually my next question was like, you know, who are you writing this for? Who reads this? Because I had heard that it’s mostly women that read m/m romance, that more women read it than men.

Beth
Yes, absolutely. I mean, I have I have definitely gay romance fans are men that are gay. They’re fans of mine. I have some that send me really nice emails. They’re wonderful guys. I love them to death. So I mean, obviously, I think if I was getting it really wrong, they would be like, hey, by the way, you didn’t you should do this differently. But I mean, I think I mean, it was really intimidating at first, but then, you know, I was like, you know, really? I mean, other than some small education issues, like there should always be lube. Always. I don’t care if you’re in the desert, there should be lube always. Like, that’s the one thing you can do that really pisses readers off. That also pisses me off. Because all like, if you take me out of the scene, and I have to think, Okay, well, how is that going to work? Or that actually sounds like that would hurt. Yeah, that’s cool. Yeah. Right, the reaction you want. Yeah. So I mean, I kind of other than that, I kind of am like, you know, I write whatever I feel like works for the characters or for the scene. But yeah, that’s that’s, that’s all the research I’ve ever really done, which is probably unpopular answer, but that’s the truth.

Elle
I’m have to finish this whole thing because I really loved the ending the last bit so bear with me.

And Felix suddenly knew a third thing. He was never, ever going to be able to live this down. If they were doing a search for the most embarrassing thing that had ever happened to anyone, ever, it was definitely going to be this moment, right here. “Sorry,” Max stuttered, clearly aware that Felix had seen him. Their eyes had met. It was impossible to deny it, even as Felix’s stomach lurched sickeningly. Things were coming back to him in fits and starts. He’d definitely said Max’s name. Maybe he’d said it before Max had arrived, but probably not. Not with the way Felix’s day was going. “What?” Felix snarled. He’d just had the world’s best orgasm and already that pleasure had faded, leaving him terrified and irritable. Had he fucked up everything, forever? “What are you even doing here? You shouldn’t be here.” That was why he hadn’t locked the door. He’d assumed, naturally, and with just cause, that Max wouldn’t be hobbling anywhere with his crutches. Not anytime soon, anyway. “I wanted to know if you wanted . . .if you wanted me to order lunch.” Felix slipped the vibrator out and yanked the sheet up.

Beth
I’m so mean.

Elle
You are mean!

Though he guessed it was only fair that now, Max had also seen him at his most vulnerable, too. “You wanted to know about lunch?” He knew his tone was increasingly hysterical, rising in volume and octave. But who could really blame him? “I’ll . . .I’ll talk to you in the living room. In a bit. When you’re ready.” Max shut the door before Felix could answer. He heard him begin to carefully clump his way down the hallway, and Felix scrubbed his clean hand across his face. He couldn’t believe he’d just been outed over fucking lunch.

Oh my god. It was at this point where I was like, Oh, I just want to hug the poor guy. I mean, and I was like, how much longer until they figure it all out?

Beth
This is actually pretty early on it was Yeah, this is like, this is like in the first 20% of the book, if not like the first 15%. So this is like the event that kicks everything off. And of course, after this, Felix basically wants to forget that it ever happened. And Max, of course doesn’t want to forget that it ever happened. And suggest that, you know, if they’re sexually compatible, it would be a good idea to see what would happen. And Felix is like, that’s a terrible idea. But so so really, that’s this is the incident that kicks off the entire book.

Elle
It’s really funny, because I was really feeling for Max through his whole sort of like being in his head and those moments with him. And I was like, Oh, poor Max. Like he just like, he’s got these feelings for this guy. And he’s kind of like, unsure and he’s like, you know, and these are new and, and I was like, Oh, poor guy, and then you get to Felix and I was like, yeah, Max sit down, like Max just go over there and sit down. Because Felix is really being tormented by this.

Right? Well, I mean, he doesn’t know what’s gonna turn out really well. So

I know. I know. So what? So in terms of the conflict through the entire book, I’m guessing this is like Felix is sort of like he’s waiting for that other shoe to drop moment, like through the book, like he keeps waiting for max to have that freak out. Is that what builds the conflict?

Yes. So that’s part of what builds the conflict. So so they they continue as they are and like Felix keeps waiting for like, what’s going to happen here, something’s going to break down. And Max is just continuing like, this is really great. We should do this all the time. I mean, his quarter has kind of like, I wouldn’t say it was a attitude, but like, his attitude like this is totally normal, like completely froze Felix like he can’t handle it. And there’s some other drama that happens in this book. A guy comes and visits that’s like a protege of Max’s like a musician. And, of course, he kind of comes in we’ll call it fate again, in like the worst possible moment, and he kind of like, pushes Felix’s buttons and then Felix ends up basically like, it’s like the straw that broke the camel’s back and he freaks out and he runs away. And then there’s some other drama that’s like beyond drama that kind of brings them back together. And they have to kind of confront like, what Is it that they’re actually doing here? Is it serious? Are they just goofing around? So, so that’s kind of that is basically the conflict is, is that Felix does keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. And Max doesn’t really understand why.

Well, I loved, I love the scene and thank you for sending it to me, I do think it was the perfect scene in terms of, you know, looking at intimacy and those intimate moments because I think it shows it really, really well, in a slightly different way. But I think, you know, in a way that is actually more compelling than just sort of like handing over a sex scene.

Beth
I’m glad I was like, trying to I mean, I had more like traditional ones, I could share it, but I was like, You know what, this one I like, I have a couple that I remember very, very fondly. This is one of them.

Elle
Well, you know, and it’s so funny, because the stuff that I was, like, I honestly kind of like felt bad that I wasn’t pulling out, like the sex parts, really, you know, because there were moments where you kind of, you know, you really went for it, and, and we have this whole lead up into Felix’s masturbation, you know, and, and I didn’t, it was stuff that I was like, okay, like, there it is. There’s the sex scene, but it was it that wasn’t the real intimate moment, the intimate moment, was their exchanges, and, you know, and how they felt about those exchanges and the awkwardness and the discomfort that was going on between them because there was, you know, a fear and will they or Won’t they, you know, will he or Won’t he And anyway, I just, I thought it was really great. And it was so fun to read. It was it was super fun to read. So thank you.

Beth
I’m so glad that you enjoyed it. I’m glad it worked out.

Elle
Totally. So Beth where can people find you on the internet.

Beth
So I’m, I’m really active on Facebook and Instagram. On Facebook, I’m mainly in my readers group, which you can find by searching for beth, boldest, b o l d e s t. I’m really active there, I post pretty much every day, lots of different stuff, random memes and book teasers, and all the announcements go there. And I’m also on Instagram, a lot best Bolden author. So those are two probably the best places to find me can also look at my website, which is our bethbolden.com. And it’s got all all my books on there and links to all my books.

Elle
And I will have all of this in the show notes for anyone who’s driving or otherwise engaged in other things and you know, multitasking so that you don’t need to worry about writing it down. Thank you so much for being here. And thank you for being my first

I was happy to pop your cherry.

Usually I’m the one saying that. So I’m glad that you said it.

Thank you. It was like a mutual cherry popping because I had never been on a podcast before. So this this worked out really well. I’m so, so grateful that I could be on here and talk about my books in the random bizarre ways that my characters do stuff.

Well, it was super cool to have you I really appreciate you taking the time.

Of course well thanks again.