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Tracy Brody is this week’s guest. The two-time Golden Heart Award-winner talks about writing steamy romantic suspense that features military heroes, how the TV show The Unit inspired her first foray into story-telling, and why inspirational romance shouldn’t omit the steam. We dig into a steamy scene from her book A Shot Worth Taking, which is from her Bad Karma Special Ops Series.

 

Connect with Tracy online:

https://www.amazon.com/Tracy-Brody/e/B083G9NHTL https://www.facebook.com/tracybrodyauthor

https://www.instagram.com/tracybrodybooks/

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/tracy-brody

https://www.tracybrody.com/

Transcript:

Elle
Today we are welcoming Tracy Brody to the podcast. Tracy has a background in banking, retired to become a domestic engineer and aims to supplement her husband’s retirement using her overactive imagination. She began writing spec movie and TV scripts. However, when two friends gave her the same feedback on a script, saying that they’d love to see it as a book, she switched to writing books. She’s published a series of single title romances featuring the Bad Karma Special Ops team whose love lives are as dangerous as their missions. She’s a two time Golden Heart winner in romantic suspense and six time finalist. Holy shit! Tracy and her husband live in North Carolina. She’s the proud mother of a daughter and son and now a mother in law. Congratulations. She invoked her sense of humor while volunteering at the USO which I think is so cool. You may spot her dancing in the grocery store aisles or talking to herself as she plots books and scenes while walking in her neighborhood, the park, or the beach on retreats with friends. Welcome to Steam Scenes. Tracy, thank you so much for doing this.

Tracy
Thank you for having me. I’m really looking forward to it.

Elle
This is great. I love your bio. I love that. Okay, well Okay, I got to ask this golden heart winner two times six time finalists did that change anything for you?

Tracy
It did, um, I think the first time I entered I was in the bottom 50% that I you know, took a lot of writing courses, entered contest, got feedback. And so the year I finaled was really special, because it just a great group of women that were a finalist with and he would think, you know, it’s like a competition with other people because, you know, you want to beat them to win. And it really wasn’t like that. I it was kind of like a big sorority, you know, a bunch of different mixes and people and you connecting. I did have an inquiry from a publisher when I went in that was interested in acquiring. And long story short, that didn’t work out. But it kind of helped me with getting my first agent, which again, that didn’t work out. We won’t go into all that. We only have an hour. But anyway, it just was really great. And I went in thinking you I’m not gonna win, you know, the people I was against, you know, three of them had already been finalists. I think Sharon had been a finalist. This was like our eighth or ninth final or something. And somebody had already sold her book to Harlequin in hardback. So I’m like, I’m not gonna win. And that’s okay. And so I was totally shocked when I did. When they even said the first three words of the title, which is the book that we’re going to talk about steamy scene today. My friend that’s sitting with me is nudging me, and she’s she’s waving her hands. And I’m like, What in the world? And then I heard taking Tracy and my real last name because I was writing under my real last name at the time. And I was like, Oh, my God, it’s me. Yeah, I just didn’t expect it. So that gave me a lot of confidence. And because that book didn’t sell, I entered the next book in the series. And the first book, I threw it in in the last 10 minutes of the deadline, just to see what would happen. And they both finaled. So it was a very big confidence builder. But unfortunately, the timing with a romantic suspense market at the time, a lot of people weren’t acquiring. So I just kept hammering as I rewrote and rewrote the book that became Deadly Aim. But it was just a good experience being a golden heart and meeting these women, you know, who kind of the same place I was that? Yeah, I just kept entering until, you know, they said we were not going to do the Golden Heart anymore. And I’m like, Well, I wasn’t going to enter next year, but I’m sure as heck will with that being the last one. And then I’ve decided to self publish. So there is no more Golden Heart.

Elle
Okay. Okay, so I was I was actually wondering that, because I noticed that this, um, your series, the Bad Karma Special Ops series, you’ve got you had like a, like, almost like a rapid release. There were a lot of books coming out at the same time. And I was like, How fast is this woman writing? This is amazing. It sounded like you had them that you know, ready to go?

Tracy
Well, I think one of the questions you will have, we’ll talk about a little more later, but I wanted to do that rapid release. And that was one of the reasons I decided to self pub, I after parting with my first agent. I signed with another agent. And I’m not going to name names here. But um, some of the things that, you know, she told me, she said, I don’t know if I can sell this because of the markets, it’s totally the market. But I’d like to try and one of the things I really was set on is doing a kind of a rapid release. I had written the three books and was debating doing a prequel novella, which I ended up doing. But one of the publishers that we thought we had the best chance with, I have two friends who had books with them, that their second book didn’t come out for almost two years. And I’m like, I don’t want that people have forgotten about me, I’ve got these books written. You know, the editor had only read a few pages of my one friend’s book, and I’m like, what happens if she really signs me for my voice and doesn’t want these books that I’ve already written? I want these books going out. So that’s when the other agent and I parted and I set up my schedule and was hoping to do like month apart. But the first one came out, my editor told me, six, eight weeks is probably a better timeframe than every 30 days. And then COVID hit. It didn’t come out quite 30 days, but it that would have killed me anyway, you know, with not knowing what I was doing with self pubbing. I think if you have already learned the ropes, you could probably do rapid release every month. And stay sane, that I’m already a little crazy. So yeah, that was not…

Elle
I rapid released my series, and then just like ran out of books. Now I’m nind of going, Oh, Oh, you got to write faster. And no, it’s not gonna happen. So it’s so it’s like, you know, I’ve got some rapid released. And now everyone’s just gonna have to wait for the next one. And the next one in the next one.

Tracy
I mean, you learn to write faster, I think once you know what you’re doing, because my first book, that’s the first single title, I rewrote, that cut 46,000 words and rewrote. And then I had another epiphany and aha moment, after reading Lisa Krons story, genius and cut another like 44,000 then rewrote. So yeah, I hopefully won’t have to do that in the future. In my next book, that’s not part of the series. I did write in three months, and it came in at 100,000 words. NaNo helped me with that.

Elle
Damn, damn. So okay, so you started writing these spec movie and TV scripts? And you were well, let’s sort of like take another step back. You were originally in banking? Did you always have this sort of idea that you wanted to write? Or was it something that you did on the side or for fun?

Tracy
The longest thing I’d ever written was a 10 page term paper when I was in college. But going back to being like three year old, I had an overactive imagination, would pretend I was flying on the back of my stuffed bear when I was supposed to be napping, and I just always had this, you know, tend to, you know, to be taking some story ideas and staring out the window instead of paying attention to my teacher, or my pastor or whatever, and spinning story ideas. And I thought everybody’s brain worked that way. So I was really shocked when I found out it doesn’t, they don’t, and that I just would be spinning stories. But I’d never written anything until I came up with a story. And it was around 2001. And maybe 2002, I can’t remember now, because it’s been so long. But I couldn’t get the story out of my head. I’m like, I’ve got to write this down. And I don’t know what I’m doing. But I’ve envisioned it as a movie. So I wrote it in a draft and then started learning screenwriting, getting some books and finding out, oh hey I hit the beats, and the right length and all this and so I started with that. And I was afraid to tell people at first because they’re gonna laugh. You know, you’re a 45 year old woman in North Carolina. You know, actually, I wasn’t even 45 at the time. But once I started telling people a story, they would listen, and the whole thing I’m like, Okay, I’ve got a gift. I know how to tell a story. But I had to learn how to write it. And then I had two friends tell me at the same week after having a movie script for months, and they both read it and called me and said the exact same thing and said, I want to see this as a, you know, a book and that’s when I switched over and started doing it.

Elle
so I’m curious did that did that movie script eventually become your your Bad Karma series series? Or was it completely different had nothing to do with the other and it’ll never see the light of day?

Tracy
More the latter, it will never see the light of day unless it gets a total rewrite. It was an Army Ranger, I decided that the guy had to be an Army Ranger and the female, she worked with the UN High Commission of Refugees, but her brother was a lieutenant colonel in the army. And so I just all the research for the military stuff and the Rangers really got me soft on the military, and I started adopting troops. And I don’t do things halfway. So I was at the post office mailing out care packages every week, and I really connected with a lot of these people. You know, usually my my letter would start off with, you know, hey, I saw your request on books for soldiers and so I’m sending you this book and FYI, a little about me, I’m, you know, 39 and 56 months old, I am married have two kids, I don’t smoke, I don’t drink or swear much. And I haven’t worn a bikini in 10 years. But here’s the book you requested or so they knew that I was old, married, funny, and that I was a writer, you know, I told them and so they would tell me things and I just connected because you know, that was the beginning of instant messaging back in the early 2000s, 2005. And these guys became my source. But there was a TV show CBS had on called The Unit and the very first episode you find out that Matt Gearhearts wife, is sleeping with the colonel. And I was so mad. So you don’t do that to a man who is serving his country. So I came up with all these ideas of, you know, Matt kicking his skanky cheating wife to the curb and getting a good woman and I wrote some fanfiction into some of those stories. That became the first book I kind of planned. And one of my friends from a fan board for the unit. She asked she told me about Suzanne Brockman and I read the Troubleshooter series. And she said, Are you going to write it? You know, series like this? I’m like, No, no, I have all these other ideas. I was wrong. Okay, I started spinning ideas from some of the movie scripts and taking little bits. And that kind of became the Bad Karma series. And I based my Mac character strictly on that character from the show, although I changed some things about him, and just kind of developed the other personalities of the guys.

Elle
That’s really kind of amazing. I mean, I’m sort of struck by a bunch of things at once, you know, first of all, um, that you just like, went straight to the suspense thing. And the military, like that was sort of like, exactly where you want, even in like, a spec script, right? Like your, with your writing. And that sort of like turned into this whole, you know, romantic suspense genre for you, which I think is so cool. And also that you started in fan fiction. So many writers really cut their teeth there. And I think that, um, the internet was a wonderful place to kind of nurture that and give and give writers an outlet and ability to sort of weave these stories and then say, Hey, you know, what, um, this could stand alone as something different. And let me rewrite this. I think that’s really cool.

Tracy
It was that there’s, you know, few reviews and people saying how they loved it and waiting for the next chapter that kept me going when I was, you know, doing this. And then, and I actually had a few people who write out like, Hey, you know, I really like this character, would you write a story for that? And I’m like, no. Because it’s not going to be what you envision in your head and you’re not paying me.

Elle
Right. Right. Exactly. Exactly. So were there always romantic elements in your suspense writing? Or did that or did you come to that later? Like, like, were you a romance reader? Were you a fan of the genre?

Tracy
I think I’ve always liked the romance. Usually my stories revolved around, you know, the voice of my latest Hollywood crush, and I would cast myself as you know, the new person on the show that it would be the romantic interest. I always wanted some guy, you know, who, you know, would be obsessed with me or not obsessed in the bad way. But you know, I’d get to have my happily ever after. And so the always was the romance there. So the first book that I wrote, it was, it had some suspense in it. And that may be script, but it was more romance and the other scripts, they kind of all had a lot of that, but it’s romance more than the suspense.

Elle
Okay. Okay. So I guess, you know, I’m very curious about the weaving of the two because you’re looking at two very high octane pieces of writing, you know, the romance and the suspense, but, and so weaving the two together, is that tricky?

Tracy
I not the way my brain works. That might be for other people, I usually have something that is the catalyst kind of starts the story, and the characterization, and it’s usually something that ends up getting cut and doesn’t end up in there. But it’s, you know, each story is different. The fourth book in my series, the third single title is In the Wrong Sights. And, you know, something came from that, and the idea of her being in witness protection, and, you know, that story just came together very well. And I always knew it was going to be your romance that had to, and was able to figure out the suspense to go with that and build it up.

Elle
Do you remember the first romance book you ever read?

Tracy
This is kind of a crazy question. I’ve been asked this before, and I always freeze up that but there was a book that I read when I was in elementary school, that was called Calico Captive. And it was a Newbery Award winning it probably would not stand up today’s political correctness, whatever, but and there was no sex in it. But there was just there was a scene and that is still embedded in my brain. Where this girl I think, from like Massachusetts, was taken hostage, you know, she and other people during the French Indian War, and she was basically like a slave. She was given to this Indian family and the son who was a little bit older than her there was like a romantic connection. I can remember him like slipping out from under the blanket where he was sleeping on like a cot with his mother, and sleeping on the floor next to her to keep her warm. And it just, it just struck me, you know, that is romantic and sweet and thoughtful. And I love that and and so, you know, that’s the first one I remember. But after I read a lot of mysteries all the Nancy Drew books and Mary Higgins Clark as I got older. And then I discovered authors like Jude Deveraux, and some of her historical romances. And then Judith McNaught, who I loved her book Paradise, I’ve read that, you know, two or three times and some of the LaVyrle Spencer books, I loved a lot of those, The Hummingbird was my favorite, I think, or no, I’m sorry, Morning Glory, and The Fulfillment and Forgiving. And then I read a couple of Danielle Steel books too. Although Danielle Steel is one that kind of launched makes me a little different, because I felt and I may be jumping ahead here. Sometimes, I didn’t feel like a very good wife or lover because we didn’t have sex three times a night with simultaneous orgasms. And, you know, it lasted an hour and stuff. And so I, you know, that kind of turned me off for a while. And then when I started writing, I wanted to write things that might help women and their texts, you know, be sexually empowered, but learn to communicate and so forth. So anyway, that’s a long answer to your question.

Elle
Yeah, no, it’s very, it’s very funny that you bring that up because I was talking about this yesterday, to a friend of mine. I have a podcast where we talk about Melrose Place, and there was a scene where the characters had just woken up and they had had sex. And they’re talking about all the times all the places they did it in the apartment the night before, it was like five places and I was like that’s a UTI waiting to happen right there. That just doesn’t happen, let’s not pretend that that’s like a real thing, or necessarily a good thing unless you’re like peeing a lot. And, you know, swallowing some cranberry juice.

Tracy
And I’ve had friends who’ve said, you know, they had an unrealistic view of life and romance because reading romance novels, and I don’t want that. And one of the things I said I’d never do is write, you know, a book where two characters get drunk, have sex, and then ends up with the happily ever after. Because usually, that’s not the case, they end up with, you know, sexually transmitted disease or pregnancy that they didn’t plan. They may end up with, you know, psychological issues and stuff. And yet my first movie script, that’s kind of what happened. And so that’s one reason it would need a total rewrite. And I so I try now to have my characters have a relationship, you know, before

Elle
Right. So um, so when you’re, yeah, I’m assuming you still read a lot now. And and you’re reading romance? Do you gravitate towards romantic suspense books? Or do you just read anything but romantic suspense, I’m very curious.

Tracy
I do kind of a mix. And unfortunately, I’ll be honest with you. And I hate to admit this, that I don’t read near as much as I should, for two reasons. One, I’m busy writing. And secondly, when you become a writer, it really changes the way you look at books. And it’s hard to just enjoy a good book. So you know, I sometimes get very, you know, negative, I guess you have other books out there. And I but I also have done over the year, because so many authors have helped me with when I entered contest, give me feedback. for a lot of years a year, I was judging contests, and I was judging, oh, you know, 567 contests a year. And so I was reading a lot for that. Now, I’ve kind of stepped back and I’m not doing that. So it gives me a little more time. I’m actually in a book club now with a couple of my writer friends. And so we are doing that. And I’ve never been in a book club before, which, you know, seemed may seem kind of crazy being an author, but it just never was. I don’t like being told what to read. And but I’ve read a lot of contemporary and I do like romantic suspense. I have read a number of historicals because I was a Golden Heart finalist so many times and going to our RWA conferences. I have a lot of author friends and I want to read their books. So I’m kind of a little bit all over the place with what I’ve read.

Elle
Okay, all right. That’s That’s great, though. I am very curious. Going from like the writer side to judging. Do you feel like that changed your writing strengthened your writing? I’m just very curious about that.

Tracy
I do think it strengthens that because you might be told you’re showing not you need to tell. I mean, you need to show not tell. Right. And it’s hard to see in your own writing. But a lot of times when you’re reading somebody else’s work, it’s like right there in your face. And it’s like, Ah, this is what I’m talking about. So it’s easier to spot in somebody else’s writing and then it helps you look kind of for it in your own

Elle
Yeah, like, that’s one of the things that I’ve always found really tricky, like the Okay, you know, show don’t tell and and I’m like, Okay, I get it and then I sit down with my work and I’m like, maybe I don’t get it. I don’t understand what that means. Am I showing here? Am I telling what am I doing? And you know, and sometimes that’s the the writing, you know, the writing advice can be a little like jumbled in my head.

Tracy
It’s hard. That’s one of the harder things but you know, I think there are a couple books helped me and you know, once you kind of get the grasp, and you get more confident you start, you know, getting better.

Elle
So with your writing your romantic suspense and writing, well writing suspense, writing romance, when you get down to the steamy that’s your very first time writing it did you struggle? Did you have a hard time? Or was it easy?

Tracy
I wouldn’t say it was easy. It’s a little awkward, you know, you’re thinking, you know, it makes you vulnerable when you’re putting some of your fantasies out there for people. And I’m hoping that, you know, nobody in my church friends and knew my husband, would hear this, because, you know, one of the reasons I started writing romance is I feel like I kind of had a lust problem. You know, I’m lusting after these, you know, Hollywood hunks, and having all these fantasies and things and you’re putting it out there. It’s, you know, I’m like, I think I might as well make money from it if I can do it. You know, the first one I wrote was in the movie script. As I mentioned, it was a you know, a couple who were at a party and had too much to drink and led to sex and an unplanned pregnancy. But then I had some in the fanfiction story that I wrote. And I’m not going to share the title with that, because they’re not very well written because I was in everybody’s head. And I was passive. And I told instead of showed, so don’t go look those up, just read the books that I have out now. You know, it was kind of fun. It was going to titillating. I tend to write when I call tastefully steamy scenes, there’s certain words I don’t like to use. Although it’s funny, because I’m very good at getting in a male head and point of view. I’ve had people laugh. Yeah, they’ll go grab a guy’s erection, you know, because I’m so deep in the red. And I try to you put that in.

Elle
Oh, I’m sorry. Yeah, well, I was gonna say that’s really interesting. So you find writing the male point of view easier than

Tracy
I think I do. I know, I’m probably weird that way.

Elle
I wish that was me. I got some flack because I write I only write a single point of view, not dual point of view. And I guess that’s the expectation in romance now, which I know it never used to be that, always wasn’t an always single point of view. I feel like back ages ago. Um, but anyway, and I and I, but it’s, you know, part of the reason why I don’t do it is because I really struggle with that male point of view. I’m trying, you know, so I can, you know, forcing myself to do it, because I’ll only get better at it if I do it. But it’s hard.

Tracy
Well, you know, I don’t know I’m a little different. I mean, I’ve, I’ve definitely associate with being a female, but I can get the male point of view. I one of the first movie scripts that well, not first, what is one of the male movies, the male? Okay, let’s try that again. One of the movie scripts I wrote, it was called Renegade 13. And it was about a female helicopter pilot. And to give you a background, I had adopted a bunch of helicopter pilots back in 2004. And would interact with these guys via instant messaging and stuff, and my family went to Hawaii, we met all these guys. And I took their personalities, I had to combine some of them to reduce the number of characters but I wrote this script and had no four or five in the mail guys in there. And I was on a screenwriting group and we did a live read of this. And one of the people that was in there was a female JAG officer. And she came up to me afterwards and after doing the reading, and she said, I got to tell you, I was really skeptical. Because a) you haven’t served in the military and b) your female and you’re writing all these guys roles. And she said, You nailed it. She said, each one of the guys sounded different. And, you know, I would swear you had been in the military. And I didn’t realize that you know, all these conversations, you know, I knew these people, you know, I developed these characters based on these people and I’m able to do that and that’s but my Bad Karma team you know, the guys are very different they don’t all sound like you know, the same alpha hero with different names. You know, Max the guy he’s a single dad, he thinks about sex in his relationship differently than Tony who’s a, you know, a ladies man, as I put it, you know, he’s very more comfortable talking about his body and you know, his physical sexual reactions and stuff then some other guys, so

Just for listeners who might not know when you say adopt the military or adopt unit, what does that mean?

Well, I was part of a website that is still there not as active anymore called books for soldiers. And I would go in and they had posts there and I didn’t want to just make a donation to the USO. Even though I volunteer there now, or an organization to just send care packages, I wanted to have that interaction. So I would write and I would send care packages with books, DVDs, funny things like rubber snakes, and that went to one of my special ops guys that I met working at the USO. And I became, I became known for my freakin awesome brownies. That the first guy I adopted and when he went back on a second tour, and I sent those and he’s like this brownies she sent were freaking awesome. So they got that name, and I would send them to units. I had trucks driven through Fallujah, Iraq, with thanks, Tracy chalked on the side because I turned on brownies. And you know, sometimes it would be just one care package. But usually, if I heard back from them I’d communicate, and that’s how I, the guy that was kind of the lead person who for the Renegades, they were a unit of Kiowa warrior helicopter pilots out of Hawaii. And Chris was just really good about writing and acknowledging, you know, every gift box they received, and we started messaging, and then I started meeting other guys on his team. And so that was a lot of fun, you know, getting to know them. And I’ve been very fortunate to get to meet a lot of the troops that I supported over time. So.

Elle
So I’m guessing now because of this, you do have your like this built in sort of research network, I suppose you can go to with questions. And you can say, is this accurate?

Tracy
Yes, that has been the biggest blessing. That’s why people think that, you know, I served in the military, because I have people that I can go to. And I have a Blackhawk crew chief turned pilot who, one of the, you know, something, he told me he that he and I were very candid, with a lot of things. And he was my go to guy. I’ve called Jay numerous times, you know, we would talk and then rewrite the book and cut scenes and have to rewrite. But the funny thing is, is he actually moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, which is where I live, or near here, like a year or so ago, and got to see him again. I had actually gone to Alabama to see him graduate flight school. And there’s a Green Beret that we actually met through the fan board for the unit. And Dale, he makes an appearance in my books. He’s a character and I will call him or email or Facebook message him. And he gets right back to me, he’ll give me paragraphs of information that’ll cut down to two or three sentences for the civilian to understand. But yeah, it’s been great having, you know, different guys, whether it’s, you know, helicopter pilots, there’s somebody who did stuff with satellite surveillance, and I’m asking him questions. He’s like, can we talk about this when I get back from my deployment? Not, you know, I don’t worry about revealing classified information. They won’t tell me mission stuff, like I was asking the pilots one time about something and I get the funny story about, you know, pigeon crashing through the chin bubble, which is like the Plexiglas lower part of the helicopter, and sitting there, you know, on Bill’s boot bleeding and then having to toss it out, you know, or, you know, diving under the bunks because they’re getting mortared. And all of a sudden, they hear this crunching and you know, it’s because Brad has crawled out and retrieve this chips and salsa because he doesn’t want them to get, you know, get mortared and you know, he’s gonna be under the bunk you might as well eat. So that’s the kind of stuff they tell me and that like the care package where I sent a fake snake to another Green Beret that I met when I was working at the USO. And I get the funny story back from him that, you know, they had a unit captain who was leaving and a new Captain coming in. So they decided to prank their old captain. And he took this snake that looked pretty realistic and they put it in his boot. Well, he’s seasoned veteran, he looks and he knows immediately it’s fake. He takes it throws it across the cabin, no the tent and the new Captain comes in and he sees this. He freaks out runs out of the tent, comes back in with a two by four and gets a few whacks in on the snake before he realizes it’s fake. Now he has got to live this down with his new team, you know, of special ops guys who you know, so Paul tells me the story so you know the next care package of course, we’re gonna included a realistic looking rat because it was right on after Halloween and it was on sale. So I sent that in. Yeah, so I got the story of that too. You know, those kind of fun things or you know, I asked Dale one time what’s your most dangerous mission? He’s like, well, going on a field trip with a, you know, with a bunch kindergarteners.

Elle
Oh my god, this is so cool, what a great way to sort of, you know, do research and you get to meet these really, you know, great guys who are out there, you know, serving their country, which is pretty extraordinary.

Tracy
And I always, you know, I do take some artistic liberties, but I tend to paint, you know, most of the guys who are serving as you know, heroes, but you know, you have a few bad apples. And, you know, one time I made a comment about that, and they’re like, oh, you’d be surprised how many there are, but you know, yeah, yeah, they a lot of sacrifices, not only on their part, but you know, their families, their wives, their kids. Yes. So I want to honor them in ways that I can. And I followed a number of wounded veterans, and I’ve got a series planned where I, you know, want to feature them, call it the Recalibrated Warriors, because a lot of these guys, you know, have great attitudes, despite injuries that they’ve sustained. And, you know, you just, you gotta admire that, you know, they don’t regret what they’ve done and serving their country.

Elle
That sounds really excellent. Oh, I’m excited for that. So do you have plans for that one yet? Or is that just sort of brewing in the background?

Tracy
I’ve got three books kind of outlined in my head. We’re actually looking at a friend of mine doing an anthology to get some other authors involved in and raise money for charity to donate to a group like either the Travis Mills Foundation, or Homes for the Troops, or maybe the Gary Sinise Foundation,

Elle
That’s really cool.

Tracy
Yeah, I’m excited about that.

Elle
This is really great. So I’m curious, because that brings up a question that I had, because you know, the series, you know, Bad Karma, do you have it planned out in terms of how many books it’s going to be? Or do you just kind of wing it.

Tracy
I, I’ve got, like eight guys on the team. Ray’s married in the beginning. So I ended up going back and writing the novella that kicks off the series as a prequel novella, Desperate Choices, and that, that takes place around 2004. So shortly after, you know, the war started up in Iraq. And then I have the three single titles. And I planned to go like seven books deep and do the other characters. And that’s kind of on hold right now, for a couple reasons. One is the, you know, all my characters of the books, I’ll be honest here are, you know, Caucasian males, but I have guys on the team that are not, and it’s kind of a tricky situation right now writing that when I’m not Own Voices. And I want to honor that and do it well, so, you know, but I also have all these other ideas. And my next book is a romantic comedy. It features a guy who’s just gotten out of the army. And he’s kind of put his life on hold. You know, he was a child of a single mom, and he’s always worked and gone to school, and, you know, just never had time for love. Like, now he’s out of the army, and he’s ready. And his sisters nominated him to be on a reality dating show.

Elle
That’s fantastic.

Tracy
Well, he’s like, you know, just to get his sister to leave him the hell alone. He’s like, okay, fine, I’ll interview Well, he thinks his chances of getting on are like winning the lottery. He was on. He didn’t make it to the end. But now they’ve offered him the role of the lead the next time. And he’s like, No, I don’t know as well. And he’s, they offer him enough money. They, you know, double the offer. They were they the show’s had some struggles. And which is kind of reality. More than when I watched this past season of The Bachelor, I was like, they stole that from my show. Oh, my gosh, I stole that from my book. But there was a lot of promises, the show’s like, can we survive this and we really needed a good season. We need this guy to be the bachelor people loved him. Yeah. And, you know, the biggest fan puts up this poll, you know, who do you want to be the next one, and he’s winning hands down, even though that his competitor who really wants to be, is flashing pictures, posting pictures on social media is abs and hit but Nate’s sisters put post pictures of him holding his niece on his lap and stuff. And he was like, Oh, yeah, so he ends up on there But I just, I had this story all planned out. And it just was keeping me up and everything. So I’ve written that and I came up with another story that will be another romantic comedy that will tie into the series that’s based on Garth Brooks’s Friends in Low Places. And Big John returns from a deployment to find his girlfriend, you know, is back with her ex and she’s packed all the stuff, it’s in the garage, go get your stuff and, you know, best wishes and he’s like, okay, I’ll get my stuff. Get my dog be out of your hair. And she’s like, Oh, your dog. Yeah. Boss died.

Elle
Last his girl, lost his dog.

Unknown Speaker
Then he finds out that she lied about that she just didn’t want to take care of his damn dog and pick up the dog poo. And so she gave way the dog. So his next mission is to find his dog and he’s gonna end up…Big John is six, five, and Big Dog is like, you know, Rottweiler and Springer Spaniel mix maybe part Great Dane. And so his name is Bruce The Boss Spring Wilder. You know, he finds the dog, but the woman who’s adopted him offers them a place to live on her property, she has three houses that are tiny houses that she set up for women who have fled domestic abuse situations and need a place to get a restart. And this is based on kind of a friend who’s been in a bad situation where so yeah, big guy, big dog living in a tiny house.

Elle
This is fabulous. Your ideas are kind of blowing my mind. Right?

Tracy
Yeah, I love them. And I don’t think they’re great.

Elle
Oh my god, how do you come up with these? I mean, you walk I walk to actually that’s where I get a lot of ideas, as well. And they do they just come to you? Or how do they form like, this is wild, I love your ideas.

Tracy
Thank you, um, you know, they just, this is the way my brain works. Like I said, Sometimes I’ll see a snippet, you know, an article or, you know, just get one little thing and it becomes an idea that I start developing. And sometimes I have to throw that idea why I had, you know, one book, I was, I don’t know, 40 pages in to and I’m like, this isn’t gonna work and said walk away from it. But you know, just the, the Friends and Low Places the song you know why we had a friend that she graduated and got her graduate degree and they had a party and they had this guy, who sometimes if you follow my Instagram, you’ll see me post or put some movie clips of David play on. And that’s one of the songs he sings, and, you know, I just the whole idea of a soldiers, it’s, you know, it’s coming back and said, I showed up in boots, he shows up in combat boots, he shows up at this black tie affair thinking, this is gonna be one of those viral, romantic, you know, clips that gets, you know, go viral on social media of me coming back to woo my girl. And instead it’s like, you know, give me the phone, because this is not what we want, where she’s there with the other guy. So I came up with that idea. And I did just be honest, I don’t know I have really weird, crazy dreams to But no, no, nothing. That’s become a book. Yet.

Elle
This is awesome. This is I love these ideas. I can’t wait to like read all of these.

Tracy
I’m hoping to learn to write faster, so I can do it, I now start I’ve started dictating when I want to walk. And that’s something you may want to try it. I have an app, that’s not very great. But you know, I’ll get my ideas out. And I’m looking at just recording the voice and getting the Dragon Professional software so it can kind of download and because my ideas, I can talk an idea really well. But I sit down the computer and I get distracted.

Elle
It’s funny, I actually have the opposite. Because I’ve often thought like, would you walk you know, and I’d walk even more if I could like walk and write at the same time. And but every time I sort of start moving, and I try and sort of tell a story while I’m walking my brain kind of flatlines and I can’t get it out.

Tracy
Well, it is a whole different thing to speak your story, I think then to write it. But yeah, I’m just really glad none of my neighbors and most of them, you know, a lot of them that kind of know me now. And I’ve posted some things on the website, like, you know, hey, I’m looking for a name of a dog for this book, if you want your dog’s name to be in my book, you know, post it here. And so then I’d start talking to some of the neighbors, you know, you know, what’s your dog’s name? Oh, yeah, yeah. And we top that, um, yeah, I’m always afraid they might call the police thinking I’m crazy as I’m walking through my house. But now now everybody’s got these earbuds in and they’re talking on the phone anyway.

Elle
That’s actually a really fun idea. And a great way to kind of like meet your neighbors, because I’m on that Next Door and I call it your passive aggressive neighbors app. I think it would be actually kind of a great way to get to know the neighbors without that sort of sniping about you know, the town council did this. And I’m mad and oh, no, I support that. You know, there’s a lot of sniping that goes on there.

Tracy
And the I saw this car and it’s suspicious. Does anybody know what these people are doing? And, yeah, you know, I’m a suspense writer. So yeah, my brain goes all kinds of crazy places. Sometimes, pictures of license plates as I’m walking the neighborhood, like, what are they doing? They’re suspicious, you know? I’m like, Neighborhood Watch.

Elle
So I’m kinda I want to dig into your steamy scene that you sent me and it’s from A Shot Worth Taking, which now what is this book one?

Unknown Speaker
This is Book Three. It’s the second single title and it was the first one to win the Golden Heart.

Elle
Okay, that’s right.It was the first one to win the golden heart, but it is the third book. Okay, got it. And can you set this up for us? Can you set up the scene?

Unknown Speaker
Tony Vincenti is the hero in this and Angela Hoffman is the heroine, Tony is from an average american Italian family if there is such a thing, and he is a guy who’s got kind of a past wound that keeps him you know, he really wants love. He wants him to, you know, family like he grew up in. But he’s kind of shy that he kind of meets women in the wrong places like the bars. And he’s what I call a lady’s man. He’s not a player. He doesn’t make promises, lead women on but he takes care of his sexual needs. And he’s gotten good at it. He’s also Joe Manganiello was my image for him early Joe Manganiello.

Elle
I can see that

Tracy
Warly on, you know, not the wolfy. And Tony first worked with Angela. But she was undercover for the FBI. And something, you know, that she found out she they brought in the Bad Karma team. She and Tony work together, she had no background on him cheating, she guesses he’s military instead of FBI. And that her brain was bugged. And she knows that she knows that and so they can’t communicate. And when you’re undercover, it’s kind of best to not know who the real person is. So just stay in character. So they you know, even though it’d been easier to fake being lovers to really, you know, do it They kept a strictly professional but you know, a couple years have passed and you’re still in each other’s minds. And Tony and his team are after a terrorist who slipped through their fingers in Afghanistan and they get worried that the you know, this guy might have slipped into Canada and they expect them to come into the States and what is he planning is not going to be good. They have a lead that they think you know, maybe he’s meeting up with this guy who finances terrorists. So the guy made a reservation at a restaurant they show up there to observe and hopefully pick up El Sheree only, it’s not El Sheree the guy that they you know, are hoping this Hakeem is having dinner with Angela, and Tony recognizes her. And, you know, at first he doesn’t recognize because she looks very different cuz she was undercover in a motorcycle gang before. And here she is looking like this very, you know, put together you know, you know, woman with the, you know, this rich guy. And so they end up having to work together. And the next morning, after she’s gotten the information from Kim’s computer, they have they are able to have this little conversation where they she finds out he’s not married, she’s, you know, kind of, he never pressed the situation before. And they have this conversation. But the materials, their app, the files that she got, something comes up that they think they’re planning a dirty bomb attack. So even though they’re like they want the next, you know, mission together to be the under the covers kind. They’ve got to stop a dirty bomb attack. Angela’s nearly killed getting the location. Tony thinks she’s dead. And they proceed to stop the attack and time he comes back and finds that she did survive and he rushes to be with her. And then I’m going to leave out a little part here because I don’t want to, you know, give away everything. He’s brought her back to his house in Fort Bragg and is taking care of her she recovers from her two gunshot wounds. And, you know, he’s had his neighbor who’s a doc on the medical Green Beret team, come check her out. And doc has made some reference, you know, about, you know, you know, she needs to rest, you know, no extra curricular activities/ basically calling them out as a man whore which kind of is kind of like Mcsteamy and Grey’s Anatomy. And so he’s like, trying to be patient trying to be good, but they both they’re very sexual people. And they want to they’ve been wanting this. And everything. I can’t do this low burn, make them wait.

Elle
Yeah, I was gonna I’m sorry. I just wanted to ask this. So this scene is towards I’m guessing towards the end of the book?

Tracy
It about page 187. Maybe, I don’t know if it’s, it’s well over. It’s about halfway or more through the book before this happens. Yeah. They’ve been they’ve been wanting it. I mean, there was, you know, alluding to what’s going to happen when they have a chance, but yeah, yeah, I’m make ’em wait.

Elle
You kept them flying for like well over 50% and they have not consummated now.

Tracy
As a matter of fact, I kind of love their first kiss in this book because they kissed before when they were undercover, and there’s a story called Undercover Angel that if you subscribe to my newsletter that you can get for free and just check that out. That’s a story. But their first first kiss that they have here, he comes into her office and she’s got her head down. He’s like, you know, you okay? And she’s like, yeah, I’m just doing some mission prep, and he’s like, okay, you kind of look like you’re praying. And she kind of bristles that, that she’s like, you don’t know, my, you know, what I’ve done to survive. And she’s like, maybe I was, she kind of gets her back up. And he’s like, he comes around, leans over and kisses are like, on the tempo, he says, Well, good. And it wasn’t the reaction she expected at all. It wasn’t the first kiss she expected she, you know, she’s anticipating some hot up against a wall, you know, sexy kiss. But it was really, it did things to her that the I nearly broke her, you know, it’s like, oh, my gosh, you know, this is, this could be more than she’s thinking this can only be sex, because of certain things in her past that, you know, there’s no way she can ever be married, that this is the guy that makes her want that. And it was that kiss. And now. You know, here they are. And they’re finally you know, trying to get to that stage.

Elle
This is awesome. I absolutely love the backstory that you’ve set up here. This is really cool. Okay, so I think I’m gonna. But before I even start reading, I did want to talk to you about adding an injury into the sort of mix when you’re writing, particularly an intimate scene, you know, it’s sort of one more layer to the choreography that’s already a bit complicated. And so, right and so I’m wondering how did how you managed to keep it from being a burden on the story and on the scene.

Unknown Speaker
I’m gonna I’m gonna divert here just give you a little bit of a story. I mentioned some writing retreats, and a couple years ago four of my Golden Heart friends, and a friend of mine who has a cabin and mounts, we did a writing retreat. And it just kind of worked out that we were all the golden heart winners in our categories that were there. So all different genres. And like Sarah Portman writes this in a beautiful historical. Oh, explain. We decided to read sex scenes from the different genres. So Sarah reads her beautiful historical thing. Now, Michelle, she writes erotica and so we were expecting this really steamy, it wasn’t quite as steamy as we expect us. We’re all okay with that. And then Alexis and Jeannie had her theirs. And then I read this, and they all kind of pointed out, they couldn’t do that, she couldn’t raise her arm. So choreograph this. Yeah, it was really fun. And we’ve done that a couple of retreats where we read out the the sex scene. And so yeah, this Angela is definitely recovering from injuries where like I said, she actually flatlined, like twice and they revived her she’s lost part of her liver. And so yeah, she’s limited mobility. And it? It does, it makes it very different, because you can’t do some of the things that you might normally do in a sex scene. And so but she’s, she wants to thank Tony for all he’s done for, and she wakes up from a nap and he is adjusting the shower, he’s put in it so that she can shower because she’s like, wants to get a real shower. If you’ve ever been in the hospital for two or three days. You know how it gets more than that. And she wants to shower. And so he’s done this, and then she’s like, I want to shower right now. And he’s like, uh, she’s like, I need your help. And he’s like, uh, he’s trying to show he’s not just thinking about her about sex.

Elle
That’s hard to do as we find out.

Tracy
I’ll be sitting here blushing just a tiny bit.

Elle
Oh, you’ve read this out loud yourself. So this is a little bit ways in and she has taken off whatever she’s wearing and gotten in the shower and he has stepped in with her. I guess he’s left his boxer briefs. No, he’s taken them off.

Tracy
Well, she says, You know, I know you don’t wear those in the shower. And he’s like, okay.

Elle
And he’s like, Okay, I’m taking them off. So I was like, Oh, you know where this is going. So, okay, here we go. Her hair shone as the water matted it against her bare flesh. He poured shampoo into his hand, then worked it into her long, thick, silky hair. She tilted her head back. “You have no idea how good that feels.” Rather than say anything stupid, he kept his mouth shut. He took his time, the intimacy building, while he massaged her scalp, forming a rich lather. With him blocking the direct spray of water, her dark nipples puckered into peaks making his body harden with need. Fantasies played through his mind as he freed the handheld showerhead, then rinsed the suds from her hair. She leaned back further to keep the water from running down her face. He was damn near coming just from touching her hair and watching the water run in rivulets over her ample breasts. While he rinsed her hair, he replayed Doc’s warning in his head. He’d gone months without sex during deployments. He could do this. He could do this. He. Could. Do. This.

I thought this was such a great moment. I had completely kind of forgotten how intimate and erotic someone washing your hair could be, and how that feels. And I think that you captured it and actually not a lot of work. To be honest with you. Like I think that there was an economy of words here. That was really, really great. And I’d love to talk about that. Like, I’m curious, like, did was this sort of like the result of, okay, I’ve written too much. And I want to edit, edit, edit, or were you just are you just able to, to do that?

Tracy
I think I was just able to do it.

Elle
That’s cool.

Tracy
Yeah, you’re saying economy words. Like I repeated that. But I wanted that effect. You know, he’s he is struggling with you know, I, I want to show her I’m more than this. So yeah,

Elle
Yeah. But it was still the, the, the sexiness right was definitely there. And they’re not even like, like he’s touching her, but it’s definitely not an erotic way. He’s witnessing her body. But it’s definitely and Okay, that’s the erotic way but in a very erotic way, but besides the fact like he is caretaking here. And this isn’t like, you know, him feeling her up or anything like that. But there was still a level of tension that I thought was really extraordinary. And then I loved that those last, the last bit that I read about he could do this, you can do this. And the humor that slid in there in this moment was actually really fantastic. And so I wanted to also like talk a little bit about mixing that levity in with the steamy. Do you do that often?

Tracy
You know, in good ways and bad ways. I mean, I guess you know, it’s, you know, sex is serious, but you know, it’s gonna be fun. And when, in my first book, Deadly Aim, the first time the hero and heroine had done the deed. It was kind of they’ve been building up to this. It’s a forbidden relationship, because she’s an officer, and he’s not and she’s finally like, you know, what I, you know, I need more out of life, maybe than just flying and they’ve, they’ve done it, and it was really good. And, but they’re trying to talk afterwards. And all of a sudden, she’s, you know, tickling his chest and says, they’re talking and she smells. So she’s like, what I think I smell and he’s like, you know, thinking she’s talking about him stinking or something. It’s like, no smoke. And they were supposed to be having dinner. And then it’s kinda like, Yeah, no, we you need to do this first, because last time we got interrupted, and so yeah, he goes dashing out of the room, they get, you know, to, before the fire alarm goes off and stuff, so yeah.

Elle
So I mean, I guess I’m sort of curious to how do you how do you know the right balance? is it just an intuitive thing for you?

Tracy
I just go with what the characters tell me and who they are. And, you know, it’s, it’s different each time and you know, some situations, it’s not really humorous. You know, Tony and Angela, at one point, she gets she’s pissed about, he gets pissed at her about something. And she’s, you know, kind of backs him up against the wall. And she’s like, you know, you know, trying to placate him with, you know, sex or something. He’s like, I’m not in the mood. And she’s like, Yeah, well, I’m not getting any sleep either. So, you know, you might as well do this. And he’s like, curses his eyes, they can achieve whipsaw for certain area, he says, are certain that a Houdini, you know, and it’s like, you know, she’s like, you know, try, you know, he’s like, I’ll go shoot things, you know, you know, and, you know, this won’t hurt Well, maybe a little in a good way and yeah, so that’s just me.

Elle
Okay, so now we’re gonna move down a bit and the water has now been been turned off. She has just basically given him a handjob and he has gotten off and so now we know they’re going for this. They are totally going for this. So I’m going to start. He ran a hand up her arm and over her bare shoulder to the back of her damp neck, cradling her head. His mouth met hers. He started with brief, gentle kisses, moving his body closer to hers. The intensity of the kisses increased. Their tongues stroked and danced seductively. She smelled fresh, and her skin heated as their bodies brushed against each other and limbs intertwined. I kind of wanted to just take a minute I’m here to like, talk about how you really focused on the kissing. And I was like, Oh, we really don’t do that enough. I think in as you know, romance writers, I don’t think that it’s done enough, just the act of kissing necessarily as the focus, it kind of all becomes like hands and legs and arms and everything intertwined. Rather than, like, sort of like slowing down, taking a breath, and really exploring just the act of kissing.

Tracy
Well, and part of that, too, is, you know, her injuries, he’s, you know, kind of building up and testing a little bit, you know, and he wants to kiss her, you know, he’s, he wants to consume this woman, you know, that he’s, you know, already thinking, you know, she understands who I am and what I do and what I can’t say because of her background, and, you know, he he’s wanting to, you know, this to be more than just sex. So it’s the whole relationship and that’s part of his the kissing.

Elle
So would like another character in a different book, maybe maybe there’s not such a focus on the kissing moment?

Tracy
Now cuz I cuz I kind of like kissing. It’s funny. I’m a hugger. Okay, that the only people I got kids are like the family, you know, my husband. But I don’t know, I just think there’s something you know, very arousing about a good kiss. And yeah, you know, I’m a Princess Bride fan and yours, their line and the end of the book about you know, and all the history of kissing, you know, this was the kiss or whatever. And I referenced that into my romantic comedy that’s coming out. But yeah, I guess I, I want it to be, you know, not just going for the big O. But you know, that foreplay of kissing and touching.

Elle
I thought that was really I was like, wow, and it really made me sort of stop and go, okay, like now you need to really pay a little bit more attention to that because there is something really beautiful about starting the the intimate moment with the kissing. Although they did not start the intimate moment with that when when we sort of like go back, because she does get him off in the shower. And there really isn’t any kissing going on there. But but then they sort of come back to him pull into a different direction. I thought it was really beautiful.

Tracy
Well, thank you. I love all my Bad Karma, guys, but there’s something about Tony that just… he plays a big role in the next book and I can see him kind of, you know, having another story later, but yeah.

Elle
Okay, all right. Okay. This is a bit of a long one so settle in.

Tracy
Oh, I thought are we getting off easy here.

Elle
There’d been times when he’d been with a woman and would close his eyes to pretend she was Angela. Now, he kept his eyes open. No more imagining. When she turned her face to the side, it gave him more access to her neck. He pressed kisses to the spot where her pulse throbbed below her ear, enjoying her soft murmurs as he worked his way to her tender throat. Sliding his body lower, he ran his tongue over her breast and drew her into his mouth to swirl his tongue over the peak. She arched back her shoulders, and he switched to her other breast, wanting to indulge every inch of her body. Propped on an elbow, he played his fingers over her other nipple. Her fingernails raked lightly over his back, then up to his scalp, sending delicious shudders through his body from head to toe. She wrapped her calves around his legs so that her intimate heat pulsed with desire, further arousing him. He went lower, trailing kisses over the unbandaged side of her stomach, then lower, nibbling at her inner thigh. He inhaled her feminine scent. Her body writhed, and her hands clenched fistfuls of the sheet, which heightened his determination to give to her the way she had unselfishly given to him. His tongue trailed up her thigh to circle her smooth outer lips before delving inside to taste. He slid his hands under her firm, rounded ass, lifting her higher so he could go deeper. The end of his nose rubbed against her, applying pressure and increasing the urgency of her sultry moans. “Don’t stop. Don’t,” she panted, inspiring him to deliver an even higher “satisfaction guaranteed” level of service. His tongue hit her sweet spot. She gasped when he teased the hardened nub. Her leg muscles went rigid. She lifted her hips higher when the first wave of orgasm gripped her—and didn’t stop.

Hi. Okay. breaking this down. Um, I guess I’ll start at the end here. What I really loved about this was that you were actually I felt like you were taking the reader on the same arousal journey that he was taking her Um, which I thought was really, really cool. And it was like, you know, I don’t want to say step by step, but in a way, it was kind of step by step. And I really appreciated that as a reader because it was sort of guiding me through it the way he was guiding her orgasm.

Tracy
Okay?

Elle
Was that a conscious thing?

Tracy
One of my friends, she said, you know, you’re too much like you’re dictating what they’re doing, you need to put more internal thought and stuff in there. So, yeah, that was kind of my attempt, if you know, he’s, you know, letting you know, what’s going through his mind. This is where I talked about, you know, getting a guy’s point of view. And I think I feel like I did a pretty well here. And what he’s thinking and that, you know, not just thinking about himself, he’s really, in this situation, focusing on her and, and that’s maybe slows him down a little bit, because he’s like, he’s already had his turn in the shower. And he’s like, I’m making sure you get your turn here. And then we’ll do it together.

Elle
Yeah, like it was. You know, I think that’s funny, because that you mentioned that, you know, your friend said, you know, that you need to incorporate more of the feelings. Um, because I do think that that’s something that I definitely struggle with, because it’s like, you get so focused on the choreography, like, you were saying, when you read the scene in there, like that couldn’t happen, she’s injured, you know, you sort of are trying so hard to write it. So you don’t have like a character with six arms, you know, and three feet, and you know, that you can get a little bit like a weight, but there are feelings here, and the feelings are really what’s going to be driving the scene. It’s a tricky balance. It’s very tricky balance to find, but I think that you captured it really, really well,

Tracy
Thank you. Because, you know, I’m one who I like to have the emotion, I don’t want to just be, you know, the sex in different places. And then usually in unusual places, and how many times and the I want it to be the connection, the emotion there that it’s, you know, not just the ego, maybe like the big two, but yeah.

Elle
Well, it’s funny that you mentioned that, because I had actually highlighted the first like, two lines, right? Or three lines, sorry, there have been times when he’d been with a woman, and we close his eyes to pretend she was Angela. Now he kept his eyes open, no more imagining. And I really felt like that those three lines spoke to the intensity of his feelings for her in just three sentences like that, again, like that the economy of words that you have here, to invoke these feelings, I thought was really extraordinary, particularly hearing the backstory now. And this was something that I flagged even before really knowing the full backstory of this, and the intensity of their feelings towards each other that they had never been able to act upon. And so and so again, like just those three moments I was, it was just like, you could feel his relief in three sentences, you know, and that sort of like, yes, I’m going to finally do this thing I’ve been dying to do.

Tracy
Yeah, and one part that we didn’t get to it comes after this, I’m just gonna go ahead and share it. Like, you know, afterwards, you know, it kind of hits him, you know, he’s had sex, lots and lots of times. Lots and lots of women. But he’s never made love to a woman until this with Angela.

Elle
I think the other thing and this is again, something I need to flag up in my own writing some time. I feel like I do. Maybe it’s fine. It’s so funny. You don’t like we all see all our flaws and our scenes and, you know, but, but the fact that like, we weren’t, it didn’t take 10 pages to get to their orgasms.

Tracy
Yeah, cuz sometimes the sex scenes can go on way too long. This way. This is actually my longest sex scene.

Elle
Oh, really? Oh, wow. I appreciated that. I mean, I don’t know, I guess I guess it depends on the reader. But I appreciate it not having the sex scene that went on and on where you finally are just like, okay, they’re doing it and you just kind of flip past it.

Tracy
I do that some times.

Elle
Yeah. But I just thought I was like, this is actually really great. Because, you know, they’re having the intimate moments, the way that we have the intimate moments, which is I’m sorry, like, you know, I think that I have a great relationship. And we have a great time, you know, in our intimate life and it’s perfect, but it does not go on for hours. I’m too tired for that shit.

Tracy
Yeah, well, one of the questions you asked later talks about, you know, your intimate sex scenes, you know, which one do you remember? And, you know, Suzanne Brockmann had a great one in and I can’t remember which book exactly it was, but the hero from the first book Tom and Kelly, and this is a lighter button. They’re together and they’re married, but they’re cutting up fruit and something that becomes, you know, this fruit fest sex thing. They’re doing a quickie in the kitchen. And I was like, Yes. a quickie. That’s how Okay, you know, cuz, you know, these scenes that go forever. It’s like, yeah, that’s not real life, you know. And so I’ve really liked that scene because, you know, it’s, you know, they got, they did something fun and they got the big O and, you know, but it was a quickie, and it was sending that message that it’s okay to have a quickie, because sometimes, you know, especially in life, if you got young kids or whatever, you know, that’s what, that’s all you got time for.

Elle
Yeah, cuz sometimes life gets in the way, because I think, you know, romance as much as it is escape, an escape for our readers. You know, I also think that it serves to also, you know, be a reflection and I think that it was sort of like really cool what you were saying before about Danielle Steel and kind of making you feel like you were doing it wrong. Right? Like, there are, there are so many different ways to do it. And, and I think that it’s awesome when we can, you know, share stories of all those different ways. And, and so that a reader can look at it and say, Oh, I’m fine. Like, oh, okay, this is okay. I’m so phew. All right, they do that too. Or even oh, well, that sounds like fun. Maybe I’ll try that next week. You know, like, I just think that whether it serves as a reflection or some inspiration, I think that that’s a really cool thing.

Tracy
And I didn’t put this in my notes before, but since you brought it up, I actually have a story.A situation where it’s kind of frustrated I’d gotten with my ex agent who’d finally, you know, told me that Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah passes on your book, you know, you know, and she hadn’t told me about it. And, you know, to get three passes, or something in one day, it was kind of kind of rough. And I’m like, what, what is selling it? What can we do that’s different that hadn’t been done before. And I came up with an idea for an erotic inspirational book, which, you know, those are two totally opposites. And it it kind of growing up in the church, you know, a lot. I mean, I didn’t grow up in the church, I guess I should say, I became a Christian at 18. And that I was still a virgin at that point, you know, God, had kind of kept me pure, I guess. And it’s, there’s a lot of things and a lot of things in the church and one of our pastors, we were doing a sermon series throughout the Bible, and, you know, Song of Songs is, it’s an erotic novel in the Bible. And, you know, the church kind of does a disservice, you know, they go through, it’s like, don’t have sex, don’t have sex, don’t have sex in this, oh, you’re married, okay, fine, go and have sex. And a lot of women have this stigma, you know about sex, that it’s hard to overcome. And so I came up with a story about a Mennonite woman who was widowed early, and has never had a satisfying sex life. It was always kind of you did it and boom and it was over. And she ends up going to take care of her brother’s wife, who has left the Mennonite community kind of in there, one of the world’s strict ones, and she overhears them having sex. And she’s like, that was never like what I experienced, and she thinks she’s gonna go back to our community and, you know, be in another joyless, that, you know, unsatisfying sex relationship, so she decides to experiment, and find a guy that, you know, to have sex with that, you know, to kind of learn. And at that story has kind of been put on hold. But, you know, the whole message was, is kind of empowering women that, you know, it’s okay for you to have satisfaction in sex, too. It’s not just all about the guy, the woman should have satisfying sexual experiences as well. And also talking about, you know, some of that, so that’s a story that, you know, who knows, one day, I may write that up, you know, it’s, there are inspirational aspects to it, because it’s her journey, you know, that I kind of tend to be romantic with having a happy ending, too. But, you know, and I figured that, you know, that might send the message to women, that it’s okay. It can be very uncomfortable to talk about sex sometimes with your spouse, and, you know, especially if you’ve been married a long time, and you haven’t to now versus like, you know, Hey, can we bring some toys into this or whatever. And so just, you just send that message that, you know, maybe help somebody have a better relationship, and more satisfaction,

You’re totally Welcome to tell me, you know, to just shut up, but I’m really kind of curious in terms of your writing, you know, steamy bits, but also being involved in in the church is there. Is there a weird if there is that like, kind of like a weird place for you? Or is there are you open about this with your with your fellow…

Unknown Speaker
I’m very open about it. I did a book launch party for my first book, and most people came were people I knew from church, and my Sunday school class, and I’ve had a few people who were like, Oh, we need to talk about that scene. And I’m like, and I was actually at a baby shower for one of the women. Her single daughter had gotten pregnant, and we came together and help her out. And one of the women made that comment about you know, that scene. And another one that Linda has was she talking about the sex scene and she’s, oh, I got to go home and read. When I first started writing, we got a new pastor shortly into that, and I ran into his wife at the grocery store, I’d already met them once I just, you know, Christy, I write, you know, romantic suspense novels. And I don’t write for the pastor’s wife and the missionaries. I said, but I write for the women who, you know, come to church, my Sundays, may send their kids to Christian school, but you know, we have sex. And, you know, when you act like it’s something that’s dirty or hidden, you know, then that, you know, goes back to what I just talked about that story, but you know, the stigma, and you know, it’s not, when God gave it to us is something that he wants us to have pleasure and it to be enjoyable. And so, you know, you Christians sometimes do a disservice. And one of the pastors talked about that. And I just, you know, you know, I have had some people who make some comments, and it’s like, yeah, that’s okay. You know, you don’t want to read my books, they might like, the romantic comedy better, better, because it’s going to be cleaned, they’ll be kissing, but there’s no, on the page sex, it’s referred to, you’re closing the door. And I originally thought about doing it, and then decided not to, because it wasn’t the central to the story. But, you know, it’s, I’m very open about it. And, you know, I’m sure there’d be some people who probably talk behind my back, I don’t, but it’s like, you know, I know, you did it, you got kids.

Elle
I was raised Catholic, and that’s a very sort of, like, you know, fire and brimstone, when, you know, comes to sex, which, you know, very much put me off of the religion, and I think, you know, kind of, like, you know, screwed up a bit too, you know, particularly with the, you know, the parents sort of talking about it or not talking about it as the case may be, um, but you know, so I kind of find it fascinating when you are, you know, part of a church and you’re able to be open about this and find acceptance, and, you know, they’re they’re not, you know, being judgmental, or whatever, because that is kind of the opposite of, I think what we assume, right? I should say not, you know, what we assume about, you know, about organized religion…

Tracy
That’s one thing, I love that Tony, he’s a lapsed Catholic, you know, he grew up, you know, always at church, and that, and he, because of the password with the girlfriend, yeah, he’s left the church, but like, when the timer is counting down on the dirty bomb, I find He’s like, it’s good thing. I don’t have to go find a priest to confess to because I got a whole lot to confess and sorry, but yeah, I was I had, I’ve had people say, Well, why don’t you write inspirational, and part of it is, as the market, you know, is limited, because as a Christian, you know, I have more in the past read a lot of Christian fiction. But, you know, you tell other people about the books, and if they’re not Christians, they’re not gonna read it. So it bronze market, but I feel like I have a better reach to show that, you know, hey, you know, some people have this preconceived notions that, you know, Christians aren’t fun, that they’re all uptight, you know. And that’s, like, that’s not always the case. You know, I can have a reach and show that, you know, hey, we’re just normal people. You know, we screw up, we make mistakes, we have to live with the consequences. But, you know, that grace, you know, that’s what it’s all about. And I wish there was a lot more the culture now, you know, just no Grace? No, we’re not perfect. We’re all gonna make mistakes, that rather than go looking for those, why don’t you look at as an opportunity to show grace and kindness to your fellow humans? And yeah, so.

Elle
Yeah. And also ourselves. Yeah. So, um, thank you so much. This was awesome. Thank you having you. I appreciate this. So when is when can we expect the romantic comedy?

Tracy
That’s a good question. I’ve finished the draft but I’m, I’ve got it out to some beta readers right now, in there’s going back to doing some sensitivity reads I have, the heroine has a special needs sibling. And I’ve sent that out scene out to some friends, that their kids actually make an appearance in the book, and they’ve all been received very, very well. So it’s a comedy, but there’s some really poignant moments in there. And, and I’m waiting to see cuz I’m debating sending this out to query to agents and, and if that guy, if we go that route, that that delays things. And I don’t know, if I want to do that I’ve got a lot of friends that are traditionally published that, you know, all I hear is complaining about, you know, deadlines and covers and lack of publicity. And I’m like, do I want to go that route? I mean, yeah, there’s there could be more money, but I might be leaving money on the table. I think this book is gonna be great. And so I’m just kind of debating, but I may query two or three agents or, you know, a handful on and see if there’s a market but if I don’t get a, you know, a really sweet traditional print deal, then, you know, you know, I have really, you know, have figured this out. And that’s so that all kind of depends. I will get the feedback hopefully make a decision as whether to query in the next month or so, and If I if I decide to self publish it, you know it well even if I query I’m going to say, you know, you can put this out but I’m not waiting six months or a year to get feedback and you know, get past this is, you’re either going to jump on it, or I’m going to move on with self publishing it. So that may you know, if any edit agents are listening to this. But anyway, you know, I just don’t know I do you know, if I want to get a good bit of the second book with John’s book written and I’ve kind of started that and I’m going to try and do a lot of writing kind of a mini nano in April and get at least 25,000 words down a net so that we can move on so I don’t know when the romantic comedy will be out there as my final answer.

Elle
Well, where can readers find you on the internet?

Tracy
Where are you most I am most active on Facebook. I’m Tracy Brody books at Instagram and Twitter and I’m I mostly post pictures of flowers on Instagram because

Elle
We love that that’s what we need. We need more.

Tracy
I take my camera with me when I go walk as I count my steps with that, and I just I love flowers and stuff like that, and I’ll promote books and things like that, but I’m on Twitter I hate Twitter or Twitter, you know? So I don’t post mostly anymore You know, yeah, I’m gonna stuff and then my I have my web page but but Tracy Brody on Facebook, I have the page and the profile but me and my suddenly my, you know, just profile I’m very active there because I’m constantly playing games and stuff. So and, and I’m not an introvert. So, um, you know, if you read my stuff, and you email me or post a message, I will respond to you, that’ll be me. And you know, very, I like connecting with readers. And you know, getting this little pat on the back that Oh, I love this. I love that. Yes.

Elle
That does feel good. It does feel good. And we need those. The care and feeding of authors is actually very important.

Tracy
We don’t get a whole lot usually.

Elle
No, and we and we really don’t hear a lot of love.

Tracy
And they’ve been very kind none of them made me cry yet. And you know, it’s thick skin after doing this for years, but

Elle
And I’ll have all the links to all these various places in the show notes. So Tracy, thank you so much for being

Tracy
on thank you for doing it. And I hope that listeners enjoyed this and check out my Bad Karma books and follow me like if they do subscribe my newsletter and like I said they can get the Undercover Angel, Tony and Angela’s backstory for free and see that yeah, I can write you know. So it’s fun and there’s no sex on that one. But you know, there’s a lot of action.

Elle
Well, that’s actually sometimes the best. Tracy, thank you so much.

Tracy
Thanks, Elleand y’all have a great day.