Friday, August 21, 2009

Petit Fours and Hot Tamales Welcomes Debut Author, Jessica Lee

Petit Fours and Hot Tamales is excited to welcome debut author, Jessica Lee, whose first novel, an erotic paranormal, DESIRE TO DIE FOR, was just released by Loose-Id. Jessica Lee lives in the southeastern USA with her husband and son. She loves writing, and can’t wait for that quiet time each day when her son is in school and she can get lost in another place and world with the fantastical, sexy creatures in her head. She’s a member of Romance Writers of America, FF&P, Carolina Romance Writers and Passionate Ink.

By Jessica Lee

Snap, Crackle, KaPow!! That’s what I love to feel between my hero and heroine when they collide. Like fireworks sparking and exploding between them. Isn’t that what you’re looking forward to when you pick up that romance novel or download it from your favorite ePublisher? I know I am. Their chemistry and the sexual tension is what makes it so good.

The sizzle of sexual tension between your protagonists is not always easy to create and to keep flowing, burning up the pages. But man, as a reader, you miss when it isn’t there. I’m a big fan of romance, and It’s that connection between the couple, at the big bang level, that keeps me coming back for more.

Karen Marie Moning is an author I personally feel who does an exceptional job creating sexual tension between her hero and heroine that sizzles. Her Highlander series, from cover to cover, is filled with chemistry that’s heats up the pages. Her work has truly been an inspiration to me.

Then of course, there is Lora Leigh. Love her. Talk about animal magnetism and sizzle. If you haven’t read her Breed series, and you’re in the mood for a little tension and spice, you’ve come to the right place.

When creating that spark of chemistry between my hero and heroine and to keep it on the page, there are three things, or an ABC rule, that I have to keep in mind.

A.The immediate reference I have on hand is the Twelve Steps of Intimacy. The research of Dr. Desmond Morris, a behavioral scientist, documented these twelve steps and theorized that there is a sequence of events that must be followed in order for a couple to properly bond. it’s an invaluable tool to keep on hand when you’re introducing your couple and as their romance builds.

1)Eye to Body : This step is almost insignificant. All it means is that one person has seen another. This stage usually passes quickly.
2)Eye to Eye : This is the stage of eye contact. Each person knows the other has seen them, and this may be the beginning of flirting.
3)Voice to Voice : In this stage, the couple begins to talk to each other. Can be one sided, or a dialogue.
4)Hand to Hand: This stage is holding hands. This is when the relationship begins to deepen from simple friendship.
5)Arm to Shoulder: Putting the arm around the shoulder of the other person signifies a deepening closeness and intimacy. When holding hands there still is often some space between the partners, but in the Arm to shoulder stage closeness is practically intrinsic.
6)Arm to Waist: The arm to waist stage is indicative of a growing familiarity and comfort level in the relationship.
7)Mouth to Mouth : This is the stage when the couple begins kissing.
8)Hand to Head : Touching other people's heads is highly intimate, partially because so many vital senses are concentrated in the head. This is a sign of deepening trust to allow someone else to touch your head.
9)Hand to Body : This is the stage where foreplay begins.
10)Mouth to Breast : Foreplay continues, obviously.
11)Hand to Genitals
12)Sexual Intercourse

Dr. Morris’s list can easily be found online. I located a copy to include here at

B.Consists of some wonderful advice I learned from Madeline Hunter in a workshop she presented to my chapter back in 2008. She stated that you have to keep your characters apart even as they’re getting together. Sounds simple enough, but it takes work and some careful story planning.

C.Involves merging A with B. Your couple’s attraction and the intimacy that you’ve built through the twelve steps, is the pull that makes them unable to resist coming back for more. But the conflict you’ve placed them in is the push that keeps them apart.

Making sure that conflict is strong enough to carry throughout the story, even though the relationship may have been consummated many times, is vital to keeping the kind of sexual tension that’s palpable until you write, The End.

My debut novel, Desire to Die For is available now at Loose Id. If sexy, tortured alpha male vampires are what you yearn for, then the Warriors of the Enclave have been waiting for you.


What characters have you found that spark the sizzle within you?
Leave a comment and I’ll pick one lucky winner at the end of the day to receive a $10gift certificate to Loose-Id!

Jessica Lee


Tammy Schubert said...

Suzanne Brockman does a great job with her characters.

You are right about when sexual tension isn't there readers miss it. I just read a book by a well-known series author that I thought would be wonderful. Unfortunately, there was no sexual tension, and it made the romance unbelievable. If that element had been there, this book would have rocked.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Morning, Jessica! I have already ready Desire to Die For and it was great. The Warriors of the Enclave look to be very promising characters for a series. Are you writing more of them?

Although I don't write erotic, my characters do have love scenes and I think that Dr. Morris's list applies. Thanks for sharing it.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Oh, and I love the book trailer!

Nicki Salcedo said...

I love the book trailer, too. Matt did a great job on it! A good Alpha hero shows up in any kind of romance novel. My favorite heroes are extremely powerful and also very restrained. The more tension the more I like it.

Jessica, thanks for the great resources and stopping by!

Sandy Elzie said...


First, congrats on your debut novel, it looks to be a huge winner. (The trailer sucked me into wanting to read it and I don't usually read vampires!)

I agree with Tammy, if the sexual tension isn't there, the story falls flat. Thanks for the reminder for us to watch that point.


Maxine Davis said...


Thank you for stopping by PF&HT, and a huge congratulations on your book publication.

I really appreciated the 12 tips. Desire to Die For sounds fantastic and I look forward to reading it.

Sally Kilpatrick said...

Thanks for stopping by and Congrats on your first novel. I really liked the hint on the Morris site, and I'll amble over there soon.

As for characters with sizzle, I'm constantly reminded of TV and movie characters--one of my favorites is Angel from the Buffy series, so I'll have to go check out your vampires, too!

C. A. B. said...

Like you I love Lora Leigh's Breed series. I also like the chemistry between the Shelly Laurenston's characters and the best part is that I know I will be laughing while I enjoy their chemistry together.

Chris R

CiCi Barnes said...

Thanks for stopping by and congratulations on your new book. Sounds wonderful.

Great info for the ABC's of Sexual Chemistry for H/H. Thanks for sharing. We writers can use all the help we can get.

I just finished a trilogy by Susan Mallery, who demonstrated great chemistry between the H/H while keeping them apart until the end.

Enjoyed your post.


Jessica Lee said...

Wow, thanks for coming out so early this morning, guys and posting such great comments!

Tammy -- Thanks for commenting!Suzanne Brockman, I've heard such great things about her books, I can't wait to read the one that's been in my TBR pile forever. That stack is getting so large. *sigh*
Yes, sexual tension, along with a good plot, is what keeps me turning the pages. Lose one or the other and well, you've lost me.

Debbie -- I LOVE the trailer Matt did for me too!
Yay! thanks, I'm so glad you liked the book.:) And yes, I do have more planned in that world. In fact, I'm almost done with book two.
I believe that also, you don't have to write graphic sex to utilize the twelve steps. I think they're an integral part of any developing romance novel from sweet to erotic.

Nicki -- Thanks for commenting! I'm with you, bring on the tension!! And thanks on the trailer, Matt is SO talented.

Sandy -- Whoo-hoo! Thank you, I'm so glad the video sucked you in. LOL Come on, fall in love with a vampire. It's the latest hip thing to do, you know. *grin*

Maxine -- Thanks a bunch, PF&HT has a gorgeous blog, and it is my pleasure to be here. If you get a chance to do so, I really hope you enjoy reading DTDF!

Sally -- Oooh, Buffy the Vampire Hunter. You know, I never got to see a whole season of that show, but I did see a few episodes and it was GOOD.
If you're interested in checking out an excerpt, there are two available from DTDF. One at my website, and one at Loose Id's site. Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment!

Marilyn Baron said...

Suzanne Brockmann is also one of my favorites. I just read her latest novel, "Hot Pursuit," and loved it. I also like Karen Marie Moning's Highlander Series.

Your "12 Steps of Intimacy," was very helpful and I really enjoyed your post.

Congratulations on your new book and thank you so much for blogging with us today.

Marilyn Baron

BrennaLyons said...

I find several types of chemistry going, because I write paranormal as well as human characters.

Of course, that immediate human sizzle is nice. I was attracted to my husband before either of us opened our eye to body and eye to eye stage. That was all it took, more or less.

But it's even more pressing with paranormal or alien characters, because the idea of pheromones may be exaggerated, and there may be other instincts at play. There may even be non-human morality having to do with sex and marriage. One of the reasons I love writing spec fic...the larger than life responses of the characters.

Good topic!


Carol Burnside said...

Hi, Jessica. It's great having you here today. Congrats on your first release!

One couple that keeps the spark and sizzle in their relationship is Eve and Roarke from JD Robb's In Death series. There must be close to 30 books in that series now, yet the sizzle continues. Wow.

(another PFHT blog sister)

Jessica Lee said...

Hi CiCi -- I've heard about Susan Mallory's work before. I need to pick up one of her books. Thank you for the congrats and especially for stopping by!

Chris -- Humor is a fantastic element, especially when you have ST so hot your hands are sweating. A nice laugh gives your heart and your hormones a little break. LOL

Marily -- KMM does amazing work with ST! Have you read any of her Fever series yet? The chemistry for me between the protags are smoking.
Thanks so much for the congrats!

Brenna -- Excellent points, Brenna!
That is one of the reasons I love writing paranormal worlds. It opens up your imagination to infinite possibilities that allow you to manipulate the physical and psych. responses between your characters. Ones that may never have ocurred in the human realm. Love that stuff :)

Jessica Lee said...

Hi Carol! I have heard a LOT about that series. One of my RWA chapter friends adores those two characters. Thanks for mentioning them, and thanks so much for allowing me to guest blog here today. It's a beautiful spot!

Linsey Lanier said...

Thanks for the lesson, Jessica. Some great advice. This post is going in my Keeper file!


Jessica Lee said...

Thanks, Linsey! I'm so glad the information was useful. :)

Cyrano said...

Hello Jessica,
I loved the trailer and can't wait to read the book!
I also got alot out of your post. I've heard of the 12 steps of intimacy, but never saw them in print. They, of course, make a lot of sense now that I see them spelled out, and I plan on utilizing them in my novels.
Now, whenever I'm asked to think of a book or characters that stand out in my mind I always, always recall Jude Deveraux's novel, Remeberence. The book contains a story within a story and the doomed characters, Callie and Talis take my breath away with their bitter-sweet love story. It's the first and only romance I have ever cried over while reading. Emotion is sooo important to me in a story. I need to feel for these people I'm reading about and Ms. Deveraux does that so effortlessly.
I hope to be a fraction of that good one day. I also hope to bring, "Snap Crackle and KaPow!!" as you called it, to my novels. If I can do that, and inject heart rending emotion, I might yet reach my goal of publication.
Thanks so much for visiting us today.
Have a lovely afternoon,

Tami Brothers said...

Wow!!! I LOVE that trailer. Fabulous job!!!

One of my favorites is Karen Marie Moning. I can't get enough of her highlander series. In fact, I might just have to pull them and read them again.

Thanks you for these awesome tips. I am definitely taking notes. (and headed out to find your book - I agree that trailer sucked me right in!)


Jessica Lee said...

Congratulations to Carol Burnside!! She is the lucky winner of the Loose Id gift certificate. Hope you enjoy, Carol!
Tamara, Thanks for stopping by as well. I've heard Jude Deveraux is a fantastic author. And I'm sure your work's going to Snap, Cracke and Kapow! LOL

Tami, Thanks so much about the trailer. I was SO happy with it.
Isn't KMM wonderful! I just finished Dreamfever last night, and I'm going to go out of mind until the next installment and I find out what happens! LOL
And YAY, if you do get DTDF I really hope you enjoy the world of the Enclave. :)

Thanks again, PF&HT! You guys were so great, and I had a blast talking to all of you and your readers. You have a wonderful blog, and I really appreciate the opportunity to spend a little time here.

All my best,