Guest Jennifer Estep (with giveaway)

Congratulations to ArkansasCyndi, aka known as Jennifer Fan-Girl! Cyndi, our handy new toy at Magical chose your name to receive a copy of Tangled Threads.

I’m happy to welcome the fabulous Jennifer Estep, one of our favorite guests. A full-time author, she prowls the streets of her imagination in search of her next fantasy idea. The fourth book of her Elemental Assassin series, Tangled Threads, has already gotten rave reviews, including a Romantic Times Book Reviews 4 1/2-star Top Pick. Jennifer is giving away a copy of Tangled Threads to one lucky commenter from the US or Canada. I’ll announce the winner here tomorrow morning.

Greetings and salutations! First of all, I want to say thanks to Edie and the rest of the folks here at Magical Musings for having me here on the blog. Thanks so much, ladies! šŸ˜‰

So today, Edie asked me to talk a little bit about sex scenes and the heat levels in my books. Now, the heat level in my Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series is pretty high. The books are dark, gritty, and violent since Iā€™m writing about an assassin, and I usually have at least one fairly steamy sex scene per book.

However, I also write young adult books, and for my Mythos Academy young adult urban fantasy series, the heat level is toned way down, along with the language and violence. I talk about kids having sex (as well as drinking and smoking), but my heroine doesnā€™t even get kissed in the first book, Touch of Frost. Of course, that changes in book two, especially since the title of the book is Kiss of Frost. LOL.

Whether Iā€™m writing adult or young adult books, I have to admit that sex scenes arenā€™t my favorite things to write. Iā€™d much rather write a fight scene than a sex scene. LOL. Magic, world building, fights scenes, car chases. All of those things usually come pretty easily to me when Iā€™m writing ā€“ but not the sex scenes.

Why not? Iā€™m not quite sure. I guess I feel like sex scenes just arenā€™t one of my strengths as a writer and that so many other authors write sex scenes that are so much better than mine. Sometimes, I also feel like everythingā€™s already been done before in sex scenes in other books. Then again, the same could be said of anything that I or someone else writes ā€“ everything under the sun has already been done before in some way, shape, or form.

Still, I try to come up with the most creative sex scenes that I can ā€“ ones that fit the characters and the tone of the story and really make the readers feel all the passion and emotions that my characters do. Thatā€™s all I can do as a writer ā€“ try, try, and try again, and hope that readers like what I come up with.

What about you guys? How much heat do you like in your books? For all you writers out there, do you struggle to write sex scenes?

Jennifer writes the EleĀ­menĀ­tal AssasĀ­sin urban fanĀ­tasy series for Pocket Books.Ā The books focus on Gin Blanco, an assasĀ­sin codeĀ­named the SpiĀ­der who can conĀ­trol the eleĀ­ments of Ice and Stone. When sheā€™s not busy killing peoĀ­ple and rightĀ­ing wrongs, Gin runs a barĀ­beĀ­cue restauĀ­rant called the Pork Pit in the ficĀ­tional SouthĀ­ern metropĀ­oĀ­lis of AshĀ­land. The city is also home to giants, dwarves, vamĀ­pires, and eleĀ­menĀ­tals ā€“ Air, Fire, Ice, andĀ Stone.

Books in the series areĀ Spiderā€™s Bite,Ā Web of Lies,Ā and Venom.Ā TanĀ­gled Threads, the fourth book, was pubĀ­lished on April 26, while Spiderā€™s Revenge, the fifth book, will be released in OctoĀ­ber.

Jennifer also writes the Mythos AcadĀ­emy young adult urban fanĀ­tasy series for KensĀ­ingĀ­ton. The books focus on Gwen Frost, a 17-year-old Gypsy girlĀ who has the gift of psyĀ­chomĀ­eĀ­try, or the abilĀ­ity to know an objectā€™s hisĀ­tory just by touchĀ­ing it. After a seriĀ­ous freak-out with her magic, Gwen is shipped off to Mythos AcadĀ­emy, a school for the descenĀ­dants of ancient warĀ­riors like SparĀ­tans, Valkyries, AmaĀ­zons, andĀ more.

The first book, Touch of Frost, will be out in August, while the secĀ­ond book, Kiss of Frost, will hit shelves in DecemĀ­ber. First Frost, a prequel e-short story to the series, will be out in July. Visit for excerpts and more.

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25 Responses to Guest Jennifer Estep (with giveaway)

  1. Edie Ramer says:

    Jennifer, thanks for being our guest today! After reading the ARC of Touch of Frost, I’m already eager to read Kiss of Frost and see what happens with the kiss.

    Unless the sex scene comes organically from the plot or the characters, I’d prefer not to have it. When the sex scene seems to be stuck in just to have a sex scene, I don’t want to read it. Like any other scene in the book, the sex scene has to matter.

  2. Edie — Thanks for having me back on the blog. I appreciate it. Glad you are looking forward to Kiss of Frost, but since it’s YA, it’s just a kiss in that one. LOL.

    I agree. The sex scene needs to matter — it needs to make the characters think about their relationship and move the plot forward and do about a hundred other things too. That’s why I think they are so hard to write — you need to do so much with them.

    • Edie Ramer says:

      Yes, but a kiss between Gwen and Logan “Freaking” Quinn will mean more than most sex scenes. I can’t say why here. People will have to read the books to find out why. šŸ˜ˆ

  3. Berinn Rae says:

    I can’t wait to read Tangled Threads (pick me! pick me!). It sounds great, and the cover rocks. As for sex scenes, I can handle about anything as long as that’s not all there is for a story (e.g., erotica). I need my relationship and HEA/HFN in there. From a writing perspective, I find them fun to write and often easier than most other scenes. Do I have a dirty mind then? Meh. Maybe. šŸ™‚

  4. Berinn — Cool. Glad the book sounds interesting. And I need my HEAs and HFNs in a book too, no matter what genre it’s in.

  5. Jennifer, your stories sound wonderful. As for my sex scenes, I tend to make them more cerebral than physical. I still have the anatomy in here, but it’s mostly about the sensations. I once had a friend’s hubby ask my friend this after she read him the sex scene. “Do you think she knows all that?” Truthfully, I love writing sexual tension way better.

    I have to admit loving to write raunchy villain sex, though. There’s something about getting in character with it.

    And pick me over Berinn Rae!!

  6. Jill says:

    While occasional sex scenes are fine with me, I think I am easily embarrassed and sometimes skip over parts of them. I agree that I like it when the add to the story and aren’t just there to be there. I imagine they must be somewhat difficult to write!

  7. Liz — I like writing sexual tension better than the actual sex scenes too. Sometimes, I think the buildup is more interesting than the payoff, so to speak. Raunchy villain sex? That sounds interesting. I can see how that would be more fun to write.

    Jill — They are very difficult to write. I always wonder everything from which words to use for various parts to whether I’m being romantic or just cheesy with my writing. I’d much rather write fight scenes than sex scenes. LOL.

  8. Jennifer Fan-Girl here! šŸ™‚ (pick me)

    The amount of heat in a book depends on the the characters. Some characters demand a sexier scene, heavier, grittier sex scene. Others want to hold hands and kiss (which is fine.) I don’t like when the author forces the characters into sexual situations that doesn’t feel natural to the story. I’m sure we’re all read books like that.

    But not a Jennifer Estep book!

  9. Cyndi — Cool. Glad you are enjoying my books. šŸ˜Ž

    I agree. You always want to have the appropriate heat level for your story. Sometimes, it is jarring to read what you think is a sweet romance and then have a detailed sex scene — or vice versa.

  10. Linda Henderson says:

    I enjoy a lot of heat in books, but I also read some YA so I can enjoy either. I’ve really enjoyed this series and I can’t wait to read Tangled Threads.

  11. Linda — Cool. Hope you enjoy Tangled Threads. I agree. Sometimes, I’m the mood for a really steamy romance, and sometimes, I want something on the lighter side. I’ve been on a bit of a YA reading kick. Right now, I’m reading Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins.

  12. Dale Mayer says:

    Hi Jennifer, my daughter just looked up your YA series, disappointed to see it would still be awhile. We live in a world of such instant gratification!

    For me sex scenes need to come from the characters, with the sensuality growing organically from their interaction and growth. I don’t write erotica for that reason.

    Congrats on your success.

  13. Dale — Yep, Touch of Frost won’t be out until July 26, although there will be an e-story — First Frost — that should be out on July 1. Anyway, I hope she enjoys the books when they come out.

    I agree. The sex scenes definitely need to match the characters and the characters’ feelings.

  14. Cathy M says:

    I actually appreciate a lot of heat in my romance stories. While I know UF tends to have less of a romantic component, I love how you’ve balanced it in your Elemental Assassin series, and can’t wait to get caught up on Gin’s latest adventures.

    caity_mack at yahoo dot com

  15. Cathy — Glad you like the romance in the Elemental Assassin books. I like books with a little bit of everything in them, and I try to balance all the magic, action, fight scenes, and romance in my own books. It’s a hard thing to do sometimes, but I give it my best shot.

  16. Liz Kreger says:

    Hey, Jennifer. Thanx for joining us here at MM. Always fun having you do a guest blog.

    For anyone interested, I posted a review for “Tangled Threads” here at MM on Saturday, April 30th. Talk about timing. It’s a terrific book.

    Anyway, I like my sex scenes a bit steamy but not excessive … i.e. erotica. Not my cup of tea. I once read a book (by an author that I absolutely love – naming no names) in which the first 90 pages was bondage sex. Yuk. Fortunately, I stuck it out and the book turned out to be really good. I was totally put off by the excessive sex.

    When I write, I try for sexual tension or something a bit out of the norm. When I read a sex scene, I tend to skim a bit.

  17. Amy says:

    I really do enjoy all heat levels of books, ranging from young adult/clean romance to erotica. As long as the story is good, any heat is just icing on the cake :).

  18. Liz — Thanks! I appreciate that. And thanks for the review. I’m glad that you enjoyed Tangled Threads. šŸ˜Ž

    I think sexual tension is also a hard thing to write. Maybe even harder than an actual sex scene because you have to show that two characters are into each other but not have them seal the deal.

    Amy — That’s true. The overall story has to be good first, then everything else follows from that.

  19. Cynthia Eden says:

    Hi, Jennifer! Thanks for being here today! Sex scenes are definitely the hardest part of the book for me to write. The easiest are the fight scenes–give me some violence!

    Congrats on the RT Top Pick!

  20. Donna S says:

    Thanks for sharing today. I love this series and am looking forward to Tangled Threads. Congrats on the release!!

  21. Lovely to see you here again, Jennifer! I find sex scenes incredibly hard to write. To keep them fresh, and out of clichƩ territory is hard.

  22. Cynthia — Thanks! I appreciate that. Oh, yes. I love writing fight scenes too. But I always struggle when it comes to the sex scenes …

    Donna — Thanks! I hope you enjoy the book.

    Michelle — Thanks! I appreciate that. And yes, it’s very hard to write a sex scene that isn’t cliche.

  23. Misty Evans says:

    Jennifer, I’m a huge fan of your Elemental Assassin series. I haven’t tried your YA yet, but I will! Congrats on the new release and best wishes for continued success!

  24. Misty — Thanks! I appreciate that, and I hope you enjoy the YA series too.

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