Harlan Sharp has lived in a small, religious community his entire life, but that doesn’t mean he’s anything like them. He’s always known he was different, but quickly learned from a very young age that different is bad. Different is how people get hurt, that and trusting others.
He wears dark clothes, paints his nails black, outlines his eyes in liner, and does everything he can to keep the other kids away. His only friend is Cadeon, and he plans to keep that way. He keeps his heart behind a wall and his secrets close to his chest.
The other kids at school seem to think he’s a Satan Worshipper, but that’s far from the truth. Harlan stopped believing in God when a traumatic experience from his childhood left him scared and angry at the world.
He is just trying to survive senior year so he can move out of his shitty town and finally get away from the memories that haunt him. It’s not like anyone would notice his absence. His own mother ignores his very existence and his father fucked off long ago. He goes to bed hungry and alone more often than not.
I am so incredibly excited to announce the release of this book and reveal the cover here on my blog! I plan to write another blog soon with how this series came about. Thank you so much for your continuous support.
Luka Thomas has been raised in a God fearing family who never misses a church service. When they move to the Bible Belt right before his senior year of high school, he knows he’ll blend right in. Sort of. He’s just always been the “play now, beg God for forgiveness later” sort of Christian. He’s young, entitled to make mistakes. Being gay is a sin, so he’s not gay. He’s just a guy with an itch to scratch. After college, he plans to marry a woman, settle down, have children and beg God for forgiveness for the sins of his youth. It’s a solid plan. God is a merciful deity. Right?
Then he meets Harlan Sharp and begins to question everything he knew to be true.
Harlan stopped believing in a higher power when an event in his past left him questioning everything and angry at the world. He’s just trying to get through his final year of high school the same way he’s gotten through all of the previous years: by laying low and not making a scene. His well laid plans change when the new kid at school seems to have developed a fascination with him.
Telling Luka he’s an atheist doesn’t seem to deter him nor does blatantly ignoring all of Luka’s attempts at conversation. Luck isn’t on Harlan’s side in this at all since they have almost every class together and always seem to bump into each other, even outside of school. Luka has even managed to somehow weasel his way into Harlan’s very exclusive friend group. It’s as if the God Harlan doesn’t believe in is laughing at him.
The Take me to Church Series is a real depiction of falling in love in high school as a gay teen amidst the rampant homophobia of the south and the mental health issues many people face. It’s explicit in the ways that life is. It’s raw, beautiful and real. Readers will scream in anger and cry in pain but also laugh in joy and healing as they grow with these characters.
The book has a tentative release date of March 23, 2021. Follow me on my social medias below, so you don’t miss any updates on pre-ordering your very own copy. You can also subscribe to my newsletter on the homepage of this website!
First I would like to start with a disclaimer. This blog post is going to be 18+. It will contain adult content and somewhat explicit words/imagery. If this makes you uncomfortable in any way, please do not proceed. You can check out my other blogs, they are a bit more tame, yet informative.
Also note that I primarily write mlm romance, but a lot of these suggestions work for all romance genres. I’ve written a variety of different types of pairings including mlm, flf, heterosexual, and threesomes. I have also written many different sexual situations and scenes including BDSM. That is a topic for a different day, though. If you would like to see a blog post about BDSM smut specifically, leave a like or come visit me on any of my social media platforms!
I think it goes without saying that the amount of detail you put into your smut scenes is up to you and your target audience. If it’s erotica, I think a lot of detail is called for. I personally like a lot of detail anyway, but some people prefer to just focus on the emotional aspect rather than the physical. If you are one of those people, then that is perfectly fine and acceptable.
Keep in mind that writing smut is like choreographing a dance. I am not a dancer, but to me it is a similar concept. Smut is all about movement, knowing where the bodies are, how the limbs are moving, and the feeling you get from it. It’s about movements and shapes. The beat of their hearts serves at the rhythm for their bodies. It’s a dance between two people but they aren’t always doing the same steps or even listening to the same song.
Map The Scene
I know I say something like this in every single blog post, but it’s important to have a plan. I’m not saying you should know every detail, but I find it really helps me if I have a general idea of what is going to happen and sometimes why it needs to happen. This could be something as simple as knowing which positions I want them in while writing the scene.
This isn’t always necessary, depending on the type of the smut that you’re writing. If you are just going for erotica, then it may not actually matter why, but if you’re writing a romance novel with a plot and character development, then the why will matter. Are they hate fucking? Is it make up sex? Is it the couple’s first time? Is one of them a virgin? Does one of them need to be comforted? If so, how does that change their dynamic in the scene?
The Five Senses
This is important when writing anything really, but it is especially important while writing smut. Don’t forget to use every sense. Do their lips taste sweet like vanilla or minty like toothpaste? Does their heartbeat sound erratic? Does their skin feel sweaty? Does their hair look messy or disheveled? Does the bed smell like them or does the room just smell like sex?
This one sounds kind of ridiculous, but you have no idea how many times I’ve been reading a smut scene and suddenly they are both naked, but I have no idea how it happened. Don’t forget that they are probably wearing clothes in the beginning of the scene, even if it’s just underwear. If they are both fully dressed, don’t forget about the little things like socks and shoes. Those things don’t just disappear. It could be just something as easy as adding a line about how they both got fully undressed.
Very similar to clothes, as a writer, you cannot forget about their surroundings. Are they in a bedroom? Are the lights off? Did they need to turn them on? Are they in the bathroom of a nightclub? Describe these things. If they are in the bathroom of a night club, then things may be rushed, and you’ll have to describe things like the dull thud of the music. If they are in a bedroom, they can take their time. Does one of them have a condom? Are they using a condom? If not, has it already been established why? If you’re writing mlm, where is the lube? Do they have it in the drawer or in a packet in their pocket? If the writer forgets these things, it can be jarring for the reader. A condom doesn’t just suddenly appear on a cock. All it takes is a sentence to eliminate confusion.
This could be both physical and emotional. If one of the people in the scene is a virgin, it may be painful for them at first. This experience is new for them, so you have to try to describe it from the point of view of someone who hasn’t ever had these experiences before. As far as emotional feelings go, that depends on where you are in the story and what was happening before the scene takes place. Just keep in mind where your characters are mentally as well as physically.
I love dirty talk, but write it only if you’re comfortable doing so. I think dirty talk makes the scene so much hotter, but I also try to keep it in character. If one of your characters is a virgin, then they may not dirty talk as much because they aren’t comfortable. Writing their reaction as the other person dirty talks is always fun though.
Don’t Rush It
Ultimately, it’s your choice on how detailed, long, and graphic you want the smut scene to be, but I prefer mine not to be rushed. I don’t think you should spend 15,000 words droning on and on about how his cock is throbbing, but don’t be afraid to write good, detailed smut scenes, especially if it is meant to be an emotional one. It’s not just about the physical act, but the emotional one as well. Yes, sometimes smut is just smut, but sometimes it needs to be more. Rushing it can take away from what sex is supposed to be: a connection with another person.
Well that’s all I have for today. I could probably come up with more, but this is the foundation. If you would like, in future blogs, I can write tips for smut in different categories like public sex, quick and dirty, BDSM, long and loving, etc. I want to write what you think is helpful as a writer yourself. If you have any suggestions, you can email me or contact me on any of my social media platforms listed below!
Music has always been a huge inspiration for me even though I wouldn’t consider myself an auditory person. For me, it’s the lyrical content that I find the most inspiration in. Each of my books has a playlist associated with them. In this post, I will discuss the songs that inspired my debut book Cool for the Summer. You will be able to find these playlist on both Spotify and Youtube. I will not talk about every single song on the playlist in this blog post, but the ones that really resonated with me.
Cool for the Summer- Demi Lovato
Lyrics: Take me down into your paradise Don’t be scared ’cause I’m your body type Just something that we wanna try ‘Cause you and I We’re cool for the summer
Of course this one is on the playlist! It ended up being the book title, after all. I explained how this came to be in my previous blog post The birth of my first book.
Here Comes the Weekend- P!nk
Lyrics: Drink some pink champagne I don’t know you yet But we’ll forget So, fuck what they say Let the rum flow until it rains
I’ve always been a huge fan of P!nk, so I knew I wanted one of her songs as inspiration in my first book. This song summed up how it feels to be at the end of the semester and have your whole summer break ahead of you. The freedom.
Lyrics: I did it all to break every single preconceived notion that you have I did it all to shake every single one of your emotions and just to make you Uncomfortable
This song is very much from Xander’s point of view, and the concept of sometimes enjoying making others feel uncomfortable. I don’t think being uncomfortable is always a bad thing. Sometimes, in order to break outside of your preconceived notions, you have to pushed from your comfort zone. That’s what this song is about. Xander’s blatant flirting with Gabriel made Gabriel feel uncomfortable in the best kind of way.
Lyrics: Everything is gray His hair, his smoke, his dreams And now he so devoid of color He don’t know what it means And he’s blue
There was something about this song that seemed so fucking perfect for this chapter, and I’m not exactly sure what it is. I think it’s the idea that when you’re upset, you kind of start seeing the world in blues and grays. They were both struggling in this chapter.
Hungry Eyes- Eric Carmen
Lyrics: With these hungry eyes One look at you and I can’t disguise I’ve got hungry eyes I feel the magic between you and I
This is a very obvious nod to the most classic movie about a summer romance, Dirty Dancing. When I was writing this chapter, this is the only song that was playing through my head. I was just perfect. It really summed up that summer feeling of falling in love for the first time. The innocence. This chapter was huge in the development of their relationship, so I felt this song fit for that reason.
Talk Fast- 5 Seconds of Summer
Lyrics: Leave all of your indecisions with you at home Don’t say you’re doing me a favor Why so complicated, won’t you throw me a bone? I want your love in every flavor
5 Seconds of Summer is probably my favorite band of all time, so they needed to be in this playlist somewhere. I remember being obsessed with their album, Youngblood, which featured this song. It’s the epitome of a summer fling song for me. The push and pull of being in a confusing relationship with no solid ground beneath your feet. There is a begging quality to this song. Like they are begging to be given a chance or maybe just some clarity, but they will take the night.
Let’s See What the Night Can Do- Jason Mraz
Lyrics: I wanna get lost with you And hide out, out under the light of the moon I wanna get lost with you And see what it’s like to spend the whole night With you, just you You, just you
This is probably one of my favorite chapters of the entire book. This song is almost whimsical, for me. Like living in a dream. Getting lost with the person you may or may not be falling for and just taking that night to forget all your worries. This is the chapter where Gabriel gives into his feelings for Xander and takes the first real step in solidifying their relationship. Of course, he doesn’t say that.
1950- King Princess
Lyrics: So tell me why my gods look like you Tell me why it’s wrong So I’ll wait for you, I’ll pray I will keep on waiting for your love
I really felt this song summed up where Xander’s headspace is in this chapter. He knows that Gabriel loves him, but he also knows that Gabriel isn’t ready to admit it out loud yet. He is willing to wait, though. He is going to be patient for Gabriel. There is also another line that really stands out ‘I love it when we play 1950’ which is very clearly a nod to the years where gay romances weren’t accepted in society, so a lot of times gay people were forced to hide their love from the world. This is the first time in the book where they really hid their relationship from the people around them.
Delicate- Janet Devlin
Lyrics: The closer I get to your paper heart; And the tighter I hold on Gently covered in paper cuts; I’m more stubborn than some You’re like the first day of winter; Everyday day of the year ‘Cause you’re too scared to let me in; Never close only near I’m just delicate, just a little more delicate than you
The title of this song really summed up the entire chapter. I wanted this chapter to feel like everything was somewhat hanging in the balance, and there is a ticking clock over the reader’s head. Gabriel also decided he was going to start pulling away in this chapter, but we all know how stubborn Xander can be.
Eavesdrop- The Civil Wars
Lyrics: Oh, don’t say that it’s over Oh, no, say it ain’t so Let the stars watch, let them stare Let the wind eavesdrop, I don’t care For all that we’ve got, don’t let go Just hold me
This is a devastatingly beautiful song. It’s giving yourself over to someone even though you know you plan to leave. It’s pretending that you’re not and allowing them to comfort you, if it’s only for the night. You know it’s your last night with them, and you just don’t care who’s watching. You’re going to spend it how you want, but it’s so very bittersweet.
It Only Hurts When I’m Breathing- Shania Twain
Lyrics: It only hurts when I’m breathing My heart only breaks when it’s beating My dreams only die when I’m dreaming So I hold my breath, to forget It only hurts when I breathe.
This song is so heartbreaking. It is the ultimate breakup song, and I decided Xander had to sing it on stage. Everyone has experienced the kind of pain where it hurts to breathe, and you just don’t want to anymore. Your entire being hurts because you’re missing someone. This song is so underrated.
Collide- Howie Day
Lyrics: Even the best fall down sometimes Even the stars refuse to shine Out of the back you fall in time I somehow find You and I collide
I think this is pretty self explanatory, and in a lot of ways, from the point of view of Gabriel. He says he feels like he can’t stop thinking about Xander, that he can’t stop himself from being with him. He wants it, and they were always meant to collide.
The Promise- Sturgill Simpson
Lyrics: I’m sorry but I’m just thinking of the right words to say I know they don’t sound the way I planned them to be But if you wait around a while, I’ll make you fall for me I promise, I promise you I will
This was actually my wedding song, so I knew I wanted it to be the last chapter of this book. The one on the playlist is actually a cover. I don’t really like the original. I love the way Sturgill Simpson slowed it down and managed to bring so much meaning to the lyrics. A promise you make to someone. It’s beautiful, and I knew it would be perfect for the final chapter.
There you have it! A small glimpse into my musical mind. As you can probably tell, my music taste is all over the place. I have put it on two different platforms so you can listen on Spotify or on Youtube. This playlist includes a little bit of everything. Was there a song on this playlist that you wish I talked about? If so, please feel free to message me on one of my social media sites below. I would be happy to explain why I chose a particular song. As always, thank you for reading my ramblings.
As I mentioned in my previous blog, The Birth of my First Book, the first scene I had thought of for Cool for the Summer was the one where Gabriel first sees Xander dancing at a party. For the next few days, Cool for the Summer is being offered for FREE on Amazon Kindle. You don’t even need a Kindle to read it. You can just down load the free app from the app store. Below, is an excerpt from that first scene in my brain. Hope you enjoy it enough to give the book a chance.
Two hours later, Gabriel has his third drink in hand, a cup filled with some concoction labeled ‘jungle juice’ and is feeling on the good side of drunk. He is standing with Darien who is talking to a group of people about musical interests, of fucking course. He has honestly kind of checked out of the conversation, preferring to look around the room to people-watch. He is standing in the kitchen, which gives him a great view of the living room and even some of the porch.
He lets his eyes wander slowly over his surroundings, observing people’s drunken behavior with amusement. One girl is already looking completely shit-faced and is being led outside by her friends. If it was some dude doing the leading, Gabriel would have intervened, but he figures she is in good hands with her friends. His eyes slowly track their way to the makeshift dance floor. The beginning chords of Cool for the Summer by Demi Lovato begin to play through the speakers.
The first thing he notices are gold boots. Shiny, pointed-toe gold boots on large feet. His eyes slowly work their way up very long, very lean legs in a pair of obscenely tight skinny jeans. The person’s torso is covered, if you could call it that, in a sheer black shirt with pink flowers, only about two and a half buttons done up. The shirt allows a torso and arms full of stark black tattoos to peek through.
Next, he sees dark, black, wavy hair brushing the shoulders of the sheer shirt. It reminds Gabriel of the ocean at night, a certain darkness about it that is both scary and beautiful. Suddenly, Gabriel wants to go swimming. His hair looks like it would be soft to the touch and makes him want to run his fingers through it. Finally, Gabriel’s eyes land on the person’s face, and fuck. He has full pink lips, a strong jawline with a cleft chin, and hazel eyes with bright gold flecks that stand out, even across the distance. They match his boots. He is smiling, his teeth straight and white.
Goldie, as Gabriel begins referring to him in his head, is dancing with two girls. His long legs are moving to a beat of their own while his hips bump and grind with everyone else. His arms are thrown above his head, and his forehead is glistening with a light sheen of sweat. He is, quite possibly, the most beautiful person Gabriel has ever seen, from an objective standpoint. Gabriel’s alcohol-addled brain doesn’t process the fact that he has been checking out a guy for the past few minutes.
Gabriel continues to watch the man’s body sway with the crowd around him. bump and grind with the others around him. Every now and then, Gabriel sees a pretty pink tongue peek out to wet his plump lips. Occasionally, he will throw his head back with the song to expose the long column of his neck that Gabriel wants to mark. When the song begins to come to a close, Goldie’s hazel eyes lock with his own.
Xander is just drunk enough to allow two of his female friends to lead him out to the makeshift dance floor of the house party, so for the past few minutes, he has been bumping and grinding to the music. He lets his eyes scan the crowd of people dancing around him, then surveys the rest of the partygoers until they land on a very attractive man that is surrounded by a small group of people. He has a red cup resting in his hand while pretending to be interested in the conversation that is going on in the small group around him.
The man is dressed in a simple outfit that hugs his curvy frame perfectly. His lightly tanned arms are littered with tattoos. Xander’s eyes linger on some, but there doesn’t seem to be a theme among them. It’s almost like his arms are a sketch pad that represents his life. His shirt looks old and worn, the collar stretched from repeated wearings. The dip of his shirt reveals prominent collarbones and a partial view of a scripted tattoo scrawled across the skin there that Xander very much wants to uncover. He can’t quite make out what it says, but he has the sudden urge to trace the words with his tongue. Finally, his gaze settles on the man’s face. He has a wide jaw, firm but thick lips, and the most beautiful gray eyes Xander has ever seen. They look like the ocean on a stormy day, and Xander wants to drown in them.
Xander notices the man’s gaze is starting to move toward the dance floor when the song changes, so Xander, always the performer, decides to put on a show. He begins to move his hips and legs seductively to the beat of the music, careful to avoid the gaze of the stranger. He knows he is attractive and knows his best assets, so he plays them up. He licks and bites his full lips, flips his hair, and exposes his long neck in the hope that his gray-eyed man is actually watching. As the last lines of the song pound through the speaker, he decides to chance a glance only for his gaze to lock with those same gray eyes from across the room.
After the song ends, Xander finds himself politely excusing himself from his friends on the dance floor. He notices the man has looked away and seems to have engrossed himself in the conversation of the group around him. Xander doesn’t want to just fling himself into the conversation, especially since he doesn’t recognize anyone in the group. He was forced to the party by his roommate, Conner, who is a music major, but is glad he came since it has been a good celebration for the end of the semester.
I hope you all enjoyed this small excerpt. I may add more to my blog in the future. Thank you for reading! Follow me on my social media for more!
One day, I was driving home from work, listening to music. I have a playlist that I like to listen to while I drive because all of the songs are upbeat, and I enjoy singing along to them.
So I’m singing along, then a song comes on. I immediately recognize the beginning notes of a piano. I turn up the stereo system, Demi Lovato’s voice filling the space a moment later. Tell me what you want, what you like, it’s okay. I’m a little curious, too.
As I’m singing along, it hits me like a freight train.
This would be a great concept to a romance novel. A summer fling. A book about a summer romance between two men, with one unsure of his sexuality. The other needed to be charismatic, and so secure in his sexuality, he thrived. The lyrics had an almost begging quality to them. Don’t be scared ’cause I’m your body type. Then a secrecy. I can keep a secret could you? To me, it was a clear struggle of self acceptance and a summer romance with someone of the same sex.
All I could picture was a scene. A straight guy, standing beside the dance floor, eyes scanning the bodies as they move and sway while he drinks from his cup. He catches site of a pair of shiny gold boots. In his inebriated state, his eyes travel of the contour of the body those boots are attached, too. Long legs wrapped in skinny jeans. Sheer floral blouse, mostly unbuttoned. Long dark hair, then finally, the most beautiful face he has ever seen. The only problem is, all of these things are attached to a man. A very charismatic man.
I wanted it to be a story about finding your sexuality, and the confusion that comes a long with it. Both characters have a little bit of me in them, and maybe on a different blog, I can write about that and how they came to be.
Anyways… this book in my head…
I have been reading for as long as I can remember. I started reading R.L. Stein’s Goosebumps series when I was in elementary school, the graduated to his fear street novels in middle school. That was also when I discovered the Harry Potter series, and began down the fantasy book path. As I got older, I started to dabble in romance novels, eventually landing in supernatural romance genre and staying there most of my adult life. I looked for a book similar to the one in my head and couldn’t really find one. So, instead of whining about it, I decided to write it myself.
I mulled over this for a while. I honestly didn’t think I could do it. Before this, I had only written a handful of short stories and a few poems, but I just couldn’t get this idea out of my head. It needed to be written, and I wanted to have the privilege of doing it. As time went on, scenes for the book began popping into my head. The baseball game. The outdoor theatre. The thunder storm. The lake.
One day, I sat down and began writing an outline with all of these little scene ideas that had been occupying my head for the past month. In about an hour’s time, I had managed to plan out fifteen chapters, then the scenes within each chapter. It wasn’t super detailed, just a general idea of what was to happen that chapter. I wanted each scene to be important to the story, and move it along. I was adamant that my characters would always have a very clear reason for doing the things the do.
Then I started writing. It took me about three months to complete I think? I had a friend reading as I went, getting excited every single time I wrote more. She gave me the motivation to keep going. To keep achieving. Before I knew it, my first book was complete. I couldn’t believe it. I still can’t.