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Thursday, April 05, 2012

Where Do You Draw The Line?


But first I want to say, it’s so nice to be back here at Totebags!  Lee, thank you for the invite to come back.  J

So, the line I’m talking about is the sexual comfort level line.  As a writer who uses her real name, my line has always been: if my children would be ashamed of me if they read it, then I won’t write it.  At the time of my first sale, my youngest child, a son, was 15, his brother 18, my youngest daughter 21 and her sister who was 24.

When my first book hit the shelves back in January 2006, it was a sexy hot cop novella.  I remember writing that story, and having to go back and delete and rewrite certain lines.  I did it because even though my kids knew I wrote hot stuff, and were 100% on board with me using my real name, I knew, my boys especially, would be uncomfortable if I went where the characters wanted me to go.  So I pulled back.  In my subsequent stories, I pushed a little. When I felt I went too far, I pulled back, and sometimes it wasn’t enough for my editor and she pulled me back some more. 

Then I sold the Blood Moon Rising, lycan trilogy to Berkley Heat.  My editor had no boundaries, and neither, I was soon to discover, did my lycan.  I did however find myself pulling back in book one, BLOOD LAW. Old habits die hard.  But, I did have a breakthrough with BLOOD LAW, because to date it was the smokinest hottest book I had written.  But when I started writing BLOODRIGHT, book two of the trilogy, the hero of this story, Lucien Mondragon, was having none of my vacillating about what was and what was not too far.  He kicked sand into my staunchly defended line and laughed at me. 

Oh, Lucien, you are all things wicked. 

I knew this!  I knew it in BLOOD LAW. I knew it when I began BLOODRIGHT, and I knew he was not going to let me look over my shoulder and second guess him.

Sigh, and Falon. As I, she was like, Ok, fine, but only because it’s you, Lucien, and because we all know how you are, will I go along with it. But don’t-“

That devil shushed her to silence.  And with that wicked grin that melts icebergs, he extended his hand to us both and well- you’re going to have to read BLOODRIGHT to find out where he took us.

But I can tell you this, my girl Falon and I learned a thing or two.  One, if you have two consenting adults and what they do behind closed doors isn’t going to hurt anyone, then it’s ok to go for it.  And two: when you’re with someone who doesn’t share your own uptighness, but promises to take you to a place you’ve never been before, you’d be a fool not to go!

So, I let go.  I allowed my characters to dictate where and how deep their line was drawn instead of making that decision for them.  It was liberating as an author, and as I wrote those certain scenes in BLOODRIGHT, I vowed to never ever, ever allow my own personal line determine what anyone in real life or in my fictional work should and should not do.  Because at the end of the day, it’s none of my business.

My children are older, wiser and far more accepting of the world as we know it.  I didn’t give them enough credit.  Or maybe I did then, but things are different now.  While I won’t encourage them to read this trilogy, if they do, and raise an eyebrow or shake their heads, I’m just going to smile and say, “The characters made me do it.”

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

How about you, where do you draw your personal line?  I'm giving away a copy of BLOOD LAW to a lucky commenter!

***Karin's winner is Barbara!  Congratulations!  Please email your mailing info to totebag@authorsoundrelations.com.  Thanks!***

54 comments:

marybelle said...

I use my Mother as a yardstick. If I know she would be uncomfortable or disapproving then that's my line.

host said...

I'm with you on this - whatever happens behind the closed doors between consenting adults and if it fits the characters I try not to judge it.

Eli Yanti said...

mine is my grandmom (actually my step grandmom), she always taught me what is wrong and what is good, miss her so much :(

Tobi Summers said...

I wrestle with that question a lot. I know my grandfather's going to read whatever I write. I think it would embarrass me far more than it would embarrass him, but it's something I'll have to deal with when I start working on my next WIP.

Alison said...

I see your dilemma. Your children must be getting older now, so maybe they could read Falcon's story - but what about when the grandchildren come along?!

pamerd said...

Hi

I love reading all kinds of romance with various "heat" indexes. I think it just depends on the characters and who they are. I would probably draw the line where all parties have to be consenting - but other that that - let them do what they want.

Thanks for the post. I am excited to read this series, it looks great.

Pam
tpibrew@msn.com

Lil said...

I found that I don't have many lines other than personal ick factors. Of course, I tend to read from sweet to erotic romance and enjoye them.

little lamb lst at yahoo dot com

Karin's Assistant said...

I think you have to be true to the story and characters. The important thing is: where do THEY draw the line? My personal line is drawn in a different place than many of the characters I love, but that goes the same with the friends and family that I love. Where they draw the line is their business (as long as its not crossing mine *snort*) ;0)

burbanette said...

I typically draw the line with my 6th sense guide . If my gut says something isn't right (fictional or real) I am out of there! I am a firm believer of " to each their own" but I don't have to be apart of it!
Stephanie
stephstime@cox.net

flchen1 said...

Hmm... I do draw lines for what my kids can read/watch, especially in terms of their viewing. What I've told them is that once you put a picture in your mind, it's very difficult to get it back out. It's like those scratch-off surfaces--impossible to "unscratch" :) As for me, I know I read all kinds of heat levels--I have personal dislikes and icks that I try to avoid, and naturally my books are off-limits to the kids :) It'll be harder as they get a little older, as I know my middle one is a huge reader like me--we'll have to see when the time comes how we decide when it's OK for her to read certain kinds of books :)

f dot chen at comcast dot net

SusanR said...

I thikn you totally need to go where the characters take you - you are writing THEIR book! Can't wait to read this one!!

susanmik AT gmail DOT com

Lynn R. said...

I agree with Lil. FOr me, it's also the personal "ick" factor, and I also read from "sweet, no heat" to "scorching the page."

Interestingly enough, the book I'm reading right now is a biography of a WWII soldier who ended up fighting for both the US Army AND the Soviet Army, and I have found that some of the mental images I get from that book are much, much worse than anything I've ever gotten reading the most "out there" romances!

Later,

Lynn (waving "HI!" to Karin's Assistant!!)

Mary Anne Landers said...

Thank you for your post and giveaway, Karin.

It's highly unlikely that any of my relatives, friends, and acquaintances would read anything I write. If they do, it's even more unlikely they'd feel embarrassed or outraged by the way I deal with sex. They can come across hotter stuff on many Facebook pages.

I applaud your practice of letting the characters determine the heat level in your sex scenes. It will be interesting to see how the readers react.

Good luck with the release of "Blood Law"!

maryannelanders at centurytel dot net

Karin* Tabke aka Harlow! said...

Marybelle, my mom is pretty open about this kind of stuff. my mil is too. in fact she loves the boldness of BLOODRIGHT. and she's 77!

Karin* Tabke aka Harlow! said...

Ooh rah! :)

Karin* Tabke aka Harlow! said...

Eli, I miss both of my grandmas. My southern belle gran would not have approved!

Karin* Tabke aka Harlow! said...

Tobi, when I sold my first book, there were two men who were not allowed to read my stories, under any circumstances! My dad and my father-in-law.

Karin* Tabke aka Harlow! said...

Alison my kids are 32, 28, 25 and 22 now. I have a 2 year old granddaughter and a grandson on the way. I'll steer them clear of my books for the next 20 years or so. :)

Karin* Tabke aka Harlow! said...

Pam I hope you do get a chance to read the series. I've loved writing it!

Karin* Tabke aka Harlow! said...

Little lamb, I don't seem to have many lines either. I'm much more open minded about a lot of things these days, and in being so, I not only learn more but find that I'm not nearly as judgmental as I have been in the past. Something I really didn't care for about myself.

Karin* Tabke aka Harlow! said...

and this is why I love you so. xo

Karin* Tabke aka Harlow! said...

I'm a go with my gut girl too, Stephanie!

Karin* Tabke aka Harlow! said...

Fedora, I hugely censored what my kids watched, and as much as my boys wanted to play all of those killing games, I never let them until they were 18 and bought the games themselves.

My daughter who is now a mom, gets it. Oh how I love to say, "See?"

Karin* Tabke aka Harlow! said...

Thank you, Susan! My characters most def took me where they wanted to go! Even if I had to shut my eyes a few times!

Karin* Tabke aka Harlow! said...

Lynn, the horrors of war are hard to swallow sometimes. It makes me that more appreciative of what our military has had to endure and then live with.

Karin* Tabke aka Harlow! said...

Thank you, Mary Anne,

Readers are polarized on this story as I knew they would be. I'm very ok with that. I'm done with the soft sell. And not just with the heat levels but at every level. Humans do crazy emotional driven things in real life, I'm not diluting any of that in my stories. Makes for a yawner.

alinaduffer said...

Hi Karin! I am so excited to read these books. I ordered them and they came in the mail on tuesday. I think its funny that you thought of your kids when writing, only because I never did, lol! I thought about my mom and my grandmother reading what I write. The funny part is when I said something to them about it, they told me the hotter the better, lol! I still find it hard to picture my tiny 80 year old grandma telling me the hotter the better. I swear her and her friends can still make me blush and I have been married almost 13 years now, lol! Looking at it now I hope that when my kids are old enough to read what I write, that they will be proud and supportive even if there is a slight ick factor, lol!

Have a wonderful day!

erin said...

Thanks for a great post and giveaway! I'm feel the same... as long as you have two consenting adults, what they choose to do is their business. And I try to keep an open mind, especially about sexuality... and although I'm plain jane vanilla, I'm willing to at least try and read stuff outside of my comfort zones at least once :)

I'm in awe of anyone who has a muse/ability to write. You have to tell the story that you want/that your characters demand, so rock on!

flchen1 said...

LOL! I would probably draw the line for those games at a different place than DH does, but DH sometimes plays them with the older one, so I don't push it as much as I might... It WILL be very interesting how they eventually turn out ;)

Barbara said...

I'm pretty open minded I guess...the only thing that really gets to me is someone that causes someone else intentional pain....over an extended period of time. Be it physical or emotional. I can't take that...even if it's consensual. It's hard for me to read. I can take it in short bursts...but not for a long haul if you know what I mean. But, everything else...bring it on! Like someone else mentioned it depends on the characters and the story line of course. I like reading stories of all heat factors...but honestly the hotter the better. I LOVED Blood Law...I didn't see anything in there that anyone should be screaming about. I can't wait to read Blood Right! These are adult books anyway...children shouldn't be reading them...it's not Little Red Riding Hood, ya know. LOL! ;)

barbbattaglia @ yahoo.com

Barbara E. said...

My personal line? In real life, I agree that anything goes between two consenting adults as long as it's what they both want. In books, I'd just as soon read about how the characters feel and why they're doing what they're doing, rather than get a detailed description of every move they make in bed, but that's just me. If the action makes sense in the story, I'm fine, but I don't like gratuitous sex scenes thrown in just to make the book sexier.

Barbed1951 at aol dot com

*yadkny* said...

I don't know what my personal lines are right now. I've found since I started reading that they keep expanding beyond things I didn't think I would want to read and therefore I've kept reinventing my personal self. I think at this point I am willing to go just about anywhere at least once. Then at least if I didn't like the experience I can say that I know firsthand that I didn't instead of just guessing that it might possibly be something I wouldn't like. No regrets.

Debby said...

I do not have too many things that bother me but Ia m tired of the whole idea of if three is good, more is even better.
debby236 at gmail dot com

Shelley B said...

I read what I like. I don't care what anyone else thinks. I don't like ménage or really hard core BDSM. Everybody is entitled to their own opinion . Thanks!

Di said...

I'm ok as long as it is appropriate for the story and the 'characters' are consenting, tho I'm drawn to violence or pain.

Chrisbails said...

I read what sounds good to me, favorite authors, or just about anything that sounds good to me. I will give any author, genre, or story a chance. If I feel that it is inapproiate, then I will stop and not read anymore of the book. There is not much that bothers me when reading a book. I don't care for stories detailing rape or hurting a minor. I do have some limits. I love your books Karin. Would love to win and read this book. Thanks for the giveaway.
christinebails@yahoo.com

Karin* Tabke aka Harlow! said...

Alina, I love your Grandma! My 77 year old mil loves them hot too. The hotter the better!

I hope you enjoy the books. Thank you for ordering them!

Karin* Tabke aka Harlow! said...

Erin the best thing about vanilla is you can top it with anything. ;)

Karin* Tabke aka Harlow! said...

Barbara, I like your style! but if I do remember correctly, Little Red had an encounter with a big bad wolf. ;)

Karin* Tabke aka Harlow! said...

Barbara, I'm with you on the gratuitous sex. There is nothing sexy about that.

Karin* Tabke aka Harlow! said...

yadkny, I too have gone far beyond what I ever thought I would, one, read, but two enjoy so long as it's well written and emotional. No regrets!

Karin* Tabke aka Harlow! said...

Debby, I think three is my limit. But I will never say never...

Karin* Tabke aka Harlow! said...

Shelley more romance readers need to have your attitude about not caring what anyone thinks about what you read. Romance to too many people is treated like some dirty little secret. and all of here know that is far from true.

Karin* Tabke aka Harlow! said...

I feel the same way, Di.

Karin* Tabke aka Harlow! said...

Thank you, Christine! :)

Karin's Assistant said...

I agree, Karin - my heart breaks for the the images and experiences that our military men and women have to live with. And it makes me that much more thankful for their sacrifices.
*waving HI! back to Lynn* Fancy meeting you here ;0)

Denise Z said...

I really think my line is drawn with what is written well. I find if it is a well written and enjoyable read who am I to put limits. If I am not comfortable where the story is going, that's okay because I can always move on. I remember telling my son at one time years ago when he asked to read one of my book, that he could read it, but I would be more comfortable if he waited a few years (conversation in a nutshell here LOL) and he was fine with that; so I guess I do have a line or is the better term comfort zone :) Thank you for sharing with us and for the lovely giveaway opportunity, Bloodlaw has been on my wishlist for a while and I would love to change this status ;)
dz59001[at]gmail[dot]com

Renee said...

Where I draw my line and where others draw theirs, I don't want to know. Sometimes ignorance is bliss. What happens behind closed doors needs to stay there. What I don't know won't hurt me. I guess I just bury my head in the sand. Call me an ostrich.

Maureen said...

I draw the line when the things happening don't seem to work for the characters.

Lynn R. said...

Well, DUH!

Hoping to see you BOTH next week at RT!

Later,

Lynn

Patty said...

I have to say I don't really have "a line". If it works for the story and for the characters - it is fine. As long as the people are consenting adults and no one gets hurt - I don't have a problem with it...in books or in real life!!

Jen B. said...

I have lines that have grown quite a bit over the years but no violence that is treated as romance (I don't mean BDSM), no incest, animals or other totally icky stuff. Yup, I called them icky even if it does sound judgy. jepebATverizonDOTnet

lindsey hutchison @ United By Books said...

my line is pretty non-existent as long as its hot , mutual and nothing brutal . i dont do incest or animals either lol but i do love hot erotic scenes and BDSM .

babydoll82959307(at)aol(dot)com

thekrazikat said...

This is something I have personally fought with for years...I love a good book and the realness of charactors. As a reader, I really don't mind and even, ahem, like the sexiness in a book...as long as its not flat nasty, like animals, incest, pedifile like. Generally, if the story is well written and it goes, then it goes.