I am thrilled to be joined by M.B Earnhardt on my blog today. Her book, about a Wish gone awry, really speaks to me and I urge you all to read it. She has been kind of enough to put some thoughts down about writing her book – specifically about losing her writing-a-sex-scene virginity—something I’m sure many of us can relate to.
Over to M.B., and then read on for details of her book, and to see the awesome cover that the very talented lady designed herself. Oh, and when you get to the bottom of this post, there is a meme that I just love. 🙂 Happy reading.
My favorite part of Switch-A-Wish is the premise. I believe many couples can relate to seeing the world through their partner’s eyes. I would love my husband to see our marriage, parenting and life through my lens.
In thinking about what he’d like me to better understand, I landed on a hard truth. He’d like me to understand his feelings about our sex life. My avid viewing of Dr. Phil and Oprah upheld this conclusion. Married couples who have kids often have problems with sexual intimacy.
After taking time to digest this revelation, I landed on another hard truth: my main characters, a married couple living in each other’s bodies, would have sex as the other person.
At first I thought that maybe I could get away with eliminating sex scenes by stating my main characters didn’t want to do it because it would be too strange. But in trying to justify this, I couldn’t think of one person I knew who would let this opportunity pass unexplored. Sex is too much of the fabric of a marriage to be ignored.
Because of this, Switch-A-Wish has sex scenes. It has descriptive sex scenes. It has scenes that were incredibly uncomfortable to write. I had to suppress my inner prude and let the characters take over in order to get through it. I had to read other sex scenes to find language that would describe what was happening in a way that didn’t sound too vulgar, but also didn’t sound too much like I was trying not to be vulgar.
When I was editing the first draft I almost deleted it all because I knew my mom would want to read the book and I couldn’t imagine how embarrassing it would be for her to know what a dirty mind I had.
I had to make justifications that allowed me to move through it. The first is, they are married, and married people should have sex with each other. The second is, even if they weren’t married, our bodies are designed to create and embrace intimacy this way. Third, I’m just editing a rough draft, no one will ever read it. In honesty, it was the third one that worked best.
Now, it’s out there. My voice, my name, my words about sex will be shared with the English reading world. It helps to write this blog post, admitting to the fact that writing about sex was embarrassing. Because it was hard for me, I feel like I’ve accomplished something.
That said, here are a few tips to keep in mind if you ever find yourself writing a story where the characters are going to have sex, and you have to write it down for them:
- Do some research. Don’t run out and have sex with someone and take notes throughout (unless you’re into that, who am I to judge?). I mean go online and read about sex. Go to blogs and discussion forums. Amanda and Chris’ sex lives were not about me. So, looking at other people’s sex lives helped depersonalize the scenes.
- Don’t edit yourself as you write. I’m not someone who just writes and then revises when it’s all done. I write a little, then go back and edit, then write some more. It works for me. That said, I didn’t do this when I was writing the sex scenes. I just tried to picture what was happening and record it. I used whatever strange vocabulary that came to mind (wiener, anyone?) and didn’t judge myself. I let these scenes alone for a while and then I came back later and edited them. It was easier because now it felt like work, trying to take words and make them understandable and arrange them properly. This I could do.
- Read other sex scenes. There are many, many, many writers who have done this longer than me and have figured out beautiful (and incredibly raunchy) ways of describing sex. Some are very graphic (as in, pornographic), while others hold details. By examining their language, their words and the intent of the scenes, I started to figure out what I liked. I was able to find my comfort zone and this gave me boundaries.
- Get a second opinion. I trust my husband’s opinion. He’s also a writer, albeit an academic writer and columnist. But he reads, and he’s not a prude. So I bounced a few of the scenes off him to get a sense for what words he would use, and how he would react if trapped in my body.
Available for pre-release from Three Worlds Press 10th September 2015.
Not all love stories are about twenty-somethings with instant chemistry. A love story can also be about a long-married couple with a complicated history, growing apart as their lives move in different directions.
Chris and Amanda Claridge are that couple. They look happy. They live in a well-kept house, have three little girls and fit squarely into the traditional roles of a husband and wife.
Chris is a handsome college professor, and easily charms most everyone he meets. He loves his job and can’t wait to go to work each day. Amanda is a dedicated mother and caretaker. She tends to the kids and appreciates how important her job is, even if others don’t get it.
Underneath the surface of this functioning family, things are unraveling. Their marital problems are about to split them apart when something magical happens. Chris and Amanda make a bedtime wish that forces them to live the life of the other person.
Chris must pretend to be his wife as he takes on childcare and household chores. Amanda steps out of her heels and into Chris’ shoes to tackle his job as a college professor. The role reversal is a revelation for the couple. Neither one has it as good, or bad, as they expected.
Can Chris and Amanda’s newfound understanding of each other survive when the secrets come out? Or, did a magical wish just cost them their marriage? Will they be able to switch back?
Switch-A-Wish examines the complexity of a stressed relationship through the eyes of partners who are required to live as each other. This unique perspective allows Chris and Amanda a chance to find their way back to the feelings of the love they once shared.
“You have to stop it! I’m not kidding, I’m going to weigh five-hundred pounds if you don’t lay off the food and beer.” I’m irritated. “Isn’t my ass fat enough already?”
“No, it’s not, you’re getting too skinny. I love your ass.” He smiles and nods when he says this. “I’ve always loved your ass. Besides, I eat when I’m stressed and this is VERY stressful.”
I can’t win. I pick up the conversation where we left off. “So, what’s your theory?”
“Huh?” He lets out a short burp and then grimaces as he chases the shot with a drink of the beer. “Oh, yeah, the theory.” He wipes my forearm over my mouth. He’s making me look like a barbarian.
“Here’s a napkin.” Even when I’m a man, I’m still in mommy mode.
“Oh, sorry. Anyway, I think it was the wish last night. We had to be on to something this morning. It’s the only possible explanation.”
“So, we need to wish we were back to ourselves?”
“Yeah. I’m not sure it will work, but I think it’s a good place to start.”
“I agree. This is our best bet.”
I feel a full sensation in my bladder. I have to go to the bathroom. The white wine spritzer is going right through me. I think about walking back home to do this, but I can’t risk a second attempt at a mouth kiss from my mother-in-law. I don’t like to use public restrooms as a woman and I certainly don’t want to do this as a man. I suppose I don’t really have a choice. Even worse than being out in public looking like a very tall, bald man, is being a very tall, bald man who wets himself.
“Chris, I need to pee.” It feels like a secret.
“You know where the bathrooms are.” He’s gulping the beer looking at the television situated above my head.
“Yes, I know where they are, but I’m not sure about the proper protocol in the men’s room.” My bladder feels like it’s going to burst.
“Oh.” He sits down the beer and thinks for a minute. “Yeah, uh, I guess the first thing to keep in mind is that it won’t smell great.”
I already don’t like this.
“Second, if you have to pee, just use the urinal. If you go into the stall, everyone will think you’re pooping. Oh, yeah, if you see someone in the stall, he’s for sure pooping. Don’t go near him. It can get pretty ugly in there. So, like I said, use the urinal. Just pull out my dick and aim it at the bar of soap looking thing at the bottom. When you’re done, give it a good shake. And, if there is anyone else at the urinal, whatever you do, don’t look at his penis. That is strictly prohibited and considered VERY bad men’s room etiquette.”
After hearing all that, I think about skipping the whole thing and risking that mother-in-law mouth kiss, but I’m afraid it’s too late for that. Besides, if I can push a baby out of my vagina, I’m sure I can handle the awkwardness of a public men’s room.
About the Author:
M.B. Earnheardt is the author of Switch-A-Wish (to be released in Fall 2015) and the journalism program director at Youngstown State University in Ohio.
She has published stories for academic and news publications, but Switch-A-Wish is her first work of fiction.
M.B. grew up on a farm in Mahaffey, Pennsylvania. She earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science, a Bachelor of Science Degree in Communication and a Master of Science Degree in Communication from Clarion University of Pennsylvania. Her Ph.D. is from Kent State University.
Where to connect with M.B.:
Website URL: www.mbearnheardt.com
Blog address: www.mbearnheardt.com
Twitter handle: @mbexoxo
Pinterest Page: www.pinterest.com/mbearnheardt/
Goodreads page: goodreads.com/mbearnheardt