Hi everyone. I’m so happy to be celebrating the re-release of one of my most popular books, Fire Balls.
As you probably know, I’ve written some steamy books in my 6-year career – and Fire Balls is one of them! It’s the story of a tiny, flamboyant artist who has a huge passion for a hunky firefighter but thinks the man could never love him so he helps a friend woo the guy–breaking his own heart. Of course, it’s romance so there is an HEA. One of the things I get asked most often as an romance writer is “how do you write all those sex scenes and still make them fresh?” I’m close to 40 books into my career, and so far, sex sense never get boring to write.
Some basic principles. A sex scene has to have a reason for being and that reason is (almost) never “to have sex.” Like all scenes, a sex scene needs to advance the plot and/or reveal character both to the character himself and the reader. In Fire Balls, Rodney, my artist, and Hunter, the firefighter, are not lovers. They aren’t even friends really when Rodney agrees to paint Hunter. But all that skin and some unexpected revelations push them together. The first big sex scene in the book gives us a huge insight into both characters and their motivations.
So, when I consider adding a sex scene to a book I ask “why does this scene exist”? What is it designed to accomplish? What will it show? Answering those questions helps determine the action of the scene, it helps shape the dialogue, the internal thoughts and feelings of the POV character. And, if I stay true to the characters’ voices and back-stories, that automatically makes each sex scene different from others that I’ve written. At the end of the scene I ask myself “have we learned what we need to know from this scene”? Has it moved the reader in a certain way? If so, it’s probably a sex scene unique from others in at least significant ways.
Obviously, sex scenes are designed to make the reader feel, well … sexy! So first they have to make me feel that way. If I write a scene mechanically, I go back and start to add the touch, taste, smell, visual interest, and above all, the feelings of the characters. Because I write in deep point of view (or try to) I lock myself into the experience of the point-of-view character and I know when he feels deeply so will I.
Recently, I’ve been listening to my own book in audio and hearing a narrator emoting my sex scenes is a total kick! I’m happy to be able to say, nope, they sure aren’t boring! LOL. I hope you enjoy Fire Balls, sex scenes and all.
Renowned artist Rodney Mansfield stands five foot six, has pink hair, six earrings, a black belt in karate—and a desperate yearning for firefighter Hunter Fallon. But Rod, the Runtback of Notre Dame, knows he’ll never land the beautiful “straight gay” guy, so Rod musters his altruism and helps his more masculine friend Jerry attract Hunter. As if a broken heart wasn’t enough, Rod saves Hunter from a firehouse homophobe—humiliating Hunter in front of his dad!
Hunter lives a dream life—his father’s dream. While he’d like to teach literature in college, read poetry in the sun, and find a strong guy to top him, he fights fires for his dad. Hunter hates flamboyant guys like Rodney. So why can’t he resist him? Maybe it’s time to admit this is one flame he has no desire to put out.
Dreamspinner Press — https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/fire-balls-by-tara-lain-8126-b
💕 Excerpt 3: Fire Balls by Tara Lain; The Artist and the Firefighter
He leaned back on the couch. “Anyway, he’s dreamy, straight-up divine. Sweet and nice and smart. Shit, man, have you ever seen anything so beautiful?”
Too much. Rod got up and went back to the easel. At least he didn’t have to stare into Jerry’s smitten face. Crap, he wanted to be happy for the guy. He really did. “He’s beautiful, all right.”
“And guess what? He asked about you.”
No breath. “He, uh, did?”
“Yeah. Said you were so talented. See, I told you not to leave.”
“Didn’t want to be a third wheel.”
“Hey, my man, you’re my brother from another mother. What I got, you got. So I’m going on another date with him, and he loves to read and shit. Could you tell me some stuff to talk about?”
Oh dear God. “So what have you read, Jerry?”
He looked at his hands. “I, uh, read a few romance novels.”
“I think it’s okay to talk about those, but you have to know some other writers too. So think. What did you read in high school?”
“Yeah. Man, I love Watchmen and X-Men and Batman.”
“Comic books.” He walked over to a bookshelf he kept tucked away in the corner of the studio. When he rested on the couch, he loved to read himself to sleep. “Have you ever heard of Lord Byron?”
Jerry shook his head. “Sounds like a rock star.”
“He kind of was for his time. He was a poet.” He took out a slim volume and began to read from Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage. “Roll on, thou deep and dark blue ocean—roll! Ten thousand fleets sweep over thee in vain; man marks the earth with ruin—his control stops with the shore.” When he got to “unknelled, uncoffined, and unknown” he looked up.
Jerry’s big blue eyes shone with tears. “Hey, man, that’s awesome. Probably not a surfer, I guess. All the ‘thees’ and ‘thous’ sound kind of old. But that dude knew what a surfer feels, man. We ride on top of the—what did he call it?—deep and dark blue ocean. And we know we can sink and never be heard from again, man. Axed. It’s how we want to go if we gotta.”
He had to stop underestimating this man. Rod walked over to the couch and handed the book to Jerry. “Just be yourself. He’s got to love you.”
“Wow, thanks. But I’ll read this, man. Every word, or at least the words I understand, okay?”
He smiled. “Okay.”
“I sure do like the way you read it, though.”
Rod laughed, took back the book, and began to read.
💕 Review by Cat Clontz
Fire Balls are yet another fun novella from Tara Lain. I have come to appreciate the stylings of this author with her unapologetic love of combining stereotypes to create chaos.
Rodney Mansfield is an erotic artist of the highest caliber – a great contrast to the rather short stature he was blessed with. Using Roman as his artist name, he’s bringing in comfortable funds to allow him to be who he is and live unapologetically. Hunter Mann is a hero poet, a conflict-riddled man hiding who he is for want of love and acceptance from family. Walking through what is actually quite a short time frame, these two keep stumbling across one another, forcing Hunter to take a second look at what he’s always said he doesn’t want – flamboyance in a partner.
The plot is quite straightforward with multiple standard tropes combined for a fun adventure. There aren’t any surprises here, rather it is a lighthearted read with smiles aplenty. The chemistry between Rod and Hunter is five-alarm hot, and the sexy times are beautifully written. There isn’t much in the way of character growth with the exception of Hunter’s realizations about himself, but in such a short time frame, I wouldn’t expect there to be.
Star Rating: ★★★★
💕 Meet Tara Lain
Tara Lain writes the Beautiful Boys of Romance in LGBT erotic romance novels that star her unique, charismatic heroes. Her first novel was published in January of 2011 and she’s now somewhere around book 35. Her best-selling novels have garnered awards for Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Paranormal Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance, Best Gay Characters, and Tara has been named Best Writer of the Year in the LRC Awards. In her other job, Tara owns an advertising and public relations firm. She often does workshops on both author promotion and writing craft. She lives with her soul-mate husband and her soul-mate dog near the sea in California where she sets a lot of her books. Passionate about diversity, justice, and new experiences, Tara says on her tombstone it will say “Yes”!
FB Page: http://www.facebook.com/taralain