A new contest

My December contest is live, so be sure to check out the contest page and see what the prizes are this month! There will be three lucky winners this time! Congratulations again to Jillian S. of Dayton, OH, who won the November contest. Just as soon as I dig myself from under this deadline, I'll pop your goodies into the mail!

I'm still working hard on the sheikh story. I only have a few days left to get it done and turned in. I'll get there, because failure is not an option, but man can it be tiring during the trek to the finish line. I love what I do, but sometimes I just want to take a break and do nothing but sit on the couch in front of the fire and read all day.

Since that's not an option, I keep my nose to the grindstone and keep working. I admit that I spend a little more time than I should online, but I also think of it as a way to keep my sanity. 🙂

Have you ever seen “For Love of the Game” with Kevin Costner? I don't like sports very much, but I love sports movies. I like the story behind the events whereas I don't actually like to watch real games all that much. Give me a character in crisis, and even if he's a sports hero, I love it (I also feel this way about SEP's football romances and Rachel Gibson's hockey romances).

Kevin plays a great character in this movie, and one of the things he does, while pitching this huge game of his career, is tell himself before he throws the ball to “clear the mechanism.” Then the crowd noise fades and there's nothing but him, the ball, and the batter on the other end. I think of my online forays during the day–or even the times I get up and do something else, like throw in a load of laundry or fix lunch and watch 15 minutes of TV while eating–as clearing the mechanism.

It's necessary to the way I work. I can't go away for long, because that interrupts the flow too much. But a short break where the brain is engaged in something else entirely? That clears the mechanism and I find when I sit back down that I might see the path I've been trying so hard to find.

This blog post today is clearing the mechanism, too. I decided I needed to write something other than the story, and I wanted to share this process because it's one of the things that helps me. It may not help you. You may need to focus completely, so I can't guarantee this will work. (But if you try, you must resist the temptation to wander down country lanes, so to speak. Quick breaks, get back to work, etc.)

So now that I've spent the last fifteen minutes writing this post, it's time to get back to work. What tricks do you use to clear the mechanism?

Book winner!

Cynthia Gander, you won a signed copy of Cavelli's Lost Heir last week! Please email me at lynn AT lynnrayeharris DOT com, or use the contact page, so I can send your book. 🙂


I bet you've been wondering where I went to! Well, I'm in the home stretch of Book #4, and I hope to finish it sometime today if I'm lucky. So the last few days have been spent hunched over the computer, my fingers trying to keep up with what was happening in my head. Thank you so much for all the comments and congrats on my one year anniversary of The Call! And it's been great seeing what kinds of events you're celebrating.

We've had, I believe, two new home purchases, a couple of anniversaries, and some celebrations over finishing a manuscript and getting a full request! Everyone has a lot to celebrate it looks like!

And now, the winner of a copy of Cavelli's Lost Heir is Fatima! Fatima, send me your contact info and as soon as I get my author copies, I'll pop one in the mail to you. 🙂 You can use the contact page, or email me at contact AT lynnrayeharris DOT com.

Everyone else, there will be more chances to win, so keep checking back! And keep an eye on that contest page of mine. I'll be launching a new contest soon — but because they're so fun for me to do, I'll still have impromptu blog contests as well. Another way to win is by following me on Twitter where I'll tweet chances to enter for books and other goodies as the mood strikes!

Thanks for reading this blog, and thanks again for being readers of my books. 🙂


The winner of Kimberly Lang's signed book is Angela T! Congratulations, Angela! Send me your contact info, and I'll get the book to you ASAP! (You can use the contact page, or email me at contact AT lynnrayeharris DOT com. 🙂

Writing sexual tension

This weekend, I participated in an all day writers' workshop featuring Leslie Wainger, book doctor and author of the fabulous Writing a Romance Novel for Dummies. I gave a presentation with Blaze author Kira Sinclair about sexual tension.

Do you know what sexual tension is? As a romance writer, this is one of the most important tools in your arsenal. Sexual tension can be described as the sparks and sizzle, the wanting/yearning that occurs between the main characters. It's a tension they cannot give in to because it would complicate their situation, thwart their goals, or make things worse.

It's awareness of each other on every level. It's the thoughts, the eye contact, the yearning to make love, all while knowing that giving in would be an absolute disaster. Not a disaster because of the physical, but a disaster because it would make things worse.

Remember “Moonlighting”? The sexual tension between Maddie and David was off the charts. Likewise, think about Princess Leia and Han Solo. Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy. What about the new show “Castle” that so many of us like? Sexual tension is the key. We think Richard Castle is sexy, and we think Beckett is nuts for not giving in to her attraction to him.

Think about your favorite romance novels. Think of the tension between the characters, about how you kept turning those pages to find out when the hero and heroine would kiss, when they would make love, and what would happen next. How did that author do that? How did she make you want to keep turning those pages?

In your own writing, think in each scene how you can increase the tension, and use all the senses to do so. Touch, smell, taste, sound, and visuals. Ramp it up and make it sizzle. 🙂 And remember that sexual tension springs from your characters' conflicts, their internal issues, and not simply from you saying they want each other. Instant attraction, without conflict, is not sexual tension. And I mean deep conflicts that spring from who they are and what they want, not arguments because one of them likes the Dallas Cowboys and the other is a Washington Redskins fan. If your characters are arguing simply for the sake of arguing, that's bickering — and it's annoying.

So make sure your characters have goals that are opposing in some way, and then let them want each other. Now try to keep them from acting on that attraction. Yum!

The winner of Trish Morey's book is Stephanie! Yay, Stephanie! You're gonna love this yummy story!!