Please give a warm welcome to erotic romance author, Jennifer Probst!
A big thanks to Reading Between the Wines for guest hosting me on my blog tour. In my new release, Sex, Lies and Contracts, my heroine has a passion for poetry. I thought it would be fun to talk about including poetry in fiction and how it can deepen the story.
THE ART OF POETRY IN WRITING ROMANCE NOVELS
When I was an undergraduate in college, I had a teacher who forced poetry on us in every form available. I wanted to like poetry...ached to be able to quote Shakespeare and understand what I was saying, or drink coffee and wear black while I discussed the images of the red wheelbarrow or Dickinson’s unearthed depression.
Later on, I stumbled onto another teacher who focused an entire quarter on poetry. This time, something odd happened. I began to enjoy it.
The teacher let us read for ourselves, and didn’t force any images or resolutions on us. It was acceptable to say I didn’t understand and not feel stupid. She explained with a passion that shimmered from her very being, until her love for poetry transferred to me, and I owned it on my terms.
As I grew older, I went back and forth to different poets who intrigued me. I studied certain passages to see the expert precise handling of the words. This strengthened me as a writer.
I am a firm believer of learning our craft and bringing in freshness. Reading outside the genre is important to expanding our limitations. Studying poetry, or rather, enjoying poetry, helps a writer learn about the importance of a single word. Poets strip down a number of rippling images with a starkly written phrase. As I favor some wordiness, this was a good way to re-educate myself that quantity of words in a manuscript is not the goal: it’s the quality.
Need to get in the mood for a love scene? In Sex, Lies and Contracts, my hero quotes Whitman, and says he practically drips sex onto the page. I use the magic of poetry for seduction, intelligence, and eventually, to realize love.
Come share your thoughts on poetry with me and check out Sex, Lies and Contracts.
Here’s an excerpt to whet your appetite. Ages 18 and over only please!
She whirled around. He stood behind her, framed in darkness. A bright orange glow appeared, and she watched him light a cigarette. He smoked with a lazy gracefulness that contradicted his working class stature. Gardener, handyman, bartender. Yet he spoke like an English aristocrat and seemed above petty day-to-day frustrations. The liquor burned through her veins and heated her temper.
“You shouldn’t smoke.”
He shrugged. “Shouldn’t do a lot of things that are fun.”
“What game do you think you’re playing?” she hissed.
Jack grinned and crossed one foot in front of the other as he leaned against the wall. “I’m not the one with a checklist for a husband. Tom seems like a real fun guy.”
She tossed her head. “He’s lovely. We’ll be seeing each other again.”
His lips literally twitched. “Obviously. Make sure he waxes his brows before the wedding.”
“You’re an asshole.”
He threw back his head and laughed. “Two curse words in one night. I must have broken all your records. Really, love, give yourself some more credit. Are you that hard up?”
She spun on her heel to march away but he grabbed her arm and spun her right back. The delicious scents of rum and smoke and male arousal swam around her. He loomed tall and muscular and dangerous, and her body thrilled to the raw power. Her breath caught, her nipples rose, and her pussy throbbed with anticipation. He seemed to literally smell her arousal like a big bad wolf ready to mark his mate and his nostrils flared.
“When are you going to let yourself go?” He lowered his voice to a hypnotic demand. “You teach poetry, for God’s sakes. Too much control and the writing lies flat and lifeless. Look at you—you’re practically shaking with need. I can make you shatter just by slipping my hand down your pants.”
Julianna fought for breath, fought for control, fought for sanity. As if taming a wild stallion, he pressed his lips to her temple in mock gentleness, then spoke against her ear.
Sex contains all, bodies, souls,
Meanings, proofs, purities, delicacies, results, promulgations,
Songs, commands, health, pride, the maternal mystery, the seminal milk,
All hopes, benefactions, bestowals, all the passions, loves,
beauties, delights of the earth…
She shook hard, on the verge of an actual orgasm. The slow slide of his tongue over her lobe teased and taunted, and Julianna clawed for control. His low wicked laugh told her he knew how bad she wanted him. Still, she refused to yield and forced out her words. “Where did you learn that poem?”
“Walt Whitman literally drips sex onto the page. A Woman Waits For Me. I happen to be read in other things besides Dr. Seuss. But I guess I’m still not good enough for you. Quoting poetry and making you come means nothing without money.” With a sneer he stepped back. “Enjoy your night..”
He walked away and left her. Aching. Empty. And alone.
Rick Steele has avoided women since he caught his fiancée cheating, but when he’s talked into spending a one night stand through Madame Eve, he’s not prepared for his emotional and physical reaction to his date. For the first time, he wants more than one night..but he needs to catch her first...Tara Denton escaped a brutal past and needs one night with a stranger to break down her sexual and emotional limitations. On the brink of recovering her strength and independence, she wants nothing to do with a relationship. But Rick Steele does more than rock her body...he rocks her heart. Tara has to make a choice, and she’s not ready to get caught...
An unbreakable contract. A stunning lie. And lots of mind blowing, take-no prisoners sex...Julianna needs to marry a man with money to save her family estate.Jack needs to marry a woman who will love him for himself, and not for his wealth and title. When Jack disguises himself a gardener, and promises to show Julianna the dark world of pleasure she never experienced, he's convinced his heart is safe. But when his cousin comes to town, disguised as the perfect husband for Julianna and intent on stealing Jack's legacy, he ignites a chain reaction that will change them forever. Can love and truth triumph?
Alexandria Maria McKenzie casts a love spell for a man to help save her childhood home, but she never planned on her best friend’s older brother. He offers her a bargain: marry him for one year and he will meet her price. A marriage in name only with certain rules: no emotion, no attachments, no sex. The terms should be easy to follow since he is the man who broke her heart years ago. Or are they?Nicholas Ryan doesn’t believe in marriage or family, but he needs a wife in order to inherit DreamScape Enterprises. He looks for a suitable candidate, but never planned on his sister’s childhood friend. She is everything he usually avoids in a woman: too impulsive, too emotional, too demanding. Of course, he intends to avoid any real entanglements and stick strictly to business. Or can he?The stakes are high, but neither bargained for love…
Jennifer Probst wrote her first book at twelve years old. She bound it in a folder, read it to her classmates, and hasn’t stopped writing since. She took a short hiatus to get married, get pregnant, buy a house, get pregnant again, pursue a master’s in English Literature, and rescue two shelter dogs. Now she is writing again.
She makes her home in Upstate New York with the whole crew. Her sons, one 4 and one 6, keep her active, stressed, joyous, and sad her house will never be truly clean.
Her first contemporary romance, Heart of Steel, was re-launched in e-book form. Her publications with Red Sage include “Masquerade” Secrets Volume 11, The Tantric Principle, and her February 1st release, Sex, Lies and Contracts. She has also written a children's book, Buffy and the Carrot, co-written with her twelve year old niece, along with a short story, "A Life Worth Living." Her newest series include Catch Me, the first in The Steele Brothers series with Decadent, and The Marriage Bargain, her new Marriage to a Billionaire series with Entangled. All of her books are available at her website or Amazon.