We’re all on some sort of journey, aren’t we? Check back here periodically to find out more about G. Elizabeth Kretchmer’s journeys through the literary world and through life.

Monthly Archives: June 2014

Sexual Preference in Black and White

When Jai Elle Mitchell invited me to guest blog for her, I was at first thrilled, and then I immediately took a big gulp. What would I, a writer of literary fiction, have to say to an audience of romance readers? I knew I needed to find common ground between romance and literary, besides the usual story structure stuff. What do most readers, and for that matter most adult humans, have in common?


But of course we all have our individual sexual preferences, as Jae Elle suggested in her June 17th blog “Are you into….” Likewise, we have different preferences when it comes to reading about sex.

Claire Davis, award-winning author of the literary short story collection Labors of the Heart and faculty member at Pacific University’s MFA program, periodically gives a craft talk about writing sex scenes. She believes that sensuality is most powerful “in what’s not shown,” and when it comes to scenes involving what might be considered sexual deviancy, she said that literary masters like Vladimir Nabokov and Denis Johnson rely heavily on pathology and landscape to convey the tension of the scene without making the reader feel complicit in the acts.

Alan Elsner, author of a historical fiction novel called Romance Language, said in a Huffington Post blog that love is primarily expressed through sex in the romance genre, whereas literary works such as Jane Austen’s novel Pride and Prejudice, present romance more “in the [characters’] heads.”

When I sat down to write two sex scenes in my new novel, The Damnable Legacy of A Minister’s Wife, I took the approach that Davis and Elsner would likely have used. In the scene excerpted below, a mountain climber begins to seduce another climber on the flanks of Denali, in Alaska. I felt I could best show the heat of the scene (juxtaposed against the frigid landscape) by not relying on graphic description. Instead, I slowed the pace, relied on benign clothing accessories like gloves, and incorporated the briefest verbal exchanges. I also used food as part of the landscape because food can be so sensual. And then, just as the foreplay is about to burst into full-on sex, I ended the chapter. The reader knows what’s coming and can imagine the scene just as well as I can. The reader doesn’t need to see the words on the page.

Here’s the excerpt:

He sat beside her and unzipped her jacket, slowly. Then he pulled her glove from one hand, finger by finger, and their eyes met. She was cold, tired, hungry. She was a lonely woman, too.

He pulled her other glove off slowly.

“What are you doing?”

“Just making you comfortable.”

He handed her a tin of crackers and fed one to her. When she bit into it and crumbs fell from her mouth, he caught them in his palm and licked them off his skin.


He reached into the bag of chocolates and fed one of them to her, licking his fingers again after they’d been touched by her lips.

“Will, what are you doing?

He cupped his hand behind her neck and pulled her closer. “I’m doing exactly what you want me to do, baby. I’m keeping you warm.”

“God, I’m tired,” she said. “I can barely focus my eyes.”

He piled some of his clothes into the corner of the tent and pulled her back; she was limp. He kissed her cheek.

“Is the tent spinning?”

Mm-mmm.” He licked her neck. He kissed the tip of her nose, then brushed his mouth against hers.

“You’re lonely,” he said. He trailed his tongue from her hairline, around her ear and down to her jaw, then to her shoulder and then to her breast. He stroked her hair.

This blog was originally posted on Jai Elle Mitchell‘s page, where she interviews other authors. Jai Elle is an author of romantic, erotic, suspense fiction.

Leave a reply

Alaska Can Live Forever

It was ten years ago this month that I fell in love– “Wait!” My husband will think when he reads this. “We’ve been married for 24 years. How can that be?” What I was going to say is that it was ten years ago this month that I fell in love with that northern frontier,… Continue Reading

2 Responses to Alaska Can Live Forever

  1. Hi G, and thanks for the mention. Your love for the treasure known as Alaska is understandable, and your post is beautifully written.

    In my experience, Fairbanksans burn wood because it’s either the only available or the most economical fuel and spruce and birch are ubiquitous. Some also use wood as a back-up fuel, but rely primarily on propane for heat. Electricity is outrageously expensive in the Interior, and it gets crazy cold, as you know. Not sure about the solution to this problem. On the other hand the Susitna Dam project seems like a no brainer. Heck no!

Leave a reply

Because of Mountain Madness?

It’s spring! It’s climbing season! And the mountains are getting mad. Unless you’ve been living in an underground bunker for the past six weeks or so, you’ve heard about the sixteen Sherpas and climbers who died in the Khumbu Icefall on Mt. Everest. It was the deadliest day ever on the mountain that the Sherpas… Continue Reading

2 Responses to Because of Mountain Madness?

  1. Not a climber, don’t even play one on TV but found great value in your words shared here. That is what great writing does, get us questioning, thinking more deeply. Thank you.

Leave a reply

Blog Hops and Bobby Socks

I was invited to a blog hop by Carolyn Hughey, author of such delicious contemporary romance novels as Dishing Up Romance, One Menu at a Time, and Catering to Love. By the looks of some photos on her website, where a dashing man holds her in an embrace and a big table is artistically set… Continue Reading

2 Responses to Blog Hops and Bobby Socks

Leave a reply