February Meeting Roundup and Good News

by Susan Burns


Sex educator, romance writer, and consummate speaker Emily Nagoski loves applying the science of sex to stories of love, lust, and longing with the flair of a stand-up comedian. She tells us about the accessible, fun-brain science showing us how we can maximize the impact of our love stories, especially in our steamy scenes. She says we can do that by using the natural emotional dynamics of our brains.

Her official Goodreads bio: Emily Nagoski, who is the New York Times Bestselling Author of Come as You Are: The Surprising New Science that Will Transform Your Sex Life, and is currently the Director of Wellness Education at Smith College . . . . (from Smart Bitches Trashy Books)

“[She] has a PhD in Health Behavior with a doctoral concentration in human sexuality from Indiana University (IU), and a master’s degree (also from IU) in Counseling, with a clinical internship at the Kinsey Institute Sexual Health Clinic. She has taught graduate and undergraduate classes in human sexuality, relationships and communication, stress management, and sex education.”

Topics covered in Emily’s workshop are:

  • Why virginity might amplify the reader’s neurological response to a sex scene – and how to create the same effect, when neither character is a virgin;
  • Why sex in risky situations can be super-sexy in a story, even though it probably wouldn’t be in real life
  • And how to write a love scene a reader responds to strongly, even when it’s not the kind of sexiness she’s generally interested in.

Right off the bat, she warns us of her racy verbal and body language filled with colorful expletives like WTFISA (Interpret as you will!):

  • Why don’t romance heroines think about their bodies in the lit bedrooms?
  • No one’s born loving their cellulite. Our culture wants us to hate ourselves, so then we’ll buy more shit.
  • Popularity of Fifty Shades of Grey rescued the sex toy industry.

Emily taught us that the difference between the reactions of men and women to sex is called NON CONCORDANCE:

She says scientific studies show little overlap of Wanting Sex, Expecting Sex, and The Enjoyment of Sex. Biofeedback shows that in men physical arousal is related strongly to expecting and completing sexual activity, but in women there is little correlation, on average, between physical arousal and expectations. So in our stories, we want our alpha heroes to be acutely attuned to the heroine’s wishes.

Emily went on to explain how acceleration and brakes applied to the relationships of our heroes and heroines make for greater conflict and excitement. Her humorous example of brakes for women: no sex when there are dishes in the sink!

Character attachment styles, like in real life, depend on the adult caregiver:

  • Secure (you’ll come back)
  • Anxious attach style (cling hard/hard to let go)
  • Avoidant (never attaching too strongly)

In summary, Emily says the dynamics between healthy lovers is like a dance of Approach-Stay-Avoid that can liven the romance between our heroes and heroines.

Summing up Emily’s workshop, we learned to improve our writing of love scenes, but most importantly, to improve the emotional dynamics of all relationships within our stories. Thanks, Emily.

From our monthly business meeting emcee’d by our president Rick Ochocki:

Good News to share this month:

  • Margaret Taylor and Pam Scheibe will be speaking at RWA Nationals at Denver (July 18-21): PTSD: How it Effects Your Heroes, Heroines, and Villains.
  • Tessa McFionn entered Midnight at Andromeda’s in the Prism Contest of FFnP (Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal) online chapter of RWA.
  • Cynthia Diamond announced Siren’s Song is on Audiobook, and Alchemy’s Hunger is entered in the Prism Contest.
  • Claire Marti published At Last In Laguna, the second book in her Finding Forever in Laguna Series (coming out on Audiobook).
  • In January, Lisa Kessler released Devoted to Destiny, book five of The Muse Chronicles.
  • Also in January, Ann Siracusa released Destruction of The Great Wall.
  • Aleigha Siron entered her San Francisco Highlander in the Prism Contest.
  • Erin Spock will release book two of her Courtly Love Series, Courtly Scandals, on March 19 (on preorder now). Her book one of her Courtly Love Series, Courtly Pleasures was given an A-rating on the Smart Bitches Trashy Books (SBTB) blog.

C.J. Corbin says:

Time is running out to re-up your RWASD membership at the lower rates.


Tessa McFionn (L) and Lisa Kessler


Tami Vahalik (L) and Michele Barber


Mary Galusha (L) and Tami Valhalik


Above see images showing awards presentations for:

  • Atta Girl (recognition for a member who keeps writing through adversity) was presented to Lisa Kessler by President Elect, Tessa McFionn.
  • Service awards were presented by Tami Vahalik to Michele Barber for doing the check-in every month, and to Mary Galusha for handling Write for The Money.

Next month, our workshop will be Plotting with Laurie Schnebly Campbell, so bring ideas for your WIPs or future novels:

Bio from her website: “Laurie Schnebly Campbell loves giving workshops for writer groups about Psychology for Creating Characters, Making Rejection WORK For You, Building A Happy Relationship For Your Characters (And Yourself) and other issues that draw on her background as a counseling therapist and romance writer.”

Coming up in April:

Federal law enforcement special agent Geoff Symon discusses forensics at crime scenes (first come first serve 9-4, all day, $35 (members), $40 (nonmembers), and $45 (walkins).

From Geoff Symon’s website: “For more than 20 years as a federal law enforcement special agent, Geoff Symon has been using his expertise and experience to put away the bad guys. Now he’s begun lecturing and consulting with authors in genre fiction communities to help bring verisimilitude and meaningful detail to the depiction of crime and investigation.”

Presenter Emily Nagoski  (L) and our RWASD prez, Rick Ochocki in an extemp moment.

2 thoughts on “February Meeting Roundup and Good News”

  1. ErinErin

    This was a great workshop and I’m glad I attended. I ordered the book before the meeting was even over.

    I understood sexual non-concordance to be when the physical body responded to sexual cues one way and the mind another. So the body might respond with the symptoms of arousal while the brain is turned off or the opposite.

    February 26, 2018
  2. RobinRobin

    Thank you, Susan!

    February 27, 2018

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