Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The More The Merrier!

The More the Merrier!
By N.J. Walters

Ménage a trois…how exactly does it work?

Hello! Remember me?

I think I lost you all for a moment as your mind wandered off, no doubt engrossed in the possibilities. All that naked flesh coming together, hard chests, broad shoulders, sculpted muscles, lips touching, hands stroking, limbs entwining, soft moans…

Ahem! Sorry about that. Where was I?

What I really meant was how does an author make us suspend disbelief enough to make a ménage a trois acceptable, even believable to the reader, who might otherwise have a hard time with the concept of a threesome?

The author can do this in various ways depending on if the book is an erotic romance or a straight work of erotic fiction. In erotic fiction the act itself is the goal, in an erotic romance the ménage a trois must be an integral part of the plot, ultimately leading to a happily-ever-after. That takes some work. The last thing you want is for one character to feel shut out—hurt by the lack of emotional or physical connection with the other two in the ménage.

I’ve written a few ménage a trois books. The best-known ones are probably the books in my Tapestries series. The basis of the series is a magical tapestry, which takes women from different places and times and whisks them to Javara, a world that resembles Medieval Earth. In Javara women are scarce and brothers must compete sexually for the honor of claiming the woman as wife. Only one man can marry the woman and all children from the union are his, but he must share his wife one night a week with his brother(s).

When the heroine of Christina’s Tapestry, Christina Beaumont, finds herself in this strange world, she is overwhelmed by the ardent attention of the two brothers, Jarek and Marc, as they each seduce her. What would be unthinkable in her world is, the norm in theirs. The warriors hold Christina in high regard and treat her with honor at all times. The longer she is there, the more normal the situation becomes to her.

Zarina is a warrior from a desert tribe in my fantasy/ménage a trois Three Swords, One Heart. She is a strong woman and a capable one, who is exiled from her tribe when her father dies. Alone, she battles to survive in a brutal world. Malik and Kalis, the two heroes, believe that she is the warrior woman who can break the curse that has plagued their family for generations. To do so, they both need to bond with her and gain her love. Zarina needs to be strong enough to stand side-by-side with these warriors if they are to have a chance at a life together, but her insecurities might be their downfall.

My latest ménage a trois is Amethyst Moon. Archaeologist, Olivia Fifield, finds herself transported to the world of T’ar Tal after she makes an exciting discovery in an Egyptian mastaba. The future of this world is uncertain, but Olivia and her amethyst bracelets are the key that might save them all.

In each case, I’ve taken the heroine outside the norm, to another world where the rules of normal society no longer apply. That is probably the easiest way to handle the societal problems that being part of a ménage might present. We may live in modern times, but this is not the kind of relationship that would be readily acceptable by the bulk of the population.

But some authors do set their ménage a trois books in contemporary times. This takes a lot of skill, especially if there is to be a satisfying happily-ever-after at the end. Many writers will use brothers or best friends as the basis for the ménage. In the end, the reader has to accept that the unusual arrangement works for this group.

As a writer, it’s a challenge to pen a ménage a trois, whether you do the more conventional two males and one female, the less common two females and one male, or even take it one step further with four or more participants. Not only is it much tougher to keep track of all those body parts, it’s a challenge to make the emotional connection between all the parties involved deep, meaningful and very real. Because, in the end, that is what any good relationship is all about. Without that, no book will satisfy, but if it’s done right, the results can be a highly erotic read that will make your pulse pound, your body ache, and your heart soar.

Emotional~Sensual~Satisfying Reads!
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/awakeningdesires/ (newsletter group)
The Seduction of Shamus O’Rourke—Samhain Publishing
Amethyst Moon—Ellora’s Cave


Valerie T. said...

Good morning ladies... I am the first responder! Woo hoo!

I love the menage scenes. I loved all the Tapestries and Amethyst Moon. NJ, you write them beautifully, they are believable and are something I look forward to in one on your stories.

Keep up the good work!

Valerie Tibbs

Nicole Austin said...

Yay, NJ's blogging with The Hussies. *g* Hi NJ! Great topic!

Those of you who have read NJ's menages know she does them very well! I LOVE the Tapestry series. What a great concept, brothers competing sexually to win the heroine. Yeah, baby. Sign me up for a trip to that reality!

You are so right about how difficult it is to write menages because they are not readily accepted or even occur very often in our society. For me, writing a contemporary menage, the key was having the characters social group accept the relationship.

Kathy said...

I happen to love NJ's Tapestry series. I'm a huge fan.

Rachel.C said...

I love a well written menage. But you're right, the writer needs to get you to believe in the reality they've built for their characters. It's disappointing when an author doesn't get it right. Good thing you're one that gets it right NJ.

Ciana Stone said...

" a highly erotic read that will make your pulse pound, your body ache, and your heart soar."

NJ, sorry to steal your words but this is the best description I think of for your menage books. The Tapestries series is still my fav. You made the situation acceptable with your well-crafted plot lines and oh boy did you make it pulse pounding.

Thanks for blogging with us. In my book when it comes to menage, no one does it better than the fabulous NJ Walters!!

mamasand2 said...

Hi NJ, nice to see you here. I really enjoyed reading your take on writing mng. I just found the first one that I enjoyed a few years ago. What you said about what I would call the 'frame work' for it made a LOT on sense. I do enjoy a well written mng and now I'll have to check put yours.

N.J.Walters said...

Good morning, Valerie. Thank you so much. I'm glad you've enjoyed the Tapestries series and Amethyst Moon!

N.J.Walters said...

Hey, Nic! I'm thrilled to be here blogging with the Hussies!

*g* I'm so glad you enjoyed the Tapestries series.

You've written several contemporary menage stories and have handled the acceptance issue beautifully, whether it was for a continuing relationship between the three characters or a one-night, wish fulfilling fantasy.

N.J.Walters said...

Thank you so much, Kathy!

N.J.Walters said...

Thank you so much, Rachel. It takes work to get it right in a menage. It all starts with the characters. They have to believe in the relationship or it won't work at all.

N.J.Walters said...

Thank you so much for the huge compliment, Ciana. It means a lot to me.

I really enjoy writing these complicated, emotional plots.

N.J.Walters said...

Hi, Mamasand2. I'm glad you enjoyed the post. Writing menage stories are a lot of fun, but they do take a lot of logistical work, and not just with body parts. LOL You have to look at the emotions and "growth" of the characters as a whole.

Sally Painter said...

I agree with everyone! You are the Menage Queen, NJ. My favorite Tapestry is Christina's Tapestry, maybe because it was the first. I don't know it's a hard choice. (G)

I bow before the queen!

It's wonderful having you here with us, NJ! Smooches!

mamasand2 said...

You are soooo right NJ. It's the emotions that really make a story work. Other wise you are inserting tab A into slot B. Not the same at all. LOL With the reviews the Hussie's are giving you, You are definitely on my to read list. Anyone have a recommended title to start with???

N.J.Walters said...

You are such an angel, Sally. I'm thrilled to be here today among all you talented ladies!

Thank you for the wonderful compliments. Christina's Tapestry will always be one of my favorite books!

N.J.Walters said...

I'm glad to be on your reading list mamasand2. If you're looking for a menage a trois, I'd start with Christina's Tapestry.

If you like other genres, I've written contemporary and paranormal (vampire, shape-shifter, etc...)with EC as well. :-)

mamasand2 said...

Thanks for the advice, after all who better to advise than the author herself? I've made a note of the name and I'll be checking it out. After all I won a few GC's this last week sooo... Still jumping for joy.
And thank you again hussies.

charleneteglia said...

Great discussion, NJ. Menage is a powerful fantasy, but making it emotionally believable and the ending romantically satisfying takes a lot of skill. Like you, I find it works best in an "outside of reality" setting. Aliens, werewolves, demons can live by their own set of rules. *g*

Emily Ryan-Davis said...

Thanks for such a thoughtful treatment of this topic, NJ! My first-ever menage scene is currently in my editor's hands and I'm biting my nails - SO hard to write! I love to read them, and completely admire an author who tackles them successfully :)

N.J.Walters said...

You're welcome, mamasand2. Enjoy!

Absolutely, Charli. And I do so love your aliens. And your demons are pretty hot too! :-)

Thank you, Emily. Writing your first menage scene is fun, but there is always the worry about not making it believable. Good luck with it. I'm sure it will be great!

Kathy said...

I like all the tapestry books but I have to admit, Woven Dreams is my favorite. I love it because both the heroine and the heroes are wounded characters who have so much to overcome.

Janet H said...

I'm with Nicole..sort of..sign me up for that fantasy. You do a great menage, NJ.

N.J.Walters said...

Thank you, Kathy. Woven Dreams was very different from the first two in the series...more poignant, I think.

N.J.Walters said...

Thank you so much, Janet!