Explicit scenes in lesbian fiction with Harper Bliss plus GIVEAWAY!

And the winners are…


Thanks for playing, everybody! And winners, if you haven’t heard from me yet, check your spam filter.

Hi, darlings! Today we have the FABULOUS Harper Bliss joining us to chat a bit about her latest, Once in a Lifetime, and to talk about


Did that get your attention? I thought it might. Heh. As those of you who know Harper’s work are aware, she writes some deeply emotional romances as well as some super hot sex scenes, and often the two are integral to the same story.Once in a Lifetime cover

That’s how it is in her latest novel. Here’s the synopsis for Once in a Lifetime:

Leigh Sterling and Jodie Whitehouse share a deep love and extreme passion in the bedroom. But when Jodie’s desire for a child becomes inevitable, it clashes with Leigh’s career ambitions as well as with her lack of maternal instinct, and forces them apart.

They go through life separately and, as years go by, their attempts at other relationships fail to measure up to the power of the union they once shared. When they see each other again eleven years after their painful breakup, an opportunity arises to explore if they really were each other’s one true love.

And to get a taste, here’s the FIRST CHAPTER.

As if that wasn’t enough awesome, Harper is putting up TWO EBOOK copies to give away. So if you’d like to get in on the drawing, leave a comment below. Include your email address in the comment fill-out form but DO NOT put it in your comment body. Because heinous spam-bots. We’ll do the drawing on Monday, July 27 at 10 PM EST. Good luck!

And now, I’ll hand the keys to Harper.

Explicit Scenes in Lesbian Fiction
Harper Bliss

My plan for this guest blog about my new novel Once in a Lifetime, was to write about ‘true love’, but then, very recently, in one of the Lesfic Yahoo groups I follow, a discussion erupted about lesbian novels including ‘obligatory sex scenes’ because it’s what the publisher and ‘the market’ demand. This then, for me, tied in with a well thought-out blog post by Tamsin Flowers about whether E.L. James ‘broke’ the erotica genre with ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’. As a lesfic author of many an erotic scene, the opinions in my mind started boiling over rapidly, and this guest blog turned out to be the perfect outlet for them.

Once in a Lifetime is deeply romantic, but also extremely erotic. One reviewer dubbed it ‘Fifty Shades of Leigh’ (which I’ve decided to take as a compliment). Sex scenes are frequent and kinky because they are such an important part of the two main characters’ journey. In the conclusion of her blog post about E.L. James and the state of erotica publishing, Tamsin concludes that, perhaps, it’s time to organically integrate sex scenes in mainstream genres. Not that I consider lesbian fiction a mainstream genre, but the idea is the same.

When my previous novel At the Water’s Edge came out, I deliberately stopped labeling myself as a lesbian erotica author, even though that book has some very explicit scenes in it. At heart, it’s not erotica. It’s lesbian romance with a few ‘non-fade-to-black’ moments when things get hot between the two main characters. But, I’m a firm believer in writing what you want to read and, personally, an author ‘turning off the lights’ when things get busy between the sheets has pissed me off more than once.

In her blog post, Tamsin also says: “Why should erotica be a genre at all? Given that sex is so fundamental to all our behaviors and motivations, so universal and yet so diverse, shouldn’t it be in every story, in every book?”

I tend to agree — if it has its place. If we were to simply (and perhaps a bit crudely) categorize erotica authors as writers who produce stories for masturbatory purposes, then I’ve left that purpose behind quite some time ago. In any good book, story always comes first. (And isn’t that at the core of E.L. James’s success as well? The opinions about her writing are pretty universal, but excellent writing, while important, will almost always be less important than a captivating, emotional story.) Case in point: I went to see The Duke of Burgundy the other day. My expectations were raised very high, of course, what with the prospect of a lesbian BDSM movie featuring Sidse Babbet Knudsen, but, no matter how gorgeously shot and how skillfully put together, the movie fell short for me because it didn’t make me feel anything.

When I read a lesbian romance novel, and the tension has been building and building, and the book then ends with a simple kiss, it makes me feel like I’ve missed the climax, because, for me, the emotional arc is not complete. (But I do admit that, when I write my own books, my mantra is always: Feelings! Feelings! Feelings!)

It has been claimed that publishers demand that authors include sex scenes in their books, even if they have no place in it, because ‘sex sells’. I’ll be the first to admit that, yes, sex does sell, but I have always found that my better-selling books have always had more focus on a deeply emotional story.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not making a plea to include explicit scenes in every book, but, when I’ve become highly invested in the connection between two characters who are falling in love, I do enjoy a heart-felt sex scene. I also strongly believe that every author should write what they think is best for their story. Personally, I tend to write stories that benefit from some lady-loving action and, honestly, I haven’t received a lot of complaints. As long as the sex scenes are realistic and don’t occur, as someone in the Yahoo group said, while, e.g., two women are being chased by a skilled assassin and still find time and opportunity to have sex every two pages.

Anyway, perhaps this blog post is just one long explicit content warning for my new novel Once in a Lifetime. 😉 Be warned: it’s hot!

Harper Bliss is the author of the novel At the Water’s Edge, the High Rise series, the French Kissing serial and several other lesbian erotica and romance titles. She is the co-founder of Ladylit, an independent press focusing on lesbian fiction. Harper lives in Hong Kong with her wife and, regrettably, zero pets.

Twitter (@HarperBliss)

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Happy Friday, happy reading!



  1. Fantastic post, Harper, and thanks for the link to my post. You’re quite right that every author should write what’s right for their story, and I personally agree with you that a strong emotional connection between characters makes the sex way hotter. xoxox


  2. Harper, very timely post for me because I’m about to moderate a 2-part panel at GCLS this morning on writing sex scenes. The first part focuses on whether to include sex or fade to black and the second part focuses on the sex itself. So thank you for this contribution. I’d love to win your book (e-book). 🙂


  3. Wow, this sounds like a book I would really enjoy, I love romances. Good luck with sales and congratulations on its release.


  4. Great post!

    I am a true romantic at heart and a book has to have a good storyline, along with the cliche happy ending, in order for me to say I truly enjoyed it. However, I am going to be honest in that the books that often stick out the most to me are the ones that have really great sex scenes in them, along with the good storyline. If the scenes can’t keep my interest, I will often just glance over or skip them completely, and not truly read them. To me, an amazing sex scene, should make me want to maturbate, even just a little! 😉

    Looking forward to reading this one!


  5. Your books have always been amazing..could I imagine a Harper book without sex..I admit it would be hard to do..lol. I don’t pick up a book and say let me skip to the sex scenes but If I pick up a book and it is wonderful and there happens to be a mind blowing sex scene in it then lucky me..but sex or no sex I would still read a Harper book anyday!!


  6. Love it! I enjoy reading all your works…short stories to your series. Please, count me in for the opportunity to get this new work!


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