Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Today's Special -- Jenn LeBlanc

Today we welcome author Jenn LeBlanc to The Romance Dish. Jenn has combined her love and passion for photography and romance novels in a very unique way -- creating an illustrated romance novel. Doesn't that sound fabulous? Personally, I think it is a great idea! THE RAKE AND THE RECLUSE is Jenn's first illustrated romance novel. Please give Jenn a very warm welcome!!!

Hello my lovelies! Thank you to my gracious hosts for having me. I thought I would bring a little list, but then I couldn't decide between a list of things a photographer can't forget to take to the studio, and what an author mustn't forget when writing a love scene. So I combined the two.


1. Camera. So important. The lens you use even moreso. You want a lens that will give you the right—I'm going to throw two tech terms out here...feel free to use them anytime to sound smarter—depth of field and bokeh. DoF is how much of the image is actually in focus, bokeh is the way the lens handles the blur (Canon has WAAAY better bokeh than anyone else).

2. Light. This is incredibly important, without it, there are no images. But the placement, direction and intensity of the light will show the mood and focus of the image and drive the viewer. A well-placed shadow...can be of paramount importance. This image in broad daylight? Totally different type of image. I like to shoot in the dark with just the modeling lights. It makes the world go away, and brings the mood where we like it.

3. Atmosphere. There are going to be a great deal of people in this scene. It's difficult for two people, who are strangers, to 'get it on' in front of a room full of other strangers...ok there are some exceptions to that, however, in general the sex you have while others are watching is not the sex you have when alone. This is why it is so important that the studio has a great atmosphere, and everyone is comfortable. Set the stage, use the right fabrics, the right costumes, make everything perfect so it all falls away and all we see are the people.

4. Direction. Hero looking into her eyes: sexy, hero looking at her mouth: smoldering hot, hero looking at her chest: randy. Hero needs to know what I want out of a scene. Just like in a real relationship, communication is key. If I say on your knees, you better hit it.

5. Hands. Hands are SO VERY IMPORTANT. You use them everyday—you know. But hands, next to eyes or mouth, are the most expressive part of a person. They should show emotion; tension, caution, care, urgency. Make sure if a hand is in the image it has something to hold onto, even if it's only metaphorically.

6. Comfort. Shooting a love scene is similar to dating in real life. We don't just jump into bed, we start out with the clothes on, the table and the wine, maybe some candles, (I did write a historical—so no, I'm not kidding) we bring out the riding crop and the fake horse, (still not kidding) and all the other stuff before we start getting anybody in bed.

7. Temperature. Here I have to apologize to Derek for freezing his nipples off. My studio in February is quite terribly cold. It's rather large, and while not drafty, it is not well heated. When you add water...well. I'm sorry D.

8. Chapstick. Yes. And it better not be bright pink or your male model might end up with a nickname like 'Cherry'. Just saying.

9. Oil. Stop. It's for the skin, because nobody likes to look at dry flaky skin and those lights are HOT and tend to dry out skin rather quickly.

10. Shot list. Two beautiful people making beautiful pictures tends to make a person forget what they are doing. Make sure there is a list...and then stick to it. Mostly.

There you go. I hope you enjoyed my list and my images. If you'd like to learn more please by all means track me down on twitter or facebook and for updates follow my blog. If you are interested in my novel, The Rake and the Recluse, is available now from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, All Romance and iBooks through your iThingy.

Now that I've told you my list of steps to shooting a love scene, what are your top requirements for reading a love scene?

One random commenter will receive an e-copy of THE RAKE AND THE RECLUSE.

~ Buffie


  1. Now that was cool! Who knows all that stuff? Didn't know about any of that and it is going to be different watching everything now. I really have always wondered how they do the focus thing where the background is fuzzy and the people sharp. Now I know! Great post Jenn.

    Reading a love scene require very little to me though, just as long as it isn't on a cycle going 70 down the interstate, I can handle some unusual places. It does have to be believable though. See cycle above...LOL I am a creature of comfort, prefer soft beds or couchs, hay is too sticky, ground, oh no, not happening, but believable just the same. Never been in a moving carriage but have often wondered if that is really possible to do with any degree of success.

  2. What an amazing and creative way to combine and use both of your talents. I would certainly love to see how you have done this and look forward to checking it out in the future. As well, thanks for telling us how you manage to get the shots "picture perfect!"
    Connie Fischer

  3. Hello, Jenn!

    Oh, I'm very passionate about photography and I've been taking classes for years. Your book sounds exciting and I'm curious about the final product.

  4. Jenn's phophotography is magnificent and what I wonderful idea to combine the phtots and a romance novels in a very unique way.

    I'm thrilled that Jenn has decided to write romance and The Rake and The Recluse sounds like it's going to be a fun book not only to read but to look at!

    When I'm reading a love scene I always try to picture in my mind's eye the location it is taking place. Is there a fire and what is hanging over the mantle? Are their unmentionables in the corner of the room or did the maid pick them up before the heroine left for the ball? I try to get a feel for the surroundings from the author's words but how wonderful to get to actually see some of those things instead of just trying to imagine them.

    Great idea Jenn!

  5. @Dianna thank you! Yes DoF is an amazing tool in photography, sometimes it gets overused, but when done right it adds to the image. A Cycle going 70 huh? I read a cycle in a parking lot and coulcn't quite figure out what she was saying LOL!

    Connie thank you as well! You'll have to track it down if you read it and tell me what you think!

    Antonia that's WONDERFUL! I love talking shop will fellow shooters. Photography isn't just what I do— it is who I am.

    Jeanne, that is fun and one of the reasons that in my book I have detail shots as well as some steamy shots. These people have an entire life outside the bedroom too after all! One of the images is a close up of the brother's hand holding a riverstone, it's important to the story, and I believe the image enhances that.

    Thank you everyone for stopping by! Good luck in the giveaway! If you aren't the lucky winner, The Rake and the Recluse is currently ON SALE for only $2.99 at Amazon and B&N so check it out and let me know what you think!!



  6. Holy toledo, Batman! THAT was the hottest list I have EVER read. In fact, I think I need to go and get a big glass of diet coke right now with a lot of ice. Who knew that it required so much? Thanks for sharing with us. Wow.


  7. It's funny. I follow you around on these blogs but never notice they have words. :)

  8. Hi Jenn! So great to have you with us today. I loved your list! What a fascinating behind-the-scenes glimpse into the world of your creativity. And speaking of setting the did that brilliantly. I felt like I was right there in the studio with you!

  9. It's funny. I follow you around on these blogs but never notice they have words. :)

    LMAO @ Terri! So glad I swallowed before reading your comment!

  10. Jenn, welcome to The Romance Dish!! And thanks for sharing your insight on shooting (and writing) love scenes. How interesting!!! And double thanks for sharing pictures ... we LOVE pictures here ;-)

  11. Hey Dianna! It is pretty interesting stuff, isn't it? I know it takes a lot to create a love scene, and I really enjoy reading all that hard work :-)

  12. Thanks for stopping by Connie! An illustrated romance novel sounds like something we all need to look into.

  13. Hey Antonia! So another photographer around here, eh? I think all of the Dishes love taking pictures. I know I sure do. I think it would be fun to sit in on a cover shoot sometime.

  14. I try to get a feel for the surroundings from the author's words but how wonderful to get to actually see some of those things instead of just trying to imagine them.

    Me too, Jeanne.

  15. Holy toledo, Batman! THAT was the hottest list I have EVER read.

    LOL, lalibrarybug!!! I thought Jenn provided us with the "perfect" pictures!! I know I have enjoyed them.

  16. It's funny. I follow you around on these blogs but never notice they have words. :)

    LOL Terri!! You know me, I went right to the pictures. And checked them out a couple times before I read anything :-)

  17. I felt like I was right there in the studio with you!

    I felt the same way, PJ. So very interesting.

  18. Fascinating--both the idea of illustrated romance and the photography process.

    What I want most in a love scene is evidence that the emotional connection is as powerful as the physical connection and the sense that the moment is somehow unique to these characters. I hate reading a scene that is all about what body part goes where and that leaves me thinking that I could change the names and seamlessly insert the scene into hundreds of other romances.

  19. Hi, Jenn! We're so glad to have you as our guest today.

    Wow! Love the pictures! In addition to being wonderful to look at, I learned something new as well. :-)

    When I'm reading a love scene I really want to feel and believe the emotional connection between the hero and heroine. And of course, if it gets me all hot and bothered, then I really believe it. LOL

  20. I swear I can never get tired of looking at those pictures. *Sigh*

    When reading a love scene I just want it to feel real. I want to feel the chemistry between the characters and I want to feel the passion between them.

    Please don't enter me to win a copy. I already have my own.

  21. Great post, how interesting! I love the way your do your love scenes, I have never heard it put quite this way. You have it about right though.


  22. wow I never really thought about all of that. I just love romance!!

  23. Hello, Jenn! Welcome to the Romance Dish. We're so happy you can join us. :) Congrats on your illustrated romance! What a cool concept! And wow, Wow, WOW, those pictures are hot!! Do you have any plans to release it in paperback? ;-)

  24. Hi Jenn, love your name, my favorite niece is named Jennifer,too.

    I have always wanted to see a good historical romance made into a movie with well filmed somewhat graphic love/sex scenes.
    We know that women respond sexually more to the written word, while men generaly prefer the visual stimulation of what we call "pornography." That can run the gamut from magazines, hard and soft porn movies and the vast resource of the internet.
    I think your novel (pun intended) approach is exciting in that it serves both of these two divergent manners of thinking.
    I would really enjoy sharing this type of book with my husband. Congratulations on the realization of something truly new!

  25. Wow, what a great list! So detailed! Thank you!

  26. Valerie! THANK YOU, and wow with the Batman, that makes me smile. I love it. Hope you got a chance to cool down and come back for more!

    Terri! There are no words. :)

    PJ THANK YOU!!! I had so much fun writing this post! It's different from most of the guest blogs I get to do.

    Buffie- Thank you as well! I am a bit of a picture geek. I am so very lucky to be doing what I am, and that I came up with this idea so I could SHARE it with everyone!

    Janga the emotional is SO important in a romance novel, and I try to bring that across in my images as well. You are absolutely correct. Without the emotional it's all just...something else.

    Gannon thank you, thank you!! I very much believe in a powerful connection, some of my images in the book are truly heartbreaking, because of the story line, they were difficult to write, to visualize and to shoot but they work so well juxtaposed with the emotional connection of the characters in love.

    Danielle! Hi sweetie! glad you stopped by to ogle my hero. :)

    Virginia, thank you! It takes a bit of trial and error really. OH!! Goodness I forgot about the mood music! One of my models gets randy to reggae and another to AC/DC, we play whatever makes them feel the mood. :)

    Thank you for stoping by Alicia!

    Thank you for having me Andrea!! It is actually available as a trade paperback on Amazon! There are not as many images in the book, because it is so cost restrictive, but they are awfully pretty in print. :)

    @fsbuchler thank YOU! You will have to track e down and let me know how that goes! :)

    Sheree thank you and you're welcome!!

    Thank you everyone SO MUCH!! I had so much fun here today!!

    Good luck in the giveaway! If you read the book be sure to track me down on Facebook, Goodreads or Twitter and let me know what you think! I LOVE hearing from readers!!

    Have a great week! Jenn

  27. Oh, thanks, Jenn!!! I'm off to order my copy right now! Thanks so much for dishing with us! :)

  28. Wow, great pictures! And the blog post was great, too, even though I noticed it a bit later only. ;) I'm fairly open-minded to love scenes as long as they fit the story and help to get the story along, I'm fine.

  29. The characters in a love scene can't use annoying pet names. Over-using pet names or silly names pulls me right out of the scene. I want to feel the emotions of the characters. I also want the choreography of the scene to be realistic.

    Congratulations on The Rake and the Recluse, Jenn!

    user1123 AT comcast DOT net

  30. Thank you Stacie and Claudia! I agree with BOTH of you! Overuse of pet names does get annoying. And a sex scene without reason is a bit overindulgent and unnecessary.

    Thank you so much Andrea!! You'll have to let me know what you think!