My First Smut: A little bit shocked, very entertained

My First Smut is a recurring feature where we talk about our formative smut experiences. These short confessionals may include such details as: What book did you read? How old were you? Were there other people involved? What made the experience special? What role does smut play in your life?

This week, author Ariella Talix talks about reading sexual content for the first time: literary fiction style.

First romance novel you read:

It was too long ago to remember! I’m sure it was a “clean” one, though. The first “smut” book I read was Lady Chatterley’s Lover by DH Lawrence.

How old were you?

I was twenty and in college.

How’d you get your hands on the book?

I bought it out of curiosity.

What was the reading experience like?

Eye-opening and fun!

What made the experience special?

I was living in Norway at the time and didn’t have access to a lot of American novels. It felt like I was reading something historic in a way because I knew it had been banned for a while. When I got to the sexy parts, I remember being a little bit shocked and still very entertained. I periodically read romance novels after that because I loved the guarantee of a happy ending. Finally, I just embraced my love of romance and jumped in with both feet. It was because of these books that I decided to write. I’d always wanted to, but never thought I could. But then, I found myself re-writing the books in my head and decided that was the sign that I could do it after all.

What role does smut play in your life?

I write it all the time. My books are praised for excellent steamy scenes, and I’m proud of them. Out of ten books (so far), four of them are MMF stories that are both heavy on plot and gloriously sexy. Coming up with fresh ways to deal with the characters in the books is an enjoyable challenge. It’s important to me that the bedroom scenes reflect the same personality traits as the non-steamy scenes, so the bedroom romps are anything but cut-and-paste. I have fun with them!


Ariella Talix is the nom de plume of a bestselling author who lives in America’s Heartland. Her goal is to preserve the dignity of family members who would rather not be associated publicly with a woman who writes such scandalous and stimulating novels. She’s not going to stop writing them, though. She loves her family, pets, great books, not-so-great books that still entertain, and art. Born and raised near the beaches of southern California, Ariella Talix traveled the world extensively and then found her true home in the Midwest. She has a second-degree black belt in Karate and has been a professional artist for many years. Her work is displayed in countries all over the world. A sudden brainstorm prompted the first of her novels, Make Believe, and since then the ideas just keep tumbling out like an avalanche.

Connect with Ariella:

Website | Amazon | Facebook | Bookbub | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Thanks Ariella for sharing your experience! We’re looking forward to reading Ariella’s latest, The Golden Rushwatch this space for a review coming soon!

Have an early smut experience you’d like to share with us? If you’d like to see your story featured, send us an email or fill out our questionnaire and we’ll post it in an upcoming week.

Wrap Up

May 2022 Wrap Up

As we return to the daily grind after Memorial Day weekend, we’re looking forward to a long summer of reading by the beach, reading by the pool, reading while the kids run through the sprinkler in the backyard, reading in our air-conditioned living rooms…

But before we look forward too much, here’s a quick look back at everything we got up to last month.

Our Favorite Reads…

Ingrid’s Choice: Dreams of Fate by Skylar Shoar

There were a lot of tissues involved.

Holly’s Choice: The King’s Man by Elizabeth Kingston

Do you love densely-written historical romance? If you are Holly’s reading twin, please read this book post-haste.

Erin’s Choice: The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley

No-nonsense heroine plus an author who uses historical facts to poke at the reader’s understanding of the present? Yes please.

More from the Blog…

Notes from Romancelandia…

Coming Soon…

Erin picked June’s Trope Week theme, and we’re branching out into settings! We’ll be talking about and reading romances set in the Interwar Period (1920s-1930s), and are excited to dive into a time period that’s less frequently featured in romance.

Dueling Review, Recommended Read

Dueling Review: I Think I Might Need You by Christina C. Jones (2019)

Love Sisters, Book #2

Holly’s Take

Heat Factor: She climbs him like a tree

Character Chemistry: He wants to show her that this time around, he’s all in

Plot: Joia discovers she’s pregnant and has some processing to do

Overall: Everything about being an influencer sounds friggin awful, but this was an interesting romance

Erin’s Take

Heat Factor: He’s very enthusiastic with his mouth, and she’s very into it

Character Chemistry: They’ve got great repartee

Plot: Joia figures out how to be true to herself and find her best happiness when caught by a surprise pregnancy revelation

Overall: I had so much fun reading this book!

Ingrid’s Take

Heat Factor: There’s a stripping scene involving “Pony” by Ginuwine

Character Chemistry: They have that best friends banter with that one night stand heat

Plot: Joia discovers she pregnant–like, REALLY pregnant–and has to decide what she really wants her life to look like

Overall: I fell surprisingly hard into the ins and outs of being an influencer and what that must be like (very well written) and yes, it sounded like my worst nightmare but also the book was pretty sweet.

Continue reading “Dueling Review: I Think I Might Need You by Christina C. Jones (2019)”
Let's Talk Tropes

Let’s Talk Tropes: Accidental Pregnancy

When we were discussing our goals for this year, Holly said she wanted to talk about the accidental pregnancy trope even though she hates it. So here we are! 

As usual, we’re starting the month with a discussion of the trope, but we have to say in advance…none of us is super pumped about it. If you’re an accidental pregnancy trope lover, we’d love to hear from you about your faves and why you love them!

Accidental Pregnancy

Covers of romance novels:
Make Me Yours by Katee Robert
I Think I might Need You by Christina C. Jones
Scoring the Player's Baby by Naima Simone
Books we’ll be reviewing this week
Continue reading “Let’s Talk Tropes: Accidental Pregnancy”
The Great Smut Debate (with debate inked in cursive by a fountain pen)
The Great Smut Debate

The Great Smut Debate: HEA vs HFN

Note: Since we’re talking about endings, this post may contain spoilers.

There are so many feelings you have when you close a book for the last time. And a big part of that feeling for romance novels is about the ending. We in romance know that the end is going to be happy (or vengeance will be in our very angry reviews), so oftentimes the community expresses to outsiders or newbies who ask how we can read something so predictable: “It’s about the journey, not the destination.” That’s very true. BUT, dear readers, BUT it’s about the ending, too. It’s about the author’s choice to use a HEA (Happily Ever After) rather than a HFN (Happily For Now) resolution to the story. Or vice versa. Did it match the rest of the story? Is it a satisfying ending for the struggles our protagonists overcame? What about a realistic ending? Do we like certain endings because they’re OUR preference or because they match the narrative we’ve just concluded?

Well. We’re going to talk about all of that. 

Continue reading “The Great Smut Debate: HEA vs HFN”