Saturday, March 31, 2012

Let's Talk About Smex, with Anne Tenino

Welcome to the next stop on the Frat Boy & Toppy Blog Tour Extravaganza! *confetti*

On this tour, I'm writing a series of posts on how I cook up a story. Not a how-to manual, just a how-I-do manual, wherein I reveal all the dirty little secrets about how I approach a story, using Frat Boy & Toppy as an example.

For a schedule—with links—of all the places I'll be on my tour, visit my blog, There you will also find information on my tour contest—I'll be giving away a Frat Boy & Toppy notebook, signed paperback copy of 18% Gray, and e-book of my next release, Turning Tricks. To enter the contest, you must ferret out the three questions (each in different blog tour posts) and answer them in one email sent to I will chose one winner at random from all the emails received by 11:59 pm (PDT/GMT -7:00) April 3rd.


Let’s Talk About Smex, Baby

To be completely frank, Frat Boy & Toppy is not the best book to use as an example when discussing how I approach writing dialogue. Yet I must because this post is about writing dialogue, and this is, after all, the Frat Boy & Toppy Blog Tour Extravaganza *confetti*.

Let’s begin with a study of dialogue. As in, this is how I study dialogue: I listen to the people around me. I also draw inspiration from my own exchanges with people. I’m not saying all of my fiction dialogue comes from actual conversations, but I do pull a lot of material out of interactions I have with other people.

For instance, last July, on or about the 21st, I was having an email dialogue with my good friend L.C. Chase and somehow the subject of frottage came up (authors and their deadly dull industry talk, I swear).

Anyway, L.C. was telling me about how she had been taking an art class and they were learning about a skill called “frottage”. She might have let herself laugh out loud a few times when the term was mentioned, but of course, no one in the class knew why she thought it was funny. Telling me about this, we somehow wandered around to discussing the French origin of the word. From that point on, every time “frottage” came up, I imagined hearing it in a French accent: “frot-AZH.”

That ultimately led to one of my favorite scenes in the book. Inspired, I wrote it back then and sent it to L.C. The excerpt below is a snippet of the version that ultimately made it into Frat Boy & Toppy. It’s late in the book, but there aren’t any real spoilers. Brad’s roommate, Kyle, has just inadvertently discovered Brad’s gay. His roommate Collin—also in the scene—already knew. Kyle has a few questions about it . . .

It still took Kyle forever to get his mind around it. At least, it seemed like forever. Brad sat in his desk chair and listened to Kyle’s random thoughts on his gayness. They bubbled up out of the guy like gas out of a tar pit.

Brad was annoyed and bored as shit within ten minutes.

Apparently, Collin was, too. “It’s not like he’s the only gay guy in the frat,” Collin told Kyle scornfully.

Kyle stared at him. “There are other gay guys in this frat?”

Collin shrugged and looked away, still folding laundry. Kyle stared at him a minute longer, then turned to Brad, eyes wide and face slack in surprise. “Are there? Other gay guys in this frat?”

Brad shrugged, managing a much less self-conscious one than Collin. “Statistically there have to be, man.”

“Yeah, but do you know any?”

Collin froze with a pair of holey briefs in his hand and whipped his head around. Kyle didn’t notice, focused solely on Brad. Brad finally dropped his hands from behind his head and gave Kyle his most forbidding look. “I don’t come and tell, dude.”

“You fucked him? This other gay guy?” Kyle’s voice rose so high Brad thought it might crack.

Shit. “Why are you hets all so intercourse-centric? There’s a lot more to sex than sticking it in and wiggling it around.”

Kyle’s mouth dropped open. Brad felt like he was forcefully broadening Kyle’s mind with, like, a can opener. But at least Collin had relaxed, sitting on his bed and looking at Brad with amused interest.

Hets? Intercourse-centric? Who are you?”

“Same guy I’ve always been. This is just a part of me you’ve never seen before.” He crossed his arms over his chest and eyed Kyle steadily.

Kyle didn’t seem to notice; he was staring off into space. He shut his mouth with a snap and swallowed audibly. “Okay. Okay, so, there’s hand jobs and blowjobs and fucking, right?”

Brad snorted. “That’s a good start.” “What else is there?”

Brad tilted his chair back. He never got to be the tutor, so he planned to make the most of it. “Well, there’s frottage. Or, as the French say it, ‘frot-AZH.’ A lot of guys start there.” He supposed. Based on his research.

Collin smirked. Kyle’s eyes widened. “Frottage?”

“Rubbing off on someone. It’s really great when one guy has his hand around both—”

“Dude!” Kyle shouted, palm to Brad and doing the closed-eyed cringe. “No details. Just the basics, man.” Collin started coughing hysterically into the pair of socks he’d just balled up. Kyle looked at him. “Got to you, too, huh dude?”

Collin coughed harder and turned away. Kyle‘s brow pulled together. “I think you made him inhale something, man. That was just cruel.” He shook his head slowly.

Brad just grinned. “He’ll be all right.”

There’s more to the scene but if you want to read it, you’re going to have to buy the book, of course. To purchase Frat Boy & Toppy, visit Riptide Publishing

* * *

Raised on a steady media diet of Monty Python, classical music and the visual arts, Anne Tenino rocked the mental health world when she was the first patient diagnosed with Compulsive Romantic Disorder. Since that day, Anne has taken on conquering the M/M world through therapeutic writing. Finding out who those guys having sex in her head are and what to do with them has been extremely liberating.

Wondering what Anne does when not writing? Mostly she lies on the couch, eats bonbons and shirks housework.

Check out what Anne’s up to now by visiting her site.


  1. There's conversation in this book? {hehehe}

    Seriously, I love Kyle :) And all his conversations with Brad were perfect.

    1. Thank you! My main beta for this story loved Kyle too, which made him even more fun to write. I love Kyle, and I toyed with making him, you know, *whispers* GFY.

      But nah. Just didn't work.

  2. Kyle and Collin are just two of the support characters that really make this read so damn good!

    1. Thank you, Kassandra! I thought so, too. They were both a ton of fun. Actually, it's weird, but I had Collin's character worked out before Sebastian's—yet somehow I knew this book wouldn't be about Collin.

  3. Love this excerpt Anne! And I can somehow imagine you and LC having this conversation. *snickers*

    1. One of the things about this conversation was that I wrote it near the beginning, but I knew it came later in the book. So I hung on to that email from LC and kept trying to write toward it. I had a lot of fun in between, but it was a nice goal to work toward. LOL

  4. I am an Art History major in college, which I have to admit is a little pretentious, and the first time I heard my 72 year old professor talk about frottage (rubbing your charcoal over a textured surface covered with paper) I laughed out loud! Every person in class stared at me in utter confusion (except my professor who I know for a fact lives with his partner and must be familiar with the term).

    1. LOL That's awesome, Juliana! I'm liking your professor. :-)