Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Prairie Chicks Welcome Delilah Marvelle

Please welcome today's guest blogger, Historical writer Delilah Marvelle. Delilah's done a little research on the history of the bed that she will share with us. Here's Delilah's bio, in her own words:

DELILAH MARVELLE spent her youth studying various languages, reading voraciously, and playing the pianoforte. She confesses that her ends the extent of her gentle breeding. She was a naughty child who was forever torturing her parents with countless adventures that they did not deem respectable.. Confined to her room on many occasions due to these misadventures, she discovered the quill and its amazing power. Soon, to the dismay of her parents, she rather enjoyed being confined to her room. And so, her writing continues. An RWA member and a two time Golden Heart Finalist and RT Nominee for Best First Historical Romance, Delilah Marvelle is thrilled to share her passion for stories. You can reach Delilah at

I've always had a genuine interest in not just writing, but history. In particular, NAUGHTY history. Being first generation Polish and having been raised by a traditional European father who would rather gouge his eyes out than talk about sex, I have to say all things naughty naturally seemed exciting and forbidden. Which is why I was ultimately drawn to write about it.

What sort of naughty history am I talking about? Very simple things, really. Like the history of the bed and how intriguing its overall history can be (aside from the use its seen...). For as much as we know about history, the origins of the first bed are a bit muddled. There isn't any one particular person, tribe or country that can raise their hand and lay claim to it. But one thing is very clear. Every country throughout history had a different approach to its philosophy.

The Persians, for instance, had an obsession with cushions. So much so that the bed itself needed to be placed upon a cushion. The Greeks and Romans, were obsessed with coverings and height. Some beds were so insanely elevated that steps were needed to climb to the top. Think of a bunk bed. On steroids. To my utter disappointment, the British were prudes when it came to the bed. They believed in functionality and did not deem it proper to associate it with “you know what.” You were born on it and you died on it. Nothing more. The French and Italians, however, decorated the bloody hell out of their beds, making it quite impossible for anyone to think the bed was used for anything BUT improper dalliances. So while the Brits had one solid bed that they passed on from generation to generation, Henry Harvard's Dictionary of French beds (1887-1890) describes 69 different types of beds. Though perhaps not too surprising when the rulers of France themselves garnered quite the collection. Louis XIV, for example, had a total of 413 between all his palaces. And I'm certain he used every single one. Wink, wink.

It is history such as this that I love to incorporate into my writing and in particular into my books, MISTRESS OF PLEASURE and LORD OF PLEASURE. I dare you to indulge in something historically naughty. Oh.. And by the by, if you're curious about more naughty history (and I know you are) be sure to check out my blog, A BIT O'MUSLIN at


Jana Richards said...

Hi Delilah,
Thank you for joining us. Welcome to the Prairies!

To be honest, I never thought of the bed as having a history. But it makes sense that the history of the bed is all tied up with that culture's attitude toward sex. My ethic background is German. Have you done any research on the bed in the German culture? My guess is that it was treated as a utilatarian object as well. Germans are nothing if not practical.

I had the pleasure of taking one of your online courses about writing better sex scenes. I have been diligently trying to improve my scenes, putting in more emotion and more sensual details. Every time my h/H get together I ask myself, "How would Delilah write this?"


Karyn Good said...

Hi Delilah. Very interesting post today. I can honestly say I've not given much thought to the philosophy of the bed. I'm not sure why not, I love my bed. How to write a great sex scene however ... that I've wondered over. I see Jana mentioned you give online courses?

I'm off to check out your website and blog!

Ban said...

Just stopping by to say 'Hello'. Have you noticed that most romance books ignore the bed now-a-days, or is that just the ones I've read ? Hmmmm ... hard to tell, I haven't read too many. Anyway, I think it goes along with what you were saying ... about culture etc. people are so worried about being ultra liberal these days they forget how romantic (and comfortable) a bed can be -though, a little hanky-panky in the broom closet sounds exciting ;)
Personally, I want one of those enormous 'bunk' beds, which figures as I've always wanted to live in a tree house.
ps: anything interesting about Irish beds ?

Vince said...

Hello Delilah:

I think the trailer for your book is very well done and entertaining. I hope everyone here gets to see it.

I do have a question on writing love scenes. Many love scenes are totally predictable. Too many times I can tell you step-by-step what is going to happen next. I have also found that by changing the character names, many love scenes are easily interchangeable with other novels.

Do you do anything or teach anything which directs the characters to make love in a way that is unique to their personalities? That is, could their actual love making only have happened the way it did given these two lovers?

It just seems to me that there is an ideal love scene and romance writers write to the plan as they want to provide the reader with the best love scene possible – especially if there is only going to be one love scene in the novel.

Do you have a philosophy on this?

I think this is an area which is open to much experimentation and improvement.


P.S. Some kings used to conduct state business from their beds.

Suse said...

Hi Delilah, I really enjoyed your post. You've made the bed an interesting topic to read and learn about. And since we write romance, it is definitely something we should know and think about so that it fits the era, setting and characters.

Jana Richards said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jana Richards said...

Hi everyone,
I hope Delilah gets a chance to join us today. In the meantime, I'll throw in my two cents.

Karyn, I've never thought much about beds either, which is strange considering how much time we spend in them. I love ban's thought about how comfortable and sensual a bed can be. In Delilah's class she encouraged us to be sensualists and to release our inner "French girl". Our characters can't be in the mood if we're not in the mood. A writer wants to think of how cool and soft the sheets feel, and how lovely the lavender scented candles smell.

Vince, I love Delilah's website too. I think it's very inventive. But I haven't seen her trailer yet. I'll have to go back and look for it.

The reason I took Delilah's class was because I felt the love scenes in my books were all sounding the same, just as you said. My hope is that they are getting better. My goal is definitely to write sex scenes that are unique to the characters in each of my books. One thing that Delilah stressed was the emotion of the scene. She constantly encouraged us to think about what our characters were feeling. Delilah believes it is the emotion that will connect readers with the characters.

Thanks for dropping by Suse. Yes, I will definitely think about the bed my characters make love on. Funny it never really occurred to me before.

Well, I've got to run and I'm not sure I'll have a chance to drop by again. Have a wonderful weekend!


Vince said...

Hi Jana:

Emotions are always important in a novel and they are especially important in love scenes. Competent writers tend to do a good job with emotions. However, love making emotions tend to be very similar due to the universality of the act and the commonality of human biology.

As a method of differentiation in love scenes, I was thinking more in terms of actions than of feelings. Ideally, these actions would serve as manifestations of the character’s personality.

For example, suppose the heroine is a candy maker. She is always asking people to sample her new ‘creations’. During the early stages of the love scene, the hero does something she finds particularly pleasurable, so she reaches over to the bedside chest, picks up a piece of candy and while saying, ‘oh, that was delicious,” she places the candy in the hero’s mouth. Obviously, this one sequence could develop in a dozens of different ways depending on the personalities of the characters and the needs of the plot.

Another example. Let’s say the heroine is a song writer and at the start of the first love scene she puts on a tape of her music. She tells the hero that she wrote the song over the last few months while fantasizing about them making love. She wants him to hear if for the first time as her fantasy now comes true.

Scenes like the two above cannot be easily cut and pasted into another novel. Also, I believe, such character-driven scenes would be very memorable. I just don’t know how an editor would react to this. That’s because a perfect generic love scene might please more readers.

What do you think?


Delilah Marvelle said...

So sorry I didn't post earlier! I'm in New York gearing up for my release and responding via my iPhone.

My dearest Jana,
The Germans perceived the bed the same way the Brits did. And Lol about writing that sex scene 'according to Delilah'. Blushing here.

My dearest Karyn,
thank u so much for posting and checking me out!!! I plan
on doing more online sex classes, and will post it on my
website and blog when I plan to.

My dearest Ban,
lol about people neglecting the bed. The reality was, especially for the French they were a lot more creative about where they romped. A bush is just as good as a bed :). And no, I haven't come across any Irish beds, but then I wasn't looking. Wink.

My dearest Vince,
Love scenes shouldn't be predicatable. It should be an extension of the relationship and emotion happening between two people and obviously no one makes love the same way. The problem is peopl. LeVe out the emotion and it becomes mechanical. For every few actions it should be substituted with emotion AND creativity. When I hold another class, I hope you'll sign up :)

my dearest Suse,
Thank you souch for posting!!! I just want everyone to enjoy the naughtier side of history as there is SO much to enjoy!!!

Vince said...

Hi Delilah:

Great to hear from you. I’m happy to say I just downloaded your “Master of Pleasure” for my Sony eBook. So glad you’re available as an eBook. I couldn’t wait. I just have to read your ‘naughty’ style. I’ll be looking for your next online class.



Delilah Marvelle said...

My dearest Vince,
Thank you so much for buying the book!!! Would love to know what you think. And if time passes and you don't hear news about any online class, feel free to e-mail me to see where that is. I'm thinking it'll be after the new year.

Jana Richards said...

Hi Vince,
I really like your ideas to make each love scene individual to the characters. I'm going to keep that in mind the next time I write one.


Vince said...

Hi Jana:

If you want to read an absolutely delightful example of this type of writing, read Trish Wylie’s, “The Firefighter’s Chosen Bride”. a Harlequin Presents. Trish Wylie also writes some of the best dialogue I’ve read in Romance. BTW, it was not written as a Presents but is rather a truly sensible story.


Paty Jager said...

Always fun and interesting posts from you, Delilah!