Thursday, January 6, 2011

Talk Dirty To Me

A week talking about genres wouldn't be complete without mentioning the ever growing market of erotic romance. Now, I like erotic romances, in fact, that was the first type of book I read in e-format, but when I went to RWA nationals this past year I met a lot of established authors who were dismissive of the genre. I was shocked to hear them disparagingly call it porn.

I will admit that some of it is pure erotica masquerading as erotic romance but there are many authors that do a dang find job of merging a romantic plot with the hallmark of an erotic; hot, steamy sex. If you're reading this and have never read an erotic romance you're probably thinking, "Most mainstream romances have sex scenes, so what's the difference with an erotic romance?" Well, the answer is euphemisms.

In erotic romances, the language is frank. No flowery words. It's the f-word, the c-word for male parts, and generally the p-word for female. It might also mention some non-standard, a-hem partnerings and, or accessoriesJ. I generally read straight male/female erotic romances but I've ventured into reading some ménage, bdsm, m/m, and more than ménage stories while supporting friends who write them. I will say I prefer the standard male/female stories. It isn't because I'm a prude or anything; it is just that I find that, more often than not, the romance element gets less attention than the sex with more than two people relationship stories, even when done by some very talented authors. I don't seek out m/m either but, I've read a couple that were just plain awesome: we are talking Brokeback Mountain kind of moving and heartwarming.

My friend Gale Stanley has written just such a tale with Silent Nights. I haven't finished it yet so I'm not going to review it other than to say it holds up to her m/f Lycan story, Call of the Wilds in the romance department. I think that is just her voice coming through, no matter what the subject matter, she has a fantastic grip on depicting sensuality and really has a lock on what makes people fall in love. I am drawn to her characters because of what they think and feel. It is real, and imminently relatable, whether in the male or female point of view. Gale truly knows how to write from a male perspective. There is a scene in Call of the Wilds were the local good ol' boys are attempting to intimidate the heroine, a veterinarian turned wild life conservation ranger who is protecting a captured and injured wolf from the idiot townsmen who want to shoot it. The scene is tense, and as an animal lover I was spitting mad, but it was also funny. I grinned at the descriptions of the "pack" of men and the heroine's internal thoughts about them.

I also think Call of the Wilds is a great book for someone to read who has never read an erotic romance. The romance is strong in this story and yes, the sex is hot, but the internal conflicts of the hero and heroine are believable and draw you into the story making you care about these people. There is also a villain, well a couple of them actually, that ratchets up the suspense-I guess you could say this book has it all: romance, erotic sex, and suspense, and an element of paranormal. Check it out, you won't be sorry! Oh, and Gale will be here tomorrow to give her perspective on erotic romance; promise it will be interesting!

I know I said my erotic romances of choice are m/f but I have to give a shout out to my friend Tara Lain and her new book, Genetic Attraction. It released yesterday, and I read it in one sitting: a m/m/f ménage, Tara perfectly captures the interpersonal conflicts that are bound to occur in such a situation. She also creates 3-D characters that you just have to like and it makes you wish them a happy ending. I particularly like Em, a scientist that is risking a lot for love. Her book trailer is awesome and really makes you want to read the book: Watch the trailer then see if you don't want to pick up Genetic Attraction!

I cannot close this post without mentioning the author that led me to read erotic romance, the fabulous Delilah Devlin. I "met" her when I took her Plotting Bootcamp workshop. She uses snippets of her books to illustrate a point and that drove me to check out her books. The Pleasure Bot was my first erotic romance and I couldn't have picked a better one to start with; this book is sooo darn funny and it features an Irish hero-I love my Irishmen! She is also at her humorous best in Bad, Bad Girlfriend; you have got to read this book, if only for the scene between the heroine and the female stripper. OMG I tell all my friends about that scene, you will laugh yourself silly and, if you are anything like me, you can see yourself getting into just such a ridiculous situation: think a modern day Lucy and Ethel! DD, as we in her critique group call her, also has a new book out.

Ravished by a Viking. I am not finished with it either: I am getting old and don't read as fast as I used to! But, I was privileged to critique parts of this book a while back and I have to tell you, if you like fantasy novels with some heat (ok, with DD, there is a lot of heat!), you will love this book. The romance is compelling: people from different worlds that should be enemies. The conflicts are compelling, not just between the hero and heroine but the situation they are in, the world building is fantastic … it is just damn good stuff!

Besides her humor, DD's trademark, at least for me, is deeply drawn characters with real and powerful emotions. She makes you feel what the characters feel and even better, you can understand why they do what they do, even when the situation is completely foreign to you. For instance in Fun with Dick and Jane: the story is about a married couple who want to add their male neighbor to their household, not for some quick fun, but forever. Watching this straight-laced, by the book cop deal with his emotions, doubt, fighting his attraction and then love for Jane is just, WOW! I can't relate to his situation but I can definitely understand his inner turmoil. Delilah writes some very, very good books, trust me!

Ok, confession time. Do you readily admit to reading erotic romance or are you in the closet? LOL, do you find that the anonymity of e-books encourages you to buy and read books you'd never buy if you had to venture into a store or library? (I do!) Have a favorite erotic romance?

How about the other end of the spectrum? Do you hold with the opinion that I encountered at RWA nationals, that erotic romance is just porn?

Come on, defend your position! J

12 comments:

  1. Ah! Thanks so much for the kind words, Rachel!

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  2. You're welcome! I thoroughly enjoy your writing!

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  3. I read it and I don't agree that it is just porn. Now some of it - yep- it is just there to arouse and that's okay - it has it's place. But, I've read some fantastic erotica that have moving, fascinating, riveting plots and characters.

    I love Lora Leigh's 'Forbidden Pleasures" series, and Lauren Dane's stuff as well. I enjoy G.A. Hauser for M/M storylines. There's soem good stuff out there.

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  4. Another great post Rachel! And thanks so much for the kind words. I can't wait to talk more tomorrow.

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  5. I agree Robin, Desiree Holt had one, can't remember the name at the moment but it was bdsm but what was great was how she used the heroine/hero chatting via IM to heighten the sexual tension: super good book.
    The only thing I am not liking is a trend I'm seeing in menage and more stories. It seems like every new release lately is menage or more and it gets boring. I like m/f erotics: more time to develop the romance/relationship. Besides, even the exotic gets boring when you get it all the time!

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  6. *raises hand* I would never, ever read this genre. That is until I got into a critique group with great new authors Christine Bell (aka Chloe Cole) and LC Chase. They were as published as I (I'm not yet) when we and several others 'met' on eHarlequin. Chloe and LC have their first collaborative m/m/f erotic coming out in Feb, 2011. This is a heartwarming story that I will own! Christine also has several other new releases under her name and Chloe Cole out now. Good, fun reads to check out. I wouldn't read any erotics, or come close to writing them if not for my wonderful cps, all of them- not just these two! But in the name of critiquing, I volunteered to read their works and I'm glad I did.
    And DD? She just rocks! I think I would even buy in a store, but all the ones I have or want right now are ebooks so online works.

    I've read others' work since too. Lorelei James was newly introduced to me recently. Nothing hotter than a cowboy. A nekkid one...even better! Can't wait to have my book budget so I can get all of Gale's books!!!
    It's really not as bad as I expected erotic to be. My eyes didn't fall out or anything!

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  7. I have no problem with erotica, per se...although, I stay away from anything other than male/female relationships. I like a love story where the couple stays falls in love, stays in love, and respects each other.

    A bit like your stuff, Rach :)

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  8. LOL Calisa: I was just like you! I didn't really think about reading it until the crit group and I thought, why not?

    @ Tracey, you're so sweet! I prefer m/f only but I'll read others, mainly for support of friends-but I've been pleasantly surprised when I read a non-traditional relatinship story; some of them are really good. A bit like when Brokeback Mountain came on TV: I had no plans to watch the movie but, wow! A powerful tale of love, supressed passion, longing, regret ... a really good movie made all the more compelling because it was two men and their relationship was 'forbidden'. It was a good movie and some m/m stories are like that, just have to find them.

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  9. LOVED this post! I get seriously annoyed when I hear the romance divas dissing erotica and calling erotica porn. Why? Because I have read porn (yes, I truly mean porn. Like Penthouse letters - did you know it's produced in a book? And it sucks, but not in a good way). The stuff being published under the moniker of erotica is NOTHING like it.

    I'm one of the few who will proudly stand up and say - I read porn and I watch porn ("Eek-gads! did she just admit that?" Yes, I did). So I can say without a shadow of a doubt none of it is even close to erotica.

    Yes, I'm an expert 'ho. And my husband is a very happy man ;-)

    The undisputed Queen, in my eyes, is Emma Holly. Although, I have to admit -- I started blogging with DD this past year and I picked up her book Into the Darkness. I'm about halfway through and I'm floored with her world building and complex characters. She does an excellent job portraying the conflicted emotions within them, and even when I'm not so sure I like them, I feel for them.

    She's truly gifted.

    And now... I sound like I'm having a fan-girl moment. Someone shoot me before I make an ass out of myself! ;-)

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  10. Okay, now I'm blushing. C.J., my Dark Realm series was a joy to write, but the first book was my least favorite. I felt like I hit my stride with the world-building and the characerization in book 2, then knocked it out of the park in book 4. Hope you make it that far. :)

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  11. THAT'S what it takes to make an erotica writer blush??? Who knew? Lol

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  12. I love erotic romance and erotica. Both have good story lines in them. I read e-books as well as prints. I don't limit what I read. I never know when I'll find a good book or a new author that will become a favorite.

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