Heat levels vs. erotic romance (and erotica)

In one of my writers’ groups the subject of heat levels in romance came up, and how to describe romance novel sexy times (or lack thereof) on some sort of scale.

You probably think this is an easy discussion, right? Ha!

There is literally no industry standard for heat levels, and yet romance readers constantly want to know what to expect sexiness-wise between the covers.

Having no industry standard means everyone has their own opinion including one particular retailer which randomly puts romance books into their “Erotica Dungeon” even if said romance book is not erotica (plus erotica is not a heat level — more on that below). Continue reading

Romancing the Throne, Part 2: The Eunuch’s Submission

In the opulent palace of Ctesiphon, the capital of ancient Parthia, lives a princess who searches for the stolen throne of her kingdom, the sella regia. She engages the services of a palace eunuch in her quest, a handsome and astute advisor. Over the years, respect and esteem transform into love, love deepens into trust, trust sparks sexual exploration.

Thus is the set up for my two short stories “An Unexpected Discovery”, an erotic romance, and the follow up, “The Eunuch”, a BDSM flash fiction erotica short. In “An Unexpected Discovery” the Parthian princess Roedogune searches for the sella regia with the assistance of Arashis, the eunuch assigned to her by her husband. It’s an erotic romance, so it’s not really giving it away to say Roedogune and Arashis end up together — romance is about the emotional and physical journey since readers already know there will be a happily-ever-after.

Creating a romantic connection between characters is what a romance writer does. And sometimes that writer is given an opportunity to explore the relationship beyond the happily-ever-after, to take a peek into the life of a couple after that first flush of excitement.

Continuing a romance is especially wonderful if the characters are beloved characters, more so if these are characters who almost did not make the page. Continue reading

Definitions: Erotica, Erotic Romance, Steamy Romance (Reprise)

In a couple of discussion forums I’m on, the question of what is erotic romance vs. what is steamy romance has come up yet again.

As a writer of both, and of erotica, I know the answer. I wrote a blog post about it way back in 2015. Since some parts of that post are no longer relevant (especially the bits about a now-defunct publisher), I decided it was time to reprise my definitions post, with some updates.

I’ve been writing erotica, erotic romance, and steamy romance for well over a decade, and am mystified (and annoyed) that our industry has not yet solidified the definitions of these genres. Does definition diminish creativity? Not at all. What it does is help industry professionals better understand what is being written, marketed, and sold. With definitions, the industry as a whole would be on the same page. Continue reading

Republishing Madness: Two steps forward, one step back, but still moving

For the last three years of my author life I’ve felt like Sisyphus pushing a stone up a hill, only to have it roll back down, thus negating any progress. It has been very frustrating, to say the least. Instead of writing, I’ve spent time and energy (and money) republishing novels and stories. Too often, I think I have given a story a good home, only to find it orphaned.

Republishing involves: re-editing (sometimes editing out a publisher’s style and reasserting my own); new covers; possibly new blurbs; ebook formatting; paperback formatting; new ISBNs (stupidly expensive in the US); uploading to retailer sites; plus promotion, promotion, promotion.

Basically everything an author has to do when self-publishing, except all of that stuff had already been done and now you have to do it all over again. Sigh. Continue reading

Sex Scenes: Who, What, When, Why, and How Many

“How many sex scenes?” is a perennial question in the National Novel Writing Month Erotica Forum. Meaning, how many sex scenes should an erotica or erotic romance novel have? Just this week, I saw the same question asked on a private Facebook group and felt compelled to write this blog post with the answer and an explanation.

The answer? Wait for it… Continue reading

Amazon Adds Samhain to Its List of Victims

The digital-first, romance publisher Samhain has announced it is closing. Despite never having been published by Samhain, this news makes me very sad. Samhain was my target publisher, the one I aspired to be published by. The publisher from whom I got the absolute best rejection letter ever. Continue reading

The Harwell Heirs, Reverted

Rights reverted, that is…

A special announcement to fans of historical erotic romance! My Victorian series Harwell Heirs is currently in limbo. Rights for two of the three books are in the process of reverting to me. I’m preparing to re-launch the series in February 2016.

So, if you are looking for The Pleasure Device (Harwell Heirs Book 1) and Disobedience By Design (Harwell Heirs Book 2) they are not available at the moment! But hang on tight, because I’m editing the text (minor edits really, no changes to the story) and getting new covers made (I cannot wait to show you the new covers!!) in preparation for the relaunch.
Continue reading

2015: End of Year Post

It’s just an hour or so before 2016, just enough time for an end of year post for 2015. I haven’t posted all December for two reasons: winter holiday road trip to see family and friends (with intermittent WiFi), and I’m on deadline for the next Naughty Literati anthology, Naughty Lovers. I’m still not quite sure I’m going to meet that deadline!

But let’s just say I do meet that deadline… Continue reading

Mature Romance

It happens to the best of us. It happens to the worst of us. But we’re lucky if it happens to us at all.

Getting older.

As we tally off the years, we get a little soft around the middle, our knees creak when we climb stairs, our muscles complain if we try a new dance move, our fifty shades of youthful tresses dim to one shade of gray.

And yet, we still crave romance, we still yearn for love. Because, even though we’ve grown older, we’re still human. We may not have the raging hormones of youth, but the heart still desires emotional satisfaction.

So it is with romance novel characters. Continue reading

Definitions: What is Erotica?

[UPDATE: Please also see my reprise blog post “Definitions: Erotica, Erotic Romance, Steamy Romance”]

People frequently make broad assumptions about what it is I write. Friends, family, and acquaintances snicker about my “porn”. Romance writer colleagues imbued with the cadence of traditional romance often bandy about the term “erotica” as if to signal the ugly otherness of erotic romance.

So I will attempt to answer the provocative question What is erotica? and by doing so answer corollary questions about misunderstood erotic-like literary variations: Erotic romance, steamy romance, smut, porn, and Romantica®. Continue reading