A Man on Writing Erotic Romance

Spencer Dryden Author PicHello. My name is Spencer Dryden (  http://www.fictionbyspencer.com/ ) and I’m delighted to be back. I’m an old, white, straight guy trying to make an impact in the world of erotic romance. My first book, a novella, “Bliss” wasn’t erotic, although it was about sex—a woman’s struggle with sexual shame. And it wasn’t romance, although there was a central love story. I can’t explain how I sat down to write an erotic romance and ended up somewhere else, but it was an interesting process. My new story, also published by Breathless Press, “Love Above See Level” is more representative of my favorite kind of character and plot line.

My main characters are not the hunky guys, billionaires or jet pilots who populate lots of erotic romance stories. I like ordinary guys, tradesmen mostly, who are drawn into extraordinary circumstances that includes falling into the orbit of a sexually assertive woman. These two features make my stories a little different from the pack, which is part of my strategy. I know I’m not going to make it writing the same stuff as everyone else. I’m not that good.

A related strategy is focusing on short works. I kiddingly say that ‘short is the new long’. Maybe the monstrous, “Hunger Games”, is the exception that proves the rule. It’s easier to get published with short works. I have only been writing for two years and I have four works under contract and have placed two stories in anthologies. There used to be a vibrant market for short stories, back in the days of print magazines. All the great writers wrote short stories to break in, earn a little scratch and build a following. I think that pathway is coming back, courtesy of the hand held reading devices and the shortening of the adult attention span. I also think it’s easier to get a reader try a new author if you’re not asking them to invest in a 100,000 word tome.

My latest, “Love Above See Level” is a story about a surfer/beach bum who is smitten by a woman who is six feet-seven inches tall. Can a laid back Peter Pan type strike up a romance with a career driven woman a foot taller than he is?

I hope you’ll take a chance on my story and let me know what you think. Put a comment here, visit my web site or you can reach me through twitter: @SpencerDryden.

Love Above See Level 200x300Blurb:

A beach bum/surfer is smitten by a six feet seven inches tall. But can his infatuation turn to love above see level?

Clayton Stoner is a blond, bronzed, hard-bodied, beach bum/surfer living the life of a thirty-one-year-old Peter Pan in a tiny oceanside cottage near St. Augustine, Florida. One calm Sunday, he sees a strikingly beautiful woman who is six feet seven inches tall taking paddle surfing lessons at the local surfer’s beach. He is immediately smitten, but unable to get her attention when he encounters her at a nearby convenience store, and again, later that day, as she is running along the beach where he is relaxing.

They finally connect when he is sent to do plumbing repair work at the beach cottage she is renting. She continues to spurn his friendly advances. It looks hopeless for him until fate intervenes. But can a laid-back surfer and a woman driven by career achievement see eye to eye well enough for a long-term relationship?

Buy: Love Above See Level

Excerpt:

A light offshore breeze did little to dry the sweat on our brows as we sat on the front porch of my beach cottage, transfixed by the surf. Our suits were still wet from our frustrating day trying to ride waves that wouldn’t form. Nothing dries in North Florida humidity except throats after a day of sun and surf. My buddy Smitty and I were several beers in before I finally broke the ice.

“So, Smitty, what do you do when you find your eyes are at tit level with a beautiful woman?”

“My eyes are always at tit level with women.”

“Asshole, I’m not talking about where your eyes are looking. I’m talking about height. What if your eyes were only as high as a woman’s breasts?”

“Are these breasts sagging down to her belly button?”

I made a cross with my fingers and held it up to him, hoping his flesh would burn. “No, in fact, they were small and pushing straight out. She was very trim.”

“If you had leaned forward, would you have got one nipple in each eye?”

“Stop it. I’m being serious here.”

“So am I. She could put your eye out.”

“That’s my beer you’re drinking,” I said. “You could at least give me some decent advice.”

He rubbed his chin as if it would make him smarter. Smitty only thought with his cock, and I was glad he didn’t whip it out and rub it for insight.

“Dude, they’re all the same height lying down. And a tall one can wrap her legs around you twice. What’s your problem?”

I huffed and shook my head. “Smitty, if they ever cut your head open, nothing but pussy would fall out.”

“Okay, Stoner, I’ve got a half a beer left, and then I got to go. The mullet are running, and I want to come down tonight to do some fishing. Are you with me?”

“No. I’ve got an early job tomorrow.”

“Would you mind if I parked in your driveway then?”

“No problem.”

“I promise I’ll be extra quiet if I see a couple of legs hanging out the window.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Dude, if you get that woman into your bedroom, there’s no way she’s gonna fit on your bed without hanging her legs out the window.”

Smitty had a point. My beach cottage was pretty small.

“So where did you meet this beauty?” Smitty asked, catching a belch.

“Well, we haven’t really met yet. I was in line in front of her down at the Circle K earlier today. I turned around, and there I was with my nose in her breasts.”

“So what’s her name, where does she live, and is she available?”

I shrugged.

Buy: Love Above See Level

Get into Bed with Kristina Wright (Author Interview)

Sandra: What made you want to set up the stories for your Best Erotic Romance anthology?

Kristina: Actually, the idea for doing a Best Erotic Romance came from my publisher. My previous anthologies had been focused on erotic romance and they thought I would be a good match to edit the anthology. I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to put together a best of collection. It was an opportunity to read a much wider variety of stories than I had for my other anthologies and to select stories that I think represent the very best of the genre.

Sandra: You have a lot of varied stories in this anthology, if you had to decide, which story was your favourite?

Kristina: Honestly, every story in this collection was chosen because I loved it. I received over 150 stories and did several readings to get the collection down to the 17 stories I ultimately selected. I think the variety of stories shows the spectrum of erotic love– from love at first sight to long lost love. My hope is that anyone who reads Best Erotic Romance will connect and identify with at least a couple of the stories and find something to love about the others, as well.

Sandra: The stories in Best Erotic Romance explore the idea of lovers being drawn together by the fate they did not know existed and bound by the love they never thought they had. Have you ever drawn upon personal experience when writing your novels?

Kristina: I’m primarily a short story writer, though I do have several novels in various stages of completion. I think most of my fiction has some seed of truth in it and I absolutely have used my personal life to explore various themes. For instance, my story “The Curve of Her Belly” in Best Erotic Romance is about a couple expecting their first
baby. I recently had my second baby and tapped into my emotions during pregnancy to write that story. It’s erotic and romantic, but it is also very much grounded in real experience.

Sandra: I am interested in the whole selection process, so what are you looking for in new writers who come to Cleis for possible publishing?

Kristina: Oh wow, that’s a complicated question! Well, I’m obviously looking for excellent writing and attention to guidelines. Stories most often get rejected for failing to meet the requirements of a particular anthology. Beyond that, I’m looking for fresh writing– stories that blend the genres of a theme and avoid cliches. Too many new writers think that writing erotica (or erotic romance) is easy– just throw in a sex scene and you’re done. But erotica is perhaps the hardest genre to write because the author has to write about sex in a way that is, well, sexy and do it in a way that doesn’t feel cliched or forced. It’s harder than it seems! So I’m thrilled when I discover a new writer who manages to hit all the high notes– meeting the criteria for the theme, giving me characters to believe in and a well-constructed plot, and delivering hot, romantic sex that leaves this jaded editor blushing.

Sandra: You are a prolific writer, so which novel are you writing at the moment?

Kristina: I’m actually not working on a novel at the moment, though I’m currently working on a nonfiction proposal and seriously considering participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) this year. I am currently editing a collection of military erotic romance for release next year and I just turned in the copyedits for my second erotic fairy tale collection, Lustfully Ever After.

Sandra: What for you were the high points and low points of 2011?

Kristina: Great question! I have to say, it’s been a good and busy year for me! I had my second baby this year. Lucas was born September 1 and his brother Patrick will turn 2 in December. So it’s been a busy year of being pregnant and chasing after a toddler! Three of my Cleis Press erotic romance anthologies were published this year— Dream Lover (May), Steamlust (October) and Best Erotic Romance (December) and I signed contracts for two more anthologies. I managed to squeeze in a little travel to do readings in Baltimore, MD and Richmond, VA and spent some much needed relaxation/writing time alone and with my husband in Williamsburg, VA. All in all, it was a very good year and I’m looking forward to 2012 both personally and professionally.

Sandra: Which book you have read and would consider putting on your keeper shelf?

Kristina: My keeper shelf is a wall of books. Seriously! I’ve been reading a lot of nonfiction over the last year or so and right now I’m very much enjoying Ayelet Waldman’s Bad Mother.

Sandra: Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to do this.

Kristina: Thanks so much for asking!

Buy: Best Erotic Romance

10 Reasons To Read Erotic Romance

by Sandra Scholes, guest blogger

Picture the scene, you have some time on your hands, and no one else is about – it’s your time, to do what you want and you want to relax and have some fun, but not active fun. You’re getting sat down with some music on in the background, and you have a few books you brought back from the mall when you went shopping or bought online and they’re now on your iPad or Kindle. Choose one; they’re all erotic, but in varying degrees. They have equal parts romance and erotic love making scenes, but there is a story to them you can get into – usually.

You go through the blurb on the back covers of each one, and remember how you felt in the store or online when you made your purchase – okay, you like the one where the guy’s a vampire and his heroine is a long lost girlfriend from hundreds of years ago and she’s been reincarnated – he’s got to find her, but she’s already got a fella, and what she doesn’t know is that he’s a demon. Oh dear! You turn the page, and that’s it – you are hooked and won’t be coming back into real life for at least a hundred pages from now. Enjoy it, savor it, but remember the ten reasons left here for you to look at, they’re not wrong.

1.) Romance Is Where It’s At: You’re tired of hearing about friends and their failed romances, and need some swift and satisfying drama to get immersed in. So what better way to while away the free hour or hours you have than to get into a book that you like, while you leave the failed love lives behind.

2.) Who Looks Sexiest:  All the men you see daily who wear the latest hip and trendy clothes – wouldn’t they look better in an open frilled shirt and cravat? Don’t forget the tight trousers! You might dream about this kind of thing in real-life, I certainly do if he looks anything like Jonathan Rhys Meyers or Jude Law.

3.) Fantasy Versus Real-Life: There’s no way you would find these kinds of men outside of erotic romances in real-life, so the fantasy aspect of it is very attractive to readers. They would like to envision having the kind of men they read about, but know anyway they are men they can’t have. There’s no problem wanting what you can’t have though, is there, ladies?

4.) Read Before You Buy: You’ve read the blurb on the back, and find out there’s a handsome, shirtless male called Sebastian inside who’s a rakish lord and could be yours if you surrender to him and spend your hard-earned cash on the novel. For me, and I expect many other women out there this is where it starts. Back cover blurb is a great way to find out what makes you tick, and it’s a great reason to want to read an erotic romance novel.

5.) Patience Is A Virtue: There’s always a payoff with the amount of sex involved in the story later on. Being patient is the key with this one, as it isn’t the sort of writing you would get from men’s romance novels-you have to wait for the sex scenes in women’s erotic romance whether it is contemporary, Period, Horror or Fantasy. Just think about that horny pirate waiting to take you below deck.

6.) Technological Convenience: Many erotic romance novels are available on Kindle or iPad, or even on your PC, so you can read as much, or as little of a novel as you want whenever you want. Sometimes a short story would be your kind of thing during a work break, or some time away from work altogether. It has never been more convenient to get reading. And with many people working part time now and having children to look after, there is more reason to read then ever before.

7.) Novel Settings: The settings where the characters interact can be just as erotic as the novels themselves, a strip club, bar, sex party full of shirtless men. Who could resist? The answer is none of us with any true sensual emotions. One of the best novels I have read so far had the setting of a garden party back in the Regency era, and it became very steamy indeed after the sandwiches had been munched!

8.) Strong Women: The women aren’t the timid types in standard romance novels. Erotic romance women are feisty, daring, and fun-loving and won’t stand for men cheating on them, unless she wants a threesome, that is. These kinds of women are fun to read about, and can get you into the novel you choose quite deeply, and no wonder as strong women are the focus of so many romance novels out there – there’s never a TSTL type out there!

9.) First Page Fever: Read that first page, and notice how comical some of the scenarios can be. The heroine could be abducted before her wedding, stopped on the highway by a horny cop, or the hero falling from a speeding car, or falling down a mountainside to stop his love from falling into the clutches of death. It’s that first page or two that grabs your attention, and, let’s face it, you can’t story reading, can you?

10.) Happy Endings: The ending, think of all those loose ends that you’ve been dying to see tied up since chapter eight. You will see them unravel now, and even though it’s the end of the story, and you’re sad, the ending will be happy, right? Wrong! It’s not always, but that’s half the fun of reading it, isn’t it?

Photo Credits: weheartit.com

Review: Pack of Lies by Vanessa Vaughn

by Susan S., guest reviewer

This is a “dark” erotic m/m tale. There’s nothing gentle about this pack. Completely lost to the moon’s seductive pull, these werewolves are callous creatures with no guilt, no self-control, and no humanity. They want, they take, they’ll get…end of story!

Pack of Lies is told by two of the main characters; the two heroes. It’s written in first person POV narrative giving us the pack leader’s perspective, Marcus, as well as Jack’s viewpoint.

Warning: For adult readers. Scenes contain graphic violence, as well as m/f and m/m sexual encounters.

Marcus knows he’s behind the eight ball. Despite being the alpha, his hold over the pack is precarious at best. The others are beginning to retract their loyalty in order to follow another werewolf named Julian. This alpha yearns for something he can’t have. A forbidden desire to be with another male. If his lustful thoughts were given free rein, his pack would strip him of his leadership; giving Julian the upper hand once and for all. It’s critical Marcus hide his longings under permanent lock and key.

While on the hunt one night the fever causes Marcus to attack a human. The violence he was prepared for, that’s just par for the course. What this alpha wasn’t expecting was to share a psychic connection with a handsome architect.

Will their psychic imprint cause Marcus’ downfall? Or will a newly turned half-breed named Jack Devereaux be the salvation he’d been hoping for?

My thoughts: The entire novel has an air of despondency about it. I love dark reads, but would’ve liked to come up for a few gulps of happiness. Even dark reads which line my shelves have either a few comedic moments, or at least a few pleasant scenes to smile over.

Favorite scene: When Jack’s getting in touch with his manhood in the office bathroom.

Recommendations: Stand in front of A/C vent when reading.

The author’s strength lies in her expert descriptions of the moon’s complete control over the werewolves.

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Buy: Pack of Lies

eBook, Ravenous Romance, June 2010, Pages 184, ISBN-13# 978-1-60777-339-9.

Review: Soul of the Wildcat by Devyn Quinn

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by Susan S., guest reviewer

Soul of the Wildcat is a wild and hot erotica! Devyn’s sexy Native American shifters will leave you breathless. I recommend this book to erotica readers.

She’s

Dakoda Jenkins, a ranger working in North Carolina’s South Mountains State Park. Her assignment, is to stop the poachers from capturing the Eastern Cougars.

He’s

Jesse Clawfoot, a Native American belonging to the Tlvdatsi; a tribe of the Cherokee Nation. He wandered too far from his reservation in search of a mate; when he scents a female.

They

Began their day never imagining they’d be taken, captured, and caged.

Challenge

Together, they’ll attempt to stop the cruel outlaws known as the Barnett brothers.

Problem

They need to escape first!

Pros

Devyn’s sex scenes are hot, explicit, and her descriptions are spot on. The sex scene inside a wrecked plane, during a lightning storm was steaming hot! Of course, the picnic table scene at the beginning wasn’t too bad either. (LOL)

Warning

Readers familiar with the author’s novels will find Soul of the Wildcat to be a “lighter” and slower-paced read when compared to her darker faster- paced works. This book contains- expletives, sexual molestation, and a reference to bestiality which some readers may find disturbing.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Soul of the Wildcat

Erotic Romance, Aphrodisia Books, Kensington Publishing Corp., Copyright 2009, December 2009, Paperback.
ISBN-13# 978-0-7582-3121-5
ISBN-10# 0-7582-3121-0

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The Oxymoronic Genre – Erotic Urban Fantasy

guestblog

by Teal Ceagh, guest blogger and author of Mia’s Return.

People tend to look at me oddly when I tell them I write erotic urban fantasy.

Paranormal romances are everywhere these days. Even erotic paranormals are almost commonplace. But when you say you write erotic urban fantasies, readers’ eyes narrow as they try to fit that into their mental landscape of the fiction genre world. I’m not an easy fit.

Try writing it. :)

Especially try writing a novella.

Erotic romance, as we all know, is very much about developing the romance via the sexual side of the relationship. Authors spend pages and pages…well, most of the damn book, actually, focused on the two (or three or more) lovers falling in love in flagrante delicto. Delicious….

Okay, so now consider urban fantasy. You have all the hallmarks of traditional high fantasy – look at The Lord of the Rings, with its thousands of years of history, five distinct languages, four major species, and three hundred thousand words in the main volume alone. Wonderful stuff. I read the book once every year or so. But that stuff takes a lot of time and space to tell the story properly. Pages and pages, one might say, especially with all that backstory.

Urban Fantasy is no different. You’ve got a modern-day setting, but the fantasy species populating the malls and city streets still have histories, backstories that need explaining, wars that have origins that need developing, and pages and pages of development that need to be squeezed into the narrative without boring the reader or slowing down the action.

Urban Fantasy authors long ago learned the trick of not sending the reader to sleep with endless backstory that halted the action. They instead feed it into the story in small dribbles while the main action is moving on, and the reader shouldn’t really notice that he’s getting a thousand year history lesson along with a sword fight and a romance.

But add an erotic romance to an urban fantasy and you add all sorts of headaches to the author’s lot.

For a start, the author is supposed to spend a great deal of time focusing on the sexual subplot. Even dribbling in the tiniest amount of history lesson is going to look downright weird when the hero is nibbling on the heroine’s toes. See the problem?

For most authors, erotic romance + urban fantasy seem like an oxymoron, and they shy away from the challenge.

But I kept reading all these otherwise superb urban fantasies, except for one glaring exception. The “hero” and the “heroine” would dance around each other coyly for three books, then maybe kiss and cuddle for the tail end of the third.

And that was it for the “romantic interest” for three freaking books!

I like my urban fantasy, sure, but I like my romances at industrial strength, thank you. And that didn’t do it for me. Not even close.

So I thought I’d write an urban fantasy that actually had an industrial strength romance in it, the sort of romance I like. As I like the sort of romances you get from Ellora’s Cave, that meant erotic. Spicy erotic.

The series I ended up writing were a series of three novellas (just to add to the challenge, I was limited to 30,000 words per book), called Destiny’s Trinities. The first of them, Beth’s Acceptance, came out last month. The one I’m talking about today is the second in the series, Mia’s Return. It will be released on November 28th, a mere thirteen days before the third in the series will be released, Sera’s Gift.

I had a blast writing these books. There’s something very liberating about building your own fantasy universe, and I really got to know and love these characters.

I’ve since written two more stories that are set in the same universe, but are unrelated to the Trinity books. Ellora’s Cave have bought both of them, and they will be appearing in 2010.

Mia’s Return was the hardest to fit into the novella length. There was a huge amount of backstory involved and the editing involved to bring it down to length was painful. But I got there!

mias return_msr

___________

Ten years ago, Alexander hungered for Mia Menendez and for a single day they had indulged that passion before tragedy struck. Now Mia is back, but she thinks Alexander died ten years ago and no man has been able to stir her heart since. The truth could kill her.

Wyatt Whitacker, demon hunter, hates Alexander and all his kind. But one look at Mia and her pulse-stopping curves and his scarred, angry heart begins to melt and his body to rouse in ways he’s long forgotten.

The bonding has begun…

___________

Excerpt

He considered running down the fire escape stairs to the foyer and avoiding the congestion in the elevators. At this time of day it would take forever. The stairs wouldn’t tax him in the slightest. But it might draw attention to him. So he patiently waited for the elevator and stepped on with a dozen others and moved to the side to give them room.

The elevator stopped on the next floor, with more people getting on but by then his animal instinct was crowding him, making the hair on the back of his neck stand up. He was being watched. His heart thundered.

He made no sudden moves. Instead, as people pushed onto the elevator, he turned so his back was to the side wall of the car, giving him an excuse to look at everyone if he brought his head up.

He lifted his head and looked around.

She was standing on the other side of the car, almost completely obscured by the other riders because she was only just over five foot.

Mia. Shamira Menendez of San Diego, California.

His first aching thought was, You’re so fucking beautiful, Mia.

Then reality caught him in the chest. Mia was staring at him because she thought he was dead. She thought he died ten years ago, in San Diego.

And now she was watching him with tears in her eyes and all he could think about was his swelling cock and his exploding heart and how much he wanted to take up where he had left off…bending her over the counter, sliding his cock into her pussy and making her scream his name.

“Are you all right, sir?”

He tore his gaze away from Mia. “Excuse me?” he said hoarsely. He looked down at the gray-haired lady next to him.

“Your breathing is all funny,” she said. “Are you claustrophobic?”

Others were looking at him now. Becoming the center of attention was never a good thing for a vampire. Zack had drilled that into him. Seaveth was even more of a sergeant about it, now vampires were assimilating into human society. He swallowed. “I’m fine,” he said.

But he wasn’t. He looked at Mia. She was still watching. She knew it was him. There was no way to deny it. No escape. No bluff he could use to fool her. The knowledge gleamed in her eyes.

“Give him room, please,” she said. “Everyone, stand back a bit.” She was stepping closer, taking charge.

They all shuffled back, clearing eighteen inches. Mia squeezed between them and stepped into the space. “Take a deep breath,” she told him, her voice low.

He couldn’t tear his gaze from her face. The tears in her eyes pooled and one fell down her cheek. Just one. But she didn’t wipe it, or show any sign of emotion. Cool, calm, controlled. “We’re nearly there,” she added, speaking for the others in the car, maintaining the illusion of a claustrophobe in full panic mode. She knew as well as he did it was nothing of the sort.

As the doors opened, the others stood back, letting them exit first. She grabbed his lapels and hauled him from the car. He let her, for he stood a foot higher than her and outweighed her by nearly a hundred pounds. But her scent alone was wreathing his head and making his senses reel. Something with vanilla and…grapefruit? He could feel his incisors trying to descend and his mouth filling with vampire saliva to deaden her flesh so she wouldn’t feel the first piercing of his teeth. His cock was pounding with the agonizing need to slam her against the walls of the foyer and fuck her senseless.

He was almost hyperventilating with the dilemma.

Her hand rested on his chest. God, he could feel her heat through her hand. He swallowed.

“You’re supposed to be dead,” she whispered. No hello. No attempt to confirm who he was. She was that sure of him despite ten years.

He couldn’t afford to answer her, to even start the conversation. Instead, he stared at her, soaking up details. She had been eighteen when he left and even at that age, infinitely dangerous to his pulse. Now she was a mature woman and beyond dangerous. He could feel it in his heart, his mind, his cock. His whole body was responding to her like a nuclear magnet. She wore her dark hair down to her shoulder blades but styled in some mysterious fashion that just brushed over one eye and framed her high cheekbones and pointed chin. Her black eyes, still gleaming with tears, with their arched strong brows, were staring at him, giving him no quarter. They never had. And her lips…full, the top one like a cupid’s bow. He had dreamed about kissing those lips and woken sweating in his lonely bed all those years ago when he could sweat. Those lips still looked sweet, the teeth behind them white and beckoning.

Mia was wearing a dress. He had no way to describe it, except to say it wrapped her in roses and made the most of her figure. And she had a figure. Even at eighteen she’d had a figure. He had lusted after it. And in ten years, it had changed very little. Her breasts had not sagged. Her hips had not spread. And her waist was still as tiny as ever. It was that tiny waist he had grabbed as he bent her over the counter…

He realized his heart was thundering in his ears. With her hand on his chest, she must surely feel it too.

She was frowning, staring at him. “You haven’t changed,” she said. “Not at all.” And she stepped back, her hand falling away.

Alexander realized she had seen, then, he had not aged. This was one of the reasons that Zachariah and Diego had insisted he move to New York once Zack had made him.

Mia took another step backward and he could see her doing the mental math.

“Mia,” he began and stopped, mentally cursing. He’d just confirmed he was who she thought he was. Until that moment there had remained the possibility of pretending she’d made an embarrassing mistake. It would have killed him to do it but it would have been a way out. That chance was gone now. He closed his eyes. What a fucking disaster. He opened them again and took a last look at her. Beautiful Mia. She was starting to realize there was something dreadfully wrong. Horror was creeping into her expression. He needed to leave before she began to look at him like the monster he was.

To buy this book from Ellora’s Cave, click here.

For more information about the book on Teal’s site, click here.

Teal Ceagh’s website.

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I Love My Full Figured Characters As Their Men Do

by Corinne Shaw, guest blogger and author of Joe’s Birthday Girl and Alex’s Christmas Wish

Again and again I’m asked “why do you base your stories around heroines who are full figured?” I have only one answer and I have stood by it for years:  Full figured women are real women.  They love and desire just like their physically fit sisters do.  And contrary to popular belief, there are sexy, desirable men out there who adore every ounce of them, and wouldn’t want them any other way.

My name is Corinne Shaw and I’ve dedicated my stories to these beautiful women who live outside the scope of what society considers “normal” or “ideal” and celebrate them for being who and what they are – desirable women.  I began writing with The Wild Rose Press for their Scarlet line in October 2009.

When I was writing my first novel, Joe’s Birthday Girl, I was often questioned about my main character Elena’s voluptuous figure.  Her character didn’t fit what is typically found in romance writing or romantic erotica.  However, in my mind it is what fit.  I am full figured.  I have friends who are full figured, yet these women are just as beautiful, confident, strong, and admirable as any woman strutting around wearing a size six.

The story finished, it came time to search for a publisher and to my surprise and extreme happiness, I found that most erotic romance publishers offered stories with full-figured characters.  My stories had a place, a market, and there were others out there who thought the same way I did.  Then my book was published and it began selling, and those who reviewed it seemed to identify with the characters and loved the story.  I was pleased as any writer could possibly be.  I was published and I’d sold at least one copy.  Dream fulfilled.

Based on the reviews I was asked by my publisher to begin working on a series based on the other characters in the book, which had been my intention if the reception to my novel was positive.  How much better does it get?  Instead of me begging someone to read a story for consideration, I was being asked for one.  Evidently the market for full figured characters was out there.

One day while working on my second book, a Christmas novella entitled Alex’s Christmas Wish, I was sitting in my hairdresser’s chair as she snipped away with her scissors, and told me how much she and her friends absolutely loved Joe’s Birthday Girl.  Then she went on to tell me she lent her copy to a customer who when she returned the book told my hairdresser, “She needs to be thin.”  My hairdresser, Jen, echoed the words that were ringing in my head:  “Why?”  Jen even went on to tell me that the reader of the book who said this was a plus sized woman herself.  The woman’s response was that it just seemed strange to her – it wasn’t what she was used to and that took away from her experience with the story.

It was at that moment that I realized, women who are full figured may not want to read about women like themselves even if they can identify with the character.  Perhaps reading for them is an escape.  Yet others say again and again they love the plus sized feminine angle.  This thought continues to nag in the back of my head as I sit in front of a blank Microsoft Word document, wondering if I should go with the normal formula.

After some thought, I know I’m going to write what I love – and I love my full figured characters, as their men do…just the way they are.  I am writing them mainly for who they are inside: their personalities, their strength, their thoughts and insecurities.  The outer shell is simply to make them identifiable to the reader and to support what some of their vulnerabilities may stem from – each character by the end of the story overcoming those insecurities and finding strength within themselves, usually with the help of a loving, strong, confident man.  And at the end of the day, isn’t that what we all (thin, heavy, short or tall) really want?

Joe’s Birthday Girl is available for purchase online in paperback and electronic book from thewildrosepress.com, Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Alex’s Christmas Wish is available only in electronic format and is available through the same vendors. You can contact the author at corinneshaw@ymail.com or look up Author Corinne Shaw on Facebook.

Buy: Joe’s Birthday Girl, Alex’s Christmas Wish

Sexy Romance versus Erotica Romance

kinkyThis post is in response to Historical Romance – How Much Heat is Too Much?

The original post is by Evangeline Collins, author of Her Ladyship’s Companion (releases in May 2009).

In the comments I explored what I thought made the difference between a sexy romance and an erotica romance and then I thought it deserved to be explored some more.

I agree with Evangeline that the lines are blurring but will the line ever disappear? My guess is not anytime soon.

genre

How are sexy romance and erotica romance the same or merging?

Both types of romances can have vanilla or kinky sex. It can be explicit and it can be blush inducing… it can turn you on and rev you up. Yummy.

How are they different?

As I said it’s not so much anymore that the sex is there and is explicitly described; both types of romance write it and write it well. The main difference that I see is language. The diction between sexy romance and erotic romance are two very different types of words.

Sexy romance still uses in many cases the tame terminology romance has used since the beginning. I say tame because it’s many times wrapped in euphemisms. It’s still polite.

Examples: cock, center, sheath, thrusting, pumping, bundle of nerves.

Erotica romance takes the words people use today and waves it like a banner. It’s not your mother’s romance in other words… pardon the pun. Modern/urban colloquial terms are the cornerstones of erotica.

Examples: cock (hey it’s versatile!), dick (even though old romances used it, it’s not used now in sexy romance [or if it is I haven’t seen it]), cunt, pussy, twat, fucking.

Wrapping up:

They are also different because erotica romance also has a history of ménage a trios/multiple partner sex. Same sex stories currently fall under erotica. Do I expect this to change? Yes and no. I expect the forbidden aspect will fall to the wayside and some sexy romances will start incorporating multiple partners/same sex. However, I doubt sexy romance which is firmly entrenched in romancelandia will ever buy into more than one soul mate at a time as romance’s cornerstone is the perfect match, the happily ever after.

How about you? Do you think the lines are blurring or have blurred all they’re going to blur?

Photo Credits: zenera