Saturday, July 5, 2014

Erotic romance, erotica, or porn?

I was standing in the receiving line at a funeral, of all places, when someone I hadn't seen in at least twenty years smiled and spoke to me, then asked me if I knew the deceased. I smiled and said, "Well, I should hope so. He was my uncle." I got the funniest look from her because she's my cousin. She had no idea who I was, not a clue. When I finally told her, after forcing her to squirm for several minutes, she asked the question I always dread:

"So, what are you doing these days?"

Aww, yeah, there it is. So I say, as I always do, "I write." And then comes the other question I always dread:

"Really? So what do you write?"

You knew that's what I was going to say. Of course, first they must get past their shock that I might actually be able to string a group of words into an intelligible sentence. That's sometimes funny and sometimes just downright infuriating; guess that depends on how many idiots from the Middle East have sent me PMs on Facebook that day calling me "bb." So I hem and haw and look at the floor, and then they ask the next question that I always dread, because I know as sure as there's rain on my birthday that it's coming:

"Oh! You don't write something naughty, do you?"

I got that from a guy at Home Depot too, only I think it was more like, "You don't write them dirty books, do ya?"

So I tell them, yeah, that's exactly what I write. I'm not ashamed of it. I write under a pseudonym but, as you might remember if you've read my blog posts before (and shame on you if you haven't), it's not because I don't want anyone knowing what I write. It's because my real name is so damn long and hard to pronounce - difficult enough, in fact, that I've had people argue with me as to how to pronounce it. (What's wrong with me? How could I be this old and still not know how to pronounce my own name? I must be a real imbecile.) And I certainly don't talk about it in the presence of certain family members, mostly my daughter's inlaws, because I really, truly don't give a fuck what anyone in my own family thinks. Seriously. Couldn't care less.

They usually ask me about it. Honestly, they most often ask me for a business card. I don't apologize, and I don't consider that pimping. Any other business person, when asked for their business card, would gladly share one, and I'm no exception. For me, this IS a business, or at least I treat it like one, even though by looking at my bank statement you'd never guess it. But I digress. So, when they ask me what I write, erotic romance or erotica doesn't cut it. They have no idea what that means. I have to find some way to describe it without being descriptive. That makes no sense, but here goes.

I usually say something like, "Well, let's see . . . have you read 'Fifty Shades?'" I almost always get an affirmative on that. Then I say something like, "If you've read that, then mine are like that, only on steroids. And maybe with 'roid rage. Just sayin'."

You know, I didn't know so many people had the talent of being able to jack up one eyebrow, but it seems they do. Amazing.

Anyway, that's usually followed by a "really?" Or maybe a "you're kidding, right?" Sometimes it's followed by an "oh, my." But that's pretty rare.

So I've been grappling with a way to explain to people what I write. To do so, I had to really, really figure out what the words meant.

I write erotic romance. It's pretty damn raunchy. There are lots of naked people, lots of body parts, and LOTS of sex. Lots. Not kidding. And it's pretty wild sex too. A lot of it includes fetishes. If you don't know what that means, look it up - that's an entire blog post for another time. Lots of positions, some only for the double-jointed. Lots of combinations, as in couples, ménages (you can look that up too), singles, etc. Weird locations. Strange situations. If you can think it up, it's okay because, basically, it's an "anything goes" kind of thing. Except for one.

There is NO CHEATING. Not cool in erotic romance. If your hero or heroine cheats on the love interest, that's almost always a death sentence for the work. Nobody wants that. Regardless if the guy is an undercover mob boss and has just had three guys snuffed for stealing his kid's lemonade stand, have him put his willy in any other heroine than the one he just snatched from his sworn enemy and is holding hostage because it was love at first sight, and your readers are going to turn on you like Boehner on Pelosi. That will be the end of your literary career.

Why, you ask? Because in erotic romance, readers expect a "happily ever after." Doesn't matter that they may be the most despicible individual in the world. As long as they have one redeeming quality, just one, they deserve what we in the business call an HEA. Gotta happen. And the joy is in the journey: Readers enjoy the ups and downs that it takes to get the two individuals together forever, for at least a "happily for now," which is also acceptable, as long as there's going to be another book in which they'll have their HEA.

Oh, and please note: I said hero and heroine. It can just as easily be hero and hero, or heroine and heroine, or hero and heroine and hero, or hero and hero and heroine and hero, and . . . well, you get the idea.

I also write some erotica. It's pretty much the same as above, except for two things. The first is that it's a lot raunchier - I mean A LOT. We're talking orgies, swapping, things like that. The second is that there are not "happily ever afters" required in erotica. Matter of fact, most readers don't expect or want that in erotica. Mine usually have just a touch of romance, because most of my readers are romance readers and I want them to enjoy the erotica too. Which I'm pretty sure they do. But they'll never tell.

What I DON'T write is pornography. In porn, there are no personalities. There is no story line. There is no hero or heroine. It's just sex. Nothing else. Sex for the sake of sex. No regard for feelings. No concern for safety. It's just sex.

"Well," you might say, "there's sex going on in your books, so it's porn." Yeah, and that thing that keeps you from pulling your pants up correctly might just be a stick up your ass. No, don't pull it out on my account. I don't give a shit if it hurts like hell when you sit. It's your stick and your ass and you have the right to have it up there as far as it'll go in your business if that's what you want.

But don't get mad if I make that part of a scene in a book, okay? And no, I'm not going to give you any of the profits.

So when they blush as they get the answer to the question of what I write, I don't. I don't see a damn thing wrong with it. I enjoy it. Does it arouse me? Yeah, sometimes. Do I do my own research? Tee-hee-hee, yeah, sometimes. Okay, most of the time. And I'm still not blushing. But when I answer their questions, do you know what usually happens?

They turn to whomever they're with, show them the business card, and whisper and giggle. Or, most often, they ask for more business cards so they can share them with their friends, and I do my best to stifle a laugh or, at the least, a cheesy grin. Because I know the truth.

We're all having those thoughts. Go ahead and deny it, but you know it's true. Quit fighting them and embrace them. Have a little fun. Okay, have a lot of fun. Sex is only dirty if you don't shower before and after; otherwise, it's all the good, clean fun you can stand (that is unless you're bound to a St. Andrew's cross being flogged and then buggered from behind, and then it's more fun than you can stand).

So that's what happens when I'm asked what I do. I've learned to be truthful and accept the consequences. And carry a lot of business cards. Speaking of which, it's time to order more.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

My Reads: Suicide Ride: The Platinum Man by Elizabeth Llewellyn

Last week I brought you here to my page to hear my take on a book I'd just read in the last couple of weeks, Dee Kelly's Breaking Kate. It's a book that pretty much any romance reader would enjoy.

This week's read? Not so much. I don't mean that readers won't like; on the contrary. They should love it, but they should also be prepared to read something that's not only not their typical read, but also not sweet, smooth, or pretty. I decided that I wasn't going to go easy on any of you - oh, no. Instead, you're going to get an in-your-face read that just won't stop. It's Suicide Ride: The Platinum Man by Elizabeth Llewellyn.

First off, take a look at that cover. Is that not some kind of freakin' gorgeous? It's dark, mysterious, seductive - all the things that make me want to open a book. I mean, if it's got a cover like that, it's got to be heavy-duty, right?

Let me assure you, it is. This is no light reading here. Set in Los Angeles, we begin the tale with gorgeous Johnny Gellis, a man on the run. It's only until much later that we learn what has set him on the path he's taking, but when he reaches the end of the line, he, his Vette, and his guitar go looking for someone to make him a star and save him from the miserable life of a gynecologist. It doesn't take long before casual small talk leads him to Norman Dimond, owner of Dimond Records, started by his late father, Preston Dimond. When Johnny goes to Norman's club - a gay club, no less - to look for the infamous producer, Johnny finds him. Or perhaps Norman finds Johnny. The reception the hetero Johnny receives from the always homo/sometimes bi Dimond is disconcerting, but it's even more disconcerting to Norman, who falls ass over tea kettle for the beautiful, troubled young man. The plot unfolds and we watch as the two verbally tangle and untangle over and over.

Yes, the plot is unusual in its message and structure. Yes, the story is very worth reading. But none of that was what struck me about this book. You see, I started reading and I simply couldn't stop. Because this isn't your typical read, no sir. This is something else entirely.

This is high literature. I'm careful in my writing to not go completely over the heads of my readers, but Elizabeth didn't use those brakes, and I'm glad she didn't. What you get is prose that flows, almost qualifying as poetry constructed in a swollen stream. It's gritty, raw, elegant, stark, brutal, and lyrical, all together inside the covers of one book. By the end of the book, you know exactly how Norman feels about Johnny. What we're not sure about is how Johnny feels about Norman, or himself, or life in general, except to say that young Gellis takes an approach to solving his problems that I would not advise.

But regardless the outcome, the art in this hard-driving volume will leave you breathless. It's a ride like no other, and soon I'll bring you the second in the series, Suicide Ride: The Fix. Give The Platinum Man a chance, but have a dictionary handy. Fortunately, you'll need it.

And if you haven't signed up for my newsletter yet, you might want to. The first edition will be out soon and you just might miss something important!

Keep reading - don't ever stop.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

RELEASE DAY BLITZ - Next to You (Life #2) by Claudia Burgoa

Title: Next To You (Life #2)
Author: Claudia Burgoa
Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult


…I need time. Time to heal those wings and learn to use them…

Was part of the letter Rebecca Trent, Daniel Brightmore’s fiancée and best friend left when she ran away. The person he trusted the most for the past decade disappeared without giving him a second glance. She taught him how to love, believe in family and that everyone deserves a happily ever after. Now he’s struggling between wiping any traces of her from his life and drowning his sorrows away with the help of his new best friends—Don Julio and Jack Daniels.


Rebecca’s past suffocated her to the point of not wanting to continue, her lifeline and the only reason to live began to withdraw from her. She wished it had been her imagination, but heard it loud and clear: “If not, there’s always a divorce, nothing is forever.” This time it became a leave or die situation. Something has got to change—she had to change. Packing light and leaving a letter behind, she takes a journey that can help her find herself through the shards of her painful childhood.

As letters, memories and stories are exchanged, two once inseparable people reconcile what’s left of their relationship. Beyond the confines of everything they built together, they’re left with two lonely people searching for what it means to be whole. Will they find meaning under their bruised psyches or will their pasts get the better of them?

Born on the mystical day of October 30th in the not so mystical lands of Mexico City, Claudia grew up with a childhood that resembled a caffeine-injected  soap opera. Seventeen years ago she ventured to the lands of her techie husband—a.k.a. the U.S.—with their offspring to start a new adventure.

She now lives in Colorado working as a CFO for a small IT company, managing her household filled with three confused dogs, said nerd husband, two daughters wrought with fandoms and a son who thinks he’s the boss of the house. To survive she works continually to find purpose for the voices flitting through her head, plus she consumes high quantities of chocolate to keep the last threads of sanity intact.

Connect with Claudia: 

Twitter: @yuribeans

Where Life Takes You (Life #1)

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