Sunday, June 23, 2013

Is it Porn, Erotica, or Erotic Romance?

Mommy porn. That's what people are calling the not-so-new and exciting genre of erotic romance and erotica. Thanks to Fifty Shades of Grey, many doors of writing opportunity have opened for authors, but the definitions of what is being written has become blurry business. Perhaps this post will help clarify the boundaries between porn, erotica, and erotic romance, because each classification is subtly, but distinctly, different from the others.

This one's simple. Porn is sex written for sex's sake. There is no story. No romance between the characters. They are simply boffing to boff. At the end of the day, Character A could care less if he or she never sees Character B again, and vice versa. It's written for sheer gratification, and nothing more. There's no connection...and no story whatsoever. It's just sex. 

Going a step beyond porn, there is a strong sexual tie in erotica, but it's about more than just sex. Yes, the sexual relationship is key to the story...BUT!!! There is a story. There are feelings and emotions, and while sex is central to the story, the characters don't spend their entire time in bed screwing each other or other characters.

To that end, in erotica, sex can occur between and among more than just the male and female protagonists. All sorts of fun can be had with all sorts of characters, because in erotica, it's not about falling in love, but about something else. It could be about how a character finds him- or herself through their sexual escapades, or about how someone ventures into the world of BDSM and experiments with multiple Doms until he or she either decides on one or decides to walk away. Or maybe a divorcee starts dating a mysterious man who invites her into a world of debauchery, orgies, and partner swapping. She doesn't fall in love with the guy, but they sure have a lot of fun together, even though their adventures create pressure and conflict with her ex and their children. The story resolution is in how the woman makes the two parts of her life work...or not work, as the case may be. But do you see what I mean? A story is being told, the sex is central to the story, but it's not about falling in love.

At the end, the characters get what's called a Happily For Now (HFN) ending. Either they agree as characters that they're not meant to be together and are fine with that, or the story is left open with regard to whether these characters end up together or not. Or the resolution has nothing to do with the couple at all. The key is that at the end, the characters are content with where things stand, even though they are not "fated" to be together, or at least they aren't fated to be together at this moment.

Erotic Romance
This is where most "mommy porn" writers reside. By definition, a romance has to end with a Happily Ever After (HEA). The characters who have been getting it on for the duration of the story have to end up being together at the end, or it's not romance. In erotic romance, there is love and emotion and conflict. A story is told both when the characters are in and out of the sheets, and they are out of the sheets a lot as their story unfolds. But when they're in the sheets, it's ON! The bedroom door is wide open, and we, as readers, get to see all the action unfold. All the naughty bits are described in rich detail, and we're invited inside the heads of the characters to experience the pleasure with them, much like in erotica. But where erotica ends with HFN, erotic romance ends with HEA. The story is about these two characters, not a bunch of others, and about how they fall in love with one another. The resolution of the story has to show that they end up together...that they're in love...and that they will live "happily ever after." That's the biggest difference.

Hopefully this clears up the confusion.

As for me, I write erotic romance, both paranormal and contemporary. I love leaving the bedroom door open for my readers to see and experience all the fun my characters are having, and I like going into kinkier aspects of eroticism (and my upcoming Mark Strong Tetralogy includes a fetish that is very exciting and will be a source of sexual tension from almost the word go). In my stories, I've used knife play, BDSM, and fetishes as means to heighten the erotic aspects of my stories, but that does not mean they are porn. But a few people describe what I write as porn, anyway. Hopefully now, those people will see that it's not, because while I do get gritty and naughty and down-home dirty with my characters, their stories reign supreme. My characters are on a journey both within themselves and with the people they love, as well as with their surroundings and friends. And that's what I love about writing: the journey the character embarks on. I just happen to expose their personal intimacies rather than close the bedroom door and keep what they do with their partners private.

Mommy porn? Okay, sure...if you want to call it that. But just make sure you understand that mommy porn is really just another way to say erotic romance. :) 

Happy reading and writing!

Friday, June 21, 2013

The Future of My Blog

My poor blog has been lonely for the past several months. But it was my own fault for abandoning it. Well, maybe not all my fault. Setting my blog aside was necessary as life encroached and began demanding I do forty-eight hours worth of work in twenty-four. However, things are changing, and life might actually be cooperating with the laws of physics, soooo...starting in the next few weeks, I'm going to begin resurrecting my blog and bring it back from the cobwebby catacombs where it's been resting. I'm working on doing some revamping of ideas, and would like to start sharing excerpts of my work, as well as others, feature books I've read and enjoyed, do author features, and start up my writing tips again. If anyone would like to share ideas of what they would like to see, please post in the comments.

Thank you.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Things I've Learned

As I continue on my life's journey, both as a human being and as a self-published author, I'm learning a lot about myself, those around me, my behavior, as well as the person I want to be. Here are just a few of the things I've learned:

  • I am only one person. I can only do what I can do in the 24 hours each day I've been given. I can't feel guilty when I can't "get it all done" in a day. That's unrealistic.
  • I don't take enough me-time. I get so caught up in fulfilling the "promises" I've made to others that I fall into a vicious cycle of work, work, work.
  • As a self-published author, I'm not strapped to steadfast deadlines. I try to operate under self-imposed deadlines, but I'm still new at this, and have miscalculated how long a story will take to churn out, or have had to adjust publishing schedules when another story surged into my mind with such force that I had to stop all activity elsewhere to focus on the new story. Since this has happened with my last two books, I will now no longer announce estimated or actual publish dates until a book is almost finished with edits. The stress and pressure of trying to adhere to a date that was previously announced kills my creative mojo, making the writing and editing process more painful than if I could relax through the process. This also means I will not answer questions about when a book will be published, either. Once I know, I will announce it. Otherwise, this just puts undue stress and pressure on me. Perhaps when I have built enough success that I can have a team around me of an assistant, a publicist, and an agent, this will change, but right now, it's just me. I need to focus on writing as my #1 priority. Whatever aids me in the writing process is what I'll do.
  • I am a recluse. I am not a social butterfly. I am most comfortable and energized when I am alone. I am least comfortable and most drained when I am in a social setting, including social media. I have to limit the amount of time I am exposed on social media if I am going to keep my creative writing mojo intact. There is a time and place for being social, and I need to learn that when I'm writing and/or editing, that's not it. 
  • I need an assistant, but I'm not ready to commit to one, and I need the right kind. Not one who I'll feel like a number with. Not one who treats me like I work for them instead of the other way around. One who will help guide me and find new avenues of exposure without making me spend hours and hours of time I don't have. One who will lift the burden instead of adding to it. And one who gets that I'm a recluse and socially awkward without making me feel like an idiot for being that way.

...and finally, one that's more personal:

  • The people I used to work with who made my health issues a punchline and the subject of office gossip showed more about the kind of people they are than I am. They are assholes, small-minded, and the lowest form of life to make someone's health into a joke or a game (yes, my coworkers created a sick game of keep away out of my health issues, including asthma, regarding my negative reaction to fragrance. And yes, I figured it out after a few weeks.). I have no control over this, and yet I was treated like an outcast, made fun of, and my ailment was used to destroy my credibility with my coworkers and my replacement when I left. I blamed myself, but not anymore. These are the cards I've been dealt. I don't like it, but I have no choice in the matter. I can either be a victim or be proactive about guarding my health. If you sit down next to me in a movie theater doused in cologne, I'll get up and move. Yes, you stink. At least to me. If you don't like the way I react to your use of fragrance, don't wear it. Easy enough. It. Makes. Me. Physically. Ill. Would you rather I just get sick and not say or do anything to stop it? If I'm ever required to work in an office again where my coworkers refuse to stop wearing scents because they feel they "have a right to" regardless of whether it makes me sick or not, I'll quit. My health is more important than a "job," and I don't want to work with people who care so little about those around them. Anyone who thinks it's funny and wants to  make my health into a sick punchline can kiss my ass from this point forward, because people who exhibit such small-minded behavior no longer matter to me. Period.
And those are just a few of the things I've learned in my quest to eliminate stress and anxiety from my new life as an author.