Friday, March 9, 2012

Why erotic short stories aren't going away...

They are short. They are sexy. The word nipple is used.

What most people don't mention, but the readers know, is that at some point in the story, we get to see that the characters are real people. They face some kind of real life issues. Maybe (like in my upcoming story, Taking Control) one of them has been battered by the media to the point that they have given up on relationships. They have lived their life being sheep and are looking, but don't realize it, for a moment to be in be powerful.

Maybe they have been in a relationship before and been screwed over so many times that they have a hard time trusting anyone and the story is about them learning to let go, to trust again. Maybe it is about them learning to enjoy the little things, the moments that take your breath away.

But there will be sex. The readers know when they pick up a short erotic romance novel that there will be sexual tension that crackles between the two (or more) characters, that they will find a way to grow, as characters, somehow in that small space of time and that there will be a payoff that is like fireworks going off. The bigger the fireworks show, the better.

You can get them on your tablets. You can get them on your phone. You can read them on the beach or in the comfort of your home and unlike days gone by when people in the doctor's office could see that you weren't reading something five inches thick and with a cover that was easily recognizable as it was on Oprah's Book Club last one knows that you are reading about something naughty. Unless you blush.

And that is why they aren't going away.

I read a blog yesterday written by a man who called the fact that romance holds such a huge chunk of the market 'unexplainable' and had to giggle. Really? Unexplainable, dude? I find it exceptionally explainable. In times gone by, Edgar Allan Poe wrote short stories and they were called trash and he had a heck of a time making a living off of them...

Yeah...I bet you know who I am talking about. Poe is sort of well known, now. Considered by some the father of the detective genre, his work was arguably some of the most interesting of his time. But he died and a critic was quick to post a really long obituary about what a general waste of space he was and how no one would remember who he was as he was a drunk nobody. We all remember Poe. The critic? Not so much.

Penny dreadfuls saw success in the 19th century. Again, these short stories (intended for adolescents) saw widespread print and were very popular. One of them was Sweeney Todd. You may have heard of it. Again...bashed at the time. They were considered to be corrupting the public...

Will people keep reading romance? Well, they have been around since 1740 that we know about (possibly earlier...arguably the some of the Greek myths could be called romances as well) and are still here in 2012. As long as two people find new ways to fall in and out of love and new ways to hurt each other and grow and develop as people because of it, other people will want to write about it and still others will want to read about it. Especially if the people doing the writing do it in smart, sassy, funny--and sometimes steamy--ways.

Will people keep debating whether it is a valid form of literature? Oh, hell yes. And as long as some of us are making a living at it, well, it will continue to piss off others who aren't making a living with their more 'credible' forms of literature.

Will I keep writing romance?

Yes. I like to think that some people really like what I write. And for the ones, like that blogger, who consider what I do to be the literary equivalent of finger painting...

Well, I like to piss people like that off. It makes me happy. Finger painting is such good, clean, fun, after all.

Happy writing!!


  1. Great blog post. I'm a huge fan of Hemingway, Poe and Oscar Wilde.
    I love the way people put down the romance genre, so eager to decimate that which they do not understand. Yet, they call us illiterate and silly. People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones:)

  2. That's why we get along so well, because I love to piss people off, too. I love to get under their skin. Even if the book it's going to be that nice, fluffy, sticky sweet, if it's interesting to me, then I'll read it. (Or write it). :-)
    Great post!

  3. Loved your post!! You made some solid arguments for why we all love to read romance.....I actually enjoy it all - sweet to erotica and I can't see that changing just because some wind-bag doesn't understand the appeal

  4. True, Kimberly. I love the classics. I have shelves of them. I also have shelves of romance. I feel that if you haven't read it, you really don't have room to insult it. Sort of like the people who sneer at sushi but haven't tried a piece. Turning your nose up at something because of lack of understanding is called ignorance where I come from but...hey...that is just in my neighborhood.

    And, yes, Wendi, I do think that is one of the things that makes us get along... :) The authors voice can make or break any story. I enjoy unique voices and you can retell a story I have read a dozen times but if you do it in a fresh way...I am going to eat it up!

    Thanks for commenting!

  5. Agreed, Laurie! They are best selling for a reason... And I don't think that illiterate people are buying books. That argument of his just doesn't wash with me. Thanks for commenting!

  6. It just made me laugh. Although that's probably my lack of education, failing to understand his erudite argument. Obviously a first class degree is insufficient to comprehend such a fine put-down of an entire genre. Which I write. Think it's just a case of sour grapes, actually. Bet he's not selling well. (And don't you just love the woman who 'knows she could write'..)

  7. I think the funnier thing than his need to single out romance literature is that he's a sci-fi writer. lol. I think sci-fi is fine, but his article is like underdog on underdog crime in the literary world.

    Although, your dog pays far better if you're good at it--and that is where I really think his issue is stemming from.

    By the way, amusingly suggesting that: “The fact that we have nearly a 50% illiteracy rate in this country might be partly to blame. Many people don't have the reading skills to rise much higher than children's books or romance novels.” made me laugh out loud.

    Its like amusingly suggesting that people go hungry every day because of fast food. He is funny. I don’t think it’s intentional, but he’s certainly funny.

  8. Ben-He really is funny... at first I thought perhaps his blog was intended as a joke (you know, go way over the top to be so offensive that it is funny?)...and then I read some of his other blogs and realized that, sadly, he was totally serious.

    Jane-I loved that woman who posted that, too!! I actually commented (but was quickly deleted) this:

    "I think that if romance novels are so easy to write...perhaps you should write a few. After all, they are best selling so you would have the joy of 'finger painting' while rolling in tons of easy cash.

    Since it is so simple to hit that romance best seller list, it shouldn't take you long at all. Once you have done that, be sure to let us know.

    *taps watch* The clock is running. Get on it.

    In the meantime...look up some comma usage rules. We in the romance world like to use them correctly."

    Oops...they can't delete it here.

  9. Virg! You are the best. I noticed he deleted both of our responses as well as the two anonymous people who were against his feelings. I didn't find his blog funny in the least. In fact, it really incensed me (not sure if I am supposed to know that word since my head is full of mush from reading all that childish romantic novels). I don't know how many times I have told people I have learned an exuberant amount from romance novels. They don't believe me. But just try me. I can almost guarantee that I know more than at least one person out of a crowd of ten. I haven't gone to college. I don't have a degree. And I am mad smart lol. All because of those dreaded romance books.
    It really pissed me off when one commenter stated that all the people who were in the isles (his spelling, not mine-learn to spell a$$hole)were "lesbos". Not very pc of him. I am not a lesbian but I do have many friends who are. Let me check with them. BRB.
    I'm back. Nope, they don't read romance books. Hmph!
    He goes on to talk about Jane Eyre being okay because it is considered a "classic romance". I hate to differ. Technically Jane Eyre is a gothic romance. I wonder if he knows what that is?
    I also happen to know that Julie James, a contemporary romance writer, graduated from a law school, clerked for the United States court of appeals in Jacksonville, FL, and then practiced law with a major law firm. Kind of shoots down his theory that only dumb people write romance. Sorry. He really pissed me off. Now I know why he is single. Nothing to do with his looks or anything. It is because every time he opens his mouth, nothing but week old stinky a$$ garbage pours out!

  10. Danielle...You are awesome!! Wonderfully said...especially your point about Julie James :)