I have a very special guest today. Fellow Ellor’s Cave author Camryn Rhys is posting on my blog and me on hers. I’m thrilled to have her! Here’s her post. Feel free to comment. 🙂
I can’t tell you how many authors I’ve spoken to who don’t understand that “erotic” romance is a genre. Because many stories have “heat levels” and the word “erotic” seems to be part of a heat-level discussion, they assume that erotic romance is just another heat level.
It is not.
True erotic romance is not just “explicit” or “hotter” than “regular” romance. The arc (and art) of erotic romance centers around the nature of a love story. In the same way that “inspirational” and “sweet” are not the same genre, “erotic” and “spicy/sensual” are not the same thing. The nature of an inspirational romance is that there are two parallel plots/conflicts. One is the love story of the characters, and the other is the inspirational element. Often, the two are entwined (but they must at least be concurrent). The same is true of erotic romance.
The genre expectations of erotic romance are different. The sexual stakes will be higher than in a non-erotic romance. Characters may fall into bed sooner (although they may not) and the sex may be more extreme (although it may not). But one thing that is consistent: in erotic romance, sex is the path to love. In fact, sex is often the way characters discover they are in love. Their sexual journey leads (at least) to at least the possibility of commitment, if not the promise of it. (As opposed to erotica, where the sexual journey may or may not end in love—which is also a valid and real and different genre than erotic romance.)
So when you blend erotic romance with another genre, you have to take into account the nuance of what it means that erotic romance is a genre itself. The sexual journey (with whatever level of love you end) must still run parallel to and be intertwined with whatever other elements you’re blending. It’s my opinion that if you’re going to write erotic romance, then the “erotic” part of the journey should always be primary. Otherwise, why tell that erotic story? If the same love story could be achieved between two characters without their sexual journey bringing them to the place, why not write a sweet romance? Or at least a mainstream?
Erotic romance is not easy. Far too many people think it’s just a matter of putting some explicit language in a love story, and they don’t execute it as well as they could. Heck, I’m not even sure I get it right myself. But I do know that when I read an erotic romance that’s really an erotic romance (and not just an explicit mainstream romance or an excuse to string sex scenes together), I can always tell that the author knows what they’re doing as a storyteller. And I love to read a story in which the sexual journey of two characters leads to their falling in love. I think that’s a shared experience among several of us, and it resonates more quickly than perhaps other types of love stories might at this time in our lives.
In Airship Seduction, my most recent release (a Steampunk erotic paranormal romance—say that five times fast!), the two main characters both have some sexual hang-ups they need to work through. Sacha, because she can read minds, tends not to trust men. I can sympathize with her, because of course she can see all the things they’re thinking and feeling when she’s with them. Her sexual journey revolves around finding a man she can believe is really in love with her.
That necessarily has to happen through sex for her. Otherwise, she couldn’t really trust that he would want to be with her and only her, just the way she is.
Right alongside that journey is the one she and Javier must travel that relates to their steampunk genre, and the paranormal elements. Making all these journeys coincide is not easy. And I’m never sure that I’ve even done it justice. But I do try. I think that’s the important part.
What about you? What do you think about blending genres?
And speaking of blending genres, don’t forget about the (Cowboys &) Corsets & Cocktails release party (#CorsetCocktails) going on right now, for my Western erotic release, and my Steampunk erotic release. Stop by and you could win an iPad (http://camrynrhys.com/?page_id=762)! Thanks so much for having me.
When Victorian Europe declares war on magic, Sacha Camomescro—an Empath demon with an airship—might be the only thing standing between progress and apocalypse.
Sacha Camomescro, an Empath demon with an airship, is rescuing refugees from Victorian Europe’s war on magic when she meets a man unlike any other. Javier Vargas is a lone alpha werewolf, his pack nearly decimated by assassins, his appetite for justice superseded only by his desire for her.
But Sacha’s gift is also her curse. While reading minds is helpful in eluding the assassins sent by Europe for Progress, it cripples her ability to trust men, and enjoy sex, for she can always see the fantasies men have when they’re with her. But Javier has a single-minded focus when it comes to his pursuit, and he wants her.
Just when it seems she can trust him, Sacha’s crew starts getting picked off mid-flight, and it seems there’s a rabid animal at fault. Javier and his lone remaining pack member fall under suspicion, and in the hysteria, Sacha begins to lose control of her mission. Blindsided by passion, she must decide if she can trust the one man who wants her just as she is.