Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Robin Schone and Jaid Black GuestBlogs: 2 For 1

I've in a bit of a sticky wicket. I thought Jaid Black was tied up with big Ellora's Cave business today and couldn't make it. So around 7 am, I asked one of my very favorite authors, Robin Schone, if she'd mind being my back-up prom date, as it were, and write for us. After all, Robin's always got something good to say about romance fiction in that rather eloquent take-no-prisoners sort of way of hers. She graciously agreed, which is quite lovely of her, dontcha think?

Turns out, Jaid can make it after all, and you'll be able to read her post just after Robin's. Best part? You can comment on both at the same time! So please welcome Robin with a Bella buongiorno

First, let me apologize: I am not the inimitable Jaid Black. Alas, I have not set the publishing world on its ears with an erotic line of epub - otherwise known as Ellora’s Cave - but I do have many fans who adore EC authors, and because I never lack for an opinion, Michelle kindly asked me to step in for Jade today, as she, unfortunately, could not make it.

Since the publication of The Lady’s Tutor in 1999 (which just last month debuted in Argentina!) I have been besieged with the age-old question: what is erotic romance, and how does it differ from erotica? Or does it? What makes erotica . . . well, erotic . . . and pornography . . . ah, smutty?


My answer? I don’t know. Which is why it’s been so interesting following the insights given here, i.e., commitment (HEA) separates erotic romance from erotica, whereas erotica differs from porn because it titillates the mind and emotions, instead of focusing on what’s between our legs.


When tempted to categorize adult fiction - and believe me, it’s tempting, indeed, when I either love or hate a particular work - I always think of Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D. H. Lawrence. How would it be classified were it marketed today? There is a commitment at the end . . . so would it be a romance? It’s not a masturbatory book (trust me, I was deeply disappointed when I got my hot little teenaged hands on it), so it doesn’t qualify as porn, even though it was banned here in the States until 1959. Which raises another question: should a book be classified as "erotic" if it doesn’t stimulate sexual desire?


One day, when whining to my agent that such-and-such author didn’t write erotic romance but was being promoted as such - and very successfully too, I might add - my agent, a very wise lady, quickly put the subject to rest: "Erotic romance is whatever the publisher says it is."


Should a book be classified as "erotic romance" or "erotica" because of subject matter, or because of graphic depictions of sexual activity? Do you expect erotica to be more graphic than erotic romance?


Please visit RobinSchone.com and read her novels, especially the upcoming, "Scandalous Lovers," Jan. 07/Brava
***
Jaid Black GuestBlog: Spinners of Fantasies

Jaid Black invented instant gratification: the 2 am erotic romance booty call. You been there? Dying for hot romance, can't get to the bookstore and, well, maybe it's TMI, but the man is travelling again? Just one little click, then, Nirvana.

I'm not sure even Oprah's done as much for literate women, especially not as much for giving women access to erotic fiction that fuels their fantasies and empowers their exploration of sexual expression. So, please, Bellas, welcome one of the most important women in romance...

Ellora’s Cave just celebrated our 6th anniversary on the 28th of November. What an amazing journey it’s been. We’ve gone through it all and have the war wounds to prove it! EC has at once been shunned, celebrated, well-received, treated like the anti-Christ, shoved to the back of the bus and been thrust into the limelight. No different, really, from what popular culture consistently does to female sexuality in general: one minute being in charge of our sensual expression is en vogue and the next minute women are told to repent for their wicked ways.

What our mission at the Cave has been all along is to provide women with A+ romantic reads that explore and celebrate the diversity of the female sexual experience. Every woman is different; every woman marches to her own tune. Just as we all have our personal preferences regarding everything from shoes to politics, so too do our libidos burn for different sexual imaginings.

EC sells every fantasy imaginable, from the vanilla world of Rubenesque heroines to the hardcore sphere of BDSM. I’ve written about every conceivable flight of the imagination in my own books, ranging from interracial sex to ménage to rape fantasy. It’s (obviously) the latter topics that ignite the most controversy. But, like I’ve said at least a hundred times before, there is a stark difference between becoming aroused by a situation you read about and wanting it to happen in real life.

I’ve never met a woman who wants to be raped in reality and pray I never do, but it’s a big masturbation fantasy for many women I’ve talked to. Furthermore, rape fantasy has been around in mainstream romantic fiction for a long time; the only difference being mainstream publishers call rape fantasy “forced seduction” while EC calls an apple an apple.

I quit apologizing for what I write a long time ago and simply let my imagination take me where it will. Based on reviews and ratings, I guess I’m the type of writer people either love or hate with little gray area in between. That doesn’t bother me. What gets under my skin is when I’m called a porn writer or an erotica writer, as though the romantic aspects of my work aren’t there. I think the only difference between erotic romance and mainstream romance is ER doesn’t close the bedroom door or refuse to explore the darker parts of the human psyche. Otherwise, an apple is still an apple :-)

I’ve long referred to the writers of Ellora’s Cave as, “spinners of fantasies, not pontificators of reality.” While such a label is probably true for romance writers in general, it’s a mantra for the erotic romance author. After all, some people and special interest groups seem to have trouble distinguishing between the realms of fantasy and reality and assume that imprints like Ellora’s Cave and Virgin are no more than “porn” houses which promote atrocities that the founders/owners/employees are no doubt against.

My personal feeling is that if you can’t distinguish between fantasy life and the day-to-day world, you’ve got more problems than a psychiatrist will know what to do with. Go concern yourself more with medication and less with women’s preferred reading material!

Happy Holidays and Happy Reading,
Jaid Black

Visit JaidBlack.com and EllorasCave.com

50 comments:

amy*skf said...

Good question, Robin, and welcome. I expect both to be graphic--if I pick up an erotic romance, it better damn well be graphic--but I expect an emotional depth to the erotic romance as well. I expect much more from erotic romance than I do from erotica.

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Good morning, Robin! Thanks again for saving the day, and for writing your remarkable novels. I'll be back in a bit.

Michele said...

Oh WOW! I'm sneaking in at work to write this.
Robin! I found your books completely by accident and they blew me away.
Michael's and Gabriel's stories were my first exposure to erotica/ romantica ...
I remember feeling very ... intense after reading them. You gave me reasons to feel sensitive to those guys ... I wanted them to be happy, you know, the ultimate HEA. A woman really had to be strong to meet them halfway.
You really do have a wonderful way of writing ... a style that keeps me coming back for more.
Where DO you get your inspirations??

Hugs from fan,Michele N

angelina said...

Hello, Robin. Thanks for being our sub. I don't naturally reach for erotica or erotic novels, so I've been lurking this week, but I've been fascinated by the topic. I'm glad we're not going to miss a day.

My own personal gauge -- and I would never expect a publishing house to use this is criteria -- is numbers. How often do the hero and heroine have sex? I'm old school, I was introduced to romance by my mom's dog-eared copy of "The Flame and the Flower." And what was instantly different about that versus Judy Bloom's "Wifey" or Anne Rice's "The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty" (my mom would have been horrified if she'd realized I was pilfering through her bookcase), was how many sex scenes there were. Obviously, those books were written with different intentions, but as a horny teenager, I was looking through them for all the same reasons: the sex scenes. The sex scenes seem to go up exponentially from standard romance to erotic romance to erotica.

What is the number separating one from the other? I don't know. I have "3" stuck in my head for standard romance, three intensely intimate scenes, whether sex or just great making out. For erotic romance and erotica? The skies the limit.

Robin Schone said...

Oh, my! Response! *smile*

amy*skf: As a reader, I HATE a book to be described as "erotic," yet not contain graphic sexual content. Yet . . . Back again I go to Lady Chatterley's Lover, by D. H. Lawrence. How would you classify that little gem?

Michelle Buonfiglio: `waving` Morning! Your email this morning was a very welcome wake-up indeed!

Robin Schone said...

Awww, Michele, thanks for the wonderful compliment! I'm so glad you love Michael and Gabriel, too. They will always hold a special place in my heart. I really thought I'd be run out of romance forever when their two books were published; it always amazes - and humbles - me to read that they touch others, as well.

As for where I get my inspiration. . . . I have to say: life. I think we all deserve love and sexual satisfaction, and not just those who are young and outwardly beautiful, or who have led "perfect" lives.

I remember a reader claiming that Richard - Elizabeth's son in TLT - could never live a "normal" or happy life after what he went though, and I thought, what a sad person you are, and how tragic for those in your care. . . .

Anyway, not to bring anyone down, but I really do believe there's a HEA for all of us, if we just dare to reach out.

Portia Da Costa said...

I think I'd probably expect any book described as erotic to have some pretty full on description in the sex scenes! Although in erotic romance, they'd be *love* scenes, not just sex scenes, wouldn't they? ;)

I've debated the difference between women's erotica and erotic romance umpteen times in my blog over the last two or three years, and each time I've thought I've found a definitive answer, somebody's come up with a way to refute it... For me though, I'd say it's got to be the HEA that makes the difference, although obviously some authors and publishers might say differently...

Wendy aka Portia Da Costa

Robin Schone said...

Angelina, how interesting that the number of love scenes is the determining factor that sticks in your mind. Hmmmm . . . What about the length (of the love scenes)? I remember a used book store I frequented put little sticky note pads on a Karen Robards' book (sorry, don't remember the title), alerting readers that it had a "38" page love scene! LOL I picked that sucker up in a heartbeat. Which, of course, was the whole purpose of the stickers.

Dannyfiredragon said...

Hi Robin,

I think many books are wrongly classified as erotica. Someone sees there is a steamy sex scene and says oh that is erotica, even so it would be better classified as erotic romance. I don't think that it depends on how graphic the stories are but where the focus is in the story.

Portia Da Costa said...

38 pages? Wow... I'd like that! But I've written love scenes that have spanned a couple of chapters, come to think of it. Felt as if I'd been through an emotional mangle when I finished that marathon, I can tell you! LOL

MaryKate said...

Hi Robin - Welcome! Thanks for pinch hitting for us! What a great topic.

For me, I expect both to be graphic. I expect erotica to have multiple partners (include the main character). I expect erotic romance to feature only the h/h (with the exception of maybe early scenes before they meet).

I may be naive about this, but I thought that was the difference. EROM features a romance, while erotica features a sexual journey.

Robin Schone said...

Hi Wendy aka Portia Da Costa! It's so nice to meet you! I've been an advocate of Black Lace since I became aware of it c1996. Your name was the very first one I came to associate with "Erotica written for women by women."

You know, it's funny, what is described as "erotic." The publisher - on the back of the book - claims Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden is erotic. A friend sent me a copy of Maia by Richard Adams, for the same reason. Which is why I find it so interesting as to how everyone determines what is erotic, by subject matter or by actual hot sex. LOL And yeah, we've come far enough along in romance that I think we can call sex for what it is. *smile*

Michele said...

EEEK!! It's Jaid!!! Oh My goodness!
Total fan gush-puppy here!

Have to ask before I forget...Jaid, What happened to your blog?? One day it was there and the next? Whoosh, nada, zip. I miss it. OK, granted, I've not been blog hopping as frequently as I used to now that I'm working again.
Be that as it may, I am SO excited that 2007 is going to have more TREK stories. I've been hooked since the Emperess's New Clothes ... Can't wait for Death's story.... although I HAVE been waiting...;-)

So glad you are here! Welcome!

And I'm glad you don't "apologize" anymore for what you write. You shouldn't. Ever. It's fun stuff. Great stuff and some of your stories are so ... inspiring, it translates to a happy time with my DH. I wouldn't change a thing ... except I'd like more stories. **grin**

All the best to you Jaid!
Hugs and Happy Dancin'
Michele N

Julie in Ohio said...

Welcome, Robin and Jaid!!

Amen, Jaid... I loved your blog and agree wholeheartedly. I'm so glad you call an apple and apple and not a flowering tree waiting to blossom in the fall. Most times the straight forward approach is best... :o)

Robin-- I expect both erotica and erotic romance to be equally graphic. The word "erotic" to me says explicit content enclosed. IMO, the only difference is whether there's a HEA or not, which for me is a must.

Thank you, both for blogging today. I can't wait to read everybodies comments. :o)

Robin Schone said...

I have a question that I hope all will feel free to answer. In the past, my book covers had no people on them. Well, okay, strike that, The Lady's Tutor originally had a very sexy man untying a woman's chemisette. I thought the cover was a little dark (literarlly, the colors were very muted), but otherwise - when the holographic heart was taken off - rather sexy. After that, the art department hit upon bolder colors, but with no people.

My readers, over all, have stated a preference for subtle covers. Last June my publisher reissued Awaken, My Love and Gabriel's Woman with new covers. I like the cover to AML better than previous covers, but the cover to GW totally took me by surprise. I refer to it now as my "purple passion" book.

Anyway, my question to you is: do you prefer subtle book covers on your erotic romance/erotica, or do you want covers screaming sex? What covers work for you, and what covers don't?

Julie in Ohio said...

Robin- My vote is for subtle. I don't dislike sexier covers. I've seen some really fun ones but if I'm stuck between two books, I'll pick a quieter cover over a suggestive one.

MaryKate said...

Robin - Great question! I love Black Lace books, but am so glad Adam has decided to recover them, because the covers before really left something to be desired. If I am not familiar with an author, the cover can make a big difference, but with authors I know, it makes no difference. But I do like a subtler cover, I guess.

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

I always loved TLT's cover, and thought the others were beautiful, too, sophisticated, w/rich colors, the iris, the feather design. I don't care what the style, but I do like production and art to be well-done. And for me to feature a novel on the national Romance: B(u)y the Book sites, the cover has to be fairly tame; I have not been able to feature a couple novels I'd have liked to because the cover would never have passed editors, e.g., depiction of female model wearing only a loin cloth-type thing, breasts barely covered by two long hanks of her hair.

It was a damn shame for the author, and I wish the publisher understood that that cover turns more people off than on.

The new decapitated naked guy torso covers make my eyeballs bleed.

I want to echo something that was said before about your novels, Robin, especially TL, and GW. Those men, so truly abused from childhood, you let them find love, and while they were "cleansed," part of that didn't include giving up the intensity of their sexual predilection.

Your philosophy is similar to tomorrow's GuestBlogger, Ian Kerner. He believes all women deserve great sexual experiences, fabulous orgasm. You share that same empathy for the vulnerability that goes along with asking for one's fantasy to be fulfilled.

And I agree w/ you that your reader didn't understand the beauty of Elizabeth's son having Ramiel as a future guide; the boy never will have to go through what Ramiel did getting past his own adolescent experiences because of Ramiel's wisdom and emotional intellect, and history of sexual exploration.

Robin Schone said...

:::LOL with Michelle Buonfiglio as I hand her a handkerchief to wipe up the blood::: Am I missing something? The original cover of TLT started the craze for lobotimized men. Is there a new trend of totally decapitating our poor heroes? :-)

What upset me about the previously mentioned reader was the fact that she truly believed a man or a woman who has undergone any form of abuse could never be "normal." Of course, I shudder at what her idea of "normal" is, but to say that someone who has survived hardship can never know love or happiness. . . . That kind of mindset causes so much needless pain.

But back to the subject at hand. . . .

What especially shocked me about the "purple passion" cover is that Gabriel has blond hair, yet he's depicted on the new cover as having black hair! Yikes!

Thanks for your input, Julie in Ohio and MaryKate. Has anyone seen the new (well, new in the fact that the line has only been out for a year or so) Luna covers? I am in awe of the artists they employ. Wouldn't it be nice if some of the artists tried their hand at erotic romance/erotica covers?

Michele said...

I'm home from work now. *grin*

Good question about the covers. I have two young boys and my DH asks me not to leave the "racy" covered books around. I guess he's not ready to get into the "birds and bees" discussion before he has to.

I like the book covers that give us a bit of both. I like those covers with a nonperson picture that has a "window" cutout. When you open the flap, it's like opening the door to romance. The passionate scene is depicted.

Kind of reminds me what I've read about men. They want the virgin view for the public, and the sexual wildcat in their private bedroom.
The cover gives us the illusion of allowing us into the "private" bedroom.

Perhaps I camped up my answer a bit, but the basic opinion behind it is solid. I don't mind racy covers, but they aren't comfortably toted into certain public environments. What enviroments you might ask? Oh,like waiting in the waiting room at Pep Boys while getting your flat tire patched. Somehow, haveing a buxom babe and a buff viking on the cover tends to get me looks. Looks that kinda creep me out.

Gee, did I make my point? LOL

Pamk said...

Hi Robin and Jaid,
Robin if she is being put out there as erotica then there darn well better be sex in there. I would have to grip to the pub if I bought a book I was informed was erotic and not.
Jaid I agree some people need to worry about there own minds and not about everyone else. And its just not erotic books that they can't differeniate between what's real and what's not. I was checking on one of the HP books for my 15 yr old son. A lady shopping at the book store blasted me for letting my son read this. Needless to say she wished she had kept her mouth shut after I finished with her. The lady behind the counter was trying very hard not to laugh.

Kate Pearce said...

Oh wow, Robin and Jaid, two of my favorite ladies in one place!

Re erotica v erotic romance. I always feel that erotica has more of a voyeuristic feel to it; erotic romance adds another layer by making the reader share/empathize with the characters and care about what happens to them. (well, it does the way I write it!)

I'm lucky enough to write for EC. What I love about EC is that I'm allowed to push my writing in anyway I want and that is very liberating for an author. The first EC book I read was "The Empress' New Clothes" and I knew that I wanted to write for them one day!

Robin Schone said...

Remember the cute little book covers they used to make for mass paperback books, Michele? Or do they still make them? My mom got me one for Xmas once. Never did use it, though, as I never expose my books to the dangers of the outside world. But yes, as you say, the step-back covers are a good alternative. Alas, publishers only give them to their top authors, as they are more expensive.

PamK, it does seem logical to assume that great sex will be involved in a book that is touted as erotic, but alas, the very word erotic seems to sell, and some publishers simply slap on the word to increase sales. It does make it very frustrating, trying to figure out which books are truly erotic as opposed to those that are simply labelled - or even reviewed - as erotic.

Playground Monitor said...

Hi Robin! I play here too!

Robin's THE LOVER was probably my first foray into erotic romance. I kept wondering what all the hoopla was about and wanted to read something in the genre, but didn't want something that was strictly sex for sex's sake. A friend said two words: Robin Schone. And she was right. Great story, very sensual. And my Secret Santa from Robin's message boards this year sent me GABRIEL'S WOMAN! Yay me!

Marilyn

Sarah McCarty said...

Hi Robin and Jaid!

I'm supposed to be racing to deadline and here I am blog hopping. I don't think I can be held accountable though. It's got to be an automatic excused absence when Robin Schone (my absolute favorite author and inspiration) and Jaid Black (The publisher that beleived in my PROMISE series and launched it on its way) are in the same blog post discussing my favorite subject,romance. Just remind me to collect a note excusing my absence from deadline hades before I leave. *G*

I love this whole thread. It's so interesting how people view the term erotic differently. To me erotic romance, erotica and porn are so distinct, I can't see where there ever would be confusion. On the other hand, I can also see the point of those who say, "What difference does it make what it's called as long as the story is good?"

And that I think becomes the bottom line and the only thing that matters to me as a reader. I just want a good story. More heat, less heat, romance, no romance it's all a wash if I'm not tumbling into the author's spell by the end of the first page.

Michele said...

No way, Robin! Did they really make those covers for covers? I never knew about them. So, maybe that means they might not make them anymore. Seems silly anyway.


Most covers are too pretty or artful to want to cover up, even with the woman half hanging out of her dress. Now if the guy was hanging out ... um, well, maybe just the codpiece ... or... *cough*, OK, forget that train of thought. TIme to go make my .. Beef Stew... *snicker*
Actually, I'm inspired. This IS what I'll be making for supper.
yum, beef stew. I'll check back in later.
Great conversation today.!

Robin Schone said...

Hey, PlayGround Monitor. Fancy seeing you here! Uh-oh, was I supposed to know what your Secret Santa got you? It's not the unveiling yet, is it? *smile*

Oh, my, Sarah. Your absolute favorite author? I'm honored. As for any confusion. . . . I think it sets in when one reads outside the "genre." Example, for pure reading pleasure I read mostly romance until about 12 years ago. When someone requested a HOT romance, I knew all the authors and their books, so immediately knew which authors/books were hot and which ones weren't. But it was all categorized as romance then, without all the dividing lines. Now then each line comes with its own expectations, and it seems that each line presents erotic romance/erotica in a different light. . . . Okay, pass rescinded. Get back to work now! *smile*

Absolutely, Michele, thin little covers were created to hide the covers of books within. Actually, now that I think about it, I think I saw some the other day at Walgreens. Beef stew, eh? Enjoy.

Playground Monitor said...

Oops! Well, I didn't tell the rest of the goodies so there will still be surprises at the unveiling in two weeks. :grin:

Marilyn

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

I feel as Sarah, that to me porn, erotica, and erotic romance are clearly distinctive of one another. But, no one usually agrees with me on most things, so I could be wrong.

It's true that it should all be about the book being good, but I have at least to decide how I define each, then consistently place novels in their approximate slots. Why? So my readers can trust that if I'm recommending an erotic romance, it's going to have the same general sensuality level of other erom I place in that category.

The author can call herself an erotic romance princess, the publisher can tell me it's spankin hot erotica, but I'm going to consistently make it easier for my viewers to find the types of great books they're comfortable reading. Fewer surprises all around, and folks who are happier when they choose to buy the books I suggest.

But I hardly decided my categories off the cuff. I research, read, listen to authors and readers.

Yeah, Robin, I see lots of the poor lobotomized on covers these days. I guess they bother me cause they're stark and unimaginitive -- the art depts can do much better, cause we've all seen it. I guess they catch the eye, but there are so many other beautiful covers out there showcasing gorgeous humans. Then again, I don't pretend to know what attracts readers' eyes, and I guess the publishers do.

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

I just need to thank you again, Robin, for visiting with us and producing this thoughtful blog and topic.

It's so nice to have you here, especially because I so enjoy your novels. I'm happy to see so many of the Bellas love them, too, so I feel doubly jazzed.

I cannot remember which of yours was the first novel I read, but I remember ordering a bunch of them after that one. They're such a neat combination of romance, intrigue, and definitively erotic sexuality. Because there's never a gratuitous kiss or touch.

KimW said...

Two of my favorites on the same day! Nice to see you Robin and Jaid. Congrats to you Jaid on all your success and to you, too, Robin.

I met Robin at a book signing and she is just the nicest lady. I've been anxiously awaiting her next book. Not that long now..we're getting close.

To answer the questions...I expect erotica to have less romance than erotic romance. I don't expect the graphic depictions to be different.

I only read erotic romance/erotica at home so I don't mind a sexy cover. If it were something I was going to take along with me, I'd choose subtle.

Sarah McCarty said...

Ack Robin- You can't rescind my pass so soon! I've been working for 14 hours. I deserve a bit more of a break. *G* I remember when I read my first book of yours. I sat down and said, "Yes. This is what I want to do." It ws a bit of an epiphany because up to that point I'd been a round peg bouncing around the perimeter of a square hole.

At the time I was unpublished and I was hawking my wares on the NY publishing streets. Hard streets in those days. I had a ton of interest in my voice and the series but there was the catch of the genre and the fact that my books didn't slide neatly within the genre expectations. A family crisis forced me to put my writing on hold for a couple years, but when I came back, I still knew what I wanted to do and the direction in which I wanted to go. I'm now happily published writing the books I enjoy for three publishers. Honestly, if I hadn't read your books and fallen so in love with the world/genre you opened up for me, I don't think I would be.

There is one other upside for me as a reader and a writer when it comes to erotic romance. This is my personal observation and others may not agree, but I see a tendency for publishers to be more comfortable with edgier story lines when the book is an erotic romance. I'm not talking edgy in a sexual way, but veering from tradtional genre contraints when it comes to the story line. That leeway made room for some wonderful stories to be published that I might not have gotten to read had they not had that erotic edge.

Michelle- I categorize everything, too. Not that everyone appreciates the analytical aspects of my personality, but it's there. *G*

I think when it comes to labels on books, the only area I get testy is the word romance. If romance is in the label, then I'm buying with a full expectation and need of an HEA. I can take any other cross labeling of genres in stride, but I read romance specifically for the emotonal journey to the HEA and, well, I want my HEA.

Michelle Buonfiglio said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Michelle Buonfiglio said...

I like your story, Sarah, and you must feel satisfied you perservered. I hesitated earlier to talk about Robin's books in terms of changing my life because I have this weird need not to have any authors I'm not talking about think they're inferior somehow. Does that make sense coming from the Italian Catholic girl?


But when I first read Robin I remember thinking: finally, someone who understands how harsh, unfair experiences mold the sexualities of some individuals. And how those people may crave and practice in a spiritually unhealthy way sexual acts considered outside the norm, yet find those same acts even more enjoyable when experienced within an intimate relationship, one that includes love and an HEA in Robin's case.

Thing is, one just can't divorce psychological makeup from sexuality in characterization -- least it rings hollow in a novel for me. Robin was the first writer I'd read who was mature and comfortable enough to approach characterization in a way that encompasses psychology as well as physiology, to thrown things out on the table that most adults either don't know exist in human experience, or refuse to acknowledge or discuss.

And then there's that cool way she has of educating women about their bodies and sex in general. It's great that her books get one going, but she take that extra time to inform women what to do with the fantastic energy she incites.

This is a good time to remind everyone that Ian Kerner, Ph.D. GuestBlogs tomorrow about women, fantasy, and orgasm.

Ian is a bestselling author, as well as licensed and practicing sex/relats therapist. He writes for Cosmo, iVillage and lots of other pubs, and has a weekly Sirius radio show for Cosmo, as well.

Robin Schone said...

Wow. You ladies are going to give me a big head. . . . Hmmm. Wait a minute. That just doesn't sound right in an erotic topic, does it? LOL

Sarah, really, thank you. I'm so glad my work inspired you. And kudos to you for sticking to your guns! It IS a long, difficult road, getting published. Good for you for seeing your dream come true! AND for writing what you want, instead of selling out, as I've heard others do.

Thanks, KimW. Where did we meet? I'm glad I made a good impression; I must have been on my best behavior that day. *smile*

Michelle B, truly, thank you for the wonderful compliments. It's strange - well, to me, anyway - because much as we may joke about the definitions of erotic romance versus erotica versus pornography, public perception really does effect (or is that affect? I always confuse the two) authors, and the sell-through of their books. For example, I know that some readers don't want "psychology" mixed in with their "physiology" - they want a fast read with hot sex, period. And there is nothing wrong with that! But my books are not for those readers, yet erotic romances are marketed as if one size fits all. I don't know how that problem can be solved, except by publishers marketing authors instead of lines. Berkley has been doing interesting things to individually promote "erotic" authors (Emma Holly, Angela Knight, etc.). St. Martins has done a bang-up job promoting Cheyenne McCray, too. Hopefully other publishers will follow their example, and showcase books holistically, instead of, well, as imprints.

KimW said...

Funny, Robin! We met at a few years ago at a B & N or maybe it was Border's. It was in either in Carol Stream or Bloomingdale, I think. Sorry, I could drive to it but I can't remember exactly what town. I had to drive a long way to see you but it was worth it. You left a good impression with me. :)

Stacy~ said...

This week's been crazy and I've missed out on some of my fave erotic romance authors and topics of discussion. I must praise Jaid and Ellora's Cave for really offering a variety of sexy stories that really run the gamut and fuel imaginations. In fact, "The Empress's New Clothes" was the first ever EC book I read, and started me on a reading journey that opened my eyes to some really hot fantasies that I never really thought of before, and found I enjoyed. I love that these are stories written by women FOR women, and that it's okay to fantasize, even if it's not something you'd actually enjoy in r.l. What's behind it all is the love story, and it makes a huge impact on the reader. I adore EC, and have many fave authors who write for them. Thank you for bringing us so many choices.

Jaid Black said...

Michele, I tried to respond yesterday, but alas my net connection sputtered and died. (I'm currently in the middle of the boonies :-)) I go through phases re: my blog where I kill it then revive it every so often. As soon as I'm moved and unpacked I'll probably be in a revive it mood :-)

Jaid Black said...

Julie, thanks for the great comments. I agree... HEA all the way for me too :-)

Robin Schone said...

Kate Pearce, Dannyfiredragon . . . I forgot to thank you for your responses! Kate, what an interesting observation, that erotica has a voyeuristic feel. Do you think that's because it doesn't engage the emotions as much as erotic romance?

Dannyfiredragon . . . I, too, think some books are erroneously classified as either "erotica" or "erotic romance." As you say, many mainstream books contain sex, so the inclusion of sex alone is not enough to grant an E or ER rating. :-)

Michelle Buonfiglio, thank you so much for having me at Romance B(u)y the Blog, and all you Bellas, thank you for the warm welcome. It was fun, and greatly enhanced my shopping spirit. Happy Holidays!

Robin Schone said...

Oh!!!! KimW, I remember! It was at a signing at B&N in Bloomingdale. The store had completely forgotten about the signing: they had no advertisement, and absolutely no interest. You really, really made my day when you stopped by. Thank you!

Jaid Black said...

Ah Robin, I feel your pain re: covers. I have the exact same problem: my upcoming hero is a blond with corn-rowed hair and the guy on the cover has black hair and no corn-rows. (WTH??) I empathize!!

Jaid Black said...

Sarah, Robin is the inspiration for us all. I'll never be able to write emotions as intensely as she does so alas I'll stick to my own comedic voice lol

Sarah McCarty said...

Ok. I really have to be good and not play today, but I did want to say thanks to Michelle for hosting this "Hot Topic"and to everyone for making it such a great conversation in which to participate.

And Robin, I don't think I so much held out as finally got it right. *G* Finally found the nich where the strengths in my voice played into the strengths of the genre. And once that light bulb went on, my writing life got so much easiier. IMO, every author has a genre or two that their voice just plays better in. I'm just glad I found mine.

Sarah McCarty said...

Hi Jaid *waving*,

re: Robin being an inspiration: What you said!!

Jaid Black said...

Stacy, thank you so much. So many of you have commented on TENC - my first book - and I really appreciate it. Me? It was my first book, and I think it shows, so I can't reread even excerpts w/o cringing lol :-P

Beverly Rae said...

Hi, Everyone.

I love your books, ladies.

You are an inspiration to all writers who want to break through inhibitions and write what they want to write.

Beverly Rae - http://www.beverlyrae.com

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Grazie, grazie mille Robin and Jaid. Of course, to one night I turn off the computer to veg, and I miss out on the fun. So glad you were able to stop by Jaid! You're well loved and thought of here.

Thanks everyone who joined us yesterday! See you at Ian Kerner's GuestBlog!

Amy S. said...

Hi Jaid! Love your books! Robin your books sound good! I have added them to my to buy list!

Liz said...

Hi Jaid I adore Elloras Cave
and personally erotic romance I expect to have a HEA and erotic is about the sex not the emotions too