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 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,
Visit JaidBlack.com and EllorasCave.com