Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The sweet, the sensual and the erotic

I have read all “heat" levels of romance. Crafting any of these levels takes skill. The writer of each type has to know how far to push the envelope in what he/she is writing.

Sweet romance’s hottest moment might be what movie directors used to do in films when a couple was about to have sex. The movie scene would discretely cut to a billowing bedroom window curtain or rain beating against a window. So in sweet romance writing the scene may end before the couple gets to the bedroom and then pick up at some point after the loving (few hours later, the next morning, etc.) Also there is usually no harsh cursing. An example from my personal bookshelf is BEAUTY by Susan Wilson. Great plotline. Great characters that linger in the mind. Did I miss the sex scenes? No. Would I have liked a few? Probably but they weren’t necessary. The author’s command of the writing elements made the omission of sex scenes correct.

Sensual romance. Most romance books I’ve read and certainly the ones I write are sensual. These stories (mine and others’) depict the sexual affection the hero and the heroine have for one another. It’s not better than the sweet romance category; it’s another facet of a wide genre. The ones I loved were any historicals written by the “Avon Ladies”, that tight, well-oiled, successful machine of romance writers at Avon Books back in the 80s and early 90s. Even today I’ll re-read a classic by Woodiwiss or Rogers or Jenkins when nothing is calling to me from my TBR pile. Yes, those historicals could have some thin plotlines but I adored the descriptions of the locales, the era and of the fearless hero.

Now we come (no pun intended) to the erotica category. Always, always, always there will be people who call it porn. It’s not porn. It’s not even porn with prose. It’s a story with explicit sex scenes woven into a well-written story. Or at least that’s what it’s supposed to be. And this is the debate about the erotica category. The focus of the book is sex. And I call them books with the side eye. I’m going to put my neck on the chopping block here. Ten pages is not a book. I repeat. Ten pages is not a book. Yes, I know that this length and a little longer are popular on Amazon. I suppose people don’t have time to invest in a long book. But I must comment, “Why does one read a book?" Is it not to relax and unwind? Does everything in this life have to be short, hurried and frenzied? Quick service, fast food. If you are taking the time out to read a book, don’t you want to savor it? I really do hope this rushed atmosphere is not indicative of your sex lives. If it is, no wonder most folks are sexually frustrated. But that’s just my observation. I am into relaxing and taking my time, so in my purview, ten pages is not a book. I name these short works, “written extended sexual encounters.”

Romance writing for me is the more imaginative of writing categories. Erotica may be the most imaginative genre. The sex in erotica is definitely the focus. It is usually very hot and veers into the realm of the unreal.  Erotica can be dangerous dark, playful, forbidding, vanilla, MM, FF, MFM, FMF or interracial. It blends quite well with paranormal, Sci-fi and the were/vamp/shifter tales.  I think with better crafting and building of stories, better plots (plots period), and by not rating a story by how many orgasms one can squeeze into ten pages, erotica could hold its own with the rest of the genres in romance writing.

So which level do you read? Any? All? A blend?



Sunday, August 18, 2013

Here we go again, or did we never leave?

Well, you are getting all this insight on things racial while I wait for the galley to be returned for corrections on book three UNION of the FELIG CHRONICLES, my IR/paranormal  romance. Believe me, Nate and Tina do not deal with this ish.

I am going to expound on a subject that the USA loves to react to but does very little to nil to really speak on. Let’s get ready to speak about racial slurs. Now those of you who are sensitive, or get the vapors or avoid “impolite things,” go away now! ‘Cuz it’s going to get a little warm in here.

I am tardy commenting on the whole fray around the use of the word n-i-g-g-e-r. I put stops between the letters so those of you who did not go away, won’t faint. I shall not be using the soft-shelled euphemism, ”n-word.” Hate that stupid term.  Anyhoo, I want to quote something that my grandfather used to tell me. He was paraphrasing the words of Stepin Fetchit, a Black vaudevillian of the early twentieth-century. He used to say, “I do not hate being Black. It’s just that it’s an inconvenience sometimes.” I know now, as I have gotten older what the saying means. It is tiring. Racial slights and slurs directed at me now, elicit yawns and eye-rolling. I cannot be bothered to respond to tiny minds whose lone thought in his/her almost empty head is to yell, “N-i-g-g-e-r,” at me for some reason only he/she know. I simply walk away or reply, “Miss N-i-g-g-e-r to you!” Now, if the cretin approaches me and I can’t get away, it’s on.

I tire of reading indignant Caucasian people writing in the comments section of some article which chronicles how the latest Caucasian public figure who got caught (Are you listening Riley Cooper?) using the word, n-i-g-g-e-r, in public is being subjected to a “double standard” when Black citzenry call the person on it. I say double WTF? and double yawn. Freakin’ first of all, why does any Caucasian feel they have the right to use the word with a Black person? What is the allure? What is the intent? And don’t tell me, “You guys use it with each other all the time.” WRONG! I don’t use the word. Period. Other black folks need to wake up and cease and desist with the word, too. And do you know why? Because it’s ugly.

I know my history and nowhere in that past history in this country has a non-Black person EVER used that word to show kindness or used it as an endearment. Not a one who has used it with me or with the elders in my family who lived through the Jim Crow era, have EVER meant anything nice. Let me explain it. No matter how numbing to the ear it has become, be it in song, in print, by friends, in movies---no matter how good the intention may be, it’s WRONG! It is a word that was created and used to make the person it was hurled at, afraid, docile and to feel less than the cretin hurling it.

It is the purpose of all and any racial epithets. And you know full damn well what I mean. Do not act dumb. Let’s take a stroll through the American showroom of abundant, wicked racial slurs. Behind door number one, along with n-i-g-g-e-r, we have s-p-i-c/ w-e-t-b-a-c-k for the Hispanic/Latino community, depending which Coast one lives on. Behind door number two, we have that oldie but goodie, k-i-k-e for our Jewish friends. Oh yes, the showroom is bursting at its bigoted seams. And last but not least, we have h-a-r-p for those of Irish descent, w-o-p for Italian Americans and k-r-a-u-t for German-Americans. I am exhausted. The showroom should have a tram running from door to door.

Ah, America! The land of those free to insult one another in many colorful ways.

You’re probably saying, “Get over it. Lighten up. We’re all post-racial here.” Please! I’d like to throttle the idiot who coined that annoying, inaccurate term. Just because the US President is Black means nothing in the healing of racial tension. There is a contingent of White folk (Teabaggers, etc.) out there who think Barack Obama should only be SERVING DRINKS in the White house, not SERVING TWO TERMS. They went apeshit, built fortified bunkers "cuz the race war is coming"and went DEFCON1 when he was elected. So spare me the “post-racial” bullshit.

So when will I get over the racial slur thing? Here’s my deal. I’ll get over it when all those slurs I catalogued above get written into songs like the word n-i-g-g-e-r is written into songs. Let those songs get approved and released by major record labels for mass distribution. Let young people of ALL ethnicities memorize the lyrics, sing them at the top of their lungs and cruise in cars down city streets. Maybe I’ll get over it then and maybe we’ll be “post-racial.”

Except, it ain’t gonna happen. Why, you ask?

Because ALL of those ethnicities know better but most importantly, ALL of those ethnicities know the difference between an ugly slur and an endearment. 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Use of social media in plotlines and in promoting one's writing

If a book's characters use modern, up-to-date methods to communicate (Facebook, Twitter, etc,), do you find that believable? My main character blogs, use a cell but that's the extent of it. In the paranormal universe I just don't think the hero/heroine has time to tweet or FB. I mean really are you reading a romance book for the characters' tweeting skills? Unless using Twitter is a main part of the plot, I don't think so. I won't and don't use them in plots. In storylines with a lot of action, suspense, danger, no one has time to tweet. They are too busy running for their lives or saving the world or simply desiring that last human touch before it all falls apart. Maybe if I were more proficient in my use of social media, my characters would be too. But I doubt it.

See, I am not a pushy author. I write. I get published. I promote to the best of my ability which means I do not annoy the potential reader. Yes, I know that there are scores of writers who everyday, all day, shill their work. I promote too but through my website, my blog , several review sites, etc. I put myself in the place of the reader. I would not like to see a promo in my inbox a gazillion times a day whether it be on FB, Twitter or regular email for a book. Having to promote gives me hives. It's the whole acting like a trained seal trying to get attention without ticking people off or falling off that ball. Right up there with walking a tightrope. Plus, I am one of thousands vying for distracted attention of a small audience in a very crowded market. And to be truthful, promoting on Twitter is like pissing into the sea. It's hit or miss if I'm catching anyone's eye. I'll get a pro to pitch my stuff for two weeks in key places and I'll do my part elsewhere (Blogtalkradio, other authors' sites) but have no fear I will not become that pest begging you to read my latest. It's the quickest way to get remembered for the wrong reason.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Hey, thank you!

Dear Readers,

I am done ranting for now. Sometimes a girl has to do what a girl has to do though. Well, this short post is for all those who have purchased my books and especially those who in the last week bought BOTH volumes of my series at once. A big shout out and thank you to all. Again, and even I am getting blue in the face from repeating this: UNION, THE FELIG CHRONICLES, BOOK THREE is coming out soon! It really does exist. In fact, I have two more volumes done and waiting to hand in to my publisher. Book four is called PARADOX and Book five is called IDYLL? Can't wait to get these installments out to you. You deserve them. Maybe because of the delay, I could persuade Extasy Books to have discount of some kind on the purchase of the whole series so far? Anyhoo, once more, many thanks to those of you who have pulled out your wallets and have been financial with me. Keep watching this space and my website ( for updates and another updated book trailer. In the meantime, reacquaint yourselves with Nate's and Tina's diverse, courageous love story and of course keep reading my blog posts. Much appreciated.