I’ve seen some of the recent buzz in reader and writer circles about the erotic content of Romances and how the different heat levels are (or should be) marketed. Don’t leave! I wouldn’t dip even my little toe into those piranha-infested waters even if I did believe explicit content has anything to do with the quality of a story. The only pot I like stirring anymore is the fictional kind. But, I read stories of all heat levels and the conversation has gotten me pondering. Like Flannery O’Connor said: “I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.”
I’ve always loved the idea that magic could be real, that if you turn over a rock or turn a corner you could find something amazing that would change your life forever. For me as a reader, heat level is less important than magic (both literal and figurative).
I’ve written in a few genres in the past *cough* few years, under three names and for many different reasons. I’ve written articles on sports and court decisions to pay bills, literary short stories to experiment with different ways of showing character, and more than one manuscript started out with the lofty goal of writing The Great American Novel. Even though one school of thought insists that sex sells, period, nothing I sold before 2012 had any sex in it whatsoever. All the steamy stories (long and short) were turned down flat by agents and publishers of all sizes and specialties across the country—even the ones who insisted they enjoyed my writing and would like to see something “more marketable” in the future.
For me, writing about the entire relationship between two (or more!) people is fun and reading about it is even more fun (not to mention easier). I’d written about love, and some of my characters got their HEA/HFNs, but I hadn’t written a Romance before last August. I tried once or twice but my characters revolted because I also tried to make them all straight. But, that’s a post for another time . . . maybe June.
By the time I made it halfway through the draft of Comfort and Joy I was hooked. Even though it deals with a pretty heavy subject (long-term emotional recovery from an assault), just knowing the guys were headed for happiness made me happy too. Once Etopia Press offered to publish it, my conversion to the sexy-side was complete. Instead of cutting the steamy scenes (which always managed to sneak in somehow), now I’m polishing them.
I wrote two more short novellas last fall and barring any disasters both should be released this summer, so it’s pretty safe to say I’m happy with my decision to follow my heart (yes, my heart) and continue writing Erotic Romance. In fact, I’ve been working with one of my editors this weekend on the 9/June release (Jake’s story, hence the gorgeous trumpet pic), working on the blurb for the other summer release (Directing Traffic, formerly known as Sea Change), and polishing up a longer story for submission (CS). As if that wasn’t enough to make studying difficult, my PNR guys sense blood in the water now that CS is almost done and their conversation off in the corner is getting louder.
What do you think? Does the heat level in a Romance have any bearing on your decision to read it? Would you ever be upset if a blurb or other marketing gave the wrong impression of a story’s heat rating? Give me your $0.02 in the comments so I have something juicy to read on my next study break.