Monday, September 5, 2011

Not Hot Enough?

Ah, the insecurities that come with being a writer!

Yesterday I was writing a blog post about my upcoming release Wild About That Thing. It's part of a music-themed ménage anthology due on September 12th from Total-E-Bound, called Treble. Aside from me, the book features some of my favorite authors: Elizabeth Coldwell, Desiree Holt, Lily Harlem, Imari Jade and Wendi Zwaduk. Anyway, I began to check out the blurbs for the other stories. They all sounded incredibly hot. So hot, in fact, that I started to wonder whether my story is too tame!

The "treble" notion is supposed to suggest the idea of a three-some. Desiree's story goes one better, with one woman and three men! Talk about feeling out-classed!

Lily's tale has got toys, Liz has written some spanking, and Wendi's story includes spanking and bondage...

Oh dear. I'm used to having readers tell me that my writing is super-steamy, but maybe as I get older I just can't keep up!

Now, Wild About That Thing does feature a sizzling scene in the back of a limo, as well as some sex on the heroine's office desk, but most of the action takes place in her bed - not to mention in her vivid imagination. There's nothing kinky about Ruby Jones, unless you consider her decision to invite both of her lovers to share her falls into that category. No handcuffs, no blindfolds, just two hard, horny men devoted to her pleasure.

Is that hot enough? I'm not sure. In the old days, when I called what I wrote erotica, I'd have one sex scene after the other, each more transgressive than the previous one. If you want to know what I'm talking about, get yourself a copy of Raw Silk or Incognito. When I began writing romance, I found myself focusing much more on creating loving relationships that develop in a realistic way. Sex is important, but it's not so much the point.

Maybe it's time for me to go back to my roots. Or maybe I shouldn't worry about what other authors are writing and just follow my instincts.

So far nobody has actually complained that my books are too tame...!


Terra said...

A good erotic romances is not just about the sex. If the plot is strong the lack of heat does not stand out as much. Just follow your instincts girl.


Justine Darkholme said...

Terra is very right. Erotica/erotic romance is only as good as the conflict, emotional involvement, etc. of the characters involved. What makes erotica powerful are the characters. What makes romance powerful are, once again, the characters and their emotional involvement. It has been my experience that the hottest love scene is no match for the vanilla sex scene between two (or more) people who share some kind of connection. So don't feel like you're being out-classed. Your writing has something many erotica authors are missing: heart.

I read your Body Electric and there was one story in particular that actually made me teary. The one where the woman takes a chance and leaves with her 'dom,' even though she loves her husband. Your characters are wonderfu. Doubting yourself is normal and it keeps you honest, but I'm here to tell you, you're a wonderful writer. :-)

And I hope to see you shine even more in the future.

Nina Pierce said...

Hmm, interesting question. I definitely think I write on the lighter side of erotic romance. I mean I do have menages and voyeurism and bondage in the right places, but as others said, it's got to have story to have me enjoying the sexual encounters. Knowing you and your writing, I suspect it's plenty hot enough Lisabet.

Lisabet Sarai said...

Hello, Terra, Justine and Nina,

Thanks for your comments. In my gut, I know you're right. However, I worry that readers are starting to buy ER _because_ of the sexual intensity, as much as or more than the emotional intensity.

Total-E-Bound, against my recommendations, has just introduced a "sex-o-meter" rating that measures how much sex there is in the story. I argued that this is really not something you can measure objectively (is an explicit masturbation fantasy sex?) but also that it sends the wrong message to both readers and potential authors.

Oh well. I can't really do anything but write in my own style anyway!

Justine, thanks so much for your comments on "Never Too Late". That was a very personal story (although not a true one) and I guess the emotions came through.

Lucy Felthouse said...

I worry about that sometimes with my own stuff - but you have to write what you love and comes naturally, right? If I force myself to write stuff then it usually turns out rubbish!

Like the other commenters have said, just stick with your instincts. You're a fab writer so you shouldn't feel pressured to write a certain way - just do what you do best! :)

Lisabet Sarai said...

Thank you, Lucy!

I think that the market is pressuring authors to just throw in lots of sex. Mind you, I have no problem with lots of sex! ;^) But it has got to fit into and advance the story.

Wendi Zwaduk and Megan Slayer said...

Hi Lisabet! When I sent in the story for the anthology, I wasn't sure I'd make the cut. Don't we all worry that? I can honestly say I didn't set out to top anyone or write something totally out there. The three characters have a lot of heart and yeah, there's heat, but they go hand in hand.

When I saw the line up, I thought, oh man, am I up to this? What a group to be a part of! I'm glad I am and I can't wait to read your contribution. I think they will all be fantastic.

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