What’s the difference between erotic romance and erotica? The answer to this question will depend on whom you ask, and will often reveal the prejudices of the respondent. Romance readers may tell you that erotica is nothing but gratuitous sex, while romance focuses on committed relationships. Some will even equate erotica with porn. Erotica aficionados may mock the often-overused tropes of romance and dismiss its readers as timid or conventional.
Even people who have a more balanced view will point out that love is the sine qua non of romance, but an optional component of erotica. It’s also generally agreed that in romance, the protagonists don’t engage in sexual activities with people outside the relationship (which of course could be a threesome or even a reverse harem situation). Simple, right?
Well, not for me. The Journeyman’s Trial is labeled as erotica, but it includes a couple who are very much in love. At the same time, that love affair exists in parallel with other erotic activity that involves both members of the couple, who are each intimately engaged with other individuals.
That should put the book firmly outside the romance category – except for the fact that the members of the Guild also love one another. In fact, one of my objectives is to portray the Guild as a polyamorous extended family. In the first book, The Pornographer’s Apprentice, the Master Toymaker offers some hints about the powerful emotional connections among the first generation Guild members (several of whom died in a tragic accident that left the Master disfigured and bitter). The second book deepens this theme, as the new members of the Guild participate in a magical orgy that binds them to one another psychologically and spiritually as well as physically.
In Book 3 I hope to make it clear that the sex in which the Guild members indulge is not only for the sake of pleasure or fun, but also for strengthening the commitment the members have to one another.
Committed relationship? That’s a romance thing, right?
Ultimately I don’t really care what you call the book. I have little patience with genre conventions. Indeed, I take perverse pleasure in blurring the lines and breaking the rules.
Just like my characters in the Toymakers Guild.
The Journeyman’s Trial is available now at your favorite online bookstore.
Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09MQV4Y86
Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B09MQV4Y86
Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1118032
Add on Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/59740783-the-journeyman-s-trial
And don’t forget that The Pornographer’s Apprentice, Book 1 of The Toymakers Guild, is on sale for only 99 cents!
Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08MWMZZGP
Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08MWMZZGP
Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1053072