Squawk Radio

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Elizabeth Gets Hot

Indecent Suggestion
Originally uploaded by EliBev.
And no, it's not because it's been in the 90s here and our air conditioner has been running nonstop for the past three days and we're going to have to take out a second mortgage to pay the electric bill.

This is the cover for my new Blaze, out this month. It was a totally new endeavor for me. A stretch, even. Because the hardest part of my books for me to write are the sex scenes. I also think it’s best when the intensity and frequency of the sex scenes are dictated by the hero and heroine, and, to a lesser extent, the story. For INDECENT SUGGESTION, the story and characters had to be dictated by the sex. Lots of sex. Lots of hot sex. In fact, the sex became more important in identifying what the book is than the characters and story were.

I’ve decided that’s just not my thang.

I’m contracted for one more Blaze, then I’m moving out of the line and back to Desire. There are a lot of circumstances that influenced why I started writing for Blaze and why I’ll be returning to Desire, but I’ll cover them in the comments section if anyone’s interested, because it would make this blog too long if I went into that here, and this blog is already pretty long. That’s not why I’m blogging on my Blaze, anyway.

I’m blogging about my Blaze for two reasons. One, it’s out this month. Duh. And two, because there’s been a lot of brouhaha in RWA recently about their new graphical standards stuff. I’ll get right to my point. Erotica doesn’t belong in RWA, and RWA never should have approved Ellora’s Cave as an RWA-recognized publisher. The reason? Ellora’s Cave doesn’t publish Romance any more than Playboy Books publishes Romance.

Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against Erotica. Like Romance, it’s a perfectly legitimate genre. Like Romance, it has its roots in a long literary tradition. Like Romance, it appeals to a basic human need and a basic human response. But the fact is, it’s NOT Romance. It’s Erotica.

I’ve spent my entire career explaining to people that Romance isn’t about sex. It’s about emotion. Romance novels describe the emotional awakening and emotional growth of two people who ultimately make a monogamous commitment to each other. The sex the hero and heroine have occurs because they’re falling in love. Erotica novels describe the sexual awakening and sexual growth of as many people as the writer wants to include in the story. The sex the characters have occurs because they are hugely physically turned on. It can be good. It can be very good. It can make the reader want a cigarette after its over. But it’s still Erotica. It’s not Romance.

A writer acquaintance of mine who writes for Ellora’s Cave fully admits that what she writes is pornography. Yes, that’s the word she uses. She doesn’t consider the books Romance any more than I do. She is as troubled by the shelving of the EC books in the romance section at Waldenbooks as I am.

I don’t take my eleven-year-old into the section where my books are shelved these days, because I’m afraid of what he’ll pick up to flip through. That used to not be a concern for me. It also bothers me that now someone from the media can pluck an EC novel from the Romance section and say, "See? I told you all these books are only about sex."

Blaze, I think, is as erotic as RWA needs to get. Although quite sexy, the books still feature a hero and heroine who are monogamous. As steamy as the sex gets, the characters still have an emotional awakening and emotional growth. Blaze is still Romance, and still has a firm place in RWA. Erotica, not so. It is no more Romance than Letters to Penthouse is. If erotica writers want to form EWA--Erotica Writers of America--they by all means should. Although the RWA umbrella is broad, and the genre claims much crossover and blending of genres, we are still at heart a Romance organization. And I, for one, would like to keep it that way.
Elizabeth Bevarly, 11:00 AM