Greetings, everyone. Thea here today. This past weekend I had the pleasure of speaking at t CTRWA March meeting about writing erotic romance from my perspective. Which admittedly goes back at least twenty years, when one of my historical romances, Beyond Desire, was the first romance to be reviewed as erotic romance — a totally new designation at the time. And not one that publishers jumped on either.

That took the publication of the anthology, Captivated, in 1999. Labelled “tales of erotic romance,” it flew onto the USAToday bestseller list in no time. And even then, the industry sat back and watched as the follow-up anthology, Fascinated, zipped onto USAToday as well.

There were constraints at the time as to what terms you could use, what body parts you could name, how far you could go.

Twenty years later, 50 Shades changed everything.

Now everything is on the table (and in the bed) as far as combinations and sex — front, back, side, upside down, inside out, casual, meaningful, manacled, chained, blindfolded, whipped, flipped, one night stands, one day, one hour get it on and get off, no commitment, scratch the itch and over you go.

So now that there are readers for every sexual taste, where’s your line? How far will you go? You could push the bar even further — male/male, female/ female, triads, quadrads, and any multiple combination of that; bestiality, hard core bondage/domination/punishment, corset discipline, flogging, gagging, needle play, fire play … .

And so my question to you, which I asked at the meeting as well, is — do you feel the need to compete with 50 Shades? To push further? To define the bar rather than straddle it? To be the one to make waves? Or you do have your own strict won’t-go-there parameters?

Thea Devine’s books defined erotic historical romance. She’s the author of 27 historical and contemporary erotic romances and a dozen novellas. Look for “Beyond the Night”, the sequel to “The Darkest Heart,” to be released as a Pocket Star eBook, fall 2014.


3 thoughts on “HOW FAR THE BAR?”

  1. Hi Thea! Sorry I missed the meeting. It sounds…um…enlightening:-)

    As a reader, I got hooked a few years back on Laurell K. Hamilton’s Mary Gentry Fey series and Anita Blake Vampire hunter series in which I thought she pushed the lines and found it entertaining and fascinating. After a dozen or so books, though, I lost interest in both series because of the gratuitous sex and lack of story. For me…the characters and the story are the reason I read, regardless of heat level. I haven’t read 50 Shades and really have no desire to. Like scary movies and gruesome horror flicks or torture scenes, there are some things you can never “unsee”. I’m no prude about sex, but do I need to read about the “ins and outs”? Nope. Unless there is an actual romantic connection between the characters, it doesn’t interest me.

    As a writer, I’m afraid I have developed the same sensibilities. My early manuscripts were definitely steamy adult romance, but I always felt embarrassed about people reading them. I couldn’t imagine friends or family–or worse–massage clients reading those sex scenes. I fell into writing YA partly for that reason, but also because my voice, and the underlying themes and messages in my stories took that form. I enjoy writing about the tension between characters who are falling in love, the first kisses, and those “almost” moments, but for me, the gritty details can stay behind closed doors.

    Having said that, I admire writers who can lay it all out there. .

  2. Wonderful Blog Thea. Thank you again for your Saturday presentation and sharing. For my writing, I do have some ‘sexy scenes’. Since it’s my first book, I’m not sure what the readers will say. I am willing to write intimate scenes but I don’t feel I must. No, I am not in competition with 50 shades. On Saturday, I enjoyed the couple of excellent view points about the book and it’s craft. Thank you for giving it some time for us all to discuss. Thanks for this blog post.

    1. Paula, the single most frequent reason aspiring authors tell me they don’t write erotic is that they’re leery about what people will think. It’s a fascinating dynamic — the reluctance of women to “lay it all out there,” and the public fascination with women who do.

      And Gail, dear — you always have something pertinent and cogent to say. I’m glad you shared your feelings about 50 shades.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.