Oh, yeah, I did. And I liked it.
If someone had told me ten years ago that I’d be writing lycan erotic romance and loving it, I would have looked over my shoulder and said, “Who are you talking to?”
At the time, I was a straight romantic suspense girl. It’s what I loved to read and write (aside from medieval historicals!). I not only was not interested in shifters or vampires (altho, hello, shifters and vamps are sexy!), at the time, paranormal was so outside the box it was a word you didn’t say, much less write. Steamy romances were just beginning to ‘come out’ so to speak and that was good for me.
I naturally write steamy, so ripping the bedroom door off by the hinges was no big stretch for me. However, there are some scenes in BLOODRIGHT (book two of my Blood Moon Rising trilogy) that made me blush! And I don’t blush easily.
But the truth of the matter is, I liked writing those scenes. A lot. Once I crossed not only my own self-imposed boundaries, but those society has erected, I felt emancipated as a writer. And as a woman.
Here’s the facts: writing sexy books is fun. Reading them is fun. Talking about them is fun. Reading and writing sexy books hurts no one. It’s a private affair that we enter into by choice, not because we are forced to do so but simply because we want/need/must! escape for a little while before we have to return to the reality of life. It’s one of the things I love most about writing romance. It carries me away into a world where I have complete control. I know that no matter what I throw in front of and behind my protagonists, they are going to make it. Together, because they fell in love and fought to stay in love. Happily Ever Afters are great therapy. When I read the end of a story with an HEA or walk out of a movie theater with a big smile on my face because all’s well that ends well, my endorphins are riding high. I feel good. I’m happy, and inspired.
But man, do the critics like to crucify romance. Erotic romance especially. Everyone’s a critic! I never let it get to me because frankly, if they want to call what I write smut, mommy porn or straight out trash, that’s their opinion, and while I don’t agree with it, I accept it as their opinion. It’s one reason I don’t get hurt over nasty reviews. It’s one person’s opinion. I do however get irritated when I come across a review of one of my books with inaccuracies in the review. I guess they really didn’t pay that close attention, and if that’s the case, how can one honestly review a book? But I digress.
With all of the hype about the 50 Shades series, nasty, belittling comments about the author, the books and the genre, abound. Most I would hazard a guess are coming from frustrated writers who haven’t hit it big. Or men and women who aren’t in touch with their sensuality. Poor pitiful them.
Here’s the thing about 50 Shades: One, I wish I had written it, and believe me, if I had, I would be holding my chin up so high you all could look right up my nose into my brain. I would obviously be laughing at all of those stone throwers as I drove my money laden semi to the bank, but I would also feel a twinge or maybe two of sadness for those who just don’t get it: Romance novels, sexy, erotic or chaste are about falling in love. And last time I checked, sex was part of that. Open door, closed door, no door, whatever, it’s a readers choice to pick up a book and read it for their own reasons, and no one has the right to say how a person should feel for reading something they may find objectionable.
As far as 50 Shade goes, it isn’t a perfectly written book. But for me and many many MANY readers, we connected with it on a visceral level. That it is an imperfectly written book with imperfect characters, makes it, to me anyway, more real. As a writer, I love to read imperfect books, because mine are imperfect too. It’s validation that the craft journey is an ever evolving one. I like to think the books I’m writing today are better than the ones I wrote five years ago, and the ones I write five years from now are better than what I’m writing now.
It’s all part of the process. Luckily for me and so many other romance writers, we’re thick skinned and stubborn enough not to allow a little or a lot of public criticism keep us from doing what we love doing: writing romance.
So, tell me, what is the last romance you read that had you smiling happily as you read the least page?