There were several Letters to the Editor in the April RWR commenting upon previous letters bemoaning (should I use that word in this context?) the proliferation of eroticism in the realms of Romance fiction. While I've certainly noticed that everything is HOT, HOTTER, HOTTEST, I don't mind the trend (evidenced by my cover to the right!). There's obviously a demand for erotic romance, and a big demand for it in e-books, where women can download their fantasies in the privacy of their own homes instead of having the bookstore clerk yell across the store, "Hey, Joe, are there any more copies of Sucking Hot Hunks of Hard Candy?"
Erotic romances take the heat to the next level and beyond, but at the heart of every erotic romance is the story of a couple who must overcome their internal barriers to find love and happiness (great Al Green song, by the way) and ever after. And that calls for character development.
When writing erotic romance, I don't sketch my characters any differently than I do for my Intrigues. They still need an inciting incident, a short- and long-range goal, a character flaw, a relationship barrier, a black moment, a realization. They need families and histories and neuroses, and every other thing that gives a character depth and life. They just have more sex.
Which brings me to plot and setting. In erotic romance, I do try to set the story in an environment or plop the characters down in situations that are going to naturally lead to some sensual encounters. And that's half the fun of writing hot - putting my characters in positions where they just can't resist that sexual magnetism.
And the best part of all? Women have a large variety of heat levels from which to choose. There are still sweet romances out there, ones that have love scenes that stop at the bedroom door, ones with delicious, maddening temptations without the culminations, ones where the characters can smolder with a look or a wink.
Let's celebrate it all and make room for everyone under the big, pink Romance tent.