Can It Get Any Hotter?
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.
10 Responses
  1. Anonymous Says:

    Hi Mia,
    I totally agree with you. There's room for everyone. People have a right to their choices be it inspirational, sweet romances, or steamy hot eroticas.


  2. Wendi Says:

    Well said, Mia! I read and write a variety of heat levels, and I'm thankful every day for having those options. I was so thrilled to see the well-stated letters printed in April's RWR after the disappointment of reading the ero-phobic (is that a word?) letters that had been printed previously. I respect the rights of everyone to read the genres of their choosing, and I have even more respect for those who respect all of our rights to read and write what we choose.

    Wendi Darlin

  3. Nicole North Says:

    Excellent post, Mia! And I agree completely. Read and let read. :-) In other words those ero-phobes (thanks for the neat term, Wendi) should read what they like and let the rest of us read what we like. Just because erotica is out there to buy, doesn't mean she has to buy it if it isn't to her liking. Just ignore it the way I ignore all those books that don't appeal to me. :-)

  4. Alice Gaines Says:

    As one of the very first erotic romance writers and one of the people who replied to that letter, let me say a couple of things. (wicked grin)

    My initial reaction to that lady's letter was sympathy. There really aren't a lot of sweet romances available any longer. Traditional Regencies have given way to hot historical Regencies. Silhouette Romance has closed. If you don't want a dose of faith with your sweet romance, your choices are quite limited.

    Imagine my surprise to read in the next paragraph that I write pornography. (As my husband used to say, "How can I be a pornographer? I don't even own a pornograph.")

    Talk about some ham-handed irony! She laments the fact that she can't find the romances she wants to read and, in the next, breath declares that people who like it hot shouldn't be allowed to read what they like.

    If you want my opinion, it's the prudes in this culture who are loading us all in the handbasket to hell, not people who enjoy a healthy sexuality.

  5. Bemoaning - OMG, Mia! LOL! Nice one! I write both erotic and straight historical. My love scenes range from super steamy to melt-down. (Hehe!)

    And ero-phobe! PERFECT! That word is going to buzz around the industry like a bee in spring, Wendi!

    Don't these ero-phobes know that they should be complaining to the publishing houses, not the writers?

    "Some like it hot, some like it HOT." -Robert Palmer

    Great Blog, Mia!

  6. ShawnaMoore Says:

    Hi, Mia!

    Great post. I completely agree with your comments. It's all about the plot and characters and what they dictate. Bravo!

    Have a great week!

    From a woman who enjoys writing the gamut from sweet romance to erotica,


  7. Leigh Court Says:

    Amen, Mia! Well said.


  8. Mia Varano Says:

    Thanks for commenting, Sandy.

    Ero-phobic - LOL Wendi.

    Right, Nicole. And it doesn't mean those of us who like to read/write hot don't like tame too. The best historical I judged in the Rita was very tame - it was also a great story with great characters.

    Alice, you are the Queen. Your letter to RWR was great. (What do you mean you don't have a pornograph? Mine's right next to my vibrator!)

    Genella, the publishing houses would shrug and say that they publish what sells. Look at how many houses have jumped on the sex-train - duh, must be because they can make money.

    Shawna, I like writing all levels too.

    Thanks for dropping by, Leigh!

  9. Cynthia Eden Says:

    Fabulous post! I definitely think that there is room for everyone in the romance genre. If there is room for pirates and vampires and Navy Seals...well, there is sure as heck room for different levels of heat.

  10. Mia, that is one HOT cover! Love it!

    Totally agree with your comments. Awesome post!

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