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Double Book Review

It’s not often that I read two similar books in the same week. Recently, I read The Love Detective, by Alexandra Potter and Wedding Night, by Sophie Kinsella. Both authors are British, and write almost exclusively in the ‘chick lit’ category.

A side note: I absolutely hate that classification of novels. Chick lit implies that only women will read it or enjoy it, or even that only the girliest of girls will like it. I read almost everything, from science fiction to romance to the classics. Among those novels, are many books by both these authors. These novels I’ve listed are both their most recent releases.

Wedding Night (WN) is about two sisters, Fliss and Lottie. Lottie flees a botched proposal, thinking she never really knew her boyfriend. She goes straight into the arms of a former lover and they rush into a whirlwind marriage and honeymoon in Greece. Fliss is still recovering from a terrible divorce and dealing with all the custody and property battles that come with that. She’s terribly protective of her younger sister and takes it upon herself to save Lottie from what Fliss views as the biggest mistake of her life.

In The Love Detective (TLD), Ruby, a writer with writer’s block, flies to India to meet up with her wilder, younger sister, Amy, who has been traveling the world. There, she has a wonderful time, relaxing, enjoying the food, the beach and the environment. Then Amy announces that she’s eloping with Shine, the yoga guru from the resort. Ruby, who had been on her way out of India, turns right around and tries to save her sister from what she thinks is the biggest mistake of her life.

I told you they were similar! You’d almost think these two authors conspired to write similar books at a similar time but I doubt that’s the case. I’d been anticipating both these books and was so excited to pick them up at the nearby Chapters a couple weeks ago. I tore through TLD in two days, I think, in between work and sleep. 🙂 Then I started on WN, and read it in a few more days. Both books featured loving but flaky or serious sisters. They featured adventures in exotic lands and hints of romance on all sides. That is where the similarity ends.

WN started out with a funny idea and what is probably a common thought for a lot of people. What if you hooked up with that long lost love again? Would you still have that same hot chemistry as you did in your younger days? Unfortunately, this story seemed to stall at the quickie wedding. From then on, Fliss’ attempts to keep her sister from consummating the marriage weren’t funny. They were cringe-worthy and, as someone who has spent hours laughing over Kinsella’s other novels, I had a hard time even finishing this novel. I kept reading hoping that the awkwardness and unfunny moments would come to some sort of conclusion.

The characters started out with a lot of potential. Both sisters are strong career women, dealing with all the quirks life has thrown at them.Lottie deals with life’s curve balls by making what Fliss calls her ‘unfortunate choices.’ I think Fliss needed to acknowledge her own unfortunate choices. Instead, she thinks she’s in the right every time she messes with her sister on her honeymoon. Along the way, she meets an acerbic, mysterious sort of man who may or may not be her romantic interest but either way, I found I didn’t really care. I grew tired of the antics of both sisters, serious and slightly hypocritical Fliss, and flighty and foolish Lottie. In the end, the novel wrapped up to a satisfying ending, somewhat redeeming each character. Overall though, it wasn’t my favorite of Sophie Kinsella’s novels.

TLD, on the other hand, was sweet, laugh-out-loud funny, with no awkward moments to make me cringe. Ruby was an endearing, fun character from the beginning and maybe the fact that she was a writer struggling to write that made me feel I could relate to her more. Her journey started as a normal premise. Getting away from it all to an exotic place with a beloved sister.

She started to let go and relax but how much of India did she experience in the resort in Goa? Not much, as she realizes when Amy confesses to her elopement. Ruby starts off across the country, alone, not knowing the language, very few of the customs and dangers, and somehow figures things out along the way. It doesn’t hurt that she meets Jack, a know-it-all American who keeps his reasons for traveling through India to himself.

Ruby loses her passport, suitcase and all her money and Jack becomes her knight in shining armor, after a hilarious, embarrassing rant about all the things wrong in Ruby’s life. His interest in her starts as pity, I imagine, but grows into something more. Along the way, Ruby gets closer to ‘rescuing’ her sister and ends up learning more about herself. She truly starts to experience the Indian culture and cuisine and surprises even herself with her capacity to adapt.

By the time I got to the end, I hadn’t realized how caught up I’d been in the story. Potter’s stories always feature a hint of magic, a feeling of something wondrous sweeping the characters along without seeming too unreal. Overall, this was a great, fun read with lovable characters and a romantic setting that makes me want to rescue a sister from herself. If I had one. 😉

Like I said at the start, it’s not often that I read two such similar stories at the same time.  I didn’t set out to, it just turned out that the two books I was anticipating happened to be these two. I thought it was a good opportunity to write a new review, something I haven’t done in a while, since the end of my on-line book club.

While disappointed in Kinsella’s novel, I won’t stop reading her books. I’ve been a fan of hers for a long time, including the Shopaholic novels. However, the one that I always return to, is called Can You Keep A Secret? Also, one of her more recent ones, I’ve Got Your Number was witty, clever and filled with a lot of laugh-out-loud moments.

Alexandra Potter isn’t as well known here as Kinsella, and her books are harder to find but I’ve enjoyed every single one of hers that I’ve read. They’re all stand-alone novels with a hint of romance and fantasy in each one. It would be hard to pick a favorite, and I fell in love with TLD immediately after reading it. However, I’d also recommend Be Careful What You Wish For and Who’s That Girl?

I hope whatever you’re reading today or this week is enjoyable. I’ve been reading more lately, perhaps procrastinating on working on my own novels. 🙂

Until next time, take care and happy reading.

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February News

It’s been a few weeks since I posted anything on here. Not that I have anything new to share with you, but I thought I could at least touch base.

Most of my spare time these days is spent writing. Or trying to, anyway. I’m trying to edit the fourth book in my TAITS series. I’m trying to edit “Uncovering the Ice” and get that out there and available for sale again, since a lot of people seem to be asking about it. I’m also trying to write new, never before posted or published stories. Between work and other life drama, I’m not accomplishing much of anything, unfortunately.

It’s not that I’m blocked. I am almost overwhelmed with choices and ideas and it’s almost too much to just pick one and settle on that for a while. I’ve been trying to focus more on Sean and Vanessa’s story but you all know how much I enjoy editing and revision. *sigh*

I keep thinking of that wonderful time a few years back when I had nothing else to do all day but write and write and write. It wasn’t necessarily a good time, since I was unemployed for about 7 months, but it was wonderful because I was able to fall into my ideal routine of getting up, eating breakfast, making coffee and sitting down to write. And I wrote a lot! I finished several “Ice” stories in that time, finished my first book for publication (“Agent Alpha” – which is incidentally available for sale still on Amazon Kindle. 🙂 ) and loved what I did every day.

That’s not to say I’m miserable doing what I do now but working a great job with great people just doesn’t compare with doing what I love. I’m sure there are many out there who would agree. 😉

That being said, I am still writing. I occasionally get emails asking if I’m still around and still writing and please, when can I publish/post/share something new. Believe me, I am craving the feedback more than you’re craving the reading! Rest assured, I will notify the world (and by the world, I mean my dozens of faithful readers!).

In other news, who is loving this season of hockey??? It’s been so exciting for the teams in the west. Except for my Flames, but I still love them. Bless their hearts for trying so hard, every game, and I’m always behind them! But, in spite of them being mortal enemies, I can’t not give a shout out to that Edmonton Oilers goalie, Ben Scrivens, who stopped 59 freaking shots by the San Jose Sharks. Yeah!! 59 shots on goal. Absolutely unheard of. I don’t think there’s a hockey fan alive out there who wouldn’t tip their hats at that. Way to go, Ben, and I hope you give your fans many more incredible games to remember.

All right. Nothing else going on to report. I hope you’re all having a nice weekend. If you were stuck in some of that crazy southern winter storm, I hope you recovered safely and weren’t too put out by it.

Take care and happy reading.

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Truly Original

I don’t know if this has ever come up before, but I’m a fan of the HBO show, Game of Thrones. I’m well aware that it’s based upon a series of books by George R. R. Martin and I’ve just recently started reading the first books in the series. A few people I know have already read the books and are being very good about not spoiling things for me. (Although certain people do like to threaten me with spoilers when I’m being a smartass… 😉 )

After certain shocking events in this most recent season of the show, I came to love the show even more and it spurred me into reading the books – if only so I could find out what happens next instead of waiting for the show! I love being surprised by books and shows and movies. It happens so rarely now. And I don’t mean being surprised by the grandiose shots or action sequences or the wording of a scene in a book. I mean, being genuinely surprised by a plot twist that I absolutely did not see coming.

So many movies today aren’t even original. They’re remakes or adaptations of something else. TV shows are the same. Formulaic reruns of the same thing that’s been done a dozen times before. And books. Well, books and the stories in them can only be told so many different ways. As a romance writer, I know that very well. Still, the books are enjoyable, and so are the movies and the shows, because the journey through those same old storylines are what’s different.

But every once in a while, something comes along that shocks and thrills and surprises the pants off you! Game of Thrones (or as the series of books is called, A Song of Ice and Fire) is a perfect example of that.

So how so I get through reading so many different books of the same thing? Or watching the movies and shows? Hell, how do I get through writing something that most would consider the same story with different names and places inserted? I like to think I put a different, unique spin on each story, but let’s face it. It’s still boy-meets-girl, girl-or-boy-almost-loses-the-other, boy-and-girl-make-up-and-live-happily-ever-after. Lately though, I’ve been branching out and trying different things. I’ve started a new story in another new genre for me, and I have the feeling that it could go any number of ways in the end. I know where it’s going to go, but as readers, I’m hoping you’ll have any number of suspicions about it and that in the end you might be – pleasantly – surprised!

It is difficult trying to make the same story sound fresh every time it’s written. That’s one of the things I’ve been enjoying about Game of Thrones. So far, Martin has thrown every expectation out the window. I love it! I love not knowing who’s going to make it in the end (no matter how attached I am to certain imps and bastards), or which villains might survive by their cunning and trickery, in spite of me wanting to see their heads on a spike. 🙂 Yes, I’m cutthroat. It’s wonderful reading something so unique and not knowing how it may end. I’m only on the first book, and we’ve just finished the third season of the show, and from all accounts about the series, the author is still working on it. It may never end, from some perspectives.

There are very few other series or books I’ve read that follow the same surprising patterns. I enjoy Christopher Moore’s books but even he follows the same general formula – his own unique formula, granted – but it’s different from anything else out there, that’s for sure. One other series that comes to mind is the Fallen Angels by J.R. Ward. They’re an interesting mix of romance and the supernatural and I never know how each book is going to end, never mind how she’s going to wrap up the entire series.

As a writer, I do my best to write interesting and fresh stories. Sometimes that means rehashing something for my “Ice” series and late, it means writing something way outside the box for me. I hope you’ll continue to read what I write and let me know if you read something or see something that makes you say, “Holy crap! I did NOT see that coming!”

Take care and happy reading.

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New Digs, No News

Hello!

Wow, it feels like ages since I wrote on here. I suppose it has been, considering I kept up with weekly posts until last month. I was busy with packing and moving and I seem to have mostly settled in to my new place. I’m back in the city and so much closer to work. It’s like a dream to be able to wake up and hour later and get to work in under a half hour. 🙂

I’m still missing a few minor things (like a can opener… When I went looking for that last night it kind of messed up my dinner plans. 🙂 ) but I’m all unpacked and even have pictures hanging on the walls now. My favorite part of moving is unpacking my books. I’m a freak, I know. Here’s evidence of what a gargantuan task it is.

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My three bookcases are overflowing already and I have come to the sad realization that I have to get rid of some, especially if I ever want to get a new one. Not a lot and I’ve already kind of decided which ones to cull. *sigh* I’ll manage. Hey, there’s a mark in favor of Kindles and other ereaders. At least if I have a thousand books in one device, I don’t have to worry about moving twenty boxes.

In other news, I’m sure you saw my posting a few weeks ago about my latest release, “Double Vision.” It’s the third in my TAITS series, and had been, at one time, posted on Literotica. Of all those stories that were posted on Lit, Double Vision is probably the most altered from it’s original state. Not in a bad way, in my opinion. 🙂 I hope you still enjoy it, if you’d been an original reader way back in the day.

I’m currently working on a few different things. With things in my life being so scattered for the last couple months, I’ve been barely able to focus on anything, much less writing anything worth mentioning. However, I’m sure you’d all like to know when I’m going to post or publish anything new. And the truth is… I have no idea! 😀 Rest assured, I’m working on it.

A thought occurred to me earlier this week when I was considering what to write this weekend. I write about a lot of random crap on here and I don’t know if I’m ever answering all your questions. That is, assuming you have any questions for me. So how about this, you tell me what you want to know and I’ll answer. Almost anything. 🙂 Maybe you want to know about my writing, my reading habits or what I love about living where I do. Maybe you don’t care, and that’s fine too! Anyway, if you have some burning question, post it in the comments below, or send me a message through the ‘Contact Tamara’ tab.

For now, I’m going to go back to enjoying my quiet new home and make a cup of tea. I hope you’re all having a nice weekend.

Take care and happy reading.

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Eye of the Beholder

I came across an amusing article on Slate.com not too long ago. In it, the author creates an elaborate chart detailing the increase of pretty women marrying ugly men and how handsome men were more likely to marry pretty women. Of course, as you read the article, you realize the author is poking fun at the very topic itself and they are fully aware of that.

However, it does raise a question or topic that I’ve heard or seen before before. I remember reading an article some time ago about how TV sitcoms seem to follow this formula of the hot leading lady marrying or being married to the ugly/overweight/non-typical leading man. They cited King of Queens and According to Jim as examples. I never watched those shows but I knew enough to recognize the reference. For my part, when watching those shows or others like it, I never really gave any thought to how the lead characters looked. (Unless it was Angel because, well, I’ve crushed on David Boreanaz since I was 15. :))

Now that I think about it, it’s not just sitcoms like I mentioned above. Does anyone out there watch Game of Thrones? How many beautiful women are in that show? Now, tell me if there are an equal number of handsome men. You can’t, because they’re not equal numbers. What about Doctor Who? OK, some people might find Matt Smith attractive but I think it’s more that the Doctor is a sexy character. However, everyone would probably agree that he’s not conventionally handsome. The current companion, Jenna Louise Coleman, is a cutie though, is she not? Those are just the first two shows that came to mind but I’m sure you can think of others.

Some of you are probably agreeing but thinking to yourself, well, yes, that’s because Hollywood puts a premium on beauty and good looks, a problem in an of itself. It’s not just Hollywood though. In the writing or romance/erotica world, characters are written with descriptions telling us how hot, beautiful or mind-bendingly sexy they are, men and women alike. I can’t tell you how many novels I’ve read – not even just in the romance genre – where an author goes on and on about the hero or heroine’s looks. It almost becomes a living part of the story. I get so tired of reading those parts that I skip them or my eyes glaze over until I get to the real story again.

Yes, in romance, there is the need to create chemistry and part of that is creating an attractiveness between the two lead characters, but you can do that without repeating the color of eyes, the bulginess of pectorals or the length of sexy legs or whatever else you consider hot. I like to think I manage to strike a good balance in my books and stories. I may describe the characters a certain way in the beginning, and even then, I try to keep it on the vague side, leaving it up to the reader to ‘fill in the blanks’, so to speak, however they may want to. I know I’ve mentioned that before, and in my own writing it works for me. I don’t know if my readers wish I had put more descriptors in with regards to my characters, but it has never been a complaint before so I can only assume I do all right with regards to that. All I know is I hate seeing it overdone in so many of today’s popular writing so I try to avoid it in my own.

The sexy/good-looks factor in Hollywood and the publishing world becomes a bigger problem when the world at large starts to think they’re only considered handsome or pretty when they look like the stars on these shows or have features like what’s described in the latest hottest read. Maybe to the world at large, you wouldn’t be considered good-looking. But who. The. Hell. Cares.

I’m so tired of hearing that phrase or some variation of it, of rating people based on their looks. Sure, you can say someone’s good-looking because maybe they are, but when does that make them a good actor or actress? Or a good doctor, contractor or friend? Or a good choice for a life mate?

Wait a second. Did I just say that? Oh, yes. Yes, I did.

I’m sure I’ve touched on this topic before but this article just reminded me again how people view each other in terms of looks, so often. Not just when dating, though it’s a bigger problem then.

I’ve had relationships end in my past, not because it had anything to do with looks – although maybe it did, because I’m not pretty enough but who knows? – and then I’ve listened to comments from friends, thinking they’re being supportive. Comments like, “Oh, you can do so much better than him.” Or, “He wasn’t all that good-looking anyway. You can find someone way hotter.” Or this: “I never found him all that attractive.” Well, as he was my significant other, I think I’m glad you didn’t find him attractive. Would you be comfortable with it if I was constantly mentioning how hot I think your husband/boyfriend is? That is, instead of what a good guy he is, or how nice and friendly? Interesting. For my part, I don’t meet a friend’s significant other and immediately think, oh wow, he/she bagged a really hottie! No. I do the craziest thing and talk to them, get to know them and say, wow, what a great person my friend managed to hook up with.

Perhaps I sound a little ranty in today’s post, but it’s something I feel strongly about.

Maybe it’s because I’m not pretty or beautiful by conventional standards. I’ve never been a head-turner and that’s fine. I’ve also never put much stock in that and I mean it when I say I don’t care what other people think I look like. Sure, I dress nicely, but I’m not terribly fashionable. I’ve struggled with my weight off and on for years but I’m comfortable where I’m at now, even while acknowledging I could still go down another ten or fifteen pounds. I get my hair cut by a pro but I don’t put any make-up on every day. I seriously have to buy new mascara or other assorted cosmetics every time a special event comes up because I haven’t used my current goods since the last special event. 🙂

Somehow, with all these foibles, I still managed to snag a man who calls me gorgeous, tells me daily how beautiful I am, how he falls asleep thinking of my big, green eyes, and how he only needs to think of me naked to… well, put himself in an awkward situation if he’s out in public and thinking of me naked and let’s leave it at that 😉 I’m nothing special to the world at large and we both freely acknowledge to each other that we’re not models or movie star beautiful. However, we also tell each other every day that we wouldn’t want to be with anyone else and that to each other, we are the most handsome/beautiful people in our lives. That’s all that really matters anyway.

There’s so much more to a person, and to a couple, than what’s on the surface. How many times have you heard of friends or acquaintances breaking up and you think, but they looked so perfect together? Well, good-looks don’t mean you’re nice, or smart, or trustworthy, or good at relationships, all thing that make a good significant other, in my opinion. In the end, beauty is all about perception. The old adage is true, in so many ways: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Take care and happy reading.

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Book Club Recap – “Shattered”

This past week, my book club gathered to discuss “Shattered”, by Karen Robards. It’s a contemporary romance, filled with murder and intrigue. Lisa Grant is a lawyer returned to her childhood home to care for her ailing mother when she stumbles across a decades old mystery that may involve her family. Along the way, she’s helped – distracted? – by her boss, and former acquaintance, Scott Buchanan.

I’d mentioned before that I’ve read a few of Karen Robards’ contemporary romances – she also writes historical romance. This one was new for me though, and apparently new to those who were able to make it to this month’s gathering. I believe it was enjoyed for the most part, and I was not alone in being the only one who doesn’t generally read the romantic suspense/crime drama genre. 🙂

Here are a few thoughts and observations from our discussion this past Sunday. I’ll try to keep it spoiler free for those of you who may not have read the story yet, and still intend to.

I liked the flow of the story…and it always amazes me when authors can create all these loose ends and then tie them all together…the clues that are left all along the journey.”

This comment was made after I’d remarked that I’m a bit slow when it comes to figuring out the whodunnits in a story such as this. I may write it, but if a mystery isn’t spelled out for me by the end, I’d likely never figure it out. And I wasn’t alone in that!

I am so dim too follow clues with thriller/suspense books and films too. I drive my poor hubby crazy asking what is happening in the film.”

As mentioned above, this wasn’t the usually selected genre for the readers involved this go ’round. However, this story was easy enough to get into, even if it’s not something one is used to reading.

It wasn’t my genre but I like how it led you in and was very winding.”

It does start off slow, not jumping right into a twisty, complex murder plot right away. It sort of crept up on you and before you know it, you’re right in the thick of it.

While it was technically a good story, with an engaging plot, there was some difficulty in relating to the main characters at first. It seemed a bit forced or contrived at first, that Lisa returned home and all but had to beg for a job from Scott, who apparently held a grudge against her from their youth. Scott’s anger and bitterness over the past was also tough to understand. Sure, we’ve all been hurt by someone in the past but to continue nursing such a grudge seems extreme.

“I didn’t get [Scott’s] character. I think she was trying to do alpha male crossed with chip in shoulder. Instead he came across as a dink.”

Definitely. As mentioned above, it was hard to get behind the character at first. On the other hand, it did set the two leads up for some nice romantic – lusty? – tension in the near future. And that is half the fun, isn’t it? It’s a romance first, mystery second, after all.

“All her male characters were quite flawed actually. It was a good read though, the story was very strong.”

Also true. You find out more about each character as you get further into the story and it makes it that much more enjoyable, to realize how human each individual is. Makes them more relatable in the end. In Scott’s case, his father is another of those flawed males and once you read about that history, it makes you understand a bit more of his motivation now.

“As to Scott and the sexual frustration thing… His dad did a number on him and his mom not being around did as well. Kids of alcoholics are like military kids in that they grow up very fast and loose their innocence almost before they can walk.”

Very good insight on Scott’s character there.

“Don’t mind flawed male characters, he was sexy after all.”

And now we get to the heart of it. 😉 He was sexy, once you got past the first few chapters. All that pent-up and latent frustration needs an outlet at one point or another and reading some of the ensuing interactions between Lisa and Scott was very entertaining. Particularly one scene in an elevator. Oh yes. Something about those enclosed spaces, huh?

“Confined spaces make sexual tension sizzzzzle!”

“I like being pushed against a wall…LOL…very hot….leads to some really steamy kisses.”

Interesting input. 😉 I promised to consider enclosed spaces when writing my next Ice romance.

Of course, like any good book club, discussion of the actual book morphed into discussions of other books and authors we might have an interest in. One reader mentioned Elizabeth Lowell as a preferred writer of the romantic suspense genre. I seconded that, though I’d only read a couple of hers. I’m not a crime/mystery reader after all. 🙂 For romance and action, there was Christine Feehan and her Carpathian series, or Stephanie Laurens and her Cynster series. I’ve not read any of those two writers but when looking for something new, I’ll definitely be considering them.

From there, the discussion changed to preferred writers of the supernatural, and numerous young adult authors – one of the book cub readers has a ten year-old voracious reader who enjoys vampires, and werewolves and magic, oh my! 🙂 (Off topic, there were a lot of good writers and series in those genres mentioned, but as they have little to do with today’s topic, I’ve left them off today’s post. However, if you’re looking for something new in the supernatural romance genre, or interested in any number of young adult or age appropriate options, please send me a message through the ‘Contact Tamara’ tab at the top. I can send you the list. Some really good ones, let me tell you. ;))

In conclusion, while not ground-breaking or earth-shattering, was a very enjoyable read. It had some interesting characters that were human and believable, and a mystery that was wrapped up nicely in the end, with a fun twist on the ending that made me smile. Also, who doesn’t love all that sexual tension? There was some nice closure to that, believe me. 😉 And I’m not just talking about the elevator scene, though that was some heart-pounding fun before the real, er… climax. 😉

I haven’t sorted out when the next book club gathering will be, or what the next book selection will be. I’ll keep everyone informed here, and via email. If you’re interested in joining, there’s always room for more. Please send me a message via the ‘Book Club’ tab at the top of my page here, and I can add you to the email distribution list.

In other news, I’ve been making some progress on my next TAITS novel for release, though I’m stumped a bit on creating a cover page. I’m also hoping to release another old favorite on Kindle and Smashwords in the near future, once I’ve revised it to something closer to my original Lit offering. 🙂 And I’ve been spending quite a bit of time on brand new works. Some to be released on Lit, and others for publication only. I have no timelines to share at the moment but, as always, I will keep you informed.

Thank you again to those who were able to make it last week to book club. I had a great time, naturally. To everyone else, I hope you’ve been having a lovely weekend.

Take care and happy reading.

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Discussing Erotica

There’s been a recent influx of erotica novels and stories to the mainstream in recent years. You could say the rise to infamy of a certain trilogy of novels has played a large part in this newfound popularity. Whether or not that’s a good thing, or that the certain trilogy of novels is a good barometer of what’s good quality out there, is in question. However, you can’t deny the way the new demand has opened up opportunities all over for writers of the genre.

It has also raised a lot of discussion about what’s right or wrong for erotica, about whether it’s just straight pornography, and whether or not it’s a good thing that so much content is considered a good thing. I also wonder how publishers or book sellers – I’m not sure who makes the decision – classify some novels as erotica and others as mainstream romance.

I’ve been reading romance for a long time. I was also reading some erotica before it became popular in recent years. I still couldn’t tell you what the main differences are. Maybe romance is more story-driven and less sensual but that’s not entirely accurate. I don’t think I could consider that certain trilogy of novels as erotica. As I said, I’ve been reading romance and erotica for a long time and that set of books isn’t more erotic than a lot of mainstream romance that I’ve read.

Like I mentioned above, there does seem to be a lot of debate over whether these kinds of novels are considered just straight-up pornography. Uh, no. They’re not porn. Porn is all sex, no story to speak of, no character development, nothing but graphic depictions of sex in all it’s forms. Yes, I realize this is my opinion only and I’m sure there are more than a few people who would consider what I write to be porn. (It’s not!!)

I think some of the appeal for people reading and enjoying those three novels, as well as any of the other offerings out there currently, is that they don’t know or recognize all the different levels of eroticism or romance. To them, this is the height of titillation and they think they’re reading something that’s the first of it’s kind. It’s not. However, it is the first of it’s kind for those people reading.

I do find it interesting that people who might not read a lot, are reading these stories all of a sudden. I had lunch with a friend of mine this week and she’s never been a big reader. I’ve known her for ten years and don’t ever recall her talking about books with me but this week, she said she’d read that trilogy of novels.

So because all these people are reading these novels, and the myriad of books like them, they’re also discovering that it’s OK to explore their sensuality. I had a friend tell me that, while she’s not into the whole domination/submission phenomenon, she’s so happy that since reading these books, she’s been able to open up to her husband of almost eleven years. Not that she never shared with him before but she did tell me that reading those stories let her know that it was OK to say that she wanted something outside the norm with him. Since then, it’s opened up a whole new world for them. That’s a good thing. On the flip side, it’s a little worrying that people are trying things they read in these novels, assuming that the author was the authority on sub-dom situations. Before exploring certain aspects of the sex life, do your research!!

Moving on, while I’ve already admitted before that I didn’t enjoy that particular book myself, I’m enjoying the conversations and debates that it has brought up. I love the fact that more attention is being given to the entire romance genre – whether you view it as erotica or not – and I love how it’s opening up the market for so many talented authors who otherwise might have been dismissed because of the content of their novels. I have yet to be ‘discovered’ but then again, my writing isn’t as graphic or overtly sensual as a lot of the books that are considered hot right now. That’s OK. I like what I write and I am going to keep writing what I like. That’s just how I roll.

As always, take care and happy reading.

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