Monday, March 31, 2014

Fifty Shades and Beyond

Long before EL James, exploded on the publishing scene with her debut novel, Fifty Shades of Grey also known in some circles as mommy porn, many authors came before her and penned their own brand of erotic romance.

As a teenager, I can still recall sneaking into my sister's room to peek at her very worn and tattered copy of The Harrod Experiment. It didn't matter that some pages were ripped, or missing. This was hardcore sex like I'd never read it before.

Sex in the 70's
The truth is sex sells 

Think back to those impressionable teenage years when all of us were curious about our own sexuality. What were you reading? A steamy Jacki Collins novel perhaps? Or maybe a deliciously wicked Sidney Sheldon paperback? And who didn't have a copy of, The Happy Hooker under their bed? I know I did, and read every titillating word.

But there's more to the story

There are so many wonderful sensual, authors on the market today who write what could be considered erotic romance. These are stories ripe with passion, wit, love, emotional turmoil, and hot sex as an added bonus. 
Here's a list of some of my favorites:
Sylvia Day, Anya Bast, Kresley Cole, Emma Chase, Alice Clayton, Christina Lauren, and Maya Banks. 

When people ask me what my book is about I give them my tagline,  In a  desperate attempt to catch a killer, an MBI officer hires a notorious felon to come work for the agency. In the midst of the investigation, they succumb to the dark edges of desire, placing both their lives in danger. The next question that typically follows is usually,"Wow it sounds steamy like Fifty Shades of Grey?"
To which I reply, "Not exactly. (grin there's no pseudo S& M stuff  in it ) But I do like steamy! Do you?"  

What was once coined as The Bodice Ripper Novel is a thing of the past. The romance genre has evolved over the years to include the exploration of relationship's across boundaries and between same sex partners, Now the book shelves and the e-readers are full of stories about M/F/MM/ F/F or even multiple partner relationships and believe me, the list goes on.

The Proof is in the Numbers

Within the ever changing and flourishing publishing world, romance still captivates the market with over fifty-five percent of sales in this popular genre. So I encourage you to jump right in and test the water. The choices are endless, from sweet to scintillating, and everything in between. Whether you're into Amish love stories, steamy westerns, or hardcore erotic romance, there's a book, and an author for you.

A word of advice, don't be too quick to judge a book by its cover. Erotic romance for example, isn't porn. It's also not a story just about about sex that focuses only on whips and chains, handcuffs, or the random fetish to the exclusion of the story itself. These are tales about love and commitment, overcoming inner demons, and self-acceptance. Characters must learn to grow and change and take a chance at love and work toward that happily ever after, not to mention get tortured along the way. It's one hell of a ride I encourage you to take!

Who Doesn't Want To Fall in Love 

My dream is to make my readers experience that heady sensation of falling in love when they sit down to read one of my books. Many years back, I read an article about a research study conducted on the brain by a Harvard scientist. Apparently, the emotional center of the brain can only sustain the falling in love feeling for up to three years, max. After that, those intense feelings grow and change into something deeper, less flighty, and the brain stops releasing large amounts of dopamine in the process. In some cases, people end up engaging in flirting, internet relationships, and extramarital affairs, simply because they're addicted to the dopamine release.

Can you become Addicted to the Euphoria ?

Like the song, some people can indeed become addicted to love. So here's a cure to prevent less divorce,( I wish it were that easy) pick up a romance novel and fall in love. Who knows, maybe you can even practice and experiment with what you read about on your partner. Trust me, there's nothing that compares to that feeling of bliss, even for a little while. 
Okay, I know, romance isn't only about hearts and flowers. There's so much more to this vast subject matter. 

Another Side of the Coin

Back in October, I attended The Poplar Romance Authors Symposium at Princeton University.

I was intrigued to hear so many perspectives on the origins of the romance genre from academics, to NY Times best selling authors, as well as a sociologist's unique perspective. As a society, we've come so far in overcoming negative perceptions about self sufficiency and the equity between the sexes. So let's continue to evolve and grow. So why not pass the word, romance is alive and well.

Here's to falling in love!

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