What I'm reading: Motor Mouth, by Janet Evanovich
Apparently, there were some serious issues with Twitter for a couple of days at the end of last week. Since that's one networking site I have yet to join, I remained blissfully unaware and suffered no withdrawal symptoms. To date, this cartoon in yesterday's paper sums up my feelings about Twitter.
Moving on to the topic at hand: I ran into a surprising opinion about the book's classification when one on-line review site listed Romance among the genres it would accept for review, with the caveat that it didn't review erotica.
Reading further, I was astonished to find that the review site's definition of erotica was any book where explicit sex occurs on the page. Their reviewer was kind enough to look at the love scenes before accepting the book for review (saving me time and money), and based on that, declared the book erotica. Now, I'll agree that my love scene might have had some erotic elements, but does that make the book erotica?
According to definitions I've researched, "erotica" is:
"A genre of literature that includes sexually explicit details as a primary feature."
Note "primary feature." Two love scenes in a 350 page book don't exactly constitute "primary."
Typically, in an erotic romance, sex drives the relationship, where in a traditional romance, the relationship drives the sex. So, in erotica, characters will more often than not have their sexual relationship first, and the romance comes later.
Given that all my books have sex on the page, and all reviewers to this point have considered the heat level, "mildly sensual" I was a bit surprised to find out that my books would be considered erotica by anyone's standards. But it's their site, and they're certainly allowed to make the rules. And, I suppose, their own definitions.
If I had submitted any of my books to Ellora's Cave, the 500 pound gorilla in the erotica market (although they've copyrighted their own definition of "Romantica), They'd have hit the 'reject' button so fast my head would still be spinning. Heck, my mother doesn't think my love scenes are all that steamy. She recommends the books to her friends.
My issue stemmed from their site saying they review the Romance genre. Again – they have the right to define their own standards, but as I look back over the big-name, best-selling author romance books I've read over the past year, I don't think many would have qualified for a review. And they're definitely not shelved or labeled "Erotica."
To me, it's kind of like saying, "We're restaurant critics. We review French, American, Italian, Thai, Chinese, and Indian food. However, if you serve Chinese food, be aware that we do not want to review any dishes made with soy sauce."
This wasn't a case of a member of the review staff not wanting to review erotic romance, it was the board policy. Seems to me that if they're going to be that restrictive in their definition of Romance, they should simply not offer to review it at all. Or say they review "Sweet Romance."
Okay – that's my opinion, to be taken for what it's worth.
Meanwhile, I've decided to give a shot at entering one of my manuscripts in a contest. They've got a word count limit and require a synopsis be part of it. So, the longer the synopsis, the fewer words of story. Trying to balance getting the total words to include enough manuscript to hook a judge with enough synopsis to make sense will be a challenge. It's been several years since I entered this kind of a contest.
I've also submitted workshop proposals for a couple of conferences. We'll see how those pan out.
And I exceeded my weekly word count goal by Friday, which meant I could spend time with our son who was home for his high school reunion. (Although most of his time was spent doing the male-bonding thing with hubby, where they spoke photography, or hanging with his friends, or playing with his iPhone.) Still, it's nice to visit, even for short periods of time. And he's shown me more apps for the iPhone than I could ever dream of. Given that I don't have an iPhone, I didn't think they were as cool as he did.
A reminder – my August contest, where I'm giving away an ARC of WHEN DANGER CALLS, runs through the end of the month. This is an Advance Reader Copy, and by now, is one of very few in existence. Yes, you have to jump through a couple of hoops to enter (answering a two-part question), but the answer's easy to find on my website, and no purchases are required. I'll even autograph it for the winner.
Tomorrow, my guest is author Nancy J. Cohen, who will be filling this slot with excellent tips about finding inspiration.