Friday, October 26, 2018

What Happened to Romance?


Erotic romance.

So what happened to the romance markets?

Romantic fiction is inundated with sex. The world of romance publishing has changed drastically the last couple of decades. Erotica has come out of the underground and is now a popular genre. When I first started out writing for national men’s magazines, I made good money and paid many a bill with my income writing 2500-word short stories.

Fast forward to 2018. Everyone is writing his or her fictional masterpiece and, if not earning e-book contracts, writers are utilizing self-publishing. As this has occurred the last ten to twelve years, I’ve watched a lucrative magazine income dry up and blow away like a popcorn fart. Other writers now complain of very small royalties. Let’s face it, sex is everywhere nowadays. For the most part we’ve all become desensitized to it from TV ads to magazine ads and all over cyberspace, so most people don’t even blink an eye at it, and if it does offend him or her, they look the other way. In my opinion—and I could be wrong—only established names who have been in publishing many years can make a living or semi-living writing for these markets. 

I also used to write for erotic romance publishers. When I saw what was coming for erotic content, I started backing out of the market because A) I have never liked writing erotic content (again, it paid the bills), and B) my material is character and plot driven, so writing sex scenes struck me as unnecessary for a fictional romantic relationship unless it could somehow propel the characters or the plot. And since I’m being honest, I’ll let you in on a little secret.

I don’t even read erotic romance and haven’t for years.

{A collective gasp echoes across cyberspace}

Why, you ask? It’s simple. As an editor for nearly two decades, I’ve seen every form of plot rehashed so many times the genre holds nothing new for me anymore.

Hang on, you say. I’m writing the Luna Moonstone Stories. Aren’t those highly erotic?

Yes. Very.

Oh, I see. You want me to elaborate. All right.

I wanted to take an extremely sexual woman ruled by her genetic makeup and give her virtually no control over her fleshly desires (and no I do not mean she’s a nymphomaniac. Quite the contrary!) I also wanted to create a female character who is the gorgeous bombshell often portrayed in romance books and give her a reason to have that perfect body and incredible face through the exchange of DNA from a mystical race of beings. I wanted to see if my protagonist could discover how to overcome what her DNA dictates. Luna is half Lustonian, a race of people who find potential sex partners among other races throughout the galaxies. As a result, children are spawned, and these children grow into adults who develop intense sexual desires and little, if any, emotions. Luna is half human and half Lustonian, a person who is always at odds with herself, a carnal creature who struggles to have normal friendships let alone anything romantic. In the Luna Moonstone Stories, she solves cases for Universal Alliances, but in doing so she also learns more and more about herself and her heritage. This launches her on a journey of self-discovery that might allow Luna to control her carnal desires, and maybe, if she’s strong and overcomes the odds, she can develop honest, sincere relationships with others whether friend or romantic. If it is truly possible for her to achieve this, then the question is--how?

But that’s not all. I’m a feminist. I write women’s fiction, I believe in women’s rights, and absolutely detest the derogatory bullshit I see to this day  in 2018 regarding women and sex. Things like the oldie but goodie “it’s okay for a man to sleep around, but if a woman has more than one sexual partner, even if it has been over many years, she’s a slut”. To combat this idea, my female characters are—and I can’t stress this enough—strong diverse women to show that we are incredible people with many beautiful facets.

Luna aside, let’s take the villainess in the Luna Moonstone Stories. Her name is Bertha Bendlight AKA Bodacious Bertha. She’s a curvy woman, an entrepreneur who has worked for her wealth (although not always through honest means), and although she hates Luna, she’s learning to respect her.

There is also Petunia “Pet” who is tiny, delicate, and surprisingly vicious, as well as deadly, when the need arises.

As I write book 2, I’ve developed a new villainess to war with Bertha. Her name is Aurora Astrony. She’s Nubian, from the Sumerian and Lower Egypt area, and she tries to lord over Bertha, but Bertha must keep Aurora at bay. If Aurora has her way, Bertha may find herself locked away forever.

And yes, there are strong male characters in these stories, but the focal point is strong women who can kick ass, whether sexually, financially, through intelligence, and yes, even physically.

Curious? I hope so. Find out about Luna in book one Heaven Has Curves at THIS LINK where you can get either the e-book or paperback versions. Keep some ice or a fire extinguisher nearby as you read it, then wait patiently for book 2, Devil in the Flesh, to hit Amazon in late December 2018 early 2019. Now isn’t that cover the prettiest damn cover you’ve ever seen? Not only is Luna battling a new alien race, her body has decided it needs a makeover, but you’ll have to read book 2 to find out why and how this happens (laughs evilly). 

While I have you here, I hope you'll consider signing up for my newsletter. Also, you can find me on Twitter with the handle @FLBicknell and here www.facebook.com/AnaLeeKennedyFLBicknell. Have questions about my work? About me as an author? Post them in the comments and I will get back to you. Happy Halloween and upcoming Thanksgiving to all who celebrate those holidays! 

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2 comments:

  1. This genre is definitely getting saucier Ana Lee. I see this from some romance authors I follow.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Ryan! Thanks for reading and commenting!

    ReplyDelete