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The Evernight Readers’ Choice Awards are on, and I just found out today that not only is Hidden up for Best Suspense, I’m up for FAVORITE AUTHOR! I was hoping just to get nominated for anything at all, but this is amazing! I’m blown away and super grateful to be included amongst such great talents.

So of course, I’m here to pander for votes. 😉

Voting is simple and easy:

  • You can vote for as many or few categories as you like–nothing is mandatory (but each category gives you links to explore the books up for nomination).
  • Just give a name/email address at the end of voting, this also qualifies you to win a $25 gift certificate.
  • Favorite Author is category 2, Best Suspense is category 20–if you wanna vote for me!

That’s it, simple!

VOTE HERE

Thank you very much!!!

 

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In the spirit of me trying to jump back into producing blog posts about writing, today I’m going to tackle a subject that one of my readers prompted me with last week. SE White asked in a comment:

I had an interviewer ask me how I decide the amount of sex that goes in a book and that really got my imagination going. How much is too much? Which part is plot? Are we still considered housewife porn or is romance a legit genre now? Does the amount of sexy time change based on the genre you’re writing?

This is a really good series of questions! The answer depends on a lot of things: what you like to write, your publisher, your target audience, and even what’s selling right now.

Everyone knows there’s a lot of stereotypes surrounding romance novels, even though most of them are incredibly outdated. The idea of every romance novel being vacuous smut, the old school purple prose-laced “bodice ripper,” and the idea that it’s not real writing but simply “porn for women.” Unfortunately, the biggest example the non-romance reading public has to look at is the Fifty Shades series, which isn’t actually romance but erotica (leaning toward erotic romance, but I’ll get to the differences in a moment) so it reinforces the stereotype. There are different levels, and types, of romance. Romance is also a lot more diverse, inclusive, and socially aware these days than the naysayers give it credit for.

Not every romance novel is jam-packed with hot sex. There even exists a genre called Sweet or Clean romance, which includes nothing more racy than kissing. There is Christian and even Amish romance, which of course don’t focus on sex. There are romances that imply sex but it happens off the page and isn’t described. It goes all the way up to erotica, which is the wall-to-wall smut that the layperson thinks of all romance novels as being. Most publishers use a “heat level” system which lets readers know just how much sex is–or isn’t–contained in a book.

Here are some different kinds of romance:

  • Sweet or Clean romance. As I said above, these books contain no sex and not even the implication of it. They are simply love stories and focus on the building of a relationship. They’re usually pretty wholesome. And have quite a big audience! Which contradicts the idea that “all romance is smut.”
  • Closed Door/Fade to Black. These are romance novels where sex is implied, but never shown. The characters might start getting hot and heavy but the sex happens off the page. I wouldn’t classify these as “clean” romances though, because there is some sexual focus.
  • General Romance. This is a broad, broad category. It’s the one I tend to write the most in. Sex happens–and is even described–but it’s not a big ol’ raunch fest start to finish. And there’s a lot of space here for just how much sex is in there and how well detailed it is. Think of how you watch a movie and there’s a sex scene or two in it–that’s where this category falls.
  • Erotic Romance. I write some in this category too. This is general romance, but there’s more sex, and it’s more focused upon and detailed. The love story is still paramount but we really get more into these character’s sex lives.
  • Erotica. This is what your average sneering, dismissive critic of romance will think all romance is. This is the smutty, porny, high focus on sex story. However, erotica isn’t just “porn.” You’re not going to get far as an erotica writer if you just write porn. There also has to be a story, and you have to make the reader interested in reading about all the hot sex these two (or more) random people are having. Why should I care? Why should I find it hot? This is a broad category too, which branches out into all sorts of things like BDSM, fetishes, and kink.

So, circling back to the question: how much sex do I put into a book? It depends on the book, and what layer of romance I’m writing. As you can see, there’s a lot of gray area. I’ve never written Sweet Romance, and I’ve only dabbled in Erotica in anthologies. Most of my work falls into that broad swath in between. The best answer I can give is: I let the story dictate it. I don’t sacrifice plot and story to wedge sex in, and similarly, if the characters wanna do it, I let them do it. Then I let the publisher go ahead and decide the heat level.

As for the question “is it a legit genre?” Well, I’ll just let the numbers do the talking.

Thanks for reading my ramble! If you have any writerly subjects you’d like to see my take on in the future, just leave me a comment!

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As you might remember, I will be a guest author at the first ever East Coast Author’s Convention held October 4-6 2019. I’m really excited about it! If you’re going, or thinking you might like to attend a fun romance convention, tickets are on sale now. There’s lots of events to attend, some of which are free (but require a ticket to save your spot). I’ll be signing at the book fair in Evernight’s boardroom! Evernight will be hosting several other events that I’ll be a part of as well. You can check the schedule for more info.

Additionally, there’s a giveaway! You can win 4 free tickets to the book fair held on Saturday, October 5th. Just scroll down here for the Rafflecopter widget!

And last but not least, a reader’s choice awards is underway for the convention. Even if you’re not attending, you can vote. I’m up for three categories: Best Side Character (Luci Rossi from Boyfriend Material), Best Dark Romance (for Star-Crossed), and Author of the Year. Just an FYI *hinthint* 😉

Anyone planning on coming or think you might like to attend? It’s going to be a fun time for romance readers and authors alike!

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Dang, I’ve been a terrible blogger, haven’t I? I even missed IWSG for the first time ever this month! Life has been getting in the way of blogging–and writing–and I have so many lovely readers following me that I feel bad about it. I’m glad you’ve stuck around I’m sorry for the lack of content lately. My New Year’s resolution is in part to get back to regular writing and blogging, so I’m starting this week in the hopes that by the time January rolls around I’ll be able to keep the resolution because I’ll already be in practice. Flawless logic, am I right? Start early, keep at it.

I’m going back to updating this blog twice a week, starting this week. It’s going to be a mish-mash of writing articles and stuff about my own life, so buckle your seatbelts. If there’s anything in particular you’d like to see me ramble about, just drop a suggestion in the comments.

Also, Hidden is the cover of The Romance Reviews’ December ezine! You can download it for free by clicking on it there at the link. There’s an article inside with more about the book starting on page 18. How exciting, huh? I’m still doing something!

To finish, here’s a picture of my Christmas tree! If you celebrate Christmas, do you have yours up yet?

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This post is part of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group blog hop. The first Wednesday of every month is Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. The awesome co-hosts for the November 7 posting of the IWSG are Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor, Ann V. Friend, JQ Rose, and Elizabeth Seckman!

November is here! I can’t believe this year is almost over and the holidays are just around the corner. My son’s birthday is also at the end of November so it’s always a jam-packed couple of months for me. The leaves are finally changing in full force here and it FEELS like fall at last. I love fall!

Hmm, what am I insecure about this month?

Not so much insecure as nervous, really–I just sank a lot of promotional and advertising money into my latest release. Mostly, because this is the first time in my official writing career (I realize it’s not even been 4 years since the release of my first book and that boggles my mind–it seems like longer!) that I’ve been in a financial position to do so. I’m not sure what will happen. Maybe it won’t matter a lick and it’ll be wasted money, and I’ll have learned a lesson. I don’t expect to be catapulted into bestseller status or anything, but I’d like to see some return. I guess we’ll see how it turns out!

Plus, I’m terrible at self-promotion and it suits me to pay someone else to do it. Not to mention the people I’m paying have access to promotional avenues that I don’t. At least, at the end of the day, I can feel like I spent my money on something useful instead of buying something frivolous with it. 😀 Right? Right?!

November 7 question – How has your creativity in life evolved since you began writing?

I’ve always been a writer, since I was a teenager, so I don’t think my creativity in other areas has changed much. It’s always been part of who I am. I think (or hope) I’m a much BETTER writer now and I understand the process a lot more, and that tends to affect how I look at writing. I’m not creatively talented otherwise. I can’t draw, or paint, or play an instrument, or sing, or act. I’m kind of a creative one trick pony. But I think I’ve gotten much better over the years at coming up with stories and figuring out how to implement them.
How are you doing this month? Anything new in the works?