When you see the notice about explicit content, do you gravitate toward it, run screaming from the room, or scroll on by when surfing the web? As an author of explicit books written for adult eyes only, I’m required to warn readers about the content of my blogs and my books. This gives them the choice to stick around or bolt for the hills if they don’t wish to be offended by something they may see in my posts or books. Even with the warning, there are still people out there who will click through and then complain about the content. I don’t get it. They have made the conscious decision to enter after the warning, proceed full speed ahead and then cry foul when they read something that offends them.
The same can be said for television and movies but I want to focus on books. I’m an author who writes under five pen names and I run my own publishing house…okay, it’s a small cottage but one day we will be larger! Back to the reason for today’s post…
I’m curious. Why would a reader pick an erotica or erotic romance book to read if they already know it’s not their cup of tea? I understand the curiosity of some, and the desire to try something new for others. Those are not the readers I’m referring to here. Why choose to read a book in a genre you don’t like, detest, or find gross when you know it will offend you?
Far too often I see reviews posted for erotica and erotic romances with “No Way” as the review and a one star. Some complain the book is all sex and no plot. Others are repulsed by the explicit language. Hell, even my mother asked me why I had to describe every little detail in the love scenes. Explaining to her that’s what is EXPECTED in erotica and erotic romance was easier than explaining it to some readers who have been reading books labeled as erotic and explicit when they’re not. Yes they’re steamy, but the play by play details are not there. When the genres are misrepresented to readers by authors and publishers, it makes it very difficult for those of us who do write explicit scenes and don’t use purple prose to showcase our work.
The complaints stating the stories are unrealistic or too over the top to be believable are also an enigma for me. These tales are SUPPOSED TO BE over the top. They’re FANTASIES. Whether they’re of the sweet variety or the melt your thong, down and dirty “fuckfests”, each and every one of them are fictionalized fantasies from the mind of the author. Just because you’ve never experienced any of it yourself doesn’t mean it could never possibly happen.
Before you think something is too over the top to believe, turn on the television and watch the news or scroll through the feeds on social media where over the top is the norm. In my first novel, For the Love of Quinn (Now and Forever 1) I introduced a group of characters who are all close to each other and are there through all the good and bad times. For a few readers, this was over the top and would never happen in real life. She felt there was no way so many people would be involved in the the lives of a couple or work together to bring a couple together.
Hate to break it to that reviewer and anyone else with similar questions but Quinn’s story is my story. I lived most of what was portrayed in those pages. Yes, some of it was dramatized and names were most definitely changed to protect everyone’s privacy. Some characters were combinations of real people…they know who they are and got a kick out of the book. Jacob Hartley is a combination of three men and Steve Eischer is one of those with a name change. While the real “Steve” didn’t own all of Vegas or have more money than God, he was (and still is) very well off and enjoys giving his friends a chance to fulfill all their wildest dreams.
The villains in the story were based on two real life people as well. Iris and Jackson of course aren’t their real names but they are based on real people and their actions I witnessed first hand. I gave Jackson and his family many of the same habits and mannerisms of my ex and his family. To me, that’s what made those characters believable. I guess in this case, being true to life is too over the top for some readers. I get that. Really I do. I mean, who would want to think this sort of crazy mixed up group of people could actually be real?
I got the same sort of flack about Julia. One of my editors wanted her to be redeemed earlier on in the story. That doesn’t happen in real life, but in the world of romance you want the story to move along so redemption should take place earlier in order to get readers to root for the heroine. Obviously I didn’t agree. I wanted the readers to see Julia in all her nastiness and then see why she was the way she portrayed herself to those in her life. How many times do you see the bitch turn around and earn a happily ever after right off the bat? Usually those witches continue to get what they want no matter who they hurt in the process. In Julia’s story, she came face to face with the consequences of her actions and had to fight to find her way to her HEA. It wasn’t in the first third of her story, but over twenty years later. She is the woman we all love to hate—until she bares her shattered heart and soul.
Are my stories over the top? Damn straight. Are they too over the top to be believable? I don’t think so. If I was still stuck in an emotionally abusive and loveless marriage I might have a different outlook. I lived through all the badness and made it through to my happily ever after. I want my characters to be able to do the same.
What’s so over the top or unbelievable about that?
Go on. Read my books and decide for yourself. Let me know what you think. I’d love to hear from you!