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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Coming out of the erotica closet and 'Why Romance?': via Eve McFadden

Why Romance?: On erotic romance author, Eve McFadden's Blog

I was so pleased to read erotic-romance author, Eve McFadden's post "Why Romance?" which addressed a question that must come up over and over again for romance and erotica authors. Many of us feel the need to defend our genres, some could care less what people think, and others' are still unsure of their own reasons. I love how Eve doesn't get on the defensive, but rather turns the question back around asking, "Why not write romance?"

There will always be people, especially in our personal lives that are going to have strong opinions about what we write. The trick is to remember to be true to yourself and to your craft. It takes some time to get over the people who are "looking over your shoulder" and write for yourself, or your readers, or publisher.

Eve McFadden states perfectly how I feel about the genre and I share the same reasons for writing it. So I will not dwell on that aspect. Do check out her blog post. It's so true! While you are there, check out her stories and published works as well. She's a wonderful author!

I'm lucky in that I came out of the "romance" and "erotica" closet fairly early with the key people in my life and more recently with everyone else. My Mom has always been open-minded and is my biggest supporter. I will never forget the moment, orchestrated by my little sister, when my mom learned the truth.

I was probably 18 or 19 years old, fresh out of high school. My family had a desktop that we all shared with each other (imagine!) Our computer kept crashing and we were having other such technology issues. My little sister decided it was my fault and tried to rat me out. She said, "You should ask 'Luna.' I'm sure the X-rated websites she visits are bringing in viruses."

My sister's eyes dared me to defy her as she waited for the shock and admonishment she was sure would follow.

I jumped on top of the picnic table, drew all five-feet of myself up tall, wearing Celtic-warrior-goddess power like a badge of honor, and defended with; "I go to those sites because I write erotica. Besides, I'm of legal age." I smiled sweetly, slid off the picnic table, turned to my sister, and gave her the same defiant glare back.

My dad turned on his heel and pronounced, "The dog and I have virgin ears," and walked quickly back into the house. Which didn't surprise me one bit.

But my Mom said, "Oh really? When do I get to read some?" She proceeded to tell all of her friends about her daughter's naughty stories. I started getting e-mails from her friends asking to read them. That did surprise me. It surprised my sister even more!


I love telling that story. My Mom still shares with her friends and is proud of me. Her biggest question for me most recently, after reading ~Heart's Tempest~, was more of a mind boggled: "How can you go from writing children's books to writing "smut" for adults, just like that?"

I corrected her on the "smut" comment and replied that when I was around children 24/7 (not my own), I was full of innocent inspiration. ;)

Switching gears has not been difficult. I reminded her of when my best friend and I were 11 and 12 years old and sneaking her Harlequins from her room. We would huddle with a flashlight under the covers at sleep-overs and skim to the juicy parts, giggling like the silly tweens we were.

I also reminded her of my sheltered youth and the amount of romance and fantasy novels that I devoured, which sustained me. Books and the worlds within them kept me connected to the outside world when I was a sick and home-bound teenager.

I "corrupted" a few college friends who were uncertain about the genre. We would go into the bookstore, browse the erotica and romance sections, and find scenes, just to get used to them. One friend was even more sheltered than I was and a bit uncomfortable with all things romantical and sexual. Erotic, was a forbidden word. I helped her get over that and to embrace her feminine power. Now she writes her own naughty stories!

I've been told by several people, mostly those in my waking-life, (once they've gotten over the *ooh* *gasp* *shock* that bashful and sweet and sometimes sassy and sultry me: writes erotica) that I've found my niche within this genre. I write other genres, but ever since my separation and eventual divorce; my passionate, playful and naughty muses have returned to me. I'm loving it!

A couple of weeks ago I was telling my grandmother about ~Lavender and Love~. She shared with me about when both my great-grandmother and her best friend were going through breast cancer treatment. She told me she wanted to read my story and to please print it out for her. My mom and I exchanged looks and she came to the rescue with, "I'm not so sure you want to read it."

"Why not?" My Grandmother questioned.

"Well it's a bit risque." My Mom responded.

"It's a romance, right?" My Grandmother prompted.

"Well, yes. But it's more than romance." My Mom tried explaining.

"It's of an erotic-romance nature. I use more explicit language in it than you are used to. It's a bit more in-your-face than the romance authors you read." I cut into the conversation, trying not to blush.

"I see..." My Grandmother stated.

"But I'm flattered you want to read it. I just don't want to upset you. I could revise it and make it softer." My Mom and I both laughed. "It does have the potential to be perfectly readable to everyone if I make a few linguistic changes."

I admit it, that time I was a little bit concerned about the person looking over my shoulder, watching me write - she's my Grandmother!

The more I think about it, with this particular story especially, I think I might make that revision so that the story can be more widely shared. Two versions of the same story. In the words of Eve McFadden, I say, Why not? :)

Please feel free to share! Who have you shared with in your personal life what you write and read? What have their reactions been? Why have you felt the need to keep it from some people and not others? Do you worry about the people reading over your shoulder?

~Luna

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