For Romance Divas, I wrote a post about my unintended foray into erotica. Here it is!
When I began writing Broken Resolutions, the first book in my Lovestruck Librarians series, I had no idea how I’d tackle the love scenes. Would my hero and heroine seal their newfound love with a chaste kiss? Would I let them have sex but fade to black during the climactic (ha!) scene, closing the bedroom door and rejoining my satisfied couple the next morning? Would I open that door but describe their sexual congress only via tasteful euphemisms involving fireworks and waves?
Nah. Turns out, I write the same sort of books I typically read: steamy.
I often have trouble editing my sex scenes—especially first thing in the morning, when I don’t really want to deal with tumescent body parts—but while I’m in the moment, I love writing them. In detail. Using terms that cause my mother no end of consternation.
The problem: I don’t write erotica. I write contemporary romantic comedy. Hot contemporary romantic comedy, yes, but not erotic romance. The line between one and the other, though, is not always clear to me.
And as it so happens, I inadvertently edged over that line with my third Lovestruck Librarians book, Mayday.
In my own defense, I should note that the book’s explicitness made sense in the context of the story. My hero Wes serves as a small-town mayor. He’s successful and well-respected. But in the deepest, darkest recesses of his brain, he still thinks of himself as a failed former athlete and ill-paid swimming coach, a man whose greatest asset has always been his body. So when he begins to pursue the heroine—delightfully nerdy librarian Helen—that’s what he uses: his physicality. His sexual prowess. His ability to bring her pleasure.
He’s also attempting to make up for an ill-fated one-night-stand with her from a year before. One in which his performance was, um…less than stellar. So he forms his Make Up for Previous Sucky Bedtime Performance Plan. This plan features many steps, all of which involve Helen having a very good time. And I described each of those steps with great specificity and relish.
In retrospect, it’s not entirely surprising that my editor read the manuscript and asked me to prune back my sex scenes. At some point, he felt I’d crossed the line into erotic romance. And upon rereading the book, I couldn’t disagree. So I cut out one and a half love scenes and tweaked a few key details before turning the manuscript back over to him. “Much better,” he told me.
(My husband’s comment: “Glad I read the original version!”)
To keep Mayday in line with my other books, I needed to make those changes. One day, though, I want to put out an Author’s Cut of Mayday that features the excised shenanigans.
In the meantime, however, rest assured: Even though Mayday is no longer an erotic romance, it still offers plenty of bang for your buck. Pun definitely intended.