Tag Archives: Give Me Shelter

Blurred Lines: The Great Erotica/Erotic Romance Debate That Isn’t Quite So Anymore by Alexis D. Craig

Give Me Shelter COVEROur guest blog today is from Lachesis Publishing author Alexis D. Craig. Alexis writes sultry and spicy romantic suspense (Give Me Shelter and Imminent Danger) featuring the brave men and women in law enforcement.  She also writes super hot erotica featuring sexy cops (Undercover Seduction).

There used to be a day, in the early ’90s, when Erotic Romance was just getting off the ground as a legit enterprise. Even then, it was only really in the historical subgenre, and only in euphemism. You wanted more realistic wording and phrases? You went to erotica or porn.

There was a lot of ‘weeping centers of womanhood’ and ‘manroots’ about the place. Not a good scene at all, and one of which I was guilty back in the day when I was starting out.

152403Then I read Chances by Jackie Collins, and all bets were off. Lord have mercy, she had the hottest sex scenes, I mean, realistic, non-euphemistic sex scenes, but they weren’t about love. They were hot as hell, but the motivation was entirely different than romance novels. That, to me, cemented itself as the definition of ‘erotica’, e. g. sexus gratia sexūs, sex for the sake of sex.

The exploration of attraction, arousal, and fun, unencumbered by feelings (and, by extension, consequences), is a fun path to explore. What would you do if you didn’t have to answer for it (literally and emotionally)? The appeal of the forbidden comes in to play, too. Raised in a traditional American society, where heterosexual monogamy was the tacit expectation, it feels good to play outside the box, and take the reader with you.

Want to read about lesbians? Ménage and group scenes? BDSM? Erotica and porn, all day long. It was a playground without context. Arousing, fun, fetishizing, but really, at no point were the two ‘R’ words (relationship or romance) ever really mentioned.

UNDERCOVER SEDUCTIONIn that respect, erotica hasn’t really changed all that much over time. A lot of things that used to be considered ‘fetish’ material are now de rigueur, but still somewhat independent of relationships and romance. In my story, Rule Number Seven, (Undercover Seduction) Shiva didn’t even start off looking for a good time, but found one with Adam and Jason both, then summarily tossed them out of her hotel room. No cuddling, no heartfelt declarations, nada. Same with Jimmy, and the unnamed female narrator in Cookies, (Undercover Seduction) who he summarily ravishes in an ostensibly public place before she sends him on his way. The lack of Relationship and Romance, note both with the capital ‘R’, don’t detract from the heat of the story, and I’d argue actually increase it by layering a sense of illicitness over the narrative, but then, that’s me.

That’s not to say there’s no erotica in romance. My relationship with the genre began back in eighth grade home room where I’d sneak in the Harlequin Temptation stories I’d picked up at the grocery store during classroom reading time. (I was also reading a lot of Hemingway at the time, and my emotions needed something a bit more uplifting.) I loved the juxtaposition of the HEA endings and the hot, yet still semi-euphemistic, scenes.

th_055356160XErotic romance, as a genre, didn’t really gel for me, until 1994 and I discovered Tami Hoag’s Cry Wolf. I have since purchased numerous copies for other people and had to replace the version I fell in love with thrice. The emotional and sexual interactions between Jack and Laurel damn near burnt my fingers, and ignited a desire within me to recreate that type of heat and engagement with my reader.

I think, with the blurred lines of both language (no more ‘manroot’! yay!) and what is considered acceptable subject matter (LGBTQ* now included, no assembly required), the last stand in terms of difference between Erotica and Erotic Romance is the role of sex within the narrative framework.

Sex is the purpose in erotica, the source from which the rest of the story flows, with a focus on the physical sensations and not as much on the emotions or potential circumstantial repercussions (both good and bad) for the actions. Sex, within the context of erotic romance, is part of the overall expression of feeling and emotion between the characters. It can still be hot and blissfully free of euphemism, but make no mistake; the physical acts as well as the emotional structure in which they occur are on equal footing here, and to a certain extent, the emotions might be more important.

For example, Olivia has extensive fantasies about her and Josh and the naked things they could be doing in Dream a Little Dream, (Undercover Seduction) but hesitates to really discuss it since she has an emotional and professional attachment to him. Eli and Bex, Atticus and Violet, in Give Me Shelter all have the same type of story, their lives beyond their sexual desires dictate that acting on said desires would, most likely, yield disastrous results. Love means taking chances, risking the status quo in a game of ‘what if’, damn the torpedos and all that.

I would suggest that the two genres have merged and overlapped as much as they are going to, reaching an equilibrium between the two that allows them to still maintain their integrity as separate, but closely related, entities that still please their audiences, regardless of their evolutions.

Connect with Alexis D. Craig on her web site/blog and on facebook, twitter and goodreads.

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Q and A with sultry scribe Alexis D. Craig (romantic suspense / erotica)

Give Me Shelter COVERToday’s Q and A is with Lachesis Publishing author Alexis D. Craig. Alexis writes sultry and funny contemporary romances (Give Me Shelter and Imminent Danger) featuring the brave men and women in law enforcement.  She also writes super hot erotica featuring sexy cops (Undercover Seduction). By day Alexis is a police dispatcher so she knows her cops!

When did you first realize you wanted to become a writer and why?

It wasn’t a realization so much as something I just did. I enjoyed telling stories, always have. I didn’t really start writing them down consistently until high school. It made it easier to keep track of them. Once I cleared the space out of my head, I made room for more stories. It seemed like a good fit for me.

Describe your favourite place to write?

I actually really like my writing set up now. Super comfy chair, my laptop elevated on a TV tray, facing the muted TV (a habit I picked up in dispatch, I function better if the TV is on but I’m not listening to it), my music playing, my keyboard in my lap, and a dog or three snoring around me. It’s very peaceful.

What would I find on your desk at this very moment?

Lord, it’s a hot mess. I have my laptop, my detached DVR burner, my wireless mouse and keyboard, a red plastic cup, and a pen or two. My mp3 player, charging cords for it and my phone, a few hairbands, and my Lego cheerleader that my husband gave me to keep me going.

What is your tea/coffee beverage of choice when you’re writing?

Normally I’m drinking water with caffeinated cherry Mio in it. I tend to run on caffeine. My other choices are iced tea or diet cherry coke.

What do you love to read?

I’m a romance aficionado from way back. I picked up the bug in middle school and never looked back. I started with contemporary and though I occasionally ventured into historicals, one or two paranormals, I always circled back to contemporaries. Mostly romantic suspense, the spicier the better, if there’s sex and a stack of bodies, I’m definitely there.

What is some good advice you can give to an emerging writer?

Believe in yourself and keep trying, especially in the face of rejection. It’s not personal, regardless of how it feels in the moment. Give yourself a day to be pissed about it, maybe less, then carry on. I might even go so far as to say “plan for rejection.” If Plan A doesn’t work, you need to be able to pull the trigger on Plan B as soon as you can. It helps to know what Plan B is before you need it.

What do you do after you finish a book? Do you celebrate or take a nap?

Usually I celebrate a little bit. Usually it’s the middle of the night and I’m the only creature awake in the house, so I have to celebrate quietly and then I go to bed (I keep junkie hours when I’m working on a story). Next day I start at the beginning and commence the first round of clean up.

You’ve written a few books for Lachesis Publishing – two romantic suspenses and one erotica anthology. Tell us about them?

Screen Shot 2013-11-07 at 4.40.30 PMImminent Danger, my debut novel, came out of me being injured. I was angry and hobbled, on a cane and unhappy about it. That’s how I got the idea for the opening of the book. The story was entirely fictional and my first attempt at plotting vs pantsing. It worked out well, but I learned that a hybrid method works the best for me. I get too detail oriented sometimes, and that can unnecessarily hinder the process.

Give Me Shelter was done with a more ‘seat of your pants’ approach to plotting. It was definitely a departure from my normal MO, with three time frames and storylines woven together. I’m very proud of the way it finally came together. Eli, Bex, Violet, Zoe, and AR are definitely close to my heart.

UNDERCOVER SEDUCTIONUndercover Seduction was a collection of stories and snippets that really didn’t lend themselves to anything longer. They were quick scenes of hot encounters, including my first menage on paper. The title of Rule Number Seven came from a Christian Kane song lyric, “rule number seven says ‘don’t touch the women, but they can grab whatever they want to.'” That pretty much encompassed the whole vibe of that story.

You clearly love writing sexy stuff. Other than the obvious – what do you like about writing hot reads?

It’s something I love to read,  and when it’s done well, it definitely adds to the story overall. It’s never just sex for the sake of sex, it has to be germane to the story, because otherwise it’s just porn. I don’t write with the sex scenes in mind, I just let them run wild when they blossom within the story.
What are you working on next?

I have a set of books coming out next year, The Ex File in early February, and its companion piece, Dead and Disorderly in late May. Both are set in Indianapolis, like Imminent Danger,, and based around fictional members of IMPD.

Additionally, I have written a follow up to Give Me Shelter, called Bulletproof Princess. Its focus is a side character from GMS, U.S. Marshal Mack Jefferson. Eli refers to him as a ‘ginger git from Mesa’. He gets more than he bargained for when he’s pulled into a protection detail of country megastar Cassie Witt. She witnesses a murder and goes on the run from a highly skilled assassin, but how do you hide celebrity? That was the first of several problems as their precarious situation serves as the backdrop for their growing passions.

Connect with Alexis D. Craig on her web site and her facebook page and twitter.

Like our Lachesis Publishing page on facebook.
Follow us on twitter.

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