The Trouble With Erotica

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When it comes to erotica, I am a bad date. Don’t get me wrong; I love reading it, and I admit I read quite a lot of it. I enjoy immensely the foreplay, the tension, the mental manipulation between the moment when the lucky (or unlucky) couple meets and when they finally come together. But I will also admit, as soon as they put out, I usually lose interest. I rarely call in the morning. It’s not you; it’s me. Or sometimes it’s you. Unless your couple seriously ups the ante on future hook-ups, with erotica, once there is nothing left to the imagination, why read on? Sex in an elevator or sex on a desk is still just sex. What keeps me reading is plot, not a token thing to wrap sex scenes around, but a true nail-biting dilemma that makes me want to keep reading to find out what happens next…besides more sex.

Ann Andrews in this thread on describes erotica as “when you take all the sex scenes out of the book and have very little left.” BLOOD TOY is not that book. If you take out the sex scenes, you just have a dark paranormal thriller that pulls its punches. I decided years ago that I would not pull my punches with this series. Beta readers have told me fans of the Anita Blake series will like this one. While there is a lot of erotic content in Laurell K. Hamilton books, I read them (mostly) for the plot, or at least I wouldn’t read them just for the erotic content, so I will take that as a huge compliment!

Due to adult content, I have struggled with the genre designation for BLOOD TOY. It is, at the core of things, a vampire novel. Nearly every vampire novel is erotic by nature, as vampires have long been the metaphorical representation of eroticism. Yes, there is some sex in my books, and those scenes are written with the same attention to detail I describe everything else. But more than sex, there is foreplay, tension, a ton of mental manipulation going on, and plenty of ante upping once the proverbial corks are popped–all of this wrapped within the story of an unforeseen evil far more dangerous than anything Diane Woods has ever faced hunting vampires, and the new alliances she is forced to make to survive.

Ultimately I will categorize it, I think, as a dark paranormal thriller, or perhaps urban fantasy, and include a disclaimer about its adult content. I would love to hear how others have tackled genre designation in a novel that is not erotica but contains it.

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