When Love Is Enough

I’ve always believed in love. I sighed into the pages of my mom’s stolen Mills & Boons as a kid and when I got older, I cursed Rhett Butler for not loving Scarlett enough. I wanted a man that loved me as deeply as Heathcliff loved Catherine and a connection like Romeo and Juliet had. That instantaneous, mind-blowing, all-consuming love. The kind that steals your breath and heart and changes your world completely.

I’ve always believed that I’d find it too. And I did. I found it when I was young, hopeful and at the cusp of becoming my own woman. It seems right that I fell in love as an 18 year old University student because our love could evolve and grow with us – together and more complete for it. I recently read a quote by Aristotle, “Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies” and I thought ‘Yes’! It made sense to me because I truly believe that we were born to love each other.

My husband drew a young woman all his life, having a penchant for scribbling. When we initially met, he still drew her. She was me. Not, we looked similar. She. Was. Me. My doppelganger. (I’ve seen the proof from early years too.) The romantic in me would like to believe that it is the soul’s cry for help. Ironically, he stopped drawing her shortly after we fell in love.

Unlike the standard romance, when we met, ‘it’ didn’t hit me then. I did not experience love at first sight (although I have no doubt that many do experience that too). Like Cher said, it’s in his kiss. When we first kissed it was as though the linchpin clicked into the wheel of my life and set things in motion. I knew then that we were meant to be together and if I walked away, nothing would be as good, as fulfilling, as strong or as bright as when we were together. Apparently he felt the same. 🙂

Imagine the agony when everything conspired to tear us apart. We were betrayed or abandoned by friends, harmed and were harmed by loved ones and persecuted without trial by all. Not only did people fail to understand how we could love each other coming from different racial, cultural, religous and socio-economic backgrounds, they also did not approve. Their disapproval was vehement, vocal, visual, physical and violently omnipresent. When we were forcibly separated, the pain I felt was so intense, it propelled me into a state of catatonic existence. Every day I didn’t spend with him was one that belonged to a blurry period in my life underlined by pain and longing. To this day, I can barely remember what I did during those two years. And honestly, I thank my psyche for allowing me the bliss of traumatic amnesia.

blog 15th anniversary

But all’s well that end’s well. Back then, I couldn’t understand why we had to go through what we had to. Was it the universe demanding balance? Did we need to go through such pain to be able to experience this intense love? Was it the time and a lack of understanding underlined by the recent hatred or ignorance created during apartheid – i.e. was what we went through post-apartheid ‘teething problems’? It no longer matters. Thankfully, we never took our gloves off. We fought hard and cleverly and we won. Since then, many bridges were mended and we’re still together 15 years later.

On our wedding day, I walked down the aisle to “Still The One” by Shania Twain. I thought the words were valid then. They’re more valid now:

Looks like we made it

Look how far we’ve come, my baby

I’m glad we didn’t listen, look at what we would be missing

They said, I bet, we’d never make it but just look at how far we’ve come, still together, still holding on…

You’re still the one I want.

And just as I was sure as a little girl that I would meet my true love one day, back then I was sure that whatever we had thrown at us, we would make it. I never had a single doubt that we’d survive. He didn’t either. For us, love was, is and always will be – Enough.

Happy 15th wedding anniversary, honey.  As the inscription on the inside of your wedding band says… Love Eternally, Aneesa

 

A Free Book to Celebrate My 13th Wedding Anniversary!

At this time, 13 years ago, I’d been married for an hour. Fast-forward to today and I still find myself starting to watch the clock in the afternoon for when my husband will be home, I still can’t fall asleep without his arms wrapped around me and I still have the best fun with him. Oh, I’ve found true love… the kind that dances with your heart, strengthens your spirit and lightens any burden you may come across. I was and am irrevocably in love with my husband.

But, it wasn’t all sunshine and honeydew… oh, we had quite a few obstacles from external sources that we had to overcome. But, that’s my own love story and perhaps I’ll share it in future, perhaps not.

What I will share with you today is the contemporary romance novel, Home for Love. It was an Amazon US and UK paid and free top 100 bestseller for contemporary romance. I’m making it free for today and tomorrow because I can’t wave a wand of red roses and color the world with romance today… a free book is my alternative. I’m also giving away a $5 Amazon Gift Card for those who share the link and post it in comments on my Facebook Page, Aneesa Price – Sugary, Spicy Reads (https://www.facebook.com/AneesaPriceSugarandSpice). Go and have a look, please share and enter the share contest. I’ll randomly chose a winner on the 22nd November. 

Home for Love

Home for Love

Home for Love Amazon links: 

http://www.amazon.com/Home-Love-Adult-Contemporary-Romance-ebook/dp/B00BPWNA5E

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Home-Love-Adult-Contemporary-Romance-ebook/dp/B00BPWNA5E

Home for Love blurb: 

Seven years ago sexy Bree fled Devil’s Peak, Alaska, disillusioned with her high school romance and with a baby in her belly. Now, she’s back and seeing devilishly handsome Todd again challenges her carefully constructed plans for amicable co-parenting.
Todd’s delight at Bree’s return swiftly turns to disgust when he discovers her secret and he vows to keep her at arm’s length. Upon discovering the context behind her secreting their child, he decides to give their daughter the love and stable family home he never knew. Despite her attraction to Todd, Bree has no interest in rekindling their relationship and is focused on settling into the town.
But the town and its match-making busy-bodies are not willing to allow the lovers to remain apart and test their resolve in a series of planned misadventures.
Bree is home for good but will she be home for love?

 

I’m off now to go and spend time with hubby. The fates have blessed us with an unexpected public vacation day here in Kuwait. So, he and the kids are at home. The romantic in me is taking that as a sign to get off my laptop and go snuggle while the desert rain falls softly again the window and he and I feel safe and comfy, snuggled up in a mood possible only in gloomy weather. Ha.

Yours in Romance and Reading,

Aneesa xxx

My Muse was Steamy, Muddy and Wet

Re-blogged from Victoria’s Gossip (http://victoriasgossip.com/blog/?p=2678)

Head on over to Victoria’s Gossip to stand a chance to win a $20 Amazon GC and ebooks! 

http://victoriasgossip.com/blog/?p=2678

My Muse was Steamy, Muddy and Wet by Aneesa Price

In June this year, I found myself stuck. I could not move forward with my current novel. I tried everything, from going for walks on the beach, to exercise and taking time out to read. Nothing worked. I knew I had a story to tell. In fact, I could feel its need to surface but something was blocking it from even sticking a finger out of the black hole life’s events had buried it in.

Dramatic much? Well, sure. I know I was being hugely melodramatic. I have a good excuse, though. My husband had left a month earlier for Kuwait and the kids and I were anxiously waiting for our visas so we could join him. Our family was relocating to the Middle East and had packed up, sold up, rented out and a myriad of other things. These tasks are stressful on their own, add them all together and you get a guarantee for brain-whipping migraines. The funny thing about stressing is that the more you stress, the more you stress about stressing, so the problem just compounds. I eventually gave up and focused on the kids as they were going through the change too and had the disadvantage of not fully understanding the reasons for it.

One day I took them to a day spa. While they giggled in the lemongrass-scented bubbles of the hydro-bath, I went off to enjoy a steamy moment in the rasul. A rasul is a Moroccan steam room on an über-luxurious scale. This rasul was lined in white marble and black stone with glints of sparkle in it. In the middle of the square room was a plunge pool to cool off in if the steam became unbearably hot and to the side, on the built-in seating area, rested a wooden bowl of Dead Sea mud. The treatment consists of applying the mud to your body, steaming and then finishing off the session with warm rain cleansing your skin as it falls from the star-studded ceiling. (And yes, the ceiling really does look like the night’s sky in a rasul.) It is an act of blissful self-indulgence.

After a few moments of mentally going through lists of things to do and emotional frustrations, I found my mind wandering. At that moment I began to relax and a new scene began forming in my mind. Thank goodness! And, the scene that kick-started the return to and completion of Supernatural Seduction was born.

rasul nice pic

An excerpt from Supernatural Seduction – Sophie and Sylvain have an interesting encounter in the rasul:

The therapist steered her away from the hot tub though towards a room signed “Rasul.” Following instructions, she hung her robe, stepped out of the slippers, and entered the room through a frosted glass door. The therapist had since left, and Sophie was alone in what must be the most decadent steam room, she’d ever seen.

Steam clung to the atmosphere of the room, making it comfortably hot. Music streamed in through hidden speakers. In the middle of the room was a small, square plunge pool, decorated in mosaic tiles and above them. The ceiling mimicked the night’s sky where thousands of tiny lights twinkled in a multitude of colors.

“What do you think?” Sylvain asked from behind her. He’d stepped into the room and was wearing only the baggy shorts that surfers wore. Her gaze raked over his chest noting the long, lean torso, and rippling muscles as he moved towards her. Her eyes moved up towards his broad shoulders and strong neck. The enticing vein throbbing with his blood made her fangs hurt and they dropped. Then she made another mistake and looked at his face. The man was too good looking for his own good. For a moment, she wondered why on earth she was there with him, half-naked, and across the Atlantic.

“What is this?” she inquired.

“A rasul,” he replied. “Although not Moroccan, this is the nicest one I’ve been too, and whenever I visit this hollow, I try to find time to come here. It is relaxing, although I don’t think I’ll be doing much relaxing after seeing you like this.”

Sophie ignored the scorching touch of his eyes as they swept over her body and thanked the Goddess that she’d had the forethought to shave and have a pedicure done recently. “Well it certainly is an original way to end a date.” Sophie tried to detract from the predatory gleam in his eyes as he took her hand and led them to the built-in marble seats.

“Who said anything about ending?” Sylvain stated before he dropped his head and took her lips with his. The room was hot, but her insides were hotter. He tasted of cumin, mint, and the sexy thing that hot dreams were made of. She heard herself moan and he used that opportunity to slip his tongue into her mouth. Tongues battled, pulling, and sucking while their lips locked together as though they wanted to breathe each other in. Dieu! This was heavenly.

Sylvain continued his oral assault while his hands brought her forward until they were kissing, chest to chest, her hardened nipples against his sculpted muscles. Darn, but if the vibrations that rippled through his six-pack didn’t turn her on even more. Involuntarily, she moved in and swung her arms around his neck, lacing her fingers in his hair, and pulled him down to her. She wanted to feel every inch of him, especially the hardness growing against her belly. Sophie moved to straddle him, bringing them even closer. Sylvain hissed as she began to move, grinding her pelvis against his. Then everything went frantic. Pushed by the unexpected force of their passion, she forgot everything, but his hands gliding down her back and cupping her buttocks to bring her further against him. The tranquil music permeating the room was forgotten and replaced by her moans of pleasure. Putting everything into the kiss, she drowned in it.

“I want you more right now than anything I can remember,” Sylvain broke away from their kiss. “But, I did promise you retribution for your earlier teasing and I’ve been looking forward to claiming it.” 

Supernatural Seduction - CG2 - Final Cover

 

“Once again Aneesa Price succeeds in transporting us to this magical world full of romance, action, & excitement! I am a true Aneesa Price addict…constantly needing more, more, more!” ~ Jeni’s Bookshelf & Reviews

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Supernatural-Seduction-Coffin-Series-ebook/dp/B00E1LF496

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Supernatural-Seduction-Coffin-Series-ebook/dp/B00E1LF496

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/supernatural-seduction-aneesa-price/1116227626

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/338802

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18218817-supernatural-seduction

From Chocolate Beignets to Heartbreaking Heroes!

Very few women can deny having a deep appreciation for the wondrously healing properties of both chocolate and a good book.

Rhonda Plumhoff has found a unique way of combining these two blissful pastimes (reading and eating or cooking with chocolate)! Following the first cookbook, Literary Chocolate, she tantalizes us once more with recipes created for interesting and quirky characters from the novels of indie authors! And what’s more, this entire recipe book is dedicated to chocolate! Oh yes! Chocolate for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and even beverages! What more could we want to accompany our daily reads?
Try Voodoo Chocolate Beignets (created for Aneesa Price’s Miss Suzette from Coffin Girls, Coffin Girls (Elegantly Undead: Book 1 of the Coffin Girls Series)) or Shayne’s I-should-of-told-you-the-truth-and-I’m-sorry Steak (based on the characters, Shayne and Enrique in Morgan Kearns’ Lucky 13, Lucky 13 (Deadlines & Diamonds)) and when that’s not enough literature-inspired chocolate for you, have a go at Rock My World Chocolate Treats (based on Broken Promises by Belinda Boring, Broken Promises (The Brianna Lane Series))! This is a killer combination of a chocoholic and readaholic’s fantasies in a book!
Find character descriptions from Two of My books as well as the recipes created for them below.

Book link: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00BA1BHVY

Literary Chocolate - A second helping

Chocolate Mocha Crème Brulee

 

Caroline had led the life of a high society daughter and wife, one that was filled with soul-destroying emotional abuse. Upon the death of her husband, she finds that she is financially incapable of supporting herself and flees New York without a plan or destination in mind. Her travels lead her to Promise, a small town on the New England coast.

Following instinct, she settles in Promise and begins to explore her new found independence and the pleasurable side of love with ruggedly handsome local, Luke Edwards.

Her financially privileged upbringing had provided her with the opportunities to travel and with her love for cooking; she shares culinary delights from all over the world with the willing residents of promise. But her new-found contentment is shattered as past resurrects itself and she needs to find the courage to face it before she can truly re-build her life.

Finding Promise by Author Aneesa Price: http://www.amazon.com/Finding-Promise-Series-Romance-ebook/dp/B008N25Y80

Finding Promise

Finding Promise

Ingredients

  • 2 3/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup prepared espresso (strong black coffee)
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, for topping

Directions

Preheat the oven to 325° degrees. Place 8, (6 ounce) ramekins on a baking sheet.

In a heavy sauce pan over medium heat, add cream, sugar, vanilla and espresso. Stir to dissolve the sugar, and heat until cream begins to simmer. Remove from heat. Place egg yolks in a large bowl, and slowly whisk in the hot cream mixture, about 2 tablespoons at a time, until you have added approximately half the cream mixture to the yolks. At this point, pour in the remaining cream mixture and whisk smooth. Stir in chocolate chips, and let rest for 5 minutes. Stir the mixture until chocolate is smooth and creamy. Pour evenly into ramekins, cook for 30 minutes in preheated oven. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 45 minutes at room temperature. Refrigerate for 6 hours. Before serving; move the oven rack to the top position in the oven, preheat oven to broil. Sprinkle the tops of each Crème Brulee with granulated sugar, evenly coating. Place ramekin on baking sheet, and place under the broiler until sugar bubbles and turns a light caramel brown. Keep an eye on sugar it bubbles fast and you do not want it to burn. Serve immediately.

Yields 8 servings

 

Voodoo Chocolate Beignets

 

This endearing Voodoo, Cajun mama is a favorite character of many who read Coffin Girls. She rules the kitchen of Papillion Plantation, the majestic mansion of the witch-vampire sisters, with a wooden spoon and gruff affection. What’s more, she’s the human that grounds the powerful Coffin Girls and who encourages them to overcome the risky challenges that they face, including those that touch their magical hearts.

Miss Suzette is known for her Voodoo, or ‘kitchen magic’ but she is also a whizz with culinary creations believing that food replenishes the soul and nourishes the heart.

Coffin Girls, Elegantly Undead by Aneesa Price: http://www.amazon.com/Coffin-Girls-Elegantly-Undead-ebook/dp/B008N0GWVA

Book 1 of the Coffin Girls Series

Coffin Girls Elegantly Undead

 

Ingredients

  • 1/2 teaspoon dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Directions

Before you begin to deep fry beignets, fill pan with oil until 3 inches deep, heat vegetable oil to 350° degrees in a deep heavy pot, over medium-high heat (or deep fryer).

Sprinkle yeast over warm water in a small bowl, stirring to dissolve. Let stand for 5 minutes. In a large bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, sugar, heavy cream, hot water, egg, shortening, and salt; stir in yeast mixture. Mix dough just until combined and smooth. Let dough rest in bowl, covered with a clean kitchen towel, 30 minutes. Transfer dough to a well-floured surface. Roll dough out to about 1/4-inch thickness and cut into 2-inch squares. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let dough rise in a warm, draft-free area, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Fry beignets until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes, turning as soon as they brown on one side. Remove with tongs or a slotted spoon and place on paper towels to drain. While still warm, give beignets a generous dusting of confectioners’ sugar.

Yields 20 beignets

For the Love of Romance, Leave Us to Our Fabulous Sex Lives!

couple kissing in shower

Have you read a good romance lately? Did you recommend it to a friend or colleague only to have them say, “I don’t read such things” or “I read crime novels or autobiographies”? Of course, they say it with an immense sense of superiority as though they’re more present in the ‘real world’ and that there is something wrong with someone for enjoying a good ‘happy ever after’. It makes me want to regress to being a teenager, roll my eyes and reply, “whatever”. But I don’t. Until recently, I’ve smiled and nodded and changed the subject. On Facebook, I generally ignore the comments or provide a diplomatic response.

Now before you get your knickers in a knot, I’m neither referring to individuals who genuinely don’t have an interest in romance (much as some people prefer tea to coffee) nor those who prefer other genres and will only pick up a romance occasionally and if a friend coerces them to. I’m also not referring to people who don’t believe in romance. I respect that we all have pasts and can understand that some experiences don’t lend themselves to creating much belief in love. I am referring to the ‘heart haters’ – those individuals who believe that they have the right to judge the romance reader and writer.

The suppositions made by them are that romance readers are sadly disillusioned or are overcompensating for a lack of sex, love and / or dating in their lives. I even came across an article that refuted a statement that women who read romance novels “can become dangerously unbalanced”. (http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/jun/01/claim-romantic-novels-unbalance-readers) In the same article, a crime writer is cited as stating, “”My plea to romance writers: please stop writing. You are destroying marriages, the fabric of society, and the entire cosmos”. Really? Judge much? Okay here, I think regression is appropriate and an eye roll is absolutely deserving and maybe a good shaking or two. The irony is that the statement made by this crime-writer is soaked with the very melodrama us romance writers and readers are often attributed with. (And I think he is just jealous because romance novels sell more than any other genre.)

Thankfully, there are enough people out there who have the kutzpah, the tenacity, to challenge the fabricators of such dribble. I found another interesting article on the demographics of romance readers (http://www.lifescript.com/life/timeout/chill/romance_novels_who_reads_them_who_buys_them.aspx) and quite a few more on how romance can spice up one’s sex life, most notably, Teach Me Tonight (http://teachmetonight.blogspot.com/2010/01/sex-lives-of-romance-readers.html).

So here are the judgmental assumptions made about romance readers, facts I’ve found and of course, my take on things:

Assumption – Romance readers are sad and alone.

Fact – The majority of romance readers are married or in a committed relationship.

My take – I know many romance writers, being one myself, and even more romance readers. Most of them are not only in relationships but also in happy, supportive relationships. Who knows… maybe the hope and positive outcomes inherent within romance novels creates a mind-set more open to love and overcoming the challenges relationships present. Now I have what I refer to as a ‘gatvol’ stage. The direct translation of that Afrikaans word is ‘ass-full’ (LOL) and means, “I’ve had enough’. I’ve reached that stage where I no longer can ignore the disdain from others when mentioning romance and so I’ve begun asking them about their own relationships. I’ve found that those who don’t read romance novels have mostly been hurt in the past, are divorced or generally don’t believe in love. Essentially, a romance is about the belief that the human spirit can and will overcome the difficulties life presents it with and that this is only strengthened by love. I personally find it sad that others have lost that hope.

Myth – Romance readers are old and unattractive.

Fact – The age of romance readers ranges between 25 and 54. Romance readers are not predisposed to look a certain way.

My take – Most of my readers fall within that age range although there are a few older and younger too. As to whether or not we are an attractive bunch? Well, I beg to differ. We are all shapes, sizes, colors, and features. Given that most of us are married or in committed relationships, someone obviously found us attractive enough to ‘put a ring on it’.

Myth – Reading romances creates unrealistic expectations of sex

Fact – “Most of the study participants (75.5%) reported that reading romance novels has had an impact on their sex lives. This occurred in several ways, including making participants more likely to engage in sexual activity and by making them more likely to try new sexual activities.” (http://teachmetonight.blogspot.com/2010/01/sex-lives-of-romance-readers.html)

My take – Many readers I know have reported an especially hot experience between the sheets after reading a romance novel. As a writer, I know that many of my colleagues and I feel particularly frisky after writing a sex scene and our partners certainly do not complain when we expend that energy in the bedroom. We also *clears throat* do extensive research for our novels. Does that sound like we have unfulfilled sexual relationships? Moreover, the fact that we don’t complain obviously means that our expectations were met. I’ve even heard of many women who use what they’ve read in romance novels in the bedroom. If it is legal and consensual then surely that’s okay? What puzzles me is why on earth folk want to know what goes on in the bedroom of romance readers? Are they projecting? In other words, are the ‘heart haters’ actually the ones who are unhappy with their sex lives? Are they threatened? I know what I think… I’ll let you make up your own mind about that.

The fact that I found most interesting was that romance readers use the novels as a means of relaxation and escapism from life’s daily stress. The last time I checked, that is one the primary reasons why most people read. I know that I treat myself after every deadline to a long bath and a good romance novel. In fact, that is precisely why I read and write romance – I want to enable others to escape into the worlds I create and have a moment of bliss, shed a tear or two in commiseration and to feel happy that all turned out okay at the end. So my plea to all heart haters is to give it a try and if you insist on ridiculing us, then leave us to our fabulous sex lives! Now I’m off to think dirty thoughts, write them and then…

Body chocolate.

Is Erotica Literary Porn?

If a book contains sex scenes does it make it erotica?

hot couple 2

To me, the answer is no.

I write romance and recently, also erotica. With my first book I purposefully kept any descriptions of sex scenes mostly suggestive, however, with my second book, the sex scenes were more explicitly described. I did not describe body parts and the acts in detail. I did, however, describe the emotions and sensations in tantalizing depth and sex was a major initiator for many events in the book.

My first novel, Finding Promise, was not labeled as erotic. It was labeled as I meant it to be – a sweet, small town contemporary romance for adults. My intention with the second book, Coffin Girls, was not to be erotic either – it was to provide a realistic description of what occurs within adult romance, which in my book (both literally and figuratively speaking) means a description of sex. I purposefully curbed the level of detail provided. However, I was surprised (neither pleasantly or unpleasantly) when I received feedback that the book was in fact erotic. This confounded me.

I’m a firm believer that whatever the reader feels is their reality and thus true for them and so I accepted that to some, the book may seem to be erotic. This acceptance was shaken when most of the feedback I received was that Coffin Girls definitely fit into the erotic paranormal romance category. I then sat back and thought – very long, extremely hard (no pun intended *grin*).

What I was struggling with is that I had indeed read erotic literature long before the hype around “Fifty Shades of Grey” arose and as early back as when I was a university student. Back then I devoured the colorful descriptions writers such as Anais Nin and Henry Miller gave to carnal endeavors. To me, that was erotic. These classically acclaimed writers, to my mind, celebrated sex through the mastery of their words.

At this point, it may shed clarity to share my philosophy on sex in literature and other entertainment media. To me, sex is a natural activity that occurs between consenting adults and a very important one. As a romance advocate I cannot imagine a happily ever after for a couple who do not enjoy sleeping together. This is one of the many reasons I do not enjoy YA (Young Adult) reads. They seem to leave something to be desired due to the nature of the genre – like the proverbial ‘coffee without caffeine’.

I was baffled. Here I thought I was being very conservative with Coffin Girls and yet, the general consensus seemed to label it as “erotic with a bit of fang”. I then embarked on a journey to try and figure out if it indeed was erotic and if my definition of erotic was accurate or more akin to literary porn.

A series of events occurred. I read and reviewed a few newly released indie books labeled as erotic. I found that they weren’t actually erotic in my book and that Coffin Girls was indeed more explicit than they were. As I was outnumbered, I had to concede defeat. Next, I read explicit erotic short stories and here found that they made Coffin Girls look like a Disney production, which was more aligned to my original thinking. So, still in a state of confusion, I pulled out the old erotic classics and re-read them and reeled back in shock. They weren’t explicit in nature but what they were, were terribly illegal. A strong word but I cannot find any other to describe the grotesque acts I re-read in those books. Shocked and disappointed in writers I had previously looked up to, I then decided to read their journals. And that clinched it for me.

What I found in reading Anais Nin’s journal in particular was that she hated what she wrote.  The erotic works she created were commissioned by a benefactor that had no desire to read ‘poetry’. They wanted cold, hard, despicable acts of sex with an undercurrent of darkness and sometimes violence. Anais (also the name of the main character in Coffin Girls – and yes, I named her after the famous writer) experienced an enormous amount of dissonance but had been compelled to write those stories because she needed to earn money. She, in short, felt as though she was prostituting her art.

This was a revelation for me and it was is what led me to realize that what separates erotica, as a masterful literary art-form from literary porn is the story and the conscience within the work. If a book contains sex that discriminates and violates unless it is part of a story then it is porn. However, if sex is part of the story, adds richness and depth to the story and is not the story in itself, then, it is erotica. Erotica does not exploit its characters, instead the act of sex provides insight into how they think, feel and behave. It is not an attempt to fulfill a reader’s more promiscuous desires but to provide the reader with a full experience of the character’s hearts and minds. Erotica is then to me, a further development of adult romance. Sex is not implied, it is celebrated along with the other emotions and behaviors that characters possess.

And so I’ve discovered that I do indeed write erotica because my definition of it has matured.