Hi kids! I haven’t said much about anything other than American Horror Story here in the last couple of weeks so I’ve decided to remedy that this week. In case you didn’t know, I have a book coming out on Friday with Ellora’s Cave. It’s a little historical piece that takes us back to the early days of American Burlesque and Vaudeville. “Ingenue” is the story of a burlesque dancer and the stagehand who loves her. With that in mind, I wanted to talk a little bit today about what is sexy.
As a writer of erotica, both straight and paranormal, I always find myself reading and researching about what is sexy to the readers of 2013. It’s an interesting topic, though I often get strange looks from the patrons of the local Starbucks. The fact is, the things that we find sexy in today’s modern world have changed drastically in the last thirty years. The Sexual Revolution of the 1960s made us more open, maybe even too open. Previous to this, housewives were hiding their bodice rippers in the nightstand and denying any involvement in masturbation or fantasy lives. Then suddenly the market realized that women wanted more explicit sex, hotter men and stronger heroines. And then the 1980s brought us AIDS, an increase in teenage pregnancy and an emphasis on sexual responsibility. Nowadays, innovations like the Internet, social networking and eBook readers have made the world much smaller and if possible, more open. Specifically, more open to sex. With all of these societal changes, the modern romance author has had to become vigilant in keeping up with what makes the modern reader hot, while also maintaining that theme of sexual responsibility.
One of the coolest things that I’ve noticed over the last several years is the return to all things vintage. As many of you who read my blog and indeed, my writing, I closely identify myself with the Goth culture. One of the things that the Goth scene has done for sexuality is to bring back the Burlesque aesthetic. Corsets, clothes that are sexy without being obscene and bawdy women who are purposefully comedic and sexually open are HOT. The popularity of movies like Burlesque and Moulin Rouge and performance artists such as Dita Von Teese reflect a culture that is ready to embrace the playful side of sex. And embrace it not as something dirty, but as something that should be enjoyed. I don’t think it’s any coincidence that the proverbial “bodice ripper” that features some poor shrinking violet being kidnapped, raped and forced into marriage just doesn’t sell anymore. The modern reader wants strong heroines who aren’t afraid to fight back with all the weapons in their arsenal: intellect, beauty and general “badassery.”
Another thing that romance readers are finding exceptionally sexy right now is the Male/Male romance. While I myself don’t write in this subgenre, I have great respect for those that do. And I think it’s so exciting that love relationships between two men are becoming so mainstream. No one, regardless of their sexual orientation, should have to hide who they really are from the world. The popularity of the Male/Male romance genre indicates to me that the modern reader is accepting of the gay lifestyle. After all, love is love. And tolerance is, to me, HOT.
Along with the age of eReaders has come a wave of new and exciting writers in the romance genre. No longer do writers have to drown in the slush pile of a New York publishing house for two years before being told, “It’s just not what we’re looking for right now.” Instead of authors scrounging to be noticed by publishers, eBook publishers are pursuing unknown authors. As one of those unknowns, I’m exceptionally pleased by this paradigm shift. It means that thousands of creative minds are getting their words out to the readers. How exciting to be a reader right now! Whatever sort of kink you’re into, there’s a writer out there who caters to you. Trust me, if you want to read a book about an alien that falls in love with a werewolf—it’s out there. That being said, readers want more and more creativity. Plots have to be tight and believable. No longer will readers be content to lose themselves in a ridiculous scenario highlighted by ten pages of “He presented his throbbing member to the entrance of her moist and waiting canal.”
Let me close by saying that no one can really answer the question, “What is sexy?” Because the truth is, like wine, everyone has their own preferred vintage. The good news is, with the explosion of eBooks and small presses, everyone can find something to tickle their fancy.
COMING NOVEMBER 1ST FROM ELLORA’S CAVE!
Never fall in love with a hoofer. That’s the advice given to Stefan—advice he immediately ignores when he falls head-over-heels in love with burlesque dancer Rose, the shimmying, corseted star of the Footlight Theatre. But wicked, wounded Rose is far out of the humble stagehand’s reach.
Rose has stars in her eyes—and bruises on her face. As she suffers abuse at the hands of a cruel patron, she dreams of the day when she’ll find her way out of her nightmare and into the arms of the passionate, protective Stefan.