Monday, July 7, 2008

It's a peach...

As most of the readers know, I write for Ellora's Cave and Cerridwen Press. Up until fairly recently, Ellora's Cave had a heat level rating system. Depending on who you talked to, some authors felt that their books sold better it they had a hotter rating. That hotter rating was generally based on "how soon", "how often", and possibly on "how kinky".

Now there is no rating system, but rather a genre listing the types of sex in the book. So if m/m or menage is the reader's preference, they have only to look at the listing to find out if the book will suit their needs. Because one of my books is about domestic violence, it had a special advisory to warn readers. Otherwise, there is no rating.

Personally, I am pleased by this. It takes some of the pressure off the writer to perform early in the story when there's no logical reason to do so. Yes, I'm aware that couples have one night stands. But every book doesn't have to start with them immediately jumping each other's bones before they've even exchanged names!

As far as I can tell, most readers would like a combinations of interesting positions or combinations with sensual, emotional feelings. As they say about the cowboys...long, slow touches. Everything doesn't have to be a flash of heat. Unless it's a true, up against the wall lunchtime quickie, then it should be a sensual slow motion dance.

It seems to me that is the best of both worlds. In our world sensual just indicates that sex is less frequent and perhaps less adventurous. It doesn't have to mean that it is less heated or less emotional. One of the sexiest, most erotic scenes I've ever read in a book involved peaches. Uh-huh. It was a Cerridwen Press book titled Speechless by Elissa Abbott. As one reviewer said, "You'll never look at a peach quite the same way again."



  1. great way to start of the week, Zen Queen!

  2. Good point. And we all have our levels of sensuality. In the privacy of our homes when we read it, is it ever really anyone else's business? I don't think so.

  3. For me sensuality is in the author's writing, the way the author makes me feel the sensual tension, the electricity between the hero and heroine. In some books I can feel it from page one. I know I have it in my books too. There won't be a sex scene for a few chapters, but the way they look at each other, smell and hear and feel each other, the reader wants to tell them, what are you waiting for. We are all hot, go ahead do it.

  4. I'm with Mona. For me, it's all about the emotional connnection PLUS the hot sex. Yeah, I like em really hot but without emotion and sensuality, I just don't get it. After all, isn't the brain considered the best erogenous zone? Stranger sex doesn't appeal to me and I like the idea of the h/h exchanging names before they go at it like bunnies.

  5. Hey, thanks for the plug, Anny! I'm glad you liked that scene--it was fun to write, even if it did get a little...sticky at points. Excerpts are available at my web site, if anyone is interested. I don't think that particular scene made it, though. I tried to keep the public site to a PG-13 rating.

    Personally, as a reader, I'm missing Ellora's S-E-X rating system. I almost always looked for the "sensual" books because they almost always had more *story* to them, and the story wasn't all about people/aliens/vampires/shifters looking for sex. But maybe I'm the only EC reader who looks for story first, then sex. Great, hot sex scenes should enhance the story. Story, or some semblance of it, shouldn't just be the filler between sex scenes. For me, that's what separates erotic romance from written porn.

    Thanks again!

  6. I have a notion that with the ratings gone, there may not be that push for more sex, more sex, just to make a rating. Perhaps it will actually get back to more story with some sex.

  7. Yes--I hadn't thought of it that way, Anny. Not being an "E" or "X" writer, I didn't really feel that pressure. Time will tell.

  8. Great post, Anny. And I really like the idea of lists by genres rather than heat level.

  9. this Ellora Cave should have been called Khajurao Temple...

    Poor Ellora Caves...I wonder if the murals & the frescos there carry any erotic elements that are so typical of the Khajurao temples...


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