Monday, October 5, 2009

Levels of Comfort

By Jenna Byrnes

First of all, a big thank you to Sassy Brit of Alternative Reads for the lovely blog award! We gratefully accept and will post it proudly.

Now, to the topic of the week, opening closed doors. I have pretty strong feelings about this subject but hesitate to say to much since my doors are closed and need to stay that way. Lisabet is lucky not to have experienced the sting of this particular prejudice first hand. It's not fun.

Erotic Romance is a guilty pleasure that many people won't admit they enjoy. The fact that authors don't face legal battles anymore, or get 'in trouble' for writing about sex, means we've come a long way, but not all the way, to being an acceptable part of today's society. If it weren't still taboo, then so many authors wouldn't feel the need to write using pen names.

It's true, in the online community of writers, readers, publishers, reviewers and even bloggers that many of us talk to every day, erotic romance is a normal thing. I attended a small author-reader event this summer and found it extremely refreshing to sit in a group of people who enjoyed the same type of books that I read and write. I proudly wore a name tag and never once felt threatened by any of the wonderful people there. Everyone hugged each other when the weekend ended, and many people made plans to meet again next year.

I don't go to a lot of 'events', so that weekend was a new experience for me. I rarely get the chance to sit around discussing erotic romance, which was great. Follow that up with a trip to visit my writing partner Jude. We lounged in her living room, notebook in hand, feet kicked up, sipping diet pop (oh wait, make that hard liquor), brainstorming book ideas. That was a blast.

I am part of a writer's group that meets regularly to discuss the craft and different aspects of it. As nice as that is, I still feel like erotic romance authors are the red-headed stepchildren of the industry. We can write it, talk about it a little, but mainly, it's best to keep it quiet. More comfortable for everyone that way. I've accepted this, and think I finally have it figured out. Comfortable is good.


  1. Jenna,

    Times are changing, our battles are different from the ones fought by Lawrence, Miller, Réage and Joyce. Yes, they opened some doors, but others still need to be taken down. Great post and thank you for sharing this bit of your history with us.


  2. Thanks Jude. This verges on a tough subject for me, so I didn't say everything I was thinking! LOL



  3. Jenna,

    I'm so sorry to hear your 'doors are closed' on this subject.

    Since erotic romance and erotic fiction in general are usually a celebration of all the fun parts of life, it's sad to know that the killjoys are stealing some of your deserved pleasure from telling stories that readers enjoy.



  4. Hi Ash,

    I'm afraid I came across as rather gloomy on this one, I think I scared away the readers, LOL. And in re-reading my post, I must say that I never meant to knock Lisabet in any way. She's a wonderful person who's just coming at things from a different perspective than I am. That's what this blog is all about, I guess.

    I'll be interested to see your take on the subject, Oh Wise One. *G*

    ~ Jenna

  5. Hey, Jenna,

    I don't blame you for your feelings one bit, after your recent experiences. The notion of having to reconstruct an entirely new literary identity is just daunting.

    It's all too easy for us to forget how some people view anything related to sex. Hey, my mother once told me she thought that I was posessed by the devil... Seriously.


  6. Lisabet,

    OMG, I can't believe your mother said that. Mine has come close, but she's pretty religious so I'm not sure she'd ever go that far. LOL

    Hope you're enjoying your trip!

    ~ Jenna

  7. All doors can be opened, but going slowly opens more of them.


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