Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Pioneer Women

No, I'm not talking about those women who wore long dresses, sunbonnets, and rode the Conastoga Wagons out west. Had you goin', didn't I? Nope. I'm talking about the pioneers who brought erotic romance out of the shadows and into the mainstream of society.

Erotica (not erotic romance) has always been around but it was an underground thing. These books were written and passed around on the sly. Erotica, as you know, is about the woman's sexual journey and doesn't necessarily have the happily-ever-after most of us crave. Erotic ROMANCE is a whole other ball of wax. Back in the early 1970's when romance hit the market in a big way, it was an explosion. Women devoured them. Writers such a Barbara Cartland and later Kathleen E. Woodiwiss paved new ground and readers couldn't get enough. Still readers wanted more. More explicit sex, more adventuous heroines. Remember the term Bodice Ripper? Well, back then, that's pretty much what romance books were. The heroine tended to be a victim who was fortunate enough to have a big, brawny hero who could bail her delicate ass out of a jam, give her lots of sex and a baby at the end.

Readers wanted more and so did writers. There were plenty of writers who'd do hotter work, pushing the envelope of what constituted a REAL heroine and how she might behave. She wasn't necessarily a victim, but a take charge woman who wanted a say in how her story unfolded. She was strong, funny, smart and fearless. She grabbed hold of life and fought for what she wanted. She wasn't 20 years old either...sometimes she was 30 or older.

Sounds pretty good, doesn't it? Problem was, back in those days, the 70's, 80's and even the 90's a writer had only one place to peddle her work and that was New York but the traditional publishers weren't buying. Internet publishing was a slow-starter in those days so options were really limited. Most of these writers, many very talented, were told...uh uh, too raw, nope, too hot. Or the really down-pat line of...we suggest you study the market. In layman's terms, that means there wasn't a neat little slot to put this work in. Erotic Romance wasn't a mainstream genre...it was a sub-genre that didn't seem to fit anywhere.

Writers like Robin Shone finally broke through in the mid-90's. Women devoured stories like Awaken, My Love and clammored for more. In 2000, Ellora's Cave Publishing debuted and it was as if a whole new world opened up. Yes, they proved, women wanted SEX, they wanted ADVENTURE, they wanted to test the bounds of everything a woman could be. It was okay for a woman to refuse to be a victim and take charge of her own life AND her sexual pleasure.

Today it's a brand new world out there but many writers bled along the way. They were Pioneers in this new genre, refusing to compromise despite being told "NO..you don't fit IN." So the next time you're at a booksigning or conference or convention and you meet an older writer of erotic romance, take a second or two to thank her for sticking to her guns.

Contest: Today I'm giving away a deck of Ellora's Cave Playing cards to one lucky winner and I have a question for you. What is the sexiest part of a MAN??? Ripped abs, strong arms? A fine ass? Name your poison. I've written my answer down in advance. Whoever's answer matches MINE wins. Easy. In the event we have matching answers, I'll draw a name from among them. Good luck!

Anne's WINNER: Viola Estrella!!!!! YAY, Viola! You've won a download of Anne Rainey's A Diamond at Midnight. Way to go, WOMAN! To collect your prize email Anne at anne@annerainey.com

29 comments:

Wendi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anny Cook said...

Ah... well the sexiest part of a man is his...mind. Without it, he's just a body. But a bright mind? Well, then you have it all.

Wendi said...

Great post today! Well said and so very true. The women banging on the door first have helped open them wide for the rest of us. :)

Wendi Darlin

Tess MacKall said...

Ripped Abs, woman. lol Hey I love the topic today. The road to erotic romance has indeed been a rocky one and we still face a lot of closed doors. Not everyone takes us seriously.

I just love the way NY has started e publishing now. And all those erotic lines. Guess we get to say I told you so!

kimmyl said...

I love the eyes....but also give me a nice pair of strong arms to be wrapped in and I'm jelly!

DeeSKnight said...

Great post.

I'm more the erotic romance writer (Dee S. Knight) but my hubby writes as Francis Drake and he's much more erotic. His latest, Saving Brigit, is about women who are enslaved for sex but still manage to uphold their sense of self. They submit to their masters but find a power in how they go about it. Even as slaves they're still strong women, and I think that's the sense of the new erotica.

I agree that women love reading about sex--good sex that they know will end well--and they love strong women who take control of their destinies. Lucky for us the two can be combined!

Regina Carlysle said...

Yes, those women really did bang on some doors didn't they? In many ways we're still banging today!

Great point, Tess. When the NY publishers saw the steamroller that was EROTIC ROMANCE they jumped on the bandwagon. It's about damn time, I say. Honestly, this has opened a whole new world for the those of us who love to write and READ erotic romance!

Regina Carlysle said...

Thanks for the comment, Dee. Women were just ready for something different..more REAL. Women who are strong and not victims, who could take charge of their lives. Today's erotic romance gives them that PLUS the sexual adventure.

Anne Rainey said...

Thanks for posting the winner for me Regina!

The sexiest part of a man...hmm, so many sexy parts to choose from. I'd have to go with forearms. I love strong forearms. I don't know why but they make me drool. Next up, the back. There's something delicious about a the back muscles on a man. Last, but not least hands...big, calloused, sexy...

Wait, I was supposed to pick one. Dang it! LOL

Regina Carlysle said...

LOL. Anne you crack me up but I agree. So many choices!!!! Makes my head spin. I'm with you on the back. One of my backlist covers features a BACK. Verrrrry hot.

Tonya said...

Excellent post.....great to read and reflect on how far writers have come and how hard they had to push to get there.

The sexiest part of a man would be their backend....I love a nice, tight pair of glutes and right above the glute where the two little dimples dip in....mmmmm mmmm yum!!!

Regina Carlysle said...

SNICKER...dang Tonya...don't you just wanna put your mouth right THERE on those sexy dimples????

Amy S. said...

their smile

cindy said...

Hey ladies, I'd have to say,the sexiest part of a man is his hands.
And I want to say thanks to all you erotic writers, I love erotic romance and am very greatful to all of you for writing it.
Cindy

AnneMarie Roberts said...

Yes, my heartfelt thank you to all the authors who persevered! OohRah!~

And as far as the sexiest part of a man for me, it's his ability to.....

*evil grin* his ability to communicate. Especially his most innermost thoughts. Want the true heart of his passion. A strong, secure man who knows what he wants and is confident enough to get it. Outside of that as far as physical, it's his eyes, his smile, his ass, his....okay see this is why I refrain from physical...lol Just give me a man who knows how to laugh, love and live and I'll be in heaven.

Great blog~and thank God for Erotic Romance....Cheers!

Kelley Nyrae said...

Fantastic post today, Regina!!

The sexiest part on a man for me is a sexy, strong pair of forearms along with strong calloused hands. That totally does it for me.

Faith said...

Gah! I have a 50/50 answer, lol. Two things draw me equally to a man and make him sexy to me. One is his hands. I love rough, strong hands; they promise to make a girl's toes curl when they touch you.

The other answer would be his eyes. The eyes are the windows to the soul, and if your man isn't very verbal about his feelings, you can always look in those windows and know what he's really thinking or feeling.

Btw, I just found this site. It look so cool and you have some great posts!

Regina Carlysle said...

So glad you came by, Faith. We'll be partying down all week long for our "official launch".

I love those rough hands too. Maybe that's why I've always been partial to cowboys. Rough, hardworking hands. Yep. Eyes are good too. They tend to not hide much. I love the ones that have crinkles at the corners...from the outdoors or SMILING.

J.K. Coi said...

Hey, nice post ladies!
Has anyone said "eyes" yet? I didn't see it, but then I'm kind of skimming through the posts today. Sorry. Very busy, but I wanted to deliver my two cents.

Yes, for me it's those eyes. Whether they're soft with love, all smoky and hot, or fired up. I love to watch emotion flickering in a man's eyes.

Anne Rainey said...

rough hands, sexy eyes, strong arms, nice butt...okay, I've come to the conclusion that my one favorite body part is the WHOLE PACKAGE...LOL

lrwirum said...

I think it is a man's eyes. They are one of the first things you see. They show you the type of person he is.

Larena

Regina Carlysle said...

Hmmm. Getting a lot of votes for "eyes" here. They ARE the windows to the soul.

Wonder if anyone has guessed my favorite male feature yet???

robynl said...

the smile will do it for me most often; a smile showing those pearly whites and I know that he could be friendly so I am inclined to want to get to know him better.

Cynthia Eden said...

Wonderful post! :-)

The sexiest part of a man, huh? Okay, I'll say the brain first...but followed very closely by the abs. LOL.

Regina Carlysle said...

Hi Cynthia! Glad you stopped by. Verrry good choices and OH...ABS...YUM.

flchen1 said...

Hi, Regina! Thanks for the reminder of how the industry's evolved, thanks to women who stuck to their guns :) Many appreciative readers owe their thanks to them and all of you who currently are still flinging open doors and conquering wide open spaces ;)

Hmm... sexiest part of a man? I agree with Anny--his mind, but if we're talking about what we can see, then it's his eyes. Definitely the whole windows to the soul thing :)

Regina Carlysle said...

Hey flchen! It's awfully hard to be told NO over and over yet continue writing what you LOVE. We all owe them! A whole new genre was born and now thrives because they didn't quit.

BTW...You won a book of mine not long ago. It was a download of Hot NIght at the Blue Bug Saloon. Do you remember?

It's great to see you here.

flchen1 said...

YES, Regina(Rita ;))--I don't remember if I took the time to write you afterwards, but I loved it. You have a lovely touch with the characters and dialogue, and I made a note to look for more of your books--are there more in that series? (Sorry, I'll go poke around your website!)

Regina Carlysle said...

Yes, you wrote me the sweetest note. Rita is my OTHER name. I also write for Resplendence and Ellora's Cave as Regina Carlysle.

Hell...I answer to just about ANYTHING these days...lol.

You can check out my Regina work at www.reginacarlysle.com or check out my blog at www.reginacarlysle.blogspot.com

Gosh...it's great to see you here! Small world, huh?