Thursday, February 9, 2017

NEW ROMANTICISM: The Difference between Erotica, Pornography, Romance, and Erotic Romance

Talk to me about romance. Talk to me about love. Talk to me about romanticizing those things. What is it that draws us to that tale of the chase and catch repeatedly?

The debate swirls and continues, and as a writer of romance…no, as a lover of romance, I come back to the same question: What is romance? And I’m ready to ditch my answer. I know. I know. A hundred times we’ve discussed this. Romance and romantic are different. Death, itself, can be romantic. Nature and a destructive snowstorm can be romantic. Lovers in love but giving that up can also be romantic. There is something aesthetically romantic in beauty itself. And beauty can even be pain. Therefore, pain is romantic, especially when the sufferer does so for love.

But the genre of Romance has confines. Definitions. The trope of the Happily Ever After or Happy for Now is a MUST-HAVE. You try to publish. You'll see. In big, NEON letters, they state: Must have a happy ending. There are further restrictions as well.

Throw the word “erotic” into it and a myriad of new problems arise. Suddenly the negative connotations abound. It’s pornography. It’s worthless. It’s “sex sans relationship.” Certainly, that kind of erotica is prevalent and alive. And if that is what a reader or watcher wants, that is their right, their prerogative.

But that label, dear friends, is not one for me. 
None of these definitions or meanings are true necessarily, but it the broad brush-stroked way it has become. I’m beginning to want to distance myself more and more from that connotation of erotic or erotica as the equivalent to sex and titillation only, that equation that erotica is pornography. It isn't. Not always. And I want to be titillated but always within the framework of a story. Whatever word is opposite "sans"-- I want that. In fact, sex for mere titillation just bores me to fucking tears. 

Leon F. Seltzer writes in his article, “What Distinguishes Erotica from Pornography": 

“If the erotic celebrates sexuality, placing it on a plateau above any essentially
masturbatory act of copulation, then it can be seen as diverging markedly from the
pornographic. Pornography proposes a temporary "fix" for our sexual frustrations; eroticism offers us something more elusive--an opportunity to experience sensuous delight of a higher order….

"What in general separates the erotic from the pornographic is an attitude toward sex and human sexuality that can be inferred from looking (dare I use the word, "objectively"?) at the finished product. If the subjects are portrayed in a manner that focuses on their inner and outer radiance, their fleshy vitality, and the work itself seems to manifest a passionate and powerful affirmation of life and the pleasures of this world, then I think we're talking erotic. If, however, the subjects seem reduced to so many body parts, if any beauty appears subordinate to the overriding purpose of arousal, if the sex depicted seems depersonalized, controlling, non-mutual, and devoid of fun or play (but rather seems about "getting down to business" and "getting off")--and if the sex acts pictured contain not a hint of human caring or emotional connectedness to them--that, to me, would definitely secure the work's place in the realm of pornography.”

So I labeled myself an Erotic Romance Writer. But what I write is neither of those things as defined individually or lumped together. Yes. I find beauty in the romantic but not ROMANCE as it’s been labeled. I almost label that trite. And yes. Erotic. But not for the sex it implies that is for mere titillation. To me the erotic is the relationship that organically manifests itself between people finding and exploring love. It is the universality of  accepting the darkness that makes up human nature, the darkness I find so romantic within that dance, the inevitable opening up that lets in the light of sensuality between two human beings becoming one together without the confines of preconceived morality. In short, an exploration of all the facets of both the subconscious and conscious of light and dark. “Emotional connectedness.” Yes, Dr. Seltzer. That.

I’m here to say that it’s time we start a new genre. I’m dead serious.,,,

To finish this article, click here: R.B.'s Website

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

As Hot and Sexy as His Stories, Meet Reed James

No subject, kink, or taboo seems to off limits for him. But he's a surprisingly down-to-earth guy with a keen intellect as well. Writing since high school, here's a deeper look into what makes Reed James, my friend and fellow WPW, tick as he abashedly braved the hot seat, answering these questions. Many who do my interviews, struggle, taking some time to mull them over. Not Reed. He answered as quickly as he writes. Another example of his determined process to just let things flow out of him naturally.
If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God
say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
 Welcome, here are all the mysteries of the universe explained.

What is your idea of earthly happiness? One where I am free to pursue my love of writing without any other cares.

Who are your favorite fictional heroes/heroines? So many to choose from. Vin from Mistborn, Mat Cauthom from the Wheel of Time, Samwise Gamgee from the Lord of the Rings, Michael Carpenter from The Dresden Files are a few who number among my favorites.

Who are your
real-life heroes/heroines?
 I don't have any real life heroes. When you idealize a person, you place them on a pedestal and will only be disappointed when you realize that they are, in fact, just a regular person like you, just as flawed and broken. Respect people, but don't idealize them.

Who is your favorite writer? JRR Tolkein, Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson, R. Scott Bakker, David Eddings.

How would you like to die? Swiftly. Let's not drag it out. Get it over with fast, without pain, maybe without me even realizing it.

What is your present state of mind? Nervous and trying not to think about something and focus on my work.

What is your motto or favorite quote? "Government is not the solution to our problems. Government is the problem." Ronald Reagan.

Reed James is a thirty year-old guy living in Tacoma, WA. “I love to write, I find it freeing to immerse myself in a world and tell its stories and then share them with others.” He's been writing naughty stories since high school, furiously polishing his craft, and finally feels ready to share his fantasies with the world. I love writing about women who want to be a little (or a lot) naughty, people expressing their love for each other as physically and kinkily as possible, and women loving other women. Whether it's a virgin experiencing her/his first time or a long-term couple exploring the bounds of their relationships, it will be a hot, erotic story!”

Click here: R.B.'s Website

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Why It's Important to Get Out of Our Comfort Zones when Writing...

Writing is such a personal endeavor, a journey into the subconscious mind sometimes. When it's happening, when the writer can get there, special things can happen. I've gotten lost in my mind writing. Quite literally. That kind of writing can take quite a bit of recovery time, to shake it off, to come back to reality, to focus on the now instead of the attachment to the imaginative world we had spent so much time in. It's emotional for me. And I rarely write short stories. I find it almost impossible to develop characters the way I like and must. My stories are character-driven, even more than plot-driven. I think that is why my emotions become so strong.

Recently, I wrote with a friend, Lucas Black, and it was a refreshingly different experience. We wrote a short story together, and the framework of the short story forced me to focus on the plot, that well-rounded plot story-line model taught in American school since the dawn of the classroom, that one climax model. I prefer multiple climaxes, but not in my short stories...

To continue reading and for the beginning excerpt of A Sonata for Maria, visit here: R.B.'s Website

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

It's a Wonderful Life

Well, it’s that time of year, where happiness and glee meet sadness and longing. It’s the second year without my mom but I don’t quite remember last year and so this year, I’m cognizant and feeling and breathing in and out every moment. It’s calm. Yup. Without rehashing it all, put simply: It’s calm without my mom.

My mom was the serious one. The boss. The rule maker. My dad was the goofy one. The artist. The rule breaker. He died too young. And I miss him. A lot. Not every day. I’d be lying. Life is too hectic and crazy for that. But he seeps into my spirit often, especially this time of year.

One thing we all did as a family, and my brother and I have tried to continue, is that on Christmas Eve Eve—tonight—we watch It’s a Wonderful Life. I’ve written about this before. Somewhere. Not here. Egg nog, spiked of course when we got older, the night my mom let her hair down. The night we giggled. The night we cried. And the night we just had nowhere to go but be together in the warmth of family. I never didn’t want to do this. Not as a teenager. Not when I went away to college. And not now. It’s still one of my favorite movies....

To finish, please visit: R.B. O'Brien Website.