by Anne Holly
I write romance. Some of this is sensual, and some is erotic. But the emphasis is on the romance. The love story. The rest is about how much of the relationship development is done through arousing, euphemism-free sex scenes. This is how I decide what’s romance and what’s erotic-romance (or romantic erotica) – the presence of real, unadulterated sex put in un-pretty words. It seems like a good rule of thumb.
I also write holiday stories. Not exclusively, but about seven of my current nine titles are specifically holiday-focused, another one of my backlist at least features a holiday, and my future release in summer 2012 uses two or three holidays. I’ve done Christmas, New Years, Thanksgiving, Halloween, and Valentine’s Day, and I’m about to tap Father’s Day and possibly even Canada Day. I’ve even considered Labour Day. I’m not sure why the holidays attract me. Perhaps my name cursed me.
So, what you have here is romantic erotica, holiday-style.
I guess, vanilla with a hint of cinnamon?
I never intended to be a holiday niche-writer, but this is what has happened. I’m okay with it, actually. They are fun times, and the books are nice to market because I can ride the waves of seasonal euphoria.
But what, for me, makes holiday erotica? (That’s not even a real subgenre, is it?)
Take Christmas, for example. There are many facets to a Christmas feel in a book – naturally, you have your warm, charitable, optimistic, friendly feelings. All the positive vibes of tradition, giving, and peace on earth, etc. But, you also have stress, and money woes, and depression. And loneliness, which is one of my favourite topics. You also have the Scrooges, which are great fun, and the redemption themes that go along with those guys. And renewal, what with New Years coming just around the corner. Also, there are the climate issues, with snow and sleet and cold noses and seasonal sluggishness. That alone gives you all sorts of shenanigans involving getting snowed in, and hearth rugs before roaring fires, and warm bubble baths, and slow morning sex, and snuggly hideaway-weeks spent living in bed… some of my favourite things in life.
Perhaps this doesn’t sound all that exciting. It might even sound boring compared to the more daring flavours that erotica comes in now. You know, though, that’s just fine. I like a full banquet of romantic and erotic stories. A sideboard groaning with options. It lets one satisfy whichever yearning one has that day. This is especially so with the joys of Kindle and the possibilities of instant download-now-read-immediately gratification. What a time to be a reader!
So, I put this to you: Cozy erotica.
This description for my fun, sweet, snuggly, sexy and rather explicit romance writing came to me while cruising writers’ forums and not being able to accurately explain to others how some of my books are both like and unlike other forms of erotica out there. I admit I stole the name from cozy mystery writers (mysteries that deal with crime/murder/secrets, but in a less brutal, more comfortable, way).
I don’t know, maybe this doesn’t work. Perhaps smatterings of anal play, lots of oral and marathon shower sex doesn’t fit with everyone’s definition of the word “cozy.” But, it’s as near as I can get to what I do. Sure, it still might not be a kosher e-gift for your grandma, but if you like the occasional bit of sweet with your spicy, then I’ll just set my books on the buffet nestled in amongst the great variety of fiction being produced in this accepting, fun-loving community we have going here, and you choose what you will.
With e-books, there’s a niche born every minute. Lucky for weirdos like me, readers come in all flavours, just like erotica today.
Anne Holly is a Canadian writer of romance and erotic-romance, as well as a mother and teacher. She has been published by Wild Horse Press, Decadent Publishing and Rebel Ink Press, and in 2012 by Pink Petal Books. Anne’s work is characterized by its unusual heroes, sweet/spicy balance, witty dialogue, responsible citizenship, and its positive, optimistic nature. She has found a particular niche in holiday romance. You may visit Anne at her blog or website, or find her on GoodReads, Facebook and Twitter (@anneholly2010). Sign up for her newsletter here. Email her at email@example.com.