Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Smut with a Story

Cemetery Dancer, my first novel for Ellora's Cave . . . how does it stack up?

Erotic romance, still struggling for legitimacy in the traditional publishing world, is often slammed for its lack of strong, well executed fictional elements: plot, setting, characterization, dialogue, prose style. E-book erotica, especially, is perceived as little more than energetic sex scenes, often laughable, loosely connected by lame and limping storylines burdened by sloppy, awkward prose.

I'm not entirely going to take issue with that notion. Sad to say, there is some truly dreadful writing in this category, compounded by equally dreadful editing. But once in a while, the "smut" actually comes bundled with a damned good story, well told. Might I be referring to my own little bag of verbal sins? Maybe. But that's really not for me to decide.

In any case, I think Cemetery Dancer is quite a trip. I love imagining real people thrown into extraordinary situations--wrestling with their fears, their skepticism, their rationalizations. I love constructing atmospheric settings to enhance these extraordinary situations. As a matter of fact, I've found that "world building"--currently a major buzz phrase in publishing--entails not only a vivid imagination but a good deal of research...at least if you're gonna do it right. And I revel in that. The book I'm just finishing, Plagued, required hours of extremely enlightening, extremely enjoyable delving into history. I'm hoping readers of erotic romance (since this is my first foray into the category) do appreciate good stories well told.