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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Guest Blog: B.C. Brown: Sex and the Mommy

Mommy Porn.

Do I have your attention?

Sex sells. That is one of the driving principles in advertising since time untold. Once the Puritanical society fudged enough to allow the oh-so risky behavior of showing ankles, sex has been used to sell everything from things that are sexy, like lingerie, to things that are slightly less than sexy, like household appliances.

This has become more and more noticeable in recent years with the explosion of the erotica market in literature. Bodice-ripper romance novels once hinted at sex in the full Monty, but seemed to fall short (minus a few authors who were light years beyond their societal standards). Despite it seemed that the fans were always wanting more.

Then, in recent years, the industry of erotica boomed with a near Big Bang effect. A universe unfolded with hyper-dedicated fans, clever swag, and blush-evoking cover art. New terminology exploded into the literary world. But one particular phrase has been elevated above the rest.
Mommy porn.

I remember my grandmother’s romance novels. My grandmother was a prolific reader. It was rare I saw less than three books opened and steepled, bookmarked, or dog-eared somewhere in her house.

But when asked about them, she would demur, often passing them off as frivolous or fanciful. It was, somewhat, from there that I learned of the odd stigma of being a romance reader.

But not any longer. Mothers in doctor’s offices used to hide the covers of their romance reads. Now excited mom’s openly display their latest finds, sharing them with anyone around who will listen. The backlash over a mature woman openly showing her appreciation of erotic literature has ended.
Or has it?

The romance genre is one of the most celebrated, largest communities of writers in the nation today. Conventions abound, groups form, and the number of new authors published (indie or otherwise) each year grow, it seems, exponentially. But is there still a stigma attached? One that has transferred from being a romance reader to being a romance writer?

Recently, at a non-romance convention that housed hundreds of authors, a fan approached my booth, bought a couple of books, and struck up a conversation with me about my latest projects and my upcoming projects. I was more than happy to discuss what I was up to. I mean, how better to generate anticipation of future work than in person, seeing that excitement gleaming in your reader’s eyes?

That reader and I discussed my upcoming paranormal mystery (a spin-off from my Abigail St. Michael novels), debated a science fiction project I was tinkering with, and also talked about a general fiction story I was hoping to publish in the near future. (You know, once I finished writing it! lol) She seemed really receptive to all the work I mentioned... Until I brought up the erotica novel I was steadily working on. Her words were simple.

“Why would you do that?” she asked.

I sat there. I blinked. I opened my mouth two or three times and closed it as often. I didn’t understand the question.

“Why would I do what?”

“Be one of those writers.”

I stared at her. I hadn’t thought about it from that point of view. So I asked if she read erotica. She told me she did. Then I asked why. She thought for a moment and said because she liked a good story with sex in it sometimes.

“So do I,” I said. “And sometimes I want to write about sex too. The story I’m working on will just have more sex in it, and be more focused on the romance, than the rest of the story. That, technically, makes it either a romance novel or an erotic novel.”

“But you’re a good writer,” she said matter of factly. And I was blown away by that statement. I didn’t know how to respond. I mean, me. I didn’t know what to say.

We finally ended our conversation, skirting the romance/erotica topic, and then she went away. I sat for the rest of the convention wondering what she meant. I know dozens of excellent writers (writers who are far better storytellers and technical masters as well than I am) who dealt primarily in erotic or romance literature. So I began asking people their opinions of romance or erotic authors, taking somewhat of an informal survey. I got much the same response as the first person had given me, “Of course I read romance/erotica, but why would you want to write it?”

It made me wonder just when did it become socially acceptable to read erotic lit but not write it?

And, also, would romance/erotica always carry some sort of stigma to it - either from a reader’s standpoint or from a writer’s?

Since my primary fields to date are not focused on romance or erotic, although the stories I write always involve an element of both, I don’t know what most erotic/romance writers encounter. Do you come up against an odd resistance to your choosing that particular genre? Or do you find that, regardless of what you write, readers are readers and are just hungry for the next novel you produce?
Are some of you multiple genre authors too, and how do you feel people who are attracted more to the non-romance/erotic genre react to the the romance/erotic one?

BIO:
B.C. Brown was born with six fingers on each hand endowing her with super powers, thus enabling her to fight crime.  When a freak Cuisinart accident severed the additional digits and her powers, B.C. was forced to fall back on her secondary talent -writing.  Now she lives between the pages of a book - whether she has written it or not.  Since she has not found the surgeon to restore her fingers and powers, she has published three novels to date and contributed to one anthology.  She enjoys writing mystery, paranormal romance, science fiction and fantasy but is always in the mood for a challenge to branch out.  You can follow her crime fighting or writing at:

Twitter - @BCBrownBooks
Facebooks - www.facebook.com/bcbrowns.books
Blog/Buy Link - www.bcbrownbooks.blogspot.com

BLURB:

Abigail St. Michael, a former cop, has joined the recently growing ranks of metaphysicals, individuals with abilities outside that of normal human nature. When a murderer stalks her town killing children, Abbey uses her ability of touch clairvoyance to hunt him down. Her only roadblock is that her murderer seems to have his own unique talent, the ability to 'wipe' his victims and their surroundings of any metaphysical energy. With little physical evidence and no supernatural evidence, Abbey is forced to rely on instinct and luck to solve the case. However both Abbey's luck and instinct seem to have taken a permanent vacation as the victims keep piling up with the killer's escalating blood lust.

Book Review:
"Touch of Darkness: A witty page turner and will keep you guessing right up to the end! BC Brown combines a snarky sense of humor, intelligent wit, and an exotic 'touch' to this murder mystery. Add the elements of romance, and the reader is left wanting more at the end. A definite recommended read!" - Molly Daniels/Balancing Act

10 comments:

Melissa Keir said...

Yes. We face the down the nose looks at what we write, even sometimes what we read. The books are considered less than quality and little more than porn. Honestly, I've read porn and the difference is in the story. The romance, the characters, the plot... the things that make a wonderful story are what make a wonderful romance or erotic story. We just like our books a little more spicy!

Cara Marsi said...

I really enjoyed your blog and your very creative bio. Yes, all romance writers face snarky backlash. I've had it from strangers and family. I dislike the term "mommy porn." It's a put down of women who read erotic romance. I don't think it matters if we write traditional romance or erotic romance, there will always be those people who think we're not "real" writers.

Sandy said...

B.C., my first book had one real love scene in it, and a friend told me she was surprised. I asked why, and she told me she didn't think I would write something like that.

Along came my second book (most of my books are romantic suspense)and there were several sex scenes. My sister told me it was raunchy. lol
I've really gotten to the point where I don't care what people think as long as they buy the books. Wink!

Paris said...

Erotica and erotic romance have their share of detractors and I've put up with more than one "bless your heart" moments or as you put it "Why would you write that?"

I like to tell people that I enjoy reading erotic romance why wouldn't I enjoy writing it? Then I ask them if they've ever read anything I've written. Most of the time they haven't read erotic romance but seem to have no problem judging it based on the "Mommy Porn" label that's so popular these days.

Loved the funny bio and your book sounds terrific!

jean hart stewart said...

I've learned to mostly shake off the comments from readers who say they don't like porn but read it anyway. Most latest series is erotica and I find it fun to write and I hope to read. But my children won't read it!!!!!!

B.C. Brown said...

Thanks everyone for your insightful comments.

It's sad that people find the need to disparage anyone from writing of any sort. Personally, I've never understood it. But it does seem to be out there.

Regardless, as writers, if we choose to put a love scene in our books or not, the fact that we focus on the story and the characters is what will keep people coming back to our work time and time again.

All the best and BREAK A PEN!
-b

D'Ann said...

I write romance with steamy love scenes...but I don't write Mommy Porn, and frankly hate that term. I don't want to read or write it. Sorry! No offense meant for those who do, but it's not my thing.

Janice Seagraves said...

My mom says she wished I didn't write that stuff. Stuff being sex. My BIL upon hearing that one of my books had been published, promptly announced it was probably one of those books with all the sex in them.

Yes, there is still a stigma attached them erotica and there probably always will be. Also it's considered an easy to enter market.

Whatever. There's more people who like it then don't like it.

I enjoy writing the fast simmering attraction and then the consummation of the sex act that bound two people together. I think romance sweetens the different sub-genres I write in.

Janice~

Elf2060 said...

People have the strangest ideas about where they draw the lines in their ideas of what is acceptable. I am always impressed by the poise with which you authors answer some of the most inane questions or comments but I figure that you at least save on therapy by writing obnoxious people into your books so that you can answer them the way you REALLY want to!

jean hart stewart said...

I've recently switched to erotica and find it sometimes difficulty to portray the true emotion you want, but it's always fun to write. T'aint easy though, so I do wonder at questions that imply that is it.

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