Today we welcome Tour Author Torie James, a wonderful colleague and friend. Torie and I have shared a publisher, and editor, and even a table at a local pop art convention. I've read and loved her New Camelot series as well as the first in this new series, The Cloie Chronicles, and I'm exceptionally excited to have her on today's Tour Day!
I've loved reading since I was old enough to hold a book in my lap. While my friends were out playing, I was generally curled up nearby falling down rabbit holes, catching second stars to the right, and stepping through wardrobes into mysterious lands and countless adventures. When those stories ended, I made up my own and kept going.
This later on translated into a strong passion for writing that has helped me keep my feet on the ground and my head in the clouds.
Lover of Dr. Pepper, all things chocolate, and Duran Duran, my dreams finally became a reality with the publication of Timeless Night, with the amazing people at Breathless Press. Timeless Night begat Timeless Desire. I'm currently working on the third book in the series, Timeless Surrender. I've also written several short erotica tales called Fractured Fantasies on top of beginning the sequel to Ties That Bind: The Cloie Chronicles with my writing partner, Jammie Lynn.
Nice word, eh? Romance and erotica. "Romantica".
As a paranormal romance writer, I stumbled into erotica by complete accident but I had a pretty good inclination of what I'd be getting into. I can wholly admit, however, that despite what I thought I knew, I really didn't know dick about it.
Did "don't know dick about it" make you blink a little? Yes, that was intended to shock you. Erotica is shocking, if you're new to it. But if you think it's just pornography with a pretty tag, think again.
First and foremost, I’ve found that there are people who have preconceived notions about the art of writing erotica and erotic romance. Don't get me wrong, I had misconceptions of my own, and that's led to much trial and error as I work to refine my craft and learn how better to please my audience.
1. It’s not all about the sex—really. While sex does play a key role in erotica, the sex itself is secondary to the development of the characters and plot. A good erotica writer knows that, no matter how great the sex is, there still needs to be a good, solid story if one wants to hold a reader’s interest.
2. Dynamics sell. Flat characters never go far, but in erotica, you really do have your work cut out for you when it comes to creating believable and entertaining character dynamics. Dashing heroes make for great romance and passionate love-making, but they won’t keep the story going. Think about the characteristics that you find most entertaining, and then brainstorm: Readers like characters who use fun dialog, have a good sense of humor, and make interesting choices. What types of hobbies, beliefs or interests might help to develop your characters–and give them something in common? The hero must be worth pursuing, and the heroine must be worthy of her hero.
3. Perspective is pivotal. Most readers prefer erotica shown from the female perspective, unless the work is written specifically for readers of M/M (man on man). If you have an idea for a heterosexual erotic story with the hero taking full lead, consider ways you might revise it to focus more on the female’s point of view. Some (very limited) authors have found success in shifting through both points of view, and it works well in some circumstances, but many editors will frown on the “head hopping” of internal dialog.
4. Mixed-genre erotica and erotic romance are all the rage. While many readers still enjoy straight erotica, mixed-genre erotica is a great avenue to take for writers looking for their niche. Use your literary interests to your advantage and write what you like, letting the erotic aspects work as an added feature to your work. You’ll have more fun writing, and that will shine through to your readers.
5. Know your target audience and make sure you brand your work accordingly. Are you writing for fans of erotic romance or other subgenres? Make sure that romance is a strong part of your plot if you’re planning on marketing to erotic romance readers, and make sure you’re clear about your subgenres. Let your audience know what they’re in for before they read your work: if you are including kinky or gay/lesbian aspects to your story, or if you are incorporating audience-specific subgenres such as horror, steampunk, or hard science fiction, be clear about those aspects in your marketing. Readers do not respond well to these types of surprises.
6. Don’t be afraid to take chances. One point that I cannot stress enough is the importance to be innovative and unique in your erotica. There are only so many ways to write a traditional sex scene, and they can become repetitive and boring. Use your subgenres to your advantage. What is it about your characters or their circumstances that you can use to make your erotica different? What limits can you break, without crossing the line?
7. Don’t be too quick to relieve your audience of the romantic and/or sexual tension. Let it build, let it fall, let a heart or two break, and then give the readers what they’ve been waiting for.
8. Great sex doesn’t always have to include love. While erotic romance is a hot market right now, don’t underestimate the power of pure, raw, primal sex. It can be fun and interesting to develop characters that make their moves based on pure attraction, the love/hate dichotomy, and revenge or rebound.
9. Don’t forget the foreplay. Just as it is important to build sexual tension, it is also important to make sure your characters don’t jump into the act of lovemaking too quickly. Foreplay helps to add to the sexual tension you’ve already built between your characters, and it makes that final “climactic” release all the more satisfying.
10. Be tactful about your ending. Like romance, erotica and erotic romance readers tend to expect a “happily ever after” or “happy for now” ending. Don’t let your audience down by offering them a great story, only to leave them hanging or disappointed by the characters’ outcomes. Even cliffhangers in series need to give the readers hope that all is well, if at least for the time being. If the main couple does not end up together, make sure there is a good reason for it, and that they are better off going their separate ways.
10. (A) After I wrote this up, I realized that I completely choked on this tip in regards to my Fractured Fantasies Collection. *chuckles* I'm a hypocrite! However, in my defense, this particular project's entire premise is dark, twisty and not-so-happy. Think Twilight Zone with salacious sex. Toss in some M. Night Shyamalan...you know? Erotica with a twist! It's something I'm still attempting to refine and polish as I go.
Writing erotica can be a fun and rewarding venture, but as with any genre there are rules to which the author must adhere. While rules can sometimes be stretched or even broken, knowing your audience and your market will go a long way in helping you to promote your work. Have fun, write what you like, but make sure that you’re also writing with your target audience in mind.
* * *
Social Media Links:
* * *
Fate always finds a way...
For thousands of years, the Gods of Olympus and Asgard have warred, each determined to establish dominion over the Earth. Both pantheons grow weary and in a slick unprecedented move, Zeus and Odin design a plan to unite their realms.
Clotho, the youngest Greek Fate bears many burdens and secrets but none greater than the one she doesn't even realize she carries.
Soren, a proud and ancient Viking warrior holds the power of demons and gods, but not by his own choice. More importantly, he holds the heart of the very woman who broke his own.
Dagr, grandson of Odin and heir to Asgard, desires little more than ultimate power and when offered Cloie's hand in marriage to cement his place, eagerly agrees. But he has his own reasons for wanting the baby Fate in his grasp...and bed.
Passions collide and betrayals abound when the First Evil is unleashed on Gods and man alike. Cloie holds the key to all destruction and salvation.
Her secret will save the world...
* * *
* * *
"Smile, child. This is your wedding day."
Cloie stared straight ahead, refusing to meet Zeus's gaze, although she heard thick lust coloring each word. The leisurely stroke of his hand swept down her arm in proprietary fashion, lingering along the gentle swell of her right hip before he stopped.
“I’d smile were the groom of my choosing, Papa.”
Zeus’s fingers curled around the nape of her neck, holding her in place. The stinging, heat of his powers seared her flesh with lacerating pain, causing her to flinch once, then grow still. She refused to shed a tear or make a single sound. Despite the burning agony, she wouldn't give her stepfather the satisfaction.
“I know well what your choice would be, Clotho. I’m about to make you Goddess Queen of the Norse Pantheon and you still defy me! For your idiot pet!" Zeus’s hot breath washed over her ear, his lips brushing the delicate shell. His grip on her neck tightened, the acrid stench of scorched flesh choking her.
“He’s not my pet.” She bit out, coughing.
“He is nothing! He lives because of Odin's stupidity and your defiance! And you would be his whore!”
“Better his whore than your daughter.” Defiance flared in her voice.
Snarling, the Greek King of the Gods shook her like a rag doll, forcing her to meet his blazing cerulean eyes. “You will marry Dagr. You will act as befits the daughter of Zeus and a Queen of Asgard. If at any time, I sense Dagr’s unhappiness with this union or you, I myself will destroy Soren. If you disobey me, the same. I see defiance in your eyes, Clotho. And arrogance. I can't kill him but I can make him wish for death. His quality of life depends on your performance and your obedience to your loving Papa.”
Always using her heart against her. His modus operandi never wavered. It worked every time. And well the Olympian knew it.
“Then best you get me to the altar, Papa.”
Each word was laced with careful respect, all rebellion gone from her in the face of his threat. She'd harmed Soren enough, she would not allow Zeus to lay one finger on the keeper of her heart. Cloie kept her face impassive when Zeus released her, swallowing hard past the knot of anguish his hands on her skin had caused. Clever God, none would see the wounds he'd inflicted with her hair down as it was. Unbound hair to attest to her innocence. Ha!
“I will marry Dagr. I will be a most worthy Queen and helpmate. I shall unite Norse and Greeks together as no other union has. I will do all of this and more.” She slid dainty fingers around his elbow while he used his powers to swing aside the silky curtains of the white tent Hera insisted she have to prepare in. “But by my own word, if you ever lay a harmful hand on Soren, it will be the last time you have such.”
“Empty threats, child. And well you know it. Just do as I tell you and there will be no need. You’ll thank me when you are ruling Asgard.”
“Don’t you mean when you are ruling?”