Posted in Uncategorized
February 19, 2014

My Secrets Are Safe With Me

Sensual couple in a sexy poseBy Elizabeth Shore

We’re all aware of the old adage, “write what you know.” For some writers, that wisdom is like a mantra. John Grisham, attorney, writing legal thrillers. Same with Dr. Robin Cook on the medical front. They have the expertise and credentials to write novels in their chosen fields, and readers trust that the facts relevant to their backgrounds are correct. Those authors are, indeed, writing what they know. But when that logic is shifted to writers of erotic romance, should the adage even apply?

Let’s begin by stating the obvious. Erotic romance authors presumably “know” their subject matter, at least to a degree. Statistics provided by the Kinsey Institute indicate that by age 24, 92% of women and 89% of men have had sexual intercourse. Given that, for the most part, we’re all in or above that age bracket, we can statistically state that we have first-hand relevant knowledge of our topic. However, have I participated in wild sadomasochistic orgies, or copulated outdoors? Maybe. Do I retain card-carrying member status of an alternative lifestyle underground sex club? It’s possible. Or not. The truth is, there’s not a chance in hell that I’m going to publicly air any of my street cred on those fronts. No way, Jose. Those are secrets I’m keeping to myself.

I recently had a conversation with someone where we shared with each other how we respond to the age-old question, “what do you do for a living?” In his case, his job is so highly skilled and technical that the follow-up questions are more along the lines of an effort to understand what the heck he’s even talking about. But for me, if I reveal that I write erotic romance, what follows is a certain lascivious gleam in the eye that tells me the person is simply bursting with wanting to know where and how I get my ideas. After all, I must be writing what I know, right? So, gee, how do I actually know all of that naughty stuff?

It’s interesting how boundaries will sometimes evaporate when people learn that we write in the erotic romance genre. The respect for personal space disappears and people seem to think it’s perfectly OK to inquire about how I get my ideas on crafting sex scenes just because I’ve revealed that I write them.

The question I never get, but which I would willingly answer, is why I write in this genre. Why erotic romance versus inspirational romance, for example? The simple answer is because I like it. I sometimes cook up a pot of bolognese because I like to eat it, just as I write erotic romance because I like to read it. I’m fascinated by the psychological association between relationships and sex, and the complex range of emotions that go along with  the decision to have a physical relationship with someone. When I’m reading a romance and things start heating up between my hero and heroine, there’s no way I’m going to be content if the scene ends by closing the bedroom door. Say what?! No way. Not only do I want that door to stay open, I want a play-by-play of the action. What’s going on physically in the couple’s bodies and emotionally in their heads. I want to know it, and I like to write it.

A year ago I wrote a post about the fact that I’m not, contrary to what some people may think when they learn I wrote erotic romance, a sex goddess. I’m a writer, plain and simple, and erotic romance is my genre. But where exactly I get my ideas for those deliciously naughty scenes and whether or not I have relevant first-hand experience is a secret that stays safely with me.

What do you think, writers? Are you ever asked crazy questions about where you get your ideas? Find your inspiration? Sound off below, and don’t forget to follow us at Lady Smut. We’ll keep your secret.

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  • Post authorMadeline Iva

    Oh yes–guy writer friends inevitably ask for your pen name, and I never tell. I used to get a little peeved too. Like Dude, you’re married why do you want to check out the smutty stuff I write? It skeezes me out.

    Definitely some women want to know too — and *gulp* even neighbors. I couldn’t write any of this stuff if I knew they were reading it.

    Meanwhile, there’s nothing more judge-y than a reader who hasn’t tried the sex you’re writing about.

    Reply to Madeline Iva
  • Post authorLizEverly

    Last night, I told my mystery writing students my romance author pen name. There were a few jokes, I laughed, and we went on with the class. I’m trying to project an ‘it’s not a big deal” attitude when I talk about it. I’m careful about who I tell, of course, because I live in the Bible Belt and have kids. But I figure I’m safe with a group of other writers. So yes, sometimes I want to write about murder, and sometimes I want to write about sex–and sometimes I cook up a pot of bolognese. 😉

    Reply to LizEverly
  • Post authorAuthor Charmaine Gordon

    My daughter read my first book. She called and said, “Mother, you don’t know about all ‘that’.” She forgot she’s the youngest of too many and her dad and I didn’t just hold hands for thirty seven years. Now when she reads each book, she probably skips the love-making scenes-or not-but she’s never mentioned it since.
    Another hit post, Elizabeth. I do enjoy Lady Smut.

    Reply to Author Charmaine Gordon
  • Post authorelfahearn

    You tell ’em sister! It’s nobody’s beeswax where you get your ideas, and every novelist should be allowed her imagination and her reality. Where the two meet has always been a blurred line.

    Reply to elfahearn
  • Post authorLucy Lit

    This was a right on post! I’ve just dipped my toe into erotic romance writing and will be self-publishing my debut novel soon. Reactions thus far have been limited. Two friends who have known me for over ten years physically backed away from me as though I had a disease when they found out. Can you say ‘playground cooties?’ Oldest daughter’s only reaction was “You’re not writing about you and Dad, are you? Because I don’t want to read about your sex life. Eww.” Nope. My writing is from my imagination, not my bedroom diary.

    Reply to Lucy Lit
    • Post authorElizabeth Shore

      Exactly, Lucy. “Playground cooties” – ! Good one.

      Reply to Elizabeth Shore
  • Post authorBarbara Mikula

    LOL!!! I am frequently asked if I write from experience, and I always answer, “Of course!” Really? I know there are a few writers out there who actually are in the “lifestyle”, and I have learned a lot from them. I have to say that I also write erotic romance BECAUSE I LIKE IT. There is nothing to be ashamed of there. Sex is a wonderful part of life, and GOOD sex is a gift from God. – Skye Michaels

    Reply to Barbara Mikula
    • Post authorMadeline Iva

      If you’ve got it, you’ve got it. Some people just can’t write a hot sex scene and that’s all there is to it. I’ve cringed through a few sex scene in mysteries in my time.

      Reply to Madeline Iva
    • Post authorElizabeth Shore

      I’m going with with that one, too, Skye.

      Question: “So, Elizabeth, do you write from experience?”
      Me: “Of course. What did you think? That I just made it all up?!”

      Reply to Elizabeth Shore

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