January 16, 2015

The Guys Have It: What Makes a Man's Romance?

It's the thought that counts ... but some thoughts count more than others.
It’s the thought that counts … but some thoughts count more than others.

By Alexa Day

It’s been a very exciting week! My colleague, C. Margery Kempe, loaned me her blog day so that I could celebrate my new release, “1-800.” It’s a hot little story told from the male POV, about how one man’s search for the perfect Valentine’s Day gift leads him to a sexually explicit home shopping channel. The story’s out today on Amazon, and I’ve enjoyed reading this week’s posts on What Men Want.

I’ve only gotten to visit the male voice intermittently as a romance writer, but I enjoy hanging out on the dude’s side of the book. While it’s certainly a story for both men and women, “1-800” is supposedly a men’s romance, but what makes a men’s romance a men’s romance?

Is it coarse language? My vision of the erotic romance for men includes a vocabulary that’s more vulgar than my other work — and I definitely like writing coarse sexual language under normal circumstances. I think men are not as inhibited when it comes to talking dirty (and thinking dirtier), but love does have a way of taming even the filthiest tongue. My hero, Jason, isn’t above mental vulgarity, but when he’s with his lady love, Kate, he manages to keep it relatively clean. She inspires him to be his best self.

Click to buy.
Click to buy.

I also think men enjoy a little more freedom in the variety of their sexual thoughts. They don’t seem to be working around the same kind of guilt and shame that keep so many women from exploring sexual thoughts and fantasies. To the extent that any of our thoughts is “normal,” I think the range of “normal thoughts” is broader for men than it is for women, as far as society is concerned. But here, again, love changes things. No matter how wild his afternoon of home shopping gets, Jason’s fantasy world revolves around Kate. She’s his reason for watching, and he never forgets it.

There might be less difference than ever between a “regular” erotic romance and its counterpart intended for men. With greater access to a wider variety of work, we’re all able to experiment with the same turn-ons, with no regard for gendered distinctions. I hope we’re on the way to an audience with an equal footing in both genders. That’ll make for an interesting shift, and I look forward to working both sides of the fence.

And now, since you’ve hung out with us this week, here’s a tiny little peek at “1-800.” Enjoy!

The girl in red waved at the camera. “Hi!” she said. “I’m Cassidy.”

Merry widow waved. “And I’m Marissa.”

Then, in unison, they announced, “And this is…The Toy Box!”

The two of them put their arms around each other’s shoulders and tittered like this was going to be the most exciting television show in the world. He put the remote on the table.

“We’d like to welcome you to the Valentine’s edition of the most popular show on the Shop From Home Channel,” said Cassidy.

“But these toys are for grown-up boys and girls,” said Marissa. “So if you’re under eighteen, you need to change the channel.”

They stood there and giggled some more.

Come on, kiddies, he thought. Change the damn channel.

“All right, then,” said Marissa. “Now we’re ready to show you some awesome gifts that are sure to spice up your special day.”

This was probably going to be something lame, like crotchless panties or a cake pan shaped like a dick. But he kept watching. Just to be sure. Until one of those games turned around.

“Why don’t we get this party started with one of our most popular goodies?” asked Marissa. “Cassidy?”

“This is our Little Giant,” Cassidy said. She held up her hand, one finger extended as if she were pointing at the ceiling. She had a little gizmo on her fingertip that looked for all the world like one of those little vibrators. “It’s a great present for a special someone you might like to know a little better.”

“I’ll take some calls while you give us a demo, Cassidy,” said Marissa.

A demo. Like the people in TV Land needed her to show them where the on switch was. Actually, he and Kate had gotten a toy once where the button was hidden in the—

Cassidy had walked to the back of the set, where she tucked her thumbs into the waistband of those festive red panties and pulled them down, bending at her waist and supplying just the right amount of jiggle. Then she hopped up onto a chaise longue and spread her legs, bending them at the knee. Jason felt his mouth drop open.

What the hell channel was this?

For a good time, you can pick up “1-800” right now. And you can catch up with the rest of the Lady Smut crew on their blog tour. And then you can make sure you’re following us. We keep things pretty exciting over here.

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