Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

Thursday Midday Links: Is Harlequin Trying to Move the Brand Away...

I was contacted last week about a program called “The Fresh Air Fund”. The program sets up host families for children in need. You can check out more at this link.

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Jon L is the creator of a new blog which uses the Amazon API to try and create lists of new releases and pre-orders for various genres, one of which is romance.   New blog is called newebook releases.blogspot.com.   John is not a romance reader and has not done a lot of editing to his list, however,  it appears to be a good resource.

Some of the links that may be of interest are:

Jon  is fielding questions and comments about how to make this list more usable so please go over and give some input if you feel that this would be useful for you.

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BookCountry, the self publishing and genre book community arm of Penguin, hosted an interview with Adam Wilson, a Harlequin Books Associate Editor.

DP: What are the trends in romance for HQN right now? What specifically have you been looking for in an acquisition so far in 2011?

AW: I kind of hate discussing “trends” because potential authors pick them up and run with them a little too literally. As you know, forecasting is always difficult when the typical lead-time to market is one year. However, MIRA has been expanding its trade program, especially by bringing in more commercial literary projects, so we definitely see that as a trend. In the YA world, dystopian is still going strong, and we’re pretty excited about what we see as a contemporary romance strain coming in there, too. Personally, I love seeing the trials of ‘normal’ kids, instead of 100% vampire-populated schools.

….

I’ve personally come to think of projects less in terms of “romance” than in terms of “women readers.” So, when I mention what I’m looking for, I’m thinking along those lines. Will there be a love story involved? 99% of the time, yes. But for me, romance can be such a loaded term that it really doesn’t say much about the rich texture of the various storytellers we publish.

Is Harlequin trying to move away from the romance label? I’ve wondered about that with the offerings from HQN and MIRA that seem less romance focused. I’m becoming a little leery of the books in those lines because I am unsure about what kind of resolutions will be included in the stories.  It’s an interesting interview.  Adam Wilson did a number of acquisitions for the Spice line which is definitely more erotica than erotic romance.  I’ve actually stopped buying and reading Spice Briefs because they are too focused on erotica.  What’s everyone else feeling on this?

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The end of this month was to be the deadline by which apps which played or displayed content purchased outside of Apple’s ecosystem had to either start offering in app buying links or else.  This policy affected reading apps because there was no way, under Agency pricing, that Amazon et al could continue to offer its apps and still make any kind of profit.  Under Agency, these retailers only get 30% of the sale and for in app purchases, Apple would demand 30% of the sale.  Fortunately, Apple has “blinked” as one headline suggests. The new guidelines state the following:

Apps can read or play approved content (specifically magazines, newspapers, books, audio, music, and video) that is subscribed to or purchased outside of the app, as long as there is no button or external link in the app to purchase the approved content. Apple will not receive any portion of the revenues for approved content that is subscribed to or purchased outside of the app.

I think that this is vague enough to allow Amazon to have a link that launches safari and loads a web page that tells readers that they can download a web app (this would be outside the apple store) to make their Kindle purchases.

Read more at MacRumors.

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I have no idea whether this is a legitimate company but I figured I would post it with the caveat emptor proviso.

June 9, 2011—One lucky e-book writer can win free copyediting from the professional editors at www.eBookEditingPro.com! To enter, go to our website— http://www.eBookEditingPro.com —scroll to the bottom of the page and hit the “Like” button. We’ll pick a winner July 1.

We offer self-published authors copyediting services provided by experienced, professional copyeditors. Writers who are serious about their career and want to put out a professional product can have their books edited for as little as $125. We know indie writers aren’t rich, but we also know they want to put out the best product they can. That’s why we offer editing services that are so affordable.

Authors receive two copies of their books—one with edits clearly visible and one completely polished manuscript. This gives authors the ability to go through the edits carefully. eBookEditingPro edits for spelling, grammar, word use, consistency, and accuracy only. We won’t change the story or the writer’s unique voice.

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Digital Bookworld had a post about how publicists (and authors) can develop relationships (business ones) with bloggers.  I liked this part:

It’s good to know the traffic of blogs, but don’t dismiss bloggers with less traffic. It is important to look at the “full reach” of a blogger. Sometimes blog features from smaller blogs can generate more chatter on social networks. It’s a good idea to follow them on Twitter and “Like” them on Facebook to check out their social networks. Some bloggers post reviews on multiple sites so they can be more valuable for that reason alone. Remember also, that placements on niche sites (with less traffic) can sometimes be more effective than placements on a large general interest site.

Smaller bloggers definitely can make a big impact.  For authors, there are links to bloggers by genre but I would warn you that the list is not very accurate. Many blogs listed in the romance don’t review romance and the major romance blogs that I visit aren’t on there.  Smart BitchesBookpushers, Booksmugglers, Smexy BooksBookbinge, Katidom, LiterarySluts, KristieJ, Wendy, etc.

I qualified relationships here because I think some readers and maybe some bloggers assume relationships lead to dishonesty in blogging.  Relationships just means that you trust the other person in a business sense.  For example, I have a business relationship with various publicists including the ones at Avon.  After I tweeted about the deals yesterday, I wrote up a post about the deals and let Avon know that I was doing the post.  At first we thought that there were only about a dozen books on sale but then we found out there were over 60.  Avon sent me a list of books that I could post.  I turned the list into buy links and posted them here.  But my relationship with Avon that facilitated the list of books being sent to me doesn’t mean I’m going to give all Avon books a positive grade and Avon knows that.  A relationship works both ways, with them understanding that we have an obligation and duty of being honest and forthright in our reviews and that if we violate that obligation, our recommendations become meaningless.

I think the booksmugglers have a great post about how bloggers are not subordinate to publishers and do not work for publishers.

This makes us frustrated because we are not publisher subordinates. We aren’t their employees. As awesome as free books are, they aren’t really that huge of an incentive. If you, dear reader, are anything like us Smugglers, you probably buy a shameful amount of books on your own. Here at Smuggler Headquarters, we buy just as many books (who are we kidding – we probably buy more) as we get for “free.”

We bloggers do what we do because we love reading. Because of this shared love for reading, we occupy a unique position in the increasingly effective online world – people trust us and our opinions. Or, they hate us and our opinions. The point is, people hear us and engage, individually and collectively. This amounts to a helluva lot in a world where professional review outlets are shrinking and communities are becoming more socially driven by the powers of teh interwebs.

We celebrate and promote the deals, books, and concepts of our choosing and not that of any other publisher or author.  And any relationships we have with authors are premised on the very same idea.  The blogger relationship with the readership is inviolate and we can do nothing that would compromise that relationship.  The authors and publicists and editors that we know and have relationships with understand this or we don’t have relationships with them. Boy, I used relationships a lot but you get my drift right?

This is no different than what Rose Fox says at PW:

If you fear that a friend of yours is not sensible and will be offended by you not automatically declaring their work the best ever simply because you are friends, either stop being friends with them or cope with their irrationality, but don’t pass the buck. Your friends are your problem.

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Jeff Bezos gave an in-depth statements at the Amazon.com shareholder meeting. If you want to know more about Amazon’s philosophy (they aren’t afraid of failure) and where they are going (to continue to innovate), these statements are worth a read. One interesting point Jeff Bezos made was that the worst thing that comes out of a failing project is increased operating margin when the failed project finally gets the ax.

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I’ve been hearing some CRAZY “self” publishing deals agents are striking with their authors. These publishing agreements shouldn’t be passing the smell test and RWA shouldn’t be allowing these publishing houses disguised as agencies to come and accept pitches but so much secrecy is surrounding these deals, that I think it’s going to continue to get worse before it gets better.  Peter Cox at Redhammer goes in detail as to why agents publishing their authors books is asking for trouble.

Maybe those agents who have cut these sort of deals haven’t really considered all the implications – I don’t know.  I certainly hope they have great liability insurance.

I also hope they fully understand how to publish their clients effectively in the digital domain.  I hope they have all the necessary technical and marketing expertise and resources to do a great online publishing job.  I hope they won’t stint on the advertising and marketing budgets.  I hope they won’t favor one client ahead of another.  I hope the contract will have a review period which will allow the author to go elsewhere if the agent makes a hash of it.  Fingers crossed on all those points.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

38 Comments

  1. Lisa J
    Jun 09, 2011 @ 10:28:51

    “It’s an interesting interview. Adam Wilson did a number of acquisitions for the Spice line which is definitely more erotica than erotic romance. I’ve actually stopped buying and reading Spice Briefs because they are too focused on erotica.”

    Jane, I totally agree. I tried a couple, but I really didn’t care for them. No more for me.

    ReplyReply

  2. Jackie Barbosa
    Jun 09, 2011 @ 10:50:06

    Adam was the editor who acquired both my Spice Briefs, Grace Under Fire, which came out in April and Taking Liberties, which is due to release in January. Both are erotic ROMANCES in my opinion, although due to their briefness (right at the limit), you might need to take the endings as HFN’s rather than completely convincing HEA’s.

    But one reason I think the briefs have trended more toward erotica and away from romance is that it is pretty difficult to craft a convincing path to an HEA in 5k-15k words. I’m planning to write a third story that I originally pitched to Spice Briefs this summer and releasing it myself (it’s loosely related to both of the other two stories) in September or October, and I must say that it will be nice not to be constrained by that upper limit of 15,000 words!

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  3. Maili
    Jun 09, 2011 @ 11:29:17

    Will there be a love story involved? 99% of the time, yes. But for me, romance can be such a loaded term that it really doesn’t say much about the rich texture of the various storytellers we publish.

    I’m trying to decide how to interpret that. Loaded to whom, and how so?

    I think I have an issue with the last line. Doesn’t every genre have ‘the rich texture of the various storytellers’? Oh, wait. Romance has a bad reputation and other genres don’t, hence this possible move to give it any name but ‘Romance’? Same body, different face? Or did I misunderstand?

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  4. LG
    Jun 09, 2011 @ 11:37:40

    @Maili: I agree – isn’t “romance” only a loaded term for non-romance readers? I’d very much prefer a romance novel being called romance than a bunch of books that might be erotica, romance, erotic romance, women’s fiction, etc. all lumped together under a phrase like “books for women readers.” It’ll just lead to disappointed readers.

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  5. Gwen Hayes
    Jun 09, 2011 @ 11:41:27

    I do not really understand the agent-slash-publisher thing. How can they do both effectively? Would the client need to hire an attorney or freelance agent to vet contract then? How else would you feel safe? How could you believe that the agent tried to sell your book to the best possible advantage when you both know they stand to make more money if they keep it in house?

    I think you can do one or the other, but not both. If an agency needs to morph into a publisher because times are changing and that is what is best for them, fine. But in my opinion, they cannot be both things.

    My agent represents me and my long-term career. My publishers have different needs. while I am sure my publishers all want me to succeed, they are in it for the snapshot of the life of the current book–not me as a whole.

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  6. SuperWendy
    Jun 09, 2011 @ 11:45:17

    Mira moved away from “just romance” years ago, which is why I assumed (don’t know for sure!) the single title HQN line was eventually launched. Mira used to publish quite a bit of mystery/suspense, although in recent memory there seems to be less of that and more what I call “book-club-y” fiction in trade paperback. Quite a bit of it has been reviewed positively in the trade journals, and I’ve picked up several titles for work.

    I will say I haven’t noticed the HQN imprint moving away from romance per se – but I honestly haven’t paid that close attention. The only single titles I seem to be reading these days are historicals, just because that seems to be where my head is at right now. I’m also mostly just buying category these days because, like whoa, my TBR is mammoth. I could not buy anything for 10 years and never run out of stuff to read.

    Re: Spice Briefs – I actually like them when they tend to be more erotica-oriented. But I came to the steamy side of things pre-erotic-romance boom, so that probably explains it. I have read erotic-romance stories in that line, but like Jackie mentioned, the ones that have worked the best for me feature a HFN as opposed to a full-blown HEA. At the end of the day, as long as I’m left with a positive-vibe from the ending, I can generally roll with ‘em.

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  7. Amy from Harlequin
    Jun 09, 2011 @ 11:53:43

    With HQN, it’s very safe to say that you’re going to get a romance. It may be rom suspense, historical, contemporary, paranormal, etc., but I don’t think I’ve ever seen an HQN that didn’t have significant romantic elements.

    MIRAs you do get that mix, though. There are romances in there (Susan Wiggs, Sherryl Woods, etc. — many authors that have been in MIRA for a long time, I believe before the HQN imprint existed) along with straight thrillers and literary fiction.

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  8. Gwen Hayes
    Jun 09, 2011 @ 11:58:14

    @Gwen Hayes: I guess I should clarify that I am looking at the agent-now-I’m-a-publisher-but-still-your-agent thing from an author standpoint for those who didn’t know I am an author.

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  9. MaryK
    Jun 09, 2011 @ 11:58:32

    “The blogger relationship with the readership is inviolate and we can do nothing that would compromise that relationship. The authors and publicists and editors that we know and have relationships with understand this or we don’t have relationships with them.”

    Yeah, I like this. It goes along with “reviews are for readers” though and some people don’t agree with that.

    ReplyReply

  10. k reads
    Jun 09, 2011 @ 12:14:27

    “Is Harlequin trying to move away from the romance label?”

    I wondered the same thing after seeing the MIRA book, The Kingdom of Childhood, promoted at BEA 2011 as the most “anticipated and controversial” book of the year. It’s about an affair between a boy and his female teacher. Not what I’ve come to expect from HQN/MIRA. Now if the genders were switched and the teacher was a reclusive multi-billionaire who acted as guardian for his teenage ward, waiting until she turned 17 to make her his in all ways possible – that I wouldn’t be surprised by. So I too have been wondering if HQN/MIRA is branching out beyond romance.

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  11. Christine Rimmer
    Jun 09, 2011 @ 12:24:45

    Have to agree with what’s been said above. HQN is def the Romance imprint and Harlequin and Mira is the mainstream women’s fiction arm. I understood that HQN has thrived from the gate simply because it is Harlequin doing what Harlequin does best–only bigger.

    As to all the new permutations of publisher/distributor/agent/whatever in epubbing. My head is seriously spinning. Talk about a wild ride.

    ReplyReply

  12. Karenmc
    Jun 09, 2011 @ 13:28:09

    “I could not buy anything for 10 years and never run out of stuff to read.”

    This is me. I check booksontheknob and dailycheapreads every day for reduced/free books, and the TBR mountain is becoming an entire range. And now that Apple has blinked on the in-app purchase issue, OMG, there’ll be no money left for my family to inherit.

    Also, my head is spinning right along with Christine Rimmer’s. I read all the commentary and just wait to see what eventually shakes out of the trees.

    ReplyReply

  13. Ridley
    Jun 09, 2011 @ 13:46:49

    I don’t buy Spice books because 1. they’re too expensive 2. I don’t know what to expect between the covers. With a Spice book, you might get an erotic romance, or you might get an erotic novel with a tragic or otherwise pessimistic ending.

    I don’t require an HEA in erotica, but I do not enjoy tragic endings in the least.

    MIRA I avoid because I’m under 50. That is a line for the red hats.

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  14. MaryK
    Jun 09, 2011 @ 14:06:26

    @Ridley: There’ve been Spice books with tragic endings?! I generally find erotica to be depressing anyway and with a tragic ending? Yeesh!

    ReplyReply

  15. Dana S
    Jun 09, 2011 @ 15:22:44

    @Ridley: Yup, I have the same problem with Spice Briefs. I remember reading Tracie Sommers’s Tonight My Love and going WTF?!? at the ending. If anyone wants to read it, don’t read the reviews on Amazon, as they contain huge spoilers. The book is very well written, the sex scenes are hot, and I enjoyed it, but I had gone into it expecting it to be erotic romance, instead it was erotica/horror and the ending totally threw me for a loop.

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  16. Jane
    Jun 09, 2011 @ 15:25:11

    @Ridley and @Dana S: I’m still scarred by the Tiffany Reisz one with the BDSM priest and his slave that he loans out to unhappy parishioners but there have been so many that don’t end HFN but end in…I’m not even sure. I just gave up. It was like a game of Russian Roulette. Sometimes you got a romance or a HFN and sometimes you got WTF, CRAZY.

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  17. Carin
    Jun 09, 2011 @ 16:52:36

    I’ve only bought a handful of Spice stories. Mine have all felt HEA or HFN. I just can’t get over how short they are. I think it’s about 40 pages. And that takes me no time at all to read.

    The ones I bought have been far enough apart that each time I forget how short they are. Each time I’ve been happy or ok with the story, but it bugs me that for the price of two spice shorts I could have a whole standard length story. So I vow not to buy them, time goes by, I get lured in by a good blurb, forget and buy another. I’m fine with it being romantic erotica, but I’d be disappointed if I’d really feel awful if it was 40 pages without the HEA/HFN!

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  18. Niveau
    Jun 09, 2011 @ 19:35:45

    I’ve found Mira confusing for ages – I used to assume that it was for women’s/lit fic, but then I’d see the romances, and don’t forget the thrillers! What really made me give up on trying to figure out what the hell it is was finding that all of Maria V. Snyder’s fantasy books are Miras, not Lunas. Why a fantasy didn’t get put in the line specifically designed for fantasies, I don’t know, but it was the final straw. These days I only buy Miras if they’re by an author I know and trust, or very well discounted.

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  19. Christine Rimmer
    Jun 09, 2011 @ 21:03:47

    Should I be laughing about the BDSM priest. I’m sure I shouldn’t. But I am!

    @karenmc, at least I’m not alone!

    ReplyReply

  20. Kelly L.
    Jun 09, 2011 @ 22:39:49

    The Study books were originally released as Lunas, IIRC. But my best guess is that they did extremely well with a wide variety of audiences, because next thing I knew, they were released as Miras with romancey covers, Harlequin Teens with YA-y covers, and probably some other imprints I’m not even remembering. But I’m pretty sure they started in Luna.

    ReplyReply

  21. dm
    Jun 09, 2011 @ 23:09:07

    Wow. I missed the Spice with the BDSM priest but read the one with the snuff ending–Tonight, My Love by Tracie Sommers. I don’t mind HFN endings in erotica. I do object to snuff. SPOILER: The story is largely told from the POV of a young prostitute picked up by a couple of Victorian swingers. They get it on, she has a great time…they kill her.

    ReplyReply

  22. Ridley
    Jun 09, 2011 @ 23:18:43

    @dm: See, that I can’t deal with. I’d have been furious if I bought that book. I still regret buying Tempted by Meghan Hart.

    ReplyReply

  23. MaryK
    Jun 10, 2011 @ 00:18:38

    @dm: O_O Good grief, I had no idea! I have a couple of the Spice Brief Collections. I guess I won’t even be reading them now!

    I don’t see any reviews for that Sommers story on Amazon. Could they have been removed because they had spoilers? I consider that an obligatory spoiler.

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  24. Christine Rimmer
    Jun 10, 2011 @ 00:23:22

    @Kelly L.: That’s the way I remember it, too. Snyder was at Luna first.

    ReplyReply

  25. Mitzi H
    Jun 10, 2011 @ 01:09:51

    All I can say/add is; a) I’ve never been a HQ subscriber, b) I’ve bought a couple of HQ’s Spice Brief stories ‘in ebook format’ because I recognized the name of author (and it was one I previously read/liked), c) It was recommended by other readers that enjoy ‘hot’ romance, d) I’ve not been disappointed with my purchases to date.

    I simply hope HQ will continue selling ‘erotic’ or ‘erotica’ romance stories, be it under the Spice Category or a different/new one…I don’t care as long as it is available to read/purchase.

    ReplyReply

  26. Nonny
    Jun 10, 2011 @ 06:30:44

    @Niveau

    I believe the Snyder books were published in MIRA after they restructured Luna to be an urban fantasy/paranormal romance only line (with the exception of a couple big name authors). They basically closed to new non urban fantasy submissions, which disappointed a lot of my writer friends who were planning on subbing there.

    As far as Spice, I was always under the impression that both the main and Briefs line were women’s literary erotica, not erotic romance, so I never go into their books expecting a HEA, although most of the ones I’ve read have had a HFN or HEA.

    ReplyReply

  27. Jane
    Jun 10, 2011 @ 10:07:59

    @dm Wow. I kind of think snuff books published by Harlequin need a little warning!

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  28. dm
    Jun 10, 2011 @ 10:25:07

    @Ridley and MaryK

    Honestly, I’m baffled by the radio silence around that book. I thought about writing a review, but then realized there was no way to do it without spoiling the end. But it was a truly nasty surprise. I find most Spice titles disappointing. I found that one offensive. There’s more than a whiff of misogyny to giving your heroine a good time in bed and then gutting her.

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  29. Jackie Barbosa
    Jun 10, 2011 @ 10:33:11

    @dm: Shades of Looking for Mr. Goodbar? But yeah, I would think that should come with a warning label. Even though I don’t necessarily expect happy endings in erotica, the death of the POV character is definitely going to be a major buzz-kill.

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  30. Jill Sorenson
    Jun 10, 2011 @ 11:15:22

    I read that Spice story by Sommers. It was edgy erotica, not romance, and well-written. That and another f/f/m Brief (Miami Menage) were okay, but pure sex and too short. There just isn’t enough there to justify the price. Maybe I’m a cheapskate. Okay, definitely.

    I’ve read some Spice anthologies that I’ve liked, as well as novels by Meghan Hart and Eden Bradley. The writing is high quality IMO.

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  31. Tiffany Reisz
    Jun 10, 2011 @ 11:46:35

    @Jane:

    Oh my God! That’s so hilarious. I’m sorry I scarred you. ;) Eleanor isn’t his slave, by the way. Just his submissive. She could have said her safe word and ended it at any time. And the BDSM priest doesn’t lend her out to unhappy parishioners. Daniel isn’t a parishioner. He’s just an old friend. People into the BDSM scene understand the dynamic. I get it can be off-putting to people not familiar with kink. I was hoping the bondage-themed cover art and the blurb that describes the book as having D/s elements would turn away readers not comfortable with that world.

    SEVEN DAY LOAN is a prequel to SIREN coming out in November. So it’s just a slice of Eleanor’s life. She’s a very happy, well-adjusted, super kinky lady. No need to worry about her.

    Don’t be scarred! Hugs!
    Tiffany Reisz

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  32. MaryK
    Jun 10, 2011 @ 14:03:09

    I knew Spice was supposed to be edgy and have no guarantee of an HEA but I don’t mind the occasional open ending and a lot of the stories seemed to be strongly romantic. Plus, it’s Harlequin so I guess I just didn’t believe there’d be anything anti-HEA. I certainly know better now!

    If they are trying to expand the brand (to attract a wider audience?), they ought to make sure their current audience is really clear about what can be relied on as traditional romance and what can’t.

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  33. dm
    Jun 10, 2011 @ 16:24:55

    @Jill Sorenson

    I agree that the Spice titles are well-written. And I’m also with you on the pricing. They do deliver quality in terms of prose. It’s the storytelling that I find lacking. I thought the Countess Trilogy was terrific, an almost perfect piece of erotic writing, but very few of their other titles have measured up.

    I’ve always thought that the old saw about men preferring visual sexual content and women preferring verbal sexual content missed the most important difference between the two: story. I read erotica for emotionally charged sex scenes. Great erotica contextualizes sexual acts, gives the characters real emotional stakes, makes each sex scene a turning point in the story. The “edge” I’m looking for comes from the emotional stakes attached to the act being described, and not the act itself. In that sense, I don’t find that Spice has much edge.

    The Sommers story struck me as faux edgy, in the sense that it contains a shocking event, but that event has no emotional impact, because the story imbues it with no meaning. The character’s death is literally senseless. There’s a Kristina Lloyd book though, Split, which I’ll do my best not to spoil, that does end with the death of one of the main characters, but is genuinely edgy because the narrative imbues that death with meaning. It’s gothic and chilling and disturbing and very sexy all at the same time.

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  34. Ridley
    Jun 10, 2011 @ 17:46:30

    I did really like the Countess Trilogy by Alison Richardson put out by Spice Briefs as well as Layover by Meghan Hart.

    When I say I don’t require an HEA when I read erotica, I mean that I’m fine with no romantic relationship at all. I don’t need a HFN either.

    What I do want is contextual sex scenes set in an emotional story with a character arc. Killing sympathetic characters to be shocking or melodramatic pisses me off in any genre. Doing it in erotica pisses me off even more because death is a total boner killer.

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  35. Jill Sorenson
    Jun 10, 2011 @ 18:57:05

    @dm: Faux edgy is a good way to put it. I agree that the scene came out of nowhere and added nothing to the story. But it was memorable, damn it, and the death didn’t bother me because I had no attachment to the characters.

    I don’t think I like a lot of edge in my erotica. Even Megan Hart’s Dirty, which affected me very deeply, was a little too real for me. I’ve enjoyed non-romantic erotic books like Judy Blume’s Wifey and The Bride Stripped Bare (Anonymous author?) but I prefer romance.

    Totally agree about the Countess Trilogy. Loved it.

    ReplyReply

  36. dm
    Jun 10, 2011 @ 19:44:48

    @ Jill Sorenson

    How do we feel about the neologism, “fedgy?”

    ReplyReply

  37. Janine
    Jun 11, 2011 @ 14:07:55

    @dm:

    I thought the Countess Trilogy was terrific, an almost perfect piece of erotic writing, but very few of their other titles have measured up.

    And @Ridley:

    I did really like the Countess Trilogy by Alison Richardson put out by Spice Briefs as well as Layover by Meghan Hart.

    The Countess Trilogy is my gold standard for excellence in erotica/erotic romance, which is why I got so excited when I saw those novellas on the DA/SBTB bestseller list. Where, oh where is Alison Richardson and why isn’t she writing more?

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  38. Janine
    Jun 11, 2011 @ 14:12:18

    @dm:

    Great erotica contextualizes sexual acts, gives the characters real emotional stakes, makes each sex scene a turning point in the story. The “edge” I’m looking for comes from the emotional stakes attached to the act being described, and not the act itself.

    Yes! And I would add that furthermore, in a good sex scene (regardless of genre) the sexual acts have to stem from and reflect the characters’ emotions.

    ReplyReply

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