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Dear Authors: Can We Put Some Mystery Back Into Our...

This past week saw another fun dust-up involving Phase authors. Apparently, there are a certain contingent of Phase authors and other self designated erotic romance authors who share a good deal of their personal lives online, using their literary pen names. Some authors, like Selena Kitt, post photographs of nudity (NSFW) and blog about their sex life in very explicit detail.

For some readers, this might represent a good marketing technique, but for others (I belong in this group), the blurring of the line between life and fiction is off putting. It is not off putting because I am making a judgment about adult individual’s right to choose their own lifestyle and to share it. It is off putting because I like my fiction to be fiction. I don’t assume that a writer engages in menages, enjoys being tied up and punished, or has sex with brothers simply because that is the sort of fiction that they write.

However, I don’t blame readers who see these self promotions of sexual activity and then project that onto other authors within the genre, wondering if all authors in the erotic romance genre have exactly the kinks that they write about. I don’t want to wonder.

I did theatre in college for one year. In theatre, there is a fourth wall which presents an invisible barrier between the audience and the actors on the stage. Generally, that wall is not to be broken because once it is the play loses its transportative effects. The fourth wall allows the readers to maintain a certain suspension of disbelief.

Overpersonalization chips away at that fourth wall. In romance, we already have a cult of overpersonalization where authors are encouraged by publishers, booksellers, and even readers, to share more and more about their personal life so that readers get the false belief that the author would LOVE to be best friends forever.

Each reader has her own place on the continuum of overpersonalization where she draws the line. My line is intimate, sexual details of one’s life, particularly if I ever want to read that author again. Remember my first video review?

I once read an author’s blog that had discussions about her foster child, her foster child’s deadbeat mom, and a whole host of other traumas. I don’t read said author anymore but I do check on the blog, every once in a while, to see the trainwreck. I can’t help but wonder what new readers must think coming upon those blog posts.

Erotic romance authors who blog about their sexual lives in explicit detail demolish that fourth wall and invite speculation about the intimate details of their lives. Further, because these authors characterize themselves as erotic romance authors, it allows a reader to project the speculation onto all other authors within the sub genre. One author, Eden Bradley, defends the practice of “openly discuss[ing] [her] lifestyle experience” to qualify her work in fetish fiction. Does that mean that a writer who writes about cops must be a cop or a writer who writes about Star Trek should dress up in a unitard in order to qualify their work in their particular sub genre? Not for me.

The erotic romance authors who prefer to have their personal life separate from their authorial life and thus, their fiction, are subject to, and will continue to be subject to, increasing speculation that their fiction is not really fiction at all.

BTW, I want to make one last statement here. Inspired by Selena Kitt’s Symbian Fund, I would like to invite anyone reading this blog who has enjoyed what I have written to donate to a ME Fund. Because I have no need or desire for a Symbian (is that TMI?), I didn’t think a DA Symbian Fund made a lot of sense. I tossed around a few ideas, like an Iliad Fund or Mac Airbook Fund but that kind of limits the amount of money that can be donated so I just made it a general ME Fund. Maybe if you contribute enough, I will be able to quit my job and write for TriXy Loins full time.

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

188 Comments

  1. Karen Scott
    Mar 02, 2008 @ 04:47:43

    Inspired by Selena Kitt's Symbian Fund,

    Is she for real? She’s asking for money so that she can buy a sex toy?

    Does this mean she’s not making enough money as an author?

    ReplyReply

  2. Katie
    Mar 02, 2008 @ 05:53:03

    Well, I belong to the group of readers who is hugely grossed out by TMI. I like reading about authors online and seeing them interact with inside the reader community, but everything that goes … say beyond a nice debate into more horizontal grounds may result in the fact that I don’t read this author anymore. Of course, on the other hand, I’ve only six erotic romance publishers where I buy books from and Phaze doesn’t belong to it, yet (snort).

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  3. Shiloh Walker
    Mar 02, 2008 @ 08:10:48

    Eh, I’m one of those people who click away when somebody discusses their sex life. In person, I’ll walk away. No desire to be rude and it’s not because I’m a prude, but IMO, sex is a private thing and I like it that way.

    To each their own, but I don’t care if it catapulted me to the top of the NYT bestseller lists, I have no desire to discuss my sex life online.

    Of course, I’m also one of those people that go to a magic show not wanting to know how it’s done. I might blink, goggle-eyed when David Copperfield makes somebody disappear and mutter, How did he do that… but I don’t want to know and I’d clap my hands over years and screech, It’s a small world after all if somebody tried to explain it.

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  4. Gina
    Mar 02, 2008 @ 08:22:34

    It amazes me what people put out there on the net. I realize there is an audience for it, otherwise why bother, but how does she expect to be taken seriously this way?

    I prefer my fiction to be reality-free, I have enough of my own reality to deal with without taking on anyone elses.

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  5. Nora Roberts
    Mar 02, 2008 @ 08:26:16

    It’s nice when writers and readers can share interests. Like hey, you like gardening, too, or salsa dancing–whatever. It’s nice, too, I think if readers are interested, and writers are interested in sharing, to give the readers the basic sense of the person behind the books.

    Sharing sex lives? Over the line. Sharing on the internet? Way over my personal line.

    Asking for donations for a sex toy? Even if it’s a joke, it hit my this is tacky button.

    I guess everybody has their own level of what, how much and where–when it comes to sex or blogging about it.

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  6. Michelle
    Mar 02, 2008 @ 08:43:47

    It makes you wonder what the motivation is for sharing the intimate details. Is it really all about marketing (doubtful), or are the authors trying to fulfill some need for intimacy? simple exhibitionism?

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  7. JaneO
    Mar 02, 2008 @ 08:53:30

    I find it fascinating when authors discuss the background for their books, their research and writing and publishing in general. But those things are part of their public lives. I do NOT want to know the details of their private lives. Too often I end up with a distaste for the author that ruins my pleasure in the books.

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  8. Charlene Teglia
    Mar 02, 2008 @ 09:22:11

    ARGH. ARGH argh argh argh argh. I write fiction. I don’t live my books. I really hate the idea that somebody might, and might by sharing TMI encourage others to think EVERYBODY lives what they write. I frequently joke that I’d never write about my real fantasies, because nobody wants to read a book about the search for the perfect nap. (Two small children=sleep at top of priority list.)

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  9. Kristie(J)
    Mar 02, 2008 @ 09:41:55

    I think sometimes I live in a bubble – one of my own choosing. I miss a lot of this stuff (and to be honest – I’m glad I do) But I clicked a couple of those links you provided and – I know it’s a judgment call on my own pruddishness scale but – that’s nasty – just nasty.
    While I certainly don’t mind reading Very Hot romance books and I’ve even been known on an occasion or two to watch those late night movies, to blog about your own personal sex life really goes ‘beyond the pale’ so to speak. I most certainly belong in the same group as you.
    And I’m totally with Nora – asking for donations for a sex toy – joke or not – so creepily tacky!

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  10. Gennita Low
    Mar 02, 2008 @ 10:05:08

    LOL. I just…had to google for the cost of a Sybian.

    Yoikes!

    I guess we’ve moved from The Age of Reason, The Age of Enlightenment, The Age of Ideology to…The Age of Too Much Information!

    And I think I need a ME fund too. It’s a very bad year for roofers, *sob*. Do you really want me to boil my Puppy?

    ReplyReply

  11. Teddypig
    Mar 02, 2008 @ 10:47:06

    OMG!

    You may forget the stupid toys and contribute to the Get Teddy Laid Fund.
    This involves getting my husband on a vacation.
    It’s cheap but it works. I’m checking with Paypal right now.

    ReplyReply

  12. Mireya
    Mar 02, 2008 @ 10:56:23

    *speechless*

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  13. Caryn
    Mar 02, 2008 @ 10:58:55

    Interesting post! I see your point, but I’m nosy and I love to know whatever people are willing to share with me. I’m just a curious person. So as for me, I like it when authors do share some things about their lives. It often gives me insight into their writing. It’s why I love author blogs, especially ones like Jill Shalvis’s and Erica Orloff’s. They don’t go into intimate details, but they do make themselves accessible. It’s all in how it’s written, though. I think that many people blog to connect, and if they’re authors and writing a good blog that people flock to, then it’s to their benefit to associate their names (or pen names, at least) with their blogs, because then some of their blog readers will buy their books. It can be good for publicity (although, admittedly, there are probably more effective forms of it).

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  14. sallahdog
    Mar 02, 2008 @ 11:09:25

    This is why I rarely go to authors I like, blogs. LKH ruined her books for me by her oversharing on her website.(ok, other things also ruined it for me, but that was the capper)..

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  15. Jaci Burton
    Mar 02, 2008 @ 11:14:44

    If I lived every sex act I wrote about, my husband would be one happy man. And probably dead. Unfortunately, a lot of people do think if you write it, you do it. Uh, no.

    I like to talk to readers about my kids, my gorgeous 4 year old granddaughter (who just played in her first soccer game yesterday!), my dogs, and my husband’s and my love for riding our Harley. I talk about writing and research and what I’m working on. I love talking about my characters.

    I don’t talk publicly about my sex life. It has nothing to do with my books and some of my life has to remain just that…mine.

    If some authors want to share their intimate details, and others are interested in knowing about it, that’s fine. I’m just not one of them.

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  16. B
    Mar 02, 2008 @ 11:19:26

    I actually spent several years writing romantica online (I stopped in part because I severely burnt myself out).

    I had no problem sharing aspects of my life with readers. It helped them to realize that I was a human being, even if what they knew of me was largely text on a screen. And I got the chance to connect with a lot of them, which was really valuable to me.

    But occasionally there were people who thought that simply because of what I wrote, my sex life was fair game. Some of the questions and comments I got stepped way over the line. Asking if I wanted to have cyber sex? So not okay. Some of it was really creepy.
    I don’t understand why some writers do this sort of thing. And to each their own, I guess, but it’s annoying to get grouped in with them simply because of what you choose to write. I’d like to write some romance again someday, but that’s one aspect I’ll never miss.

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  17. Jill Sorenson
    Mar 02, 2008 @ 11:21:51

    In Selena Kitt’s defense, are any of those pics supposed to be of her? I took a brief glance at the web site and couldn’t tell. Maybe she’s just sharing images she thinks are sexy. According to her bio, she’s happily married and monogamous.

    I can’t comment on the sex life sharing because I’ve never read a blog with that kind of content.

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  18. azteclady
    Mar 02, 2008 @ 11:35:52

    What bugs me–and call me prude if you must–is the lack of warning.

    I respect people’s right to share whatever they want with whomever is interested, but what happens when the sharing hits the innocent passerby? I would appreciate some warning that the blog/page/website contains sexual material of an adult nature, so that I can make a decision before being confronted with explicit pictures.

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  19. Selena Kitt
    Mar 02, 2008 @ 11:39:51

    Funny how it’s judgment like this, from women especially, that keeps sexuality (and women expressing it) in their “place.” If you actually read my blog, you would see I’ve been happily monogamous for ten years, and what I write is, indeed, fiction.

    But so what if it wasn’t?

    I don’t understand this rather prudish split and narrow-minded judgment that keeps women from expressing the fullness of who they are, if they so choose. If, as an author, you don’t want to write about the fullness of your life – great. Don’t. If, as a reader (or another author) you don’t want to hear about someone else’s – that’s what “back click” is for.

    But to get up on your high horse and say that’s “nasty” (speaking of posters here, not the author) is just perpetuating the stigma that you’ve been objecting to for ages when people who read romance or erotic romance talk about the genre as frivolous or immoral or even deviant. Smut (as Mrs. Giggles terms it) couched as “erotic romance” is perfectly okay… But smut anywhere else, including someone’s actual life – well, that’s just over the line.

    Do you realize how hypocritical that is?

    As for the “fourth wall”… Life imitates art. Art imitates life. Those who push the boundary of both are often judged harshly – but too, they often bring about the most change and transformation in both life and art. Pushing back the curtain to see the wizard can be disappointing. It can also be incredibly liberating. And may open doors for those other artists too timid to push the edge.

    I share my life. My life includes sex. I blog on sex topics. Because they interest me. Why in the world would I be writing erotic anything if they didn’t? I don’t draw a line between the “erotic romance” you read and the porn you find “nasty.” I enjoy both.

    Why should we have to split ourselves into “good girls” and “bad girls”? Why all the judgment? (I mean, aside from your job as High Queen of Snark and all? :) )

    I’m not ashamed.

    *shrug*

    (By the way – its a Sybian. Just for the record. And if you’re going to talk about a publisher, try to spell their name right – just for publicity reasons! Phaze. ;) )

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  20. AnnieK
    Mar 02, 2008 @ 11:43:53

    Several years ago I googled an authors web address to find out about upcoming releases/backlists. I came upon an interview with this author talking about “shaving” and why she insists her heroines be bald. Author went on to describe how her husband likes it smooth, this was written in very explicit terms. Whatever. Didn’t really care, but then I saw a picture of the author and it really skeeved me out. She looked like a plump Grandma. Yikes. Can’t seem to get the picture out of my head.

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  21. Jessica Inclan
    Mar 02, 2008 @ 11:55:39

    Here’s how I feel about just about everything available for us to read–in print, online, wherever–don’t read it if you don’t want to. click away, close the book. You might not like it, but someone else might.

    I don’t want to watch people make out in front of me and I don’t want to read about people’s sex lives (isn’t there a “porn” site that features “real” people engaged in the act?). But someone else might. I don’t want to write about my sex life either. But someone else might. I don’t want to read erotica. But someone else might.

    Buyer and reader beware. Be Aware. You aren’t a victim. Close the book. Walk away from the computer.

    Jessica

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  22. Phantom
    Mar 02, 2008 @ 12:00:20

    I’ve noticed that Dan R. tends to explode and scream like a banshee whenever his company is mentioned in less than a flattering light. A thread on Absolute Write went several pages with Dan tossing a major fit until he went back and deleted all the posts, leaving the thread quite bare other than for when he was quoted. He threatened Victoria Strauss herself and went off on the usual “you hate small pubs because we’re successful!” rant. Of course, most of the questions were valid ones regarding M.’s lack of distribution and others actually pertaining to publishing, so…

    Can’t say anything bad about either company. Evah. Make a note.

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  23. Mrs Giggles
    Mar 02, 2008 @ 12:00:24

    Hmm, this is what I was trying to address in my blog entry – erotic fiction authors who have more adventurous (I can’t think of any other word to describe it) outlook when it comes to sex and how the rest of the erotic fiction authors and readers can reconcile their differences when the two different groups inevitably mingle more and more often.

    Of course, the Phaze people (who also tend to be Literotica types), including Selena Kitt here, just have to show up on my blog and insist that what I was OMG attacking!!!!!1111 them and Phaze. As I’ve told Selena on my blog, I’m actually on her side but I think these people have problems understanding any sentence that doesn’t mention body fluids.

    I, personally speaking, like well-written erotica that involves elements that are considered taboo still in erotic romance. I have Literotica’s new story page bookmarked on my browser. But I also sometimes cringe when these authors overshare, discuss swinging, et cetera. But to be fair to them, they tend to do this on their personal home turf – their blogs, their forums in websites dedicated to folks who are as sexually adventurous as they are. Unless I actively seek out the TMI, I don’t come across them.

    I’m interested to see what happens when if and when more and more authors from places like Literotica become more active participants in the erotic romance genre. Not everyone is sanguine about the way these authors feel or write about sex.

    But judging from their reaction to my blog – and the sad irony is, I’m actually on their side – I think they are happier behaving as if the world is against them because the world is wrong, frigid, et cetera.

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  24. Selena Kitt
    Mar 02, 2008 @ 12:16:41

    I know your views on free speech, Mrs. G. I appreciate them, actually. Applaud them. I really didn’t perceive what you said as an attack… my objection is to the fact we have to have “sides” at all, if you see what I mean?

    I suppose we are seeing what happens when the two worlds mix. Again, as I said, we will likely have a lot of judgment for a while before things loosen up (or hey, they could snap back, and erotic romance publishers everywhere could go out of business… who knows?) It’s quite clear just from these posts that not everyone appreciates the mixing of the two.

    But I do find it anecdotally interesting that, since this post was written and my blog linked and associated with it… the subscription rate to my blog has skyrocketed. Fifty new subscribers in one day!? Wow. Perhaps it really is just the stigma that perpetuates this perceived split… at least, out loud.

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  25. Shiloh Walker
    Mar 02, 2008 @ 12:39:54

    Funny how it's judgment like this, from women especially, that keeps sexuality (and women expressing it) in their “place.” If you actually read my blog, you would see I've been happily monogamous for ten years, and what I write is, indeed, fiction.

    I don’t consider this passing judgment, Selena. It’s a matter of personal taste.

    I don’t want to hear about other people’s sex lives and I’ve walked away from conversations where it happens. It has nothing to do with me being in my place and in all honesty, if somebody suggested to my husband that his wife ‘had a place’, he’d probably die laughing, or from a heart attack.

    It’s entirely possible to be comfortable with one’s sexuality WITHOUT discussing it like it’s something on tomorrow’s shopping list. But any time people try to explain that, we’re considered prudish, or that we’re subjugated women. No, we just prefer something that’s as personal as sex to be left at that… as personal.

    It strikes me as odd, and ironic, that those of us who have this mindset are often considered ‘closed-minded’ by those who disagree. Closed-minded generally means unaccepting of anything outside our personal lives/experiences/beliefs/ideal.

    Yet those who disagree with our mindset can’t let us have our personal opinions without trying to judge why we have them~or giving us the implication that we are wrong for having them.

    And every time it happens, I think…

    Pot, meet kettle.

    Some of don’t like to discuss our sex lives. Some of us don’t care to read about others. It’s a personal choice, not a political statement.

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  26. azteclady
    Mar 02, 2008 @ 12:49:11

    I don't understand this rather prudish split and narrow-minded judgment that keeps women from expressing the fullness of who they are, if they so choose. If, as an author, you don't want to write about the fullness of your life – great. Don't. If, as a reader (or another author) you don't want to hear about someone else's – that's what “back click” is for.

    But if we don’t chose to–by your own words–then we are repressed, prudish, hypocritical, what have you.

    And the problem with the ‘back click’ is that before I know it, I have images in my brain that I did not seek out. It feels like being ambushed, and that is my main objection. I don’t care what anyone wants to discuss, or how, but pretty please make sure you are not forcing those of us who are not voyeurs to participate without consent.

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  27. Selena Kitt
    Mar 02, 2008 @ 12:54:17

    Just to be clear – choosing not to talk about your sex life is your choice and your right. Said so.

    If, as an author, you don't want to write about the fullness of your life – great. Don't. If, as a reader (or another author) you don't want to hear about someone else's – that's what “back click” is for.

    I didn’t say that choosing not to discuss your sex life was close-mindedness… you’re right, it’s personal preference.

    However, I do think that the labeling of someone who does choose to share that information as “nasty” or “wrong” definitely falls into the category of “judgment.”

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  28. Selena Kitt
    Mar 02, 2008 @ 12:56:51

    And the problem with the ‘back click' is that before I know it, I have images in my brain that I did not seek out. It feels like being ambushed, and that is my main objection. I don't care what anyone wants to discuss, or how, but pretty please make sure you are not forcing those of us who are not voyeurs to participate without consent.

    There’s a large “Parental Advisory/Explicit Content” warning on my blog at the top and nothing X-rated posted at the top of the page. Warning enough, as far as I’m concerned.

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  29. Ciar Cullen
    Mar 02, 2008 @ 12:59:06

    Bleck. I don’t want to see anyone’s sex toys, read about their personal practices, etc. I’m not repressed or repressive. To imply that authors and readers who don’t want to see such things are repressed is simply reversing your own complaint.

    Reminds me of some political conversations I’ve had recently in which people say that if you don’t think like they do you are narrowminded. Huh? Mirror, please.

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  30. Shiloh Walker
    Mar 02, 2008 @ 13:01:56

    I didn't say that choosing not to discuss your sex life was close-mindedness… you're right, it's personal preference.

    However, I do think that the labeling of someone who does choose to share that information as “nasty” or “wrong” definitely falls into the category of “judgment.”

    Unfortunately, Selena, your overall tone says otherwise. We either agree with you, or we’re prudes.

    I personally couldn’t care less what one person chooses to blog about. If it’s a blog that has stuff I could care less about, whether it’s politics, astrology, sex, dieting, etc, I just won’t read it.

    So please understand this isn’t coming from a position of I’m decrying whatever you do because you make me uncomfortable. I don’t read your blog, there’s no way you could make me uncomfortable.

    Your tone, though, is that people who choose not to talk about sex are prudes. It doesn’t matter if you say that isn’t the case, because the way you approached it has already said that, and first impressions are the lasting ones.

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  31. Selena Kitt
    Mar 02, 2008 @ 13:26:43

    If you don’t read about sex or talk about it in public, that’s your preference. I certainly wouldn’t label you a prude. Discretion is a valid choice. (And remember, I’m still anonymous, even as I post this…)

    However, if you speak out against reading or writing it with moralization, judgment and assumption, you’re perpetuating the stereotype that keeps many women from openly expressing their sexuality.

    Don’t think I can be any clearer than that. Not that it matters.

    Unfortunately, Selena, your overall tone says otherwise. We either agree with you, or we're prudes.

    Clearly you didn’t read what was actually written and want to infer my meaning according to your own agenda. You’ve already made up your mind.

    It doesn't matter if you say that isn't the case…

    So much for openness.

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  32. whey
    Mar 02, 2008 @ 13:27:34

    Why does this make me think of the quip that “it isn’t harassment if the harassee thinks the harasser is attractive; it’s flattery”?

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  33. Alison Kent
    Mar 02, 2008 @ 14:11:14

    It's entirely possible to be comfortable with one's sexuality WITHOUT discussing it like it's something on tomorrow's shopping list. (…) we just prefer something that's as personal as sex to be left at that… as personal.

    Exactly. It’s the mystery Jane asked for. Mystery can, in fact, make things a WHOLE lot sexier. One of my favorite takes on this was Shannon Stacey urging authors to Back Away from the HiDef!

    And as far as discussing one’s life to show one knows about what one speaks, I call BS as it doesn’t give a whole lot of credit to authors’ ability to research and imagine. It’s one thing to be an expert and share creds if you’re writing about opening up a human brain. Most of us don’t do that, and like to know what we’re reading is accurate. Sex, though, is something we all do, have, enjoy, etc. Creds aren’t required because even in certain lifestyles, the individual experience is still going to be unique.

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  34. NHS
    Mar 02, 2008 @ 15:06:50

    Hi all. Frequent DA reader, first time poster.
    I completely agree with wanting some mystery. If you look at the Reader-Author relationship as you would any long term relationship, many many experts will tell you a little mystery is critical in keeping the relationship fresh for the long haul.
    Plus anyone can look at Tom Cruise and see how too much exposure of your private life can hurt a public career.

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  35. Robin
    Mar 02, 2008 @ 16:46:36

    But judging from their reaction to my blog – and the sad irony is, I'm actually on their side – I think they are happier behaving as if the world is against them because the world is wrong, frigid, et cetera.

    Watching that disaster unfold reminded me of the costume drama at the Smart Bitches following last year’s RWA. In both cases there was a confusion of personal choice and authorial marketing. IMO, what you and Jane and Karen Scott were all addressing is the issue of authors who merge their authorial personalities — and thus, to some degree, their authorial products — with their personal lives or with something that identifies them personally beyond their books. IIRC, there was an author from the old days whose author photos always showed her dressed up as her heroines, and one who wrote heroines whose physical characteristics matched up eerily with her author photo. Thus there appeared a certain blending of the author with her work, in all likelihood with the idea that such personal identification would sell more books. Even, though, if it was just to “have fun,” it invites an association between the person of the author and the works of fiction she produces.

    Fast forward, so to speak, to some of the erotic authors who use their author blogs or other public forums to discuss personal details of their sexual practices, beliefs, lifestyles, etc. Whatever the motivation, IMO there is an invitation to merge the author as a person with her fiction, because she’s speaking AS AN AUTHOR, not as Susie Blow, anonymous blogger separate from any official authorial persona.

    Some readers may dig the terms of this invitation while others may not. Some might have to resist making the association, some might not even know about it. And each reader will have a different threshold across which the invitation to merge the author and her work will be an intrusion rather than a welcome association.

    Whether from a defensiveness born of marginalization within, for example, the Romance genre, I think there’s a knee jerk reaction to reject any observation, critique, reflection, discussion of the implications of this author/fiction merging when it involves sex and sexuality. And while some of that marginalization may indeed come from our society’s basic f*cked upness around sexuality, especially WOMEN’S sexuality, not all discussions of the way author and work are merged are themselves judgments of an author’s personal sexuality. Even though some authors are going to take it personally and see the questions as personal indictments — and therefore respond personally to the perceived indicter. Which, it seems to me, is what happened on your blog, with the added bonus of Phaze’s CEO and his inexplicable and incomprehensible responses (which, IMO, did more to harm his cause than help it).

    Personally, I wish there was much more comfort around women’s sexuality, especially on the part of women. I wish there was not so much shame and a lot more acceptance of the vagaries of human sexuality. That said, I’m the kind of reader who doesn’t even want an author’s photo to be associated with the content of a book, so by the time we get to erotic authors blogging AS AUTHORS about their personal sex lives, I’m going to check out on the fiction reading if that information makes it way into my consciousness, because at that point it’s just too much damn work to make the separation. That doesn’t mean I don’t think authors should blog about their sexual lives; it just means that it’s not effective for me as a marketing tool. But in any case, I think it’s a reasonable topic of conversation in relation to the overpersonalization we often see in women’s fiction (which IMO has contributed to its perceived second class status). Because if an author is so open as to talk about these things, then why can’t there be openness in talking about if and how they impact the genre, the community of authors and readers, etc.? Yeah, some people are going to make personal judgments, but not everyone.

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  36. Nora Roberts
    Mar 02, 2008 @ 17:10:42

    ~However, if you speak out against reading or writing it with moralization, judgment and assumption, you're perpetuating the stereotype that keeps many women from openly expressing their sexuality.~

    I don’t see this as the topic. It’s not about reading or writing about sex, it’s about an author or authors of erotic fiction blogging about their personal sexual experiences, and the lines crossed or blurred by the practice.

    You’re not anonymous in that you write, publish and blog under a name.

    It’s entirely your choice, but I don’t think those who object to or simply dislike this overt link between a writer’s fiction and intimate details of her personal life are moralizing.

    When objections like this are made, the return most often stated is women’s repressed sexuality. I don’t consider myself repressed because I don’t opt to share details of my sex life on the internet, and to do so as a writer. I don’t consider it an attempt to repress women on my part because I don’t care for the practice.

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  37. Lauren Dane
    Mar 02, 2008 @ 17:39:53

    However, if you speak out against reading or writing it with moralization, judgment and assumption, you're perpetuating the stereotype that keeps many women from openly expressing their sexuality.

    Yannow what? Bollocks. I talk about sex on my blog all the time. I talk about writing it and reading it and in general, how I believe it’s important for women to be sex positive. But like any other person who keeps a professional blog, I’m aware of what I say and how I say it. And oppression is such a hugely important thing that I find the linking of oppression of women to this topic to be incredibly marginalizing to women dealing with real oppression.

    As a author in the same field, I’m going to speak out on what I find to be inappropriate behavior – as a professional. What you do in your personal life isn’t my business unless you make it my business and when you post it in public, you’re making it everyone’s business, whether you intend so or not.

    I’m thrilled when women find themselves having a lovely, satisfying life. It’s a wonderful thing and worth celebrating. But often, *like any other professional* we need to think before we speak and think about how we’re presenting ourselves. And no matter what, there will be people who don’t agree with what you do and will say so – especially when you do it in public. Whether or not you stop is certainly your decision.

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  38. Jody W.
    Mar 02, 2008 @ 18:06:41

    I have definitely seen some “kinkier than thou” contests conducted by authors in various internet locations, some more public than others. In many circles there is a cachet to being the “most” of something. The snarkiest, the most supportive, the funniest, the sexxxxxiest, or what have you. Human nature, I guess.

    However, I don’t know how much authorial “sharing” of this type online and/or in public will affect how I as an author am treated. Here are some possible concerns that address topic at hand:

    1) Will increased sharing mean there are more assumptions made about me as an author? (Like there aren’t enough assumptions already, though assumptions that I welcome frank sex talk / propositions / etc. could be more worrisome than assumptions I have a fondness for bonbons and boas. I would much rather a fan send me a boa than a sex toy.)

    2) Will I become subjected to a growing number of unpleasant questions about my private life (either via email/letter or in person)? I’ve gotten a few, but I’m sure many public figures could say the same thing.

    3) If I write erotic romance (and I do), will readers (or even industry people) come to expect me to justify my sex creds?

    4) Will I be expected to “dress/act the part”, either online or in person, if I am an author of erotic romance?

    5) Will my sales decrease if I don’t have — shall we say — a striking public persona (online and off)?

    I doubt it to all these, but you never know. A striking public persona or some kind of controversy is certainly one way to (attempt to) to enhance sales, and I’d hate any kind of pressure to perform in that manner, the same way many authors didn’t like the idea of playing dress up at the RWA literacy autographing. If it became commonplace, as other promotional tactics have become commonplace, it would be yet another annoying or even uncomfortable thing authors had to do to get and remain published.

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  39. Jane
    Mar 02, 2008 @ 18:57:16

    It doesn’t matter to me if an author of romance or erotic romance is monogamous, infidelitous, has three breasts. I just don’t want to read anything that interferes with my ability to suspend my disbelief. Authors who share TMI make it difficult for me to read their work as fiction.

    If you want to share all about your sex life, why use it as a promotional tool? I think you run the risk of alienating readers who simply aren’t interested in the person of the author and want to know simply about the book. There are those out there. Maybe you gain more readers by blogging about the lifestyle that you write in and its a matter of weighing which readership that you want to cater to.

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  40. Shiloh Walker
    Mar 02, 2008 @ 19:10:56

    Clearly you didn't read what was actually written and want to infer my meaning according to your own agenda. You've already made up your mind.

    I’m not sure if you’re overlooking my point or if I’m just not explaining it well. Since I don’t always explain myself well, I’m going to try again. I did read what was written.

    I get the point that you’re cool if people aren’t comfortable about discussing sexuality as long as they aren’t using a ‘moral’ ground. Although, the way I see things, plenty of people will do just that, and they are entitled, and they have a right to feel however they want, and to be respected for their personal choices and decisions, providing they aren’t trying to force their viewpoints on others. Sharing is fine. Forcing is not. Nobody has the right to say it’s wrong if a person’s moral code makes open discussion of sexuality wrong in their own eyes, providing they aren’t trying to use their moral code to infringe on the decisions and rights of others. Having an opinion and forcing it onto others are two very different things.

    But I’m rambling off tangent.

    I don’t have an ‘agenda’ regarding this. I don’t care what you blog about-it makes no difference to me. Your blogging style doesn’t appeal to me and since I tend to veer more towards the romantic aspect of erotic romance, I don’t think your writing style will work for me.

    But chances are there are plenty reading this threat that might have a different outlook. Something you say or how you say it might entice them to your blog, and if they like what they see there, they might check out books. We like it when readers do that. God knows I’ve picked up quite a few that way, although I’m surprised my rambling ever makes sense to anybody but me me.

    The point is, whether you realize it or not, your entire tone alienates a lot of passerby. Are you picking up readers on your blog from this? I’d imagine so. But you could probably elicit more interest is you didn’t handle it all with just a ‘toe the line’ attitude. A casual reader is going to skim your post and the words that will jump out at most are probably “PRUDISH”, “IN THEIR PLACE”, etc. General feeling is likely going to equal… if you can’t talk about sex, it’s because you’re too uptight.

    What I’m trying to point out is that you’re probably alienating potential future readers. Is that really what you intended to do?

    It doesn't matter if you say that isn't the case…

    So much for openness.

    You missed my point entirely. Lets say you storm into a room where they are discussing professionalism in business. You rail because you can’t find a parking spot. You scream because the receptionist was rude. You harp on why this didn’t happen and that…. and then you smile, take a deep breath and say… Now… about professionalism.

    But it’s too late. You’ve already set the mood, set the tone. Which is exactly what this line did

    Funny how it's judgment like this, from women especially, that keeps sexuality (and women expressing it) in their “place.”

    And this one

    I don't understand this rather prudish split and narrow-minded judgment that keeps women from expressing the fullness of who they are, if they so choose.

    Even the IF YOU CHOOSE doesn’t affect how the sentence comes of. Some of us don’t like discussing sex, our sex lives, our sexuality. The IF YOU CHOOSE reads like an afterthought thrown on and it’s weakened by the first half of the sentence that basically tells all of us that don’t get in on the sex talk are prudes. We’re uptight. Even those of us who may love to read erotica, we’re ‘hiding’ it unless we’re upfront talking it.

    All it would have taken would have been saying something like

    I tend to very open discussing matters of sex and sexuality. I understand that not everybody is comfortable with that, and if they aren’t, I get that. My blog might not be the best place for them. I feel that part of embracing who I am includes discussing all aspects of my life, sexual matters included.

    That’s explaining YOUR motivation…it’s not attempting to tell others that part of why we don’t sex is because we’re subjugated, toeing the line, or just too frigid.

    It’s all in the delivery. And no amount of openness is going to change how you first present yourself.

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  41. B
    Mar 02, 2008 @ 19:40:11

    I may be speaking out of turn here but…I’m pretty certain, from what I’ve read, that although the people brought up in this particular post were women, the intent was not to specify that only women should chill with the TMI.

    The same thing applies to men, too. I don’t believe it had anything to do with women expressing their sexuality. I think the point was more along the lines that there are people who perhaps don’t find this particular behavior very appealing or professional, and feel that some authors maybe have crossed a line that shouldn’t be crossed. I imagine (though I admit I could be wrong) that they would feel this way even if the authors in question were men.

    My point, I guess, is that I noticed a big stress on the behavior and judgment of women going on, but I don’t think that was ever the point. The authors mentioned may have been women but what’s important here is that they are authors. Does that make sense?

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  42. Dee
    Mar 02, 2008 @ 20:42:10

    I can only whole heartedly agree with Selena. It is the the fluffy “heaving bosoms” of romantic literature (such a nasty set of words without flavor or intention) that force women to stay in the sexual place like dogs on leases set at the feet of their masters. In truth, sexuality and erotica are not filled with the women who lack the ability to think, feel, and react in a way that is raw (sometimes) and real (always). I have a Masters degree in literature and languages. I appreciate all forms of writing–especially the ones that do not assault my intelligence with their generalization of vanilla flavored suspension of disbelief as romance novels tend to do. I believe that writing, such as Selena’s, reaches out to women to be real and true to themselves while letting them bring all of their own experiences to the piece. She literally empowers women to take her hand and come along for the ride. Not the fake dime store novels of the sexually repressed past–no, not for todays women who loves her sexuality and can express it without feeling censored. Fabio does not live her with some silly woman in a low cut dress clinging to his leg. Real women live here. Please dont suspend that disbelief for those of us trying to led the way to sexual freedom for women without TRUE knowledge of the movement. We respect your right to sit quietly in the corner. We ask you to respect our right to stand proud in a crowd.

    I would like to note that if we were speaking of any other issue than female sexuality and the free expression of such…not one soul would stand back from the repression and say…that is TMI…we should not discuss it. Shame on women who promote the lack of sharing information–especially with other women–who might need the light from that candle. Maya Angelou did not curb the sexuality in her poem “Phenomenal Woman.” And to quote one of my favorite women, Marianne Williamson:

    “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

    Best, Dee

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  43. B
    Mar 02, 2008 @ 21:13:49

    You must excuse the skepticism with which I raise my eyebrows at your post, Dee, but I think you should have checked yourself at the door.

    That’s all I’m going to say. I’ll leave elaboration up to someone else.

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  44. azteclady
    Mar 02, 2008 @ 21:26:31

    I am drowning in Dee’s respect. Someone lend me a shovel, please.

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  45. Karmyn
    Mar 02, 2008 @ 21:29:06

    I admit to wondering on occasion if a writer enjoys a particular sex act they write about, but I don’t want to know and I’m certainly never going to ask them about it. I might compliment them if I think it is done well, but it’s none of my business if they indulge in such things. I’m quite happy not knowing every little detail of a person’s life.

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  46. Robin
    Mar 02, 2008 @ 21:29:42

    I would like to note that if we were speaking of any other issue than female sexuality and the free expression of such…not one soul would stand back from the repression and say…that is TMI…we should not discuss it.

    This is simply not true, as 600 comments at Smart Bitches on the question of whether authors should wear costumes to promote their work attests.

    Real women live here. Please dont suspend that disbelief for those of us trying to led the way to sexual freedom for women without TRUE knowledge of the movement. We respect your right to sit quietly in the corner. We ask you to respect our right to stand proud in a crowd.

    What’s the difference between a statement like this and one by a woman who believes that all pornography is exploitive of women and that “real feminists” don’t support it, or one by a woman who believes that sex is something that a “real woman” should only share with her husband, the ultimate “submission” to God? How is there any more “freedom” in conforming to your definition of a “real woman” than in the other two? Aren’t you advocating the same level of submission, albeit to a different view, and the same intolerance for anyone who does not conform to your idea of what it means to be a “real woman”? How is your statement any less judgmental than those you condemn?

    If you’re a fan of Marianne Williamson, I’m assuming that you’ve read A Course In Miracles, and as you then know, among the central tenets of the Course are that the body is illusion, that we are all part of the One, that the only reality is Love, and that “Judgment was made to be a weapon used against the truth.”

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  47. Dee
    Mar 02, 2008 @ 21:31:30

    I must not have been clear. I did not mean to show respect. Just as respect was not shown. You misunderstand my intentions, but please continue to read it again from the safety of your opinion and then try to step outside of your box to see anothers point of view. Then, you have my respect whether you agree or not. ~~Dee

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  48. Beverly
    Mar 02, 2008 @ 21:34:59

    Dee — Let me guess: you’re a friend of Selena’s, right?

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  49. Dee
    Mar 02, 2008 @ 21:46:35

    Beverly–Yes, but you OBVIOUSLY have never been to my blog. *laughing* It is a good enough reason to hold strong to the opinion in a community of women who believe that breathing is enough in life. “You dont really think what you think…you are just friends.” I really have thoughts in my head. Real independent thought. I know it is a rare commodity in a community of women, but I will proudly stand next to women, like Selena, who risk themselves to be strong leaders in their field. And, you must realize. This post did start by singling her out of the pack. So, if you wanted to make your point, I can only believe that you do so for the purpose of gathering an “us” vs “them” army. Rational thought first. We are all very different with very different audiences. IF it offends you, then pass it by or click away. You dont need to a point finger (electronically of course) and assume superiority. So, if I have offended, then your group cant be very much if it does not accept opposing ideas or rationalizes with “you must be a friend of hers.” Not into the high school drama. ~~Dee

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  50. Lauren Dane
    Mar 02, 2008 @ 21:48:58

    Except, Dee, there’s more than one kind of woman. I’m a real woman and who are you to say otherwise? All the women in this thread are real women. Who are you to attempt to steal away femininity from anyone who doesn’t speak with your words? To ignore those women you’ve denegrated with your “heaving bosoms” comment is to simply shut the door in the face of millions of women who access their sexuality differently than you do. In fact, I see the same smirking, self righteous comments about romance and heaving bosoms from people in the media all the time when they’re trying to feel smart at the expense of “horny housewives” – read “those uneducated people I’m so much better than because of the letters behind my name.” I simply can’t imagine anything less respectful to women than that.

    In any case, that’s not the point. No one is attempting to gag anyone. The thread is about blogging in the guise of a professional author. It’s really quite simple.

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  51. Shiloh Walker
    Mar 02, 2008 @ 21:50:06

    I would like to note that if we were speaking of any other issue than female sexuality and the free expression of such…not one soul would stand back from the repression and say…that is TMI…we should not discuss it. Shame on women who promote the lack of sharing information-especially with other women-who might need the light from that candle.

    Actually, I think all sorts of things are TMI. I don’t care to read about somebody’s hemorrhoids, their sprained back, their bowel movements, their trouble with their husbands/wives, whatever, and more often than not the conversations I excuse myself from are those that men are involved in because many of those I know don’t seem to realize there are some things I’d rather not know.

    Repression is when somebody WISHES to discuss or be something and they can’t. It isn’t when some people decide they DO NOT WISH TO DISCUSS it.

    Nobody here is saying anything that women should be ashamed about having sex, enjoying sex, reading about sex, writing about sex. We just don’t care to know every damn thing that each one of us are doing in our bedrooms, or on the coffee table, the dryer, the front lawn.

    Forcing us to discuss something we really prefer to keep private is actually another form of oppression, because it’s infringing on our personal likes and dislikes. It’s telling us that we SHOULD do something that makes us uncomfortable, or that we SHOULD share something we prefer to keep private. Again… in this case, I think Pot, meet kettle.

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  52. Jane
    Mar 02, 2008 @ 21:56:28

    Dee, I’m not sure why anyone would make an effort to “step outside [one's] box to see anothers point of view” when you do not mean to “show respect.”

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  53. Shiloh Walker
    Mar 02, 2008 @ 21:57:13

    then try to step outside of your box to see anothers point of view. Then, you have my respect whether you agree or not. ~~Dee

    But Dee, you don’t seem to realize… that many of the people here are feeling like THEIR POV is less than valid because it doesn’t coincide with Selena, or obviously yours.

    I don’t want to talk about my sex life, or read about yours. It’s my personal preference.

    How does that make me repressed?

    The only thing that makes me repressed is when I want to scream my lungs out when my 9 year old rolls her eyes and gives me that ‘teenager’ look and I have to bite my tongue to keep from giving her the reaction I know she wants. Or when I’m stuck in a room with a patient with a less than pleasant body odor but I can’t really point that out without embarrassing the patient or pissing off the doctors. Okay, one more… when people tell me I’m repressed because I’d rather not share my sex life or read about others. They don’t get it’s a personal thing and has nothing to do with repression.

    Yet too often, people who are very in to discussing their sex lives get the idea that me not discussing mine makes me repressed. No, I simply prefer to keep something as personal as sex… personal.

    But our view point isn’t being respected. If you or Selena want respect for your view point, respect ours and look at how too many of the twists of phrase used come off as insulting.

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  54. B
    Mar 02, 2008 @ 22:10:36

    *sigh* She really just used the tired old “step outside your box” line, didn’t she?

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  55. Dee
    Mar 02, 2008 @ 22:11:20

    Lauren and Shiloh: Ok, this I can address. What makes one a “professional” writer? A degree? Getting paid for your writing? Having an audience? In that case, some of the most important writers of our time would have never been considered a “professional writer” and others are considered professional that write about things I would never read. Its all taste and it comes down the the vialest (if that is even a word in “my” vocabulary) thing in the world…censorship. If you dont like it, then close it. Do just as you would if you were shopping in a store you did not like…dont go there again. If you dont like a certain type of music, dont listen. But, to address a certain person or their writings as not worthing of the title of “professional writing” smacks of a cliquish belief that would have kept Austin, Flaukner, Yeats, and O’Conner from being great writers. People were offended by their subject matter, until 100 years later, when they were cannonized as potential visionaries. Pot and kettle…perhaps…but, to judge someone as a “professional writer” because they dont write the topic you like to read…hypocracy offends me more than choice of topic.

    Shiloh–I never used the word repressed. Please realize that all I said to you specifically (respect show because you did take time to think through what I was saying)no one is MAKING you read it or write about it. I dont like to read posts by women about their 3.5 kids, but I dont single them out and say….you are not a writer. In truth, it is the freedom to speak and write that makes us real. And the acceptance of who we are as women that makes us strong. But, Selena’s writing was specifically marked at the beginning of this post like something to be scraped off a shoe. And, I know for a fact that not only does she have an audience, but I have great respect for her writing because it empowers many women and informs women that want to read quality erotica. If dont…you are not repressed…it is a choice. Good for you for making it. She should not be degraded for her self expression. I have women who stop me everyday to talk to me about sex! They are almost in tears because they feel repressed. Selena and I feel the potential to help women find that freedom. My respect for her is immense. Thank you for addressing me directly with intelligence.

    B–Atleast I can sign my name even if I did use a tired old line. Perhaps, you should consider the “method in the madness” and think less of the words that I used to convey the thought in the simplest form possible.~~Dee

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  56. azteclady
    Mar 02, 2008 @ 22:19:43

    “Unless you are my kind of feminist, you are just a tool of the patriarchy” Different phrasing, same load of BS.

    Shouldn’t word choices be all important to writers?

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  57. Shiloh Walker
    Mar 02, 2008 @ 22:21:27

    Dee, I’m not sure where exactly in my post to you I mentioned professional. I mentioned respect our views if you expect us to respect yours.

    But to answer your question, what makes a professional writer has nothing to do with getting published, with a degree, or with anything other than how a writer conducts themselves. Implying that anybody should think or feel anything other than what they choose to think or feel is a bit presumptive, and unprofessional, IMO.

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  58. B
    Mar 02, 2008 @ 22:28:08

    Ah, but those who know B know there is a method to her madness. As the saying more properly goes.

    Though I hardly see how that has anything to do with anything.

    What you are saying, broken down to its true simplistic form, is merely thus: “Anyone who doesn’t think like me doesn’t think outside the box.”

    Tsk, tsk, tsk. And we were speaking of hypocrisy, were we?

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  59. Selena Kitt
    Mar 02, 2008 @ 22:30:32

    Marianne Williamson and Eckhard Tolle on two different snark blogs in two days?

    I think I’m going to go hoard canned goods for the apocalypse… ;)

    Shiloh, thanks for your further explanation. If I came off as unclear or off-putting, I certainly didn’t intend to. I’m sure I sounded at least slightly defensive, considering I was being singled out… but my points remain unchanged as does my view. I still don’t disagree with you.

    I think I must have less invested in the idea of “professionalism” than most of the authors here or elsewhere in the genre – if the amount of screen time that word is getting here is any indication, anyway. To me, it’s just another label. I wasn’t (and am not) here to find readers, promote my work or even to make “friends.” I came here because someone said something about me, personally, and used my blog as a talking point.

    Which is fine – the main blog topic I have no beef with. It’s the judgment in some of (not all, but some of) the follow-up posts to that topic which prompted my initial response.

    If you want to share all about your sex life, why use it as a promotional tool?

    Promotional tool? *blink* Sorry, I was blinded for a moment there by the publishing/advertising propaganda machine at work…

    As if writing is about finding readers, making money, and pimping out yourself in some preconceived “professional” manner?? Feh. Not me, sorry.

    Whatever I’m sharing on my blog, or in my fiction, is just a reflection. It’s all me, even when it is fiction. Psyche doesn’t know the difference between the inner and outer world, nor does it care.

    You do? Okay then. Move along.

    Trust me, I’m okay with you not reading my work if you have a problem knowing I enjoy watching men masturbate. *shrug* If that fact is going to scare you away, you are definitely not going to be interested in reading what I have to say.

    But hanging it over an author’s head like some sort of threat?

    “I would read you, but now I can’t because you told me that you gave your husband a blowjob and that’s just tooooo much information for me” ??

    I think you’re assuming I care whether or not you read what I write… the reality is… I just don’t.

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  60. Lynne
    Mar 02, 2008 @ 22:34:38

    Y’know, in non-fiction you need platform. If you’re going to write a book about programming computer games, you’d better have worked on at least one A-list game title if you want to get the time of day from publishers or readers.

    But for fiction, I don’t need to know the credentials of the author or, in fact, ANYTHING about her. A writer of erotic romance doesn’t need to have worked her way through college as a dominatrix or have run a phone sex hotline. A mystery writer needn’t have worked as a police detective or PI. If she can tell a kick-ass story that keeps my interest and makes me want to buy her next book, I don’t care that she’s never done or lived any of the stuff in the story. It’s FICTION.

    As a writer and a reader, I dislike the way that publishers seem to be pushing authors to share more personal details with the public. I don’t tell people other than close friends anything about my personal life, and it’s not because I’m repressed or prudish or ashamed of anything. Perish the thought! I’m just a fairly private person.

    Jody, I’ve seen some of the same conversations, and they always seem to devolve into pissing contests and/or name-calling. ::rolls eyes::

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  61. Shiloh Walker
    Mar 02, 2008 @ 22:38:07

    I think I must have less invested in the idea of “professionalism” than most of the authors here or elsewhere in the genre – if the amount of screen time that word is getting here is any indication, anyway. To me, it's just another label.

    Yeah, it is a label. But as authors, it’s one that affects us. I don’t know that I like it all that much sometimes when I realize it now applies to me, and it’s frickin hard because up until the past few years, my mindset was generally, this is me and if you don’t like it, screw it.

    But as an author, that doesn’t work as a mindset–or at least, it can’t for me.

    If it will work for you, hey, more power to you. I’m fine with that.

    I just hate to think that if I’d explained my viewpoints this way versus that, maybe I could have avoided alienating this group or that. I’m in this for the long haul, and for an author, part of making it in the long haul is word of mouth and image.

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  62. Dee
    Mar 02, 2008 @ 22:44:09

    Good night Ladies…it has been a real experience that has reaffirmed what I believe. Drama over and back to my hope of using writing to help women. I guess it is not fiction when someone approaches you to just talk to them because you have written openly about your life. I guess it is more important when you consider it from the level of being able to empower or inspire someone with something you write. To me, that is the real gauge of a writer. I hope you all do the same and live strong. Peace and cookies. Shiloh–good luck with your teenager. Remember, those years dont last long! Then, you can torture her years later when she has kids. Peace~~Dee

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  63. Selena Kitt
    Mar 02, 2008 @ 22:44:52

    I think the label only applies if you put it on and wear it. And it only has definition because you and everyone else around you agree that it is so.

    If my views alienate someone, I’m sorry… but I’m okay with that. Because it’s quite possible that someone, somewhere, was set free by my speaking my truth, however off-putting it seemed at the time.

    That’s more important to me than my ego, I guess.

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  64. Shiloh Walker
    Mar 02, 2008 @ 22:58:14

    Guh… and now I just realized that I wasn’t reading something through clearly.

    I didn’t read this thru before I responded, and I apologize

    Shiloh-I never used the word repressed. Please realize that all I said to you specifically (respect show because you did take time to think through what I was saying)no one is MAKING you read it or write about it.

    Dee, chances are we’re reading this from different ends of the spectrum which is probably going to account for different interpretations. However, the tone is that we SHOULD be able to discuss sex and if we aren’t repressed, we should feel comfortable doing it. No, that wasn’t said. But too often what comes through the loudest is what ISN’T said. Or written, when it comes to the web.

    Some people are going to be grossed out when things get a little too detailed. And they shouldn’t be made to feel less for it. But that is still the message we too often get when we say we don’t really care to discuss sex or our sex lives.

    Man, I could go into accounts right now that would have everybody non-medical probably squirming, covering their eyes or maybe even fighting the urge to hurl, and not a one of them would have anything to do with sex.

    If some people get a little grossed out by detailed sex info, by something nice and bloody and natural like childbirth, something not so pleasant like helping an comatose patient deal with the very unpleasant physical problems of constipation or even more fun, a comatose patient with a tracheotomy and their trach care, they got that right and the person doing the detailing should at least be prepared for it. The detailer should also respect this, especially if they want to be respected for their choices. You can’t GET respect without giving it. It doesn’t work like that.

    I certainly wouldn’t expect everybody here to be highly receptive of some of the (I’ll say it outright) rather gross things I’ve dealt with as a nurse.

    More, I think it’s wise that the person doing the detailing be prepared to handle it wisely, and without letting emotion dictate. Because when emotion dictates the response, whatever meaningful message might be there is too often lost. Emotion will drown out reason, every time.

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  65. Shiloh Walker
    Mar 02, 2008 @ 23:06:16

    Shiloh-good luck with your teenager.

    Choke. Choke. Spazz. Not a teenager, yet. A few more years. I got a few more years. Whimper.

    I think the label only applies if you put it on and wear it. And it only has definition because you and everyone else around you agree that it is so.

    If my views alienate someone, I'm sorry… but I'm okay with that. Because it's quite possible that someone, somewhere, was set free by my speaking my truth, however off-putting it seemed at the time.

    That's more important to me than my ego, I guess.

    I don’t see it as ego, though. But as making wise choices regarding my writing career. There are always different ways of saying things, and chances are, there are ways to say the same basic thing without alienating anybody.

    There are always ways of explaining something that doesn’t come off as If you’re not WITH me, you’re AGAINST me. You’re cool with your sexuality. Most people can respect that. Granted, it’s obvious most of us here don’t really care to read about it, but hey, that’s our right and that’s one thing I think most of us agree on.

    But chances are there are plenty of people who could use the message of accepting themselves, embracing themselves, but most likely, they have too many people dictating what they should and shouldn’t do. Even being faced with something that seems are inherently right as their own choice, if it’s couched in the wrong terms, it doesn’t seem like a choice, but as another order. Another opinion forced on them.

    It’s the screaming from the rooftops thing. The message might be a worthwhile message, but it gets lost in the delivery.

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  66. Shiloh Walker
    Mar 02, 2008 @ 23:06:49

    And I’ve been wordy enough today.

    I’m gone!

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  67. Karen Scott
    Mar 03, 2008 @ 02:05:53

    May I express that I appreciate all forms of writing–especially the ones that do not assault my mentality with their generalization of vanilla flavored suspension of disbelief as romance novels tend to do.

    So what you’re essentially saying is that you think most romance readers need a reality check?

    By the way, you say that you appreciate all forms of writing, then in the same breath, you accuse romance novelists of insulting your intelligence by writing vanilla flavoured books that have no basis in reality.

    You do see the contradiction and the hypocrisy here, don’t you?

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  68. Jane
    Mar 03, 2008 @ 02:17:43

    Karen, you are still thinking inside the box. Clearly.

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  69. romreader
    Mar 03, 2008 @ 03:26:20

    Strange how this topic strayed and turned into putting down “romance” writers and readers. Typical lashing out response.

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  70. Nora Roberts
    Mar 03, 2008 @ 06:46:03

    ~It is the the fluffy “heaving bosoms” of romantic literature (such a nasty set of words without flavor or intention) that force women to stay in the sexual place like dogs on leases set at the feet of their masters~

    This, and so much more in the post insults an entire genre.

    ~Shame on women who promote the lack of sharing information-especially with other women-who might need the light from that candle.~

    This, and so much more insults women who don’t choose to share their personal sexual details on public blogs, or read another’s. And takes the topic of writers of fiction sharing their intimate information with readers into equating those who dislike the practice with the meek, bland or repressed–or those who repress.

    Big leap.

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  71. Nora Roberts
    Mar 03, 2008 @ 07:05:49

    ~As if writing is about finding readers, making money, and pimping out yourself in some preconceived “professional” manner?? ~

    Pimping out is deliberately insulting, of course, but a professional writer–one who makes writing her profession–would want to find readers and make money from her writing. Otherwise, it’s a hobby. Our choice of ‘professional manner’ certainly may differ.

    Writing is what I do, and I’ve been fortunate to build a career doing something I love. (Though I’ve never written ‘fluffy heaving bosoms’. I want to find readers. I want to make money. My choice of professional manner stops well short of detailing my sex life on the internet.

    I guess I don’t see how a writer stating she likes to watch men masturbate or asking for donations to buy a sex toy is empowering or inspiring women. I guess I don’t buy the reason for the blog is all about empowering and inspiring, and nothing to do with the more mundane goals of finding readers and making money.

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  72. Sheryl Nantus
    Mar 03, 2008 @ 08:19:48

    all I can keep thinking about is that quote from Jurassic Park.

    Just because you CAN do something doesn’t mean that you SHOULD do it.

    just saying.

    ;)

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  73. Selena Kitt
    Mar 03, 2008 @ 11:50:34

    Pimping out is deliberately insulting, of course…

    Nah, it’s just an expression. I don’t have the negative connotations around it that you might, though… maybe that makes the difference. Like the word “cunt.” Love that word!

    I see all advertising and publicity as pimping. Just calling it what it is. I just pimped myself out today on my blog and offered an e-book a day to readers in honor of “Read An E-Book Week 2008″ – seemed like a good cause to bring awareness (i.e. reducing our carbon footprint in the world). I choose when and where I decide to pimp myself (and I do – all writers do – hell, anyone who sells anything, even if it’s just themselves, from prostitutes to actors to writers, really does…)

    I guess I don't buy the reason for the blog is all about empowering and inspiring, and nothing to do with the more mundane goals of finding readers and making money.

    See above. Of course it isn’t. Not entirely. It’s a wonderful side-effect though, and while it may not have been the reason I started doing it, it has become one of the primary reasons I’ve continued.

    I guess I don't see how a writer stating she likes to watch men masturbate or asking for donations to buy a sex toy is empowering or inspiring women

    Dee tried to explain it to you in her exuberant fashion… obviously the message got missed. There are hundreds of thousands of women out there afraid to talk about sex. They’re sure it’s wrong, it’s bad, it’s just not okay. Instead of making the choice to keep it private, as Shiloh and others have stated they do, here… they feel it’s a necessity. There’s a big difference there.

    I’m sure Dee (if she’s even still paying attention here) could tell you horror stories about the women she’s met through her blog who have felt incredibly liberated by just the fact that her blog exists. I can say the same, in terms of contact. Expressing my personal sexual preferences and my asking for donations (lots of blogs ask for donations – even non-sexblogs do that – because writing itself is an effort, and people often want to give back for what they’ve been given) and funneling those donations into a fund for an outrageously expensive and fun sex toy could make (and actually has made) other women feel more empowered.

    I’m just sayin’… ;)

    Look, I get the argument here. I’m the weird lady on the block who refuses to cut the dandelions growing three feet high on her lawn, has forty-seven cats, and grows a vegetable garden in front of her house.

    My actions are bringing down the value of your real estate.

    But are they? Are they really? Isn’t there room for more than one type of writer in the world? How am I harming you, exactly? I’m in my own little world over there, doing my thing, you’re in yours. Why can’t we support each other instead of judging one another? Lifting up instead of tearing down? (and I’m speaking to myself, here, too, trust me!)

    After all we live in the same neighborhood. I think you want to deny that I’m your neighbor? Because the reality is, we all write porn. Even you, Nora. (*ducking* lol) All romance (even the “sweet” stuff) and erotic romance is just women’s porn. When we read (or write – or even watch!) romance or erotic romance, we are looking for Aphrodite. We want her incarnate in our lives for that moment. Did you know that her incarnation is called Aphrodite Porne (Πόρνη) – the prostitute – Goddess of lust.

    That’s the god(dess) we bow down to. I’m the black sheep, the bad girl, because I’m willing to admit it. Most romance readers and writers want to deny it.

    I am a reflection of you… I’m your shadow. And you, actually, are mine. Because what Aphrodite wants, what she’s looking for, is intimacy and communion, especially the feminine. That’s what “porn” is really about. It’s that longing. We all feel it. Don’t we?

    Maybe we’re all circumventing it with what we do. Writing about it instead of doing it? Reading about it instead of doing it? Or maybe we’re putting out there reflections of how to get there, how to worship that particular goddess in our own lives. I’d like to think it’s the latter.

    But I think there’s room for all of us in this neighborhood. Not to go all Mr. Rogers here or anything… but I really do.

    p.s. I love this blog’s comments section, with the block quote and preview capacity and all… way cool! where do I get one!? :)

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  74. Nora Roberts
    Mar 03, 2008 @ 12:29:43

    ~we all write porn. Even you, Nora. (*ducking* lol~

    No, I do not. And I find it offensive for you to tell me what I write.

    You are not harming me, nor did I say you were. I said I disliked the practice of a writer detailing their sexual experiences on a blog. I also said it was a choice.

    You are not a reflection of me, nor are you my shadow. You are who and what you are, and are entitled to be. You are not entitled to tell me we’re the same. We are not, imo, in the same neighborhood. You can have your neighborhood–I’ve got no problem. As you said, you’re in your own world, and I (or others here) am in mine/ours. Hard to share a neighborhood that way.

    When you equate all Romance as porn, you’re every bit as judgmental and dismissive as those who equate it with fluff, unworthy, trash. With those who sweep it all up in the same box.

    Write porn all you want. I’ve got no problem with that, either. But don’t describe my work that way, or the entire Romance genre.

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  75. Selena Kitt
    Mar 03, 2008 @ 12:35:05

    You are not entitled to tell me we're the same. We are not, imo, in the same neighborhood.

    ahhh there’s that shadow. Way to prove a point. Mine, at any rate.

    *sigh*

    ciao all… I’m going to feed the cats…

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  76. Nora Roberts
    Mar 03, 2008 @ 12:42:13

    Here’s how this strikes me.

    Those writers who enjoy sharing their sexual life on line are, according to them:

    ‘standing proud in the crowd’
    ‘inspiring, liberating, empowering women’

    Those who dislike the practice are:

    ‘sitting quiet in the corner’
    ‘prudish’

    And we all write porn.

    As someone said upthead: Bollocks.

    And, yes, writing is an effort. Readers ‘give back’ by buying the books. Generally they don’t ‘give back’ by donating money so the writer can buy herself a sex toy. I think empowerment comes cheap if it can be achieved by donating to such a cause. I think the idea that it can be cheapens the word.

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  77. Nora Roberts
    Mar 03, 2008 @ 12:44:30

    ~ahhh there's that shadow. Way to prove a point. Mine, at any rate.~

    What? The neighborhood comment was in response to your use of the word.

    Get the hell out of my shadow. You’re starting to creep me out.

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  78. azteclady
    Mar 03, 2008 @ 12:45:42

    WordPress is eating my comments…grrrrrrrr

    Okay, second try:

    Is it just me, or is it insulting and arrogant for one writer to decide why and how and what every other writer out there writes?

    I’m a reader, and I imagine that since I choose not to share all sorts of details about my life–and not just sexual preferences, either–I’m one of those poor repressed and pathetic souls that Serena and Dee are so bent on rescuing. Without respecting us, though, ’cause, like, we haven’t earned their respect.

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  79. Jackie L.
    Mar 03, 2008 @ 12:50:03

    Shiloh, sex in the dryer, or was that on the dryer?

    Dee, if you’re still hanging around all of us repressed types, I only have a BA in a foreign language, but I can use spell-check. (You might kinda wanna try it, makes you look and sound, I dunno, smarter.)

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  80. B
    Mar 03, 2008 @ 13:00:14

    Wow. I had no idea that Nora Roberts was so made of Win! ^^

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  81. Janine
    Mar 03, 2008 @ 13:07:28

    I’ve been thinking for a while about fiction with an autobiographical basis. In my late teens and early twenties I was a huge Anne Rice fan. Her early vampire books made such an impact on me that I doubt that Interview with a Vampire and The Vampire Lestat will ever leave my bookshelves. I loved these books so much that I read many of her other books even after some of the later ones stopped satisfying me.

    I think the last of her books I read was Violin. I thought it had several problems, but the biggest one for me was that by the time I read this book, I had also read many interviews with Rice and I was able to recognize many similarities between Rice and the fictional narrator of her book, and between things that happened in the book and events in Rice’s life.

    Some details clearly had an autobiographical basis while others were clearly fictional. But there were still others that I was uncertain about. Were they made up, or had they really happened? I remember being so distracted by this question that I could not simply focus on the story and enjoy it for what it was, as a reader who was unfamiliar with Rice’s life story might have been able to do. It made the experience of reading this book extremely frustrating for me.

    There is a not-uncommon practice in literary fiction where authors sometimes name their main characters after themselves (For example, I believe that the hero of Jonathan Safran Foer’s Everything is Illuminated is also named Jonathan Safran Foer). As a reader, I find this practice frustrating, because a character who shares his or her name with the author will often cause me to spend the entire time I am reading that novel speculating on just what part of the book is fictional, and what part has a basis in the author’s life.

    Now obviously, I am just one reader and clearly, not every reader agrees with me. Jonathan Safran Foer’s book was a huge success and was even made into a movie. And other books which have employed this technique have been successful.

    But speaking only for myself, I don’t want to be thinking about the author when I read. I want to be thinking of the characters and to be completely caught up in their story. If I start wondering how much of the book has a basis in reality, then I’m no longer caught up in the story.

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  82. Robin
    Mar 03, 2008 @ 13:24:25

    Look, I get the argument here. I'm the weird lady on the block who refuses to cut the dandelions growing three feet high on her lawn, has forty-seven cats, and grows a vegetable garden in front of her house.

    Not to me, you aren’t. To me your actions are another version of those of the author who dresses like her characters or who names her male characters after her husband. Some readers love that stuff, while others don’t want the author and her books to be mixed. I have no problem with women writing proudly and explicitly and publicly about sex, sexual enjoyment, and sexual acceptance. I agree that many women are needlessly conflicted about their own sexuality. I don’t, however, buy the sexual liberator rhetoric when it comes fettered with so many judgmental stereotypes about other women, other genres, and other points of view. And I don’t think that’s what Maya Angelou had in mind, either.

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  83. Jody W.
    Mar 03, 2008 @ 13:36:19

    Hey, do you guys think Maya Angelou would blog about her sex life and ask for contributions so she could enhance it with expensive toys? The mind boggles.

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  84. azteclady
    Mar 03, 2008 @ 13:37:24

    Hey, do you guys think Maya Angelou would blog about her sex life and ask for contributions so she could enhance it with expensive toys? The mind boggles.

    *laughing so hard I can’t breathe*

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  85. Selena Kitt
    Mar 03, 2008 @ 13:44:28

    Get the hell out of my shadow. You're starting to creep me out.

    You make it rather difficult.

    I’m just sayin’…

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  86. Nora Roberts
    Mar 03, 2008 @ 13:52:11

    Selena, at this point I just have to say it.

    You’re being a complete ass.

    You’re trying to imply something that isn’t there. If you believe it is, spell it out. Being coy makes you look foolish.

    I will say it again, very plainly. Just because we both put words on paper does not make us colleagues much less ‘neighbors’. Whatever reflection you see has nothing to do with me.

    Attempting to uplift sharing your sex life, as a writer on a public blog, as some sort of high-minded, even altruistic practice strikes me as off–but your choice, your motives.

    Ascribing what you do, with your writing or your personal life, as a reflection of mine is just so much bullshit.

    Now, I do believe you’ve had enough of my time.

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  87. Lauren Dane
    Mar 03, 2008 @ 14:04:45

    One of the things I suppose I find myself bugged about the most is when someone starts something and then instead of backing up what they say, they keep changing the subject. Or trying to.

    Is it or is not not TMI to masturbate via podcast and put it on your author blog? Is it or is it not TMI to discuss the size of your partner’s genetalia or your yeast infection or your money troubles or whatever else MOST people find within the realm of the personal and therefore something you share with your friends and not necessarily via your professional blog. Your mileage may vary as to the answer to these questions - but the fact remains, this is the subject of this thread. The asking of the question is not censorship or oppression.

    And BTW, I daresay William Faulker understood what it meant to be a professional author. I also have no hesitation in asserting he didn’t blog about his money troubles or his itch down below or whatever else is fit for sharing with your BFF but not all and sundry.

    It’s not hard to understand the concept of professional. It’s not an esoteric word. Since you’ve got a website, I imagine you do want to sell your books to the public. That’s professional. As in, writing is in some sense your job or you wouldn’t have a website to showcase your body of *professional* work. How you wish to do that is your affair but as you do it in public, you make it everyone else’s affair too. That’s being provocative.

    All this other stuff is smoke and mirrors and it’s silly and patronizing too. I’m a grown assed woman with my own feminist street cred and I don’t need some stranger who doesn’t know a darned thing about me or even this subject to tell me what I write. I’m always so amazed by the gall of women who pull this crap and use the guise of feminism to do it.

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  88. romreader
    Mar 03, 2008 @ 14:25:28

    Here’s what I’ve never understood about this whole argument from some of the erotica authors in regard to it empowering women. I’m a woman and I detest the “C” word, “P” word and a whole host of others that erotica authors use in their books. Rather than empowering, I find these words degrading. If anyone dares to use those words in reference to me or any portion of my body, be prepared to have your head smacked up against the wall. You make it sound as if embracing sexuality is key. It’s only one small part of it, but you seem to be obsessed with that one part and insist the rest of us need to be obsessed, too. Uhh, where I come from, women who are obsessed with sex can usually be found to have some kind of psychological things going on. To me, empowerment is more about how we carry ourselves. Yeah, we deserve our orgasms, and if we’re smart, we know how to achieve them. But we also need to conduct ourselves with dignity if we expect to be treated with respect. That goes for any person, male or female. I think you’re doing a real disservice here to others who write erotica and do conduct themselves with dignity.

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  89. Linda
    Mar 03, 2008 @ 14:31:43

    I’ve never read Nora Roberts or Selena Kitt, but after going through these comments I know I’d prefer class to crass.

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  90. Shiloh Walker
    Mar 03, 2008 @ 14:53:12

    Shiloh, sex in the dryer, or was that on the dryer?

    Snicker.

    Man, I don’t even wanna try and keep up with this one any more. I’m going to go get some work done.

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  91. Karen Scott
    Mar 03, 2008 @ 15:09:00

    Get the hell out of my shadow. You’re starting to creep me out.

    Now that’s funny.

    Hey, do you guys think Maya Angelou would blog about her sex life and ask for contributions so she could enhance it with expensive toys? The mind boggles.

    Like AztecLady, that thought made me laugh out loud. I’m pretty sure that Ms Angelou has more class than that. And yes, when you ask for your readers to contribute money so that you can buy yourself a sex toy, that makes you a classless tool.

    What I want to know is how the publishers feel about their author’s tendency to overshare. We know Phaze couldn’t give a rat’s arse, seeing as the owner is also a tool, but what about future publishers who may take a dim view of their writers publicly discussing how badly they need a penis in their mouth?

    I’m pretty sure that not all publishers will have the same laissez-faire attitude that Phaze has adopted with their authors. Unless of course you sell like J.K. Rowling.

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  92. Robin
    Mar 03, 2008 @ 17:44:03

    What I want to know is how the publishers feel about their author's tendency to overshare. We know Phaze couldn't give a rat's arse, seeing as the owner is also a tool, but what about future publishers who may take a dim view of their writers publicly discussing how badly they need a penis in their mouth?

    Outside of a clear clash of publisher mission and authorial work (i.e. an inspy publisher) or really extreme, even criminal, author behavior, I’d hope that a publisher wouldn’t really care, for the same reasons I don’t want authors who say critical things about other authors’ books to be untouchables. The cynical part of me thinks that if an author’s overshare increased their marketability (LKH??) that it might actually make them more appealing to a publisher. But I’d hope the opposite weren’t true *assuming the work itself was strong,* of course.

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  93. Nora Roberts
    Mar 03, 2008 @ 17:56:08

    ~I'd hope that a publisher wouldn't really care~

    Just opinion given my experience. An author who is already a given–a heavy seller–will get a lot of leeway. Same, I’d think, with an author who’s just brilliant on the page.

    But, yes, I do think most publishers would care about public perception and public behavior for a new(ish) author or one starting up the rungs. Because there’s plenty of others out there. Why take one someone they might perceive as a PR problem, unless the shine of the work is bright enough, or the history of sales heavy enough?

    It’s business at the end of the day.

    And yes, I’d agree a lot would be on the assumption the work itself was strong.

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  94. Shayne Carmichael
    Mar 03, 2008 @ 19:23:30

    Nora,

    All that caught me a bit wrong. What’s the attitude with the porn (whether true or not)?

    I write gay romance. Most of my books contain less sex then you’d find in a het on the Walmart book shelf. Yet I’m confined to the erotic romance or ‘porn’ designation. I took offense to your comment for that very reason. As if the whole thing is soooo utterly bad for some one to say ‘porn’ in your direction. It gets slung in my direction all the time. You can either laugh it off or just say yeah, so I write porn (irregardless of what you do write). And yeah, it’s an industry sore point with me.

    Your way of putting it did just strike me as wrong considering I get labeled with it all the time because I write gay romance. It is a sore point with me, and your comment about getting the ‘porn’ label slung at you, and you getting bent out of shape with it, makes it a more sore point.

    Just my 2 cents.

    Shayne

    ~we all write porn. Even you, Nora. (*ducking* lol~

    No, I do not. And I find it offensive for you to tell me what I write.

    You are not harming me, nor did I say you were. I said I disliked the practice of a writer detailing their sexual experiences on a blog. I also said it was a choice.

    You are not a reflection of me, nor are you my shadow. You are who and what you are, and are entitled to be. You are not entitled to tell me we're the same. We are not, imo, in the same neighborhood. You can have your neighborhood-I've got no problem. As you said, you're in your own world, and I (or others here) am in mine/ours. Hard to share a neighborhood that way.

    When you equate all Romance as porn, you're every bit as judgmental and dismissive as those who equate it with fluff, unworthy, trash. With those who sweep it all up in the same box.

    Write porn all you want. I've got no problem with that, either. But don't describe my work that way, or the entire Romance genre.

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  95. Nora Roberts
    Mar 03, 2008 @ 19:33:27

    But I don’t write porn. I don’t think gay romance is porn either, just because it’s romance about same sex couples. It’s not right when it’s tossed at you, and it’s not right when it’s tossed at me. The attitude isn’t about porn, but about someone assuming she can tell me what I write–and what the entire genre I write within is.

    Why are you offended that I objected to what isn’t true? Because you get labeled incorrectly? That’s kind of silly.

    Very simply, I object to being told all Romance is porn, and I write porn. Because it’s untrue. And I don’t like someone designating my writing as pornography when it isn’t.

    I don’t object to porn. I object to having someone tell me I write it, when I don’t. Why would that be a sore point for you? I’m clueless.

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  96. Shayne Carmichael
    Mar 03, 2008 @ 19:37:07

    And at the end of the day, I don’t think it is anybody else’s judgment call about what others put in their blog if they are authors. I suggest leaving that to the authors, and everybody else can put what they want on their blogs.

    Why do any of you care what is on another’s blog?

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  97. azteclady
    Mar 03, 2008 @ 19:39:13

    Venturing to ask: Shayne, do you think you write porn? No, you don’t, and you don’t like it when people label it such simply because it’s same sex romance. (okay, I’m extrapolating from your first comment here)

    I think that’s what Ms Roberts was aiming at–she doesn’t think she writes porn, why should she let anyone qualify her work as such?

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  98. Shayne Carmichael
    Mar 03, 2008 @ 19:41:20

    Just saying Nora, your words showed you upset at having the label put on you. It’s more an overall industry attitude that came out with the way you wrote that. It’s the words and conveyed attitude behind them.

    You didn’t like her suggesting you write porn. Actually most of the time I don’t particularly care what others say about me either, it’s that industry attitude.

    And I may fail at explaining myself, but I’m trying. It’s an overall attitude in the words themselves.

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  99. Shayne Carmichael
    Mar 03, 2008 @ 19:43:46

    azteclady, Again, trying to explain it’s an industry attitude. I had one of those moments where it just didn’t strike me right. Actually no, I wouldn’t qualify none of my works as porn, except one. But there’s a larger part of the world who will disagree with me. *L*

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  100. azteclady
    Mar 03, 2008 @ 19:45:13

    I am sorry your work gets often mislabeled–it sucks for every writer out there who has it done to them.

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  101. Nora Roberts
    Mar 03, 2008 @ 19:49:25

    I’m not the industry. And yes, I was annoyed at having someone stamp that label on my work. Why shouldn’t I be when it’s incorrect?

    I believe I’m right to separate my work from porn–and don’t choose do shrug off the label when it’s attempted to be put on my work. It’s not my fault if it happens to you–and I’d stand up and separate gay romance from porn if I was asked about it.

    You’re ascribing motivations and meanings behind my post that weren’t there. I think my statement was pretty clear. Plus, you’re attempting to equate my objection with ‘an industry attitude’.

    You’re off base.

    Nora

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  102. Shayne Carmichael
    Mar 03, 2008 @ 19:58:25

    Nora,

    I’m really not coming through clear today. Bah!!

    I didn’t mean to imply that you have an industry attitude. Just the words had that sound, not that you yourself had ia. Beats typing ia many times.

    It’s a perceived thing in words, and given this is the net, one’s intentions aren’t always clear. You are correct, and I most likely perceived your words incorrectly. Or could be just a sensitive sore point with me. Not sure which. It’s kind of a double thing. People get very upset when the word porn is mentioned, and it’s a sore point all over the place.

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  103. Shayne Carmichael
    Mar 03, 2008 @ 20:01:43

    azteclady, heh. It’s just one of my Shayne’s moments. Ask my poor co-author, I get them every once in a while. It seems to be my moment today.

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  104. Shiloh Walker
    Mar 03, 2008 @ 20:36:54

    What's the attitude with the porn (whether true or not)

    Porn has a negative connotation, Shayne. Some care about that, others don’t.

    I personally do care. I don’t consider what I write the same as a skin mag. I don’t consider my erotic romances as something written solely for sexual titillation and that’s what porn is. The emotion in my stuff matters to me and I hope it matters to readers.

    If others don’t care, more power to them. However, I’m entitled to feel this way. It’s all a matter of personal choice, personal perception.

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  105. Shayne Carmichael
    Mar 03, 2008 @ 20:48:54

    Shiloh,

    I think I gave up on my porn motivations. *L* It’s a difficult feeling to express at best anyway. I can write the fiction, but my self conveyance skills are vegging with my muse. I should fire them both.

    Maybe it’s just the upset with the word itself. Ughh… I quit while I’m ahead.

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  106. Shayne Carmichael
    Mar 03, 2008 @ 20:51:12

    That and I’m on day 8 of my quit smoking jag, and I need a %&#^@@ smoke. I may need to not approach the net until I’m more civilized.

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  107. K. Z. Snow
    Mar 03, 2008 @ 20:51:50

    Let me get this straight. Bending over and flashing snatch on the Internet is empowering. Is that about right?

    Well, damn… And here I’ve been, wasting my time at the keyboard and daring to be proud of my, uh, “output”. I had a feeling my well-concealed, wimpy ass was doing something wrong.

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  108. Shiloh Walker
    Mar 03, 2008 @ 21:03:14

    Shayne, I frequently feel I should step away from the net until I’m more civilized. But I can’t seem to manage it. ;)

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  109. Nora Roberts
    Mar 03, 2008 @ 21:41:31

    Shayne, I don’t get upset when the word porn is mentioned, I get annoyed when my work is equated to porn. I get annoyed when the entire genre is labeled as porn.

    I sympathize with the smoking jones.

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  110. K. Z. Snow
    Mar 04, 2008 @ 00:16:43

    In an attempt to turn my life around, I’m now accepting donations so I can set up a scratch-and-sniff blog.

    ReplyReply

  111. Ben W
    Mar 04, 2008 @ 03:22:34

    To Nora –

    Is there something morally wrong with someone sharing about their sex life? Would it make a moral difference if that person were not a pro/semi-professional writer?

    If there is nothing morally wrong what is unseemly about someone sharing information about their sexual life? Again, would it make a moral difference if that person were not some sort of writer or even a member of an erotic community (porn actor/actress, porn webpage designer, etc.) or a romantic community (Pickard Kirk fan-fic writer to the run-of-the-mill Fabio-meets-misunderstood-blond-in-the-highlands type of author).

    If there is nothing unseemly about such things, then is there a professional problem (in danger of major negatives like lost customers, poor future sales, etc)? If that is the case wouldn’t it be better for a person to quietly notify a person of such pitfalls instead of kicking over a hornets nest and seeing what flies out?

    If, as Selena has noted, an author gains positive (what was it 50 new subscriptions today) responses to her sharing, and thus negating any major professional worry, what then is the issue?

    Where has she erred? I understand you don’t like her equating her erotic pornographic writing to your romance writing, but if we equated the writing of the two of you to photography where would we draw the line? Would we stop when nipples were exposed, or would we draw it somewhere else?

    Just as Han Solo fan-fiction is a sub-section of Science Fiction and bluegrass is a sub-genre of Country Music so too is erotica a sub-genre of Romance. From where I stand (firmly outside as an author, but having visited all parts) you may not be neighbors, but you’re certainly in the same neighborhood.

    I can understand Selena being touchy. She was personally attacked, despite the hand-wringing of the author of this blog, the very perpetrator of this attack, claiming to be her ally. Et tu Brute?

    But where has she erred in all of this?

    Where’s the Fire,

    Ben W.

    P.S. to Shiloh – You need to read up a bit on what those in law call “chilling effect.” Socially it can be quiet damaging and has been used as a wicked tool for generations of social cliques to push out undesirables without directly attacking the undesirable members of the community. Remember we are defined not only by who we draw close, but also by who we push away.

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  112. Gennita Low
    Mar 04, 2008 @ 05:45:33

    Dude.

    How did an initial essay by a reader suggesting that an author revealing too much personal information can destroy her enjoyment of fiction descend to a morality dustup? No one is judging Selena Kitt’s morals here. Most of the posters have given an opinion whether discussing intimate details in public turn them off. The consensus is yes, it does, and the more public the figure, the more it affects their reading enjoyment.

    What Miss Kitt does on her blog is controversial, and controversy begets attention and discussion. If all she wants is, “if you don’t want it, don’t look or see,” how is she going to fulfill her MISSION STATEMENT of changing the, to her, repressed female writers and readers out there? Or is sexual empowerment just for those who masturbates in front of a camera and post it on the web for all to see?

    And since Miss Kitt is a published author with a very public blog on a very controversial topic, of course she’s going to be brought up as an example. Good for her if she gains new subscriptions (I see you need to subscribe to maybe look at some private sexual photos) over this; her mission is being done. The discussion had never been about whether there were other people out there wanting to check out sexual photographs, anyway.

    First, Ms. Kitt has a right to come here and give her view of things. No one is telling her that it’s morally wrong to share intimate details on her blog. From the many posts above, it appears that generally, most people think it’s just not a great idea for an author to do that. Ms. Kitt disagrees, as do her friends, which is fine, but when she starts saying things like, “Well, we all write porn anyway. YOu just don’t see it,” well, you see how that can get a few authors to come in and say, “No, we don’t all write porn. You’re generalizing.” I don’t see how stating a fact that, “no, we don’t ALL write porn” become, as you accuse, “an attempt to push out undesirables.” What Miss Kitt said was equivalent to telling a bunch of mystery writers that they are really writing snuff. Or that all fantasy writers are, at heart, Christians yearning for the Messiah. Yes, it is that big a deal to call the entire genre of romance PORN.

    Second, the idea that it falls on the shoulders of those discussing this topic to quietly notify anyone that they are behaving unprofessionally makes me laugh. Since when has that responsibility fallen on the shoulders of strangers? Miss Kitt would have probably laughed equally hard and politely written back a go-fug-yoself email.

    Finally, the neighborhood analogy stuff–you want to make the generalization that we are all writers. I believe Nora isn’t saying Miss Kitt isn’t a writer; I get the impression that Miss Kitt can write all the porn she wants, just don’t call her–Nora Robert’s–writing porn. All that talk about being the shadow or mirror is just condescending, especially to a writer. You can overgeneralize all you want…we all write words…we all take pictures…we are one big village. But. The reality is, in the professional side of life, we aren’t one big village. You have your movie stars and you have your porn stars :::shrug::: If you tell the former they all do porn because they have a few naked scenes in their movies, they are going to seriously disagree with you. Sor-ry (sez she in her best Simon Cowl imitation).

    And now I’m sure everyone wants to know that I’m heading off to brush my teeth, floss, comb my hair, clip my toenails….(I don’t think I’ll make a video or a podcast, though).

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  113. Nora Roberts
    Mar 04, 2008 @ 06:01:55

    Ben,

    What Gennita said. She covered all the bases. The fact that she did, and perfectly, illustrates why you singling me out in a discussion where many others have commented as I did makes little sense. (Note: This isn’t my blog.)

    Boy, for people who enjoy talking about their bjs on a public blog, you guys sure are touchy when some of the public express their opinion.

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  114. Shiloh Walker
    Mar 04, 2008 @ 07:42:43

    P.S. to Shiloh – You need to read up a bit on what those in law call “chilling effect.” Socially it can be quiet damaging and has been used as a wicked tool for generations of social cliques to push out undesirables without directly attacking the undesirable members of the community. Remember we are defined not only by who we draw close, but also by who we push away.

    To Ben… exactly could you tell me exactly what I did that implied I was trying to push anybody out? I never told Selena that she couldn’t/shouldn’t/mustn’t discuss whatever she wanted, here or on her blog. What I’ve said was that she can’t expect everybody to be okay with her subject matter, and that others have the right to not care for it. Did I tell her she wasn’t welcome? No. Did I tell her that she shouldn’t blog about whatever? No. I did state that I didn’t care for her blogging style, but if there comes a time when I’m forced to care for somebody’s style, then please shoot.

    Regarding porn, same thing goes. I’m entitled to not care for it just like you’re entitled to not care for something you don’t like. I’m not going to sit here and tell you to read medical text after medical text and I’m not going to drag out all the thousands of romances in my personal library and tell you that you MUST read them otherwise and you MUST discuss anything and everything romantic, otherwise you’re deeming the romance community or the medical community as unacceptable and therefore attacking us poor, misunderstood romance writers or us poor, misunderstood nurses.

    I did say I don’t care for porn, and I don’t care to have my erotic romances regarded as porn.

    Is this perhaps what I said that perhaps you ‘construed’ as a ‘chilling effect’ ?

    Porn has a negative connotation, Shayne. Some care about that, others don't.

    I personally do care. I don't consider what I write the same as a skin mag. I don't consider my erotic romances as something written solely for sexual titillation and that's what porn is. The emotion in my stuff matters to me and I hope it matters to readers.

    If others don't care, more power to them. However, I'm entitled to feel this way. It's all a matter of personal choice, personal perception.

    I defined porn the same way dictionaries define it, something written to elicit sexual excitement.


    M-W’s definition of it

    the depiction of erotic behavior (as in pictures or writing) intended to cause sexual excitement

    Are you going to sit there and tell me that not caring for porn in general makes me somehow ‘wrong’? Or that I shouldn’t care if I see my work labeled in a way I don’t care for? Because then you’re doing the exact same thing you seem to be accusing me of. You’re telling me I should think something other than what I want to, that I’m not entitled to personal opinions because it doesn’t mesh with yours. (folks, isn’t this pot/kettle thing getting old?)

    Now, if you’re going to tell me that by not liking porn, I’m being closed minded, I’ve got nothing else to say. People who use THAT argument are more close-minded than most in my experience and I have no desire to waste breath arguing with you.

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  115. Alison Kent
    Mar 04, 2008 @ 10:45:48

    Most of the posters have given an opinion whether discussing intimate details in public turn them off. The consensus is yes, it does, and the more public the figure, the more it affects their reading enjoyment.

    What Gennita said.

    I remember readers getting turned off by Laura Kinsale posting John Kerry banners on her website. They didn’t want to know her politics because it interfered with their enjoyment of her books. I once worked with a group of people who were boycotting all of Sean Penn’s movies because of his visit to Sadam Hussein.

    Public figures, artists, have to know that while sharing their personal views publically may result in new fans and new supporters, it can also lose them some they already have, or put off future ones. If they’re willing to risk losing part of their audience, fine. Their choice. But they can’t be so naive as to not understand the possibility is there – and that it has NOTHING to do with morals.

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  116. Karen Scott
    Mar 04, 2008 @ 14:48:47

    If, as Selena has noted, an author gains positive (what was it 50 new subscriptions today) responses to her sharing,

    The fact that sex sells, and sells incredibly well, was never the question here. Every arsehole and his penis could confirm that fact.

    and thus negating any major professional worry, what then is the issue?

    You really think that by Selena gaining 50 more subscriptions, (probably from the curious/nosy readers of this blog at a guess) she doesn’t have to worry about her book sales, and how she is perceived by her peers and future publishers? Do you really believe that?

    This would probably not be an issue, if she only wanted to write for porn sites, but I suspect she wants to go mainstream, and because mainstream publishers are human like the rest of us, not all of them are going to be singing from the roof tops if they hear about one of their mid to lower list authors,A, being so public about her sex life, and B, asking her readers to donate money so that she can buy a sex toy.

    She may think that she has the higher ground because she’s able to express her sexuality freely, whilst we frigid bitches are trapped by our own sexual inhibitions, but the thing is, at the end of the day, she’s a public figure, and as such, she’s not the only person affected by the way she portrays herself. Fair or not, that’s just the way it is.

    Robin, in an ideal world, publishers wouldn’t judge somebody just because they share pictures of their snatch with the world, but this world is far from ideal, and humans are naturally judgemental.

    And Ben, Nora and everybody else has a right to not want their work judged as porn. Just like Selena has every right to label her own work as porn, or smut. Freedom of speech and expression doesn’t just work one way, ya feel me?

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  117. Nora Roberts
    Mar 04, 2008 @ 16:28:45

    Here’s something that occurred to me. All this freedom of sexual expression, by a writer on a public blog, and intimations of prudery and so on from those who don’t find this such a great idea. This person’s definition of porn is, apparently, anything with any sort of sexual content. All Romance novels are porn because they all (which they don’t) contain love scenes.

    I would more expect this sort of broad reaching generalization from someone on the other end of the spectrum. Oh, it has sex. It’s porn. For someone who is very clear about her views on sexual expression, I’d expect more understanding of what porn is. And what it isn’t.

    As for the photography analogy. I don’t do photography, but my husband does. He takes gorgeous figure studies, has won awards for them. He doesn’t do pornography.

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  118. Jill Sorenson
    Mar 04, 2008 @ 17:25:35

    I keep thinking about this thread and I can't seem to get any work done so I guess I'll just throw my opinion out there.

    The general consensus has been that it is unprofessional for authors to blog about their own sex lives. I don't necessarily disagree, but I don't think it's that big of a deal. If a person claims to write porn, or makes porn videos for a living, their profession is sex. (And no, I'm not equating erotic romance with porn.)

    I can certainly agree that if a writer wants to be taken seriously, he or she should conduct themselves accordingly. I can also sympathize with those writers who have been mislabeled as porn. I don't write erotic romance, so perhaps this issue isn't as sensitive for me. I'm also new to the game and I haven't been bombarded by other people's misconceptions for years and years.

    I don't think anyone on this thread is a prude, but I do think it's crass to make snarky comments about another author's body parts. Even if she does write porn.

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  119. Karen Scott
    Mar 04, 2008 @ 18:22:01

    but I don't think it's that big of a deal.

    The problem is, the author’s publisher may think it is a big deal.

    If a person claims to write porn, or makes porn videos for a living, their profession is sex.

    I think the problem is that in this particular example, the author wants to go mainstream, and already has a book coming out with a well respected e-publisher. If she worked purely on traditional porn sites, this wouldn’t even be an issue.

    I don't think anyone on this thread is a prude, but I do think it's crass to make snarky comments about another author's body parts. Even if she does write porn.

    Where are these snarky comments? Did somebody accuse Selena of having a fishy-smelling snatch and I somehow managed to miss it? If so, please point me in the right direction.

    Crass is asking your readers to donate money so that you can buy yourself a sex toy IMO.

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  120. Selena Kitt
    Mar 04, 2008 @ 18:37:51

    All Romance novels are porn because they all (which they don't) contain love scenes.

    Not what I said.

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  121. Ben W
    Mar 04, 2008 @ 19:06:29

    To Gennita:

    You are doing the very thing you claim I am doing, over-generalizing. I don’t think that Selena’s statement that you all worship at the Temple of Aphrodite is a claim that you all write porn. At best she called herself Nora Robert’s shadow. She’s claiming to be part of the same neighborhood, a vast neighborhood to be sure, but still the same neighborhood.

    It’s fine if you want to draw finer lines than that, but Selena saying that she’s a erotic romance writer does not equate to her claiming that all Romance writers just write porn.

    All cats are felines, and all house cats are domesticated (for purposes of this exercise), but Not all cats are domesticated. Get it?

    Just because Stormy Daniels (I think that is the woman’s name) acted in The 40-Year Old Virgin does not automatically make all actresses porn stars.

    Regarding the quietly notify bit, I was speaking as one industry professional to another. If I was a professional writer (I AM a professional advertising executive for a multi-million dollar firm) I would, as a courtesy, to another person I was acquainted with who held a parallel job mention to them first that I noticed something they might want to check out. I wouldn’t shout it from the rooftops that Saul’s advertising guy was listing inflated values in his ads and thus false advertising (something that could cost Saul a ton of money/his job). In fact, Saul was able to fix the problem quietly and never had any issues.

    Regarding morality, what arena do you put social and sexual issues into? I generally consider those questions moral/ethical questions and that’s why I brought that up, but if you want to regard it as simply, “not a great idea.” What arena of discussion would that fall into? That’s the question I was trying to get answered in my post.

    To Nora: Ah, but did not Gennita say that with Great Fame comes great Responsibility? I was responding directly to what you had said, not just your name, if you want an honest answer. I have no regard, positive or negative, towards you, I’ve never read your work, and my forays into Romance have been in other directions. It wasn’t until I read some other comment to you that I realized who you are purported to be, and I was already formulating my question to you. Just because you have fame does not always equate to the causation of other’s reactions to you.

    As for your husband’s photography, I’m sorry to say this, but one man’s figure’s studies is another man’s wanking material, and a third man’s abomination in the sight of God. You should know that there is no set definition of what is moral, what is artistic, and what is too graphic.

    To Shiloh: The very act of a large group of people jumping up and down and pointing out the perceived faults of another person is chilling. I’m not claiming that you yourself has said anything, I am just pointing out that the first major part of this comment thread could easily be construed as such. Negative re-enforcement, bullying, name-calling, tsk’ing, etc. are all things that can have and cause chilling effects.

    When a bunch of nice people go over to Joe home owner and say, “Oh My, we don’t like the color of your house,” how do you think that makes Joe Homeowner feel? They didn’t do anything against the rules, they just expressed their opinions, and Joe’s house color is totally valid, but do you think Joe is going to seriously consider re-painting his house? I do. As Westerners we are somehow terribly ignorant of this idea. The Chinese call it Face, the Renaissance man called it Honor, and the peoples of the Middle East and Central Asia all understand this idea. Just be aware that it exists, and understand what effects it can have.

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  122. Shiloh Walker
    Mar 04, 2008 @ 19:13:34

    To Shiloh: The very act of a large group of people jumping up and down and pointing out the perceived faults of another person is chilling. I'm not claiming that you yourself has said anything, I am just pointing out that the first major part of this comment thread could easily be construed as such. Negative re-enforcement, bullying, name-calling, tsk'ing, etc. are all things that can have and cause chilling effects.

    Ahhhh… I get it. So you singled me out even though all I said regarding much of this was that reading somebody’s sex life doesn’t do much for me, but I didn’t care if Selena chose to blog about it. Or the way I tried to explain how some of the comments have come off as just casting the majority here are prudish or puritanical.

    I generally try to see all sides and when I can explain all sides. You’re right. I definitely needed to be singled out for daring to try and be rational and see the POV from all parties speaking here.

    I really wish people would stop trying to make everything either a political statement or a society issue. This wasn’t any of it. It was about personal choice, personal likes and dislikes. Nobody said Selena shouldn’t blog about whatever she wants~they merely question whether or not a published author’s blog was the best platform for such.

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  123. Nora Roberts
    Mar 04, 2008 @ 19:14:20

    ~Because the reality is, we all write porn. Even you, Nora. (*ducking* lol) All romance (even the “sweet” stuff) ~

    Yes, it is what you said.

    Nora

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  124. Nora Roberts
    Mar 04, 2008 @ 19:15:31

    ~does not equate to her claiming that all Romance writers just write porn.~

    She said exactly that. See above. Her words.

    Nora

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  125. Karen Scott
    Mar 04, 2008 @ 19:23:29

    ‘Ben’, I’m thinking it would be probably a good idea for you to read, A, the original post, and B, the comments before attempting to come to Selena’s defence.
    Also, Nobody. Said. She. Couldn’t. Write. What. She. Wants. To. On. Her. Own. Blog.

    What part of that sentence don’t you understand?

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  126. Nora Roberts
    Mar 04, 2008 @ 19:26:05

    ~As for your husband's photography, I'm sorry to say this, but one man's figure's studies is another man's wanking material, and a third man's abomination in the sight of God. You should know that there is no set definition of what is moral, what is artistic, and what is too graphic.~

    Bollocks. You’re trying to take some stand here, when you’re on air. She said what she said–and you want to claim, as she does, she didn’t.

    Once again, she is NOT my shadow. There are many others commenting here, you singled me out because it made more impact.

    I never said, and never would say, that erotic romance isn’t viable, or isn’t a part of the Romance neighborhood. Selena said she wrote porn, as did all of us in her opinion, and therefore we’re in the same neighborhood. I take her at her word, as I’ve never read her. She writes porn. I do not.

    Not remotely the same neighborhood. She is not my reflection.

    This wasn’t about morality, but about opinion on this issue: Is blogging about personal sexual activities, likes, preferences too much information for a writer to share on the internet? You’ve tried to make it about something else, as has Ms. Kitt. I don’t care what she does, but I have an opinion on this specific issue. I’ve stated it.

    You don’t have to agree.

    She very specifically, very clearly said we all, including me, write porn.

    I strongly disagree, and I strongly take offense to her labeling my work, and labeling in incorrectly. I did not label hers. She did.

    All the analogies in the world aren’t going to change that.

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  127. Shiloh Walker
    Mar 04, 2008 @ 19:27:28

    It's fine if you want to draw finer lines than that, but Selena saying that she's a erotic romance writer does not equate to her claiming that all Romance writers just write porn.

    Ben, it appears you haven’t read all the comments because Selena said just that.

    Selena’s comment, #73 read….

    After all we live in the same neighborhood. I think you want to deny that I'm your neighbor? Because the reality is, we all write porn. Even you, Nora. (*ducking* lol) All romance (even the “sweet” stuff) and erotic romance is just women's porn.

    A caveat here~I get the feeling that Selena was being tongue in cheek, and being a sarcastic type myself, I wasn’t really bothered by the comment

    However, I can see why some were. That comment is probably one thing some people are up in arms about. I disagree with her, but I can do it on a professional basis. Porn is about sexual titillation and I don’t read romance to get turned on. I read it because I love reading about people’s relationships, the slow slide or free fall into love, and I love a HEA. That’s why I read romance. I read both the erotic and the mainstream sort because different storylines appeal to me. I love sci fi romance, but three years ago, some of the best sci fi romance storylines were along the lines of Lora Leigh’s Breeds, IMO. I don’t read them for the sex. Sex can make a good story better, but sex can also ruin a story.

    Sex isn’t why we read romance. Or not all of us. If it was the sole reason, maybe the ‘porn’ label could apply, because it’s being used for sexual titillation.

    But it’s not the reason we all read it and unless you have access and insight into the mind of every romance reader, you can’t say otherwise.

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  128. Nora Roberts
    Mar 04, 2008 @ 19:27:31

    ~I really wish people would stop trying to make everything either a political statement or a society issue. This wasn't any of it. It was about personal choice, personal likes and dislikes. Nobody said Selena shouldn't blog about whatever she wants~they merely question whether or not a published author's blog was the best platform for such.~

    Word.

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  129. Ben W
    Mar 04, 2008 @ 19:27:42

    Ugh, Karen, I have, multiple times, to be absolutely sure of what was being said.

    My apologies Shiloh if you felt unfairly targeted. I perceived that you were missing a bit of the conversation and tried to fill you in, I was not attacking you. Again, my apologies.

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  130. Selena Kitt
    Mar 04, 2008 @ 19:29:34

    NORA: All Romance novels are porn because they all (which they don't) contain love scenes.

    SELENA: Because the reality is, we all write porn. Even you, Nora. (*ducking* lol) All romance (even the “sweet” stuff)

    Huh. I don’t see ANYTHING in that second sentence that says something about all romances containing love scenes. Oh wait, that’s right… that’s because I never said it!

    I’m not debating the first point. I definitely said that. And meant it.

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  131. azteclady
    Mar 04, 2008 @ 19:31:20

    Ben

    My apologies Shiloh if you felt unfairly targeted. I perceived that you were missing a bit of the conversation and tried to fill you in, I was not attacking you. Again, my apologies.

    Does anyone else find this deliciously funny?

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  132. Nora Roberts
    Mar 04, 2008 @ 19:31:24

    Then, please explain why all romance is porn. I will cop to assuming you meant because they contained love scenes. I’m willing to hear your anwswer.

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  133. Shiloh Walker
    Mar 04, 2008 @ 19:33:49

    Ben

    My apologies Shiloh if you felt unfairly targeted. I perceived that you were missing a bit of the conversation and tried to fill you in, I was not attacking you. Again, my apologies.

    Does anyone else find this deliciously funny?

    Eh, scratching my head a little definitely. Since I’ve been in on this one from the get-go, and overly wordy, most likely, I’m not sure why it seemed I was missing anything. But it could be my inner airhead surfacing.

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  134. Nora Roberts
    Mar 04, 2008 @ 19:34:15

    ~Does anyone else find this deliciously funny?~

    At this point, and I’m generally pretty tolerant–I find it ridiculous.

    All Romance is porn, but not because they all contain love scenes. Why then? Because they all have settings? Characters? Emotion? Dialogue?

    I thought porn required sex.

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  135. Nora Roberts
    Mar 04, 2008 @ 19:34:52

    ~But it could be my inner airhead surfacing.~

    No, honey, it’s really not.

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  136. azteclady
    Mar 04, 2008 @ 19:43:06

    Ms Roberts

    All Romance is porn, but not because they all contain love scenes. Why then? Because they all have settings? Characters? Emotion? Dialogue?

    I thought porn required sex.

    Encarta and Merrian-Webster thought so too.

    From Encarta:

    Definition:

    1. sexually explicit material: films, magazines, writings, photographs, or other materials that are sexually explicit and intended to cause sexual arousal

    2. sexual images industry: the production or sale of sexually explicit films, magazines, or other materials

    From Merriam-Webster:

    Etymology:
    Greek pornographos, adjective, writing about prostitutes, from pornÄ“ prostitute graphein to write; akin to Greek pernanai to sell, poros journey -’ more at fare, carve
    Date:
    1858

    1 : the depiction of erotic behavior (as in pictures or writing) intended to cause sexual excitement
    2 : material (as books or a photograph) that depicts erotic behavior and is intended to cause sexual excitement
    3 : the depiction of acts in a sensational manner so as to arouse a quick intense emotional reaction

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  137. Selena Kitt
    Mar 04, 2008 @ 19:43:32

    I’ll just quote myself…

    Aphrodite Porne wants and promotes intimacy and communion. That's what the feminine is looking for in romance, erotic romance, erotica. That's what “porn” is really about, for men or women. It is Porne/porn. It's that longing for connection. We all feel it. We just happen to like different flavors of it. Or, to continue my metaphor, we visit different houses in that neighborhood (or temple) to get our fix.

    and

    I'm speaking in metaphor. As a symbol, Aphrodite represents all the different ways the human heart wants to connect to and relate to other human hearts. At her worst, “she” (romance) keeps people out of their bodies, connecting only to their thoughts and fantasies with no real intimacy – or “she” (pornography) keeps them in their bodies completely with a shallowness that breeds no depth or heart connection. At her best, ”she” both invites, inspires and seduces people to connect body, mind, spirit and/or soul. Every aspect of romance fiction, erotic or not, is all aimed at the same thing at the core – the connection and communion of individual hearts into one. It all falls under the generous umbrella of the goddess in her true and sacred form: Aphrodite Porne. So when I say “Romance is porn for women” it's not meant as an insult, not in the least. But it's interesting how it's taken, isn't it?

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  138. Nora Roberts
    Mar 04, 2008 @ 19:53:46

    So, in your definition, porn is simply the longing for connection. Like conversation? Conversation can be intimate. I had intimate conversations with my mother, with my sons. Very personal, very intimate conversations.

    So everything is porn that involves people interacting in any intimate way.

    Somebody ought to tell the rest of the world so they can catch up with the meaning of the word.

    ~That's what “porn” is really about, for men or women~

    And you know this because you know everyone, their thoughts, feelings, desires, needs.

    I don’t buy your definition. And I don’t write porn.

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  139. Shiloh Walker
    Mar 04, 2008 @ 19:57:03

    Selena, it’s a pretty turn of phrase, and I mean that sincerely. But it doesn’t change how most people view porn, or how they think of it.

    Your definition is rather nice, but my personal opinion is that it doesn’t fit playboy/playgirl/Hustler. Those are porn. If people like it, hey that’s fine. But they are about sexual titillation.

    Romance isn’t, in and of itself, about sexual titillation. Certainly erotic romance can be-although to be honest, when I’m reading a book that more about the sex than the relationship, I’m bored senseless. Regardless, I know some women do read it because to get turned on.

    But to apply it to all of romance? You can call it whatever you choose, but you’re fighting an uphill, and losing battle. And since most people don’t get that you use your own definition, all you’re managing to do is insult and alienate people. I get the idea that’s not what you’re intending, but applying your own definition and not making sure that everybody who reads your comments understands your defintion? It’s going to just insult and alienate.

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  140. Selena Kitt
    Mar 04, 2008 @ 19:57:44

    Intimate connection. Which doesn’t have to include sex.

    “Somebody ought to tell the rest of the world so they can catch up with the meaning of the word.”

    Amen!

    “And you know this because you know everyone, their thoughts, feelings, desires, needs.”

    No. But it IS archetypal.

    “I don't buy your definition.”

    That’s clear.

    “And I don't write porn.”

    That’s debatable.

    “But to apply it to all of romance? You can call it whatever you choose, but you're fighting an uphill… battle”

    Perhaps…

    “and losing battle”

    that’s an assumption… who knows?

    “applying your own definition and not making sure that everybody who reads your comments understands your defintion? It's going to just insult and alienate.”

    But it also might wake someone up to the way they perceive “porn” … like I said before… how I’m perceived? Eh… whatevah!

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  141. Nora Roberts
    Mar 04, 2008 @ 19:58:50

    I might also ask if this long, opinionated and very personal definition of pornography is quoted from this thread–so anyone reading it when you made your initial statement might have had your platform, at least, to comprehend.

    It’s a long thread, but I don’t recall seeing it.

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  142. Nora Roberts
    Mar 04, 2008 @ 19:59:45

    I had an intimate connection with my mother. I have one with my sons, my grandchilden, with a few very close friends. A very intimate, real, personal connection.

    Is it porn?

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  143. azteclady
    Mar 04, 2008 @ 20:02:30

    Okay, now… if my close, intimate, personal relationships with my brothers, my mother, and my children are labeled porn by anyone, I’m gonna feel seriously and personally insulted.

    Particularly when the person doing this has the gall to define her own terms arbitrarily, disregarding the commonly used definition which everyone else is going to use–namely, the one you can find in dictionaries everywhere.

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  144. Jill Sorenson
    Mar 04, 2008 @ 20:05:08

    Where are these snarky comments? Did somebody accuse Selena of having a fishy-smelling snatch and I somehow managed to miss it?

    This is snarky.

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  145. Shiloh Walker
    Mar 04, 2008 @ 20:05:13

    Intimate connection. Which doesn't have to include sex.

    Eh, okay, I’m going to have to drop my diplomacy hat and state flat out that doesn’t work, Selena.

    It CAN’T work.

    Nora mentioned an intimate connection to her kids, her friends, her parents. By your definition, it’s porn.

    The three kids playing a few feet away from me and watching Animal Planet, I’ve got a connection with them that doesn’t get any more intimate. They came from me and their dad. I’m bound to them more tightly than anything, even their father, a man that I love and adore and definitely have a sexual, intimate connection with.

    By your definition, if I read something about how to connect better with my rotten, 9 year-old going on 22-year old, then it’s porn.

    It doesn’t work.

    **I love the editing feature being back, ladies.

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  146. Selena Kitt
    Mar 04, 2008 @ 20:08:36

    Aphrodite is about romantic love… not any other sort. It doesn’t have to involve sex, but it’s about that particular intimate connection. Which leaves out your family, AL (unless you’d like to open the topic of incest up?)

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  147. Nora Roberts
    Mar 04, 2008 @ 20:12:06

    Again, I ask, was it porn when I had an intimate, non-sexual but very personal relationship and connection with my mother. When I have same with my children.

    You didn’t answer the question. If this is your definition of porn, which doesn’t have to include sex, would this be porn?

    Nora

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  148. Nora Roberts
    Mar 04, 2008 @ 20:12:42

    I’m just going to keep saying it. I don’t write porn. Deal with it.

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  149. Selena Kitt
    Mar 04, 2008 @ 20:13:34

    Did the blog eat my comment? *scratching head*

    I’ll re-do it… hm… okay…

    Aphrodite represents romantic love. Not just any sort – but the very genre in which we write. It’s no accident her name is Aphrodite-Porne.

    So, AL, your family’s out… (unless you want to open the topic of incest?)

    As for what I stated earlier… something like it:

    Did you know that her incarnation is called Aphrodite Porne (Πόρνη) – the prostitute – Goddess of lust.

    That's the god(dess) we bow down to. I'm the black sheep, the bad girl, because I'm willing to admit it. Most romance readers and writers want to deny it.

    I am a reflection of you… I'm your shadow. And you, actually, are mine. Because what Aphrodite wants, what she's looking for, is intimacy and communion, especially the feminine. That's what “porn” is really about. It's that longing. We all feel it. Don't we?

    But what I quoted just now was, no, not from this thread. It was from my blog today.

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  150. Nora Roberts
    Mar 04, 2008 @ 20:16:46

    Of course it doesn’t work, which is why she can’t address it in real terms. Intimate connections are everywhere, and there’s nothing pornographic about them. Mother to children, father to children, siblings, particular friends. Nothing sexual, but certainly a very intimate connection.

    There is no porn without sex of some kind. There is sex without pornography. Both can be just dandy. But they are not interchangable. And intimacy is not porn, by any rational definition.

    If we all just make up our own definitions for things, we can pretty much say whatever we want–then claim it wasn’t what we meant because we define the term differently than the rest of the world.

    It’s convenient.

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  151. Karen Scott
    Mar 04, 2008 @ 20:28:38

    Selena, you still seem to be operating under the assumption that this post is trying to tell you what you can and can’t write on your own blog.

    It’s not.

    You can write what you want on your own blog, but the fact is, you have a public blog, so every now and again, you might find yourself being debated by people who don’t know you from adam. That’s how the internet generally works. This constantly happens to me, so I understand the phenomenon.

    Why do you object to Nora and others objecting to you labelling their work as porn? Is it not their right to not want to be thrust under the same umbrella as Playboy, and other porn mags? Just because you’re perfectly happy with the label doesn’t mean that everybody else should be.

    Why are your knickers in a twist over the fact that not all of us, agree with your viewpoint? You disagree with some of us, some of us, disagree with you. That’s just life is it not?

    By the way, what’s with the attempt at redefining porn? As beautiful as your flowery version is, my Oxford dictionary doesn’t agree.

    And Jill, yes, that was sarcasm, but I’m willing to politely ask you where the comment you alluded to can be found on here?

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  152. Gennita Low
    Mar 04, 2008 @ 20:30:44

    Yoohoo, Ben:

    Scroll up. Selena Kitt wrote:

    Because the reality is, we all write porn. Even you, Nora.

    I think she was quite clear about that one point which you seem confused about. You have no kitty to stand on with this argument.

    As for your pointing out about social vs sexual vs morality and the lines you choose to blurr. EXACTLY. You just said it. Stating an opinion about a blog isn’t a judgment of MORALITY. I have no idea whether Miss Kitt is a moral person or not. Surely you’re going to allow an EWWWW moment as an expression of opinion without waving the so-generalized, all-encompassing “you’re so damn mean and rude” flag at me? Because I’m going to be honest about my reaction when I saw the pic of someone’s private parts after clicking on that link to Miss Kitt’s blog. Eww, I said. My impression was just that. I certainly didn’t feel any urge to adopt the moral stance of needing to take Miss Kitt aside to tell her she had to change her blog. She can do whatever she wants. But me? EWWW. See? P then Q, easy as that. No generalization there.

    You obviously think we have some sort of moral obligation to act like a neighborhood watchdog here, that a quiet word with Miss Kitt would…do something (what, I still don’t know). I think I’d be insulting Selena if I did exactly that. I certainly don’t think she’s going to stop doing as she pleases.

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  153. selena
    Mar 04, 2008 @ 20:41:32

    Okay I’m trying this again… the blog has eaten my comments five times…

    Aphrodite represents the realm of ROMANTIC love (sorry if I made the assumption that you would know that! doh!) … no other kind. So AZLady your family is safe. (Unless you want to open up the topic of incest…)

    As to whether I stated this earlier, something like it:

    Did you know that her incarnation is called Aphrodite Porne (Ðüñíç) – the prostitute – Goddess of lust.
    That's the god(dess) we bow down to. I'm the black sheep, the bad girl, because I'm willing to admit it. Most romance readers and writers want to deny it.
    I am a reflection of you… I'm your shadow. And you, actually, are mine. Because what Aphrodite wants, what she's looking for, is intimacy and communion, especially the feminine. That's what “porn” is really about. It's that longing. We all feel it. Don't we?

    What I quoted earlier was from my blog post today.

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  154. Sel
    Mar 04, 2008 @ 20:43:30

    Okay I’m trying this again… the blog has eaten my comments twice…
    Aphrodite represents the realm of romantic love (sorry if I made the assumption that you would know that! oops!) … no other kind. So AZLady, your family is safe. (Unless you want to open up the topic of incest…)

    As to whether I stated this earlier, something like it:

    Did you know that her incarnation is called Aphrodite Porne (Ðüñíç) – the prostitute – Goddess of lust.
    That's the god(dess) we bow down to. I'm the black sheep, the bad girl, because I'm willing to admit it. Most romance readers and writers want to deny it.
    I am a reflection of you… I'm your shadow. And you, actually, are mine. Because what Aphrodite wants, what she's looking for, is intimacy and communion, especially the feminine. That's what “porn” is really about. It's that longing. We all feel it. Don't we?

    What I quoted earlier was from my blog post today.

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  155. selena
    Mar 04, 2008 @ 20:49:42

    Aphrodite
    Aphrodite is the Goddess of ROMANTIC love. Aphrodite is sensual, beautiful & always is noticed when she appears. Aphrodite is born of the sea. Goddess Aphrodite connects you with your inner sensuality at anytime. Honor Aphrodite when you are blessed with romantic passion & love.

    Your family’s safe, folks.

    (unless you want to bring up the subject of twincest? – and it took me forever to realize why the blog was rejecting post after post… it wouldn’t accept “that word” without the “T”… sheesh! But I could post the word “cunt”??)

    As for my quote, Nora… yes, I said something very similar earlier. You must have missed it. But what I quoted recently was from my own blog.

    Here’s what I said before:

    “After all we live in the same neighborhood. I think you want to deny that I'm your neighbor? Because the reality is, we all write porn. Even you, Nora. (*ducking* lol) All romance (even the “sweet” stuff) and erotic romance is just women's porn. When we read (or write – or even watch!) romance or erotic romance, we are looking for Aphrodite. We want her incarnate in our lives for that moment. Did you know that her incarnation is called Aphrodite Porne (Πόρνη) – the prostitute – Goddess of lust.

    That's the god(dess) we bow down to. I'm the black sheep, the bad girl, because I'm willing to admit it. Most romance readers and writers want to deny it.

    I am a reflection of you… I'm your shadow. And you, actually, are mine. Because what Aphrodite wants, what she's looking for, is intimacy and communion, especially the feminine. That's what “porn” is really about. It's that longing. We all feel it. Don't we?

    Maybe we're all circumventing it with what we do. Writing about it instead of doing it? Reading about it instead of doing it? Or maybe we're putting out there reflections of how to get there, how to worship that particular goddess in our own lives. I'd like to think it's the latter.”

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  156. Shiloh Walker
    Mar 04, 2008 @ 20:52:22

    Aphrodite
    Aphrodite is the Goddess of romantic love. Aphrodite is sensual, beautiful & always is noticed when she appears. Aphrodite is born of the sea. Goddess Aphrodite connects you with your inner sensuality at anytime. Honor Aphrodite when you are blessed with romantic passion & love.

    Your family's safe, folks.

    lol…Selena, you’re still attributing your own definition without regard to those who aren’t going to be familiar with it.

    Language doesn’t work that way. A cop could pull me over and when he hands me my ticket, I reply nicely with a SCREW YOU and then when I get in trouble, argue that my definition of screw you is actually thanks, I appreciate the hard job you do. I could even mean it. But it still won’t change the fact that I get in trouble.

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  157. Shiloh Walker
    Mar 04, 2008 @ 20:59:24

    We want her incarnate in our lives for that moment.

    You’re putting your own spin on why we read romance. No offense, but when I read romance, I’m not looking a goddess incarnate in my life. I’m reading to while away the self inflicted torture at the gym. I read to relax my brain after writing. Sometimes romance. Sometimes sci fi. Sometime other stuff entirely. But a person can read romance without wanting anything more than a few minutes to relax and chill out.

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  158. Nora Roberts
    Mar 04, 2008 @ 21:01:11

    I know who Aphrodite is, and that Aprodite Porne is the aspect of the goddess of lust, the patroness of prostitutes. Nothing wrong with that. But it doesn’t follow to decide, on your own, to use this symbol–ascribe her all aspects of the goddess, and redefine a known term for your own use–then ascribe your use of it to others.

    You’re still not in my neighborhood, still not my reflection. And while you’re welcome to use your redefinition for yourself, you’re not welcome to use it for me.

    And you’ve yet to answer the question: Are my intimate connections to my mother, sons, ect porn?

    Yes or no will do.

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  159. Nora Roberts
    Mar 04, 2008 @ 21:02:47

    ~We want her incarnate in our lives for that moment.~

    Personally, I don’t want anyone, including a goddess, incarnate in my life at any moment.

    You don’t speak for all, which seems to be one of the problems. You seem to feel you can.

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  160. selena
    Mar 04, 2008 @ 21:05:49

    SHILOH WALKER: No offense, but when I read romance, I'm not looking a goddess incarnate in my life.

    Really?

    SHILOH WALKER: I don't read romance to get turned on. I read it because I love reading about people's relationships, the slow slide or free fall into love, and I love a HEA. That's why I read romance.

    Uh huh. Sounds like Aphrodite to me, girlfriend.

    As for definitions… I use the word PORN to wake up people like Nora and others who deny that shadow aspect of Aphrodite. I use it on purpose. Just like I use the word cunt. If something doesn’t change, everything stays the same.

    Clearly “romance” as it is suits you just fine… safe and warm and cozy.

    Winds of change are blowing, though…

    Just remember I said so… ;)

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  161. Nora Roberts
    Mar 04, 2008 @ 21:07:11

    Wait, I see I missed it. So this intimate connection must deal with sex, passion or love–which goes back to love scenes in Romance novels being the reason they’re porn. Which started this cycle.

    You can’t keep side-stepping. It’s porn, but it hasn’t got anything to do with the fact that Romances have love scenes. It has to do with intimate connections. But only when those connections deal with passion.

    Ergo, love scenes and the sexuality in Romance makes them pornographic. The intimate scenes, say between friends or parent and child are exempt.

    You define and redefine.

    And your statement re Aphrodite, etc on this blog was NOT close to the statements you quoted from what I’ll assume is your own blog.

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  162. selena
    Mar 04, 2008 @ 21:07:54

    NORA: You don't speak for all, which seems to be one of the problems. You seem to feel you can.

    Not me. Archetypes are… archetypal. You want to deny an archetype?

    I’ll stand out of the way of the lightning bolt…

    hell, I’m doing that anyway. The shadow you’ve got dragging around behind you is so huge it eclipses everything else. Look at it or don’t, I could care less.

    But you’re right… I am definitely not gonna stand in it.

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  163. azteclady
    Mar 04, 2008 @ 21:09:18

    In response to several comments by Ms Kitt directed more or less at me, which I take as attempts at backpedaling and at changing the topic, I would like to point out two of my previous comments:

    First, two online dictionaries agree that porn is material containing sex with the intent to arouse/titillate.

    Second, I will repeat this bit:

    … I’m gonna feel seriously and personally insulted. Particularly when the person doing this has the gall to define her own terms arbitrarily, disregarding the commonly used definition which everyone else is going to use-namely, the one you can find in dictionaries everywhere.

    A bit later, Shiloh said,

    “applying your own definition and not making sure that everybody who reads your comments understands your defintion? It's going to just insult and alienate.”

    Ms Kitt replied,

    But it also might wake someone up to the way they perceive “porn” … like I said before… how I'm perceived? Eh… whatevah!

    I would say that it is either incredibly naïve or incredibly arrongant to presume that ambushing people this way (i.e., using personal, rather convoluted and unusual definitions of common words during a public discussion), will have the effect of “waking people up”. Regardless of how rational beings should behave, people react as people, and more are going to feel insulted than inspired to self analysis. Highhandedly ignoring this is not likely to endear the person doing it to the audience reading it. Fairness has nothing to do with it. Being grounded in reality does.

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  164. selena
    Mar 04, 2008 @ 21:11:16

    NORA: It's porn, but it hasn't got anything to do with the fact that Romances have love scenes. It has to do with intimate connections. But only when those connections deal with passion. Ergo, love scenes and the sexuality in Romance makes them pornographic. The intimate scenes, say between friends or parent and child are exempt.

    You can have LOTS of passion in a romance novel without love scenes. Lots and lots of passion. Hence, Aphrodite is present. Doesn’t matter if they’re having hot monkey sex or not. Passion isn’t just about sex.

    I didn’t redefine. I just made it clear that Aphrodite is the goddess of ROMANTIC love. Since so many people who responded didn’t seem to know…

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  165. Nora Roberts
    Mar 04, 2008 @ 21:12:16

    I don’t want you to wake me up. I don’t need you to wake me up. I am fully awake, thanks.

    You’re insulting, time and time again. If we’re not on board with what you think, we’re prudish, we’re sleeping, we’re whatever.

    I don’t like your philosophies. You’re entitled to them, just as I am to mine. You’re not entitled to push them on me. I said, way, way upthread, that the blogging business was a choice. It’s yours.

    Since then you’ve tried to foist your choices, your philosophies, your definitions on the rest. I object to that.

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  166. selena
    Mar 04, 2008 @ 21:14:10

    All right, enough’s enough… enjoy the henhouse…

    Back to writing I go…

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  167. Nora Roberts
    Mar 04, 2008 @ 21:14:53

    Not me. Archetypes are… archetypal. You want to deny an archetype?

    I deny your interpretations and definitions. I’m sure others do as well, just as some will agree with them. You’re not the final word on goddesses and archetypes, or anything. This is about opinion, and you’ve chosen to make it very personal.

    I respond in kind. So does my shadow.

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  168. Nora Roberts
    Mar 04, 2008 @ 21:18:34

    Then I will happily recant love scenes and replace with passion.

    You consider all Romance novels pornographic because they deal with passion.

    It’s still bollocks. The genre is not porn, and I don’t write it.

    You are free to say you do, or to write it. You are not entitled to define my work, or to sweep an entire genre into your personal interpretation of a word.

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  169. Nora Roberts
    Mar 04, 2008 @ 21:23:37

    ~Uh huh. Sounds like Aphrodite to me, girlfriend.~

    Shiloh says what she thinks/feels, Selena decides she’s wrong about her own feelings.

    Yes, I think arrogant pretty much fits.

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  170. Shiloh Walker
    Mar 04, 2008 @ 21:29:55

    SHILOH WALKER: I don't read romance to get turned on. I read it because I love reading about people's relationships, the slow slide or free fall into love, and I love a HEA. That's why I read romance.

    Yeah, I said that. Something else I’ve said in various blogs is that I often skip the sex if the story is calling me. The sex is the last reason I read a book. I read for the relationship.

    I read for enjoyment and I read to relax. When I want an ‘intimate connection’, I’ll go connect intimately with my husband. A book’s a poor substitute for that and I don’t like substitutes. When I want that connection, I’ll get the real thing.

    I’ll read romance to unwind. I don’t read it for sex.

    But I suspect I can talk until I’m blue in the face with you and you will refuse to see anything you don’t want to. I’ve tried being reasonable, I’ve tried being polite, I’ve tried seeing things from you’re standing. I write erotic romance so I know what it’s like to have it put down solely because of the sexual content.

    At this point, though, you’re getting insulting, even from where I’m sitting. Up until now, nothing you’ve said or done has really bothered me on any sort of level, although I could see why it has bothered others. But now I’m feeling it.

    You can apply your reasoning to your reading and writing habits all you wish. But you can’t randomly apply it to others and think we should just, oh well if that’s how she see it, who are we to argue?

    If somebody referred to your work as trash instead of porn, would you still be cool with that? Even if they say they don’t use trash the same way others do?

    You’re being obtuse here, either purposefully or blindly, but frankly, it’s tiresome. And trust me, coming from me, that’s bad. I’m bulldog enough to stick something through just on principal and because I just love to argue and debate, but I don’t see that happening here.

    You don’t even see the irony here, do you? You seem to want women to accept and embrace their sexuality and to respect others for doing so… yet you show no respect to others by simply refusing to admit that our view points might be valid, or by deliberating insulting others, even though it’s been pointed out numerous times that nobody here likes seeing romance considered the same as porn. YOU obviously don’t care. Others do. But you continue to do it even though it’s clear it insults people.

    DO you really think THAT is going to make the people disagreeing with you suddenly realize hey…maybe she has a point? I don’t see it happening.

    You say you want change, but when you have a chance to maybe effectively bring about some small slight change, because all major changes start with something small, you smash it into the ground and continue smilingly insult others. Instead of seeing a chance to explain your viewpoint, you continue to insult. When you do finally make an explanation, instead of apologizing to those you’ve insulted, you just say, I’ll continue to do so because it’s how to bring about change.

    No. That isn’t how you bring about change.

    I’ll stay in my nice, safe, cozy world of romance. I like it here. You stay in your world where you see yourself as a rebel, a leader of change. That’s fine. But, as I’ve said in various places here, you could achieve a hell of a lot more and reach a hell of a lot more people, thereby possibly bringing about MORE change, if you wouldn’t purposely take a contradictory stance just for the hell of it. You’ll reach others with your mindset, but they probably would have been reached anyway.

    You won’t, however, reach those who don’t see things your way, because you lack respect in how you approach things. And since ‘those’ people are the majority, ‘those’ are the ones who could help speed up change. Seems you’re at cross purposes and you don’t even realize it.

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  171. Shiloh Walker
    Mar 04, 2008 @ 21:31:50

    But it also might wake someone up to the way they perceive “porn” … like I said before… how I'm perceived? Eh… whatevah!

    Most people don’t change their viewpoint after being insulted.

    Viewpoints change when people are given and shown respect.

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  172. Jill Sorenson
    Mar 04, 2008 @ 21:37:13

    And Jill, yes, that was sarcasm, but I'm willing to politely ask you where the comment you alluded to can be found on here?

    I’m willing to politely respond that the comments in question were probably meant to be sarcastic, like yours. The language used was strong, but I suppose that when a person posts pics of her…self, she invites strong reactions and stronger language. So why should I worry about it? Never mind.

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  173. Nora Roberts
    Mar 04, 2008 @ 21:39:49

    Apparently it’s being interpreted–hell, stated–elsewhere, that because I disagreed with Ms. Kitt–and re porn–I insult, belittle or separate myself from writers of erotic romance.

    This is certainly not the case. I separated myself from her and her writing as she chooses to label it porn. That’s her choice, her word, however she elects to define it.

    I don’t consider erotic romance to be porn. I consider it one of the spokes on the wheel of the genre.

    I don’t mind debate, or some heat. I don’t even mind when my name is bandied about on other blogs. That’s the way it is if you’re on the internet. But I do mind when statements I’ve never made are attributed to me, or grossly misinterpreted.

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  174. selena
    Mar 04, 2008 @ 21:46:46

    I'm willing to politely respond that the comments in question were probably meant to be sarcastic, like yours. The language used was strong, but I suppose that when a person posts pics of her…self, she invites strong reactions and stronger language. So why should I worry about it? Never mind.

    Oh, by the way… if you actually read my blog… I say in my FAQ that none of the photos on my site are me. And I disagree, the comments in question were exactly what you perceived them to be, Jill. Thanks for the thought. And for not making any assumptions there…

    oh and… eta… SHILOH: But, as I've said in various places here, you could achieve a hell of a lot more and reach a hell of a lot more people, thereby possibly bringing about MORE change, if you wouldn't purposely take a contradictory stance just for the hell of it.

    You keep on being diplomacy girl… you’re good at it. Not for me.

    I’m officially out.

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  175. Shiloh Walker
    Mar 04, 2008 @ 21:54:24

    You keep on being diplomacy girl… you're good at it. Not for me.

    Then from where I’m standing, whatever change you’re striving for doesn’t mean that much to you. You’re more interested alienating people in general or in being the ‘weird one’. That seems to be a lot more important to you than advocating any sort of change, just because of your attitude. The rest of it seems like lip-service.

    Maybe you don’t see it that way. But it’s what you’ve done and that’s something you should at least consider.

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  176. Robin
    Mar 05, 2008 @ 00:37:01

    Then from where I'm standing, whatever change you're striving for doesn't mean that much to you. You're more interested alienating people in general or in being the ‘weird one'. That seems to be a lot more important to you than advocating any sort of change, just because of your attitude. The rest of it seems like lip-service.

    No matter how many comments in this thread I read, I keep coming back to Lauren Dane’s statement that

    It's not hard to understand the concept of professional. It's not an esoteric word. Since you've got a website, I imagine you do want to sell your books to the public. That's professional. As in, writing is in some sense your job or you wouldn't have a website to showcase your body of *professional* work. How you wish to do that is your affair but as you do it in public, you make it everyone else's affair too. That's being provocative.

    All this other stuff is smoke and mirrors. . .

    Professional authors of erotic fiction who masturbate via podcast and blog about their own sex lives are engaged in self-promotion, plain and simple. Otherwise, why blog under one’s author name (a pseudonym, at that)? Why not be honest about that? Continually trying to change the terms of the discussion — no, it’s about sexual liberation, no it’s about intimacy and connection, not it’s about archetypal images of femininity — contradicts the idea that sex and sexuality are nothing to be ashamed of, that they are legitimate without all the finery (I mean, isn’t that the beef Kitt and Co. have with Romance?). Hell, if you see yourself as a true rebel, then why care what anyone else thinks, and thus why the need to insult so freely? At least there’s a simple honesty in such bold self-promotion — one that all the insults and obfuscations go a long way to undermine, IMO.

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  177. Whiskey Wednesday Rant of Erotic–er I mean Epic proportions « The Redneck Romance Writer
    Mar 05, 2008 @ 04:07:17

    [...] was “my space” where anything goes. But is that a good idea? There’s been some discussion about what constitutes “To Much Information” or TMI. Though many interesting ideas were [...]

  178. Nora Roberts
    Mar 05, 2008 @ 06:35:26

    I figured out why I, at least, reacted so strongly to many of Ms. Kitt’s comments–over and above content of same. It’s like religion. These are HER beliefs–her faith–and she attempts to push them on others. She interprets and she preaches, makes it clear by the preaching and the insults to those who don’t fall in line that she knows The Truth.

    Yet, as Robin said, it’s a form of self-promotion.

    I could, as she redefines porn, redefine christianity. We are all christians. Christ was an archetype, a symbol known for good works, who stood for helping your neighbor, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, giving shelter to those in need. Therefore, anyone who has worked with any charity or donated to one in the spirit of good will is now a christian. The Jews, Buddists, Hindis, Wiccans, Muslims, atheists, etc, just have to accept that.

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  179. Imogen Howson
    Mar 05, 2008 @ 08:44:09

    I get the whole ‘reclaiming language’ idea. I do. I approve. If you want to take a word with historically derogatory associations and reclaim it and make it mean something good and empowering, then good for you and I hope you succeed.

    But you can’t reclaim it for other people. If you write erotic romance and you want to call it porn and say it’s because it embodies an aspect of Aphrodite, that’s fine. But you’re still going to come up against the current dictionary meaning of pornography, which is not just ‘material designed primarily to sexually arouse’ but is also ‘sexually explicit material with no artistic or literary merit’.

    You can try and erase that meaning if you like, and replace it with a more affirming meaning (although if you succeed, what on earth are you going to call that material that still has no literary merit and is produced solely to arouse?) but if you apply the word porn to non-erotic romance, or romance with closed-door sex scenes, or asexual romance, then the first association people will make is the ‘sexually explicit no literary merit’ one, and they’ll be pissed off. Partly just because it’s infuriating to be mis-labelled.

    I’m kind of irritated by the idea that all romance is porn. But I’m much more irritated by the idea that all romance is porn and I’m ‘not willing to admit it’. If I wrote it, I would admit it. As I don’t, I won’t.

    Also, to the comment that one man’s figure studies is another’s wanking material. That’s got nothing to do with the definition of porn. Porn is when something is designed to arouse–it has nothing to do with whether it’s successful or not. If I get turned on by pictures of baked beans (this is not the case, btw, so don’t go accusing me of TMI!) that doesn’t mean an advert in a supermarket is porn. I could use it as porn, but it doesn’t mean it is porn.

    ReplyReply

  180. Shannon Stacey
    Mar 05, 2008 @ 10:05:28

    Reading all through these comments, the one thing I keep thinking is that I could never share the details of my intimate life on the web, not only because I just wouldn’t do it, but out of respect for my husband. He’s a contractor and business owner and wow, would that just not be cool. But then I figure respecting my husband probably enhances my oppressed status. On the other hand, I’ve written erotic romance so…

    I’m a prudish, oppressed porn writer? Cool.

    I did, however, donate to the ferrets, so I’ll get to go to the happy library in the sky where people who call all romances porn get their keyboards taken away.

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  181. Suisan
    Mar 05, 2008 @ 10:52:15

    Jeez.

    As someone who started studying Ancient Greek in tenth grade (age 15) and continued right on through college, studying Plato, Homer, Aristophanes, Herodotus, and various New Testament writers in their original language(s) (Yes, Dears, the languages and vocabulary change throughout time and Homeric Greek is not the same at Attic Greek), can I just say that you are GREATLY misinformed about Aphrodite Porne?

    You can create a new mythology for her all you want, and come up with new and intriguing ideas of what sort of love that goddess represented, but you’d have to first understand a whole lot more about the practice of ascribing descriptive epithets to gods and goddesses. Different cults used different names for the same goddess. When the goddess was acting differently, a WHOLE NEW epithet would apply.

    Phoebus Apollo from the Homeric epics is NOT the same god as Apherteros Apollo. The god remains the same, his parentage, his symbols and familiars, but his meaning within the culture is totally different.

    To link Porne with some odd description of one type of love (as in agape, philia, etc.) is to completely misunderstand how the gods and goddesses operated in Ancient civilizations. But that’s ok. As long as you can “prove” your point.

    edited to add: Porne is the epithet which a sect ascribed to Aphrodite. But this does not mean that that particular sect’s view of Aphrodite’s role in Greek society was recognized by the larger Greek community. Sects were in the habit of taking on powerful goddesses to suit their individual needs. The most goddess the largest sector of Attic Greek women routinely prayed to was Hestia, not Aphrodite. Hestia was the goddess of the hearth, virginity, hospitality, and the home; hardly a goddess one would want to tag your aspirations of tipping over the patriarchy onto.

    I get a bit tired of people using their own perceptions of the “wise and omniscient” ancient cultures to back up their modern points of view.

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  182. Anji
    Mar 05, 2008 @ 11:25:50

    Given the kind of attitude that authors, readers and others involved in the romance genre face – just look at Jane’s post today about romance bashing, with romance novels being called female porn (in the negative sense) – blanket-labeling the entire romance genre as being porn is not helpful. I understand the point about reclaiming language, but then it’s also necessary to state that you’re using a different meaning for porn, unlike the standard dictionary meaning, and also what that meaning is from the very beginning onwards (that also includes using it in the same forum where the discussion is taking place). Otherwise, given the regular bashing that people who love romance novels have to face, it feels like more of the same, more negative labeling.

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  183. Marianne LaCroix
    Mar 05, 2008 @ 16:17:39

    In reading all of this for the past 2 days (but not saying anything), I wonder about one thing: Will this affect Selena’s sales like the Ben’s Wildflower thing on Karen S.’s blog from last year? Carol Lynne seems to have skyrocketed into popularity since then.

    Sorry, I don’t write porn. Neither does Nora.

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  184. I Write Romance.com » Blog Archive » Porn, smut, etc.
    Mar 05, 2008 @ 16:38:50

    [...] asking for donations for an expensive sex toy on her blog…I kid you not.) Go check it out here.  Nora Roberts, Shiloh Walker and Selena Kitt have out the boxing gloves and duking it out as to [...]

  185. Jamima
    Mar 06, 2008 @ 15:49:01

    I’ve read romance novels for almost 10 years now and I’m only 21 years old and I have NEVER I repeat, NEVER considered them to be porn. That infuriates me and pisses me off when my contemporaries try to push that bull shit on me. Some romances that I’ve read contain a mastery of language, creativity, heart, emotion, idea(s), character development and story than can compete with all the mainstream fiction today. The romance novels I’ve read have been about love between two people and the intricacies of relationship. They are STORIES and written for narrative and enjoyment purposes with the main purpose being to show love and NOT expressly written to stir up sexual desires. As some of these novels contain sex scenes, off course they may and do stir up the sexual desires of the reader, but that is not THEIR PURPOSE. Their purpose is to further the development of the characters’ love. DUH. Also, I have never read Selena Kitt and now I don’t think I ever will. She’s changed me alright…by putting me off by her attitude. After reading all of this for the past 45 minutes, I stopped caring about what she put on her blog but instead was disgusted by the way she was expressing herself. That’s just not classy. Period. And that’s DEFINITELY NOT a way to bring about any kind of positive change. It’s all good and well to have your own beliefs but it’s not okay when you begin to impose said beliefs on other people and insulting them if they do not come over to your side. That’s just childish and rude. Forget the TMI on the website, I do not want to support an author who is so misguided and pig headed. No thank you. But then again, that’s just me. I believe that even though you may be backed into a corner with dozens of authors-your contemporaries- disagreeing with you, you should still behave with class, dignity, and take the time to explain yourself without looking like a huge tool. But it’s like I said, just my PERSONAL BELIEF and I certainly will not try to impose that on anyone. Just stating it because, hey, I can do that in this country. BTW I have read most of Nora Robert’s books and she DOES NOT WRITE PORN. You know, according to the actual definition that the rest of the planet adheres to legally and in the public and social arena. According to this definition, it is insulting to call her work porn and even worse than that, it is just wrong to try and label another author. Another human being. But that’s another topic for another day. There. That’s my two cents.

    Jamima

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  186. Friday Fodder #2 « The Saucy Scribe
    Mar 07, 2008 @ 08:31:56

    [...] and I just don’t get to.  I’ll admit this week I was caught up in the drama over at Dear Author.  If you haven’t read the most recent bruhaha – it involves sex, or rather, just how much of [...]

  187. Friday Fodder #2 | Debora Dennis
    Mar 09, 2008 @ 09:11:33

    [...] way and I just don’t get to. I’ll admit this week I was caught up in the drama over at Dear Author. If you haven’t read the most recent bruhaha – it involves sex, or rather, just how much of [...]

  188. Once Upon A Time… : selenakitt.com
    May 22, 2011 @ 22:44:42

    [...] it’s true. Lots of people read it. Some even thought it was too much information. Then I switched internet host providers, and *poof* – the whole thing disappeared into the [...]

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