Sunday, March 24, 2013

Mommy Porn? Seriously?

Like many a reader of erotic romance, I watched CBS Sunday Morning with interest today, awaiting the much-publicized segment on Ellora's Cave publishing, cover models, erotic romance author Desiree Holt and the heated world of eBooks in reference to this particularly popular genre.

Boy, was I disappointed.

Desiree was her charming and funny self, a lovely, warm and sweet lady with a talent for writing hotly erotic love scenes. But the overall presentation took a drastic dive down the toilet with the expression "Mommy porn". At that point, my enjoyment evaporated.

Yes, it was almost the last piece in the show, and yes it was clearly designed as an amusing "puff" piece. But the scant passing wave given to Ellora's Cave - a publishing company that forged highways down which so many of us now walk - well, that was close to insulting. Many people write erotic romance, but would not be doing so, or making any money doing so, were it not for that "little company that dared" a dozen years ago.

Back then, we were pioneers, driving our wagons into a west where outrageous ideas were welcomed, where almost nothing was off-limits and everyone shared the fun of being part of a growing family entranced with the freedom to go beyond the bedroom door. At NO time did any of us consider ourselves pornographers. We fiercely argued against being labeled "erotica", and rightly so. We fought for recognition even though we were shunned for several years. We worked on our plots, developed our characters and crafted our novels every bit as carefully as did the Danielle Steeles or the LaVryle Spencers of the time. The craft, the art, the talent...there was no difference in our minds. But there are always those for whom one word, one mere implication, is sufficient to start them turning red, breathing fire and screaming noisy protests.


Okay, it's a touchy subject. But back then - and still today - I'm one of those authors who has to continually explain the difference between erotic romance and erotica. And now, thanks to media pieces like this morning's CBS Sunday broadcast, I'm going to have to up the ante and defend myself against the accusation I write "Mommy porn". Bleeeeeccch... how offensive a phrase is that, anyway?

WTF does it mean? Google it and for God's sake, do NOT hit "Images". I made that mistake and got everything from Angelina Jolie (?), EL James, Dr. McDreamy (really?), Fifty Shades (duh) and a really appalling collection of shots from porn films. UNEDITED. (Parents, don't do this unless you are completely sure you're not being watched. Put the dog in another room. They're that bad.) And THIS is what I'm supposed to be writing? I soooooo don't think so.

I've always felt porn was pretty degrading to women. But I'm not an expert or even a beginner. I know very little about it, except that I have no interest in it. And I sure as hell don't write it. My stories, like those of almost all the other writer friends I've made in this genre over the decade plus I've been in it, consist of a PLOT (yep, that IS a four letter word). They contain CHARACTERS who do interesting things, fall in love, cry, laugh, snore now and again - and even fart occasionally. They also do what 99.99% of the rest of us do. They have sex. And I describe it, in varying levels of detail, as part of the overall story. Yes, you can actually take out the sex from most of my stories and still have a plotline. You'll have a shorter book, but the point here is that the sex is only PART of the story. I've always felt that erotica has its place. It's sex without the need for detailed plots or well-defined characters. And for those who like that, it's fine. Porn, on the other hand, is one thing only. All sex, all the time and most of it with women pleasuring men. Again, if that's your bag, go for it.

I'm not anti-porn. I'm just violently against being accused of writing it. And I think there are more than a few erotic romance writers who would agree with me.

So please friends, help a tired writer out. Should you hear that godawful phrase, set the speaker straight? Explain that there is NO SUCH THING as Mommy porn. (Unless you're talking about MILF, which I won't even get into.) There ARE, however, wonderfully erotic romances that explore the physical and emotional horizons of relationships. These books entertain, amuse, and sometimes arouse the reader. They're meant to, as are so many things we buy these days. But they are not, in any way, shape or form, pornography, mommy or otherwise. They're just a wonderful read, an escape from our daily routine and yes, a source of pride for those of us lucky enough to write them.

As a footnote...Desiree? Try Stretch Armstrong. Much more flexible than Ken. LOL