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Topic: Romance or Love vs lust?????

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Subject: Romance or Love vs lust?????
Date Posted: 12/18/2008 10:55 AM ET
Member Since: 4/3/2007
Posts: 371
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OK I know this may sound silly but Im actually new to the hole fiction book reading thing and I really need a glossary.    Ive spent the past 15 years in college reading only non-fiction and  the first fiction book i started to read was Twilight.  I loved it. I couldnt get enough and i breezed through New Moon and I am now half way through Eclipse.  I find myself wanting more than the "g "rated hot stuff offered in this story so far.  So where do I look.  you think by now i would know the difference between the genres but after about a year on this site i find that i am truely confused... and i need help.  Can someone please tell me the difference between  erotica, romance, harlequin and any other term i may be missing.  thank you Melanie

Date Posted: 12/18/2008 11:50 AM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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Well erotica tends to be mostly sexy with a little bit of plot thrown in usually just to bridge sex scenes.  Not all.  Erotic suspense will usually have more of a plot like Lora Leigh or Shannon McKenna.  The both write really graphic sex scenes but have an actual story going on as well. Except for LL's ebooks. Those tend to be shorter and straight erotica.  Also watch out for LL if you don't like BDSM/multiple partner sex scenes.  Not all of her books are like that but some are. Her Navy Seal series is a little more mainstream.  Her Bound series is very graphic mostly about couples into BDSM. 

With straight romance it can be hard to tell if it's going to have sex in it or not.  I've read many books where the couple on the cover is practically naked and writhing around and then they barely kiss in the book.

I don't think most of the series have graphic sex in them except for the Blazes and maybe some Desires and Tempations.  I only read the Blaze books really and even some of them have very little sex.  Which always disappoints because the main appeal (to me) of reading a Blaze is a short story with some hot sex. So when they barely kiss it's kind of a let down.   Sometimes I'll read an older series of a romance author that's gone mainstream now. Like Lori Foster or Cherry Adair.

Here are some author's I can think of that have good sex scenes but an actual plot to go with them: Shannon McKenna, Lori Foster, Cherry Adair, Cindy Gerard, Lisa Marie Rice, Diane Whiteside, Christine Feehan, Terri Brisbin...,

I'm sure their are others that I'm missing. 



Last Edited on: 12/18/08 11:52 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/18/2008 12:08 PM ET
Member Since: 7/15/2008
Posts: 2,164
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Also I think you can have erotica and erotic romance.  In which erotica doesn't necessarily mean that it's one couple (or threesome, whatever) falling in love for a "happily ever after (HEA)" ending, but erotic romance I think does tend to have an HEA.  I could be wrong though.  Sorry I'm not more eloquent.  Most of the books and authors talked about on this forum will fall into the erotic romance category.  (Again, somebody correct me if I'm wrong.)

Date Posted: 12/18/2008 12:16 PM ET
Member Since: 1/20/2007
Posts: 7,052
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Ellora's Cave and other sites, call it 'romantica'. If you find a book labeled that, chances are it's a romance with some good sex. lol

Date Posted: 12/18/2008 1:11 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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Most of the stuff that I read, and I primarily read full-length historicals and don't bother much with the shorter form Harlequin type stuff , has sex in it.  Some not so much as others, some of it doesn't have as much as I prefer, and some have more than I think really flows well with all of the other elements of the story.  In other words, I want sex in there, and more than one or two scenes is usually good, but if it's just sex for the sake of getting a stronger sensuality rating or throwing it out there because that's what the author or editor thinks readers want & expect, I tend to pick up on that and get bored with it.  Less can sometimes be more, but I do prefer at least some.  Whatever it is, it has to convey a deepening emotional involvement between the hero & heroine to work for me, otherwise it's just sex and I don't get much enjoyment out of reading it.  I gave erotica a whirl and it just didn't work out for that reason.  I found most of it slightly boring and repetitious.  I want a fully dimensional story with well written dialogue, a compelling plot, strong conflict building and credible, uncontrived resolutions.  My preference is for conflicts that are external to the romance itself, because they are less likely to be the same old cliched (big misunderstanding, dark secret, etc.) conflicts that get used over & over again.  However, I do think that authors who can write a pure romance, wherin most of the conflicts and obstacles faced by the main characters are internal and are not strongly driven by external forces, secondary characters, antagonists, etc, and write it well, are probably among the most gifted writers of all.  Examples would be writers like Mary Balogh, Loretta Chase, Sherry Thomas, Lisa Kleypas, and several more I can't immediately call to mind.  Conversely, there are authors who write wonderful external conflicts, and are strong with the other elements like vivid secondary characters who aren't just there to insert the necessary plot element and then politely fade into the background, are strong on their research elements, world building and historical fact checking, and have a wonderful sense of timing and balance in bringing all of the elements of a really good romance together - and YES, that includes the sex scenes:P  Good examples would be Marsha Canham, Judith Ivory, Laura Kinsale, Meredith Duran, Maggie Osborne, and again, many others I can't think of at the moment.

You're on the right track, because when you're new to the romance genre, probably the first thing you need to figure out is where to start.  There have never been more sub-genres than there are now.  I remember when it used to be either historicals or contemporaries:P  Regencies and any other variances of "category" or series romances (Harlequins, etc) weren't commonly referred to as such, or at least not outside the publishing industry itself and among readers.  I don't think I even heard the term "category romance" until somewhere in the last 4 or 5 years, but even though I've been reading romance novels since the 1970's, I didn't read them consistently over the years.  Consequently, I still have something of an old school view of category romance as not being as strong on story or even sexual content as I generally prefer.  That's not always the case though, but I do have the overall impression that's there isn't usually as much of it as there tends to be in your average R rated historical.  As for finding out what books have the sex in them and which ones don't, it's mostly a lot of research, asking questions, and discovering through a lot of trial and error which authors tend to write enough sex in there to satisfy you, and which ones don't.  Networking with other readers is invaluable as well.  Once you spend time reading and posting to forums like this one, it doesn't take too long to start to get a feel for who has tastes similar to your own, and you can get recommendations from them.  This mostly works well, but not always.  There are ladies here on this forum who have tastes very similar to my own, and we don't always agree on what's good and what isn't:P  As for sorting out what's what, and what all of those confusing terms like erotica, romantica, paranormals, regencies, etc. actually mean, here's a handy list of romance sub-genres from Romance Wiki, with definitions and lists of sample authors: www.rwanational.org/cs/romance_literature_subgenres

From there, my suggestion is to pick one you think you will enjoy, and starting from the list of authors, ask for advice & suggestions from the ladies here for books & authors they like.  There are also book review sites like All About Romance: www.likesbooks.com/home.html, and The Romance Reader: www.theromancereader.com/, who have book review databases you can search through to get recommendations, and even sensuality ratings, so that you can make an educated guess as to whether or not a book is going to have the level of sexual content in it that you're looking for.  Very best of luck to you, and always feel free to ask here for help & advice whenever you need it:)

Last Edited on: 12/18/08 1:50 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/18/2008 1:44 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
Posts: 14,634
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it gets confusing then when you finally DO find an author who has exactly what you want you'll discover the next books they do or stuff on their backlist isn't the same! I generally like paranormal that has romance and humor and is 'light' on the violence. Kathy Love's Young Brothers fit the bill but her newest series wasn't as funny IMO. I also like Kerrelyn Sparks. I'm not sure who writes the indepth emotionally wringing paranormal.I *think* Susan Sizemore may..I have a book that has 3 of her stories in it and skimmed through and seems like there was sex and some drama though not sure how much.

I get the erotica confused..I have some labeled erotica and it's not what I like..little short excerpts that start to heat up then do nothing...and some just have sex after sex with the couple not being together...I like some hot sex and a good storyline to hold it together..the only exceptions so far have been ellora's cave christmas anthologies'white hot holidays'. and a lot of the romantica/erotic romance I've come across does have anal stuff in it - it's a given for lora leigh I think.

Date Posted: 12/18/2008 1:52 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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Oops...  I had to edit that sub-genre list above; it didn't link to Romance Wiki, but now it does:P 

Last Edited on: 12/18/08 1:52 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/18/2008 2:37 PM ET
Member Since: 10/9/2008
Posts: 77
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Harlequin is a publishing brand. Sourcebooks Casablanca, Avon, Zebra, EC, Ravenous Romance, Noble Romance, Samhain Publishing, and more. The last three are ePublishers for instance.

There are many blogs that rate the sexiness of books from mild to scorching (or whatever terms that they use).

Romance can be broken down into several sub-genres. For instance Historical Romance is one sub-genre and it is a very broad term. Historical Romance breaks down into even smaller subsets including anything prior to WWII. To navigate Historical Romance you'd have to know if you wanted Colonial American, Regency, Medieval, Viking, Georgian, Highlander, Pirate, Victorian, or Western.

Paranormal Romance in many cases includes Time Travel Romance and blurs alongside Fantasy/Sci-Fi Romance.

Most romances fill more than one category. You could have an erotica time traveling highlander who lands in a contemporary setting with a unicorn tamer. I've never seen such a book, but I do know there's a time traveling Viking/Navy Seals romance out there! lol

I would label Twilight as a Contemporary/High School (setting)/Paranormal romance.

I hope that helps!

Date Posted: 12/18/2008 2:38 PM ET
Member Since: 4/3/2007
Posts: 371
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you guys are awesome thank you soooooooooooooo much

Date Posted: 12/18/2008 2:55 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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"You could have an erotica time traveling highlander who lands in a contemporary setting with a unicorn tamer. I've never seen such a book, but I do know there's a time traveling Viking/Navy Seals romance out there!"

Lol.  So true.  The whole sub-genres and subsets of those sub-genres thing was a source of endless confusion to me when I started reading romances again a few years ago:P  I started seeing lists of them, and seeing how even the sub-genres can be further sub-classified and just about gave up.  I was sitting there wondering what the heck happened to contemporary or historical:P  It still confuses me.

Date Posted: 12/18/2008 3:46 PM ET
Member Since: 11/11/2005
Posts: 5,238
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Erotica is a genre all by itself, and doesn't necessarily have to have any romance in it at all.  The definition of Erotica is simply "sexually explicit literature".

Romantic novels are a totally different genre.  Wikipedia defines the Romantic (or Romance) Novel genre as "a novel that should place its primary focus on the relationship and romantic love between two people, and must have an "emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending".

Both Erotica and Romance have many sub-genres (Romance has more sub-genres than I can count!).   One sub-genre that they have in common is Romantic Erotica (also called Erotic Romance), which would of course be sexually explicit literature that places a focus on the relationship and romantic love between two (or more LOL) people and has an HEA (happily ever after) ending.

You've received some very good explanations and examples of the various sub-genres of Romance novels in the previous posts - and authors and publishers who are known for "hotter" books.

Welcome to the world of Romance!  Have fun!

Date Posted: 12/18/2008 9:40 PM ET
Member Since: 10/9/2008
Posts: 77
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Well you could technically classify everything as contemporary or historical but it would be sooooo broad that confusing would be just the beginning. But you'd find what you're looking for easier with more adjectives.

For instance I'm looking for a contemporary paranormal, can you name a few?


Yeah I read this book with a pale guy in a contemporary romance. Do you remember which one?

Can you imagine the responses? haha

Date Posted: 12/18/2008 11:00 PM ET
Member Since: 6/21/2008
Posts: 6,575
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I just finished the Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris.  They were definitely the first thing I thought of after reading the first post of this discussion.  Just enough romance and sex and an interesting story in each with lots of humor.  Unfortunately, long wish lists at PBS.  First book is Dead Until Dark.  I would like to start the Shakespeare series next but that may be a dream for another year.

Date Posted: 12/21/2008 1:35 AM ET
Member Since: 7/30/2007
Posts: 4,275
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I've never seen such a book, but I do know there's a time traveling Viking/Navy Seals romance out there! lol


Oh yes, Sandra Hill's Vikings. LOVE them they are laugh out loud funny.  When one of them winds up in a mental hospital and is introduced to his doctor, but he thinks she said dock whore, I about shot Coke out of my nose.

Date Posted: 12/27/2008 9:37 AM ET
Member Since: 12/4/2005
Posts: 2,320
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Those Sandra Hill books were on my keeper shelves for years:lol:   In the paranormal genre I'm liking Shelley Laurenston's cat/wolf/wild dog shifter books and the two dragon books she wrote as G.A. Aiken (Dragon Actually and About a Dragon) are funny too.  The dragon books are actually retitled reissues of a couple of earlier books--one is The Distressing Damsel.