VIRTUALLY HERS came out Oct. 2009. Get it at SAMHAIN Publishing. VIRTUALLY ONE coming soon.

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Thursday, March 02, 2006

The Dark Side of Spies and Vanilla Swirl Sex

OMG. Pepperidge Farm Vanilla Swirl Bread. One dab of peanut butter. Instant. Orgasm.

What can I say? I'm easily pleased ;-).

Lots of wonderful replies to my post about "romantica/hotter books--what is it???" question yesterday, so I thought I'd continue with our delightful conversation here. Here is a cut and paste of the readers' comments with my own sidenotes:

Anonymous said...
For me, I want intensity. Forget everything else, just gotta have sex this minute, this second, and don't care if the building falls down. Or I want total control, manipulation, like Stefan. Can't wait to see what woman can make him lose control.
12:05 PM

Jenn: Intensity in sex. Well, what's sex without it, you know? ;-) But that doesn't really differentiate romantica from erotica from just a very hot read with romantic elements. Take, for example, Susan Johnson's older historicals. The couples have very INTENSE sex. Very often. Man, they tire me out reading them ;-). Yet there is an element in the couples' encounters that isn't very romantic. I can't put a finger on it. It's not the kidnapping scenes because THAT's very romantic. It's not the forced seduction because that could be sexy. It's the way they just jump into bed without preliminaries, not enough build-up for me, I think.

Any Susan Johnson fans out there? What say you? First hint of romantica?

OUTSIDE COMMENT: Yes, yes, Stefan is very, very erotic ;-).


kathleen dante said...
Hmmm... I have to say that the only time my characters had a marathon romp, there were *no* sheets in sight anywhere. LOLThat said, I have to say it depends on the situation and my mood. Sometimes I prefer the sexual tension, but when the H/H finally get down to things, it had better be scalding! Great sexual tension shouldn't in a four-page (or shorter) sweaty towel scene. Talk about a party pooper!I consider Shannon McKenna romantic suspense, based on what I've read.What makes it hotter for me? MORE JED!!! ;>
2:25 PM

Jenn: So romantica sex isn't short and sweet, huh? ;-) Okay, strike Shannon McKenna, although I do think 20 pages of continuous sex, with or without sheets, have to qualify as more than romantic suspense!

Who's the hottest (in sex scenes) romantic suspense author for you guys? Not fishing here. It's my genre and HOT is in. Cherry Adair? She hadn't been hit by mainstream-itis like my beloved Linda Howard.

Sometimes I think romantic suspense can't get as super-hot as paranormals/futuristic. After all, the couple can't have Dara Joy-esque scenes that last and last ;-). Can it? LOL. (Dee, I can hear you yelling out RICK's name all the way from HERE)

OUTSIDE COMMENT: Jed, Jed, Jed. Less is more, I heard.

Anonymous said...
I personally like the sexual tension followed by a marathon between the sheets, if possible not too far in the book.I do feel that the sex is more explicit...or is it that I've bought more explicit books since I turned 30...The fact that the book covers are a lot less corny and that we can also buy online might have helped women buy more sexual oriented books. So maybe books were already explicit but were they as accessible?Having said that, I am just a fan, I am also french and have nothing to do with the book business, so what do I know?:-)What makes a book hotter for me? hmm...strong and very controling characters and the idea of seeing those charaters loose control ; explicit and long sexual scenes (for which you've waited long enough but not too long) and between which the tension is kept at a good level :nothing like feeling on a roller coaster.Laurence (lorans)

4:30 PM

Jenn: That's what I was saying, Laurence. The sex isn't more explicit, so what makes romantica different from the hot books we loved? The hero's control and loss, the sexual tension, the push and pull--these elements were in place before. The Geraldo video from yesterday had the interviewers saying that the HEROINES are more in charge; that the heroines know what they want. Is that it? They are the ones that initiate the sexual encounters in a romantica, is that it?

The thing I'm trying to get: what kicks the heat higher? Obviously it's subjective--each reader is different--but the new books are described as much hotter than what we had before. Are they really? Remember, we're not talking about EROTICA here.

Yes, language plays a part. No more "purple helmet of lurv." Or "manroot." Or, my most hated of all words, "his shaft." Dude, who came up with that word?!

Question: What is your favorite purple phrase for the "purple helmet of lurv"? LOL.

Anonymous said...
I began my reading career with "Devil's Desire" around 35 years ago. At that time, I think the hottest scene I ever read was in "Sweet Savage Love" by Rosemary Rogers. The only book by Janet Daily that is on my keeper shelf is "Touch the Wind". So being captive obviously does it for me. I love the suspense books because the men are such, well, men. I want a man to be taller, much stronger, cold (except with the one), dangerous, lethal, willing to kill for her, and he absolutely must bring all that into the bedroom.
5:54 PM

Jenn: Yeah, I thought Sweet Savage Love was one hot book myself. The fantasy of being a captive, forced seduction, and eventual taming of the dangerous, lethal lover are common themes in the romance genre. Heck, even my Hell likes the idea of losing of control when it comes to sex ;-). It does add that intensity and anticipation we like.

So if it's a romantica/new-hot book, what makes the captivity/forced seduction hotter than before? I'm puzzling over this. Maybe it's more the way it's done in the plot--the heroine isn't exactly unwilling and screaming no, no, no for half the book. Is that it?


Mei said...
I'm not sure what Romantica is. Maybe they are stories where the focus is on sex - explicit sex at that - but with an HEA between the H & H, as opposed to pure erotica which only focuses on sex.McKenna is simply romantic suspense to me and her last couple of titles have not even reached the 'Hot' rating for me. I"ve read hotter ones from oldies like Linda Howard.What makes a book hotter than another? The explicitness for one but that alone is insufficient. It has to have a hero who's dark and dangerous in and out of bed and, utimately, an author who knows sex begins and ends in my brain and is herself comfortable with writing sex scenes.If this sex and the brain stuff what is known as Mind-Fucking then the Master Mind-Fucker is Jed McNeil. Only in this case, he not only starts it, he finishes it - Number One and Number Nine.
1:10 AM

Jenn: Oh my. So now I have my answer. Jed McNeil is King Romantica. LOL. You guys are scaring me with your obsession on my Jed. He hasn't even...umm...performed yet.

But you know what, a very sexy man once told me very softly, during our first date, in a roomful of people all dressed up in fancy gala clothes, while squeezing droplets of lime into my drink..."This, and this, and like foreplay." He didn't glance up from his task. There was a half-smile on his lips. My heart was going bumpity, bumpity-bump as I watched him, and he hadn't done anything yet! There was a gala still to attend. Long, long night ahead. LOL. How Jed wazzat?!


Loved your comments. Like a slice (or two) of Pepperidge Farm Vanilla Swirl heaven.

Bear with me while I learn. The first button likes the POST. The second button likes the BLOG site. Please help me by "liking" me. Thanks!


Anonymous said...

About Jed not performing yet? What was he doing in The Hunter? LOL! Those scenes may be what have us all so ga-ga over Jed. ;-)

Anonymous said...

[Hmm, it didn't seem to post the first time so if this is a duplication just delete it or skip it.]

Glad to hear you're eating some peanut butter. :o)

My definitions of erotica, romantica, and romance are as follows:

Erotica: sex, in all it's varieties for the sake of titillation. No real plot just sex. Not necessarily an HEA since it's hard to see where it starts and where it finishes. (That last statement was somewhat tongue-in-cheek because I haven't and won't read erotica. Definitely not my cuppa...)

Romantica: There is a plot but it's the catalyst for intense foreplay (for the reader) and intense consummation. It's not about the number of pages it takes to consumate, it's about the number of pages I'm saying, "Oh. My. Stars. They can't hold out any longer, can they?" And, there's definitely an HEA, oh, and monogamy.

Romance: it's all about the emotions and how the plot is driven by the emotions. It can be hot, sweet, sensual but the story is still about the H/H working through everything to reach their HEA.

These are simplistic definitions and they're my definitions, you know, how I separate them in my mind.

Now to Rick and Jed...Jed is a tasty morsel but we have yet to see him hunker down with his emotions involved. Rick, on the other hand, oh me. Emotion oozes out of him when he's with Nikki. 'Nuf said.

(Forgive my typos and spelling errors, I've become a slave to spell-check.)

Mei said...

Jenn, your 'Lime-Drop Foreplay'...oh my! Is *that* how Jed was conceived! I hope you the only smart and sane thing - made sure he did what Jed always does - finish the job.

Whatever you did or didn't do in the end, it sure beats MY lime-drop experience. In my early twenties, my mother believed whe needed to be exorcised and I had to accompany her. Since I was closest to my mom, I participated in a lot of the weird rituals, too. In this case, her witch-doctor made me lie down and he squeezed lime drop after drop on my eyeballs!!!


SQ said...

I'm with Dee. I think it's the happily ever after part that makes it romantica.

I did a random reader review of a romance way back when (don't remember the book). Had to do with a displaced royal and a servant. Anywho, they referred to place as his "scepter of LOVE!"

Kate said...

I think of romantica as the lure of erotica with a decent plot thrown in. It's not like, Let's have sex -and a plot. It's more of a Here's-a-great-plot-and-let's make-it-steamy!

Jenn, I still remember when Into Danger was brand new on the shelves. I was flipping through it and came to the part after Marlena's stuff was gone through and everything, and now it's just her and Stash and all this pent up aggressive emotion. That was one of the sexiest love scenes I've ever read in a romantic suspense. Big thumbs up! But after you, I'd Shannon McKenna has got the whole romantica theme going on.

Anonymous said...

Re, our obession with all things Jed,
isn't it about time, then, that editors paid attention to what women want? Shouldn't they be asking what is it about Jed/Stefan/No.9/ Hell's Monitor(??? pretty please?) that turns us on?

Anonymous said...

Maybe you sould be printing these posts and giving them to your editor, Jenn?

Gennita Low said...

Whoa...more Jed ;-). You know y'all will see more of him, with and without clothes, in the future. I'm good at predicting the future....

Thanks for breaking it down for me. I think I understand it better now, but would like you to give me a few names you think fit your Romantica definition.

Jed is a composite of the darkest of all women's desires. Ahem. And no, he wouldn't have squeezed lemon drops onto your eyelids. Ugh. Umm...did I read your mom think she needed exorcism done on her? =8-O

Heehee, scepter of love. Now, how do you even read that with a straight face? Why do you think editors think euphemisms like that was okay?

I love it--THE LURE OF EROTICA! I think you might have hit it on the nail for me.

As for Into Danger, I think the scene that readers always want to talk to me about is...tada...the pearls scene. Is that romantica (the lure of erotica) to you? Or merely hot?

To the wonderful readers who are so passionate about Jed...I'm working on the mission. I'm sure a few emails to Harlequin/Silhouette wouldn't hurt either, ladies. ;-)

kathleen dante said...

I'd say the reason I want Jed for Hell's monitor is you're doing the story in three books and three books should just be enough to do Jed justice. ;>


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