Welcome to Ann Gimpel, author of the Dragon Lore series. This is a great post on what separates erotic romance from erotica.
What’s the Line Between Erotic Romance and Erotica?
I suppose every writer has a slightly different definition, but for me one of the differences has to do with the presence (or absence) or a strong, believable plot. I see erotica as a series of sex scenes with either no plot, or a very thin one sort of tossed into the mix as an afterthought. Applying this definition, a book can have some amazingly smutty sex scenes, but still not be erotica if there’s a compelling plot that pulls the reader along. You know, something more than curiosity about what the next sex scene will look like.
I probably shouldn’t admit this, but books without plots aren’t very interesting to me. Yeah, it makes me look pretty dated, huh? Crabby, old woman who insists on books that actually have a storyline. I’ll write steamy, descriptive sex, but it has to be a normal progression of my story, not just a sex scene because we went a few hundred words without one.
Another big difference is erotica doesn’t require a HEA or HFN. All romance books do. It’s part of their timeless appeal. Digging a little deeper, for the romance genre, the romance is the story. I’ve gotten a complaint or two for some of my books that, if you took the romance away, there would still be a story. I just hang my head, blush, and mutter, “Guilty as charged.” Virtually all my books feature subplots that support the romance, but could easily exist on their own. I’m fascinated by complicated plots, different worlds, different timeframes, and mingling them into believable wholes with hot alpha men and strong, confident women.
I have several romance series, plus a bunch of standalone novellas/novels. While I enjoy series work, romance series require a new romance for each one. Hence, a new h/h combo. Sometimes, I’d prefer to write a two or three part series with the same protags. It’s actually not uncommon in urban fantasy, which is mostly what I write (with a smattering of historical tossed in).
The Dragon Lore includes an ancient, time-traveling dragon shifter who’s been asleep for three hundred years. It’s urban fantasy, but with strong romantic elements. To Love a Highland Dragon, has an HEA. The first book in that series, Highland Secrets, has a HFN. In book three, Dragon Maid, there’s yet another dragon shifter couple with an HEA. The final book in that series, Dragon’s Dare, doesn’t introduce any new major characters, but the couple from the first book finally, finally claw their way to an HEA.
There’s a time and place for every story. Erotica has an appeal, but I think it’s different from erotic romance, or the other romance genres. What do you think? Do you have a preference when you’re hunting down something new to read?
I agree-- erotica is sex with a bit of a story and erotic romance is a story with steamy sex. I'll take the romance every time :) Throw in some ghosts or shifters and I'm on cloud nine!
Dragon Lore Book Two
Dream Shadow Press
October 5, 2015
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Tumble off reality’s edge into myth, magic, and Scottish dragon shifters
When pressed, Jonathan Shea admits magic runs through his blood, but he’s always been ambivalent about it—until a dragon and her mage show up in the Scottish Highlands, and then all bets are off. Jonathan’s charmed and captivated by the dragon—a creature fresh out of myth and legend—but the woman bonded to it is so enticing, he tosses caution aside and catapults into the magical power he’s avoided for so long.
Britta and her dragon prepare for a battle to save Earth. Freshly transplanted from a much earlier time, she feels awkward, out of place. The first person she lays eyes on is Jonathan. There’s something about him. She can’t quite pinpoint it, but he has way more magic than he lets on. Magic aside, it runs deeper than that. For the first time ever, she questions the wisdom of remaining a maid. If she doesn’t make up her mind damned fast, though, her choices will fritter away. Beset from every side, she’s never needed her magical ability more.
Surrounded by dragon shifters, Celtic gods, Selkies, time travel, and a heaping portion of magic, Jonathan comes into his own fast. Fell creatures target him, Britta, and her dragon. In the midst of chaos, he and Britta find scorching passion and love so heartbreakingly tender, it will change their lives forever.
About the Author
Ann Gimpel is a national bestselling author. A lifelong aficionado of the unusual, she began writing speculative fiction a few years ago. Since then her short fiction has appeared in a number of webzines and anthologies. Her longer books run the gamut from urban fantasy to paranormal romance. Once upon a time, she nurtured clients, now she nurtures dark, gritty fantasy stories that push hard against reality. When she’s not writing, she’s in the backcountry getting down and dirty with her camera. She’s published over 30 books to date, with several more planned for 2015 and beyond. A husband, grown children, grandchildren and three wolf hybrids round out her family.
Find Ann At:
@AnnGimpel (for Twitter)