Is Erotic Romance just a polite way to say dirty books?
Writers write stories. Besides the plot which consists of the basic storyline and conflict, there is a bigger picture—The Theme. I was not an English major, nor did I finish college, yet I learned enough to know that a story must fit into a bigger picture, life. All great stories have a theme. Moby Dick and The Andromeda Strain have a theme in common—Man Against Nature. Most romances have the underlying them of Love Conquers All. Books like Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter and Bronte’s Jane Eyre have the theme, The Truth Shall Set You Free.
The theme that runs through all of my books, the one published, The Sarran Plague, and the ones yet to find a home is a very simple one—All men are created equal. One of our last remaining prejudices is homosexuality. Homosexuality has remained a consistent six to eight percent of the population for all of known history. It existed in biblical times, Greco/Roman times, in medieval times, in Victorian times, and it still exists today. One would think that the human population of the planet would get the message that this is an inborn physical characteristic that cannot be bred out, talked out or punished out of the people who discover at puberty that they are attracted to members of their own sex and not the opposite sex.
Then again, humankind is very thick headed; we still had slavery only one hundred and fifty years ago. Hitler was killing Jews, gypsies and gays only fifty years ago. How long does it take for us to get it? If you are a religious person, mediate on this—God doesn’t make junk. If you are not a religious person, logic should tell you that homosexuality isn’t going anywhere; it is a predetermined characteristic that occurs in the womb, the same way nature determines whether a baby is a boy or a girl, smart or stupid, handsome or ugly. If it were a characteristic that did inherent damage to the human race according the Darwin’s theory, it would have been bred out of the population by now, especially since most homosexuals did not have children unless they were hiding their true selves. This means that the trait is in the human genome and has been since the beginning. And like most things, it has a purpose that we probably do not understand.
What does this have to do with dirty books or erotic romance? Quite a bit. Most gay romances whether they are erotica, erotic or just romantic are dumped into the classification of erotica. It was only recently that the Romance Writers of America, the organization that represents potential and established writers, allowed GLBT romance to compete directly with heterosexual romance for their awards. As I said in part one of this essay not all erotic romances are dirty books. I’d like to take that one step further and say not all gay romance novels are erotic. Dumping any book that has a physical scene between gay characters into the erotic romance category makes no sense. There are degrees of heat in a GLBT novel, just as there are in any historical or contemporary romance on the shelf at any of the local book stores or mega chains.
In some chain book stores you might have to order the book if you want to read it because they don’t carry that kind of book on their shelves. Yet that same store will carry heterosexual romance that borders on pornography or even pornography itself. Does this make any sense? Please don’t get the impression that I am against sex in books; after all, that is how I make my living. However, it makes me angry that some book stores, which are places that traditionally sold enlightenment, now reinforce prejudice.
My books and those of my fellow erotic writers in the GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transsexual) genre believe that gay people are as entitled to sit down and read a great love story as anyone else. In The Sarran Plague, my characters Tonas and Jonal were bisexual. I have two novels written where the characters are homosexual and another, I am outlining, a prequel to The Sarran Plague, where the characters will again be bisexual.
So yes, I am a straight, married, grandmother of eight who writes GLBT books. I believe that love is a precious commodity in whatever form it takes. So, I’ll keep writing my dirty books and people—straight, gay, bi and transsexual will keep on reading them if they are good because we are all equal under the law and I guess I’ll keep banging my head bloody until everyone finally accepts that.