Alex Beecroft, accidental erotica writer

So, according to this article in Library Journal

http://reviews.libraryjournal.com/2013/02/books/genre-fiction/erotica-full-frontal-shelving-genre-spotlight/

I am a popular erotica writer (much like that other purveyor of full on steamy smut, Josh Lanyon.)

I have mixed feelings about this. It’s nice to be called a particularly popular author of anything, particularly in a respected publication like Library Journal. But on the other hand it’s kind of grieving to be constantly associated with a genre I don’t think I belong to. Surely I would know if I was writing erotica?

They define it this way in the article:

In a sexually explicit romance, the development of the emotional relationship drives the story. The sex scenes are integral to the story, but they are not the primary way in which the relationship develops. For erotic romance, the development of the relationship again is the focus of the story,…

“Erotica is not a romance at all,” explains author Hart. “The content is graphic, and the plot has a sexual premise, but the movement of the story is not about the emotional relationship or ‘happy ever after’ of the characters.” Berkley’s Hwang agrees. “I think the difference is really about how the sexual component is used.” An erotica story can be about anything, but the journey of the main characters is generally shown through the lens of their sexuality and sexual practices.

Right? So erotica is about the sex, while romance is about the love story.

Now I refer you to the review I had for Blessed Isle yesterday:

there’s a subtlety about Beecroft’s writing and her efforts (and total success) at keeping the sex out of the book. In doing so … the focus was shifted to the love story and the time period, which really only adds to the story.

Admittedly there’s more sex in most of my other books. But  the sex scenes don’t drive the plot, the romance does. By LJ’s own definition, what I write is “sexually explicit romance,” not “erotica.” They even reviewed the Under the Hill books in their own magazine with these words

The sexual encounters are mild, and the emotional encounters enhance the plot. Those who enjoy complex fantasy stories with nontraditional pairings will enjoy this ebook duo

So I don’t know. I’m grateful to be mentioned, but I despair that I’ll ever be seen as a writer of the kind of stuff I think I write. Sometimes I wonder, am I really writing what I think I’m writing? Have I got it wrong? As @suleikhasnyder said on Twitter, maybe I’m an accidental erotica writer – maybe I really did slip and fall on it?

After all, I’ve been reading along with a sporking Gehayi is doing of 50 Shades of Gray, and from what I’ve read of it so far, I certainly wouldn’t call that erotica. There’s far too much angsting and conversation, and angsting about the conversation, and conversations about the angst. I may have blanked the sex scenes from memory, but I only remember there being one of them so far, and I didn’t think that was very sexy.

So if that’s what the mainstream literary world considers erotica, perhaps – by their standards – my stories about battle, religion, self-acceptance and angst, with some explicit sex scenes, really are erotica too?

Perhaps my perception of what is a ‘normal’ level of sex in a story has been warped by too much exposure to the outer reaches of slash fanfic, (where I scarcely bat an eye at incestuous tentacle porn any more) and because I’m nowhere near the extremes,  I wrongly think I’m not within the fringes?

I don’t know. I do think that, if I can’t shake the label, perhaps it’s time to own it. Hence – Alex Beecroft, Accidental Writer of Erotica. I apologise in advance if you come to my books and are horribly disappointed by the lack of sex. But I’ve decided that after 5 years of protest, I cannot stop the world with my own two hands.

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22 Comments on "Alex Beecroft, accidental erotica writer"

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C.C. Williams
Guest

Congrats on the recognition!

I think that those of us who write m/m get lumped in because of the whole guy/guy aspect, which is racier to the mainstream. What they focus on–no matter how much angst or conversation or battles we throw at them–is the two guys gettin’ it on.

Love from the trenches!

Lillian Francis
Guest

How strange that we were having a similar conversation recently on Goodreads.

It’s the hypocrisy that gets me, that the same person who will happily read 50 shades on the beach looks at me askance when I say I write gay romance.

LOL Maybe you’re right and over exposure to tentacle porn has numbed our ability to see as other people do 😉

Sandra Lindsey
Guest

I wouldn’t have called your stories erotica, and I think that anyone who does ought to go out & read more books!

…and I don’t know how you managed it, but you placed that “incestuous tentacle porn” bit *right* where I was taking a drink from my mug of tea!

Charlene Newcomb
Guest

I’ve read several of your books. Like Sandra & others, I wouldn’t label them as erotica. You write beautifully – about relationships. It’s a shame if they get categorized as erotica because readers are missing out, whether it’s your Age of Sail historicals, contemporary romance, or your fantasies.

C.C. Williams
Guest

Part of the difficulty is the whole pigeon-holing thing: it’s the quantity of sex that seems to make a difference for some people in erotic romance versus erotica versus porn.

I feel it’s based on story objectives: how the relationship develops=romance, how sex affects the relationship=erotic romance, how people are affected by sex=erotica, sex for getting off=porn.

It’s sort of a Kinsey continuum question: Just how much sex/what kind of sex moves you along the spectrum?

Lillian Francis
Guest

I do think that there’s a perception that m/m sex must somehow be hotter or sexier than m/f sex. Which is a great shame for those of us who are not m and therefore don’t get to try it for ourselves!

*snort*

Lillian Francis
Guest

Sorry, tea just went up my nose!

Lillian Francis
Guest
Katherine Halle
Guest
First, Congrats on the mention. I like the title you’ve decided to adopt, “Accidental Writer of Erotica.” I really can’t add much that other peoople haven’t mentioned. I do think people look askance at gay romance because it’s gay and therefore it can’t really be a romance because goodness know they only have sex. *rolls eyes* It is frustrating that “mainstream romance” is more accepted when most of it is formulaic and predictable (and oftentimes has more sex with much cruder language). My hope is that in time and with authors and publishers becoming more vocal that m/m romance will… Read more »
Barb Ramey
Guest

I started reading m/m books when Choccy Grl published ‘Lesson Learned’. Since then I have read 214 m/m books and short stories. Favorite authors are Lillian Francis and Josh Lanyon and now Alex Beecroft. What frustrates me to no end is buying a book that sounds great in the blurb, but turns out to be page after page of explicitly detailed sex with no discernable plot, no character development, and poor grammer.

Keep writing the good stuff.

Lillian Francis
Guest

Sorry to butt in Alex but can I just say Barb that I’m honoured that it was my story that introduced you to the wonderful world of published m/m and by extension two of my favourite authors, Alex and Josh. In fact it gave me a bit of thrill just to be included in the same sentence as them. (I’ve met Alex and in a minute she’ll tell me I’m being an idiot to be all star struck about her. LOL)

Lillian Francis
Guest

😀

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[…] Where I got upset was the response to the second galley. I have reviewed fifteen books for Riptide Publishing. I have sent every response, as required, back through NetGalley. AND in addition, I posted on this site, I have pumped them out to my Social Media networks and posted my reviews on Goodreads. I’ve received great responses from the authors on social media AND their personal websites. […]

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