This is blog I wrote a couple of years ago and it still holds true.
#5- Erotic romance is extremely popular.
It's wonderful that sexy stories are finally moving into mainstream markets. From a practical standpoint, that’s awesome news. Millions of women, and a growing number of men, read romance. I’ve heard rumors that romance is up to 50% of the fiction market. If you write romance, it’s like having a world-wide stadium of enthusiastic, voracious readers.
And since I’m a reader too, I adore having so many stories available. I can read books faster than I can write them, so I’m a reader first.
#4- Romance book covers! Okay, I know this is shallow, but I love the sexy muscled men on book covers. Talk about inspiration. When you write a romance novel, choosing a book cover becomes a reality. I don’t know about the traditional publishers, but if you’re with a small press you usually have some say-so about the cover, and if you’re an indie author the decision is all yours. There are custom book cover designers, or graphic artists who make designs for covers, and there are nice premade covers to choose from too. Some writers, the ones who have a lot of techie knowhow, assemble covers from scratch using stock photos. Finding the right cover for your book is a great adventure.
#3- Romance readers and writers are fun and supportive. I’ve met fabulous people since I’ve began sharing my stories—critique partners, a publisher, beta readers, and other authors. I wouldn’t have anything on Amazon or B&N, or anywhere, without these people. It’s an amazing journey. And once you start publishing, you make more friends. Of course, even in the land of romance, negative things happen. Once in a while there’s a sour grape, no matter what you do. Some criticism may be helpful and some may be mean-spirited, but I like to stay focused on the useful parts and stay true to my dreams. There are many helpful and kind people working in the romance genre. Find your posse and give each other gentle, encouraging nudges towards the light. Everyone benefits.
#2- Happy endings. Romance novels always end well. That’s the difference between love stories and romance novels. Love stories can be romantic but they can also be sad, especially at the end (example: Romeo and Juliet) but romance is all about happily-ever-after. I’d drown in a tear-filled pool of depression if I had to spend months on a sad book. Isn’t there enough tragedy in the world? To stay emotionally viable, I need positive things in my biosphere. My beacons of joy are my hubby, friends, dogs, music, and romance stories.
Happy endings … I love them.
#1- ALPHA HEROES!
Okay— I admit it— these guys are absolutely the main reason I started writing erotic romance.
“Write what you love” definitely works for me, and I flat out LOVE stories about sexually dominant, alpha heroes.
Wishing you all happy reading.
PS, There are some sexy alpha hero-types on my Pinterest boards… https://www.pinterest.com/marilynlakewood/ Warning: These are definitely NSFW and for 18+ only!
photo credit: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/heap73/2953558475/">shutterpal</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/">cc</a>
photo credit: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/michael_harold/6863828134/">Michael Taggart Photography</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/">cc</a>
I’ve always loved to read. Like most of us, I started with children’s books—wonderful stories about animals and magical places. I read as many as I could get my chubby little hands on.
Next I discovered cozy, young-adult mysteries. Oh they were nice, but I knew there was more in the world of books. I graduated to Gothic mysteries, and my vocabulary flourished. The best stories were the ones with dark, mysterious noblemen, so I delved into classics like Jane Eyre and then Pride and Prejudice.
With Jane Austen’s stories, I edged closer to my reading nirvana. I loved the romance and the dashing heroes. I found a Regency novel, and I liked it, but it was completely G-rated.
The characters lived in a passionless, asexual world. The hero never kissed the heroine on the lips, just her hand. Geesh, what’s up with that?
But there was no going back. Romance novels were catnip to me. I kept searching for books with more about the hero. I wanted more passion. More steam! Isn’t that part of romance?
I foraged through the shelves in libraries and bookstores until I found the treasure that changed my reading world forever. The hero’s name was Trey, and the book was Silver Flame by Susan Johnson. My eyes rounded in awe as I read it. Wow! Sex and passion—more than I’d ever seen—all wrapped up in a good story with an amazingly accurate historical setting. It was groundbreaking for me. Historical romances rocked, and I went on the prowl for the ones with the hardest heroes. None of those weak-willed lads for me. I wanted outlaws and lords and pirate captains. Yeah, baby! I’d discovered Alpha heroes.
Oh, but there were more sexy alphas in crime and suspense romance novels! I blazed through a bunch of those books, too. E-readers hadn’t caught on yet, so paperbacks were stacked in every room.
I loved it.
And then I stumbled on another book that changed my life--Tears of the Renegade by Linda Howard. The story had a dark, handsome hero, and a classy, soft-spoken heroine, plus a ton of sexual tension. I read it in a day. But it was the author’s bio at the back of the book that altered my future and led me to where I am now. In her bio, I learned that Linda Howard wrote stories for years, for her own entertainment, before she ever sent one to a publisher. I read that part twice, and for the first time I thought about writing a book…just for myself, and just for fun. I kept the idea close to my heart. I didn’t write anything right away, but I knew I would. It was my secret dream.
And when I finally wrote my first book, what do you suppose it was?
Yes…an erotic romance with a hardcore alpha hero. It was a western, too, like Silver Flame.
I still have my old paperback copies of Silver Flame and Tears of the Renegade on my keeper shelf. I know writing styles have changed since they were published, but I think it’s time to open these books again and visit my friends who live between the dog-eared pages.
Until next time, happy reading.
Oh, and if you enjoy sexy images of handsome men, I have a few boards on Pinterest … https://www.pinterest.com/marilynlakewood/
Warning: NSFW and for Adults only!
Stargazer, daydreamer, erotic romance composer, sweeping snow off a cottage near Canadian Rockies.