This is the title of the book that my son is reading by Melvin Berger. It's all about animals that share characteristics, but have very important differences--it boils down to the fact that they may be similar, but they are not the same.
After reading a different book -- for the purpose of doing a review -- which had been labelled an erotic romance, this very same reality was brought home to me.
Of course, I've read erotic romances before, don't get me wrong. Even the books I've written have been termed (by some) to be erotic romances. And I really don't mind hotter sex in what I read, I like that there's an option, that I can choose that if it's what I'm looking for at any particular time.
But what I'm always looking for in my romance--erotic or otherwise--is ROMANCE.
This doesn't sound like it should be so hard, but I find myself getting frustrated with the labels being thrown around out there these days. The books I write are ROMANCE: first, foremost and always. The biggest part of the story is the development of the emotional connection between the hero and the heroine. I think that if you're going to include sex in that equation it should be an integral component that works in conjunction with the conflicts and character arcs, but also that if you took away the sex, you'd still have a really powerful love story.
And while I can understand that "erotic" romance is going to put more focus on sex, the tag there on the end--that word ROMANCE -- means that the couple's relationship is still supposed to be the key component, otherwise call it something else whether that name is erotica or what-have-you.
The book I just finished (title will remain unnamed) started out fairly promising. It had an interesting premise that I was looking forward to getting into. But the sex started at about page three-I mean, really. Come ON people! It didn't even make sense to get them into bed at that point. They were supposed to be strangers and on opposite "teams". After that, it seemed the author had little use for an actual plot, and the story got worse as the sex got more inventive.
So, why exactly am I ranting about it?
It's not that I begrudge an author writing anything he/she damn well pleases. There is a market for this particular book, a lot of people would probably like it well enough, and good for them. But the thing that bugged me is the use of the term ROMANCE. Erotic, yes. But this was not a romance. For me, I care because I need the romance. Times are tough and I don't want to buy something only to find that isn't what I spent my money on. I want to look at a book and know that I could trust whatever label it had been filed under.
What if someone read an "Erotic Romance", was disappointed for the same reasons I was and turned away from any other book that ended up with a similar label in the future? They'd probably miss out on my book then...and that would be a shame, really.