By Shari Nichols
Long before El James exploded on the scene with her debut novel Fifty Shades of Grey, also known in some circles as mommy porn, many authors came before her and penned their own brand of erotic romance.As a teenager, I can still recall sneaking into my sister’s room to peek at her very worn and tattered copy of the Harrod Experiment. It didn't matter that some pages were ripped or missing, this was hardcore sex and erotica,like I’d never read it before.
There are so many wonderful, erotic authors on the market today who write in this expanding genre. These are stories ripe with passion, love and emotional turmoil, and hot steamy sex as an added bonus. When people ask me what my book is about, I give them my tagline, In a desperate attempt to catch a killer, a special agent hires a notorious felon to come work for the agency. In the midst of the investigation, they succumb to the dark edges of desire, placing both their lives in danger. The next question that typically follows is always, “Wow, it soundssteamy like FiftyShades,” to which I reply, “It’s not a BDSM, but yes, it’serotic.”
What was once considered thebodice ripper novel is now simply a thing of the past. The romance genre has evolved over the years to include the exploration of relationshipsacross boundaries and between same sex partners. Now the book shelves and the e-readers are full of stories about M/F/ M/M/F/F or evenmultiplepartnerrelationships.
Let’s face it, erotic romance sells.Captivated By You, Book 2inSylvia Day’s Crossfire Series was number oneon the USAToday best sellers list last week and Fifty Shadesis still holding steady at number 34 on the list, even after its debut in February of 2013.
Recently, I was interviewed for a local newspaper. After sending out my press release with the caption, Local Erotic Author Debuts her First Novel, to get a buzz going. I never expected the writer to include my comment, “Books like these have opened up discussions such as sex and sexual fantasies that women can now talk about with friends and with their partner. Now the reader can freely explore more explicit levels of sensuality that were once left only to the imagination.” I didn’t expect her to publish those exactwords. Now the entire town and all of my teenager’s friendsknow I write erotic romance. What do you think? Is erotic romance still taboo?
I don’t think anyone should be too quick to assume erotic romance is a genre only about sex that features whips and chains, handcuffs and the random fetish to the exclusion of the story itself.These are tales about love and commitment, overcoming inner demonsand self-acceptance. Characters must learn to grow and worktoward their happily ever after, not to mention get tortured along the way. It’s one hell of a ride I encourage readers to take!
And who doesn’t want to fall in love? My dream was to make my readers experience that same headysensation of falling in love when they sit down to read one of my books. Many years back, I read an article about a research study conducted on the brain by a Harvard scientist.Apparently the emotional center of the brain can only sustain that falling in love feeling for up to three years, max. After that, those intense feelings grow and change into something deeper, less flighty, and the brain stops releasing large amounts of dopamine in the process. In some cases, people end up engaging in flirting, internet relationships and extramarital affairs, simply because they’re addicted to the dopamine release.
Can you become addicted to the euphoria? Here's a cure, why not pick up an erotic romance and fallinlove? Maybe you can practice and experiment with what you’veread? There’s nothing that compares to that feeling of bliss, even for a little while.
Two years ago, I attended the Popular Romance Authors Symposium at Princeton University.I was intrigued to hear so many perspectives on the origins of the romance genre from academics, to NY Times bestselling authors, and even a sociologist’sunique perspective. As a society,we’ve come so far in overcoming negative perceptions about self-sufficiency and the equity between the sexes. So let’s continue to evolve and grow! Why not pass the word? Erotic romance is alive and well. Here’s to falling in love!
Determined MBI (Magickal Bureau of investigations)agent Alex Denopoulos will stop at nothing to catch a killer, including recruit notorious felon, Willow McCray to work for the agency. The lines between duty and passion become blurred the more time he spends with the sultry witch. In the midst of the investigation, they succumb to the dark edges of desire, placing both their lives in danger. Alex will risk more than his badge to keep her alive.
Kick-ass witch Willow must use her powers for good if she wants to stay out of Hellios, a mage prison for those who have broken the Wiccan Rede of ‘Harm ye None.’ Willow never expects to fall so hard for Alex, a mortal with a penchant for justice and a deep seated hatred of witches. Though a future together seems impossible, she doesn’t want to let him go. If only she can vanquish the evil surrounding them and give Alex what he wants, her mind and body-before she loses her heart and maybe her very soul in the process.
Willow took a sip of her margarita and glanced down at Alex’s big hands, tanned and sprinkled with a smattering of dark hair. Funny, she never found a man’s hands sexy. Suddenly her mind filled with images of Alex trailing those big, masculine hands over her body. She wondered if he fit the stereotype. Big hands, big…
“You never did answer my question. Are you considering taking me up on my offer?” The sound of his voice pulled her from a host of fantasies. Willow dug her nails into her palm to get her head back in the game. She shouldn’t be thinking about this man in such a raw, sexual way.
“Why not? My car’s parked in the back.”She probed through the nearby crowd to check if Alex came here with bodyguards. A virtual cacophony of conversations invaded her thoughts, but nothing about protection for Alex. Once she got him alone, she’d take her chances and pray she wouldn’t be outnumbered. “Then let’s get out of here. Unless of course I’ve got some competition.” He motioned over her shoulder to the incubus whose head now lolled forward over the bar.
“I think you’re flying solo here.” She’d set her trap and let the consequences be damned. She rubbed her finger along the rim of the glass and licked off the salt.
She lifted the glass to her lips, savoring the tangy flavor of margarita mix along with the zing of tequila as it slid down her throat. Headrush. No surprise there, she couldn’t remember the last time she’d slept or eaten in the past forty-eight hours, existing on a combination of raw nerves and pure adrenaline.
“You missed a spot.” He ran his thumb along the seam of her lip. He put it to his mouth and licked. “Mmm, sweet.” Her plan didn’t involve foreplay…but damn he was hot. In another time and another place she would be seriously into this guy. Too bad I might have to kill him.
Shari Nichols grew up in a small town in Connecticut where haunted houses, ghosts and Ouija boards were common place, spurring her fascination with all things paranormal. Ever since she read her first Barbara Cartland novel, her life-long dream has been to write sexy, romantic stories. Shari has been married to her own alpha hero for twenty-two years. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, going to the gym, or hanging out with family and friends.
She lives in New Jersey with her husband, two teenagers, and her adoring golden retriever. Shari graduated from Rider University with a degree in Business Administration. After spending several years in the grind of Corporate America, she quit to stay at home with her kids. Now she’s thrilled to spend her days in sweats, eating chocolate while pounding on her keyboard to create her next novel.