Thursday, July 14, 2005

PBW Speaks

Amy Brozio-Andrews allowed me to brag on myself and slam censorship in this interview over at

Speaking of the Sisters of the Immaculate Love Scene, I've been watching Squawk Radio, the popular author group blog which supports RWA's efforts to censor their membership. After Elizabeth Bevarly ranted about it during her Sex is Just Not My Thang post, they went and dressed the chicks.

So, telling other writers how to write their books is not offensive, but naked, badly-drawn cartoon chickens with the heads of authors are. Gotcha.


  1. I hardly ever visit Squawk Radio, because I know the books they write simply aren't my thing at all. I'm not surprised at their stance on the RWA. RWA primarily benefits unpublished writers and traditional in-the-box romance, NYT bestselling, majority writers such those.

  2. I haven't visited the site, but I did talk to one of the participating authors at an RT. She was nice, but in a completely different zone. (Kind of like when Oprah went to Wal-mart on one of her shows.)

  3. Oh, c'mon, PBWriter! We put the chickens in bathing suits because it's summer! They'll be gratuitously naked again soon, I promise!

    And I never told anyone how to write their books. On the contrary, I said Erotica, like Romance, is a totally legitimate genre with long literary roots. But they are two distinct and different genres that belong in different parts of the bookstore and different writers' organizations.

    Nor did I say RWA should censor its membership, only that it had diluted itself from the romance organization I joined sixteen years ago.

    Let's play fair!

  4. I've since visited the site. I'm too mad to comment further.

  5. Anonymous3:11 PM

    Elizabeth Bevarly wrote: Oh, c'mon, PBWriter! We put the chickens in bathing suits because it's summer! They'll be gratuitously naked again soon, I promise!

    It's funny how you equate naked with gratuitous, but okay. I'll be sure to tell everyone they can find naked chicks on your blog again soon.

    And I never told anyone how to write their books. On the contrary, I said Erotica, like Romance, is a totally legitimate genre with long literary roots. But they are two distinct and different genres that belong in different parts of the bookstore and different writers' organizations.

    As I said in my interview, love and romance cannot be defined because they're different for everyone. Same with writing romance. By this attempt to segregate erotica and romantica writers, you are telling them that they are not writing romance. Who made you the Romance Judge?

    Nor did I say RWA should censor its membership, only that it had diluted itself from the romance organization I joined sixteen years ago.

    No matter how you try to dress it up, by supporting this campaign you are advocating censorship of the membership.

    Let's play fair!

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion. You posted your opinion on your blog, which is fair. I strongly disagree with it, so I posted mine here. Also fair. Welcome to the internet.

  6. Anonymous3:33 PM

    Erotica and Romacne are two seperate genres. Very true. And they DO have their own shelves in bookstores.

    However, erotic romance, is just as much a romance as historical, suspence or paranormal. And in some cases, even more than chic lit.

    Yet, RWA has embraced those sub-genres.

    I have to say I am tottaly disappointed by RWA as an organization, and the writers within it that do not support their fellow authors in the quest for publication.

  7. Isn't it about money as damned near everything in this country (and the world) comes down to?

    Erotic romance and chick lit are selling like crazy while historical romance and other traditional subgenre sales and acquisitions languish in comparison. All those women are powerful old guard protecting their turf, aren't they?

    RWA supports their own. And they have made it quite clear who they consider their own. With the chick lit, edgy paranormal, ethnic, erotic romance subgenres growing in power and clout in publishing, I don't understand why you don't leave them to it and form your own organization if you want one. Call it "Women Fiction Writers" and I'm so in.

  8. Hey SASHA...THAT'S IT. and so I say, end of discussion. No, seriously, you really did sum it up.

  9. Anonymous8:28 PM

    Man, it sounds like you guys refuse to listen to any side of the argument but your own. RWA has every right to say that a book must have XYZ to be a part of their group. It's THEIR group! I mean, just because a fantasy author I ADORE has romance in his FANTASY books doesn't make his book a romance novel as defined by a certain group. It's a fantasy book. If I were in charge of a romance group I'd say his books don't belong in a romance association, JUST because of the fact that they have romantic elements. Practically every book written has romance in it in some form! So, it turns out that my favorite EC authors won't be a part of RWA. So what? Most people say RWA doesn't help them anyway. All I read is complaints about how RWA isn't helpful except as a learning tool. Why not form your own Erotic Writers Group or something? I'm with Monica, leave RWA behind! And I'm wondering, are romance-erotic-whatever-authors allowed in other writing groups, like Science Fiction and Fantasy or Horror or something? Why is it so important to belong to romance? Since you all are already so angry, I'm sure my post won't make you feel any better. Everyone who doesn't agree with you is infered as being a prude or a lover of in-the-box romance or whatever else. No one's telling you not to write your stories and publish them with whoever you want. No one's censoring you. Frankly, a lot of you sound jealous and pissy, which is weird since erotic writing is one of the fastest growing genres. Why do you all care? So the chicken girls don't feel like you belong in their club-- ever stop and think that maybe you don't? And as a reader, the groups you're a part of aren't going to stop me from reading what I like. I like EC and Venus, and I also like the chicken squawkers and loads of other kinds of books. You all sound more and more bitter the longer this goes on. That's MY opinion. PBW, Elizabeth Beverly, and everyone else is welcome to theirs.

  10. Anonymous9:16 PM

    Ranty, since you're a newbie, I will advise you that I don't censor anyone here. Flame at your own risk. One practical suggestion: consider using paragraph breaks. Makes your ranties easier to skim.

  11. IMo the bottom line isn't about what the RWA supports/wants/etc it's about what publishers and the reading public are BUYING. =)

  12. I keep asking myself: where's Samantha Stevens when we need her most? Someone needs to wiggle her nose and turn those chimeras back into chickens.

  13. Anonymous12:04 AM

    Right with ya on the RWA thing. Who's to judge what emotion, sex, erotica and love mean to each person. They've narrowed it down too far in some witless reaction to a few people who I read in the comments there that were "if it contains anything but monogamous, emotional, consensual and hetero, i'd send it back!"

    and that "please! think of the children!" idea that they need to be protected from this stuff? Hi. Childrens' section. Protect em yourself. Walk em right past the literature of great questionable moral taste.

    Do not tell me what I can and cannot write. That's a path I will not go down.

  14. Anonymous2:19 AM

    Nor did I say RWA should censor its membership, only that it had diluted itself from the romance organization I joined sixteen years ago.

    Hmmm...and to 'return' to the organization you joined sixteen years ago, would it not have to censor its membership?
    Frankly, I can't think of ANYTHING that's exactly as it was sixteen years ago. And if my writing and outlook on life had also not changed and adapted somewhat in that time, I'd be a tad worried.

    But they are two distinct and different genres that belong in... different writers' organizations.

    Excuse me. I write erotic romance, among other things. It may have more erotic elements than romance writer A, but she probably has more than romance writer B, an inspirational-romance author, who finds even the word 'thigh' too explicit.
    I am a free human being, and an adult. You're certainly entitled to your opinion, but I do not recognize your authority to dictate where this line should be drawn in the sand.

    I'm waiting for somebody to form the 'My Romance Is Holier-Than-Thou' organization. Lighten up, ladies.

  15. I don't see this as an RWA issue, personally. This is one person's opinion. Maybe it reflects a problem within RWA and maybe it doesn't, but it's just one person's opinion, not an RWA policy statement.

    That being said, Ms. Bevarly's argument is a bit illogical. She says in her blog entry that EC doesn't publish erotic romances, but erotica, therefore they do not belong in RWA. She later concedes in the comments that, yes, EC does in fact publish some romance, but suggests that they nevertheless don't belong in RWA. Why not? Kensington (as an example) publishes both romance and erotica (in their newest line), but the fact that they publish some romances qualifies them for RWA membership. In the same way, EC should qualify for RWA membership, since Ms. Bevarly acknowledges that they do in fact publish at least some romances.

    With regards to RWA changing from what it was sixteen years ago... well, the market has changed substantially, too. The Blazes Ms. Bevarly writes hadn't come into existence sixteen years ago, either. Shouldn't RWA change to reflect the times? A writer's organization that pretends nothing has changed in the industry over the past two decades isn't going to be very helpful to its members, is it?

  16. Pardon me... I spoke imprecisely. It's not a matter of "membership," but whether or not a publisher is "recognized" by RWA or not. Too early in the morning... I need a caffeine infusion.

  17. Ellen, you're correct, of course. And I doubt Ms. Bevarly will return to explain the irrationality of her argument, but perhaps she'll surprise us.

    It's bigotry, plain and simple.

    I can only assume her definition of "fair" extends as far as her comfort level with sex on the page, which ends to the doorstep of Harlequin Blaze (a pretty short walk, but she wouldn't know that, because her rhetoric positively screams "I haven't been keeping up with the market, or I'd know about erotic romance at St. Martin's Press, Berkley, etc.).

    Or should I assume it stretches as far as her inclination to make RWA responsible for whether or not she's inclined to supervise her child in a bookstore on any given day of the week?

    Rank ignorance is hard enough to choke down. Stir it up with hypocrisy, and I find myself nauseated on a level I haven't experienced since the last time I switched on the TV and saw Karl Rove's petulant puss right next to the Commander-in-Chief's.

    But I do hope Ms. Bevarly and her cohorts enjoy the PAN retreat my dues helped pay for.

  18. Yet, RWA has embraced those sub-genres.

    Sorry babes but while Chick lit has their own chapter, not all members of the RWA have entirely embraced the genre. Not when comments like "it's all about shoes and multiple sex partners" still get bandied about (BY RWA MEMBERS) and RWA MEMBERS bitching because "all editors want is chick lit this and chick lit that" -- feeling threatened are we? The RWA definition of romance not only affects Erotic Romance writers, but Chick lit and women's fiction writers, as well.

  19. Anonymous1:48 PM

    Cece~ While chic lit might still get the snide comments, and embraced might be the wrong term, they definitely haven't had as much of a controversy as the Erotic Romance sub-genre.

    And I agree, the defintition and everythign that's going on now defitnitely WILL effect them just as much as ER writers.

    I've said it before , and I'll say it again. I won't be renewing my membership. I've found all the help and support I need in my online community of mixed genre writers, simply by blog hopping. :)

  20. Anonymous1:50 PM

    If you go over to the RWA website and look at the list of Romance best sellers they proudly include Bertrice Small. Has anyone ever read Small? Rape, incest, teenage strumpets, child brides, multiple partners, bondage, torture. At least that's the way her books were about 16 years ago. So I guess that's what Bevarly wants the organization to go back to.

  21. I think the problem is that (oh my, just how many bloggers heard that already?) is that the Erotic Romance genre is very vague at the present. There are cross genre stories that just happen to have a sexy romantic subplot. There are more or less traditional romances that happen to have sex more explicit than usually. Then there are works whose main purpose is to titillate the reader, obvious stroke fiction. But the readers' reaction is sex-oriented. And while for a stroke fiction's author a reader response akin to "wow, the sex was hot, hot, hot, I ran for my husband!" is highly flattering, but for the author of the first type of the story (where romance itself is just a subplot, the sex is a small part of the overall structure) this kind of response is partially disappointing. Baffling. Hey, what about my story? Have you even noticed I had a plot in there?

    Then we have the nontraditional romance, all the menages, four-dicked aliens, hard BDSM, etc -- which, even within a classic romance plot, is bound to get a negative reaction from a conservative reader.

    Some come to erotic romance, esp. the more daring e-version, in search of something more unusual and explicit. Some, for a sort of women's porn, where sex is decorated with romanticism.
    But the average reader does not know what to expect.

  22. Forgot. Thus, author's expectations are feeble too. And those who meet the softer side of erotic romance (or write it) keep to refer to it as simply a sexy kind of romance. Those who walk on the harsher side, seem to look at it more as female erotica. Thus, they cannot agree, because their initial perceptions are different, based on different experiences.

  23. "Sisters of the Immaculate Love Scene"


    - I'm sorry, but that simply says it all.

    As far as what I write...?
    - My Agent told me: "...Almost every house is buying erotica. Regarding 'the heat' long there's a 'relationship' between the hero and heroine, the story can sizzle. I've had editors ask for material from R to XXX."

    RWA and their members can do, or feel, (or whine about,) whatever they like. If they don't want to write books, with sexually explicit love scenes, for all the NY publishers asking for them -- GOOD! Less competition for ME. I’m perfectly happy with that.

    Morgan Hawke
    - Mercenary Author, and darned proud of it.

  24. I think what got me so angry was that she was so ill-informed - and came off as ignorant.

    Doesn't seem to know the difference between erotica and erotic romance.

    Trashed a publisher without really having read their work.

    Blamed EC for her kid looking at books in a bookstore.

    I had to rant for 3 posts on my blog *g*


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