Monday, August 07, 2006

NOT An Erotique


Finished my six-book survey last night.
Ethical problems tainted #4 for me. Initial set-up was fine: a bridal consultant heroine, left at the altar years ago, organizes her best friend's wedding but the prospective groom turns out to be her jilting lover.
Said friend consultant boinks the groom before the ceremony - their re-ignited passions are just too strong, you see.
In addition, the hero is a dork.

The fifth book opened with lines like these: froze in her tracks, breath caught in her throat, a shockwave of anxiety, her heart leaped in her throat, her mouth went dry, her stomach knotted, her throat tightened - and that was just the first page.

Number Six was excellent all way round. Good plot, good dialogue, developed characters, the psychology of relationships and motivations believable and individual - not plucked from the stereotyped pot of "abusive childhood" etc.

Round up: Two very, very good, two barely adequate and two crap.
Not bad for a random selection.

Decided that I am not a writer of romantica.
Have some doubts whether or not I'm even a romance writer.
In fact, it's a good thing I describe my series as "romantic adventure," rather than romance, because I don't directly and immediately focus every single action in my series through the lens of the relationship between the hero and the heroine.
In any event, I'm clearly not a category romance writer.
Neither do I seem to have the gift for sensual writing, since I fail to describe every single gasp, shiver, sigh, and suck, or how his tongue tickles her tonsils or her teeth. And that seems to be a prerequisite.
Clearly, I'd cop a "C" in erotic diction.

Noticed something in this set, though - men don't have balls.
With one exception- where the hero is provided with "sacs" - they have satin and steel shafts - but no balls.
Curious.
Another thing, all the males must have shaved their genetalia.
Of course, that peculiar descriptive omission - in otherwise quite detailed and explicit passages - avoids the problem of the hero, san shorts, from catching his short 'n curlies while ripping down his zipper, but still...
Curious.
Missing something there, girls.

Bonnie, you may lower your fan now.

Don't forget: Flood's weekly interview.

49 comments:

Sela Carsen said...

Maybe they shave because they never seem to wear underwear, thus putting the short'n'curlies on the front line...so to speak.

Great reviews, Bernita.

Ric said...

absolutely going to need more than one cup of coffee to get involved in this discussion.

very confused

Flood said...

I LOVE that outfit Bernita!

Do testicles feature heavily in sex scenes generally?

Bernita said...

Don't know why the writer's shave them, metaphorically speaking, Sela.

What confuses you, Ric?

I thought it was rather...fitting, Flood.
Don't know why these writers indulged in semi-castration.

December Quinn said...

My heroes have hairy balls!!


(I think I have waited my whole life to write that sentence.)

Scott said...

The balls are a painful omission. I don't know how old you are (and I'm not asking), but I heard a rumor that the younger generation of men are pressured to shave their genitalia. I'm not sure if that's true, but if it is, then it is part of a systematic emasculation of the male species. Hold onto your balls men. They're coming for them.

Bernita said...

So does mine, December - and ALL of his equipment.

Bernita said...

Older than that generation, and now I'm very glad....
Really, Scott?
The idea of bikini wax, etc., for men makes me wince in sympathy.
Especially since many men find shaving thir face a chore.
Strikes me as vaguely dissolute.
Thought it was just a case of writer's neglect.

Ric said...

Not sure how you did that - came up with a topic about sex where I have no clue.

Guess it never occured to me.

I would venture a guess, though, that women writers tend to ignore the extra appendages because they consider them standbys and not germaine to the action at hand.

What do you say ladies?

I clearly have to expand my reading - I've never come across this. Hence, the confusion.

Bonnie Calhoun said...

Auh, geez...this one should have been titles "Shock and Awe"!!!!

It loaded slow....POW...I gasped...I covered the screen...I covered my eyes....Thank the good Lord I wasn't at the conference on wifi checking into my blogging buddies!!!

I'm so excited I can't sleep!! Oh, it's daytime...well I'm so excited I can't sit dowm...oh...nevermind! I'll just sit here and drink my coffee.

Just what I need right now...more caffeine!

Bernita said...

Hope you have a marvellous time at your Conference, Bonnie!

MissWrite said...

***Noticed something in this set, though - men don't have balls.
With one exception- where the hero is provided with "sacs" - they have satin and steel shafts - but no balls.
Curious.
Another thing, all the males must have shaved their genetalia.
Of course, that peculiar descriptive omission - in otherwise quite detailed and explicit passages - avoids the problem of the hero, san shorts, from catching his short 'n curlies while ripping down his zipper, but still...
Curious.***

Oh my God, if I laugh any harder, I'll need surgery to stitch up my sides.

EA Monroe said...

Ric said: "I would venture a guess, though, that women writers tend to ignore the extra appendages because they consider them standbys and not germaine to the action at hand.

What do you say ladies?"

Inexperience as a writer and a too protected childhood??

Sela Carsen said...

*ahem* (That's a subtle warning for Bonnie to either cover her eyes or put down the coffee.)Actually, I think it comes down to fantasy. It's, er, less than pleasant to get the aforementioned short'n'curlies stuck in your teeth or in your mouth. Therefore, if the hero has no hair down there, the heroine won't have to deal with this messy little factoid. You'll notice the heroine's nether regions are often similiarly shaven or preternaturally well-coiffed.
*blushing furiously*
I can't believe I said this on Bernita's oh-so-classy blog.

Ric said...

ea, ????

R.J. Baker said...

Shaving and tatoos are in...

Ric said...

Tattoos? THAT isn't something I even want to picture. - much less think about.

Bernita said...

That may be it, Ric.
It just occurred to me that something was definitely missing in otherwise EXTREMELY detailed descriptions.

Found "sacs" so...so prissy , Tami.

Think it's just template writing, EA.

No, hadn't noticed incidents of shaven kittens, Sela--- for which I am glad...tend to associated those with implications of either porn or hebephilia.

December Quinn said...

I would venture a guess, though, that women writers tend to ignore the extra appendages because they consider them standbys and not germaine to the action at hand.

What do you say ladies?


It's very possible, Ric. There are women who were never taught or told or whatever that men tend to like being touched everywhere. I actually think it depends on what kind of romance you're reading, too.

You find hairy balls in a lot of erotic romances. We erotic writers don't tend to like emasculated, bald-balled men. We also write about fondling, touching, gently tugging, and sometimes sucking balls (I've written all of the above) because we're allowed to be very graphic. (Sela has a good point, though. My heroes might have hairy balls but they're not wildly hairy, just as my heroines are, as she said, preternaturally well-groomed. Because nobody wants to read about hair in the teeth or the back of the throat.)

I don't think most of the tamer romances have such behaviors simply because not all women consider balls erotic. You rarely find sex toys or anal play in mainstream romance, either-such behaviors sort of automatically give it an "erotic" tage--because not all women do those things either. Some would be turned off by it.

All straight women like penises. Not all of them like the penis's neighbors.

Savannah Jordan said...

Well, now. After this post, I am rethinking all the erotica that I've written...

And, I completely disagree with you Bernita! You DO have a gift for sensual writing, you've proven that with some of your posts. It is NOT sensual to describe everything (gasping, sighing, sucking), some should be left for the mind to create, as some of your posts have aptly shone before. After all, the mind is the sexiest organ we have, and you stimulate that one well, Bernita.

kmfrontain said...

Well, I woke up late and everyone already laughed and made opinions that I would have made. Nothing left to say.

Er...but...since I tend to write from the male POV, I did go to efforts to learn all about the sensation of balls from the perspective of those possessing them. And yes, women, we shouldn't ignore them, even if they look the same as what you find on a bull. Only smaller. And balls aren't exactly pretty, are they? Downright ugly sometimes. Until they pull up and get tight. Not so bad then. Cats have nice little compact balls, did you notice?

Should I stop now?

Bernita said...

But not, I think on the average male, JR.

Very well stated, December.
Guess it was the lack of, well, realism that got me.
See no reason why the male's public hair should be any less erotic than the females.
After all, great play is often made about the hair on his chest and the hair on his abdomen.

Thank you, Savannah, but
I look at yours and then I look at mine, and I think "oh, crap."

Bernita said...

Wouldn't say that the female genetalia was all that pretty from an objective point of view either, Karen, so I don't think that's the problem.

kmfrontain said...

What? Female anatomy ain't pretty? Oh, no!

No, I was kidding around on the other post. But yes, balls aren't, imho, that pretty, and yes, romance writers tend to ignore that they exist. I do think it's because they really aren't that pretty, and so writers of romance don't mention them, because balls aren't to many women's tastes (not punning). They really aren't pretty. I know, I'm repeating myself.

Now add the hair to the balls and if a woman is at all squeamish about that and any smells, then definitely she doesn't want to be reminded about them when reading a romance novel. Romance novels are pure fantasy when it comes to the sex, and tend to ignore all unpleasantness. The underlying reason for ignoring balls is purely one of distaste. That's how I see it.

But you go in the area of erotica and you see more about them, because the truth is, they're an erogenous zone, and you can't ignore any erogenous zones in erotica, even if they happen to look funny, or are distasteful to some people.

As for hair, the reason for shaving is most definitely that more people are doing things with balls, and it's easier without the hair. However, I don't recommend it. A good shower gets rid of the loose ones and the poor guy will avoid shaving rash.

Ric said...

"It's very possible, Ric. There are women who were never taught or told or whatever that men tend to like being touched everywhere."

I will resist the temptation to say, "Where have you been all my life?"

"Until they pull up and get tight." An automatic response to danger - protection at all costs.

I agree with Savannah - Just get me started in the right direction and I'll fill in the rest. Don't need blow by blow description.

sorry, couldn't help myself.

Bernita said...

"taught or told"
What were they doing, co-habiting with mutes?
Impervious about what turns their man on?
Frankly I don't see it.

Beginning to wonder if John having all his (hairy) equipment puts me in some sort of twix-and-between land - again.

December Quinn said...

Actually, Bernita, there are a few men out there who don't like the ballgames. So if a woman is with one of those early on, or just when she gets to the point where she's getting brave enough to venture out from the safe penis conmfort zone...she might think to just leave them alone.

I knew such a guy in my late teens, who told me to stay away from them (this was just in good-buddy chat, I never actually had occasion to be near the testes in question). I followed that advice for a few years until having that same discussion with a boyfriend and having him tell me boy #1 was crazy.

I have noticed how cute and tight cats' balls are, km. I guess cats regulate their body heat better than people. But then, their balls are covered in fur, so that seems odd.

kmfrontain said...

Cats are, by nature, averse to things not esthetic. ;-)

MissWrite said...

Laughing at the cat balls comment, I came to realize how my own perspective may be tainted, straight though I am. Living on a ranch... well, lets just say human male anatomy is often less impressive than what's available to look at around here.

Suddenly I feel very sorry for the fact that my husband has to feel obliged to live up to expectations.

(Lucky for him, I am experienced in the handling of items of such intrinsic value.)

kmfrontain said...

Honestly, I think guys admire a big pair of bull balls. I mean, who invented all those ancient religions worshipping bulls? I don't think it was women. It may have been a case of worshipping what you aspire to.

(Ok. Waiting for the guys to hit me with their objections.)

Carla said...

I'm just listening here. Nothing at all to add to all this expertise :-)

(Bernita, you do realise you are going to get soooo many weird Google hits from this post?)

Congratulations on your Hon Mention from Miss Snark, which is what I came to say.

EA Monroe said...

Bernita has left the building.

I'm not a guy, but I know what Jay and Silent Bob would say, KM. ;-)

Bernita said...

Thank you, Carla.
Do you think so?
Thought it was fairly circumspect - even mis-spelled a few key words to avoid that sort of useless traffic.

MissWrite said...

Quote KM: Honestly, I think guys admire a big pair of bull balls. I mean, who invented all those ancient religions worshipping bulls? I don't think it was women.


I honestly wouldn't be too sure of that. I clearly remember my initial reaction upon seeing a male goat up close, and personal many years ago... WOW, is that thing HUNG!

While it may not have been an original reaction, in any sense of the word, suffice it to say, I was impressed. I'm not terribly sure the doe was. Upon watching the actual act of mating between the goats, my extreme appreciation of Mr. Buck's appendages was considerably doused by his duration.

The doe seemed to be left with the feeling of, did something just happen?

So, hubby feels quite comfortable in his position since regardless of size, I find him much more -- durable.

kmfrontain said...

LOL. Animals are big of fast, but all up for repitition. That's why there are herds.

Ok. Enough on animals. I'm with you on the durability of the human male. Most definitely.

Caeseria said...

I've always hated writing sex. I feel that the reader's expect it, so I've always managed to gloss it over. Not so this time - my last effort required alot of (on my part anyway) squinting, laughing out loud, erasing whole passageways, wondering what my mother would think when she read it, worrying about my faulty tecnique coming across, ad nauseum.

So, I did something I wouldn't normally do. I sat down at the computer, forced myself to open word, and wrote some slash fiction. In detail. I only burst into laughter three times, and stayed up until 2am until it was complete. Perhaps because it was slash as opposed to a man and woman it was easier, but still. I am now over my issues, for now. *G*

Sometimes we just have to deal with our weak points, and do it agressively!

Bernita said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bernita said...

Just occurred to me my last comment might be grossly misunderstood, so I deleted it.

MissWrite said...

Oh, Bernita, that is just plain not fair!

Bernita said...

I don't think the relative comparisons matter, though one does read in men's fiction of so-and-so being "hung like a horse."

I do think in fiction they should clank when they walk though.(Bare-chested - which see.)

kmfrontain said...

I'm sure some of what I wrote is misunderstood. I'm not always on best form writing comments. Oh, well. Spelling mistakes, wrong words, things not thought out correctly. They're all on your blog comments, Bernita. ;-)

kmfrontain said...

And I meant my comments on your blog comments, of your blog, not your comments on your blog. See. Ok. Right.

kmfrontain said...

And I call myself an editor. Pfft.

Bernita said...

~giggling~
Karen, Karen, same thing could be said about my comments with much truth.

Bernita said...

If I decide the situation calls for it naturally, Caeseria, I begin with a standard account, read others to make sure my bright ideas have not become cliche and then refine it so the scene becomes individualized - that's much easier if they have been lovers before.
And yes, I laugh at times too.

Dennie McDonald said...

er ah... shaved *her voice squeaks* sorry - cannot do that - my men are men dammit - and they have balls - hairy ones at that

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Ballpoint Wren said...

Hah! "Short and curlies!"

Now, you see... this is why I can't write romance or erotic fiction. I'm pretty much a "fade to the window curtains, moving softly in the breeze" sort of writer.

I can read it, though, if the story is good enough and I don't blush so hard I lose all brain function.

Bernita said...

Nothing wrong with that, Bonnie, just found the omission odd in the down and detailed explicit type.