Confessions of an Erotic Romance Writer

Author Confessions

During my last semester in a dorm, my roommate and I had an interesting…well, we called it a conversation starter. His name was Duke, a 10-inch dildo, held fully erect by a steel rod inside it. We sat it between our beds and always waited to see how someone would react to it on their first visit to our room. Most people stared, gasped, sputtered, and managed to say, “Is that what I think it is?”

We would laugh and say, “What do you think it is?” and then wiggle our eyebrows. The truth was, Duke had been a gift during a bridal shower, and we kept him on display simply to shock people.

But Duke sort of backfired on me when I agreed to keep him in my storage unit between the spring and fall semesters. When it came time to move into my first apartment, sans roommate, my mother decided she wanted to help me. She found Duke sitting on top of a box and, needless to say, she wasn’t impressed with our conversation starter.

Morphing from reader into writer…

I read my first romance novel when I was 14. It wasn’t a “they kiss and fade to black” type of romance novel. It was one written by Rosemary Rogers, in the mid-1970s. The sex was hot and steamy, and after the first one I was hooked and read everything the woman wrote.

I read my way through romance writers, reading their entire collection and not caring what anyone thought. When I bought porn books by Anonymous, long before you could buy them from a bookstore on the Internet, I faced the stare down from cashiers who would look at the title, then give me the disapproving “you slut look” before keying in the price.

When I worked as a journalist, romance novels were my escape from covering car wrecks, arrests or any other type of mayhem that became all too common.

So it was only natural when I turned my eye toward writing fiction that I would start in the romantic field, and not the “they kiss and fade to black,” field, but the full-throttle “they kiss and get it on,” novel.

When my first book was published, Mom asked me if she should read it. I told her yes, that it didn’t contain anything she hadn’t done before. But when I started writing BDSM I warned her away from my novels, even though I wrote one of them sitting at her kitchen bar one summer.

And Mom, God rest her soul, was not ashamed of what I did. When a woman at the senior center in the small town where Mom lived asked what I wrote, Mom said to her, “She writes romance novels, the sort that will make you blush.”

To my surprise, the woman’s eyes widened and she said, “Where can I buy one?”

Reactions from the masses…

The feedback you get after saying, “I write erotic fiction,” varies from person to person. Here are just a few I’ve heard over the years, and my answers…

“How do you do your research?”

I ask people about their sex lives. Do you want to tell me about yours?

“When are you going to write a real book?”

As opposed to the fake one I just published?

“Have you done all the sexual things you write about?”

A few of them. I’ll let you try and decide which ones I’ve done, and which ones I haven’t.

“Do you enjoy writing trash?”

I love it. Do you enjoy spewing it?

“What’s your favorite sexual position?”

If we become lovers, I’ll let you know.

“Are you not ashamed of yourself?”

For some things I’ve done, yes, but not for my profession.

It’s the last one that has struck me the hardest when I hear it. I’m not the only erotic writer who is judged by people for what I do. My friend Tia Fanning, who writes great stories for Resplendence Publishing, said she has faced the same judgment.

“Despite my ‘sinful’ profession, I am a Christian,” Tia said when we discussed our jobs. “I actually go to church two to three times a week. Most of my fellow author friends are also regular church attendees. As authors who write/enjoy concepts like Love, Passion, and even BDSM Rituals, we find religious services preaching unconditional love with heroic figures who treated women well (like Jesus) while submitting, kneeling and bowing to something greater than ourselves to be just as rewarding as writing unconditional love stories with strong heroes who like when heroines kneel before them.”

I think she says it perfectly. It took me a while to learn not to hide my writings from others. My general reaction to people who ask me when I’m going to “give up the smutty stuff” is that I won’t. Writing about sex and love is fun, and I enjoy it. My main reaction to those who tell me I should “put my talents to better use,” is not to read my books. There are plenty who enjoy them. I write for them, and for myself.

The good, the bad and the sarcastic…

So you learn to take the good with the bad, and, in the case of my family, there is the sarcastic. When my first book came out my family was happy for me. About a week later my older brother called. His wife had helped me proof my manuscript, and set me straight on where the story had failed.

I can still remember the conversation, even though it’s been eleven years…

Brother: I just searched Melinda Barron. This story, Celeste’s Diary, is that yours?

Me: Yes.

Brother: This one that says it has spanking and bondage and, well, other things.

Me: Yes. Are you going to read it?

There was a pause…

Brother: I’ll read it when you can tell me the ending is realistic.

Me: What sort of ending would that be?

Brother: Then he rolled over and went to sleep.

Me: This is fiction. If I ever do a nonfiction article about sex, I’ll keep that ending in mind. At least using it this way I don’t have to share any royalties with him.

Melinda Barron on Blogger
Melinda Barron
Melinda Barron is a multi-published erotic author specializing in BDSM and menage stories. You can find her work on Loose Id, Resplendence Publishing and Blushing Books.
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