Instead of trying to come up with some big fancy introduction, how about I just say that I am so thrilled to have been invited here. I hope that we can have a lively and intense discussion on all things romance-not just my books-but ALL books.
In my books the steam level is volcanic. The hotter the better as far as what I'm writing and what I'm reading. But, there has got to be a plot that puts heart and soul behind all the steam. I think that distinction that is why I have a problem with people calling romance smut. Or porn.
Porn is just sex. Emotionless, dry and cold. About as erotic as a pap-smear. Now, there are some erotic films I've seen that blow me away and what every one of them have in common is that the emotions come through. The passion is warm and alive rather than cold and anatomical.
So? What are your thoughts when someone calls the book you are reading porn or tries to condemn you for
reading it? Are you one of those bold and bright ladies that smirks because you know what you like and the heck with what anyone else thinks?
Or do you get defensive and want to educate their narrow mindedness with the full beauty and depth that a good romance can deliver?
People's reactions are all over the board when they are confronted with romance prejudice and I would love to hear your thoughts on this because it is a topic that hits oh so close to my heart.
Excerpt from Before The Dawn, (upcoming release):
October, seven years ago, Washington State University
"Oh. My. God!" Ziporah squealed as only an eighteen year old college freshman on date night could squeal. "Cami you look so freakin' hot! You are going to knock this guys socks off."
Cami turned a lovely pink and smiled at her as she executed a quick turn. She was dressed in a white linen dress that sported a delicate floral pattern, fluttery cap sleeves and complimented the curvy blondes figure beautifully. She was soft and round in all the right places and Ziporah, who was normally perfectly happy with her own svelte figure, allowed herself a sigh of envy. "Honestly, Cami, what I wouldn't give for a rack like that."
The rack in question was partially on display and flushed a becoming pink at the comment. "Wow, Z," Cami stammered, covering her chest with hands that shook just a little. "Should I wear a sweater? Do you think it's too low?"
Z laughed, "No. You idiot. It's not too low and if you try to hide under one of those god awful bulky sweaters I swear I'm going to burn them all."
Ziporah walked up to Cami and turned her to face the mirror they had hung on the back of the bathroom door in their dorm room. She slid her fingers through the thick honey hued curls before resting her chin on her rommies shoulder. "You are stunning. You are Aphrodite and Venus and Marilyn Monroe and every other sex goddess there is. And you don't have to hide. You're beautiful and smart and funny and if this guy has half a red blood cell in his body he's going to be on his knees and following you around like a puppy dog for the rest of his life." Her slender tan arms wrapped around Cami from behind and gave her a big squeeze.
The two had only been roommates since the end of August right before registration. Even so, before the first box had been unpacked they were friends. They had made an instant and deep connection that neither of them had even tried to slow down or deny.
They were complete opposites. Ziporah was pre law, while Cami was studying music. Cami was a soft, round, blond from a small town and shy to the point of phobic.
Ziporah was a tall, slender, brunette raised in wealth and privilege. She had what her half Jewish grandmother had called chutzpah, and she had it in spades.
The differences in each other delighted and drew the other and the two of them were inseparable from day one. They squabbled over little things like Z's messiness and Cami's need of a minimum of twelve hours sleep. They text during their classes, took all their meals together and never questioned the bond that they felt would last for the rest of their lives.
"I still can't believe I'm going on a date. I'm so nervous I think I'm gonna boot." Cami's hand fluttered to her tummy and held there.
"Don't you dare." Z admonished with a scowl. She knew from firsthand experience that was no empty threat. Cami's shyness and nerves shown themselves in just such a revolting way more than once in these last months. "You got nothing to worry about. This guys is H. O. T. and he looks at you like you were made of candy. "
Z gave her a wicked smile, "Speaking of which...are you gonna let him have a lick? Or a bite?"
Cami's blush got brighter and she shoved away from Z with a grunt and an exasperated smile.
"Hey, just because you're a ho-bag don't try to make me one too." She grumbled without bite.
"At least I'm not a dried up old spinster at only eighteen." When Z, who had lost her virginity to the captain of the football team behind the bleachers at sixteen the way all good cheerleaders should, found out that Cami had been so shy she'd barely let boys kiss her, she made it her mission in life to get her friend laid.
Just as Cami opened her mouth to retort, there was a knock at the door and her mouth closed with an audible pop.
Z gave her hair a final fluff and a wink to bolster her then turned to open the door. Mark Wahlberg stood on the other side. Not as cute as the movie star he shared the name with, but definitely cute. Blond way hair. Blue eyes. A perfect melt your heart smile with straight white teeth and since he was here on a wrestling scholarship, covered in muscles that made both teenage girls hearts flutter.
Z cocked her hip and put a hand on it for show as she sighed, "Oh the babies you two would make."
"Z!" Cami turned fire engine red and smacked her nearest and dearest in the arm so hard she almost toppled over. Z laughed and rubbed her arm. "Just sayin'. Sheesh."
Mark laughed quietly. "She doesn't bother me, Cami. You look great." He smiled slow at her and sent her an equally slow wink. Z snickered as she watched the effect it had on her friend. She seemed to melt where she stood then smoothed her skirt and headed toward the door. Z laughed like a loon when Cami whispered, "Maybe just one bite." as she passed her on the way.
Twelve thirty at night and Ziporah had gone beyond worried to scared. Mark had picked her up at six sharp. They were only going to dinner; nothing else had been planed since they both had classes the next day. Maybe she was just being a mother hen, but the Cami she knew was no night owl and wilted after ten o'clock. She also would never, under any circumstances go all the way on a first date no matter how cute the boy was, so the late hour was really bugging her. Z picked up her cell and sent off the fifth text of the evening. It's super late C. U gotta call or at least txt. Worried about you grl.
Two A.M. rolled around and Ziporah was frantic. And pissed. She was going to kick the crap out of someone. Whether it was Mark or Cami had yet to be seen, but someone was getting an ass whooping. She was just shrugging into her jacket, having no clue where she was going to go to look for them but needing to look anyway, when the door finally opened.
"It's about fu..." Her words tailed off in shock at the sight in front of her. Z's mouth just hung open while her brain tried to make sense out of what she saw.
A mess of a girl stood silhouetted in the doorway. Hair that had been shiny and full of bouncing curls, was muddy and hung in limp clumps. The bright and blushing face that had smiled as she walked out of this room was bloody, bruised and swollen beyond recognition. Her lovely dress was as muddy as her hair and looked as though it had been fed through a shredder. Even Cami's legs were destroyed, covered in bloody scratches, skinned knees and bare filthy feet.
All this registered in seconds but those seconds seemed to last a lifetime for them as Z brought her horrified eyes back to meet Cami's devastated stare.
"He hurt me Z."