Friday, March 28, 2008

Go Forth and Enlighten

By Pamela Winger

I dream of calling a duel against those who would tarnish the romance market's good name.
The rogues wouldn't be my testosterone-drenched students who beg me to read "the good parts" from romance novels, but rather wide-eyed, powdered ladies who, fingers fluttering over their smirking lips, say, "Those romance books are nothing but smut."
Goodness, I would say with a smile. What romance novels have you read lately that contain smut?
"Oh, I don't read them. They're trash." do you know they contain smut? Hmmmm?
Before I pull out my glove and bat some faces, I come back to reality and think hard about this. What exactly is smut? Anything beyond a chaste kiss or touch of the hands? What are the lines between non-smut, sort of smut, regular smut, lock-the-door smut, and good gracious me smut?
I look at all the different lines of romance novels offered at The Wild Rose Press, and I wonder if some people have any idea of these differences. I didn't. When I was younger, I read quite a few novels and became increasingly frustrated over the BIG ENDING: a sweet kiss. What the heck? I wanted more. Couples didn't just kiss and be happy the rest of their lives. They did other, um, carnal things. That's what I wanted to read about. The good parts.
Eventually I came to realize that I, Pamela Winger, am a smut slut. Well, part of the time.
As a Scarlet editor, I'm quite delighted wallowing in the oh-so-detailed stories Diana sends my way. I'm equally happy editing Historicals, which may also contain love scenes, but with different plots than Scarlets (with a Scarlet, there's one integral plot--I'll bet you know what it is). An historical can range from sweet to hot, but like all TWRP stories, the writing needs to be classy.
And there's no difference in the lines in that respect. TWRP books are, every one of them, just darn good, classy stories. Like every editor, I have my preferences on sexual content, but in the end, a great tale is a great tale. Although I'm a shameless hussy regarding erotic stories, I don't let my personal views get in the way of a potential best-seller. If there's no sex at all in an historical, that's okay.
If you come across folks who don't know the different levels of romance--who say all romance novels are filth--who don't know a White Rose from a Scarlet Rose from a Climbing Rose--take a moment and enlighten them. Better yet, offer The Wild Rose Press website address so they can see for themselves.

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