Shannon Stacey

Damn, that's one ugly baby

I’m quickly becoming accustomed to hearing that I write porn (although I’ve usually had at least one coffee before it comes up). I knew that some people held that misconception before I even sent that manuscript in, so it usually doesn’t bother me. This isn’t a ‘defend my book and chosen genre’ post, because if I start defending it every time I hear the word porn, I’ll spend so much time doing it I’ll be an activist instead of a writer. And, quite frankly, activism sounds too much like work.

I think we’re all pretty familiar with yesterday’s RTB debate. And while it wasn’t the most laid-back conversation I’ve ever seen, any time the words bitch, Nazi, or freedom of speech aren’t used, it could have been worse.

Then I staggered into my office with my barely-sipped morning coffee and read the most recent comments:

To me, the book is either romance or erotica, but not both. When I think of erotica, I think of the books I read from Ellora’s Cave. They weren’t bad or anything, but they weren’t romance. If you deleted ALL sex scenes, you’d lose about 80% of the content. To me, they’re pretty darn close to written porn than anything else.

I personally prefer books with more meat (dialogue, character dev, plot, etc), and I don’t get upset over sex scenes in books as long as they’re well written. Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey isn’t romance, and it had homosexual & heterosexual sex scenes plus group sex plus a masochistic prostitute heroine, but I never even blinked because the characters and the plot were riveting. It also helped that the sex wasn’t 80% of the book.—Stella

I had a friend a while back, before I moved home to NH, who had the ugliest baby I’ve ever seen. If you’ve seen that Seinfeld episode where the baby’s so ugly Kramer falls down when he sees it, I bet this baby was uglier. Did I tell her that? Hell no. Other people and I may have discussed it, but I would never, ever have said to her, “Damn, that’s one ugly baby!”

If an acquaintance of yours has a baby, quits smoking, and packs on a hundred pounds, you may talk to your husband about it. You may talk about it with other people. Do you walk up to her and say “Damn! Did an all-you-can-eat dairy bar move in next to you or what?”

So why the (beep) can somebody come into a conversation that I initiated, and in which I am taking part and say, basically, “You write porn and your books suck and they have no plot.”?

This is (beep) Manners 101, people. When you were four and in the grocery store and you said “Mommy, do you see the size of that lady’s butt?” and she dragged you away, horrified, and lectured you on people’s feelings and keeping your hurtful observations to yourself? Same (beep) thing.

When did it become okay to say blatantly hurtful and insulting things to people, whether you believe them to be true or not? I’m seeing this more and more often every day on the internet.

And for the record, my book has dialogue. It has character development. It even has a plot. And, while it’s still being edited, as sold Twice Upon A Roadtrip was about 37,628 words, with about 5164 devoted to what I’d call sexual activity. That’s 13.7%. Yes, I went and checked.

And it is a romance. It’s a romantic comedy. My very lucky hero and heroine just happen to have some smokin’ sex on the way to their HEA.

Now, repeat after me: “They aren’t really my cup of tea.”

That’s all. Was that so (beep) hard?

15 comments to “Damn, that's one ugly baby”

  1. kate
      · March 30th, 2005 at 12:24 pm · Link

    “The really are my cup of tea and damn that guy’s butt is big.”

    Someone better confiscate my keyboard.

  2. Alison
      · March 30th, 2005 at 12:56 pm · Link

    Yeah, there were a couple of people posting there that basically said erotic romance had no plot and no characterization. After I picked my jaw off the floor . . . well, I went to the backyard and wrote some plotless, characterless erotic romance!!!

  3. Cece
      · March 30th, 2005 at 3:21 pm · Link

    Show…don’t tell. And laugh all the way to the bank. The best revenge is to live well :neener:

  4. Anna Lucia
      · March 30th, 2005 at 3:41 pm · Link


    When did ‘good manners’ become dirty words?

    To me, it’s not the holding of that belief or thought that’s so offensive – they can believe what they like! It’s the stating of it, to your face, as it were.

    That’s just :cursin: rude.

    I hate rude.

  5. Jordan
      · March 30th, 2005 at 3:55 pm · Link

    :wtf: I truly don’t get people. :crazy: The longer I’m on this planet, the more I don’t care to get them.

  6. Demented Michelle
      · March 30th, 2005 at 5:20 pm · Link

    I’m actually of the opinion that erotica requires more skill to write. I think it’s difficult to create a believeable plot that utilizes sex heavily and I think a reader can be ‘thrown out of the story’ more easily in erotica, which means writers have to be that much better.

    I also think that there are still a lot of people writing erotica that haven’t quite mastered the genre and give it a bad name. (please don’t hurt me for saying that–it’s just my opinion, I’m not an erotica hater I swear! I have read and liked erotica, but I’ve also read several duds too.).

    I’ve actually blogged about this recently as my latest story was meant to be an erotic paranormal romance, but ummm, I ‘forgot’ to plot more sex and the plot sort of took off in a non-erotic direction. To put more sizzle in now would be forced and I don’t think it would work for the reader.

    I don’t think my skills are up to it just yet.


  7. AngieW
      · March 30th, 2005 at 5:54 pm · Link

    my entertainment for the morning was pointing that post out on IM to my favorite porn authors. Tee hee. But honestly, I was pretty taken aback by that comment and I don’t have anything invested in the arguement. But you’re right, it was ugly and uncalled for. Not to mention unsubstantiated.

    And Shan, ^5 to you for figuring out the percentage of actual sex in the book. Nothing like actual facts to back up your stance rather than raving like an uneducated loon.

    It’s not my cup of tea. That’s what I want people to say too, rather than making sweeping statements or using religion or something else as an excuse. You done good, Shan.

  8. Shannon
      · March 30th, 2005 at 6:16 pm · Link

    Thanks, guys. You’s the bestest. :nod:

    Everybody…get Michelle!

    Just kidding. :neener: There are duds in every genre. I’ve read some not-so-good ones, too. I’m just hoping my own doesn’t fall into that category. :roll: And letting your story go in the direction it goes is a good thing.

    And I probably wouldn’t even have said anything, but during my “cool off before you blog” period, I went to the used book store, and I swear, when I asked if she ever got in Bravas or ECs, she sneered. As if I’d just peed in the corner kind of sneer. So it was a bad morning.

    But I’m better now. :coffee:

  9. Demented Michelle
      · March 30th, 2005 at 7:14 pm · Link

    Oh Shannon–I’m positive you are not a dud! I didn’t mean to imply that at all :shock: — you are smart, sassy, full of humor and I know that people like you always make the best writers. :nod:


  10. sybil
      · March 30th, 2005 at 7:29 pm · Link

    It is the internet. People think they don’t have to ‘face’ you so they can say whatever they want and it is ok.

    Personally I don’t have issue with it, as long as whatever you are ‘typing’ you would ‘say’ to the person. If you can’t say it to their face you have no business posting it.

    Of course I have no problems with erotica or porn. But I agree with whoever said it, I am too lazy to look it up – good erotica is a hell of a lot harder to write.

    Bad sex is easy. No sex (makes no sense to me in a romance novel but that is a different post) is easy. But a well written, smutty scene that blends into the story = talent.

    So really they are jealous and fuck em if they can’t take a joke.:smile:

  11. Jaci
      · March 31st, 2005 at 8:18 am · Link

    Ah yes. How brave some people are under the great anonymity known as the internet. People who normally would smile at your face are now able to say whatever vicious diatribe spills from their tongues.

    But I saw that post. Then I went to her blog. That person needs a life and clearly doesn’t have one, and is obviously miserably unhappy.

    Though I still hold with my original thought process that mean people like that simply need to get laid :razz:

  12. Jorie
      · March 31st, 2005 at 1:30 pm · Link

    I’m not sure that bad sex or no sex is easy, even if good erotica is hard.

    Okay, I actually have a question, sorta. My impression, from all these posts and comments (everywhere!), is that some people feel judges should be able to judge erotic romance without reading the sex scenes. How can this be a good thing for the book? It doesn’t seem fair at all.

    I’m not saying that erotic romance is only sex scenes. It is not. Obviously you need stuff like plot and character and emotion, etc. But if you read, say, Emma Holly or Shannon McKenna, and skip their sex scenes, well, you’re missing some of the best parts of the book. And the book will not be judged, imo, fairly. People write to their strengths and if their strengths are skipped over, well, I dunno, that doesn’t make sense to me. (And, I am NOT saying the other scenes in these books are not well-written, just to make that clear.)

    And, fwiw, I like some erotic romance and I don’t like others, like pretty much most subgenres.

    Anyway, maybe I’ve misread what people are saying…

  13. Shannon
      · March 31st, 2005 at 1:42 pm · Link

    I, personally, believe that if you can fairly and objectively read an erotic romance while skimming the sex scenes, you’d better give it a low mark.

    A good sex scene is vital to the story arc. (All this is just my humble opinion, of course.) It should not only be HOT HOT HOT, it should move the story forward. Every scene should move the story forward, whether there’s nookie or not. What they say, how they touch each other, how he looks at her–all of that should not only be saying something about the characters, but about their relationship. And it had better change their relationship. They’re going to feel differently about each other coming out of that bedroom than they did when they went in, and I want to illustrate that change in the scene. So if you skip that, you’ve missed a vital part of my characters’ story.

    And, while it’s especially true with the first sex scene, every single one should move that story forward. Or else that sex scene’s just there to have a sex scene. Everytime you put the reader in the bedroom with your hero and heroine, she should see them learn something new about themselves or each other.

    So, anyway. (I can hear my husband saying YAP YAP YAP) Maybe some people feel that they can skip the sex scenes while judging an erotic romance. But how can it get a good mark if the judge has missed some vital character arc? :shrug:

  14. Sasha
      · March 31st, 2005 at 3:48 pm · Link

    Man, I skip one day of Blog hopping and I miss out on everything!!

    Ok. I read the RTB post, and up to 65 comments. I thought about commenting, but to be honest, I’m so tired of trying to help people understand the difference between Porn/erotica/erotic romance/romance. And all 4 things are different. I know..I write 3 out of the 4. I’ve written Porn for Penthouse Variations, Erotica for Black Lace, Erotic Romance for LSB, and uhmm….ok…no straight romance I LIKE to write sex!:roll:

    There IS story in GOOD erotica, and there is story in GOOD erotic Romance. Just like there are plenty of romance novels with NO story.

    I think your post, both of them, are dead on. And I’m sorry some people feel the need to bicker and attack what they don’t understand, and sadly, what they never will.

    Forget about them! Play with us instead. :grin:

  15. Shannon
      · March 31st, 2005 at 6:27 pm · Link

    If I could find a smilie shaking maracas, I’d be all set. :grin:

    What kind of upset me about the whole RTB thing is that so many people came out of with an erotic romance vs. inspirational thing. I actually was putting them in the same boat.

    I swear it’s downright Pavlovian with some people.

    Erotic romance—Bark!

    Erotic romance—Bark!

    And you’re dead right, Sasha.

    There IS story in GOOD erotica, and there is story in GOOD erotic Romance. Just like there are plenty of romance novels with NO story.

    I think from now on when people cry porn, I’m going to say “That’s right. And damn good porn it is, too.” :neener:


  1. Shannon Stacey » Blog Archive » Query omissions
  2. Shannon Stacey » Blog Archive » Query omissions

  • Get my latest news straight to your inbox!

    I'll only be sending newsletters when I have news to share, and I'll never share your information. You'll receive an email asking you confirm your subscription (so please check your spam box if you don't receive that). You can unsubscribe at anytime.


  • Affiliation

    Shannon Stacey is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of

    If you purchase a book listed on the site from, she’ll earn a small commission. Thank you!