Shannon Stacey


I made the mistake of, during a very brief snack break, following a link from PBW’s blog to a post on Squawk Radio by Elizabeth Bevarly. While there’s no steam coming from my ears, as there were some valid and rational arguments being made, a couple of things in the post and the comments have me more than mildly annoyed.

Erotica doesn’t belong in RWA, and RWA never should have approved Ellora’s Cave as an RWA-recognized publisher. The reason? Ellora’s Cave doesn’t publish Romance any more than Playboy Books publishes Romance.

Segue into:

Okay, I evidently haven’t read enough Ellora’s Cave to have come across any that fit my definition of romance.


A writer acquaintance of mine who writes for Ellora’s Cave fully admits that what she writes is pornography. Yes, that’s the word she uses.

Well, if she does, then all the EC authors must, because sweeping generalizations are clearly the name of today’s game.

But I do think there’s a distinction between erotic romance and erotica. And I think Brava publishes the former. (Though I haven’t read many Bravas, either.)

I’m seeing a theme here. I know nothing about them, but I want them to go away.

And I fully cop here to being not as well informed about EC as I should have been before posting the blog. According to many here, they do indeed publish the occasional romance. But, as also pointed out here, they also seem to want to identify themselves as publishers of Romantica, which is clearly not the same as Romance.

Occasional romance? Still not well-informed here. Romantica is erotic romance. It IS the same as romance. Erotic is an adjective. Like medical romance, or historical romance. Are they not the same as Romance, either?

(I’m not going to lie and say that EC’s never put out what I’d consider erotica. I read one that was not only not a romance, but so squicky to me I felt a need to bleach my eyeballs. There are exceptions to every rule. But getting an apple with a bad spot and not only never eating another apple, but trying to have apples taken out of all the grocery stores is ridiculous.)

That said, I do genuinely fear that the presence of Erotica (NOT erotic romance) in RWA and the Romance section of the bookstores is going to make for a step backward in that regard.

This is the part that annoys me the most. When somebody who hasn’t read the books villifies EC, then backpeddles. I’m so sick of seeing these debates sink to “Oh no, I meant erotica.”

If I were to make some sweeping statement, such as “All historical romances are a disgrace to our past as they’re poorly written costume dramas with no more accuracy than a third-grade history report, which is why I’ve only ever read ONE of them,” I’d be flamed off the face of the planet. With just cause.

But when it’s erotic romance, it’s okay to pass judgement based on what you’ve heard, or what somebody on a list said, or that ONE book you read. And then other people, with no more knowledge of the subgenre chime in with “Oh, you’re so right.” And, of course, the “bigger” the name doing the condemning, the more people agreeing.

25 comments to “Squawking”

  1. Jaci
      · July 14th, 2005 at 11:25 am · Link

    *passes the tequila*


  2. Mel
      · July 14th, 2005 at 11:36 am · Link


  3. Charlene
      · July 14th, 2005 at 12:22 pm · Link

    I can see I’d better stay away from that link; my blood pressure doesn’t need it.

    It’d be more fun to spend my time writing more erotic romance than trying to educate somebody whose mind is hermetically sealed shut.

  4. Jordan
      · July 14th, 2005 at 1:33 pm · Link


  5. Jordan
      · July 14th, 2005 at 1:46 pm · Link

    Now that I’ve read the comments, I’m even more pissed off than I was before.:wtf:

  6. Sasha
      · July 14th, 2005 at 2:13 pm · Link

    The Best revenge is to ignore her…and write bestsellers! :devil:

    C’mon Ladies, we know that there are small minded people out there. Fortunately , they are outnumbered by the broadminded that LOVE our stories. :thumb:

  7. Anna Lucia
      · July 14th, 2005 at 3:07 pm · Link

    Well said, Sasha! The flaws in those comments and sweeping statements are apparent to anyone with a modicum of intelligence. The poster has dug her own big hole and needs no help from us.


  8. AngieW
      · July 14th, 2005 at 3:25 pm · Link

    :penguin: it’s the werepenguins fault. It’s all about the werepenguins. :penguin:

  9. Gina
      · July 14th, 2005 at 4:17 pm · Link

    Erotica and erotic romance are not the same. Iwonder if some will ever see the true distinction. :blah:

  10. Jaci
      · July 14th, 2005 at 4:56 pm · Link

    though my personal favorite was this post from ‘anonym-ass’

    I think a lot of the RWA flap is a tempest in a teapot. They went through the same thing a few years ago when the e-book authors tried to take over the organization. E-books did NOT turn out to be the marketing bonanza they promised and except for a few notable exceptions, most of those authors continue to make $25-50/book and have failed to sell to major New YOrk publishers. I think the current surge in erotica sales will burn itself out just as quickly (especially since some, though not all, of the books are simply badly written and poorly edited). I like the Novelists, Inc. philosophy better. When the e-book authors were clamoring at their door, begging to be “recognized” as “real published writers”, they said they would take a “wait and see” attitude. I wish RWA would show the same kind of patience rather than risk doing irreparable damage to their identity and the reputation of romance.

    my response:


  11. robin bayne
      · July 14th, 2005 at 6:04 pm · Link

    “E-books did NOT turn out to be the marketing bonanza they promised and except for a few notable exceptions, most of those authors continue to make $25-50/book”

    Sorry, that’s not true. Erotica authors do make more, but even us *sweet* romance authors earn more than that now. Quite a bit more in some cases.

  12. Kate
      · July 14th, 2005 at 6:43 pm · Link

    damn! Everywhere I go, I find Sasha being sane.

  13. Danica
      · July 14th, 2005 at 6:57 pm · Link

    Shan, your new site is GORGEOUS.

    I think I’ll not go visit the discussion about erotica, because I’d probably end up doing bodily harm to someone. Just because I don’t LIKE a particular genre, or haven’t READ that genre, especially if I haven’t read it, does not give me the right to go around slamming it, and worse, trying to prevent its growth. I’m not particularly fond of liver and onions. Frankly, I think it’s the vilest substance on the planet. I’m not going to boycott restaurants because they sell it. I’m not going to be rude to people because they eat it, nor am I going to try to take away their right to cook it.

  14. Crystal*
      · July 14th, 2005 at 7:41 pm · Link

    I put in my nickel’s worth on the post. My blood pressure right this minute? :whip::cursin::censor::rant:
    Not so pretty. But that’s all right. I feel better for standing up for myself and others. I agree with you, Shannon. A lot of it is just “yes yes yes” because she’s a popular author. I don’t have a problem disagreeing.

  15. THIS! Christine
      · July 14th, 2005 at 8:12 pm · Link

    Aww Shan, hugs doll. I know it sucks. I read that blog last week (after it was over), but it was good to see the back pedalling, and all the great posts in defense of the erotica authors.

    So a Limerick for my favourite Limerick ho,

    The Romance world’s acting hysterical
    ’bout definitions quite hypothetical
    The ladies they gasp
    at the crack of his arse
    But man titties are admired rhapsodisical

  16. Shannon
      · July 14th, 2005 at 9:18 pm · Link

    :lmao: Nice one, X!

    I actually saved this post as a draft for a couple of hours. I wasn’t going to post it, because I’m trying to distance myself from things that are taking my energy away from writing. I really want to ignore the naysayers and go about my own business, but it really bothered me that a well-respected author on a very popular blog was dissing our work without a reasonable amount of familiarity with it.

    And it’s fabulous, Robin, that “sweet” ebooks are starting to reap financial reward as well. It bodes well for e-publishing as a whole, in my opinion. :cheer:

    You know, when I was targeting category I wasn’t writing real books. Now I’m not writing real books. What the hell? Geez, it’s bad enough being the black sheep of my family. :rofl:

  17. Ann
      · July 15th, 2005 at 6:51 am · Link

    That’s right, Shannon. You will NEVER write a real book. :neener:

    Oh, wait. Neither will I, then. :cry:

    :thumb: Rock on, sistah’s. We will prevail no matter what anyone else says!

  18. PBW
      · July 15th, 2005 at 7:03 am · Link

    I didn’t realize how polarizing that link would be, sorry, Shannon. I read the post, brooded about it for a week and then couldn’t let it pass. I was going to write a longer piece about the Stepford Writers of romance — still might — but I was in the middle of giveaways and packing and there wasn’t time.

    I missed drooling over that new car of yours, too. What a beautiful ride. :)

  19. Larissa
      · July 15th, 2005 at 8:04 am · Link

    I loved the backpeddaling, too. But my favorite is definitely judging something when you know very little about it. :roll:

  20. Selah March
      · July 15th, 2005 at 8:58 am · Link

    I love the part where she’s now afraid to let her eleven-year-old wander unattended in the romance section for fear of what the little darling might get his hands on…and it’s all RWA’s fault, for having recognized that EVIL Ellora’s Cave, with its NEKKID FOLKS on its covers.

    Could it be that she’s just too lazy to keep an eye on her own kid, like…for instance…I DO WHEN I’M OUT IN PUBLIC?

    Nothing like the bitter taste of RANK STUPIDITY sprinkled over my Cap’n Crunch.

  21. cece
      · July 15th, 2005 at 9:05 am · Link

    When all’s said and done Sasha is right–the best revenge is to write a bestseller (or smile while you keep cashing those 50.00 checks *snicker*) :rofl:

    ‘scuse me while I go pull my tongue out of my cheek.

  22. Caro
      · July 15th, 2005 at 9:37 am · Link

    ::Shakes head:: Just sad. I read the post over at squawk and felt compelled to respond. Fortunately, my common sense kicked in and I restrained myself because I seriously doubt I would have added anything to the discussion that those ladies want to hear.

    There’s a some hypocrisy in that post: “Buy my book with hot sex, but those books with hot sex in them don’t belong in our organization.” She claims the RWA has been diluted in the sixteen years since she joined? When I attended my first RWA national conference thirteen years ago, there were people who insisted lines like Desire and Loveswept weren’t “really” romance with their emphasis on sexy scenes and the definition of the genre was being diluted. And let us also remember the contempt with which “women in jeopardy” books were once greeted in some quarters before romantic suspense really took off.

    The market changes. That the major non-inspirational romance publishers are looking to jump on the erotic romance bandwagon is a market trend that’s not a theory but something that’s staring us all in the face. The publishers would not be buying from writers if the public wasn’t buying and when the public gets tired and wants variety, the publishers will look for the next trend and the market for erotic romance will shrink as something else takes it place. It is part of the natural cycle and if RWA is going to be an organization for writers of the genre, it needs to deal with the market trends, not run cover their eyes and ears and go “lalalalala!” when something they don’t like comes along.

  23. robin bayne
      · July 16th, 2005 at 1:07 pm · Link

    “You know, when I was targeting category I wasn’t writing real books. Now I’m not writing real books. What the hell? Geez, it’s bad enough being the black sheep of my family. :rofl:”

    Shannon, that’s the truth. By the time I say I write romance, inspirational, and in e-books (or even paperbacks, but you have to order online) I am so far down the chain I’m not just “not a real author” I’m not even a real “person.”

  24. Kit
      · July 17th, 2005 at 4:40 pm · Link

    :wtf: pretty much sums it up. Who the heck made her the Romance Police, anyway?

    Romance is all about wish-fulfillment. That’s why it’s the best-selling genre out there. And because all our wishes are slightly different, it’s also an incredibly broad genre.

    I like Trads (traditional Regencies), you like Romantica, she likes Contemporaries, and that woman over there likes Romantic Suspense. In the Romance section, we all get what we want. Whether it’s “Sweet,” “Spicy,” or “Positively Dripping With Habanero Sauce,” we all can have our wishes fulfilled, at least as long as we’re between the (book) covers.

    And hooray for that.

  25. Jaynie R
      · July 17th, 2005 at 11:59 pm · Link

    muhahahahaha – I knew you would blog this too. I went on a 3 post rant over on my blog, but I had to come over here to do this.



    ok, I’m done *g*

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