Sense and Sensuality
Newsflash: Lori Brighton (Lori from FanLit) has a new blog! And she’s giving away three fab books!
It’s been a busy week! I just finished the galleys of GODDESS OF THE HUNT last night, and I’ll give them one more quick look before mailing them, likely tomorrow. I’m wrestling with the blurb for my Samhain novella, though the manuscript itself is all revised and copy edited and in the vault. (This *%!$ blurb would be part of the reason I’m not blogging more about e-publishing today. I’d like to be able to tell you what my e-pubbed book is about when I do!) And I have a few light revisions to tackle on A LADY OF PERSUASION–a task I’m eager to cross off the list. It’s never a chore to spend more quality time with Toby… 😉
My other goal for the week is to add a new feature to my website, tentatively called “What to Expect in a Tessa Dare Book”. The cool thing about having 3 novels and 1 novella releasing so close together, is that I can actually offer the reader some quantifiable data about them. If you pick up a Tessa Dare book at random, for instance, you have a 50% chance of fish, horses, or hounds, but only a 25% chance of goats, stags, or babies.
Um, yeah…I’m going to try to draw some more useful conclusions from the data…but the main idea is to give people who might be thinking about investing their precious time and money in my books the best possible idea of what’s inside. What general characterstics the heroes and heroines share, what the humor/angst balance is, and what the level of sensuality is like.
And here I come to a dilemma. I’m really not sure where to classify my books, on the sensuality spectrum. They’re certainly mainstream–nothing that would qualify as erotic romance. But within mainstream…hm. Quantity-wise, the love scenes are plentiful. There are at least three full love scenes in each of my full-length novels, and usually a few more interrupted or abbreviated scenes. Content-wise, there are some scenes that stray outside the borders of vanilla–but not too far. Language-wise, I’m rather a traditionalist. I don’t use “those” words. (And if I don’t use them in my books, you know I’m not going to put them on my blog, but you all know what they are.) I don’t have anything against “those” words–it’s just the way my style evolved, that I don’t get overly graphic about anatomy. Don’t get me wrong, I strive to write hot. But I want the heat of the scenes to come from the raw emotions involved and the vulnerability of the characters, not just the joining of body parts.
So…where does that put me? Warm? Hot? Somewhere in-between? Those of you who’ve read my books, what would you say to someone who hasn’t?
ETA: My wordpress just got updated to 2.7, and there’s something wonky with the look of the comment pages – sorry! I’m going to try to get it fixed ASAP.
Hm. I’m not sure there’s a good heat rating for romance novels, like there is for chili peppers. Part of the problem is that there’s a distinction between physically inventive and emotionally hot; you can have one without the other, but what I think of in my mind as “heat” is a combination of both. I would say that on the physical scale, you’re a 6.5 out of 10–hotter than average (although that average is skewing up as time passes, and I suspect that in a year or two you’ll be right around the 5 mark), but not so much that the average reader would notice. Emotionally, though, I think your love scenes usually hit right around the 7 to the 9.9 mark–depending on which scene we’re talking about.
I would say that you’re like good Indian flood–enough heat to make you sit up and notice, but lots and lots of flavor to accompany it. 🙂 Now how’s that for a quote?
Uh, and that should be “good Indian food” not “good Indian flood.”
LOL! Hey, Courtney, I didn’t even notice the error. And I also have to agree with you, heat levels are hard ones to call.
But I would say Gaelen Foley and Lisa Kleypas are absolutey boiling. Teresa Medeiros(depending on the book!) and Anna Campbell are hot. Gena Showalter and Sophia Nash are spicy. And Nora Robert and JoBev are a nice gentle simmer. These of course are just my opinion. I’m sure plenty of people would disagree.
Hmmmm… Tessa, I haven’t had the privilege to read your book yet(I am eagerly anticipating the summer!) but it sounds like you might be somewhere between spicy and hot… but take that with a grain of salt! I’ll have to let you know after I read and review it!:)
LOL, Courtney – I thought maybe you were likening it to a religious experience, like bathing in the Ganges. Heh. I think your analogy is an apt one, though. I’m curious as to which of my scenes gets the 9.9 though… hmmm. 🙂 I definitely don’t want to give any reader the impression that my books are “safe” or “mild”. I try to have one scene in every book that will make the reader say – “whoa…I can’t believe she went there.” But about an emotional “there”, not a physical one. 😉
Kelly K – On your scale, I’m thinking…a solid “hot”, even without those words. Lisa Kleypas is one I idolize for the intensity of her love scenes. That’s the level of emotion I strive for, but my use of physical detail is probably not quite at that level.
Thanks again for the shout out, Tessa!
I haven’t read your work either, but i’m super interested in that one “whoa” scene! and you better bet i’ll be looking for that when your book comes out!
Well, I can’t say specifically which scenes without giving out spoilers–but there’s always ONE scene, in every book, which is almost emotionally defining for the book, in terms of both the romantic conflict and the character growth.
Something like: tree, letter, cravat.
I’m another who finds such rankings difficult. Some of my problem is I think ratings are relative, depending on an individual reader’s usual fare. Based on my reading of one full book of yours and the snippets of others, I’s say you were a bit hotter than warm but less hot that my hottest reading, which is still very much mainstream romance.
I just checked the JQ novel that I mentioned to you as a point of comparison, and AAR labels it “Hot,” so what do I know?:)
Janga, I think you’re probably right. The book you read was probably the mildest of my three, but that’s more a matter of quantity than it is intensity. 🙂
I think I need to come up with a way of saying “hot, but not graphic.” Or something to that effect. Or maybe I should just leave it to other people (reviewers, readers) to determine, and not go there? Hm, I’m still on the fence.