Question of the Week: Category Romance?

Welcome Dani Collins back to Romance Beckons!
Dani Collins sold her first book the Harlequin Mills & Boon last May. Since then, she’s signed contracts for eight books and put out one indie title. Her published work spans various romance sub-genres including romcom, sensual contemporary, epic fantasy, and soon, erotic romance.

I’m thrilled to be returning to Romance Beckons for my third guest post. Thanks for having me, Paloma. Hello again, everybody.

The first time I guested here, I pitched an idea for the Writer Wednesday (WWoW) slot and THEN spent some time visiting the site. After noting the #SatSpanks, I quickly emailed Paloma, worried that my books weren’t what her followers are looking for.

She assured me her audience has broad tastes and having spent more time here since then, I agree there’s something for everyone. And just to be clear, I have nothing against erotic romance—I’ve got one in the works myself and will hopefully promote it here in due course.

However, my main focus is Harlequin Presents and having recently seen an author (elsewhere) promoting herself as “I write steampunk ménage BDSM MMF” I have to wonder if there’s room on today’s bookshelf for your grandmother’s category romance.

In this awesome post on Erotic Vs Sensual, Declan Sands posits that many readers feel they’ve ‘read it all.’ God knows publishers are struggling to keep up with reader tastes as they expand with incredible diversity thanks to digital publishing. Like micro-breweries, half the fun for the reader is exploring new territory and sampling new flavors, right?

Is there still a desire for the tried and true, though? I began reading Harlequin when Presents was the new kid on the block, promising a racier, more dramatic read than Harlequin Romance. As much as I liked the higher sensuality level, ultimately I was in it for the HEA. Most of today’s progressive genres with their explicit sexuality end happily so category doesn’t stand apart on that level.

Is it nostalgia that keeps readers reaching for M/F vanilla? How do you feel about category romance? Did you have a ‘gateway’ line of category romances that has since propelled you into something more exotic? Where do you see category romance going as digital and self-publishing continues to change the landscape?

I’ll give away a copy of my July Presents, Proof Of Their Sin, to one lucky commenter.

PROOF OF THEIR SIN blurb and excerpt:

A beautiful mistake…
Pregnant. Lauren Bradley’s heart stops-there’s only one man who can be the father and it’s not her late husband, the man everyone thinks is a celebrated war hero….
Ravaged with guilt at sleeping with his best friend’s wife, Paolo Donatelli closes his heart to Lauren forever. But in nine months’ time, the proof of their incredible night together will be there for the world to see.
Marriage is Paolo’s answer to avoiding more scandal, but it’s Lauren’s worst fear-she still bears the scars from the first time she said I do. Can she trust Paolo enough to reveal the truth?

He overrode her with a string of curses as the panels of her dress peeled open to reveal silken cord tied punishingly across her pale back. As he hurried to release the strings, he exposed a pattern of thin welts criss-crossing her satiny skin. “What in hell! The laces have nearly cut through to your ribs.”
“It’s not that bad, is it? It doesn’t hurt.” She ran light fingers over the indents while her ribcage expanded and her body relaxed into softer lines. “I’m fine,” she dismissed on a long, easy sigh. “It was just a little tight.”
“A little?” Appalled, he traced each mark, ensuring they were superficial enough to fade.
Her spine made a subtle arch under his touch. Goose bumps rose across her flexing shoulder blades. Her reaction was so immediate and honest it sent a sexual zing through him, enticing him to slow his stroking into a deliberate caress. He recalled that her skin tasted exactly as smooth and creamy as it looked. The desire to bend and press kisses to her neck and shoulder until she moaned with need nearly overtook him.
Buy Links: Amazon | eHarlequin | Nook | Kobo

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