Oh the dance of genre, sub-genre. "Straight contemporary romance," "spanking fiction," "erotica," "erotic romance," "f/f," "m/f," "m/m," "LGBTQ lit," "BDSM erotica," "historical," "fantasy," "menage," "sci-fi," "Regency." I've seen these words and phrases, sometimes alone, sometimes together, describing some book. Whether they actually fit the book is always debatable to me.
Now many of the words come with assumptions, such as appropriate cover art, words used to describe body parts... The list goes on.
In the process of self-publishing "Out of the Night: Book One," I've pondered these things, probably overmuch. Like my friend Ana, I have a book, I believe in, enjoyed writing, still enjoy reading, but it defies many conventions of "erotic romance," regardless of which sub-genre I consider- it can fit into quite a few. Well "Night" and the other 8 books of "Vala's Story" do.
I do not have a "couple," of whatever mix of genders. I don't even fit in the menage category; one Master and nineteen switches, of varying degrees makes for the occasional couple or menage under my fanciful poly, leather family.
And "fantasy." That's another on. I admit, the scale is immense in The Queen's world. However, my goal has long been to have the scale immense, while keeping the sex and BDSM activities real. The Queen has multiple store rooms, closets for his "toys"; most of my Master's toys are kept in a duffel bag at the bottom of His closet.
Oh, but the best argument is "romance" versus "erotica," with the newer (I don't know how new) contender of "erotic romance." There’s two problems as I see it. I describe graphic sex acts while having characters in romantic (if unorthodox) relationships. I really do think "erotic romance" works best for "Vala's Story," but beyond that, things get tricky. At Loose ID, they have a polyamorous category; I am sure after I've brought out "Vala's Story," I’ll look at submitting something to them. I wonder if books like Vala's would happily belong in both poly and BDSM categories? Because that's where Vala belongs.
Nope, Anne didn't come up with this theory :D; it's my own creation.
Are you familiar with Anne Rice's "Sleeping Beauty" trilogy? It was my introduction to BDSM erotica. I worked through all 3 books (now 4, although I have yet to get my hands on the 4th book) as I was able to acquire them. I read each book from the beginning to end, enjoying the story lines, the sub plots (no pun intended lol), the variety of fetishes and sexual activities, the characters. I've enjoyed them all the way through a few times. Now my Master and I only have books 2 and 3- He's read them through maybe once and I couldn't stand all the male/female sex in book 1. Book 2 is Master's old copy and book 3, I begged Him to buy when it was on sale in a new edition with an introduction from Anne herself- this was a response to the "50 Shades" phenomenon. Now that I can quote passages from the books, they have moved to the place of "masturbatory material." I turn to the pages that I know are going to get me to orgasm quickest.
So this is my theory- the value of a book or book series that function on two levels: a story with details, multiple story arcs, emotion, romance... then also as good spank fiction. Admittedly, my copies of the Beauty books are print books. However, I have found that Kindle ebooks can be used in this way too; I have G. A. Hauser's "Down and Dirty (M/M/M BDSM)" and it works for me. I use B&N's "Nook for PC" with Nook ebooks and while I have a laptop, it just doesn't work as good. I struggle with the notion of wanting the Nook ereader as well though.
I hope people find that they can enjoy Vala's Story on both levels. There is much material in the books, sexual, sensual, and just life. I also touch on so many fetishes, sexual pairings, that I should have something for many interests. But if you aren't into, say, ageplay- just read the scene for the character/story development and skip it when you're masturbating to my novels later :D.