Just One Look
April 11, 2014
Sometimes that's all it takes…FBI Special Agent Drew Davenport, still recovering from a life-threatening wound after a disastrous shootout, doesn’t have time to be serious about any woman. But Mia Alvarez, with her down-to-earth warmth, leaves him blind-sided.A painful experience crushed Mia’s belief in love. The last thing she needs is an entanglement with Drew, whose sister is marrying her brother. And certainly not when she’s keeping a major secret. Despite her misgivings, forced proximity and overwhelming attraction lead to passion.When Mia's secret shows up in the form of a stalker, Drew’s determined to protect her. Can he overcome his fear of failing again when emotions get in the way? And while Mia trusts Drew with her safety, can she trust in love when it happens with just one look?Just One Look is a stand-alone companion novel to Against the Wind
Ask the Reader: Is it too “Racy?”
The Motion Picture Association of America rates movies according to language, violence and sexuality. They go from G, for general audiences, to NC-17 (what I think of as X). The “slippery” ground, to me, is the difference between PG13 and R.
One of my books, In the Arms of a Stranger, received one review that said it was PG13, another said it was R. I would have said R, certainly not NC-17. I was surprised that anyone would think it was PG13 material. I wouldn’t want my thirteen year old and younger reading that book, not because of violenceor language, but because of sexuality. I believe it’s an R:“Contains some adult material. Parents are urged to learn more about the film before taking their young children with them.”(MPAA).
These reviews reinforced my view that while tastes and expectations have changed over the years, opinions are unique to each reader. Especially when it comes to romance novels.What’s considered “racy” really depends on the individual.
Back in 1972, George Carlin claimed there were “Seven Dirty Words You Can Never Say on Television.” I’m almost 100%sure we’ve heard every one of them on television in the past few years. Novels reflect this change. While “Gosh, darn!” might have worked in the days of our parents and grandparents, can we realistically expect our rough and tumble special ops hero to keep his language that mild when a dangerous situation goes south?
It’s not just expectations of language that have changed, butthose about sexuality have changed, too. We can now pick ourromance novel heat level. Mild, medium or hot (like our choices for salsa). On either end, there are the sweet G’s and the eroticNC-17’s.
What about my books? I’d give them all a medium R rating, with the newer ones leaning more toward the higher end of R than the first one published ten years ago. I’m not too concerned about those words that couldn’t be said on television way back when (although I’ve never used them all, and probably never will). When things go drastically, dangerously wrong, I’m comfortable using words my heroes would use in the real world. Same goes with my heroines.
And the sexuality? I don’t write erotic romance. I strive for sexual tension, that push/pull that keeps the couple together yet apart. There are love scenes, but my goal is to write a good lovestory with an edge of danger. The characters, their conflicts—their STORY—dictates their actions. My latest, Just One Look, is another R—to me.
So, back to that question of PG13 vs R. It depends on the reader.
It’s really the golden age for readers because we can find that perfect read. And where years ago, reading a book with a “racy” cover in a public place might have made us hide the book behind something, we can now load our ereaders with as many books as we want covering as many tastes as we may have. Or just go ahead and open that print book and read wherever we are, without a care about what others might think.
So, what about you? Have you been able to find that perfect style—just the right sweetness or spiciness—in the romance novels you read? Have ebooks made it easier for you to read an R, or an NC-17 book, or one with a racy cover?
Virginia’s first story involved a mouse that hitched a ride with Paul Revere. She was eleven. A bit later and bit more organized, dreams of romance (with a happily ever after), adventure, and danger came together to produce To the Limit, her RWA Golden Heart nominated novel. She writes about dangerous heroes (sexy, gorgeous ones, of course!) and the adventurous women willing to take a chance on them. An academic librarian, Virginia is a native of Peru and lives in Florida with her family.