Sweet, Sensual or Erotic Romance?

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Within the romance genre there are three distinct sub-genres.

  • Sweet Romance
  • Sensual Romance
  • Erotic Romance or Erotica

Sweet Romance is squeaky clean. There is no sex. All passion is expressed through kissing, hand holding and perhaps brushing a hand along a face.

Sensual Romance includes a few sex scenes. However, the language typically isn’t harsh and the scenes usually aren’t described in an overtly graphic way. The emphasis is on the character’s emotions. The scenes are included so they can consummate their relationship, however, the plot line doesn’t revolve around the sex scenes. Oftentimes there are only a few such scenes throughout the story.

Erotic Romance is all about the sex. The descriptions can be quite graphic. The story may include variations such as threesomes, orgies or bondage. The story isn’t about two people falling in love. It’s about the characters having sex and plenty of it.

Why I write sensual romance

I write sensual romance. To me, it’s the most logical choice. It’s the romance genre I enjoy reading, and it’s also what most readers expect. My lead characters make love, but only after they’re emotionally invested in the relationship. Once their relationship is consummated, I usually won’t write another sex scene because it would be redundant. I instead use foreplay or pillow talk. 

From time to time, however, a leading man or lady gets involved with the wrong person. This usually happens early in the story, and it happens before the two lead characters have begun their relationship. On those occasions I may approach the sex scenes a little differently.

For example, in my upcoming novel The Deception, Carrie, the female lead, has just ended a long-term relationship. She then meets Scott, who isn’t who he appears to be. Scott knows Carrie is emotionally vulnerable so he takes advantage of her. Because Scott is a one of the villains in the story, the sex scenes between him and Carrie are a little racier, but even then, my sex scenes aren’t overly graphic. I’m more interested in what the characters are feeling during the scene. Alex, leading man, doesn’t come on the scene until after Carrie’s relationship with Scott has ended. The one thing I won’t do is have my protagonists bed hopping.

If you’re looking for sweet, squeaky-clean romance I’m afraid you won’t find it in my books. However, if you’re looking for a believable story that will leave you feeling satisfied as a reader, I’ll think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Marina Martindale

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Meet Ryan Knight, a Despicable Villain in The Reunion

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You know, creating despicable villains really is too much fun. Ryan Knight from The Reunion is a great example. He certainly got my editor’s, and my proofreader’s, dander up.

Ryan only appears in the flashback chapters, but he makes an impact. Ryan is a college student about to graduate and embark on his career as an architect. He and the young  Gillian have been dating for the past couple of years, but their relationship has become strained. Ryan is putting in a lot of overtime in the architecture building. He says he’s working late on class projects. Gillian, however, has her doubts.

A few days after his graduation, Ryan asks Gillian to stop by his apartment. He has news he wants to share with her. Gillian believes he’s going to propose to her, but Ryan’s idea of a proposal is the last thing she expectes.

Ryan was based on several real life men I’ve known; my ex-husband, a moody ex-boyfriend, and a good friend’s ex-husband. With a cocktail like that, you know you’ll have a real monster on your hands.

My editor commented that Ryan was, “a bit mental.” I also worried that my proofreader would quit on me. Ryan had certainly made her angry. So much so that I had to keep reassuring her that he only appeared in the flashback chapters. He would make his exit in chapter six. After that, his name would rarely be mentioned. Thankfully, she stayed on board.

I’ll conclude by saying that in fiction, conflict creates the drama, and Ryan certainly knows how to create some conflict.

Marina Martindale

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Meet Gillian Matthews

lead character in THE REUNION

A smiling woman with long blonde hair.
© Can Stock Photo / photography33

Gillian Matthews, one of the lead characters in my contemporary romance novel, The Reunion, has had a successful career as an artist and a little fame to go along with it. Her personal life, however, has been a disappointment. Gillian has a knack for getting involved with the wrong men. That will change when travels to Denver for a gallery opening, and man from her past will suddenly reappears.

 Ian Palmer is the one man she never got over. They soon resume their relationship, but Gillian’s world will shatter once again when something unexpected occurs behind the scenes. She’ll later become the object of affection from a new, and much younger man, while Ian attempts to win her back for a third time.

Gillian is based on a real person. Me. I was a graphic designer before I became a writer, and we’ll just say that my personal life given me some great fodder to work with.

Marina Martindale

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