If you follow me on Facebook, you’ll know I am really busy these days. In my free time (insert eye rolls and chuckles, please), I volunteer for the Audubon Society, spending many hours a day safeguarding a large colony of nesting shorebirds on a beach near my home…
Add in all the other things I do, work-wise and in my personal sphere, and my days are pretty full.
So are my nights.
Indeed, I sometimes think I am too busy to even remember to breathe.
For that reason, I had no idea what I should blog about today. Until, that is, I visited Amazon and saw a new review posted for one of my most popular Allie Mackay titles, Highlander in Her Bed.
Needless to say, it was a bad review.
A 1-star zinger.
Normally, I ignore bad reviews. They happen. Everyone has an opinion. I fuss about anonymous bad reviews now and then. I guess I feel that if you are going to post your thoughts, good or bad, you should stand by what you say. Not hide behind anonymity.
Likewise, in this new and changing world, I applaud authors who are bold enough to stand by their own opinions. Some of today’s best-loved writers did a hilarious video, reading their own bad reviews.
If you haven’t seen it, have a look..
Isn’t that great?
Pretty brave, too. And I love that. Actually, I would love to do such a video myself, together with some of my author pals. The new bad review for Highlander in Her Bed offered a few great comments I’d use if ever I do such a thing…
“…the reader is bombarded with descriptions of turgid nipples, penises, and other body parts! It’s so ridiculous that it becomes quite difficult to bypass the heaving breast and throbbing man parts so many of us historical romance readers have become quite adapt at doing!”
O-kay, I say.
This reader clearly saw my book as porn. Or very close to it. I won’t post the entire review here – you can read it on the Amazon page for Highlander in Her Bed by clicking here. The review’s header reads: “What am I missing?”
Two things jumped at me when I read this reader’s opinion of my work…
1) She cites a hugely popular author of the same genre, stating she’d hoped to enjoy a similar read. Well, that writer is certainly a wonderful author. She is also known for writing squeaky clean romances. The heroes and heroines barely hold hands. Any kisses are pretty chaste. And that’s about it on the steam level. So I wasn’t surprised the reader found my book so outrageously ‘over-sexed.’
2) I had to think of romances I have read – stories by wildly successful authors – who have love scenes that make my own seem pretty mild!
Taste, you see, is so subjective.
Even so, I do not think my stories ‘bombard’ readers with ‘turgid nipples and penises!’
Not even one titled Highlander in Her Bed…
Anyone who knows me personally is aware that I do not even use ‘bad words’ in my day-to-day life. In writing, I don’t either. You won’t find the F-word anywhere in my books. Nor will you find the C-word used for male or female anatomy. I -do- write explicit love scenes. But they are not overly graphic – in my opinion, anyway. I would call them sensual. And they are also not gratuitous. They happen when the timing is right for the characters – and only ever when both are in love.
Given what I know is out there, and how I view the love scenes I write, it was (and is) obvious to me that this reader and I would never meet happily on the page.
That is fine, too. Because – see above – taste is so subjective.
So my question is this…
Should romance novels come with a heat rating?
I would label mine as ‘Sensual’ and maybe add ‘No Profanity.’ But that would not have stopped the above-mentioned reader from finding my ‘sensual love scenes’ as her view of porn.
So what’s the answer?
I’d love to hear your opinion.