We've all seen it, and a bunch of us have experienced it. A bad review.
Now I am not here to tell you that my writing is so excellent that it is comparable only to Twain, Shakespeare, Tolstoy and Fitzgerald. Not at all! God, no!
As a matter of fact, I've learned some valuable lessons on writing from mediocre reviews. They can be valuable, teaching me and helping me refine my craft. For instance, a story that I just knew had a great twist ending was seen coming from a mile off by every reader who has read it. It taught me to be more subtle. A character that I thought was sad was considered whiney by a lot of readers. It taught me to be more careful when creating a character who's been through tough times. No one wants to write a whiney character!
I am not somehow above a less than spectacular review and I try and learn from them.
On the other hand, a reviewer once knocked me down on her review because they had an "aversion to toe sucking." I was like, WTF?
That is NOT why you knock off points on a review. You knock it down because of bad characterization or loose plotting or bad research. Not because you don’t like the way two characters have sex. And toe sucking? I wasn’t writing scat play for goodness sake!
Now understand, my heroes had cleaned out a stable earlier in the story--but it was much earlier! And they didn’t do it barefoot. And they’d showered since then. I implied they showered only hours before making love. These weren't rank, nasty, gross feet. And anyone who has ever had their toes actually sucked on would heartily disagree with the reviewer! LOL! And yes, I do love to suck toes.
Another thing that often confuses me, and has been something else that has had my stories get knocked down lots of stars, is when my heroes fuck without a condom.
Let me tell you something you might not know. Men are not whiney when they say they don't want to wear one. Condoms suck, and not in a good way. They really are like wearing a raincoat in a shower. Even the best of them block so much of the feeling and unless you are turned on to the nines, it's hard to cum with one on.
This doesn't mean I don't wear them when I've had sex. In this day and age they are a sad necessity. I've managed to get to this ripe old age without contracting HIV and I want to keep it that way. But my husband and I don't use them with each other. A great thing about commitment. We will have been together twelve years next week and we test once or twice a year. We don't have to use them with each other. Thank God. Because condoms are worse than sand in your underwear, a tornado on your wedding day, or accidentally picnicking on a hill of fire ants.
They suck Blue Whale dick.
When I read a romance, I am reading for fantasy. I am reading to escape. I am reading to watch first love or new love for someone who stopped believing in romance. And when I finally get to the sex scene, the LAST thing I want to read is the two of them stopping some beautiful and hot love making to find a condom, open it, and put it on. Something awful has happened. Real life has interfered with these two men and now they are separated by a piece of latex.
What is one of the best things about love making? For me it is skin against skin. lips touching, fingers entwining or running the length of their lover's body. Legs rubbing against legs, chests crushing up against each other. Imagine your body covered in latex before you make love. Would you like it? Of course not.
In real life, until you KNOW the status of your lover and unless you are monogamous, we must wear condoms.
But in fantasy? Hey! I already know you don't get shot dead and then wake up in another man's body in 1942 and finally find the man of your dreams. You don’t get abducted by a sexy humanoid alien. You don’t get captured by red Indians and rescued by a hot cowboy. It is fantasy. And in fantasy I don't want my heroes to have to wear a condom. It brings the story to a HALT for me.
I want to believe there are worlds where we all find the perfect man, we are always sexually compatible, we can take a vampire or a werewolf as a lover, we can travel through space and time, we can make love with a clean and fit pirate AND we don't have to wear condoms!
Sometimes my characters don’t wear condoms. As a matter of fact, whenever I can think of a way so they don’t have to wear them, they don’t.
Surprisingly I’ve been told the not-wearing-of-condoms yanks a person out of a story as much as the wearing of them yanks me out of a story.
To tell you the truth, I have no idea why. I’ve asked too.
Maybe one day, I’ll find out why this issue is so important to the other side of the issue.
Next Week: Cheating