Saturday, 12 March 2011

Unrealistic Fantasies by Nichelle Gregory

Please welcome Nichelle Gregory to the blog today. Yee har!

I recently had a discussion with a male friend who supports my work as an erotic romance author, although he admitted he didn't 'get' how women could continue to read them after indulging in one. Not just the super steamy ones the entire genre of romance books. Of course, I asked him how he could speak the subject when he'd never read a romance novel.

Imagine my surprise when he divulged he had. He said he'd taken a peep at one his former girlfriend had lying around. After talking about the subject further, he revealed how he felt such books filled women's heads with unrealistic ideas about love, sex and relationships in general.

I thought his argument, though flawed in my opinion; I couldn't deny he posed some interesting questions. Do women develop unrealistic notions about romance and relationships because of the guaranteed (usually) happily ever after stories in their hands? Do women hold real men to an unattainable standard in the bedroom after reading about a studly hero capable of bringing the heroine to an earth shattering climax twice in one night?

I think the keyword in my first question is 'women'. Most women understand that the romantic/erotic fiction they're reading is simply that...fiction. We read them because they give us a pleasurable escape from the mundane, sometimes disappointing side of romance or lack thereof in our own lives. Most women want to be romanced. We want to read the story where the girl gets the guy and where the guy totally gets his woman.

Now, I started reading romance novels in middle school and I'll admit at that age the happily ever after storylines made an undeniable impression on my young mind, but that all changed once I had my heart broken. My pseudo hero didn't do, say, act or react like any of the heroes I'd read.

Hello, real world!

I quickly learned like we all do that you don't always get a happy ending when it comes to matters of the heart. Romance novels are to be enjoyed by readers who understand life is far from perfect and relationships are never as easy as the sexy tales we read within a book.

Yet, that's precisely why for the mature, smart, savvy reader that these novels are so popular. No matter what the conflict is between the hero and heroine, we know they're going get to that happily ever after. Reading romance novels is like enjoying your favourite comfort food when your world is all topsy turvy.

Delicious distraction!

Do I think erotic romance readers hold their lovers to unfair standards between the sheets? No. Again, I believe the age of the reader comes into play here again. Erotic romance is for women and women understand most men aren't going to be able to give them a climax, possibly two every single time they make love, especially by penetration alone. C'mon.

Real life sex can be far from perfect, if we're being honest, and on occasion isn't even satisfying. I believe romance novels help many women believe real love still exists when real life relationships have scarred their hearts. I believe erotic romance novels can stoke the inner fire that's been banked by real life lovers who've failed to satisfy physical and emotional needs we seek as women. A sexy book can be a literary jumpstart to a noisy bedroom when passion has waned for any number reasons.

It's not just the sex on the pages that we're drawn to. It's the emotional connection between the hero and heroine that captivates us as well. Lovers of romance in any genre understand that what we are reading is a fantasy. It's the fantasy we love. It's the fantasy of the perfect orgasm, falling for the perfect guy that keeps our hearts open and the flame of desire burning bright for the real life heroes with whom we choose to share our lives.

So, grab that unrealistic fantasy and enjoy! Real life will come knocking on your door all too soon. 

Huge thanks to Four Strong Women for sharing their blog with me today! I'd like to share an excerpt from Hearts & Diamonds, a contemporary erotic romance available now with Total E-Bound Publishing.

Blurb: Passion sparks the moment Nia Sanders unknowingly meets federal agent Quin Rios.

Nia Sanders knows diamonds. She appreciates and envies the heart-felt emotions of her customers buying them. When federal agent, Quin Rios saves her life in the middle of a violent jewel heist, she finds herself attracted to the sensual possibilities beneath his uber professional, self-contained persona.

Determined to keep her safe as he solves the case, Quin can't let his attraction to Nia distract him. The heat of their fiery passion consumes them as they both struggle to control their emotions...neither are prepared to lose their heart.


Nia gasped as her mouse slipper slipped beneath her and she stumbled towards Quin. The water hit him seconds before she fell to her knees in front of him. “I am so sorry.” She blinked in sheer mortification as the liquid seeped into the dark fabric on his thighs. Her gaze drifted further up his leg to see the unmistakable bulge inches away from her.

“It’s okay.”

Nia dragged her eyes up from his pants to meet his heated gaze. “No, it’s not.”

Quin ran his finger down the tip of her nose. “It is. I needed to cool off anyway.”

A ribbon of desire coursed along every nerve ending in her body as he stood up and offered both hands. “Let me help you up.”

She took them, visualising an actual spark of electricity from his touch as he yanked her up from the ground. “Thanks, Quin.” She lifted her chin, saw the same longing in his eyes and something twisted in her stomach as they stared at one another. She laced her fingers with his as time stood still. “Kiss me.”

The whispered request shocked her. She waited with baited breath for him to move, her words, her heart lay before him. Just when she would’ve pulled away, he groaned and pulled her against his chest.

His hands skimmed up her arms, into her hair as he kissed her. She melted into him, wrapped her arms around his neck and welcomed his fierce kiss. He took over and she wanted him to. Her moan of pleasure only encouraged him to delve deeper, tasting and stroking her tongue as he backed her up against the dining room wall. She could barely breathe, lost in the rhythm of his masterful kisses. One hand left her hair to cup her ass, kneading the soft curve beneath her dress. She ran her hands through his hair, loving the feel of the thick texture between her fingers as he pressed his hard cock against her belly.

“You’re so sexy,” Quin said, breaking away to look down at her.

“Ditto.” She closed her eyes as he claimed her lips again, this time in a soft, sensual caress that left her boneless. He ended the kiss and her body craved more.

“Quin…” She sighed as his lips brushed her temple.


The shrill sound of her phone ringing broke the moment, stopped her from making another brazen request of his body. She pulled away from his embrace to reach for the handheld laying on the dining room table. “Hello?”

“I needed those diamonds.”

Nia froze.

The cold voice on the other end of the line was unmistakable.

“Tess?” She whipped around to look at Quin already on alert as he tapped his watch and indicated for her to keep on talking. “Where are you?”

“Closer than you think.”

The line went dead as Nia stared at Quin. She handed him the phone in a daze.

“What did she say?”

“She said she ‘needed’ those diamonds. I think she threatened me.”
“Tell me exactly what she said.” He took out his cell as she repeated the conversation. She watched him for a second, noting how easy it was for him to shift gears. Could he really have just given her the best damn kisses of her life? One wouldn’t think it’d happened now as he relayed what had happened and gave out orders to whoever was on the other line.

Thanks for reading!

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WitchGiggles said...

Sorry to say I've read so many of these that I've become somewhat jaded at the sex that occurs and began to wonder why women find the sometimes outlandish positions, etcetera appealing. Not to say I don't enjoy a really well written scene,but all too often find it truly humorous when trying to picture some of the positions described....if I were that nimble I'd work for Cirque du Soleil and at least get really well paid for it (but then I've gotten old and feeble);though if I could find a true shifter that would be cool if only to have a fur blanket to keep me warm on those really cold nights.

I'm not trying to be facetious (okay,maybe a little),but when a young person reads one of these and expects a real(this being the key word,here) person to be anywhere near this "hero" in a novel,nine out of ten it's because they have never been put first by anyone and crave the idea of being first with somebody. That's too great a burden to place on anyone and not end up in disaster.

My mantra-learn to like yourself, learn to laugh at yourself, learn to laugh at life (even in the darkest of times), learn most of all to take it a day at a time and find the good in a person and cherish that because they've apparently found something worthy to love in you....

As to the main question as to whether women of any age compare their real-life partners with the "fantasy hero" in a novel.... yeah,they do;whether consciously or subconsciously we all yearn for perfection,especially when "Mr. Imperfect" is what we live with every day. If the only time you receive flowers is when he's confessing to something he knows will anger you,etc. there is no romance,no cherishing and as caretakers we need that....just my opinion.

Nichelle Gregory said...

Hey, WitchGiggles!

Thanks for your thoughtful response. I agree that some of the more outrageous sex scenarios make me roll my eyes, but if it's written well...if the author can suspend disbelief long enough for me to think, "that was hot!" I don't care if the couple is having sex upside down in the middle of the ocean!

I love your mantra! So true and relevant for us all. I hope you're enjoying your Saturday! Thanks for spending a little bit of it with me. ;-)

Lisabet Sarai said...

Hi, Nichelle,

First of all, the cover of Hearts and Diamonds is one of the most gorgeous I've ever seen! Who's the artist?

I didn't read romance as a young woman, so I can't really comment personally on how they might influence expectations. However, based on my interactions with readers, I get the feeling that most of them enjoy romance BECAUSE it's so different from their day to day realities.

As for me, I had a rather, shall I say, sexually adventurous youth. WitchGiggles, not all of the stuff you read is impossible!


Maggie Nash said...

Hey Nichelle...
I have to say I agree with you and Lisabet that most women read romances for the fantasy. A well written story with well developed characters is always a joy to read and easily suspends that disbelief so you can enjoy the story and put yourself in the place of the heroine.
Much more interesting that real life for most, but as someone who likes to research her stories, I can also say not everything is impossible!

Nichelle Gregory said...

Hi, Lisabet! April Martinez crafted the gorgeous cover. I love it too!

I think that's the draw with romance novels too...them being completely different from real life and that's what makes them so enjoyable to write too!

Thanks for stopping by! ;-)

Hey, Maggie!

Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
Research can be so much fun! *g*

Janice said...

I think most women realize that the romance is a fantasy.

Good luck with your new release.


Nichelle Gregory said...

Thanks, Janice! :)

Fiona McGier said...

I think that a woman longs for a man to treat her like she's so hot he can't control himself around her...research says that's what gets her aroused more than anything else. But actually men want to feel they are sexy also. The shame of it is that both need to actively contribute to keeping sexual passion alive, and it can be done...but it takes work! That's why so many have's easy to be sexy with someone who only sees you at work, when you are dressed up, smell nice, and look good. But the person who sees you when the baby has barfed on you, who still finds you sexy when you haven't had time for a shower and feel fat and bloated...that's the measure of real passion!
For the record, I also was a wild woman in my younger days, so yes, much of what is written is actually physically possible. And it is possible to be multi-pleasured each time, but you have to teach him to do what you want, and you have to stimulate him also.

Women have to feel loved to want sex. Men have to have sex to feel loved. Viva la difference!

I write contemporary romances where both the heroine and hero are busy living their lives to the fullest. A meeting, a lustful incident...he is usually the first to realize they belong together,and he has to work hard to convince her.

Fiona McGier said...

Duh...I got so wordy I forgot to say, yes, VERY hot cover! I love interracial lends a special flavor to the relationship in my opinion. Me-thinks my kindle is hungry again!

Nichelle Gregory said...

Hey, Fiona!

I appreciate your lengthy response. You said so many good things in there! And you're so right the real measure of passion is when your partner knows you minus the make-up, the perfected smile and witty conversation.

"Women have to feel loved to want sex. Men have to have sex to feel loved. Viva la difference!"

TRUTH! What a paradox these statements pose...because all to often men try to have sex without showing their lover (in the way she needs to be shown)how much they are loved. There's no denying men have needs and want to feel desired too. I agree with you that it's a two way street to keep passion alive!

Thanks for stopping by and for the cover compliment! April Martinez did a fantastic job! ;)