Anyway, enough of my daydreaming...
For a chance to win a choice of an ebook download from Shelley Munro's Ellora's Cave or Cerridwen Press backlist, (and that is a lot of choice!) check out her guest post and the giveaway details below. Also check out the review of Fancy Free by WitchGiggles! By the way, if you'd like to leave a comment on the review, it counts as an extra entry into the competition! As does each way you promote this - just come back and let us know how! Thank you!
Condoms and the Romance Writer
Thanks for having me to visit again. Today, I’m here to tell you about one of my releases from Ellora’s Cave—Fancy Free. Fancy Free is an erotic romance about a girl who inherits a condom factory.
There’s a bit of a story behind this book. My husband and I were flying home from San Francisco aboard an Air New Zealand flight. I was browsing the in-flight magazine and an article about new products caught my attention. One of the items was a vibrating condom, and immediately my mind seized the idea and the possibilities. “Oh, look at this,” I said to my husband in a loud voice. “Let’s buy one. What a great idea for a story,” I added. My husband shushed me when I attempted further discussion because people were looking, so I went into daydream mode and by the time we landed in Auckland, I had a plot mapped out about a heroine who inherits a condom factory.
Which brings me directly back to condoms. In our personal lives, we’re told to practice safe sex. I have no problem with that. After all, who wants to pick up a nasty disease while doing the horizontal tango?
Safe sex and the surrounding issues is something that authors need to consider each time they write a love scene. Back at the start of the safe sex campaign, a lot of people went on record as saying that using a condom in a fictional love scene destroyed all the spontaneity. Personally, I’ve never understood the problem because if the scene is written properly, a condom can add an extra dimension. It says I care enough about my health to use one. It says I care enough about my partner to protect him or her. To me, writing a condom into a love scene makes plain common sense.
Over my years of writing, I’ve developed a set of rules for fictional condom use. I’ll also add here that this is my opinion and this is what I like to see. I’m not going to bash you over the head if you disagree or like to write or read something different.
1. Contemporary romances:
My hero and heroine always use a condom in each love scene. Sometimes more than one, since I write erotic romance and they are quite active. If they don’t use a condom, I give the reader a good reason for the non-use. Sometimes in the heat of the moment, our hero and heroine might forget. Our hero and heroine might be in the middle of nowhere and desperate to the point of crazed, or they might know each other’s sexual history and oral contraception is enough.
In Fancy Free, condoms are part of the plot. My characters James and Alice make full use of their products. In Summer in the City of Sails, I even have a condom scene where the hero tells the heroine her glow-in-the-dark condoms remind him of a green ogre.
2. Historical romance
I know from my research a form of condoms has been around since Egyptian times. During Roman times, after the gladiators fought, they scored big time with the noble ladies. These noble ladies didn’t want children from the liaisons with the gladiators, merely a night of pleasure, so they used condoms.
If I’m writing a historical, mostly my heroes and heroines don’t use condoms. This was an era where good girls remained virgins until marriage, especially the women of the nobility, so mostly the use of condoms isn’t an issue. I look at the social mores when deciding whether my characters use birth control. In my Georgian-set historical, The Second Seduction, the plot was a marriage of convenience and a condom wasn’t necessary. In Unforgettable, my World War II romance, the hero and heroine use condoms.
3. Paranormal/futuristic romances
Sometimes my hero and heroine use condoms and sometimes they don’t. It depends on the set-up. Often in my futuristic stories, I’ll make a point of saying sexually transmitted diseases are eradicated. I did this in Sex Idol and Fallen Idol.
In my Middlemarch Mates series, condoms are used in some books and not in others, with the readers learning why condoms are absent.
As a reader, I’m willing to suspend disbelief and roll with what the author says as long as they give me reasons for their characters’ actions in this area.
What do you think about condoms in fiction? Should our heroes and heroines use them? Does it jerk you out of a book if condoms are absent? What rules of use do you like to apply as a reader?
Shelley Munro lives in New Zealand and writes erotic contemporary and paranormal romance for Ellora’s Cave and Samhain Publishing. Shelley’s next release is The Bottom Line coming on 27 April from Samhain Publishing. You can visit Shelley at www.shelleymunro.com
Excerpt from Fancy Free
“Is something wrong?” James asked in a husky voice.
“I’m fine. No problem.” She barely halted the telltale shiver of bliss at the sound of his voice. As one, everyone turned to stare at her and that heightened her awareness of the wretched man. This was ridiculous. How could an almost virgin run a condom company? She had no experience to draw on. She could hardly count her one time at university as experience. The heat in her cheeks intensified even farther when she sneaked a look at the photo on top of the folder. Half expecting a voice to shout, “Off with her head,” she swallowed and wondered if they’d notice if she ran from the room. Oh dear. Her gaze wandered to the photo again without waiting for her brain to give permission.
The condom was a delicate violet color and had tiny raised dots all over the surface. It looked like an alien creature with chicken pox. There were certainly alien appendages attached. Hard to say what that round bit did. Dragging her gaze from the photo, she turned her attention to James’ run down of the product and the current state of play. Tests. Trials. Okay. She supposed that made sense. They had to know if they worked properly.But how did they conduct the tests? Her mind went into overdrive as she visualized a typical condom trial. A man and woman naked on a huge bed while a man dressed in a white coat stood with a clipboard, snapping out pertinent questions and ticking off the questions in his survey. How did the latex feel? Did it fit to the penis correctly? Was it too thick? Too thin? Was it big enough to catch semen? Did it stand up to vigorous thrusts? Is there significant loss of sensation?
A tight band constricted Alice’s chest, affecting her breathing. Her bra felt way too tight. She furtively tugged at the underwire of her bra while a wave of heat engulfed her body. She squirmed about on her chair, warmth growing in her nether regions because of her sexual thoughts. Alice bit into her bottom lip. Questions. She had them, but nerves and uncertainty made her hesitate. A sharp inhalation did nothing to steady her. This was stupid. She had a vested interest in this condom company and had every right to ask questions. “Um, how do you conduct trials?”
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