Guest Spot: Christine Blackthorn (@CBlackthorn) – A Variety of Chains







Erotica, Romantica and literary Porn – three sides of the same coin?


What is erotica? Is it porn for women? Why do many of us feel the need to set ourselves aside as writing erotica romance rather than erotica? Does anyone have an idea?


Well, even before the rise in interest for new adult (or erotica) fiction academics have been contemplating that question – and many more. Over the last four decades an interesting change seems to have happened though. In the 1970s erotica seemed to be simply porn in written form and commentators remark on the fact that the readership is almost exclusively male.


Turn the clock forward to 2014 and suddenly a plethora of sub-genres seem to have developed. Almost every form of fictions has its erotica sub genre – and each of them seem to come with different emphasis. Also, the readership has changed, or at least widened, extensively. Now a significant part, some market research suggest two-thirds, of erotica is read by women. What is even more interesting is that, at the same time, the term erotica is changed subtly – now there are classifications such as romantica or erotic romance.


The result is a miasmic maze of categorisation and groupings which seem to have lost their meaning by sheer confused and confusing variety of options. Worse, the classification also seems to depend on the individual publisher. How often have you chosen a book thinking it would be what you want – being disappointed, not because the story is necessarily bad but because there simply is a huge difference in what is attractive in erotica? Too often for me.


So, following a little research combing through the over four thousand books I have read in the area of erotica, porn and romance (and being shocked by the number I found), I have come up with some personal sorting system. And some thoughts.


So there is erotica (for the lack of a better term I will use this until I sorted them into their groups) which is mainly physical, the style tends to be short in descriptions of emotions or sensations, emphasis on the visual rather than the other senses. The storyline takes a backseat to the sexual interactions. There normally is some form of external conflict (nuder, mayhem, theft, kidnapping ….) but rarely any internal conflict (characters have a crises of faith, wondering if what they are doing is right, fears or complicated histories). In many ways, this is closest to written pornography.


Other erotica stresses the sensual or emotional side of sexual interactions. The writing tends to involved all five senses. Sentences often are longer and narration contains more description. The storyline is more important, though it takes a backseat behind the emotional development of characters to a degree. There is an external conflict – but it is normally just as important, or less so, than the internal conflict of the characters. This is the form of erotica female readers seem to prefer.


And then there is romance – a genre we thought we know well. Based entirely on the romantic interactions, though, let’s be honest the last ten years have definitely shown that hot sex scenes are desired, even common, in that too.


So there seems to be a sliding scale in erotic written expressions – erotica (written porn) on one side and romance on the other, with erotic romance in the middle.


Interesting, a few years ago one might have argued porn on one side, romance on the other and erotica in the middle. Why has that changed? I think it is the confusion driven annoyance of readers, especially female readers, who do want the romance and the explicit sex. Readers are not willing to read either flat stories in which the most exciting interaction is a kiss – or mindless sex anymore. So authors have begun to realise that, to reach that demographic, they still need to add the word romance, but not lose the hot sex. Born was the erotic romance denomination. Which is why some of the big publishers have started to develop a genre called romantica – the place somewhere between erotica and romance.


There is a strange psychological inhibition women have against the word pornography – we do not want to be caught either reading or writing it. We have been socially conditioned to see it as something bad, something dirty. We feel safe with romance though, even if we know it is stereotypical and brings patronising smiles to the faces of all men around us. So we changed romance into something which has all the titillating aspects of pornography without losing the sensual and emotional side. And without opening ourselves to social criticism. Go us. Next step – kick society in the butt so that our daughters don’t have to hide what they read anymore.



A Variety of Chains excerpt



“Pick up the wine and take a sip,” he said.

“I don’t drink,” she replied.

His eyes remained expressionless, as was his voice when he spoke again. “It was not a request.”

Absolute obedience for the safety of the girls.

She reached for the glass and took a small sip. As she tried to put it back down, his hands tightened on her waist and brought her attention back to him mid-movement.

“I am thirsty, too.”

She offered him the glass, but he shook his head. “My hands are full.”

To illustrate this fact he began to trace little half circles over her belly with his thumbs. She tried to offer the glass to his lips but he shook his head again.

“Not like that.” There was a hint of amusement in his eyes and a twitch to his lips. Instead, she tried to offer her wrist, but that simply made him raise an eyebrow.

“How then?” She felt the desperation in her own voice and tried to suppress it while making the cold return.

“Take a sip and hold it in your mouth.”

She was starting to have an idea where this was leading. She tried to lean forward to feed him the wine but his hands kept her from him.

“Set down the glass first, then let me drink from your mouth.”

Carefully she put down the glass before leaning forward. In her haste and nervousness she parted her lips before touching his and spilled most of the wine down her chin and his neck. She froze in terror, aware of the strength in the hands around her waist and the sharp teeth entirely too close to her. His lips parted and his tongue snaked out to lazily lap at the liquid dripping down her lips and chin. Only when he had cleaned her thoroughly did he allow her to move back enough to meet his gaze. Her eyes fell to his mouth and the spilled wine that painted his neck and shirt red. Small droplets were still caught in the evening shadow of the beard along his cheeks.

“Clean it!”

The first flick of her tongue was tentative at best, barely a touch, but when he moved his head to allow her more access she became bolder. The taste of his skin, mixed with that of the red wine, filled her mouth – unidentifiable, subtle and strange. As her tongue reached his neck, his arousal grew impossibly large beneath her, pressing against the folds of her sex through only two layers of clothes. She shied back – feeling stupid immediately. It was inevitable where this evening was going to lead. For an ErGer to bond, the mind needed to be broken open as only sex could – and her own body would force it soon enough. In her experience, he had shown more patience than any other. Every Lord who had ever acquired her, either because her brother had sold her to them or because they had tracked her down, had taken her blood and body within minutes of their acquaintance. What was the point of delay?





Kathryn McClusky is an ErGer – a rare and highly prized individual in the supernatural world.

She has spent her life running and hiding, but circumstances have changed and the only way to protect her family is to hand herself over to the Vampire Lord of London to face slavery or death.


Lucian Neben runs his London court with a stern but fair hand, but political pressures are building from both the human and fey worlds, and taking possession of an ErGer would cement his position of power.


Kathryn is vulnerable and broken almost beyond repair, but she holds in her hands the one treasure Lucian desperately wants – the possibility of home and family.


Can he teach her to open herself up; to choose to life, and him, before reality forces him to take her freedom?





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Author  Bio


In “real” life, I am an academic with degrees in Political Science, Economics, Philosophy and Law and an insatiable desire to confound, baffle and disconcert my students. Someone once suggested to me the reason for my stories lay in the desire to offset the tedium and rationality of academic life. He wasn’t an academic or he would have known better. It is best to use research against tedium, students to offset the rationality and an unlimited supply of stressballs for the faculty meetings. The stories? Well, they are just for me – like a mental manicure.


I also write a blog on Feminism and Erotica – come talk to me:









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One Comment to Guest Spot: Christine Blackthorn (@CBlackthorn) – A Variety of Chains

  1. Nikolina says:

    Paranormal books are a great way to escape from reality!

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