Monday, April 19, 2010

Hello, my name is Mireya and I am a recovering erotic romance addict ...

I have been reading ebooks for 7 years now. I started in February 2003 to be precise. I was stuck at home, sick as a dog, with nothing to do. At that time I didn't read romance at all. I went online to research for erotica, and accidentally, I ended up finding Jaid Black’s “The Empress New Clothes” in Amazon. It said available on CD which intrigued me. I didn’t order it though, but I continued looking, found Ellora’s Cave (EC) … and that’s how I started reading romance.

Up to that point, I had only read very few romance books: a couple of Danielle Steele's books, "Rebecca" by Daphne DuMaurier, "Desiree" by AnneMarie Selinko, “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Bronte and “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen are the highlights from my pre-romance addiction times.

I bought Jaid Black’s book directly from EC and loved it. I then proceeded to buy everything else written by this author that was available at the time. Back then, I didn’t even know that Jaid Black’s was the pen name of Tina Engler, owner of Ellora’s Cave (Jade Enterprises). I was totally fascinated: lots of GRAPHIC sex and a love story, I didn’t care about the quality of the actual writing at all. Graphic sex and a lot of it is what I wanted and that is what I found. The romance was the delicious icing on the cake. I am a very fast reader, these stories are not long, and being stuck at home for so many days, I found myself going through their available catalog in less than 3 weeks. I spent a LOT in ebooks then, which also created another issue because of budgeting. Thankfully, I keep my finances separate from that of my husband’s … otherwise he would have blown a gasket!

Back then, Ellora’s Cave didn’t have an established publication schedule nor a set number of releases. Sometimes they would release one book, other times up to three. Fans had no choice but to check their site daily for new releases. It was pretty much party time whenever something new was released. Those were the good ol’ days, before the erotic romance boom started. I have to say it was fun to just “hang out” on their Yahoo group -- the original one, not the current one. That one was deleted and re-launched. EC has a very convoluted story, btw, but this post is not about their history so I’ll leave it at that.

In my early days as an erotic romance fan I used to print out the stories to bring them with me during my commutes. When it became obvious how much of a drag that was, I found out about ebook reading devices. I opted for a Franklyn ebookwise which I got for a good price at eBay. It was pretty simple, I could read in different formats (not just pdf, which had been my preferred format), I could adjust font size, and best of all, I could carry with me lots of titles. To me, it was HEAVEN.

After I pretty much bought everything I could get my hands on from EC’s website, I figured there definitely had to be other websites where I could get ebooks from. There were no Changeling Press, Loose-Id or Samhain as they had not opened for business yet. I did find Liquid Silver Books, eXtasy Books, and Amber Quill Press. I got quite a bunch of titles from them as well, however, I found myself craving more. I started spreading my wings, so to speak, and discovered New Concepts Publishing. Years ago, they had a nice catalogue of historical romance and it was there that I discovered I liked that genre.

However, things change, and I’ve found that my taste has changed. I still read erotic romance, but not as much as I used to. My list of autobuy authors has narrowed as well. For some reason, I can’t get into the writing style of many newer authors of the genre and am a lot less accepting of certain things in my reading material. Sex is no longer the driving force whenever making a reading choice. Whereas I used to read up to 3 erotic romances a day, bear in mind, again, that many are shorter than a mainstream romance, these days I pretty much only read my autobuy authors’ work. In the early days I needed my erotic romance “fix” almost literally. I started reviewing erotic romance precisely because of that. I was “inhaling” the stories and spending way too much on books. Reviewing became the best choice for me. My output for a while was an average of 6-8 books PER ISSUE of the newsletter. And the newsletter has only recently gone on a monthly subscription schedule, so that means I would review an average of 12-16 books a month as we used to publish two and sometimes three times a month.

What has changed? Well, I think that in my case, it is mostly a case of burnout. When you read so many erotic romances, it gets to the point in which, unless you find an author whose voice you absolutely adore, everything reads pretty much alike. To date, I must have read over 1000 erotic romance stories (this number includes all lengths) in a relatively short period of time, the blunt having been read within 4 years of having discovered erotic romance. I find that I have also become a lot more fastidious as it pertains to mistakes and the like, which doesn’t help either.

Though I do still enjoy reading erotic romance (I wouldn't be here otherwise) I definitely don’t crave it as I used to. Sometimes I even skip sex scenes as I read because, to put it mildly, they don’t grab me the way they used to… I guess that makes me a recovering erotic romance addict … however, I do admit I miss the sense of anticipation I used to feel whenever checking if there were new releases available or the satisfaction I used to get from pretty much everything I got my hands on because, I have to say, I really did think most of what I read way back when, was excellent even if it actually wasn’t.