Sunday, January 30, 2011

Forcing the Issue

By Kelli Collins
One of my recent tweets:

Rumor 193: EC doesn’t, in fact, “ban” forced seduction novels, nor do we fire editors who accept them.

EC’s no stranger to rumors; some bloggers have nearly built their reputations on EC smack-talk…but that’s another post. Aside from a firm conviction that all these scamps need to look into getting a life, I don’t much care. What’s that saying--as long as they spell your name right? And doubtful though I am about the IQ levels of certain bloggers, I’m fairly confident they can spell E and C.

But on to the latest rumor, one that resurfaces with predictable regularity. Like the cycles of the moon. Or PMS. That which says EC doesn’t allow forced seduction books. That we reprimand and/or fire editors who accept them. That we ban authors who write them, etc.

The truth is simple: Everything above is false.

Our founder, Tina Engler (a.k.a. Jaid Black), has written more than one forced seduction book, some of which are her best sellers. Another EC author, Laurann Dohner, made her EC debut with a wildly popular forced seduction book. And we’ve published many besides.

Have we published hundreds? No. Just as forced seductions books are not for every reader, they’re not for every author. In my experience, it’s the rare author who can write an FS novel that can believably get into the psychology of the phenomenon. And THAT, my friends, is what sells me as an editor. I want to get into the characters’ heads. Why is the hero compelled to make women bend to his will? Why does the heroine like, need and get turned-on by FS. And pay attention to that last part, authors, because whatever else the hero does, ultimately he must make the heroine feel good, and the readers should feel it in spades. After all, no still means no. If that word passes your heroine’s lips, it’s best to listen.

(Note: While I’ve seen the reverse scenario—a heroine forcing her will on the hero—it’s rare. A fact that intrigues me in its own right.)

As for readers, who knows why they love FS stories? A secret desire to give up control, perhaps…a longing to put their complete trust, and their pleasure, in the hands of another. We could speculate for ages, I suspect. What do you think?


D. F. Krieger said...

My personal opinion as that people want to be desired. Forced seduction, to some, proves that we have achieved that level of being desired in some ones eyes. That person who wants us so badly they'll take it? Conquest for the one being seduced!

kelly said...

I often thought the forced seduction scenes of years ago were popular because at that time women were less in touch with their sexuality and “good girls” didn’t have sex (or want to have sex). But if someone made them do it…they didn’t have to feel like a “bad girl” for doing it. These days, I think there are fewer heroines who would have that mindset, I think it’s more like what you said, Kelli – as long as there is trust, giving up control and surrendering pleasure to someone else for a while can be very empowering.

Cara McKenna said...

It's true, peoples!

In fact, the Ellora's Cave submission guidelines PDF, available on the EC site, reads: "During 'forced seductions', redeeming the hero is crucial—nobody wants to read about a rapist. Make sure that the heroine clearly wants the situation to occur by the time there is penetration."

I'd press anyone to make their publishing stance on forced seductions any more plain than that.

Laurann Dohner said...

I'm proof that EC doesn't ban authors and I know they don't fire editors since I have two awesome ones who are still with EC after accepting my books. LOL. I still happily write for EC, feel blessed to do so, and I've gotten a lot of wonderful emails from women who really enjoyed the books. I think a lot of women crave a little 'cave man' action. I know I find it sexy. That's the wonderful thing about books. It takes you to places you normally wouldn't go and you get to live out some fantasies.

Cara McKenna said...

Oh good point, Laurann. They definitely don't fire editors for buying suspect books. If so I'd be the EC black widow, with the shady shit they let me get away with. :-)

Anonymous said...

Forced seductions, up to and including dubious consent in romance novels work for me at several reasons. DF Krieger had it right and Kelly makes a good point too. I think the "years ago" mentality about women's sexuality is still more true than many want to admit (especially in a BDSM scene). Check the amount of stories on under "Non Consent/Reluctance" if you don't believe me. The fantasy of being released from responsibility of actively choosing is a turn on (as is having someone desire you so greatly, as is the whole very alpha cave man thing).

I understand that it doesn't work for some women, but if it's written right, it works for me! I think EC authors/editors do a great job.

--Happy Reader

Delphine Dryden said...

Forced seduction? Oh, bring it on, bring it on. Well, and mark me down among those who'd point out that the "years ago" thing just doesn't apply when it comes to BDSM. Or, as Cara points out, to her stuff.

Actually, though, what leapt to mind was Debra Glass's book Badcock, which was all sorts of coercive but absolutely delicious. Oh, poor girl, she just couldn't help herself...

Hehe. That hero redeemed the HELL outta himself.

Emma Petersen said...

You know if your name is always on someone's lips you must be doing something write.

And seriously, if EC banned forced seduction I'd be out of reading material.

And Cara, your "shit" is so very less than shady. Willing Victim? Awe.Some.

And thanks for that book rec Del, you know how fond I am of heroes that redeem the hell out of themselves.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't worry too much about rumors. Any company - or any person for that matter - whose foundations are integrity-based and whose practices are ethical isn't going to be shaken by one little rumor. All an author has to do is submit to EC to find out the truth. That's the great thing about the truth. It always comes out - somehow - in the end. : )

Brad Fallon said...

How is the Obama administration going to work around the issue that forcing people to buy insurance is?

Easy Halloween Costumes for Adults said...

Why was Brokaw forcing the issue that Social Security needs fixing?

eb-5 visa said...

I have been divorced for about a year now and my ex is getting re-married this summer. Since his engagement, he has asked me to change my name back and has even gone so far as to send my child support check made out to my former name which I obviously can't cash since I am still using my old name. What are my options here?

Herman Miller Aeron said...

Are the laws forcing couples to break up just before 12 months into the Relationship, to protect your assets?