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Let's Turn up the Heat

Like many young women, I discovered romance novels in my early teens. How many of you remember sneaking into Mom's or your single Aunt Ruth's bedroom, and purloining a hot looking tale or two? Then hiding it and only opening its delicious pages when they were out of the house, or everyone else was safely asleep. To my young eyes, they seemed so scandalous. At a certain point, I thought I was too intellectual for such nonsense, and forced myself to read the classics and up and coming literature. Yawn.
Okay – there were some great discoveries that I truly enjoyed, and I still read a few here and there now that I know what my reading preferences are. In other words, just because the New York Times Book Review says it's the book of the year – doesn't make it interesting. Any art form, whether it is music, film or books, has a variety of genres to choose from.

The majority of the time when I read, I'm reading for pleasure and relaxation. The same goes with film and music. Once in awhile I get in a mood where I want to see a deep and meaningful indie film, or listen to classical overtures. Most of the time though, I just want to escape and get swept away into another world. This is how the afore-mentioned romance novels made a reappearance into my life.

I went on a business trip at the last minute, didn't pack anything to read, and was stuck at a convention for three days. It was held at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville, which was like being in a bio dome from Logan's Run. I was trapped there, not interested in socializing in the evening, and needed to find something to read. Because this place was like an all-inclusive set-up, any food or other necessities you needed you were supposed to be able to get there. The only thing to shop from – unless you wanted overpriced southern chiffon outfits and giant floral hats - was the hotel drugstore with magazines, aspirin and gum. There was also a small rack with some books. Populating said rack were a few self-help, get-rich-quick schemes and romances. Sigh. I opted for a paranormal romance, having never heard of such a thing before in my life. Also, since I hadn't kept up with the changing trends in romance over the years, I was stunned – and extraordinarily thrilled – when there was a lot more bedroom description and hot and heavy action described in these mainstream bestsellers. Whoa. These were not Aunt Ruth's bodice-rippers. I was re-hooked. Stories of darkly sexy vampires, brawny Highlanders, roguish Dukes and alien hunks with extra appendages now populated my reading material.Then, it was as if the rays of the heavens themselves shone down upon me when I discovered book sites that carried just erotic romance novels. What? How had I missed this? It was on.

I now revel in my reading material, at all heat levels. Additionally, it also opened up a whole new world for me as an author. Previously, I had only ever written my naughty little tales for a lover. Now, there was actually a market out there for such things!

Does heat level play a big part in why you choose a book? Or is it the storyline that matters most, and the heat level doesn't really matter? I'd love to hear what you think.

After that - sit back, relax, pour a glass of wine, and download a steamy little story.

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