Reformed by the Scotsman is Out Now!

I am super-duper-loop-the-looper-ally-ooper excited to announce that Reformed by the Scotsman is out now!
Here’s the beautiful cover by Korey Mae Johnson:

Here’s the blurb:
When her scandalous behavior finally forces her wealthy parents to take drastic action, twenty-two-year-old Adeline Hawthorne is sent to Edinburgh to live in the home of her father’s friend Edward Wolstanton. The stern Scotsman is tasked with correcting the recalcitrant young lady by any means necessary, and it isn’t long before Adeline is taken over Edward’s knee for a painful, embarrassing spanking.

Though she quickly discovers that her new guardian will not hesitate to punish her as thoroughly and shamefully as he sees fit–even stripping her completely and applying a leather tawse to her bare bottom when she attempts to escape his custody–Edward’s firm-handed dominance arouses Adeline deeply. She soon finds herself wondering what it would be like to have such a man as her husband, but will he ever see her as more than a wayward girl in need of reform?

Publisher’s Note: Reformed by the Scotsman includes spankings and sexual scenes. If such material offends you, please don’t buy this book.

You can find it here on Amazon.com or here on Amazon.co.uk

The Main Spanking Scenarios For Spanking Erotic Romance Writers

Every genre has its tropes, the patterns that readers expect from a story. Today I wanted to cover the main scenarios found in spanking erotic romance, which is, itself, a sub-set of BDSM erotic romance.

Hate at First Sight: In this scenario, the two (or more) characters detest one another so much that you just KNOW they’re going to end up together. It’s often combined with one of the other tropes, below. There are so many examples of this that it would be difficult to pick one specifically, although if this trope works properly, both characters need to be likeable (to end up with a satisfying HEA), so a misunderstanding is usually used to make this trope work.

Sold/Gifted/Sent/Given/Kidnapped: This is a VERY popular sci-fi trope, but has many different names, because Amazon basically dictates what can and can’t happen in books these days, and Amazon doesn’t like anyone using “Kidnapped” in the title (unless you’re R.L. Stevenson, presumably, because they’re still selling “Kidnapped!”). To get around this, there are lots of books where the heroine has been gifted, given or sent to the hero. The biggest challenge with this sort of story is this: What sort of a crap-ass bastard alphahole ACCEPTS a gifted or kidnapped woman?! And why doesn’t he INSTANTLY set her free when she naturally resists?!* Loki Renard is very good at exploring both points of view of the male and female main characters in her stories, and The Alien’s Leash is a good example of how the whole “kidnapped” trope can work with a likeable (but still very much in control) main male character.

Rescued: This is the opposite of kidnapped, and is more common in sweet romance. The hero is a traditional hero who wants to save the heroine from some circumstance she can’t overcome on her own. It’s not the most popular trope these days, because kidnapping is WAY sexier for BDSM purposes (damn you, Amazon, with your sudden but inevitable book title rules) and fits more with the fantasy of being made to do something you don’t want to do. A rescuer is less likely to push your limits. An example of a rescue which led to a more hardcore relationship can be found in the first book of my sci-fi spanking romance series, Her Daddy and Her Master.

Marriage of convenience: There are External Reasons (TM) why a heroine needs to marry a hero. It’s a very popular trope for historical romance or western (historical) romance, and historical spanking romance is no exception. It’s especially good where consent is dubious, because the institution of marriage (TM) implies some sort of relationship between the two main characters. Obviously, the main snag with this type of story is that you know they’re getting a HEA whether they like it or not… but then again, that’s not really a snag, is it? A good example of a marriage of convenience can be found in Amelia Smarts’ Handling Susannah.

Of course, this is all for spanking erotic romance, not for erotica, which has a different set of tropes and where, generally speaking, anything goes (as long as Amazon permits it), heroes don’t have to be likeable and ever afters don’t have to be happy. There are other tropes, as well, but these ones come up very often in spanking erotic romance. Which is your favourite?

Lots of Love,
Katie xxxx

*To clarify my own point of view on the whole “kidnapped” trope: Mmmm… kidnapped… [Homer Simpson gurgle]. I mean… not in real life,** but in a story it’s HOT AS FUCK when someone gets this one right. Especially because it so naturally lends itself to the hate at first sight trope.

**Unless you’re The Doctor, and even then, Colin Baker can fuck right back off to Gallifrey with Matt Smith, but Tom Baker will find me hiding in his pocket under a bag of Jelly Babies. An interstellar PhD will get you nowhere with me if you’re an asshat. Confused? Here’s a list of people who played The Doctor from Doctor Who. Does anyone know if there’s a spanking erotica fanfic version of the episode The Five Doctors? Because OMFG that should be a thing… OK, maybe I’m getting distracted here…AHEM.

Articles in this series:
Spanking writing prompts
Erotic romance: Where should the story begin?
The main spanking scenarios for spanking erotic romance writers
Erotica words for spanking and anal sex writers in BDSM erotic romance
Naming the characters in your BDSM erotic romance
How to make a Twitter advert for erotic romance authors
How to make your erotica or erotic romance advert shine!

Erotic romance: Where should the story begin?

Today, I’m going to talk about where to start a story in romance writing, and then I’m going to look more specifically at where the story should begin in erotic romance, using some very well known examples from across the literary spectrum. All the links on this page will take you to Amazon, where you can use the “Search Inside” function to read the opening paragraphs of each book for yourself.

When J.K. Rowling first submitted Harry Potter to a literary agent, she was told to cut the first two chapters and start with chapter three. I guess we shall never know what those first two chapters would have been about, but I would imagine they were a detailed description of the night Harry got his scar. The first chapter of Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone (aka Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone) is unusual for a number of reasons I’ll discuss in a future article. For now, we are looking at how stories start.

The first chapter of Harry Potter, in case you don’t know, follows Vernon Dursley around as he overtly has a very normal and boring day, and it’s tempting to think that means it’s okay to start a story with a normal, boring day, but underneath the surface of chapter one, there is a lot going on; Vernon notices strange occurrences because wizards are celebrating the defeat of Voldemort. Tension pulls us through the chapter as Vernon gets increasingly frustrated by all the things that clash with his values as the day goes on, highlighting just how important it is for him to feel normal. This shows us just how badly it’s going to go, when a wizard dumps a baby on his doorstep with a note saying, “sorry, your crazy sister in law is dead. Have a baby.”

Harry Potter, of course, is not a romance, and it’s certainly not an erotic romance, but it is a good benchmark because it’s the best selling series of all time (the best selling book of all time, I believe, is the Bible).

Regardless of your religious views, the Bible is an excellent example of where to start your story. Genesis, the first book of the Old Testament, opens with, “In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light.” We didn’t get three chapters about how lonely God was, or how bored he was, how he went about his normal day in his usual existence, or how he had yearned to create a universe of his very own… we really don’t know anything about what God was like before he created the universe, and while I’m sure some fiction writers have written books about that, I’m not sure I’d want to speculate.

In a Victorian example which is closer to modern romance than the previous examples, Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott, begins with a conversation between four young ladies. The opening line is, “‘Christmas won’t be Christmas without any presents,’ grumbled Jo, lying on the rug.” Immediately, we know the time of year is probably near Christmas, and we want to know why there won’t be any presents.

The fact of the matter is, you can go back in time as far as you like, and choose anything from any genre, but all good books start with something happening. This is contrary to what some people advise for romance, however. I’ve read articles that say you should start with the heroine and hero’s normal lives before they meet one another. YAWN! No-one cares! Maybe in the 1990’s this was still good advice. Examples of bestselling books published in the 1990s are Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander, and Barbara Taylor Bradford’s A Woman Of Substance. Both books start with the heroine’s normal life… or do they?

Let’s look in more detail at the beginnings of both books. Outlander doesn’t begin with Claire (the heroine) sitting at home packing to go to Scotland. Nor does it start with her getting on a train with her husband. It starts with her already in Scotland. Something has already happened; she’s already left her normal life and gone to Scotland on holiday. It’s a very long book; I’d guess over 300,000 words, looking at the thickness of my copy, and yet, it doesn’t begin with reams of information about the heroine. It starts with her doing something, and information is interspersed, trickle-fed to readers between things happening, so they don’t get bored.

A Woman Of Substance is a bit less fast-paced. It starts with Emma (the heroine) getting her brother and father ready for work, before she makes the journey to her own place of work. It’s a historical novel set in Edwardian times, but Barbara Taylor Bradford doesn’t get bogged down in the minutiae. We get enough information in the opening to know that Emma is working class, that she works at a grand house, that she has to struggle in her daily life, and that she is contemptuous of the upper class people she works for. The opening isn’t mindless activity for the sake of setting a scene, so much as showing the character through the scene. Even the conversation she has with her brother about buttering bread has a point behind it.

Both these books were published before the internet was a common distraction, before everyone had mobile phones, when more people still browsed bookshelves and read magazines. Both books were bestsellers and both were adapted for television. More importantly, both these books were published before the Amazon “search inside” preview and online blurb basically determined whether anyone bought the book or not.

Things have changed. Outlander is still in print. A Woman of Substance is now out of print in the UK, and it’s not selling very well in the US, either. You can’t even buy it in the Kindle format. Why isn’t it selling so good these days? A Woman of Substance has a strong beginning but it’s not fast paced enough to keep up with the demands of the modern reader.

In a modern romance then, the story will generally start where: 1. Something has changed in the heroine’s life. 2. That something should then propel the heroine toward the hero.

In erotic romance, you have the added element that readers are expecting sexual tension. Quality in this genre is often uncertain, because unscrupulous publishers have put out a lot of books that aren’t very good, so now readers are more hesitant to buy erotic romance books. They need to know, from the outset, whether this book is going to deliver.

A good example of how to start an erotic romance is the number one bestseller Claimed by Her Mates by Grace Goodwin. It starts with the heroine, Leah, experiencing a four-way. There is virtually no information about her looks, her backstory, or any of that stuff; Grace just dives right into the heart of the action and we learn so much more about Leah’s character from this. We learn that she is submissive, that she likes strong, dominant men, and that she might have fantasized about being dominated but had never actually experienced it until now. In fact, the whole Interstellar Brides series is full of perfect examples of how to begin an erotic romance story.

My advice is to start the book with a big, interesting event that will show the reader what to expect. The first few paragraphs have a lot of information to subtly convey to the reader; when is the story taking place? Where? Who is the heroine? What is she like and what is she doing? How does she meet the hero? And hopefully, when all these questions are answered, they will answer the biggest question every reader has: Why should I read this book?

Lots of love,
Katie xxxx

Articles in this series:
Spanking writing prompts
Erotic romance: Where should the story begin?
The main spanking scenarios for spanking erotic romance writers
Erotica words for spanking and anal sex writers in BDSM erotic romance
Naming the characters in your BDSM erotic romance
How to make a Twitter advert for erotic romance authors
How to make your erotica or erotic romance advert shine!