How Much Heat In A Romance?

ScarlettWestAuthor Interviews/Guest Blogs, Heart to Heart, In the Spotlight0 Comments

New York Times Bestselling, Urban Fantasy Author C.J. Ellisson recently removed graphic sex scenes from her novels. I found out through subscribing to her newsletter. It would have made a great blog post.

When I began writing my Paranormal Romance series, House of the Black Swan, I asked myself what level of heat I wanted in my own books. I asked other authors and read blogs about readers’ opinions to find out what worked for them. I heard this advice: write what you like to read because there are readers who enjoy all heat levels for the genre paranormal romance, but what about it’s bookish cousin Urban Fantasy? What rules apply to that genre?

I would like to hear directly from readers what they think about heat levels in paranormal romance and urban fantasy books. Maybe one day I’ll have more readers on my blog and on Facebook contact me and let me know, but for now I’m content to ask the question.

One way of knowing is by voting with our money. Another way is whether or not we buy or continue to buy books from an author, but how else can we as authors know?

Urban Fantasy

Recently I read one of the best newsletters by Ellisson, when she wrote about removing sex scenes from her series, VV Inn. I heard the brakes screeching in my mind because I personally love sex scenes in romance novels and find them to be an integral part of the story. 

Of course, me being me, I had to find out why she made that decision.

Two of Ellison’s main points were:

  • She felt some readers dislike very hot sex scenes in urban fantasy books.
  • Some book events didn’t invite her to sell or present books.

That’s why I appreciated her newsletter so much because it was honest but not only that, Ellison generated important discussion about her genre, and for me, by extension, about mine, PNR.

I also respect her opinion about her writing and that makes me want to read her novels because she sticks to what’s true for her. Lucky for me I got a free version of the original Vampire Vacation!

Paranormal Romance Genre

As a reader, what sort of heat level do you like or expect in a PNR novel?  My first couple of paranormal romance novels were Dark Lover by JR Ward and Honeymoon Bite by Sharon Hamilton. They had very sexy scenes in them which fit their books, plots, and characters. I liked them and felt they belonged. 

Also, the central theme, genre, and plot arc was romance focused, and the same is true for my own novels. Those love scenes which furthered the plot made total sense. And I keep it that way in my own writing because I respect that in an author, a story, and it fits with what I’m writing. Also, I love a happily ever after, HEA.

Please note: There are a variety of writings, books, and genres which have different kinds of sex scenes and heat levels. Each have a place and purpose why the author includes their kind of scenes in all sorts of romance and erotica. I respect the authors and genres but am specifying the kind of scenes I will create in my vampire series. I am making this note because I want readers and authors to know I am defining what makes sense to me at this time, but there’s room and a need for everyone! So please keep that in mind.

What do you think about Ellisson’s comments? What heat level do you like in urban fantasy novels? How about paranormal romance?

Scroll below to get a hold of her links!! Vampire Vacation is the first one coming back with out the scenes and she’s going to put them on sale.

Another note: Ellisson has inspired me in two ways: push myself to make my books better before releasing them and work harder on my newsletters. She keeps it real and that is not only inspiring, but she deserves my respect. And that my friends, is one reason I am going to read her books.

Another way she inspired me to be myself is how I write my books. They are based in Latvia, a country not many people know about, but which I chose because my grandmother was from there. Also, I liked that originally the European vampires were from the East, like Dracula. Another reason is because I weave some Latvian folklore and herbal information into the story.

I struggled with adding in that info because I also thought not many readers would enjoy it or would think it as weird. In the end, I like Ellisson, chose to be myself. I haven’t published yet, but when I do, I hope my choice is good one!

If you love paranormal romance, my upcoming series, the House of the Black Swan, features vampires. If my novels sound interesting to you, please sign up for my newsletter, Scarlett West’s Pulse, so you can be the first to know when they will be released! Also, always feel free to swing by Facebook and Twitter and say hello.

Warm Regards,

Scarlett West

C.J. Ellison’s Facebook Page:

C.J. Ellison’s Original Post on the subject:

C.J. Ellison’s Author Website:

C.J. Ellison’s Amazon Author Website:



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