Thursday, February 27, 2014

The sexual journey: Exploring erotica with Kathy Kulig, Part I

Gutsy heroines and hunky heroes face the unexpected and overcome formidable odds, because with courage, true love can find a way…

Such are the steamy romances Kathy Kulig loves to read and the stories she loves to write. Her erotica has been published in print, e-books and anthologies. Today and tomorrow we are reprinting this popular 2010 interview with her to help us end sex week at the Blood-Red Pencil with a bang.

First, here's what's new with Kathy. She's an award-winning erotic romance author whose works include elements of BDSM and the paranormal. She has published several novels and novellas for Ellora's Cave. Her latest release, Summer Sins, is part of a series called Dark Odyssey. Besides her career in writing, she's a cytotechnologist and has worked as a research scientist, medical technologist, dive master and stringer for a newspaper. Kathy resides in eastern Pennsylvania with her husband.

Kathryn Craft: Define the difference between romance and erotica.

Kathy Kulig: There are actually three terms you should know:

A Romance is about two people falling in love and struggling to overcome obstacles to make the relationship work. The sex can be sweet (no more than a kiss) or quite explicit. There is always an emotionally satisfying ending—usually happily ever after.

Erotic Romance or Romantica® [a registered trademark of Ellora’s Cave, Kathy's publisher] is “any work of literature that is both romantic and sexually explicit in nature,” according to the Ellora’s Cave website. The sex scenes are described in graphic detail without using delicate euphemisms or purple prose. There’s a developing romantic relationship in the story with a committed or happily ever after or happily for now ending. The main difference between Romance and Erotic Romance is the number of love scenes and the verbiage.

Erotica focuses on a character’s sexual journey and adventure. It may contain a romance but it’s not the primary focus. And it doesn’t have to end with a committed relationship.

Kathryn: Tell us about your most recent book. How are you hoping the inclusion of erotic elements will engage the reader?

Kathy: Dragon Witch is a futuristic erotic romance novella released on September 15th as an ebook. Biologist and witch, Jaida Chel combines nature magick with herbal science to protect Kai, the last shapeshifting dragon on her world of Somerled. But when Captain Brayden Stokes reenters her life, not only is Kai’s life at stake, but so is Jaida’s secured position in the colony. Brayden and Jaida can’t resist the sexual heat between them, even though she knows a relationship would be doomed. Fleet pilots don’t stay planetside for long.

Jaida is torn between Brayden and her dragon and companion, Kai. When Kai morphs into a human twice a year, his sex drive is ravenous. He must mate for twenty-four hours or die. Unrestrained passion between Kai and Jaida temps Brayden into a forbidden encounter. The three cross boundaries, exploring eroticism beyond their imagination. When secrets and betrayals are revealed, Brayden must risk everything for one last chance at love.

I’m hoping the dynamics of an unusual love triangle and the emotional interaction between these characters will engage the reader in this erotic paranormal story. A woman is torn between two men she cares for. One man who is also a shapeshifting dragon depends of her for companionship and sex for his survival. The other man is in love with her but duty drags them apart when the fate of many lives is at stake.

Kathryn: Does eroticism alone sell the book, or must you pay attention to all the same aspects of craft that other writers must?

Kathy: Whatever genre you write in, compelling and sympathetic characters, well structured plots, and engaging dialogue are essential for good storytelling. Readers of erotic fiction don’t want to read books that are just a string of sex scenes. During sexual intimacy we are at our most vulnerable. Readers want to fall in love with the characters as the hero and heroine fall in love. Even in erotica where there may not be a romance in the story, there is a sexual journey for the character(s) and the reader wants to connect with these characters on an emotional level. The writer must keep this in mind when writing the sex scenes. It’s not all stage directions—tab A into slot B.

Join us tomorrow for the conclusion of this interview, when we ask Kathy how she researches the erotic situations her characters get into.

Until then you can visit Kathy Kulig at  or

Kathryn Craft
is a developmental editor at, an independent manuscript evaluation and line editing service, and the author of The Art of Falling, a novel by Sourcebooks. Her monthly series, "Turning Whine into Gold," appears at Writers in the StormConnect with Kathryn at her Facebook Author Page and Twitter.


  1. Very interesting. Thanks for the definitions of the three categories. That's the first time I've heard them defined.

  2. Thanks for this post, Kathryn. Like Helen, I did not know the specifics of the three categories and how they were defined.

    I am not a fan of erotica, but I agree that the story has to be well-written and the characters engaging. A little over ten years ago when I was reviewing e-books for ForeWord Magazine, I was sent an erotica novel to review that was compared to Anne Rice's work in the publicity material. It was so poorly written, that I had to pass on the review. It was one of those sex scenes strung together books that Kathy mentioned.

  3. Kathy I love the way you defined it! Great blog.

  4. Yes Maryann, I think that's how categories like erotica, and its readers, get a bad rap. As if you aren't intelligent because you like romance or sexual heat in your reading material. All writers need to aspire to be good writers, especially in today's market.

    You also raise an interesting point about independent editors, too--just because we do this for a living doesn't mean we'll take on anything! The independent editor is a whole new level at which your work could be rejected--either because the editor doesn't have enough love for that genre, or because your work is in too early a state to benefit from the editor's efforts. Your own revision efforts, including critique from advance readers or critique groups, should precede submission to an independent editor!

  5. TO ALL COMMENTERS: If you'd like to leave a question for Kathy, she will check in this evening.

  6. Hi Kathyrn, Thanks so much for having me as a guest. If anyone has a question, feel free to post here.

    Helen and Maryann, Thank you for your comments. I think many people get the definitions of erotica and erotic romance confused. Sometimes it's hard to tell where a story fits. Usually the author/editor has to look at the dominant theme.

    Hey Amber, Thanks for stopping by, sweetie.

  7. The triangle you've developed between, dragon-man, pilot and witch is intriguing. I felt sorry for the woman who must choose between two men who will ultimately leave her.
    The rest is interesting also of course.
    N. R. Williams, fantasy author

  8. Hi Kathryn, thanks for having me as a guest and reposting this interview. I am asked these questions a lot! ;)

    1. Welcome back to BRP, Kathy! Hey—for those who want more about Kathy's BDSM research, check out her great blog post on the topic:

  9. Having written erotic romance under the name Maryn Sinclair, one for Ellora's Cave, I agree with Kathy completely. The quality of writing should be no different than that of an novel, and the story should carry the same depth. As I like to say, my erotic romances are similar to the books I write under my own name, just with more, um, sex. Thanks for the informative blog, Kathy, and Kathryn for the interview.

    1. Thanks for visiting, Polly, and for your thoughts. I'll have to check out your books on EC. :)

  10. And Kathryn, thanks for wrapping up the month with a euphemism. ;) Welcome back, Kathy! I'm enjoying the repeat visit since in the interim, I started writing romance.

    1. Hi Dani, And thank you! Very cool about writing romance. I love reading all kinds of books but I like writing the ones with happy endings.

  11. I agree that the emotion of the characters is what drives any erotic romance. And let me say, I've read both DRAGON WITCH and SUMMER SINS and Kathy Kulig really digs deep into the characters. And the erotic part of these romances is blistering hot :-)

    1. Hey Cris, You're awesome! Thanks for the kind words. And love your books too. Always an auto-buy for me. :)


The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...