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Apparently EC are looking to change things up a bit by launching two new lines.

EC is launching two new Lines (genres) of Romantica at Ellora’s Cave!
*Gen-Edge
*Branded

These are targeted at specific niche markets, to expand our readership to women who might not be current customers, or who may be looking for something not reflected in our existing story types.

The first line is aimed at girls between 18-25 years of age:

GEN-EDGE

Audience: 18- to 25-year-old modern women who would enjoy reading sexually explicit erotic romance stories about heroines with whom they can identify.

Length: Any of our length categories (so 10K to about 125K)

Tone and Style: The books will have a strong narrative voice. Dialogue and narrative will be very reflective of the target audience’s world.

Heroines: Must be in the 18-25 range, with behavior and attitude to match. The heroine should reflect the lifestyles and values of today’s modern young woman. These will not be like our existing stories that happen to have a heroine in that age range. The style will be very different.

Hero: The hero doesn’t have to fit into the same age range. He may indeed be of age similar to the heroine, part of her peer group. But we would also accept stories of young women involved with older men.

Character Traits: Heroines are more sexually aggressive and less worried about what people think of them. Sexual fluidity (manifesting in various ways, metrosexual men, bisexual heroes/heroines, acceptance of GLBT culture, lesbian flirtation) is more common, almost expected.

Younger characters tend to be politically aware, socially liberal, and accepting of differences. Their job is probably just a job, not a major commitment or the most important thing in their life. Career paths aren’t part of their life plans yet. Self-employment and entrepreneurship may be their goals.

Technology is a big part of their lives, cell phones, laptops, everything online.

The language should be current and characters will have very casual speech patterns, often sarcastic.

In addition to being open to submissions from existing EC authors, we will be looking to recruit new, young authors to write for this line, who have an authentic voice for this age range.

I’m really uncomfortable with the suggestion that women between the ages of 18-25 don’t care about their careers, and that career paths aren’t part of their life plans yet. At eighteen years old, perhaps that’s true, but at twenty-five? My sister is 24, and she’s been a teacher for nearly two years now, and her career is everything to her, and quite frankly, that’s the way I like it.

I’d also mention that in most romance books, the heroine’s careers are almost non-existent anyway, so this isn’t really anything new. I think the only reason they have jobs in the first place is to keep them from looking like total deadbeats.

There was a point a few years ago, when every heroine seemed to be a florist for fuck’s sake. Not that there’s anything wrong with floristry, but it certainly seems lightweight in comparison to being involved in the business world, or being a surgeon, dontcha think?

I would say that the traditional romance reader isn’t interested in having a heroine who is overly ambitious, and married to her job, which as a borderline feminist annoys me a tad. It’s perfectly fine for the hero to be a bazillionaire business man, who’s ruthless and overwhelmingly competitive, but those same traits in a woman would be a complete no-no for Jane Average Reader, and I think this is a sad indictment on romance readers in general, and says a lot about how we seem to want to stay in the dark ages when it comes to how we want our heroines to be portrayed. This may be one of the reasons why historicals are so bloody popular.

The second line that EC want to launch seems to be erotic inspirational romance. Check this out:

BRANDED

Audience: This line is for women of any age who would, or perhaps already do, enjoy EC Romantic, but who may feel guilty about that enjoyment because of a conflict with their personal belief that sex should not occur before or outside of marriage.

Length: Any of our length categories (so 10K to about 125K)

Setting: The culture must involve a legal and binding public commitment ceremony between the two people that includes the intent of permanence (“’til death do us part”) and monogamy.

Sexual Content: These are indeed erotic, but the actual sex does not occur until after marriage. The stories should be the same graphic level of sexual description and sexual language as EC’s existing lines. The only difference from other lines is that the relationship must be monogamous and heterosexual, and penetrative sex cannot occur until after marriage.

Before marriage, there should be a strong focus on the buildup of sexual tension; heavy petting, even leading to orgasm, is fine. The stories can include most of our other sexual elements, such as bdsm, anal, kink, toys. After marriage, anything goes!

It could be the heroine, hero, or both who have a personal belief in no sex before marriage. The character’s personal belief may be based on various factors, might include because it is a part of their religion with which they agree. But these are not religious stories; the character motivations or actions don’t focus on religion. The decision to wait for sex is a personal choice of the characters and should in no way imply a judgment that other people are wrong or “bad” for making different choices.

The characters do not have to be virgins, although it is fine if one or both are. But it also works if there were prior marriages, previous sexual experience, even previous sexual promiscuity. That could, in fact, play into the woman’s or man’s decision now to wait on the sex until after a legal commitment.

So deffo erotic inspy romance right?

Rumour has it that they were going to announce this new line a week ago, but one of the main editors wanted to add more religion, and not everybody agreed.

It’ll be interesting to see how well both lines fare.

What do you guys think? Does either line tickle your interest?

Thanks to you-know-who for the heads up.

28 Comments »


  • Edie
    March 28
    10:18 am

    It could be interesting to see the results of the EC call out for those two lines. I would be interested in the first, it could be interesting to have a 18-25 yr old character who doesn’t act like they are actually 40.

    re the florists, I think they were fairly evenly met by teacher heroines??
    God forbid a heroine have a job that could possibly put her on an equal footing with the hero, with no need to be rescued… or maybe it is just that career women may not be able to immediately start popping out the required romland kidlets.

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  • Actually, I’m interested in the Gen-Edge line because well, that’s me. I don’t have a job that is a “career,” and the majority of my friends don’t either (a lot are either entering college after a hiatus, having fun jobs like club promoting, or are entering graduate school). Not to mention that in this economy, most people in that age group aren’t living the lives their parents or the generation after theirs lived (you know…attend college, graduate at 22, enter the workforce, get married, have children, retire at 65 with a pension). I for one would like read about h/h’s who live in the Now and don’t have everything together financially and career-wise.

    I see EC’s new line as an attempt to produce romance novels that reflect what life is really like for people between the ages of 18 and 25 in the US. Maybe we’ll see that auto mechanic at Wal-Mart who wants to open their own shop some day, or that first-generation college student who has a baby at home, rather than 20-something h/h’s whose educational experience is advanced and went smoothly (graduated in four years! Definitely NOT happening these days), and whose careers are written as way past the dreaming and/or start-up phase.

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  • Sparkindarkness
    March 28
    12:34 pm

    I’m with young on the career thing – 25 no career thinking? And not carreer focused like heroines in other romance? Theyt’re career focused? REALLY? In too many the job exists as one of the things their Rich Sexy Millionaire will save them from

    And erotica for the guilt laden? I’m trying not to snicker at this because everyone’s entitled to their beliefs but it does strike me as a little… contrived

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  • I like the idea of the gen edge books for many of the reasons stated by Angela. And while Branded is just a bad name (but hey, I’m not a fan of most of the other line names either) I don’t much mind the concept – but then I’m one of those folks who likes the idea of reading erotic romance about married people (as in reinventing a possibly flagging relationship and finding all the things they liked about each other to get married in the first place), so the concept of chaste pre marriage with all the action after isn’t a far stretch (although it’s not based on any personal belief system). But it really is in total opposition to every trope in romance… it will be a good thing, I think, if they can get it to sell.

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  • @Anne I think that ‘Branded’ is a terrible name. It seems terribly sexist, and it suggests female submission, which I hate with a passion.

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  • joannef
    March 28
    2:52 pm

    Honestly, I have more of a problem with the “Gen-Edge” genre than the “Branded” one. I’m foreseeing a whole lot of clunky wannabee slang a la the BDB and a wealth of “gamer” heroines to replace the florists. That thought makes me cringe. Plus the description of

    (you know…attend college, graduate at 22, enter the workforce, get married, have children, retire at 65 with a pension)

    never really existed……..at least in my world. As evidence, just look at how many more older folks have been filling up college classes for the past generation. In fact, most of the people I know with the “traditional” 4-year-and-out college experience are my 21 & 22-year old daughters and all of their friends. All of whom are stressing about and interviewing for internships so to help them with their careers when they finish school. I think that probably has more to do with my (and my friends) growing up at the lower end of the economic scale with non-college-educated parents than anything else. They just couldn’t afford that experience for us. Heck, I can’t afford it for my own kids, but I realize, much more than my own parents (WWII generation) did that college is more of a necessity than a luxury.

    As long as they don’t proselytize, bring religion into the storylines, or diss those with more liberal sexual attitudes I don’t care if they wait till they get married to get it on. Since it’s romantica anyway, I’m sure they’ll get married quickly or do pretty much everything except intercourse frequently until they say their vows. Just please, keep God out of erotic romance!

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  • How are those two “niches”. No really, I have read all of the above in their current line (I haven’t read their Exotika line, though, that one is erotica, not erotic romance and I don’t really read erotica). And I don’t think Branded has anything to do with “inspirationals” unless it had something to do with Christian values or the Christian faith in some way. Just because someone remains a virgin or celibate by choice, doesn’t mean that religious values are behind the decision. For some of us, it was what FELT right. Both my husband and I are in that category, and neither one of us follows our respective faiths (Catholic in my case and Jewish in his).

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  • Branded doesn’t strike me as inspirational, just prudish and heterosexist. It doesn’t have to be religious reasons that makes them wait.

    Although, as AnneD said, I like the idea of a married couple rediscovering each other.

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  • I love love love the inspirational line that says anal is fine just no front door sex before marriage.

    This isn’t your mother’s Christianity…LOL!!!!!

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  • Karen — About your comment regarding heroines’ careers. I wonder if that’s not a “write what you know” problem. Most writers’ day jobs may not be very interesting, leaving the writer with three choices: give the heroine the day job the writer herself is anxious to leave (e.g., claims processor at an insurance company = zzzzzzzzzzz), make the heroine a romance novelist, or give her a career she can easily research/imagine/make up. A florist’s job is easier to imagine than surgeon’s.

    I’ve had a bunch of dreadful day jobs (hearing testing in a flour mill was interesting…not) but I ended up a lawyer. There are a lot of lawyer-cum-novelists and some, like Julie James, have incorporated their knowledge of the practice of law into the heroine’s (and/or hero’s) career. I guess fewer surgeons become romance novelists.

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  • Karen — About your comment regarding heroines’ careers. I wonder if that’s not a “write what you know” problem.

    But surely, that’s the whole point of research?

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  • I wonder if that’s not a “write what you know” problem.

    Ouch. I don’t know which writers you know, but just skimming the RWA-PAN group, there are plenty of writers who are professionals (e.g. attorneys, doctors, engineers, business executives, etc.). However, some readers think certain realities are…well, unrealistic. Someone took exception when I had a heroine work 80 to 100 hours a week because that’s too unbelievable. Uh, could someone tell my boss that? (Of course, I could just be slow and therefore need more time than others.)

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  • @Anne I think that ‘Branded’ is a terrible name. It seems terribly sexist, and it suggests female submission, which I hate with a passion.

    Totally with you there. I am very much missing the logical link between faith and BRANDED! (with the assumption that there is supposed to BE a link, and not just as the reader above had suggested it was just simply a personal choice)

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  • “….but who may feel guilty about that enjoyment because of a conflict with their personal belief that sex should not occur before or outside of marriage.”

    Personal, sexual choices aside – ring-on-finger-sex or not, the idea of even mentioning ‘guilt’ concerns me. It harks back to an age when women were not supposed to be sexual beings. And ‘branded?’ Branded what? Branded ‘his’ once she has the ring?

    As for gen edge…if the average writing age for authors is say 35-40 then how ‘gen-edge’ is it going to be?

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  • Toni
    March 28
    9:16 pm

    I actually think the Gen-Edge line is just trying to tap into the actual research that has been done on that generational age group. EC is not trying to change the image, just profit from it.

    The group they are targeting is called Gen-Y or Millenials. There was a “60 Minutes” piece on them a while a go that discussed how they are not that career-focused, and they insist on their career fitting their lives instead of shaping their lives to fit their careers. They also tend to be very close to their parents, and don’t mind having a low-paying, flexible job and living at home. Of course, these are generalizations and I’m sure it’s easy to find many Millenials who don’t fit it, but most of the ones I know do.

    Wikipedia has an entry about them:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generation_Y

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  • Cindy
    March 28
    9:27 pm

    I’d actually be interested in both of these. My only hesitation about the Gen-Edge thing would be the book by another publisher that looked fun but was written in text speak/teen slang, made it feel like an erotic romance by a 12 year old and really got on my nerves. I couldn’t finish it, my friend couldn’t either. I didn’t even know what the heroine was saying half the time.

    That said, I can identify more with the florist/cashier etc. type then the high powered executive. Not that there’s anything wrong with them, it’s just hard to identify. And hopefully the heroes won’t be bazillionaires because honestly, I don’t relate to that either. I keep waiting for Harlequin to go back to ranchers/mechanics/blue-collar heroes. Also in this economy, I think the readers are going to be more this type of person than hitting the boardroom.

    As for Branded, I agree, horrible line name but I like the idea. And not even that I feel guilty for reading erotic romance, because I don’t, but the past few EC books I’ve attempted to read have felt like porn more than erotic romance. When I’m reading romance, I want monogamous…one man, one woman in the relationship. That’s what drew my attention more than the no sex before marriage.

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  • Laura
    March 28
    9:34 pm

    They might want to think about just attracting better authors for the lines they already have. I no longer buy EC unless it’s one of my autobuy authors, simply because I got tired of paying for poorly written crap.

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  • eggs
    March 28
    10:35 pm

    I agree with Cindy. The big selling point for Branded (for me) would be that I know it’s going to be an erotic romance between two people only. I could care less if they were married or not before they got it on, but I do like the guarantee that they will only be getting it on with each other. For me, that’s what romance is, the growth of love between two people.

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  • Cindy
    March 28
    10:39 pm

    It just struck me, the name Branded. I think it’s a nod to their own past, since when EC first started I believe one of the submission guidelines was monogamous relationships.

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  • I have to agree with others about the Millenials. It is quite common, at least in the US, and at least in this economy, for women in their early 20s, even those with college degrees, to be working non-career jobs, such as childcare or retail, or to be attending grad school (sometimes more to avoid the abysmal job market than due to real interest in their graduate field).

    And while I like monogamous erotic romance, I hardly think EC had invented or “branded” it! It may be new to EC, but it is not new to the genre. Also, agreed on the connotation of “branded”. Why couldn’t they have called it “Bonded” or something?

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  • Cindy
    March 29
    12:41 pm

    I didn’t mean they invented or branded it, more like a going back to their own original branding based on what they originally sold. I don’t like the line title of Branded either. But it’s not new to EC, that was what they originally sold…erotic romance based on monogamous relationships. And then menage and m/m swept threw as supposedly what everyone wanted and they changed.

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  • @RRRJessica Bonded would be a better name. Good call.

    I like the sound of both of these lines, actually. Most of the jobs I had at the “Gen-Edge” age were not career-path related.

    But these are not religious stories; the character motivations or actions don’t focus on religion

    Inspy? Not by my definition.

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  • [...] Karen Scott notes that EC is seeking submissions for two wildly different lines. One sounds like a Girls Gone Wild and the other sounds like Inspy Erotica. [...]



  • Marianne McA
    March 29
    11:34 pm

    ‘This line is for women of any age who would, or perhaps already do, enjoy EC Romantic, but who may feel guilty about that enjoyment because of a conflict with their personal belief that sex should not occur before or outside of marriage.

    The decision to wait for sex is a personal choice of the characters and should in no way imply a judgment that other people are wrong or “bad” for making different choices.’

    Don’t understand that. If you felt that you personally wanted to wait till your wedding night, but didn’t generalise that belief – felt it was okay for other people to have sex outside of marriage, why wouldn’t you be able to read the existing books?

    “I cannot read erotic romance, because the characters are not – shocked face – married!”
    “And you think that’s wrong?”
    “Not at all!”
    “But you can’t read them because…”
    “I subscribe to the heroine as placeholder theory, and cannot read any book where the protagonist doesn’t behave exactly as I would.”
    “Must limit your reading choices.”
    “Happily, I’m a boy wizard, complete with pet dragon, who solves murder mysteries whilst working on a horse ranch in London in 1815 where I’m to be found pining for my stalkerish vampire boyfriend. I manage…”

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  • I have two things to say: Pardon my French, but holy shit! And EC and religion in the same sentence seems like an oxymoron.
    I’m envisioning BDB meets Born Again.

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  • anoni
    March 30
    2:12 am

    Gen-Edge and Branded–To me those lines just seem…odd. I don’t know, I can’t wrap my head around either of them. They’re just too strange to me.

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  • DS
    March 30
    12:20 pm

    Branded– great, now I have the annoying theme song for a mid 60′s television show stuck in my head– *in a wobbly singing voice* “What do you do when you’re branded– but you know you’re a ma-a-n?”

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  • joannef
    March 30
    4:16 pm

    Branded– great, now I have the annoying theme song for a mid 60’s television show stuck in my head– *in a wobbly singing voice* “What do you do when you’re branded– but you know you’re a ma-a-n?”

    Uh oh! Now you’ve got the version we sang as kids stuck in my head:
    “Stranded, strapped to the toilet booowl. What do you do when you’re stranded – and you ain’t got a roooll?”

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