Earlier this year I challenged myself to write for 100 days, with a goal to finish 3 short novels. I picked erotic romance, mostly because my editor suggested that’s what my work really was.

Turns out she was very wrong. Erotic romance is romance where the sexual relationship between the main characters drives the story. You can think of it as a story where the ‘naughty bits’ or ‘spicy scenes’ are the plot instead of being a way to move the plot forward.  I’m used to the mystery pulling the story along while the romance (bedroom scenes and all) are more of a second plot line. Turns out erotica is much harder to write than I thought.

I finished one novella (37k words), abandoned a second (11k words), and got better traction on a third (24k words). The finished novella is a lot of fun, but editing erotic romance comes with its own challenges. I can’t send it off to my usual editors and I don’t have a list of  beta readers for erotica. Thankfully, stories tend to get better with age, so I’m sure when I get back to those they’ll be better for the break.

As penance for the arrogance of my challenge (did I really think I could pull off 6 new finished stories in a genre I’ve never practiced? Oh past-Rachel you were so adorably ignorant) I’ve buried myself in the administrative and business side of things. I’m delighted to say that I’ve got some great cover art finished for the novels I hope to self-publish by the end of the year, and I had two sessions accepted to Moonlight and Magnolias, a great writing conference held in Atlanta each October.

My next trick (I hope) will be to set some goals and getting my writing life back to balance. Shifting from a required creative session every day to the not-so-creative parts of writing threw me for a loop. I’m craving a new routine, something more comfortable and less driven, but that somehow (magically) produces more accomplishments. Wish me luck!