11. November 2012 · 3 comments · Categories: Blog


Tag….That’s Not What I Wanted

I still remember the first romance I ever read – Fifteen by Beverly Cleary. To this day, I can grab hold of the young girl’s wonder of first love and feel good. As I matured, Beverly Cleary changed into Harlequin romances and to the more racy novels of Jackie Collins.

However I lost interest for many years, until I found my first African American romance. A heroine like me! I was interested again and discovered everything from contemporary to historical to paranormal romances all featuring culturally diverse heroes and heroines. Yay, for romance readers!  I was so excited that I actually started writing and publishing romances.

I’ve learned a lot in my first year as a published author, but there are a number of things outside of writing which pose challenges to me.  One of the biggest is finding the exact term for what I write.

The main genre of contemporary romance is easy. My stories are set after World War II making them contemporary.  My sub-genre of interracial romance was also easy to categorize. To date my heroines have been African American females and my heroes have been White males.

Then there is a heat level to consider. I don’t write “sweet” romances. There is no closed door when it comes to passionate scenes in my stories. But what is the next level?

According to Passionate Ink’s, a special interest chapter of Romance Writer’s of America, co-founder Sylvia Day provides the following heat levels for romances:

*Erotic Romance: stories written about the development of a romantic relationship through sexual interaction. The sex is an inherent part of the story, character growth, and relationship development, and couldn’t be removed without damaging the storyline. Happily Ever After is a REQUIREMENT to be an erotic romance.


*Sexy Romance: stories written about the development of a romantic relationship that just happen to have more explicit sex. The sex is not an inherent part of the story, character growth, or relationship development, and it could easily be removed or “toned down” without damaging the storyline. Happily Ever After is a REQUIREMENT as this is basically a standard romance with hotter sex.


(*Taken from the Passionate Ink’s website at http://www.passionateink.org/faq/)


In my mind, my writing falls into the category of Sexy Romance. I could tone down the language and the story would remain the same. But there are readers out there who think I’ve gone too far and those who feel that I haven’t gone far enough for their tastes. So as a writer, how should I tag my books properly so that readers get the book they want to read? As a reader, how do you find the books that fit your tastes?


As a special gift to a random commentator answering one of these questions by November 13, 2012 I’m giving away an electronic copy of Music for Her Soul, my latest release from Amira Press. Remember to leave your email so I can connect with you!




This new author is a color inside the lines Human Resources professional living in the Dallas / Fort Worth metroplex by day. After her family consisting of a husband of almost twenty years, three kids and two dogs have filled her evenings with laughter, she sits down to her laptop to write tales of the first moments of falling in love when nothing else seems to matter.

As a fortieth birthday present to herself, she decided to share her stories. Vallory Vance is the pen name she uses to write contemporary romances that range from sweet to spicy. You can find her most days on the Vallory V ~ A Romance Author Blog.


Music for Her Soul Summary

Lena Spencer is a practical woman whose world is carefully ordered by schedules and timelines and she doesn’t like surprises. So when she receives a call from a beautiful model detailing an affair with her boyfriend, her world is thrown into chaos. With the help of her boisterous sister and niece, Lena manages to pick up the pieces and resume her role as a single working mom with the added bonus of a few slinky dresses to show off the figure she’d always hidden.  Feeling sexy and confident, she is almost prepared for Ethan’s return from a European tour. Almost.

Musician, Ethan Holden, realized too late that he’d miscalculated the level of Lena’s fury. A ten month tour through Europe and a crazed fan had proven too much for the both of them. Returning to his hometown, he is determined to win her back despite her resistance. But can he give up the music he loves if that’s the only thing she wants?

Available from Amazon.com as a Kindle Edition

Available from Barnes and Noble as a Nook Book

Available from Amira Press in Multiple Formats

To find other works by Vallory Vance visit her Smashwords’ Author Page


Connect with Vallory Vance online at:

Vallory V ~ A Romance Author Blog: http://valloryv.wordpress.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ValloryVance



  1. Vallory, You have hit on a subject that has had me wondering how to tag my stories. Finally, I found myself changing my genre from Romance to crime stories, hoaxes, betrayal and revenge because I was told that in order for it to be a romance story, it must end happily ever after or happily for now, which they do not, even though my stories have romance, sex, erotica, etc.

    I really can’t recommend how to tag your books, but I go by the following philosophy, “You will never please everybody, and if you do, you will die trying.” 🙂

    Neverthess, your article was great, and if you need more inspiration or advice, just email me at hmcsromanceinternational@juno.com

  2. Vivienne, thank you for stopping by. You are always so helpful! ~ Val

  3. It is very interesting, indeed. I’ve noticed that the UK tags are different from the US, further complicating the process.

    Thank you both for your comments.

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