To Love or Not to Love

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To Love or Not to Love

There has been much debate over the years as to what the differences are between all the levels of romance stories. For the purpose of Three Flames Publishing books, here’s our take.

Non-Romance (NoRo) ~ Pretty self-explanatory, right? The story could be an Adventure, Horror, Mystery, Sci-Fi, Suspense, Urban Fantasy, Women’s Fiction, etc. The story is about the journey and what’s happening to and around the characters. There might even be varying levels of sex in the book (gasp!), but the focus of the book isn’t on the couple and the relationship. There might be a happy ending or there might not. Note: A NoRo can be Erotic due to the heat level, but that doesn’t mean there’s romance in it just because the word erotic is attached.

Romantic Elements (RoEl) ~ Now, this one can be tricky at times. The story is a combination of NoRo and Ro. It’s about the journey of what’s going on and also has a focus on the couple (or people) involved in a romantic relationship. Depending upon the nature of the romantic relationship in the book, the story could read as a romance, but because it doesn’t fully focus on the relationship, it technically can’t be a romance, regardless of the ending.

Romance (Ro) ~ The story is about the couple and their journey from the meet up to the tension to the intimacy, resolving in a Happily Ever After (HEA) ending. There can be different heat levels ranging from those labeled inspirational and sweet where you don’t see the sex (closed door) to “fanning self” sexual tension and eventual satisfaction. No matter if it’s closed door or open door, straight romances tend not to be too kinky, they keep the sex scenes fairly traditional with censored language and descriptions. Focuses more on the emotional journey between people and the HEA. Usually they’re one flame to two flame heat ratings, with sometimes “kissing” aspects of the third level.

Erotic Romance (Ro) ~ It’s a romance with the heat level kicked up a few notches. It’s open door “come on in and see what’s going on” sex. There’s more explicit detail and language in the description and use of titillating words (i.e.: cock and pussy). Sexual activity can include aspects considered kinky or outside of the “standard missionary” and may venture into what some consider the taboo. Since it’s Ro, there’ll be an HEA. Usually they’re 3 flame to 5 flame heat levels.

Erotica (CA) ~ It’s a NoRo, but it’s about the person/couple/persons and has language and activities like an erotic Ro. In a CA an HEA is not required. The relationship is based off of the sexual exploration/journey not the emotional one (encounters lead to sex but have no consequences except for sexual fulfillment) so it can end any ol’ way.

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