I Swear, syndicated from @readaliciarenee

The following is syndicated from aliciareneekline.com and is posted here with permission.

I’ve seen a lot of mentions concerning “clean reads” lately.  Maybe it’s a new fad or a vocal group of people who are rebelling against society’s post –  Fifty Shades  opinion of what is acceptable in a mainstream work of fiction and what crosses the line.  Whatever the case, one of the most widely discussed genres involved is romance.

Cover links to Amazon.com
I’ve already discussed how I don’t write erotica.  I write romance.  To me, there’s a distinction between describing everything and using innuendo.  Personally, I think my stuff is relatively tame.  In my upcoming release, I push the envelope more than ever, but I still don’t think it’s that graphic.  Ultimately, that’s up to the reader to decide.

So I was really interested in determining where my books were on the level of “cleanliness”.  I learned that there are three general categories of clean:  the first one where the parties involved never talk about relations and basically never even touch, the second where individuals kiss passionately but stop right there and the last category where things are hinted at, innuendo is used and during the actual deed, things fade to black.  Just when I thought I might actually fit into the latter category, I read the caveat:  bad words can be used, but never the f-word.

At that moment, I realized that I will never, ever, write a “clean read”.

It’s not that my novels are profanity laced, but I do curse.  And I do use the f-bomb when I feel it’s appropriate.  Why?  It’s not for shock value; it’s because a large portion of people ages 23-30 use that word in everyday language.  The majority of my characters happen to fit into that age range.  When they are upset, it just doesn’t feel right to have them exclaim “Gee whiz!” and move on with things.  It feels organic for them to drop the mother of all swear words.

To be honest with you, the first couple of times that I typed that word (or a form of it), I kind of cringed.  I was even surprised that spell check recognized it.  But I was emboldened by the fact that several authors I respect use that word in their novels.  Their paving the way made me think maybe it was okay for me to do it, too.

Cover links to Amazon.com
I’m not a prudish person.  I’ve spent years in the banking and insurance industries and trust me, some of my coworkers have cursed like sailors.  I’ve been known to mutter things under my breath when things don’t go my way.  But to see it written down for posterity is something different.

I brought my mixed feelings about swearing in my books up with one of my beta readers.  This lady happens to have children around my age.  She assured me that my books were mild and that I shouldn’t be concerned.  With her approval and feedback from my aunt – who devoured book one and never even mentioned the cursing – I began to feel better about my decision.

So, no, my books won’t appeal to those that are looking for a clean read.  That’s okay.  In my humble opinion, you have to risk offending people in order to be successful.  It’s a free country; you should read what you want to.  I’ll continue to write what I want as well.  Then we can all be happy.

And for those keeping score, my latest work in progress lost its ability to be labeled a clean read in the very first chapter.