Monday, April 2, 2012

Guest Blogger: Giselle Renarde

Good morning, all! I have a guest blogger today. Giselle Renarde is here with her brand (spanking) new release Nanny State. Woohoo!

I'm happy to have a fellow Excessican here, so without further running off of my mouth, away we go...

What is Smut? (Baby Don't Hurt Me)

Are we all having mid-90's SNL flashbacks now?  Should I sing a few bars?  And dance?  Maybe Sommer will join me (or not).

First off, thanks to Sommer for letting me crash her blog to talk about smut and my new release, Nanny State--a kinktacular lesbian sextravaganza.

If you ask me, Nanny State is SMUT with a capital S (and M... and U and T).  It's a story driven by some of the kinkiest sex I've ever written, and some of the most intense discipline.  It's a story built around sex and control, a stern landlady introducing university-aged Summer to extreme kink.  It's deliciously dirty, start to finish.  To me, that's smut, and I rejoice in this label I've adhered to my yummy little book.

But one night I happened to refer to Nanny State as "smut" in front of my girlfriend, and she was taken aback.  My Sweet happens to be a grammar geek and editor extraordinaire, so she helped me shape Nanny State into its current and final form.

"Nanny State isn't smut!" she said. "It's fun and (something) and delightful!"  *I say (something) because I know there was a word in the middle of that statement, but I can't for the life of me remember what it was.  This is what happens when I don't write things down.

Anyway, I put up a counter-argument.  I said sure Nanny State was smut. There's sex in every chapter of this book, and the sex is what drives the narrative forward like a locomotive engine.  To me, that's smut.

Sweet disagreed.  When she thinks smut, she imagines poorly-written wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am drivel.  "There's a lot of sweet stuff in Nanny State.  There's strong characterization.  That's not smut."

This is sounding a whole lot like the recent "erotica versus erotic romance" debate that became instantly relevant when All Romance ebooks split its shelves between those two categories, giving moral primacy to a very specific sort of story line narrowly delineated by the progression of a love relationship and its culmination in the promise of a future together. 

Strangely enough, by those standards, Nanny State fits the "erotic romance" category.  Well, if you ignore the fact that there are ultimately 3 women who form this "happy couple" and one of them takes on a very maternal role over the other two. And the fact that the budding relationship between Summer and university peer Kira begins when Summer offers Kira money in exchange for sex. 

You'd never see it in the beginning, but a strong love develops between all three women in this book.  The love comes via sex, discipline, control, rebellion, age play, and ultimately abandoning ego concerns to give oneself over to another.

I'm pretty sure every author will tell you every so often they write a book that seems to come out of nowhere.  They didn't plan it, it was way out of their comfort zone, but at the same time it seemed to write itself.  Nanny State was one of those books.  I'm a pretty prolific author, but this book got me excited.  I remember sitting here writing 3 words and then bouncing in my chair, clapping my hands, and saying, "Oh my god, that's so hot!"

And, to me, that's smut.  It was so hot, so dirty, so beyond my own kink zone (especially the extreme age play--Summer and Kira even dress up as babies and suckle Nanny's breasts) and yet so fascinating that it got me excited.

My sense is that "smut" is a word we erotica authors are beginning to reclaim. Not all, but some, and that's always how it starts out.  My Sweet is "of a different generation" (that's my polite way of calling her an old lady LOL) and we often come up against linguistic comfort zone differences.  For instance, I identify as queer, whereas she cringes when she hears the word, because of its connotations prior to being reclaimed.

What is SMUT these days?  Is the word well on its way to being reclaimed, or does it still spell CRAP in most people's minds?  Does love, or even a story line, preclude a book from being categorized as smut?  Or is smut just code for hot sex in any context?

What do we think, people? 

Giselle Renarde
Canada just got hotter!
Giselle Renarde is smutifying the world one story at a time.  Her latest release is Nanny State:

When Summer moves in with her mother’s friend, she expects to be treated like an adult.  Fat chance!  Victoria exerts control over every aspect of her life, protectively setting parental controls on the television and demanding Summer come straight home after her university classes.
Everything changes the day Victoria catches Summer watching some very kinky lesbian porn.  The landlady soon becomes the ‘Nanny’, coaxing Summer into the big bed for play time.
The unlikely couple embarks upon a series of naughty adventures, from suckling to discipline to diapers.  But what happens when Summer wants to include a girl her own age?  Will Nanny punish the wayward girl or accept another charge into their uncommon household?
Warnings: This title contains graphic descriptions of lesbian sex and threesomes, age play, spankings, discipline, domination, and other fetish activities that may be considered objectionable to some readers. 

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  1. I do like the term "smut" but it does get tricky. In fact, if I am doing a bunch of plotty, non-sex things then it can be misleading. That's not what you thought you were getting! If sex drives the plot, then that makes it erotica, right? But not necessarily smut if there's still not a LOT of it. If there's sex in every chapter (or every other, or whatever) then yeah, I think that qualifies as smut. If it's also well written and with good characterization, etc, then I think that makes it good smut :)

  2. Thanks for hosting me, Sommer, and thanks for commenting, Skye, and thanks for reading, everyone!

  3. Thanks for coming, Giselle :)

    To me smut is something that does not insist on elevating itself to 'literature' but runs the gamut from fun and humorous to refined and intense. It can be anything, I guess. I actually think it depends more on the writer than the reader. I consider what I write smut, but many readers would disagree.

    It's zombies to cheating to heartbreak to great love stories. It's all about the mindset of the writer (t me).


  4. TO me ;) is what I meant to say.


What sayest thou?