I want to talk about heat ratings.
This is something else that was brought up mainly due to an email I received from All Romance eBooks about the heat rating of Human Rights. When Kris uploaded it everywhere, she chose a heat rating a four. Four flames. I didn’t know this because I just let Kris do her job.
So, I got an email from ARe saying customer feedback made them think the flame rating was actually three flames. Now, I’ve been publishing on ARe for a number of years, and I’d never before received that sort of email. Several other titles have had heat ratings that differed quite a bit from the ‘Senusality Rating’ that customers can offer. To me, the heat rating and sensuality rating have always been different ratings in my mind, so I was surprised to see that ARe was using them interchangeably.
My issue with heat ratings—and why I absolutely hate them—is that they are utterly subjective. Why did Kris choose a four heating rating? A few reasons.
1. There are three full explicit sex scenes and one fade to black sex scene in 34,000 words.
2. There was a mix of gay sex and straight sex.
3. Most of those explicit sex scenes were between a human and a full-out anthro cat who was as anatomically correct as I could make him while keeping the scenes sexy.
4. There was a power inequality inherent in Jiat and Ewan’s relationship, and to me, that meant it had an air of dubious consent (though Ewan does consent, does want it, and understood fully what it meant, but the society presented a power inequality that might have rubbed some readers wrong).
In the end, we subjectively chose to rate it four flames based on our thoughts about the material. Now, readers vary in their reaction to books, and for some, four flames means some heavy duty, every other page sex scenes while for others, our rating was spot on. In the end, it’s subjective to every reader, and since I don’t even know how many readers contributed to that Sensuality Rating they disply, I can’t even say how big this pool is to draw from.
I replied telling them the four flame rating is what we feel is correct, and I gave some of my reasons. I just think this flame rating crap needs to be phased out. It’s not very helpful—and I’ve never been able to reliably count on the displayed heat rating at any retailer—and it can cause confusion.
If ARe wants publishers and authors to display accurate heat ratings, then they need to fully define what each one means rather than vaguely word it so everyone takes something different away from it. Because, seriously, trying to decipher the actual difference between three flames and four is like asking me to describe the difference between cobalt blue and sapphire blue.
I have been informed that Kobo has rejected Human Rights.
Because Jiat is a cat. They consider it bestiality. Which is bullshit. Bestiality is sex between a human and a non-sentient animal. Jiat is a humanoid feline who is as intelligent and self-aware as a human being. He is anthropomorphized. He’s a furry. To me, he is no different than the myriad books littering Kobo’s virtual shelves of shifters in some shifted form having sex with their human companion. It really angers me to be censored in an area that fantasy and sci-fi have long been treading. But, someone over at Kobo has a bee in their bonnet about it, so it’s not available there. We have an email in to them asking that it be published as there is nothing wrong with the story and it does not meet their content restriction guidelines (I don’t write bestiality, it’s something that makes me incredibly uncomfortable).
But, it you want it, please buy it from Storm Moon Press. They have ePub, LIT, MOBI, and PDF, so it can be bought there and loaded on your reader. :)
It’s finally here! Human Rights came out today! I am so… happy… to have it out. It was a two year struggle for me, mainly because the last year included a major move, a conference, illness, a sick parent, and two pet deaths. It’s been a long time coming. I hope everyone enjoys it!
After landing in the pound after being abandoned by yet another family, Ewan is convinced he’s too old to be adopted out again. For a pet like him, the only fate left is to be put down. But when Sir Jiat—of the City Guard, no less—visits the pound, he goes straight to Ewan. Jiat prefers the more mature pets and treats Ewan better than he’s ever been treated by any previous owner. Ewan sleeps at the foot of his master’s bed, not on the floor or outside; he is given toys and other pets to play with and plenty of room to run; and he’s fed on a schedule and eats very well. But Ewan’s love for his master begins to change, to become something else, something more.
Plenty of pets have been killed over the years for acting on the feelings that Sir Jiat inspires, so he dares not express the desire building inside him. And yet, Ewan can’t help but notice that Sir Jiat has begun to act differently as well, more doting, treating Ewan almost as an equal. So even though the thing he wants more than anything is also their society’s greatest taboo, Ewan resolves that if he must die, he will die having felt, just once, the warmth of Sir Jiat’s soft fur pressed against his bare naked skin.
Now available for $3.99! Buy it at Storm Moon Press or from your favorite retailer.
I did finish Of the Flesh, and it’s in my editor’s hands at the moment. I’d been shooting for 8,000 words, but the short finished at just over 7,000. I didn’t want to pad it for the sake of word count. I think it’s a tight, good short that fits perfectly with the theme.
So! If you’d like to read something of mine before Human Rights comes out, be sure to buy Blood Embrace, since I’m in very good company with that anthology. :D
Now! I’m back to poking at Lessons in Cowboy (novel) and Fever Dream (short story for the Devout anthology SMP is putting out in August). I feel so accomplished! I’d thought I’d lost the writing mojo, and maybe I did for a while, but it’s back! *does a happy dance*
I have 30 songs currently in this playlist, but I’m going to share them over the course of three posts. This is the music I listen to on repeat as I work on Lessons in Cowboy. :) The first 10 today are what randomly played while I worked today on the manuscript.
Dwight Yoakam – Ain’t That Lonely Yet
Travis Tritt – I’m Gonna Be Somebody
Clint Black – A Bad Goodbye
Shontelle – Hello to Goodbye
Steve Grand – All-American Boy
Waylon Jennings – Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys
Patty Smyth and Don Henley – Sometimes Love Just Ain’t Enough
Toby Keith – Should’ve Been a Cowboy
Garth Brooks – The Red Strokes
Collin Raye – Someone You Used to Know
So, the last two don’t have YouTube videos I can link to. I don’t know about Collin Raye, but I do know Garth Brooks is an ass about his music being available for digital download and on services like YouTube. The other note I have is about Toby Keith. Now, personally, I think he’s an asshole and I dislike him as a person, but I do like… two… of his songs. XD This just happens to be one of them. So… yeah! Here is the first third of my Lessons in Cowboy playlist!