Action/Adventure: more akin to action-adventure films than to traditional romantic suspense, strong heroines and strong heroes, fast-moving plots

BDSM: bondage, discipline, sadism, masochism; characters give and experience pain and power to create sexual tension, pleasure and release

Chick-Lit: often humorous romantic adventures that focus on young women entering the adult, professional world; geared toward single working women in their twenties and thirties

Contemporary: modern characters and current day settings, usually set after 1945

D/s: dominance and submission; one or more characters are controlling and the other is submissive

Erotic: about the development of a romantic relationship through sexual interaction, sex is a big part of the story, the character growth, and relationship development

Erotica: focuses heavily on the sexual relationships between the characters, pushes the boundaries including multiple partners and sometimes kinky situations, graphic language, sometimes sexual fantasies

Fantasy: the setting may be our own Earth or some imaginary real, characters can do magical things

Ghosts: possession by ghosts, demons or poltergeists, or a ghost plays a character in the storyline

GLBT: involve gay, lesbian, bisexual, and/or transgendered characters

Gothic/Horror: combines elements of both horror and romance, emotional extremes, dark themes

Historical: takes place in a recognizable historical period not set in contemporary times; Medieval (938-1485 AD), Georgian (1714-1811), Regency (1811-1820, usually covers the period of 1795-1837), Victorian (1837-1901)

Inspirational: involves characters having Christian values that play a major part of the romantic relationship

Interracial/Multicultural: characters of different races or different cultures, often focus on African-American experience but can also include other countries and ethnic groups

Ménage a trios: a relationship in which three people have sexual relations

Older Heroine: heroine age 40+

Paranormal: involves some sort of supernatural element, ranging from science fiction/fantasy to time travel, monsters or psychic abilities

Pirate: usually swash-buckling pirate captains and feisty heroines interested in the bad-boy of the sea

Romantic Comedy: focused on humor, from screwball antics to witty interplay

Rubenesque/BBW: heroine is plump, voluptuous; big, beautiful women

Sci-Fi/Futuristic: the science is potentially real, believability is a key factor; futuristic is set in the future

Shapeshifter: transform from man to any beast

Steampunk: a specific type of alternate history in which characters in Victorian England have access to 20th century technology

Suspense/Mystery/Thriller: storyline contains romance and elements of danger to the hero or heroine, often have graphic sexual situations

Time Travel: characters travel from one time period to another

Urban Fantasy: magical powers and characters appear in an otherwise normal modern context, often in a fantasy world with elements of magic, werewolves, fairies, vampires or witches

Vampire: usually involves the current trend of linking sexuality and vampires

Werewolves: characters shapeshift into werewovlves

Western: usually take place between 1800 and 1890

© 2010 Starla Kaye

The Smarts

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This website is the work of Starla Criser, an author who has published more than 50 stories, both traditionally and through self-publishing routes.