It's embarrassing to admit, but despite the fact that I've written four erotic romances featuring characters of various sexual orientations, I haven't been keeping up with what other authors in my genre are doing. I buy their books, mostly as a way to lend them support, but somehow I never get around to actually reading them.
On the rare occasions when I do feel the itch to curl up with a hot and sexy read, most of the time I end up putting the book aside before I've finished it. Maybe I'm too picky a reader, but a lot of what I see in recent erotic romance fiction bugs the crap out of me.
First, I should let you all know I'm a spelling and grammar bitch. If I see more than two or three errors in the first few pages, I probably won't read any further. Sure, I know typos happen, but if the author and publisher can't be arsed to weed them out, then why should I be bothered to suffer through them? Every time I see a misspelled word or incorrect subject/verb agreement, it's like I'm being poked in the eye. And as far as commas go… well, let's just say, less is more. Some authors don't seem to understand that every time they use a comma, they're signaling a pause to the reader. Too many pauses spoil the flow of the narrative and make reading it a hard slog.
It amazes me that I even have to point most of this stuff out, but apparently high school English classes aren't doing a very good job of teaching people proper grammar and punctuation usage these days. But published authors should still know better. Every profession has its tools - carpenters use hammers and nails, writers use language. There's no excuse for not knowing the basic rules of one's craft.
Second, I have a short attention span, and a low tolerance for seeing the same tired old tropes trotted out for the umpteenth time. If I have to read one more "Gay, but only for you!" story, I may just be tempted to send that poor hapless author a letter-bomb. Same goes for so-called "bisexual" stories where the author's obviously gleaned her understanding of bisexuality from porno movies.
I used to read a lot of fan fiction that was plainly written by people who'd never had sex. And from the weird, twisty-pretzel-type sexual positions I've seen described in pro-fic, I get the feeling some of these published authors don't get out much either. Nothing knocks me out of a really hot sex scene faster than the characters attempting something that's physically impossible.
Oh, and please, I implore you - no more "weeping" cocks! If your hero's dick is dripping, he's not turned on, he's got an infection. Reading about the emotional connection between the characters is what I find hot, not bodily fluids splashing all over the place. Yuck!
Of course, this is all my opinion, and my opinion only. But if you want to capture this author's attention and keep it, ditch the clichés and learn how to use the English language properly. It'd be nice if the next book I picked up wasn't a wall-banger.