Friday, September 4, 2015

Best of the Archives: Eroticism vs. Evocatism: Two "E's" at Odds!

Ruthy here! This post first appeared 5 years ago. I look at that number and can't believe the changes life has brought. When I wrote this, Winter's End had just released. My debut novel... a dream come true! Well, here I am five years later, and the dream's just as real, a reality I'd like for each and every one of you. I've now completed twenty-six novels (several for 2016), ten novellas and I have to pinch myself because I'm thrilled with what I do. I am currently working for Love Inspired Books, Waterbrook/Multnomah, Franciscan Press, Harper Collins, Barbour and the independent market. Who would have predicted this with that first "CALL" six years back? No one!

The future is yours. The future is in your hands, but it's not luck that gets us anywhere. Remember that old saying? "The harder you work, the luckier you get." That's meant for you and me! Hard work pays off eventually... and embracing the ability to take direction (even when our feelings get hurt!) and move forward. With change comes growth, but you have to be your own catalyst. I know you can do it... if you want it badly enough. This post makes me laugh, but it brings up a huge point of why sweet romance (Amish, small town, farm lit, etc.) has caught on, and it's the difference between these two "E's"...


HAH! Got your attention, didn’t I???

Oh my stars, the very thought of Ruthy doing a column on eroticism vs. evocatism should have drawn hordes to the port harbor buyin’ tickets for the fast ferry, all fired up wonderin’ what Seekerville’s got going on today!!!

Two “E’s” at odds, that’s what I’m talkin’ about, baby.

Let’s talk evocative first. Come on, humor me. Save the hotsy-totsy stuff for last, kind of a bait and switch tactic.

Evoking emotion…

Ruthy note: I evoke emotion with my "Adventures of The Mighty Finn" pics on facebook... Hope abounds when The Mighty Finn steps to the plate!
I love doing this, or attempting to do this. When you read great novels, very few must detail explicit scenes of war, brutality, sex, deprivation or torture to make you ‘feel’ the protagonist’s experience. Why is that?

Because the author is skilled at evoking the feelings using the five senses God gave you and tweaking those. By doing that, the author builds the image in your mind like a well-made tiramisu. On its own, each layer is good but not great. Used together to form a multi-layered dessert, the result is oh-my-goodness-gracious-sakes-to-Betsy wonderful. Too delicious for words. Crème brulee is another example. If anyone told you that burnt caramel covered custard would be to-die-for wonderful, would you have believed them?


But one taste of those melded flavors slipping over the lips, awakening a sleepy palate, teasing a tired tongue and you understand the subtleties of evoking an inborn feeling.

Sex is great. What an amazingly wonderful, totally human gift from God and I’m going out on a limb here and thanking him for it right now because (as my friend Jules examples and believes) passion for love, romance and God are not at odds. God designed us, created us, and gifted us with a wonderful means of loving procreation that we refer to as sex.

Only it’s so much more than that and that’s where the difference lies between the two “E’s”.

Sex just is. And in that simplistic meaning, it’s everywhere, a virtual explosion of sexuality and sensuality that hit mid-sixties and hasn’t abated.

Can you say: BORING!!!!

For the most part.

But romance….


I love it. Breathe it. Drink it in. And when you’ve experienced true romance, true love, true communion of spirits, that “Aw….” moment is magnified beyond belief.
Now lots of people can’t buy into this readily. I get that. I also get that different strokes for different folks is real. One author does not a library make, it takes a village and all that.

But if we flip to the word erotic, the images that come to mind are not the warm, romantic, sensitive and sensual things I look for in a romance. Regardless of how good the author is, if they get too graphic or make sex too common, I’m disillusioned because a good plot line doesn’t need that much gratuity.

The more a writer needs to explain, the less important the explanation and that goes for sex, war, violence, etc. Now I know not everyone will agree with this, and that’s okay. But when I look at the feelings evoked by Harper Lee, I see, taste and feel that Southern community, the bonds of family, the scourge of racism, the heat of the moment, the time, the place.

When I re-read Christy, I see a young woman’s quest for maturity and love grow hand-in-hand without a naked body in sight. Catherine Marshall embraces me with her story, her characters, her grace and hope, totally investing me in Christy and Fairlight, the good doctor and Miss Alice…

I don’t get those same warm fuzzies when I see a billboard for Debbie Does Dallas. Just doesn’t cut it.

Julie wondered out loud if I’d be comparing her work to mine today. Good gracious, no. Love, desire and passion are part of romance, they’re intricately interwoven, they’re a package deal. Without that internal desire to create an external bond, we’un’s ‘d never catch us a man…

Menfolk are tricky creatures and when you finally get a moth to hang around your flame, it’s important that the moth be really, truly fired up and fireproof. Julie takes her characters and readers by the heart and throat and invests the reader in their lives by having her heroes and heroines jump off the page with emotion. Ah, to be loved like that! Desired like that! Doesn’t every woman want a man who is strong enough to stand by her but entrenched enough to be that moth to her flame?

Have you seen Lord of the Dance? (Take a moment for a silent, communal "YUM" here for Michael Flatley in a leotard... I'm just sayin'...) The dance where Michael is tempted by the gorgeous strumpet in black as she does her come hither dance for him, wanting to woo him away from the gal in… (of course!!!) white…

And as the raven-haired tart struts her stuff, he realizes that while her moves tempt, his heart is bonded to another, a woman whose pure grace shows from within, the kind that bears the light of his children in her eyes. If Flatley can wordlessly impart that story in three short minutes using nothing but body language, how much easier it should be for us to weave those words into an embracing, evocative story of love and grace.

And as always, I talk too much!!!! Coffee’s on! I nipped some of Sandra’s chocolate velvet yesterday while she was hiking some old prospector’s trail with the dog and I have Tim Horton’s manning the cappuccino bar and supplying us with donuts, tarts, bagels, cream cheese, eggs and ham. The guys and gals at Tim’s totally rock the big Kahuna.

Now, this wouldn't be a Ruthy post without a little self-serving plug for an amazing story that has JUST HIT THE SHELVES AND I'M CRAZY EXCITED TO SAY THAT!!!   

Link To Amazon for Refuge of the Heart on sale Now! 

And I'm not going to tell you why you should run and buy this beautiful, heart-stirring book... I'm going to let the first eight days of Amazon reviews do the talking...

"I cried at times and felt absolutely wonderful at others..." Amazon review

"Herne's best book ever..."  Amazon review

"An understanding of man's darkness and God's redemption..." Amazon review

"Beautifully written..."  Amazon review

"Profound and thoughtful book on many levels..." Amazon review

"Emotional ending will stick with you beyond the final sentence..." Amazon review

"A solid story I couldn't stop reading. Cancel your evening plans." Amazon review

"Five stars isn't close to enough."  Amazon review

"Triumph in the face of adversity..." Amazon review

Inspired by God and the plight of millions of global refugees, people who simply want to go home... This Cinderella story will touch your heart... and soul.

So, yes... run and buy it. Franciscan Media made a brave, bold move, stepping into the fiction market and I want to see them soar! And I want you to love Lena's story, a story of courage, faith, hope and love... "And the greatest of these is love"... Corinthians 13:13

Grab a cup and let's spend this Friday writing... What have you done today to make your dream come true?

This post first appeared in Seekerville March 11, 2010. Comments are closed today.