Anne O'Connell,  books,  business of writing,  craft,  e-books,  erotica,  Politcial Mumbo Jumbo,  Publishing,  rants,  the writing life,  thoughts

The Chilling Effect

As many of you know I’m currently writing on my new bdsm themed novel called Switched. My mind started traveling ahead in the story when, ::gasp:: I realized that several scenes from where I’m currently at – there is a rape scene. And no, it’s not rape for titillation. It’s actually more of an unfortunate plot point (and it’s sad and meant to make the reader angry).

But because ARE and Smashwords are no longer allowed to carry stories with rape in them (erotic romance stories only as I’m assuming since  Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is probably still allowed on said websites), I am finding myself rethinking the plot. I don’t want some sensitive reader crying that my story is too harsh and contains a rape scene. (As a writer you learn quickly that there’s always that one reader…) I mean – I had people say Weekend Captive was too much and I was forced to remove that story from ARE because the beginning chapters are non-consensual!

And here begins the chilling effect. I’m now afraid to write a rape scene that was planned into the plot of this novel months ago. Sure – the story will work without the detail of the rape scene. By not writing it doesn’t save my character the emotional trauma of rape. The only people it saves is the gentle readers who can’t stomach such a graphic depiction of violence. But am I doing a disservice to myself and readers by allowing the morality police dictate what I write??

I mean – let’s face it. I could easily make the reader aware this happened without giving the details, but it won’t take the reader to the emotional place I want to take them.

I have considered leaving the book as is and only releasing it on Amazon and Nook and just not allowing ARE and Smashwords to have it even though it is – technically – a romantic erotic thriller (with lots of hot bdsm). This one isn’t like its predecessor Training Amy , which was a story of a woman discovering her sexuality and love in the process. No — this story is about brutality, abuse, organized crime, and three people (who happen to be in loving D/s relationships) who are trying to save the life of someone they love.

Steph is an award winning and bestselling author of thrilling steamy and paranormal romances, dark urban fantasy, occult horror-thrillers, cozy mysteries, contemporary romance, sword and sorcery fantasy, and books about the esoteric and Daemonolatry. A Daemonolatress and forever a resident of Smelt Isle, she is happily married and cat-mom to three pampered house cats. Her muse is a demanding sadistic Dom who often keeps her up into the wee hours of the morning. You can contact her at


  • Val H

    It really seems unfair to restrict one author or book and not another. The rape scene in Girl With the Dragon Tattoo was very graphic, but no one spoke out against it. I, for one, felt like I connected with the character after that scene. I really felt indignant for her and cheered when she got even. I hope you are able to write and publish your book the way you want. Writing shouldn’t only make your readers happy, you should be happy too. 🙂

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