Four years is a long time to go without throwing down a good f***.  But the isolation of working as an Internet columnist and blogger will do that to a girl who’s got to watch which words she chooses to write depending upon the venue she’s jamming in.  

Today, many of the words George Carlin told us back in the day were too naughty for TV are pretty standard cyber-fare, though you won’t see ‘em here at BN’s Book Clubs.  Folks who gather communities set the tone for discourse, but also are wise to heed target-viewer preference concerning basic communication.

When I opened shop online in 2006, I took the “write as you speak” ideal to the nth degree, and let loose with joyful abandon the creative uses of profanity of which I’m heartily fond.  After I noticed the majority of my viewers using asterisks w/in written expletives – even when quoting my comments -- or substituting milder language, I got a loud/clear message.

Substituting a few shift+8s isn’t even close to being about choosing a battle; it’s nothing more than common courtesy.  And I don’t feel I’m being strong-armed by a jerk-swarm of viewers, although for some, limiting any word choice is anathema to the free-press spirit of blogging.

Authors make the same choices regarding profanity all the time when writing romance for a broad audience.  For instance, about a decade ago, a non-erotic romance depicted a very worldly hero introducing his inexperienced heroine to tantric and other sensual delights including digital anal penetration.  Yet this man who was born in the gutter and raised in London’s stews didn’t utter one f-bomb or word stronger than “damn” in the novel.  Readers’ preferences have taught me that many are offended by profanity, but not by depictions of graphic eroticism w/in committed relationships.

Yet today many readers also find the use of profanity makes some characters more authentic, and can be a huge turn-on in the certain scenarios. And superstar author Lori Foster knows how to create a hero whose use of rather colorful language helps readers understand better who he is and needs to become, at the same time it gives us reason to find him all the more attractive.

In Foster’s super-sexy and energetic new, “Back in Black  ,” she introduces us to big, rough-talking, smart-and-successful Drew Black. He’s president of SBC, a mixed-martial-arts-fighting organization like Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Drew says what’s on his mind – usually at the rate of 2-3 expletives per sentence and at least one seemingly misogynistic comment per hour. His act needs to be cleaned up, and the owners of SBC have found the sharp PR expert to do the remake.

Gillian Noode knows her business is to get in Black’s face and to let the public see the good man buried under the brash. Yet the bottom line is: Gillian finds Drew’s dirty talk hot, and her feminist self isn’t all that bothered by it.

Why aren’t many of we romance fans troubled by that setting either? First, Foster’s a marvelously talented author who gets the bad-boy-within-the-stand-up-guy fantasy, and how to relate it with the perfect balance of humor, sensuality and straight-up emotional dynamics. Second?  She writes fun, always-positive erotic romances that never “take themselves too seriously,” even when dealing with real-life stuff.  

Check out “Back in Black,” and the rest of the novels in Foster’s SBC series.    

How do you feel about profanity in romances or other novels?  Will you stay or leave a site where profanity is used w/in posts or comment areas?  What does profanity in writing say to you about the author or commenter? How do you use profanity in your writing?


Michelle Buonfiglio writes daily about romance fiction at BN's Heart to Heart and Catch her Tuesdays here at Unabashedly Bookish.


by Amp1025 on ‎01-28-2010 02:31 AM

As a child, my mom always taught me that profanity is bad ("If you say that again, I'm gonna wash your mouth out with soap"). However, as a twenty-year-old (just outta teens and not quite grown) woman, I can sometimes swear like a sailor. (Bet you can guess who I learned it all from!) Because of my sometimes filth mouth I have no problem with profanity in any novel or on any comment area, given that the situation is appropriate for it. When I read expletive scenes, I even feel as though I'm sort of missing out without it. However, I do agree that to much can ruin a novel/ comment/ conversation for me. Also, in some novels, when I'm not expecting a profane word and I come across one, it will almost make me feel ... dirty. But otherwise, I'm fine with it.


When an author uses profanity in his or her writing, it shows that they are comfortable enough to accurately depict the character or situation, or convey the message that they feel is necessary to their piece of literature. When a commenter uses profanity, it shows they are likewise comfortable enough to express to the fullest extent how they feel. Again however, to much can ruin it. In the little personal writing that I do, I will use profanity if I need to.


Thanks Michelle and everyone for giving Lori such good reviews. I haven't read anything of her's yet, but I do know the next book I'm gonna buy, lol :-)

by Moderator becke_davis on ‎01-28-2010 09:55 AM

If you haven't read anything of Lori's, you might want to start this series in order. You can see a complete list of Lori's books here:

by Author LLFoster on ‎01-28-2010 10:01 AM

Deb and Becke, thank you soooo much. As many books as I've had published, it still thrills me to hear positive feedback! I guess that's one of those things that never grows old. LOL


Suze, thank you! I always try to write the dialogue - internal and external - as I think it would actually be. I'm so glad it's paying off in reader satisfaction!


Becke, that is HILARIOUS!!! A "dammit" mommy. I love it. :-)


Hugs to all!



by Author LLFoster on ‎01-28-2010 10:04 AM

Amp1025, thanks. THe books can stand alone, but as Becke says, they do go together as far as knowing the characters, or reading each character's story. You might enjoy them more in order. However you choose to pick up one, I hope you like it!




by 1lovealways on ‎01-29-2010 05:23 PM

Hi All!


Let's face it!  It's to each reader's discretion what they read.  If you don't want to read the book, don't.  It's as simple as that.  None of the words I see in my reading are words that I haven't heard with my own ears.  I have no problem with them in fiction.  They're said in movies and to a limited extent on TV.  So why not books?  As long as I don't have to read them in every sentence and thought of the character, I'm fine.


These words have been spoken forever.  Let's face it.  It's not like it's new.  Just expressing them outwardly in books is more new than other media.  I think that is where the problem lies.  It's just now coming out more in books than it has before. 


Personally, I don't like to do it.  An occasional cuss word does come out of me.  I have my limits like everyone, so I will cop to that.  What I don't like is hearing it come from the mouths of children.  I have heard it come from young kids mouths.  I was horrified!  Children around the ages of 9-11?  Those kinds of words never entered my mind at that age.  All I knew then was going to school and having fun.  When I think about it.  It really gets me steamed!  I know they hear it in movies and on TV, but to me that's where a parents duties come in regarding bad words or anything else for that matter.  In my day that's what they were labeled.  I don't care where you heard them.  You didn't dare say them or you'd be in trouble big time!  And it wasn't a slap on the hand either!  Whatever the punishment, you didn't dare say it again.  If you did, it wasn't in hearing distance of your parents.  My Dad could be had, but not my Mom.  I'd talk under my breath, but believe me, I made sure she didn't hear. 


She was the disciplinarian more than him, but it made me the person I am today.  I wouldn't give anything for it.  There was always love, but there was always the rules too.  I think a little more discipline is in order today and following the rules.  These rules are there for a reason. :smileyhappy:

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