SISTERDALE, Texas (KXAN) - Senior citizen Desiree Holt misses her late husband, David, terribly.
“I was fortunate to be married to the most wonderful man in the world,” she said. “I had as close to a perfect marriage as you could get.”
That’s not an unusual thing for a woman to say, but Holt goes on: “We had a wonderful sex life; I would wish mine for everybody in the world.”
OK, admit it. You think that is a bit odd coming from a 76-year-old widow. And you could be forgiven for thinking you have an explanation coming. Here it is:
First, Desiree Holt is not Desiree Holt’s real name. That real name is what she calls a “closely guarded secret.”
You see, Holt is an author, a writer of a relatively new genre called, “erotic romance.” That’s the same genre in which British author E L James published his blockbuster hit, “ Fifty Shades of Grey ” last year. But Holt started earning a good living from such writing well before that.
The first try
“My first book that I wrote was a romance,” she said, “just a straight romance, somewhat sensuous, but not steamy. And I sent it out, like everybody else does and I got 167 rejections.
“I kept them all because, you know, it keeps you humble to know that people can still say, 'No.'
But in 2006, Holt sent in another manuscript, this one to the premiere erotic romance publisher, Ellora’s Cave . The results were decidedly different.
The first book
“They bought it! And I thought, 'Oh, my God, they bought this story from me.' And then they asked me if I would like to submit something else. And I thought, 'Holy Cow!'"
That was 137 titles ago. Some 60 percent of them are novels, the rest shorter pieces called novellas.
“It's just been a really fast ride with them,” Holt said, “and it seemed like the more I wrote, the more I thought about plots and things to write. And the more I sent them, the more they wanted. So I now have about 90 titles with Ellora's Cave and another 46, 47 with other publishers.”
To appreciate how unique all that is, you have to know a thing or two about erotic romance. Number one: It’s not the romance writing you find displayed on grocery store and airport shop shelves.
“In romance writing, as a broad genre, it can be everything from very little sex, to inside the bedroom door, but without much detail,” Holt explained.
“In erotic romance, you open the bedroom door and tell it all, as long as you tell it tastefully. And that doesn't mean that you aren't using graphic language because you are. But it has to be part of the story, you know.
“It's like eating a meal; describing the food is part of the meal. So describing the sex is part of the emotion of the story.”
So what is graphic language in this case? Well, just use your imagination and know such words are not available for use in articles such as this one. Suffice to say, it goes well beyond the romance novel use of such terms as, “the male member.”
And, it’s not just the words; erotic romance also implies using such words quite often.
“There is absolutely no limit on how much sex you can put in an erotic story,” Holt said. “When you get into erotic romance, it's no-holds-barred. You can get everything in there, as long as it's well-written.”
The 'P' word
Now before you jump to the conclusion that Holt is an author of pornography, allow her to dissuade you from that move.
“Is what I write pornography?” she asked. “No, because pornography is just graphic sex with nothing else.”
It is true that as Holt kicked out erotic tale after erotic tale from her home in the rural community of Sisterdale, just north of San Antonio, she became known as the “Porn Queen of Central Texas.” But that was a joke, a moniker given her by a daughter who, like the rest of the family, was coming to terms with her mom’s newly acquired occupation.
“It's just a fun title,” Holt said; “It allows them to play with it.”
The author, too, has fun with her job, but she is also quite serious about the work.
The serious side
“I just feel that sex is a part of life and it's a part of romance,” she said. “And if you're going to talk about what people are wearing, as part of the story, and the discussions they have, then you might as well talk about what else is part of the relationship, because in a really good relationship, sex is a very big part.”
Indeed, all of the sex in Holt’s books emerges from strong human connectivity.
“There's always a relationship and that's what it all stems from,” said the author. “The relationship is key to the whole thing. Even if it's only for one night, there's a connection. They talk to each other; they relate to each other, and so the sex evolves from that.”
And Holt argues married couples in real life can benefit greatly from plunging into erotic romance titles.
Sex and marriage
“This is what makes a good marriage,” she insisted. “And it's also on different levels, you know. You don't have to have really intense protracted sex every single time. And a lot of it is in the seduction.