Word Count Classification:
Novel is over 40,000 words
Novella is between 17,500 to 40,000 words
Novelette is between 7,500 to 17,500 words
Short story is under 7,500 words
Romance Heat Level Classification:
Here are the heat levels, which are very good general descriptions (mind you, these levels are posted for authors submitting and not necessarily for the readers to see but are important to understand):
Sweet. A sweet romance focuses on the romantic relationship between the couple. No intimate scenes or sexual situations are described in the book. The book closes the door on any love scene. We may know the main characters have sex but we don’t read about it. Sexual tension is important and can be at a high level.
Sensual. A sensual romance elevates the sensuality level of the story with at least one consummated love scene. The love/sex scene is an integral part of the story, and could contribute to the conflict, but is not explicitly described. Emotion, conflict, and sexual tension run high; they drive the story, rather than the race to have sex.
Sizzle. A sizzle romance can be sensual, playful, sexy, edgy and/or graphic. Sex scenes are more frequent and detailed in description. The number of sexual encounters/love scenes (two or more) that occur within the story, as well as the length and depth of description, define this level of heat. The emphasis, however, is on telling the romantic story, not how often or plentiful the sex.
Erotic Romance. An erotic romance story pushes past the boundaries of traditional romance. Sexual situations not found in traditional sweet-sensual-sizzle romance can be found in erotic romance. The sex is hot and plentiful, the language is graphic and real, and the multiple love/sex scenes throughout are explicitly described. The plot must stay within the confines of a romantic story of two people, with the sex often the driver of the story. Happily-ever-after (HEA) ending is a must.
Erotica. An erotica story goes beyond erotic romance to explore sexuality at a higher and diverse level. There may, or may not, be a romance or romantic elements – this is consensual sex, or sexual activity, for the sake of sex and sexual pleasure/gratification. Stories can still be sensual, sexy, intimate and satisfying, while moving beyond traditional intimacy and sexual boundaries. The stories are no holds barred on most sexual situations and may contain elements that are offensive to some. Ménage, multiple partners, BDSM, taboo fantasies are acceptable. The sex is plentiful, sporadic, intentional, chaotic, random, implied, controlled, denied, or maybe not even there at all. Illegal acts are never included in our erotica stories. HEA is not required, nor expected.
So which category would Cindy's books fall under?
Why sweet heat level, of course.
But what about books touted as a clean romance? Inspirational romance? Christian romance? What are the differences between them? Well, actually, all of these would fall into the first category of a sweet heat level above, but they are all just a little different:
Clean Romance can contain sex scenes between married couples only. It can also contain, what can be considered mild offensive language.
Inspirational Romance contains a triad relationship between the hero, heroine and God. It does not contain offensive language.
Sweet Romance consists of the progressive, anticipation-building, emotional relationship between the hero and heroine as the story progresses and stops at the bedroom door. It may contain kissing or not. It does not contain offensive language.
Christian Romance is much the same as sweet romance but must contain an element of faith in Jesus Christ woven throughout the plot. Another name for this is Proper Romance.