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"Literature... cut short by the intrusion of force... is not merely interference with freedom of the press but the sealing up a nation's heart, the excision of its memory."

—Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Russian novelist

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Coming Of Age Stories vs. Barely Legal Stories

In the ‘Barely Legal' genre of romance literature, the premise of the story mainly revolves around  sexual acts involving an 18 or 19 year old teen, and sometimes extents to age 20.

Since no sexual acts involve minors, but the age of the characters are barely legal,  the term 'Barely Legal' describes this genre well. The Barely Legal theme is offered by mainstream publishers as a substitute for Coming-of-Age.

Coming-of-Age stories are nearly impossible to publish in America today. Society can't seem to agree on what 'age' means in this context. Everybody knows young people are curious about sex and want to explore it. They know this because they experienced it themselves. But a few otherwise vocal people refuse to admit it out loud, or publicly, fearing that admitting it will encourage teens to explore. These same people also disapprove of sex before marriage. Fine. Sexual intercourse between experienced adults is difficult enough to work out without becoming loaded down with social guilt.

Wisdom and reality rarely blend well when young romance and sex drives overwhelm them. Mother Nature is much stronger than any moral stance that people under eighteen should never have sex. Instead, Mother Nature defines ‘of age' as a year or two after the onset of puberty. The crassest interpretation of Nature's rule is the saying, "If she can bleed, she can breed." While you may find it disgusting... argue the reality with Nature.

Coming-of-Age stories by definition mirror reality involving people under age eighteen... young people exploring things sexual in a completely normal way. The problem an author presenting reality experiences comes from the few vocal people trying to silence him in a futile attempt to ensure their children don't explore things sexual, and are offended by the depiction of reality. They object on moral grounds. That's fine, too. They have every right to object.

But this vocal minority then threatens to sue anyone who publishes a book in which people under eighteen engage in sex. They feel their opinion should trump all others, even though publishing the book is totally legal. Sadly, they even refuse to recognize the legal age of consent in 40 states is fourteen or sixteen. But to these few, law doesn't matter. And anyone can file a lawsuit based on outrage they feel over the beliefs of others different than themselves.

Publishers aren't stupid. They're in business to make money, not spend it defending against frivolous lawsuits. So publishers cave to pressures applied by the vocal few, and won't accept Coming-of-Age stories that mirror Nature's reality.

Barely Legal stories are essentially Coming-of-Age stories that have been partially silenced by the vocal few. They involve girls or guys who became curious about sex when they are well under eighteen. But since such a book could never be published, all ages in all Lot's Cave books have been censored and changed to eighteen. This will cause certain passages in some books to seem ludicrous—for that I can only apologize. It is forced on us all. May I remind you, however, that your mind is your own. Your imagination cannot be censored. You can therefore use your imagination to supply, in context, whatever age would have those passages make more sense to you, if any. If you purchased a Lot's Cave Novel, we give you full permission to use a text editor to replace the censored ages, so that your reading experience will have fewer distractions. All enforced ages are very apparent, to make your job easier.

That's because Lot's Cave believes your freedom to think is just as important as their freedom to object to what you want to think about.

Recently, many mainstream publishers have stopped selling this genre. Therefore Lots Cave will pick it up as a service to our readers. We are currently soliciting manuscripts from authors and eBooks from publishers in both the Barely Legal and Incest themes.



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