Writing HOT

Since the impending release of Ceremony of Seduction, is just a few weeks away, the topic of writing HOT is fresh in my mind.  As I stated in my monthly newsletter (which you can subscribe to by just popping me an email, or signing up on my Tina Gerow MySpace page (www.myspace.com/tinagerow), many people have been asking me about the reasons I took a different pen name for my Kensington Aphrodisia books.  Well, first, my agent suggested it.  Both Tina & Cassie write paranormal stories that have snarky humor, strong heroines who don’t wait around for the hero to save them, and fun quirky characters.  However, where the Tina Gerow books are steamy and sensual, the Cassie Ryan books are singe your panties HOT.  So, it was more for author branding.  

The example I usually give for this is, let’s say you pick up a can of Dr. Pepper and take a big drink…but when the liquid hits your tongue – it’s Sprite.  You are jarred and shocked – it’s not what you expected.  You may or may not like Sprite, but at that moment, you were expecting Dr. Pepper.  Readers going from a Tina book to a Cassie book would experience something similar.  Some will be pleasantly surprised and love it, and some won’t.  Nature of the beast, so to speak. 

Another common question I get is, “Aren’t you embarrassed about writing THAT type of book?”  In a word – No.  I’m not embarrassed about anything I’ve ever written – even that play I wrote in the sixth grade that our drama class actually performed for the school – “The Embarrassing Moments of Santa Clause”  LOL.  Totally cheesy, yes, but hey – I had my work performed at a very young age – talk about incentive to keep writing!!  The next most common question is, “Aren’t you worried about your son finding out what you write?”  Again – no. My son knows I write paranormal romance as Tina Gerow, and he’s not allowed to read those books until he’s at least sixteen or eighteen.  My son also knows I write erotic paranormal romance as Cassie Ryan, and that he’s not allowed to read those books until he moves out…LOL.  Not because I’m ashamed of my books, but it would be a very EWWW mother/son moment to walk by him reading my book in the living room – and we BOTH know what’s in there…LOL!  My son tells his friends and pretty much everyone he knows that his mom writes “those kissing books,” but he’s very proud of me that I’m a published author.  In fact, if we are at the store in the romance aisle, he often points out my books to people who are browsing, telling them it’s a great paranormal book with lots of romance. 🙂  They usually ask him if he’s read it and he tells them he’s not allowed until he’s older, but that his mom wrote it so he knows it’s good.  Ahhh, the PR! 🙂  But the little charmer has actually sold some books for me that way. 

Now, the fun and most popular question… “Do you write porn?”  LOL!  Well, I guess that depends on your definition of porn.  I’m sure you could sing the “Bow, chicka, bow wow” music in the background while you’re reading if you want that “porn” type feel, but, it doesn’t follow my definition of porn.  I do have author friends that jokingly call their work porn, smut etc, and that doesn’t really bother me either. My usual response to people is, “Do you like porn?”  If they say no, then I say, “Well, then you’ll like my book.  Unlike porn, it has a romance and explores the relationship between the hero and the heroine as well as having some steamy sex scenes.  Not to mention, it’s got a suspenseful/paranormal/creepy/fun/kick ass (fill in the blank) plot!”  If they say they do like porn, then I hand them the book and tell them to enjoy.  Why?  Everyone’s definitions are different.  

 I’ve had people read my books not knowing they were romance.  Men have read and enjoyed my Maiden series thinking they were sci fi or just paranormal action adventure with some sex in it.  (It’s easy for men to ignore that whole “icky” romance part when there’s sex and a suspenseful plot, not to mention some good battle scenes…lol)  While women have read the same books and told me what a touching romance it was, and that they really felt the emotional connection between the characters during the sex scenes.  Same exact book – two different definitions of what the book is.  Do I really care which definition is used?  Uh, no.  Did they buy the book?  Did they read the book?  Did they enjoy the book?  Yes for all three?  Then, Woo Hoo, I’m a happy camper. 

Let’s face it – sex is a hot topic in our society.  Most people aren’t comfortable with their own sexuality, let alone anyone else’s.  We are a society of people who love sex, but pretend we don’t.  It’s both “cool” and “not cool” to be comfortable with your sexuality in this country, so no wonder people are so conflicted. 

I don’t write my books – either as Cassie or Tina to thumb my nose at propriety or to make a statement about sexual mores.  It may happen out of the plot naturally, but I didn’t sit down to make a political commentary.  Why do I write?  I LOVE to write!  Why do I write sensual as Tina Gerow?  When I began writing, that was my natural heat level to write at.  It came naturally, and I enjoyed it.  Why do I also write HOT as Cassie Ryan?  In between Tina books, I was looking to write something different – even writers need variety.  I kept critiquing these great steamy Cave Creek Cowboy books for Brit Blaise and I loved them!  So, I tried my hand at writing erotic romance, and I love writing those too.  Both Tina and Cassie are just different parts of me, just as the same woman can be a savvy professional career woman, but when she’s on vacation, she can be that wild sex-kitten at the bar in Maui.  And do you know what else?  There are probably lots more people inside me 🙂  Just different faces and different parts of me. 

So, if you like paranormal romance that’s kick ass, snarky, with fun quirky characters and sensual steamy sex scenes – pick up a Tina Gerow book.  And if you like all of that, but with sex scenes that are highly erotic, give you a play by play, and put you IN the scene and describe what’s happening so well that you’ll be ready to attack your significant other when they come through the door tonight, or you’re ready to buy stock in Duracell, OR, you and the significant other can read the book together for a romantic date night! – then pick up a Cassie Ryan book.  And if both of those scenarios appeal to you – then pick up both and enjoy!  

And if neither of these appeal to you? Then I’d suggest not buying my books.  Plain and simple.  There are plenty of terrific authors out there – for all the myriad tastes of our readers.  Not everyone ‘gets’ my work, and I don’t expect them to.  But those who do ‘get’ me, those are the people who make the writing worthwhile for me.  Keep searching until you find one (or more) authors you love.  But remember, just because you may not like something doesn’t mean others don’t LOVE it! 🙂  To each their own – Amen! 

Tina/Cassie

14 responses to “Writing HOT

  1. Congrats on your great reviews of Ceremony of Secuction! And you have a great cover. Given that erotic romance and erotic paranormal romance is such a growing phenom right now, I’d say that this is a timely blog.

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  2. Will you quit blaming me for pulling you out of the closet? Your foot was sticking out anyway… And who cares about the uptight @$$es who use the P word.

    Brit

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  3. Thanks for stopping by Lucinda 🙂 And thanks for the well wishes!

    Brit – LOL! I didn’t blame you – you just tempted me into it because I loved reading your books!! So, it was tempt by example 🙂 And I’m glad you did!

    Tina/Cassie

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  4. Love your post, especially the comments about your son. My kids (son 30 and daughter 34) are a bit nonplussed by my subject matter, but they do tell all their friends, and I honestly think it’s a matter of pride that THEIR mother writes THOSE books! I know my son never goes into a bookstore w/o turning my titles face out, but the grandkids aren’t allowed in my office because I’ve got the covers framed on the wall! Like you, I tell interested readers that if they’re at all homophobic, squeamish or have an imaginary mom looking over their shoulder, my books are not for them. Good luck and keep on loving what you do!

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  5. Thanks, Tina. It was a wonderful resource to have a critique partner who loved what I wrote and encouraged me to write HOT. As you know, I struggled with it. Now…well, as I do the finishing touches on my twentieth story with three different publishers over these past 2 ½ years, I think I’m over it.

    Brit

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  6. LOL Brit I swear one of my CP’s is a closet slut just waiting to break free!

    Cassie your comment about your son made me laugh and definitely hit home. MY sons tell everyone (and they’re 13 adn 11), but also know they can’t read my work. Instead of waiting until they’re old enough, they nag me to write a YA for them which I just might do!

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  7. Hi Cassie! Great post! I love your little boy – can I have him? Please?

    My daughters don’t read my work…although I’ve got one who stands in her local bookstore with her cellphone counting copies of all of them. She tells me which ones are autographed, which ones aren’t…which means they’ve sold out of that title again!

    It’s a hoot! Because, in truth she’s a bit of a prude. (g) Can’t believe I raised one, but I did. (g)

    So glad I stopped by over here…like I’ve said before…when you see Ceremony of Seduction on the shelves, we’ll all hear the scream!

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  8. Great post, T/C. 🙂 I’m going to have to remember the lines when they ask you if you write porn and you ask them if they like porn. LOL. Perfect.

    Brit, I’m behind on my email (ask Tina) and I’m honored to be an honorary BMG. 🙂 Looking forward to RT!

    Chey

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  9. Cassie/Tina — I wonder how old your son will be when he sneaks a peek at the “dirty bits”? I think I was about 13 when I started reading sexy books, though I kept them hidden from my mom. But I bet the books are a bit less tempting because of the fact his mom wrote them — another instance of TMI! (If you wrote about it, maybe you actually did it, and I bet that’s not something he wants to think about.)

    Speaking of family… When my mom read my first manuscript – many years ago – she said, “Well, it’s really sexy.” I thought she was going to ream me out, then she went on and said, “And that’s probably a good thing, because that’s what sells.” Unfortunately she didn’t live to see my first book in print, but my stepdad says she’d be proud of me (yeah, it does bring a tear to my eye, every time). And he knows what he’s talking about, because yes, he actually does read my erotic Aphrodisias. He chuckles his head off (I’m not sure if it’s at the funny bits or the sexual antics, and I’m not asking!). Anyhow, I’m so relieved he approves of what I’m doing. Guess he must think sex is a natural, healthy, “good” act, right? Hurray for hiim – and for all of us who write and read those sexy books.

    Susan (www.susanlyons.ca)

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  10. Thanks everyone for all the great comments. Bonnie (and all of you) are welcome to come out for our local Glendale Chocolate Affaire the first weekend in Feb every year. My son always comes, and he loves hanging out at the romance writers booth and selling everyone’s books. He’s a budding writer himself, but he trends more toward horror like soal eating and etc. 🙂 He’s almost 13, but I hope his love for writing lasts!

    It’s really great to have so many accomplished authors come over here and comment on my post! 🙂 Kate – I caught my hubby reading a few pages of Wolf Tales last night (I left it in the bathroom, and he tends to flip to just what he calls the “good parts”). I told him his legs would fall asleep before he read all your good parts! 🙂 Brit – I’m glad you’re comfortable with what you write – they’re great books, and I love getting to read them first! Susan – I think you’re right – he may have snuck peeks at the other books on my shelves – especially Cheyenne’s since I have so many…lol, but I think he considers mine TMI! My hubby won’t read mine because he doesn’t read much AND he’s afraid he’ll see something in there he recognizes…lol. Amie – my son is bugging me about doing a YA also, but I have so many other projects brewing with just the two pen names, I don’t think I’ll have time before he’s reading the adult books. But let me know if you pub a YA and I’ll get one for him – he’s already blown through all of Debbie Federici’s 🙂

    Tina/Cassie

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  11. Susan made me cry…my mom knew I was published in eBook, but she didn’t understand it and didn’t live to see me in print. Although, I’m sure she’d appreciate the books her daughter, Judi, writes more than mine.

    Bonnie…Tina’s little boy isn’t little any more! And he’s growing into what promises to be “cover-model” material. Maybe that’s a way to show mom. Wait a minute, maybe I shouldn’t have said that…kinda pervy.

    And Chey, thanks for easing my mind…I didn’t know our workshop would get chosen so fast. Carol contacted me only a couple of weeks after I queried her.

    Brit

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  12. Great post, Cassie! My stepson is 11 and so far he doesn’t seem to care too much what is inside all those books I write, but at the same time I keep them up where he can’t get to them and never write when he’s around. Which is probably as much a matter of I can’t write when anyone is nearby (other than at the library) as anything else.

    As for my daughter, she is still very young, so haven’t had to worry there yet. Even when she is older I don’t expect it to be too controversial. Simply do as you say and let her know when she is old enough she can read them. Though frankly I don’t like the thought of my mother reading them and probably won’t much get into the thought of my daughter reading them either. 🙂

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  13. I’m laughing at the idea of your dh reading Wolf Tales. I’m convinced I can tell which ones of my neighbors have read my books–they’re the ones who can’t look me in the eye! Doug doesn’t read mine, either, thank goodness! I don’t think I could write as hot as I do if I thought my husband was reading them!!!

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  14. Love your post. And great timing for me. I’m sure I’ll hear some of these questions from someone, and now, I will have the perfect come back. Thanks T/C.
    Dani/Tia Dani

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