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!