Category Archives: Craft of Writing

Tina Gerow: New Year’s resolutions for smut writers…

Everyone I know has the more normal New Year’s resolutions – you know…lose weight, clean out their closet, exercise 4X a week…

Yeah – not my style. Not that those aren’t admirable resolutions to have, but they just aren’t on my list. And I would probably never keep them beyond January anyway.


So what IS on my list?


  1. Write daily! I already try to do this, but end up on a pretty normal week only writing on 5 days and those aren’t always productive ones.
  2. Read more! TONS of people have this on their lists, but as a writer, it’s pretty important. I often use reading as a  reward for reaching some word count goal in my current Work in Progress, and I can’t read in the genre I’m currently writing. I don’t want to start sounding like the author I’m reading. When I read, I get just as immersed in that world and those characters as when I write.  So often, I’ll read historical romances, comedy romances or even history or biographies.  But whatever I’m reading I NEED to read more in 2016!  I only read 13 books in 2015 (not counting the ones I critiqued for other writers) and that’s pretty pathetic for me.
  3. Do more real time research! I do a lot of my research online, or even chatting online with people to get the information I need. But for my current series, I really need to wrangle the Butterscotch Martini Girls and go to a BDSM dungeon/sex club.  Hubby told me in no uncertain terms when I was offered the contract with Random House Loveswept that he would NOT be the one to go with me…LOL! But I’ll bet at least a few of the girls would be game!
  4. Find a few more people who are active in the BDSM/fetish lifestyle to interview and get story ideas. Pretty self explanatory – more research from those who live that lifestyle will give me great writing material!!
  5. Step up my sex scenes.  Yes, I can see some of you cringing because a lot of my sex scenes are already pretty hot, but I don’t want them to get stagnant or predictable so I need to keep striving to write better/hotter ones that also bring the characters together and bring the characters closer emotionally.
  6. The BMG’s have been talking about getting Martini girl tattoos. I’m thinking about it. I have one existing tatt I need to get touched up, but I wouldn’t mind adding a small BMG one to the two I have. After all, I’m one of the founding members and it’s been a BIG part of my life for over a decade now. It would be a tattoo I would love forever, and I do still have a few places that won’t sag too much over the next 20 years!! No one wants a crinkly or suddenly 3 foot long martini glass….snerk!
  7. I also do have some normal resolutions…like not to beat myself up as much when I have a bad writing week or get behind on word count.
  8. To not compare myself to other authors’ writing output and feel bad about myself.
  9. To be thankful every day that I can STILL write – even if it takes me four times as long as it did pre brain blowout.
  10. The be more kind and compassionate
  11. To always work to be a better mother and wife
  12. To love myself more
  13. To be less judgmental about myself and others
  14. To be thankful for everything each and every day!
  15. To make sure everyone I love and care for knows how I feel!
  16. To find joy in every day!
  17. Do my gratitude exercises every day as soon as I get up!

If you were expecting more X-rated resolutions – just head on out to my Cassie Ryan page and pick up a book or two…and definitely my latest – My Obsession. That’ll give you the X-rated you’ve been looking for! 🙂

But if you’d like to go sensual instead of erotic – head on out to my Tina Gerow page.

What are some of YOUR resolutions that aren’t on everyone else’s list?

Happy New Year!



I’m off to raise a Butterscotch Martini to a new year!!!!
butterscotch martinis

Guest Star: Meet Jennifer Shirk


The Love-Hate Relationship of Writing

Hi, all, Jennifer here! I write sweet (and sometimes even funny!) romances for Entangled Publishing’s Bliss line. I just want to say a BIG thank you to the Butterscotch Martini Girls for allowing me to come blog today!

Writing—especially writing romance—is a lot like a love affair. There is an immediate love and then an eventual hate. LOL! But if it’s true love, you stick it out together for better or for worse.

You’re probably thinking, But writing seems so nice. What is there to put up with?

Well, allow me to share a little of my writing relationship highs and lows:


1-Plotting:  Yes! I love to plot. I think I love to plot more than actually write. LOL! Sometimes I have to make myself stop plotting so I can begin writing. But I can’t help it. It’s like love at first sight.  Plotting is where everything about your story is new and shiny. Even your characters names! Putting down a bunch of ideas down on paper gets me excited to write about them.

2—Writing “The End”: Most authors are sad to let their characters go. Not me. I’m thrilled. It’s like going to a wedding. The food was great, I bought an awesome dress to wear, I had a great time, but I can’t do the chicken dance all night. The couple needs to start their life together. Bye, bye. J

3—Editing: Yes, next to plotting, this is a favorite of mine. In fact, I could edit a book to DEATH. It’s getting it all out on paper the first time around that is the hard part for me.


1- The Beginning: Ugh. I sometimes AGONIZE on where to start my stories and usually end up changing the first few pages a couple of times. Okay, more than a couple of times…

2—The Synopsis: Yeah. I know I’m alone in this. Nuff said.

3—The Waiting: It takes so much time to write the book, then you have to WAIT to edit the book before you submit, then you submit the book and have to WAIT to hear from your agent or editor, then WAIT again for it to go through the process of preparing it to be published and marketing it. UGH. Pure agony!!

But all in all, writing is worth the extreme highs and lows and although it’s a very draining process, I still wouldn’t break off this relationship for anything.

I guess it’s true love. J

What about you?

If you are a writer, what do you love most about writing? Hate most?

If you’re a reader, are you surprised writing can make an author so dizzy?


Jennifer Shirk has a bachelor degree in pharmacy-which has in NO WAY at all helped her with her writing career. But she likes to point it out, since it shows romantic-at-hearts come in all shapes, sizes, and mind-numbing educations.

She writes sweet (and sometimes even funny) romances for Samhain Publishing, Amazon/Montlake Romance, and now Entangled Publishing.

Lately she’s been on a serious exercise kick. But don’t hold that against her.

Feel free to follow her on Twitter or become a friend on Facebook







Jennifer’s next release, Wedding Date for Hire, is coming to a e-tailer near you October 12th!

Maddie McCarthy is single, between jobs, and (oh, the shame) lives with her mother. To make matters worse, she’s the maid of honor for her sister’s wedding, and desperately needs a date. Then she sees her salvation—Match Made Easy, a service for women in Maddie’s exact position. If she can’t find a boyfriend, she’ll do the next best thing…

Hire one.

Trent Montgomery isn’t actually part of Match Made Easy. He’s just doing a favor for his cousin, but one look at the blonde who hired him, and he’s totally hooked. Now Maddie thinks that the attraction sizzling between them is just “part of the package.” And Trent is running out of time to prove to her that her date-for-hire might just be her happily-ever-after…


Purchase from Amazon

Purchase from Barnes and Nobel

I’m giving away a print or ebook copy of any one of my backlist titles (their choice) to a random commenter.




Book ideas from a hot woman on a gravestone?

Coveted Dreams JonVJones Where do book ideas come from? Everywhere and anywhere! Join me for a discussion of some of mine…funny, snarky and even serious. 🙂

I’m always asked where I find my book ideas. This picture by Jon V Jones was the inspiration for my popular Maiden series so I thought this would be a great place to start. I don’t even remember WHERE I first saw this picture. It was back in early 2004, so it might have even been in a local gallery.

I fell in love with the picture and stood looking at it for quite a while. My mind immediately started playing “What if?”  You know…that game we all played when we were little and got in trouble for when we got caught playing it in class and not playing attention?

Or maybe that was just me.

I think the part that fascinated me the most was how the stone was slowly flowing up her body as if she WAS turning to stone.

POOF!  My gargoyle warriors were born.  Some more “what if” time and it became Stone Maiden, the first book in my Maiden series, about 900 year old female gargoyle warriors who can turn to stone to fight and heal. God created them during the crusades to protect those being downtrodden in God’s name.  To date, that is my most popular and asked about series.

Unfortunately, the publisher I started it with, imploded, and my series was orphaned after the second book, Fire Maiden, but I do still plan to write Ice Maiden and Chaos Maiden! So stay tuned!

SEDUCING THE SUCCUBUSFor my Sisters of Darkness series, my husband and I were watching the History Channel. I don’t even remember the subject of the show, but they said that Lilith, the Demon who in Jewish Folklore was considered Adam’s first wife, made from the same dust of the earth he was. There are other folklore stories saying that she was the one who convinced Eve to eat the apple and then offer it to Adam in the Garden of Eden. For that treachery, that folklore considers her the first succubus.

That was about the same time I was trying to come up with a new series idea for my agent to shop around. So that little snippet fell on fertile ground…aka, my overactive imagination!

I started thinking what pressure that would be to be Lilith. Yes, per the story she convinced Eve to take the apple, but she didn’t MAKE her take it. And she didn’t MAKE Adam eat it, either. Humans were given free will. But Lilith ended up taking all the blame? Sounded like a bum rap to me!

So I started thinking about what a succubus would really do after that black mark on her resume…so to speak. For that matter, if they are immortal like many demons are thought to be, then what would they do with themselves as the world started to become more modernized.

What career path could you really go for when your only skills were temptation and killing men with too much sex? My snarky side first thought, “Lobbyist?” But that wasn’t really helping me with my new series idea. So I figured, if I were in that situation, with those jobs skills….I would probably go find a job at a high priced legal brothel. But then I needed some conflict for my book, so I started thinking that after living that long, they had probably pissed some other beings off. Thus, the Sisters of Darkness were born. The series is about 4 Succubus sisters in Hell’s version of the Witness Relocation Program.


rp_ceremony-of-seduction-sm.jpg For my Seduction Series, I had never written erotic before, and my friend and fellow critique partner, Brit Blaise, suggested I try my hand at one. My first thought was, what world can I build where it will be easy for my heroine to need lots of sex? After all, I like story with my sex in books, so it HAD to be integral to the story and make sense for my characters to need lots and lots of sex…LOL!

My son came home from school and said they were reading a book in class about how certain words became almost taboo in a culture. I don’t even remember what book they were reading now, but it ignited my imagination. I thought about the words I had issues with – which weren’t many. But I did find one that had always bothered me. In fact I saved that “C” word for the truly evil of the evil.

So, being my smart ass self, I decided to create a race of otherworldly witches whose life force is sexual energy. (Gives them a great reason to have LOTS of sex!). They started as one race on their home planet – they were called the Klatch. One faction called, yep – you guessed it…. the C%@*$, tried to overthrow the King and Queen and when they lost, they were banished to earth.  On earth the name of their race became synonymous with evil and betrayer…

I wrote the first three chapters and sent them off to Audrey LaFehr at Kensington. It’s a long story, but she bought a 3-book series off of that 3 chapter partial. She never blinked at my use of that word. I also used that offer to get my agent, Paige Wheeler, who also never blinked at that word.

I kept expecting somewhere along the way for someone to tell me I had to change it.  But nope…

In fact, Ceremony of Seduction is in its 2nd printing!! It is my best selling series under either pen name. I think that’s my most outlandish book idea story! And even better, it’s true!

rp_SleepingWithShadowsEbook_Medium-187x300.jpg Sleeping With Shadows came about because I was contacted by my first love who had found me on He was older than me and in the Navy. My grandfather (a Navy SeaBee) had gotten his word that he wouldn’t do anything “dishonorable” with his granddaughter. They shook, and that was it. Anyway, I was too young and the intensity of emotion was too much for me to handle, and I broke up with him. But for a while there, I thought I had found the man I was going to marry. And many times after that as I grew up, got married, had my son, divorced, remarried etc, I thought about him and wondered what he was doing.

When we got back in contact we had a lot of catching up to do. We were both happy with our lives, but were grateful to have found each other again. In fact, he’s one of my oldest friends (no, smartasses – not in age!!) But once we were in touch again we kept in touch, emailing when our kids made some new milestone or we had fun things going on in our lives. My husband never minded me staying in contact, and in fact, when I was in the hospital for all that time just after my brain blowout, he called Phillip to let him know what had happened and so he could talk to me.

But during all those walks down memory lane, he and I did have quite a few discussions about “What if things had gone differently.” Neither of us would want to give up the happy lives we have today, but it was firmly planted in my imagination. Sleeping With Shadows came out of all of that, but, I, of course, had to add a paranormal twist and a bad guy! This book contains some true stories out of my past as well as a whole lot of imagination. It became a reincarnation with a twist story, and yes, I did send him a copy of it when I was done and he said he really enjoyed it 🙂

The Pleasure Project After my brain blowout in 2010, I was trying to get back into writing, and my wonderful agent, Paige Wheeler, found an opportunity for me to try to break back in. Kensington (who had bought my Seduction series) was looking for authors to be in a futuristic erotic anthology. They had a big name author as an anchor for the anthology, but they were looking for others to fill out the rest. Paige asked if was interested, and I jumped at the chance. I had never written futuristic, but I had read a lot of it and knew my critique group would help me brainstorm something.

My friend a critique partner, Kayla Janz, suggested a space pirate, and that got the imagination firing. But I like to turn things on their head, so rather than having the normal male space pirate, My heroine became the infamous space pirate, Red Death. She spacejacks our hero and takes HIM as her sex slave!!

There’s more to it than that, since she also drags him into a war between two worlds and much more, but that was the main idea. One of my favorite characters to write in that book has both been raved about and panned by different readers and reviewers. The idea came from my friend and critique partner, Brit Blaise. I had Dani (aka Red Death) using a sex toy in one of the early scenes. When Brit critiqued it, she pointed out (rightly so) that in the future, there probably wouldn’t be VIBRATORS….so, the Pleasure Probe was born. And my heroine regretted buying the talking model!!

Needless to say, this thing can also fly, and enjoys taunting all the male characters–especially our sexy hero, to prove they can offer Dani better “equipment” than the probe can…LOL.

I have several other books published and each of those have their own spark of an idea. All book ideas come from somewhere! I have a growing file of book ideas, and I would have to live to be 250 to write all of THOSE!

How about you? Any of you have great book idea stories?


One new writer’s hilarious “process” for writing sex scenes! @tinagerow

My Obsession Cover

I was contacted by a self-professed newbie writer who had just read my latest release, My Obsession, and wanted to know how the heck I wrote those sex scenes and kept track of who was doing what to who, when, while making it hot, romantic, sexy and keeping the emotional connection going, and making their dialogue sound so natural.

Whew! I was just relieved that I did all that stuff. I mean, I always try to. But it’s definitely not “plug and play” so to speak. Wow, that was a REALLY bad descriptor….snicker.

Anyway, I told her I was willing to chat a little, but that I didn’t have time for a longer discussion since I’m on a deadline. I told her that one of the places I teach online classes for regularly had already expressed interest in me teaching my “Writing Love Scenes” class again in 2016 and I would be announcing it on my FB page, twitter etc once I knew a date.

So then we chatted a bit and she told me how frustrated she was with writing the sex scenes, but that she just didn’t want to write sweet, since it was so far outside her personality. So I asked what her process was. (And yes, she gave me permission to use this as a blog post! LOL)

She said she starts out with a diagram and two paper dolls… Yep – you read that right! She cuts out two paper dolls – a guy (usually a little taller and less curvy) and a girl. Hell, I was impressed that she could do that! I can barely draw a circle or a straight line, let alone draw and cut out something that resembles two humans!!

I asked why she didn’t just use Barbies or something if she thought visualizing would help her. She said because they were her daughter’s toys and she couldn’t in good conscience use her them for this purpose. Not to mention she would feel like a pervert if she BOUGHT them for that purpose!

Anyway, she takes the paper dolls and tries to “script” things. And she watches porn flicks on her phone (so her hubby doesn’t catch her and think she’s creepy) to see what THEY do…you know…for tips and tricks!!

Once she has the basic scripting – (F) – R leg over (M) L shoulder, (F) – R arm flung wide on top of pillow (super soft high grade thread count sheets) etc….. Then she tries to decide at which point the big “O” should happen in the scene. And she marks that with a large O, circled with RED So she can AIM for it!

Then she goes back in and inserts dialogue – “Come on, you big stud, do me NOW!” and stuff like that.

That’s when she goes back in and fleshes out the scene to actually smooth the actions into the dialogue. After all of that she goes back in and adds stuff like the feel of the super soft sheets, the aroma of his man musk, the taste of his “emissions” (her word, not mine).

Then she lets her husband and her best friend read them so she can get feedback. But she keeps getting discouraged when they both laugh and tell her it’s the most hilarious thing they’ve ever read.

I’m glad we were chatting online so I didn’t make her even more discouraged with MY laughing! But I did give her some high level tips like NOT using porn of any type as a template or any kind of inspiration, and cutting down on purple prose. But also to read a LOT of books with hot sex scenes in them to see how other people do it (so to speak) while she gets the hang of writing them.

She said she’ll keep an eye out for my class but was excited that I had finally given her the secret to why her husband and best friend were most likely laughing rather than raving.

She was also impressed with me telling her that if her sex scenes didn’t turn HER on then the reader wouldn’t be turned on when they read them. She told me that a lightbulb came on for her when she heard that because all she felt was frustration when she was writing hers.

We had chatted enough and exchanged some fun banter after that when I told her she’s not alone. LOTS of newbie writers struggle with writing sex scenes. Hell – there are veteran writers out there who struggle with them! It’s tough to juggle all those things (yes, I DID almost type balls…snicker). But after all that, she did tell me I could use this for a blog. She said if it helped even one other writer feel better about writing the damned sex scenes, then it would be worth cringing when SHE read it!

So that’s my fun story to relate for the day, and I hope she feels better with the few tips I was able to share and I hope none of you hurt yourselves laughing while imagining this!! It still cracks me up!!


What inspired my books @TinaGerow

Coveted Dreams JonVJonesCoveted Dreams JonVJones

I remember stumbling on a link to Jon V Jones‘ website on My Space – yup – it was that long ago…LOL! My first book, Into a Dangerous Mind had just been published and my mind was wide open for new book ideas. And then I clicked on the link which would change my life! 🙂

This picture captured my imagination and this beautiful woman with large black wings who was slowly turning to stone became Ariel in Stone Maiden.  I started thinking about women who turned to stone. What world would that be, why would this happen….and my writer brain kicked in from there.

From this picture came a race of female gargoyle warriors created by God during the Crusades to protect those who were being unjustly persecuted in Her name. Now it’s modern day and these 4 are the last gargoyles left of a large army. So what do 4 women who have fought and protected people for 900 years do in modern day Texas?? They hire themselves out as body guards!!

But when the Angel Gabriel asks them to protect a country music songwriter who is being targeted by all the local paranormal beasties they find themselves embroiled in prophesy and using their cunning and fighting skills once again. That simple spark of an idea from that beautiful picture became The Maiden Series. So I owe that series idea to Jon V Jones!

I was recently looking for the picture above – Coveted Dreams and couldn’t find it on his site since it’s an older one. I contacted him and asked him about it and he dug out the link and sent it to me. He’s a REALLY nice guy and I sent him Stone Maiden and Fire Maiden and when I eventually get to write Ice Maiden and Chaos Maiden I told him I’d send those too. And now I have a beautiful copy of Coveted Dreams to frame and hang up! 🙂 I’m mesmerized by his art and I’m sure there are more great book ideas lurking in there!!

For The Sister of Darkness Series I wrote for Berkley, that idea spark came from the history channel. I don’t remember the name of the show but it was talking about how they think Lilith was considered the original succubus.  I had written succubus characters before in the Maiden Series and had a Succubus serial killer in Vortex Blues, so I was already sort of fascinated by that species. And really, let’s be honest, if you’re writing a paranormal erotic – what better character could you have than several succubus? Talk about motivation to have lots of sex – uh….you die if you don’t have it? Yup – great characters for an erotic. Throw in some Archangels some demons and the 3 horsemen of the apocalypse and you have a story about 4 Succubus in Hell’s Version of the Witness Relocation Program. Berkley only picked up the first two books, Seducing the Succubus and The Demon & The Succubus, but as I get time in between paying projects I’ll write the last two in this series too.

Two orphaned series (Maiden & Sisters of Darkness) means I’ll have to get those written as soon as I can!

My Seduction Series started because I wanted to try my hand at writing erotic. Before that my work was purely sensual. My buddy and the lady who started my critique group, The Butterscotch Martini Girls, Brit Blaise was already writing erotics and doing quite well. Multi published and kick ass in her genre. So when I said I wanted to try it out she was more than happy to help me. So I searched for an idea that would give my characters plenty of motivation to have sex. After all, I like plot with my sex, not just mindless sex. If a hero and heroine are being chased by bad guys and stop to have sex, they deserve to die a horrible death. That makes them what we call TSTL (Too Stupid To Live) lol…

So after watching a show on the Salem Witch Trials, followed by Practical Magic, my twisted mind came up with a race of otherworldly witches whose life force is sexual energy. LOTS of motivation for my characters to have LOTS of sex!!

I wrote the first chapter and gave it to Brit Blaise to critique and her feedback was that I needed to have the heroine masturbate in that first chapter to get the story moving…LOL! I laughed at that but took her advice! And the first book in that series, Ceremony of Seduction went into a second printing and is my best selling book of all time. 🙂 So I owe my Cassie Ryan success to Brit Blaise!! Thanks, girl 🙂

Take It Off was actually written for an anthology with 3 other authors that never happened so it was published as a standalone book. At that time it was the hottest Tina Gerow book (it was pre-Cassie Ryan) It was just a fun idea that came to me after watching some episodes of Cat House on HBO 🙂

A woman and a man have a hot one night stand but feel a definite connection and promise to “call.” Her mother has a health emergency and calls her daughter back to run the family’s legal Nevada brothel while her mother recovers. He goes to a bachelor party at that same legal Nevada brothel and assumptions abound on both sides.:) That was VERY fun to write!

Vortex Blues was sparked by a simple weekend trip to Sedona.  Sedona is known for its energy vortexes, which lends itself very well to paranormal.  So add in a Succubus Serial killer a Cop who isn’t warm and fuzzy with “paranormals” and a sexy Succubus who has to help him track down the killer and you have a really fun story! 🙂

My latest Tina Gerow release, Sleeping With Shadows, was sparked when I was contacted out of the blue by my first boyfriend, Phillip. Oddly enough we met when I filled in for the Sun City orchestra pit for Guys & Dolls. Their clarinet player was out and they called my high school band director who suggested me to fill in. Phillip and I literally clicked at first sight. And believe it or not I was 14 and he was 19. He was in the Navy and my grandfather, who was a SeaBee in the Navy, got Phillip’s word of honor that he wouldn’t do anything he shouldn’t with me 🙂 And he didn’t. Although I did get my first kiss and some great memories from Phillip.

Life happened and after dating for a year or so I didn’t see him again until I was in college and 21. We clicked again with that strong connection snapping back into place, but I was already moving to Texas to be a band director and moving in with my first husband (well, he wasn’t my husband yet…) Although I admit I was extremely tempted to scrap those plans and explore things with Phillip. We had always had this unexplainable connection and I think it scared both of us a little. So once again we drifted apart. Then one day out of the blue I got an email from him. He had found me on Classmates. I was married to my current hubby, Jon, and back in Phoenix. He came to Arizona often to see his grandma and once again we both felt that electric connection but were both happily married to others, so nothing came of it but a renewed friendship. Anyway – that ignited my writer’s brain and it became Sleeping With Shadows, a reincarnation with a twist story. Which explores that intense connection and the idea of soul mates and finding them in our many lifetimes. I think that’s the best book I’ve ever written and is my only self published book.

There are more books and ideas, but you get the idea. Book idea sparks come from everywhere, and writer’s brain will have me writing until my last breath 🙂 Have I mentioned how much I love my job???


Writing Love Scenes Class at Savvy Authors starts in Nov! @TinaGerow #hotsex #writingcraft

I’ve written a few hot and kinky love scenes in my writing career.  Okay – I’ve written several.  And yeah – my Cassie Ryan books are kind of off the charts.  Okay, let’s be honest, when I have my Cassie Ryan hat on I’m kind of a freak…

That’s probably why Savvy Authors asked me to teach a class on Writing Love Scenes.  The last time I taught this class I had a full house and it was a TON of fun!!  So I’m hoping lots of you hop on board for this one too!

Here’s the info!!


Writing love scenes is much more than describing whose lips are where doing what.
Good love scenes should read smoothly, clearly, and communicate who is doing what to whom as well as when and how, but without sounding like a How To manual. It should also convey emotions, passion, reveal new insights into the characters as well as advance the plot. Sound like brain surgery or rocket science? Nope – no Doctorate’s degree required – I promise! Come join us for some no-nonsense discussions about how to thread all of this together into love scenes that readers will devour and you will love to write – regardless if you write sweet or smokin’ hot.Level: Beginning/Intermediate
Where:  The Savvy Forums
Cost:  Premium Members $15 / Basic Members $20
Tina Gerow is a multi published author under two pen names. She writes sensual paranormal romance as Tina Gerow and erotic paranormal romance as Cassie Ryan.

She’s also an experienced line editor and a public speaker on many topics both motivational and writing related.

So basically she’s a slacker ex band director with an outgoing personality and an overactive imagination who has been put to work writing for the safety of herself and others 🙂


Sign up here

Can’t wait to see you all there!


60 Helpful & Snarky Tips for Writers #WritingTips @TinaGerow


I’ve been writing seriously for publication since August 2003. I’ve spent since then collecting writing tips (not really in a document or anything) but just mentally collecting them. And since it’s my blog day I thought I would jot some of them down and share them. Some are snarky, some are amusing, but all are actually helpful 🙂 There are TONS more, but those are for another day 🙂 So enjoy and feel free to share with anyone else who might appreciate them…

And here we go…

1. Remove 99% of your exclamation points, use your words to carry the emphasis, not throwaway punctuation that distracts the reader.

2. Avoid ‘Body Parts Gone Wild’ – If a cock leaps to attention, it should have little feet and be ready to run across the room…LOL.

3. Beware of wimpy verbs that don’t give the reader a visual picture. Words like ‘put’, ‘got’, and ‘went’. Use a more descriptive verb.

4. Keep in mind that it’s your job to paint a word picture for the reader so as they read, they can see the picture you have inside your mind when writing the scene.

5. Beware of over repeated actions. If your heroine is always sighing the reader is going to want to kill her by the 10th time…seriously.

6. Make sure the action is with the character, not the body part. Fists won’t clench on their own, the character clenches his or her hands into fists.

7. If your heroine’s vagina is “weeping” there’s salve for that…LOL. Get her to the doctor! Ewwwwwwwwww!!! SO not sexy.

8. Remember even when writing that heroes usually don’t want to kiss a heroine right after she’s “swallowed” – That’s jarring for the reader.

9. Don’t use flowery writing – readers like simple writing that paints a visual picture, not something schlocky that makes them groan.

10. “Mary was scared.” = Telling. “Icy tendrils of fear raced up Mary’s spine.” = Showing. Paint a visual picture.

11. If you’re writing a sex scene and you’ve never done whatever it is you are writing about – talk to someone who has. Seriously.

12. Don’t be afraid of words – use them, but use them well. Her yawning moist cavern is just icky. Soooo not sexy. 😦

13. KNOW your reader demographic – for romance – mostly highly educated women 18-50’s. Don’t talk down to them.

14. Word choice – jizz or love juice – YUCK. Just use come. Don’t gross the reader out.

15. Usually if a sentence begins with ‘And’ or ‘But’, the ‘and’ or ‘but’ can be removed without changing the sentence and it will read better.

16. If writing anal scenes – don’t do the ‘BrokeBack Mountain” thing – sliding in with one stroke with no lube or just spit – that would HURT. Ouch!!

17. If your hero’s “member” has a head the size and color of a large plumb, he’s got medical problems and his partner will NOT be excited. Get that man to a doctor!

18. Purple prose is distracting and annoying and doesn’t help your story, it only discredits your writing in the eyes of the reader. Just say NO!

19. Watch the body parts gone wild. Eyes can’t fly across the room unless they have little wings. Gazes can though…

20. Write what you mean. If a heroine leans INTO a hero – that’s gonna hurt and require surgery – she’s probably leaning AGAINST him.

21. Get rid of “filler” words like ‘that’ and ‘just’ which don’t add much value.

22. Who vs that. If you are talking about a person – use ‘who’, if you are talking about a thing, use ‘that’

23. If the heroine’s heart clenches inside her chest and she’s short of breath, she’s not in love, she’s having a heart attack!

24. Beware of wimpy verbs that don’t give the reader a visual picture – words like ‘put’, ‘got’ and ‘went’ Use a more descriptive verb!

25. Save often and in multiple places.

26. Watch out for rolling eyes – Always reminds me of dice…LOL.

27. Avoid clichés – find a new, fresh way to say something. Make it yours. Cliches are distracting to the reader and don’t add value.

28. If your hero is ‘hard enough to drive nails’ he needs to call the number on the back of the Viagra box!! That’s not healthy! OUCH…

29. Make sure your events aren’t out of order. If someone needs to retrieve a book from a room – walking OUT of the room before grabbing the book and then walking in the room doesn’t work unless you’re Harry Potter and you can ‘spell’ the book to you or reverse time…

30. Read widely. Pay attention to writing you enjoy and writing you don’t and then figure out why.

31. If your pacing is slow and dragging – go back and make sure your conflict is big enough and difficult enough! Conflict drives pacing.

32. Try to avoid using was/ing combos – makes it kind of passive. ‘was running’ can become ran…

33. Watch repeated words used close together. That really becomes distracting to the reader.

34. Schedule a time each day to write. Sit your butt in the chair and write. Your brain will get the hang of being productive on cue.

35. Use appropriate language for your characters. If your 20 year old professional and savvy heroine says, “Golly gee” – that’s odd and jarring.

36. Use of ‘locks’ for hair has become cliche – seriously. People have hair, not locks unless it’s a padlock in their hair. Odd bondage scene??

37. Try to avoid giving all your characters in the same book names that are too similar or all start with the same letter. Gets confusing for both you AND the reader.

38. Anything that pulls the reader out of the story and gives them the chance to put the book down – weed it out of your writing!

39. Avoid using euphemisms that will make most people laugh – “his hairy man sack” is just gross! NOT sexy…LOL!

40. If your prologue is just an excuse to do a backstory dump – cut it. Only use those when absolutely needed to set up a scene.

41. Make sure you know your book’s timeline. Keep a chart. If 3 nights have passed, but it’s never been dark, it better be a paranormal.

42. World Building: Make the rules for your world and characters and then don’t break them. You’ll lose the reader’s trust.

43. Tie up all lose ends at the end, even if it’s a series. Each book must have a satisfying ending or you’re going to lose the reader’s trust… You can have a story ARC for the entire series, but you must have an ARC for each book in the series, each with a satisfying ending.

44. Avoid complicated names for characters – pain in the butt to type and hard for the reader to remember, pronounce etc is a dissatisfier.

45. If a scene doesn’t move the story forward – cut it!! Seriously.

46. If the heroine or hero are chafing and handcuffs aren’t involved, get them some freaking lube people!! That’s just not sexy. LOL…

47. Word choice matters. Thigh is sexier than leg. Breast is sexier than boob or tit. Clit is sexier that ‘love button’ – ACK!

48. Afraid of using the “C” word? It can be done… Read my Seduction series – used in non traditional way, but most of my readers loved it. Ceremony of Seduction – the first book in that series is my best selling book out of all that I’ve written under both pen names!

49. Call it what it is. It’s not a “man rod” or a “love shaft” or a “steely length”, it’s a penis or a dick or a cock. Really…

50. If the hero and heroine are running for their lives and they stop to have sex – they kinda deserve to die…Just sayin’…

51. Be realistic. Most guys (sorry guys!) can’t come four times in an hour…some women can… Don’t make your reader’s roll their eyes.

52. If your hero knows every brand name your heroine is wearing – he might be gay and/or a designer… Which is fine if you’re writing M/M romance or Chick Lit, but I don’t know too many straight men who even CARE what brand names a woman is wearing…

53. When writing romance, a hero who is a jerk or treats the heroine badly is NOT a hero. Readers want a romantic hero – give it to them.

54. A hero who looks at, fantasizes about or ‘plays with’ other women than the heroine (unless it’s a menage book) is NOT heroic.

55. Your heroine can’t flirt with or cheat on the hero either. NOT heroic. If they both agree to a threesome etc, fine, but not outside of that. And even then it has to fit with that genre.

56. Don’t forget to SHOW emotions in your scenes. How are the characters feeling? SHOW US! Don’t TELL us.

57. Action/reaction. Let us see the character’s reactions to things – internal thoughts, emotional reactions and physical reactions.

58. Make sure your hero and heroine’s internal thoughts and dialogue sound different. Each character should be unique.

59. If you aren’t getting hot and bothered while WRITING your sex scene, no one will while reading it!

60. Yes your story MUST have a plot – even if it’s erotic. Most readers like an engaging story with their hot sex! I know I do!


May Online Class: Writing Love Scenes

May Online Class: Writing Love Scenes

Spring is in the air!  Learn how to write love scenes from sweet to sweaty with Tina Gerow/Cassie Ryan.
May 4, 2014 @ 7:15 pm – May 18, 2014 @ 8:15 pm
$25/$20 for members
Workshop Description:

When: May 4-18 (2 weeks)
How much: $25 for the general public, or $20 for HCRW members

Class blurb:

Writing love scenes is so much more than describing whose lips are where, doing what.  Good love scenes should read smoothly and clearly, and communicate who is doing what to whom as well as when and how, but without sounding like a How-To manual. It should convey emotions and passion, and reveal new insights into the characters as well as advance the plot.  Sound like brain surgery or rocket science?  Nope – no Doctorate degree required – I promise!  Come join us for some no-nonsense discussions about how to thread all of this together into love scenes that readers will devour and you will love to write – regardless of if you write sweet or smokin’ hot.

Instructor Bio:

Tina Gerow is a multi published author under two pen names. She writes sensual paranormal romance as Tina Gerow and erotic paranormal romance as Cassie Ryan.

She’s also an experienced line editor and a public speaker on many topics both motivational and writing related.

So basically she’s a slacker ex band director with an outgoing personality and an overactive imagination who has been put to work writing for the safety of herself and others.


Click here now!

Learn Tips & Tricks 4 writing Love Scenes Sweet to Erotic

Sexy High Heels and lingerie 391 by 246

Join me for an Online Class on Writing Love Scenes for the Carolina Romance Writers.  

May 4 – May 18



Writing love scenes is so much more than describing whose lips are where, doing what.  Good love scenes should read smoothly and clearly, and communicate who is doing what to whom as well as when and how, but without sounding like a How-To manual. It should convey emotions and passion, and reveal new insights into the characters as well as advance the plot.

Sound like brain surgery or rocket science?  Nope – no Doctorate degree required – I promise!

Come join us for some no-nonsense discussions about how to thread all of this together into love scenes that readers will devour and you will love to write – regardless of if you write sweet or smokin’ hot.


Hot Prospects Contest 2008

Hey everyone, Valley of the Sun is having a contest for both unpublished and published authors.  Take advantage of it.  Isabella

Hot Prospects Contest – 2008
Sponsor: Valley of the Sun Romance Writers

Fee: $30 for Valley of the Sun RW chapter members
$35 for non-chapter members
Chapter website has PayPal capability…

Postmark Deadline: September 24, 2008
E-Submit Deadline: September 26 2008

Eligibility: Any uncontracted work by an RWA member in good
standing, who is able to enter RWA National Golden Heart or Rita
contests may enter any category. This includes both published and
unpublished authors.

Enter: 3-page synopsis and first 20 pages of story (23 pages max).
Entry or synopsis may be shorter, but neither may be longer than

Categories/Judges: Trained judges for preliminary round,
Editors/Agents for final round.

Historical- Patience Smith (Harlequin/Silhouette)

FF&P (Judge TBD)

Romantic Suspense(Judge TBD)

Contemporary includes Short/Long/Series/Single Title-Sha-Shana
Crichton (Crichton & Associates, Inc.)

All Other includes ChickLit/Women’s Fiction/Inspirational/
Young Adult/Erotic Romance-(Judge TBD)

Top Prize: Written critique by Scott Eagan (Greyhaus Literary Agency)
– for overall high scoring novel length entry only.

For More Information, entry form, and rules, see website at

(Watch for upcoming announcements as we get our final round judges