Category Archives: Sleeping With Shadows

5 Publishing Myths every new writer should know!

rp_keepscore-287x300.jpg All of us were new at one time and had to learn the hard way what was actually the truth of things in the publishing industry. Lately I’ve heard each of these 5 Myths about the Publishing Industry and hope that this blog will save at least one new or aspiring author the pain and suffering that a lot of us went through before we learned this stuff.

Myth 1: Authors Don’t need to do promotions, their publishing company will do it all for them.

Reality: Usually that’s a big fat NO! In fact, until my current publisher – Random House – this has hardly ever been true for me. To be fair, my first series published with a new York Publisher (Kensington), they did pay to have my books faced out for the first month after release. I think that’s part of why my Seduction Series did so well and why Ceremony of Seduction went into a second printing – my only book so far to do that. Granted, I did a TON of promotions for it, but I have for every book I’ve released, even when I was still with a small press publisher. With a lot of the larger publishers, they simply have too many authors to outlay major money on promotions for each one. It’s usually not cost effective. You sink or swim on the strength of your own promotions and the strength of your author brand you’ve built even before you sold it to them.

But the bottom line is – you can’t count on a publisher to do all your promotions. Even with Random House spoiling me rotten – I’m still out actively promoting!

Myth 2: Every book published goes immediately to print and will appear in every bookstore.

Reality: Many books are either released in ebook only or need to meet a threshold of sales before they go to print. Ebooks have become very popular, so neither of things are really a BAD thing. Yes, several books do go immediately to print, but not all of them. It’s very important to check your contract before signing so you know what to expect. Also, a print run (how many books are printed) is set for every book based on a combination of factors – usually the strength of your author brand and how many the sales people for each of the outlets are willing to buy into their store. Smaller booksellers can request your title from Ingrams, but many don’t want to have take the risk on an untried author unless there is some major draw behind either the book or the author. Bookshelf space equates to money and if they aren’t sure they can sell your books and make money, they will pass and save that space on books they KNOW they can sell.

Myth 3: After I write my book I can just hire a professional editor and that will make it easy to sell it to a publisher.

Reality: Even a professional editor (and not all those who call themselves professional editors truly are) who uses the Chicago Manual of Style etc can guarantee that the line editing they suggest will be what a particular editor or agent will want. So you could end up shelling out a LOT of money for editing and either still not be able to sell it, or have to do edits all over again to meet the needs/preferences of that agency or house.

Best advice on this one. Get some beta readers to work out the pacing and the kinks in your story and find a friend, or beta reader who is good at spelling and grammar. Get the book to its best possible state under those conditions and submit, submit, submit. Once an agent or editor acquires the book, they will give you their own edits and then copyedits.

Myth 4: When I sell my book I’ll get to choose my cover, my title and have full say over all content in the book.

Reality: Maybe, but not necessarily. The marketing department of the publisher will weigh in on the title of the book, your cover, and possibly even your pen name. If you are lucky, they will ask you what you would like to see on your cover, what your characters look like – and you might even get characters on the cover that actually match the ones you’ve written. Titles are changeable and in fact I think I’ve only gotten to keep my originally suggested title on 3 out of my 16 published books. Luckily, Kensington liked my suggested Cassie Ryan pen name so I was able to keep that one after all my research to choose it. I suppose they do it that way so they don’t get something that sounds like your pole dancing name – which makes sense, but it surprised me when I found that out. I’ve been very lucky to have been given an opportunity for input on nearly every book cover, blurb, plot flow, title etc, but my ideas didn’t always end up as the one hitting the bookstore shelves.

Myth 5: Once I sell my first book I’ll be able to easily sell everything else I write

Reality: Maybe. I’ve published 16 books to date between my 2 pen names. But even after all of that – Book number 14 I couldn’t sell. My agent said Sleeping With Shadows was the best book I’ve written to that point and she tried her best to sell it. But there were several things against it. First, that was a book I was selling as Tina Gerow. It wasn’t as hot and kinky of all of my other Cassie books but was a little hotter than my other Tina books. So the decision was made to publish it as Tina Gerow. Well, even though Tina has published several books, they were with small presses, so Tina had no New York numbers. But wait, Cassie Ryan has several sets of New York sales numbers, you say. Well, in New York, even though Tina & Cassie are the same physical person, apparently the bean counters look at the sales numbers and Tina doesn’t exist there so is a bigger risk to publish. Also, paranormal was on its way out, as were hotter books. So I self published Sleeping With Shadows – my only self pubbed book, but definitely the book of my heart. A smoking hot reincarnation with a twist story! But nope – couldn’t sell it, even with 13 published books under my belt – several with major New York publishers.

There are many more myths out there, but those are for another day. If you have any big ones, feel free to post them in the comments.



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?


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???


Sleeping With Shadows by @TinaGerow

sleeping with shadows, tina gerowSleeping With Shadows

Can soul mates meet in a dream? Until their past-life karmic cycles are balanced, Matt Martin and Sarah Ryan are on a collision course pushing the world toward a disastrous end.

Will they allow their intense past-life connection to cause them even more missed opportunities in this lifetime? Everyone’s karmic tapestry is in jeopardy because of Matt and Sarah. Together they form the thread that threatens to unravel universal karmic harmony.

To make matters worse, a third person brings more difficulty for the duo. When Sarah’s spurned ex-lover threatens to destroy her to keep her to himself, he unwittingly dooms millions. Can Sarah and Matt work through this dangerous reincarnation with a twist?

Buy it now!

5.0 out of 5 stars Suspenseful Paranormal Romance….basically the best of all genres, January 26, 2014
This review is from: Sleeping With Shadows (Kindle Edition)
If you’re looking for a new and suspenseful paranormal story then you are in luck, Sleeping with Shadows by Tina Gerow was just released. You will not be disappointed with the superb level of writing that Tina brings while taking you on an adventure that will have you wondering what is a dream and what is reality. Sleeping with Shadows follows the journey Matt Martin goes on to find his first love, Sarah Ryan. As Matt starts to see Sarah in his dreams he is not sure of what is real and what is a figment of his imagination. When things go from weird to supernatural, Matt enlists the help of his best friend and a private detective to try to piece together the dreams he keeps having. Sarah and Matt don’t skip a beat when it comes to sparking back up their relationship both emotionally and physically after years apart. As I was reading, I felt like there was a timer and if I didn’t find out what was going to happen next then it would be the end for these two. Sleeping with Shadows is remarkable and mind boggling so be prepared to stay up all night till you finish.

Buy it now!


My 10 “favorite” writing pet peeves @tinagerow


I suppose “favorite” might be an interesting description for pet peeves, but I think of it more as the ones that make me chuckle and shake my head at the same time rather than the ones that make me grind my teeth, if that makes sense!

I think in every profession, people have irritants or pet peeves. I know I have had in every job I’ve ever held. But writing has some interesting ones. And here are some of mine:

1. When people on Facebook send me an invite to an even that’s halfway across the country or even in another country. Uh….yeah, I’m in Arizona, so probably not going to make it to Australia this weekend to attend your book release party at that restaurant you listed. But thanks…

2. People on Twitter who get irritated when you have to abbreviate to get your message into the 140 characters. You know, like Sum1, or B4 etc. When you’re working with only 140 characters, you need to get creative sometimes and if it is still readable, don’t tell me I sound illiterate by doing it. Grrrrr….

3. People who tell me that I’m too Polyanna and shouldn’t post all that “positive” and motivational stuff because I’m a writer, after all, and should just post stuff about my books. Sigh…

4. When they find out you’re a writer, people who don’t consider you a “real” writer unless you’ve hit the NYT or USA Today Best Seller’s list. I WILL hit them both one of these days, but discounting my books, or me because I’m not there yet just irritates the crap out of me! Just me?

5. I had a woman send me an email that she had just read one of my erotic books (written as Cassie Ryan) and she just wanted to write me to tell me I was going to hell. Really? You just said you read the entire book! I’ll save you a seat next to the male hookers, lady! Yeah – she wasn’t too appreciative of that answer, and yes, I sent it….shouldn’t have lost my temper…but hey – I’m not perfect – which is apparently why she thinks I’m going to Hell…snerk!

6. Book promotion companies, freelance editors, cover artists, copyeditors etc who send me numerous emails or post on my Facebook wall about their services. If I need/want those services I’ll come find you. Usually by word of mouth from my trusted friends and fellow authors. If you’re being annoying and sound like a used car salesman with whatever you’re selling you’re going to end up on my “Nope – not doing any business with them” list.

7. Other writers who get mad/pissy when I don’t have time to critique their stuff, or when our critique group isn’t accepting any new members. It’s an established critique group of over 10 years. We work well as we are, and we are full. We are under no obligation to accept new members, and telling us we’re being elitist and snobby isn’t really a good way to get your name in the running if we ever ARE looking for a new member. Just sayin’

8. People who write to tell me what a horrible cover I have on whatever book they are looking at. I know not all my covers are wonderful. But honestly – I have little to no control over those published through a publisher. Some of them ask me for descriptions of the characters (and then don’t follow them) and possibly my suggestions for the cover (and then don’t follow them…lol) but other than my one self pubbed book – Sleeping With Shadows – I had little to no control over those covers. Interestingly enough – Ceremony of Seduction won worst cover of the year through some review site that I can’t remember the name of right now and the sales skyrocketed after that. Probably from getting so many mentions and the cover being reposted a gazillion times. Snicker…

9. When I’m sitting at Starbucks writing and sipping chai and I have to pee!!!!!! I can’t just leave my laptop there, so I have to slip it in my laptop bag, I’ll usually leave a coat or something like that on the squishy chair in hopes it will still be available when I come back, but then I drag the laptop bag etc to the restroom and then come back and pull the laptop out again and get re-set up so I can continue writing…snerk! It is SO much easier when I have a writing buddy to go with who can watch my stuff while I take a bio break, but usually at Starbucks I’m on my own. My critique group does sometimes have writing breakfasts at various places and then we can take bio breaks and leave our stuff there. Yeah – pet peeve, but not something I can do much about changing until I can convince someone to be my Starbucks writing buddy…LOL!

10. People who read over your shoulder as you’re writing/typing and then criticize what you’re writing. A few years ago I was writing at Starbucks in my favorite squishy chair and a woman asked me how I could write that “smut” all day! I told her that the chai lattes helped a lot. She huffed off… LOL. Then don’t be freaking reading over my shoulder, lady!!! It’s not like I was reading it out loud and exposing the masses to my “smut” 🙂

11. People who DO read their stuff out loud or make sure they talk loudly about what they are writing when they are at Starbucks… If I go there to write, that’s what I do. I’m not there to see and be seen. I love the energy of writing somewhere like that. I put my headphones in and listen to my writing soundtrack – which consists of lots of movie soundtracks (without words – otherwise I’ll type the words!!) and I sit, sip my chai and play with my characters. But lots of people apparently go there to see and be seen “writing” although I doubt they are getting much done! One guy even handed out full sheets of paper with his website and his list of twenty (self pubbed) books etc. I’m not knocking self pebbling – hell, one of my 14 published books is self pubbed. But generally, people like this guy didn’t want to go through the process of getting it published so he slapped a book together without editing or copyediting and added a cover (horrible, judging from the pictures he provided) and then will get pissed when people give him bad reviews or tell him that they refuse to pay $15 on Amazon for his epic 500K word ebook.

12. Top 10 lists that go over 10!!! Snicker…

Tina Gerow goes erotic! WARNING: HOT scene enclosed…


For those of you familiar with my writing you know that as Tina Gerow I write paranormal romance that is sexy and sensual, and snarky.  And as Cassie Ryan I still write paranormal romance that’s definitely snarky, but it’s smokin’ hot erotic – usually with a little kink for fun 🙂

So each book that I write, I have to decide up front which pen name I’m writing under so I know what kind of heat level to include in the book.


When I wrote my latest novel, Sleeping With Shadows, it was with a definite Tina heat level in mind.  It definitely has some very sensual scenes and situations, but it was nowhere near the heat of my Cassie books…or so I thought…

Now some back story…

Sleeping With Shadows was the last book I wrote before my brain blowout.  My agent read pieces of it as it was finished and she did question a few of the things that were in there thinking the heat level might be much higher than other similar books in the genre.  However, after we discussed it, I went to the local bookstore and found books in the paranormal romantic suspense genre that had similarly heated scenes and “acts” to Sleeping With Shadows.

It was one of the funniest emails I’ve ever written to her outlining the similarities and listing the other books, authors and ‘acts’ that were comparable.  It was a pretty graphic email, but she and I both needed to know that it was within the “norm” of that genre and that it didn’t eek into the Cassie Ryan territory.

Okay, fast forward three years.  Even though my agent told me this was the best book I’d ever written, she wasn’t able to sell it to a New York publisher.  After all, Cassie Ryan has New York numbers, but Tina Gerow still doesn’t.  Tina Gerow has sold to small press publishers and even to foreign publishers, but not to New York, so would be counted as a new author.

Yes, I know – Cassie & Tina are the same exact person, but from a branding perspective, and thus a New York perspective, Tina is a brand new author and therefore a harder sell.

Anyway- that’s why I decided to publish Sleeping With Shadows myself.  In fact, it’s my first self published book.

My critique group, The Butterscotch Martini Girls, make it a habit to buy each others’ books as they come out.  Now while I was writing this one several of the girls were dealing with either health or family issues so I don’t think they had much of a chance to critique Sleeping With Shadows, so it was mostly new to them!  So when my long-time friend and critique partner Brit Blaise bought the book, I was eager to hear what she thought.  After all, she started our Butterscotch Martini Girls critique group back in 2003, and I learned a TON about this business called writing from her!

So imagine my shock when she came back to me and told me that Sleeping With Shadows was definitely NOT just a sensual book, but erotic.  Now she did say it was a “classy” erotic…LOL!  Which makes sense because the Cassie Ryan books, while erotic, do have a bit of a kink factor, and the situations are a bit on the kink side most of the time too.  But since I REALLY respect Brit’s opinion – she’s an amazing erotic author in her own right, and was the one who helped me take my Tina Gerow sensual heat level and turn it up to smokin’ hot to create Cassie Ryan when Kensington Aphrodisia was looking to start a new line of erotic paranormal romances, I was really looking forward to her feedback! And I got it 🙂  It’s erotic, not just sensual…

Sooooooo……  I’m rebranding the book as an EROTIC paranormal romantic suspense and letting the world know of this switch in categories.  And the best way I knew how to do that is to offer you up an excerpt as an example….  So, to take Brit’s comment, here’s an example of the “Classy erotic” LOL!


So let the games begin…

Matt woke to the sensual sensation of Sarah running her fingers lightly through his chest hair. He turned his head and could just make out the line of her jaw where she leaned on her elbow next to him in the darkness. Her hair tickled over his bare shoulder sending jolts of pure lust through him and straight to his groin.

“Sarah.” His voice came out sounding strangled as she laid a line of open mouthed kisses over his chest and continued downward to his stomach, stripping away the sheet and comforter ahead of her eager lips.

As the cool air hit his skin, rows of goose bumps pebbled over him in a rush.
Matt swallowed hard in a last-ditch effort to keep enough blood inside his brain to ask Sarah about being in a Houston hospital so he could judge her reaction. “I need to talk to you.”

A smug feminine chuckle against his stomach sent lava shooting through his veins and made his cock throb to life under her seeking hands. “So, talk,” she whispered against his skin as she closed her hot mouth over the head of his erection.

Matt hissed at the intense pleasure that rocketing through his system as she teased just the sensitive head by swirling her tongue over him and lightly sucking.

He dug his fingers into the sheets, trying to anchor his body against the skyrocketing sensations inside him.
“I can’t think, let alone talk while you’re doing that.”

Her throaty laugh vibrated down his length and sent searing heat shooting through his veins. She pushed his legs apart and settled between them. Her smooth curves brushing lightly against the hair on his legs was like a thousand erotic caresses, and he shuddered against the onslaught.

“Sarah,” he tried again as the last vestiges of blood left his brain, heading due south.

When Sarah ran her fingernails over the sensitive skin just below his testicles, he nearly jumped off the bed, and he sucked in a lungful of air against the intense sensations.

As if to sooth him, she slowly lowered her tightened lips over him, taking more of him inside the heated cave of her mouth. Matt groaned long and low, then bit his lip to keep from thrusting forward until she took all of him.

He closed his eyes against the sensual assault and let the heated pleasure spill through him like good whiskey, dark and slow.

Sarah gently cupped his balls as her lips finally slid down around the base of him, his full length buried deep inside her mouth and throat. He had only a second to register the sensation before she moved again, slowly sliding him out between her tightened lips as her tongue swirled over him in a torturous caress.

She set a steady rhythm, pulling him nearly all the way out, the head of his aching erection still captured in the wet heat of her mouth before she began to suck him inside once more.

Lost in a roiling wave of ecstasy, Matt opened his legs wider giving her full access to do whatever she wished. As long as she continued her erotic assault on his senses.

When Sarah sat back, releasing him with a small pop, she wrapped her fingers around him and cool air hit the tip of his wet cock.

Matt gasped until her warm tongue traced a path from just below his testicles, up over the sensitive sac. She gently sucked one of his balls inside her mouth as she stroked him from base to tip in a slow, steady rhythm Matt was convinced would drive him insane.

He buried his fingers in the warm mass of her hair, enjoying his unconditional surrender to Sarah’s whims.

She kissed a path over to his other testicle and then sucked that one into her mouth as well, while she continued to stroke him.

His balls slowly tightened under her ministrations and he felt pre come pool at the tip of his cock as he hardened further in her hand. “Damn it, Sarah. I want to be inside you.”

“Mmm.” She abandoned his balls and laved a slow line up the length of him until she could lick the drop of moisture away and tease the tip of her tongue along his slit spearing pleasure through him like an electric shock.

Matt’s hold tightened in her hair as his impulses screamed for him to roll her over on the bed and plunge inside her.

“I love the way you taste, Matthew.” She sucked the head of his cock lightly as if making sure she got every bit of moisture. “I want to feel you come inside my mouth.”
The dark, erotic words surged through his body like a wildfire out of control. Matt swallowed hard as vivid images of him spilling inside Sarah’s mouth while she watched him with those beautiful hazel eyes darkened with passion, flashed across his mind’s eye like a promise of things to come.

He had no warning before she leaned over him again and took his entire length into her mouth, his sensitive head bumping against the back of her throat before she slid him out again and repeated the process.

Quick, panting breaths were all Matt could manage as the barrage of overwhelming sensations drove him toward a cliff of insanity he begged to reach.
His heart pounded like thundering hooves, echoing through his head until he thought his ears might burst from the intensity.

Matt’s balls tightened against his body, and the familiar tingling began deep inside his pelvis as Sarah continued her assault on his senses, the sounds of enjoyment deep in her throat vibrating through him as her silky hair danced a teasing path over his stomach and legs.

Without warning, he exploded, sending hot jets of his release deep into Sarah’s waiting mouth.

She continued her ministrations, milking him until his body finished convulsing and a thick haze of euphoria had spread through his limbs.

He was distantly aware of her kissing the tip of his softening penis and crawling up his body to curl beside him, pulling the covers with her. She laid her head on his shoulder, tucked into the crook of his neck. Her hair was so close to his face, each of Matt’s breaths was filled with the soft musk of vanilla and the unique scent that was Sarah.

He curled his arm around her protectively and splayed his fingers over her bare hip. “Give me a few minutes to recover, and then we really need to talk.”

Her throaty chuckle was the last thing Matt remembered before sleep took him.