Get into Bed with Julia Wildthorn (An Author Interview)

Love Romance Passion interviews Julia Wildthorn the heroine of Terry Spear’s Heart of the Highland Wolf… making fiction reality! ;)

Keira to Julia: Why are you drawn to write werewolf romances?

I’ve always loved the paranormal, but what’s not to love about a hunky wolfish kind of guy? Oh sure, vampires are pretty sexy. But there’s something about a wolf–the pack dynamics, the loyalty and protectiveness of a pack, the rugged nobility and hunter mentality, that draws me in to write about them and keeps me coming back for more.

Susan to Julia: Writer’s block can be such a bothersome occurrence. Did the Highlands of Scotland cure yours my dear?

Cure what? Oh, yes, my, ahem, writer’s block. The misty, cool weather, the lush green terrain, the woolly Highland cows, the ancient castle and beautiful forest, and all those hunky Highland men…yep, knocked that writer’s block right out.

Susan to Julia: Will your upcoming release include a Highland hero perhaps, or did you decide on the Western after all?

A Highland hero, but you see, one wrong word from some of the Highlanders I now associate with and I can jump right back into the Western theme. Sexy cowboys in leather chaps can be rather appealing too!

Susan to Julia: It’s been rumored that Ian and his brothers (Guthrie and Duncan) will be escorting you on your World Tour. What will they be hiding under their kilts?

Julia tries to hide a chuckle, but isn’t very successful. She’s sure she turns a little red, you know because of that red hair and fair skin and her face feels awfully hot. She clears her throat and smiles sweetly. You’d have to come and find out for yourself. Although, you might be surprised at their response.

Susan to Julia: In Heart of the Highland Wolf you finally reveal to romance readers worldwide who you really are. Now that its on paperback (Mass Market to be exact ) are you ready to tell everyone about your special qualities? Pick a quality: Seduction, finding secret tunnels, writing, or the spoiler.

Absolutely not! If I let anyone know where the entrance to the secret tunnel was and anyone else sneaked in, Ian would be on my case, knowing just who let the proverbial cat out of the bag. As to seduction, are you asking how to seduce a Highland wolf? It depends on the wolf. There’s not just one way to seduce a wolf, nor are all wolves the same when it comes to seduction. They come in all shapes and sizes and very much different personalities. :)

Susan to Julia: What did Ian whisper to you in Gaelic when you went hiking? (Eyebrow lift). I’m all ears!

Hmm, I’d have to learn Gaelic, but I can just imagine. He’s sexy, a wolf, and hot blooded. And that says it all, no matter the language!

Keira to Julia: So Julia, are you a werewolf romance author or an author who writes werewolf romances? Your readers want to know! ;)

Yes. ;)

Keira to Julia: What’s your favorite feature here at Love Romance Passion?

Your “Get into Bed with the Author” interviews, but I have to admit that it’s not Ian’s favorite part of my being an up-and-coming romance author who writes werewolf tales. He doesn’t like to think that ANYONE takes me to bed at night but him! It has all to do with that wolfish “protectiveness.” *sigh* But he’ll just have to get used to it.

Thanks so much for having me as your special guest again. I hope that everyone enjoyed the interview. I have to admit Ian has been watching over my shoulder the whole time as I typed up my responses. He’s such a wolf. Thanks again!

HEART OF THE HIGHLAND WOLF BY TERRY SPEAR – IN STORES JUNE 2011

Each holds a secret they can’t possibly overcome alone…

Julia Wildthorn is sneaking into Argent Castle to steal an ancient relic, but reluctant laird Ian MacNeill may be the key to unlocking the one answer she really wants discovered…

From brilliant storyteller Terry Spear, modern day werewolves meet the rugged Highlands of Scotland, where instinct meets tradition, and clan loyalties give a whole new meaning to danger…

Buy: Heart of the Highland Wolf

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

A retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves, Terry Spear has an MBA from Monmouth College. An eclectic writer with a PW Best Book of 2008 (Heart of the Wolf), she writes paranormal romance as well as historical and true life stories for both teen and adult audiences. Spear lives in Crawford, Texas. For more information, please visit www.terryspear.com.

http://www.terryspear.com/

http://www.facebook.com/#!/terry.spear

https://twitter.com/#!/TerrySpear

http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/tspear

Review: Heart of the Highland Wolf by Terry Spear

by Susan S., guest reviewer

Summary: Ian MacNeill, hero, is an earl-slash, alpha pack leader-slash, laird; who will lose Argent Castle because of financial reasons if he doesn’t do something quick. The solution? Agree to let Sunset Productions film a Highland movie on his property (in the Highlands of Scotland).

The production crew has agreed to all of Ian’s countless stipulations; so why then, is the assistant to the assistant director trespassing and breaking and entering?

MacNeill isn’t obtuse; he’s cognizant of Julia’s lies. He knows she’s being untruthful about many things: her surname, her occupation, and her motives for creeping around his castle. Another laird would be furious with the lass. Punishing her even. But Ian has his own wolfish ideas to get the lass to behave.

Review: This novel has it all; the suspense, the romance, a malicious antagonist, and a castle with secret tunnels, trap doors and its very own…ghost. I can’t decide which appealed more, the suspense or the mystery. “Give me a minute to think about it.” Let’s go with…suspense. I remember gasping out loud on page 6 and that was just the beginning.

Favorite Character: Flynn, Argent Castle’s very own ghost. He always helps a lady in need! I’m not kidding, I wanted more Flynn! (I’m pouting like Tinker Bell and stomping my little foot.)

Favorite Scene(s): I loved the way Ian welcomes Julia to Scotland. (Welcome me, welcome me!)

Then there’s the hike, which ends at the falls, where Ian pleasures Julia with and without her clothes. Hot doesn’t even begin to describe it. The man has talent! He also whispers sweet nothings in Gaelic.

Cameos: I spied with my little eye a wolf biologist named Cassie, and my favorite pack leader, Leidolf. For new readers, or those reading the series out of order, you can read all about Cassie and Leidolf in Seduced by the Wolf (book 5).

Special Surprises Which Tickled Me Pink: I found two references (pages 165 and 345) regarding LRP’s Get into Bed interviews. (Cute.) (Funny.) Again…tickled pink. :D

Recommendations: Recommended first and foremost to mystery lovers, then to readers who love romantic suspense, and finally to paranormal romance readers.

Others in the Series:

Book 1: Heart of the Wolf
Book 2: Destiny of the Wolf
Book 3: To Tempt the Wolf
Book 4: Legend of the White Wolf
Book 5: Seduced by the Wolf
Book 6: Wolf Fever
Book 7: Heart of the Highland Wolf

What’s Next? Dreaming of the Wolf, book 8 in the series, has a December 2011 release date. It promises more romance, more suspense, and another sexy alpha pack leader. Want a name? Jake. Want to know what his passion is? Photography.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Heart of the Highland Wolf

Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. Paranormal Romance, Copyright June 2011, Mass Market Paperback, Print Pages 383. ISBN# 978-1-4022-4552-7

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Sexy Shapeshifters!

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by Terry Spear, guest blogger

terry-spear-author-photoHave you ever wanted to shapeshift? Maybe not exactly thought of it in those terms, but haven’t you ever wanted to be a fly on the wall? To hear and see what was going on at some event that you couldn’t/wouldn’t dare intrude on otherwise? But were dying to know what went on?

Or have you ever wished you could stretch up and reach something you can’t without a stepstool or ladder? Or wished you could run like a gazelle? Or had four hands so you could do whatever job you were doing that needed more than two hands? What about looking out over a mountainous ravine, watching an eagle soaring above the treetops? Ever wish you could fly like that?

Or swim deep into underwater caves or around exquisite corals and through colorful tropical fish, or under icebergs to see what’s down there, without the aid of scuba or snorkeling gear or wetsuits?

What if you could show off a pair of wickedly sharp teeth if someone really aggravated you and that would make him or her back off-quickly? :)

So now, have you ever wanted to shapeshift?

Why werewolves? In truth, I started out with vampires, and then somewhere along the line I created a futuristic world-a warrior who is grounded on a planet where the heroine is a panther shapeshifter and her brother, a dragon. But then, I began considering wolves, werewolves and how they got just as bad a rap as vampires in the beginning. Someone needed to love them, as they were. Many stories show werewolves living in our society, some as a fantasy element, some where they are more closely related to the old werewolf tales-man hates his being a werewolf, can’t remember what he does in the middle of the night, dead bodies everywhere.

Mine are about a race of humans, unsure how they were turned, though various thoughts persist, from alien forces to a mutated virus from the bite of a wolf early on. I try to keep my stories as true to wolf behavior in the wild as I can-but of course, their actions are moderated by their human halves. And while they’re human, they have their enhanced abilities that give them an advantage over regular humans.

In Heart of the Wolf, which was named one of Publishers Weekly’s Best Books of the Year, they said this: “The vulpine couple’s chemistry crackles off the page, but the real strength of the book lies in Spear’s depiction of pack power dynamics, as well as in the details of human-wolf interaction. Her wolf world feels at once palpable and even plausible.”

And The Romantic Times had this to say: “A solidly crafted werewolf story, this tale centers on pack problems in a refreshingly straightforward way. The characters are well drawn and believable, which makes the contemporary plotline of this story of love and life among the lupus garou seem, well, realistic.”

9781402216688In Destiny of the Wolf, I wanted to show a werewolf pack that actually runs a town, a fictional place called Silver Town, based on several silver towns in Colorado. Lelandi is a red wolf from another part of Colorado, who knows her sister has been murdered, but when she arrives in Silver Town to locate and dispense with the murderer, she finds herself on his new hit list. And Darien, the gray alpha pack leader, soon changes his mind about sending the luring red back to her own pack, and keeping her right where she is-for her protection, of course.

So why wolves? They’re fiercely protective of their own, mate for life, and live in family packs, loyal, courageous, cunning, and strong. Just seeing them nuzzling each other, shows their human, I mean, loving side. So why not werewolves? Combined, it makes them a hot new item where the term alpha male takes on a whole new meaning.

If you could, what would you like to shapeshift into?

Erotic Romance, Not Just Erotica and Romance

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by Cecilia Tan, guest blogger

Our tale begins in 1970, which is the year some point to as the beginning of the modern romance genre, with the arrival of the manuscript The Flame and the Flower by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss on the desk of editor Nancy Coffey at Avon. The book would be a huge bestseller, kicking off a new era of romance publishing, and Woodiwiss was the first of the “Avon Ladies.” In that year, the average age at which American women married was 20.6 years old.

But 1987 that average was up to 23.3 years old, and according to the US Census Bureau, by 2003 it was 25.1 years, where it remains today.

Meanwhile, the percentage of female teenagers becoming sexually active rose from 30% to 40% between 1982 and 1988, and now, 20 years later, the rate of high school students who have had intercourse is close to 50%. (They don’t count it as “sex” unless you have intercourse, you know.) In short, that means a lot of young American women, who used to go into their marriages with no sexual experience, now tend to have a significant amount of time as sexually active people before they marry–most as much as a decade.

Not only that, but as the generations have progressed from the swingin’ seventies to today, the kinds of sex that women are having has proliferated. The likelihood that they have experience with spanking, bondage, multiple partners, bisexuality, and other things that would have once been considered outre is now quite high as well, with 48% of people currently in their 20s reporting they have at least “experimented” with these activities.

bondage

Is it any wonder, then, that romance novels have changed, too?

This doesn’t mean that every romance reader wants in her life–or in her fiction–non-stop sex, kinky sex, or partner swapping. But the “bodice rippers” that were a staple of past generations are now often seen as either laughable or even anti-woman by modern readers, and the breathless euphemisms that used to be standard in the genre come off as quaint or unintentionally funny. The back cover copy on Woodiwiss’s “Flame…” speaks of “…the Carolina plantation where Brandon finally probes the depths of Heather’s full womanhood!”

We might make fun of the old style of marketing, but there is no denying that whatever language is used, romances have always been about passion as well as love. And just as fewer and fewer women would find a chaste kiss to be satisfying after a romantic dinner out, and now they want the same desires reflected in their favorite fiction.

But what distinguishes erotic romance from “erotica”(a broad term in itself)? Is erotic romance just a hybrid between romance and erotic fiction? In actuality, it’s the strength of the romance genre that allows so much flexibility in what we can call “romance” these days. The two unchanging aspects are the focus on love and the core relationship, and the happy/emotionally satisfying ending. That leaves a lot of room to have different historical settings, mystery subplots, fantastical aspects. As Beatrice Small wrote in a 2007 essay on the history of the genre, “[In the 1970s] romance [grew into] a billion dollar baby for publishing. It was a two-headed baby to begin with: Historicals and Category. But then as women’s palates grew more sophisticated, baby grew more heads. Historical and Category were joined by Western, Thriller, Paranormal, Glitz, Chick-Lit, Christian, Contemporary, and OHMYSTARS! Erotic, just to name a few. And the Historical sub-genre had sub-sub-genres. Regency. Georgian. Medieval. [and so on.]”

In other words, romance is a great-looking model on which you can put any kind of outfit, whether a medieval ball gown or six-inch spike heels and a leather corset.

For me, it isn’t the amount of sex in a book, nor how graphic it is, that makes a book “erotica” and not romance. I am one of those women for whom love and sex go hand in hand in my real life. I wouldn’t dream of spending my life with someone if I didn’t know we were compatible in bed. In a love story, especially a contemporary one, I feel like I need to see some erotic interaction between the characters in order to believe that their love is real and can work. In historicals I find Unresolved Sexual Tension more believable than in stories set in the modern day, but what I am still seeking is the ultimate release of that tension. I love writers who can wind the ratchet tighter and tighter, but just like someone who is great at teasing in bed, I want them to eventually deliver me that mind-shattering release.

legs

More sex scenes do not necessarily make a “hotter” book, the way more salt and pepper doesn’t automatically make a meal taste better. What is most arousing is when the sex is convincing, when it makes sense with the characters and when it follows a logical progression through their emotional lives.

There are plenty of books of erotica out there. I know, because I’ve written them. Many of them are collections of short stories, because erotica can so often be about the fling, the one-night stand, the exploration of a character’s sexual growth, but doesn’t necessarily have to be about love. Short stories are flings, but novels are relationships. And just as I found I need to see some sexual interaction between characters for me to believe they are falling in love, I also have to see them falling in love in order to believe that they are going to keep having sex for the space of an entire novel! If they aren’t, if the plot is not a love story but just an vehicle to get us from one sex scene to another, inventive and arousing as the scenes may be, I’d classify a book as erotica, and not erotic romance.

When I sat down to write my book MIND GAMES, which I’d classify as an erotic paranormal suspense romance, I had already come up with the characters many years before. I’d originally envisioned Wren and Derek as an established couple, and I was trying to write them in a kind of detective/spy scenario where their partnership and relationship were already long since established. But that idea never really firmed up. I kept asking myself how they had come to be a couple, and how did they find out that sex enhanced her psychic abilities? Ultimately I realized I couldn’t write what happens in their future until I wrote their love story and answered those questions.

It was an incredible experience writing them falling in love. After over a decade of writing and publishing dozens of erotic short stories, in places like Ms. Magazine, Best American Erotica, and Nerve, having the room to follow the characters from their initial meeting and spark of attraction, right through to their eventual emotional break-throughs, felt like a decadent luxury to me. I really was able to focus on the emotions, not just on Wren’s attraction and feelings of arousal, but also her conflicted feelings, her fears, her past wounds, and her determination to make this time different from the failed relationships of the past.

Now that I think about it, I did the exact same thing in my second romance novel, THE HOT STREAK. If anything, THE HOT STREAK concentrates even more on the relationship because there is no mystery sub-plot. All the “action” revolves around our heroine falling in love with a baseball player and learning to negotiate the ups and downs of being a “major league girlfriend.” It’s a much more light-hearted book than MIND GAMES, but again there’s that theme of her not yet having found Mr. Right, and then all the doors it opens in her heart and her life when she finally meets him.

Ultimately, this is why erotic romance is still romance, because although we want him in bed, we still want Mr. Right. It’s just romance created to satisfy the women like me who aren’t satisfied by a story that doesn’t meet their own sexual reality, and those are the women I set out to please, too. And I’m sure as the needs and lives of women continue to change in the 21st century, the heroines and stories we find in romances will change to meet them.

Cecilia Tan is the author of the erotic romances MIND GAMES, THE HOT STREAK, and the forthcoming MAGIC UNIVERSITY series, as well as numerous books of erotica and baseball nonfiction. Read sample chapters more at http://www.ceciliatan.com/.

References:
“More Girls Are Sexually Active, Study Finds,” by Felicity Barrington, New York Times, November 10, 1990 (http://www.nytimes.com/1990/11/10/us/more-girls-are-sexually-active-study-finds.html)

“Facts on American Teens’ Sexual and Reproductive Health,” Alan Guttmacher Institute, September 2006 (http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/fb_ATSRH.html)

“Most Americans Have Had Premarital Sex,” By Sharon Jayson, USA TODAY, December 19, 2006, (http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2006-12-19-premarital-sex_x.htm)

America transformed: sixty years of revolutionary change, 1941-2001, by Richard M. Abrams, Cambridge University Press, 2001

“A Brief History of the Romance Genre,” by Beatrice Small, Shorelines newsletter, August 19, 2007 (http://www.authorscene.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=60)

Photo Credits: Wiros, Oneras [what about peace?]

Reader Highlight with Kati of Katidom

Keira: You pick up the phone and on the other end is your all time favorite romance author offering to write you a story just the way you want it – setting, names, character types, time period, genre, etc. Which author is it and what are you going to have them write?

Kati: Great question! It would be Lisa Kleypas, and she would be writing another contemporary. In my dream world, it would be Joe Travis’s story from her Texas set contemporary series. But this time, she’d give us both view points, and not just the heroines. Lisa’s contemps have been my top reads for the last three years. She’s an absolute sure thing for me.

Keira: As someone who works for NASA you’ll love this next question – they’re sending you up to the space station and providing you with all the books you could desire, but there’s just one catch – only one subgenre of romance is allowed. Which subgenre do you pick to be free and why?

Kati: This is tough because I read contemporary, paranormal and historical. But I’d say paranormal, because they can have both contemporary and historical settings, thus feeding all my needs! ;o)

Keira: You’ve been blogging at Katidom since 2007. What are some of your favorite posts that haven’t gotten as much loving as you feel they deserve?

Kati: My favorite posts are the ones that deal with pop culture. I know, I know, it should be the ones about romance. But my post on which fictional TV or movie character would be your boyfriend, or my secret inappropriate crush are probably my two favorite posts. Mostly because even non-romance readers have opinions about that. Also, I have a not-so-secret love of meme’s.

Keira: What are your top 5 favorite romances and if you could rename them what would their titles be?

Kati: God, I’m terrible at this. I’m about the least creative or imaginative person you can think of. My favorite romances are:

  • The Windflower by Tom and Sharon Curtis. The new title would have something to do with Merry’s Evolution from Weak Heroine to Stronger Heroine
  • Sea Swept by Nora Roberts uh, the title would be Cameron Quinn is Sex on a Stick
  • Smooth Talking Stranger by Lisa Kleypas uh, the title would be Jack Travis is Sex on a Stick (do you see a theme here?!)
  • Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh, um, Lucas Hunter is a Bad Ass Alpha and ALSO Sex on a Stick
  • Archangel’s Kiss by Nalini Singh uh, Raphael is Hot?

See? Unoriginal, but there’s a theme.

Keira: Who is your favorite Nora Roberts hero? You can pick two if you give one from her J.D. Robb books also!

Kati: Easy! Roarke (who doesn’t freaking LOVE Roarke?) and Cameron Quinn, who I love because he’s a race car driver/daredevil guy who gives it all up to become a stay at home dad.

Keira: Your favorite clinch cover is:

Kati: Oooh! Love Only Once. Reggie and Nicholas, yummy! God I loved that book!

Keira: Name 3-5 romance authors you haven’t had a chance to read yet, but want to read:

Kati:

  • Ilona Andrews
  • Sarah Mayberry
  • Simone Eckels

Keira: What are some of your favorite/least favorite character types, plots, and literary devices?

Kati: I absolutely loathe the “love by deceit” trope. Any book where the hero lies to the heroine or where they deceive each other by impersonating someone else is an immediate DNF for me.

Keira: Do you prefer Old School romances or New School romances and why?

Kati: I started reading romance in 1983, so I’m a definite Old School reader, which I think makes me more forgiving of super dominant heroes. I am someone who definitely isn’t horrified by the whole forced seduction scenario or a heroine who is “silly”. That being said, I love how smart new school romances are. How the plots seem so much more complicated and the settings are really exotic. So, I’m an Old/New School reader. I read them all and enjoy most of them.

Keira: Is there anything else you’d like to talk about or share?

Kati: I can’t think of anything. Thank you so much for this opportunity, Keira!

Kiss and Tell: Carmen Shirkey on Her Hero

katToday’s article is written by romance author Carmen Shirkey.

Okay, I decided to risk embarrassing Jim and participate in your new Kiss & Tell feature. :)

My book, The List, is about a woman who has a ridiculously long list of characteristics she wants in her future boyfriend/husband. That was me, two years ago.

I had a list. While my character’s list featured over 50 items, mine only had 12. Being a writer-type person, I wrote them down on a Winnie the Pooh note sheet and placed them in between the pages of my Bible, in kind of a silent prayer to God that he bring this man into my life.

The dates that my character, Candace, goes on in her search for Mr. Right are drawn almost nightmare-for-nightmare from my own experiences. That saying, “you have to kiss a lot of frogs” is very true. I kissed so many frogs, I’m surprised that I have lip muscles left.

There’s another saying that says “there’s a time for everything.” My problem is that I always wanted things on MY timetable, being the Type-A personality that I am. Ask me how long I waited for Mr. Right. Go ahead, ask! Well, I’ll tell you. I waited 35 years. Okay, maybe not 35, as that implies that I was waiting from birth, and at birth, I didn’t care about such things. So let’s forget the dateless nights during high school, when all the guys thought I was a “great friend,” and all the dateless nights in college, because I wouldn’t put out on demand. That leaves me with 15 years of waiting and hoping.

jimcarmenOn a very chilly April evening in 2007, I made plans to meet up with a local social group to attend a local baseball game. The funny thing is, I hate baseball. I think any game that requires a “7th inning stretch” is about 7 innings too long. However, I went because my dad kept telling me that Mr. Right wasn’t going to jump out of my closet. Good thing, since I’d have bigger problems if that happened. :)

There was a new face in the group that gathered in front of the ticket booth. I was instantly intrigued, and kept trying to slip glances at him without him noticing. Because, however much I wanted my Mr. Right, I was terribly shy. Flirting is a skill that has eluded me most of my post-pubescent life.

My friend literally pushed me into talking with him. He had offered to bring back some hot drinks for those of us in the cold bleachers. I was going to put in an order, but my friend demanded (by pushing) that I go help him carry the items. Going against every desire in my body, I ended up sending him an email the next day, because I had been too nervous that night to give him my digits. We had our first date at a local pizza place. Our second date was at the nearest theme park (and him being scared of heights) followed by dinner afterwards, and after that, our first kiss. (Yowza!)

Two years later, we’re still happily together. I moved in with him about 8 months ago, and we’ve learned to deal with each other’s idiosyncrasies, in a manner that I think has been relatively smooth. This is the man I want to spend my life with.

He’s my hero because he accepts me. Mildly neurotic, sometimes crazy, often silly, often hormonal, frequently emotional, weight-obsessed me. He takes me as a whole package, and loves me anyway. And here’s the kicker. He ticks off every single item on my Winnie the Pooh note. EVERY ITEM! Oh, he’s not perfect, and don’t let him convince you otherwise. But he’s perfect for me.

Should you like to read my sort-of-biographical novel, The List, and hopefully enjoy a good romantic comedy (this site reviewed it and gave it 4 stars!) you can buy it at Amazon: The List.

I also invite anyone who would like to interact with me to visit my book’s blog: http://thelistbook.blogspot.com or you can follow me on Twitter, @carmenshirkey

Dos and Donts to Succeed as an Erotic Romance Author (Or In Any Other Genre, For That Matter.)

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by Jamaica Layne, guest blogger

I’ve been a working (meaning: published and earning royalties) erotic romance author for a while, but I recently added erotic romance editor to my resume when my publisher Ravenous Romance hired me to edit two erotic short story anthologies for them: Power Plays: An Anthology of Sex and Politics (releases January 20 at RavenousRomance.com) and Experimental: An Anthology of Sex and Science (releases February 15 at RavenousRomance.com). As I did the work of both acquiring editor and developmental editor for those two books, I learned quite a lot about how successful erotic romance authors should (and should not) act. In addition to having the privilege of interacting with many already well-known and successful authors as I selected stories for the anthology, I was fortunate to discover some new talent—-some of whom are now enjoying their first taste of publication thanks to my selecting their work.

As wonderful as the thrill of discovering new talent (or enjoying the work of seasoned pros) can be, we editors also have the trying task of not only wading through the godawful dreck that makes up 95% of what is received via open submission policies, we also have to deal with our share of unprofessional (and sometimes even shocking) behavior from authors, both published and unpublished.

As a result of my first experiences as an erotica editor (as well as my many years’ experience as both a general copyeditor and journalist), I’ve compiled the following two lists: “What To Do To Succeed As An Erotic Romance Author,” as well as “Ten Easy Ways To Destroy Your Career Writing Erotica (Or In Any Other Genre, For That Matter.” Here we go.

“What To Do To Succeed As An Erotic Romance Author,” by Jamaica Layne

5. DO read lots and lots of erotica and erotic romance. Everything you can get your hands on, in fact. Not only should you study the masters, like Anais Nin, Henry Miller, D.H. Lawrence, and Catherine Millet, you should read today’s hot erotica authors, like Lora Leigh, Zane, Kate Pearce, Alison Tyler, and Julie Hilden. (Read me, Jamaica Layne, too, if the mood should strike you). Learn what the rules of the genre are, and also learn how and when to break them.

4. DO write each and every day. Shoot for at least 1000 words of erotic writing, each and every day (weekends too). No excuses. Practice makes perfect. Even if you don’t plan to show anyone what you’re writing, the act of writing itself is the best training to become a writer.

3. In addition to reading all the erotica and erotic romance you can get your hands on, DO read everything else under the sun. Fiction, nonfiction, newspapers, soup-can labels, whatever. Good writing is good writing. And good writers are good readers first.

2. DO learn the professional standards for formatting and submitting your work to agents and publishers. Learn what standard manuscript format is, and use it. Learn how to write a good, concise cover letter. Learn how to sum up your work in one sentence or less in queries. Learn about and study the markets for erotica and erotic romance, including their likes/dislikes and taboo lists. And prepare yourself for a lot of rejection.

1. DO have patience. Successful writers usually don’t become successful until after years of trying (and failing). Don’t take rejections personally. Learn from your mistakes, and keep on trying, trying, trying again, until you succeed.

And now, for the far more entertaining section:

“Ten Easy Ways To Destroy Your Career Writing Erotica (Or In Any Other Genre, For That Matter.)”

1. Do Not Use Creative Formatting. You should only format your work according to professional standards: i.e., Microsoft Word-compatible, double-spaced, Times New Roman or Courier font (I’ll accept Arial, too). Putting your story in single-spaced purple Comic Sans or Gothic font will get you automatically rejected. Sending your work as plain-text cut and pasted into an email with no hard returns or spaces will get you automatically rejected. Sending your work in an obscure word-processing format that I can’t open will get you automatically rejected. And including cute clip art of bunnies and fairies will not somehow make me like you.

2. Do Not Make Up Phony Credentials. If you have legitimate (and verifiable) publishing credits, by all means list them in your cover letter. But saying that you’ve published 40 books (none of which seem to be available on Amazon), or making up names of fake erotica magazines that have supposedly published your work, or bragging that you’re an aspiring actress and the obscure independent short film you just starred in is going to guarantee that your work will become a bestseller (yes, real people actually did all three of these things) will not impress the acquiring editor. If anything, it will get your work automatically rejected.

3. Do Not Ignore Submission Guidelines. If a market is specifically asking for, say, short erotic fiction, and you instead send a 15,000 word novella that is not in any way erotic, you are going to be rejected. If a market is asking for heterosexual, non-kinky erotic romance, and you submit a lesbian bondage fantasy, you are going to be rejected. Ignore submission guidelines at your peril.

4. Do Not Ignore Erotica Publishers’ Stated Taboo Lists. In erotica, most publishers have stated taboo lists in their submission guidelines (i.e., subject matter they will not publish). THESE ARE VERY IMPORTANT. If you submit work to a publisher that is in violation of its stated taboos, you will probably ruin your chances of EVER being published at there. For example, I don’t know of any erotica publisher that will publish stories involving adults having sex with underage partners (i.e., pedophilia), or rape fantasies, or anything else that would be a crime punishable by law in the real world (and yet, I have received multiple submissions of this kind of thing for books I have edited—eww). Stuff involving “golden showers” and feces is pretty much always out, too. Some publishers also won’t publish S&M or bestiality; and since most erotica readers are women, stuff that is degrading to women is usually out, too. If you ignore stated taboo lists, you will really piss the editor off, so FOLLOW THE GUIDELINES, please!

5. Do Not Insult The Editor Who Rejects You. If you get mad because an editor rejects your work, don’t turn around and send that editor an insulting email, engage in name-calling, or hurl profanity at him/her. (Yes, an author I rejected did this to me recently). The editor that rejects you today might be the editor that offers you a contract tomorrow, so don’t burn bridges.

6. Don’t Look Desperate. I had an author send me eight different stories (all plain-text cut and pasted into an email, with no formatting or spaces) at once for the anthology I recently edited; none of which adhered to the submission guidelines. This was well ahead of the submission deadline, so I wrote back to the author, told her that she could submit only ONE story at a time, as a Word attachment with proper formatting, that also adhered to the guidelines. She then followed my instructions, but the story she sent was so poorly done as to be unreadable. After the submission deadline was past, I sent her a polite form rejection. She immediately sent another story (in plain text, with no formatting, and not even remotely within the guidelines) along with a note that said “OK, so you didn’t like that. But what about THIS?” Sigh.

7. Don’t Ignore Deadlines. If a submission deadline is given, respect it. Don’t send in something a week (or a month, or a year) past the deadline and expect it to be accepted. Editors have deadlines, too.

8. Don’t Brag. If you are an established author with great (and as I said above, verifiable credentials), please do talk about it in your cover letter. If you’ve gotten great reviews for your prior work, feel free to include review quotes. That isn’t bragging—-it’s stating a fact about your professional accomplishments. But peppering your cover letter with showy, unsupportable statements like “I’ve written 50 books” (that are either unpublished, or you’re lying), “I’m The Next Stephen King/J.K. Rowling/Stephenie Meyer/Nora Roberts”, or “My Book Is The Next Da Vinci Code” is bragging, and it’s only going to piss editors off.

9. Don’t Tell Me Your Mom (Or Your Aunt Edna, Or Your Dog) Loved Your Story. Unless your mom is Zane or Joyce Carol Oates (or Oprah), I really don’t give a damn what she thinks about your story.

10. Don’t Knock The Market You’re Submitting To. If your cover letter says something to the effect of “I really don’t like or read erotica/romance/whatever, but I think my amazing story will somehow redeem the entire genre”, prepare to be rejected. Rule No. 1 of professional writing is Know And Respect Thy Market. If you don’t read or write (and enjoy) erotica yourself, you have no business trying to write it.

To read more from Jamaica Layne check out her blog, website, or her latest release at Ravenous Romance.

Best of August 2009

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August blew July out of the water! Special recognition must go to Susan S. who wrote 2 reviews and 4 guest posts one of which was a terrific contest (and a challenge!) I got to meet Susan and her sister Isabel on a trip down to Miami which was a blast. After Susan, I want to thank Katiebabs (with Mho Fho & D.D.) and Heather Massey for visiting Love Romance Passion to share their expertise on peaches and sci-fi romance. Then the authors who’ve taken time out of their busy writing schedules to spend a day with us. Last, but not least, to you guys, my readers, whose comments have made all the difference in the world between an okay time and an awesome time. Thank you!

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