Monday, March 31, 2014

Fifty Shades and Beyond

Long before EL James, exploded on the publishing scene with her debut novel, Fifty Shades of Grey also known in some circles as mommy porn, many authors came before her and penned their own brand of erotic romance.

As a teenager, I can still recall sneaking into my sister's room to peek at her very worn and tattered copy of The Harrod Experiment. It didn't matter that some pages were ripped, or missing. This was hardcore sex like I'd never read it before.

Sex in the 70's
The truth is sex sells 

Think back to those impressionable teenage years when all of us were curious about our own sexuality. What were you reading? A steamy Jacki Collins novel perhaps? Or maybe a deliciously wicked Sidney Sheldon paperback? And who didn't have a copy of, The Happy Hooker under their bed? I know I did, and read every titillating word.

But there's more to the story

There are so many wonderful sensual, authors on the market today who write what could be considered erotic romance. These are stories ripe with passion, wit, love, emotional turmoil, and hot sex as an added bonus. 
Here's a list of some of my favorites:
Sylvia Day, Anya Bast, Kresley Cole, Emma Chase, Alice Clayton, Christina Lauren, and Maya Banks. 

When people ask me what my book is about I give them my tagline,  In a  desperate attempt to catch a killer, an MBI officer hires a notorious felon to come work for the agency. In the midst of the investigation, they succumb to the dark edges of desire, placing both their lives in danger. The next question that typically follows is usually,"Wow it sounds steamy like Fifty Shades of Grey?"
To which I reply, "Not exactly. (grin there's no pseudo S& M stuff  in it ) But I do like steamy! Do you?"  

What was once coined as The Bodice Ripper Novel is a thing of the past. The romance genre has evolved over the years to include the exploration of relationship's across boundaries and between same sex partners, Now the book shelves and the e-readers are full of stories about M/F/MM/ F/F or even multiple partner relationships and believe me, the list goes on.

The Proof is in the Numbers

Within the ever changing and flourishing publishing world, romance still captivates the market with over fifty-five percent of sales in this popular genre. So I encourage you to jump right in and test the water. The choices are endless, from sweet to scintillating, and everything in between. Whether you're into Amish love stories, steamy westerns, or hardcore erotic romance, there's a book, and an author for you.

A word of advice, don't be too quick to judge a book by its cover. Erotic romance for example, isn't porn. It's also not a story just about about sex that focuses only on whips and chains, handcuffs, or the random fetish to the exclusion of the story itself. These are tales about love and commitment, overcoming inner demons, and self-acceptance. Characters must learn to grow and change and take a chance at love and work toward that happily ever after, not to mention get tortured along the way. It's one hell of a ride I encourage you to take!

Who Doesn't Want To Fall in Love 

My dream is to make my readers experience that heady sensation of falling in love when they sit down to read one of my books. Many years back, I read an article about a research study conducted on the brain by a Harvard scientist. Apparently, the emotional center of the brain can only sustain the falling in love feeling for up to three years, max. After that, those intense feelings grow and change into something deeper, less flighty, and the brain stops releasing large amounts of dopamine in the process. In some cases, people end up engaging in flirting, internet relationships, and extramarital affairs, simply because they're addicted to the dopamine release.

Can you become Addicted to the Euphoria ?

Like the song, some people can indeed become addicted to love. So here's a cure to prevent less divorce,( I wish it were that easy) pick up a romance novel and fall in love. Who knows, maybe you can even practice and experiment with what you read about on your partner. Trust me, there's nothing that compares to that feeling of bliss, even for a little while. 
Okay, I know, romance isn't only about hearts and flowers. There's so much more to this vast subject matter. 

Another Side of the Coin

Back in October, I attended The Poplar Romance Authors Symposium at Princeton University.

I was intrigued to hear so many perspectives on the origins of the romance genre from academics, to NY Times best selling authors, as well as a sociologist's unique perspective. As a society, we've come so far in overcoming negative perceptions about self sufficiency and the equity between the sexes. So let's continue to evolve and grow. So why not pass the word, romance is alive and well.

Here's to falling in love!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Dream Big

I'm sure you've heard the saying 'Dreams Can Come True'. I have always been one of those people to subscribe to the theory that dreams are a combination of positive thinking, visualization and plain old hard work. 

My dream has always been to write books and become a successful author. Well, I finally finished the book and (drum roll) I'm thrilled to report I've signed a contract with a publisher. But it only took me twelve short years to get there. I hope your journey, whatever it is, has a lot less bumps in the road. 

Along the way, I've tried to obtain that dream by entering writing contests, submitting my work to editors and agents, and going to conferences. 

I'd be lying if I said rejection and a bad contest score (okay many bad contest scores)doesn't sting. It can bring you to tears and make you feel like less than the stuff you scrape off the bottom of your shoe. 

But I wouldn't trade the experience, or the battle wounds for anything. l learned to be strong, to persevere no matter what, and to never give up. I'm not trying to sound like Rhonda Byrne from The Secret believe me. But there's so much truth in her words and her wisdom.  Act as if. Start to think, imagine and fantasize what your life would be like if you achieved this magnificent dreams of yours. Do this every day, even for a minute or two. 

Whether your dream is to write a bestselling novel, run a marathon, or go back to school, start your own business, embark on a new career, or to find the love of your life. Think and believe it will happen. Visualize!

Don't reinvent the wheel. Those words are so simple, yet profound. What are others in your field who have accomplished this dream doing? What was their success story? How about their failures?

Here's what I've learned along the way:

Nothing comes easy. Anything worth having is a lot of hard   back breaking work and can make you want to pull out every last hair on your head.  But the rewards can be mind blowing and outweigh the struggle. Think of your kids.

Don't discount anything no matter how small. Learn everything you can from all your experiences and savor every word of advice you get that resonates with you.

Surround yourself with positive people who support your dream and detach yourself from those that put you down or suck the energy from you.

Good karma goes a long way. Be happy for the accomplishments of those around you. It's only natural to be jealous at times. We're all only human after all, but don't let it turn toxic and know that your time will come.   

Be realistic. Expect to get crushed, and build a thick skin along the way. If the dream is worth it to you then be prepared to throw yourself right back into the pit of snakes like Indiana Jones and release the fear and move forward. Your dreams will  manifest.

Read everything you can about the subject: subscribe to industry newsletters, magazines, blogs.

Join a group and surround yourself with like minded people. 

So in a nutshell, here's to passion! I wish you a huge amount of success on your journey and may all your dreams come true.