2 Friends Bookathon

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Are you a book fanatic? Giveaway addict? Romance/adventure/erotica/sci-fi/fantasy/mystery/name-your-genre reader looking to discover new authors or connect with an old favorite?

Join me and a shed-load of other authors for a week-long Facebook author extravaganza, courtesy of Sue and Philomena of 2 Friends Pimp Your Books.

I’ll be hosting tomorrow (Wednesday, October 26th) from 3:00-4:00 Eastern Standard Time, talking about wonders – both natural and unnatural – romance and writing. I’ll also be giving away a copy of my romantic suspense, Dance with Me, to one lucky reader.

If you can’t make it at 3:00, don’t worry. I’ll be popping back in to visit all week long.

Click here to join the party!

 

A Typical Erotic Romance Writer Looks Like This

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I’m not a typical erotic romance writer, but I know exactly what one looks like.

I know this because over the past month, I’ve been lucky enough to attend two amazing romance writing retreats. The first, was with the Western New York chapter of RWA, where most members write historical or contemporary. Few write sex scenes “with the lights on”.

The second was just this past weekend in honor of Evernight Publishing’s 6th anniversary. Unlike the ladies of WNYRW, most Evernight authors write those steamy scenes with all the lights on and the doors and windows wiiiiide open.

As I packed my bags for the Evernight retreat, I wasn’t sure what to expect of my sisters in smut. I’d only met them online, and their baby-thumbnail-sized profile pictures didn’t reveal much.

Would they all be foul-mouthed dominatrixes in zippered PVC pants? Or would they be monosyllabic cat-ladies, hiding under layers of cardigans?

No and no.

Try bubbly event-organizers with rainbow-striped hair and sparkly high-heeled booties. Pittsburgh Penguins tee-wearing sports fans. Retired teachers with wild blond curls and a wardrobe like Stevie Nicks at her peak of dark whimsy.

This is what my retreats have taught me about writers of sexy stories: There is no typical.

Okay, admittedly, there are a lot of cat owners. And a high comfort level with using the word “cock”.

But aside from that, they are a remarkably diverse group. Young enough to get carded. Old enough to ask for a senior discount. Married. Single. Quiet. Chatty. Accountants, techies, retail clerks, graphic designers and stay-at-home moms.

I did notice a few things about my ER sisters that sets them apart, together, however.

They are passionate.

Not just about romance. Not just about writing. Their interests run the gamut from jewelry-making to hockey and modern dance to rock-climbing, but whatever they’re into, they’re into it hard-core, ‘til death do us part. These are no dilettantes.

They are open to experimentation.

I’m not talking about sex, though if their books are anything to go by, who knows? These women are not only willing to try new things, they leap at the chance, both in their writing and in their lives.

Write an M/M story about a shape-shifting alien and merman? Yes! Travel to a foreign country to hang with a bunch of strangers for three days? Heck, yeah!

They’re into embracing.

Embracing diversity. Fetishes. Alternative lifestyles. Same-sex partners. Multiple partners. Interracial love (even better, interplanetary love). LGBTQ and every other letter of the alphabet you can think of.

They may not practice or identify as any of the above, but these women are accepting.

Love who you want to love, how you want to love them. And while you’re at it, why not write a book about it?

They love to hook up.

Hook up as in connect. With their readers and their fans-to-be, and with other authors and industry professionals. These ladies are all about forging lasting connections. Not just because they want to advance their writing careers, but because connecting with other romance-lovers as one of the biggest perks of the job.

I might not be a typical erotic romance writer. But that’s okay. None of them are.

Or should I say, none of us.

A Boy, a Girl, and a Bottle of Vodka

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Common wisdom says, if you’re looking for true love, don’t look in a bar.

You won’t find your future spouse in a watering hole. They’re for hook-ups, not good catches. People go to bars for looking for instant gratification, not happily ever after.

However.

My husband and I met at a bar. (Well, it was more of a pop-up soju tent in a vacant lot, but that’s another story for another time.)

And we’re not alone. The more couples I talk to, the more I realize how common our story is. Whether it was a college pub night or after-work cocktails, many of the couples I know first exchanged witty banter (or drunken compliments) in the womb-like atmosphere of a bar.

If you haven’t met your spouse yet, here’s why you should give up online dating and park yourself at your local pub:

Well, Aren’t You Looking Fine?

It’s a fact: Everyone looks better in a bar. No, it’s not about beer goggles. It’s about lighting. Low lighting creates an intimate atmosphere, but it also blurs those minor imperfections. In the dim, flickering cave-like atmosphere of a pub, Average Joe can start to look a lot more like Prince Charming. And if you give him a chance, he might sound like him, too.

Come a Little Closer

Bars are loud. If you want to have a conversation with someone, you have two options. A) Yell at the top of your lungs or B) move in close. Closer. So close your lips are almost touching his ear. And you probably have to lean up against him or put your hand of his shoulder. Now isn’t that cozy?

Let the Good Times Roll

Sure, some people head to a bar to drown their sorrows, but not most. After all, if oblivion is your aim, a liquor store will give you more bang for your buck. Most people go to a bar to socialize. They’re there to talk. Laugh. Have fun. They’re feeling positive and open to possibilities, ready to take a chance on something – or someone – new.

In a Word, Alcohol

Granted, the inhibition-lowering effects of excess consumption of alcohol have led to many a regretted one-night-stand. But having just a drink or two can make you relax and open up. Talk to a stranger. Laugh at his bad jokes. Tell a few of your own. Share things you usually don’t. Skip the small talk and get familiar, fast.

Who knows? You might discover your soulmate, like me. Or like Sherry and Alexi, the protagonists of my romantic suspense, Dance with Me. Their story starts with verbal sparring over a bottle of icy vodka and leads to so much more.

Yes, common wisdom says you won’t find love at a bar. But sometimes common wisdom is just plain stupid.