In Case of Emergency, Make Cupcakes

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A change is as good as a rest, my mother used to say. I didn’t get it at then, but I do now.

I’ve been working on Tease, Book Two of The Insatiable Need Trilogy ever since Book One, Please, was published. I wrote a full draft before I realized it was as far away from romance as you could get and shoved it in a virtual drawer.

This fall, I started working on it again.

But writing an erotic romance with a sex addict hero is not easy. For one thing, sex addiction is not sexy. If you don’t believe me, watch the movie Shame.

Even Michael Fassbender couldn’t make sex addiction hot.

Not that I’m trying to make sex addiction seem sexy. Behavioral addiction of any kind is a disorder, if not, as many are starting to recognize, a disease. And disease is the enemy of hotness. It’s dark. It’s ugly.

But isn’t conquering darkness to win the heart of a good woman what romance is all about?

My hero will get there. But in the meantime, I’m suffering along with him. And in these dreary days of late winter, I need a break from the darkness.

So I’m taking a page out of my friend and fellow romance writer Cameron Allie’s book. As she wrote in this blog post, you can’t wait on the Muse. If he’s not being cooperative, you’ve got to change things up.*

That’s why I’m putting Tease on hold.

Instead, I’ve been writing something as sweet and light as the frosting on these Zucchini Spice Cupcakes with Caramel Frosting I whipped up recently to inject a little saccharine into my dark mood.

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Abbie Hernandez wasn’t looking for love when she sold her successful NYC literary agency and moved back to East Aurora to open The Sweet Somethings Café. But when her unrequited high school crush becomes a regular, Abbie wonders if he’s interested in more than just her Devil’s Food Cake.

If you’d like a taste of my WIP, you can check out the snippets I’ve been posting in the 100 Words a Day Facebook group.

And if you’d like a taste of these cupcakes, you can nab the recipe here.

*Be sure to check out Cameron’s weekly Author Spotlights to meet your next favorite erotic romance author.Nikki Prince, Mira Noire and Sarah Hawthorne (to name just a few) share juicy details about what makes them tick and how they whip that bratty Muse into submission.

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.