There was one woman in my former RWA group that managed to get everything she wrote published. She wrote erotic novels. Some of the other members whispered this information to me as if it were a secret. No secret since she dressed like a character from the cover of her books in a major push-up bra that peeked out from a top barely resting on her shoulders. With her flamboyant hair and tiny stilettos, she became our own regional Dolly Parton. In my mind, she was the epitome of an erotic romance writer.
Can’t say I knew exactly what an erotic romance writer wrote, but I knew it was hotter than anything I ever wrote. My stories pounded out of the gritty reality of day to day life were less than slinky. They didn’t enter a room on a cloud of perfume and promise; instead, they clomped in with a chip on their shoulder. I was that angry white woman writer.
Something unusual happened. I kept going to workshops, conferences and Nationals and met tons of writers, even ones who confessed to writing erotica. Their ordinariness amazed me. I met nurses, grandmothers and stay-at-home moms that wrote such steamy and complex tales that I had to ask a few for explanations of how certain things were physically possible. Sometimes I would argue that they weren’t, but they’d assure me they were. I never asked how they knew.
My image of the erotic romance writer evolved from my flamboyant friend to a middle-aged woman, a mom, a teacher, maybe even someone like myself. I played with writing hot love scenes and felt a little silly for my efforts. My first success came when I sent a snippet from a story I wrote to PLAYGIRL Magazine. They published it in their twins’ edition. I got paid and got a free copy for my efforts, which did not please my husband at that time. I still have the magazine, but not the husband.
Even with that small success, I did not consider myself a writer of steamy scenes until a fateful submission call from Secret Cravings for hot cougar novels. I wrote my first erotic novel, Reluctant Cougar, whose main character a fortyish woman becomes involved with a younger man she meets at a funeral.
I followed that novel with Cub in Blue and Puppy Love. Three more books followed those including Unexpected Cougar, Dangerous Curves and my about to be released novella, Incognito. Suddenly, I am an erotic romance novelist.
Have I changed to suit my new genre? Not too much, although I am less the angry white woman. Now, I am more the smiling author. Partly because Secret Cravings took a chance on me, but mainly because I took a page from one of my novels and winked at a younger guy, and married him.
What is your image of an erotic romance novelist?