Saturday, December 04, 2010

The Accidental E-Rom Author - Maree Anderson

Hi there! *Waves from New Zealand* I’m Maree Anderson. And I have a confession to make: I never intended to be an erotic romance author. Heck, when I first began writing even writing a sweet love scene made me blush.

It all started when one day, I decided to challenge myself a bit. I scrapped the first three chapters of the fantasy I was writing, and rewrote it in 1st person. At that stage I was a dedicated pantser — didn’t know how to do it any other way — so imagine my shock when my heroine morphed from a nice girl, to a mouthy, opinionated, kick-butt kind of girl. And as the story progressed, I realized that her between the sheets action was rather, er, hot. Yikes. Where did that come from?

Anyway, once I’d recovered from the shock, I entered that manuscript in a contest. It won. And I was told I’d found my voice.

Huh? My ‘voice’ resembles a really sarcastic twenty-something who burns up the sheets? In rather graphic detail? Sheesh. Are you sure???

I kept on writing whatever I felt like writing at the time, experimenting and challenging myself and trying new things. Sometimes my stories were sweet. Sometimes they were spicy. But they weren’t what I’d call erotic. Then came a new challenge when Red Sage Publishing announced details of their Alpha Male Novella contest.

I’d never written a novella before, so I figured, what the heck. But hang on…. Erotic romance. What exactly was an erotic romance, anyway? Only one way to find out: I bought a few and read them. And I was like, “Whoa. Where’s my fan?” And, “Wonder if I could write like that?”

Then I girded my loins — so to speak! — wrote Even Demons Get The Blues and sent it off.

To my delight, it finalled and I was offered a publishing contract. I joyfully accepted the offer, signed the contract, and didn’t even think twice about the author name on the contract being my real name. My DH and I figured that because I already had a website in my real name, it made perfect sense to be published under that name.

So there I was. Published. Invited to join the Red Sage authors loop. And whaddya know? Everyone had pen-names. Because it wouldn’t do for your kids’ primary school teachers to find out you write really racy stuff, would it?
Oh noes! Didn’t think of that. *Slaps herself upside the head* Ooops.

Luckily for me, when my kids’ primary school teachers discovered my secret, they weren’t fazed in the least. They just asked for signed bookmarks, LOL. Unfortunately, the same couldn’t be said for the young customs guy at the airport. He looked over my customs declaration, spotted ‘author’ in the employment section and ‘business conference’ as the reason for visit, and asked me what kind of books I wrote. “Paranormal erotic romance,” I blithely said. The expression on his face was priceless.

(BTW, I don’t think my kids let the cat out of the bag to their teachers. I think I accidentally included my website link in an email and one of the teachers clicked on the link. Whoops!)
So that’s me: Maree Anderson writing as Maree Anderson. Accidental E-Rom author.
Am I going to keep writing erotic romance?

Well, my third Red Sage release, FROM THE ASHES, is most unashamedly romance of the erotic persuasion. Not only that, but I’m thrilled to bits because it’s my first ever novel-length publication. But you can bet your little cotton sox I’ll still be blushing and wanting to hide under the duvet cover at the thought of people actually reading ‘those’ scenes, LOL.

Here’s the blurb:

Calista’s a freelance space courier recovering from a disastrous marriage during which her ex sold her as a slave. Sure, she’s emotionally damaged, but you should see the state of her ex! She’s also an expert pilot who can illegally reprogram and augment all manner of tech. She’s been ripping off the system and flying under the radar her entire life. Until now.

Asher’s her “cargo”, the mouthwateringly gorgeous Phoenixae alien who accidentally hatched from the egg she was transporting, and bonded with her. He’s been bred as a sex slave and he can read her mind. Which wouldn’t be so bad if 1) she didn’t abhor slavery and everything it represents, 2) she wasn’t horny as hell, and 3) he wasn’t doubly tempting because of his extra er, male parts! Oh, and then there’s the small issue that if Asher is killed and his body burnt, he can be resurrected. He’s one hot commodity that illegals will kill to possess.

Take one sex-deprived space courier who’ll risk everything to save a Phoenixae alien from a life of slavery. Add one mouthwateringly hot alien sex-slave who knows her deepest desires, feels her pain, and lives to please her in every way. Mix with a ruthless ex-husband intent on vengeance. And stir in a sadistic Libertine noble who will do anything at all to get his hands on a Phoenixae.

From the ashes, an unexpected hero will emerge…and he’s full of surprises!
I’d like to thank the lovely and gracious Lee for hosting me on Tote Bags ‘N’ Blogs, and letting me ramble on.

I’d also love to give away an electronic ARC of FROM THE ASHES to one commenter.

So here’s your chance to try an erotic romance and see if it’s your cup of tea. Just tell me what your own fabulously exotic pen-name would be. (I promise I won’t pinch it for myself, either, *VBG*).
Or, if like me, your brain is mush at the moment and you can’t think of a pen-name to save yourself, just ask me a question. I love questions!


Tura Lura said...

I actually already have a pen name. But I'm not about to reveal it. ^_^

So, hmm... how about one of these:
Anya Fairhame
Cerena Blackhawk
Lilithia Night

You could steal one of those. I promise I don't mind. ^_-

Nas Dean said...

Hi, I'd like to ask you, as you write sizzling romance, don't you feel a need for a pen name?

Maree Anderson said...

@Tura Lura: Wow, cool pen-names! I like Lilithia, tho I'd probably make it Lilith -- a nod to a demon in one of my novellas.

@Nas: since I kind of "fell" into using my real name, I've stuck with it. And at this stage I think a name change would be too confusing when I'm only just starting to get my name "out there". I'm also very lucky that I haven't received any negative comments from people who disapprove of the erom genre for whatever reason. That said, I might be pubbed in erom but I write paranormals and fantasies, too, even a YA... which if it's ever pubbed, might mean I'll be looking for a pen-name.

Maree Anderson said...

OOPs! Sorry, it's reeeally late here and I've just got back home, so I'm tired and forgetting my manners. I also meant to say:

Thank you both so much, ladies, for stopping by and taking the time to leave comments!


ev said...

I think it's cool you aren't using a pen name. Maybe it's time people with sticks up their behinds didn't pass judgement on what others write/read and go read the financial section of the Wall Street Journal and mind their own business.

I think it's a shame that authors have to hide because too many people are prudes. Good for your kids teachers by the way.

Lack of privacy on the other did get an unlisted phone number, right?

Joanna St. James said...

when I was 7 I signed my art with a nom de plume unfortunately I was not really original I started with Charlotte Bronte (osmosis I started reading at avery early age) when it occured to me I was wrong I switched to Salome Bronte and eventually Salome Brunei (the sultan of Brunei used to be the richest guy on earth or something like that) and that is how my love for pen names started.

Mary said...

I love it that you aren't using a pen name. I don't think any of you authors have anything to be ashamed of. You are doing what you love and people love reading what you write.

When I started writing articles for Associated Content, I was told I should use a pen name in case I wrote about touchy subjects, but I stand behind every article I've written and so I chose to use my real name. ;)

Maree Anderson said...

Ladies, thanks so much for dropping by! Sorry I'm so late to respond, I've literally just woken up and jumped on the computer after a late night.

@ev -- thanks! I tend to agree. If it's not your cup of tea, turn the program off or stop reading the book. (Or don't buy it in the first place *grins*) But yes, we did go unlisted! And nowadays I'm a lot more conscious of our privacy. I think we're quite naive here in New Zealand because we're so isolated. But with the internet and social media exploding all around us, we have to be smarter about it.

@Joanna -- Seven years awsome is that? Oooh, and I love Salome -- very sensual. See? All the best names are taken ;-)

@Mary -- thank you! I kind of like that it's my own name, too. But I guess if I'm ever lucky enough to score an agent or be pubbed with a different genre, then I might have to go the pen-name way. Nothing like doing it wrong way round, LOL.

And I love that you are standing behind your articles and your opinions. I bet readers respect the heck out of that. You go, girl!

Roz Lee said...

Hi Maree!

I came up with my pen name at the last second. It's done very little good, as I told all my friends and family that I'd sold to Red Sage, then of course I had to tell them what I sold, and the name it would be published under. Now the whole world knows who Roz Lee really is. Not that I care, as long as they buy the books!!

They make some really good makeup these days to hide the blush!

Roz Lee

Ann Marie Gamble said...

I use a pen name more because people can't pronounce my actual name than because I'd thought through the implications, of, say, posting which scene was giving me trouble on my Facebook page, where I'm "friends" with the second-grade teacher. . . .

As the name gets around among people who know me in person, reactions have been good even before we get to the "what do you write?" part. My favorite was the family friend who thought I'd remarried, and was about to give my dad what-for for not keeping her up to date!

Maree Anderson said...

@Roz -- Everyone, meet the lovely Roz, a fellow Red Sage author! (Cyber-hugs all the way from NZ, Roz)

Oh, excellent point! Like, I'd be able to keep a pen-name secret from my friends and family -- highly unlikely. I'd bust a gasket! LOL.

As for the blushing...a hazard of the job, I reckon. And since I'm allergic to makeup, I think I'll just hide behind that hot pink wig I bought at the Erotica Expo ;-)

Estella said...

Not using a pen name is definitely different.

I think my pen name would be LaBelle Estelle.

Maree Anderson said...

@Ann Marie -- That's a really good thing to consider, too. If your name is awkward to spell, or pronounce, it'll me more difficult for readers to "find" you. And OMG, the family friend story is priceless! I can only imagine how your poor dad would have reacted, *grins*

@Estella -- oooh, that's a good one! LaBelle Estelle - lovely to say and to read, too. I think you're on to a winner, there!

Erin said...

What an interesting topic. Interesting, because now I’m asking myself questions.

I think I’d like to be Titty Bay. -- I’m going to be proud. I’ve even decided to ignore anyone who’s not a customer and only be embarrassed by failure.

Marie, Congratulation on your success.

Anonymous said...

Hi Maree,
Loved 'Even Demons Get the Blues' and 'Let Sleeping Demons Lie' - still waiting for the Demon King to get his comeuppance! :)

Consider this as a penname:

Liv Essex *wink*


Maree Anderson said...

@Erin -- ROFL! Gotta love that one and I hope to see it on the shelves right next to A for Anderson *VBG*

@Sandy (AKA Liv Essex *grin*) -- hello there! Thank goodness for comments, huh? This email thing is A PAIN! Seems your IP addy has ended up on a blacklist for some weird reason and our system is blocking you. Nothing personal -- it's about the dozenth case of randomness we've had like this lately. I'm gonna send your pdf via another server using one of my DH's emails. Fingers crossed!

Robin Covington said...

Maree - "exotic penname" is that like your porno name (you know, the name of your first pet combined with the name of your childhood street name - mine is Bridget Cedarwood.

I'm targeting the Blaze line with my writing and I did choose a penname (my real first name with my great grandma's maiden name) because I'm attorney with the Navy and I didn't want my two worlds colliding.

Maree Anderson said...

@Robin -- No, it's nothing like that. It's just with a plain "real" name like mine, I figured if I was going to have a pen-name, I'd want something exotic *grin*. Mind you, if I went with the porno name thing, mine would be "Topy Forrest" -- yikes! Um... Yeah. Well. Maybe not.

I can totally understand needing to protect yourself by using a penname given your profession and your Blaze writing. Goodness knows I get enough teasing from my friends at dance class about writing erom -- and those are friends! The way I see it, why put yourself in a position where colleagues might judge based on their perception of what you are writing? I have an author friend whose close relatives vehemently disapprove of the genre she writes and get quite vocal about it, too. So I consider myself very lucky to have emerged relatively unscathed with only a bit of teasing.

Hey, good luck with targetting Blaze!

Michele L. said...

Hi Maree!
I love the way you spell your name! That is cool that you stayed with your own name. Hey, I think the author is more relatable then when it is their real name.

I am not a writer but I think I would use a pen name because there is a certain name I would love to use. My name is Michele but my mom was going to name me something else but my dad said "No!" to what she wanted to name me. It was Desiree. I love the name but it sure wouldn't have fit me at all. I defnitely look like a Michele. Another name I love is Delilah. Here are my choices for pen names, Delilah Blue or Desiree Lee.

Happy Holidays!

Maree Anderson said...

@Michele -- Thank you! My mom wanted to make it easy to spell because hers was so difficult. Hence she spelled Maree with the two EEs instead of Marie. Unfortunately, it kind of backfired. Because people either spell it wrong or pronounce it wrong. I don't really mind, tho. I'm used to it.

You must get that a bit with Michele? I bet most people presume it's Michelle. But I really like the one L version. It's rather exotic, don't you think?

Hey, I love Delilah Blue for a pen-name, BTW. I'm hearing Tom Jones in my head singing, "Why why why, Delilah?" Awesome!

Thanks so much for popping in. And Happy Holidays to you, too!

Sharon Archer said...

Maree, the really excellent thing about using your real name is that you don't have to worry about "ignoring" someone accidentally when they address you by a pen-name!

So I was pondering what exotic name I could use as a pen-name when I read Robin's fun idea about your first pet's name and your first street address... since I was an Air Force brat, we moved a lot when I was a kid so I don't remember the first street name we lived at but I do remember the scary jets that used to scream overhead... which lead me to
"Lulu Vulcan". Mmmm, I wonder what a Lulu Vulcan would write...


Erin said...

Oh gosh. Sorry, Maree. -- and I even spend most days wondering why so many people 'correct' my surname by adding a 'c'

Maree Anderson said...

@Sharon -- I think that's the best reason I've heard yet! I have enough trouble getting my kids' names straight let alone trying to remember to answer to another name *eyeroll*

Lulu Vulcan? Mmm. What would she write? I'll have to get my warped imagination working on that one ;-)

@Erin -- People have been misspelling my name since I started school -- and after 4 decades, it really doesn't worry me at all. Really! Funny enough, if I'm spelling it for a shop assistant or something like that, I'll often say "Maree with two EEs" and bite my tongue while they write down my name as M-A-R-I-E-E. How awesome is that?

Maree Anderson said...

It's past my bedtime here in NZ, so I've asked my DH to draw a name from my hat. And the winner is:


Congratulations, Ev: an electronic copy of From The Ashes is yours -- hope you enjoy it! (I'll email you shortly.)

And I'd like to thank Lee for being a wonderful hostess, and all of you who visited and left a comment for me. I loved talking to you all -- it was a real pleasure!

Big Hugs,

annierayburn said...

I've just been offered a contract with Red Sage and am looking forward to working with them. Several of my friends are Red Sage authors and use pen names. I will too, but only to keep the different sub-genres separate as I intend for this to be one of many books published.

Congrats on your success. Your cover is beautiful and the plot sounds like a great read!

Maree Anderson said...

Hi Annie-- congratulations on your contract, and welcome to Red Sage! I hope you'll join the authors' loops so we can chat with you regularly and find out more about your upcoming release.