What’s a Nice Girl Like You Doing On A Bookshelf Like This?
Wow. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that line.
And usually from my own mouth. To myself.
Yes, I admit it, I talk to myself.
As an erotica author in an ultra-conservative world—living as it were, a double life—you can see why I might turn to myself for companionship. Why I might occasionally wonder—why erotica?
The fact of the matter is, I love it. And not just because I get to think about sex all day and research sex all day and Google sex all day and pin sex-a-licious pictures of hot men on my Pinterest page all day—although there are perks.
I’ve written lots of other genres—romance and women’s fiction and sci-fi and fantasy. I am so all over the map that a very successful writer friend once sat me down and said, “Sabrina, dear. Pick one!”
The thought appalled me. I didn’t want to pick one. I didn’t want to spend the rest of my natural life in Regency England wearing gloves up to my elbows and sitting through wretched dinners with overblown Barons who spat in my soup when they sputtered.
I liked visiting, though.
What I really wanted, more than anything, was to write a Regency Romance. And then move on. Maybe a Medieval legend. And then a Viking adventure. And then an epic fantasy. And a mythological fairy tale. A creepy sci-fi or a sexy space opera. A pirate yarn.
Have I mentioned I have ADD?
The problem with being this kind of flibbertigibbet as a writer is that readers have silly little things called expectations. And unmet expectations will KEEL you as a writer. You gotta write what your readers want or they will stop buying your books. There are plenty of other authors out there just panting for the opportunity to please them.
Trust me, I’ve Googled them all.
The fact of the matter is, in the publishing world we are not selling books as much as brand. And to have a brand you have to have an identity, something that consistently satisfies your customer. Brand consistency (in content and quality) on an author’s part will equate to brand loyalty in a customer. If your identity resembles Sybil’s, you may have a problem keeping your customers happy. Folks you beguiled by your sweet soft romance may take umbrage when your heroine shows up in clown makeup with a butcher knife in her hand and starts jabbing your hero.
Sadly, my friend was right. You cannot write all over the map…at least not under the same pen name with the same brand.
Unless you stumble upon the illusive unifying brand.
“What the hell is that?” you may ask, especially if you studied marketing, because it’s a concept I just made up.[i]
A unifying brand is a brand that supersedes and saturates all other brands. It is an element of a product that successfully translates to like products and links the diverse threads. So while I write erotic romance as Sabrina York, I don’t lose my identity if I sneak over to Ellora’s Cave’s Shivers line and write a horrific erotic horror featuring an alien plant with very disturbing reproductive habits…or over to the Aeon line and write my sexy space opera. Readers will follow me. And hey, I may pick up some new readers who like my writing enough to follow me back to Asgard.
Sabrina York is my brand, my identity. Erotica is my unifying brand.
What my readers expect when they buy one of my books is sizzling sex and lots of it. They want twists and turns and characters that are going to make their heart flip-flop and make them get all restless. They want something that’s gonna make them stop reading and hunt down some double A batteries or a man or a kitchen whisk or something.
They don’t care if the action happens in Regency England, on a pirate ship in the Caribbean or on a barren moon in the crab nebula.
So how did a nice girl like me end up on a bookshelf like this?
Because on this bookshelf, I can be everything I want to be, and still be me.
Also, I love to write about sex.
Keep it hot, baby!
Sabrina York is an award winning author writing for Ellora’s Cave. She specializes in writing hot, funny romances with lots of steam, but has been known to wander down the dark path and flirt with alien sex and BDSM. Her debut novel, Adam’s Obsession, released to rave reviews followed quickly by the second book in this duet about a pair of tormented, sexy brothers, Tristan’s Temptation. Pushing her Buttons, winner of the 2011 Distinguished Novella Award, is coming soon.
Connect with Sabrina on Twitter at @sabrina_york or on Facebook. If you’re feeling brave, check out her naughty postings (definitely NSFW) on Pinterest. Of course, you can always check out coming books or read an excerpt at www.SabrinaYork.com.
Contest: Sign up for Sabrina’s newsletter to enter her contest to win a sexy pair of rhinestone handcuffs at www.SabrinaYork.com. Drawing Date: September 1, 2012.
Check out Sabrina’s newest release, Rising Green. Forget happy endings and get ready for steamy erotic horror that will shock you even as it turns you on.
Chaos erupts for the members of a scientific expedition on a remote island in the Pacific when the team’s botanist, Sage Green, is impregnated with the spores of an alien plant form. She’s always been the crew’s Ice Princess, but now something’s changed. Now, something is driving her, raging through her, compelling her to screw every man on this desolate rock. Again and again and again.
What the very appreciative men don’t realize is that each illicit interaction, each hedonistic comingling, will take its toll on them as well. And no one can survive the torturous pleasure unscathed.
Rising Green Excerpt
Copyright © SABRINA YORK, 2012
All Rights Reserved, Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Inc.
From the middle of the thicket, a thick stalk topped with a bulbous bud rose. It was reminiscent of Pinguicula grandiflora, but instead of purple it was a blood-red hue with bright-yellow streaks.
Sage set down her rucksack and pulled out her sample kit. Carefully, she sliced several cuttings into vials and dropped them into the sack. Then she pulled out her camera. She started with several long shots and then moved closer, stepping carefully on the leaves and vines for a tight shot of the flower. Its petals were tightly folded with a waxy velvet sheen. They shimmered in the weak sunlight. Smelled like poppies.
She stepped closer. Stroked.
It was silky-soft.
As though reacting to her touch, the petals began to curl back, unfurl. Sage stared in fascination as the stamen was revealed, long and thick, bright yellow and heavy with pollen. A swollen pustule throbbed at its base. She leaned closer, pulling her camera up for another shot.
And the bud exploded.
In a great puff, it ejaculated a cloud of tiny seeds. A thick haze surrounded her. Seeds crawled up her nostrils and clung to her lips. Her hair was dusted with them.
“Shit,” she said under her breath as she backed away. Coughing and sputtering, she brushed the spores from her shoulders, her chest.
A strange flutter danced through her belly, followed by a wave of dizziness. Her vision blurred and weakness washed through her. Her thighs trembled and she stumbled, unable to negotiate her own feet. Fighting unconsciousness, she dropped to her knees.
And then she fell into the embrace of a soft bed of leaves.
She awoke to a dream. A misty, murmured haze.
Struggling to rouse herself out of the muddled cloud, she shook her head. The infinitesimal motion made her reel. She closed her eyes against the miasma, the exotic thrill skating through her. Her heart beat, distinct thuds pounding in her ears among a rushing tide.
Somewhere through the haze, she sensed movement. She wasn’t sure if she was moving or if the world moved around her. She felt as though she were floating, suspended, lighter than air.
A soft, questing tendril stroked her ankle. She tried to look at it but she couldn’t move. She couldn’t move at all.
The tendril tightened and another licked at her, on her other ankle.
A nip, gentle and oh so soft. Warmth blossomed at the spot, blossomed and rose within her until it flooded her being. A feeling of excitement—and impending doom—swamped her.
The tendrils at her ankles twined slowly, making their way up her calves. With each pass, they nipped again and the warmth expanded. A vague awareness of myriad movements captured her attention. Other tendrils twined slowly over her body, everywhere. They were on her face, her torso, her abdomen. They crawled and curled under her shirt, questing.
One of the tendrils found a nipple. As the soft, furred vine passed over the sensitive tip, it pebbled. The tendril froze. Returned. Made another pass.
Sage moaned and tightened her muscles, trying desperately to move away. But she was frozen, frozen in place, a statue.
[i] Technically, I did not make up the term, I just made up what it means.