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What Editing Really Is

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Tina Gerow Talks Books & Vegas

vegasTell us about something that has just happened or is about to happen in your life that you would like to share.  

My son is about to turn 21 –he’s getting older and dragging me with him!!  EEP!  We’ve been promising him since he was 10 that when he turned 21 we would take him to Vegas!  So we’ve planned a long weekend with family and friends and we’re going to try to get a block of rooms on Freemont Street and do a budget trip to Vegas –if that’s even possible…LOL!  We took him when he was 10 and we did the aquarium, Phantom of the Opera, walked along the strip, M&M store and all the kid friendly stuff.  He loved it, but anyone who has been to Vegas knows you can’t fully experience it until you turn 21!  So may the force be with us :)

What is the name of your most recent book and if you had to sum it up in 30 or less words, what would you say?  

My Obsession comes out on the 21st!  It’s Ageek, pariah who overcomes his youth, to become a highly successful dungeon owner.  Then his high school crush walks into his dungeon and rocks his world!

If you gave one of your characters an opportunity to speak for themselves, what would they say?  

Master Dex, the Dom and hero for Book 2 in my Club Desire series, My Addiction, would love to come and talk.  “Iloved watching Brent meet his match in Sandra.  She’s a strong lady and will definitely keep him in line!  Now I’m ready to write my own Happily Ever After!  Ijust returned from Quantico where I completed the training to become a full agent.  I loved being an analyst for the past decade, but I’m ready for new challenges!  Come join me for a wild ride and some steamy kink!

Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series?

My Club Desire series is starting with My Obsession which releases on July 22nd.  I’m currently writing My Addiction, which is book 2.  My agent and editor and Ihave tentative titles for book 3 & possibly 4, but we’re taking it a book at a time to see how the series goes.

What books have influenced your writing?  

Every book I’ve ever read has influenced my writing!  A huge influence came from Stephen King’s ON WRITING.  It’s an amazing book if you’ve never read it!  Ithink all writers can benefit from it.

Is there an Author that you would really like to meet?

I’ve been so lucky to be able to meet so many of my favorite authors at conferences around the nation.  I would love to meet and talk with Stephen King!  I’d also love to spend a day with Jane Austen!  I think it would be fascinating to get to know the woman who wrote books during a time when writing was considered something well bred women just shouldn’t do!  She was obviously a romantic, creative and a strong lady with a great sense of humor and the ironic.  I think we would really hit it off!

Do you prefer ebooks, paperbacks or hardcover and why?  

It really depends on the situation.  Ithink Iwill always love paperbacks.  I grew up reading them and I love the smell of books and the sensation of running my fingers over the pages as they are turned.  However, I also love the fact that no matter where I am, if I have extra time, I can pull out my iPhone, open my Kindle app and read any of the books I have loaded on there.  OR buy a new one and read it immediately!  The flexibility and convenience of that is wonderful.  Also – I have two huge bookshelves in our office overflowing with books of all types and genres.  Ebooks don’t take up any physical room and I can have twice as many as on my bookshelf and can search through them effortlessly!  But having said all that – my answer is “YES”  I love books, any way I can get them and read them!  I love the ability to lose myself in a story and fall in love as my characters do and experience their losses and accomplishments along with them!

Where do you prefer to buy your books?  

There have been plenty of times in my life where Iwould go to the library each week and check out the max number of books, read them all, turn them in and check out the max number all over again.  Rinse & repeat!  But now Itend to buy my books either in paperback or in ebook.  The paperbacks that I love get a place on my overflowing bookshelf.  The books that I know I won’t ever re-read I give to one of my friends so the book can find a loving home elsewhere!

Are you a self published (Indie) Author?  

As of the 21st of this month Iwill have 15 published books.  14 with New York –I.e. Traditionally pubbed, and 1 self published.  Sleeping With Shadows was the last book I wrote just before my brain blowout in 2010.  I was in between contracts and inspiration hit, so I wrote the book that is definitely the book of my heart.  My agent said it was the best book I’ve ever written and she shopped it around, but just couldn’t sell it.  She told me I should really self publish it.  So I talked to other friends who had self published and I dove in!

What book would you like to read again?  

YES.  LOL.  Ihave way too many to list them all, but just a few off the top of my head are Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen, Hamlet by William Shakespeare,  The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie by Jennifer Ashley, King of Spades by Cheyenne McCray and Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey.

Tina Gerow Telling Secrets Veiled in Fiction?

Do you have a specific writing style?

Not that I use consciously, but I’ve had people tell me that my writing is distinctive.  Distinctive of what?  A smartass who isn’t entirely stable?  Yeah –I can see that…snerk!

How did you come up with the title?

For the title of my latest release, Ibrainstormed with my agent and editor.  The series name Loveswept has found that Club and then the name of the club works best with readers.  They gave me a working title of Club Paradise, but Ithought that sounded more like a tropical resort than a dungeon.  So I brainstormed with them, even breaking out my thesaurus and pitched Club Desire, which was accepted.  Then for the book title, the format of MY and then a descriptor was already set for the line so we did the same thing.  Because the story was already 3/4 written at that point, I knew which title would work and which wouldn’t, so we finally ended up with My Obsession.  And for book 2, My Addiction.  Book 3 already has some possibilities on the table, but hasn’t been nailed down yet.  But I was really happy to have so much input into the title.  Some publishers allow different levels of input, and not just for titles, but for covers and blurbs as well.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

bdsmI usually don’t have overall “messages”in my books, unlike what they taught in my high school English classes, but I’ve been told that most of my books have the message of allowing strong women to “find” themselves before giving themselves up to love.  And they often save themselves.  In my Club Desire series, I suppose the message would be about the BDSM lifestyle.  The overreaching theme I learned while doing all that research was that their motto is “Safe, Sane & Consensual”  and anything that falls outside of that is abuse and not what they are about.  So I suppose I hope this series will educate people about the BDSM, fetish and kink lifestyle.  I know I had some preconceived notions going in, but a lot of those were changed by the time I was finished.  One of the main things that stuck with me other than the ‘Safe, Sane & Consensual’ is that the sub has the greater power in the D/s relationship.  I always thought that the Dom had all the power, and that was the point.  I also thought that any woman who wanted to be dominated had to be weak.  From my research and talking to subs AND Doms, I was totally wrong.  Not sure if I would ever be brave enough to try it out – mainly because my vanity would get in the way – I no longer have the cute body I did in my 20’s.  Vanity – thy name is Tina!!  It’s certainly not because I’m too vanilla for it, as anyone who has read my Cassie Ryan books would figure out pretty quickly.  EEP.  Don’t tell my husband.  Eh…he already knows…poor man!  Snerk!  When I started doing research for this he told me in no uncertain terms that he would NOT be taking me to a dungeon to do research.  He told me to ask my critique group.  I think the girls would gladly go, but our schedules just haven’t lined up yet!!  Stay tuned :)

How much of the book is realistic?

If I was answering this about any other Cassie Ryan book, my answer would be “not much”but with my Club Desire Series, other than someone blasting out the top of a mountain in Paradise Valley, AZ, enough so they could put in 4 basement levels, I’d say I tried to keep everything VERY realistic, as my last answer explained.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Snicker…while I usually have a little of myself in every book – unwittingly, and I shamelessly use those around me and their experiences, the dungeon and the happenings there came from research, reading, and my own imagination.  I’m not saying that I’m uber vanilla in that arena, but back in my wild days, I didn’t even know there WERE dungeons in this town.  Now I find out there are several!  Shows you what I knew!  And whenever I mess with hubby and tell him things like that we need to get a St. Andrew’s Cross for our bedroom, he just rolls his eyes at me…LOL.

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Just Imagine!

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Be Sexy For Me

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Tina Gerow: I Wouldn’t Change a Thing

Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

My local Romance Writers of America Chapters –Valley of the Sun Romance Writers.

Do you see writing as a career?

Definitely.  I’m in this for the long haul.  I’ll be the little old lady still typing away and writing smut in between naps…LOL!

cover64230-mediumIf you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

No.  I’m pretty happy with it, and Ihope it connects well with readers.  Itried to strike a balance of the BDSM/fetish stuff with the relationship/romance and suspense.  My critique partners and my editor seemed to think it’s good and will be well received so crossing my fingers over here!

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

Back in kindergarten.  Iwas fascinated with books and reading.  As soon as Ilearned to read I started imagining different scenarios or endings to the books.  I think that’s where the idea that I could write started.  I wish I could find my kindergarten teacher – Mr. Riggins and thank him for starting me off right!  He was such a terrific teacher.

Can you share a little of your current work with us?  

My current WIP (Work in Progress) is Book 2 in my Club Desire series.  Kate is a sub to the rich and powerful in L.A.  Her father is a rich and powerful businessman and he always had expectations for his daughter that didn’t align with what she wanted.  So she rebelled, like any strong heroine in that situation would :)  She’s become bored with the kink scene in L.A. And is looking for a change.  The fact that it will put some distance between her and her father is a plus.  Dex has been one of the main Doms in Club Desire in Phoenix.  He was a high level FBI analyst, but wanting more of a challenge, he went to Quantico for the training to become a field agent.  So when his supervisor approaches him to go to a dungeon in L.A. And get to know Kate for his first assignment, he has no idea how much his life is about to change.  Kate unwittingly has some knowledgeabout a plot to take out congressmen who are standing in the way of passing bills that will secretly funnel money to terrorist organizations.  As you can imagine, sparks fly and nature takes its course between Kate and Dex, but there’s also the suspense element to the story and Kate’s unresolved relationship with her father that needs to be dealt with.  So expect another kink-filled, hot story with fast paced suspense and emotional punch!  Or at least that’s what I’m striving for :)  These characters deserve a great book, so I’d better get back to work!

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Don’t Be That Guy

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Tina Gerow Gets Kinky

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

rosie-odonnell-dan-akroyd-exit-eden-movie-1994-photo-GCI learned a LOT about the BDSM and kink community.  My Obsession is my first book involving those, even though I’ve written and published several other very erotic books.  The main thing I learned was that their motto for their lifestyle – especially for the Dom/sub (D/s) relationship is “Safe, Sane, Consensual”  In other words, whatever they are doing must meet those parameters   The sub actually has a LOT of power in that equation.  They set soft and hard limits beforehand and have safe words they can use to stop everything on a dime!  I know we’ve all heard jokes etc about safe words, but they really are used.  And those Doms who ignore them aren’t good Doms!  By the same token, those Doms who manipulate, guilt or otherwise coerce a sub to go along with what they want are NOT good Doms.  Like a lot of people I just figured you pretty much gave up all of your say so if you agreed to be someone’s sub. And that a safe word was a last ditch thing, only used in the most extreme circumstances.

I also learned about a whole bunch of kinks and fetishes that I have now added to my “No Way in Hell” list.  Everyone has different levels of comfort, and I’m definitely not on the pure “vanilla” side of things, but some of those just make me cringe.  I don’t want to get into too much detail since I just ate, but one of the big ones that made me shake my head and wonder why the hell anyone allows it is anal fisting.  WTH???  If you aren’t sure what that is, it’s exactly what it sounds like.  Someone inserts their entire hand in someone else’s anus and then makes a fist and, well….you get the idea.  I know friction against the prostate gland for men can be very pleasurable and many women enjoy anal sex, but a fist???  Let’s just say, even the biggest guy I’ve ever been with wasn’t as big as an arm and fist!!  Makes me cringe just thinking about it.  And here’s something to think about….THIS was the “tame” one I felt I could write about on here without losing my lunch!  That should give you something to think about!  As my son always says…  “There’s a kink out there for absolutely everything.  And for each of those things, there are people who get off on it.”  After all my research, I believe it.  But while I’ve always been considered adventurous by friends, boyfriends and my husband.  I’m positively vanilla by some of these standards!  I now return you to your PG13 blog post :)

Do you have any advice for other writers?  

Don’t stop to worry about what your Mom, best friend, pastor, grandma etc will think about what you are writing.  Just write!  You can’t have all those “censors”inside your head and still write a good book!  Yes, some of you—your views, your true self etc will come across in your book.  That’s just part of being a writer.  But if you aren’t being true to yourself, or are just trying to write to please others, you won’t be able to write a good book.  Also, don’t try to write a “best seller”- just write the best damn book you can write.  It will find its audience.  And just remember that not everyone will love or even like your book.  That’s okay!  They don’t have to!  And my biggest advice!  Get your butt in the chair and write!  Every day if possible!  Set a schedule and try to stick to it.  I usually try to take Sunday’s off, but other than that I try to write every day.  Now sometimes life gets in the way, but I always build some slack time into my deadline schedule to allow for that.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

I hope this book gives you insight into the fetish/kink lifestyle and also brings you a story about both a woman and a man coming to terms with their past, and opening up to each other enough to trust and love.  And yes, Ihope you enjoy some really hot and steamy kink!

What inspired you to write your first book?  

I had always wanted to write and for years had dreamed about seeing a book with my name on the spine on the bookshelf at my local bookstore.  I had a friend who had psychic gifts and we had several conversations about how it worked, how he experienced things etc.  And that kicked my muse into high gear.  And because I had read so much science fiction, fantasy and romance. AND I’m a bit twisted…lol!!  I came up with a psychic serial killer who preys on women with untapped psychic potential.  But when he tries to push open the door to my heroine’s psychic powers (which is how he kills), her partial psychic powers that he unleashes are much more powerful than his and she breaks away.  Cue the sexy FBI profiler who hides his psychic powers on the job, but who is the best man to protect her.  Writing the sex scenes between two people who could read each others’ minds was both a challenge and a BLAST!!  :)

Do you have a specific writing style?

I’ve been told I do, but I think of my style as a mish mash of styles that I’ve learned and built up over time.  I’ve written 16 books, and as of the 21st of July I will have published 15 of them.  I learn and grow with each and every book, and if you go back and read Into a Dangerous Mind (my first book) and then jump forward to My Obsession, which releases next month, I think you’ll see a HUGE difference in writing style.  Although I’m pretty sure my writing voice has stayed the same, or at least similar.

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Why BBC?

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Tina Gerow Dishes on Authors

What books have most influenced your life most?

76658I grew up reading everything I could get my hands on, but I was always drawn to the paranormal.  When I had my wisdom teeth out and I stayed with my brother for the day he gave me Piers Anthony’s On a Pale Horse, which is the first book in the Incarnations of Immortality series.  I was hooked and fascinated.  Piers Anthony has written over 50 books (I don’t even think I’m exaggerating!) and I proceeded to read them all!  I’m absolutely sure he was the main reason I wanted to write paranormals.  Then I found Ann McCaffrey’s Dragonrider’s of Pern series and my sister introduced me to Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunter series and a ton of others.  I just couldn’t get enough!  Then I went on vacation with a friend and ran out of books….and she loaned me the first book in Nora Robert’s Born In series.  It was the first true romance I had read since stealing a few of my mom’s when I was younger.  But those all had weak heroines and forced sex (the man got his way and then she magically started loving it!  Ugh)  But Nora Robert’s stories opened up the possibility in me of a romance novel having a strong heroine who was an equal to her hero, and who wasn’t a doormat.  That’s when I started being more open to the romance genre.  So when I started writing, it was natural for me to start with paranormal romance!  I’ve branched out from there just recently, but most of my books are some form of paranormal romance, and I still LOVE that genre!

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor? 

bmg 300x300I had an actual writing mentor, Judi Thoman, who writes as Brit Blaise and started our critique group –The Butterscotch Martini Girls.  Judi was just getting published when we started our group and was way ahead of me on learning the business of writing.  She was patient and kind, yet honest in a way that helped me grow as a writer.  She passed away earlier this year after a long battle with breast cancer, and she is sorely missed.  But if I had to choose a new writing mentor out of everyone possible, I think I would choose Cheyenne McCray (who has become a recent critique partner!)  I really want to be her when I grow up!  She’s an amazing writer and has written over a hundred books so far and she’s still going!  And like Judi, she offers start honesty, but in a way that allows me to grow as a writer and make my stories shine!  I’ve been so blessed to have so many terrific writers in my life!

What book are you reading now? 

I recently had surgery, so I reached for a paperback on my shelf that I knew I would love and that would distract me in the hospital.  So I grabbed The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie by Jennifer Ashley and am now going to HAVE to finish the series since I’m nearly done with that book.  I’ve read the series a few times before, but every time I re read it I get lost in the characters and the story all over again!  Jennifer is another writer I’d love to be when I grow up!!

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

There are way too many to list!  I’m impatiently waiting for the next story in Lisa Pietsch’s Task Force 125 series!  And when I’m on a deadline (like I currently am) I limit my reading time to a reward for a good writing day!  But I’m always on the lookout for new books and new authors.  It’s a catch 22!  There are great books and authors out there just waiting for me to discover them, but I’m also trying to write a great book that others will want to discover as well!  So those are constantly vying for my attention.  What a great problem to have, right??

What are your current projects?

My current project is the 2nd book in my Club Desire series.  It’s called My Addiction and is about a woman who has been a sub to the rich and powerful, but has grown disillusionedwith the Doms who are entitled and selfish.  She wants more and is looking for a change.  Dex is an FBI agent who is trying to take down a terror plot.  Someone is planning to kill Congressmen who are standing in the way of passing bills that will help funnel money to terrorist organizations.  Kate may know more than she realizes, and Dex needs to find out.  But as a Dom, he also needs to show her the wonders and pleasures of a real D/s relationship!  Dex was a Dom in book 1 of the Club Desire series and stood out as needing his own book, so this book flowed naturally from that one!  He needed a heroine who was strong enough to be his equal, but also cold be tender and open enough to be a great sub!  On the back burner after the Club Desire series is done I have a short story I started called Panther Ink.  It’s about a man whose tattoos are so lifelike that he won the coveted Ink Master award and is now a highly sought after tattoo artist.  But when his tattoos start coming to life and acting as vigilantes, protecting the innocent and helpless, he feels like he has gone crazy.  It’s a fun and sexy foray back to my paranormal romance roots, but when I was offered the contract from Random House, Loveswept, it got put on the back burner along with my 2 series that need to be finished.  The Maiden series was orphaned when Triskelion imploded and the Succubus series was orphaned by Berkley when they decided not to pick up book 3 & 4 in the series.  But I WILL get back to those someday.  I promise!!  I still have people ask me every single week when I’m going to get those written.  But until I can figure out how to clone myself I’ve got to juggle and write the paying up front projects first.