Dang, and another one…

This time from ParaNormalRomance reviews:
https://www.paranormalromance.org/reviews/review.php?id=31422
The review is mostly a plot synopsis, but features the headline “Scorching hot with a touch of suspense” and finishes off with this nice blurb: “Cecilia Tan brings together love, suspense, and scorching sex in a story well worth reading. I would love to read a sequel to see what more trouble Wren and Derek can get into.”
If I’d known there would be so many reviews, I would have just waited and posted them all at once…

MIND GAMES keeps getting reviewed favorably (happy dance)

I’m pleased to say my paranormal erotic romance, MIND GAMES, has garnered another rave review. FIVE STARS! From Manic Readers Review, a romance review site.
Excerpts: “Ms. Tan is going to blow readers away with Mind Games! Superb from beginning to end, I discovered new faith in the paranormal erotica genre.”
“Fans of Ms. Tan’s erotica will rejoice at her venture into the paranormal world. This was such a treat for me… I certainly hope this won’t be Ms. Tan’s only foray into the paranormal world because Mind Games is definitely an all out hit!”
Here’s a link to the whole thing:
https://manicreaders.com/index.cfm?disp=reviews&bookid=4131

Around the web, interesting reading:

I’m interviewed today by Phoebe Jordan at Talk About My Favorite Authors on the subject of erotic romance, how I get my ideas, and all sorts of other stuff.
Meanwhile, if you haven’t seen it yet, a fascinating article at Psychology Today on how the “common wisdom” that porn causes social harm is not only wrong, there’s evidence that porn is good for society.
Does Pornography Cause Social Harm? by Michael Castleman.
Among his points:
“If porn is a significant contributor to social harm, we would expect to see substantial increases in sexual irresponsibility, divorce, and rape since the late 1990s when the Internet suddenly made X-rated material much more available to those who might instigate sexual mayhem, overwhelmingly men.”
However:
“Guess what. Since the arrival of Internet porn:
* Sexual irresponsibility has declined. Standard measures include rates of abortion and sexually transmitted infections. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), since 1990, the nation’s abortion rate has fallen 41 percent. The syphilis rate has plummeted 74 percent. And the gonorrhea rate has plunged 57 percent.
* Teen sex has declined. The CDC says that since 1991, the proportion of teens who have had intercourse has decreased 7 percent. Teen condom use has increased 16 percent. And the teen birth rate has fallen 33 percent.
* Divorce has declined. Since 1990, the divorce rate has decreased 23 percent.
* Rape has declined. According to the Justice Department’s National Crime Victimization Survey, since 1995, the sexual assault rate has fallen 44 percent.”
Castleman posits that with more guys sitting at home masturbating to porn, there’s less frustration, violence aimed at others, conflict, less what I’d call “negative sex” or use of negative sexual outlets. So, see? I really am helping make the world a better place.
He doesn’t even get into how things have changed because of more women reading (and writing) it, even.

What's next, witch burning??

I honestly can not wrap my head about a lawsuit pending in Wisconsin in which four West Bend community members are claiming that just SEEING A COPY of Francesca Lia Block’s young adult book BABY BE-BOP on display in the public library damaged them. (“Oh my virgin eyyyyyyyes!!!!”)
To quote from the ALA story on the matter:
Milwaukee-area citizen Robert C. Braun of the Christian Civil Liberties Union (CCLU) distributed at the meeting copies of a claim for damages he and three other plaintiffs filed April 28 with the city; the complainants seek the right to publicly burn or destroy by another means the library’s copy of Baby Be-Bop. The claim also demands $120,000 in compensatory damages ($30,000 per plaintiff) for being exposed to the book in a library display, and the resignation of West Bend Mayor Kristine Deiss for “allow[ing] this book to be viewed by the public.”
“the plaintiffs, all of whom are elderly, claim their mental and emotional well-being was damaged by this book at the library,” specifically because Baby Be-Bop contains the “n” word and derogatory sexual and political epithets that can incite violence and “put one’s life in possible jeopardy, adults and children alike.”
Full story: https://www.ala.org/ala/alonline/currentnews/newsarchive/2009/june2009/westbendbabybebop060309.cfm
All I can say is… WTF people. I can’t even muster a coherent argument against this, it’s broken my brain so badly.
If anyone knows of a legal fund we can donate to to help the library fight the case, please let me know?
Meanwhile, you can buy a copy of the much-lauded and award-winning book in question here at Powell’s.

Another rave for THE HOT STREAK!

Wow. Two things surprised me about the review that just came in for THE HOT STREAK at A Romance Review. First was that the reviewer was from England and didn’t know anything about baseball–but loved it anyway–and second was that she thought the book could have been More Erotic! I suppose it goes to show I really was concentrating on the love story, and taking my own advice in not including a sex scene unless it really advanced the plot or revealed something crucial.
A few choice snippets: “One of the great things about this book is Ms. Tan’s enthusiasm for baseball – it’s infectious. Knowing nothing about the game, you don’t have to be a fan to read this book, however by the end I found myself wanted to go out and learn more about baseball.”
“Casey and Tyler’s relationship is enough to warm even the coldest of hearts. I constantly smiled throughout the novel at the development of their whirlwind romance and the joy they found in each other. By the end, I was rooting for their relationship with a sports fan’s gusto!”
“The romantic elements were not corny, or contrived, something I found extremely refreshing.”
Review: https://is.gd/MJOo
Next week an interview with me will run on the Talk About My Favorite Authors blog, too. I’ll link when it comes up.

Wow I've been a busy bee lately…

I’ve guest blogged at several sites recently! In fact, I might be overlooking one of them in this little round up…?
At Night Owl Romance I wrote a piece called “Keeping It Fresh” on how authors can keep sex scenes from getting repetitive or dull, and the best ways to keep the reader with you:
https://nightowlromanceblog.blogspot.com/2009/05/keeping-sex-scenes-fresh.html
I had one last week at Love Romance Passion on how the sex lives of the readers of romance have changed since 1970 and how romance has needed to get more erotic in order to satisfy our needs!
https://is.gd/H5fh
And finally a piece for the Oh Get A Grip! blog on writing process and the process of “discovery” as I write:
https://tinyurl.com/rchnkl
And I got another nice review! This one the first one for The Hot Streak! (the baseball-themed romance) At Coffee Time Romance: https://www.coffeetimeromance.com/BookReviews/thehotstreak.html

A snippet: “Hot Streak is an interesting take on loving someone who is in the limelight. Ms. Tan takes the mythical star and makes him an all too human man with flaws and all. I like the character of Tyler and was rooting for him because he garnered sympathy and deserved happiness. I enjoyed the book and found it to be an entertaining read.”
I got to meet lots and lots of romance colleagues at BookExpo America this past weekend. I’m contemplating joining RWA (Romance Writers of America). I might wait for an actual book to earn out first, though. I did a podcast interview with Cat from All Romance eBooks, too, and I’ll post when it goes live. That was really fun!
Now I’m fried. Going to drink some tea, pet my cats, and… start the rewrite of Magic University. No rest for the wicked.

BEA Report #2

I was too tired out last night to blog about BEA! Tonight I’m a little bit more awake at least for a little while.
Tonight was the Alyson Books party, at a very beautiful venue called The Gates. Managed to catch up briefly with two of my favorite native New Yorkers and writers, Samuel R. Delany, and Felice Picano. Alyson is one of the oldest gay book publishers in the country, if not the oldest, and was founded by Sasha Alyson in Boston. The company has been bought and sold a few times since then, and now is based in New York City, and Don Weise, who was my editor a few years ago at Carroll & Graf is now the head honcho at Alyson.
At the party I met up with my dinner companions, who included D. L King of Erotica Revealed, Lori Perkins and Holly Schmidt of Ravenous Romance, and some of my fellow Ravenous Romance authors like Debra Hyde, and from there to Congee Village, one of our favorite Chinese restaurants.
We had originally discovered Congee Village one night when we were in the neighborhood for the In The Flesh reading series, hosted monthly at the Happy Endings Lounge by Rachel Kramer Bussell. The restaurant is on Allen Street maybe 2 blocks east, and it is some of the best Chinese food ever. They have all the exotic festival foods like bird’s nest soup and duck tongues.
But back to BEA and book biz talk. One of the consistent complaints I heard from exhibitors today is that there’s been so much theft! Lots of people had books missing from their booths during the night, and much more than usual. Tough economic times? It isn’t like there aren’t tons of free books being given away (although some people are saying there is less than usual… my bag is pretty damn heavy so I haven’t noticed that…)
Among the booths I visited today, I had a great chat with a Laura Baumbach (and her lovely cohort Deana) at the ManLoveRomance booth. They had quite a nice smorgasbord of hot-looking books! And I also stumbled upon Torquere Press! Somehow I hadn’t realized they’d be there. They have not only a nice line of male/male erotic romance, but have a young adult line, too, Prizm. They said they were getting a lot of interest from libraries, which was also something I heard from NBM Publishing, the great independent publisher of graphic novels, both erotica/adult, and also a young adult/kids line called Papercutz.
I visited many more… and also attending the Baen Books party for a little while… but my brain is too fried to write any more right now. I better say goodnight and try to write a more coherent post tomorrow when I am on my way home on the Megabus! Half a day on the show floor and then I head home.

Blogging BookExpo America, Thursday night

I arrived a bit late to NYC today, thanks to much traffic along the Bolt Bus route. Still, $14 one way to get me to a major trade show was too good a deal to pass up. In these tough economic times, if it weren’t for the $14 bus, I’d probably be skipping the convention completely.
For those who don’t know, BookExpo America is the annual gathering of the business side of book publishing. Years ago it was known as the ABA Convention, and was run by the American Booksellers Association, and handing out catalogs and chatting up mom & pop bookstores was the order of the day. Now that there are hardly any independent bookstores left (when I went to my first ABA convention there were about 5000 indie bookstores in the USA, and now there are about 500), the show is more about subsidiary rights, and connections between all the inter-related businesses of publishing, including printing and marketing and multimedia and on and on.
There is still much catering to booksellers and librarians, but also a lot of other stuff.
My evening started at the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund party/fundraiser at Hudson Terrace. As I Tweeted when I arrived, the venue was way swank. I had fun chats with lots of folks including my old friend Glenn Haumann, who was possibly the very first person to try to get me into ebooks like 10 years ago. He’s no longer in the ebook biz, but in comics, in a very web-presence-driven company called ComicMix. Also shook hands with Charles Brownstein, the head honcho at CBLDF. The party was lively but the main topic of conversation running through the room is the “Handley manga case“–specifically the very recent news that Handley, an Iowa man charged with child porn for owning manga, has pled guilty.
In short: the fact that the government can see fit to enter your private home, look through your private library, and declare ownership of a piece of fantasy literature you have as illegal, label you a pervert and send you to jail for it, is UTTERLY CHILLING. “Sets constitutional law back by generations,” Brownstein said.
By the way, the CBLDF takes DONATIONS.
I then caught a cab over the the Lambda Literary Awards to try to arrive in time for the after party, since I am far too poor to consider attending the actual awards reception and ceremony. While there I caught sight of Judy Grahn, whom I had never met but had spoken to on the phone back in the days when I worked at Beacon Press (twenty years ago… yeah). Caught up with Michael Lowenstein, Ron Suresha, Michele Karlsberg, and a few other folks. Ironically, Lowenstein and Suresha are New Englanders, so of course I had to come all the way to NYC to chat with them…
The actual after party was at the W Hotel nearby but by then I was pooped and wanted to get on the bus headed to the Bronx where I am couch surfing. (Did I mention we’re doing this trip on the cheap?)
I logged in to post this blog and couldn’t help but see the most recent Publishers Lunch newsletter had arrived, with coverage from today’s BEA sessions! (If you’re not subscribing to Free Lunch, you’re missing out.)
I was most annoyed to see the following from author Sherman Alexie, who spoke on a panel of top selling authors talking about the book business.
When talk turned, as it inevitably does now, to electronic reading [Lisa] Scottoline believed the effect of the Kindle and other electronic devices is additive; but Alexie was blunt in his objection: “I saw a woman in the audience with a Kindle and I wanted to hit her.” He also explained why his work is not available digitally: “I think [electronic reading] is the opposite of the Gutenberg press, and that machines promote elitism”, while adding his opinion stemmed from growing up poor with “limited access to technology.” It isn’t that Alexie is a Luddite, but that the “physical presence of book – turning pages, sitting in the bathtub, the relationship to book won’t be the same. It distances us from the book. Only a certain kind of book sells well electronically and thus limits what publishers will make available in that format. Eccentric writers will have even more difficulty getting books published. As a result the Kindle will homogenize literature even more.”
He is SO WRONG. But then again he is a heterosexual man (I think) whose issues are wholly different from mine. Ebooks are the bastion right now of all the genres that people want to read but which have been categorically and consistently excluded from the bookstores and the mainstream publishing channels. Where else is male/male fantasy erotica written by women for women thriving? Eccentric writers have a better chance than ever of finding their niches and no longer rely on being banged into the round holes that the publishing business insists the square pegs fit into or be ignored entirely.
For too long the book publishing industry’s only customer who counted was not the end reader, but the bookstore. Now that the indies are greatly reduced, and the chain stores rule the roost, what gets published is driven by the tastes (and guesses that publshers try to make about the tastes) of a small handful of individuals.
Ebook publishers cut the bookstore’s tastes and preferences out of the chain and go straight for the people who really matter, the actual readers.
More tomorrow. I will be tweeting as the show goes along from https://twitter.com/ceciliatan.

Erotica + Romance

I am the guest blogger today over at Love Romance Passion! I wrote an article about the difference between erotica and romance, and how as the readership has changed to be more sexually active and sex-savvy, romance as a whole has had to get more erotic.
https://www.loveromancepassion.com/erotic-romance-not-just-erotica-and-romance/
Being all Ravenclaw like I am, I couldn’t just express my opinion… I ended up quoting the US Census Bureau, USA TODAY, romance veteran Bertrice Small, a book from Cambridge University Press…
A snippet of what I said:
“We might make fun of the old style of marketing, but there is no denying that whatever language is used, romances have always been about passion as well as love. And just as fewer and fewer women would find a chaste kiss to be satisfying after a romantic dinner out, now they want the same desires reflected in their favorite fiction.”
“More sex scenes do not necessarily make a “hotter” book, the way more salt and pepper doesn’t automatically make a meal taste better. What is most arousing is when the sex is convincing, when it makes sense with the characters and when it follows a logical progression through their emotional lives.”
Read the whole article here: https://www.loveromancepassion.com/erotic-romance-not-just-erotica-and-romance/

Another great review of MIND GAMES!

Another review is in for MIND GAMES! Patricia’s Vampire Notes, which also reviews other paranormal romances that don’t include vampires, gave it a lengthy recap and had some great things to say. I’m having a little happy dance here right now as a result!
A few choice quotes:
“Besides using paranormal aspects, Tan has brought together erotic fantasy with, believe it or not, a sweet romance. You are rooting for Wren and Derek to find a happiness that has long been denied both of them.”
“The author also skillfully uses humor.”
“Tan writes with her usual melodic prose combining engaging characters with a deftly plotted treat for the senses.”