A Red Hot New Year
November 1, 2007
Available: November 27, 2007
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Virginia Reede

Pseudonym for Toni Andrews.

Erotic Romance? Who knew?

I was sitting at my very first luncheon at my very first romance writer’s conference. I didn’t know any of the other people at the table, but they all had the ribbons on their badges that indicated they were published authors. If I pay close attention, I just might learn something here, I thought to myself as I picked at my salad, too excited to eat.

The other women at the table discussed the topics at the special published authors’ “retreat” they had attended earlier. The topic of money came up.

To my dismay, I realized the topic was actually lack of money. How difficult it had been for them to save up to come to the conference. How expensive the drinks in the bar were. The fact that evening meals were not included in the cost of registration.

But aren’t these all big-time published authors? I recognized some of their names and had read their books.

The topic came up again and again during the three-day conference, and the refrain was always the same — romance authors don’t make money.

On the last day of the conference, again sitting at a table with a group of strangers, I finally heard a variation of the statement. “Romance authors don’t make money,” said the woman on my left, “unless they are writing erotica.”

I almost blurted out, “What’s erotica?” but I did not want to reveal my naiveté. Instead, I went back to my room and scanned the pile of free books I had received with my welcome bag. In it, I found a volume of Secrets from Red Sage publishers.I read it on the way home on the plane. I can write one of these. It will take me two or three weeks, tops.

Eight months and many gallons of blood, sweat and tears later, I wrote “the end” on the final page of Witch’s Knight. It turns out I am constitutionally incapable of doing anything but my best when writing a story.

Well, all the effort paid off. Witch’s Knight has won or finaled in fifteen romance contests, including First Place wins in the “Opening Gambit” contest, the “Fiction from the Heartland” contest, and the Futuristic, Fantasy and Paranormal RWA’s “On the Far Side” Contest. And, after getting offers from four other houses, it was accepted by my “dream” publisher, Ellora’s Cave.

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