Thursday, 22 March 2012

What's in a name?

I know I've neglected this blog woefully so far this year - and I had such good intentions. But as a lot of you know, life can get in the way of good intentions.

Alongside all the normal day to day stuff, I've been writing frantically and as a result I signed a contract with Xcite Books yesterday! (Now please excuse all the links in this post - but these are some awesome people!).

Last year at the Festival of Romance, Xcite books launched a competition to win a publishing contract. Now, I had seen the competition advertised on the Festival website, but my writing wasn't really erotic romance and so it hadn't registered with me. Over the past few months though I've had more and more comments about how sizzling my writing is and how much sexual tension it contains, which got me thinking. After all, writing what you know, and what you enjoy, helps produce a good story.

On 12th January, Kate Allan posted a reminder about the competition on Romantic Fiction Online, with a closing date of 31st January. I still wasn't sure, but I'd just finished a couple of books by the wonderful Doris O'Connor and Lucy Felthouse and after a bit more procrastination I felt inspired to give it a go!

So, nothing like a bit of pressure, I got writing knowing that I needed to produce the first three chapters and a one page synopsis. And I was surprised at just how much I enjoyed it!

On February 14th the winner was announced, and it wasn't me. I did however get a request for a full manuscript, which had me jumping about in excitement until I remembered I hadn't got a full. I emailed straight back asking if the editor was happy to wait a few weeks and I had a lovely response, so got to work on completing the novel. I'm now hopping about eagerly awaiting edits!!

So, why has this post got the title it has I hear you ask? Well, I'm getting there. (Apologies for such a verbose post but I'm excited!)
After quite a bit of umming and ahhing I have decided to publish 'Forfeit' under a different pen name. I've read a lot of comments about the pros and cons of using more than one name, which I have read and deliberated over.

This novel is a romance, it does have a HEA and two main characters. It also has a lot of sex, a lot of explicit sex - and most definitely is an erotic romance (some might just say Erotica). Now, when I write contemporary romance it definitely sizzles (I don't write sweet!) but it isn't this explicit.

What concerned me, was that someone who had enjoyed one of my erotic romances might search for other books I'd written and purchase a contemporary expecting a similar erotic read. I know book descriptions are there for a purpose, but sometimes we just don't bother reading them in detail if we already know and love an author and there's nothing more frustrating than a book not delivering what you expect. Similarly, I'd hate to think that someone might accidentally purchase an erotic romance and be shocked or offended at the level of detail! Either way, they might decide they like it after all, but....

So, I've decided to use a different name and have set up a different blog, but will continue to post about all my writing here (yes, I will try and get back to posting regularly!).

It's early days so I haven't got a publication date or cover yet and have only just set up my blog. (Will I manage to cope with two I hear you asking? Hopefully!) But if you're interested please pop over and visit me at my new blog where I will be writing more about erotic romance.

A big thanks to everyone who has helped me so far with my writing career, I'm really looking forward to being able to announce a launch date for 'Forfeit' by Zara Stoneley shortly.

What do you think about using different writing names - confusing or the right thing to do? I'd love to know what people think!


  1. Hi Susie,

    Yay! Congratulations on signing your first book contract. Erotic romance you say. Well bring it on.

    I do understand your concerns about pen names and in the end you have to do what's best for you. I write romance that ranges from sensual to erotic although I don't write kinky or menage (at least not yet, lol)
    A Valentine Challenge is sensual
    His Treasure is steamy
    His Strength is erotic
    I haven't had any problems with readers complaining about heat level but then again it's early days for me as an author. So time will tell.

    I do wish you the very best, though. And do let us know when Forfeit is released. I'd love to read it. :)

    1. Hi Kiru, It's a tricky one isn't it? But I think you're right everyone just has to try and do what's best for them. I love that you have written a range of stories with different heat levels, and look forward to reading them. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  2. Hi Susie! Well done, well done, well done! This is so exciting, what fab news! I think you have a good point on the pen name. Unless you are going to concentrate on erotic romance only then it makes sense to have an alter ego so you can build up a following. Was it hard to come up with a name? Loads of luck!

    1. Hi Charlotte,
      I'm terrible at coming up with names and every time I came up with something I liked I'd find lots of other people with the same name when I googled it!
      I really loved your NV entry and so I'm sad to hear it's gone on the back burner for a while - but good luck with your new story, I'm looking forward to reading more about your progress with it.

  3. Dear Susie,

    Congrats! I can't wait to read your fab romance!

    I'm happy that you've found your voice and style.

    Honestly Doris O'Connor also opened my eyes for erotica romance (just reading, not writing. Though my books are steamy, too. LOL I agree with you, I don't -- can't do sweet).

    Cari Quinn was also a big influence. I had never read erotica before--not out of prejudice. Just because, really, I had never thought about it. But when I tried these two authors, I was impressed. There were lots of sex scenes (hey,I'm not complaining here), but also lots of conflict, tension, compelling characters and of course, the HEA.

    As far as pen names are concerned. While I understand the reasoning behind having two of them, I also think if you stick to one it can be a strong marketing tool. In Cari's case, I believe she only uses one. She writes contemporary romance, novellas and she's best known for erotica. I bought her novella, and I really enjoyed her voice so I researched. That was when I ended up buying an erotica and maybe I wouldn't have if I hadn't seen that it was written by the same author.

    Anyway, just my two cents! Good luck and I'm excited for you!

    1. Hi Carmen,
      Thanks so much for stopping by and for your thoughtful comments. Yes, I've read Cari Quinn too - after seeing her published by Entangled and then seeking out her other books, and I love her writing.
      I agree with you about the one name being a powerful marketing tool (as Cari has proved).
      It's a tricky choice but I've made it now - so hope it works out!

  4. Congrats on the contract! Can't wait to read it!

    Oh, I tagged you on my blog :o)

    1. Thanks Aimee :-) Will answer the questions as soon as I get back to normal after the weekend!