Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Prerogative and Creative

Pier Lights original art 2012 LK HunsakerIt’s a writer’s prerogative to change her mind.

Okay, it’s supposed to say a woman’s prerogative, but I think writer fits in there, and since I’m both woman and writer, it entitles me to change my mind as much as I want, right?

Well, since I’m an indie writer it does. That’s a large part of why I’m indie.

Every time I do a book signing I tell potential readers that it’s romantic but not spicy: sensual at times here and there, yes, but not spicy. I don’t do spicy.

Well, you know … growth means change. It also means expanding out of your comfort zone at times (not that I haven’t done that many, many times already in different areas of my life). I’m also indie because I don’t want to do things the same as everyone else just to fit in enough to be accepted. There’s nothing wrong with it. Commonalities are good. It’s just not me.

A large percentage of romance readers like spice in their stories. Sure. Don’t we all like some spice in our lives in some form? It’s normal and natural. And you know what? I don’t have little kids anymore. My daughter, who insists on getting every story I write first and can’t wait for the next one, is nearly 24 and married. She reads another LKH who I’ve heard is basically a vampire porn writer (that could be exaggerated – I don’t do vampires so I wouldn’t know) so I doubt anything I might write would shock her (*insert laugh here, as very few kids are easily shocked by much of anything anymore).

And honestly, I’ve read steamier, more vulgar scenes in many literary novels than I have in many romance novels. Seriously. I learned much about sex, at least the act of it, from literary fiction when I was young (yes, I was a geek who read literary way back then). In general, the romance spice tends to be less vulgar and with more feeling behind it, at least what I’ve read (there are exceptions). To be honest, some of those literary authors made it sound fully disgusting.

Well anyway, what I’m slowly getting around to is that … yes, I do spicy.

In November I started a short book for Nanowrimo based around an injured ballerina. I didn’t know where I was going with it. I had my character, Caroline, and a basic situation of her injury and her “what now” moment, and I let it go from there. I also decided, since Nanowrimo is supposed to be a challenge, and since I’d done it eight times already and knew I could get to 50K in a month, that I would make it more of a challenge and make this one a spicy romance, a romance that fits the commercial romance genre category, not too long, without subplots leading everywhere, without a bunch of social issues (okay, I fudged slightly on that one, but most romances do have some kind of social issue involved). In one month, I had her complete story.

It wasn’t at all that hard to break my not spicy rule. The hard part came when it was finished and Now What Do I DO With It set in. “Well,” my little voice said, “you’re an author. You publish your books.” “Yes,” my other voice said, “but I don’t do spicy and many of my readers don’t want it.”  “Yes, but some of them will, and a lot of readers you don’t have yet will.”  “But… but…“

So, a pen name came about as a compromise. Easy enough. Readers of LK Hunsaker’s fiction will still find only lightly sensual scenes and the pen name can take the fall for the spice.

Except it’s not that easy. Next came Do I let people KNOW it’s me writing in that pen name? If I don’t, I start from the bottom in my marketing, from a completely unknown name. Yes, that’s a daunting thought. But, I did it once; I can do it again.

Back and forth and round and round with the two voices arguing…

The winning argument was one I told myself long ago when I first started to publish: If you don’t want someone to know you wrote it, then why write it? If you’re ashamed of it, why put it out?

It’s an honesty thing. Now, I fully understand the many wonderful reasons for a pen name writers keep hidden. I do. And I nearly let every one of those reasons talk me out of equating my real name with the pen name. But there’s a little hitch in my brain somewhere that makes honesty a top priority. Not everyone appreciates it all the time, I know, particularly in today’s world of politically correct sweetness to hide true thoughts (ugh!), but don’t ask for my opinion if you don’t really want my opinion.

And if you don’t like spice, stick with my LK Hunsaker books.

For those who do like some spice, look up my brand new Ella M. Kaye line. So far I only have a Facebook page and a Google+ page, but I’ll work on a better landing spot, possibly on a page here on my blog. PierLights2012-dark72med
That artwork up top is for the cover of Pier Lights, the first Ella M. Kaye novel, which will be the first of a lighthouse and dancers series. This one is set in Folly Beach, South Carolina. Others in the series will feature different cities around the States. With advice from helpful fellow authors, I put it in an image program, darkened it and highlighted the couple, then gave the lighthouse a light. Of course, it still doesn’t look like a typical romance genre cover since most of them now use photos of real people. I’m an artist. And I may bend to certain things, but only to an extent. Remember the old romances?

ArabellaLa Novia de PendorriPrince and the Pilgrim

Art. :-)  I like art. I also love some of the gorgeous modern romance covers, but I love the art/fiction combination, so that’s what I’m going with.

So… Ella M. Kaye is Sexy, Smart, & Slightly Dark Romance.
Spicy, but not vulgar. Artsy, but on the darker side of the arts. Short, fairly quick reads, but with emotional depth.

They will be ebook only, with possibly a very small print run I’ll keep on hand for those who really want them in print instead.

Pier Lights will be free on Smashwords only the day of its release: February 14th, 2013.  If you grab it and enjoy it, please tell your friends! It will soon be out at most major ebook retailers, as well. Watch the Facebook page for updates.