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Archive for October 31st, 2007

Square hole, Octagonal Peg

 

I’ve never been what you could call…cool. Not remotely. Just never fit in with the in-crowd. I tried, sometimes. Once I even tried to join a clique. (Suffice it to say, that’s didn’t go well. I kept snorting at the thinking processes of the “leader”) I’m just not good at being a follower. I’ve always been the square peg in a round hole. Better yet, octagonal. ‘Cause I damn sure wasn’t like any of the other pegs, either. You know it’s bad when you don’t even fit in with the outcasts.

 

So, years after my not so thrilling girlhood, when I was advised to find a single genre and stick with it…well, you can imagine how that went. I did try, because it made good business sense, if I wanted to connect with readers. But it was boring. And the writing stalled. I wanted to claw out my eyes. Stories were coming up to me like lost dogs, looking for food and I had to send them away. It was horrible. For my own sanity, or as close as I get to sanity, I secretly wrote a comedy. Just to make myself feel better. No one was going to know. 

 

Until I sold the comedy. Oops.

 

So the secret was out. But the book did well and people were happy with it. Yay, right? Right?

 

Until I sold the drama. And the sensual contemporary. And then the next book turned into a light suspense. After each book, I worried more and more about how each novel would be received. Would people be disappointed as I went from one genre to the other? Were they going to expect one thing and get mad when it wasn’t there? And let me tell you…I started to scare myself. I began thinking I could never hold onto an audience. (It’s rather amazing how much time a writer can spend doubting herself.) Then my friend says to me, “You are aware you sound like you in each book, no matter the genre, right?”

 

Somehow, that hadn’t exactly occurred to me.

 

I realized then that was really what the uniting thread for being a multi-genre author; voice. For all that I can’t walk a line someone else draws, I’m drawing one for myself that is solid and deep and tinted with just a hint of rose. Oh…and it sizzles. With that in mind, I decided to take a leap into even hotter territory and wrote an erotic romance. I mean, the worst that could happen was that I’d have a couple of extremely satisfied–if slightly chafed–characters. Following my hero, an earthy self-made man named Travis, and my heroine, a smart-mouthed scientist with a grudge, made for an interesting personal adventure. It was freeing, in many ways, to let go and see how far my characters might go. How far I was willing to let my imagination take me. And yet, it was really important to make sure they really fell in love. As messily as possible. (Sure, I write happy endings, but I still like to make their lives miserable beforehand.) I wanted to join the ranks of good erotic romance, instead of the oft ridiculed “boink ’til you drop” ranks.

 

Still octagonal, even in romance pegboards? Maybe. But I like to think the line I leave behind me is more important than the pegs I fit into.

 

Dee Tenorio

 

PS–Enter to win an ecopy of “Test Me” (as soon as author copies are available), which is set to release November 27th! All you have to do is post in the comments and share your thoughts on authors who write multi-genre books. Good or bad, is it a problem for you as a reader?

 

testme72lg.jpg

 

“Test Me!” by Dee Tenorio

Genre: Contemporary Romance, Red Hots!

ISBN: 1-59998-699-X

Length: Novel

Price: 5.50

Publication Date: November 27, 2007

Cover art by Scott Carpenter

 

Who said “sexy” isn’t a science?

 

When wealthy scientist Vetta St. Claire begins a news experiment polling the male libido, she unexpectedly locks horns with long-time scientific rival Travis Carmichael. She never meant to test Travis’s libido…but sometimes a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.

 

Down on his luck and on the verge of giving up his dream to make a real contribution to cancer research, the last thing Travis wants—or needs—is a fling with the prickly Vetta. Travis doesn’t like her. In fact, he hates her. But when the sex is this good…

 

“Hard science” doesn’t begin to cover it.

 

 

Unedited Excerpt:

 

Disentangling from Travis wasn’t nearly as hard as escaping him.

 

What had she done?

 

One second, she’d been yelling at him, ready and willing to berate him for his utter lack of respect. The next…well, she still wasn’t sure what happened next. His eyes took on that angry, hungry gleam and he started saying things that got her head pounding from her heartbeat racing. All she’d been able to think about was the way he had made her feel in her shower, which made no sense analytically because he hadn’t really been there in the first place.

 

After the sex—could you call it losing your virginity if you’d already tossed that on a vibrator?—she hadn’t known what to do. She’d never planned on her first time with a man being outside, against a door, still dressed, and with a man she couldn’t stand. All she could think of was getting away.

 

She’d pushed at his shoulders, disconcerted at how comforting it felt to be cradled in his hold that way. She didn’t want to be soothed by the silk of his hair against her cheek or the warmth of his breath. She didn’t want to be held as if she was precious. She didn’t even want his hands on her ass. She just wanted to be free.

 

“Vetta,” he grunted when she pushed harder, setting one of her feet on the ground and forcing him to slip free from her body.

 

She pretended that the slippery sensation didn’t make her shiver, didn’t make her feel empty. Her skirt fell back to her ankles, covering all evidence as to what had happened. To her, at least.

 

Travis backed up a step, his jeans still open, his penis still exposed, still wet…still nearly erect. He quickly went to work covering up, but when she dared to look in his eyes, she could see that an apology was forming. Or maybe it was just a reflection of the confusion inside herself. His eyes were downcast and the stark lighting of the fluorescent lights on the roof made his expression hard to read. All she could see now were the wide planes of his cheekbones, the grim line of his mouth and the shadows in his eyes.

 

“I have to go,” she blurted, spinning in place and frantically reaching for the flat handle of the doorknob. She yanked it down, but the door wouldn’t open.

 

“Vetta, we need to talk about this.”

 

“No, we don’t.” They would never talk about this. She had no inclinations whatsoever to be mocked. She was twenty-five years old, if she wanted to have meaningless sex on the roof of her own property, she would.

 

“Vetta.” His voice was gentle. Gentle. From Travis!

 

“I’ve dropped into the twilight zone,” she muttered, reaching for her keys from her lab coat pocket. Except she wasn’t wearing her lab coat. Feeling wild now, she looked around, ignoring his attempts to get into her frame of view. Finally, she saw it, floating like a phosphorescent ghost a few feet away. She hurried over, snatching it from the ground and reaching into the pocket with growing desperation. The lump of keys, just where they usually were, jangled into her palm. She turned back to the shed door and found Travis waiting, arms crossed, decidedly in her way. “Move.”

 

He shook his head. “Not until we talk.”

 

“What’s to talk about? We had sex. We’re done.”

 

Against the door that way, his expression was even more inscrutable than before. She hoped he couldn’t see any better than she could. Despite his flaws, the man was a brilliant observer. If he realized for one second her disconcertion, she’d never hear the end of it. What she needed was to go downstairs, take a shower and hide in her room until this entire situation faded into obscurity. She did not need to talk about it.

 

“Why are you running away?”

 

Was he stupid? “This was a mistake, Travis.”

 

“Why do you say that?”

 

Yes, he was. He really, really was. “Because you hate me. Because I don’t like you.”

 

She watched him shrug. “You of all people should know sex doesn’t have anything to do with liking one another. It’s about chemistry. Need. Desire.”

 

She balled her fingers around the keys, his words making a sick feeling in her stomach. She’d been the one to say it, but oddly, it hurt having him agree to hating her. Thankfully, she’d long ago learned how to keep from showing a response to things said or written about her. Growing up, her mother’s stardom and her father’s money had made her a target for the press. Nothing Travis could say would be worse than what any of them had said.

 

“You wanted me,” he continued, proving her incorrect again. “There’s nothing wrong with that.”

 

“Will you please move away from the door?” Moisture was dripping down her leg and she wanted to be mortified in peace.

 

“I wanted you too, Vetta,” he added quietly.

 

“Good,” she snapped. “Great. We wanted. We got. Satisfied?”

 

“Not even close to it.”

 

She wanted to reply, wanted to say something that would shut him up, but opening her mouth yielded no sound at all.

 

Travis sidestepped the door, finally getting out of her way. He even waved her through, nearly bowing gallantly, his dark eyes never leaving her face. Refusing to be afraid—of what exactly, she didn’t know—she made herself go back to the door, moving past him to unlock it with the keys.

 

As she searched for the right one, Travis slipped behind her. His body blocked the breeze, emitting a heat that had her skin tingling again. He leaned down to her ear, as if he were going to touch her, but made no contact. The correct key slid into the lock on the door.

 

“It’s not over yet, Vetta.”

 

She yanked down the lever. “Like hell it’s not.”

 

He lay his hand over hers, pulling the heavy door open. Voice deep, intimate, probably subconscious staining, he whispered, “You can’t hide from things you don’t want to face. Your problems will always be there when you turn back around.”

 

Vetta stumbled, but he caught her elbow.

 

“I’m not saying this to scare you. I just know that we’ve started something here, whether we like it or not.”

 

“Something stupid,” she corrected as primly as she could.

 

He nodded his head. “Maybe. It’s not good timing for either of us. You’ve got your weird little experiment and I have…”

 

She frowned at him when his voice trailed off, then shook her arm free. “I’m not going to be your convenient lay, Travis. This was a one-time thing because you saw me naked. We were curious. Don’t make more of that than it was.”

 

That seemed to snap him out of his little mini-trance. “I don’t have to. Sooner or later, we’re going to end up in bed. It’s just a matter of time.”

 

***

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