by Elia Winters
Columnist Bridget Hartwell agrees to write about BDSM to impress her new executive editor at Sultry, the “sex-positive magazine for sex-positive women.” Unfortunately, it’s a topic she knows absolutely nothing about…but if she ever wants that promotion, she’ll need to learn the ropes, fast.
English professor Max Harlow is active in the Dom/sub scene, but only for casual play—he’s never found his ideal partner: a woman who is his equal, but sexually submissive. When he’s asked to explain the lifestyle to his cute but obviously inexperienced neighbor, Max is certain it’s best to approach it academically—to keep things purely professional.
Until Bridget’s first article is a huge hit, giving her the perfect excuse to delve deeper into the naturally submissive side of her sexuality. But as their encounters intensify and each of her boundaries is skillfully pushed, Bridget must decide what this all means… for her identity, her career, and, most importantly, her future with Max.
“What about your fantasies?”
“What? What is it?” Catching her hesitation, Max looked up from the Scrabble board.
“It’s just...” She paused and took a swig of beer. “I’ve had a lot of crushes on men in positions of power. My volleyball coach back in high school, my internship coordinator in college, a few professors...” Realizing he was grinning, she blushed, remembering he was a professor. “Right. Anyway, I never acted on any of them.”
“And yet you complain that you date weak men.” He swirled the beer around in his bottle and held it up to the light, his gaze thoughtful and distant.
“Well, I don’t want some guy to boss me around.” To hide the discomfort she suddenly felt, Bridget looked down at the board. She played reach off the H in hinder and fumbled as she chose four new tiles.
“I think we both know that’s a lie.“ Max said smoothly, and he drank his beer. “I’ll bet you’re just afraid of what kind of woman you would be if you gave in to those urges.” He rubbed a tile between a thumb and forefinger, then set it back on his shelf. “I’ve been doing this a long time, Bridget. You responded today like a natural submissive. You liked more than just the sex. You liked all of it.”
She set down her beer and looked at him. “All right.” She tried not to sound defensive. “So what does that mean?”
“It doesn’t have to mean anything.” Max shrugged. “Maybe this afternoon, I just want to play some Scrabble with you and order a pizza. But when we’re done with all this experimenting, you’re going to have a lot to write about.”
Ten Things I Wish I Knew About Being An Author I Didn’t Know Before
- Editors are amazing. Despite beta readers and dozens of revisions on my own, my editors have always given suggestions so glaringly obvious that I can’t believe I never saw them myself. Plus, my editors have always been kind enough to point out that I use the word “just” over a thousand times and I have so many ellipses it takes twice as long as it should to read my dialogue.
- Publication moves at a glacial pace. I had some sense of this, but I didn’t really understand the time span between finishing a novel and having it for sale.
- Book conferences are equal parts fun and crazy-making. I attended the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention for the first time last year. RT was like Comic-Con for romance novel enthusiasts: no one slept, everyone was fangirling out like crazy, and I spent the whole week vacillating between manic enthusiasm and an exhausted stupor. It’s fantastic.
- You still have to make the time to write. I love writing, but I often push it aside when I’m not under a deadline, yielding instead to the immediate pressures of a messy house or a really exciting Netflix show. Just because I’m published doesn’t mean anyone’s giving me giant uninterrupted blocks of time to write. I still have a day job and I still have to carve out time.
- Just because they love you doesn’t mean they’ll read your books. As an erotic romance novelist, I think I was more prepared for this than authors in other genres, but it’s still a surprise when your nearest and dearest friends don’t rush out and buy your book right away… or at all. I’m good with it, since heaven knows I don’t read everything they enjoy, but it was still surprising.
- Social media marketing can be super fun. I was a little intimidated by the whole “marketing” aspect of being an author, but I love social media. Twitter and Tumblr are my two favorite platforms, and I’m on them every day, connecting with readers and making new friends. I’m starting to dig deeper into Pinterest now, so if you’re an avid Pinner, look me up!
- Reviews are a mixed bag. I knew Purely Professional was going to get reviews, and I knew that not everyone would love it, but I wasn’t prepared for the emotional roller coaster of the whole reviewing system. Positive feedback is wonderful, and negative feedback is sometimes helpful and sometimes irritating, but it’s all out of my control. I know some authors who don’t read their reviews, but they also probably have more self-control than I do.
- Being published doesn’t make writing a book any easier. I’d hoped that once I’d signed my first publishing contract, writing would get so much easier. The confidence would blossom and I’d just start cranking out words like a crazed raccoon on caffeine. That didn’t happen: writing is still sometimes painful and often difficult. But on the other hand…
- Being published doesn’t make writing a book any harder. I was also afraid that once I’d signed a publishing contract, I’d be stricken with performance anxiety every time I sat down to write. Thankfully, that didn’t happen, and writing a first draft feels mostly the same as it always did.
- It’s as awesome as I’d hoped. After so long of trying to get published, the very concept of having my books out in the world is still so exciting it keeps me awake at night. I used to be worried that the bloom would be off the peach after only a few weeks, but I’m still thrilled to be an author and can’t wait to write more books and connect with new readers.
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AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Elia Winters has always been a New England girl, despite having spent much of her childhood in Florida. She holds a degree in English Literature and teaches at a small rural high school where she runs too many extracurricular activities. She balances her love of the outdoors with a bottomless well of geekiness.
Elia dabbles in many genres, but erotic romance has been one of her favorites since she first began sneaking her mother’s romance novels. In high school, she kept her friends entertained with a steady stream of naughty stories and somehow never got caught passing them around. Her erotic fiction and poetry have been published online at Clean Sheets and Scarlet Letters under a different name. Elia currently lives in New England with her loving husband and their odd assortment of pets.
Elia’s virtual life is as busy as her real life. In addition to her website, http://eliawinters.com/, you can also find her on:
Purely Professional is available from:
Carina Press http://ebooks.carinapress.com/AE496C3B-2369-43F1-8ECC-4F7F270DD680/10/134/en/ContentDetails.htm?ID=818B948E-17EF-4F91-8CE7-998D91DC788B
Barnes & Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/purely-professional-elia-winters/1116912916?ean=9781426897863&itm=1&usri=9781426897863&cm_mmc=AFFILIATES-_-Linkshare-_-GwEz7vxblVU-_-10:1&r=1,%201
and other ebook retailers.