Now that Survival Games is going to see the light of day, I can share some of the more amusing stories relating to explaining the plot to folks like my family and my co-workers.

This was the first book I wrote when my family gave me carte-blanc to go for it and I’ll tell you – after 20 years of not writing, the words sailed out. It took me less than a month to get the story on paper – of course after that it took two and a half years to refine it to what will be published – but the original book spilled out like a levy crumbling under a flood. And when I was done, I looked at what I created and had a ‘holy shit’ moment.

The book is dark and twisted, intense and graphic and I didn’t realize I had that level of darkness in me – and the first draft of this book was much harsher than what will be in print in July – but regardless, I figured I’d better get over the WASP-bred embarrassment of creating something so controversial and steamy.

So I asked my father to read it.

Yes, my father.

Well, I’m sure I shocked the hell out of him but he didn’t say much regarding how he felt about his little girl writing erotica or such a horrific tale. The one thing he did say is that it had a lot of sex – but he amended that by saying the subject matter warranted it and considering the plot line, he thought it was appropriate and not gratuitous. Overall he liked the story.

So after the slightly awkward conversation, he asked if I was done with the second book yet. He wanted to read that too – wanted to know what happened to the characters from the first book and as any writer knows, this is the best feeling in the world.

Ok – so I tested the waters with a co-worker and I’ll tell you, the looks she gave me after she started the book – it was all I could do not to laugh every time I saw her. And then one day she asked a priceless question – she asked if I could teach her to dance because my main character in the book knows how to dance.

I did laugh then, because I have no rhythm what-so-ever. Two left feet and then some. And she thought there was reality based in the book. The only shred of “me” in the book is the fact that my favorite color is described. That’s where reality ends; the rest is just a figment of my imagination and a reflection of my nightmares.

I said, “Oh honey, the book is FICTION – I can’t dance.”

Needless to say she was both embarrassed and relieved.

The next slightly awkward moment was right after I announced to my co-workers that I got a publishing contract. It was one of those not so politically correct moments. Most of my co-workers know I’ve got an unpublished FBI agent series, but most of them didn’t know about the erotica, so well, you can imagine the raised eyebrows.

My boss had announced to a group – did you know JET got a publishing contract? And of course, someone asked what type of book.

“It’s an Erotic Thriller.”

“Oh neurotic thriller? Like something by Woody Allen?”

I laughed and said “No – EROTIC thriller, like something by Jackie Collins.” Bad example – but all it was all I could think of at the moment and while I turned about five shades of red – my co-worker tripled that. To lighten the shocked silence I added. “But I’m the one who’s neurotic.”

So after tackling my parents and my co-workers, I feel confident I’ll be able to speak coherently and not turn sixty shades of red when I participate in a panel called “You write your mother with that pen?” at the Backspace Conference in New York City in May about incorporating sex scenes into your novels.

Anybody else have some fun stories about explaining their novels to friends and family? I’d love to hear them.

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