- A Kitty in the Henhouse
- Chicken Scratches and Other Writing Tips
- Eye Candy
- Happenings at the Henhouse
- Music of the Coop
- Pop Culture
- Squawk Authors: Latest and Greatest Books
- Squawk Friends
- Squawk Interactive: Captions, polls, etc
- Squawk's Favorite Books
- Stranger Than Fiction (Real Life)
- Teresa Reveals the CONFESSIONS OF A TRUE ROMANTIC
- CHRISTINA DODD HAS A TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY
- Christina Dodd Exposes the Glamour of Booktour
- Christina Dodd Treats You to an Extra Excerpt of IN BED WITH THE DUKE!
- GIRLFRIENDS JUST WANT TO HAVE FUN Contest!
- Connie Brockway Posts Incriminating New Video
- SPOIL ME! BY CELEBRATING THE GOLDEN SEASON’S PUB DATE, TODAY!
- Teresa Says It Loud and Says It Proud: I WRITE ROMANCE NOVELS!!!
- CHRISTINA DODD SAYS “IT’S CHRISTMAS! DUCK!”
- Teresa Needs Your Help to Choose the SEXIEST MAN DEAD!
KITTY: So what’s this secret of yours? Have you channeled Elvis, do you have an alien baby – what is it?
TONI: Well, Kitty, the secret is – in addition to writing sexy romance as Toni Blake, I’ve also been writing erotica under the name Lacey Alexander for three and a half years.
KITTY: Wait a minute. We all know you write erotic romance as Toni Blake – and now you’re saying you write “erotica” as Lacey Alexander. Isn’t that calling this drink “vodka” and that drink “Absolut?” What could possibly be so different about these books that you took on a whole new name to write them?
TONI: Kitty, you sound like a woman who knows her vodka.
As Toni Blake, I write very sexy romances that contain plenty of passionate sex scenes, but the stories are also very emotional and layered and complex. They’re very hot and sexy, but they pull at the heartstrings and leave you sighing romantically at the end.
As Lacey Alexander, I write erotica. These books are about the sexual journey of a woman who will ultimately fall in love, but she’s going on a wild, erotic adventure to get there. In “Lacey world,” what I call “extreme sex” has no bad emotional repercussions, the sex is always fabulous, and all is well in the end. Also, Lacey books contain way more outrageous sexual situations and graphic language than a Toni Blake book ever will.
I know it can be confusing for people since my Toni Blake books are currently being marketed as erotica in the Avon Red line, but most anyone who’s read them will tell you they’re good old-fashioned (even if very sexy) romance novels. Whereas Lacey Alexander books are definitely erotica that just happen to have a little romance mixed in. It was weird for me when Toni books were placed in Avon’s erotica line, but it was a marketing decision that paid off, so I have no complaints : )
KITTY: So Toni books are romance and Lacey books are erotica. Frankly, the Lacey stuff sounds like good old fashioned soft-core porn – and about time. So how did that happen?
TONI: Well, Kitty, a few years back I was “between publishers.” That’s an author’s pleasant way of saying their old publisher no longer wants their books. My editor had told me two devastating things, that I didn’t write sex well and that I just wasn’t a very good writer, period. (True story.)
As you can guess, this was very demoralizing and I was pretty sure I was washed up in the business. Of course, I was busily penning new projects, not anywhere near giving up, but in the meantime, a friend suggested I try something entirely new to get my confidence back, and she mentioned the emerging erotica publisher, Ellora’s Cave.
I’d never even thought about writing erotica before, but I accepted the challenge. I did no research, didn’t read what they were buying, any of that – I just sat down and wrote what I personally thought would make a good erotica novel. I figured if they rejected it, I wasn’t meant to write erotica – no big deal. But thee days after submitting the novel to EC, they bought it – and a second career was born.
And for what it’s worth, the Lacey stuff might be better categorized as hardcore than soft ; )
KITTY: Why did you keep your second persona a secret? Was it your friends? Because honey, I can sympathize. I personally have been dumped by many very cool people once they discover I’ve been working for Squawk.
TONI: Fortunately for me, Kitty, sounds like I have better friends than you ; )
As it happens, right after I sold to EC, I also sold my first single title novel as Toni Blake. Contracts are complicated things, and my new Toni Blake publisher included a clause saying I would have to keep my erotica identity a secret. I’ve since moved on from that publisher, so I could have revealed my double life before now, but let’s be frank, Kitty – a girl still has to worry about creepy men and stalkers. And, honestly, I expected the erotica to be a one-time thing. I had no idea that book would sell so well, but when it did, it only made sense to continue – and it quickly got to be a much bigger part of my career than I ever expected.
KITTY: So you’re saying you write smut for the money, is that it? What a practical ‘tude! I like you, kid.
TONI: Well, Kitty, I won’t lie to you – I like money. It puts food on the table, you know. But I wouldn’t keep writing it if I disliked it. I really rather enjoy writing my Lacey books for the following reason: Lacey’s work is very contrary to my real self, so it’s an interesting challenge to step outside my normal boundaries, push envelopes as far as I possibly can, and see what happens. I have a rule as Lacey – I don’t censor her, ever. If something totally outrageous pops into my head when I’m writing a Lacey book, it goes on the page, and I don’t delete it, no matter how much I might be tempted to ; ) It’s also an interesting challenge to sometimes write about things that don’t necessarily appeal to me on a gut level, but I really like to take Lacey readers on a complete, no-holds-barred erotic journey, and sometimes that means kinky stuff ; ) Sometimes my characters get aroused by things that may not arouse me, and they frequently do things I would never do, and I love the challenge of making that feel real and believable to readers.
I also find Lacey’s e-mail very gratifying. People e-mail me to say my books have made them more daring in the bedroom or that they’ve shared my novels with their husbands and it has improved their sex lives and marriages. I’ve received many e-mails asking me to please never stop writing these kinds of books. To which I say, wow – if I can do all that with my erotica, that makes it seem pretty worthwhile.
KITTY: So why tell us now?
TONI: Frankly, it’s gotten hard to keep the secret. It’s not easy living a double life ; ). And I do have a new Lacey book coming out from Penguin/New American Library – today, in fact. So it seemed like a good time. Plus Penguin did mention I was Toni Blake in their sales catalog, and I knew it had leaked out in other places, too, so it just seemed like time to “come out of the closet,” if you will.
KITTY: So you’re no longer worried about creepy men and stalkers?
TONI: Well, actually, Kitty, I am. And I’ve noticed you have stalker-like tendencies, so frankly, I’m even a little nervous about this interview. But I decided to simply announce it in romance-friendly circles like this one, and I thank the lovely ladies of Squawk for inviting me to do so.
KITTY: Hon, unless you’re nickname is “Beef Cake” and you ride a hog, you’re safe from me. So tell us more about this Lacey book you have coming out today.
TONI: Thanks for asking, Kitty! (And people say you’re not nice!)
VOYEUR is the wildly erotic tale of a mystery novelist on retreat in a mountainside home – who, it turns out, isn’t quite as alone as she thinks, due to the webcam on the homeowner’s computer. She soon finds herself doing things in front of the camera, and having e-mail conversations, that she never could have imagined. And things really heat up when the guy on the other end of the camera decides to close the distance between them and come face-to-face.
KITTY: Yeah, yeah...nice, nice. That’s me. Get on with the interview and stop making goo-goo eyes at me. Geesh! I hear you have a Toni book coming out in June, and another in July. Tell us about those.
TONI: It’s difficult to draw my eyes away from such a ravishing woman, Kitty, but I’ll try.
TEMPT ME TONIGHT comes out from Avon Red on June 1 and is the story of a woman who returns to her hometown on family business after many years away, only to be confronted by the lost love who once betrayed her. The chemistry between them still burns strong, so strong she fears she can’t resist him, but she refuses to let him get the best of her. So she decides that she’ll seduce him, finally get to have sex with him, and her curiosity will be laid to rest. Of course, that’s not how things go …
Then at the end of June (the 26th, I believe) Avon is reissuing my first Red book, SWEPT AWAY, which is super exciting for me! Look for a new cover and a new, smaller mass market size this time around. SWEPT AWAY is the story of Kat Spencer, who gets stranded on an island with “the one who got away,” and now he’s even hotter than he was the first time around. Of course, she’s kind of engaged to another guy. And there are bad dudes with guns chasing them. And he’s trying to get her into bed at every turn. So she’s got her fair share of problems.
And in other big news, TEMPT ME TONIGHT is being excerpted in the June issue of Cosmo! So color me excited. The issue should be showing up in stores any day now. Although, that said, the excerpt is pretty … condensed. So to get a true taste of TEMPT ME TONIGHT, readers should check out the excerpt on my website.
Come back this afternoon to read Part Two of Kitty’s interview with Toni Blake.