Friday, September 28, 2012

Way Back When

by Madeleine Oh

When Raelene told me about the Original Bad Girls of Romance promotion, it set me thinking. Had it really only been ten years? (Ten years might seem a l-o-n-g period to some readers, but I’ve notched so many decades that ten years seems like a hiccup in time!)  Only ten years to pretty much change the romance market in the US?  With Tina at the lead, we’ve really been game changers. Back in the days before EC, if you wanted a really hot read, your best bet was to cross the pond for something along the lines of a Black Lace--but there you couldn’t be sure of a HEA.

Then came Tina and EC and the US romance world shifted on its axis.

How did I get caught up in all this fun? Pure serendipity. Okay, somewhat impure serendipity and a profound love of naughty stories.

It all began when my writer friend Dominique Adair mentioned she’d just sold a novella to a fantastic new company publishing very erotic romance and why didn’t I send them something? Sounded like a good idea but I was knee deep in another project and shelved the idea for ‘later on’.

Fast forward a couple of months and I get an email from EC. Bear in mind that back then the entire management of EC was two people: Tina and Crissy.  (Seems incredible now, with the staff and premises in Akron today but that’s how it was.)

Anyway, about this e-mail... They were asking me if I had a book to send them. Talk about flattered. Stunned might be a good word, but seems one of their regular readers (and back then they already had an army of enthusiastic readers who bought just about every book as it was released) asked why they didn’t have anything by me, as she loved my stories.

Once I recovered from the shock and surprise, I replied that sadly I didn’t have anything but would keep them in mind. About 24 hours later, I remembered I did have a book. Well, maybe. I e-mailed back that I had a full-length novel I’d written for a UK publisher and had rejected. I wasn’t sure if it was exactly what EC wanted but attached it in hopes.

That book was Power Exchange. It turned out it was what EC was looking for.  So, after rewriting a couple of scenes, they accepted it and sent me a contract.

I still have that original contract: two pages, signed by Tina, selling e-rights for one year, the books to be sold sold as downloads and CDs.

Power Exchange was published ( and ultimately translated into German) and readers and reviewers so enjoyed the naughty world of Annie, her lover Mark and their kinky friends that several novellas set in the same world followed.  I had a wonderful time writing  them but finally left my characters  to have their fun and went on to write other books.

Now, thinking back now on those early books, I couldn’t help wondering what my friends Annie and Mark et al, have been doing the past decade. Curiosity piqued, I decided it was time to revisit their world.

I’ve started a new "Annie" book, or rather what I think will be a new series of novellas. It’s ten years on; a much more confident and sexually aware Annie declined to follow Mark after a job transfer sent him to Hong Kong. A few months later, she found herself unemployed.  (I do so love to throw trouble at my characters.) At a loose end and worried about money, she takes on the job of renovating an old mansion belonging to John Kent (remember him?) and Annie’s Aunt Ellen.  Her job is restore it and turn it into a B&B--but not your usual tourist B&B. This will be a far more interesting establishment.

I am having a fantastic time and Annie is meeting some new and interesting men. I think she’s going to play the field a bit before she settles down again.  She’s having fun and so am I. Ten years is a long time, after all.
P.S. There’s a photo of Erbalunga on my Facebook page. Come and have a look.


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