Sunday, September 15, 2013

Today's Meet The Author - Tina Gerow

Glad to speak with you today Tina Gerow (aka Cassie Ryan)!

Tell us about all about you…as the non- author first then about you as author.

I have a varied background.  I’ve done many different things – band director, Dominos pizza manager, House manager of a 30-plex movie theatre, Business Systems Analyst, Technologies Project and Program Manager and Starbucks barista, but I’ve always wanted to be an author.  I live in Arizona with my hubby, my 19-year-old son, two feisty cats, one king snake, and several fish…
I'm a multi published author under two pen names. I write sensual paranormal romance as Tina Gerow and erotic paranormal romance as Cassie Ryan.

I'm also an experienced line editor and a public speaker on many topics both motivational and writing related and teach online writing classes several times throughout the year.

So basically I'm a slacker ex band director with an outgoing personality and an overactive imagination that I've put to work for the safety of myself and others :)

How long have you been writing?  

I’ve written something or other all of my life and always dreamed of a day when I’d see one of my books on the shelf, but I didn’t start writing seriously until 2003 when my husband encouraged me to stop talking about it and DO it J  I joined RWA and hit the ground running.

What inspires you to write in the style that you do? (what genre do you write in? does it vary?)

I grew up loving anything paranormal in both books and movies.  And when I hit my teen years I started stealing books off of my brother’s bookshelf – Piers Anthony, Anne McCaffrey, Terry Brooks and a whole host of others.  I actually HATED romance for a long time.  I had read a few of my mom’s Harlequins  when I was ten or eleven (she probably still doesn’t know about that!)  The heroines at that time were wimpy and whiney – or at least to me.  I wanted them to stand up for themselves, wield their own swords and kick some ass!  But then when I went on a vacation with a friend in my late 20’s and I ran out of books on the beach so she loaned me Nora Robert’s Born in Fire.  It wasn’t paranormal, but I fell in love with the characters, the vivid descriptions, and yes, the romance of it all.  From there, I read the rest of that series and began to branch out to other romance authors and found some paranormal romance authors like Cheyenne McCray and Sherrilyn Kenyon who became favorites.  Then I began to think I might actually be able to write in that genre, so when I joined RWA that’s where I started.  My first book Into a Dangerous Mind, was about a psychic serial killer and has gone on to win several awards and be published in Spanish, Portuguese and Turkish.  It will be available on audio book soon!  I only have one book out that doesn’t have any paranormal in it – it’s Take It Off and is a fun little contemporary romance with lots of snark – and snark is in ALL of my books.  I tried my hand at erotic paranormal romance several years ago and Kensington picked me up for a three book deal.  That’s how Cassie Ryan was born.  Those are all paranormal and all smokin’ hot J  I don’t see myself foregoing either the paranormal or the romance any time soon.  I love both writing and reading them, so I think they are here to stay, at least for me!

How many words per day do you like to write? Is that a daily goal or weekly goal?  

I like to TRY for at least three thousand words a day, but since my brain blowout a few years ago, that goal has been a tough one to keep up with.  Since then on a good day I can get in a few thousand, but that involves at least a few naps.  Sometimes instead I’ll give myself a time goal – things like “I’m going to write for two hours today” and then depending on how I’m feeling when that two hours is done, I can always extend it.

What is the name of your first book? How long ago was
It printed? Where did you market it and did you have a good sale number?

Into a Dangerous Mind was my first book.  I published it originally with a small press publisher who has since gone out of business.  Its first release was in 2005.  For marketing I took out ads at several review sites like Romance Junkies, Fallen Angel Reviews and took promotional items to Romantic Times convention and RWA Nationals.  That’s back when My Space was the big social media outlet, so I did promo on there as well.  It didn’t hit the market with a huge bang, but over time it is still my best selling Tina Gerow book to date.  In the last few years my agent has sold the foreign language rights so that now it’s available not only in English, but in Spanish, Portuguese and Turkish.  And I’m finally putting my audio book rights into play and should have that available before Christmas of this year.

I understand you have a book series. How many books are in the series (or will be in the series when completed)? How did you come to write a series?

I have a few series under both pen names.  As Tina I have the Maiden series.  There will be four in that series when it’s done.  The only reason there are four is that there are four sisters in it and each one of them will get their own story.  I wrote the first two and then that publisher went under so I never got to publish the last two in that series.  I still want to go back and finish those and publish them on my own.  People ask me all the time when I’m going to do that so I need to make it happen in the next few years. 
As Cassie Ryan I have two series.  The first one is the Seduction series – Ceremony, Vision and Trio.  I sent in a partial of Ceremony and when Audrey LaFehr called to offer me the contract she asked me if I could make it into a three book series.  To be honest I had no idea how I was going to do it when I assured her that of course I could!  But I did it and Ceremony of Seduction is my best selling Cassie Ryan book to date and is in its second printing.  My second series for Cassie is the Sisters of Darkness series.  There were supposed to be two more books after Seducing the Succubus and The Demon and the Succubus, but Berkley didn’t pick up the last two books in the series.  So I need to go back and write those two as well.  Fans are already asking for those so it’s definitely on my To Do list.  When I pitched the overall idea for the book they asked me if I could write it in such a way so it would be a series, so that’s how that one ended up as a four book series.

How do you feel about online book reading? Do you have a book that you’ve written for a digital shelf like ibooks or kindle?

I love reading both online and in paperback.  Ebooks are really convenient and I have a kindle reader on my iPhone that I use quite often.  And sometimes the e versions are cheaper than the print, which is nice when it happens.  All of my books are available in e-formats – pretty much any e-format you can imagine, in fact.  If you go out to your favorite ebook site and search by Tina Gerow or Cassie Ryan you should find them all.

Do you think it’s worth to ask buyers to purchase a digital novel for the same amount of $ as a print novel?

I, personally, think that’s ridiculous.  An electronic book should definitely be less expensive than a print book.  I know there is labor involved in both versions, but electronic doesn’t have printing and storage and postage and all of that involved.  Authors normally get less royalties on those versions as well, which I also don’t agree with.  But unless we self publish them, we don’t get a say in how much the books are offered for.

How do you think the change in the publishing industry affects authors today?

I know more and more authors are self publishing.  I even know several New York Times best selling authors who have said they will never publish another book through New York or small press.  It’s going to be self pubbing all the way for them.  They have more control and they make more money that way.  Since they already have a solid reader following, they can make quite a good living at it, as they are already proving. 

Authors have more choices but with those choices comes more work on the author’s side.  If we choose to self publish, not only are we now writing the books, but we are finding ways to get them edited on our own, finding and working with cover artists, figuring out marketing, copyright filing, distribution and a whole host of other things that a traditional publisher usually deals with.  There are definite plusses to both traditional publishing and self publishing and I think authors owe it to themselves to stay educated on both and choose the best path for them, which sometimes involves BOTH paths.

If you could give a budding author advice what would it be?

Talk to successful writers and make good connections.  A LOT of this business is about networking, so take the time to make good connections, not only with other authors, but librarians, book cover artists, editors, agents, readers and everyone else you can.  Not only is it a great way to keep yourself sane by surrounding yourself with other people who “get” the fact that you constantly hear other people “talking” inside your head, but when you need it, your network is a great place for information and support.

Beyond that – ALWAYS read and follow ALL submissions guidelines.  It will save you a LOT of pain AND rejections J

And write.  Write lots and write even more.  And don’t forget to read!

And last – don’t ever give up on your dream.  Don’t let anyone steal it or talk you out of it.  Grab it with both hands, invest in it and go after it!  I fulfilled my dream of being a published author, then my dream of being multi published and even award winning.  My next one is to be a #1 Best Selling Author on the New York Times list.  Hey – go big or go home, right?  And I’m not giving up until I get there!

Can you recommend our readers a publisher that you like to work with?

There are several great publishers out there but I’ve only worked with a few.  Both small presses that I worked with are no longer around, but I’m also published with Kensington (their Aphrodisia line as Cassie Ryan) and Berkley (which is part of Penguin – also as Cassie Ryan)  My best advice is to get plugged into a writing network like RWA or even friend lots of writers on Facebook and pay attention to what’s said, and what’s NOT said.  Ask around and form your own opinions.  Also, read books from those publishers and pay attention to the quality of their products. 

If you could be a famous author, who would it be and why?

While I don’t want to be long dead J I think I would choose Jane Austen.  I love her books, but I also love her spirit.  Think about the spirit she had to have to be a female writer during the time she lived in.  I think she and I would’ve been good friends since neither of us are wilting flowers.  I love that all of her stories delved so deeply into characters and themes that they are still beloved today.  I would love to leave that kind of legacy behind when I go.

Tell us where we can find your book(s) and provide a link!
Thank you!
Tina Gerow books:
Into a Dangerous Mind –

Stone Maiden: 

Fire Maiden:


Take It Off:

Vortex Blues:

Hansel & Gretel’s Real Estate Ventures: 

Fantasy Quest:

Books written as Cassie Ryan

Ceremony of Seduction

Vision of Seduction:

Trio of Seduction:

Seducing the Succubus:

The Demon and the Succubus:

  The Pleasure Project (an Anthology with other authors)