I don't know if what follows is a reveal, a confession, or just a simple update...

Isabelle Drake was born in 2005, the year I (Melissa Ford Lucken) published my first erotic romance, Everglades Wildfire, with the long defunct Venus Press. She, I, published several titles with Venus Press before moving on the publish with the now infamous Ellora's Cave. For those more recently delivered to this romance book scene, Ellora's Cave was The first big publisher of erotic romance. Being an EC author was, despite quick and sad the way things ended, great. Big parties, big promotions, and truly great readers. In addition to having fun, I learned much writing erotic romance. One thing I learned about my writer self is that I like writing what "they" tell me I can't. If someone adds to that message that I shouldn't write something that doubles the likelihood that I will be writing it.


The entire time I've been building my career as an author, I've been building an academic career. Sometimes people think I kept the two parts of myself separate because I worried about what people would think of me if they knew I wrote erotic romances. The scandal! However, that isn't why. There are several reasons but the one on my mind today is that when I spoke about what I was up to people who don't really know me would get confused. How could someone who writes steamy erotic--commercial--romances also be developing cutting edge programs to increase student success in composition classrooms?  How could someone who does 'all that' 'silly' social media also be writing scholarly papers? Writing book chapters using postmodernism as a backdrop?

During the tail end of covid I enrolled in a creative nonfiction course. To get to the class, each week I took the train. The weekly train ride was almost as much fun as the course. As part of the coursework, I wrote an essay I titled, “How to Write an Erotic Romance.” It is a satirical, sassy piece that was therapeutic to write and share. I’m happy to report the piece found its way to a publisher that also likes things people are told not to write. The essay will be included in the edited anthology slated to be published later this year. Curious? Stay tuned. I’ll post more info when I have it.


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