Welcome T.D. Hassett – Author of Isabel’s Awakening

Thank you Livia for letting me come by today and share some thoughts about a writing issue!  I love being a writer and appreciate the chance to “talk” about different aspects of writing.
How do you keep your private life separate from your writing life?
How do you do your best at marketing your writing if you wish to keep your private life private?  I’m not sure the answer to that question. I can only tell you that I walk a strange line between the two.  I am a teacher by day and an erotic romance writer by night. 
The nature of my writing means that I don’t want students or many of the staff at my school to know about my writing. Who wants to get a complaint that the person educating the next generation is writing stories that contains both the “C” words?  I attempt to avoid that happening by writing under a pen name.  The trouble with this strategy is that you are cutting off some wonderful opportunities to feed the buzz around your books. Getting friends, coworkers and neighbors to read your book and write reviews would be a great way to bring some needed attention to a new series or a new author. If you can’t, or choose not to reveal yourself as a writer then this option isn’t available.
I think there is hope on the horizon.  A few years ago erotic romance writers took a lot of heat for the content of their work. Now thanks to authors like E.L. James and Sylvia Day erotic romance has become quite mainstream.  My elderly mother is reading some pretty hot stuff and not hiding the book titles!  She’s even read my work and I think I blushed more than she did over that.  
I would love to read the thoughts from other writers or readers on the issue of pen names and privacy issues.
Excerpt “Isabel’s Awakening”
Available 4/22/13 from Liquid SilverBooks
Isabel woke up disoriented. This was not her apartment; in fact, the bedroom was bigger than her entire apartment. The clock on the nightstand read 4:10 a.m., and she saw a brand-new copy of Dune lying open on the table. She was in Thomas’ suite at the casino’s hotel, and she could hear the quiet strumming of a guitar coming from the next room. She got up and made her way to the large double sink, turning on the lights over the vanity mirror. She didn’t look as scary as she’d feared. Her eyeliner was a bit smeared and her hair tangled, but her face was no longer flushed and swollen. She rummaged through the drawers of the vanity and found a brand-new toothbrush and toothpaste, hotel soap, and a small comb. They had thoughtfully provided both hand and facial soap, so she ran the water and got to work. It was amazing how much better she felt with freshly brushed teeth and a washed face. Her stained blouse and skirt were no longer in a pile on the floor, so she put on the fluffy hotel robe and prepared to exit the room.
Thomas was on the couch, picking at the strings of a guitar, his eyes closed and his head tipped to the side, letting all that beautiful, streaky hair fall across his cheek. He wore his faded jeans and a tight T-shirt that showed off his impressive biceps. Oh my, she had walked in on Apollo, Greek god of music and poetry.
Isabel smiled at him shyly. “Hey you, thanks for taking care of me.”
He looked at her and smiled back. “Did I wake you?” He didn’t appear as if he felt bad about the possibility.
“No, I think the medicine just wore off, and I figured I was okay to leave now. Besides, I’m guessing you’re working or composing or something?”
He grinned playfully, full-on Apollo. “Something. You looked so peaceful sleeping in there I was jealous. I have horrible insomnia, so I try to work on new stuff when I can’t sleep. There is just something about four o’clock in the morning and writing in a hotel room.”
He patted the couch next to him and shifted his guitar a bit. “Sit with me.”
She couldn’t resist that look and offer. Isabel sat next to him like an anxious, happy puppy. She was going to get really hurt when this little adventure ended.
“So tell me what you’re working on.”
“Oh just a new song about how people are so contradictory, love history but read tons of science fiction, that sort of thing.” Hmm, like us, maybe? She thought but didn’t say. He slid his hands lovingly up the guitar’s body. “This is my favorite guitar; she’s a 1963 Fender Telecaster, made before I was born. I had her customized after Becket’s first album went platinum. She’s sort of my good-luck charm.”
Thomas continued talking while gently placing her into a case on the coffee table. “My first guitar was a Gibson that I got when I was twelve years old. I guess my dad was sick of me running around the house as the master air guitarist. I don’t think I put that guitar down for a whole five years. I fell asleep playing her and woke up fingering the frets. Do you play any instruments?”
Isabel admitted with some embarrassment that she’d been kicked out of the school choir because her voice was so off key and the Suzuki violin teacher suggested she try a different extracurricular activity after only a dozen ear-splitting lessons.
“No, I’m not musical. The only familiarity I have with guitars is that all the characters in the science fiction movie Cyborgwere named after famous guitar makes, Gibson, Fender, Marshall, Pearl…”
He chuckled, at her expense no doubt, but he admitted to having seen the movie, so they were equally nerdy on the science fiction front.
“Come here,” Thomas said.
He reached for her and pulled her over his lap and then grabbed the guitar back from its case. He positioned the guitar in her arms and organized her fingers on the strings. He had amazing patience because each time he set her fingers into position she would move them just out of place. At long last Thomas was happy with her hand placement, and he held her fingers onto certain strings over the frets and guided her right hand across the bridge strings.
They strummed the strings a few times, and he whispered into her ear, “You just played a chord.”
His breath warmed her ear, and he kissed the lobe gently. Isabel shifted around in his lap a little bit, and she was rewarded for her squirming with a little nip to the neck.
“Hmm, quit rubbing around like that or your music lesson will be over,” Thomas threatened.
Isabel was done with music lessons and wanted a biology lesson at that point. Please, please let the teacher say it’s time to change classes! Her inner girl predicted success.

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