Putting the Sizzle in Erotica: Cassandra Curtis
by Netera Landar
(note: please see the in-world magazine or download Unforgettable Magazine #4 for more photographs.)
When Cassandra was in grammar school, she was assigned to read “Anne of Green Gables” and “Black Beauty” for book reports. Since, she aspires to write as well as those authors. But, during high school, Cassandra signed on for the student newspaper instead of writing fiction. She majored in journalism with a minor in graphic communication. After graduation, her interests were nonfiction, and she got a job at a small town Florida newspaper.
“The editor I worked for had a magazine background. He had been a contributing editor to ‘People’ magazine and was really good at showing me all the basics. He was wonderful, and I couldn’t have asked for a better editor.” Cassandra’s assignments covered social events, but she really wanted to write about hard news—those late night meetings at city hall—and business stories.
When technology migrated from typewriters to computers, the newspaper folded. So, she taught fine arts and art appreciation at a community center. “But I had to do something steady, not just a workshop there and a six-week class here. I needed to pay the bills, and I liked to eat,” she joked. “So I started doing graphic communications and, even though I didn’t think I’d get the job, I began working at a university. I worked there for fifteen years.”
Quite unexpectedly, Cassandra started finding it difficult to breathe. She had no idea what was wrong, and felt worse as time passed. It took physicians seven months to diagnosis her ailment, thinking other illnesses might have been brought on by the first.
Cassandra purchased a computer and decided that she would research her illness. She blogged and joined numerous groups. Another author, with a journalism background, became a friend. One day this friend fell and broke her leg. While recovering, she began writing fiction with an erotica twist. Several manuscripts got published. “She wrote for Elora’s Cave, and asked if I ever thought about writing erotica romances. I told her I was more into mysteries and thrillers. She explained that it would take me forever to go the same route everyone tries. When in college, I took a creative writing class, and wrote a book, but it was terrible. Then, years later, I wrote film, book, and music reviews at the paper. Once online, I started doing film and book reviews for various magazines and blogs under a pen name.”
Though her friend encouraged her to write erotica, Cassandra didn’t know if she could. Though, first she had to see if she could read the genre without being embarrassed—soon finding it addictive. She just needed to “channel her naughty girl. At first, I admit being a little shocked, and then more intrigued. Though I wasn’t sheltered or had protective parents, I had to use a dictionary because I didn’t know what some of the words meant,” she joked.
When Cassandra decided it was time to research, she turned to those familiar with sexual desire. Personal experience is a major component in a relationship. Adding the right amount of sizzle to a story line is another. So it was a necessary step in the right direction to interview madams, dominatrixes, and men into BDSM, as if interviewing them for a newspaper article. (She later showed her appreciation for their contributions in the dedication of her books.)
“At first, I admit being a little shocked, and then more intrigued.”
Then she entered a writing contest online, and to her surprise, was one of the winners. This recognition led to her first publishing contract with Amber Quill Press. Now she has no problem being open about a sexual
relationship. When writing erotic romance under the name Cassandra Curtis, and romantic comedy as Cass, her characters enjoy life to the fullest.
“My characters are individuals in their own right, but I have to admit, traces of my own or friends’ personality quirks bleed into my characters from time to time. I think that’s unavoidable.” Also unavoidable, is stirring
in the realistic element of heart and soul into each of the fictional personalities. She strives to make them as multi-dimensional as possible. She establishes goals for each to achieve, while navigating around the obstacles.
In erotica, a steamy relationship is part of the storyline. Erotica authors can focus “just on sex,” or they can assimilate a fully developed long-term experience. Cassandra won’t lie. She admits that sex is important and a main driving force in an erotic romance, but she also thinks it’s crucial for readers to get at least a taste of HEA (Happily Ever After) from time to time.
“A relationship must progress throughout the story, Romance must be present, otherwise there’s nothing more than description of a sexual journey.”
Her favorite characters to write are the ones she’s currently writing. Though she does recall a few past ones that she adores: Sebastian Matthews from I Put A Spell On You, Javier Lopez from The Midnight Effect, Tyler Murchison from Naughty Little Secrets, and Dixie Ames from her short story teaser, “Shimmer.” She continues to publish with the Amber Quill Press/Amber Heat imprint, and through Smashwords.
Those that know Cassandra in SL are aware she loves mermaids. Visiting her spacious mer home deep in the SL sea, Cassandra shows bookcovers from a few of her fourteen novels, including the Shifting Tides series: Beneath a Midnight Sea, Song of the Sea, and Soul of the Sea. The e-book short stories or novellas that are set within her Shifting Tides’ world include “Shimmer,” “Yule Tides,” and “Sparkle: A Tale of the Shimryn.” Her Naughty Little Secrets series includes two titles coming soon: Naughty by Nature and Big, Bad, and Naughty. Single title e-books include Open Season, When Midnight Comes, The Deal Breaker, Black Magic Woman, The Ghost of Goodacre Hall, Mummy Dearest, and Stroke It. A number of her previously published works, such as Compulsion, will be re-released through Smashwords this year.
Cassandra currently reads excerpts from her “hot little tales” in SL at Awen in Bookstacks Pub on Romany Landings, and Goldshark Cove on Charco del Palo sim, set in Mer-Mansion Storyteller’s Hall. Swim on by!
For more information, please contact Netera Landar, Editor-in-Chief, neteralandar.gmail.com.
See the issue as it first ran in the virtual world release of Unforgettable Magazine #4 (download PDF) with more graphics and photographs. See Issue #One, Issue #Two, and Issue #3 for more features and profiles.