Saying Goodbye to Erotic Romance

Too long, Don’t want to Read? Click here for the TL;DR version at the bottom.

Hello to my readers, my friends, my family, and anyone in the romance industry who sees this:

Gather ’round, I have a story to tell. It’s about why, after five years as a published erotic romance author, I am saying goodbye to the erotica and erotic romance genre. At some point soon it seems this will also mean goodbye to secular romance novels in general. Psalms 119:32

Here’s what happened:

In late 2012, after the Sandy Hook shooting, I turned to God for answers (as did many others). Quick background: I was born and raised Jewish and was even practicing Orthodox Judaism for a few years around the time I met my husband in 2004. I kept kosher best I could, wore the long skirts, went to Shabbat dinners at the rabbi’s house, and found my husband on Jdate, a Jewish dating site. I did all this in my ever-present quest to be closer to God. Unfortunately the harder I tried the further from God I felt. It wasn’t working, so I tried harder. After three years I felt more separated from God than before I started my attempt to practice all the laws of the bible (specifically the Torah, the first 5 books of the Old Testament). When my Dear Husband (DH) was ready to be more relaxed in our approach to Judaism, I was ready with him — I stopped trying to earn my way into God’s good graces.

In 2010 my first erotic romance was published by Ellora’s Cave, and my professional writing career began, to be followed by twenty-plus novels and novels, including six with Simon & Schuster/Pocket and a bunch of indie books. I never felt as if being Jewish and writing erotic romance was an issue at all.

Back to Sandy Hook. I promise it relates to why I’m no longer going to be writing erotic romance, although I’m sure many of you can guess at this point. For the first time in my life while reading the bible, numerous Messianic prophecies in the Old Testament (especially the books of Isaiah and Micah) just jumped out at me like crazy. I thought, “From the little I know about Jesus (mainly from the musicals Godspell and Jesus Christ Superstar), these Messianic prophecies actually sound a lot like… Jesus.” Which then made me think, “Oh no.” Because that meant I had to read the New Testament to find out for sure, which is a pretty taboo thing for an Orthodox Jewish girl to do.

When I opened the New Testament and read about Jesus, something clicked. I then spent several months trying to ignore what I had just learned — that there were 333 Messianic prophecies in the Old Testament, and that Jesus had fulfilled Every. Single. One. The statistical chances of that happening are astronomically low to the point of impossibility. Yet Christmas rolled around and I did what I always did — ignored the holiday and lit the Chanuka menorah instead.

It took me a while to warm up to the idea that, while I would always be Jewish by birth and race, down to my very DNA (97% Ashkenazi Jewish, just like my DH), that I was now of the belief that Jesus was the Messiah I had previously been waiting for. That made me a Jewish Christian. If you are Jewish and want to infuriate everyone in your family, try telling them the Good News. As far as my mom and dad (and siblings and extended family etc) were concerned, it was awful news.

In late 2013 DH and I were living in Idaho, attending church weekly, also attending bible studies weekly, and a woman’s group weekly for me as well. For the first time in my life, I put up a Christmas tree December 2013. After about a year we got baptized, and DH started playing guitar in the church band. This whole time I had been easily able to separate my “real life” (including my spiritual life), from my writing career. Especially since at church, few people knew I was Shoshanna Evers since I go by my married name.

Those who knew I wrote secular romance novels, like my friends from church, wouldn’t read my books. I was fine with that since I knew it wasn’t their thing. No one chastised me about it (except for one random girl I didn’t know, and I thought she was just being stupid), but I found myself justifying my career anyway. “It’s just fiction,” I’d say. “No one’s actually ‘sinning’ in real life, anyway.” When I met up with other writers, I’d joke about how I’d go to church in the morning and write hot sex in the afternoon.

At some point it just stopped being funny to me. I felt, to put it in “Christianese,” convicted. As if God wanted me to feel badly about my hypocrisy so I’d rethink my career.

Though I attempted NOT TO ALLOW my faith to interfere with my successful writing career, my books began having progressively less sex and more God in them with each new book I put out. Not on purpose, mind you. One reviewer recently noted that “when they finally do get to be together, the [love] scenes are tasteful and not over the top.” Could you imagine anyone saying that about a book from early in my career? Never! It became clear that whether I was willing to admit it or not, my books were getting cleaner and more romance and character/plot focused than sex-focused. It wasn’t a deliberate change, it was just happening as I wrote. Once I sat down to think about why I was having so much writer’s block, constantly procrastinating instead of working on my books, I realized why: I’m no longer excited to write erotica or erotic romance.

Maybe I’ve just burned myself out on it by being so prolific over the past five years, or maybe God really has just been changing my heart slowly enough for me to remain open to it. If you drop a frog in boiling water, he’ll jump out. But if you put him in cool water and slowly turn up the heat, the frog will boil to death. Not saying I am a dead frog — just saying that if I had known when I first opened up that bible after Sandy Hook that my career would have to stop immediately, I never would have had the guts to look into Jesus for myself. If my friends at church had told me I was being a sinner by writing my books, I may have stopped going to church, or stopped being friends with them. I’m lucky that instead, this heart-change about what I should be writing versus what I was writing happened over the course of three years. The past three years have given me time to simmer a bit.

While my characters used to jump into bed with each other immediately, now I found myself halfway through writing the book without so much as a kiss happening. I’ve fought this feeling for the past year (2015), because I know what I’m good at, and I know what my readers like. I knew if I changed what I was doing too much, I’d lose most of my readers. Since writing is my full-time job, and it literally pays the bills, losing everything I’ve built in the past five years frightened me.

I’m still scared to death about this. But I’ve also reached a point where I feel like I’m hiding my true self, my true faith, and what I truly want to write. It’s made being Shoshanna Evers uncomfortable for me, because I feel like I am no longer the same person who wrote The Enslaved Trilogy or The Man Who Holds the Whip. So even though I know this is going to be a hard pill to swallow for a lot of my readers and associates, I had to just come clean and say what I’ve been dealing with.

Author Shoshanna Evers 2015It’s been an identity crisis of sorts: Who is Shoshanna Evers? Do I want to be that anymore? Do I have to be that, or can I reinvent myself?

At first I answered those questions like this:

  1. Who is Shoshanna Evers? An erotic romance author.
  2. Do I want to be that anymore? No.
  3. Do I have to be that in the future? Yes. My readers expect that of me, and they pay my rent. Besides, it’s what I know how to do well.
  4. Can I reinvent myself?  No. Who goes from being an erotica writer to an inspirational writer?

Now, I’ve changed my answers to reflect my true identity:

  1. Who is Shoshanna Evers? An erotic romance author (at the moment).
  2. Do I want to be that anymore? No.
  3. Do I have to be that in the future? NO. I may lose my beloved readers, I may lose my agent, I may lose my upcoming 6 book contract, but God will find a way to make it work out. He always does.
  4. Can I reinvent myself? YES. I’m only 36 years old. I have the rest of my adult life to write whatever I want. Thank God.

My agent, Stacey Glick of Dystel & Goderich, thankfully said that she would support me in this new career direction. Yay!! “I am nothing if not flexible,” she said. :) UPDATE 12/2/15: We are going to amicably part ways for these new inspirational books, simply because that is not her area of expertise. I’ll find a new agent who specializes in that arena. Unfortunately, (I knew going in that this would be the case) the six book contract we were in the process of negotiating with a publisher (actually wrapping up negotiations) for a dark romance trilogy and a steamy cowboy trilogy, is no longer going to happen. Thankfully the editor and publishing house were understanding about what I want to write now, and they understand it doesn’t fit what they were looking to publish from me. Nothing personal. I get it; I’m not sad. God opens windows whenever he closes a door.

I do have one more contemporary romance with sex in it coming out next year from Entangled Indulgence, The Tycoon’s Captive Bride at Sea. I feel like I owe it to my readers and myself to tell Joe and Marisol’s story about what happens on the yacht (from The Tycoon’s Convenient Bride…and Baby). At least they’re married, right? 😉 UPDATE 12/10/15: I’ve written the book, but I don’t feel comfortable having it published anymore. I guess that’s because I feel like I’ve already said goodbye to the Evers name and genres. I’m ready to be Shoshanna Gabriel now.

I think that might be the last one. But I know now never to say never, because I make plans and God laughs at them. Only He knows what the future holds. Goodness, do you see how often I reference God? This is how I really talk. Those who know me in real life can attest to that. Goes to show how much I’ve been hiding of myself these past few of years by trying to not bring God up in my writing career. No wonder I had an identity crisis, lol!

I have no idea if my readers will want to continue on this journey with me, but I hope at least some will. I want to write romance novels that also include a faith element. To write about people changing completely when God enters their lives, just as my life has changed. There are many authors and readers I love dearly who are not going to agree with the step I’m taking. I still love you dearly, and I want to make it clear that I am not judging anyone who writes or reads erotica or erotic romance. I’m not saying that I am suddenly “holier than thou” and I’m not all of a sudden changed into a prude or a bigot or whatever people think when they think stereotypical Christian. I’m still me, with everything from my past… I still have the same analytical brain that questions everything, and I still love to read books, and to write them. But God’s changed my heart. I want to write for His glory now.

I considered telling everyone I was quitting writing— just shut down my social media and website, and unpublish all the books I have the rights to, and then start fresh with a new pen name. But to me that would be lying. Lying to you guys, and lying to whoever started reading my inspirational romances. Instead, I’m going to move forward with my career as Shoshanna Evers, and let the fact that I used to be a hard-core Jewish erotica author and am now a Christian inspirational romance author be my testimony that God can change people’s lives completely—even when they fight Him every step of the way, as I have done. 

****UPDATE 12/2/15: I will be writing the new books under the name Shoshanna Gabriel to prevent confusion if/when new readers accidentally pick up an old Evers book. My social media handles will probably have to change as well, so be sure to sign up for my newsletter to stay informed!***** 

If you feel you need to unsubscribe from my newsletter, unfollow me on Twitter, or unLike me on Facebook, I will miss you but I will bear no hard feelings toward anyone who does so. It would be really wonderful if you’d stick with me and unfollow me later on, if you feel I’ve become irrelevant to your interests at some point. ‘Cause maybe you’ll still like me.

In closing, my tagline Sexily *EVERS* After will have to change as well. Now, books by Shoshanna Evers will be Faithfully *EVERS* After :) Expect a website redo coming soon as well!

UPDATE 12/2/15: The new tagline will probably be “Faithfully Ever Afters from Shoshanna Gabriel” – not as on point, so if you have suggestions I’m all ears  :) The new website is up at ShoshannaGabriel.com!

Thanks for reading this long diatribe, and I hope you understand why I’m doing this now.

All my best,

Shoshanna Evers 11/11/2015

Shoshanna Gabriel-header

 

TL;DR:

Shoshanna Evers will no longer be writing erotic romance; she’s changing career directions and writing inspirational fiction instead as Shoshanna Gabriel. Her tagline Sexily *EVERS* After is now Faithfully *EVERS* After, or Faithfully Ever Afters (for Shoshanna Gabriel). Her new website is at ShoshannaGabriel.com.

No, this is not a joke. But it sure is funny how things turn out.

 


Comments

Saying Goodbye to Erotic Romance — 146 Comments

  1. Shoshanna…. Congratulations. Saw your post on the self-pub loop–which I rarely even look at–and came over to read and say hi. Your post was very compelling to me for a number of reasons. I wish you good luck, but I don’t think you really need it. You are clearly on the right path.

  2. Shoshanna, I want to encourage you, because I made this decision twenty years ago after a thirteen year career writing romance novels in the general market (32 novels published under two other names up until that point), and it’s the best decision I ever made. It breathed new life into my work, and has enabled me to write around 45 faith-based suspense novels, some that have been New York Times best-sellers. I’m so excited for you, and I know God has big plans for you! ~Terri Blackstock (http://www.terriblackstock.com)

    • Wow, thank you so much! Your website it beautiful (I want to update mine ASAP to be more reflective of what I will be writing now, as soon as this final contracted book is finished). It’s great to hear your experience changing genres has been such a blessing for you (and your readers!).

  3. What a fabulous witness to your faith, Shoshanna! God is using you in a great way! I am so proud of you for following your heart! I write sweet historical westerns, which aren’t labeled inspirationals per se, but when my men cuss a blue streak, they never say the actual words, and the sex is missing—but there is lots of love and romance. I’m so happy for you because I can hear your happiness in your words! Congratulations!

  4. I love how you are willing to expand yourself with this new life adventure. You are young and capable of so many many many things. Good luck.

  5. Wow, Shoshanna–thanks for sharing your testimony, and I’m one reader who’s excited to see what you’ll be writing now as God leads you. I’m so encouraged to see how God’s led you to this point in your career, and know He’ll be glorified as you use the talent He’s given you. Thanks for the update!

  6. Your stories will reflect where your heart is and when you are true to yourself, the passion shines through on the page. That is all that will ever matter to you and your readers. I so admire your courage and faith.

  7. I followed a link on my FB page to your blog, and I’m so glad I did. I’d never run across your name before since I steer well clear of anything even close to erotica. :-) But I will be following your writing journey now and cheering you on as you follow God’s leading! Thank you for sharing your story with us! It is a blessing and an encouragement to hear how God is still moving and working in people’s lives to draw them to Him. God bless you! And I’ll be praying for you and watching for new stories from you. :-)

  8. Shoshanna, I think every author has their own path and I completely understand and admire yours! I wish you all the best and I bet your loyal readers will still follow you! I can’t wait to see your new revamped website when you’re finished. Let us know!

  9. My career took the opposite yet same path as yours. I began my published career in Inspirational but I let financial pressures lure me away into the secular market. Finally I couldn’t do it any longer. Two years ago I took a step back and immersed myself in the kinds of books that honor my first love–Jesus. Like you I don’t know where He is taking me but I refuse to let financial worries push me where He doesn’t want me to be. Best of luck and I know you’ll do great. Your heart shows in your blog the way I know it will in your writing.

    • Thank you so much, Kate! I’m trying very hard to let go and let God handle my finances, because I know it will take time to rebuild my platform in a new market. Either way I figure it’s worth it if it’s for Him :)

  10. Good for you Shoshanna! Follow your heart and listen to God and your angels and you will prosper…not to mention leading readers on an amazing journey.

  11. What a wonderful story of faith, Shoshanna, and really inspiring – because you are following your heart and your faith and doing it regardless of the consequences to your material life. That was a message I needed to hear right now, so thank you! XO

    • Hi Vanessa, I just read your post and feel the need to pray for you right now. God, only You know what is in this woman’s heart and life right now and You know that I don’t usually do this kind of thing myself, but I trust You to guide my prayer that Vanessa will hear what You want her to as she follows this brave writer and baby Christian into a wonderful new career as ‘Faithfully *EVERS* After”. I love you, my Father, and thank you for this opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and pray for these women. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

  12. Good for you! Congratulations on the next phase. Life is a wonderful journey, and we never know where it is going to take us. Best of luck with the new books. (And I’ll still happily follow because I like you. You’re a great lady!)

  13. Wow! Beautiful testimony! So real, so honest. This life of faith is a messy thing. Day by day, down in the mud and the muck, we make all those thousands of small choices that add up to very big actions. Thanks for sharing your journey.

  14. I applaud your change and courage to speak up about your conversion (which I know wasn’t easy). I have found over the last few years that I have less and less desire (no pun intended) to read erotica and look forward to reading one of your new faith based books. I know God will watch over your career and give you guidance!

  15. What an awesome testimony! A true inspiration to others. I wish you luck and sucess in your change with God at the helm of your life! Ours is an awesome God! I cannot not know what thew writing process is like but my reading tastes have gone from exotic to more inspirational, so the can be many readers to “replace ” any that have been lost.. stand your ground!

  16. What an exciting journey you’re on. I made a big career move from the corporate world to writing inspirational self-help books and then fiction about 12 years ago. I have had moments of great fear — and have always found that God provides. All the best!

  17. I feel that every writer needs to write what they feel in their heart. That doesn’t mean the journey is straight and it never deviates from that path, it just means the path may not be what we planned.

    And I so get it. I love writing about real relationships and I don’t mind including sex if I feel it’s right for those characters. But I too have been shying away of putting so much in so blatantly because I don’t feel it right. Right now, I’d say I writer romance with erotic scenes because it doesn’t overwhelm the stories any more.

    That said, I still think my personal direction will be into sci-fi and fantasy romance. While I believe in God, I am not so religious any more that it needs to be a part of my stories. That doesn’t mean, others can’t follow that path. It’s just not for me.

    Congrats on putting this all into perspective about what is right and good for you. Good luck on your journey and may you find all that you are looking for. And most of all, be happy and secure in your choice.

  18. That’s amazing! I did the same thing after God convicted me of writing erotic romance. The only difference is I did start over with a new name as I wanted to write under my name and not a pen name anymore. God is good and faithful!

  19. What an inspiration you are for others, and what a blessing to be used by God in this way. I’m sure there are many authors like me who sit on the fence about how much of our Christian faith to incorporate into our stories. Christian women are people too, and we love romance. I’ve seen self-published spicier inspirational romance lately and look at that as a wonderful bridge for many secular readers to cross. I look forward to reading your new genre of books! Best wishes and God bless.

  20. What a great blog, Shoshanna–so heartfelt and clearly articulated. I’ve appreciated the advice and comments you’ve given on the indie pub loop for years, but I’ve never actually read any of your books because I don’t read erotica. In fact, I’m an inspirational romance author, writing for Love Inspired and indie. So actually, you’ve at least gained one reader! Welcome to inspy! There are so many lovely readers in inspy, and I know they’ll getting to know you and vice-versa. Kudos to you for living boldly and answering the call! He is faithful, and I know many of us will love having you as a fellow inspy author soon.

  21. Saw just the tail end of the discussion on the SP loop, so I had to come over and get the scoop. Such a courageous and inspiring story, Shoshanna! Even though I read and write the steamy stuff, I’m super excited and can’t wait to read what you write next. Your new tag line is perfect!!!

  22. Hi. Thank you for sharing this. What an inspiring and awesome testimony. His love will shine through in all you write. Readers will be blessed. :)

  23. Shoshanna– I just want to add my encouragement. I am a fellow author, but I made a similarly “crazy” decision in my day job years ago. I was a very well-paid news anchor and supporting our family when I made the decision to walk away from a secure contract to stay home with our kids. No one could believe I’d walk away from such a “plum” job, especially as at the time my husband was a part-time fill-in reporter making less than half what I did and we’d be living on his salary *somehow*. But we both believed it was what God was calling us to do. I just couldn’t NOT do it, even though it was financial suicide and terrifying. But we had faith, and God came through. In a matter of months my husband was promoted to main anchor (by a news director who said he’d never anchor at the station) and replaced my salary entirely. He’s still the main anchor there 15 years later, and while we’ve never been “rich” we’ve been just fine and never regretted that decision one day. It’s resulted in two incredibly happy healthy teenagers and led to my writing career, which I never would have had time for if I’d continued that full-time work. Now that is taking off and bringing me as much if not more joy than TV news ever did. You are right to trust Him. It WILL work out for you, and you will be taken care of. I’m happy for you. And I also want to say how incredibly brave you are to go against the flow– it’s so easy for me to be a Christian as the child of Christian parents who grew up in the Bible belt. You have made the hard choice, but I am confident you will never regret it. I’ll be praying for you, your career, and your family.

  24. Shoshanna,
    Your story truly blessed me. It always amazes me how God works in our lives. There have been so many horrible incidents in our world lately, but your story illustrates how He can bring good things out of tragedy. I pray that you may have more readers than ever.

  25. Shoshanna – what an inspiring letter! I am proud to know you, and look forward to many more stories and books written by you! (I knew something was a little different when I saw you at RWA-NY.) Please know that your STAR sisters in Florida will be supportive of your “career move.” Best wishes and continued happiness, Priscilla (2015 STAR President)

  26. Shoshanna, I’ve only seen your name on my WriteSpace newsletter, but didn’t read your books because they were erotica. As a Believer, I knew that I would not be honoring my relationship with Christ in reading that genre. I am beyond thrilled to see the working of God in your and your DH’s lives. I know you’ll have times of anxiety in all this change, but “cast your cares on Him for He cares for you.” I will be looking for the new books!

  27. I am glad you have found something that makes you happy. I will not, however, buy your new books as I have had a different journey and experiences with “christians” and am not a fan. Good luck to you and thank you for the books you have written that i have enjoyed.

  28. Blessings, Shoshanna, as you begin this new journey. When I decided to write erotic romance three years ago, I had a conversation with God about how I could do that and still be true to my faith. I’m happy with the path I’ve chosen, and I hope you’ll be equally happy with yours. You’re young and you still have many stories to tell. I’m excited to see how your career evolves!

  29. You have to follow your path. Congratulations on your journey & your new direction… ! Thank you for such a personal and honest explanation. You respect your readers enough to let them see the real you, which takes bravery..! I am sure your next writings will be great.

  30. I’ve noticed that several ex-EC writers have gone off in different directions. I’m not usually an inspie reader, but I like well-written books. So, I’ll promise to read the descriptions, and if they sound like something I’d enjoy, I’ll read ’em. I also do know people who would be interested in sweet and inspie romance, so I now know another author to point them at.

  31. I am looking forward to seeing what your books are going to be as I love romance books that are faith based. My daughter and I both read the Harlequin Loved Inspired & and Loved Inspired Suspense books. Got your letter from writer space new. Congratulations on your new adventure & May God Bless You.

  32. To thine own self be true. It’s funny because I started getting your newsletters through a monthly contest, I have one of your books in a bundle, but haven’t read it because it’s not my type of reading that I do. I have thought of unsubscribing every time I got your newsletter, but for some reason I never did. When I read it today, because it caught my attention when you mentioned that you were changing, I wasn’t sure what you were going to change to, but the fact is that I will now want to check out your books. I became a born again christian at 18 and God has never failed me yet. I encourage you on this journey that you have started, be true to yourself, be real, and continue on with great expectations for your life reguardless of where it takes you. Gods Blessings to you.

  33. Shoshanna, I have never read one of your books (I also “found” you via a WriterSpace contest) but am excited to read one of your new Faithfully EVERS After books! I gave up EC several years ago and now just skip “that part” in CR/PNR. I have been exploring Inspy authors so feel God may have nudged me your way…I had only opened your newsletter to Unsubscribe!…When will your 1st book come out? I thank you for what you will be doing in MY life and pray you will hold tight to God’s Promise as you traverse this new path!
    PS: I am so amazed to read how many EC authors have changed their focus! God is Good!!!

  34. Good for you! So happy with the changes you are making in your life. I never read any of your Evers books, but will definitely be reading your Gabriel books. Prayers for more doors to open than will close and that you touch even more lives with the changes you are making in your life.

  35. Welcome our family sister! I converted the same way – I sat down and read the bible and let the Holy Spirit convict me of my sins and breath God’s truth into my soul. I was raised catholic and spent a lifetime in the military preparing to kill and destroy, but when I met my future wife she prayed and fasted as I sat down and read the bible from cover to cover, verse by verse.

    In many ways I’m very jealous of you, I was raised catholic based on man centered tradition. You were raised in the Jewish tradition you have a deeper and more personal understanding of the Old Testament than I ever will, which gives you that much more of a beautiful relationship with Christ. After all, He came to save the Jews, at best I’m merely a branch grafted on, just a partaker in the rich root of the olive tree (Romans 11:17) and I weep in gratitude that He included me, however peripherally, as a brother.

    If I have any advice it is this – stay in the bible. Every time you read it you will see something new and beautiful. Be the Berean, double check everything someone tells you even your pastor. And blog what you learn, you’ll soon find there is a world of Christian bloggers out there for support and love.

  36. Thank you for sharing. You have always been open about how you felt. I now know what was holding me back and making my writing stilted and clunky–who I really wanted to be and the stories I wanted to tell. Thank you lady and may God bless always.

  37. I was thrilled to read this! I have always said that any time a writer, comedian, musician, and the movie industry can produce a work with the right amount of quality and skill, it can stand on its own without explicitness; that is the mark of a true artist. I was nervous about putting my book out because so many publishers want at least a few explicit scenes, and there are those who publish cleaner works that don’t want any mention of God or spirituality, it tends to limit things a bit, so I chose Kindle. It’s frustrating to have such a narrow path to work with in the attempt to publish cleaner works. Thank you so much for sharing your experience. Hopefully as more quality authors, such as yourself, convert to non-explicit writing things will begin to change. I believe there is a huge market for non-explicit books and I hope to see better publishing avenues opening up for those writers who wish to see their stories come to life in the form of books. Once again, thank you!

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