By Alexa Day
**Quick note: I wrote this post a few days before the announcement that Ellora’s Cave would be closing. I’m not going to write another post about this. I know a lot of people have a great deal tied up in business with EC, and I respect that. I don’t have very much that’s still attached to them, so I’ve made the personal decision to release them, keep the happy memories, and treasure the contacts. Y’all’s mileage may vary.**
Today is release day! I’m delighted to announce that Loose Id is re-releasing Illicit Impulse, the story of a man, a woman, and an experimental sex drug. In a way, Illicit Impulse is a story about second chances. John and Grace are close friends who almost went to the next level, and who are now working around their feelings for each other and their own awkwardness. Their experiments will force them close together, to share secrets in a way that would test any friendship, and they’ll have to find the courage to move forward, either together or apart.
Illicit Impulse is a second chance for me, too. The story was originally published by Ellora’s Cave. I’ve been pleased to have the chance to participate in a deep revision of the book, and I’m really happy with the end result. I hope readers find plenty to love with John and Grace and my favorite complication — a friend with benefits named Tal Crusoe.
I couldn’t decide whether or not I wanted to tell my Ellora’s Cave story. A lot of people I admire and respect have gone public with their stories. A lot of people I admire and respect have not.
I wasn’t sure I had anything to say about my time as an Ellora’s Cave author until I went to San Diego for the RWA National Conference. By the time the conference was over, I decided to share some thoughts with you.
First, though, a word of wisdom from my mom.
Mom is a big fan of the idea that something good lies inside every unpleasant experience. One need never decide whether something is a blessing; it’s a blessing merely because it’s happening to you. The challenge is determining exactly what the benefit of that experience is.
The challenge is to find the gold buried within the dark times.
I’m not going to go into the details of the business relationship between me and Ellora’s Cave. As I’ve said, a lot of people I admire and respect have written about that sort of thing, and I personally do not wish to give bandwidth to it here on my blog.
Instead I want to turn back to San Diego.
I saw Christine d’Abo at a signing at Nationals. I hadn’t seen her since the steampunk presentation she gave with Delphine Dryden at Romanticon (the Ellora’s Cave conference), quite a few years ago. To my surprise, she recognized me. At the time, we weren’t connected in any other way; we were strangers on social media. But we spent a couple of minutes chatting before I snapped up one of her books, and I spent the afternoon smiling.
How cool that Christine d’Abo remembered me after such a long time, right? But she’s a cool person like that.
I also ran into Lexi Post at a signing. We had a very similar experience. Lexi and I first met at Romanticon, too, and while we are connected on social media, we hadn’t seen each other since then. But we also spent a few moments in friendly conversation before I left with the same little smile on my face. How cool to have bumped into Lexi Post after such a long time!
It’s taken me a while, but I see the real value of my time as an Ellora’s Cave author.
The real treasure is in the people I’ve met, starting with Grace Bradley, the brave soul who became my first editor.
I miss Dalton Diaz, whose amazing advice and guidance have been priceless to me as I find my place in the market. I remember Regina Carlyle telling me that erotic romance writers stuck together, like a family. I remember Shoshonna Gabriel (who was Shoshonna Evers then) giving me a hug in the parking garage.
The tiara I won from Sabrina York. Drinks with Sasha Devlin. The way Joey W. Hill smiled at me and Mom whenever we saw her in the hallway.
“There’s Joey Hill,” Mom would say.
“I see her,” I’d say. “Hi, Joey!”
We seriously did that every time we saw her. It’s a wonder she didn’t start to avoid us.
I remember that Mom was able to tell Shayla Kersten that she was the only author with a dedicated folder in her giant ebook library. I remember having breakfast at a table near Dee Brice on the morning after conference, when the waitress said things would be much quieter now that those people had gone.
“I am one of those people,” she said. That was golden. As golden as it is to read it now, it was even more golden to witness it.
I could go on and on like this. Regardless of how things have worked out with me and the company, regardless of what happens next, I’m endlessly grateful to have met so many wonderful people. And the truth is, I wouldn’t have met all these people without Romanticon. As I move away from the company, I’m so glad that those relationships have survived and endured.
Who knows what the future holds for me and my career? If nothing else, I’ve learned that anything can happen.
Anything. But I’ve also learned that success is really where I find it, and I can find it anywhere.
That’s enough for me.
You can grab a copy of Illicit Impulse by clicking here. Enjoy!