Monday, September 21, 2015


"My heroines kick ass. They don't get their asses kicked."-Jackie Collins

      When I read the news that Jackie Collins had passed away from breast cancer, I thought it was a hoax. It couldn't be true. But then I read the statement issued by her family and with a sinking feeling in my stomach I knew that the magnificent woman who'd sold half a billion books and was a consistent figure on numerous best seller lists was really gone.
     The first Jackie Collins novel I ever read was Dangerous Kiss , A Lucky Santangelo Novel. At the time I read Dangerous Kiss, it was the most recent in the Lucky Santangelo series. Lucky was a gorgeous, business savvy mob princess who didn't take crap from anyone.. Call me biased but I think Lucky Santangelo is the greatest female character ever written. It was then and there that my love of Jackie Collins' novels was born. After devouring Dangerous Kiss, I read the rest of the books in the Lucky Santangelo series before moving on to reading every book Jackie had written at the that time. Today I own them all.

     Years ago I wrote to Jackie and received two autographed photos of her. They are among some of my most prized possessions. I would often go to Jackie's website and listen to her interviews. Her wit, sassiness and take no prisoners attitude always made me eager to go pick up my pen and start writing. When I tweeted to her November 12, 2013 about her being such an inspiration and she responded back my life was made.
     Jackie inspired me to write. Her stories that highlighted a woman's strength, and sexuality were cutting edge and ahead of their time. Jackie didn't write cookie-cutter characters, especially women. She firmly believed that a woman could do anything a man could do and not only her writing life, but her real life reflected that as well. "I live my life like a bachelor. I have a man for all seasons," she is quoted as saying. Jackie was a woman who lived by her own rules and she let nothing define her.
     Before there was erotica, there was Jackie. Before there was Fifty Shades, there was Jackie. She is a pioneer in the literary world. A woman who created characters that represented people from all walks of life and from every race, background, religion and sexual orientation. Jackie created stories reflective of the world we all live in.
     Though she is gone, the stories and characters she created will forever live on. I'm sure that I am one of countless people that Jackie influenced in some way. Goodbye Jackie, you fantastic woman. There will never be another like you.
                           Jacqueline Jill Collins October 4, 1937- September 19, 2015

Friday, September 11, 2015


        Life has really gotten in the way lately and I mean real life...the Erin Ashley Tanner separate from being an author. But I'm here now and I hope things in my author life will soon come together as well. So today's topic: FINDING YOUR NICHE. What does this make you think about? For me it has come to symbolize a struggle with myself and what the world wants me to be. This has been a lifelong struggle for me, but I foolishly thought it would never spill over to the thing I love most: writing. I was wrong. So very wrong.
        At this moment I have 6.5 novels under my belt, 3 published, 1 to be published and 2.5 languishing away wondering when the hell they are going to get a home or be revised again. I've written paranormal romance, interracial and multicultural but at this point I have no idea where I belong. What is my niche? I write romance. Beyond that everything else is pretty much up in the air.
    To date my best selling novel is Goddess of Legend. I have no idea what it is about that novel, but it's done pretty good. The categories it was placed in: African American Urban, Science Fiction and Fantasy. In those categories GOL was in the top 100 categories for a good 2 to 3 weeks which was absolutely amazing to a first time author. It still is.
     My follow up Goddess by Chance shifted to some different categories: African American Romance & Multicultural and Interracial Romance. Let's just say GBC did not enjoy the success of its predecessor. I'm not sure why, but possibly the category switching had something to do with it.
    Then there comes Dirty Little Secrets, the novel that garnered me a two book deal with Samhain Publishing. I could tell how much my writing had improved and that I was finally coming into my own as an author. DLS was placed in the categories of: Multicultural and Interracial, Multicultural and Contemporary. Let me be the first to say that those are some tough categories. Really tough and the audience for those holds no punches back if they don't like something.
    So what has all of this taught me? I have no idea where in the hell I'm supposed to be. Is Paranormal Romance my strongest suit? Or do I really have a baseline of comparison to draw from either way?
    Do I think GBC would've done better if it remained in the same categories as GOL? Yeah I do. Do I think DLS would've done better under Romantic Suspense and Organized Crime? Yes I do. But you know it doesn't really matter now. What does matter is that I find out where I should be going forward.
   I love to read pretty much everything and I want to write everything, but there comes a point where you have to play to your strengths. It's time I take some serious time to figure out what mine is because after all how can you build an empire if you haven't figured out what to build on? And that is where I'm at. I'm taking some time to listen to my muse's voice and the longings of my own heart to truly find where is my niche.