By Lisabet Sarai
Let me entertain you.
Let me see you smile.
Let me do a few tricks,
Some old and then some new tricks;
I'm very versatile.
- Stephen Sondheim, from Gypsy
I grew up singing musicals. When I was still in grade school, I knew most of the lyrics from "My Fair Lady", "South Pacific", "West Side Story", and "The Sound of Music". We had all the records (LPs, of course). My mom, in particular, used to play them while she was doing housework. I've always picked up songs and verse, without really trying. So I can still sing "On the Street Where You Live", "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Out of My Hair" and "Tonight", as well as dozens more classics.
One of my mother's favorites was "Gypsy". I can see why, now - she was a bit like Gypsy Rose Lee's mom, flamboyant and stage struck. (It was her idea, for instance, for me and my two siblings to perform on a local TV amateur hour.) As for me, I was fascinated with the character of the famous burlesque star. I must have known even at that young age that there was something naughty about Gypsy's vocation. (I've always had instincts about that sort of thing!) Anyway, I would belt out "Let Me Entertain You" while I was doing the dishes, in between renditions of "Have an Eggroll, Mr. Goldstone" and "If Mama Was Married".
As I was thinking about a post for the Hot Spot blog this month, I realized that the song above could be my author-ly theme. I don't write to become famous (it'll never happen) or to contribute to the canon of great literature (despite my fantasies). For the most part, I write because I want to entertain my readers - and myself. And like Gypsy, I'm very versatile. I write in a wide range of different styles and genres, depending on my mood.
Want serious BDSM romance? Try Raw Silk or "The Understudy", in the Master Me anthology. Do you like M/M stories? Pick up a copy of Necessary Madness or Crossed Hearts. If vampires are your thing, you might enjoy Fire in the Blood, my M/M/F vampire ménage set in Jamaica. Speaking of ménage, if threesomes get you going, check out Truce of Trust (M/F/M with a touch of BDSM) or Monsoon Fever (M/M/F historical). Are shape shifters your favorite genre? Let me entertain you with my Mayan paranormal novel Serpent's Kiss.
I've noticed that many authors seem to specialize, to carve out a niche and stick to it. Not me. I'm easily bored, I guess. Or presenting myself in a more favorable light - I like to challenge myself by attempting to write in new genres. At the moment I have one WIP that's science fiction, one that's gothic and one that features a shape-shifter, specifically a were-penguin! If that's not versatile, I'm not sure what is. (I also write literary erotica, stories that don't necessarily focus on a single relationship or have a happy ending.) (And poems.)
There's another song from "Gypsy", sung by several of Gypsy's fellow strippers, called "You Gotta Get a Gimmick":
You can pull all the stops out
Till they call the cops out,
Grind your behind till you're banned
But you've gotta get a gimmick
If you wanna get a hand.
You can sacrifice your saccro
Working in the back row.
Bump in a dump till you're dead.
Kid, you gotta have a gimmick
If you wanna get ahead.
I sure hope that this isn't true. I'm too busy exploring to figure out a "gimmick". My stories have some common features and themes, I guess, but they are all quite different. That's both good and bad, I guess. A reader who has experience with one of my books doesn't really know what to expect from the next. On the other hand, if you're the sort of reader who likes things fresh and new, you might want to check me out. You can find covers, blurbs and excerpts for all my current work on my website. And if you're not ready to buy, check out my extensive collection of free reads.
Meanwhile, I'll go back to working on a few tricks for my next books.
Maybe I should write a story that revolves around musicals.