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Adam Interviews...Lacey Cross

Welcome back!

Our interview now is with the accomplished Kindle Vella and erotica author - er, authors - maybe I should just let her - them? - tell you.

Reader Alert: Lacey/Kyra is an erotica author and uses language appropriate for that genre. If you're not comfortable with it, you might want to check out the other interview today.

Here we go!

About Lacey Cross (my version of an author bio)…

First thing to know about me in this interview is that I’m not the best writer. I’m slowly coming to accept that I’m good, but I’ll probably write wrong words all through this interview. My tenses are going to be fucked up (Feel free to censor me if you want, I’m an erotica author after all.)

I guarantee I’ll look back at this later and think, “damn, that sounded dumb,” and I’m okay with this. I’m down to earth and shit happens. This interview is never going to be perfect no matter how many hours I stew over it.

So strap in, and enjoy the ride.

Okay… now for more of a real author bio. I’m an erotica author and I write under two pen names. I write short story contemporary erotica under Lacey Cross and I focus on hotwife/wife sharing, BDSM, and now erotic romance.

I live in the PNW in the U.S with my hubby and three cats. We own a house that was built in the 1940s and is a money sink… but I love it. I mean, who can say they have a rose stained-glass window in their living room?

All of my writing is tinged by my romance-reading background. I prefer to keep things light and funny with everyone getting a happy ending. Because of this, even though the main kink I write is a typical guy kink, women appreciate my stories also. I like to write sex positive stories in the woman’s point of view while she’s getting her filthiest fantasy fulfilled.

I dislike bragging, but I suppose I should mention I won a fan-based social media contest and was awarded 1st place as the “Leveled Up” Golden Pigtail Rookie Smut Star of 2021, as well as first place in several other categories.

I’m also Kyra Keys, and I write short stories that are alien high heat romantic erotica. I don’t write long space operas. Mine are about kinky alien guys getting it on with human women, and it’s usually heading towards the altar at the end of the story. My first alien stories are way too short, and I’m working on adding epilogues to them. But my latest story is 21k, which is pretty long for me.

A big thing about me as an author is that I have ADHD and my writer's life is chaotic. I’m learning to embrace what this means for me, but a lot of my writing is flavored by my neurodiversity. I’m weird, and I’m okay with this as well. =)

Here are some links!

Lacey Cross Links:

and my Amazon page

Kyra Keys collab page:

Kyra's Amazon page

Books I talked about:

for Lacey

Free Use Wedding Party series

For Kyra

Alien Love Game The Arena

Mating Lexi

A Kink in the Deal (The three-author collab Vella story)

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I didn’t realize until after I started publishing erotica that I wanted to do this for a career. When I was a teenager, I tried writing but it was never good enough. After school, I tried again and wrote a short 5k erotica story that sucked (it later became my best seller for 11 months). I got discouraged and put it in a drawer and didn’t touch it again for over 10 years.

My later-in-life diagnosis of ADHD was a game changer. Before the diagnosis I never finished much of anything I started. Knowing you’re smart and a failure in life is a bitter pill to swallow, and I spent 30+ years thinking I was an utter waste of space because I was doing nothing with my life and couldn’t finish anything I started. My highest priority in life was just being happy because I spent so many years miserable.

A few months after my diagnosis, I reconnected with a high school friend (who is now my editor) three days before NaNoWriMo started in November 2020, and she asked me to try nano with her. I’m impulsive, so I was all, “Ohhh, sounds fun!” and I wrote a horrible 85k young adult romance because I couldn’t write sex scenes (cue the laugh track). I finished it that November, and when I went to edit it in December I realized it needed a ton of work. I wasn’t a good enough writer to even know how to fix it.

Researching writing techniques lead me to the blogging platform Medium. I blogged for a month with vanilla pieces about my failures. I spent a month writing 20 hours per week on Medium. I got a tiny smidgen of instant success with an article about ADHD and the death of my mother, but after a month of blogging on Medium, I made $7 and was disappointed with that amount.

The next day a friend emailed me an article about a woman who started writing erotica during the pandemic and now makes enough to pay her mortgage. The same day my husband told me if I’m going to write so much, I needed to find a way for my hobby to pay. The two ideas converged and I decided it was time to flex my romance reading muscles and write alien romantic erotica. I didn’t have to be realistic if it was aliens, and I had binged a bunch of erotic romance aliens during the pandemic so it was fresh in my mind.

People liked Manny’s Mate, the first short story I wrote, and everything took off from there. A few months of writing and I felt like I had found my “thing” for the first time in my life.

Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

A combination of taking a nugget of truth from my real life and expanding on it, or daydreams, or dreams while I sleep. A couple of my stories have been something I dreamed and woke up and knew it would make a good erotica story.

What does your family think of your writing?

I hid that I was writing erotica from my family for several months. When I finally admitted it to them, they found it hilarious. I shared my Kyra alien pen name because her stuff is erotic romance and safer. I kept my extra-naughty Lacey pen name hidden for longer. Eventually I wanted to combine marketing efforts and gave my family the Lacey pen name.

My family is very open sexually, so all of them loved that they had a writing weirdo in the family. The fact that some of it was alien erotica cracked them up.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

Can I say that the most surprising thing is that I can write? Haha. I had no clue I could write, and I was shocked when people wanted to read my stories. Even months later, I’m still surprised when I get compliments. My writing style isn’t for everyone. I write hot and short well, but I don’t waste a lot of time on unnecessary descriptions so I can keep the pace of the story. Hell, sometimes I might not even say what color hair the people have. I let people imagine whatever sexy thing they want.

People who are looking for deep and rich worlds might not like my stories. I write to entertain and I’m not looking to be the Queen of Erotica. If people read my books and find them an enjoyable read, that’s all I care about.

How many books have you written? Which is your favourite?

In the last 21 months, I’ve published over 70 short story eroticas on two pen names. My favorite book fluctuates between three, depending on the week.

This week, my favorite book is Owning Emily. I spent months afraid to write longer stories, and I got the idea for an erotic romance BDSM series about a woman who realizes she’s submissive and cheats on her husband with an online dom, but it gets all messy and complicated and moves into a MMF situation. I decided to write the story as separate stories.

I thought the series was going to be four books of 8-10k each. It kept growing, and currently has six books in my Illicit Desires Series with nine plotted. The complete series is officially an erotic romance and will be around 70k words. It’s going to make a nice bundle at the end.

Owning Emily is book four, but it’s one that works as a standalone. I re-read the entire series to write book six, and Owning Emily gave me writer’s block for several days because I realized it was my best work to date and I was afraid I couldn’t beat it.

I had to accept that maybe Aiden’s Control (the book I was writing) might not be better than Owning Emily, but there is no way Owning Emily was going to be the best book I ever wrote if I kept writing and didn’t let it paralyze me.

Do you have any suggestions to help someone become a better writer? If so, what are they?

Keep writing, even if your story sucks. I look back at my first stories I published and they are cute, but I’m a much better writer now. I’m continually improving in small steps with everything I write. If I had stopped because that first story wasn’t perfect, I would never have 70+ short stories published.

Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

I hear from people weekly. I get emailed often, and it’s usually positive feedback, offering advice for something I said in my newsletter to them, or pet pictures.

Last week I asked for help naming an alien book, and I received more responses than I expected and I think I’ve found my title now. My readers are a pretty awesome and supportive bunch and I really

appreciate everyone who is on this journey with me.

Along with that, I saw something on Twitter a few weeks ago where a guy from a publishing house was making fun of indie authors who call their readers “fans.” and I was not charitable in my response when I told him if I’m giving someone an orgasm, I can call them a fan.

But this is part of my philosophy. My readers are not just nameless, impersonal, “readers” to me. As an indie author, they are the reason I’m part time at my job and no publishing house is knocking on my door wanting to publish my short filth, so I work hard to not be just another writer to them.

But honestly, I’ve been doing this for less than two years. What do I really know? I just know what seems to be working for me, and I think that authors can easily have fans and readers.

What is the most unethical practice in the publishing industry?

So this isn’t exactly unethical, but it’s something that bugs me. I really dislike how many services try to pimp their stuff out to new authors and make the authors think they need to use the service. I wasted so much money my first year of writing while I tried various services for scheduling social media posts, and expensive courses, and classes to learn things I could have found on the eroticawriters reddit for free (Tip right there. If you write erotica, get on reddit. Not all the advice is good, but there are lots of good nuggets and you can ask questions).

Does a big ego help or hurt writers?

I hate to talk in absolutes, but I think it hurts. I’ve had writers get weird on me because they read something of mine and assumed I’ve been writing for years. Back when I first started writing, an author admitted they were jealous of me when they got quiet after I said I’d been writing for six months. They said that if this is me in six months, I’m going to be something else in five years. That author didn’t know my life, and someone saying that to me sucked because they didn’t know I just wasted 20 years doing nothing. What would I have been if I had been writing for those 20 years?

But egos make authors not want to collaborate together. They hide info from other authors because they tell themselves they are protecting their niche, when a lot of times I think it’s people not wanting to accept that they might not be the best writer and this other author might just steal their readers – which I don’t believe is true. Most writers can’t write enough to keep readers supplied with stories. The readers need multiple authors.

We can’t all be the best, so we need to check our ego at the door and make friends with each other. I do a lot of collabs with other erotica authors, joint promo, or promo swaps when people have huge promos upcoming. The erotica writing community can be incredibly helpful and generous.

Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?

In erotica it’s important to give the readers what they want. I try to do it in creative ways, but I’m not trying to tell romance readers that something without the happily ever after can still be a romance. There are genre expectations and when you don’t hit it, it leaves a lot of readers unhappy.

Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly?

Part of my ADHD diagnosis included realizing that I’ve never felt emotions the same as neurotypical people do. I get confused at what I’m feeling and overwhelmed easily. I don’t even know how some emotions feel because I can’t separate them from other emotions. I’m proof that someone can write if their ability to feel emotions is wonky (another tip: Google is your friend. “How to write someone is sad” yields nice results).

What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

Ohhh, time to talk up my friends! I have two people who have influenced my writing the most – both are erotica writers. Anyone who knows my work won’t be surprised at the authors, since I’ve done collab stories with both of them and we actually all three wrote a MMF Vella story together called A Kink in the Deal.

Before I talk about Kristin and Alec though, I want to mention something about A Kink in the Deal. Each of us wrote the PoV for one of the MCs, and I wrote the wife, Faith. One thing a lot of people who read it may not realize is that I wrote Faith with ADHD. I think the women with ADHD will recognize it, but I think it’s important to bring neurodiversity into literature without making it a big deal. I never mention it in the story, but some of the things she struggles with in the book are things I struggle with in my real life. The story is finished on Vella, but we haven’t released it on KU yet as a full novel.

The first one is Alec Lake. He writes free use, BDSM, and really anything he wants. His Amazon catalog is eclectic. He’s an amazing friend and was my cheerleader from the start. I was hesitant to write in the BDSM genre because I didn’t feel confident in my portrayal of Dom guys. Let’s face it, I’m not a dom guy so I don’t know how they think/feel. He’s my beta reader on all my BDSM books to make sure my Doms are realistic, and I consider BDSM one of the main kinks I write now. He also prompted me to try some free use stories because I thought his stories were hot, and my free use stories have been well received. I have him to thank for that.

The second person is Kristin Lance. She writes MMF erotic romance. Before meeting her, I dropped all my stories out of Kindle Unlimited and was trying to go wide with zero success. She explained some of the ways she uses Kindle Unlimited to help her sales. Within a month of meeting her, I put my shortest book I ever wrote into KU to test it and that book blew up using her recommendations. That book was my best selling book for 11 months and only recently was dethroned from top spot. I still laugh that somehow a 4300 word story was my best seller for so long, and in KU. But meeting her and that book blowing up helped the Lacey pen name continue to grow.

Kristin also got me plotting, which led to me writing Mating Lexi on Amazon Vella. I’m almost finished with Mating Lexi, but that book has been in the top 250 Vella stories for the last three months and got as high as a rank of 46 out of all Vella stories. It’s my first full length novel, and I wouldn’t have written it without meeting Kristin.

Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you building a body of work with connections between each book?

My brain works in series. I rarely write a stand-alone book, and when I do, my brain later turns it into a series. I prefer to write in groups of five stories because they make a nice sized bundle. I write in the hotwife genre, and I have a hotwife named Miranda that I can’t seem to set aside. I have 13 stories published with her and numerous erotic shorts. She’s just incredibly fun to write because she matches my personality a lot, so it’s like writing myself in the book and doing tons of kinky things I wouldn’t do in real life.

How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

I published my first short story self edited. People claimed editing didn’t matter in erotica and to just toss it out there. My self editing ability is not great. After going over it time and time again and still missing things, my friend took pity on me and offered to edit for free. She’s fabulous, and we have a really good writer/editor compatibility. When I started making money with my writing, we negotiated a fee for her because she makes my writing better. I have no doubt that a significant part of my tiny slice of success is having her behind me.

But the editing is my main process change. I won’t release anything unedited anymore, and I have a solid back catalog that I’m not ashamed of. Even my beginning stuff that is cute, still has value because it’s edited and people enjoy the stories.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

Oh man, before three months ago the answer would have been zero. But now I’ve turned into the typical writer and have a folder of at least 5 things right now. I know that’s small potatoes, but it’s a new development for me and I can see it just growing from here. There isn’t enough time in the day for all my ideas.

What does literary success look like to you?

Every good review I get is a success, but ultimately, literary success would be quitting my day job and being a full-time writer. I’m part time now, so I’m halfway there. I don’t need to win awards, nor do I need people to think I’m the best writer at anything. I just want people to read my stories and love them enough to binge the series.

Seeing the sales roll in on an entire series is one of the highest compliments someone can give me. That means that the first book hooked them and they wanted more. That is how I measure my success right now. The day I’m able to quit my day job is the next milestone I’m striving for.

What’s the best way to market your books?

I love it when someone asks me this because I have a strong opinion. There is advice floating out there that erotica authors don’t need a newsletter, and I even read something the other day today where they said erotica writers who are writing towards the typical male kinks need a newsletter even less. I think that’s false, and my guess is that people who are spreading that around didn’t find what worked for them with a newsletter so they didn’t get a good response from it.

My newsletter is 100% my strongest asset as a writer (yes, I’m talking in absolutes with this!), and I don’t think I’d be where I’m at right now without it. I mainly write towards a typical guy kink, and I have over 5,000 subscribers on my Lacey pen name, as well as over 3,000 on my alien erotica pen name. It’s an incredibly powerful marketing tool that too many erotica authors dismiss.

But the important thing to know is that you have to figure out what is going to work for you as a writer. I spend a lot of time cultivating my newsletter subscribers. I run big author promotions on Story Origin and Bookfunnel. I do weekly newsletters on both pen names, and I’m continually having to find value for the people opening my newsletter. I’m not just tossing books at them and expecting them to care and buy them. I try to figure out what they like based on clicks and I try to arrange swaps with other authors that I think my people will want.

The people who enjoy reading my newsletter tell me they like it because I’m chatty and personable. I had covid a month ago, and I had to push back an alien erotica release. After I told my newsletter people, the amount of emails I received really touched me. People were wishing me a speedy recovery, or telling me their covid stories and giving me advice on supplements that helped them.

An author doesn’t have to do all that I do to find a newsletter valuable, but you do have to spend the time to figure out what is going to work with your schedule and what you can commit to. I recommend the book Newsletter Ninja by Tammi L. Labrecque. That book and the continuation with book 2 really helped me.

What do you have coming next?

I don’t even know where to start with this question. My writing schedule is jam packed for the next three months. I’ll give you things for each pen name.

For Lacey Cross: I’m working on a Free Use Wedding Party series. It’s pretty dang filthy and people like it. I just finished Borrowing the Bride, and by the time this interview comes out I’ll be writing Please Them All. Each one is a standalone story and each story is about one woman and her adventure. The series is the Bride and her four bridesmaids all exploring 4-10 men at one time. Totally realistic… yep.

I’m getting close to having Mating Lexi on Vella done, and I’m considering starting an erotic romance pen name when that is done for the people who want longer M/F erotic romance from me and not my multiple men, slutty short stuff (slutty only said in the best possible way).

For Kyra Keys: I’m doing something really interesting with Kyra. I started an eight-author alien collab project. Each author is writing four stories, so 32 books total, all set in the same universe. They are very high heat erotic romance with HEA. We’re releasing one per week.

Kyra’s name is on all of them as a joint author so they’re all tied under my pen name. I’m beta reading and organizing this all, but the authors are writing their own stories. My first story, Alien Love Game: The Arena is doing well for me.

All of the authors have a romance writing background, but none of us are big names. Some of them have never written aliens before. It’s been an interesting learning experience for everyone, and it’s a really fun collab. Trying to wrangle all of us to stop writing huge galaxy-changing events has been the main challenge, lol.

The collab started releasing stories in August so we’re not even through the first book for all of the authors yet, but the fan base has really come out of the wood work for this collab project. The support has been amazing, and for people who like short and hot aliens, this collab is for you. =)

And you can also read another story on Medium here!

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