This is a reblog of my blog post “Saying Goodbye to Erotic Romance” from November 12th, 2015.
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.
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.
It’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:
- Who is Shoshanna Evers? An erotic romance author.
- Do I want to be that anymore? No.
- 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.
- 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:
- Who is Shoshanna Evers? An erotic romance author (at the moment).
- Do I want to be that anymore? No.
- 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.
- 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, 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 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!
UPDATE 2017: Twitter @ShoshnnaGabriel & Facebook.com/ShoshannaGabriel 🙂
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 🙂
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
Read the original of the post and comments here.
57 thoughts on “Saying Goodbye to Erotic Romance”
Good luck, congratulations, can’t wait for a new book. I read almost anything (except for horror).
Welcome to the family. We are rejoicing over having a new sister in Christ helping to write to the glory of God.
Shoshanna, though I was not a follower of yours before, I joyfully become one now! Why? Because I too have a past that I left behind 26 years ago to become a fully devoted follower of Jesus Christ! Can’t wait to hear what He places on your heart to write. For every reader you lose, I pray God replaces with another who needs and desires to hear what He places on your heart and mind! To God Be the Glory!
Thank you Terri!
Congrats sweet friend! I totally support your decision. You have to do what makes you happy in your heart…the rest will fall into place.
Congrats on finding your true self! I wish you well in the future and I think you will be great at whatever genre you write, but its the one you feel most passionate about that will take you the farthest! Good luck and can’t wait to read what’s next!
Bravo! I’m on a similar mission and I wish you all the success in the world. We come from different backgrounds as I’ve known Jesus all my life. I don’t have the following you have in erotic romance but in my one and only series I’ve attempted to write my way out of it. I may fall flat on my face and if that happens, I’ll be okay with it. I have to follow my heart.
Hugs and best always,
I will look forward to your next book. You can’t go wrong if you’re going in the Lord’s direction.
Wow! Shoshanna, you’re amazing! You’re really stepping out on a limb, and I’m happy for you. This explanation is so well written that I’m looking forward to buying your first book within the Christian worldview.
That makes me so happy to hear! Thank you!
What an amazing testimony! God’s blessings on your new name and your new writing future, as well as your new twins!(I’m in FHL with you.) I’m sure your inspy stories will bless all your NEW followers immensely. Don’t look back!
I do read romance novels and I am a Christian. I don’t particularly like erotic novels. Believe it or not, I miss the days of Harlequin romances that didn’t have sex in them. When I read romance novels I skip over the sex part! I like the romance and the story.
So I applaud your change and God bless you!
@Darcey, You might check out Harlequin Heartwarming (clean, family-safe romance) and similar romance categories by other romance publishers as well as self-pubs on Amazon. It’s a fairly active, dynamic romance category… Cheers, S.E.
What an AMAZING story! I am a blogger/book reviewer who deals mostly in Christian fiction. How can I help support you?
Thank you so much, Carrie! I’ll email you via your blog!
I really read almost anything. Have read your books and enjoyed them, but am looking forward to reading your new books. I love your testimony. Congratulations and good luck with your new books.
As a sister in Christ, I’m so incredibly proud of you–your bravery, honesty, and conviction. I have not read any of your books–yet–but that will most definitely change as you turn the page to inspirational romance.
That is a great testimony. I have read your books in the past, but heavy erotica made me uncomfortable as a christian, however I did like your writing style. The erotica genre can be addictive, so I’m trying to break out of it completely. I am so happy that your journey has taken you to this path. I will stay with you and I’m thankful for your decision.
That’s so awesome, thank you!
What a wonderful testimony. Thank you for sharing your faith journey with us. God will provide and in ways we do not always consider. Looking forward to your first book as Shoshonna Gabriel.
Congratulations on your decision! I think a lot of your followers are ready to change what they read. I am tired of bad boy billionaire vampires, etc. I am looking forward to reading some of your new novels.
I actually am happy to see this. I am so burnt out on the erotic sex in novels and find myself just skimming through those parts anyway. Congratulations on the change and I am looking forward to reading your new novels!
I would like to wish you great luck in your next endeavor! Looking forward to reading your new books! I feel the need to say a great writer will always be a great writer no matter the genre. A writer picks the genre she wants to write, the genre does not pick them. A lot of writers I follow are gradually foraying into other genres to keep it fresh and spread there wings. In the book market these days sometimes change is good!! ??
I will continue to read your books as I have found that blatant sex is (at my age) just a little too much. I continued to read your stories because they were (and are) great but the sex was getting a bit overwhelming. I am glad to say I will now REALLY be looking forward to your stories. Thank you.
Shoshanna, as we grow older we make changes in our lives that “fit” with who we are or have become. Life is about change and I look forward to seeing the changes that will occur in your life. Happy writing.
Shoshanna you are a woman of courage. I respect your decisions. I’m looking forward to reading your future books.
Welcome and I will make sure to read your Christian romance.
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.
Great advice, thank you!
So happy for you and your husband.
“We love him because he first loved us” (1 John 4.19) and
“For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive tree?” (Romans 11:24)
God saves those of us who are Jewish by birth, and those who are not, so that we may all be one through Christ. How wonderful are his ways, and beyond figuring out. How great to be reconciled though, wouldn’t you agree?
God bless you.
Thank you for the love and support, friends! To God be the GLORY!
Shoshanna, I hadn’t heard of you until I read one of your posts on the acfw loop and clicked on your website. Wow! What a powerful testimony. To God be the glory, great things He hath done! I’m so happy to have you as a sister in Christ! Keep writing for His glory!
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Ребята, помогите с отправкой жалоб на сайт http://cookingmeat.ru/ – Приготовил по рецепту с этого сайта шашлык. Рецепт оказался паленым, в результате я отравился этим шашлыком, неделю понос был, не вставал с кровати. Предложение выплатить мне материальную компенсацию владелец сайта проигнорировал. Что ж, будем теперь решать по плохому. Если вы читаете этот текст, помогите мне, отправьте на этот сайт жалобы куда только можно! На одну мою жалобу внимания не обратят, но вот ели будут сотни жалоб, вопрос уже не замнут.
I am coming to the Write on the River conference in May. I was looking over the guest teachers of the classes and almost decided not to come because I was a bit put off by the amount of crass/pushy how to do it classes and the Erotica, (which I put you in until I visited your website) I actually got a sample of one of the other “romance” writers books and was so disappointed. Then I found your website with this amazing testimony and was sooooo excited! See you in May–
Author of Seven Years Between
Thank you Pam! I’m excited to see you!! 🙂
Good luck with the change and with the babies.Can’t wait for the books.Post lots of baby pics.
I am so happy to hear about the change. I am so tired of books with explicit sex and foul language and really prefer books with a Christian story. Debbie Macomber has done well and I am sure you will also. Praise God you have accepted Him.
I, for one, am proud of you and I can’t wait for your new books. I am more inclined to read those kin oF books. Happy writing!
wonderful; I love to read and review inspirational stories. Do You read Janet Biery, Annie Boone, etc
Welcome to Christianity! I don’t read erotic fiction, but I love Inspirational fiction. Hopefully you will find many more who prefer a less graphic type of love story. Good luck with your growing family.
Thank you! 🙂
I have read your erotic books and found them good. I will continue to read whatever you produce
Thank you, Pat! 🙂
Looking forward to reading your new books!
I hadn’t seen you around social media and wondered what happened to you! I wish you all the best in the next chapter of your writing career, and you really put a smile on my face today thinking of your bravery in being true to yourself. Best wishes Shoshanna!
Such a blessing to have met you and your family this week in Mumbai. Praise Yahweh for your transformation. Thank you for sharing with me this site and your wonderful testimony. Yes, Yeshua Ha’mashiach is the only way! I’m so glad you found Him.
As I mentioned to you, please check out this site: http://www.119ministries.com/ and check out their study on the topic about ‘christmas and easter’ – (Part 1:) http://www.119ministries.com/teachings/video-teachings/detail/sunburned-part-1/ and (Part 2:) http://www.119ministries.com/teachings/video-teachings/detail/sunburned-part-2/
May you be blessed by these teachings. You are so blessed to have known Judaism and now know the true Messiah. I pray that you will continue to seek for the truth (only truth) about Yeshua and not be deceived by the lies of the enemy.
Please keep in touch. Congratulations again with your growing family. Shalom!
Janeth (with Chris, Savannah and David)
Hopefully your parents don’t decide to Sit Shiva for you and put up a stone. I know a few people that has happened to.
An amazing testimony, Shoshanna – thank you so much!! I totally relate – due to the many years I was “doing my own thing” and not following God’s plan for my life. I read/review only Christian books now and would love to support you in any way I can!!
God is working in your life. Thank you for sharing your heart. I only read “clean” romance, so, now I am really looking forward to reading your new stories.
Keep up the amazing change. I know I will be one for sure who will read the christian romance books by you. I don’t like the erotica romance genre. I like authors like Debbie Macomber, Sheryl woods, and RaeAnne Thayne. I can’t wait to see what your books brings. Always remember to follow God because whatever he brings to you he will bring you through. Harpy writing!!!
I’ve been a fan since the EC events. I think you will continue to do well and I enjoy a wide range of reading and will look forward to your new path. Kudos and much respect to you for following your heart and conscience
God works in mysterious ways and I got teary reading your story. Thanks for sharing – shouting from the mountain tops. FYI, Terri Blackstock did well changing over – though she didn’t write erotic. As a Christian writing romance, I undertand that uncomfortable feeling and judgement you get. For me, God has led me to write for a mainstream audience and include little nuggets, and one day I’ll rewrite my first book (I’m still unpublished), the one that needs a complete rewrite, and plan for it to have a redemption story thread.
Hope to meet you at RWA in Orlando.
In regard to what you wrote that: “there were 333 Messianic prophecies in the Old Testament, and that Jesus had fulfilled Every. Single. One.” I am dumbfounded reading this – That is such a lie!!
Here is a translation if Isaiah 11, verses 6-8:
6. The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling – together; and a little child will lead them.
7. The cow will feed with the bear; their young ones will lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
8 The infant will play near the cobra’s den, and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest.
This is yet to happen!
Everyone is invited to look up the rest of that chapter, which goes on to detail how it will be in Messianic times.
And here is translation of Isaiah 2 (verses 2-4):
2. And it will be in the last days, the mountain of the LORD’s temple will be established as the highest of the mountains; it will be exalted above the hills, and all nations will stream to it.
3. Many peoples will go and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the temple of the God of Jacob, He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths; For the law will go out from Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
4. And He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.
This too, every part of it, is yet to happen!!
There are many more like these…
All the best