Mayhem, Murder and the PTA by Dave Cravens ***Guest Post: That time I took a dare and wrote an erotic novel under a fake name -- Giveaway***
Mayhem, Murder and the PTA by Dave Cravens
Adult Fiction, 434 pages
Mystery / Thriller
Release date: May 20, 2019
Content Rating: R (Rated R mostly for language. There are adult topics of conversation, a brief scene depicting two adults having consensual sex that becomes interrupted, a murder, and several themes that touch upon drug use, adultery, pedophilia and human trafficking.)
Parker Monroe is a tough-talking investigative reporter used to writing headlines, not being the subject of them. When a key source vanishes on a politically toxic story, this single mother of three finds herself at the center of a media storm and out of a job. Ready to reset, Parker moves her family back to the rural town where she grew up. But a gossip-filled PTA, a tyrannical school principal and a gruesome murder make adjusting to the "simple life" anything but. Parker Monroe is about to chase the story of her lifetime...
That time I took a dare and wrote an erotic novel under a fake name…
By Dave CravensYup. You read that right. No, my new mystery novel Mayhem, Murder and the PTA is not the erotic novel I wrote on a dare. I may never reveal the title, or the name I wrote it under. But it and Mayhem are connected in a strange, roundabout cosmic way.
I will explain.
The year was 2017, and some friends were teasing me with the idea that any erotic or romance novel I could spit out in a week would probably sell better than anything I’d put years of effort into publishing simply because of the nature of the content. They sited numerous articles detailing the sales numbers of erotica and how the middle-aged parents who wrote such things laughed all the way to the bank as they put their kids through college from the monthly income. The more outlandish theme, it seemed, the better the sales.
Though the sales of my own books were modest at best, I was uncomfortable with the mere suggestion. Writing romance or erotica was way out of my wheelhouse and not something I was ever interested in. Regardless, the nagging and articles kept coming. It wasn’t until I’d learned that an erotic science fiction novel written as a joke under a fake name had been nominated for a literary award that I even remotely considered the idea. That night, I said to myself – “Self, I’m definitely not going to write an erotic novel. That would be a huge waste of my time. (Dramatic pause.) But if I did, what would I write?”
Before I knew it, I’d created the entire premise, the world, the characters – everything in one night. I couldn’t stop laughing about it. The whole thing had blossomed into this ridiculous sex comedy where even its fictional editor was compelled to leave apologetic notes in the margins about how over the top the entire story was. The author of the book even became a character who would be interviewed by a fake journalist in the appendix. The next day, I tried the idea out on an old friend during one of our coffee runs. He couldn’t stop laughing. Finally, I told my wife of what I was contemplating writing under a fake name. Her only response was – “Just don’t make it weird.”
I decided to write the novel, and completed it one month’s time. The entire affair proved to be an unbridled expression of creativity. I had taken a chance on something completely outside of what I normally did, and I was oddly proud of my creation. The process taught me to take more chances in my writing. It taught me how to stretch creatively in different and unexpected ways. Most importantly, it gave me the confidence to go outside of my wheelhouse again and tackle my first murder mystery with Mayhem Murder and the PTA.
For anyone keeping score, the sales of my erotic novel are absolutely pathetic. Either the world isn’t ready for it, or my friends’ hypothesis holds no water. But of the four reader reviews attributed to the book as of 2019, one is among the greatest compliments I’ve ever received. Knowing that the book was written under a pen name, the reader postulates the “true author” must be as famous as Stephen King or J.K. Rowling and simply wanted to take a chance on something new. The reader goes on to encourage the author to stop bothering writing the same old mainstream “bulls—t” and continue writing books like what he had just read.
Thanks dude, that actually meant a lot to me.
But for now, I’m going to stick with Mayhem Murder and the PTA. It’s an infinitely better book and engaging mystery. But in the future, who knows? If I feel my creative energy lagging, I might just work on the sequel to stir things up.
And to any writer out there who hasn’t written an erotic novel just for the hell of it--
You might surprise us all.