Guest Author: Dee Tenorio – A Different Kind of Girl

Today Dee Tenorio is here to celebrate her latest release. Shaken is available now from Samhain Publishing.


A Different Kind Of Girl

A long time ago, pretty early in my writing “career” (at that time it was still “delusions of grandeur”, lol), a brilliant editor said to me, “You’re going to have to decide the tone that you want to move forward with for your voice and your book…and stick with it.” She said also that my propensity for blending genres—like humor and murder, for example—would put readers off and likely keep me from publishing. It was hard to hear, of course, and incredibly hard to implement, but I really tried to take her advice to heart.

Alas, I failed.

I couldn’t seem to separate the parts of my voice that were simply…me. And let’s face it, I’m weird. In my family, we were brought up to temper the bitter with the sweet. Life is hard enough, try to find something to be happy about in every situation, if only to get through it. It’s just how I think, so I was getting pretty worried now, absolutely sure I would never, ever, sell a book because my stories were just too…different.

I’m not a secrets person, mostly because I cannot lie to save my life, not even on paper. It just never comes out believable. I’m a talker—blame my middle-child nature, I had five siblings and played moderator way too often to let things fester—so, consequently, so are my characters. They generally talk about their issues as they come up or damn quickly afterward, so that blows my simple conflict routes. And I absolutely can’t stand a drama queen, so there’s not many hystronics in my books either. What I generally have are adults facing complicated situations the best way they can while trying to not only keep their dignity, but also do the right thing for everyone involved.

Yeah, I was pretty sure I was doomed.

But then another brilliant editor said something to me that saved my life…and hopefully my career. She said, “Character Is King.” According to her, it’s not really the situation or the convoluted responses that bring a reader into a story. It’s the dimensionality of the characters. If they were real, the readers would connect to them and follow them on their adventures.

I love that editor.

Suddenly, I started thinking, hey, maybe I CAN do this! Maybe my people—adults trying to cope—even if they do so in an awkward or funny or distant way—could be the kinds of characters romance readers might enjoy after all. I mean really, who hasn’t laughed at a funeral? Who hasn’t said the wrong thing at a wedding? Who hasn’t smiled through tears or wanted to stand up to someone who can hurt you?

So I admit it. I try to make my characters real, faults and all. They’re awkward, they’re pretty without being plain or perfect. They have kids who throw up on them and siblings who fight with them and they make mistakes without flipping their hair over their shoulder and storming off. And they do all these things whether they’re in a comedy, a mystery, an erotic romance or a suspense.

It wasn’t that the first editor was wrong. Or that the second editor was right. It was simply that I had to learn who I was as a writer and also learn to find strengths in what made me different. Eh, well, I’m still learning that, of course, and not everyone loves all my work, but that’s okay. I keep a lot of sweet in my pocket for just those occasions.

So tell me, what do you consider one of your personal strengths? Was it a trial to discover it or something you’ve always known about yourself?

Every reader who comments will be entered into a drawing for a free ebook from my backlist, so be sure to post!

Hope to hear from you,

Dee Tenorio has a few reality issues. After much therapy for the problem—if one can call being awakened in the night by visions of hot able-bodied men a problem—she has proved incurable. It turns out she enjoys tormenting herself by writing sizzling, steamy romances of various genres spanning paranormal mystery dramas, contemporaries and romantic comedies. Preferably starring the sexy, somewhat grumpy heroes described above and smart-mouthed heroines who have much better hair than she does.
The best part is, no more therapy bills!
Well, not for Dee, anyway. Her husband and kids, on the other hand…
If you would like to learn more about Dee and her work, please visit her website at or her blog at


Thanks Dee! What a thought provoking post.

Be sure to leave a comment answering Dee’s questions for a chance to win a book from her backlist.
Shaken is available from Samhain Publishing. You can buy it here in e-format.

About Holly

I'm just a girl. Sometimes I'm mad. Sad. Angry. Happy. Amused. Funny. Sarcastic. But then, What Were You Expecting?

Avid reader. Book reviewer. Wife. Mother. Foodie.


  1. Anonymous says:


    Great post and the book looks really good!!

    I am able to communicate with people. Any age, any social level. I love people and find them fascinating. My job as an English teacher for adults brings me together with people from all walks of life. It’s a great job.

    in Germany

  2. goddessani says:

    Hi Dee!!

    Just stopping to post to say hi. I miss the old days of Exploding Cigars and having the chance to chat with you!

    All the best!

  3. One of my personal strengths is my patience. I want to work with children and learn how to improvise situations.
    Thanks for the giveaway.

  4. Hi, Dee (and hi, Ani!)! Patience definitely *isn’t* one of my personal strengths… I think compassion is; I’m a soft touch for a sad story. And I can’t lie to save my life, either–don’t tell me about that surprise party! I just can’t do it! I don’t believe it was a trial to discover these things, but it sure is a learning process… guess that’s life!

  5. Living in an all male household, I learned patience, a sense of the ridiculous, to be the “calm one” in the family, and the fine art of compromise.

  6. Hi Dee! I adore your books for the wonderful, real characters you write that never fail to break my heart at least once or twice during a single book. I downloaded Shaken last night and can’t wait to read it.

  7. I am able to intigrate information from mutiple sources and make it a cohesive whole. Made it fun to write papers in high school.

  8. Howdy Everyone!

    Valerie—oh, how I wish I was a good communicator! I can be loud and I try to be honest, but…well, my mouth is not always connected to my brain, lol. I am a faux paux walking. :)

    Ani!!—Hey, great to see you doll! I’m trying to be more active on my personal blog too, it’d be great to see you there whenever you can drop by! :)

    Stephanie—I thought I was pretty patient, lol. Then I had twins. Either they just burn through it fast or I’ve lost that skill, lol. You are definitely a braver woman than I! :)

    Lori—awww, you made my day! Thank you SO much for the lovely compliment! I hope you enjoy Shaken!!

    Flchen—hey hon, I need you to email me, you’re a winner at a previous site! And for me, that lying thing was definitely a trial. I have five siblings and Mom knew I was the weak lying link, lol. Got us in trouble every time! Suffered many a sore arm for that one!

    Cathy—Living in a home where all us girls were expected to keep up with our brother’s standards, lol, it was much the same way. I can’t sashay, but I can bean somebody in the head at 20 feet! :)

    Lindseye—Can you come over and help me write my proposal outlines, cause my sources are a DISASTER, lol!

    Wow, I gotta say, you gals are COOL!Back in the morning!

  9. Hi Dee, I loved your article, it made me think about what might be my strengths and I decided that my kids are right about me. I get over calm in a crisis – the worse the crisis the calmer I get to make sure I can cope with it.

    It wasn’t anything I really thought about until my daughter pointed out last year, that she knew how bad her Dad was after his heart attack because of how calm I got.

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  11. Well that’s an easy one for me. My middle child was born with Microtia Artresia and Hemifacial Microsomia. No one knows what causes it, I was just given the statistic of 1 in every 10,000 births. I’m going to be honest, when you have a child and you bond with them in your tummy, you expect them to come out perfect. Ten fingers, ten toes, two eyes…You get what I’m saying. My son was born with only one ear. It was a shock at first and I was told that he wouldn’t be able to hear and would need to learn sign language and there are several conditions that usually accompany this. I broke down in the hospital room, was yelled at by the ear specialist for being upset and refused visitors. For the next few months, I struggled to look past it. Hid it with hats, tried to keep it out of pictures. I loved him to no end, but for some reason I always zoomed in on his lack of ear. I went on a anti depressant and started going to cousling so I could get past it. I wanted to not even notice it and not think of the trials he will have when he’s older. I also knew he would pick up on my upset and for it to not bother him it needed to not bother me. We grew his hair long and got several stares and heard whispers from peopl in the store. It was frustrating. It wasn’t until our first trip to childrens hospital in Seattle that I had my eyes opened. Being around many kids who had dissabilities and other problems was like a slap in the face. It’s just an ear and could of been worse. How would I have delt with something else? We cut his hair and continued my cousnling and I’m happy to say, I don’t even notice it anymore. My son is a happy 5 year old now and can speak fine and has above average hearing in his good ear. He has some upcoming surgeries, but he loves his little ear and openly talks about it and calls it his special ear and we often refer to him as nemo with his special fin. My strength was finding something positive in my feelings and turning it into something beautiful. I cannot even imagine him without it, it’s such a part of who he is. It was an internal struggle for me the first few months battling post pardum and all the what’s as I was wondering of sign language and hearing. Everything turned out great and I never realized that I could come from being upset to being the rock as we navigated the hospitals and the never ending appointments. We still have several things coming up, but I am positive the outcomes will be good and we’ll all come through with flying colors

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