Funny how the world changes around you by Cecilia Tan – Release of THE SIREN AND THE SWORD

It’s funny how the world changes around you–or maybe I should say it’s funny how it has changed around me. I feel like my life has been a series of discoveries, where something I like but which isn’t popular, suddenly gets discovered by the mainstream. Like punk and “alternative” music, which were kept off the radio when I was growing up and which were a big part of my identity. I was a college radio DJ in the late 1980s and it was a badge of honor to know about “obscure” bands like The Violent Femmes and the B-52s. But I don’t think those bands necessarily wanted to be obscure. They wanted to make their music and I’m sure the more people listened to it the better! Then the year I graduated college, Billboard Magazine started a new chart for alternative music. By 1994, punk was officially mainstream when bands like Green Day were hitting not just the top of the “alternative” chart, but the regular Top

Well, the same thing has happened in book publishing. I’ve been writing BDSM fiction since 1992 when I self-published Telepaths Don’t Need Safewords. Now all of a sudden BDSM is the hot thing, topping the charts. This works out great for me: a whole new audience is suddenly aware of what I do, stores will carry it, and it’s been a change for the better.

But now it’s happening with some very special books of mine that I didn’t expect it to. I wrote a series called Magic University back in 2009. I was very caught up in Harry Potter fandom at the time and a lot of the talk among us fans as the Harry Potter series was coming to an end was: what happens to wizards after they graduate from Hogwarts? And it seemed to me that from a romance standpoint, life for Harry and his friends was just starting to get interesting when the books ended.

Being a writer, my mind kept returning to these questions. Those ideas are what turned into Magic University. I had started writing romances for a digital-first publisher, but they had told me that the rules of romance stated that the characters had to be 26-30 years old. I thought that was kind of odd. The YA genre leaves off when the characters are 18 or 19 years old, and romance starts up when they are 26 or older… That makes no sense! Most people have their first really intense experiences with falling in love and experimenting with sex in the years between those two genres! What would happen if I wrote about characters who were 19-22? College-age? My editor at the time, Lori Perkins, encouraged me to explore my ideas, both for that age group and my original ideas about how magical universities might work in the United States.

Thus the Magic University series was born. We marketed it as paranormal romance, or maybe as erotic fantasy, because the genre it really belonged with didn’t exist yet.

But remember how the world keeps catching up with me? A few years later “New Adult” emerged as the new, hot genre of romance. And here we are a few years after that, I’m no longer with the old publisher, and I get to re-release the series now as it should have been first done, as LGBT New Adult. Our hero, Kyle, discovers he’s magical the first time he sets foot on the Harvard campus. Like a lot of college freshmen, he arrives still in the mindset of his small town “normal.” That attitude doesn’t last very long, as Kyle discovers he has a talent for erotic magic. When I wrote him Kyle was not only one of the only 19-year-old heroes in romance, he was one of the few bisexual heroes (outside of the menage genre, anyway).

Maybe the next big trend we’ll see in romance is bisexual heroes like Kyle? Well, not quite like Kyle: he’s not like anyone else, which is why his story is so special. I hope readers now are ready to enjoy the adventures of Kyle and his friends at the hidden magical university inside Harvard known as Veritas. Now we can all get schooled!

Cecilia Tan is “simply one of the most important writers, editors, and innovators in contemporary American erotic literature,” according to Susie Bright. Her BDSM romance novel Slow Surrender (Hachette/Forever, 2013) won the RT Reviewers Choice Award in Erotic Romance and the Maggie Award for Excellence from the Georgia Romance Writers chapter of RWA. Tan is the author of many books and her short stories have appeared in Ms. Magazine, Nerve, Best American Erotica, Asimov’s Science Fiction, and tons of other places. She lives in the Boston area with her lifelong partner corwin and three cats. Find out more at

THE SIREN AND THE SWORD is the first book in the Magic University series by Cecilia Tan. This LGBT new adult series tells the story of Kyle Wadsworth, an aspiring poet who discovers he is magical when he gets to Harvard and finds himself sucked into Veritas, the magical university hidden on the campus. There he first sees a beautiful girl who seems magical to him in every way.

Soon Jess Torralva is tutoring Kyle in the ways of magic, sex, and love. But trouble is afoot at Veritas. Rumors abound that a siren is haunting the library, and when Kyle’s best friend is attacked, Kyle is determined to use his newly learned skills in erotic magic to catch the culprit. But which is more important, Kyle’s quest for justice or his search for true love?

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