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LONDON (Reuters) - It's no secret that good storytelling involves characters who are in opposition to generate controversy -- but author Christine Rose has taken this a step further by developing an opposing second identity as O.M. Grey.
Grey is author of the sexy, paranormal "Avalon Revisited" steampunk novel about English King Henry VIII's brother Arthur, who is depicted as a vampire. Grey also has a steampunk persona in real life, with a multimedia blog that offers candid advice on romantic and erotic troubles.
The entrepreneurial Rose, however, is the author of "Publishing and Marketing Realities for the Emerging Author," and co-author with husband Ethan Rose of the "Rowan of the Wood" young adult fantasy series, which won the 2009 Indie Excellence Award for Young Adult Fiction.
"I've learned what works and what doesn't," Grey said.
"I'm able to compare that with my other persona, Christine Rose. As Christine Rose I take a more traditional route. I've seen a lot more success with Olivia (O.M. Grey)."
Grey, 41, lives with her husband in Austin, Texas, where they manage cooperative independent publisher Blue Moose Press. She is in London working on a new book.
The idea of two separate personas came about as a marketing experiment. By creating O.M. Grey, she was able to deploy techniques she learned about social networking and marketing to generate interest in her work on the Internet.
"What I learned was confirmed by the experiment of Olivia. It was like I burned myself out with over marketing Christine and it wasn't going anywhere," Grey said.
"I realized it was better to keep it simple and focus on one thing."
Steampunk is a science fiction subgenre set in the Victorian era in which steam-powered technology prevails, a sector she expects will soon tip into the mainstream as a popular trend.
But Grey's writing borders on erotica, with readers able to live vicariously through characters caught up in the whirlwind of lust and desire of new relationship energy.
In blog posts and podcasts on "Caught in the Cogs," Grey covers universal challenges faced by people in monogamous, alternative and online relationships.
She opens up discussion on how to end relationships with love and respect, how to establish and re-establish intimacy, how to manage infidelity and ethical concerns.
"Heartbreak is something that people slough off as if it's something that only teenagers deal with, but surviving the loss of a love can be highly traumatic and quite profound," Grey said.
"Many people are too afraid to talk to their significant other so they just say silent and things grow and grow over time until they are sleeping next to a stranger, and they have no idea how to bridge that gap."
In a sign of how thoroughly modern she is, Grey -- who has published 6 e-books under her two identities, 5 of which are also available as print books -- is reaping the benefits of the e-book revolution, which she says is leveling the playing field for distribution.
"Publishers aren't changing fast enough," she said.
"They are working on a century-old business model and it's hurting them and their authors. They are over pricing e-books, which is good for little guys like me."
Writing by Julie Mollins; editing by Elaine Lies