Involvement in BDSM/Leather
In 1991, Tan joined National Leather Association: New England.
Tan was one of a group of five people who hosted BDSM play parties at science fiction conventions (known as “asb parties” after the newsgroup). The first one was at the July 1991 Gaylaxicon in Tewksbury, Massachusetts, followed soon after by a party at the Philadelphia Science Fiction Conference (Philcon) that November that drew hundreds of participants. Later, other fans took up the hosting duties and Tan ceased hosting these parties.
Alt.sex.bondage was the first place Tan published her erotic science fiction writing; she began to post stories and vignettes there with some regularity in 1991.
In 1992 Tan founded Circlet Press, a publishing house in Cambridge, Massachusetts; it specializes in science fiction erotica, and its publications often feature BDSM themes. Circlet Press was co-winner of Bi Book Publisher of the Year at the 2014 Bisexual Book Awards.
Tan also founded the Fetish Fair Fleamarket in 1992, and went on to direct almost 50 Fetish Fair Fleamarket events throughout New England (in Boston, Providence, and other cities) as well as events in Houston, Atlanta, and Charlotte, North Carolina.
In 2013, Tan’s first BDSM romance novel from a major publisher appeared. Slow Surrender, published by Hachette/Grand Central Publishing, was the first of a trilogy in the newly created romance category of “BDSM billionaire” (created by the publishing industry in the wake of the runaway success of 50 Shades of Grey by E.L. James). Slow Surrender won the RT Reviewers Choice Award in the erotic romance category from RT Book Reviews and the Maggie Award for Excellence given by the Georgia Romance Writers chapter of the Romance Writers of America. It also was nominated for Book of the Year in the erotic category by RT Book Reviews, and Tan herself was nominated by RT for the Lifetime Achievement Award in Erotica.
Tan served on the board of the New England Leather Alliance (NELA).
Tan has described herself as a “Chinese-filipino Irish Welsh bisexual.”
Tan received the Woman Of The Year Award from the National Leather Association-International in 2001, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Leather Association-International in 2004. She also received the President’s Award as part of the Pantheon of Leather Awards in 2009. Her novel The Prince’s Boy was awarded Honorable Mention in both the 2010 Rainbow Awards and the 2010 National Leather Association-International Writing Awards. She and Sarah Desautels received the National Leather Association-International’s Samois Anthology Award for 2010 for their anthology Like a Thorn. In 2010, Tan was inducted into the Hall of Fame for GLBTQ writers at the Saints & Sinners Literary Festival. That same year her online serial, Daron’s Guitar Chronicles, won the inaugural Rose and Bay Award for Crowdfunded Fiction. Circlet Press, the publishing house Tan founded, was co-winner of Bi Book Publisher of the Year at the 2014 Bisexual Book Awards. Tan’s book Slow Surrender won the RT Reviewers Choice Award in the erotic romance category from RT Book Reviews and the Maggie Award for Excellence given by the Georgia Romance Writers chapter of the Romance Writers of America.