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You write what???

For a few months now, I’ve been asked directly and indirectly how those who I know personally react when I tell them that I write romance–particularly my close friends and family and those I go to church with.

There is no simple answer, really, everyone reacts differently.

My mom (who will read this, I’m sure, and might scold me later) is a huge romance reader, however, she always requests that I send her what I call the “Mama Mia Style” version of my books, so when the hero and heroine go to the bedroom (or field or wherever), before anything happens, I delete the scene and write DOT DOT DOT. (If you’ve seen the movie or play Mama Mia, when the girl is reading her mother’s diary from the summer she was conceived, every time something happened, she’d write, “dot dot dot”.) It’s not that she’s never read a book with this in there, she just doesn’t like to think about me, her daughter, writing it or having knowledge of certain things.

My husband, loves the books and he likes to play the game of “which chapter do they have sex?” He usually teases me and says the last chapter for sure. He’s one of my biggest supporters actually, and it’sΒ because of him that anyone in my personal life other than he and my parents know.

The story of what I do first surfaced on Facebook. Of course. My husband didn’t think it should be a secret (and I did!) and made a post… From there, it pretty much went viral amongst his friends, some of which are mine and members of our church. Okay, ‘viral’ might be too strong of a word here, I just thought it went viral at that point because so many people suddenly seemed to know; but I was wrong. There are still people just now finding out. More on this in a bit.

Most of our friends didn’t care one way or the other, but there were a few who every time I see them they want to talk about the books and characters.

Naturally, there were a few people at the church who disagreed. Some made their feelings known, some didn’t. With the exception of one couple who is a good set of friends of my husband and I, a lot of the talk at first was negative. Not that I was awful at writing, negative, just that I should find something else to do that’s more in line with their beliefs. It was around this time, I received a public criticism on one of my books that didn’t help my case with the church. It claimed my book was utter filth, not because there was marital intimacies in the book, but that it was taken too far. Though I doubt the person who confronted me about it had actually read the book to make a decision for themselves, they kindly suggested that perhaps if I was going to continue to write trash, I should step down from my position.

It was at this point that I put up a shell, and when only a few days later was confronted by a group of ladies at my church about it, I declared loud and clear that I’m an adult entertainer!

Surprisingly, this was where things turned around.

A few in that group that day weren’t as offended as the others thought they might be and since then, word has slowly spread across the church and I’ve had countless ladies come up and admit to loving that particular type of book. This confession always makes me nervous because I just know they’re going to ask what name I write under…

To date, I’ve had about a dozen ladies and one gentleman other than my husband ranging from early thirties to their eighties from my church read my books. Most of them were people I would have NEVER thought would have ever read this type of book before. When I know someone is going to read one, I always, always, always, give a disclaimer about what they’ll find. One lady shocked me to the toes when she nearly squealed and said, “Oh, the smuttier, the better!”

While there are still some who may not know, or who do know and chose not to say anything, once I’d quit hiding behind the computer screen about it, I’ve actually had a very positive reaction. And other than having them read the books just for entertainment value, I’ve actually become better friends with a few of them because of this (weird, I know). I’m not sure if they saw me as the 15 year old I was when I moved there or if maybe before my “confessional” I had an invisible force field around me that made me unapproachable, but for one reason or another, I’ve become friends with several who I barely spoke to before.

These days, I don’t bother to keep it a secret. Whether it’s someone at potluck, a church fundraiser, the realtor, or someone over the phone, if someone asks what I do, I grin and tell them, “I’m an adult entertainer, and for less than five dollars, I can keep you entertained all day.”

Some laugh. Some don’t. That’s okay, because as my husband tells me all the time, there is so much of me in my books, that if you don’t like my books you won’t like me and if you do like my books, you’ll like me as a person. I’m okay with that. Take me or leave me, I am who I am. I don’t cry to get out of tickets. I don’t pretend to like people I don’t. I don’t join the crowd to say something bad about something even if I like it just to stay with the majority. I’m different and if that makes me unpopular, so be it.

A funny story.

The other night I was up at the church holding an informal staff meeting and doing paperwork for an organization I’m involved in (as you can tell, I did not give up my position, instead, I took a passive aggressive approach and went against my usual beliefs and sent that particular book off to a review blogger. After she wrote her piece, declaring the book was not trash, the lady backed down). While I was doing my paperwork, this young lady about my age came into the room and said, “I didn’t know you wrote books.”

I nodded and before I could say anything, this lady’s dad came in and joined the conversation. “Yeah, we were talking about it at lunch today and thought it was pretty neat that we had a children’s author in our church.”

I about choked on my gum and the two other ladies who were in there for my staff meeting started laughing hysterically–both have read at least one series. “Who told you?” I choked out.

“Fred. He mentioned, blah, blah, blah.”

“And he said I was a children’s author?”

“Well, no. I just assumed…”

Coughing and banging on my chest like John Banks might do when caught in a fib or an uncomfortable situation, I tried my best to hold a straight face. “They’re not children’s books. But some do result in having children.”

It didn’t take but a second for it to sink and his eyes to flare wide. But then he just shrugged and started asking for details.

A little weird, yes. But that’s my life and I certainly love it.

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22 thoughts on “You write what???”

    1. It kind of fits under the old Shakespeare line: “The lady doth protest too much”, doesn’t it.

      One of my church friends has another theory as to why a certain individual disapproves, but it goes right in line with the dot. dot. dot. theory.

  1. YAY!!! I finally got my post. Seriously, thank you for writing it and being your usual honest self. I am glad that you have had mostly positive reactions and I have to agree with Tami about the ones who are or were protesting loudest. I am glad you retained your position in the church and that you have friends there who have read your books and have even made new friends as well. It doesn’t sound like your pastor had anything to say about it.

    I love how you edit the books for your mom. I would probably have to do the same thing. In fact, there are many books I read, yours included, where I wish I could edit them to give to my mom. I am sure she has read books with sex scenes in them but none of those books have been shared with by me or with me and even at my age when I share a book with my mom I would feel a little embarrassed to have her know that I read those exact same words.

    Thank you again for posting about this. Now I will have to come up with something else to bug you about. Hmmmmm.

    1. You’re welcome. I’m glad I’ve satisfied your curiosity.

      I haven’t done a Mama Mia style book in a while for her as I don’t want to accidentally upload that copy for purchase. Could you imagine the outrage at that:

      This book was good until I got to the part where John carried Carolina over the threshold, then suddenly all there was was: DOT DOT DOT. When I flipped the page, it was the start of the next chapter. NOT happy!!! I want my money back!

  2. thanks for sharing with your usual wit. I told someone once that i worked in an adult clothing store and Im convinced my subconscience got that from you lol.

      1. You can take credit for the slip. Although all the ladies that heard me say it thought it was funny since they all know where I work and have all shoped there themselves.

  3. You SHOULD be proud of who you are and what you do. You definitely have a gift. And piggy-backing on what Tami said…the ones who are protesting the loudest probably have copies of 50 Shades of Grey hiding under their beds…LOL. (Disclaimer: I have not read the book nor am I criticizing anyone who has read it. I’m just using it as an example.) πŸ˜‰

    1. Thanks, Heather!

      I haven’t read 50 Shades, either, nor do I plan to, but I’ve heard enough about it to know what it entails. Actually, come to think of it, I had a reader who I actually got to meet in person when I went to Florida for that writers’ conference ask me if I’d read it! I’d heard a little about it before then, but when I got home, I looked it up.

  4. Great post! I loved the story about being a children’s author…ha!

    I guess I’m lucky that I don’t have to worry about sharing with the mom and editing. My mom usually passed on the books to me…even as a teenager. πŸ˜‰

    1. Yeah, the children’s author part just totally floored me. I guess if that’s how people want to think about it, who am I to stop them?

      I read one of my mom’s Harlequins when I was a teen, but I’m not sure I even got to the steamy part. Not that Harlequins are very steamy from what I hear.

      Edited to add 15 seconds after posting: Okay, some Harlequins are steamy, but only those that fall into a certain line like Blaze.

  5. I don’t edit my books for my mom, but sometimes I’m a little embarrassed that she reads my love scenes. But SHE isn’t embarrassed at all!

    I write under a pen name just because of my church affiliation, which is VERY conservative. My husband is a deacon, and I wouldn’t want to embarrass him for anything. My love scenes are mild compared to most of what is written these days, and only a very few have actual sex in them, although there is a lot of sexual tension. I’m not sure what would shock my fellow church members the most…the sexual aspect or the paranormal aspect. The hardest part of this anonymity is that my mom can’t brag to everyone that “my daughter is an author!”. Seriously, it just kills her. LOL

    1. I have a family member who doesn’t like the Mama Mia Style books and complains, but it’s a HE and I just want to crawl under a rock to think about this person reading my sex scenes.

      I actually go to a really conservative church. It might not sound that way, but I do. It’s so conservative in fact that I took a group of kids from our church school to the fair last week and actually had one ask when the bird (the stork) brought the mama goat her babies?! Sometimes it amazes me at how narrow-minded some people are, but it’s my church and I do love them.

      I think what makes my books “kosher” is that sure there’s sex, but it falls inline with our belief of: wedding before bedding. So though it’s descriptive, they really can’t say that I’m setting a poor example.

  6. I think more Christians read sex than they’ll ever admit. Good for you for sticking your ground and being honest about it. Sex within marriage is a beautiful thing. Once people come to understand what the Song of Solomon is really talking about, I think they “get it”. And if God would put such a descriptive sex scene in the Bible, I see no reason not to add one in a book.

  7. It annoys me that anyone would call your books smut or trash because that is so not true at all; apparently my definition of smut and theirs are far off. As I’ve told you from the very beginning, I love every single word you write, even if I don’t like the characters {LADY OLIVIA, I AM TALKING TO YOU!} And I’m pretty darn sure that I’d like you as a person offline after not just reading your books, but the countless conversations we’ve had. It annoys me that we are judged by those who know better {apparently they forget about not judging lest they be judged…} without all the facts being present. Also? I know it has to be a bit crushing when you get a negative review or criticism, but for every one, there are at least five of us who are laughing and telling our friends YOU HAVE TO READ THIS BOOK.

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