I ran out of “orginal” ideas for this week’s blog, so I’m pulling up a post I orginially did earlier this year for Nanny Berry’s GNBStacks Blog. Please sit back and enjoy! Don’t foget to swing by Jill Archer’s place on Friday, 9/21/12, to check out my interview with her. If you don’t know (and how could you not?) her debut Urban Fantasy, DARK LIGHT OF DAY was just released so please show some love, I’d hate for her to think I don’t have any friends!
I discovered a very painful and humbling lesson recently…you never really grow up.
Let’s sketch you a picture of me, so you have a starting point. I am a mature (okay… over thirty… fine… forty) woman who has labored long and hard to raise two wonderful boys in this crazy world while trying to be the Suzy homemaker partner (minus the cooking part) to her hubby of fifteen years (and that’s no easy feat!) while handling both a job that pays the bills and following that illusive dream of being a writer. Somewhere in there I also have to lay claim to a walking fur rug, a pair of even more mature than me in-laws, a rowdy critique group known as the 7 Evil Dwarves, a couple of very close friends and, most importantly, my mom.
One of the things I treasure most about my mom is the fact that through the years I’ve had a fellow reader with whom I can spend hours discussing plots, character motivation, description and world building of the books we’ve both read. We’d delve into the worlds of Lisa Jackson, Iris Johansen, Nora Roberts and so many others. All those romances she had tucked neatly into piles while I was growing up, became my own personal library. She pretended not to notice when I’d sneak them out to read while I was in high school. And even when my tastes turned to those stories where magic and mayhem existed side by side, we still found common ground for our discussions.
Now when I was offered my first publishing contract with Black Opal Books for my Urban Fantasy, Shadow’s Edge, she was the first one I called. I mean, come on… she’s been there from the get go. From the moment I took over my spot at the dinner table with my electric typewriter, which never moved until I graduated from high school, through the whole artistic college years where I fought not to get a “real” job so as not to dilute my writing dream, to when I wised up about the fact a roof and food might be good things to aspire to, my mom has never once told me I wouldn’t make it. Instead, she never faltered in her belief of me and my ability to actually get my stories in print. So of course I’m going to call her so I can ramble in this really high pitch voice only my walking fur rug could probably hear, about how “I GOT A CONTRACT!” Of course, the panicked breathing was probably a dead giveaway of what was happening since I’m not sure she could actually hear the words in-between the squeals. Regardless, she’s my biggest cheering squad.
The greatest conversation I could ever have occurred shortly after my Urban Fantasy, Shadow’s Edge, came out. Within days she called me to tell me how this was the first time she actually enjoyed reading an Urban Fantasy story. I was so thrilled. My mom loves her romances and her romantic thrillers, so the fact that she had a hard time putting down my book? Even knowing she’s biased didn’t dampen my joy!
So the months pass, and my second UF, Shadow’s Soul is now off to my gorgeous and highly accomplished editor’s desk (no, seriously, she really is…I’m not sucking up!). I’m visiting my mom and my magnificent sister and my fabulous nieces, up north. We’re chatting away about writing and books and some of my earlier reviews, when suddenly the conversation turns.
Magnificent sister turns to me and says, “So, since one of the reviewers mentioned there weren’t any sex scenes in your first book, what happens in the second?” A waggle of eyebrows follows.
Remember the part about me being a “mature” woman? Yeah, well, I can feel my cheeks doing their impression of a sunburn. “Umm…yeah…there’s a couple of scenes in the second one.”
Magnificent sister with evil twinkle in her eye, “ Reeeaallly?”
I try really hard not to squirm because I am a mature adult talking to other mature adults about something perfectly natural…maybe if I say it enough I’ll actually believe it. “Yes, really. So about lunch tomorrow…”
My bid for a subject change whizzes by like a mosquito and is batted away by my sister who’s moving from Magnificent to Tease. “I’m not so sure I’m going to be able to read these knowing my sister has written them. “
Under the bright eyed visages of both my mom and my sister I scramble for some pithy response. I come up empty. Instead I say, “So you can skip the pages.” I pause and then quickly spit out, “Actually, I’d be thrilled if you and mom would both skip those pages. I’ll even send you the page numbers if it helps.”
Feminine laughter feels the living room and I get the feeling I’m completely out of luck with this one. Here’s the thing, when I hit those scenes in Shadow’s Soul, I knew my mom was going to be reading them and I don’t care how old you are, there is something about your mom getting a peek into your lurid side that takes a good twenty plus years off your age. The hardest part about those sex scenes? Turning off that little voice in my head that kept up a running commentary: Really? You think that’s a good word choice? Your mom is going to see this, didn’t she raise you better than that? The little tsking sound a few minutes later—“Really? Good girls don’t even think about that! Are you trying to embarrass your darling mother?”
It took a great deal of very loud music to drown that pesky little voice out, but I managed. But still, the urge to close your office door, take your phone off the hook and the quick side-glances to make sure your children/spouse/friends aren’t peeking over your shoulder never fade. Seriously, no matter how old you are, in some things you just never get to grow up!