Monday, September 24, 2012

Don't Ask, Don't Tell



Last night, (or early this morning, if you want to get technical), I finished reading Cari Quinn’s “No Flowers Required,” the August Brazen release from Entangled Publishing.  I devoured the story with the same sort of gusto and intensity I usually reserve for the five-nut brownie at Houston’s. 

Appropriate, as it turns out, ‘cause just like the brownie, “No Flowers Required” was hot, sweet and oh-so-satisfying.  Judging by its rank on USA Today’s bestseller list, I’m not the only reader to think so.  But setting aside the sexy hero, the clever dialogue, and the super-steamy love scenes, it was the dedication page that caught my eye.  The opening line read, “To my biggest fan, my mom, even though I don’t let her read my books.” 

I am so, pathetically, on board with that rule when it comes to my writing.  Not as applied to Cari Quinn’s mom – she can read my books if she wants – but to my own mom.  Just like CQ, my mom is, hands down, my biggest fan.  Considering I’m not published yet, Mom is pretty much my only fan.  And she’s insanely supportive of my writing career.  She bragged to her bridge buddies whenever I finished a manuscript.  She showered me with encouragement every time a rejection letter darkened my mailbox.  When Entangled Publishing requested a full manuscript in response to an open submissions call I’d responded to, she babysat my little guy for hours on end so I could submit something, (this century), that actually matched the synopsis I’d pitched.  She’s proofed blurbs, corrected query letters and edited opening chapters.  But despite several requests, I’ve yet to let her read an entire manuscript.

Why?  Umm … because of the sex.   I write what I like to read, which means I try to imbue my intimate scenes with the same fun, action-packed … ah … inventiveness I strive for in the work as a whole.  Whether I fall short or far exceed that goal, I really don’t want my mom reading it.  Mom scoffs at my prudishness, and insists she’s not only read plenty of racy stuff, she’s even had sex a time or two.  At this juncture in the discussion, I usually shove my fingers in my ears and chant, “La, la, la, la, la,” at the top of my lungs.     

Perhaps not the most mature reaction but, quite honestly, it’s not about maturity, or what my mom has already read or done.  It’s about  what I know, or, more specifically, what she might realize I know after reading one of my stories, which is stupid, because I’m not writing an autobiography, for God’s sake, and, even if I was, I’m a grown-ass woman.     Sadly, I can hit this hang-up with all the logic I want, but it won’t go away.  There’s only one thing more painful than imagining my mom reading my stories, and that’s envisioning my father reading them.  Thank God he’s dead.  Wait … that came out wrong.  What I mean is … well … you know what I mean.

A day of reckoning looms on the horizon.  If the contract I signed with Entangled unfolds as planned, their Brazen line will release my debut novel in digital format later this year, and then the whole thing spirals out of my control.  Mom’s got a Kindle and she knows how to use it.  At that point, I’m going to introduce a new rule.  I call it, “Don’t ask, don’t tell.”  Admittedly, this policy sucked for Uncle Sam, but I think it might work perfectly for Mom and me.

Got a better policy?  Enlighten me!

14 comments:

  1. Congrats on your sale. I think you're underestimating your mom. She'll probably love it.

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    1. Ideally, I'll never know! :) Thanks for the congrats and the comment.

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  2. Hey, I'm a fan of yours, too!

    I so know what you mean here. My mom has been incredibly supportive, too, but when it came time to reading my work, I never let her. Then my novella released and she really wanted to read it so for Mother's Day we got her a Nook with my book included on it. :) She said she loved it - what else is she going to say? - but we left it at that.

    I can't wait to read your book!

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    1. Thanks! You can put me in your mom's camp. I loved "Worth The Risk," -- sexy bits and all.

      Worlds (second) biggest Robin Bielman fan.

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  3. I remember discussing this topic with my mother. She's very broadminded. Thank goodness because she's read several manuscripts and has said she enjoyed the stories. In fact she gave me tips on one of them : )

    Congrats again, on the sale.

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  4. Cute! I guess I'm, well, lucky isn't the word, but my father has really bad eyesight. My mom passed away before I was published.

    I'm sure DADT will work just fine for you and your mom!

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    1. There's always option two, which involves me stealing her Kindle when she's not looking. But she's pretty eagle-eyed and, frankly, she runs faster than me, so ...

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  5. Huh. I was expecting something totally different when I clicked on the link. I thought this post would have something to do with the one year anniversary of the end of the US Military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy, which was last week. Instead, it's a post about your discomfort regarding your mother reading your romance novels.

    I'm frankly a little upset about the whole thing. DADT, an intolerant and exclusionary policy, has not only ruined careers and lives, but has caused patriotic young men and women to hide behind lies, perjuring themselves in order to serve their country. Comparing this to not wanting your mother to read your sex scenes is more than a bit distasteful to me.

    This is personal to me. I know people who have been forced out of the military because of their sexual orientation and I don't find this kind of comparison humorous or light hearted. It's unfortunate that you do.

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  6. Having had the wonderful pleasure of reading your writing, I can say that I don't match your sexy stuff with my books. Having said that, I like to think I can get jiggy with it from time to time in my books. My mom used to read my books(she is currentlylike your father)and would say. "I read your books and think, my daughter wrote this." I figured there was a good way and a bad way to take that and chose the good way. :) Like your mother, my mother had had sex a time or two as well. I named a character after her in one of my books, and she was very pleased...
    Miss you mom!

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    1. From "Courting His Favorite Nurse," to "Dr. Tall, Dark & Dangerous?" to "One for the Road," you bring jiggy and classy together into swoon-worthy scenes every single time. Eagerly awaiting "Too Close For Comfort," but, trust me, when it comes to writing , that's the one thing you could never be!

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  7. My mom is my best beta-reader/critque partner! Luckily she's a huge fan of romance and we're both very open, so it's no problem for her to read (even edit) the sex scenes. My dad, on the other hand, loves my books, but skips the naughty bits. He said he tried once, but couldn't do it! lol. I can't blame him. So he skips ahead and picks back up when the plot continues... hehehehe.

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  8. See, now, I was about to nominate your mom for Parent of the Year, but then came your dad ... that he loves your stories and skips the naughty bits is sweet and awesome at the same time.

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