People I Know Are Reading My Books (and it’s weird)

“My mother says she’s going to buy your book when it comes out.” Housemate told me this, last night, during our weekly grocery run. My cart stopped in mid-aisle. Housemate’s mom (we shall call her Hmom) does not, as a rule, read, and she has never, to my knowledge, read romance. Best as I know, when Hmom does read, it’s old Hollywood biographies, and Chasing Prince Charming is…not.

“Your mom knows this is a romance novel, right?” I asked Housemate, trying to sound casual. Housemate assures me Hmom does. She wants to see what I write. Um, she does know there is adult content in this book, right? She does. This led into a discussion of how I am usually the first one to say that I find it funny when people get squidgy about women of a certain age reading mature content, because, well, they are mature. Since Housemate is older than me, she is literally living proof that Hmom knows what sex is, and was having it before I was born. She was married for multiple decades, and so there is very little chance that Melva and I are going to shock her.

Neither, for that matter, is there a lot of sex in this book. Neither is sex the entire point. That would be erotica. I write love stories. Contemporary or historical, alone or in collaboration, I write love stories. Romance. Sometimes there is sex on the page, sometimes there is not. It all depends on the story, and on the line and/or publisher where the particular book appears. I know, very well, that Hmom knows what love is, so I should be fine, but, still, this is the first time I have ever been squidged about knowing somebody I know in real life is going to read one of my books.

This has not come up with Hmom before, because history is not her thing, and has not come up with others, because I have not had a lot of romance readers among my IRL people. For those about to comment, “hey, I know you, and I read your books,” A) thank you, and B) I mean people whose reading of my books would squidge me. Housemate? Total non-squidge. Real Life Romance Hero does not read my fiction, and, anyway, I prefer to leave his reading of my anything on the high note of the time he came out of the bathroom, with a copy of a newsletter that I then wrote for, asking if I had read this amazing article (I think it was about Star Trek: The Next Generation) and if I knew who wrote it. I told him I did. It was me. We will leave his reactions at that, because let’s face it, hard to top that one.

Pastor squidge is not even a thing. My pastor knows what I write, and, while I don’t think he’s going to read any of my books, his wife or mom might. His daughter, well, check back in seventeen years. His mom’s only admonishment was that she wishes I would write a Victorian romance, because that’s her favorite era. Miss Lana, if I ever write a Victorian, that book will be for you. I do have one Edwardian, Never Too Late, which is as close as I have come so far, but who knows what the future holds?

Right now, I am watching the email for both the release letter from The Wild Rose Press, and word on my submission of A Heart Most Errant to another house. We will see how that goes, but it feels good having stuff in the works, and it reminds me that I really do want to add a submission/release tracker to either my traveler’s notebook or my writing planner. I had originally planned for this post to be about refining my visual aesthetic, which ties into author branding, aka what kind or write I am, both on my own and with others.

That’s going to be a different post, because a) Hmom reading my book (Housemate assures me that yes, Hmom plans to actually read the book, not just buy it and have it, and b) I want to take my planners down to the bones and build them back from the ground up, closer to the way I want and actually use them. insert profound comment about how starting the second half of the year being a good time for a new start here. Speaking of which, it is now time for the actual fiction writing part of the day, so I that’s it for this post. At least one reader is waiting.

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