Yesterday I mentioned that there is a part of me that misses writing romance. I told you that today I would tell you why.
It has to do with something my mother told me.
It was during this one summer when I was about 14 or so. I’d found out about a contest for teen authors. Back then, no one wanted anything written by a kid, so I was always striving to make myself as professional as I could so publishers wouldn’t know I was just a kid. But when I saw this contest, I knew I had to go for it.
I had two months before the deadline. I accomplished about 80 pages in that time. Handwritten. Realizing I had only three days left before I had to mail the story and it still needed typed in proper manuscript format, I spent an entire night awake trying to finish this story. I wrote 40 pages overnight.
The next day, I enlisted my mother’s help to type the manuscript. She often helped my dad as his secretary and she’d had typing classes in school. I hadn’t gotten there, so I was a very slow typist at that time. I knew if I had to do it by myself, I wouldn’t get it in the mail soon enough. So I begged her to help me.
Sometime in the early afternoon, she got up to take a break. I was still typing away. She came to stand by me and her hand set gently on the page that I was typing up. I remember that she didn’t look at me right away. I stopped typing. She said to me, “You know, for someone that has never had a real relationship, you write very well about them.” Then she continued on into the kitchen to get her lemon lime soda pop.
I realized then that she wasn’t only typing my manuscript for me; she was reading it too.
I didn’t win the contest, but considering the length of time it took for me to get a response, I’ve always liked to think that I might have been among the finalists. It didn’t really matter though. My mother had given me a supreme compliment.
After that, she was always telling me that I needed to go write for soap operas. I very nearly did. Until I got dumb and found romance. Then I lifted that cover and saw that the romance of storybooks does not exist. Fortunately, I had good friends who saw that I was writing fantasy cake with romance icing and they convinced me that it was okay as long as I didn’t layer on that icing too thick.
I am foraying back toward romance a little. I have some great ideas involving my novihomidraks (new humans born of the dragons) that I want to write about. I wrote most of a book about a character named Siva and her novihomidrak, Rake, last year. There were some side characters in that story that nearly demanded that I work on their story next, but I convinced them that I wasn’t quite the writer that I needed to be in order to tell the story they wanted me to and that I needed more time. Believe me, I wasn’t lying to them and I’ve been working on techniques in other stories I’ve been working on so that I can get to where I need to be for their story. It’s going to be amazing. But Siva’s “romance” has to come first. I hope my readers forgive me for letting the icing get a little thick on these stories. It’ll be interesting to see how they all turn out. I’m excited about telling them and I love that we now live in a world where people don’t have to be constrained by genre.
Oh, I’m also glad that I the two stories I’d spoken about yesterday didn’t get published as romances. They both came awfully close with publishers, but I now know why the universe took me out of the publishing arena when I got too close to achieving that dream. I wouldn’t have survived as a writer.
As for the manuscript my mother helped me type all these years ago, I do still have the story. I’ve thought about typing it up and putting it online, but I’m afraid that with how much I’ve grown as an author I’d want to be cleaning it up too. I have too many stories like that already. Have I even mentioned my Silver City Seductress story? Yeah, I can laugh now, but there’s a part of me that wants to share that story. I keep trying to figure out if I can rewrite it as an alien sci-fi adventure. I’d be lying if I said that I hadn’t dabbled with that. Someday I will have time to edit some of these older stories. I did that with Let’s Make a Deal. I added very little to that when I edited up and put it out to publication pasture.
Enchantment’s Flame was the title of Elliot’s book back in the day. Maybe I’ll change the name of the character and put it out there some day. Now, if you ever see that title hit my roster, you’ll know.
Until next time, happy adventuring!