Friday, August 10, 2012

Guest SCP author Jeanine McAdam

Sex Sells:  Now My Family Has to Get With the Program

I’ve been a writer of short, sweet romances for a long time.  I started my career writing for the confessions market and expanded into zombie romance with ‘Inhuman Resources’ appearing in the anthology HUNGRY FOR YOUR LOVE.  All my stories ended after the first kiss.
So when I submitted my latest bull riding novella ‘Cowboy’s Toughest Ride’ to Secret Cravings Publishing, I carried on the tradition of resolving the conflict before fingers and mouths found intimate places.  The response, Secret Cravings loved the story.  They would buy it, but…if I spiced things up, I’d probably sell more books.
I wanted to sell more books.  Yes, I could spice things up.  I’m a writer, who cares what the content is, as long as I can write romance.  A month later ‘Cowboy’s Toughest Ride’ was published with three flames (out of four) and the label ‘erotic romance’ appearing promptly under the title.
I was proud of myself.  I pushed my limits, created a story outside my comfort zone and received two five star reviews for my effort.  I held my chin high with a smug smile on my face until a few of the people I loved most learned of my work.
My mother (practicing Presbyterian/retired special education teacher) got anxious, but in a WASPie way.  She kept asking me if it was soft porn?  Did I want my name attached to this type of story?  Maybe a non de plume would be better?  All of this happened after reminding me she wouldn’t be telling her friends about the book.  My father would chuckle in a way that pressed all my buttons and ask, ‘How’s that cowboy book thingy doing?’  At his extremely conservative boarding school my fifteen year old son ‘liked’ the cover on Facebook and took a lot of ribbing from the boys on his dorm floor.  They even threatened to read the passages out loud.
As a result of this, I got nervous and worried.  Remember the puritanical blood runs deep in my veins.  On the night ‘Cowboy’s Toughest Ride’ was released I was up until two in the morning.  Yes, I should have been drinking champagne and celebrating instead I was pacing and rereading the book.  Trying to figure out which parts were the most offensive to someone like my mother.
One particular passage stuck in my mind.  “As his finger slipped deeper into her and nerve endings awakened that had been dormant for two years, Katie panted, pawed at his back and knew she wasn’t walking away from this man tonight.”
In the morning I spoke with my husband.  I started with, “I’m worried about your business.  What if your patients find out your wife writes erotic romance?”
His reply, “I don’t care.”  He poured orange juice, scratched himself and made faces at the dog.
“What if the women working for you find out?”
“They don’t care.”
I tried to express my feelings again.  He interrupted, “I don’t give a flying fuck. You’re good, you write a good story, stop navel gazing and focus on the next one.”  A few more curse words were thrown in to get his point across.
This is why I love my husband.  Yes, he can be gruff and he sometimes curses like a sailor but he cut to the heart of the issue.  I’m a good writer and I need to continue writing.
‘Cowboy’ has been out for two months.  My parents are still concerned.  My son hasn’t gotten any less embarrassed.  But, besides those three nothing else has happened except that my friends are super happy for me and I’m back to feeling proud.  And when I get teased, here’s how I explain it.
Writing is a business.  I have a product.  There is a consumer (the reader) interested in buying that product.  In other words, the market is demanding a certain type of story.  I fulfill that market.  My stories aren’t about me or how I kiss my husband, they are about how my character’s feel, react and love.

Like every small business owner I try to create the best product I can.  By the way, ‘Cowboy’s Toughest Ride’ received another five star review.  Yippee!

Jeanine McAdam’s latest story ‘Cowboy’s Toughest Ride’ is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Secret Cravings Publishing.  Besides appearing in HUNGRY FOR YOUR LOVE, An Anthology of Zombie Romance, Jeanine has published twenty-five short stories with True Romance and True Confessions (True Renditions LLC.).

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  1. Great post Jeanine. I think every erotic writer goes through this one way or another. A sense of doubt right when we should be at our happiest. I write under a pen name and my mother still says, "Are you writing about things that would embarrass the family?" Needless to say, she doesn't tell anyone her daughter is a published writer and no one in my family has read one book I've written. I have to say my husband is my biggest champion. He tells everyone I'm a writer, even the guy at the comic book shop!!!

  2. I enjoyed your post, Jeanine. I think we can all relate. I know that some of my family disapproves, and it's even worse when your friends talk like what you're writing is worse than porn, even if they're joking. My mom went as far as to tell everyone on her Facebook that her daughter wrote Smut. I was a little angry, but then I reminded myself that there's no such things as bad publicity, right?

    We all have our horror stories, but we shouldn't be ashamed of living our dreams. Just like people shouldn't be embarrassed to read a steamy romance novel out in public. Everyone has sex, sex is all over the Internet and t.v. We're not hurting anyone or forcing them to buy our books. So, relax and enjoy it.

    I'm so happy that your husband is supportive, and I agree with his advice. Keep writing and as long as you're happy, enjoy it. I'm reminded of what Anaïs Nin said about writing erotica (when she was writing erotica in the 50's for 1.00 a page). She said we don't write about clinical, pornographic love without feeling. We write about love and desire in relationships.

  3. Jeanine, I love your post. When I see some of the anguish writers go through from people close to them, it makes me so grateful to have a husband in my corner urging me to keep on writing and putting my work out there. I am so glad you have one too. They are worth their weight in gold.


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