Monday, December 10, 2007

When Worlds Collide...

by Christine Wells
It's a unique and wonderful place, Romanceland. We talk with other romance lovers about heroes and heroines, black moments, first meets, Big Mis-es to our hearts' content and without self-consciousness. Romanceland has its own language, its own code. We know the tropes, the stars, the classic stories that become our 'keepers'. We gossip about SEP, JAK, La Nora. We chortle at coversnark and club together in communities like the Bandits because Romanceland is just so darned fun.

We sometimes forget there's that other place out there--the Outer Darkness that is not Romanceland. And never has that been brought home to me more than now, when my friends and family, all Children of The Outer Darkness (COTOD) are reading my first novel.

When Scandal's Daughter was released I threw a launch party, which Foanna/Anna Campbell and Denise Rossetti and Downundergirl/Amy Andrews attended, among others. Besides fellow writers, the 'others' were friends, former work colleagues and family, COTODs to a man. And in that gorgeous, ultra-feminine romance bookshop, beneath the chandeliers, surrounded by cedar bookcases filled with romance novels of every description, it happened. My two very separate worlds collided. Romanceland in all its glittery glory crashed into The Outer Darkness with a shower of gold sparks.

And now my life will never be the same.

The comments filter back through to me via third parties, family members, friends. "Oh, I'll never be able to look at her the same way again!" or from a male friend "Feel as if I ought to have a cigarette now I've finished that book." One of my husband's friends phoned another on the night of the launch to chortle like a schoolboy over the 'naughty' bits. This was before they'd even reached the carpark. To me, it's strange that they focus on the 'naughty' bits because, living in Romanceland, I know there's much raunchier stuff out there. I don't really mind as it's all in good fun. But it's still weird and somehow...icky.

My work friends have always been supportive and seem to get a real kick out of 'Pristine Christine' writing romance. There was only one fly in the ointment at a work-related party, a woman I'd just met, who decided to patronize me. I was quite astonished, as I'm not used to being patronized *g*, but after trying in subtle ways to put down romance writing (she is working in the same job I was before I left the Firm) she looked at me pityingly and said, "Do you ever wonder what could have been if you hadn't given up?"

I wish I'd thought of some witty quip to shoot back at her, but I just said, no, I was happy writing novels and looking after my children, thanks very much.
And you know, much as it would be nice to put the COTOD in their place now and again when they scoff and giggle about romance, it's enough that I know the truth--I'm having the time of my life, doing what I love. And that, my friends, is a dream come true.

So, now, over to you! Have you ever had that embarrassing, awkward or just plain surreal moment when two totally separate existences suddenly merge? How did you handle it? Have you been called on to defend your choices lately? How did you do it? I'm giving away a signed copy of Scandal's Daughter to one lucky commenter!

Recipe? I don't need no stinkin' recipe!
Thinking about Christmas favourites made me realize that most of my traditional preferences are stuck in a time-warp. You have one great Christmas dish as a kid and then you want it year in, year out, so my family recipes are all circa the Cordon Bleu Cookbook of 1981. But as my gift to all the harried, tired mothers of the world who never really get a break on Christmas Day, here is the easiest Christmas dessert ever, because your guests do most of the work. And I'm doing this from memory but I think it will be ok.
1 platter of seasonal fruit, bite-sized
a bunch of skewers soaked in water for a few hours
1 small bowl of white rum
1 small bowl of dark brown sugar
1 small bowl of whipped cream (the real stuff, please, not that fire extinguisher foam you get from a can--although on second thoughts, a fire extinguisher might come in handy:)
Methylated spirits
1 small fireproof container to burn methylated spirits in
Pour the methylated spirits into the fireproof bowl and light.
Skewer your fave fruit chunk, dip in rum, roll in sugar to coat, hold over flame to melt sugar.
Dip in cream as desired.
Warning--wait for the brown sugar to cool or you'll burn your tongue!
Bon apetite and merry Christmas to all!


Donna MacMeans said...

I got the rooster! I got the rooster! Oh, happy me!!

Donna MacMeans said...

Christine - what fun - I'm experiencing a bit of the clashing of worlds myself. My dear sweet aunt emailed me on the family loop to say I should have titled my book The XXX-rated Education of Mrs. Brimley *g* However she went on to say that she enjoyed it, but I ended it too soon. I should have shown how the characters matured in marriage. Not a romance reader.

My niece emailed (same loop) to say she was almost done, and found the story had lots of surprises - probably that her aunt exactly KNEW that stuff *g*. My sister-in-law said that she hasn't read beyond the first two pages, but a friend really liked the book alot. And another niece said she might actually read the book as she's snowed in at the moment.

I've only received one awkward glance from a client, but as tax season hasn't started yet, I haven't had to face many. I prefer to think that its the snow that has kept my neighbors from being social, and not that they've read the book and have passed judgement.

But even if they have - I love writing Romance and plan to continue as long as I can pound away on a keyboard *g*

Fedora said...

Woohoo, Donna! Congrats on the GR :)

What a great blog, Christine! I'm drawing a blank at the moment on the colliding of different worlds (with some relief ;)) I don't write romance, but do read a ton of it and don't actually advertise that (nor do I slink about hiding my books from the kids...yet) I wonder how much longer I have before they'll be curious what it is I'm reading...

Christine Wells said...

Hi Donna! Well done! It's so nice to see someone new walking away with the Golden Rooster.

Snorked about your aunt! My great aunt insisted on reading it. She's in her nineties! I feel like sticking my fingers in my ears and singing lalalala every time someone I know mentions having read my book. I convinced myself they'd buy it out of politeness and not read it. NOT SO!

But I'm sure you are gaining many loyal fans with the delightfully naughty Mrs B! Thanks for commenting and keep that rooster safe from P226, won't you?

Keira Soleore said...

Donna! Shoot! No, no, not the GR. I thought I'd get to be the first. (sigh)

Keira Soleore said...

Heyyy, I'm #4, not even #2.

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, how can this be? It's freakin' 1:34am on the east coast!!! How can I NOT get the (*(^^%%$$ GR???@!!!!

All right, in the interests of good sportsmanship, Donna, congratulations. And at least you've busted that odd monopoly Jennifer and P226 seemed to have on the bird. That can only be for the good ;-)

Christine, what a fantastic post. It is like two completely different universes colliding when that happens, isn't it? Mind you, occasionally, I've been really pleasantly surprised. The couple across the road from me bought CTC - much as I told them not to. Hmm, don't tell my publisher I said that, but really, who wants to have to slink around watering the garden and avoiding meaningful looks for the rest of her life. Not this little black duck, uh...rooster.

Even worse, she hasn't read it yet. But he has. So SHE told me. I thought he was avoiding the subject. Anyway, I was over there the other evening and had a hugely perceptive conversation about the character arcs in the story with him. He'd never read a romance before but he REALLY enjoyed it. Mind you, I was too embarrassed to bring up how he coped with the naughty bits! Just goes to show life can surprise you sometimes, can't it?

Jennifer Y. said...

ROFL Donna!!! Well, I think the other animals got jealous of the GR and decided to slow down my computer.

I don't write romance, but most of my family do not understand my love of the genre. My mother, sister, and sister-in-law all read romance, but not quite as much as me (they are convinced I need a 12-step program for my book addiction...LOL). My mother will only read contemporary romances with babies, kids, or pregnant heroines in them. My sister prefers contemporary romantic suspense. My sister-in-law doesn't get to read that much anymore. And well, I will read anything...doesn't matter to me what subgenre if the story sounds good. As for the males in the family I get the headshakes, smut-book comments, dirty-book comments, etc. But I just ignore them...I don't tease them about thier reading habits (or lack of reading habits) so don't feel they should make fun of mine...there are habits out there I could have that are a lot worse than reading...

Recently my mother went to a huge author signing with me. As I stood their in awe of authors and scared to speak to most of them, she just silently laughed at me (I could see it in her eyes). She didn't quite understand that to me, authors are rock stars. It is one thing to tell y'all how much I love your books online, but a whole 'nother ballgame to do it in person. She kept telling me to go talk to someone...that is what you came for...LOL.

Another funny instance of real life colliding with my love of romance happened recently at my brother's house. I heard one of my twin 4-year-old nephew's gasp. Fearing he had hurt himself or something, I quickly asked him what was wrong. His mouth forming an O of surprise and with eyes as wide as saucers, he slowly pointed to the cover of a romance book that was sitting in front of me and quietly whispered, "Look." Confused, I looked at the fully-clothed couple on the cover and couldn't figure out what was wrong...until he pointed to their faces. "Oh, they are kissing?" I asked through tears of laughter as I figured out his problem. He shook his head yes, his eyes still huge with shock. My dad, who had been sitting nearby, said, "They are just kissing. Haven't you seen Mommy and Daddy do that? I know you have seen Mommy kiss Charlie (referring to their huge chocolate labrador retriever)." To which my 8-year-old nephew piped up, "Yeah, Mom kisses the dog and he is big and hairy, but she won't kiss Dad and he is big and hairy." ROFL...we all got a good chuckle over that one...although, I am not sure my little nephew will ever look at me the same way...LOL...of course to him, girls still have cooties so the kissing totally grossed him out.

I don't usually leave my books sitting around when I am at their house, but had been reading this one and since it did not have a risque cover on it, I didn't bother covering it. When I read romances in high school, I would use post-it notes to cover up the risque covers...LOL...cut down on the odd looks and questions from fellow students and teachers.

So my long rambling probably wasn't what you were looking for, but I wanted to share. And you don't have to enter me in the the Banditas have seen, I have a copy of the book already...if I can manage to pry it away from the animals in the house...LOL.

Jennifer Y. said...

Hey Anna, I can't help the GR liked me! I had good reading material. :o)

Christine Wells said...

Hey, it's bath and feed time at the zoo (aka chez moi) I shall return very soon to continue this fascinating discussion! DOn't go away:)

Fedora said...

Donna and Anna, that's too funny--I'm not sure how I'd handle subsequent face-to-faces with neighbors after knowing they'd read the book in their entirety...

And Jennifer, the situation with your nephews is exactly what I'm not looking forward to with my own kids! Right now I just don't think what I read seems interesting to them, so I've a little while yet :)

jo robertson said...

Ooh, la la, that recipe sounds wicked, Christine. Good topic, and Donna, again with the GR??!!!??

I stick by my original statement. I'm not going to get up before myself just to get the darn rooster. It's not even 11:00 p.m. here on the west coast -- it's still Monday!!

Jennifer, funny story about your nephew. I certainly worry that my little ones will find my book or movie stash.

You know that Quizno's commercial where the gorgeous super-thin woman eyes the regular-sized lady eating the sandwich and pops off, "I hate you." Come on, in what real world does a woman like that, wearing a size 2, envy the rest of us? I hate that commercial.

Since I've been writing suspense, my language has taken a nose-dive because my heroes are tough law enforcement types who swear and use crude language on occasion.

One day I was riding in my daughter's brand-new, expensive SUV with the two little ones in the back seat. I'd left a chocolate bar open on the seat and made a melting, smeary mess.

While I was trying to clean it up, I bumped my fully-loaded Pepsi and it splattered on the carpet. Shit! I exclaimed.

Now I don't really consider the S-word bad and actually like saying it in several languages. But I usually control myself in public and I've NEVER sworn around grandchildren.

I was mortified. The world of my stories becomes so real that when I'm actually IN my real world, sometimes I forget myself.

At least I haven't cursed around my minister yet.

Jennifer Y. said...

I guess it is a good thing I don't have little ones and that my nephews and nieces don't visit me...would be kind of hard to hide thousands of romance books...LOL.

Keira Soleore said...

Now, that I've finally read Christine's post, I'm here to reply to it, instead of simply complaining about not being #1.

Anything to do with flames and Hubby is all over it. So this is going to be a huge hit with him. We're supposed to be going to a potluck holiday party next weekend...perhaps I should try this. It promises to be a good show even if we end up burning all our fruit.

Donna & Christine: Your families and friends are amazing! They read the books and commented favorably. Wow! I don't know if I'm ready to admit to relatives that I write (gasp) romance. It is precisely the "naughty bits" that I'm afraid that people will take umbrage upon and disparage. It takes a lot of courage to "out" yourself.

I'm just getting ready to connect with a dear friend on something that's sure going to cause a collision of my two worlds. And I've been nervous, but she and I and our friendship deserve to have that collision.

Anna Campbell said...

Jennifer, gorgeous story about the dog and the husband! And hey, I hope the GR wasn't up to a good bit when he got ripped away!

Christine Wells said...

flchen, thanks for commenting! It's your choice whether you flaunt your reading preferences, of course. I wouldn't want anyone to do something they feel uncomfortable with. But remember, the more fantastic people who admit they read romance, the better regarded the genre will be:)

Christine Wells said...

Foanna, great story about your neighbour! People can surprise you, can't they? But how could he not enjoy CTC?

Christine Wells said...

Poor Keira! You have to get up early to catch our feathered friend!

Christine Wells said...

LOL, Jennifer! Your story of the 4yo reminds me of my little boy looking at the male model on the cover of Lord of Scoundrels and saying 'Uncle Mike'. Bet y'all want to meet my brother now:)

I hope the bunny enjoyed SD!

Helen said...

Congrats on the GR Donna.
Loved the post Christine as I am not a writer that hasn't happened to me but I have never been ashamed of the books I read and am very proud to carry them with me and read them every chance I get, I talk about them at work to my workmates, the guys and all I often suggest to the guys that they should read them they may learn a trick or two from them most of them laugh and pull faces at me.
I have just lent a couple of my books to a girl I work with who has never read a romance before she is older than me and Irish lovely Lady and I have her hooked she can't get enough of them she has just started the Bridgertons by Julia Quinn.
I love it when I can get some to try them as I say don't knock them until you have read them.
Have Fun

Christine Wells said...

JoMama, that was such a funny story and your accident sounds like the kind of thing I would do. Don't be too hard on yourself. They'll hear it soon enough elsewhere.

Christine Wells said...

Keira, best of luck with your friend. I'll be thinking of you and I hope she understands whatever it is. She's your friend, she has to, doesn't she?

And yes, do try the flambe fruit:) I should have said caramelize, not melt the sugar. You wouldn't think I watch the Food Channel at all, would you?*g*

Christine Wells said...

Helen, fantastic that you're converting those around you to romance writers! You go, girl! Giggled about you suggesting the men might learn something. So true!

Christie Kelley said...

Great post, Christine and congrats Donna on the GR!

My February release has a lot more XXX scenes and actually quite early in the story. (Just the way the story had to be told)

I'm really not looking forward to the comments from my family. Being a big family, they have no problem with snickering little comments. And only a couple of them actually read romance.

Plus my neighbors have a book club and they plan to read the book for the March meeting. And they want me there. I'm not sure how that will go but it should be interesting.

Chris Redding said...

When my first book came out several friends bought it for support.
And then read it.
I was standing in the bar with a male friend. He's a cop, an EMT and in the Nat'l Guard.
He's like "I liked your book." Then there was silence.
"There was sex in it," he said a little surprised.
I just had to laugh.
This time around, I'm telling more people about my book because it is on Amazon. A lot of them didn't even know I write.

Donna MacMeans said...

Jo - LOL - I'd never be able to snatch the GR if I waited till I got up in the morning. I'm more of a night person. I just swung over to RB before I headed off to bed. Exactly 1 AM is early for me.

Christie - Several people knew I wrote romance before I sold (yeah -just try to stop me from talking about my stories *g*) and several of the men enjoyed teasing me at every opportunity. They've gotten pretty quiet now that the book is out. My father passed away many, many years ago so I don't have to worry about what he'd think of my writing preference, but I do have two older brothers. Knowing they had the book was a bit bothersome. My oldest brother said he liked it, but I haven't actually seen him since the book came out. I don't think my other brother has done more than glance at the cover.

Jennifer - the GR is having a great time buried in a pile of romance novels. Every now & then I hear a muffled (and appreciative) cock-a-doodle-doooooo.

Anonymous said...

I loved the post, Christine, but I can't believe no one has asked yet how you got the nickname "Pristine Christine"?! I mean, maybe it's obviously, but still! I love it! :-)

I think the best example of worlds colliding I can think of was finding out that Susan not only READ romance, but that she wrote as well. None of my friends even read romance, and to find another writer? Well, gift from the heavens, you know.

I am a little relieved I sold in YA, so we could have a big party in the neighborhood and we could have all the little ones running around drawing pictures of my Delcroix Academy and thinking up their own superpowers. I'm not sure how we would have involved them if the party was for one of my romances... ;-) But that said, I'm embracing the romance side of my writing more lately, as if I've got permission now that the YA sold. Weird.

The carmelized fruit sounds lovely, but I'm not sure quite how to manage the towering inferno that would result. ;-)

Caren Crane said...

Christine, I think the worlds colliding thing is sort of the elephant in the room no one acknowledges. It happens to most people who write romance and many who read it.

As a reader, I caught flak from my mother, sisters and others who found no worth in stories with happy endings. They touted their preference for "realistic" stories. I don't know about anyone else, but a story like "The Lovely Bones" is not one I would call realistic. *g* I am not down on other genres and read widely, so I'm never sure quite why people are so polarized about romance.

I have found, both as a reader and a writer, that worlds can collide no matter the group. I tend to be more careful in talking about my writing at church, unless I know the people I'm speaking with very well. People in my Sunday school class and many in the course I teach know that I write and what I write and they are mostly quite supportive. Some, however, feel fully-consummated romance stories conflict with Christianity. I have made no inroads with people who feel that way, so I simply smooth things over as best I can and strive not to let it become an issue or barrier between us.

People at work tend to be non-readers, or readers of "serious" books for the most part. But many were supportive when I was in the Gather romance contest and some asked to read more of my work. It was nice to find support where I didn't expect it. *g*

Donna, congrats on the GR! I have a feeling when my first book is published, I will have a wide variety of reactions like you have had from your relatives and friends. I hope I deal with it as well as you have!

Christine, I think if you resisted the temptation to verbally lacerate that woman who accused you of "giving up" you are much more evolved than I am. I would have found something horribly scathing to say. My tongue gets ahead of my judgement sometimes - it's genetic. *g*

Caren Crane said...

Flchen and Christine, I've been through the raising of children (male and female) with lots of romances in the house.

I can tell you that most boys over the age of 6 are frankly embarrassed by the clinch covers. My son is now 21 and still looks down on my writing because it is romance. He has never read a romance. He will come around, and maybe even respect my writing one day, but it will be very slow.

My girls are 13 and 14. The older one loves YA romances and reads them like crazy. The younger is just getting to where she wants to read them. Frankly, they can't be bothered with more mature romances, because there are too many words. The younger will probably read them before the older one does. She picked up my copy of "The Pirate Lord" earlier this year but - too many words. *g*

I don't worry about the sex scenes in romances they may read, because I have spoken frankly with them about sex, romance and sexuality since they were little girls (always in an age-appropriate way, of course). So, sex isn't a mystery for them. They realize it's part of a healthy adult relationship and are curious, but it is not forbidden fruit.

I also have made certain they know that no books are forbidden to them. They may read whatever they like. I think taking away the sense that something is off limits often helps kids accept that some things are for now and some may be better for them to experience later. No idea why that works, but it certainly seems to.

I would never be concerned about leaving books lying around. Children should, in my opinion, know that people fall in love and kiss and, yes, even have sex. Falling in love is the greatest experience most of us ever have!

brownone said...

Christine, I love your post today! As a non-writer, I always wonder what your family or friends say to you after reading the "steamy parts". I also wonder how I would face them if I were a writer.....

As far as worlds colliding, I do have a funny story. I worked at a law firm before becoming a glamourous stay at home mom. Well, the people in the office used to joke about how all of us indians own a convenience store. I would just laugh it off. Well, my sister's in laws owned a convenience store in town (which I did not tell them) and one weekend we were over there cutting a birthday cake for her father in law. It was like ten of us behind the counter talking and eating birthday cake when all of a sudden the door jingles and one of the junior attorneys in the office walked in. The look on his face was PRICELESS! I just smiled and waved hi to him. I have NO accent, but I was SO tempted to use an indian accent to ask him "Can I help you?". HA! :-)

Maureen said...

I like your post because it is so true. I can never understand why other genres don't get the same types of criticisms. Do people look at mystery writers oddly because of the constant killing?

Trish Milburn said...

OMG, I would have had a hard time not saying I shouldn't have to the lady who said you'd given up. Geez!

Well, I've not yet had the experience of family members reading my books, but I admit I'm a little anxious about it, particularly my hubby's grandma. Eek!

Lily said...

I never had such an experience before... maybe becuase I don't use pseudonyms... which is quite different for authors who write under different names!!

Fedora said...

Caren, thank you for reminding me of all those excellent points in your comment--SO true. We do want to be direct and honest with our children about love, relationships, and sex, and hope they will someday enjoy all of them in healthy age-appropriate ways :) And we do want them to love reading as much as we do, too!

Unknown said...

Wow. Two worlds colliding is a great subject.

I have faced it a bunch of times. When I was in the music business, and any of my family attended an event where I was performing, or even managing the performance event in any way, it was just weird. The first time I had to perform on stage with my family actually there was one of the most difficult experiences I've ever had. It was like I was hyper aware of them and couldn't focus on the rest of the audience at all. To this day, I always HATE it when I think about performing and my family being there.

Any entertainment business works so differently than the rest of the world in many ways. No resume, no management structure in many cases, and the way you "do business"--out until 1 a.m. in the songwriter clubs--try to explain that to people who've worked in factories or as secretaries all their lives.

Them: "Why do you have to be out so late? Why can't you come home for dinner? Why can't you do business in the DAYLIGHT?"

Me: "Well, because that's not when the music business happens. At least not the networking part of it......"

When I was a young woman, I had to hide my romance novels. They were "sinful." So the thought of my family reading my work is one of the most difficult things I face. I probably won't even tell them when I publish. Which is sad.

I actually get a little angry at the prejudice against the romance genre. Tom Clancy and other male writers have sex scenes in their books. But because these scenes in OUR books are from the female perspective, people think there's something wrong with reading and/or writing that. I believe it's the lingering fear of female sexuality. Men say they don't understand women, or what women want. But would they read romance novels to find out? I'm betting not.

Cassondra said...

Oh, and speaking of two separate worlds, I guess when P226 came to visit the blog, that was kind of two worlds colliding for me.

My years of contribution to firearms forums colliding with my years of writing.

It wasn't awkward at all though. I think because P226 is such a stand-up guy. If he had preconceived notions about what "we" as romance writers were, he certainly didn't show it. I was surprised he's stuck around. I think we've converted him! (grin)

Or maybe he's still plotting to cook our Golden Rooster. Glad the rooster is safely in Donna's hands at the moment. He must be breathing easier today.

doglady said...

Great post Christine. Congrats on the GR Donna! I just finished Mrs. Brimley yesterday and I thoroughly enjoyed it! Absolutely delightful!

And Christine, my copy of Scandal's Daughter arrived Saturday! Thank you so much! I did the happy dance at the mailbox. I have come to LOVE packages from Australia!!!

You should have told that cow at work that when it comes to careers you traded up! People like that are just frustrated and angry at the unimaginative little box into which they have painted themselves. Since my retirement from opera and my dh's death I have done stints at some of those boxy, non-challenging jobs (my current job included)and I HATE them. Not to mention the fact that I feel that if you are given a creative gift and don't use it THAT is a sin. So stay 'Pristine' by using your gift!

I had a family member ask me when I was going to get a real job while I was singing in Europe. I told him that they paid me REAL money so I figured it WAS a real job!

My mother loves romance novels so I am not too worried about her reading my book(s) IF they ever get published. However, the ladies at her church (cringe) that could be difficult! Love everyone's stories of support and dealing with the weirdness of it all. I AM taking notes!

Anna Campbell said...

Brownone, laughed at your story! And hey, have you checked out the prize list from Annie West's guest blog? It's the post before this one (she said, being VERY mysterious!).

brownone said...

Oh Anna, thanks for the hint! I did email this morning..I'm so excited!!

Christine Wells said...

Hi Christie, you do really have to just laugh along with them. I've found that's the only way to shut them up:) Oh, no! To the book club. Is there anything worse than sitting there while non-writers analyze your book? If I were you I'd say that you're happy to come along at the end of the session to say hello but you'd rather not sit there the entire time.

Goodness, I'm free with the gratuitous advice today.

Christine Wells said...

Hi Chris! Snorked at your comment about your male friend reading the book. I just do not want to face my husband's friends now they've read it. I'll be getting looks, I know it! They kind of forget you're writing about characters, not yourself.LOL

Good luck with your new release!

Christine Wells said...

Hey Donna, I'm like you. I told everyone I was writing romance. I really don't see what's wrong with it and most people I come across were surprised and interested, even when I wasn't published. In fact, sometimes I think they liked it better when I wasn't:)

Christine Wells said...

Hi Kirsten, I still love that story about how you and Susan 'came out'. THat really was two worlds colliding.

I understand what you mean about YA. It seems so much more respectable than writing romance.

And Pristine Christine... Someone gave me that nickname at school. I never really understood why:) Maybe they just didn't see the mad, bad, dangerous to know bandita underneath! Bwahahaha!!

Christine Wells said...

Hi Caren, it must be hard to walk on eggshells around church. I really sympathize because you're right, you simply can't change people's minds about such things. It would be nice if the people in your community could respect what you do but unfortunately that's not going to happen with certain people.

As for the woman who made that remark, it's much the same. Some lawyers think that nothing on earth is as good as being a lawyer and if you're not doing it any more it means you couldn't hack the pressure or you weren't good enough. It's no use being defensive or that just confirms their opinion. And I was a guest at a party so I didn't like to start a war:)

Christie Kelley said...

Christine, I appreciate your advice and I may just take it. I'm not sure I could sit there comfortably. We'll see. With some of the ladies, it wouldn't bother me a bit, but there are others I don't know as well.

Christine Wells said...

Caren, I agree with you 100% about not forbidding anything. My parents didn't (although they weren't terribly forthcoming about sex, I kind of worked it out:) and I remember stopping reading or watching when I became uncomfortable. When you're too young to understand, it's all yucky anyway.*g*

Christine Wells said...

Ha! Brownone I just love that story. You should have put on the accent, you SHOULD have!!! I bet the teasing stopped after that.

Christine Wells said...

Hi Maureen, that's so true about crime writers. Actually, I must admit I've often wondered about the twisted kind of mind Agatha Christie must have had...*g*

But I think it stems from the general embarrassment a lot of people have about feelings and all that icky stuff. I've fought against that self-consciousness most of my life, thinking I shouldn't like romance. Now, I'm a lot more accepting that I just do, many women do and there's nothing at all wrong with it. I think the misconception will only change when all the closet readers come out and stand proud. Then maybe others will wonder what the fuss is about.

Christine Wells said...

Hi Trish! Yes, I know, I'm far too nice.

Sympathize about your gran. My next book, The Dangerous Duke is a lot sexier than Scandal's Daughter, and as I wrote I was having trouble forgetting my mother was going to read it. I said to her, I'm not going to let you read this. She looked hurt and a little annoyed because she hates being labeled a prude, but I said, well I probably will let you read it but can we just pretend for now that I won't? I can't write this stuff with you sitting on my shoulder. Luckily, she understood:) But once again, it will be fingers in the ears lalalala when she does eventually read it.

My father-in-law read Scandal's Daughter and I forbade him to talk to me about it:) THank goodness my father obeyed my command and hasn't read it at all.

Christine Wells said...

Hi Lily, what do you write?

flchen1 that's so true--I don't think keeping children in the dark stops them finding out in other, less safe ways.

Christine Wells said...

Cassondra, you're right about male authors writing sex scenes, but I think the thing is that their focus isn't on the touchy feely stuff so it's ok.

Oh, performing live would be much worse when your family is there! At least you don't have to write while your mother is looking over your shoulder (though sometimes it feels that way).

And I do hope you find yourself able to tell your family when you sell. Even if they don't read it, you deserve their pride.

Oh, and I must thank you for adding p226 to our ranks. It's great to have the male POV here even if the main attraction is that rooster. See? Ah, men. Give them a competition they can win and they're yours.

Christine Wells said...

Hi Doglady, isn't Mrs B. fab? And I'm so glad you finally received your Scandal's Daughter copy. I hope you enjoy it.

Snorked about the real money, real job comment. And I think you're right, there was a little jealousy in her determination to put me down. I remember when I worked I used to envy people who had jobs that weren't so pressured, even though I enjoyed it most of the time. It was a dream to be a writer and I certainly think I traded up! That's why I was so bemused by her comment.

I hope you still use YOUR talent, Doglady. I'd love to be able to sing.

Christine Wells said...

Christie, I think that would be a good idea. People can be so tactless when discussing a book. They don't realize they're talking about your baby:)

Anna Sugden said...

Great post, Christine!

Ah yes, two worlds colliding. I know it well. Years ago, during my high-powered marketing executive days, I entered a Mills & Boon competition. It was only a couple of paragraphs and had to centre around the phone (no snickering). I didn't tell anyone about it, figuring I wouldn't get anywhere.

Imagine my surprise when my secretary told me that the local paper wanted to interview me about my romance story! I thought she'd found out and was taking the mickey, but it turned out to be true. My little story was one of the ones they were considering for the grand prize!

I did the interview and was gobsmacked when it appeared (complete with pic) as a double page spread in the Thursday paper (the best day for circulation). I got a bit of stick from the sales guys, but was amazed by how many of the factory workers came up to me in the canteen and were really cool about it.

There is a footnote to the story. I didn't win the prize. Someone locally read my story and, as the contest wasn't closed, decided to enter her own version. She won! (A Caribbean holiday!) Lesson learned - never allow them to print your story until the contest is closed!

Amy Andrews said...

Christine the sex scene in Scandals is fantastic - hot and passionate and really well done. Sex scenes are hard to write (a fact not universally acknowledged) so you should pat yourself on the back about that.

But what is it with grown adults who seem to act like little school boys furtively looking at pictures of naked women under their desks? Anyone who says anything to me about the heat in my sex scenes I have a very simple answer.
"Hello, I'm 37 with two children. I have sex. Get over it."
Then I go on to say that I write modern stories about modern relationships and the story is about the progression of the relationship - not the sex.

Jeez Louise. These people need to grow up.

p226 said...

I've been pondering this post all day. And I've been pondering it because I so clearly understand the concept. Yet, with that crystal understanding of what you mean by this, I can't come up with a single instance of worlds colliding for me. It's not that I don't have different worlds, it's that they just don't collide.

As to cassondra's allusion to my conversion... I don't think that's happened. I'm not going to start reading romance. Sorry girls, I just don't find the genre interesting. But then I have odd literary tastes. Plus, what reading I have time for, tends to be nonfiction, and interactive reading on boards. I enjoy a good debate.

But there is some logic to explain my continued presence here. Writers, as a rule, tend to be articulate. People who are articulate, tend to be intelligent. Intelligent and articulate people generally have things to say. When intelligent and articulate people have things to say, it's a good idea to listen.

You guys talk about my addition of male perspective to your lair. Believe me, I'm getting far more of the other side of that coin than you're getting from me. There are lines to read in these blog entires and comments, and then there are volumes to read between them. It's like throwing a UV filter on a bright snow-pack. There's a lot of textural detail to see there that's just washed out by attrition. I'm learning things here. Nothing specific mind you, just... as you guys say... "perspective." And I find it fascinating.

Christine Wells said...

LOL, great story, Anna. Bad luck for not winning but at least you had the encouragement that you were in with a chance to win. I hope you kept the clipping. And at least you made it to the Caribbean anyway under your own steam:)

Christine Wells said...

Amy, thanks so much for the compliment--from you that means a lot. Very wise advice about what to say to the sniggerers.

I've decided I have to ignore the Outer Darkness when I write because that's not who I'm writing for. Romance readers understand where these scenes come from and that they're not just there for gratuitous purposes. Sex is such an important part of a relationship, to me it's a case of justifying why you didn't write about it, rather than why you did if you're writing romance. Closing the bedroom door in can only be a choice you make out of a religious objection or the desire to censor yourself, or to please a market that doesn't want to read about sex in detail. Sex changes everything. And it's not just the fact the H/h had sex, it's the way they had it, what was said, how they treated one another. To me, skipping those scenes is like skipping the first time they meet or skipping the black moment. It leaves a gap in the story. So I'm not going to apologize for writing those scenes.

Christine Wells said...

Hey, p226, we're happy to have you here, even if you are a COTOD! I must admit, I'm starting to feel terrified at what exactly you're reading between the lines!

p226 said...

Hahah, see Christine? There's a PERFECT example! What I read between your lines is a question. "Why would that be terrifying?" I realize you're joking, but the joke has some meaning behind it, however trivial. I could ask you to expound upon it, but naw. I don't really need for you to do so.

It goes back to perspective.

See, my response to someone saying what I did, that they're reading between the lines, would be "Dude, you're wasting your time. What you see is what you get. It's in black and white." You see the difference in perspective illustrated right there.

You guys are allowing me to see the world through different eyes. Your interests, your priorities, your general thought processes are so, incredibly different from mine. It's neat!

Anna Campbell said...

Christine, I loved the responses you got to your question here. Thanks for posting it. What a fantastic blog!

P226, we LOVE your different perspective, even if you don't read romance. As you say, intelligent people can converse without having to 100% agree on everything, can't they? Surely that's one of the definitions of civilization (sorry, I've been hanging out with pirates all day - I've started longing for civilization! Well, that's not true. The pirates were a heck of a lot of fun! But I went over there on the understanding I got a Johnny Depp to take home and, nuh, no JD do I see. I feel like I entered a Nigerian lottery!).

Anna, your story is a cautionary tale for all of us!

Anonymous said...

Christine, I’m quite sure eating corn flakes would be exiting with you explaining how it should be done.

Success at writing must be a curious achievement. Years of work on manuscripts while hiding in a cupboard, wishing it were lined in lead, fighting a feeling of being made of lead.

Then one-day lead turns to gold, you’re no longer a writer you’re an author. People, who’ve never seen you looking down, look up to find you.

It’s a problem; a princess knows who she is because she grew up in a castle. An author knows who she is because she grew up in a cupboard, when people who think they know you read what went on in the cupboard. They turn to their dairy for support than back at you and think. Your defence about fact and fiction just draws a smile and a wink.

The reward comes from a strange source, after exposing those who can’t accept your success or leave your success alone. You discover a few who haven’t changed. You also discover you have the same number of friends as always and you can see who they are.

Thank you, Eric

doglady said...

Here here, Eric!!

doglady said...

Anna C, you've been had! How dare they not deliver a Johnny Depp! What's the point of hanging out with pirates if they won't kidnap a celebrity for you?

Joan said...

Hey, Christine! Sorry to be late to the party...again.

I really have had few negative responses to my chosen career choice...people at work, my friends (my bro...he just thinks I'm gonna buy him something with my first advance, ha!).

Only two people have read the full manuscript of THE PATRICIAN'S DESIRE..a friend who is an avid reader and my orthopaedic surgeon. THAT was interesting to let him read what I'd written.

(One scene where the hero watches the heroine stroking her distraught aunt, the hero daydreams what it would be like if she stroked him. Dr. P. wrote "This is exactly what we'd are pigs!" LOL.)

And p226...thanks so much for sharing your observation. (Between the lines: that's cool). We enjoy your friendship.

Oh, and the GR wearing a leather tunic? Demetrius is missing one of his (not that I mind :-)

p226 said...

Hey Joan, you can buy ME something with your first advance if you want. I've had my eye on this Porsche GT3........

Christine Wells said...

Hey, P226, I'm not joking about being terrified. I feel like I'm being psychoanalysed!

And Joanie T is buying me an all-expenses paid trip to England with her first advance, aren't you Joanie T? Maybe she can buy your Porsche with the one after that.

Christine Wells said...

Hi Anna, thanks for the compliment. I was interested, too! My mother is currently at my house, curling up with CTC, so thought you'd like to know before you see her again next week. Your worlds are about to collide once more:)

Christine Wells said...

Hi Eric, thanks for dropping in! I think it's true that authors draw on their lives for inspiration but it's a much subtler phenomenon than simply taking a real life incident and writing about it.

It's more like an actor drawing on every experience and emotion to put into a character. They remember when they were sad and try to reproduce that emotion on the stage and screen. It could have been about a totally different event from the one in the movie, but they draw on that same emotion. I think that's what writers do, only we have many more characters to play. DOn't know if I'm expressing that correctly, maybe it's the subject for another blog.

Thanks for coming!

Joan said...


Sure, uh,huh. I'll put it on my "list".



Well, Christine, you'd have to join me a bit west from England. Ireland is my true heart home and since next year is a "landmark" birthday for me (21, again)I'm leaning toward there...

Christine Wells said...

Joanie T, I'm sorry about the negative comments you've received. I think we all get them to some extent, but it still comes as a bit of a shock each time that people can be so rude.

Snorked about the stroking bit! Just when you think you've gone too far, some honest guy will let you in on the truth--they really do have one track minds.

Christine Wells said...

Ooh, Ireland! Is that an invitation? I'll join you for a pint of Guiness, my friend! As long as we can fit in a few stately homes on the way:)

p226 said...

One track, but three rails.

You guess the rails :)

Cassondra said...


Joanie and Christine:


Can I go on this trip?

Christine Wells said...

P226, I can't imagine what you mean.

Cassondra, ask Joanie T. She's the boss! But being nocturnal, will we see anything of you while we're there?

Alyssa Goodnight said...

Oh man, the worlds collided, huh? I suppose that wasn't pretty at all. The non romance-dwellers just don't understand, and really it's their loss, isn't it?

That poor horrible woman--she'll never know what she's missing. ;)