I know I haven’t posted in awhile. Sometimes life happens. The holiday season began shorty after I returned from Hawaii. I’ve also been busy with some home improvement projects. Nothing major, unless you consider cleaning out the garage a major project. I hired someone from one of those closet organizing companies to help, and I’m glad I did. I was amazed at how much stuff I’d accumulated and no longer use. I may not be a pack rat, but I now understand that before you put unused items away boxes you should first asked yourself if you really need them or not. I’ve also been working on my upcoming contemporary romance novel, Rivalry. More about it later.
Have you ever noticed that whenever you meet new people, the first question they usually ask is, “So, what to you do?” Makes sense. Most of us identify ourselves by our occupations. I get some interesting reactions when I tell people I’m a romance author. The public perception of authors is that we live glamorous lives, sort of like movie stars. Movies like Romancing the Stone don’t help either. Great movie, and I enjoyed watching it, but our lives aren’t nearly as dramatic. At least mine isn’t, which is something I’m grateful for. However, I’ve had some interesting reactions from people when I tell them I’m a romance author. Here’s what I’ve experienced, so far.
People want to know how I became an author. Oftentimes it’s because they have an idea for a book themselves. They’ll ask me about what classes they can take. Most community colleges offer creative writing classes. You can also find writing classes online, although I personally think you learn better when you’re face-to-face with your instructors and classmates. If you’re serious about becoming an author, I highly recommend joining writing associations. This is where I learned how to fine tune my craft. Please keep in mind, however, that writing fiction is a lot like singing. You either have the talent to do it or you don’t.
Sometimes it’s Insulting
Sometimes people don’t know what to say, so they’ll say something mean. The rudest reaction I even got was someone who, upon telling them I write novels responded with, “Oh, so you must have ADD.” (Attention Deficit Disorder.) I don’t know if she was mean-spirited, ignorant, or jealous. Perhaps it was all the above. It was shocking, to say the least. I’m usually one of those people who comes up with the best comeback line long after the fact. Not this time. The perfect response came out of my mouth before I even realized I said it. I looked her in the eye and said, “As a matter of fact, in my line of work it’s a job requirement.” As soon as I said it she looked extremely embarrassed, as well she should have. Granted, we all say dumb things at times, and if I do I immediately apologize. This woman didn’t, so I turned on my heel and walked away. Hopefully, she’ll be more gracious and less judgmental the next time she meets someone who works in the arts.
Other Times It’s Funny
While my romance novels are religiously neutral, in real-life I consider myself a Christian. My formal affiliation is Episcopalian. I joined the church when I was married to my first husband, who grew up in the church. Unfortunately, the marriage didn’t work out, but I love the church history and rituals. It’s also called, “the thinking people’s church.” Some even say when two or more of us are gathered you’ll usually find a fifth, although I prefer a nice fruity pinot noir myself. When I moved to Texas I decided to start going back to the church because it’s a good place to meet people with similar mindsets. Of course, I was asked what I do, and the reaction I got from one woman was hilarious. She said, “Well, I guess it’s a good thing you go to church on Sundays so you can get forgiveness.” As soon as I heard it I knew I was welcome and accepted for who I am.
Yes, you get sin in all fiction stories, as the sin is what creates the conflict which drives the storyline. Romance in particular includes such sins as adultery and fornication. There’s also a lot of people bearing false witness, (lying) in my books as well, which is also a sin. In fact, I personally consider intentionally deceiving people to be a much bigger sin than two unmarried adults having sex. Rest assured, however, there are consequences, and in my novels so no sin ever goes unpunished. At the end of each book, the lovers are either married, engaged, or I strongly imply they will be married when they are ready to make a commitment. Fiction is oftentimes a morality play, and I guess my romance novels are no exception.
I’m currently working on the final chapters for Rivalry, my next contemporary romance novel. This book has been more challenging than most. One of the characters, a man named Bill, was only meant to have a minor role. However, when I introduced him into the story, he came out much better than I expected. He also had a really nice chemistry with Jenna, one of the lead characters. Once he exited the story, I introduced a new character named Drew who would become Jenna’s love interest. Unfortunately, it didn’t work. While a likable character, there was no spark between him and Jenna, and their romance was dull, no matter how many revisions I did. Just like in real life, if the chemistry isn’t there, it isn’t there. There’s nothing you can do to fix it. This resulted in my having to delete several chapters and redo the story almost from scratch so Bill could become a lead character. Drew makes a cameo appearance, and he will be written into a future novel. As I’ve mentioned before, creative writing is an art. Some ideas work, others don’t, but that’s life.
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