Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Straightlaced and Erotic

About fifteen years ago, a creative writing instructor and friend sent me some material to give me an idea of how to write erotic fiction, primarily stories for men’s magazines. He also passed along some editors’ names for me to contact. Until then, I’d been selling the occasional story to semi-pro magazines, both online and print, for several years. I had scored acceptances in genres from YA Christian fiction to fantasy to even several poetry magazines--even a rejection letter from Marion Zimmer Bradley herself that was full of so much praise I framed it. However, I had yet to make my first really BIG fiction sale; that one sale that arrives in a pristine white envelope and, when you open it, there’s a contract and a lovely business check with two zeros or more before the decimal.

Well, I took my friend’s advice and wrote a story that followed his guidelines and suggestions. Two weeks later, I sold my first story for big bucks to a well-known sex magazine: Gent, Home of the “D” Cups. This led to four years of a semi-steady paycheck with Gent, plus repeat sales to other erotic fiction markets.

When I opened that envelope and withdrew the letter and contract, discovering my first check that fell out of it, I nearly fainted. Actually, thinking back, I sat down and cried.

But a very sobering thought struck me: What would my father think? For those of you who don’t know, I grew up as a minister’s daughter in the very straight-laced, Church of Christ. Still, I was a grown woman with children, so why should I worry about what my dad thought about my lucrative sale?

The answer was a no-brainer. One, I respected my parents and didn’t want them to think poorly of me, and two, for years I’d had a specific mindset drilled into my head by the church people. As a result, it created a lot of internal turmoil within me, so that’s how Feathers of Silver was written—exorcising personal demons and a bit of hostility. Check it out because the book will surprise you!

I fretted about the sale. I worried about Dad’s response to my sexually oriented story—and a quite graphic one at that! My mother is more liberal, so she was ecstatic about my fiction sale.

“But what will Dad say?” I asked her.

“I think you underestimate your dad,” Mom replied.

When I mentioned my sale to my dad, I warned him that the story had some sex scenes. He didn’t say much—so I worried that was a bad sign—but he asked if I made any money this time. I told him the amount I earned, and he smiled.

“Good,” Dad said. “It’s about time someone recognized your talent as a writer.”kiss me Pictures, Images and Photos

Heh. Correction: my talent as an erotic fiction writer.

However, his reaction stunned me. It also taught me a lot about my dad. He didn’t possess as strict of a mindset as I thought.

One day, my dad noticed a glossy, sexy magazine sitting on a shelf. He took it down, quietly eyeing a nearly nude and very buxom woman on the cover.

“What’s this?” Dad asked.

Dread pooled in my stomach. I said, “It’s the magazine that published my story.”

He pulled out a chair and sat down. “What’s it called?”

I told him the title and the page number.

“Who’s Molly Diamond?” he asked without looking up.

“That’s my pen name.”

Minutes later, Dad handed the magazine to me. “Although very graphic, it’s a great story. And writing this stuff pays well, right? So you’re supporting your family.” He grinned, crossing his arms. “Good job.”

In shock, I put the magazine away, wondering who was sitting at my kitchen table because it couldn’t be my father.

Now, sseveral years later, my dad is one of my most devoted fans.

Yeah, even for the sexy stuff—oh my!

And my Mom? Well, she reads all my material, even the scorching-lava stuff such as Ruby, the White King and Marilyn Monroe and my Molly Diamond and Azura Ice titles. I’ve been blessed with incredibly special parents and I love them with all my heart.


trinity said...

Yep special parents in deed. :) My mom and step-dad are like that. My step-dad has a special shelf for my print books. I laugh mom says he shows the books to all his contractor friends. Mind you these men range from 50 and up, step-dad 76.
SO you never know who will stand beside you. :) Great story.

Faith said...

I think that's great, Trin. LOL, my hubby has one of those shelves, too. It's in our kitchen.

Liz said...

sadly, my preacher father died before I got published but he no doubt would have been a fan! my mom works for one of my publishers as an editor so all she can say is "head hop" and "passive"

Faith said...

Your mom is an editor for one of your publishers? How freakin' cool is that!

My youngest dau (13) wants to write YA stories, so I told her I'd edit her material and help her with plot problems, etc. I'm anxious to see what she comes up with. She has quite the imagination.

Celtic Hearts Romance Writers said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Renee Vincent said...

*Waving to my fellow TMP author*
I thoroughly loved this post. Sometimes my father surprises me too when it comes to my writing. He's probably been one of the most dedicated PR peeps I've ever had. If my father is able to speak to you past "hello" then there's a good chance you'll be introduced to Renee Vincent. haha

Jennifer Johnson said...

YAY, Dad!!! Obviously, he's read the Song of Songs and knows there's some racy stuff in Scripture as well. Well, good for you and for him. My family, too, are my big fans of my writing, and well as my church. I am an ordained minister and wrote contemporary romance (not inspirational) and it even has *gasp* sex in it. I kept this a secret until I was published, then I thought I better let them know before they saw my books in the bookstore. The church has been awesome about it. They came out in droves for my first book signing. I thought they'd kick me out, but they're actually proud of me. I'm so happy your dad is proud of you too. He must be a great guy.

Faith said...

Hi Renee! It sounds like you have an awesome dad, too.

Jennifer, that is so cool about your church. Sadly, I don't think mine will be as accepting and supportive. Oh, well. I'm supporting my family so what I write is between me and Him.

Shiela Stewart said...

You're so lucky to have such supportive parents!

Patricia said...

That's one of the coolest stories I think I've ever read! How neat to have parents who are so accepting and excited about your success! Wow.

Jessica Subject said...

One of the ministers at the church I attended as a child was one of the most open-minded people I've ever met. He wore AC/DC shirts and brought Christian rock bands into the church. I learned a lot from him.

I think it's great your parents are so supportive. All the best! :)

Kate Richards said...

You have a rejection from my favorite author/editor/publisher in the world! Ever. I never thought I'd be jealous of an R.
12 years of Catholic school resulted in a witch who writes erotic stories in my case. And the reason I can edit is a little lavender haired nun with fire in her eyes I had for two years in high school

J.L. Campbell said...

I can only imagine how happy it made you to know you had your father's support. Unfortunately, for some, it's easier of be judgmental than to offer support.

Faith said...

Hi Kate. Yes, I love Marion Zimmer Bradley's work. Her book The House Between the Worlds is my fave. Her personal letter to me really stunned me. The only one who shared in my delight at the time was my mom because she was a big fan of hers too.

Sadly the readers lost a wonderful fantasy novelist when Ms. Bradley left this world.

J.L. that is so true!

Kate Richards said...

I do have a signed book because my brother met MZB at a convention years ago, she told him to tell me she looked like a third grade teacher lol

Faith said...

LOL, that is so cool!

Anthology Authors said...

After a certain age, I think our parents are more liberal with us. They raised us as best they could and let us go... as long as we have our acts together, I would hope most would support us. (Although I imagine if you'd decided to be a porn star, your mother and father may not have gone for that. grin)

My parents have always been supportive. I'm incredibly lucky, and I know it. :)

Anonymous said...

One Sunday we told our former minster (a Southern, retired high-ranking Army officer) we wouldn't be there the following Sunday because we were going out of town for our anniversary. He smiled and said,"Well, have fun and behave."

Me, being 'me', gave him a crooked look and said,"I fully intend NOT to behave."

He shrugged and said,"Sex is in the Bible, encouraged by God. After all, he made it feel good, right? So you ARE behaving."

He had a great point. Considering he has 5 kids, I think he knows what he's talking about!


Faith said...

LOL, you have a really good point, Marci!

Wow, Heather, that is a wonderful story. I got a good laugh out of that one. He sounds like an awesome guy!

anny cook said...

Heh. My dad is a Baptist minister. I purposely kept quiet about my writing because no EVERYONE is understanding. In his eighties, he's still pastoring. I didn't want him to lose his job because of MY job. But the last time I was out to visit, he asked out of the blue, "So how many books do you have now?"

When I left, two of my magnets were on the front door of their refrigerator...

Mary Keith - Keith Publications, LLC said...

You have great parents. My dad is the one who pushed me, without knowing :) He dared me and said I need something to fall back on when writer's block entered. My mom always read romance; it took her places she never would travel to.
Mary Keith

Faith said...

Anny, I can certainly see how that could be troublesome. I've reached a point in my life where I refuse to jump through hoops to keep others happy. It's my life and it's time I live it for me and not them. However, I've learned and experienced a lot during my life that has given me a different perspective on people and religion. My parents seem to have gone through the same transition too.

However, listening to people throw their fits about what's proper and what's not can be taxing. Gah. One of the perks of living rurally is that you don't have to deal with them often, lol.

Mary, my mother has read romance for years too. At one time our home was bursting with her books, lol.

Valerie Mann said...

Interestingly, my parents are fine with what I write. It's my super-liberal atheist daughter who blasted me on Facebook for writing "porn". Moral of the story: you never know how the people you think you know will react!

Faith said...

Holy cow!

Jaime Samms said...

MY parents aren't preachers, Faith, but they are both very dedicated Catholics, and o had the same worries as you. I still haven't exactly told them I write erotic gay fiction, but I stopped keeping my pen name to myself last year. I don't know if any of my family other than one sister actually looked me up, no one has said anything about it. But they are pleased I'm doing something I love and being able to pay a few bills with it. As am!

Janice Seagraves said...

Good heavens! You went to the Church of Christ? That's the church I was raised in and went to until . . .


At least your parents ready your books. My mom still won't read all of my first published book because I write "that stuff." I think my step-dad would but my mom won't let him.


Julie Robinson said...

Your story gives me hope and maybe, just maybe has removed my block on my worries a fraction. T
hank you!

Faith said...

Jaime, that's good to know. The longer time goes on the more things may change for the good.

LOLOL...Janice, have you ever noticed when someone mentiones that church people make horrible faces and gasp?

Well, Julie, I hope acceptance of what you write is right around the corner for you. My parents are an exception and I'm very blessed to have parents like mine. However, someone who's gruff and straightlaced can change. I've seen it happen many times. Always believe in yourself, tho. Don't ever let anyone talk down to you or dis your work.

Nicki said...

My mom is proud to have a best-selling author for a daughter. My dad...well, he's proud of all my accomplishments----though me writing a gay book is not one of his favorites.

Lucky for him I'm getting into fantasy works----my first novel's going to be prepublished through CreateSpace this year (as an Author's Cut), and I'm wrangling a book signing out of my local bookstore. ^w^

cerraxo said...

I am so happy that your parents are great people who support you! That's got to just feel great! I have always been the Good Girl too and my folks are, even though i have been an adult more years than i like to think, terribly....well, not like yours. I feel judged all the time, and like i'll never live up. The funny/key thing is that i don't feel like that with God. He loves me no matter what! So that keeps me going. (Here is an example from my family. My brother is 41 years old and my Mom said the other day on the phone, "Cerra, i am afraid your brother has had sex with [his lady-friend]". Help! LOL

Faith said...

Nikki, good luck with the book!

Wow, Cerra, I don't know what to say. At 41 it seems your folks should realize your bro is definitely an adult by now!