Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Oh Oh Oh Oh What a Feeling -- Again -- But look for the real blog after the hoopla

You may remember when I posted a month ago about a short story being published in the May issue of True Confessions magazine. Well today I found the June issue, which contains not only an article I wrote, but an article with a by-line. The "trues" don't give a by-line on fiction, but several months ago I saw that they have several feature articles in the back of the magazine and those are non-fiction. I had a short article I wrote last year for another market, but it wasn't picked up. So I went onto the email loop for "trues" writers and asked the editor if only the editorial staff wrote features or if they accepted submissions from other writers.

She told me to send her a written pitch. I mailed it on a Friday and the following Tuesday she called to say it would be perfect for a column that targeted mothers and to send it on. Yay for me!

I had a little bit of a problem though. The original article was only 500 words and this column is more like 1200 words. So off I went in search of more material to get the article up to the required word limit. With the help of the Internet and our own Counselor Shelley, I located the material I needed and set out to re-write the article and mail it in.

It's on the shelf and I made the cover too! Look at the bottom right -- HELP FOR THE STRESSED OUT MOM -- 30 Ways to Say I Love Me.

Just in case you couldn't see it in the photo above, here's the close-up.

And here's the article, with MY NAME. :-) You can even see Counselor Shelley's name at the start of the second paragraph.

I learned on April 30th that I sold another short story to the magazine for their July issue. It's tentatively titled "Wedding Belle Blues" and of course, my name won't appear on it. But I'm cool with that because my name will be on the check. And everyone's gonna know anyway because I'll burn up the cyberworld telling them.

Now the hoopla is over and I'll get to the real message of this blog.

I've had two interesting and eerily connected events happen over the weekend.

Last Saturday I sat by the pool at the campground where we have a little getaway trailer and listened to a woman talk about reading "trashy romance novels." Several years ago, I'd have let that comment slide. But no more.

I turned to her and asked her what authors she read. She mentioned La Nora and several others that I haven't read. Then the name Linda Howard was spoken. I don't know La Nora, but I have more than a passing acquaintance with Maven Linda. We've had conversations. She congratulated me on my first magazine sale. We've sat at the same table for dinner. And trust me, she doesn't write trash.

I told my poolside neighbor that I read and write romance and so do many, many friends of mine. None of us consider it trash and neither should she, because in doing so, she not only lowers her opinion of herself but she besmirches the reputation of writers who put in long hours at the keyboard to keep their readers entertained and in some cases, put food on the table and a roof overhead.

Also on Saturday, a member of the "trues" email loop posted and said she'd talked to a friend who also wrote confessions stories and aside from her husband, this friend had never told anyone. This member then asked the group if they told anyone other than family and/or the email loop about their sales.

Thus was unleashed a flurry of posts, most of which said, and I'm paraphrasing here, "Heck yeah! I tell everyone and if they have a problem with it, it's THEIR problem and not mine." Most agreed that a "sale was a sale" and that it's a good way to put your writing skills to use, earn money for whatever reason. (Hello Atlanta! *g* ) and add to your writing credits.

Then another woman posted and said she'd bet good money that the friend lived in the South, which unleashed yet another flurry of posts about the differences in Southerners, sweet tea and why on earth is it so darned cold in the middle of May.

I've told EVERYONE about my sales. Heck, I bought copies for my mother and sister and shamelessly autographed the page my story appeared on. I considered it practice for my first book signing. When I told my mom about the first sale, she said she used to read the magazine when she was younger but got away from it and more into magazines dealing with home and family once I was born. My husband said he was proud of me. The other Playfriends celebrated with me as did my other writing friends.

So my question to you is this? Do you tell people that you read and/or write romance? If you're reading a romance novel in a crowded airport, do you hide the cover with yesterday's issue of USA Today? Or do you not give a rat's patootie what other people think?

I say we start a club. I have the t-shirts ready. *g* And yes, we can make it in blue.


raine said...

Congratulations on making the cover, lady!! Wooooo!!!!!

Sabrah said...

Congratulations! What a thrill to not only make the cover, but to have a "Special Feature" article! You go, girl! And another big congrats for speaking your mind to the naysayers. I used to have a tee shirt that I wore all the time that said, "Smart Women Read Romance," on the front, and "Smart Women Write Romance," on the back. I don't care how anyone hides my covers -- as long as they buy my books. BTW, I bought something today with you in mind -- and after reading your news tonight, I think it was preordained. I'll bring it to the June meeting.

Playground Monitor said...

Oh man, now you have really piqued my curiosity. And it's a whole 3 1/2 weeks til the meeting.

Is it bigger than a breadbox? *g*


Anonymous said...

Woohoo, Marilyn!! Congratulations on another job well done! I'm thrilled for you and LOVED that you made the cover and have that well deserved by-line.

I have a t-shirt that says: Romance Writers Do It And Write About It.

Good for you for speaking your mind.

Linda Winstead Jones said...

First of all, congrats! What exciting news. :-)

As to your question . . . sometimes. I don't hide what I do, and I'm certainly not ashamed to write romance, but in day to day life, there are many times when what I do for a living simply doesn't come up. If someone cares to ask, then I happily share.


Problem Child said...

Start a club? I thought we had one of those already! :-)

You are on fire with TC...good job. We're all so proud of you.


Smarty Pants said...

Go PM! Great job.

I'm not embarassed, but I try to keep my two lives separate. Some of my co-workers know I write, fewer know I write romance, but that's about it. My reluctance probably has more to do with being an "aspiring" writer at this point. When there's a book on the shelf at the store, everyone will know about it and be expected to run out and buy it.

I did sort of get "outed" the other day though when I found out our dear Kathy is married to one of my co-workers. Small world. :)


Instigator said...

SQUUUEEEE! You are on fire PM! Congratulations, you really deserve it.

As for what I write and read - I tell everyone. And aside from my uncles (there's just something wrong with them even knowing I have sex let alone write about it) I'm not worried what anyone in my world will think about my writing. I know that the people who really matter to me will know how important that book is to me. And the rest can just...:-)

The best way to defend yourself to naysayers is to have a response ready complete with statistics.


Angel said...

Alright, PM!!!! Congratulations on the story and article with a byline-in real print! How exciting!

I have to admit, being one of the few introverts around here, that it took me a long time to admit that I write, much less write romance. I think it had to do with being surrounded by people that I thought would be judgmental.

Well, I got over that real quick when I was "outed" at a women's retreat for our church. I spent a whole weekend cooped up with 40 women who all had the same 2 questions: "What do you write?" (to which I answered romance) and "Is it an inspirational romance?"

I'm proud to say I had the courage to answer no to the last question, though answering yes would have made my answer more palatable to most. Out of everyone who asked, only two responded with positive comments. The majority just said something along the lines of Hmmm. But I learned that disapproval wouldn't be the end of the world for me. And I've been proud to be a romance writer ever since!

Sometimes the subject doesn't come up and that's okay. But if it does, like LJ, I'm honest about what I do and why I love it.


Kathy said...

Congratulations, PM! You are truly blessed to have your article advertised on the front cover, yet again! I bought the magazine your last article was in even though I'd never read TC before and loved your piece. I'm especially looking forward to reading your new article. Heck, you may get me hooked on this mag. :)

I'm still somewhat in the closet so to speak. I've kept my dreams pretty close to my heart but when the day comes that I get the call nothing will stop me from shouting it to the world.

And I haven't heard patootie in a long time. LOL.


Maven Linda Howard said...

Wow, PM, way cool! And also thanks for sticking up for me and pal Nora, when we aren't there to stick up for ourselves.

Now to the bigger question: Do I ever hide what I do? Sometimes -- if I'm getting bad vibes from the person asking. Sometimes that quiet little voice says, "weird person; could be stalker," and I just say I work at home. But if a normal person asks, yeah, I tell 'em. Why not? The ones who matter are the ones who read romance. If they don't read it, who cares what they think? Romance readers rock!