My mom is five-feet, two-inches tall and mostly round. She smiles – a lot. Her nickname is bubbles. She is a stamping fanatic. And she scares me to the bone. Well, not her exactly, but disappointing her.
So when I started writing, I didn’t tell her. I was too scared that if I never finished it or it never was published, that she’d see me as a failure. When Up a Dry Creek developed into a hot, sexy romantic suspense. Well … I decided to never tell her. After all, our birds and the bees conversation consisted of her telling me, “That’s what sex ed is for at school.”
When I got the acceptance call from Evernight Publishing, I did a happy dance. I told my husband, my friends and my arthritic dogs, but not my mom. She called on the phone that night. We chatted about all the regular things, while inside I was in turmoil. Instead of sharing my excitement about being published, I tucked it away like a dirty little secret. And like all secrets, it hurt to keep.
Every time we spoke, my lie of omission nudged at me. It whispered mean words into my subconscious about the validity of writing spicy romance. Worst of all, it created a distance between my mother and I.
Then, I was lucky enough to go to the Washington Romance Writers retreat. I spent an entire weekend with more than 100 writers. We talked about the process of writing and publishing. We took classes about character development. We drank wine and imagined an M/M/M erotic romance based on the Three Musketeers.
I was free. For the first time in months, my secret didn’t make me feel less than. It wasn’t until I got home that I realized why – because keeping that secret from my mom took a lot of energy and made me feel bad about myself.
So that day I dialed my mom’s number with sweaty palms and a nervous stomach. When I told her that I’d written Up a Dry Creek and that it would be published, she cried. Not because she was upset, but because she was so proud of me.
I’m tearing up typing this because there really isn’t a better feeling in the world that making your mom proud – even when you’re a mom yourself.