Pink boxing gloves by hmmlargeart

We were on hour four of a deadly boring road trip to Michigan last weekend when my husband blurted, “what are you going to do when people criticize you for writing romance novels?”

At least that’s what I think he said. I only caught the last half because he started talking about five seconds after I had finally given into a boredom-induced coma.

Blinking the sleep out of my eyes, I replied, “Do?”

“Yeah. You know, you’re bound to get people making fun of you and stuff.”***

“Why?”

“Well, because some people look down on romance novels. They think anyone can write one.”

Now fully awake, I snorted. “Who the hell cares?”

“You don’t?”

“No. I don’t. Why should I?”

“Wow. Gee, we’re low on gas. Good thing there’s an exit coming up,” he said, wisely changing the subject very quickly.

But I’ve been thinking about what he said. A lot. And my answer still stands.

I don’t give a flying you-know-what what anyone says. I am proud of what I wrote. It’s a damn good book.

Does it draw on classic romance novel tropes? Of course.

Is it formulaic? Hell to the no.

To write romance well, you’ve got to have mad skills. You have to know how to build real, likeable characters. You have to create a living, breathing world around them without spending chapters and chapters explaining it to your readers. And you’ve got to keep the pedal to the metal, plot-wise, and yet keep it tightly focused on the people — and the romance — that are at its heart.

It’s not a simple task.

And then there’s the sex. We all love sex, right?  It’s the thing that fuels new relationships and the spark that those of us who have settled into long-term relationships fight to keep hot.

So of course it has a place in a modern-day romance novel. But writing it? That’s hard (no pun intended). After all, in this genre, it’s not enough to describe how peg A fits into slot B. In fact, there’s no point in including it if it’s not emotionally fraught and plot-forwarding.

Did I mention that it’s not easy? Because it’s not. Especially if you’re somewhat shy and not all that comfortable talking about it in real life.

*ahem*

Moving on.

Writing a good romance novel is tough. Getting published by Harlequin is tougher still. And I’ve done (or am doing)  both.

How many people can say that?

Hopefully, this is the first of many books that I’ll publish. I hope to someday fill a bookcase with everything I’ve written (or at least a shelf).

I, Amber Page, am a romance novel author. And I couldn’t be more proud.

Don’t make me say it again.

And, just to get a couple of other questions out of the way, let me just state for the record:

1. No, you are not, and will never be, a character in my book.

2. No, I am not a character in my book.

3. Yes, I have a very vivid imagination.

4. Only my husband will ever know.

*** I should make it very clear that my husband is fully supportive of my writing. He just like to try to make sure I’m prepared for the worst, even if I’d rather keep my head in the clouds.

 

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She is Five.

by Amber on April 4, 2014

It seems like just yesterday that I was lying in my bed in the maternity ward, relieved that I could finally feel my legs again, exhausted beyond belief, and exhilarated beyond measure.

I had brought an actual human being into the world, and she was amazing. And tiny. And holy shit, she was mine. How on earth was I ever going to pull this being a mom thing off?

Me and Tori in the hospital

During the weeks that followed, I wasn’t sure that I could. Between feeding her with an eye dropper, pumping till I felt like mooing, and giving into sporadic fits of hysterical tears, I didn’t exactly feel like mother of the year material.

But she survived (and so did I). She thrived (and I kept on surviving). And every time I blinked, she grew and changed and became even more amazing.

Before I knew it, she was one. She was walking, then running. Soon she was mumbling, then instantly talking in run-on sentences.

We made it through the terrible twos, and then the oh-my-God-why-didn’t-anyone-ever-warn-me-about-this Terrifying Threes.

Then, suddenly, she was four.  And she had become this amazing little person who surprised me at every turn.

Her vocabulary both astounded me and sent me into fits of giggles. A tiny four-year-old voice using words like “similar” and “actually” and “discombobulated” is hysterical.

She put on entire musical shows from her treadmill stage and forced her mother (me) to get over her stupid fear of dancing and shake her groove thang (although only in the privacy of our own home).

She learned to write. Count to 100. And even began to read. She read me a whole book the other day…

She also learned to love to shop. And began to display an unhealthy love of shoes that must be genetic. She even developed one hell of a sense of humor.

But even though she was starting to become an individual, she was still mine. My preschooler, mostly safe from the horrors of the real world.

Now she’s five.

Tori on the carousel

Five.

She’s beginning a journey that will take her farther and farther away from me. It’s a long trip, I know. But then…wasn’t it just last month that I found out I was pregnant?

I’m excited to see who she’ll become next.

I hope that as she grows, every day is “the best day ever.” And I pray that when the days suck, she remembers I’m still here to wipe away the tears. No matter what happens, I feel blessed (and that’s not a word I use often) that I get to help shape this little girl into the woman she’ll become.

But you know what? I’m also a little bit sad today. I’ve had to choke back tears more than once (I may even be crying as I write this). She’ll always be my baby, but she’s not a baby anymore. Those years are behind us.

I never realized how hard it would be to let them go.

 

{ 2 comments }

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a stormy ocean

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