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April 6th, 2007

Pam’s blog yesterday (and Celia’s earlier) reminded me of the time my younger brother asked my mother if her generation had sex before marriage.

I’m sure he thought: How could they? They’re old. Stodgy. That sort of thing couldn’t have happened back then. My mother, who grew up in England in the 1940s, gave this response: “There was a war on. What do you think?” As Celia said, we didn’t invent this stuff.

Anyway, that started me thinking about mothers. My mother-in-law passed away earlier this week. It was very sad and it hurts very deeply. A former schoolteacher, she loved history, and whenever she’d visit, she would pull out some of my research books to read. Not the naughty ones, but ones on women’s lives in Georgian and Regency England. She knew I wrote, but I was not quite prepared to reveal to my mother-in-law and my parents that I write erotic romance.

It was easy as an unpublished author. Then I sold.

For months, I tried to walk a tightrope over a pit of doom. I had revealed to both my mother-in-law and my parents that I’d sold six books. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t keep the news to myself. It was the sort of thing that just wants to burst out or, at the very least, leak out when you least expect it. Then I had to quickly add that my books were well…hot and spicy. It wasn’t too bad, I thought. If I didn’t give my pen name, they couldn’t actually read me. So I tried to artfully avoid giving my pseudonym, and that worked fairly successfully. But this last Christmas I was finally ‘outted’. My husband and I were bundling up my promotional excerpt/calendars over Christmas. And when we went off to bed, my mother-in-law took one to read. Since these were intended for mailing, the excerpt was mild. Reasonably mild. But still…

Anyway, she loved it. She was a wonderful champion of my writing, even though other family members warned her that maybe she shouldn’t tell her bank teller, her friends, her financial advisor, and the rest of the relatives. But regardless, news of my releases went into her Christmas cards.

I’ve been very fortunate to have a mother-in-law who was proud of my work and happily tooted my horn. I’m going to miss her very much. This isn’t really a historically centered post, but I’d like to say that I hope for all of you, in any endeavor, that you have someone just as supportive behind you!