Harper Lee's To Kill a Mocking Birdmade me a Romance Junkie
There, I've admitted it, I was a weird child and possessed by To Kill a Mocking Bird.
I faded the ink of that book, reading it over and over
again.I’d read to the end, flick back
to the beginning and start all over again. I was caught in a time loop without
end, so convinced was I that if I just read the story hard and often enough, I
could make it happen: Scout would get off with Dill.
I was aged 11, maybe younger. My concept of what it meant to
be adult was zero. In my mind Scout and Dill weren’t bound by age, I didn’t
care that Scout was a child, she and Dill belonged together, forever, damn it! And to this day, the lack of
closure, the absence of a HEA torments me.
I didn’t picked up on the racism, I did on the injustice.
And Boo Radley scared the shit out of me.Atticus Finch was the father I wanted as my own and Jem would have been
okay for a brother, I suppose. But I wanted Scout and Dill to fall in love and
marry. They never did.
……and that’s how my affair with the romance genre started. I
was scarred by disappointment, felt cheated, and I distinctly remember making
the vow that if I were ever to become a writer, damn straight my books would have a happy-ever-after.
By the way, I also believed passionately that Peter Pan fell
for the wrong woman—Wendy was such a prissy-priss—and Tinkerbell got a bum
Subbing for the first time can be a scary process and I
wonder how many publishing houses/agents have missed the opportunity to sign
the next rising star (not me, not yet, maybe never) because they are unaware
the tone of their Submission Guidelines is off?
I’ve certainly passed by certain houses and taken against certain
agents where the tone has been intimidating, blatantly hostile even.Frankly, if submissions aren’t welcome, don’t
ask for them. Close your doors. Lower your shutters. Flick ‘Open’ to ‘Closed’ -
Sorry to have disturbed you.
Stipulating format, specifying genres of interest and
codifying dos and don’ts, admittedly makes for dry copy. But the funny thing
about words is link enough of them together and personality will out.
Submission Guidelines are an important part of Corporate
Image. They spark a first impression and often, an immediate judgement.Get the tone wrong and the next big opportunity
might just walk straight on passed you and worse, they are likely to share
their first impression, however mistaken, with others they meet.
Why do I care? Because words are supposed to matter in this
industry, a sensitivity to tone is supposed to have currency. I know that SGs
are probably so far down a frantically busy agent’s/publisher’s/editor’s
priority list as to have fallen off the bottom, but making a good impression is
a two way process. Writer to publisher - Publisher to writer.
So don't just proof read your words, feel them.
(That sound you hear is me falling a few rungs further down the ladder on the climb to secure a contract)
Why, when a woman choses to treat herself to a bit of erotica,
does it merit a nervous giggle? (And yes, the giggles are definitely nervous). If I was a man caught indulging in a bit of
porn, the very least I’d earn is a ribald guffaw, knowing slap on the back or a
censorious look of distain, maybe even disgust.
And as a woman that is what I want; a bit of laughter from
the gut or envious congratulation or even quiet appal. What I don’t want is to
be patronised, ‘Mummy Porn’ indeed. The popularity of ’50 Shades of Grey’ certainly
has a lot more to answer for than a few newly slapped and bruised arses.
As a woman, if I want to read about the ‘dark and dirty’ then
show me some respect, pray for my soul if you must, but show me some respect.
It’s porn, soft porn, (some of it is even hard core) but what it is not, is ‘mummy’
(I’m new to the
genre, not yet an expert but working on it. I’m not even sure what qualifies as
erotica, porn or outright filth, but I’m certainly not ashamed to say I enjoy
it. Have you stumbled upon Taylor Lee’s,
Grandmaster series? If not, and you’re interested, go search it out. It’s hot. )
I don’t care what people say or how brave a face they put on
it, receiving a rejection is akin to a full body flay of tiny nicks from an
exploding paper mill.Paper cuts hurt,
so do rejections and all the sage advice in the world—don’t give up, sub to
another house, start a new ms, take solace from the many thousands who have
suffered likewise—isn’t worth a damn whilst the cut is still smarting.
I know, I received one and I very much pretended to be
brave, whilst privately wishing I’d booked a bed at the local A&E
department. God, did it hurt—for days!
Only thing that made me feel better was receiving a request
for a full at the end of the same week…so maybe the sage advice isn’t totally
wasted, sub far and wide, because publishing is subjective, and if the force be with you—luck by any other
name—you will get a break…eventually.
My moment of
Rejection = pain
Pain = Heart (you need a heart because without one, you’re a