Due to my career as a police officer (recently retired), I kept my erotic writing a secret. I live in a small conservative town and to top things off, my husband works for the school district. All were a combination for disaster.
When “Play” the first book in the Completion series hit the USA Today Best-Seller list, I wanted nothing more than to scream my success from my front living room window.
But unable to hold back my excitement, I called family and friends and told them the great news. After the final phone call, my heartbeat continued its fast pace as I sat back in my comfy chair and prepared to announce the news to my friends on Facebook and Twitter.
I carefully keep my private life and real name hidden, spending most of my social media time as my alter egos Holly S. Roberts and D’Elen McClain. My daughters follow my pen names along with a few close friends but the small town citizens remain peacefully unaware.
Or, at least they did until my youngest daughter, unable to hold her pride for her mother in check, copied the USA Today link and posted it to her Facebook account with the words, “My mother made the USA Today Best-Seller list.” She attended high school here and her friends all know me.
My secret was out and for several minutes, I sat in stunned silence. After a few deep breaths a feeling of relief came over me and I began laughing. It was time to throw open that window. I posted my own link to my personal Facebook account and prepared for the fallout. Informing my husband of my success (he never answered his work phone so he was the last to know) and then giving him the news that I was no longer in the erotic closet, couldn’t have gone sweeter.
DH (huge grin on his face) – “You mean they could fire me tomorrow?”
We both laughed. The following day, a teacher came up to him and asked why he hadn’t quit his job with all the money I was raking in. His reply… “I’m waiting for someone to piss me off and then I will.”
Teacher (after laughing with delight) – “So she writes books like Fifty Shades of Grey?” she whispered.
DH – “No dirtier,” he whispered back.
Really he didn’t know that “Play” is not dirtier (he doesn’t read romance) though a few books I’ve written give FSOG a run for the smut. I truly love this man who supports me whether I say, “I know I’m forty-five years old but I want to go to the police academy and become a cop,” or “I really want to write erotic romance because I love reading it and it sells.” He gets me.
I guess the moral of my story is that my porn star legendary writing was short-lived here. I wasn’t as important as I thought and my husband, much to his disappointment, didn’t lose his job. I don’t notice side whispers when I go out in public and the women don’t shun me.
I love erotic romance, I will continue to read and write it, and I’d like to see more writers stand up and shout out their hidden names. But every closet is different, I just know from experience that the flame is not as hot as I feared.