I'm free! After nine years of staying at home with my children, I'm free. And ready to devote all that extra time to my writing. In honor of this auspicious occasion, I am reposting a blog I wrote about my introduction into the world of reading romance.
When I was 11 years old, my parents opened a BBQ and Seafood restaurant. I worked there every afternoon after school and made $35 a week. This was the first time I made any "real" money on my own and I knew exactly how I was going to spend it: gummy bears and books.
There was a new bookstore in town and I begged my dad to take me. With my first paycheck I bought a Nancy Drew book. Not the Nancy Drew I grew up reading (in hardcover solving the "Secret in the Old Attic.") But a new Nancy in the Nancy Drew Files. I bought the first one, "Secrets Can Kill." For the first time, Nancy was on the cover with **gasp** a boy instead of a clue. Nancy was a teenager who dated and used her ballet technique to fight bad guys!
I cruised along for a few months, happy on the high Nancy gave me. I got a little bit of mystery, a little bit of teenage love. It was all good. And then my parents hired a new waitress for the restaurant, Angie. Angie was pretty, funny and probably the star of every party she attended. She acted like a grown-up and was the coolest girl I knew.
One afternoon, Angie sidled up to me, a purple and white paperback in her hand.
"Hey Tracey," she cooed. "Whatcha doin?"
"Reading." Angie was always nice to me even though it was clear we were from two different worlds: Cheerleaderville (her) and the Nerdverse (me).
"I brought this for you. Thought you might like it." She casually tossed me the book and I watched as it slid down the counter to settle before me.
The first thing I noticed was the man and woman embracing on the cover. Nancy was usually next to a boy, but they weren't touching. And this wasn't a boy, it was a man, baby, yeah!-- with a mustache and everything. It was a Silhouette Romance, the words in white and cursive.
I immediately set aside my Sweet Valley High and began the first chapter. I was introduced to the characters and some of their issues which, at the time, were a little over my head. A few chapters in, I hit my first intimate scene.
There was kissing with tongue! And he **gulp** circled her nipple and then he **whispers** got hard!
Holy cow! I couldn't believe I was allowed to read this stuff. (I probably wasn't but I wasn't about to check.) And to top it all off, they lived happily ever after. (Just what a teenage girl wants to hear- give it up to the boy and he'll love you forever.) When I closed that first book, I needed another right away. I'd had my first taste. And I was hooked.
Like most addicts (I know this from movies, not personally) I quickly outgrew my first dealer. Angie was able to provide me a few more, but she was small-time. She told me about this weekly flea market and even mentioned to my stepmom that she might find some great antiques there. That Saturday morning, my stepmom found great deals. And I found
I read on the bus to and from school. I hid books in my textbooks and read during lectures. I sometimes skipped lunch and read in the library. In between taking orders at the restaurant, my nose was stuck in a book. And on the third Sunday of each month, when I ushered in church and could sit away from my family, I hid a book in the hymnal and read during the sermon.
Although the addiction had me hard, I knew there was more to my life. Even at 11, things were expected of me. I was going to graduate high school, go to college, attend medical school and become a pediatrician. (I changed course along the way--it became law school and public defender.) I would burn out at the rate I was going. I had to scale back. I became a functioning addict. In fact, before launching my website, most people in my life probably had no idea how important romance novels were to me.
Today, I'm finally proud to stand up and proclaim, "My name is Tracey I'm addicted to romance novels."
I don't want help; I don't think it's a problem. I want to wallow in it. And try to hook as many people as possible.
How were you introduced to your
Tracey Livesay is the author of sexy, contemporary romance novels with alpha males and smart females. You can find her at her other blog "Mimosas @ Midnight", on Twitter @tlivesay, and on Facebook at Tracey LivesayAuthor. You can read her column, Fictionistas, every 3rd Monday of the month.
Tracey Livesay: your destination for True Love... in black & white.