Category Archives: Parenting

Unintended Sex Ed

Many romance readers (and writers) are a little hesitant to admit that they read books that include hot sex scenes. Pulling out a book with a nearly naked man (Like Lori Foster’s yummy book) or a woman about to bust out of her bodice to read at the kid’s dentist office can be kind of…awkward. Especially when the child next to you – yours – starts reading over your shoulder.

Embarrassing or Public Service?

If you’re like me, you immediately slam the book shut and hide it away. Or pick up a magazine and use it to hide the cover of your romance reading. Luckily, my kids have learned to ask when they find a book on the couch – “Can I read this?” They still think sex is icky (and hopefully will until age 25). If they see skin on the cover, they pretty much know it’s not for them. But what about books that aren’t quite as clear (um, like mine?).

A great example is Wicked. A friend of mine heard how great the play was, and that she should take her kids to see it. To prep for the performance she bought the book and let her son read it. It looks innocuous enough, and the back cover blurb is pretty tame.

Let’s just say he didn’t get very far in before he was “grossed out” and gave it back to his mom. (The book is not appropriate for kids, in my opinion, but the play is, and I recommend it.)

So what do you think? Do you hide your romance books from your kids? From your friends? Or do you prefer your hot books have hot covers?

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Filed under Parenting, Reading

Looking to the Future

A crowd of college students at the 2007 Pittsb...

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Even as I look to the future of my writing, and work on getting book 2 done, a much bigger event is taking center stage this week. My daughter is starting her college search.

Tonight she and I are hitting the first of a couple college fairs so she can start narrowing down where she’ll apply. Her list is long and varied, and involves campuses all around the country. Yup, my husband and I are quaking in our boots…out of state tuition is…holy smokes…

When I look at where I am now, compared to when I went to college, I have to laugh. I was all science and math back in the day – and was not into romance novels. Reading outside of school was rare, and if it happened, it usually had some kind of an engineering spin on it. Who knew I’d end up here?

What I tell my daughter, though, is that even though I don’t really use the technical side of my major anymore, the confidence, independence, and experience college gave me is priceless. I can’t wait to see how college will mold her. Like every mom, I have very high hopes, and judging by her enthusiasm toward school, I expect her to thrive.

If you attended college, what did you take away from your experience? Was it what you expected? What surprised you about the experience?

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Kindle Goes to School

Amazon Kindle eBook Reader

This probably won’t be a surprise to many, but I love my kindle. I still read “real” books, but I love the convenience and selection I get on my ereader. It’s so great that I even loaded my high-school-age daughter’s summer reading books on it – the classics, like Dante’s Inferno, were free!

What I didn’t take into account was that when school started, she’d need to take her summer reading books to school.

Now, I trust my daughter. I warned her not to drop her backpack with the kindle in it, and keep it under wraps – I didn’t want prying eyes and sticky fingers to get any ideas. “YES MOM!” was her answer. But my main concern was her teacher. What if he took it? (Okay, I’m a little paranoid, but as I said, I LOVE my kindle!)

You see, the high school has strict rules about many things. No drugs. No weapons. No suggestive clothing. AND…no electronics. I knew the intention of the rule was to keep kids from playing video games or listening to their iPods during class, but would the school be discriminating enough to know the difference between an MP3 player and an electronic book? Luckily, the answer was yes.

In fact, the instructor’s response was “I was wondering when these would start showing up.” Another student also had her kindle in class, and everything was fine.

Now I’m left with a different dilemma. I know a kindle (or nook) is in both my kids’ futures. They’re avid readers, and would definitely use them. I’d also like to think their rooms might be a little cleaner without the piles of books everywhere (yeah, right). It’s just a matter of time.

My question to you today is, how do you manage a child’s ereader? Do they have their own amazon/B&N account, or do you connect them to yours? I wish amazon had a way to lock individual books or collections with a password – then I wouldn’t have to worry about my kids picking up my kindle and reading one of the hot romance novels I have on it.

If you have a nook, I’d like to hear from you, too. The library lending feature is something I think would be great for kids.

And, just so you know, Christmas is only 108 days away.

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How Much is Too Much?

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This question is one I ask myself almost every day.  Sometimes innocently: How much is too much in the washing machine?  Sometimes guiltily: How much is too much when scooping ice cream?  But sometimes seriously: How much is too much when it comes to sex in a book?

As a romance novelist, it’s not a question I worry too much about.  “Too much” is usually more of a marketing concern – who am I trying to sell my book to, and how much detail do they want.  But as a mom, the question takes on an entirely different meaning—especially when it comes to what to allow my children to read.

I’m not a fan of banning books, far from it.  But when told my daughter would be reading Like Water for Chocolate this year, that it was, in the teacher’s words “a little racy,” and that we’d have the option of substituting a different book, I paused.  What was she being asked to read?

Now, my daughter’s teacher is wonderful, don’t get me wrong.  He immediately sent home a copy of the book for me to read, and assured everyone that there would be no repercussions, should we decide it wasn’t the book for our kids.  The decision was up to us as parents:  How much is too much?

Well, I read it.  It’s a fascinating book, built like one of the many dishes featured in its pages.  Mexican folklore is layered on top of a classic Cinderella-like story, mixed in with a love of food and a sensual romance.  It’s the “how sensual” part I worried about.

As far as romance novels (including mine) go, the sexual aspects could be considered a little on the tame side, I think.  The interludes were short, and not explored as emotionally as they could have been. There was the occasional explicit reference to a woman’s physical response and some intimate touching.  But is it too much?

Every situation is different, and considering my daughter, her experiences—and even my experiences and reading in high school—I’ve decided that no, it’s not too much.  Based on the “family life” classes she’s had (aka sex ed), the discussions we’ve shared about a variety of topics, and her level of maturity, I’m okay with her reading it.  But it’s not the kind of book I’d give to just anyone her age.  And honestly, I’m not sure how the boys in her class will react to it.

The story does lend itself to discussions about physical attraction vs. “true love.”  I’ll be curious to hear if that comes up in my daughter’s class discussions.  But there are also themes of familial responsibility vs. independence, accepting the consequences of one’s actions, and finding one’s self.  Taken as a whole, it’s a very thought-provoking book.

The most important thing is that the teacher asked us the question in the first place, and I thank him for giving us the opportunity to answer it.

As for my book?  It’s definitely too much for her.  But you have to love her:  She’s counting the days until she heads off to college so she can read it then.  Talk about loyalty!


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