Sunday, April 10, 2011

What makes Jude tick?

I thought I'd share an article I wrote some time ago. It still has a great deal of meaning for me and might give you a little insight into what makes Jude Mason tick.

When did I decide to pursue erotic romance writing? That was the question posed to me first and the answer is so simple, and so complicated, I’ve decided to try to explain it.

The very simplest and straightforward answer is, I didn’t. Not a lot of help, I know. But, it’s like asking someone when they decided to take up breathing. Or, what made you choose blue eyes rather than brown ones? Writing about the joys of sexuality came as naturally to me as breathing and having brown eyes.

When I was very young, I had terribly bad eyes, so reading was next to impossible, but I still told stories. I remember creating little screenplays and making all my friends take part in putting them on for the neighbourhood moms. Lord, they must have hated me sometimes, all of them, kids and moms. The stories were there though and had to be told. There was never any question of whether to listen to those characters or ignore them, I simply did what seemed natural.

The erotica came a little later, but not that much. I was in my early/mid teens and rushing hormones abounded. Boys were amazing, and what was that amazing feeling ‘down there’? Why did my heart race? Why was I feeling so at odds with everything? The stories came then, in the form of poetry that royally sucked, but it had to come out somehow and that seemed the wisest. It didn’t stop the partying or exploring, but it kept me sane.

Marriage and child rearing happened next and my time became incredibly limited forcing me to write late at night when the house was quiet. All those years I think I dreamed of being published but couldn’t even let myself thing about it. The stories, books of them, were simply stuffed in the back of my closet and destroyed when there just got to be too many. I mean, I was just a housewife, a mom, not an author. I live in small town nowhere and teach hunting skills for crying out loud.

Yet, those stories kept coming and I continued writing.

It wasn’t until about 1998, when my darling husband of 25 plus years, decided we should join the multitude of people who owned computers, that I really new, deep in my psyche, that something was going to change. Not only change, but from some tiny spot inside me, publishing came to mind.

Now, the actual genres, romance and erotica, I didn’t even consider. I just wrote stories, badly, but I wrote ‘em. I had no idea about epublishing, groups to join that would help me find out what I needed to know, nothing. I was the dumbest of the dumb, and shy to boot.

You might ask, ‘How in heck could someone like this get published?’

And my answer to you all is, ‘Dumb luck.” LOL

In that first year of being online I fumbled my way into chat room and found a couple of boards catering to the wanna be writer. Some helped, some did just the opposite, but I did learn and I met some amazing people. There was a woman who went by the nickname of Aphrodite. She’d been published, once or twice, and took me under her wing. At least that’s what she thought she was doing. It turned out she had family issues and I wound up taking over the group she’d created. It was there I met my first publisher, Roy Larkin, of the now defunct Amatory Ink.

It took me a couple of months to actually send him an email asking how I should/could proceed to be one of his authors. I had no idea about guidelines or submissions. I just knew he was a way in. You talk about terrified. I had dry mouth and jitters for days before I sent the email and afterwards waiting for a reply. I just knew he was going to think I was insane.

Roy got back to me fairly quickly, actually, and told me to read the guidelines. He explained where they were was even kind enough to do an edit for me on a piece I’d thought of submitting. I worked my butt off for months. I finally did submit something to him, and it was accepted in 1999. Dance of Submission was the first book I had published, and it was horrible. I still have the original version and, man oh man, was it bad.

I was with Amatory until he closed his doors. That was huge for me. Insecure about my skills and knowing I had tons yet to learn, I wasn’t sure what to do or where to go. I tried a few publishing houses, all online, and when I got it through my head that you had to tailor the work to the publisher, things improved tremendously.

I joined a writing community called The Erotica Readers and Writers Association and was amazed at how much I didn’t know. More frustration and learning, and pulling my hair out. Oh and the hair, it’s gone from raven to gray, but the stories still come, still drive me to tell them.

I no longer teach and my kids are grown and gone now. They’ve found their own lives and the best news is, they know what I do, and they’re tremendously supportive. I’ve been through several publishers, some worked well for me, some not so much. My husband, the most wonderful man in the world, is such a dream. He cheers for me when I succeed. He holds me when I fail or get a rejection. 

It’s been an amazing journey, and one I hope to continue for some time. Yet that question still makes me smile. When did I choose to become a romance/erotica writer? I never did, but it defines me in so many ways. Erotica, sensuality, romance, sex, we all live it, whether we think so or not. I simply try to create stories to explore the dimensions of it. The older I get, the more I feel I can truly get under the skin of some very interesting characters. I like to thing that I’ve lived enough life to understand them, kinks and all.

Writers: What got you started? Got a story to tell?

Readers: What do you think? Do you have something you'd like to share?


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Anonymous said...

Nice, inspiring story, Jude - interesting to see you were first published by Amatory Ink. I sold Roy a couple of short stories, and that site kind of blazed a trail for e-publishing, in the UK at least. Though I started writing well before that. My first novel, written when I was ten, is in a drawer at my parents' home, and it should probably stay there...

Liz xx

Jude Mason said...

Hi Elizabeth,

I wish I still had my first. Heck, I wish I'd saved several of them.

Roy was a good man, a bit odd, but not in a bad way. He had some great ideas on what publishing should be and how the author needed to do business. I really did learn a lot from him. I still occasionally hear from him.

Thanks so much for dropping by.