There are a million and one things over my lifetime that I will wish I had reacted to differently. Some are inconsequential and were never make-or-break moments. But a few stand out as true “life” experiences. Those memories are the ones I’ll pull out every so often and re-examine, fix if I can, agonize over if I can’t, and put back on my mental shelf until the next time.
Here is Shannon West to open up about doing a big thing badly, but so thankful she had a second chance to make it right.
I’ve only been writing M/M fiction for about eight months now. I used to write M/F historical romance, a little spicy, but mostly sweet, and I pretty much did a one-eighty by writing in this genre. Luckily one of my publishers, Secret Cravings Publishing, took it all in stride and gave me a shot when I decided to totally switch genres. I had some success right away, which was encouraging, but then I wrote the Dark Hollow Wolf Pack series, an erotic M/M werewolf series, and voila, I was a best selling author. I’m still walking around in a daze over the success of this series, but none of it would have happened if I hadn’t discovered how absolutely fabulous this genre is.
I love M/M and never read it before until about a year ago. I am now one of its biggest cheerleaders and continue to urge my friends to try it. My Amazon bill is astronomical, and my husband complains all the time, but I have so many favorite authors in the M/M community, and I still pinch myself to think I’m actually in that community now.
I actually began writing it after reading a huge amount of M/M fiction after the incident I’m about to tell you about, because I’ve always turned to books to help me understand things. I’ve always been a liberal, live-and-let-live kind of person. Intellectually, I knew that men loving other men was just fine. The idea fascinated me–was even sexy as hell, but I still had some problems wrapping my mind around it. Very soon I found that M/M fiction was mostly sweet, poignant, beautiful, hot, and I absolutely loved it. I began to try to write it myself, calling on a friend of mine to help me keep it real for the more intimate details at first and pretty soon, just took off on my own. Now I really don’t like writing anything else, and I have lots of characters in my head all dying to tell their stories. But how did it all begin? I’m embarrassed to say it began for me by totally blowing it when my handsome, wonderful son came out to me.
To better understand how it was for me, here are the steps I followed: (caution: be careful, and don’t try this at home)
How Not To Handle It When Your Son Comes Out To You
Step One. Agree to meet your child because he has something he wants to tell you. Somewhere in the back of your mind, you know exactly what he wants to say, so meet somewhere public, so there won’t be any kind of scene. Be confident that you can handle any situation that may come up.
Step Two. Listen carefully when child tells you he “thinks” he might be gay. Keep an amused, somewhat skeptical look on your face. This child has never known what he wants out of life, really, and has always let other influence him unduly. Tell him that in no uncertain terms. Reassure him that he’s not gay, and that you know this because he’s your child, and you know everything there is to know about him. You would feel it somehow if it were true.
Step Three. Keep talking fast. Tell him you have a lot of gay friends, and he’s nothing like them. He’s way too masculine and doesn’t fit “the mold.”
Step Five. Don’t let him get a word in edgewise until he gives up and stops talking. Ignore the hurt in his eyes. You know more than he does—you’re the mama, after all. Give him a hug before he walks away, and reassure him that everything will be just fine. Be confident it will be.
Step Six. Wonder why your son never comes over much anymore and rarely calls. Wonder why you’re drifting apart when you used to be so close. Get angry. Call him and nag at him about it–a lot.
Step Seven. Wake up one morning and decide you’ve been in denial long enough. Call child and tell him you’ve been wrong all along. Ask forgiveness. Feel lucky when he gives it, but realize the road back to regaining his trust is a long one.
Step Eight. Realize—finally—this whole thing is not about you at all. Never has been.
Shannon is offering up 2 prizes this week … a digital copy of either Logan’s Choice or Tyger, Tyger, Burning Bright.. To enter, comment below about 2nd chances.
Open until Thursday, September 6th at 11:59 pm (PST). 2 winners will be selected and notified on Friday.