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Working "Blue"

I swear like a sailor and it’s something of a source of pride for me. I could pretend that it’s an “American Thing” – the First Amendment protecting the right to free speech and all, but truth be told, it is much more personal than that.  For me exclaiming, “Shit!” is a liberating experience – a shucking off of the bonds of repression.
I grew up being taught that salty language was reserved for the weak-minded. My father was a stickler for “The King’s English.” Double negatives and pedestrian words like “ain’t” would make him go red in the face. Discussions of the natural – including sex and bodily functions –simply were not conducted in polite company. We did not sweat. We perspired.
One of my earliest memories was petitioning my father – when I was just six years old – for permission to use the words “crap,” “darn” and “heck.” It was a big deal for me. Even then I fought to express myself with all of the weapons in the English language arsenal.
His rigid standards regarding verbal expression were (thankfully) tempered by my mother. She grew up in the inner city, a step above poor and became an unapologetic hippie with a delightfully loose interpretation of “proper.” If one of us had any sort of ailment, Mom’s first question/prescription was, “Did you poop?” It’s mere asking would cause my father to go apoplectic.
In my former life as a stand-up comic, my act was strictly PG (PG-13 if I’d had a cocktail before my set). I didn’t fault my fellow comedians for peppering their acts with F-bombs, it simply wasn’t my thing. In fact, I once wrote an article for a comedy industry magazine titled, “Working Clean vs. Working Blue.” The thrust of the piece was that if a comic didn’t feel comfortable using curse words, it should be avoided at all costs as that unease would be translated to the audience. Way back when, I didn’t feel comfortable using such language.
And then I was introduced to the wild and wonderful world of erotic romance. Before I wrote fiction I was a freelance journalist and any word that didn’t appear in Webster’s Dictionary was not welcomed in the newspapers and magazines I wrote for. But, under the cloak of darkness, I began penning a novel. I did it as a part of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) an annual event in which writers are challenged to complete the first draft – 50,000 words – of a novel in the 30 days of November. I completed the challenge and had the bones of a damn good story. However, the byproduct of writing under pressure was that I wrote with complete abandon. I didn’t self-edit. I didn’t worry about anything but getting my 1,666 words-a-day committed to paper (or computer hard drive, as it were).
As I read back over my fledgling romance novel, I was shocked – SHOCKED I tell you – at the intimate scenes I’d written about my hero and heroine. The pages were peppered with references to throbbing cocks and juicy pussies and God knows what else. Well, thought I, There certainly is no market for this kind of unmitigated filth!
And then one afternoon I received in the mail the latest issue of “O – the Oprah Magazine” and found in the back pages an advertisement for an erotic romance publisher. What’s this? I wondered and dashed away to my computer to type in the web address. Several mind-expanding hours later I’d visited the sites of some of the finest smut peddlers on the Internet. It felt like coming home.
The very next day I began penning my first erotic romance novel, “Mr. Fix It.” I worked at night, after coming home from my fulltime job, and before long had a completed manuscript. Soon after completion, my erotic romantic comedy was under contract with Total-e-Bound Publishing.
Today I write romance fulltime and I have just completed my sixth novella – Book 3 in my Paranormal Erotic Romance series GHOST ENCOUNTERS with Total-e-Bound. I will be eternally grateful to TEB for taking a chance on a formerly-repressed journalist and allowing me release my inner slut – along with my vocabulary of gloriously naughty words.
As for going back to drudgery of polite conversation and the 9-to-5 grind? I say, “Fuck that!”
xoxo ~Gabrielle Holly
Now available from Total-e-Bound...

And Book 1 in the Ghost Encounters series "Soldier of Love"

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Barbara Elsborg said...

That made me laugh. I THINK I don't swear in real life, though the odd word might escape if I'm provoked BUT my books - aaghghgh = my mother would have had a fit. She used to turn off the TV if there was a naked chest visible - not even a woman's. I don't think I've written one book where a character didn't have a potty mouth. I've clearly been repressed. (Like you!)

Gabrielle Holly said...

Barbara... Isn't it fun to live vicariously through our characters? :-)