Toilet Epiphanies by Virginia Reede

My life changed one day while I was sitting on the toilet...

In December of 2003 I was living the single working girl’s version of the American dream. I had a high-paying job with a big corporation. I carried a laptop, a Blackberry, and wore a BlueTooth. I had closets full of designer suits and more shoes than Imelda Marcos. I ate in five-star restaurants and flew first class.

When my then boyfriend decided to move from Southern California to live with me in Miami, he found out that jobs in his field were a little thinner on the ground than he expected. He talked about changing careers. “Maybe I’ll teach,” he said.

I’ve always been a book girl, so I immediately ran out to a bookstore and bought a stack of those self-help books like Be What You Are and What Color is Your Parachute. And, being a guy, he never read any of them. They made their way to my “reading room.” Where, one day I was reading one of those end-of-chapter summaries. It said (and I mentally replied):

Do you like your job? Sure, I love my job.
If they didn’t pay you, would you still do it? Hahahahahaha. No.
If money was not a consideration, what would you do? I’d write romance.

And then, the killer fourth question:

Is there any reason you can’t start now? Uh... ... no.

Omigod. I’d just decided on a career change. At fourty-four. With my underwear around my ankles.

Now, I had a couple of problems. First, I had yet to write the first sentence of my first book. Next, I didn’t know a single writer or a anyone in the publishing industry. So what did I do?

Yup, I bought a book. It was Writing the Romance Novel for Dummies by Leslie Wainger. As it turns out, this book is about more than writing a novel, it’s also about getting it published. One of the first pieces of advice was to join Romance Writers of America.

In July of 2004, I was in Dallas attending my first RWA National Conference. I was sitting at a table full of authors, and they were all talking about their genres. Several talked about writing Erotic Romance, and said it was the hottest new trend in romance. “What’s Erotic Romance?” I asked. They were more than happy to explain it, and they gave me some samples to read.

Now, it takes a lot to make me blush. But the books they gave me were so hot that as I read them on the airplane home, I kept looking around to make sure no one was peeking over my shoulder. They were terrific but, wow! Could I really write this stuff?

I gave it a shot. My next novel was an erotic romance, and my first sale. By December of 2005, exactly two years after my “toilet epiphany,” I had published that novel and was under contract for five more books!

Snow Blind, the novella I wrote for A RED HOT NEW YEAR, is my first shorter-length story, and also the first I have ever written that is a straight romance with no paranormal elements. It was a lot of fun, and I want to do more. Also, it was really neat to get the ARCs (Advance Reading Copies) and see the stories written by the other authors. They’re beautifully written and really, really hot! I hope readers enjoy my story as much as I enjoyed the others in the book.

Check out the trailer – I did it myself using Windows Movie Maker.


Anonymous Jim Crickenberger said:

Hey Toni,
What an awesome piece! It definately entices you to read the stories and at the same time it encourages beginning writers to take the chance!

12:10 PM  

Blogger Red Garnier said:

Virginia I'm so glad you pursued your dream. It's so true that we shouldn't leave the most important for last. CONGRATULTIONS!! And I can't wait to get my hands on Snow Blind. ;)

12:19 PM  

Blogger Karen Erickson said:

I love your story! Thanks for sharing that and I can't wait to get my hands on this book either. :)

12:34 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Woo-hoo! I had forgotten this anthology was coming out. Another book to buy! And I am looking forward to all of the stories and a few quiet moments to read 'em!

Thanks for sharing your moment of "AH-HA!"


1:40 PM  

Blogger Keziah Hill said:

It's comforting to know there's another person out there who started writing seriously at 44!

12:20 AM  

Blogger Denise Rossetti said:

Hey, Virginia, that's funny! Weird how such mundane moments can totally change our lives. *cue spooky bathroom music* So glad they did though - "Snow Blind" is terrific.

Mine was feeling miserable, knowing I'd always wanted to write, but hesitating for any number of reasons that are quite ridiculous in hindsight. I dealt a hand of Tarot cards and they said, "Go for it!" So I did.

And Keziah, I was a little bit older than you! *g*

4:31 AM  

Anonymous Nancy Cohen said:

Love the video. You need to teach the rest of us how to do this. And I loved Beg For Mercy. I am in awe of your energy and talent!

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