Yesterday over lunch Louise brought up the subject of Harlequin romances. So naturally I had to tell her about the time I wrote one in the hopes of making some money. Okay. This was a LONG time ago. Like, I think Jimmy Carter was still president and Ken and I were still living in married student housing. Not that the two facts are related.
Anyway, I can't remember too much about my novel--just that the hero was half-Gypsy and that he hardly ever wore a shirt. Also, I think he may have been a wrangler on a dude ranch in Montana, because you know how it is up there in Montana. The place is just crawling with partially clothed wranglers who are half-Gypsy.
I called the book THE DEVIL'S DUES and sent it in under the pen name "Lucinda Lawson." Yes! I know! Fancy!
The book was rejected in record time. Not only that, but I received the lowest form of rejection possible--an impersonal form letter. I was naive enough to be shocked that Harlequin--HARLEQUIN!--had not accepted my book. But what I learned from that experience is this: you should only write romances (or mysteries or fantasy or whatever) if you love romances (or mysteries or fantasy or whatever). There's no point in messing around with a genre that you don't know inside and out. Otherwise you're just a poseur.