Shannon Stacey

The Amnesiac Writer's Secret Baby Book

Yesterday, I made this comment in response to musings by Sylvia’s guest blogger,HelenKay:

Hey, my hero shot my heroine! He even did it on purpose. :smile: But (there’s always a but) he did it in a secret baby book. :???:

It occured to me, while doing my morning dispersal of children, that I’ve written two secret baby books. I’d forgotten all about the first one–the Silhouette Romance I wrote for the wrong reasons, which was rightly rejected by the acquiring editor even though the requesting editor liked it. That secret baby existed solely for the hook.

The second secret baby exists because he needs to. The central theme (I guess it’s the theme?) is that no matter how hard a woman tries to reinvent herself as the perfect mother, she can’t deny who she was or who she still is deep inside, and the father’s a part of that. But I’m sure every other writer who’s written a secret baby book thinks her secret baby transcends the cliche, too.

Considering the comments I’ve seen around blogs in recent days wishing immediate doom on secret baby books (and I’m not link hunting–if you bloghop, you’ve seen them), the fact I’ve written two made me feel kind of blecchy.

Then I remembered something Silhouette Editor Leslie Wainger said on a workshop tape. (Paraphrasing) “Hooks are hooks because they sell.”

A finely-tuned marketing machine like Silhouette wouldn’t pump those secret babies out there if they didn’t sell. Those titles we make fun of? The ones I see put down the most are Presents titles. Check out the Waldenbooks series list–those same Presents with the much lamented titles.

So where the heck do all of those readers live? Presumably not on the internet. But they’re out there. And they’re buying books. Lots of them.

So if you’ve written a secret baby book, or a book entitled The Commodore’s Charming Concubine hold your head up.

And when The Sartorial Senator’s Secret Son hits the list, you can laugh all the way to the bank.

9 comments to “The Amnesiac Writer's Secret Baby Book”

  1. cece
      · March 15th, 2005 at 10:47 am · Link

    They can laugh all the way to the bank but I’m still gonna poke fun at the titles. I’m sorry. I can’t help myself. It’s some sort of disease. I’ve even written pseudo-titles into some of my wips. I won’t list them here for fear TPTB might steal them and use them.

    ~proud owner of one secret baby book idea that even involves cowboys :neener:

  2. HelenKay
      · March 15th, 2005 at 12:09 pm · Link

    Maybe you can change it to a secret coffee table or a secret bowl of fruit salad. Those don’t offend me. It’s those darn hidden babies that keep showing up out of nowhere that drive me nutty :grin: Having said that, I have to admit I’ve read one or two that I like (but don’t tell anyone…..) And Cece, from looking at your site and reading your blog I’m thinking you know cowboys and know what to do with one when you find him. It’s the folks who stick one in here and there to please the folks at Harlequin that are missing the point.

  3. Shannon
      · March 15th, 2005 at 12:19 pm · Link

    That’s exactly what I did with my first one. And thankfully they rejected it and I shoved it under the desk, never to see the light of day again.

    But, I’ve never done a cowboy. :grin:

  4. cece
      · March 15th, 2005 at 12:30 pm · Link

    Shannon’s shoved a secret baby under her bed but never done a cowboy! :shock:

    Helen Kay–thank you :wink: I pride myself on knowing what to do with a cowboy

  5. Anna Lucia
      · March 15th, 2005 at 1:33 pm · Link

    Well said, Shannon.

    I’ve often heard authors say that the titles they hated most sold best.

  6. Sela
      · March 15th, 2005 at 3:22 pm · Link

    I’d rather read a book with a bad title than a secret baby. :grin: In fact, back in the day I used to pick up Barbara Cartland’s books based on the awfulness of the title.

  7. Shannon
      · March 15th, 2005 at 3:59 pm · Link

    My secret baby’s going to need some serious therapy. (I wonder if my husband would rather learn I have a secret baby or I’ve done a cowboy? :lol:)

    And if horrible titles sell books, I could probably come up with some doozies.

  8. Charlene T
      · March 15th, 2005 at 9:20 pm · Link

    I don’t mind romance cliches; I just can’t stand the romanticism, if that makes sense. The novels where babies coo angelically instead of screaming with colic, the cowboys never track in manure and the weddings aren’t full of psychotic episodes by all members of both families. As long as your secret baby doesn’t sleep through the night in the first week of life, I’ll read it! :cheesy:

  9. Cece
      · March 16th, 2005 at 2:37 pm · Link

    Heck charlene my youngest didnt sleep through the night hsi first YEAR!!!! LOL But my cowboys don’t track in mud or manure because they take their boots off at the door :wink:

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