Oh yes, I have now experienced that awkward moment when some of my more oblivious Evil Day Job co-workers have realized what I do on the side.
It started with a co-worker — who happens to be male — trying to rope me into helping with an event for a high-school organization on the weekend. I declined, because that’s all I need — one more obligation to suck away time from my writing.
“Come on,” he said. “Just think of all the high-school students you could sell your book to.”
I shook my head. “I don’t think it would be appropriate to sell them my book.”
Then again, I did start reading Harlequins when I was in high school — but no. I target an adult audience, thank you very much. I don’t need a hoard of angry parents coming after me with pitchforks either.
“What do you mean?” my co-worker said. “Why shouldn’t they read your book?’ Then it seemed to hit him. “My God, do you mean it’s dirty?”
I’m pretty sure I just kind of lifted my eyebrows at that. I mean, it’s not filth, but it ain’t the How to Abstain from Sex Guide for Dummies either. There's a plot. There's a story. And there's some sex scenes sprinkled in here and there. Typical romance novel.
By this point we were back to our cubicles. He continued to say — for all around us to hear — “I want to know. I mean, is it just really violent or does it have sex in it?”
I looked heavenward. I mean, did we have to discuss this so loudly for ALL of our co-workers to hear? I admit it. I was getting a little flustered. I suppose most of my co-workers see me as the quiet, church-going type — not at all the type to write a sexy novel!
I gestured to a co-worker who had read my book. “Well, ask her. She read it.”
I just could not bring my lips to say, "Yes, my book has sex in it." I needed someone else to say it for me. A coward? Who, me? You betcha!
My friend tilted her head in consideration. She did it on purpose. I know she did, just to see both of us squirm, the little weasel. She stalled for so long, I wanted to stomp my foot and say, “Oh now, come on!”
I finally rolled my eyes and blurted, “It has sex in it! OK?”
Then I realized I might have accidentally yelled it. Or at least said it a lot louder than I should have.
My male co-worker started blushing. Yes, I made a grown man blush.
“Well, now I have to admit I am a little embarrassed I asked,” he said.
He was embarrassed?!? Ye Gods! I will be sneaking past half my co-workers with my head held down for at least a few days after this. Geez.
The moral of this story is, keep your mouth shut if someone at the Evil Day Job asks if your book has sex in it. No good can come of it. Some things are just better left unsaid.
Trust me on this.