Wednesday, May 27, 2020

My Dirty Little Sex Books

     I do try to keep political commentary off my Facebook page, but sometimes my outrage just boils over, and I post a comment, usually on the funny or mocking side. I did so a few months back, and those who followed the thread will be aware of what happened next. Within minutes, I was verbally attacked by a man I'd know for twenty years. We'd always gotten along, and at times, I threw some personal business his way as he always seemed to be out of a job. One of my library staff members called these patrons the "poor souls" who came to the library for someone to talk to mostly.
      Anyhow, livid about my joke, he accused me of being a Communist, a corrupter of children with my opinions, and a terrible librarian who wasn't worth the salary I was paid. (Librarians are paid even worse than teachers.) Gently, I replied that I'd been a Democrat just slightly left of center since the age of twenty-one, had never worked with children as I was an administrative librarian, and I had been awarded a state medal for outstanding librarianship. When I retired, I left the library with several new branches, plans for more, and in good financial condition.
     Since that failed to get a rise out of me, he then went on to say that I now wrote "dirty little sex books", insults being the stock in trade of the man he worships. I pointed out that my books, all twenty-nine of them, were not little by far, being between 70,000 and 100,000 words. Though I hated to admit it, my books aren't very sexy and this is sometimes mentioned in reviews. As for being dirty, didn't we all come into the world because of sex? I do not consider two adults who care about each other making love a dirty act. I challenged him to read any of my books for free as the public library has them all, and then he could criticize.
     His reply--I can tell by the covers what kind of books you write. Isn't that a classic remark? He evidently doesn't know that published authors have little to say about their covers. I get some input, but not much. As I thought about my covers, they are fairly bland for the romance genre. I do have a lot of shirtless men, because, honey, that sells, I've been told. There isn't one clinch cover, and the women are all fully clothed in not particularly sexy garments.
     I told him that if he read my books, he'd notice they have strong family values. Not one of my heroes has ever paid a porn star for sex while his wife is recovering from childbirth and then paid $150,000 to cover up his yes, dirty, deed. I didn't wait for a reply, just simply blocked and unfriended him. A fanatic can't be reasoned with. I will add that other librarians and my readers did jump to my defense which left me feeling all warm and fuzzy.  Poor man, he'll never the pleasure of reading one of my books.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Corona Blues

     Lo and behold, it has come to pass--everything I predicted in my last post. One by one all of my spring promotional events were cancelled along with things I simply enjoy such as book club, theater presentations, movie nights, and water aerobics. Because of my hip surgery, I'd already been kept at home for four weeks before our governor issued the stay-at-home order. I experienced one glorious night of freedom with dinner in a restaurant and then attending Beautiful, the Carole King Story (wonderful, see it when life returns to normal) in a large auditorium packed with people. We ran into the manager of the place who knows my husband. He confided that the shutdown order was coming and the powers that be wanted to close the play, but he said he'd be in big trouble if he did. The night for March was almost balmy, and I stood talking to friends while waiting for my car to arrive and pack me and my walker inside for the ride home. I think of it as the Last Good Evening.
     The next day we were on lock down and have been ever since. My husband continued to work in his deserted museum until that, too, was shut down a week later. He has been kept busy getting our groceries (once a week only) and doing the housework I am not yet up to doing. We are keeping some of our local restaurants in business with takeout and even ordered our Easter dinner by mail. We Facetimed with the grandchildren and watched them do their egg bumping contest, a family custom. They observed ours done with only four eggs. Not much of a contest, but still fun. Other than that, it is lots of reading, working an incredibly hard puzzle with no picture and two puzzles mingled together, doing crosswords, and trying to watch Jeopardy which keeps getting knocked off for depressing Covid updates.
     Now, you'd think I'd be writing up a hurricane with all this free time, but pain and pain pills blunted that earlier. Now that I am feeling better, I also feel so out of sync. I've managed only to produce one solid chapter added to The Aussie Sinner in these many weeks. I did begin another but the progress is slow, not because of lack of ideas, but simply coping with the shut in situation. I need to share my beloved desk top computer with my husband who has now sketched out his planetarium programs until August. His annual convention set for June in Florida has been cancelled as well. I intended to go along and visit my sister in that state, but that too is gone. Just nothing to look forward to except a rescheduled dental appointment. Oh, joy.
     Yes, I may be a little depressed. I am old enough to know these things pass--but when? I do agree we need to stay inside as long as it takes. Did I mention I live in the plague state of Louisiana, the place that Texas and Florida have sealed off as if they had no sickness of their own? In fact, I am now a little afraid to go to Florida considering their governor has opened the beaches. Seems way imprudent. Five deaths in our small town, but New Orleans of course is a hotbed.
      Although some printers have closed down as have our local library and bookstore, publishing grinds on. Daughter of the Rainbow came out February first as promised, and I got my copies, now gathering dust, shortly thereafter. The Double Dilemma is slated for release on May first. I'm waiting to see if that happens. I swear I will find the energy and resolve to work on the new Sinners book, my promise to you. Meanwhile, stay safe and well.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

The Writer and the Corona Virus

     Many writers are introverts who probably welcome the idea of self-isolating themselves because of the corona virus and spending every second of that time creating their latest WIP. I'm not one of them. I enjoy the meet and greet, but I have said at least I can still write in this time of crisis. Maybe we'll all get a lot done. I had several books in the pipeline before this epidemic started. Daughter of the Rainbow came out right on time March first and The Double Dilemma is slated for May first. Both of these are part of the Longleigh historical series but can be read as stand-alones if someone craves a single, humorous Regency. Bet you can't read just one!
     Not doing so well in week four of my isolation (from hip surgery) is The Aussie Sinner. Between PT pain and painkillers, my will to create has been sapped. I know what I want to do and don't do it. Haven't completed that painting due for an April show either! None of this has anything to do with the virus, but I experienced my first hint of what might come to be.
     My first event of spring was an arts and crafts fair I always attend and do well at hand selling. When I sit down to calculate my earnings as a writer at the end of the year, I have several royalty statements and then books I sold myself. More than half of my income comes from the latter. The day dawned gray and chilly. Sitting outside from eight to three huckstering my books lost its appeal as I thought of my aching hip and the possibility of meeting someone with the virus. I stayed home. Sales lost along with the opportunity to promote The Longleigh Chronicles.
      My next event is a library conference. I haven't heard a word so far, but there is every chance it might be cancelled. While I don't sell well at library conferences, I do give out lots of cards on my current books and often see sales afterwards as people buy for their library collections, not themselves (and they get to read the new books first). As a librarian, I was guilty of this.
      In April, I have another big event where I sell well-a local literary festival. I am still holding my breath to see if it is cancelled. So far, no one in our area has come down with the virus. I am sure it won't be long. If these events don't take place, I lose half my modest income due to this disease. You can use all this time to write, but lack of promotion is going to take its toll on sales. And I have to weigh other considerations. Yes, I am old but not elderly, and recovering from a major operation. Should I be out and about at all? Not good at staying home, I think I will take my chances if I have toe opportunity.
     I don't think there will be a shortage of paper or printer ink, though I have heard that due to tariffs being raised, paper especially will be more expensive and raise the price of books. That means that even with an author's discount, I'll have to price my books higher to cover the higher price. More expensive equals fewer sales. Some people in our area are hoarding bottled water and toilet paper. Why, I am not sure. Our tap water is good and, as far as I know, corona virus does not cause diarrhea. This isn't a hurricane, folks. You'd be better off stocking TV dinners in the freezer in case you are isolated either voluntarily or by the national guard. Maybe, hoarding should be of peanut butter, sardines and saltines, or the mysterious "potted meat" that people only buy if a big storm is coming.
      To wrap this up, I will only say, "Keep Calm and Keep Writing."

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Another Kind of Hiatus

     Last month I wrote about the impossibility of writing during December with the stress of preparing for Christmas, which is why so many publishers shut down for at least half the month. Come January, I face another kind of hiatus. My hip has reached the point of causing me so much pain it must be replaced. I scheduled the first surgical date I could get, February tenth, and every day as the time draws nearer I am in a panic to get things done before I go under the knife. From past experience, I know I can expect six weeks of healing while on pain killers and taking physical therapy that will be exhausting. So, I won't be writing a word during that time.
    Meanwhile, a contract came through for The Double Dilemma, the fourth of the Longleigh Chronicles. I explained to my editor about my upcoming situation, so she hurried the edits, and I am doing them now. Contrary to some beliefs, editors are not monsters and are usually understanding if you are frank with them. I've only had one I couldn't work with, and I do think she damaged that book. We parted. I am also trying to do all the other things that are required: getting the descriptions to the cover artist, writing the blurb (which I always do in advance and then have to cut for being too wordy or giving away to much), picking a scene for a teaser page. I think I can get it done in time and send it on to the line editor. Maybe I will be able to proof the galley while recuperating. I hope I will be sharp enough to do that. It is important for a really polished book.
     All writers age.  The work gets harder to complete. Hours sitting in front of a computer take their toll on the hips and eyes. I have two long running series,the Sinners Sports Romances, which have four more books to complete the cycle and the new historicals, the Longleigh Chronicles, which still have six books to go. I keep thinking of two new plots for The Roses series, too, but don't think they will ever come into being. I pray I can keep going until the first two series are complete. All best wishes, prayers and good vibes are accepted to get me through another life hiatus from writing.