I Will Have An Oreo (Or Two)

My wife got her first jab (AstraZeneca) yesterday morning. I am having my first this afternoon. We are all living history: an attempt to vaccinate most of the adults on the planet as quickly as reasonably possible.

So after several heavy posts, it is time to (hopefully) have some smiles (mostly at my own expense), courtesy of Twitter’s #writingcommunity:

It was in my twenties. I was imagining I could write novels as my then crime novelist uncle wrote. I knew I could not write crime novels, but had to write books that were most consistent with my own knowledge… whatever that was. But I did not write anything for the public until my 40s.

Judging by the huge sales of crime novels on Amazon compared to 18th century period pieces, well, maybe I should have tried writing crime novels.

In any case, initially I pictured myself as a writer eventually being here…

[Photo by me, Tyntesfield, Bristol, England, 2019.]

And I ended up more this…

[Photo by me, February 16, 2021. Any text Copyright Me, 2021.]

Eh, we have to play the hand we are dealt in life, right?

In my latest books, his (“MC” is writer shorthand for “main character”) profession is… a somewhat dashing guy who has a bit of money thanks to aiming to satisfy customers, hopes to have some degree of political awareness, adores his family, and travels intercontinentally while occasionally being heroic.

Mine? Pretty much the same.

With that latest main character, likely some guy who is yet unknown – perhaps still being in school.

Or that character being around 6 foot 3 inches tall… probably Tom Cruise.

Unlike what we see in so much of our English language literature and especially popular entertainment (movies and television), the Frenchwomen in ALL of my books are not, by default, lunatics…

[An 1811 sneak peek from Capture The Cause. Click to expand.]

…well, they are not “lunatics” most of the time, anyway. 😉

I will not answer that outright, but I will admit that “the lady” who writes the above letter is certainly “in the running.” This will be the third novel in which “she” appears, and the books would not exist without “her.” I don’t know exactly from where “she” comes; her inspirations are from too many places I could not begin to explain, and may stem too perhaps from my subconscious as well. However “she” came into “being,” I am glad “she” has.

Mine tend to be alcohol drinkers.

Okay…

…there we go.

Shared. 😉

Eh, eyes up again. You are presumably supposed to be reading the poem.

I think I will…

[Photo by me, March 2021.]

…have an Oreo (or two).

He could not write “f-cking” in those days, remember.

War and Peace.

Everyone has an opinion. I could not begin to list them. Above all, you must actually write… and not just talk about writing.

A ventilation shaft wizards and witches struggling to speak Fruit Salad.

In my current manuscript, uh, the husband overseas is told the wife is out of the picture permanently and his life falls apart, a pre-marriage now married girlfriend turns up to help, he ends up in Poland, and the wife reappears.

Sharing how to successfully get out of the difficult situation immediately noted above.

Uh, one place I turn: my wife.

Oh, good, because he wears his doubts on his sleeve.

I see Twitter writers all dreaming of book deals and contracts and presumably stardom. And I understand that desire. However, I had a traditionally published author in my family – my uncle, of course – who for some twenty years wrote eight novels under contracts his agent got him with several publishers. I realize now it is one thing to write what you want on your own schedule, but quite another to write having to deliver a manuscript to a publisher by such and such a deadline date… and it had better be good. Indeed it had better be exceptional. The stress to write like that to live eventually wore him out and he took a job teaching creative writing… which then essentially killed his novel-writing: he published just one full novel for the last fifteen years of his life AFTER he became a university adjunct.

And he would be, I believe, characterized as a SUCCESSFUL author. He appeared on the original Oprah Winfrey Show (I think at least twice in the ’80s and ’90s) and lots of other television talk shows. (“Don’t you own a f-cking suit?” I remember my mother laid into him once after he had done several appearances one after another in THE SAME sweater. “And sit up straight. You lean forward and slouch.”) In the early 1990s, one of his early novels was even optioned for a film, and he told me who the actress was who wanted to play the lead – he had written a woman police captain. And you would know the actress, believe me; but sadly it never got produced.

At some point he also told me he felt an author needs a film or television (and now, I guess, Netflix) deal in order really to “make it” as an author. Indeed think about it: the most successful authors almost ALL have had a screen deal for at least one of their books: that gives them LOTS of extra income, thus freeing them from the “write to live” treadmill that most other jobbing authors endure, and also gets them more exposure and more sales, and that in turn gets them more screen deals, and more freedom to write. For example, Stephen King really “made it” due to the film adaptation of Carrie.

Thus the screen is probably the surest “path” to real “success” (if money is the definition of “success”) for an author. Living from book advance to book advance, my uncle had warned me, was not easy. The advance money was about a year’s or two’s income (and he did not live extravagantly). Before that ran out he needed to DELIVER that finished manuscript he had already been paid for through that advance (he did get paid some after publication, but not as much as you might think), and write a proposal for the NEXT book in order to get yet another advance (another year’s or two’s income). And then “the treadmill” started all over again.

That said, he also LOVED being an author, and especially got a kick out of the fact that people were IMPRESSED by that. Now, a bit more than five years after his death, I have his books and can still re-read his (often great) words. And those words of his will be read for who knows how many more years to come by sometimes new fans out there will never have known him when he was alive, but now know him only as that author of that gritty police novel they just bought. (Several of his books – especially the nearly film-produced one – are still in print at major publishers. None are unfortunately on the Kindle.)

Nine years into this myself, I think I am “destined” to be a “freelancer.” I accept that – albeit a bit reluctantly. The positive in that is my novels are exactly WHAT I want them to be, and are published WHEN I think they are ready to be published, and I answer to NO ONE but my readers.

To be honest, I am really only here right now for the blogging material. I thank the Twitter writers above for allowing me to use them as “straight men” for punchlines directed mostly at myself. It is all done in fun.

Yes, smile. Made most famous by Nat King Cole in his 1955 version, I finish here now with a 2021 cover of that song with that one word title. “Smile,” by Marilor:

Have a good day, wherever you are. 🙂

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