I am a woman of a certain age…

Hello, poppets!

If you’re wondering what that “certain age” is specifically in my case, it’s 57. An interesting age, to be sure. For instance, the other day I was out walking with the Mister down a leafy street lined with elegant old homes and he said something about a situation being “generally under control.” I halted abruptly and turned around, anxiously looking up and down an emerald green lawn. He said, “What are you doing?” I replied, “You said there were garden trolls!” Then demanded, “Where are the garden trolls?”  In medical circles they might refer to such auditory incidents as part of the cognitive drift of menopause… I wonder.

Like most novelists I have a rich fantasy life. My fiction is informed by fact, but nonetheless, there’s a lot of what we’ll call disciplined daydreaming going on during the writing process. It’s reality gussied up with narrative drive, plot twists, and juicy tidbits that skirt non-disclosure agreements with the artful use of assumed names and altered locations. Do I think of some characters as trolls and others as fairy godmothers? Of course I do.

My first foray into the Hollywood novel was “It’s in His Kiss,” Kindle and Paperback. Now I am well into writing my second, which accounts for my long absence from the blog.

And, since I see the finish line in sight on this novel, I have a question for you. I have considered posting a page a day, or a chapter a week on a site called Patreon — a place where patrons of the arts pay a monthly fee, $1 and up — for exclusive content. Or, I might go the indie publishing route again… Or, I might seek representation (know any literary agents you’d like to introduce me to?) and attempt an old school book release.

What are your thoughts?

Oh, and here are the first few paragraphs from the new book.

***

AN INTRODUCTION

I am a woman of a certain age. An age at which I have gained, if not wisdom, then at least the experience and discernment to intuit that when an old friend I haven’t heard a squeak from in three years texts me, “S’up?” late at night that what’s lying heavy on his mind is the proximity of death and the unresolved question of why — exactly — we never tumbled into bed together; and whether there’s any possibility that we might still do that, even now.

Being that “certain age” (and I hope the words “past it” have not entered your darling mind), I am able to reflect upon this calmly without even a hint of discomfiture. It wasn’t always so.

I came to Hollywood as a teenager, on a summer break from college, to look after a movie star’s kids. As it turns out summer never really ended, because here I stayed. I married the movie star, alienated my step-children, had one child of my own, went back to school, got a job assisting a hot young director, became a producer, then ran a studio. For a very short while, I ran a studio.

Life never is a simple linear narrative; it’s too messy and senseless. On the other hand a memoir, no, make that a novel (a much less contentious prospect) is an attempt to resolve the random acts of a life and give them meaning — put them into some sort of context. Whether this reads as simply an insider chronicle of a life lived in Hollywood or another of those cautionary tales about the same, I’ll leave to you, gentle reader, my unknown confidant.

***

14 comments

  1. LA CONTESSA

    ME TOO 57 in JULY!
    I Love the bit about THE GARDEN TROLLS……….
    YOU really had me there as I thought you were speaking about YOUR LIFE!
    I will READ with DELIGHT…………….
    I know no one who can HELP YOU.
    Maybe SANDRA?
    XO

  2. As a fellow indie author who’s about to publish his 7th book in June 2017, my first gut reaction was “Just publish the book and let me download it onto my Kindle.” And that’s probably going to remain my answer. But another part of me was intrigued by the idea of “publishing” this way. We (indie authors) are at the front of a new Wild West where all options can be and are being explored and sorted through. The beauty about doing what we’re doing is that there isn’t really a “right way.” There’s only the way that suits you, and your situation, and your sensibilities. As indie authors, we get to publish what we want, when we want, and how we want. So if you think it’s a viable way to do it via Patreon, then give it a go. But you would be bucking the trend – in this case “the trend” is how people expect books to be delivered to them and you might find that many people don’t quite get what you’re doing and how you’re doing it. And if in response all you get is a collective yawn, then you can go ahead and do it the more-traveled route. But if you’re asking me this as a reader, I’m still going to say Just publish the book and let me download it onto my Kindle.”

  3. Nath @ BEAUTYCALYPSE

    As a strategist *ahem* I will second the martinturnbull comment and just add that I think you can choose to do not either-or, but both: to publish (indie or via agent) and to venture patreon. Also let’s face it, the latter is a better fit for releasing interesting bts material than it is for releasing “just” books.
    As a reader: Kindle, Kindle, Kindle!

    • Hello, Strategist!
      This is how old I am… What is bts? What I’m thinking is that it has something to do with wireless transmission? Does that mean Patreon is better suited as a performance platform? Like for an audio version of the book?
      What I’ve found regarding indie vs industry publishing, is that I will need an introduction to one of those fabled literary beasts (I mean an agent) for entry into anything. In some ways it’s like getting my first agent who represented me for screenwriting, you need to pass muster with someone they know to have them consider your work.
      This summer I might send you a file of the manuscript and ask you to be one of my first readers. xox, V

      • Nath @ BEAUTYCALYPSE

        Sorry for the lingo! :’D
        B behind
        T the
        S scenes.
        Patreon is great for behind the scenes, for extra material, for research essays etc. IMHO much more than for a book release, even for chapter by chapter. Maybe you’ll find it most suitable, I don’t know, just my two cents from what I get to see succeed on that platform.
        And ooooooomygerd I’d be deligh… DELIGHTED!!!!! to be among your first readers 💚💚💚

        P.S. Can your screenwriter agent introduce you to his/her literary agent pals, I wonder? 🤔

      • Don’t fret, Vickie – I had to google “bts” too! I think of Patreon as simply being a way that fans can contribute regular, (usually) small amounts of money to creatives whose work they want to support. Sort of like Kickstarter but in more of a “slow drip” method. By way of thanks, the creative can released bonus or “bts” info to their supporters, but I don’t think it’s a way to release a book – or at least isn’t designed to be. Unless, of course, you decide it is!

  4. Very well done. Nice style; nice pacing; good tone. I think you’ve hooked the reader with the idea that a baby sitter can become a studio head. You were smart to introduce this so early. Who wouldn’t read on? By the way, thanks again for looking over my stories. I’ve been thinking about the stubble style that you called clear and journalistic. I truly think it works with the first story but as a result of your kind assessment, I’m having doubts about it with the second story, the Wall Street guy in the costume. I might go back and extend the sentences and add flourishes here and there. Take care. For your second novel, I would try to get an agent and a conventional publisher.

    • Thank you!
      I saw your comment this morning on the blog, and I realized I never responded to your email. My memory is crap these days, I am so sorry.
      Lena, I liked the arc. There were hints as to her sexuality as a younger woman, and by the time you describe her as the older documentarian the puzzle pieces come together.
      Hey! I liked the style in the second story! I know you’re familiar with Raymond Carver…there’s nothing wrong with concise prose…I think he once referred to it as having “startling power.”
      The idea of getting an agent and a conventional publisher is very appealing to me. Thus far I have been getting about 1 in 20 responses to my email queries, most often from an assistant saying the agent is not open to submissions. One response remarked that their office fielded 500 queries a week (can that be right? at any rate it is an astonishing volume of email and I suspect most of it ends up deleted). My next step on the agent road will be finding someone to personally recommend me…if I can 😉.
      Have a wonderful weekend. V

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