Today I will vent...and not about multiple sclerosis or its many annoying issues. Aside from God and family, my life normally revolves around my MS, with a healthy smattering of fulfilling my dream as a writer. Today I will only focus on that dream with whole- hearted attention....until it is time to prepare dinner.
In the literary world the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomena is on it's second round of publicity with the release of the second movie. Normally I would wildly applaud the author of such a feat with unbridled excitement. "Yea, for us! Authors rule! (Yada yada)"
But I just cannot do it today. I cannot condone the writings of E.L. James and retain my sanity.
When the first book in the series was released, I (ashamedly, as an author) was unaware of it until it hit me full frontal during a signing of my own at an area Barnes and Noble. Set up right at the front door to welcome and hopefully entice customers, I found my heart beating madly at the oncoming onslaught of females headed in my direction. Since that particular B&N Saturday was actually sponsored by the county board of education, I felt certain that these gals were school teachers here to inspect my latest young adult title.
I prepared my most welcoming smile and loaded my hands with book marks and business cards. Oh, yes, this day I would introduce these teachers to fiction sure to inspire their wards.
My shoulders back and head held high, followed the direction of the hoard with a hand in the air to indicate that I was there to serve.
But...alas...that parade of squealing women (yes, they were actually squealing) raced past my display to the table beside me. The one over flowing with black and white covers of a new release I had not noticed before. What was this that held their attention so raptly? Of course, as a writer, it was my responsibility to inspect this addition to the best seller list. Mainly because that is what writers do. It is necessary to "in the know" to truly be involved in your craft.
So, I left my table still clutching a handful of business cards to eavesdrop on these women. They were absolutely beside themselves with glee n the prospect of acquiring this particular book for what sounded like a marathon weekend read.
The book cover itself was a bit intriguing, rather plain yet classy. You just cannot go wrong with black and white, right? There was no way to pick up a copy for closer inspection what with all of those frantic fingers gobbling up books as fast as even more women entered the store and flocked around the table. So, I had to open my mouth and inquire (rather loudly) about this fuss.
And there my education began.
"You don't know about Fifty Shades? OMG!"
A book shoved into my hands, the squealing continuing and growing in density, I broke away to return to my little, quiet table to ponder over this amazing thing happening right in front of me. What ever this Fifty Shades thing was, I wanted in. I had to get me some of what was causing those volumes to literally FLY off the display table.
That is what I remember thinking as I glanced at the back of the book before turning to the first page for a quick scan. I just could not see what the big deal was.
"I read it last night! It is my new sexual bible! I have to get all of my friends a copy. OMG! I hope they have enough!!!"
What? Sexual bible? Huh?
I quickly flipped through the pages of the book, scanning for hints as to the content. That when I saw them...those words...sodomy, masochist, blind fold...
It was my turn to squeal. And I did. Not that I am prude nor do I condemn anyone their reading/viewing preference. It is simply none of my business. But I felt that I had to intervene in some way.
With a smile and (wavering) outer courage, I approached those women with my business cards outstretched and invited them to visit my table for taste of wholesome to take the edge off after a day of unbridled smut. (Sorry...I don't mean to sound contrite...or even jealous...but this was MY day and I really didn't want to share it with the likes of a handcuff merchant.)
I tried to replace the copy of Fifty Shades of Grey that was burning my hand, but not before it was scooped up by the woman obsessed with purchasing as many copies as she could hold. I was successful at distributing my own information, but knew better to hold my breath as I watched dozens of female readers by pass my table for thew next three hours. I wanted to scream at them: "Hey! Real life author here signing books!"
"Think of the children! Don't your students deserve a good read?"
By the end of my stay, I believe I might have sold a couple of my own books...when the Fifty Shades table was empty...but I was totally intrigued with the debacle I had witnessed.
Is this what a best seller looks like?
When I got home that day, I researched E L James and her work, finding myself blushing all over my computer keyboard. Okay, so I guess sensation is a big part of success, but the Fifty Shades movement was going to have to survive without me.
Or, so I thought. When my bibliophile niece asked about my B&N experience, I described the entire what had happened and asked what she knew about the book and/or author. Like me, she is game for most any reading experience. No, she hadn't read it, but felt obligated to make her decision first hand. she would purchase if I read it first.
Free book? Sure.
I made it through the first fifty pages before tossing it (literally) her way and making her promise to not let her mother know who gave it to her. My niece finished the awful thing (y'know...informed reaction and all that) to let me know that once done, the paperback served as starter for her evening fire.
Now, do not get me wrong. I am NOT slamming the success of the author. Sure, the subject matter is on the far side of crazy, but that's what sells. My issue is that the writing is just plain terrible (coming from an experienced writing teaching veteran, award winning author, and co-conspirator young adult follower).
So, if she can make a living off of horrible prose, there has to be room for me with my clean, gut-wrenchingly honest stories of realistic teens. Right?
For the month of January I have offered a free signed copy of my latest book Bombs Bursting in Air in exchange for an Amazon review. Several reader have accepted the challenge and I am thankful. There is one more day in the month and the post office is very near my home, so there is time to get that last request to me.
I just need a mailing address; Either via PM or e-mail. I pay postage and am just happy to share some goodness.
Thank you for listening. Writing is what I do when I am not entertaining the MonSter.