Betrayed by my (ex) favourite author

I was in denial for the last two books, but can deny my ire no longer. I’m pissed, feeling let down by someone I’ve invested so much time, money and emotional energy in. I loyally stuck it out to the end of the series, but months later, I’m still feeling betrayed. How could she do this to me?

You might wonder why I’m still bearing a grudge, after all, it’s not a new thing. Rarely does a series stay gripping until the end. The last book is usually a fairly large let down and for true fans only. The thing is, this series (which I’m not mentioning the name of) was good for nine books before it started to whiff. If you can write nine good ones, surely you can write another three that don’t completely suck? Apparently not.

The reason I’m writing about this is because Amazon kindly sent me an email, rubbing in the fact that I’ve bought so many of her books, by suggesting I might like her new one. I have to say, it did look good. But dammit! I’m still cranky at you (CH) for taking me for a ride on the last books you wrote, which were clearly phoned in to finish out your contract. I swore on the last page of the last book that I would never purchase one of yours again! But then, reading the blurb of the new one, I started to remember all the good times we had, and I’ll admit, I started to waver…

Now I’m conflicted – I’ll probably enjoy it if I read it, but then there’s the principle of the thing. But am I being too harsh? You will never get everyone to like your material and you can only write what feels true for you. I think this is why I’m not good at writing romantic declarations. With the exception of my first boyfriend at sixteen (who was American), all my other significant relationship have been with almost non-verbal Australian men. Oh well, at least there’s still the spin-off TV series…

The Beach Holiday

Sand, sand and more sand. I love the beach but would love it more if it stayed where it is supposed to be, which is picturesquely on the actual beach and not in my kindle, ears and sheets. Small children are magnets for sand and even after a thorough rinsing, seemingly retain it by the handful, cleverly stashed somewhere on their little person, only leaving them when they climb into bed with you where the magnetic property disappears and you’re left to exfoliate while you sleep. I woke up yesterday, thoroughly encrusted, my night cream having acted like glue. It made for a spectacularly romantic moment with my husband, who made a small “eep” of fear when he opened his eyes to my gloriously glamorous self, salt-encrusted hair reaching for the sky and aforementioned skin covered with sand looking like I’ve half-turned into a crocodile.

There is something quite enjoyable about still being able to startle a long standing partner. Sure, it’s not the romantic, “I love you so much I want to consume you (in a non-Hannibal Lector sort of way)” but not many couples I know still have that. Strangely enough, the ones that did are largely divorced now and fighting over custody of the soup tureen. Fear and laughter can make a glue that, like sand in the bed and night cream, may  not be particularly comfortable, but can still hold a relationship together.

Approaching normal

I am lucky enough to have my lovely sister-in-law staying with me at the moment and we’re having wine and deep philosophical chats. She mentioned how when you have dementia, your id takes over, so lots of people in the old folks home are getting it on in new and interesting ways. I’m a little sceptical, but I haven’t seen any data, so I’m going to go with it in the vibe of all these sorts of dinner conversations where lots of facts are spouted, with precious little reference to google.

So if your Id took over for a spell, what do you think would happen? Frankly, I’m worried. I have a strong suspicion that I’d never want to find out, or at least be aware of what I’d done. Still, given I’m nearing 40, I think it would have been a lot worse a few years ago. Like many people with interesting childhoods, I had a misspent youth where I took risks that the current me would gasp in horror and faint at the thought of my children doing the same. Clearly my husband will be in charge of those particular frank talks in a few years.

Not that I’m still holding that particular grudge. I think there comes a time when you have to stop using your parents as an excuse for being an asshole. There are some people from my past that are probably owed an apology, but realistically, I’ll never see them again so it won’t happen. Does it matter if you realise the error of your ways, but it’s too late to make a difference? So many of the books we read wrap everything up neatly, which I think shows our desire for order, rather than our desire for reality. Which is ironic when we criticize books for being “unrealistic” when in fact, if we wrote reality, the reviews would be scathing or at least put in a different genre. It makes it difficult sometimes to know what to aim for – realistic but not too realistic. What the stories we like offer is, I think, what we’d all like a chance for in life – apologies from those who have wronged us and the chance to make amends with those we have harmed. So, in a nutshell, I forgive you and I’m sorry.



Let’s Talk About Sex (scenes)

Okay, I need a glass of wine for this one… right, now I’m good to go. When things are going right, a sex scene just rolls off the keyboard. It’s fun, it’s spontaneous and delicious as a freshly baked cinnamon bun. But when it’s not, it’s just … awkward. Bits going here and there, throw in some panting and sweating, and you have? … something out of a wildlife documentary. It makes you wince and peer through your fingers, feeling embarrassed for anyone having to read it. The problem is that what people (women mainly) like to read isn’t the factual, anatomically correct sex that’s easy to describe. Nothing brought this home more than today’s research – I thought I’d check out some porn and see if there were any good ideas.

Yes, you’re right, there weren’t a whole lot good translatable ideas. Frankly most of it looked painful and not all that enjoyable, for either, or should I say, any of the parties involved. It could have just been that all their sex faces looked a lot like their unhappy, I-just-dropped-my-new-iphone faces, but I’m sceptical. That’s not to say that I didn’t find some people who were having a genuinely good time, but they were the minority.

Size of the male appendage seems to be one of the issues. I had to do a bit of research on this for my last book and can now quote a range of interesting trivia after an enlightening google search. I think we can all agree that professional porn doesn’t represent the average man (or woman), so what exactly does it offer the average writer? More than you’d think. We’ve all read scenes where our suspension of disbelief has been popped like a bubble by the fantastic bendiness/feats of strength/endurance of the protagonists. I read one highly improbable scene recently and got completely side-tracked by whether or not it was actually physically  possible and the book lost a whole lot of traction with me. Porn is so prolific and easily available now that you can just search for your scenario and the odds are good that you could find someone who has already filmed it. There really are only so many permutations after all. If it’s not there, then odds are good that it isn’t, in fact, possible. If you still want to use the scene though, never fear, just make one of them an alien or a yeti. Voila!