On that note, welcome to my new website! It’s new and improved!
Maybe it’s not all that improved but this has been months in the making. I’ve added a couple of new pages, gained a MailChimp for those who'd like to be updated on new releases, and lost almost all of my posts on the old Blogger site. (I’ve tried to save a couple and they’re listed below.) As I type this, I don’t honestly know if anneglynn.com will tie to this site or not…but it’s past time I found out.
This is not the blog you seek
I totally ignore ad spots on blogs, don't you? It's like they're invisible, almost magically. This sucks, if you're trying to sell something, but it's kind of cool if you're a reader. And those pop-up ads that you have to click, in order for them to go away? I hate those things. They could promise Youth Serum and I'd never buy it.
Meanwhile, I keep pushing Glynn to plot a sweet romance with me. He's resistant, saying our tiny readership is encouraging us to return to our smutty origins. He bases his opinion on some sales numbers. We have two story collections (Love Unexpected/sexy but clean) and (Love Unexpected: Nighttime Tales/sexy and explicit) and only one of those collections is making any money. Not buckets of money but Starbucks money.
If you've guessed the winning collection is "sexy but clean"...well, you're not really paying attention here, are you?
He also mentions the recent response to One Bride for Seven Brothers. Sales have slowed, as things will after time, but it continues to sell more weekly downloads than all of our other titles included. As Glynn reminds me, a few readers have written, telling us we needed to go full-on smut with the tale. We've even had a couple of people who have promised to buy novella after novella, if we'll only tell the story of Flora's courtship with Brody's entire family, one brother at a time...
I can see where Glynn is coming from, I can. If he'll write just one sweet romance novel with me, I'll consider his idea further.
Since that has yet to happen, I turned my attention to World War Me, our post-apocalyptic/zombie/perfume industry story that no one wants to read. It had this cover --
Which disappointed me because I know the G.W. can fake enthusiasm. After all, she's been married for almost five years now.
Since there was already a book out called "World War Me", (which stunned me, I'll tell you, I was pretty certain no one else would have used the name ever for anything), we decided to retitle it and start over. I asked the cover designer for 'Bride' to do her magic --
Who knew? I mean, seriously
This was wonderful of her because I haven't been blogging on any kind of regular basis, and she had to wonder, even as she typed her words, if anyone was ever going to see her thoughts. My last post has a Sell-By date of April 7th, an eternity in this go-go world of ours, and the context of that post was pretty much a Hey, We've Had a Great Time, See You Later kind of deal.
Which was accurate, by the way. The writing experience was great, the friends who wandered past were wonderful, but on 04/07, we pretty much closed AnneGlynn(dot)Com. Although it was fun to write our romance novellas and self-publish them, our audience was small. As in wee and tiny. Worse, it wasn't growing any larger. When a new story came out, we'd sell six copies in a flash, then...one or two a month.
Trying to find an audience, we collected all of our stories into two different anthologies, sent the anthologies out to reviewers and...nothing. No response. No reviews.
*insert cricket noise here*
This reaction was completely understandable, indie reviewers are getting swarmed by hundreds or thousands of my fellow scribes, but their lack of interest left us both the teeniest bit depressed. The dribble of anthology sales that followed left us a little blue, too. What writer doesn't want readers? (If you know that writer, stay away from her or him. I don't trust 'im.) So when Glynn suggested we box up our belongings and leave this space, I was okay with it. Yes, I had an idea for another romance but it was set in long-ago and the historical stuff requires a boatload of research. "Anne Glynn" was so not building an audience that I couldn't justify the time.
In fact, sales were so small, we hadn't even offered One Bride as a stand-alone story. Until May 20th when, bored, I decided to publish it, anyway. I was kind of curious if we'd get our standard six sales and out, which is kind of what happened. Until, the next day, we sold another ten copies. Then, the next day, another ten copies. Then, the next day....
Twelve days out, we're at 150 copies sold, no reviews, and one comment from the unknown (but terrific) Anita. Bundled all together, we're not getting rich, none of it is life-changing but it's made me very, very happy. People are reading something we've written.
Who knows? I might just talk Glynn into writing one more romance....
What Horton heard
You’ve seen my legs and heard me complain about my panties. Now it’s time to get personal.
When I began this site, life had gotten a little bumpy and I started looking for something to lighten the emotional load. Luckily, right about that time, Glynn decided he’d write romances with me, as long as the stories had ridiculous titles.
Since then, I've discovered that giving a story a ridiculous title is a mistake. Silly titles are often dismissed by the average romance reader. Which is why our story collection has the relatively demure title of LOVE UNEXPECTED instead of being called, say, HORTON HEARS AN OH MY GOD, THAT THING IS YOUR PENIS?, the touching story of a well-endowed shoe salesman named Horton.
But ridiculous and silly can also translate into fun. Writing romances, both clean and smutty, was exactly the kind of fun I needed at that point in my existence. Since we had other writing obligations, I promised Glynn that this would be a short term gig. I’d start a blog spot. We’d write a romance novella each month, I’d use the blog to talk about our work, and we’d have enough stories for a book collection in six months. Six months turned into nine months but the plan worked out pretty much as promised. And, when times grew dark or rough, the “Anne Glynn” pseudonym was our escape valve.
We finished the collection. Once it was finished, I knocked on a lot of doors, trying to find someone to review the collection – which brings up: I’ve heard back from a pair of on-line reviewers and they’ve both said they’d look at our work. Hurray! – and I’ve even joined Goodreads, in an effort to find like-minded writers and readers.
That’s all I’ve done on Goodreads, really, just join the site. It seems to be a wonderful place filled with wonderful people but I feel tired every time I log in. That’s because I don’t go there to learn about my next great read. I feel obligated to use the space and their forums to build an audience. But I seriously hate doing that kind of thing so I don’t. I just log out and go away.
The last time that happened, I realized I didn’t want to do the promotional marathon. I post here; I did a guest blog; I found a couple of reviewers, who may or may not come through with their promise to review our work. That’s not nearly enough to climb Amazon’s rankings but it’s enough for me.
At the end of the day, I like what we’ve done. The stories are well-written and I think they’re fun but they’re unlikely to find us a large and enthusiastic fan base. If the time comes that we ever get a fan base, I’ll be delighted but, frankly, the audience is going to have to find us on its own. It won’t happen quickly. If we’re lucky, a few of those people will stumble across our work on Amazon or Kobo or iBooks and give our words a try. Or maybe one of the on-line reviewers will send someone our way. Who knows?
For today, this particular gig is over. It’s been great and I love the people I’ve met here. Now it’s time for Glynn and I to return to our other life and finish the novel we started a couple of years ago. I wasn’t ready to do the heavy lifting back then. I’m so excited right now!
The Good Witch is excited, too. She’s been dying to read the book.
Don’t think you’re rid of me yet. I’ll be back on an irritatingly irregular schedule, whenever life or sales or reviews warrant a post. Or I may come by just to share a story with you – like the one about that nutso garage sale that I attended yesterday.
Giving it away
It’s St. Patrick’s Day, which means very little to me because (a) I’m maybe 1/100th percent Irish and (b) I don’t like the taste or smell of beer and (c) I really don’t like the look of green beer which will flow today from every one of the nation’s beer taps and (d) cake is not the featured item on today's menu, so why bother?
Glynn has roughly twice the Irish heritage I do (putting him in the 1/50th category), so he says I just don’t understand the ways of the Emerald Isle. I’ll tell you what I do understand, though. He’s going to want to (a) drink several mugs of green beer before the day is out and (b) then he’ll get horny and (c) a barely-Irish drunk guy, smelling of beer, is not what I want to find in my bed this evening. So, all in all, this isn’t my favorite holiday.
The day I’m looking forward to is tomorrow, 03/18/13. Fellow writer Allison Merritt is letting me guest post on her funny and entertaining blog site and this is a good thing because many, many people go to her site. I’m using the appearance to talk about my new story collections. I’m also going to be giving the collections away to anyone who will review the books.
I’ve never done this kind of giveaway before but, let’s be honest, romance story collections don’t sell well. Self-published romance story collections sell especially poorly. Self-published romance story collections by an unknown author probably won’t sell at all. I’ve done the research. I know.
My one chance to get some attention for Love Unexpected or LU: NT is if someone somewhere tells the world that my particular collection is worth a purchase. My fear is, even at FREE, no one will care. I’m hoping to get three to five responses. Two or three reviews. Anything over that is gravy.
My other fear is that my three to five responders will all want the smutty set of stories (Nighttime Tales). I know I would. If that happens, then no one other than my beta readers will ever read Carole’s Christmas (The Dental Version). My beta readers loved The Dental Version. As one of them said, “It’s so ridiculously stoooopid.”
That many vowels in one word, you know it's made an impression.
If you're of a mind on March 18th or 19th, do me a favor. Go over to Allison M’s site and grab the freebie. Next week, I'll let you know how many copies went out the door at $0.00 and we'll see if my guess of three to five responses was wildly optimistic.
Until then, happy St Paddy's Day to you! (Such as it is.)
Me and Cheryl
(originally published 03/10/13)
You might not remember Cheryl Tiegs but Glynn does. At this moment, anyway. An unwilling tag-along to yesterday's garage sale madness, he found a stack of old Sports Illustrated magazines and there she was –
It doesn’t matter. Whenever the photo opportunities started to disappear, I’m sure she felt a twinge. And I can relate, because my latest photo session has just been consigned to the DELETE file. I’m guessing that my days as a cover model are almost over. (Don’t tell Glynn but thank you, God. I like stockings and I love my shoes but it’s hard work trying to get a good shot for an e-book cover. When I’m at home, I don’t want to be sprawled across a cold tile floor, trying to angle my stilettos just right. I want to be wearing my jammies and bunny slippers.)
Lacking any kind of storyline, we probably shouldn’t have done a photo shoot for One Bride for Seven Brothers in advance, anyway. Once we’d written the novella, we knew the cover didn’t work at all. Panties to the ankles? A cowboy hat on the ground? That wasn’t our story at all! To do a reshoot, we needed new and different pictures and new and different props. Ideally, we wanted something old-fashioned but sensual and somehow referencing the 19th century. In other words, we needed stuff I’ve never owned.
Glynn, ever optimistic, went on the hunt. He began looking for antique shoes, sexy but appropriate stockings, maybe some vintage photos in the background. When he said, “They’ve got this really great daguerreotype on eBay”, I realize he was about to drift way off-budget for the new project. Our cover budget, trust me on this: you don't need to run the numbers, is zero dollars.
To bump up the numbers, I told Glynn, “I’m making dinner tonight."
His face scrunched up, looking puzzled. “I thought you wanted to go to that little Mexican place.”
“We’re saving our money so I can hit a few of those stock photography sites and find us a cover.”
“But you’re our cover!”
“Not this time,” I said with a sense of relief.
He didn’t argue. For $13, I found the pieces I needed to create our new cover. (So maybe they didn’t use thong underwear in 1870. The Good Witch insists that nobody knows for certain so I’m using her as my historical reference point.) Using the same type face, I tried to keep the same feel as the other stories and I think it worked out okay.
And it was so much easier than balancing a flying saucer on the end of my shoe.
Full of stuff
If you came by a few days ago, you discovered that we were abandoning our old blog spot moniker for the more crowd-friendly name of Anne Glynn's Stuff. As far as I was concerned, the name change was only a temporary fix.
Please, God, let this be only a temporary fix.
You understand, there are many problems with a site named "Anne Glynn's Stuff" and one of them is, I hate the name while Glynn is semi-okay with it. I don't think he likes it at all, really, but he claims to be good with it. In reality, he just doesn't want to hassle with the tech issues involved in changing the blog spot name to something less terrible.
(Because, honestly, doesn't the new name sound like an episode of HOARDERS? One of the really sad episodes, too, like Anne Glynn doesn't even have a home, she lives under a bridge in the park, and she's got this huge collection of dead leaves and desiccated squirrel bodies. Yes, that's what Anne Glynn's Stuff is: a crazy woman with wild eyes, living under a bridge, and obsessed with her grocery bags filled with fallen foliage and animal carcasses.)
The tech issue thing was part of our life deal. I do a bunch of chores I don't like to do -- so far, there are NO chores I like to do or they wouldn't be chores, would they? -- while one of his obligations is to try to fix software and hardware issues while shouting at the computer in ineffectual rage.
Glynn's not very good at computer stuff, which means he's still worlds better than me. When he's in the computer room and shouting angrily, I just turn up the t.v. volume. Better him than me, I say.
I decided we needed a new blog address to reflect the stuff-iness of the new name. When I started shopping for domain names, I quickly discovered that buymystuff.com is taken -- it seems to be a craigslist type of site, for people who don't realize there's such a thing as craigslist -- but I found that anneglynn.com was available.
Whoa. Let me say that again. Whoa.
You see, when I tried to get the email address of anneglynn(at)gmail.com, I found a line of people in front of me. AnneGlynn@gmail.com was gone years ago. I would have had to accept AnneGlynn7 or AnneGlynn8 if I wanted a shot at receiving Google's electronic mail. I've just checked again and Anne Glynn9 is now the top option.
It would suck, in my opinion, to be AnneGlynn9(at)gmail.com. No one wants to write somebody and have to tack a numeral at the end of the name. Asking your correspondents to do so pretty much shouts, I was realllllly late to the party. Plus, what if someone accidentally sends your email to AnneGlynn6 or AnneGlynn4? Fat chance you'll ever see it.
Anyway, since the gmail address was long gone (I was realllllly late to the party), I'd just assumed the AnneGlynn website address would be taken, too. Discovering that the name was available, I immediately became concerned that AnneGlynn1-8 would be snatching it up at any moment. I told Glynn we needed to act, and quickly, to collect this fine prize.
He wasn't as excited by my discovery. After all, we're not really swimming in name recognition and the domain name would just be another expense to pencil into the ledger. Also, he suspected, and rightly so, that the purchasing and maintaining of web addresses would soon be one of his chores. But I persisted. Then I persisted some more. Then I persisted while wearing high heels and the hot silver skirt he loves, and he folded like a cheap paper napkin.
We could have gotten the name through blogger.com but Glynn actually read the many paragraphs of fine print before committing to the purchase and, says he (I don't read the fine print), there's verbiage in there that allows Google to place ads on your website.
Really? We're paying you for the name and this somehow gives you the right to advertise banana peelers on our site? That bit of underhanded nonsense would be really irritating. Instead, we went to namecheap.com, which didn't want to use our website to push steampunk headsets, and we bought anneglynn.com for a $10 yearly fee.
Glynn is on-line, trying to get the new domain name to link to our Stuff. He's still trying as I write this.
I expect computer shouting to commence in three, two, one....
Ain't so easy, is it?
My friend and fellow writer, Sue, called to see how the new beta reader was working out. (Very nicely, thanks, but more about that next week.) She wanted to know when the story collection is coming out. (Not as smoothly but, again, more about that next week, too.) Then she said, "It must be fun, coming up with titles for your stories. Area 69. One Bride for Seven Brothers. It must be easy, too."
Normally, I'd have agreed with her. At the moment she called, Glynn and I were struggling to come up with a name for the story collection and I was feeling a little burnt out on the subject. I said, "Not that easy."
"Oh, please. How long would it take to come up with something? Five minutes?”
“Great. Give me a silly, pun-ny title for a new smutty romance. If we write it, we’ll dedicate the story to you.”
Sue is quiet for a minute. I use the time to keep cleaning my bread maker. The appliance is better than new; it's thrift shop new, which means I got it cheap. Goodwill sold me this big white Oster-branded machine for $8 and, if it works, I’ll be pretty happy.
After another minute or so, Sue said, "Men in Back."
“I’m pretty sure that’s been done. An existing VHS movie, something that came out years ago.” Later, I do a little investigation and discover I'm right. The budget was $15,000, forcing the producers to substitute Ron Jeremy for Will Smith, and the reviews were only so-so. (Why do I tell you this? I sense you secretly want to know this stuff.)
“Nobody uses VHS, anymore,” Sue said, as if that was the point of this particular discussion, then she said, “I’ll call you back.”
But she doesn’t call back, not that day. That evening, the couple who is staying with us asked if Glynn and I had finally come up with a title for our story collection. We did have a title -- an idea finally popped to mind while I was walking the dog -- but the question reminded me of Sue's call. I recounted my conversation with her. I can tell that Rachel and Ben agree with Sue; the titles for our stories must come easily.
I said, "Give me a silly, pun-ny title for a new smutty tale. If we write it, we’ll dedicate the story to you.” They laugh then head out for the movies. (We watched the kids, they watched Jack Reacher. Everyone enjoyed themselves.)
When Rachel and Ben returned, Rachel said, “We came up with some new titles.”
On the drive back to our place, our visitors hadn’t come up with one title, they’d come up with several: Lust of the Mohicans, Pandora's Box, The Hormone Games, The Gang Bang Squad, and Journey to the Center of Michelle.
(Knowing you're curious, I did the leg work and here's the rundown: Lust of the Mohicans is already out there but I'm afraid to visit the sites that feature it; Pandora's Box has been used for books and movies; The Gang Bang Squad is some kind of website -- and I doubt very much it's PG-rated, so be advised; The Hormone Games is still available, should you be of a mind to use it; and some day in the future, Glynn and I may very well write Journey.)
As it turns out, it IS easy to come up with silly titles for smutty stories. It's a little more difficult to find something that's never been used but still possible. Not that I let Sue know it. She called the next day. Without even saying hello, she told me, "The Lord of the Schwing."
"It's a comic book," I said. It is, too. Glynn has a copy.
"Damn you," Sue said, then she hung up.
Plus, the new bread maker works. All in all, things are looking up.
I amaze myself but also discover, I suck
There are times when I feel pretty good about myself. This was almost one of those times.
Flipping through the immense e-book catalog offered by Amazon (if I had a Nook, I'd be shopping at B&N; if I had a Kobo e-reader, I'd be at Kobo.com), I find some incredible non-bargains. There's a religious romance, complete at 27 pages, and the author is asking almost $9.00 for the download. Then, with a minimum of searching, I find a hot 'n' happily twisted tale, 18 pages of nasty, for a little over $3.00 per e-read.
When I do a quick sample read of both, I decide Glynn and I are much better writers than either of these people. Also a plus: our stories are longer and sell for less.
Checking my e-mail -- by the way, why haven't you written? -- I find a notice from Kobo.com. They sent word to say the Anne Glynn stories were starting to move a few copies in the Great White North. Not loads and loads of downloads but, still, more than Smashwords ever sold for us. Even though the good people at SW reach a wider market by far...and even though SW used to provide the very same stories to Kobo but with minimal success.
So why the sales bump? Because, I decided, I am a marketing genius. You see, when we took ownership of our titles for the Canadian market, I told Glynn we needed to change the titles. This is the silliness we did:
Area 69 became Area 69 - Close Encounters of the Intimate Kind
To Protect and Service became To Protect and Service - A Tale of Hollywood, Handcuffs and the South
...and so on. Each title arrived with its own sales pitch attached to the top of the page. It seems to have worked, too, at least to the point where people would download the preview and then buy the read.
I was happy and fairly impressed by myself. As a reward for this bump in finances, I decided to take the afternoon off. I opened Stephen King's latest blockbuster, 11/22/63, and I read, I have never been what you'd call a crying man.
800+ pages later, I closed the novel. I enjoyed it. And I realized Stephen K. is a much better writer than either member of Team Anne Glynn. However, not as smutty.
Which is kind of terrific and kind of awful, all at the same time.
Are you the one?
The Bad Witch is a talented woman, if you ask me. She’s studied art for over a decade and decided to adopt watercolors as her medium of choice. She paints flowers, mostly, in big, bold colors and her work is eye-catching. Her artwork doesn’t mimic the world around us but, instead, takes the world and pumps up the volume. It’s fun.
The B.W. doesn’t believe in the internet so she displays her work at local restaurants and small shops. She’s sold a few paintings last year, a few more this year, but it’s only a hobby for her. Still, she’s among the most successful artists in her small painting group.
Good for her, absolutely. I overheard one of her friends congratulate her on her latest sale, a $200 sunflower that went from an Italian restaurant to some happy collector’s home. Caught up in the moment, the friend asked B.W. if she’d ever considered becoming a full-time watercolorist.
“Oh, no,” the B.W. said. “You have to understand, honey, only one in 5,000 artists ever makes a living at it.”
Now, this could be a stone cold fact but my friend’s mother couldn’t remember where she’d read those numbers. Since I do believe in the internet, I did a little more research. Several years ago, in the April ’05 edition of Art & Antiques magazine, a collector is quoted as saying, “One in 5,000 artists ever becomes well known or recognized – there’s so much talent out there that it’s almost pure luck.”
Not exactly the same as “ever makes a living” but I see where B.W. found her info.
The conversation led me to wonder what percentage of writers ever become recognized, or well known, or manages to make a living. One in 5,000? Pretty slim odds. I suspect the numbers are significantly worse – I offer no proof; as Barbie famously said, “Math is hard” and you’ll not see me argue with Babs. More worser still (yes, this is an accepted phrase in today’s society. I overheard someone use it during Black Friday), I think the odds are only going to lengthen.
All of which came to mind last night when I went to one of my favorite writing sites. A novelist there wasn’t complaining but she did note that she had to find a new job because her writing wasn’t paying the bills. Not even close. She’d written a number of romances, received some good reviews, and it wasn’t enough. At her peak, sales topped out at over 100 downloads a month and presently average in the single digits. Another writer chimed in to say she was using up her savings to stay afloat, despite having written more novels in the last two years than I’ve produced in a lifetime.
This second writer has a real and impressive website, markets the heck out of her stuff, and has received some reviews I’d love to pin onto my upcoming paperback. (Not literally, no. “I love Joan Doe’s writing!” would look really odd on a collection of Anne Glynn stories but if it would increase sales and not lead to a lawsuit, I’d consider it.) You don't have to read between the lines to realize she needs things to turn around quick or she’s filling out job apps in 2013.
My friend, Sue, laughed when I showed her a copy of Do What You Love, The Money Will Follow. “I love eating and watching Bridezillas,” she told me.
“I think the author means, you actually have to do work,” I said.
“Oh, I’ve been writing my ass off,” Sue responded. “The last two months, it hasn’t paid any better than just sitting on the couch.”
So what does this all mean? I don't know, not for certain. Maybe it means, don’t believe the well-known writing gurus who discount their own fame and notoriety when they count their book sales, all the time saying other writers just need to try harder and write more.
Maybe it means, 4,999 out of 5,000 of us will make most of our money as writers only after printing, Will Work for Food, on a cardboard sign. The holidays are a great time for donations, by the way.
Or maybe it means, we should set aside our word processors and focus our attention on reality t.v. Netflix offers several seasons of Bridezillas on instant download and I’ve already got the popcorn in the microwave.
How about you?
The thriller isn't thrilling. I blame you.
Proving that print isn’t dead, I stopped at a garage sale recently and picked up a paperback novel. Written by a best-selling author, it only cost a quarter – take that, Kindle! – and the storyline sounded intriguing. Worth the price, anyway.
I’m halfway through the book and, so far, I’m irritated. The story is entertaining but the characterization is limited. The bad guy is so bad, he’s like awfulness dipped in evil sauce. There isn’t a single redeeming feature to man.
Meanwhile, the lead is so good, he almost has to adjust his halo when he gets out of his car. (Oh, he’s emotionally damaged but, at this point, the reader doesn’t know why. Want to bet he’s flawed in an acceptably decent way? Such as, he lost his wife and since he loves so deeply, he’ll never be the same? As opposed to, say, he guzzles rotgut every weekend and can only be aroused by Justin Bieber videos?) The woman he’s trying to rescue is just as good but even more attractive and just as mysteriously damaged. (But I’ll bet she’s not a secret meth head who, when the moon is full, has a driving need to torture sea turtles.)
Glynn heard me grumping, mid-book, and he wondered why. After I finished complaining, he told me (a) the author might yet surprise me – if you’ve read The Good Guy by Dean Koontz you already know whether he will but I have over one hundred pages to go -- and (b) readers like to buy books with easily understandable characters in the main roles. This novel has the Hero, the Heroine and the Villain, and it was a best-seller.
“But I like flawed characters,” I protested.
“Which may be why our stories sell poorly,” Glynn told me. “Sometimes, it can be fun to know a character by the role they play. Or have you forgotten a certain recent murder mystery?”
No, I had not. So, since a couple of people have emailed me about it, let me segue into my recent supper plans.
I’ve always want to go to a Murder Mystery Dinner – the capitalization is courtesy of the internet site pushing the gig -- and I finally found an event that wasn’t too-terribly far away and not too-terribly expensive. Glynn and I dressed casual-nice (my shoes dazzled), arrived for hors d’oeuvres, and were escorted to our table. The hors d’oeuvres were a little fruit, a little cheese, nothing too fancy. We met the other nice people at our table. Everyone was excited to know that the game was nearly afoot.
Each of the dinner guests was given a secret envelope (Tell No One What’s Inside!), providing information about the role we were about to play. There were two dozen characters in the piece, everyone from a former cheerleader to a big-breasted bimbo to the town mayor. We were each given a prop to wear. Since I was playing a failed actress, my prop was a gaudy necklace, all glitter and dazzle. Glynn’s prop was a silly hat. I happily draped the necklace around my neck and over my blouse. Being a good sport, Glynn rested his upon his head.
The mystery unfolded as dinner was served. Between bites of food, one guest or another would stand up and react when prompted. As it turned out, each of us had good reason to kill the lead actress. She died mid-meal – and a fine meal it was, too, with grilled chicken, steamed vegetables, and mac and cheese – and she deserved it. Additional clues were scattered about the room and no one cared who found what. Before the chocolate mousse was brought out for dessert, I solved the crime (well, I did), and a grand time was had by all.
Well, almost all.
On the way home, I told Glynn I’d had a wonderful time. “What I really liked,” I told him, “was how the theater company picked just the right people to play the different parts. The town mayor looked like a town mayor. I used to be in drama and I played an actress. Everyone was just perfect.”
Glynn looked looked out at the road ahead. “You remember who I played?”
“A beanie-wearing nerd,” he reminded me. “There was a propeller on my hat. You flicked it.”
“Oh.” I had. The propeller didn’t spin very well.
“Type-casting,” he said. “Is that what you’re telling me?”
I guess that was what I was telling him. But, honestly, as long as he was in that kind of mood, I didn’t think I’d mention that I found nerds a little sexy.
Since I’ve got a few minutes, I think I’ll go on-line and see if I can find a beanie cap.
"I'm impressed," he said.
(originally published 09/16/12)
Which, really, just makes the one of us. But I'll get to that in a moment.
My sweetie, Glynn, engages in many non-writing activities. Some of them are boring (football), some of them are mildly interesting (he juggles), and some of them are just wrong for a heterosexual male (he's addicted to various versions of Real Housewives. Also, Project Runway).
Glynn is also a big fan of the hard-boiled school of detective fiction and, six months ago, he met a guy who writes in the genre. As it turns out, the guy was about to start a website to promote his self-published fiction. He ran his first post a scant week before our site first appeared.
So that I don't have to keep calling this guy, "the guy", let's call him Alejandro. Which isn't his real name, of course, but I want to keep this post between friends. (I think 'Alejandro' is a sexy name, that's why I picked it, even though I've never met anyone named Alejandro. Oddly enough, I've recently met several young boys named Hunter. I'm not sure why this has become such a popular name but I've noticed that not one of those children had a sibling named Gatherer. Someone is missing a bet there.) As it turns out, when the website launched, Alejandro had already written three hard-boiled mysteries. None of his manuscripts had found a home with traditional publishers so he soon announced that he'd produced his first self-published novel.
No one cared.
Oh, you didn't, either. But why should you? When an unknown author proclaims his or her unknown opus is now available for purchase, why should anyone pay attention? When I announced we'd published our first novella back in March, nobody cared then, either.
When a week or so passed and Alejandro discovered he'd sold zero copies of his opus, he realized he needed to start pounding the publicity drum. (In case you're wondering, when my blogspot's first week or so passed and I discovered I'd sold zero copies, I knew I needed to start pounding the publicity drum, too. The noise hurt my ears so I joined a blog tour, instead. When the tour was over, I once again discovered I'd sold zero copies so I went home and turned on House Hunters International. We all have our ways of coping.)
According to Glynn, Alejandro wasn't going to accept an ongoing $0.00 royalty statement. Instead, he rolled up his sleeves and got to work. He joined Goodreads and Library Thing (the world's largest book club, did you know?). He self-pubbed his second novel. He haunted the Kindle forums and boodles of mystery-type sites. He self-published his third novel. Then, in an inspired move, he started to hype his website as well as his novels. He began updating the site frequently. Traffic to his site has taken a huge uptick.
"I'm impressed," Glynn told me. "He's had over 10,000 visitors to his website." Then, trying to be smooth but unable to do so since he's a football-watching juggler with a faint but discernible lust for Heidi Klum, he added awkwardly, "How many visitors have we had?"
"I don't know," I lied because Alejandro has really done his job, drawing an audience. I don't want that job. But it led me to wonder, "How many hours a week does Alejandro pump his stuff?"
"The guy. The mystery guy."
"Three hours a day," Glynn said. "He's talks about it on his site."
THREE HOURS A DAY? He's got to be kidding me.
It ain't happening here, I'm telling you now. By the time I get home from work, stagger in and suggest we try Raisin Bran for dinner just once more this week, I'm whipped. I'm lucky to put in forty-five minutes of writing before I go to bed.
The truth is, my idea of promotion is to occasionally post something on a writing board and hope that some foolish someone follows the link in my signature over to this spot. It happens rarely, I know, but it's enough that it has happened.
Then I ask, "Does all the promotion pay off?"
"He says he has a fan base."
"I mean, in book sales."
"Did I tell you how many visitors he's had to his website?" Like I'd forgotten.
Then Glynn's ears perk up because he can hear some talking head on the living room television saying something speculative and completely unimportant about sports. He sprints away. So I go to Alejandro's website and, I want to hand it to the man, he's completely open about his sales figures. In the last month, he's made about the same number of e-sales as we have but his have garnered $2.99 a purchase. With a 70% royalty, he's taking home over two bucks a sale. Not that there have been a lot of sales for either of us. By my shaky calculations, Alejandro is earning less than twenty-five cents an hour for his promo time. Significantly less if you include his writing time.
Bizarrely comforted by this information, I fill the bathtub, drop drawers, and slide into a warm bubble bath. Alejandro can keep pounding his promotional drum.
It must be working because, now, I'm in the mood for a mystery. I think I'll read the newest M.C. Beaton novel.
For myself, I am an optimist
(originally published 08/19/12)
So the Good Witch gets to me and I start watching my Amazon sales numbers. They aren't improving with age and I feel pooty about it. (Yes, I said pooty.) Glynn and I have plotted out our next romance, I've done the research -- it's the mail-order bride novella, set in the old West -- but I'm struggling to place butt in chair and work on Draft One. It feels like I'm putting in the effort but no one cares.
"Sales will pick up," Glynn assures me.
"You don't know that."
He doesn't, either. There's no reason to think sales are going to soar because neither one of us does anything to promote our work. Well, there's this site, such as it is. Oh, and there's Book Barista, where the good and kind Mike has promised to plug World War Me during the month of September. (Not that he's read the story or anything. Mike puts a bunch of books on his site, not just WWM. If you're a writer, swing by and ask if he'll use your novel next month. Tell him 'Anne Glynn' sent you and see if you get a special bonus.)
"We're building a fan base." Glynn says this because our novellas sell ONE copy whenever they go live on Smashwords. We don't know who buys the single copy. We know it can't be friends or family because our friends and family don't use e-readers and keep forgetting our friggin' pseudonym, anyway.
Here's a tip, friends and family: (1) Take my first name and then (2) add Glynn's first name. You've done it!
Glynn says, "For myself, I am an optimist. It does not seem to be much use to be anything else.” Ten minutes later, he tells me he's quoting Winston Churchill. At that very second, I'm wondering if he's having a stroke.
"Let's go bowling," I say because, if he is having a stroke, I want him to die with bowling shoes on. Because I'm in a bad mood, that's why. Plus, there aren't any enticing movies playing, I haven't bowled in ages, and I want to get out of the house to avoid having to sit down and write anything.
So we go to the local Bowl-O-Rama and I realize we haven't picked up a bowling ball for at least seven years. Maybe eight years and, yet, the bowling alley hasn't changed at all. We're assigned to Lane 13, a sign if there ever was one, directly in front of the guy who rents out the bowling shoes. Since girls get to go first, I select a ball and throw it down the lane.
It goes into the gutter.
Glynn makes a noise but it's not quite a laugh so I let it pass. I keep my back to him. The ball returns, I throw it again, and I get two pins. Barely but still.
"That's better," my honey says and, if the ball return was a little faster, I'd drop my bowling ball right on his foot. Accidentally. Instead, I give a frozen smile, he picks up his ball and, I swear to God, he throws a strike. He turns to me, beaming, and he says, "Wouldn't it be something if I bowled a 300?"
Remember, this is coming from a man who hasn't been in a bowling alley in years. A man who, at the top of his game, rolled maybe a 168. He really is an optimist. If Winston Churchill was in the next lane and understood the situation, he'd be rolling on the floor.
I'm not laughing because what if some bizarre space/time distortion rippled through the Bowl-O-Rama and Glynn did bowl a perfect game? It would be Hell. Not only would everyone we ever met learn about it but he'd tell each person, "Anne didn't believe me when I said I was going to roll a 300." Then he'd give me a look like, Poor silly Anne. How could she have doubted me?
The next frame, I gutter the first ball then get two pins again.
"You have to keep your arm straight," says my Insta-Expert. On his turn, he doesn't get a strike -- proof positive that space and time are still aligned -- but he gets a spare. I congratulate him, trying to be the bigger person, and step up to bowl. He calls me, "Remember, keep that arm straight."
Instead, I drop the ball and it clips my ankle. Glynn asks if I'm okay but I don't say anything because, even in a bowling alley, people don't need to hear that kind of language. I retrieve the ball, focus intently, and hobble forward. My make an effort to keep my arm crooked when I throw the ball. Eight pins fall down.
"Better," Glynn says, trying not to sound condescending as hell. I give him the frozen smile, deciding at that instant to remain at this bowling alley until I beat him in a game. It can take days, I don't care, we're not leaving.
Then something wonderful happens.
Sloppy arm and all, I start bowling better. Keeping his arm rigid, Glynn starts bowling worse. By the next frame, I actually throw a strike. He follows his spare with three pins. By the end of the game, possibly related to a bizarre space/time distortion, he can barely keep the ball out of the gutter. I beat him by six pins (and, no, he did not let me win).
Here's the part where I was wonderful: Even after Glynn's game collapses, not once do I tell him to keep his arm straight.
"You want to go home?" he asks.
"My ankle is throbbing." Glynn helps me out to the car, I buckle up, and he shakes off his blues over his bad fortune. One of the good things about my partner is, he wants to win but doesn't hold it against the Universe when he loses. In the weeks to come, all he'll remember is that he started the game out with a strike.
"Hey, when we get back," he says, "you want to maybe -- ?" His hand drops on my knee. It starts heading north.
I push his fingers away. "Not even Churchill was that optimistic," I tell him.
Can't talk. Researching.
(originally published 07/29/12)
Or so I told the Good Witch when she called. She's a dear friend and I love her but she'd called at an inopportune time. I was in the middle of a slim book about true stories of mail-order brides in the 1800s and I wanted to read more.
I needed to read more. I was doing research for our next novella. This surprised G.W. "You don't do research," she told me.
Which I probably should have let pass but I didn't. Somehow, this offended me. "I absolutely do research."
"You look up stuff." Said in a halting tone, in the most disbelieving tone possible. To be fair, G.W. was steaming because her mother, the Bad Witch, had just spent the better part of an hour telling her about the amazing wonderfulness of G.W.'s brother (the Son of a Witch), who was largely a dick until he stumbled into a large chunk of money. Transformed into a dick with a big bank account, the Bad Witch mistakenly believes the dollar signs over his head are a halo.
Conversations with her mother often leave G.W. in a foul mood. This was one of those days.
I put down my book, ready to start an argument I didn't want to have. "Yes, I look up stuff. Sometimes it's not me, it's Glynn. But we check facts and find background material on all of our pieces."
"Anne, you write silly romance." As if I might have forgotten this since, you know, it's been days since we published the last piece. "World War Me is about monsters. Area 69 is about aliens and flying saucers. You must really have to crack the books, huh, getting the scoop on imaginary creatures."
"World War Me is about the Zombie Apocalypse and the perfume industry," I said. G.W. knew it, too; she's one of my beta readers. She just didn't pay enough attention to the bits that gave the story its basis in reality. "So Glynn and I found out about chemicals, jobs, the whole industry. We read about celebrities."
"Because the story has a celebrity in it. Your source: Star magazine."
"Maybe." Damn her, she knew it was. She borrows my celeb trash rags all the time. (By the way, Real Housewives Teresa, your husband Joe isn't treating you with enough respect. Stand up for yourself, woman.) "We couldn't write about Area 69 unless we also read up on Area 51 and military bases. Also, we needed to know something about horticulture and the male-to-female ratio in Washington, D.C.. We --"
"I know, I know," G.W. interrupted. "You win." Her voice softened. "I know you check into things, I really do. When the celebrity perfume has that stuff in it, that tri-whatever-the-hell it is --"
"Tricyclodecenyl allyl ether."
"-- in it, I assumed it really existed. You do a good job, too," she said, going for the flattery, "because the facts never poke me in the eye, reminding me of your research. The information makes things seem kind of real even when the situation isn't."
Now, I know G.W. is mostly saying this because she knows she hurt my feelings. She's also saying this because it's my turn to be nice and ask about her mother's call. "Why did the Bad Witch call?"
"Oh, my God, she's so impressed. Just wait until you hear what my brother wasted his money on. Two words: Motor. Cycle."
"I think that's one word."
"He'll never get on it. He's scared to even ride a Tilt-A-Whirl! And it costs thousands of dollars."
"Which is thousands of dollars more," I tell her, "than a mail-order bride collected during frontier days. Back in the 1800s, they weren't given a thin dime for their hand in marriage."
"Never mind. Tell me about your brother."
And she did.
Hideous hamburger shirt.
(originally published 06/29/12)
I know you might love the hamburger & fries shirt; heck, you might be wearing its twin this very second. If you are, then I say, good for you. Don't let anyone tell you what you should or shouldn't wear -- including this hideous hamburger shirt. And if you want to wear trash bags for pants and empty paint buckets for shoes, feel free. Not everyone will like it (especially Reverend Anderson, when you go to service this morning) but who cares? We're all free to express our opinions about things.
This comes to mind this morning because someone, somewhere, has finally expressed their opinion about one of the Anne Glynn stories. I wanted to headline the blog, "The reviewers love me!" but that's far from true. When I say 'reviewers', you should know I actually mean ONE reviewer. Because I now have exactly one review posted on Amazon and that's exactly one review more than anyone else has ever given me.
The sweet MelCamino went to Amazon, posted four stars, and said this about the story: "Wow!" and "What a great, sexy twist on an old classic" and "I smiled, giggled, and laughed" and "If you are wanting a quick read with some good, hot sex, check out Carole's Christmas!"
I know what you're thinking because I'd be thinking it, too: Maybe Anne Glynn is MelCamino. Not true because, if I WAS MelCamino, I'd have given me five stars. So you're probably thinking, if it's not the author then MelCamino must be Anne Glynn's extremely intelligent, word processor-capable Chihuaha or her mother/lover/friend/other relative.
Which also isn't true because (a) my Chihuahua is terrible at the word processor, making so many mistakes I'm thinking of not letting her transcribe my future stories; and (b) if friends or family had written the review, they'd have given me **five** stars, too.
I'll take what I can get, though. It was a lovely review and I liked it very much. If you're reading this, MelCamino, know I appreciate your strong taste in literature. I was delighted to get four stars on Amazon and couldn't wait to tell... almost everybody. So I shared my excitement with the women in my writer's circle and they weren't impressed (except for Donna, who doesn't really understand the internet, will never read this post, and firmly believes 'Amazon' exists only in South America). That didn't really bother me. Many of the members of my writer's circle are still struggling to finish their first full-length manuscript but when they do, it won't be romantic fiction with graphic sex.
When they weren't impressed, I looked for someone else to hear my brag. I called my Mom, the Queen Mother, forgetting that she, too, is a stranger to the internet. She seemed a little confused by the rating. "Four stars, honey?" she said. "Is that on a scale of one to ten?" Which wasn't exactly the response I wanted, either.
So then I told the Good Witch, who claims to be my best friend. She, too, was not impressed. "Four stars?" -- and, I swear, when she said it, she sounded soooooo bored -- "Even K***** got two FIVE star reviews." Now, I'd never heard of K***** but G.W. insisted I read it so I did (because it was short, that's why. If it were Stephen King-sized, I'd never have touched it. But it was 15 Kindle-sized pages so I thought I'd give it a go).
No wonder G.W. was impressed by a four star rating. If K***** collected a pair of five-starers, I'm clearly doing something wrong.
I don't want to give the full name of the story here because, as I said, everyone is a critic. You might like the story or even love the story and who's to say you're wrong? After all, someone in this great world is at this very moment wearing a hamburger shirt. Besides, I don't want the author or her fans to be mad at me. But I do want to share a few things about this story:
It's 15 Kindle pages, shorter than anything I've put on Amazon, and the first page is largely an excerpt of naughty bits to come. K***** retails at $2.99, triple the price of anything I have for sale (which is seriously leading me to rethink my pricing). Point-of-view wanders hither and yon, often from one sentence to the next. The author believes in lengthy paragraphs with few breaks so the tale is told in nine long blocks of text. Not to my taste but each writer has his or her own technique.
Speaking of text, it's used creatively in the story. Let me quote, trying to keep things G-rated: "They sat in pure satisfactory silence, their bodies covered in sweat and their chest heaving with their panting." (When you have one chest, the panting is always silent.) "He was exhausted from the action and his body was crawling with pleasure." (Is he sure that's what's crawling on his body?) "Twelve minutes later...*edited to keep my All Audiences rating*...she and him were truly spent." (Twelve minutes is all? I told Glynn he was doing it wrong.)
Oh, enough snark. Let K***** enjoy its success; today, I'm celebrating my review. After all, William Blake would have been happy to get it. Yes, the William Blake. Quoting from Alan Moore's Writing For Comics, "William Blake held only one exhibition during his lifetime, receiving only one review which concluded that he was "an unfortunate lunatic".
In your face, Bill Blake.
At last! Cheap covers!
(originally published 04/08/12)
To recap: When it came to providing worldwide dollar novellas, we knew we needed to save some money. My partner and I wanted to keep our expenses down because, frankly, nobody has ever heard of our pseudonym. Our stories cost less than a Starbucks Venti, and our royalties per purchase will average less than a Starbucks Tall. Sadly. So we’ve got to watch our pocketbook.
Which meant, we had to jettison the support staff that’s helped us with our mainstream stuff. Our beta readers are bright and experienced, and they volunteered to read our stuff and offer some editing suggestions. Belatedly, I remembered one of my romance-writing friends used to edit for one of the e-publishers and she agreed to comb over our stuff...as long as I was willing to do the same for her work. So our $0.00 editing fell into place.
Glynn offered to learn electronic formatting. He found several articles on line, telling him what to do and how to do it, and it really wasn’t as difficult as he’d feared (says he). So our $0.00 formatting was in place, too.
There’s online material telling folks how to do their own cover art, too. We know because Glynn and I played with this in the past, putting our own cover on a 99-cent story collection. It wasn't dead easy but it wasn't rocket science, either. We went to one of the stock photo places, dropped a few bucks, and....
“No Shutterstock, no iStockphoto,” Glynn told me. “We’ll have to sell a couple of dozen e-copies of every story just to cover the purchase price. That’s if you don’t blend photos like you did last time. That cost almost $50, remember? We’ll take our own pictures.”
You don’t want to know the images that went through my head. (Well, maybe one: Glynn posing on our worn sofa, his white, hairless chest sprinkled with rose petals....) “What do you mean?”
“With a camera.”
“Well, duh,” I said. “But what are we taking pictures of? Flowers? Sunsets?”
“You have great legs.” Which was flattering but a little off-point until he added, “Since we're talking about doing a series of stories, let's do a little branding. The same typeface, similar color patterns. And, on every Anne Glynn cover, we’ll put a photo of your legs.”
“No, we will not.”
“Just your legs. You’ll be wearing stockings. Really sexy shoes. It’ll work.”
“We have a crap-ass camera. A tripod with one arm that keeps sliding down. No lighting equipment. Even if my legs somehow look presentable, the photo will be grainy and out-of-focus and terrible, terrible, terrible.”
“If people see the cover, they'll laugh at it. No one will buy our stories.”
“We don't need to try,” I insisted. "I'll tell you what. Call Stan and see what he says."
Stan is a major league professional photographer, and he's been Glynn’s friend since childhood. When Glynn called him, Stan’s first impulse was to panic. He thought we wanted him to shoot our cover photos and, while Stan could certainly do it, he was booked with paying jobs for months. Plus, the word FREE kept entering the conversation.
Once he understood what Glynn was really asking, Stan grew quiet. Then he asked, “Did you buy a new camera? Some lights?”
"You mentioned taking some classes at the local junior college."
“I never had the time. But I’m getting pretty good with the little silver camera.”
“Are you still using the busted tripod?”
“It works okay. For a few minutes, anyway.”
They kept talking and I wandered away. I returned as as my partner disconnected the call. “What did Stan say?”
“He thinks we ought to go with stock photos." Glynn shrugged. "He didn’t actually use the words, 'No chance in Hell' but he thinks it won’t work.”
“So there you are.”
“Let’s try,” Glynn said.
Lord help me, I agreed.
Somewhere in the desert
(originally published 05/15/12)
As you read this, I'm in the desert and wondering what I did to deserve this.
If you've arrived at today's blog, thinking you were going to read an enlightening and/or fun post, abandon all such hopes. I'm in the middle of nowhere, my life partner is behind the wheel of our little Hyundai as it rolls along an endless stretch of asphalt, sand and scrub, and I'm sick to death of (a) our little Hyundai; (b) asphalt; (c) sand and scrub; and (d) THE DESERT.
Also maybe, just for now, (e) the life partner. At the sight of a turkey buzzard, Glynn began singing A Horse With No Name. For the first time ever, I'm wishing he'd spent money on a good vocal coach. Off-key and proud, he sings this same refrain -- "I've been through the desert on a horse with no name// It felt good to be out of the rain // In the desert you can remember your name// For there ain't no one for to give you no pain" -- then hums a little because he can't remember more of the song. And then he repeats the few words he has remembered over again but he sometimes changes the third line to In the desert you CAN'T remember your name because he's not completely certain of the actual words to the song.
I'd use my phone to check the words but we're in the middle of nowhere and I haven't seen any of the little reception signal bars for miles. If the Hyundai breaks down, I'm pretty certain we'll die. If we do, I promise you, Glynn goes first. It was at his suggestion that we abandoned civilization and outlet stores to take the "short route". (On the other hand, if you are reading this, we made it to a motel with Free WiFi and Glynn lives to sing another day.)
I'm not a desert girl -- trust me, no one with my shoe collection has ever been a desert girl -- but that doesn't mean I can't admire the women who venture into hot, dirty, lifeless, terrible stretches of vast nothing for no sane reason. I just want you to know, I'm impressed. When you make it back to civilization, give me a call and we'll go to lunch. You'll recognize me because I'll be wearing a fantastic pair of spiked heels. I'll recognize you because of your wrinkled sunburnt Apple Witch raisin face.
No, no, I don't mean that, not really. Forgive me: I know you use SunBlock 150+ with skin moisturizers and you're probably this super athletic Sand Goddess. Men want you and women want to be like you. Not me, no, but other women. Apple Witch women.
It's just that I'm so tired of mile after mile of staring out at brown nothing. We dare not pull the car over to stretch our legs because the outside sky is blue and cloudless and the temperature registers just below "hot as a blast furnace". Plus iguanas or something would pop out of a cactus and eat us.
Finally, after traveling for miles and hating the rock band America for the first time in my life, I asked Glynn to tell me what the song's lyrics mean. After all, he's sung the words all damned day, he must have some idea.
"Everybody names their horse," I tell him. "So why does this horse have no name? Is it a rental stallion or something? Also, how did the songwriter go from rain to desert? Why was he in the rain, anyway? Did he move from Seattle to No Hope Arizona? Oh, and what's with his memory? Why does he have problems remembering his name?"
Glynn looks over at me. He says, "In the desert, the song's writer finally has had a chance to look around and see who he really is. In that sense, he remembers his name."
"Sometimes you sing he can't remember his name."
Glynn nods like he's agreeing with me then he starts singing Jeremiah Was A Bullfrog. But only the part that goes, "Jeremiah was a bullfrog// He was good friend of mine// I never understood a single word he said// But I helped him drink his wine// He always had some mighty fine wine" -- and then he repeats it.
I swear, if we ever make it back to Nordstrom Rack, his credit card is going to suffer.
(originally published 02/25/12)
“I need your help,” I told my romance-loving friend I call the 'Good Witch'. (I call her this because she was born on Halloween. Never mind what she calls me.) We were talking on the telephone and I’d confessed my dilemma: Glynn and I had written a romance – Girl Gets Guy – and we’d included a sex scene. Or two. So were we selling a very grown-up romance or was this a not-very-erotic bit of erotica? The good folks at Amazon insisted on knowing before they'd let us publish the thing.
“If a romance contains a sex scene, it’s smut,” the Good Witch said, interjecting a new fiction category into the discussion.
“It’s not smut.”
“What’s the name of your story?”
“The Art of Whore.”
“Ohhh, yeah. It’s smut.”
I wasn't certain I'd ever read smut, much less written it. “Well, just you never mind. I’m not sure I want you to read my smut.”
“But I want to read your smut.”
Because you can have those kinds of conversations with friends.
My name is Anne and my S.W.P. (Significant Writing Partner) is Glynn. We’ve written fiction and nonfiction, occasionally under our real first and last names, more often under a different pseudonym. For the most part, we’ve written material for an All Ages audience and we’ve really enjoyed the work. So I was more than a little surprised when my S.W.P. asked if I’d be willing to work on something a little different.
Very different, actually. He wanted us to write a hot and steamy romance, called Sun Zu's The Art of Whore. I thought the title was pun-ny and it took me awhile to realize Glynn was serious. I’d like to pretend that I protested bunches but I didn’t, not really. It sounded like silly fun. So we plotted and wrote it, did a rewrite, rewrote the rewrite, then sent it out to our favorite beta readers.
Boy, were our regular beta readers surprised to see our story. I mean, the last time they heard from us, we’d presented them with a Nancy Drew-type mystery, complete with a chaste kiss between the male and female leads. But they rolled up their sleeves and got to work, anyway. Overall, they were surprised but supportive. Neither of them called the story, “smut”.
They said it was a romance with some heat. Apparently, there's all sorts of levels of heat and our story was somewhere above 'simmer' and far below 'volcanic' -- despite the title.
The Good Witch is gonna be disappointed.