That Odd in Between Time Holiday Party Introvert Writer Thing

smalltalk_zThis being the holiday season means it’s also the Season of the Holiday Party. It’s cocktail parties, BBQs, Beer and Bubbly, meeting new people, and small talk.

I totally suck at small talk. Mostly because I am an introvert, When I tell people I’ve just met that I’m a writer and I’ve had three books published, the question I am asked most is never what I expect.

I’ve garnered comments such as “Mature protagonists? You mean your books are like Fifty Shades of Even greyer Grey?” and “It’s about time someone showed that women aren’t invisible after 40!” I like that comment.

There was also the well-meant, and very cringeworthy “Mr Turnbull, my wife can show you how to sex up a cost-benefit analysis,” to which, thankfully, the now-current Prime Minister of Australia offered a gracious smile.

I’ve been asked “What do you write?” and “Do you do research for sex scenes?” and even, “Have I ever read anything you’ve written?”

Yet, the the most frequent question is “When will your next book be published?”

I find that flattering and tremendously WTF at the same time before I remember the general public has no real idea how long it takes to write a book, let alone have it published.

Rather than become indignant, I get self conscious. I’ve drawn attention to myself, and I think I better, you know, get over myself and engage in small talk. So then I get a little teachery and FEEL THE NEED TO EDUCATE!

The man with the schooner of beer is waiting for me to answer his “When will your next book be published?”

I respond with:

True, some writers are able to hammer out a story in a few weeks. Others a few months,. Me? I take about 9 months to a year. Getting the book published can take even longer; from a few months to a year or even longer if the book is in print form. I have two books out there right now, both waiting to find a home. Yes, I have a publisher, but that does not guarantee my next two books will be accepted for publication, and even if they are, there is still the editorial process. The editorial process can take months. So this book I wrote two years ago, might not come out until next year.

Then I notice that his eyes have glazed over and his beer/rum-n-coke/champagne glass is empty and I totally sucked tremendously hard at the whole small talk thing.

Ho Ho Ho, Kids.


Looking for a smartassed presents to give to those who love to read smartass?

My three books go so well with coffee!



Booty, Black-bearded Somali, and Oldbitey

Pirates, if any of you are aware, are suddenly back in vogue.

Yes. It seems utterly ridiculous to think about Black Beard and Cap’n Jack Sparrow operating in this day and age, but quick.  Go check out today’s news and you’ll discover the Indian navy has managed to sink a pirate vessel in the Gulf of Aden, which is pretty cool, if you ask me.

Which you didn’t.

But I’ll telling you about the coolness of battling pirates and you’ll listen because I’m not talking Arrrgh, avast me matey and taste the blood of my cutlass  as ye make yer way to Davy Jones’ locker pirates. 

Nosiree-Johnny. This new version of pirates attack things like tourists and Saudi oil supertankers. They hold hostages and they ask for ransom. But the Saudis, the owners of the recently hijacked (seajacked) oil tanker, do not negotiate with pirates.

Back in the early 80s, Michael Caine was in a movie about pirates. It was called 
The Island.  It’s one of the slightly lesser known works of Peter Benchley, author of Jaws.  The pirates in that not-so-great film were of the swaggering, rum-drinking, five-good-teeth-left-in-their-mouth ilk. Of course, they all sounded like Basil Rathbone from Captain Blood  or sailors who mutinied on the Bounty, rather than the Dread Pirate Roberts from The Princess Bride. These let’ s-take-the-Saudi-tanker treasure pirates are mostly Somali, and they are serious killers who probably wouldn’t take kindly to being played with such verve and camp a la Errol Flynn and Johnny Depp. 

Ok. Perhaps they’d appreciate Johnny’s portrayal. He was Donnie Brasco and gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson. He’s a talented actor and, if called upon for such a role, he’d dig deep to show the really seedy desperation side of today’s machine gun toting, rocket-grenade launching pirate.  

So how many o you want to bet that a romance novel with spring forth from this recent piracy on the high seas? It will be a modern James-Bondian heavy on the adventure and romantic suspense. Yeah. Yeah, Yeah. Ok. so some of you may recall Under Siege, the more modern take on the pirate movie, where Tommy Lee Jones was the pirate and Steven Segal was the hero. Sure SS got to kiss the Playboy playmate Erika Eleniak (didja know was the girl Elliot kissed in ET?), but that ain’t romance and you Oldbiteyites out there know better than to think a kiss makes a story a romance.

We can debate this if you like, but I’ll point out the error in your logic.

Ahem, back to the pirate-romance. Aside my my very thrilling work-in-progress, which is not a pirate feature, some smart soul, maybe one of the many, many paranormal romance writers out there, will take it upon themselves to write a modern pirate romance. 

And no. There will not be a "bodice ripper" image, shoe, or pink anything on the cover.  I’m thinking a Jolly Roger…

Or not.