I was in New England last week for my brother-in-law’s funeral. After watching the weather reports from the frigid north this winter, I honestly thought I might suffer from frostbite or worse but it was surprisingly pleasant. Temperatures were in the fifties, slightly chilly for this newly-minted Floridian but not bone-chilling.
My brother-in-law, John Blanchette, was a writer and a publicist. A great guy who enjoyed life and travel and meeting new people. He was successful because he loved his work. Something I have never experienced. Until now. Writing has become my obsession. A passion. I can’t stop writing. “Oh really?” I can hear some of you saying. “Then where have you been with this walking blog?” Good question. I am writing every day, but it is my third book I am working on. I did write a piece for the Huffington Post about my mother’s Alzheimers but it’s been eleven days since I’ve written about walking. Not that I haven’t been walking. I have. But it is the long walk to Long Island that I have been focusing on.
Recently I was accepted to the Southampton Writers Conference, sponsored by Stony Brook University on Long Island. It takes place during the month of July in the Hamptons, in the lovely seaside town where Rachel Ray, Howard Stern, Kelly Ripa and other famous rich people summer. I know, tough assignment, but someone’s got to do it. I will be summering for twelve days with writers, such as, Meg Wolitzer, Julia Glass the author of Three Junes, Dan Yaccarino, Libba Bray, and Peter Lerangis, to name just a few. A shout out to my very supportive hubby, Rich Blanchette, is necessary here. And very well deserved.
I need to sell more books. My marketing department is not well connected. That would be me. I am the marketing department, a one woman show. Temping two to four days a week in accounting, writing a third book, blogging, occasional Huff Post pieces. Managing my husband’s bookkeeping (if you know my husband you realize this is one of my most difficult tasks). And trying to sell my books.
I spent three hours getting a Florida license plate at the registry this week. I brought a book to read but reading was impossible as every minute or so the woman on the loudpseaker interrupted my thoughts. “Now Serving A201 at Station Number 24.” I decided to strike up a conversation with a lovely older woman who mumbled something about her fears of dying while waiting to get her driver’s license. She had done this two weeks ago but failed the eye test. On her lap was a form from her eye doctor’s office and the little slip of paper with her number on it, which she held on to tightly, every once in awhile glancing at it, checking the number. Afraid to miss her call. D95. Mine was resting on top of my Kindle which I couldn’t concentrate on, so anxiously waiting to hear G107. She loved to read she told me. I told her about my books and gave her my card. One book at a time.
I also spent two hours at H & R Block this week getting my taxes done. I usually do this myself. I am a bookkeeper after all, that is my day job. A reluctant bookkeeper but usually capable of handling this yearly chore. But this year it was complicated. We sold a house. I had royalties. I think I had a nervous breakdown back in that cubicle. So I brought my jumbled mess of paperwork to H & R Block. The woman who did my return does this every year from January to April 15. She summers in Wisconsin where she and her husband run a family lodge with cabins on a lake. I told her about Take Me Home, Josie and Andy running the fishing lodge in Idaho. I gave her my card. One book at a time. She asked me about my daughters in Colorado. One of her daughters works in a cubicle in Orlando but is planning to quit and move to Boulder. “The job is destroying my soul,” she told her mother. I tell her mother about The Reverse Commute. Sophie’s desperation in her cubicle, her dream of owning a bed and breakfast. “You should read that one too,” I told her. “And your daughter needs to read it too. I know all about work that destroys your soul. Here’s a card for your daughter.” Two books at a time.
I Tweet, I blog, I Pin, I Instagram, I pimp myself out on Facebook. I send emails to other bloggers who might like a free copy of the book in return for sharing it with their followers. Sales are slow. I need to sell more books. Since I published Take Me Home on January 6, 2014, four more books titled Take Me Home were published. How the hell does that happen? It’s like naming your baby some really cool name and they get to kindergarten and 4 other kids in the class have the same name.
Four of the other books have really hot guys on the cover. You’ve got to be kidding me. I might need to start pimping out my character Andy Radcliffe. He’s hot.
Drinking coffee on her deck early the next morning, she saw him shaking out his comforter, hanging it over the railing. He was wearing long boarder shorts, the kind Luke wore when he went surfing, and no shirt. He was lean and fit, the hair on his chest gray. He brought out the cushions from the sofa and smacked them with the handle of a broom, creating a cloud of dust, then leaned them against the railing and went back inside. The whirring of a vacuum disturbed the peaceful silence of the alpine setting. A little beagle ran out on the deck, barking in protest.
That’s right. I’ve got Luke, Josie’s son. He’s hot too. A young guy and an older, more mature man. Something for everyone.
Josie noticed him giving Andy a thorough inspection as they crossed the bar room to the booth where Luke was waving them over. She too was doing a visual inspection, looking for signs of happiness or dejection over the breakup. Would growing your hair longer and wearing it in a short, stubby ponytail be a sign of disarray or defiant independence?”
But where is the sex in this book you ask? Hold on, I’ve got it.
He was energetic but tender, his kisses amazing , his tongue exploring and investigating her body like a cat on a lazy afternoon . She wasn’t self-conscious at all. She felt like a goddess, all that was missing were the grapes. If she had some, she was sure he would feed them to her.
So I applied to Stony Brook and got accepted. I am very excited about this opportunity. I hope to get advice on how to reach my readers, make connections in the industry, and most importantly, improve my craft.
It seems like it’s been a long walk to this point but in reality it’s been a short jog. In the spirit of my brother-in-law John Blanchette I am pursuing work I love, I am writing, and I am not giving up. He is an inspiration to me and his spirit lives on. So does his writing.