I am excited, and terrified, to announce that I am going to publish my novel The Goddess Lounge. Here's the deal:
I finished The Goddess Lounge over a year ago. I did the things one traditionally does. I pitched my manuscript to agents, and I was delighted that I got an agent who I really liked and who really liked my book. Over the course of a year, she managed to get my manuscript read by top editors at basically every major publishing house. They had some nice things to say, but they all, ultimately passed on it. Then my agent told me that she was leaving the business. But really, by that point, I could see the writing on the wall.
Why, you might ask, did all these editors pass on my book? Time and again, two comments came back to my agent. One, editors did not think readers would buy a book in my genre (romantic comedy) that included various incarnations of the F word. Two, they didn't like an important relationship that was not resolved in a traditional way. In other words, I think my book was too HBO for what they thought was a broadcast TV genre and audience. I think that's bullshit. I think it is insulting to women readers who have varied tastes and who want good storytelling that is fun and not stupid and that is affirming of women and their right to own their own lives. If, occasionally, the women in commercial fiction realize they are fucked and feel the need to say so, I don't think most readers mind. I also think the kind of reasons used to dismiss my book speak to a profound conservatism that exists in publishing today. I think that conservatism is born of fear, and I think that fear hurts readers, the publishing industry itself, and explains why almost every novel I pick up these days sounds exactly like the last.
I'm worried you will think this sounds like sour grapes. It's not. These companies have the right to publish what and who they want. It is not my civil right to be published by Random House. But...my book is really good. I know that sounds vain! But it is really good! I am super proud of it, and I wrote it because I had something that I really wanted to say about how hard it is to be a mom today.
So I'm publishing it myself. It should be available mid to late June.
I am super scared. SUPER SCARED! I have never done anything like this before, and I know myself. I know that I can write, but I am not so good with the execution of details. And this involves lots of details, especially marketing details, and especially putting-myself-out-there details. I am bad at that. REALLY BAD. I feel self conscious because I always worry that I am bothering people/embarrassing my sad, sad self.
So I think I need your help. What do you think I need to do? What gets you to read a book? What gets you to buy a book? What advice do you have for helping me find an audience? Have you seen things that work? Have you seen things you hate? I really want your input because, I think, then I won't feel quite so stranded in the desert. I feel like, if you guys can be on my team, then I'll be accountable to you and then maybe I'll have the gumption to do the things I need to do to find the readers who will love this book as much as I do. So, advice, please give it now. If you would rather not post a comment, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I'm terrified now that you will all think I am using you, so I'm going to go take shower and get ready for work. If only I could wear my awesome Millennium Falcon shirt to class. I would feel so much more secure.
|Poster for the U.S theatrical release (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
The little red car makes its way down the streets of Tokyo. It follows the same path it takes everyday, but little does the little red car know that today is different.
Out of nowhere Godzilla starts crashing toward the little red car. Its tail swings left. Down goes a new high rise. "You are insulting my favorite TV show," drawls Godzilla in a surprisingly high-pitched voice. "You must die."
The little red car quakes in fear. Where can it hide? What can it do?
Godzilla's foot rises in the air and casts it enormous shadow over the doomed little red car. The little red car regrets that it never once tried sushi.
Suddenly, King Kong rushes forward. King Kong gives a big ape squeal. "Why are you listening to him?" bellows King Kong. "I was talking to you first. You always do what Godzilla says." King Kong beats his chest and stomps his feet.
The little red car looks for someplace to hide. There is nowhere.
Godzilla and King Kong gnash their teeth at each other.
"Don't roll your eyes at me," says King Kong to Godzilla.
"Stop talking. Stop talking. You caused global warming and now look how dry my skin is," says Godzilla.
The little red car thinks of its happy song. It begins to hum.
Godzilla and King Kong turn their powerful death ray eyes on the little red car. "Why are you singing?" they say. "You are singing because you hate us. We will destroy you."
The scary monsters stomple the little red car until it is nothing more than a flattened pancake.
The monsters move on.
|Hindu Goddess Maa Kudargarhi Devi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Devi is kind of like Plastic man. She can look however she wants. By doing so, she can be whatever kind of goddess you need. She can have ten arms and be the goddess Durga if you need a warrior. She can have blood-red eyes and be Kali if you need some destruction and/or rebirth. She can put on a party dress and look all June Cleaver if you need Parvati, the good mom. I could go on and on. She can become your water goddess, your wealth goddess, your boons goddess, your compassion goddess. You could channel any of these manifestations of Devi, or you could just go straight to Devi and channel her. It just depends upon your need.
Let's say, for example, you need cash. The manifestation of Devi you need would be Lakshmi. Shibang. Channel her. But let's say you're a fricking mess. Not only do you need cash, but your toilet is overflowing, you're falling behind on your work, your kids have gone all Godzilla on you, and your dog just threw up. In that case, you can straight-up channel Devi. (Then, for godsake, get yourself some chocolate because you need some cocoa-love.)
Devi reminds us that we, too, are more than the sum of our parts. We may be daughters, partners, mothers, workers -- we may be many things. But, always, we are fricking Helen Reddy Women! Hear us roar! And don't be messing with our blood-red, bent-on-destruction eyes. Out of them, whole worlds are born.
Channel this goddess: when a piece-meal goddess just won't do, when you need the whole package to save your flipping mind. Also, when multi-tasking.
Need a goddess: I got goddesses! Post a request and I'll see what I can do.
Everyone knows that the annual festival known as "spring break" is acually a yearly reenactment of the classic Roman tale Pazzamama. In the story, Pazzamama, a sort of mother earth type, is driven insane when a horde of unruly mosquitoes suck the very life out of her and then complain about her cooking. For thousands of years, the story of Pazzamama has forced mothers to ponder whether biology really is destiny. Can one avoid becoming poor Pazzamama? Scientists have, of course, said no. They cite as evidence the humble salmon, which we now know only kills itself because the eggs inside it have spent the entire upstream journey whining about how unfair their lives are and how everyone in THE WORLD has a laptop but them, proving how their mothers actually HATE THEM. The Modern Goddess is more sanguine. She believes hope is possible. One does, however, need earphones. Do not think of them as the tribal markers of hispsters. Think of them as mental health tools. Likewise alcohol. People are quick to deride alcohol these days, but the Modern Goddess reminds you that the Romans--who ruled an entire EMPIRE--had a whole god devoted to wine, so who are we to dismiss the lessons of history. Dismissing the lessons of history would be plain arrogant. And isn't it arrogance that got you into this fricking mess? You, who said, "With my SUPERIOR PARENTING I will never have the problems of Pazzamama. Raising baby will be a joy, a snap!" Well, we've seen what's become of that, and so open a bottle already. Inevitably, spring break will devolve into a drama queen duel in which common household drama queens will battle to the death over who has more Easter candy. Still, you can rise above this by eating a platter of mashed potatoes. If mashed potatoes are lacking, try stale vegan cookies, cartons of ice cream, or whole roast pigs. A little bit of creativity will help you here. Indulge your inner anarchist. In closing, the Modern Goddess assures you that spring break, like a deadly virus, will pass. Rest assured, there are worse things, like summer vacation, which is just around the corner.
|Orpheus & Eurydice by Cervelli (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Eurydice was a nymph, meaning she was a minor nature goddess. She was the beloved wife of Orpheus, who was the Frank Sinatra/Elvis Presley/Paul McCartney/Bono/Justin Bieber of his day. When he sang, even the flowers swooned.
Alas, even fame and abundant hair products cannot stave off the touch of death. A snake bit Eurydice and she died. Grief stricken, Orpheus wallowed and slipped into such bitter sadness that he thought he would die. When he didn't die he decided he would do the next best thing. He would bring back the dead.
He found his way to the underworld. He sang to the boatman who carried the souls of the departed across the River Styx, and the boatman was so moved he agreed to let Orpheus join him. Then he sang to the three-headed dog who guarded the entrance, and three-headed dog was so moved that it let him pass. Even Hades couldn't resist Orpheus's song. He was so moved that he agreed to let Orpheus lead Eurydice back to the world of the living.
"Fair warning," said Hades. "There are rules here that even I can't break. You can guide Eurydice back, but you can't look at her until you are home. If you look at even the shadow of the dead, then dead they shall remain."
Overjoyed, Orpheus took Eurydice's hand. He led her past the dog. He led her across the Styx. They were almost back, and then Orpheus couldn't resist. He looked. It was just a little look, a brief glance in the shadowy light. But it was enough. Eurydice melted into the ground, and he lost her forever.
It's a sad story, isn't it? Orpheus and Eurydice remind us that endings are inevitable. Nothing last forever.
You don't mend a broken heart by searching for the past. You mend it by moving to the light.
Altadena Hiker would also like you to know about this award-winning version of Orpheus and Eurydice, which was filmed in Brazil. Did someone say Bossa Nova?
Need a goddess? I got goddesses! Post a comment explaining what you need or want a goddess for. Then check back in a week or two and see what you got. It's fun! It's free! It's Bossa Nova time!