Posts Tagged ‘novels’

Good-bye, Sir Arnold Wesker

Thursday, October 6th, 2016

One of the hardest things about being away from home is when you find out news entirely by accident, especially sad news.

I was right in the middle of organising the promotional blurbs given to me by fellow authors for my upcoming book Oysters and Pearls: Collected Stories when I decided to check something on the Internet. Well, I received quite a shock when this Telegraph article about Sir Arnold Wesker came up at the top of my search:

(http://www.telegraph.co.uk/obituaries/2016/04/13/sir-arnold-wesker-playwright—obituary/)

I suppose we always think people will remain exactly the same as they were when we last saw them. If they were young and vibrant, they will forever remain young and vibrant (or older and vibrant) until the next time we’re with them and can see the changes wrought by time. Alas, on the last occasion I’d chatted with Arnold, he’d told me that his health had deteriorated significantly. And he hadn’t sounded encouraged about any potential for improvement. I can only hope he found some enjoyment in his remaining days.

It’s quite curious how we came to meet. I’d just released an anthology of short stories (Erotic Travel Tales 2). One of my contributors was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. Somewhere in the promotional material it said that this was the first anthology of erotica to feature a FRSL. I’m not entirely sure how Arnold came to hear of the book, but I had an email from him not long afterward, telling me that he (also a FRSL) had written his own collection of erotic short stories. His book The King’s Daughters, which he’d signed for me, holds pride of place on my bookshelf and has done since he’d first given it to me during our visit to his charming thatched cottage in Wales. Perhaps it was our shared genre or perhaps it was our shared Hungarian blood or perhaps it was plain old serendipity—something had prompted him to reach out a hand in friendship.

Arnold Wesker's book

When Arnold first invited me to visit him, I’d told a poet and academic friend of mine about the invite. She immediately issued a foreboding warning that Sir Arnold was considered “difficult” and one of the “angry young men”—and on my head be it! I had to wonder why someone so difficult and “angry” would bother to invite me (and Teddy Tedaloo) to come stay with him, let alone cook us dinner! Not knowing what to expect, I threw caution to the wind (as I so often do) and got the train to Abergavenny, where he was to pick us up. Well, Arnold was there as promised, and in true British style, the first thing we did was head down the pub!

During our stay, Teddy was on his best behaviour (as one might expect), though I’m afraid I can’t say the same thing about Arnold or myself. We started on the wine in the garden—it was a lovely sunny late afternoon, and  the bees were having a fabulous time terrorising me. This was followed by lively conversation in the kitchen, where Arnold began preparing us a delicious meal. We scarfed it down in no time, because after desert we had a date with the Scrabble board. Now let me tell you, there’s nothing quite so amusing as two authors engaging in a game of Scrabble with a bottle of wine. We quickly became annoyed with our pathetic collection of letters—none of which seemed to add up to any word that followed the rules. By mutual agreement, we decided to relax the rules a bit and allow words that didn’t exactly conform to what the game’s inventors had in mind. We even threw in some proper nouns while we were at it. How we both laughed at the hilarity of the situation—two authors cheating at Scrabble. Can it get any better than that?

It was probably a good thing I was sleeping over, because at some point during the night we had a bit of a downpour and if I hadn’t been upstairs, the leak in the roof might not have been discovered until some serious damage had been done. We were running around like proverbial headless chickens, moving things out of harm’s way and trying to wedge cloths along the wall to soak up the water that was trickling down. After all that wine, the situation was the stuff of slapstick comedy. Though I suspect the bill Arnold eventually received from his roofer probably wasn’t a laughing matter. Those thatched roofs are an absolute bitch to maintain.

The next morning after breakfast, I sobered up by watching one of his “kitchen sink” dramas—a televised play that had been done for Welsh television. Then it was time for us to get the train. Arnold got us packed into his car to take us to the station, though not without first giving me an introduction to living in the Welsh countryside. I was assigned the task of opening and closing of gate, which provided me with my first encounter with stinging nettles. How he managed to deal with that gate every time he came and went I’ve no idea, but a gauntlet would have definitely come in handy.

I found this man to be warm, funny and truly delightful company—and he genuinely liked Teddy! I will always remember our visit with fondness.

RIP, Sir Arnold Wesker.

 

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Do You Know the Way to Santa Fe

Thursday, July 7th, 2016

Teddy Tedaloo arrives in New Mexico

I’ve crisscrossed North America so many times they might as well invite me to join the cast of Top Gear! Even on a bad day, I’m a damned sight better looking than Chris Evans. But has the BBC been chasing after me to offer me a shed-load of dosh to be on the programme? Despite the fact that Mr. Evans has up and quit on them, no, they have not.

So where exactly does that leave me?

To embark upon my peregrinations with my trusty celebrity sidekick author bear, Teddy Tedaloo (who’s also a damned sight better looking than Chris Evans on ANY day)!

Checking out the local real estate

Checking out the local real estate

Our latest road trip was initially supposed to be a visit to Santa Fe, New Mexico for fun, food, friends and relaxation, along with an author appearance thrown in to promote Rotten Peaches (The Thelonious T. Bear Chronicles)the latest novel in our cosy mystery series The Thelonious T. Bear Chronicles. But you know how things can snowball, especially when you figure that since you’re driving all that distance anyway, what’s another err… few thousand miles? So like a rock band on tour, off we went, minus the drugs!

And it’s a good thing we didn’t have any questionable substances with us, especially after what they did to us at the Canadian border crossing.

Hanging out with Teddy Tedaloo in Vancouver

Hanging out with Teddy Tedaloo in Vancouver

Of course, we expected to have a few adventures on our road trip, but being detained and cross-examined at Canadian border patrol for more than two hours and having the car (along with all our luggage) searched wasn’t exactly high up on the list. The only thing missing from the scenario was the snap of a latex glove. The huge haul of contraband they were able to come up with included a note with the address of a Squamish bank written on it (so I could withdraw money from the ATM, like duh); a pair of paper booties; a pillow; and one of those thermal cover things I keep in the boot for an emergency in case I run into Chuck, Jimmy McGill’s (aka Saul Goodman) brother, who suffers from a case of electromagnetic hypersensitivity. The border control officers grudgingly let us leave when they ran out of excuses to keep us there (apparently I’d even been Googled, along with Teddy), causing us to get caught up in late afternoon Vancouver traffic and missing lunch. Good thing I don’t suffer from hypoglycemia or I’d have been a goner.

Can you imagine – no more books written by yours truly? Do you even want to imagine it?

Okay, don’t answer that.

In case you didn’t make it to our Santa Fe gig or else were too cheap to spring for the airfare, here’s a filmed highlight from it. See how much money I’ve saved you? I hope you remember that next time you’re shopping for a book to read from Amazon or your other favourite bookseller!

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Vin Diesel Can’t Compare to Thelonious T. Bear!

Thursday, September 24th, 2015
Proud authors Mitzi Szereto and Teddy Tedaloo with their new book Rotten Peaches (The Thelonious T. Bear Chronicles)

Proud authors Mitzi Szereto and Teddy Tedaloo with their new book Rotten Peaches (The Thelonious T. Bear Chronicles)

 

We keep hearing all this talk about entertainment “franchises” these days. Seems like every time you turn around Vin Diesel is on the telly, telling reporters about his “Fast and Furious” film franchise. Well, I’m here to tell you that when it comes to entertainment franchises, baby, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!

Proud author Teddy Tedaloo with Rotten Peaches (The Thelonious T. Bear Chronicles)

Proud author Teddy Tedaloo with Rotten Peaches (The Thelonious T. Bear Chronicles)

For those of you in the know (and you wouldn’t be reading this blog if you weren’t), my celebrity sidekick bear and handsome co-author Teddy Tedaloo and I are here to announce the publication of the latest installment in OUR franchise: namely The Thelonious T. Bear Chronicles.

Now we’re not talking motion pictures (at least not yet, though lucrative film and TV offers are welcome!). But we are talking novels – in this case the second book in our quirky and satiric cosy mystery/crime series – Rotten Peaches (The Thelonious T. Bear Chronicles). And like that other franchise starring that baritone-voiced bald geezer with a fondness for speeding cars, our book also comes with some high-octane chase scenes!

If you’ve read the first novel Normal for Norfolk (The Thelonious T. Bear Chronicles), you’ll already be familiar with Thelonious T. Bear, our hapless protagonist from ol’ Blighty. Thelonious is a photojournalist by trade. He also happens to be a small bear. He drives a specially modified Mini Cooper with a Union Jack on the roof, wears a deerstalker hat, loves jazz music and drinks real ale. He even uses cologne (he’s quite meticulous about his personal hygiene).

In this latest installment in the series, Thelonious’s assignment takes him and his camera to the rural American South – or more specifically, Georgia, a state famous for its red clay and Southern hospitality as well as guns, Jesus, dodgy traffic tickets, Confederate flags, pickup trucks and, of course, peaches!

Our ursine “hero” has a knack for running into trouble wherever he goes. This time that trouble arrives courtesy of a gang of bank-robbing little people wearing animal-mask disguises and armed with Tommy Guns. Everyone wants to catch these Dillinger-wannabes, especially a rural sheriff from the sticks and an eager young small-town newspaper reporter. An adventure chock-full of grits and culture shock, Rotten Peaches (The Thelonious T. Bear Chronicles) has enough local flavour to make that fried chicken go down real good, providing you chase it with a great big glass of sweet tea! Crooked cops, fire-and-brimstone preachers, psychotic farmers, stalkers in pickup trucks and reality TV shows, it’s all happening right here. Rotten Peaches will have you hankering for a fried pie in no time.

Vin Diesel concedes that The Thelonious T. Bear Chronicles franchise is definitely faster and furiouser!

Vin Diesel concedes that The Thelonious T. Bear Chronicles franchise is definitely faster and furiouser!

Working with Teddy has been great so far. At least we haven’t had any artistic flare-ups yet. We’ve been soaking up plenty of local colour while on location writing this novel (just as we did for Normal for Norfolk), but that’s all part of the fun. We want our readers to feel as if they’ve actually been to these places and met the characters just as we ourselves have. You might even call us the “method actors” of literature – we definitely aren’t shy when it comes to immersing ourselves in our art. Just take a look at some of these “on location” photos if you don’t believe me.

So keep an eye out. You never know where we might turn up next! As for Mr. Vin Diesel, big-shot Hollywood movie star, y’all better watch out, because if things go according to plan, Thelonious T. Bear will be coming to your neighbourhood cinema soon!

 

Visit the Rotten Peaches (The Thelonious T. Bear Chronicles) website:

mitziszereto.com/rottenpeaches

Check us out on Facebook: 

facebook.com/rottenpeaches

 

 

Why, lookee here! Even that good ol’ boy Elton John is singing about our book!

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Normal for Norfolk: The Literary Collaboration of the Century

Friday, July 13th, 2012

Normal for Norfolk (The Thelonious T. Bear Chronicles)I guess it was inevitable that I’d finally end up being completely usurped by my famous celebrity sidekick bear Teddy Tedaloo. His popularity has continued to grow over the years, and many of my fans and readers have been going over to his camp. Obviously I don’t wish to begrudge him his successes – he deserves every bit of it! But what’s a lowly author to do when she discovers that her star is waning while that of her bear’s is waxing?

Why, write a book together, of course! I’m referring to the release of our new venture Normal for Norfolk (The Thelonious T. Bear Chronicles),  billed in the publishing industry as a “quirky crime novel.” It’s the first in our new series featuring the diminutive ursine protagonist and unlikely hero Thelonious T. Bear – a Mini Cooper-driving photojournalist teddy with a fondness for deerstalker hats, cologne, and real ale.

Unfortunately for the hapless Thelonious, he keeps ending up in the wrong place at the wrong time, which accounts for why the spotlight of suspicion shines upon him in a murder enquiry. The fact that he’s far too small and far too short to be battering grown men with crowbars and hauling their dead bodies around makes little impact on the man in charge of the investigation: the bumbling Detective Chief Inspector Horatio Sidebottom of Norfolk CID.

At the risk of sounding like a book publicist, if you like your crime and mystery a wee bit different, you’ll definitely get your shilling’s worth with Normal for Norfolk! Did I mention the flatulent dachshund, the tobacco-cured rock guitarist, the beekeeper, the celebrity TV chef, the whisky-drinking old granny and the 21st century’s answer to the Kray brothers? They’re in here too. There’s even a grumpy vicar. Heck, I wouldn’t be surprised if the county of Norfolk appoints Teddy and I their official authors laureate!

Not surprisingly, the novel is taking off big time with the ursine community. Ted’s furry friends (and even those who aren’t so furry) are rallying around the novel like gangbusters, giving it some major paws (and claws) up. I’m beginning to wonder if I’ve been putting my eggs into the wrong baskets all this time. I mean, here I’ve got a slew of Facebook friends and Twitter followers, and yet I’m not getting nearly the amount of cheering and celebration and recognition that Teddy is. Hmmm… Funny, that.

Mitzi Szereto & Teddy Tedaloo (photo credit Eric Schneider)

Mitzi Szereto & Teddy Tedaloo – The hottest literary partnership of 2012!

As for my new literary partnership with Mr. Tedaloo, some of you might be thinking that I’m trying to get a free ride on someone else’s coattails. Sure, we’ve seen it before – writers who can’t come up with their own stuff and freeload off someone else’s labours, even latching on to a bigger name to gain some glory for themselves. I’m afraid that in this particular instance I might be guilty of the latching-on business. But times are tough, and it’s not easy trying to make a living as a writer. To stay alive as a writer, one must expand one’s literary horizons – and expanding my literary horizons is something I most definitely do.

It’s always good to keep folk wondering (and hopefully wondering with anticipation) what you’ll come up with next! As for riding on coattails and all that, I should tell you that Normal for Norfolk (The Thelonious T. Bear Chronicles) was in its inception long before the film “Ted” showed its face in cinemas or was even being spoken about. Besides, our hero Thelonious doesn’t use foul language like (ahem) a certain animated bear. Which is not to say you won’t find some foul language in the novel. When you have Vinnie and Desmond Clark, two thugs from Bow, East London featuring prominently in the book, you’re bound to run into that sort of thing. So for that reason I’ll give our novel a PG rating.

So go on, you lot. Buy your print or e-book copy of Normal for Norfolk (The Thelonious T. Bear Chronicles) now, because if you don’t…well, maybe Teddy and I will need to have a friendly word with the Clark brothers. And I don’t think you really want that, do you?

(Watch the book trailer!)

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50 Shades of Nothing New

Monday, May 14th, 2012

bow tie

I figured that since so many journalists and broadcasters keep interviewing me and asking me for quotes about the recent publishing phenomenon of 50 Shades of Grey, I thought it was time I put in my two pence’ worth right here at my blog.

Now I’m the last person to rain on anyone’s parade, especially another author’s. Those of us who toil in this usually thankless and poverty-stricken profession know all too well how difficult it is to make a living, let alone garner the kind of phenomenal success now being enjoyed by 50 Shades author E. L. James, who, up until this time, wasn’t even a professional author (and there are many who would argue that she still isn’t). However, as a writer and editor who does quite a bit of work in the area known as “erotic literature” or “erotic fiction” or “erotica,” I’m truly in the dark as to what all the fuss is about.

James’s novel (and their many continuations) focus on a BDSM relationship between a “submissive” young woman and a “dominant” man. The book evolved from her fan fiction site for Stephenie Meyer’s bestselling novel Twilight. Though unlike Twilight, 50 Shades of Grey has lots of sex in it.

Explicit sex. And some of it is considered kinky depending on what church you go to.

Err… okay. So what? Is this anything new? Has no one ever written these kinds of novels before? Has no one heard of the similarly themed classic The Story of O? Has no one seen the gazillion erotic novels that have been published over the last few decades detailing precisely the same plotline, replete with salacious details? Has no one noticed the amount of explicit sex to be found on the pages of what are considered to be “mainstream” as well as “literary” novels, not to mention “women’s fiction”?

The fact that 50 Shades appears to be geared toward women readers also seems to have raised eyebrows. I guess all those Black Lace erotic novels written by women for women never existed, not to mention the many similar publishing imprints that have been doing the exact same thing for years, all vying for the exact same audience – an audience which appears to be reading content that has now become commonly known as (*gags*) “Mommy Porn.”

What I’d like to know is, where have all these goggle-eyed readers and journalists been living – in a cave? Even if you’re sweet sixteen and have no literary history under your belt, a visit to the local bookshop or a perusal of the steamy books on offer at Amazon will be sufficient to educate you that these kinds of novels have been around for eons. Some are well written, some poorly written. But this phenomenon is nothing new. For the media and reading public to suddenly make out as if Ms James has invented the erotic novel is a slap in the face for the multitudinous authors both past and present who have been doing the same thing – and quite possibly doing it better!

Of course many of these authors are hoping that the huge success of 50 Shades will translate into greater success for their own books. And perhaps it will. Whether it does anything to improve the actual quality of material being written remains to be seen.

Frankly, I have my doubts.

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Does My Countenance Look Fat in This? (Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts)

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011
Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts by Mitzi Szereto

Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts by Mitzi Szereto

Countenances are integral to literature. Authors would lose a lot of content if we didn’t discuss countenances. Countenances help the reader envision the characters. With this in mind, I decided to write a novel that replies heavily on countenances.

And what better place to start than with Jane Austen’s literary classic Pride and Prejudice?

It all began in the spring of last year with a pilgrimage to Jane’s house in the lovely English village of Chawton in Hampshire. I, along with my ursine sidekick Teddy Tedaloo, decided to visit for a bit of research and inspiration in preparation for the writing of my new book Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts. Little did I realise what would come of it.

Mitzi Szereto and Teddy Tedaloo call on Jane Austen

Mitzi Szereto and Teddy Tedaloo call on Jane Austen

Yes, folks, you heard it here first. I met Jane Austen (or at least the non-corporeal version). And boy, did she have a lot to say! Apparently when she wrote Pride and Prejudice way back when, she had to tone things down. A lot. There was no way she could get away with telling us all the juicy stuff that really went on behind closed doors (or in the garden or out by the stable). It wouldn’t have been at all politic! Of course, she hinted a bit here and there, hoping the more savvy of her readers would pick up on these tidbits.

Whether they did or not remains to be seen. Therefore the task fell to me to… err… spill the beans.

I must admit that while writing the story behind Pride and Prejudice, even I couldn’t believe what manner of activities the characters were getting up to. Indeed, I found it positively shocking! As my fingers clicked and clacked on the computer keyboard revealing all these hidden lusts and outrageous goings-on in Longbourn, Netherfield, Hunsford Parish and Pemberley, my countenance grew heightened till I could scarcely draw a breath. I had to consume endless cups of tea to calm my nerves as well as take refreshment out of doors before I could continue on to the next chapter. Had it not been for the kind patronage of Miss Austen (not to mention the not-so-kind condescension of Lady Catherine de Bourgh), I don’t know what would have become of me. It’s most fortunate that I also had the pious (or should that be priapic?) council of Mr. Collins available, should I have required it. After all, I didn’t want matters to get too out of control. Not that the fellow had much time for me, what with his various duties in his parish, not to mention in everyone else’s. For a village parson, he sure got around!

I suppose I should be grateful for the wisdom of the Bennet family patriarch, whom one could always count on to be level-headed and not disposed to bouts of excitability like his wife. Though I suppose everyone needs an outlet to blow off steam now and then. Surely you didn’t think Mr. Bennet spent all that time in the library reading?

But what of Mrs. Bennet and her poor nerves? Were they merely the result of a naturally high-strung temperament or was there another reason for her condition? And what about the youngest of the Bennet sisters, dear impetuous Lydia? All those dishy young soldiers passing through Meryton – what’s a young lady to do? Surely she had to sample them all! As for Hill, the Bennets’ housekeeper, perhaps those details are best left to the heartier of folk.

Mitzi Szereto with Mr. Darcy

Mr. Darcy! Be still my heart!

And then there’s our protagonist Miss Elizabeth Bennet, who observed all with a keen wit and a critical eye. She was not the sort to suffer fools gladly. Nor, I suspect, was her creator, Miss Jane Austen.

As for the handsome and prideful Mr. Darcy, well… that would be telling, wouldn’t it? Let’s just say that it was no wonder the buttons on his breeches came loose, what with all that straining going on.

To be made privy to all the sexual madness and mayhem transpiring in Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts,  I recommend you avail yourself of your favourite bookseller and buy a copy today. After all, you don’t want to be left out of all the fun!

Visit the official Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts website.

“Like” the Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts Facebook Fan Page.

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Interview with Mitzi Szereto on Visual Radio with Joe Viglione

Friday, July 8th, 2011
Teddy Tedaloo confiscates the Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts author copies

Teddy Tedaloo confiscates the "Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts" author copies

 

Mitzi Szereto chats from South Florida with Boston’s Joe Viglione on Visual Radio in a two-part interview about books, writing, publishing, and her controversial new release Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts.

Click here to listen to Part 1

Click here to listen to Part 2

 

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Win a copy of “Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts”

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011
Teddy Tedaloo receives his advance copies of Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts

Teddy Tedaloo receives his advance copies of Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts

Step right up and enter to win a chance to receive a pre-publication copy of my raunchy and outrageous new novel, Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts! The book won’t be out till July, but if you fancy a sneak preview, speak now or forever hold your peace! (Or whatever it is you prefer to hold…)

For more details on how to enter, please visit the official Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts website. Oh yeah, and while you’re at it, you can become a fan on Facebook and keep up with all the news! After all, you don’t want to be left behind, do you?

 

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Interview with Mitzi Szereto on Newstalk Radio Ireland

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

You can listen again to my interview on Newstalk Radio Ireland (with presenter Sean Moncrieff), where I chat about erotic literature, publishing, pornography, Philip Roth, and vampires.

Originally broadcast on 26 October 2010.

Click now to listen:

http://mitziszereto.com/Newstalk-Ireland

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The Writer’s Life (A Case for the Humble Bin Man)

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

There’s a lot to be said for being a bin man. Now I’m not trying to use sexist terminology here, but I’ve yet to see a lady bin man. Anyway, “bin man” has a better ring to it. So, for aesthetic purposes, let’s continue with the masculine title.

I’m often approached by people who tell me that they want to become a writer and ask me for advice on what to do. (I generally tell them to go buy a gun and shoot themselves.) They get this child-like glazed-over look in their eyes, no doubt envisioning all those wining and dining New York City lunches with high profile agents and book editors at Tavern on the Green. Oh yeah, Tavern on the Green went bust, didn’t they? Ah well, considering the fickle and transient nature of the publishing business, you’ll be lucky if your agent or editor springs for a Big Mac and fries!

Which leads me to the point of this blog missive: if you had to choose between a career as a writer and a career as a bin man, which would it be?

I can hear your answer already, you poor deluded naive soul. Though who am I to burst your bubble? But may I, for a moment, plead the case for the humble and unappreciated bin man?

There are many advantages to being a bin man. First of all, there’s the obvious: a steady paycheque. Depending on which country you live in, there are some good benefits too, such as health insurance for you and your family and a nice pension plan. Of course, if you’re living in America, the government will probably take these things away from you in order to bail out fat-cat bankers. But I digress…

Another advantage to being a bin man is that no one’s likely to rip off your ideas because they lack the talent, creativity and ability to come up with their own. (Forget that “intellectual property” bullshit; it won’t hold up in court.) Having said that, if you in your capacity as bin man suddenly develop some innovative new method to carry or empty bins, it could happen – and all the other bin men will be jumping on the bandwagon (or rubbish truck) doing the exact same thing. But let’s leave that for now, since bin men don’t need to live off their royalties!

Oh, yeah. And that’s another good reason to choose the litter-strewn path of a bin man – no royalty payments. Bin men are paid a set amount per week or month, and there’s no fluctuation in that number unless a pay rise (or cut) has been implemented. As for writers, when (or IF) your royalty payments turn up, they might look a tad peculiar, as in never actually accruing any earnings above the advance which was paid out (usually barely enough to pay the gas bill). I’ve had discussions with other writers on this very subject and they all say the same thing: they rarely see a penny in earnings after they’ve deposited their very tiny advance cheque (and some writers don’t even get an advance!). Yet go on Amazon or phone your local Barnes & Noble, and they’re always out of stock and having to reorder your books. It kinda makes you wonder if some of these publishers have Mr Bean doing their accounting.

Obviously, the issue of royalties means that you’ve actually been published – and to be published, your work needs to be seen by the right people (and by right people, I mean a real editor or agent, not some ditsy college intern who thinks she’s Carrie Bradshaw). Bin men don’t need to worry about their work being seen by the right people. They empty the rubbish and that’s it, they’re done. Writers waste time and energy and money submitting their material to agents and publishers, only to have it not even properly considered (let alone read) or completely ignored. (And yes, Dorothy, that includes solicited submissions.) Bin men also don’t have to swallow down that great big gorge of vomit every time they see some hack who can’t write his or her way out of a paper bag being rewarded with book deal after book deal as effortlessly as a rat drops turds.

Am I suggesting that the majority of writers are treated like shit by those who seek to profit from our labours? I’ll let you decide. But let’s face it, there are far too many of us around, and our sheer numbers alone do little to inspire respect from those who have control over our livelihoods. We’re like the cast of a spaghetti western – you can shoot down as many of us as you want, yet still more keep popping up. Come to think of it, maybe we’re like those zombies from Night of the Living Dead.

To aspiring writers, I recommend the Martin Amis novel The Information. Flawed or not, it deals with the grim realities of the publishing business and “life” as an author. More importantly, however, it deals with the celebration of mediocrity which, I’m sorry to say, permeates every aspect of our culture, not just the literary spectrum. Also read my blog posts Aren’t We Just Precious: Writers Who Live in Ivory Towers about author ego and book promotion, and Fairy Tales Can Come True (Well, Maybe if They’re in a Book), which touches on the odds of even getting published at all.

So why do we writers do it? Because we’re sick and twisted, that’s why. And maybe because we don’t want to (or can’t) live like the rest of society. Perhaps it’s our inability to conform that keeps us banging our heads against brick wall after brick wall. Indeed, we’re true renegades.

…Or true masochists.

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