Archive for February, 2013

banned-books-week-mdEvery author dreams of this day but I never thought it could happen to me.  In nine novels I’ve never managed a sex scene that wouldn’t earn the imprimatur of the Holy See, Catharine MacKinnon and my first-grade teacher.  The School of Peripheral Detail is my choice for those moments – lavish descriptions of the wallpaper, his charmingly crooked front teeth, her concern about a possible allergic reaction to feather pillows.  Fade to the next day and something else entirely.

The Paper Doll Museum lacks even those lightweight hints at passion.  It’s totally lacking in passion, at least that sort.   In the sequel, yeah, probably.  But not yet.  So the likelihood of its being banned was zero.

But it was banned.

When doing a freebie, a span of a few days in which a book is free for Kindle, authors sign the title up with many, many sites that alert readers to free books.  Most are gratis, a service to readers, but one is expensive.  It’s also effective and highly regarded by authors, so I signed The Paper Doll Museum up with it, credit card in hand.  Two days later I received an email stating that my book was inappropriate for the entire community of people who read books and had been rejected.

Whaaaat!?!?  More to the point, why?

Thrilled as I was at having joined the ranks of To Kill a Mockingbird, Of Mice and Men and The Catcher in the Rye, I couldn’t help analyzing my good luck.  No sex, no racism, no politics, just a story about a retired high school English teacher who suddenly has magical powers, sort of.  Any high school English teacher will tell you in three seconds that the tale is an allegory, but maybe the nihil obstat gatekeeper didn’t get that and thought it was a work of satan.  Wow.  Or could it be that single word, “retired”?

“OMG, this is a novel with retired people in it – ycchh!  The reading world must be spared exposure to the experience of anybody over fifty, which would have to be both boring and unspeakable, damned and anathema!  This title is banned.”

I’ll never know, but my money’s on the latter.

Here’s the link to a free Kindle copy of The Paper Doll Museum,  February 15, 16 and 17, if you’re into banned books.green banned books


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These are exciting times for Boomer Literature, since nobody’s quite sure what it is.  But how difficult can this be?  Boomers exist in that heady realm between fifty and the onset of something debilitating, enjoying decades of adventure, love and unprecedented philosophical growth.  Check out these as-yet-unpublished prototypes of Boomer themes in popular genres!

Dead Fall by H. Humbert  (mainstream)

clouds_w725_h544In this fast-paced look at mid-life crisis, orthopedic surgeon Dr. Brad Street leaves his wife of thirty-five years for perky, gamin, twenty-two-year-old coffee barista Mandy Fox.  Mandy openly reads Essentials of Musculoskeletal Care when not crafting exotic espressos, and captured Brad’s heart when she confided her secret dream of traveling to photograph bones unearthed in Peruvian archaeological digs.  Brad, who is still paying off the half-million dollar debt incurred by the education of his three adult children, is shocked when, two days after his wedding to Mandy, she happily reveals that she’s pregnant with twins.  In celebration, Brad takes up sky-diving.  Warning: contains graphic descriptions of blunt trauma impact injuries.

The Cupcake Angel by Madeline Coy  (women’s lit)

When savvy, gorgeous “Kip” Kipton retires as CEO of an international fashion empire to cupcakes-with-shiny-decorations_w544_h725care for the ailing mother she’s always hated, readers are in for a multi-tissue family saga!  Returning to her ancestral three-bedroom tract house behind a John Deere dealership, Kip cradles a copy of Thomas Wolfe’s You Can’t Go Home Again as her mother incessantly reminds her that she’s fat (at 52 she still wears a size 4) and will never get a man (Kip is gay and happily married.)  But when Kip discovers, hidden in a box of confetti sour cream cupcake mix, a secret birth certificate revealing that her real mother was the illegitimate niece of Eleanor Roosevelt, all is forgiven.  Before returning to her spacious Park Avenue apartment, or the one on the Champs-Élysées, or the villa outside Otranto, or whatever, Kip joyously bakes and ices the cupcakes, leaving them on the ancestral Formica kitchen counter with a note saying, “Try Echinacea for that cold!”

Labyrinth of Hell, by Damien Escher  (horror)

1304110326_3f2022b34cJim and Angie Peterson, recent retirees with big plans for travel in their like-new Airstream, are about to vanish into a world of unspeakable terror!  It all started when Angie tried to download a coupon for fat-free butter on the new tablet pc purchased for their upcoming trip to Dollywood.  Unknown to Jim and Angie, the coupon code held an imbedded link to madness and soul death.  Comparable to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw and anything by Stephen King, this novel strips bare the hidden nightmare of our time, as the couple struggles to survive in an alien realm where nothing makes any sense and every click of a virtual keypad can obliterate all sentient life.  Readers will shudder with horror as Angie trips on a Symmetric Digital Subscriber Line and falls into the savagely cruel Hypertext Preprocessor.  Even more ghastly is the Kafkaesque 404 Error of which Jim is accused.  Stuck in a Modal Box, he cannot speak WATFIV and senses the ominous loathing of the jury, a Redundant Array of Independent Disks.  (Spoiler Alert)  Only the last-minute arrival of the couple’s eleven-year-old granddaughter, who quickly does a Bare Metal Restore, saves Jim and Angie from eternal damnation.

Destiny’s Throat, by Francesca Bellisant  (Erotica)

Bored after thirty years as a Dallas investment banker, Cynthia Nightingale is intrigued apricot-colored-rose-closeupwhen she suddenly inherits a quaint cottage on the Maine coast from a now-dead aunt she’s never heard of.  It’s time for a change, but Cynthia has no idea how exciting change can be until she’s swept into the arms and back seat of Dirk, the taxi driver at the Bangor Airport, whose little tree-shaped air fresheners remind her of Pine-Sol.  Or Jarek, the muscular exterminator who croons the Mickey Mouse Club theme as he deftly sets traps no woman can resist.  And then there’s Connor, or Conall, or something Irish, the mail carrier with merry eyes and a deliciously Gaelic technique.  And what’s-his-name, the septic tank guy with a Ph.D. in Medieval Studies who calls her Eleanore and likes to do it outside during thunderstorms.  And then somebody who came to the door selling cable, and that to-die-for handsome gynecologist whose bedside manner was so promising but, alas, too late.  Exhausted and laden with seventeen pounds of suppositories and salves, Cynthia, who is hardshell Southern Baptist, nonetheless joins an order of cloistered Roman Catholic nuns who make $200/bottle pomegranate brandy at a pristine convent in upstate Iowa.  There she wisely begins a new career writing inspirational novels for women.

Look for these must-read titles, or not, wherever fine, nonexistent books are sold!


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