Writing is a funny animal. You do it, you put it out there, and then you sort of sit. THE VIRGIN DAIQUIRI is no different. It’s all rush, rush, rush for a few weeks as you’re getting the book ready and making sure everything is how you want it, proofing, fixing things, editing, checking the cover, making sure everything works and fits and somehow becomes something you want it to become.
Then the book goes live and for a few days it’s very exciting as people buy it, people tell you how excited they are, first reads come in and people tell you if they love it (or hate it…)
And then you are done…and it takes on its own life and you feel like someone just broke up with you and is already dating someone else. You simply feel let down. Because it’s out of your hands and into the hands of the book gods (or movie
gods…if that’s the case.) But there’s an empty feeling, like your child who has been home with you for five years suddenly is off to school all day and you have to regroup, figure out what to do with your time, your day, and how to readjust.
I always have other things to write, and now I’ll be starting on this Hallmark movie, as well as getting THE WEDDING GIFT through another rewrite (or two) so I can have it ready for a late fall release and push. But these days after a book goes out, it’s sort of lonely. The bird has flown the nest and while you’re doing some marketing on it (not my strong suit but needs to be done,) you’re not writing on it which is where I find my comfort and joy.
So, for a few days, I’ll mope. 🙂 I’ll keep busy, but I’ll miss Daiquiri. Because now instead of inventing her and nurturing her, I’m trying to sell her.
And God knows, I hope she sells.
Proof is in the Proof!
It’s always amazing for a writer to step away from his work for a period of time and then revisit it. You discover all your flaws, your mistakes, your wince-inducing sentences, your ‘when is this over’ paragraphs. You think, ‘how the hell did I write this’? I don’t believe there is a writer in the world that doesn’t go through this…and as I’ve gotten older and more discerning about my work, the more I second guess every word I type.
I miss being young.
But I hope what it means is that I’m continuing to grow as a writer. That’s important to me. I’ve always been a late bloomer, and I had a great deal of success with my first novel, HONEYMOON WITH HARRY. I am the guy who hit a homer his first time at bat and then had to learn the craft of writing novels on the backend of that success. Each novel I’ve written I’ve learned a lot about myself and the craft of structuring a novel and the best way to tell each story. Even what medium to tell them in. Some stories make better novels, some make better screenplays, and some make better plays. Yes, there is a lot of cross-sections, but how you tell a story for the screen is very different than how you tell it for a reader. And I feel I’m still scratching the surface of how to do each to the best of my ability.
Screenwriting has changed since I broke in in the late 70s/early 80s. Filmmaking has as well. Because audiences have changed, or more accurately audience expectation has flipped upside down in the last 30 years. Shorter attention spans. More visceral ability to the craft of filmmaking. Faster, bigger, bad-assier, what audiences expect when they walk into a movie now is simply different. And being a writer who has been at it a while, you can either bitch about it, which many writers do way too much, or you can learn what’s working and adjust your skillset. Again, screenwriting is a craft. Crafts can be learned. And if you learn them really, really well and can add a layer of your own-ness on top it can border on art.
I’m usually just happy if the craft is workable and saleable. For me, art is for someone else to decide.
Same with the novels. I’m not a great novelist. But I fancy myself a pretty good storyteller. And I want to entertain. Each character I create is meant to make people either laugh or cry. I work really, really hard to get people to feel some sort of emotion. I’ll admit it, I love to make people cry. Much of my work punches hard at a person’s tear ducts. I hope I earn the cry and not just completely manipulate the results. But most important for me is the results. I want people to laugh out loud. I want people to cry.
That was the success of the (first two) HARRY books. You laughed, you cried, you loved, you hated. The readers felt something. I think they will with THE VIRGIN DAIQUIRI as well. Though not aiming for the tear ducts, I am aiming for the funny bone and for people to fall in love with Daiquiri La Bouquet. She’s a unique character with a unique voice and I have loved writing this young woman, which always makes me believe that people will love reading her.
Proofs are in!
Got the proofs of THE VIRGIN DAIQUIRI in today! Going to read it and see if anything is wrong. Problem is, as, with most things I’m involved in, I always find something I don’t like something I want to change, something that I want to fix. I have to relax and trust. The book is 251 pages, and it does make me laugh.
I am pretty good at separating Bart the writer from Bart the reader, absorbing what I read. If it makes me laugh, it makes me laugh. If it makes me cry, it makes me cry. DAIQUIRI is not a heavy book, not like HARRY or WHAT REMAINS. I wanted to write something fun and charming. And when I created Daiquiri, I fell in love with her and her voice. Like most of my books, this one is told in the first person as well. She is such a unique character. I’m not sure where this voice came from inside me, but she is someone who is her own person, her own slant on life, and is so endearing and wonderful I think people will fall in love with her. Again, Bart, the reader did. I really like this character and enjoy the time I’ve spent with her.
I feel good that when people read this book, they will want to tell friends about it. Because spending time with Daiquiri is like spending time with a friend. And her journey from her island to New York is delightful and more than a bit daffy. The other characters that inhabit the pages are also very unique and special, both the good and the bad.
I’ve been excited about sharing Daiquiri with the world. I have a tendency to move very slowly on my books, sitting on them for an exorbitant amount of time, mulling them, debating what’s good and what’s working or not, instead of trusting. I was very trusting on HARRY, which was my first novel, but since then, I’ve fretted more about my stories, my writing. I don’t take long to write, I take long to rewrite, I take long to figure out the cover design, the layout. I always dabble with agents and publishers and then get anxious. If there’s one thing, I’ve learned it’s not to sit on manuscripts forever. Turn them into books and let the world decide what they like and don’t like. Let the audience experience what you’ve created. While I’ve never been in love with self-promotion, and a lot of selling books, whether published by a huge publisher, a small indie, or self-publishing, is left to you to do. And that’s the hardest part, figuring out the best way to launch a book and pushing it, pushing for reviews, getting people to log onto Amazon and say something about your book, about having them tell a friend, about getting book clubs to read, pushing, cajoling, selling…the real work of publishing (the only reason I would want a decent size publishing house is to take some of that burden.) But I love the writing, I love spending time with the characters I create. And this book, Daiquiri has been such a joy to get up to every day and go on adventures with her.
I think readers will share that joy.
But in another couple of weeks, the book will be out. And the world will decide how much love to show Daiquiri. I’m excited about that. I think she will be a great companion while you’re sitting poolside, on a beach, or in the comfort of your air-conditioned bedroom. She will be someone who will make you smile; her fizzy personality will fill up a reader’s heart and they will be sad when page 251 arrives. As I read, checking for any mistakes, typos, or changes, I am loving her all over again.
Maybe it’s crazy, and God knows I’ve been accused of that more than once, but Daiquiri’s a friend. And I believe she will have many of them in a few weeks.
Welcome, welcome, welcome!
I had a website and blog for a while but raising kids and trying to work, well, it overtook whatever time I had to putter around the keyboard. But this is a new day and I have a new website. I am going to try and keep this up, give information on the novels I’m working on, the film and TV projects I’m involved in, and desperately try and keep away from politics and social issues. Because I get long-winded, and it riles me up. Happy thoughts, happy thoughts…
If you’re reading this, I’m glad you’re here. I’m going to try and grow this website. And have a place with links for my books, etc. I’m awaiting the final proof of my new novel, THE VIRGIN DAIQUIRI, a fun, frothy read that is perfect for summer, as I try and prepare my next novel, the weeper, THE WEDDING GIFT, for a fall launch. One thing I can assure you about THE VIRGIN DAIQUIRI is you will laugh. One thing I can assure you about THE WEDDING GIFT, you will cry. And I’m super excited about them both.
So again, thank you for joining me. And I will be blogging about books, movies, and whatever the hell else enters my head. Probably stuff about my kids, because they don’t have enough reason to hate me yet.