Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Made My Deadline... Glo-o-o-o-o-o-or-o-o-o-o-o-or-o-o-o-o-o-o-OR-ia

I went to elementary school, you see, in the era before holiday celebration went all ecumenical.

So I know a lot of carols (some in Latin), and this week I'm belting them out for joy, especially after my editor actually found the manuscript I sent her (buried, inevitably, beneath several hundred hints as to how she could increase the size of her penis).

"And I don't even have one!" she wailed.

"Which just goes to prove how much you need all that spam they're sending you," I told her.

She decided to settle for my hot, thrusting prose instead and we launched into an enthusiastic chat about production schedule and revision procedures, both of us quite enjoying the detail stuff -- because during my 25 years as a computer programmer for major financial institutions, I learned to get good at schedules and procedures, it being clear to me I was never going to make it solely on my programming expertise... And yes, there is a lesson there for writers of popular fiction.

So now it's all over but the revisions. Oh, and the publicity, though I'm not sure how much blog-hopping I'll do next fall. My book (another erotic romance, this time set in 1829, as George IV's reign was drawing to its bloated, overwrought close) is set for November 2008 -- at the close of another George's... well, you can finish the thought for yourself.

I'm thinking that people may have more important things than another Pam Rosenthal book to think about next November, though perhaps they won't want to.

But I'll worry about that later. Right now (during the month before I get my revision instructions) I'm sort of floating around my house in a giddy delighted stupor of freedom, doing stuff like replying to a friend's (unfailingly witty, charming, and guilt-producing) Christmas letter for the first time in three years.

Which is about as much holiday celebration as we ever do around here (except for an overdue Chanukah check in the mail to the kid, also known as Our Son the Victorianist, bravely girding his loins for on onslaught on the academic job market).

Aside from that, Michael and I mostly drift disembodied through the season like happy ghosts. Not not Jacob Marley, though; I prefer to think of us as the chic-er and much more fun George and Marion Kirby of our childhood favorite movie/TV series Topper.

What with finishing the draft, this year I'm even enjoying taking my occasional swipes at cooking and housework, both of which Michael's been doing way more than his share while nursing me through the novel. As he always does, he helped me research it and then make sense of what I'd written. This time I was sort of a basket case emotionally, which he said made it sort of scary fun.

And then there's the huge pile of unironed clothes I'm amassing. As soon as my local video rental place gets me Disk One/Season Two of Big Love, I'm planning an ironing and irony extravaganza. After which we head east for a week (NY and Philadelphia) to see family, friends, museums, theater, pretty lights.

But meanwhile I have a little holiday set piece to offer, from Carrie's Story, perhaps making the season yet a little more ecumenical in its pleasures:

As the winter wore on, he brought more toys--angry little clips for the nipples and other soft parts, sometimes with little bells attached. He told Mrs. Branden to give me a cup of coffee when I came in and not to let me pee; this would increase the chances that I'd have to squat over the chamber pot he kept for me in the corner. And if I dribbled onto the floor, I'd have to lick up the drops.
He tried different whips on me--whips and broad leather paddles. Once "just for the hell of it," he said, he tried a stiff hairbrush, which really hurt. Another time, an old-fashioned shaving strop--he'd ordered it from a catalog, Peterman or something, just to use it on me; I don't think he ever used it to shave with.

There was a period--Christmas and through January--when he seemed to have presents for me all the time. Things that hurt and humiliated, which sometimes I'd find beautifully wrapped under a little holiday tree in his study, and have to unwrap--of course without tearing the paper--and thank him for. Sometimes I would never have seen them before--strange Victorian posture-training devices, for example--and he'd make me guess what I thought they were for before he showed me.

And then, after the needles of the little Christmas tree dried up and it got tossed into the alley, there were costumes...

Have a great holiday, everybody, whatever you call it and however you manage it. See you next year.


E. M. Selinger said...


Is your son the Victorianist interviewing at DePaul, by any chance? We had a search in that field this year. Let me know, if so--I'm not on the search committee, but I can keep a eye out for him!

Pam Rosenthal said...

Nope, but thanks for asking, Eric. He will be at MLA, tho, and I'll ask him to keep an eye out for you.

Kate Pearce said...

congrats on finishing the book, Pam! It looks like we'll both have something out in November :)

Celia May Hart said...

Girl, I had no idea you were a computer programmer in a previous life.

Me too!!!

Jane Lockwood said...

Congrats on finishing, Pam, and thanks for the pervy excerpt.

Happy holidays, everyone

Pam Rosenthal said...

Congrats on yours too, Kate -- and to the rest of you incredibly prolific crumpet strumpets.

Yup, Celia, I was a programmer for 25 years -- just got early retirement at the end of 2005. I think it's a good experience for a writer, makes us more detail oriented. I always say that my erotica characters don't make hardware errors ;-}

And thanks for the thanks, Jane. Happy holidays to all -- as ecumenical as you want them.