I'm Just Saying…

January 25, 2016

Yes, I Want My Fictional Characters To Be Happy. You Got a Problem With That?

Greetings fellow Scribes and Bibliophiles!

Let’s get right to today’s topic, shall we?

As readers, we all have favorite characters we’re attached to:

Readers and characters.png

Whether it’s Elizabeth Bennet, Jane Eyre, Sherlock Homes, or Gandalf… there are quite a few fictional people we would line up to spend some quality time with. We admire them, we like them, we get them. And we’re pretty sure they would think we’re awesome too.

As we read their story, we are invested with a deep desire to see everything work out for them. We want them to be okay. We want them to be happy. No, really. They have to be happy.

But what about the writer? We create our characters, live with them, spend time with them, day in and day out. We become attached to them. We want them to be okay, too. And yet, we know they can’t be. So what happens when it gets to this…

Writer and character

See, this is a problem. You know why it’s a problem? Let me tell you why. Because as human beings we all want this –

Cinderella_-_So_This_Is_Love_-_1

Not this –

belle crying gif

We dream of living a happy, pleasant, problem free life of this –

cinderella and forest creatures

Not this –

cloverfield 2

Unfortunately, writers are screwed. We know that to write a really good story you have to have emotional, nail biting, gut wrenching, on the edge of your seat, down to the wire, zero seconds to spare… CONFLICT. If nothing is at stake for your character, you get this –

Karl Urban yawning

and then this –

chandler sleeping.gif

And that’s not good.

So, if you think about it, since all human beings want only to be happy and avoid suffering, then the goal of the writer is to make sure your character doesn’t get the first one, and can’t avoid the second one.

Bummer.

So, why am I telling you this?

Because I’m editing my second book of The Fixer series, The Killing Kind. And I started to notice that for all the problems I set up for my girl Katerina, they never really got in the way, they sort of went like this –

red sea.gif

And then I noticed her life was practically like this –

 

singing in the rain gif.gif

Not good. Not good at all.

But, I like Katerina. She’s a hard working, decent human being. She’s a good person caught up in bad situations. She should get what she wants. She should be happy.

Oh crap.

So I saw my problem. And I set to work fixing it. Katerina’s got a long, hard road ahead of her. But I’m hoping there’s going to be some happiness in the future for her. Seriously, seriously. We’ll see.

And now… for the shameless marketing portion of this blog:

The first book in the series, The Fixer: The Naked Man, is on sale now for 0.99 cents on Kindle , Nook , and Kobo

Catch up on what’s happened so far because this summer, Kat will be back….

Final Teaser _2 Killing Kind.jpg

Until next time….

J.

 

 

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January 5, 2016

Shameless Marketing – Part Deux – The Teaser

Happy New Year Everyone!

I hope you all had a very merry and a happy and healthy New Year!

Since it’s a brand new year I thought I would dive right in for more shameless marketing. Why not? Today’s topic of shameless promotion is the teaser poster. I am an incurable movie addict and I love movie posters. They run a close second to the movie trailer, which to me is almost as important as the movie itself. Seriously.

I think a good movie poster generates curiosity

spectre

or makes you laugh out loud

ron burgundy

or gives you the chills

the-dark-knight

or makes you smile as if you’re reconnecting with an old friend

indiana jones

or any combination of the above

thor

All right, I admit it. I just wanted to add a picture of Chris Hemsworth. No judgement people, okay?

But anyway…

So I decided for my next installment of shameless marketing, why shouldn’t book 2 of The Fixer series, The Killing Kind, have its own teaser? Something that says, “This is book is fun.” No, strike that. “This book is damn fun. But it’s not all fun. It can be a little dark and more than a little dangerous. But this is something you should check out. Seriously seriously.”

And it you haven’t read Book 1 yet, The Fixer: The Naked Man, then you should definitely click the link and head over to Amazon and pick up a copy for only $2.99 on Kindle! (Did you see how I did that? I slipped that right in there. Shameless!)

Anyway… here it is… the big reveal… the very first teaser poster for Book 2 of The Fixer series, The Killing Kind…

The Fixer The Killing Kind Teaser 1

Ta-da!!! 🙂

I have to get back to working on edits now – and eating chocolate. It’s a package deal.  There will be more shameless marketing shortly but until then…

All the best,

J.

 

 

December 10, 2015

Shameless Marketing

Filed under: Books,Funny,The Writing Life — jillamyrosenblatt @ 10:17 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Marketing. *sigh* This is a bold statement, but can I just go out on a limb and say marketing is the bane of the writer’s existence. It’s the “fly in the ointment, the monkey in the wrench” as John McClane would say.

Let me tell you what happens…

I finish my book, The Fixer: The Naked Man, and I tell a friend, “Hey, I published my book, The Fixer: The Naked Man” and my friend is like

elaine pushing jerry gif

And my friend is really happy for me! Good, right?

So my friend goes out and buys my book, The Fixer: The Naked Man (yay!!)

And this is great, right?

There’s only one problem. There’s over 7 billion people in the world, 742 million people in Europe, and almost 319 million people in the US (thank you Google Search). I kinda, sorta hoped my book would be read by a few more people than my friend.

I’m really excited about my book (no, I’m not mentioning the title again. That’s obnoxious). Seriously, seriously. I’ve been living with these characters in my head and I’m very attached to them. Actually, I love them all, even the bad ones (you have to love them the most). So how do I let people know about these characters that I love because I hope they’ll love them too? Marketing.

I write. Writers write. We don’t market. I don’t market. I don’t know how to market. Who markets? *sigh* I’m sensing a “what is the sound of one hand clapping?” thing happening here.

When I’m writing my story, and I’m in the process, I’m like this

wb frog dancing

Ask me to start talking up my book and now I’m like this

still frog.gif

Bummer.

In my defense it’s not that I haven’t been reading about marketing. I’m trying. I really am. First, I read that you don’t sell a product. You sell yourself. Great. I’m a quiet introvert with a lower belly pooch who spends every spare minute locked in my room staring at a computer screen while my eyesight fades and my hemorrhoids bloom.

Let the marketing magic begin!!

However, lack of ability is no excuse for not trying…

When I started in screenwriting I learned you should be able to pitch your story in a sentence. Okay, here goes:

The Fixer: The Naked Man

A desperate young woman takes a dangerous job fixing problems of wealthy, powerful men.

How was that? No? Okay, try this:

Young, sexy woman takes a dangerous job fixing the problems of wealthy, powerful men who want to get into her panties.

Better?

I also learned you can use other titles in your pitch to explain your story. Okay, here goes:

The Fixer: The Naked Man. Think Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum meets James Bond- ish.

Anything? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

I think the Internet is amazing, opening up the possibility to reach readers everywhere. Even so, trying to spread the word about a book feels a little like this

man calling out yodel

Sorry, I couldn’t find a gif of a man calling out.

The point is, I’m trying. Really. I even joined Instagram. No, there will be no bikini selfies.

You’re welcome.

So, now I’m considering the alternative: Shameless Marketing. A marketing that says nothing is off limits. I believe in this book and I’ll stoop to any means necessary to convince people they should read it.

Are you ready?

puss n boots gif.gif

Please buy my book so I don’t end up a crazy cat lady, alone and destitute…

Anything?

No?

Damn.

I did learn that book branding is very important. Do I know what that means? Yes, yes I believe I do. I believe it means that it’s necessary to be consistent with the book series’ covers and color scheme. So, I made a decision that all of the book covers for this series will stay with the black/red color scheme, so The Fixer series will be easy to recognize (I’m probably going to keep the silhouette design too).

So, here’s the cover:

The Fixer The Naked Man for coupon referral

And I want 10 points for remembering to put the cover in the blog post.

Thank you.

I shouldn’t admit this but I was going to end this post when I realized I hadn’t put in the links to purchase the book (paperback and ebook). That’s a -5 points. Here they are:

Amazon

Kobo

Barnes and Noble

Okay, I’m going to get back to working on Book 2 of The Fixer series. It’s called The Killing Kind and it’s a full length novel.

Oh, wait. Sharing. I forgot to ask about the sharing. Right. If you like this post, can you please share and retweet. I would appreciate it.

And if you have any marketing suggestions you’d like to share with me… thank you.

Seriously, I hope you’ll give the series a try. I think you’ll like it. I hope you’ll like it.  And it’s received some really good reviews from people who are not my relatives.

Okay, that does it. We covered a lot. Do you think I’m getting the hang of this marketing business?

Yeah, me neither.

Take care,

J.

October 18, 2015

The Fixer: The Naked Man – The Blog Tour

Hi Everyone!

Tomorrow begins another first for me on this self-publishing adventure – the virtual book blog tour. Luckily for me, I am working with BookBear. My thanks to Ailbhe, who has been terrific and has made this a very fun and enjoyable process! The questions have been great and I am excited to list all the stops on this week’s tour below and the early bird stop that just happened on the 15th:

15th OCTOBER

Woman On The Edge Of Reality- Author Interview

http://wp.me/p1jLP-77y

 

19TH OCTOBER

www.bookbear.info

Beauty, Books and Babble:  Book Review

www.beautybooksandbabble.blogspot.co.uk

 

This is a Book Review Blog- Book Review

https://thisisabookreviewblog.wordpress.com/

 

Blondie Marie- Guest Post

http://www.blondiemarie.com

 

Chapter Five- BookBear Q&A’s

www.Chapterfive.wix.com/chapter5

 

20th OCTOBER

 

Book Wormie Spot- BookBear Q&A’s

http://www.bookwormiespot.com

 

Karleigh Reads- BookBear Q&A’s

http://www.karleighreads.com/?m=1

 

21ST OCTOBER

 

Antill Book Reviews- Book Review

https://antillbookreviews.wordpress.com

 

Living The Dream- Book Review & BookBear Q&A’s

http://kellyallenwriter.weebly.com/

 

I Love Smart Books- Review

www.ilovesmartbooks.weebly.com

 

22ND OCTOBER

 

Birds That Love Words- Book Review

http://birdslovewords.com 

 

Nerd Girl Official- Book Review

http://nerdgirlofficial.com

 

23RD OCTOBER

 

Your Book Babe- Book Review

http://yourbookbabe.weebly.com

 

Authors & Read Book Corner

https://arbookcorner.wordpress.com

 

24TH OCTOBER

 

Book Hooked Blog- Promotions

http://helenaisbookhooked.blogspot.co.uk

 

25th OCTOBER

 

Alice And The Books- Book Review

https://aliceandthebooks.wordpress.com/contact/  

 

Judging More Than Just The Cover- BookBear Q&A’s/ Book Review

http://www.judgingmorethanjustthecover.blogspot.co.uk

 

Rach With Books- Book Review

https://rachwithbooks.wordpress.com

 

Lindsey Lewis Smitherson- Own Q&A’s/ Book Review

http://lindseylewissmithson.com/

 

Annies Home- Spotlight/ Social Media posts

shopannies.blogspot.com

I hope you’ll stop by some of these sites and take a look at the interviews/reviews.

I love to hear from readers! You can find me on Facebook (click link on the right of the page) or drop me a comment through my website.

Wishing everyone a good week! 🙂

Jill

 

March 18, 2015

The Fixer: The Naked Man – Sneak Peek Coming Soon!

Hi Everyone!

Let’s get right to the important stuff first. It’s time for a sneak peek of Chapter 1 of The Fixer: The Naked Man. I’m so excited to share and I haven’t been sick to my stomach with nerves in a good long time so let’s do this! Okay, what you need to know:

What: The Fixer: The Naked Man Sneak Peek

When: Saturday, March 21, 2015

What Time: 11:00 p.m. (Please don’t ask me why, I don’t know,  it seemed like a good idea)

Where: http://www.jillamyrosenblatt.com
Anyone who subscribes to my newsletter will receive it before Saturday at 11 because I promised subscribers first looks.

Okay, important stuff done. Now, let me tell you what’s going on. The Fixer: The Naked Man isn’t the only thing that’s been happening. Nope. In a fit of inspiration, I finished a full handwritten draft of the second book in the series. But wait: there’s more. I started writing scenes for the third book in the series. Is that all? That’s a negative. I’m so attached to these characters, I’m sketching out scenes in later books.

Is this good or bad? Depends on the writer you ask. Some never want to know what’s coming; it takes the fun out of the writing journey. I’m a McKee girl, myself. He’s an advocate for knowing your end game, up or down, positive or negative. The fun is using all your powers of creativity to craft the story to get there.

With all the writing I’ve been doing (and loving it) I still wonder a) how long it will last and b) am I getting to the point in the process when writers are so deep in their heads with their story (I am) they either start binge watching tv to turn off their brain (check) or they drink (not there yet. Give me time).

I’ve written in previous posts about my past creative drought, the doubts, second guessing, and general mind numbing anxiety that shut down my writing for a few years. Believe me, I’m thrilled and relieved to be engaged, all in, with this project. I’m attached to these characters, invested in the story, completely committed to seeing this series done. Yay for creative commitment!

Until….once again, I realize that in all of this excitement over my creative baby that there is one little issue.

No one else is attached to this story. 99.99% of the reading community doesn’t know it exists.

AND I HAVE ZERO KNOWLEDGE AND SKILL IN THE AREA OF MARKETING.

Bummer.

I admit it. I’m a marketing moron, a newb, a foundling, hopelessly flummoxed by the idea of mass advertising in order to introduce my book to readers. Twitter analytics?  Adwords? Blog tours? Page likes? Hashtags???

Clueless. (Okay, to be fair, I know what a hashtag is).

I did read that the recommendation for writers is write 70% and market 30%. Right now I’m writing 100% and marketing 0% (scratch that, I’m taking 5% for this blog post).

I guess I need a goal too, you know, how many readers do I hope to introduce to The Fixer series (that’s more of a question than a statement. Don’t I need to do that?)

So it’s time to introduce Katerina Mills and the beginning of her strange, exciting, and dangerous journey as a fixer.

If you like this post, please pass it along to as many people as you can.

If you like the sneak peek, please pass that along as well.

I thank you.

There’s nothing more hopeful, exciting, and frightening all at the same time than the waiting and the hoping that readers will discover your characters and love them as much as you do.

Until next time when I dive into the deep end of the Pinterest pool to consider the question: do you post pictures of the actors who are the inspiration for your characters?

Take care everyone. …

March 14, 2015

The Fixer: The Naked Man – Character Profile – It Takes a Thief…

Hi Everyone,

I’ve been so busy with edits on The Fixer: The Naked Man (and writing book 2 of the series!) that I haven’t been sharing enough info about the book itself. Yikes! A problem all writers suffer from, from what I hear. We’re so busy writing, we neglect to remember we actually have to tell others about what we’re writing. I guess no one is stunned to find out I was NOT a marketing major in college. 🙂

Anyway, here is the next Proust Questionnaire for The Fixer series. This character profile is for Charles Winter, a man who excels at his profession: thief. Katerina Mills meets Winter when she is desperate – but he is not.

I hope you enjoy getting to know him… in future posts I will share more of the evolution of the Winter character, a process that took some unexpected turns. And yes, there will be a sneak peek coming soon…

As always, I love to get questions and comments. You can get in touch through my website at http://www.jillamyrosenblatt.com

Proust Questionnaire: Charles Winter

What is your idea of perfect happiness? A flawless theft.

What is your greatest fear? Getting caught.

Which historical figure do you most identify with? Houdini. The man knew how to make an escape.

Which living person do you most admire? No one.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? I have a weakness for a pretty face.

What is the trait you most deplore in others? Self-righteousness.

What is your greatest extravagance? I enjoy living well.

What is your favorite journey? I’ve had too many to pick one.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Honesty.

On what occasion do you lie? When someone asks, “What do you do for a living?”

What do you dislike most about your appearance? Nothing.

Which living person do you most despise? No one at the moment but I like to keep my options open.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?  “It is what it is.”

What is your greatest regret? I have a weakness for a pretty face.

What or who is the greatest love of your life? Next question.

When and where were you happiest? I’m happy now.

Which talent would you most like to have? Magician. That would cut down on the legwork.

What is your current state of mind? Calm and alert.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? Nothing. Everything is as it should be.

What do you consider your greatest achievement? I’m not in jail.

If you could choose what to come back as, what would it be? William Pierce. He pulled off the Great Train Robbery of 1855 and got away with the gold. Well done.

What is your most treasured possession? I’m not attached to possessions.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? To be trapped in a small space with no way to escape.

Where would you like to live? A warm, pleasant climate.

What is your favorite occupation? The one I have now. What else?

What is your most marked characteristic? My voice.

What is the quality you most like in a man? Professionalism and precision.

What is the quality you most like in a woman? Ingenuity.

What do you most value in your friends? Their silence.

Who are your favorite writers? Machiavelli. I appreciate a little moral flexibility if it gets the job done.

Who is your favorite hero of fiction? Simon Templar, Professor Moriarty, the usual.

Who are your heroes in real life? I have none.

What are your favorite names? Katie, short for Katerina.

What is it that you most dislike? Stupidity.

How would you like to die? I wouldn’t. But if it’s a necessity, quickly and quietly.

What is your motto? “It is what it is.”

December 6, 2014

New Contest for The Fixer: The Naked Man

Hi Everyone!

I hope everyone had a wonderful, happy, and healthy Thanksgiving holiday and all is well.

Since it’s the season for giving, I thought this would be a fun time to announce the first contest for The Fixer: The Naked Man.

I need to have an e-book cover made and I need help with ideas.

Here are the contest details:

Send me pics of book covers (print or e-book) that you like in the mystery/suspense genre. You can send them to me via the contact page of my website at http://www.jillamyrosenblatt.com ,  post to my facebook page, or email to me at jillamy@jillamyrosenblatt.com

I will pick out three book covers that I like so there can be 3 winners for the contest. If I pick out a book cover that you submitted, you receive the first 2 chapters of The Fixer: The Naked Man in a sneak peek pdf.

The contest opens now and will remain open until December 20th.

More details coming soon on The Fixer: The Naked Man so stay tuned!!

November 16, 2014

Coming Spring 2015: The Fixer: The Naked Man – A Katerina Mills Novella

Filed under: Books — jillamyrosenblatt @ 10:33 am
Tags: , , , , ,

Hi Everyone! So excited to share news of my latest work that will be coming in the Spring of next year. Yay!!! 🙂 Here’s a bit about the story below. There will be more news coming soon, including cover art. In the meantime, I hope you’ll head over to my site and sign up for the newsletter so you can be first to receive news, sneaks peeks, and contest details. You can sign up here:

http://www.jillamyrosenblatt.com/newsletter.htm

Now… welcome to the world of “The Fixer”….

There are problems not just anyone can solve.

Katerina Mills is a NYC college student trying to make it to law school and make a name for herself in the big city.

It won’t be easy…

Kat just ditched her boss (and cheating lover), shady lawyer Philip Castle. Stuck working low paying temp jobs, she didn’t expect her dad to ditch her mom and his promise to pay Kat’s college tuition bill.

Now she’s got two weeks to come up with $12,000 or she’s out of her apartment, out of school, and out of luck.

But a desperate call for help from a friend of Phil’s presents a unique opportunity…

Katerina Mills falls into a job as a “fixer.” Working for the shadowy firm of MJM Consulting, these are no ordinary clients. These are New York City’s most wealthy and privileged men and they have problems they need solved, quickly and quietly.

The rules appear simple:

  1. Collect the money.
  2. Use your contacts.
  3. Fix the problem.

Kat’s first job appears to be a cakewalk, trail a socialite wife and her spending spree to recommend the perfect birthday gift.  But life gets complicated when a job calls for Katerina to recover a missing VHS tape. The damaging tape was left hidden away in an antique; an antique that’s been sold. Kat’s job: get it back.

It doesn’t take Katerina Mills long to learn the real rules of the fixer:

  1. There are no rules.
  2. There are no refunds.
  3. Get in. Get results. Get gone.

Kat has two weeks to stay alive financially. All she has to do is become a crack private eye, a world class thief, AND pass her Introduction to Ethics class. But if she can’t fix someone else’s problems, she can’t fix her own.

There’s only one other thing Katerina Mills has to figure out: will she come out on top or is she in over her head?

July 10, 2010

Seen and Heard, week ending July 10th, 2010

Filed under: Books — jillamyrosenblatt @ 6:04 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Greetings fellow bookworms! I thought it was a good time for another installment of Seen and Heard. I hope everyone is enjoying the summer and for those of you in the Northeast (I’m here in New York), I hope you’re finding ways to beat the heat. If you’re hiding away inside somewhere, enjoying a much needed blast of artificially refrigerated air, you might like one of these books to pass the time:

1. Chasing Shakespeare by Sarah Smith. It’s in my “to read” pile from the library and it looks like a good one. It’s a mystery about a young man who finds a letter written by Shakespeare, stating he did not write his plays. But is the letter real? Hmm…

2. The Kept Man by Jami Attenberg. Also in my “to read” pile, this is the story of Jarvis Miller. Her husband had an accident and has been in a coma for years. Looking for companionship, she happens upon a group of men who meet in a laundromat, The Kept Man Club. These are all men who have successful wives who make the money. This looks to be a great book with a strong main character who tries to figure out her present, her future, and make sense of her past.

3. In the non-fiction department, I am currently reading, John Lanchester’s I.O.U.: Why Everyone Owes Everyone and No One Can Pay. This is a very interesting book and written in a way that doesn’t talk down to the reader but rather uses clear cut, easy to undertand examples to explain the financial meltdown and how it happened. A really good book so far.

4. Over at The Huffington Post, there’s a cute article by Jesse Kornbluth on “25 Novels You Can Read on a Beach Without Embarrasing Yourself.” I thought it was really great and was happy to see some classics in the list.

5. Speaking of classics, I’ve been rediscovering some classics myself this summer, including Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep, James M. Cain’s Double Indemnity, and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. In my “to read” pile are George Orwell’s Animal Farm and James M. Cain’s Mildred Pierce and The Postman Always Rings Twice.

5. I discovered a new website for essays, articles, and all things literary called The Nervous Breakdown. If you get a chance, check it out.

Unfortunately, as soon as I post this, I know I’m going to be upset that I forgot something I wanted to mention. I’ll keep it for next time. Please send your comments and suggestions my way. If you’ve already read some of these books, I would love to hear your comments and please send your suggestions of what should go on my list!

I hope you’ll forgive me a little shameless self-marketing. If you are still looking for a good beach read, my books Project Jennifer and For Better or Worse  are available in bookstores and over at amazon.com. I hope you’ll give them a try.  Don’t forget my newsletter, The Jennifer Chronicles, is free and posted over at my website. All the volumes are posted so you can catch up on Joan’s adventures from the beginning.

I’m still working on my next blog topic, but I hope to have it posted soon.

Happy summer everyone!

J.

June 13, 2010

Ernest Hemingway Lied To Me!

Filed under: Books,The Writing Life — jillamyrosenblatt @ 6:20 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

I think every reader has a love affair with Hemingway. I have no scientific evidence to back this claim but I’m sticking to my theory. I am a latecomer to the Hemingway experience. In my thirties, I read The Sun Also Rises. The cursed, thwarted love of Jake Barnes and Lady Brett Ashley. The lost generation! Drinking! Spain! The running of the bulls! I could live without that last one but you get the point. The next book I read was A Farewell To Arms. Wounded ambulance driver Frederic Henry and his nurse, Catherine, fall in love. Risking everything, they flee to Switzerland, all for love, true, passionate, devoted love. Spoiler alert: Catherine gets pregnant, the baby is stillborn, Catherine dies, everything goes to shit. Ah, but it’s so romantic.

Hemingway’s books are romance and ruin, triumph outmatched by torment, and above all, an overwhelming, all consuming commitment to the idea of everlasting love.  Everything a hopelessly romantic girl wants in her novels. So I thought.

Aside from his tragic end, I confess I was ignorant of the details of Hemingway’s life. So when I read the autobiographical A Moveable Feast, my chick lit heart fluttered reading the gorgeously simple description of Hemingway’s life and love with wife Hadley. “We ate well and cheaply and drank well and cheaply and slept well and warm together and loved each other,” and “…it was very good to make love with whom you loved. That was better than anything.”  I was so thrilled with Hemingway’s version of romance that I mentioned A Moveable Feast in my novel For Better or Worse, as a model for the romance between my characters Ian and Elizabeth. 

I didn’t finish A Moveable Feast. I didn’t want to read any further. Those sentences were the perfect ending. Hemingway had described love using his “iceberg principle,” leaving much of the work to the reader’s imagination. I was only too happy to fill in the missing pieces with thoughts of continued romance and blissful happiness.

I happened to be in a bookstore one day when I picked up a book about the life of Ernest Hemingway. It was then that I found out Ernest and Hadley didn’t have the distance. Ernest moved on to Pauline. They didn’t last. Neither did Ernest and Martha, or Ernest and Mary. Did he love them? I’m sure he did. But none of them lasted. What happened to A Moveable Feast? This was not the Hallmark Channel movie of the week bio I had created.

I was upset. I wanted a refund. Ernest Hemingway lied to me! I had filled in the blanks only to be confronted by harsh reality. No fair! Now I can hear your reproaches. “Leave Papa alone,” you will say, “he had his own problems.” And you’re right. After all, this was not fiction but real life. I knew his end. What was I thinking?  I assumed that Hemingway wrote fiction of love thwarted, love denied, love destroyed but it was not that way for himself. I assumed Hemingway had found in life what he denied his characters in fiction.

In actuality I had it backwards. He denied his characters the love he continuously searched for in life and never seemed to find. I fell into the reader’s trap. I mentally wrote a different life for him, a temporal happy ending, simply because that’s what I wanted.

I wonder if we as readers have lost our tolerance for the unhappy ending. We want our “happily ever after” and we won’t take anything less. Perhaps it is for the simple reason that so much of real life has an unhappy ending or at the very least, an unresolved ending. Everything lost or nothing gained; at the very least, nothing changed. Tell someone you have written a “realistic ending” and they will brace themselves. There’s no joy in Mudville. 

A few years ago The Guardian reported on a survey conducted for World Book Day. A whopping 41% of those polled preferred a happy ending. It further reported that of people polled over the age of 40, only 1.1% wanted to read an unhappy ending. It comforts me to know when it comes to opening a book, I am not alone in my expectations. There are others who would much rather read Bronte’s Jane Eyre saying “Reader I married him,” then Frederic Henry leaving his dead wife behind saying “After a while I went out and left the hospital and walked back to the hotel in the rain.”  

And so I had my love affair with Hemingway. And I subjected one of the giants of literary fiction to my insatiable emotional need as a reader to see things “work out” and for everyone to “be happy.” I must confess I hoped for a medical miracle for Jake Barnes so he could be with the Lady Ashley. And deep down I knew Catherine wasn’t going to make in A Farewell to Arms but I kept hoping, even to the last page.

Ernest Hemingway didn’t lie to me. He told the truth, his truth, a “realistic” truth, and that’s all you can ask any writer to do. But I can’t help thinking it would’ve been nice if just one of his stories had a happy ending. I’m just saying…

J.

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