No Place for Normal: New York / Stories from the Most Exciting City in the World. A selection of posts from this blog.
Historical fiction set in nineteenth-century New York:
1. The Pleasuring of Men. A young man becomes a male prostitute in the hidden gay world of that time.
2. Bill Hope: His Story. A street kid turned pickpocket pours out his story in a torrent of words.
3. Dark Knowledge. A young man fights to discover the truth about his family's involvement in the slave trade.
For details, see below.
Authors Are Whores
Yes, authors are whores. A bit strained as an analogy, perhaps, but think about it. Big presses and small demand that their authors participate actively in marketing. Just as streetwalkers offer their bodies to whoever is interested, so authors like myself have to promote themselves online or in person, marketing their books to the public. Yes, there are differences: whores offer their bodies, whereas authors offer books. But those books are part of you, cooked up in your brain and spun out of your gut. To push the analogy even further, you’re offering your babies, your offspring, your dearest, most cherished progeny.
|Me at BookCon 2017, hawking my wares. I'm not sticking my tongue out; |
it just looks that way. Notice the gimmicks: witty signs, candy.
|Larry D. Moore|
|Kirchner's lady in red. Berlin, circa 1914.|
|Pigalle today. No subtlety, no shadowy charmers. What you see is what you get.|
|Minna Everleigh awaiting customers in Omaha, Nebraska, 1895. Later she and her sister Ada opened the Everleigh Club in Chicago, the most luxurious house of prostitution in the country.|
|Playing cards while awaiting customers in New Orleans, circa 1911. I know |
just how they felt. One has so much to offer, with no takers in sight.
|Dumas père. If he looks smug and privileged, he's entitled.|
His works were translated into over one hundred languages.
|Victor Hugo's funeral, Paris, 1885. How many authors would rate such a send-off? |
He's en route to the Pantheon
|Emilienne d'Alençon (1869-1946). Here at last is elegance.|
And how about reviewers? They too are for sale. Consider Kirkus Reviews, which touts itself as “the most trusted voice in book reviews since 1933,” and whose reviews can make you or break you. Kirkus offers to review books by indie authors; if the reviews are unfavorable, they can be buried in oblivion, and if favorable, they can be published online, to be discovered by agents, publishers, and readers. So in this case authors are johns, not whores. And of course it costs. For a traditional review, $425; for a longer review, $575; for two books, $699; for three, $999. And for all categories, these are the minimal prices. So Kirkus too is a whore, albeit a successful and distinguished one, a true grande horizontale.
Note: A shortened version of this post appeared on November 1, 2017, in "The Artist Unleashed," the blog of Vine Leaves Press. And now I shall hawk my wares.
If you love the city (or hate it), this may be the book for you. An award winner, it sold well at BookCon 2017.
"If you want wonderful inside tales about New York, this is the book for you. Cliff Browder has a way with his writing that makes the city I lived in for 40 plus years come alive in a new and delightful way. A refreshing view on NYC that will not disappoint." Five-star Amazon customer review by Bill L.
For readers who like historical fiction and a fast-moving story.
"A real yarn of a story about a lovable pickpocket who gets into trouble and has a great adventure. A must read." Five-star Amazon customer review by nicole w brown.
"This was a fun book. The main character seemed like a cross between Huck Finn and a Charles Dickens character. I would recommend this." Four-star LibraryThing review by stephvin.
"A lively and entertaining tale. The writing styles, plot, pace and character development were excellent." Four-star LibraryThing early review by BridgitDavis.
"I am glad that I have read this book as it goes into great detail and the presentation is amazing. The Author obviously knows his stuff." Four-star LibraryThing early review by Moiser20.
What was the gay scene like in nineteenth-century New York? Gay romance, if you like, but no porn (I don't do porn). Women have read it and reviewed it. (The cover illustration doesn't hurt.)
"At times amusing, gritty, heartfelt and a little sexy -- this would make a great summer read." Four-star Amazon customer review by BobW.
"Really more of a fantasy of a 19th century gay life than any kind of historical representation of the same." Three-star Goodreads review by Rachel.