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12.10.09

Please Stop The World Until My Book Is Released

Sometimes a book's timing is inopportune for reasons the author had no knowledge of when writing the story.

For instance, "The Sum of All Fears" starring Ben Affleck in which CIA agent Jack Ryan searches for a missing nuclear warhead was filmed shortly before 9-11. It's release date was preset for shortly after 9-11. Although it was still accurate, it was dreadful timing. Audiences in general were not in the mood for that type of story.

Also shortly after 9-11, I saw the romance comedy movie "Serendipity" with John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale. Although the theme of the movie wasn't in question, seeing intact Twin Towers  in the New York City skyline hit me like a ton of bricks. I loved the movie but that vision stayed with me and gave me chills.

Now, it's my turn, at least maybe.

Last week I turned in my pre-edit of "Bad Conduct" sequel to "The Perfect Gift". In "Bad Conduct" my hero is now a military captain whose been serving in Iraq quite honourably - until the military finds out he's been an active bi-sexual.

My hero's been in the military under the premise of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy which says that homosexuals can serve in the military if they don't engage in homosexual activity while in the military and that they do not come out as being openly gay.The online Wall Street Journal corroborates the fact that no timetable has been set. 

Last night I heard wonderful news for the gay community. President Obama has pledged to end the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. Upon further research today, The Men's Daily News reports no date has been set.

I have a frantic email into my editor asking her what do I do with the book now? Do I need to rewrite the ending? Eliminate all parts in the book regarding that policy?

Please don't misunderstand. I am very happy this is coming about. It's past time. But it leaves me in a quandary what to do with this story. Soon, when my editor or publisher answer, I may have an answer that will cause me a lot more work and may even delay my book's scheduled release.

Obviously I'm not the only one this has happened to. We can't stop the world because its changing makes our stories antiquated, null, and void. I do wonder, however, how many stories have been caught in this situation.

My wonderful editor is fast. She just answered my email and reported I don't need to change the story even if the government moves quickly (which oftentimes it doesn't) and changes this policy before the release of my book. If the policy is changed before my book's release date, I'll make an author note on page 4. I learn something new daily.

My most recent release also deals with a very current, troubling situation: the foreclosure crisis and in Florida where it all began.

I *wish* the situation had righted itself before the release of my book "Recipe For Disaster" last month. Unfortunately, a lot of good people are still losing their homes and don't know where to call "home". Perhaps the situation is terrible all over. I know it is here in South Florida. Foreclosure signs are all around. It's sickening. Well, to me. I suppose it's wonderful for people with money looking to buy houses cheap.

RECIPE FOR DISASTER
by Ashley Ladd
Available at Total-E-Bound


Jamie's desperate. If her 401K emergency distribution isn't disbursed in time, she'll be a victim of the Florida foreclosures. If that's not bad enough, she's also in danger of losing her job and her beloved dogs.

Worse yet she hits Max with her car. Luckily, Max is better than fine and ready to jump into her life and her bed. Unluckily, he's afraid to tell her that he buys distressed properties and he was in her yard to check out her house.

Excerpt:

Jamie Covais would sell her soul to the devil to keep her house. She’d even sell her mother.

She did her best to keep her lips from trembling, from turning into a blathering blob of jelly at her attorney’s feet. She blinked back tears and shook her head. “I didn’t get any notices about a lawsuit. Doesn’t there have to be a summons or something? I didn’t sign anything…”

Carl Johnson, her attorney, levelled an asking stare at her. “Are you sure you received no summons? No one came to your door with a paper to sign?”

She thought hard until her mind began to melt, but there was no enlightenment. Her brains rattled when she shook her head. They were a perfect match to her broken heart. “No.”

Then a horrid thought struck her, and she couldn’t breathe. Wishing she didn’t have to admit this wouldn’t change the truth. “Sometimes Mom forgets to tell me things. She visited a couple times this year.” Carl pursed his lips, shook his grey head and hitched up his pant legs as he sank into his chair.

He folded his hands in his lap as he leant back in his chair and regarded her with something akin to pity.

“She’s forgetful.” And irresponsible. And flighty. Unfortunately, the list of adjectives stretched beyond the horizon. Carl’s secretary, Nina, rapped on the door, and with an apologetic look, she carried papers to her boss. “Here’s what you asked for.”

After Nina handed them to him, she smiled shyly at Jamie and returned to her desk. Within seconds, rapid typing tickled Jamie’s ears. Carl perused the papers for several moments. The longer he read, the deeper his scowl etched into his forehead. Muttered oaths tumbled off his lips. Then he pushed his glasses down to the tip of his nose and gave her a penetrating look. “Is your mother Penelope Covais?”

Her breath hitched in her throat, and it was several moments before she could speak. What had dear old mom done this time? “Yes.”

“Is she a resident of this property? Or an owner?”

Again she squeaked out a ‘yes’ as the stars fell out her heaven. Nervous and scared to death, she pleated the folds of her skirt. God, she didn’t want to be another victim of the Florida housing crash, but she knew she was on the list.

Carl sighed heavily and leant back in his chair. He linked his hands behind his head and stared at the ceiling. “Lordy. This is a royal mess.”

She closed her eyes and tried to drag in breath, but it was ragged and painful. All her dreams became dust in the wind. Everything crumbled before her eyes. Then Carl leant forward and hope lit his clear blue eyes, much like those in the picture of his deceased son in the spot of honour on his desk.

“Is your mother suffering from dementia?”

Jamie blinked. God, she hoped not. Penelope had been erratic and eccentric even at twenty, but she hadn’t lost her mind. “Not that I know of, at least. It’s not been diagnosed.”

“Do you have any money? Anybody who can loan it to you? Your mom? You said she’s an owner, too.”

She’d been over it so often her head was going to explode. “Only in my 401K. But doesn’t it take a couple months to get the money out?”

Light flickered in the lawyer’s eyes, and he leant forward. “I don’t think so. Talk to your HR 401K administrator right away. Take these papers with you and show him.” Jamie accepted back her death decree. If she’d had this notification earlier when her mother had first signed, she could have raided her retirement account then filed bankruptcy or something. Now, with two weeks to the fateful day, she was out of time.

Acid ate at her stomach, and she wondered if she’d rather die than be homeless. Where would she live? Where would she go? Wouldn’t she have to file bankruptcy anyway? No way could she come up with the money to pay rent and whatever hefty penalties were assessed for reneging on her loan after the new buyer waltzed away with her house.

Most of all what would happen to Peter and Tinkerbell, her huskies?

Trying to at least look positive even though she was dying inside, she gave her lawyer her best smile and rolled up the letter. “I’ll let you know what I find out.”

“Please do. I sure hope you can get this worked out.”

God, she did, too.


Ashley Ladd
http://www.ashleyladd.blogspot.com

2 comments:

Lisabet Sarai said...

Hello, Ashley,

Even if the law changes before your release, there will be lots of people who know what you're talking about. Anyway, this is just one example of discrimination against GLBT people.

It is a bit risky using real world issues in one's work, though. My December release, Necessary Madness, ends with a gay wedding in Massachusetts. I do worry what would happen if for some reason Mass. changed its laws!

Good luck with the new book.

Warmly,
Lisabet

Chris R said...

Don't worry if things change before your book releases. Readers are smart enough to figure out just because it is a contemporary doesn't mean right now. Could easily be fixed by putting in a date in the work.

I understand how you feel about the S Florida real estate problem. A couple of friends have lost their house as did my dh and I when he got ill earlier this year.