–- When Susan discovers her husband of twenty-two years is cheating on her, she is sure her life is over. And she thinks her friend Marcella’s advice that she work through her feelings in a blog is stupid. She just wants to sit on the couch in her ex’s old bathrobe, feel sorry for herself, and chain-smoke. But her growing blogging tribe and a delectable (“OMFG how old is he?”) real life stranger have other plans for her… if Susan’s brave enough to embrace them.
CAST OF CHARACTERS
Susan as The Heroine. Baker extraordinaire, yoga-hater, Luddite, and an innocent prude. “I don’t think an exercise routine developed by half-starved men in India is particularly suitable to short, curvy, booby white women. My breasts get in the way of everything. OMG, I just typed breasts. How do I delete this post?”
Marcella as Her Best Friend. Entrepreneur, musician and happily divorced self-proclaimed “slut” who has an opinion on everything and a solution to everyone’s problems except her own. “Look, Susan, do what you want, but either keep on with the blog or go sleep with a twenty-five-year-old boy. Do you want to be a pathetic blob of goo in your cheating husband’s bathrobe?”
Cody and Tyler as Her Adult Sons. “What were you thinking, Mom?”
“Jesus, how old is he, Mom?” “Have you no pride, Mom?” “Oh-my-god-what’s-wrong-with-you, Mom?”
Nika as Cody’s Maybe-Maybe-Not Girlfriend. “I’m totally trolling Tinder for Persian guys now. Just so you know, Mama Susan.”
sugar&spice76 as Susan’s First Fan. “Honey, we’re not strangers anymore. We’re your strange Internet friends. We’re all mothers, and we all do the dirty sometimes, ok?”
FemmeFataleFun as the Sex Toy Peddler. “Smooches. Everything in that care package is therapeutic, kitten!”
mommyshidinginthebathroom3 as The Token Mommy Blogger. “Let her smoke, Marcella. It’s been six weeks. You can kick her ass about the cigarettes in six months.”
ilikeherbooty-full as The Porn Blogger Who Won’t Go Away. “Is this what women really talk about when men aren’t around, or are you doing it all for me?
Caspian00XO as His Friend Who Hears About the Pie. “Susan? Do I get pie now? I’m emailing you my address.”
Reza as Susan’s Love Interest. “This is my telephone number. As soon as I leave, you will type it into your phone. And you will send me a text. It will say, ‘Reza, this is Sooo-zaaaahn.’ If you don’t send me this text, I will assume I offended you and will need to quit my job so I don’t offend you again, so it is very important that you send this text. Yes, Soo-zahn?”
with cameos by
John as The Cheating Husband, Jewel of The Not-So-Spectacular-Boobs as The Other Woman, an assortment of lurkers, trolls, spammers, “Internet idiots,” and casual visitors, Reza’s invisible roommates, and The Lawyer.
a “MISTRESS OF HER OWN DOMAIN” novella
—This? Nothing. A photograph.
He looks at the photograph, and demands a story I don’t want to tell.
“Isn’t this what all women want? A lover who as passionately interested in the quotidian details of their boring, dysfunctional lives as in their desirable bodies?”
No. Not me. Or do I? I start to talk. I tell him about… about all of them. And, inadvertently, me. Things I’ve never put into words for anyone before…
“That’s the game you and I are playing. Do you not know that? I am looking for the key. You’re trying not to give it to me. But you want to play, and so you keep on talking, and so eventually, you will.”
I’m careful not to say too much. I am not going to take my sociopathic lover of the moment into the tragedy of my life.
“Why not? Tragedy is erotic. The things that make you laugh don’t arouse, lover. Check yourself.”
Really? I’m doing this? Why?
“Because you want to. Because you’re compelled. Does it matter? Just talk.”
So. I do.
“Thank you for unhinging my sanity, threatening the stability of my life, with one text. Because that’s how it begins, one text, one message. “I’m coming to town. Would like to see you.”
And I think, why not? Old friend. Oldest of friends. Favourite of ex-lovers. Married now, as am I. Both anchored in lives full of obligation, responsibility to others. Safe. What’s the harm? We’re neither one of us stupid enough to risk our marriages, our families, our real lives. Are we?”
As Jane “sexts” her lover and attempts to figure out how this aspect of herself fits into the obligations of marriage and motherhood, other relationships around her strain, fracture, and collapse.
Her best friend is recklessly pursuing a series of cyber-affairs, while another friend attempts an open, polyamorous marriage. Her next-door neighbour is planning a wedding with her on-again/off-again lover—but will it really happen?
Meanwhile her lawyer-husband is exchanging a lot of texts with an adoring young associate. Does Jane care? Or is she too engulfed in her own sanity-straining cyber affair to really notice?
Part coming out story, part creative manifesto, all subversive, RDC connects readers to creative resources in off-the-wall ways, examines the absurdities of publishing convention, and will leave you vibrating with the desire to fall in love, have out-of-this-world sex on a mountaintop, and write a smutty story or two of your own.
FROM THE INTRODUCTION: “Managing Expectations: I’m writing for you, but I’m a liar”
This collection of essays-confessions began as a gift to my amazing beta readers—you—who wanted to know the story behind the story—and whether it was true that the most contentious negotiating point in my first publishing contract really centred on the word ‘cunt.’ ... Along the way, what was supposed to be an honest-(mostly)-but-amusing story of how a (dirty) novel gets published and sold in this Brave New World morphed into a coming out story of sorts and then a personal-and-professional manifesto about why I want to write filthy, dirty books, and, by extension, why you should read them… or, better yet, write a few of your own.
As you’re reading, there’s one thing you need to keep in mind. Everything a writer gives you to read—even if she claims it’s non-fiction, memoir, and nothing-but-the-truth—everything she gives you to read is a crafted narrative.
(Never forget that.)
...I want you to treat this story as a dialogue. I wrote it for you, after all, and I’m telling it to you—just to you. If you have a question—if you need a clarification—ask me, and I’ll do my best to answer.
And I promise to lie only when it’s absolutely necessary.
Because I am trying to be truthful—you have no idea how hard that is for a fiction writer—most of the chapters are structured as Confessions. But there are a lot of interruptions. Questions. Interjections.
Every single one of them is your fault, by the way.
But we’ll get to that.
Let’s manufacture a beginning to the story, shall we?
Note: Originally published as C– versus P–-: an incomplete confession in rough draft, this edition omits the fiction teasers, and comes with a title and cover that won’t offend your in-laws & children.