Hi Linda,Well, I wasn’t disappointed—rejection is part of the game—and actually, by the time I heard from her, I’d pretty much decided to self-publish. Having an agent say she liked my work, but can't do anything with it because of the state of the industry sealed the deal for me. Now it’s full steam ahead. I’m psyched; this is going to happen, and it’s not going to take forever. I've received my last rejection.
I received your sample manuscript and enjoyed reading it very much. You have a great voice, and I found myself laughing out loud on many occasions. Unfortunately, with today's difficult publishing market, we don't think our agency would be able to get your book the attention it deserves.
Best of luck,
For those of you considering self-publishing, I’ll keep you informed of the steps I take along the way. I'm still very early in the process. So far I bought two domains: bastardhusband.com (can you believe that was available?) and bastardhusbandalovestory.com. I’m going to push traffic to bastardhusband.com; the longer URL will be directed to that one. Tomorrow I meet with Gregory Kompes, who’s going to do the internal design (fonts and layout), and possibly the cover. Next week I’m going to purchase my ISBNs and set up an LLC to establish my own publishing company, which will be called “Aging Nymphs Publishing.”
I think my regular readers are going to like my book. I really do. However, some people are going to hate it, and hate me. I expect that and won’t be forcing anyone to buy it.
Anyway, this week as I’ve been doing my final, final, final editing, the media’s been full of stories about Chris Brown’s alleged (!) attack on Rhianna. Watching Larry King and Oprah this week, along with rereading my pages, brought back some uneasy memories. I can’t say anything that hasn’t already been stated about that case and the problem it represents. I'll take a more personal approach to putting in my two cents by posting a couple of pages from my book.
I know this is the one piece of my story that my ex would rather I didn’t release for the world to see, though I don’t think he disputes the veracity of my account. Certainly my intention is not to embarrass him; I have no doubt that he was sorry for his actions that night (as well as others), and I’ll emphasize that he was never physically threatening.
So what is my intention? I'd like to think that if any woman recognizes herself in my words, she'll know she's not alone and will have the strength to remove herself from the situation. I'm particularly hoping one young friend of mine sees this and finally does what she should have done long ago and gets the hell out.
This is not fiction; it’s a memoir. And a memoir reflects an author’s representation of the truth, as remembered through the filter of the author’s own experience. This is how I remember one night back in 2002.
My heart raced as I waited for the Laramie police to arrive. Oh, God, did I do the right thing? I wondered. Maybe he’s not as bad as I thought.This excerpt shows the “bastard” side. I can’t begin to tell you how much I loved him.
I met the two female officers at the front door and closed it behind me. “I think everything’s under control now,” I said, shivering in the overnight chill. “I probably don’t need you after all.”
“Where is he now, ma’am?” the taller woman asked. I’d put her at about five-foot three. Talk about a small police department. Good thing I didn’t fear for my life.
“In the basement,” I replied. “There’s a little room with a couch. He’s settling down now. I probably didn’t need to call. I’m sorry to bother you.”
“We’d like to speak to him, ma’am,” the other one said.
I could tell they had no intention of leaving, so I let them into the house and led them through the kitchen to the stairs.
“Why don’t you stay here,” one of them advised in a question that wasn’t a question. The two of them trudged down the steps and after a moment, the blasting Iron Maiden CD shut off mid-scream.
I remained in the kitchen, mentally trying to justify the call. I kind of expected a blowout that night, since the day marked the last day of classes. He was particularly vulnerable when something came to an end, whether it was the semester, a paper he’d written for an academic journal, or sometimes simply the end of the week. All ends seemed to lead to the deep end.
I knew the pattern well. The beers in the first stage of intoxication inspired brilliant philosophical revelations, invariably related to harness racing or the stock market. During Stage Two, he loved me deeply, and would even wake me from a sound sleep to profess his adoration. “I’m the luckiest guy, babe,” he’d say. “You’re the woman for me. You understand me.”
And then there was Stage Three.
Somehow between the eighth and tenth beers the most perfect woman on earth inexplicably morphed into a white trash whore who should be eternally grateful to be married to an amazing guy like him. He would sometimes accompany the tirade with a peculiar, and extremely annoying, practice of pouring water on me in bed. Water doesn’t leave a mark, but believe me, it can scar.
Often when events began to unfold like that, I’d leave before the situation got too ugly. But on that night I wanted to sleep in my own bed. I’d already taken my contacts out and wasn’t up to facing a puzzled front desk clerk remarking on the fact that I was checking into a motel three blocks from my house.
I should have left anyway; I should have recognized the new level of aggression, the way he followed me around, pressing his weight into me and shouting, “You can’t control me!” “You fucking bitch!” and other selections from his greatest inebriated hits. He’d never been physically violent, but the behavior that night scared me. I didn’t want to risk what could happen if his mood escalated. Mostly I worried he might accidentally shove me into something or send me flying down the very cellar stairs I’d fantasized about finding his drunken ass at the base of. I thought I was right to call the police. Maybe not.
I listened hard at the top of the stairs, but heard only muffled conversation. What the hell could they be talking about? He’s probably giving them stock tips.
The women finally made their way back upstairs. I half expected them to tell me he’s the greatest guy and I should be thankful to be his wife.
“He’s going to stay down there tonight,” the smaller one reported. “I think he’ll be asleep soon. I doubt you have anything to worry about.” She handed me a card with her name and badge number. “I’ve circled a referral on the back for Project SAFE. They can help you if you need a place to stay. I think you’ll be okay for tonight, but you’ll have the number in case you need it in the future.”
A police officer just gave me a referral to a women’s shelter.
“You know, I have a master’s degree…” I wanted to say. Instead, I took the card and muttered, “Thank you.”