|This cover is NOT FINAL!|
There was a reason for all the vlogs for the past few weeks. I’ve been busy for the past few weeks finishing work on my latest novel. And last week I finally finished the first draft of it.
The new novel is called Spinsterella and it’s a romantic comedy. It’s a fairy tale the Shawn James way. If I had to pitch it to a trade publisher, I’d tell people it’s a story about two misfits who find love with each other; a story about facing one’s fears and moving ahead in life. It’s kind of Shrek meets Lydia Deetz from Beetlejuice. If Tim Burton ever made a romantic comedy, this would probably be the end result.
The heroine in this one is a Goth. A 40-year-old Goth. I’ve always had a soft spot for Goths and the Goth subculture and I’ve always wanted to create a Goth character and tell their story. Most people don’t know that Marilyn Marie from All About Marilyn and Colleen Anderson from The Thetas almost became full Goths at the end of their character transformations. However I changed my mind at the last minute.
This time I decided to take the plunge and create that Goth character. I spent the last year studying the Goth subculture, reading Goth blogs, watching Goths’ YouTube Videos and just listening to the people, their language and the way they do things. And I found it to be a very interesting world of cool people with a style all their own. No two Goths are alike and that’s what I love about them. What I loved is that even though almost everyone wears black, there is more than one shade and one texture to the color of the stories and experiences of the people all over the world.
This one is very different than my previous novels. Most of the books I write like those in the Isis series are usually PG or PG-13 in terms of content and almost all ages can read them, but this one is definitely R Rated. There’s sex, violence, and profanity. Quite a few Goths curse, so that’s in the dialogue. And it’s a romance novel so of course there’s sex scenes J. Nothing as graphic as Zane but the sex scenes are pretty steamy. It was a nice change of pace to write something with adult themes, I really haven’t really done that in over a decade. I really wanted to get out of my box and try some new concepts this time.
This one’s also a bit more autobiographical than my previous novels. Yeah the hero is based on me. Again. I decided to make this one a story about what would probably happen if I returned to work at a business after all that I had to deal with after losing my job at City College’s Science/Engineering Library. Re-adjusting to the job market after being out of it for six to seven years is a major life-changing event. And there’s a major character transformation arc as a character has to deal with their personal issues while transitioning from being alone and working on one’s own to learning how to being part of an office with its own unique culture and its own unique social situations.
I know from personal experience that when you’ve been out of the job market for an extended period of time you just shut down mentally and emotionally and you just focus on surviving. In survival mode you tend to tune everyone out and your only goals are getting through a day and having enough money to get to the next one. So when you return to the job market you don’t have much interest in forming relationships and personal connections with co-workers. Because you don’t know whether or not you’re going to be staying anyplace for too long. With the job market being unstable these days you learn to expect the unexpected.
And you don’t know who’s going to stab you in the back. There’s a lot of anxiety and tension entering a new environment like a workplace when you’ve been out of it for an extended period of years like I have. You just keep your distance from everyone in an effort to avoid the predators in the workplace who can cost you everything. Again, you don’t know whether or not you’re going to be staying. So you don’t make plans long term for your career.
I wanted people to understand if a person like myself is very distant when they first meet them on the job that we’re not being hostile towards them. Nor are we being conceited or aloof. When someone like me is out of the job market for a long time we just aren’t looking to be open to others on day one. To protect oneself, from further harm a man or woman may just shut down those parts of themselves and their personality in an effort just to keep surviving. It may take six months to a year for them to just feel comfortable enough to feel free enough to start expressing the parts of their personality they were forced to suppress to get through a day in those hard times. If an employer isn’t patient enough to understand the issues this new hire is going through
These were major story points in developing my hero. It was a fascinating character transformation arc and I felt it was a story that needed to be told. Most people don’t understand how these starts and stops in today’s unstable job market effect people mentally and emotionally, and I wanted to tell that story.
In developing the romance between the hero and my Goth heroine I found myself applying many of the things I learned from YouTubers like the Iceman and others to the relationships and approaches to relationships in this story. Now that I’m aware of Simps and the Simp/Trick paradigm I wanted to take a different approach to relationships than what’s presented in your usual romance novel and my previous romance novel A Recipe For $ucce$$. I wanted to show a man being balanced in his masculinity and present a model for how people have healthy relationships.
Spinsterella is a fairy tale about two rejects. Misfits. And how they find love with each other as they face their fears and overcome their anxieties. It’s a fun romantic comedy filled with a lot of irony, satire, and sarcasm. With the first draft complete, I’ll be working on revisions soon. Right now I’m working on outlines for Isis: Imitation of Life and E’steem: Back to School. I’d love to have this one out for Christmas, but we’ll see.