Wednesday, June 04, 2008

A Rant...aka Shoot Me Now.

So I was curious.
Whenever I walk into a bookstore I'm accosted by at least one, maybe two, Danielle Steele novels, hardcovers baby, brand spanking new, sitting there on the shelf.
Without giving away my age, okay I'm 42, I started reading Ms. Steele's drivel, ahem, I mean wonderful romance novels, when I was about 15. She's been doing this a while.
So have I.
But I wanted to know what all the continued fuss was about. Why do people keep buying her books?
Doesn't the formula get old? I haven't read one of her offerings in years, probably not since I started writing my own stories,
but as I said, I was curious.
There's a saying isn't there, something about getting a cat killed?
At the risk of a major lawsuit, I have to do this.
Bear with me if you will:

Honour Thyself

Carole Barber has come to Paris, with its rain-slick slate roofs and winding streets, to work on her novel — and to find herself after a lifetime in the spotlight. A legend of film and stage, Carole has set a standard of beauty and grace, devoting herself to her family and causes around the world. But on this cool November evening, as her taxi speeds into a tunnel just past the Louvre, a fiery instant of terror shatters hundreds of lives — and leaves Carole alone, unconscious and unidentified in a Paris emergency room.

At the Ritz, they wonder where their famous, incognito guest has gone. From California to London, Carole’s friends and family begin to make inquiries. Then comes a moment of shock as they realize that Carole is in a hospital far from home, fighting for her life.

In the days that follow, the paparazzi swarm. A mysterious stranger, a man famous in his own realm, quietly visits the hospital to see the woman he once loved and never forgot. Carole’s two grown children rush to her bedside, waiting and praying — until the miraculous begins to happen . . . But as a woman whom the whole world knows slowly awakens, she knows nothing of herself. Every detail must be pieced back together — from a childhood in rural Mississippi to the early days of her career, from the unintentional hurt inflicted on her daughter to a fifteen year-old secret love affair that went tragically wrong. But for Carole, an extraordinary opportunity has arisen in a life-threatening crisis: a second chance to count her blessings, heal wounded hearts, recapture lost love . . . and to live a life that will truly honour others —beginning with herself.

A tale of survival and dignity, of small miracles and big surprises, Honuor Thyself creates an unforgettable portrait of a public figure whose hopes, fears, and heartbreaks are as real as our own. Her courageous journey inspires us all.

Okay, so I'd read that. Maybe. Sounds good. A little cliche perhaps, but hey, Diana's not here to argue the point.
Moving on...

Read an extract from Honour Thyself (Yes, lets!)

Chapter One

It was a quiet, sunny November morning, as Carole Barber looked up from her computer and stared out into the garden of her Bel- Air home. It was a big, rambling stone mansion that she had lived in for fifteen years. The sunny greenhouse room she used as an office looked out over the rosebushes she had planted, the fountain, and the small pond that reflected the sky. The view was peaceful, and the house silent. Her hands had barely moved over the keyboard for the past hour. It was beyond frustrating. Despite a long and successful career in films, she was trying to write her first novel. Although she had written short stories for years, she had never published any. She had even tried her hand at a screenplay once. During their entire
marriage, she and her late husband, Sean, had talked about making a movie together, and never got around to it. They were too busy doing other things, in their primary fields.

Will you excuse me a moment? Oh, just ignore the trail of blood gushing from my forehead when I return. And the wall in my study will have a dent in it.

If I were able to use red marker on this post, you'd probably have very little left to read in the above section.
Why, why, why....please, somebody tell me...have I been slogging away for the past umpteen years, going to writers conferences, paying money for professional edits and rewriting my manuscripts until I'm blue in the face???
All I had to - ooops - did I say had? All I should have done was pulled out the first piece of crap that came out of my head, put Danielle Steele's name on it, sent it off to some schtick in New York and presto - I'd be rolling in dough and you'd all be my partying posse.

Am I overreacting? No, I didn't get a rejection today - not yet anyway. But after reading this, I think one must definitely be on the way. Because apparently I've been doing it all wrong.
Is there a Danielle Steele School of Writing somewhere? I'm thinking I should apply.

End of rant.

7 comments:

Tracy said...

Please do not break down and join the Danielle Steele School of Writing! That would defintiely be a low point in your writing career! I will be in your partying posse when you get published for writing a book that actually tells a story. Imagine that!!

Rachelle said...

Hey, I'll leave you a comment instead of addressing it on my blog.

Your question: Why do people keep buying her books?

Answer #1: Who cares why? They buy them. That's all that matters.
Answer #2: Why do people watch the Lifetime movie channel? Why do people watch soap operas? Why do people listen to Celine Dion? (sorry if any of those are your thing.)

Question: Why can't I write like that and sell books?

Answer: Because you're not Danielle Steel, and you don't have people by the millions waiting feverishly for you to release your next book.

Seriously, I know its maddening but not worth wasting TOO much "rant" energy over. You might as well get going on why we pay teachers pennies while Jennifer Aniston makes millions. Or why there are no decent presidential candidates when supposedly "we" get to choose our elected officials. Rant all you want--gotta release that frustration--then let it go and get back to work! God did not gift either of us with the name Danielle Steel or Jackie Collins or Angelina Jolie or Bill Gates... bummer for us, I guess.

Richard Mabry said...

Catherine,
Although I've kept my ranting to myself, sharing it only with my long-suffering wife, I am convinced that there are some authors out there who have been "coasting" since about their fifth book. If you've read the last several books by Stuart Woods, you'll wonder if this is the same guy who wrote CHIEFS and THE RUN. Those were excellent. What he writes now is dreck.
I suspect that Rachelle's right--I plan to agree with her, anyway, to stay on her good side--but I strongly support your right to rant. Now go back to writing. That's what I'm going to do.

Robin Johns Grant said...

Thank you for the rant! I'm glad to know others sometimes want to stand in the middle of a bookstore and scream. And yes, I know, it's because she's Danielle Steele or (FILL IN THE BLANK WITH A HUNDRED OTHER FAMOUS NAMES). But my question is always, how did she get to be this popular with writing like that?

(On a completely different note, thanks for visiting my blog the other day. I've meant to reply but haven't managed to get to it.)

Becoming Me said...

I love your style. Very funny. I have not read a Danielle Steele book since the 10th grade, and barely remember the one I read except it was about a rich young woman whose parents died on the Titanic? Or some other ship wreck. And without being ugly, I think that Danielle Steele books sell because of her name. I think that she has the potential to be a great writer, but with the pressure to sell, sell, sell, she writes quickly and cashes in. Also, I'm willing to bet that Summer is her best selling season...lots of quick beach reads...

Jennifer Hudson Taylor said...

I enjoyed your rant. I've shared the same mantra in the privacy of my home. When my husband dislikes a movie, now he looks at me and says something like, "Honey, you've got to start writing crap in order to get published. It seems to be the only thing selling."

By the way, are you close to finishing HITH? Get writing!

Jessica said...

I've noticed that readers who aren't writers are sometimes less picky about backstory. Personally, before I started writing I read a few of her books. And decided not to anymore. Not because of the writing, but because they depressed me. Now that I know the "rules", lol, I'm suspecting that she's built a fan base who love her more for her plots than for her writing. She has a lot of drama in her books and many women like that.
So I think that's why she continues to sell. Plus, sometimes if you stick with a book you get used to the writer's style and it doesn't bother you. Does she get new readers? I have no clue. I wouldn't be surprised if most of her fan base has been around for as long as she.
Interesting rant. But we all know reading is subjective and what's crap to you gives others shivers of pleasure, lol.
:-) Keep your head up and stick to your own style. Someday when your an international bestseller you can "coast" too.