“Nom de Guerre” or “Nom de Plume”?  Whichever, it might have been a mistake.

 

Struggling writer…that’s me.  I really enjoy, metaphorically, taking pen in hand and putting my thoughts to paper.  Well, taking fingers to keyboard…I even have sounds imitating the old Royal I used in Mrs. Leopart’s typing class way back in the day.  Good thing I have a retirement to fall back on because while I am writing, I’m not selling…a thought, which caused my literary train to begin to run off my tracks.

A year or so ago, I decided I would use what had once been a fertile imagination to write historical fiction.  I wrote, I published, but I’m still not selling…much.  While I write for me, I WOULD like to sell occasionally just to know “There are people out there” and maybe that my writing ain’t that bad.  On a day I was feeling particularly vulnerable, I mentioned this to a friend and former student, Lynn Cooper.  She is also a writer…an author who began as a writer of children’s books and transitioned to erotic romance literature.

Erotic romance is not an easy subject to discuss with a former, female student…one I remember as a pretty, well put together brunette who sat in the front right of my classroom.  She was quite memorable.  I also haven’t seen her in twenty-five years so it’s all I have to go on.

I asked her, “You write quite well whatever your genre, but why the move to erotic literature?”

She answered simply, “I’m trying to make a living.”  Hum, it seems smut sells and hers is high-quality smut, well-written smut…it is actually well written, blazing hot romance literature. I admit  I have read her novellas…for educational value, wink, wink.

She suggested I might give it a try…writing romance.  “Maybe you should try to express your romantic side.”  I imagined her dark brown eyes, lashes fluttering…and a mocking grin on her face.

It was an interesting thought, one I almost immediately dismissed…almost dismissed.  Then I didn’t.  I wrote a contemporary romance with just a bit of…(gulp) eroticism.  A novella with not one but two sultry heroines, both of whom, I fell in love with.  A bit of adventure, a little of the paranormal and some  moments of “dirty mommy porn.”  Is that redundant? I was proud of my accomplishment…until my wife commented.  “What in the hell do you know about romance?”  I gotta do better on the home front.

Olivia sorta sold, a few here, a few there.  Some very good comments from those who read it until one reader pointed out, “An old, balding guy with a beard writing mommy porn?  Creepy.”  Was I creepy?  Please imagine a metallic rattle as my locomotive begins to derail.  I should have simply replied, “Creepy? You bought it.”

I will not be deterred!  If writing porn was good enough for Stephen King, it is good enough for me!  But I decided to create a nom de plume…nom de guerre…I don’t know which.  A pseudonym, an alter-ego.  BUT I HAD TO GO THE WHOLE HOG!  This was despite a suggestion of caution from my mentor, Lynn.  The rattles of my locomotive have been joined by bangs and clanks.

Why not create a whole new persona.?  One that is not creepy.  A young female, blond and beautiful.  A transplant from President Trump’s favorite country, Norway, now living somewhere on the Gulf Coast.  Lusty and sultry. herself, with cornsilk hair and sky blue eyes..its a completely fake author bio.  Maybe I am creepy.

I created social media pages…even an author’s page.  Remember, Don must devour the whole hog.  I  purchased the copyright for a picture of a sweet and pouty young woman to grace her different media sites and book covers.  I gave her a name.  Then I really went to work.  Rattle, rattle, bang, bang went the train.  I rewrote and rereleased Olivia under the name of Lena Christenson, my new pen name.   My new feminine side.

I HAVEN’T SOLD A COPY SINCE I DID IT!  “Hold her Newt, we’re headed for the pea patch.”

No, I haven’t sold a copy, but I have received three messages requesting “hook-ups” and today received a message from an Eastern European gentleman by the name of Yusif Tunar professing undying love and a proposal of matrimony…if I wire him airfare and traveling money.  The attached photograph shows he is quite dashing looking.  Dark and robust, six-pack abs covered in thick curly hair and Popeye forearms.  Biceps that can crack walnuts. What’s next? Penis pictures?  I don’t know whether to end the charade or “continue” to play them along.  Hum…If I play them along I may learn something.  Rattle, bang, crash!

If you are interested you can find Lena’s books at https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B07B6BDD19

If you are really interested in good “mommy porn”, you can find Lynn’s books at https://www.facebook.com/Lynn-Cooper-Writes-Romances-386005534933638/

Oh, I almost forgot. Don Miller’s books may be accessed at https://www.amazon.com/Don-Miller/e/B018IT38GM. They are downloadable or available in paperback.

[Photo Credit: Bettmann/Getty Images]

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HEAVEN IN A ’61 FORD FALL 1966

Bobbi Jo was sitting on the hood of my grandmother’s ’61 Ford. She had on her Trinity High cheerleading uniform. Shorter royal blue skirt with gold inserts, a white oxford shirt with a royal blue Block T letterman’s sweeter. White and blue saddle oxfords over white socks finished an ensemble recognized by cheerleaders everywhere in the fall of 1966.

“John Edward, do you have a date or are you meeting someone?”

“No I was just going to Brannon’s for something to eat.”

“Would you like company?”

Bobbi Jo must be between boyfriends. She tended to drift back into my life when she was in between boyfriends. I didn’t ask because I was afraid the answer would be yes. Instead I said, “Sure, why not.” She raised her hand above her head and waved. A Volkswagen Beetle fired up and sped away from the parking lot. Her father had waited making sure she had her ride. I helped her down off her perch and walked her around to the passenger side. After opening the door for her I tried, and failed, not to watch her skirt ride up as she slid in.

She sat on her side of the car. There seemed to be a gulf between us. In different times, she would have been tucked in close…maybe she would be there again…the hopes of a teenaged boy with raging hormones and so in love it hurt. I immediately regretted turning on the radio as I heard the Beach Boys lament, “Wouldn’t it be nice if we were older, if we didn’t have to wait so long….”

“You are too pensive. Maybe this wasn’t a good idea.”

“Bobbi Jo, if you will start acting like the smart-ass Bobbi Jo I know, I’ll be fine. All this sudden care is confusing me. I feel like I’m tip toeing through a minefield anyway. I haven’t seen or heard from you in two months.” The radio and the Association reminded me that “cherish is a word I use to describe all the feelings I have hiding here for you inside….”

“Here you are back in my life again. Don’t get me wrong, I like you being here but I surely don’t understand you or us.”

I pulled into Brannon’s and rolled down my window for the curb hop who asked “For here or to go?” Bobbi Jo surprised me by saying, “Get some burgers and drinks to go, won’t you?”

Once our order had been filled I asked where she wanted to go and she smiled her Bobbi Jo smile, “Do I need to draw you a map. Think you can still find the way?” She also moved over to the center and encircled my arm with hers and rested her head on my shoulder. Her left breast was burning a wonderful hole through my right bicep. From the radio, Jackie Wilson sang, “Your love is lifting me higher….”

The way was a dirt road leading to a bluff overlooking the river, through a canopy of water oaks and on to the bottom lands across from Trinity. Next to the river, the oaks filled in tightly to create an almost impregnatable tangle except at a clearing used as a turn around. This was our destination. Bobbi Jo and I had spent many weekend evenings watching “submarine races” on this spot…slowly progressing around the bases that had until now ended at third.

“I am always amazed at how quiet it is out here and how it always seems to glow with its own light. Listen to the silence. It’s as beautiful as you Bobbi Jo. Maybe you’re where the glow comes from.”

“Romantic Devil! John Edward, I need to ask a question and if I don’t do it now I may not have the fortitude to do it later. Do you want to make love to me?”

I wondered if my chest might explode. Could she hear my heart? My heart beat was pounding in my ears, surely, she could hear it pounding in my chest.

Before I could answer she went on, “I know I have treated you badly at times. Terribly I guess. Can you forgive me? I always thought when I did it for the first time it would be with you. I’m not asking for any commitments. I just want to do it with someone I trust and love…even if it is in my own way.”

I knew I was smiling, I just hoped it wasn’t a goofy smile. “Bobbi Jo…I’ve always…loved you? I don’t know if it’s true love or forever love…I kind of doubt it considering our history. But as sure as that river is wet I want to make love to you.”

“Do you mind if the food gets cold?”

Excerpt from “Heaven in a ’61 Ford” You’ll have to wait a bit to read the conclusion. Spring, 2017.

For more of Don Miller’s unique views of life, humor and Southern stories of a bygone time, try http://goo.gl/lomuQf