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Показать все книги автора/авторов: Michaels Kasey
 

«Bowled Over», Kasey Michaels

"Ay me! For aught that ever I could read,

Could ever hear by tale or history,

The course of true love never did run smoothe."

William Shakespeare,

A Midsummer Night's Dream

"If I had as many affairs as you fellows claim,

I'd be speaking to you today from a

jar in the Harvard Medical School."

Frank Sinatra,

Life magazine, 1965

... there was a girl named Margaret Kelly, who longed to grow up, leave her New Jersey home, and become a Famous Author in New York.

Of the three hopes, the leaving home part often ranked right up there at Number One.

Very often. Exceedingly often. Depressingly often.

And one day Maggie—now known only to her mother and her shrink, Doctor Bob, as Margaret—achieved two of the big three.

She grew up.

She left home.

The Famous Author part didn't naturally follow.

Maggie began her fiction-writing career in Manhattan as Alicia Tate Evans, employing her mother's first name, her brother's first name, and her father's first name, all to make up what she thought would be a whiz-bang, romantic-sounding pseudonym. Maybe even an important name, one with the power to impress the hell out of publishers and hint that maybe she'd majored in English Literature or Quantum Physics, or something, and would thus be Taken Seriously and given promotion and her own twenty-four copy dump in the front of the chain stores.

After all, publishers, by and large, have to be told you're marketable, and worthy, and all that good stuff—they can't seem to figure that out on their own just by looking at your work. If you'd slept with Brad Pitt, you were in. If you'd murdered your lover, you were in. If you'd scaled Everest in your skivvies, you were in.

But if you were just an average person from an average background, had average looks, an average bust size, an average head of brown hair, and you sat down and wrote a good book? Even a bordering-on-great book? Well, that was iffy ...

Maggie knew all of this. She'd joined a writers group, We Are Romance (WAR—something nobody considered when christening the group), and she'd heard the horror stories. The quality of the work was important. Sort of. But, hey, can you sing, dance, or conjugate verbs in Ancient Greek? Give us something we can promote.

So Maggie gave them Alicia Tate Evans.

The idea that her parents and brother would be grateful, even proud, might possibly have entered into this decision just a tad, but it wasn't as if Maggie was sucking up to the family that never really understood her.

Much.

Anyway, the name was just perfect for Maggie's historical romance novels that would soon top the New York Times bestseller list on a regular basis.

Six published novels later, the NYT wasn't even in sight, and her mother and brother, less than flattered to have their names on "those trashy books" had not become Maggie's biggest fans.

Her dad was okay with it, but Evan Kelly was okay with most everything ... nobody yelled at him if he just nodded, agreed with every word his wife said, and otherwise kept his mouth shut. Evan Kelly had earned his master's degree in Wimp, probably by the first anniversary of his marriage to Alicia Tate.

Maggie worried, a lot, that she was the female Evan Kelly, especially when her mother continually asked her why she didn't write a real book and she couldn't figure out a snappy answer. Hence Doctor Bob's presence in her life.

But back to Maggie and her great critical reviews, lame titles picked by committee (and maybe by the UPS guy who'd wandered through the office in his spiffy brown shorts and was asked for input), on the cheap cover art, lousy print runs, nonexistent publisher support, mediocre sell-throughs and—my, what a shock!—serious lack of name recognition after those half-dozen novels.

It came to pass after those half-dozen historical romances, with her career not exactly taking off like the proverbial rocket, that Maggie found herself cut loose from her publishing house, Toland Books.

Alicia Tate Evans was dead in the water. Good-bye, good luck, don't let the door hit you in the fanny on the way out.

This left Maggie depressed. And broke. With no prospects.

All things being equal, and Maggie prepared to garbage can surf rather than crawl back to New Jersey and the "I told you so, Margaret" marathon bound to follow, she had herself a major pity party that included two half gallons of chocolate ice cream and three, yes, three, jars of real chocolate fudge topping.

She then sat down (first opening the button on her suddenly too-tight jeans), to reinvent herself.

She gave a moment's thought to renaming herself Erin Maureen, for her two sisters, but Erin, at the least, would probably sue.


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