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Jealous Haters Book Club: The Mister chapter twenty-eight or “The Slowest Kidnapping”

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No news (as this book has pretty much dropped off the edge of the planet despite staying on the bestseller lists), but a content warning for more domestic violence than usual for an E.L. James book.

Pardon the slowing of the pace with these posts, by the way. I’m still performing in The Wizard of Oz and trying to meet some other deadlines.

Jealous Haters Book Club: The Mister, chapter twenty-seven or “THE BIG MISUNDERSTANDING”

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Last week, the Toronto Star ran an interview with E.L. James. There are the usual claims of people not liking her because she’s a woman and that she went above and beyond the call of duty to research Albania but it also included a brief, interesting look into which fandoms she‘ll be stealing from next enjoys:

She recently rewatched the first Harry Potter movie, which prompted her to buy the rest of the films, and now wants to read J.K. Rowling’s series again.

Somewhere, Cassandra Clare is already on the phone to her legal team.

Jealous Haters Book Club: The Mister chapter twenty-five or “Accio, foreshadowing!”

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According to Cinema Blend, Book Club 2 is happening. If you missed what Book Club was about, it told the story of four upper-middle-class white senior citizens (played by Mary Steenburgen, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, and fervent Woody Allen supporter Diane Keaton) who spice up their boring sex lives through the life-changing magic of the scandalously hot and sexy Fifty Shades of Grey series.

Yes. That’s a whole movie. A whole movie encapsulating the worst stereotypes that surrounded the book while it dominated the zeitgeist. And somehow, there’s material for another? As the article suggests, maybe this one will be about The Mister.

While I would love to see the sequel die a quiet death in development, I would also love to see Book Club 2: Step Up To The Sheets hit the big screen before The Mister. Or instead of.

Now, since I’ve had a few comments here and on social media regarding the horrible names of the characters, while they are indeed horrible, Moss and Demelssia are not their actual character names. They’re portmanteaus of Maxim and Ross and Alessia and Demelza. The latter of both pairs are characters from Poldark, which this novel…let’s just say it pays overt homage to it.

So, let’s get into the recap.

Business Centaur: A Long and Winding Tale of Friendship and the Horrors Which Will Befall You All

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To tell you the tale of John Gayhart Johnson: Business Centaur, I must first tell you the tale of a book.

Some years ago, while attending a conference in Chicago, I found myself very drunk in a hotel room with Bronwyn Green and Rebel Cowboy, which had been given away as a party favor at dinner. Also given away at dinner were small boxes of elegant chocolates. As I drunkenly tried to put one in my mouth, I dropped it. Despite Bronwyn’s shriek of horror, I picked the chocolate up from the hotel room carpet upon which countless loads have very likely been blown and in a moment I am not proud of…I ate the floor candy.

At some later point, Bronwyn’s gaze fell upon Rebel Cowboy and she noted that the woman on the front “looks like a motorcycle centaur.”

I must make it absolutely clear that no part of this story should be interpreted as mocking the text inside Rebel Cowboy. I really enjoyed this book, it’s a fantastic contemporary romance, and if you’re in the mood for a heroine with a complicated family situation and a hero who’s an ex-hockey player turned llama rancher, you will enjoy this book, as well. Here’s the Amazon link. Consider it my strongest possible recommendation. But the unfortunate angle of the model on the cover really does, in my opinion, and Bronwyn’s, look as though the heroine’s lower body is the motorcycle the hero is straddling:

The cover of Rebel Cowboy shows a muscular guy with his shirt open and a cowboy hat on straddling a motorcycle. A beautiful woman is standing on the other side of the motorcycle as he embraces her, and unfortunately you can't see her lower body at all.

Through non-stop tears of laughter, we created a ridiculous backstory. The unfortunate heroine had eaten a piece of floor candy and contracted a terrible disease. The only way to save her life was to amputate her lower body and fuse her torso to a motorcycle. About a month later, floor candy and motorcycle centaurs insinuated themselves into the language of our writing retreat.

And then, it happened.

He came into our lives on a majestic wave of inspiration. I was talking about my favorite topic: people whose names are repetitive. Donald Donaldson. Jeff Jefferson. Dick Richards. Names that these people’s parents should have fucking well known better about. And at that moment, one of my friends blurted:

“I know someone named John Gayhart Johnson!”

Time stopped and the room hung suspended in this glorious moment of creation. I don’t remember who said what. But I do know that someone said, “That sounds like a businessman,” and another person, whom I am almost certain was me, shouted, “John Gayhart Johnson: Business Centaur!”

John G. Johnson, Business Centaur, became an inside joke in our group. The next year at retreat, they presented me with this:

A small centaur toy with a black horse body, tan man body, goatee, and little painted-on crown. Bronwyn Green sewed him a tiny houndstooth business jacket and given him a briefcase.

 

Yes, that is a John Gayhart Johnson, Business Centaur action figure that Bronwyn Green lovingly created out of one of her kids’ old toys. We had a hearty laugh, especially after they reminded me that it was I who thought up the ridiculous idea of a business centaur, hence the gift. I’m still not sure that’s how that worked out but I guess I have to trust the memories of five other people.

Obviously, the joke had now run its course. After all, once you create an action figure of something, there’s really nowhere to go.

Or so I thought, forgetting that I am friends with writers.

This year, when we all assembled at the cabin, Bronwyn Green, Jess Jarman, Kris Norris, and two other people whose identities I will protect, presented me with two small, wrapped boxes. In one was a John G. Johnson, Business Centaur action figure.

“Why would you make another one?” I asked Bronwyn.

She proudly declared, “I didn’t. That’s the one from your office.”

Bronwyn lives fifty miles from me, yet she waited until she knew I was going to be at a rehearsal, entered my home and took the Business Centaur from my bookshelf. I never noticed he was gone. They gave me another box, this one containing:

A small princess figure with red hair and a notepad with JGJ written across the top and a pen in her other hand.

“I don’t get it…” I said, before Norris brought this out from behind her back:

A shadow box containing a cover flat (described later) for The Business Centaur's Virgin Temp by Jenny Trout, the two action figures standing beneath it, and various charms hanging from push pins on a strip of studded leather across the lower quarter of the box.

 

Every Business Centaur, it seems, needs his Virgin Temp. Please note the attention to detail: those charms are clips containing the initials of both John Gayhart Johnson and Flicka Star, his love interest. My dastardly friends truly went the extra mile with this, going so far as to create a cover flat and a wildly elaborate corporate espionage centaur plot for the singular goal of using as many horse puns as they could think of.

 

A cover flat for a book titled "The Business Centaur's Virgin Temp," upon which a male model in a suit and tie has been expertly photoshopped into a centaur. The Virgin Temp is inexplicably wearing a tiara and holding stationary emblazoned with JGJ on it. Her hair is red and ridiculously long. The author name is "Jenny Trout," and there is back cover copy which I will post below.

I can have any filly in the stable…except the one I want.

John Gayhart Johnson: Business Centaur

My business rival has been trying to put me out to pasture for years. And now, he thinks he’s finally found the means to do it—by maneuvering his sister, Flicka, into position as my new temp and forcing her to steal company secrets. I know I should put on my blinders and hoof it away from her as fast as I can, but I can’t resist horsing around a bit first. I’m hungry—but not for oats.

Lady Flicka Star: Virgin Temp

I know my brother’s using me, but I don’t have a choice. He’s wanted revenge on that stud, John, for years, and I want my freedom. My brother has corralled me for far too long, and I’m a shoe-in for this temp position. So what if I have to pony up and seduce my boss to escape the family barn? It’s not as if I’m galloping headfirst into love—oh, neigh, neigh—never that. Besides, a little foalplay never hurt anyone.

You will note that this is indeed a full cover flat, as if for an actual, published book.

Because that is what they now expect it to be.

I, Jenny Trout, will somehow write The Business Centaur’s Virgin Temp. I will have to figure out how to do this without it being about, you know. Getting deflowered by horsecock. That will not happen, this I vow. But since this is so thoroughly ridiculous, so beyond the realm of anything any sensible person would ever want to read, let alone pay to read, I won’t be slotting it into my release schedule.

I’ll be subjecting you to it, instead.

After our recaps of The Mister end, I will set out once again on a marvelous serialized adventure. Through weekly chapters, I will weave you a story of attraction. Of courage. Of love. Of other stuff.

Honestly, I don’t know what this fucking book will be about. But I’m going to write it with the same attention to detail and effort at actually good writing as I do all my other books. I’m going to try to make the absolutely balls-ass ridiculous premise that has been handed to me something that someone, somewhere, might actually enjoy. I will rise to the challenge as is expected of me and I will not let the anti-centaur lobby win. We need more centaurs, especially Business Centaurs. We need John Gayhart Johnson.

The world needs him.

You need him.

And I’m gonna give you all the Business Centaur you can handle.

Patron Appreciation Video!

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I’m back from my amazing writing retreat where I wrote so, so many of the words. It’s impossible to fully explain just what a huge difference this trip makes to my work year and how much I rely on it to get huge chunks of my Neil and Sophie and El-Mudad books written. This year, it for sure wouldn’t have been possible to buy my groceries for up there without the help of my super awesome Patreon patrons, so I made this month’s $5 and up Patron appreciation video while on the trip. It just seemed fitting. Thanks for helping me hit the 20k word mark on The Daughter!

 

Thank you to everyone who donates through Patreon or Kofi to keep this site, my books, and my general nonsense going. And thank you for those of you who visit here and spread the Gospel of Trout. Without you, I’d have no job.

State Of The Trout: Annual June Hiatus

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Sorry, there’s no recap today. I fully intended for there to be one, but then I went grocery shopping this morning and slept for hours and hours afterward. Such is the life of someone with Fibromyalgia, although I often forget that and spend a long time telling myself that I’m awful and lazy. Where are my chronically ill people? You know what I’m talking about.

I wanted to update everyone on a few things. One, Mr.Jen’s weird ass injury is still being weird as ass. Thankfully, it’s not a broken neck (which was presented way too casually at a follow-up appointment: “We’ll just do an x-ray and make sure you haven’t broken your neck.”) but that also means they still don’t know what the fuck is going on. He’ll be heading into physical therapy in a couple of weeks. I appreciate everybody who has checked in or offered possible explanations from a similar experience or who have just sent good vibes our way. That means a lot.

In other news, every June for the past…I think this is the seventh year? I go on a retreat to Gay, Michigan with my awesome author friends, including Bronwyn Green, Jessica Jarman, and Kris Norris. Every year, we spend a week in a remote cabin right on the shore of Lake Superior. There’s no phone or internet service or children or family and we only each have to make dinner one time all week and we write until our fingers bleed and we laugh until our faces hurt. I’ll be working on the next Sophie Scaife book, The Daughter, while I’m up there, as well as something new I can’t announce yet but which I’m super excited for.

It’s literally the only “vacation” I can take without feeling guilty about not working. Although, I’ll probably come home feeling like I didn’t work hard enough despite writing like 20,000 words or something.

So, this will be the last blog post until Monday, June 24. Wish me lots of words in the meantime, and if I can get cell signal you might see some Facebook Live updates or some Tweets or shit while I’m up there, but to be perfectly honest, it’s rare that we can get signal. Which is kind of the point.

Everybody have a super week otherwise, and hopefully, this year will go a lot better than last year did.

 

Jealous Haters Book Club: The Mister chapter twenty-four or “Reader, she touches it.”

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In the news: E.L. James sat down with ET Canada to continue complaining about how the Fifty Shades of Grey movie wasn’t made to her exact specifications and take a passive-aggressive dig at the people involved. She also makes it clear that she doesn’t understand what “character-driven” means.

I’m honestly shocked that the film rights to The Mister didn’t sell the moment the publishing contract was signed. That they’re still shopping it around, apparently, is mind-boggling to me. Even if it was never made into a movie, I can’t believe the option hasn’t been picked up.

This is also going to be one of the shorter recaps in comparison to the length of the chapter, as the bulk of the chapter is sex that’s too boring to make into something funny.

Jealous Haters Book Club: The Mister chapter twenty-two or “GLAD THAT’S TAKEN CARE OF THEN.”

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Here we are with another short recap due to a super short chapter. Which honestly, I’m fine with. I could use a lazy day. At least this isn’t packed to the brim with multiple sex scenes.

I think that’s in like, two chapters.