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Jealous Haters Book Club: The Mister, chapter eighteen or “Pussy Wreck”

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I try to update these with news about The Mister or E.L. James…but this book has all but dropped off the face of the zeitgeist. The initial, desperate clamoring for hype has trickled out. A month after release, the book has fallen out of the Amazon top one hundred. It’s fallen off the top twenty-five releases on BookScan. It’s being beaten by After. In other words, while The Mister sold better than most authors can expect, it did not do the work the publisher had to have been expecting on the heels of blockbuster after blockbuster. Consider: Grey moved over a million copies in its first week. The Mister moved 68,500 copies upon debut, and the numbers have fallen by tens of thousands with each subsequent week.

Hey, remember all that “a rising tide raises all boats” nonsense that romance authors touted to explain why it was okay for E.L. James to rip off someone else’s work and write hundreds of thousands of words glamorizing domestic abuse? You know, because it was bringing so many new readers into the genre and we were all going to make bank? Yeah, if those wonderful new readers had stuck around, The Mister would be doing comparable numbers. Instead, it seems that all Fifty Shades of Grey did was create a weird cottage industry of thin-skinned self-pubbers in an arms race for who can write the most disturbing books chock full of rape, stalking, abuse, and forced pregnancy, who crank out their 10k short stories every week with the help of underpaid ghostwriters so they can game the KU algorithm and make bank.

How’s that rising tide, everybody? You drowning yet? Hope your allegiance was worth it.

Jealous Haters Book Club: The Mister chapter seventeen or “Forget the plot, tell me where you put the bags!”

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Hey there, everybody! Before we get started, I’ve got a housekeeping detail for Trout Nation and it is a DOOZY. Starting yesterday, you’ll be able to read my Sophie Scaife series (written as Abigail Barnette) on the Radish app! A new episode will release every day, Monday through Friday, and the first twenty or so episodes of The Boss are free so you can try before you buy!

Also,  shout out to whoever left the Amazon review for Where We Land that pointed out the book is nothing like Poldark. I’ve had so many people mention that to me over the weekend.

Okay, now, let’s get into this book. The one you came here for. The one you don’t want to keep reading but find yourself inexplicably drawn back to.

Let’s get into.

The Mister.

Which, by the by, was a “deal of the day” on several book blogs last week when it was offered as a $2.99 sale ebook on Amazon. Like Fifty Shades of Grey and its sequels, The Mister has also been moved into categories it does not belong in to retain the illusion of super high sales numbers. Right now, it’s the #2 bestseller in “Mothers and Children Fiction” and #4 in “Mystery, Thriller, and Suspense Literary Fiction.”

Again, let me be clear: The Mister would be a dream success for any author who previously hadn’t written the bestselling book of all time or whatever. But if you are that author, and your publishing house has thrown gobs of money behind your book launch? And you’ve been on television all over the world to promote it? And done numerous print interviews?

You shouldn’t be getting your ass handed to you in your own category by Kindle Unlimited banging-my-billionaire-stepbrother books.

Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber made a video from which you will never recover.

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If you don’t follow me on Twitter, you may be unaware that I’ve been pretty obsessed with Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber’s romantic new song, “I Don’t Care.” The song tells the story of “a party we don’t want to be at,” but reassures the listeners that it’s okay “when I’m with my baby.”

There is absolutely no way that someone sat down and listened to this song, in which the lyrics never make it clear that the two men singing the song aren’t lobbing cute lines like, “Tryna talk, but we can’t hear ourselves/Read your lips, I’d rather kiss ’em right back” and “‘Cause I don’t care as long as you just hold me near/You can take me anywhere/And you’re making me feel like I’m loved by somebody” to each other instead of some unnamed woman in the song.

“But Jenny,” you might be thinking, “Just because a woman isn’t explicitly mentioned doesn’t mean that they’re not singing about women.” Which is true…about any other artists. Both Bieber and Sheeran write music that is aggressively heterosexual, dropping “girl” liberally, almost as if assuring everyone that, no, definitely the person I am singing about is a woman. Sure, not every single song tosses in feminine pronouns or descriptions of long hair and dresses, but most songs in their catalogs make it clear that they are straight, straight, straight men who love the ladies.

Not this song, friends.

Not this one.

And it is glorious.

But I’m not here today to prove the queerness of the song to you. No. I am here to discuss the absolutely bonkers video that accompanies it.

Click the jump to step into a world of bizarre pleasure you never dreamed existed.

Jealous Haters Book Club: The Mister, chapter fifteen or, “I was so bored, I forgot to include this part of the title.”

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No real news, except The Mister did move up from #4 to #3 on the New York Times bestseller list. It has yet to reach #1 on either NYT or USA Today. Which is a great example of exactly how the success of one title doesn’t automatically translate into the success of the next title, even for authors with blockbusters.

Since it’s a slow news day, it’s a great time to remind everyone that any typos or misspellings in the quoted text are my fault unless otherwise noted. I’m really bad at typing. Also, remember that I don’t post the full text of the chapter, just selections, and I sometimes might not mention a detail like, “he took off his shirt,” or something before an excerpt where he’s shirtless. Consider any inconsistencies in that vein the result of omission, unless I point it out.

This is also another great time to remind everyone that I have a book out that has been deemed “adorable” by readers, and you can find out more details here.

New Release: WHERE WE LAND

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Well, yesterday was a weird day. I’ll tell you that for free. But do you know what today is? Do you know?

That’s right. It’s release day!

The cover of Where We Land is yellow, with "Abigail Barnette" above the title and a little cartoon of a ginger dude in a hoodie and stocking cap playing guitar to a brown-haired white girl in a ringer tee and jeans. Pink hearts float between them.

For college drop-out Lauren Scott, Kalamazoo, Michigan, is the perfect place to lay low and avoid her politically mobile East coast family. Though working two jobs and counting every last penny is a thousand times harder than accepting checks from home, she can’t fulfill her parents’ conservative expectations without sacrificing her conscience.

For struggling singer-songwriter and full-time nurse assistant Daniel Ebbing, Kalamazoo is the place he wants to escape. Ever since the death of his mother, Daniel has regretted not returning to England with his father. Moving across an ocean costs far more than he anticipated, and his bank account is caught in a one step forward, two steps back dance.

Now, fate has made them the solution to each other’s problems. She needs a roommate. He needs a cheap place to live.

What could go wrong?

Amazon • Smashwords 

So, quick rundown of this book:

  • New Adult contemporary romance
  • Sarcastic heroine with rock solid personal principles.
  • Cinnamon roll hero
  • Nobody is a billionaire
  • Look, if someone can write a Harry Styles book and we’re all just giving it a pass, I can exercise my Ed Sheeran crush in prose.

Now, please enjoy this free look at the first chapter of Where We Land.

I’m still alive. Kind of.

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As it turns out, that go-get-’em Trout work ethic of mine can’t conquer this cold and flu season. I even missed a performance of my show. I’ve never missed a performance (that I wasn’t teching; you can get subs for tech) since I started doing community theater like thirty years ago, but this crud hit me hard. We’ll resume recaps next week.

Jealous Haters Book Club: The Mister chapter fourteen or, “The Return of Buster Hymen”

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I am so, so ill, and so, so full of every kind of OTC cold medicine you can safely mix (and some you can’t) that I was tempted to just make this entire recap, “Then they had sex.”

But it’s really, truly bad. As compellingly written as the terms and conditions of the warranty on your new refrigerator, as sexy as the cracked concrete floor of a franchised oil change garage, this is not something I can skip over. Oh no.

Especially not after the staggering generosity everyone showed yesterday and today. Sweet Jesus, I almost feel guilty. You guys literally funded next month’s rent! I cannot thank you enough. Even though I look like I’m auditioning for the role of Zombie Outbreak Patient #3 in a musical production of The Walking Dead, I’m gonna deliver. I’m gonna detonate all around you and start to move, really move. I’m gonna take you into this muted pastel room of pain with me. It will, however, be a short recap because the chapter is short and there’s really not a lot you can say about four pages of kissing.

Get on your masochist bikes. We’re going for a super painful ride.

Jealous Haters Book Club: The Mister, chapter 13 or “Are you going to start a secret smelting company, too?”

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In news directly from the mouth of hell, E.L. James has coyly teased that she may or may not write a BDSM novel featuring gay men as the central couple. 

[…]James says she’s been swamped with fans begging for her to write a book that features gay men.

Who are these fans? Turn on your location. I just want to talk.

And it’s not just men asking her to pen the erotica, women are writing in and asking for some man-on-man action too.

I highly doubt it’s any men asking her. It is 100% white Christian moms with “Live, Laugh, Love, Pray” wall decals, three desperately overscheduled “Greybies” named Mykklaryn, Renesmee, and, of course, Christian, who participate in dozens of conflicting afterschool activities that feed their mothers’ pathological transportation martyr needs. The I-would-like-to-speak-to-your-manager army is desperate for an audiobook they can listen to quietly while waiting in the Chick-Fil-A drive-thru, then cite as evidence that they’re not homophobic, they just vote for strongly anti-gay candidates because they agree with them on other issues. Oh, and sure, they donated to their megachurch’s conversion therapy camp, but they read poorly written butt sex scenes so they just can’t be bigoted.

And gay men, if you are a huge fan of E.L. James, I need you to explain why you’re so into painfully heterosexual and extremely homophobic “erotica” when there are hundreds of thousands of other choices out there.

James’s coquettish “never say never” quote is the most infuriating fucking thing I’ve read in a while. And I have a Twitter account. Yes, bitch. Say never. Say the fuck never. No one, be they gay, lesbian, bi, pan, or queer, needs your straight ass fetishizing them for your ravenous audience and their dubious tastes. We have enough condescending straight women pulling that bullshit in M/M fiction already.

James says the idea interests her because having two men in the relationship would take away the power dynamics based on gender roles.

I cannot wait to read her BDSM novel where there are no power dynamics. I’m sure it will be thrilling, completely accurate, and well-researched.

Also, probably Supernatural Wincest fic.

I’m a liar. No The Mister recap today.

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Hey all! I know I said I’d be back on Monday, but as it turns out, rehearsing a show by performing it in full every night for a week, then opening with three performances is like, exhausting? And somehow my feet hurt, even though I don’t have to dance? In any case, I need a recovery day. Thanks for your patience. Nightmare Born will stay on schedule and the recaps will be back tomorrow.

And go see War Paint at the Kalamazoo Civic. Two more weekends.