Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Dime Novels, Time Sucks and Salty Sea Dogs

If the nineteenth century had Lifetime movies starring Heather Locklear and permanent New York Times Bestseller real estate, Laura Jean Libbey would have been at the epicenter. She was the Nora Roberts of her day, creating 82 sensational dime novels for women before her death in 1924. Though she had little formal education, she began writing around age 20 and negotiated lucritive contracts which eventually earned her an income of $60,000 a year. According to Felicia L. Carr's American Women's Dime Novel Project, Libbey's plots always centered around a "young girl, suddenly adrift and alone in the world who attracts the attention of a suitor far above her in station."

Such was my post yesterday until I realized the can of copyright whoop a*s would have emerged had I posted an excerpt or cover art. I can, however, leave you with this gem from Little Rosebud's Lover:

“ Why?” ejaculated Percy, suprisedly, poising the cigarette he had just lighted daintily between his white fingers."

Time suck number one.

Second, I aimed to update The Vortex's Blogger template. After pages of tutorials in broken English and my insane fear I'd lose something quality-like my personalized David Hasselhoff Christmas card-I came face to face with my delusions of HTML capabilities. I just want three columns. Is it too much to ask Blogger off that in their regular templates for the design challenged? For those infinitely more capable, there are some fantastic free Word-Press-ish templates uploaded here in the past few months. Update away and think of me wallowing in boredom. Time suck number two. wins the prize for biggest time suck yesterday. Imagine a site where you invest in a fund which future time travelers will use to return to a date of your choosing and take you into the future. I know, I know, sign me up, right? I can't think of a better investment than to watch my $10 mature into a safe, reliable transaction that will ensure rescue from my monumentally embarrasing moment where I face-plant at the 2009 RWA award ceremony and have the first-recorded wardrobe malfunction in front of two thousand romance writers.

According to the site: "Current scientific theory states that Time Travel may be possible, however the technology is a long way off, perhaps hundreds of years in the future. Now, assume it does become possible in say, 500 years. As with any technology, Time Travel will get less expensive as time goes on. Just as the price of a VCR has dropped to less than $70 from the several hundred dollars it cost just ten years ago, Time Travel, once it becomes feasible, will initially be very expensive yet it will become more and more economical as time goes by."

Nothing like hedging a bet on the VCR-commodity-model. Here's a picture of fund participants at a Christmas barbeque:

The one on the left has the right idea (though not in the fashion sense). Maybe the rest can return to this night and remove the reindeer antlers compromising their common sense.

So, you see, yesterday was awash in non-writing activities. It seems that the decompression weeks I looked so forward to after nine dedicated months of novel writing have yielded little more than a desire to write again.

I'm headed back to John's Clock Shop today. LOVE that place. Someone gave me a Dutch mariner's clock from the turn of the century, and I'm all about restoring it to working order. I smell fiction possibilities! Or maybe it's my affinity for The Ghost and Mrs. Muir 's Captain Gregg: "[salty sea-dog laugh] My dear, since Eve picked the apple, no woman has ever been taken entirely unawares."

Have a great day, everyone!


laughingwolf said...

fun post, thx lam :)

is that roger moore in the pic? nah, couldn't be...

oh yeah, here's my tenner for the travel bit... NOT! ;) lol

Robin said...

Hi, L.A.! I've seen your comments at Pam's and Caryn's blogs and thought I'd pop on over here.

First, congrats on your Golden Heart nomination! Best of luck!

Second, great post! I'm far too familiar with those time suckers. And I loved The Ghost and Mrs. Muir!!

Marilyn Brant said...

Nothing like some good time suck activities to refill the well and get ready to delve into a new novel, right? I remember when you blogged about John's Clock Shop--hope you had fun visiting it again :).

the walking man said...

If, say, in 500 years the secret to time travel is revealed; why wouldn't one travel back in time and copyright the patent for it?

Pamela Cayne said...

OMG--those dime novel covers are PRICELESS! Must go search eBay. Time suck number four...)

laughingwolf said...

grats on becominga a rwa golden heart finalist, lam :D

laughingwolf said...

BECOMING grrrrrrr

L.A. Mitchell said...

@laughing wolf...thank you :) nice to meet you. I'm off to visit you, too. I'm pretty sure The Ghost and Mrs. Muir is *required* to be a romance writer ;)

@marilyn...maybe I only *think* I'm wasting time, but my subconscious is hard at work on the next one, right?

@walkingman...therein lies the paradox right? How is it possible to travel back to a time before the time travel mechanism was built?

@Pamela...They're great, aren't they? I wonder if they used to knit cozies to hide their covers back then like people do now. Scandalous!

Miladysa said...

The Ghost and Mrs Muir - one of my all time favourites :D