Saturday, October 30, 2010

Krystal Ball the Hungarian Tempest

The main character in my novel is based on the incredibly magnetic woman I met that fateful winter night in 1975 when I hired myself into a dance hall.  

(A digression: Cosmopolitan thought of me for the undercover assignment because I'd done a similar stunt for them some 4 years before. I dressed up as a man and infiltrated males-only establishments in New York, culminating in a trip to the Yale Club locker room. It helped that I was tall and thin; the unisex trend also helped so that in some cases all I had to do was sweep my hair back in a ponytail and glue on sideburns; and I was always accompanied by an actual male as a foil. I probably looked either gay or, at best, metrosexual. But no one ever suspected I was a girl.)

On this night I was dressed as a slut. Kristal was the only other dance hall hostess (I use the word "hostess" advisedly) who would speak to me, I suppose because I was new and, therefore, competition. It was clear pretty fast that I didn't know the ropes, so I wasn't that threatening. But I was young, and on my shift there were a sad number of fossils who didn't know what else to do with themselves. Hope for some client to turn up and pick you, dance with you if he's a gent, and then repair to a table in the darkness where you finish him off under the table.

"I don't do nothing like that," Kristal told me. "I don't touch it, never. Those others have no respect for themselves. And I make more money than they do."

I had never heard the term "dry hustler" before. It wasn't even in the slang dictionary. It may well be that Kristal made it up. It is for sure in the lexicon now.

I'll continue recounting my "research" adventures in future blogs.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Social Networking - Feh

Sent out a global email to contacts announcing the Dry Hustle e-debut. This was an amusing process because I had to leave out contacts who might be offended by the extreme lewdness of the material. That narrowed the list down to a paltry handful. All my in-laws and even my daughter had to be left out. My siblings are thoroughly inured to my outrageousness over the years (they are mistrustful, actually, that I really have become socially rehabilitated since I got married). So they stayed on the list.
It was also depressing to realize that, unlike my daughter Phoebe Lapine, I do not have 1500+ Facebook friends. This is a good point to plug her wonderful cooking blog, It's for twentysomethings who are struggling with tiny kitchens in their first grown-up apartments (hence "big girls"). William Morrow is putting out the cookbook - 100 recipes! - in May 2011.

Anyhow, in my email I begged everyone to download free samples or purchase the thing at only $3.99 from Amazon and Smashwords. I implored them to post reviews, too. Then I lurked on both sites to see if my friends were indeed my friends. So far there have been 2 free samples downloaded and 2 books sold. Lesson: don't check my accounts 5 times a day. It's sick. Twice a week is healthier.

Nora Ephron's personal advice to me was: when obsessing, go make some crepes. Excuse me while I adjourn to the kitchen.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Here Goes Nuthin

Today my raunchy first novel Dry Hustle was tossed into the world of e-publishing. This blog will follow the progress of my little fish in the big fat pond.

Dry Hustle accompanies two sexy female con artists on the road in bicentennial America as they prey on men and their wallets. The book actually had a successful run as a William Morrow hardcover in 1977 and Berkeley paper in 1978 but it has been out of print a very long time.

I hated the cover of the hardback, so it's been a pleasure to have it re-designed. Back in the day, I posed for the paperback cover at my editor's request. She admired my legs. Whatever else, they were long, and still are. And I got to keep the silver shoes from the photo shoot.

Stay tuned for future posts where I'll talk about the saga behind Dry Hustle and, inevitably, myself.

- Sarah Kernochan