Monday, March 17, 2008

Elliot Spitzer calls on Miss Dupre

With all the news about now-former Governor Elliot Spitzer (Client-9), Ashley Dupre (“Kristen”), and their brief working relationship… I thought about my research for UNDER A COPPER MOON which deals with the “parlor houses” of the Wild West.

Now, Onalee’s girls did not get $4300 for entertaining the gentlemen. In fact, prostitutes of a hundred years ago did well to survive the beatings, drugs, alcohol, and diseases which I think is much like the women who work the lower levels of the profession today. Although Ashley Dupre is being portrayed as Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, most working women don’t have the luxury and “glamour” – although I can’t see much glamour in being intimate with a stranger, wealthy or not.

The main difference between now and the late 1800s, is that few opportunities existed for a woman in those times. If you weren’t married, you had to provide for yourself in a limited job market. Today, I hope that the world is open to women and that prostitution isn’t the preferred career choice – no matter if the going rate is $4300.

In the late 1800s, there were tiers of prostitutes in the mining towns and cattle towns (the place where lonely men made money). That hierarchy was something like:

  1. parlor houses
  2. brothels
  3. dance halls / saloons
  4. hurdy-gurdy houses
  5. cribs / street walkers

Parlor houses had an air of discretion, class, and real entertainment. The men were regulars and enjoyed the company of women as much as the sex. In the novel, Inez has no job or money and is taken in by Onalee (the Madame) and the parlor house ladies. Those women become her family, but the lack of opportunity for them nags at Inez as she tries to make their lives better.

Did Ashley Dupre have no other options?

Was Elliot Spitzer looking for more than sex?

I don’t know.

But everyone from Dr. Laura (the media whore) to Dr. Phil (“How’s that working for ya?”)…And anyone else who puts a “Dr.” in front of their first name weighs in on the reasons; I just hope that things have changed for women in the past hundred years.

“Dr.” Greg

Friday, March 7, 2008

Video to promote a book?

I just uploaded a video book trailer for my new book Under a Copper Moon. I had created one for Devil's Bridge last March, so I thought I should do one for the new novel too.

Now, I'm not sure how this trend got started. But it's an interesting concept to create a video for a book. I guess we're all so visually stimulated that books should be like movies when it comes to getting the word out.

The process is great fun. I get to act like a movie producer and casting director and screenwriter. Of course it's hard to find images to tie directly into what I had in mind as I wrote the book, but the trailer is a fair representation of what the book has to offer.

Do you think a video is helpful when you're looking for a book?

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Another Year

Since moving back to the east coast, I have decided to spend time writing. Now, fiction doesn't pay the bills unless you can sell thousands of books each month, every month. To supplement that income stream (or trickle), I'm freelancing with some companies to do publicity and ad creation.

So far so good. This is something I enjoy and it does leave time to work on my next novel.

This is all new to me. After many years in corporate life, working as a freelancer takes some getting use to. First off, I need to stop nibbling all day. Secondly, I need to get into a work day routine, otherwise I spend all day e-mailing readers and friends and family.

And all this comes with my birthday fast approaching. Another year, but this one will be the one where I can get my next novel finished in a reasonable timeframe.

So, I'm off to work on the next Derek Mason Mystery.

But, I wonder: What would you do if you didn't have the 9-to-5 job?