Thursday, December 2, 2010

Rebecca Forster Vs. The Hunky Dudes

Editor's Note: My writer pal Rebecca Forster once again brings a touch of class to this blog with a piece about all the wild and crazy hunky men she meets while doing her--what? Oh, she's only talking about men who read her books. I see. In that case, they probably aren't hunky at all. Except for me, though "hunk of what?" is probably your next question. Learn more about Rebecca at

I have been meeting a lot of men lately online. These men have dangerous and intriguing handles like ‘rebel’ and ‘emystery’ and ‘moses’. These men all want one thing--to talk about books.

Disappointed? Not the pay-off you were expecting? Well, I gotta tell you, this is a new experience for me, too. Actually, I should clarify. Meeting men is not a new experience. I’ve known a couple in my life, I just can’t really remember them very well since I’ve been married for like forever (think Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion and if you haven’t seen it, stop reading this and get thee right now to Netflix).

Since becoming a married woman, I have also met a lot of guys. They repair my car, come over in the middle of the afternoon for a little tryst – usually with my plumbing – or tend to taking my clothes in when I’m on a diet and letting them out again when I fail. Tailors are unsung heroes.

What makes the men I’m meeting lately so intriguing is that they are (get ready) readers of fiction. Before the internet, I didn’t believe they existed. There were always the aberrations, of course. Those were the men who read Tom Clancy or David Morrell but I have been long been suspect of the devotion men have to that fiction. In fact, I have it on good authority that during the printing process the publisher lays down a thin layer of testosterone on the pages which is tantamount to carrying a ham hock in your pocket to make a dog love you.

The men I’m talking about read MY fiction. I think my books are pretty thrilling considering I write about the legal system. What’s not to love there? There’s always a good murder (and I’m talking really good). There are fight-or-flight scenes. There are sex scenes (okay, maybe just the idea of sex. Okay, maybe just the insinuation of sex. My mom, after all, reads my books. She doesn’t mind creative murder but sex? Not so much). There is always the bare-knuckled-intellectual smack d owns men will love in my fictional courtrooms. I too have a dose of testosterone but you have to actually read my books closely to find it and sometimes I sprinkle a little too much on the female characters.

I had always imagined most men to be like my husband: readers of nonfiction, political treatise, history. Lots and lots of history. Magazines. Tons and tons of news magazines. In short, I believed male readers did not want to be drawn into a fictional world and introduced to people who faded away with the turn of the last page.

I was so wrong. I painted fiction readers with a broad brush that did not include men. I profiled, I admit it. Now I’ve seen the light. I am here to tell you that I embrace the fabulous men I have met through the internet because of my books. I am grateful for their counsel because, unlike the more polite woman reader, men say what’s on their mind. Sometimes it’s praise for my work (go ahead, take a look at some of the ‘guy’ reviews of my books) but they also have helped me so much as I focused on the ever-expanding e-publishing marketplace. They read my work on their computers, IPads, Nooks and Kindles and have made suggestions. Sometime, they just ask questions like, “Did you just fall off the turnip truck because your formatting is way off.” Or the ever favorite, “I think you should check your file, either you can’t spell or you have scanning problems.”

The cool thing about all this is that my guys not only point out a problem, they happily help me fix it. I’m assuming they are happy to help since the dialogue between us continues over weeks and months and, in some cases, years. I know about their children and grandchildren, we swap travel stories and suggestions for good reads. I get a little jealous when they don’t add ‘but your work is so much better’ to their recommendations.

I am eternally grateful that these men have picked up my work and picked up on me. They have become friends I cherish even though we will more than likely never meet – which actually is probably a good thing. I never could have imagined that offering up a book for their consideration would, in turn introduce me to a group of men so considerate.

Here’s to all you chivalrous, kind and generous guys who read fiction . Now, when I write I promise to remember you’re out there. In fact, I may swipe a little more testosterone on those pages just to say thanks.

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