‘She is a lesbian.’ I put down my pen and leaned back. Time for a drink. The curtains waved with a vengeance. Smoky, moist, pluff mud breezes had been blowing all evening. From the street below, a tinkle of glass and laughter wafted up to the window. The outline was finished and that glass of Johnny blue wasn’t going to drink itself. I stretched and sipped and let the fire untwist my belly. Stress over a book wasn’t my forte. My forte was zipping through a couple of cowboy romances every few years, going on tours, signing books for housewives, doing the odd interview for a small town newspaper. It paid well. It was relatively easy to do the same formula. I loved my characters. They performed well on the written stage. This book was different and way out of my comfort zone, but dammit my agent was too persuasive.
“Lesbians are hot this year, Carol. Do your thing and your exposure will explode.”
“For God’s sake, Althea! I don’t know anything about lesbians!”
“Carol, just do some research, already. Surely you know someone you can ask for information. Your last book only sold fifty thousand copies. We need a new shtick and gay fiction is hot, although I don’t think you’d want to try your hand at gay men, would you? ”
I admitted this was not really something I wanted to get into on a book level. I enjoyed my cowboys and millionaires on the page, but maybe I could try my hand at gay boys. They liked cowboys and millionaires, too, right? Nah, not my thing. Maybe girls, then. Surely they liked cowgirls and millionaires. I’ll try my hand at it, find a new niche, come back to the romances I know. Who knows? Maybe I’ll find a new market. I don’t need the money. I need to write. That’s it.
The night sorted itself out into a fierce storm that blew in around midnight. Lowcountry storms were noisy and fierce and rarely so bad the sirens went off. Lower Broad got lots of visitors and few memories.