It was published by St. Martin’s Press in late 2013 although it failed to garner anything more than a handful of negative reviews until mid-2014 when the planned shipment of 50,000 copies of mass market paperback were cancelled due to the poor sales of its initial hardcover run. As per my contract I kept my measly ten grand advance and instead of readying for the book tour in the summer, I continued work on my sophomore effort – knowing it was my last chance (the publishing industry is much different than it used to be; decades ago publishers had their writer’s backs and stayed with them, fought for them – they were a team) – to make an impression on the world. I’d been working on the second one since early 2011, while I was still looking for a publisher for my debut, and after overcoming a six-month bout of writer’s block I figured it all out, dotted my i’s and crossed my t’s then shipped out to Sonny Meghan (my editor at St. Martin’s). The summer’s sun shined bright and I decided to take a break from it all, stop worrying about the incoming criticism from Sonny and all the other bigwigs at the publisher and leave Manhattan for a few weeks.
I spent the fourth of July weekend in Atlantic City staying in a free suite at Bailey’s playing the poor man’s Blackjack table drinking complimentary White Russians and basking on the beach wearing a pair of swim trunks from Banana Republic and knockoff Versace sunglasses I bought on the boardwalk trying to tan and reading the newest issue of GQ. During Happy Hour at the beachside bar I met a pretty little college thing who bought me two shots of Fireball liquor, and an hour later we were in my suite fucking in the big bathroom while housekeeping cleaned the bedroom.
The sex was good and I sure as hell needed it – for some reason I’d forgotten how important mid-afternoon pleasures can be. Afterwards, I laid back on the freshly-made bed and watched what’s-her-name scramble about looking for her panties and once she found them and dressed, she held out her hand for a tip. I laughed, suggested dinner and a T-Pain concert that night. Fortunately for me I didn’t lose it all downstairs, so when her pimp (6’5, black and wearing a mean old grin) showed up out of nowhere and I realized the fun was over and it was time to pay for the games, I was able to wrangle up enough cash and chips to settle my debt with a meager black eye and only one broken rib – oh-so lucky.
Not much longer my phone rang. It was the publisher, not Sonny – just a generic-sounding voice who in less than twenty seconds told me about all the miraculous work I’ve been doing, that I was much appreciated but (there’s always a but), that St. Martin’s was going in a different direction and I just didn’t fit into their new corporate ideals. What the fuck? But it was what it was and what could I, Christian Kane, failed journalist and poor novelist, do about it? The answer: not a damn thing.
I mean, who am I really?
Christian Kane, the once-hyped “new kid on the block” of the literary scene by The New York Times as they put it after they’d gotten an advanced copy of my underwhelming-selling-debut? (Yes, you read that right – even a positive review from The New York Times didn’t help the book.) Or was I Christian Kane, son, who put his mother in a nursing home at only age 50 and who lives some two-hundred miles away just so I can use it as an excuse not to visit? Or, better yet, am I Christian Kane, the “recovering addict” who put down the China-White just to pick up the “other” white – again?
Who the fuck am I? Who the fuck are any of us really? And, shit, does it make any difference anyway?