Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Talking The '80s And My Book "Don't Call Me Baby"

Here's something that will make you go “hmmmm”... A woman was texting on her cell phone, not watching where she was going. That's nothing new. People do that every day.

The problem was she walked right off a pier and into a lake! Idiot! Can you be arrested for texting whilst walking?

The reason I bring that up is because you never would have heard of that sort of thing happening in the 1980s because cell phones weren't around yet. Granted, there were cordless phones but they were huge, clunky things that were unwieldy. You couldn't fit one in your pocket the way you can modern cell phones. Turns out “Star Trek” was prophetic after all.

The reason I'm bringing up all this is that my erotic romance novel “Don't Call Me Baby” is set in the 1980s. If you were around in those days you remember the Big Hair, shoulder pads, and television shows like “Dynasty” and “Hart To Hart”.

Other things I remember from the 1980s include the following:


Okay, "Alien" came out in 1979 but I consider it an '80s movie because it was the first real date I'd ever had, I saw it my freshman year in college which to me was the beginning of the '80s, and the guy who took me to see that movie was an asshole. He knew I didn't like gory horror movies because they scared me, but he took me to see "Alien" anyway – knowing I'd be scared out of my wits! He was one of my college professors and I was dating him at the time although he was married. That should ring a bell when you read "Don't Call Me Baby" since my protagonist Catherine Stone also has issues with married men going back to her father's shabby treatment of her mother. For some reason I thought "Alien" was going to be animated. Believe me, it wasn't. Keep in mind that at this time, there had never been a movie quite like "Alien". It was an entirely new concept – one that paved the way for new movie trends. I didn’t care. I was sick to my stomach, terrified, and ready to kill my date. I was nearly under my seat after the chest-bursting scene and I begged Asshole to leave. He called me a baby and said the movie was great. I couldn't sleep that night because my table lamp looked like the alien baby and I had to turn it away from me. I was sick for three days. I could not eat bean sprouts or salad because that's what Kane was eating when the alien burst out of his chest. I could not watch a modern horror movie for eight long years, until I found a tape of "Friday The 13th" on another boyfriend's video collection and he lent it to me. That one was of the movies I refused to watch since I thought it was going to gross me out. I loved it! I laughed my ass off all the way through it. After watching it, I immediately rented "Alien" to exorcise my demons. It worked. I loved "Alien" the second time around in the safety of my home. "Alien" remains one of my top 10 favorite science-fiction/horror movies and I've seen and own the entire series. Oh, and Asshole? He got fired a year later for breaking the moral turpitude clause by having an open affair with a student. Served him right.


I was in the middle of a painting class when an announcement cut into whatever music was on the radio to state John Lennon of the Beatles had been murdered outside his home at the Dakota in New York City. I didn't care about or remember the name of the man who shot him. This news devastated me since I was a long time Beatles fan, although John was not my favorite. George was.


I watched MTV every summer I was home in the basement, watching music videos and reading books. This was back when MTV was nothing but wall-to-wall videos, 24 hours per day, seven days per week, with interruptions for occasional animated shows. I saw the very first video – "Video Killed The Radio Star" – and it was love at first sight. I grew to adore the V-jays Martha Quinn, Nina Blackwood, J. J. Jackson, Alan Hunter, and Mark Goodman. Because of MTV I discovered many new artists (new to me at any rate) since I wasn't encouraged to listen to rock music in my conservative religious household. I discovered Peter Gabriel, The Cars, The Police, Culture Club, Men At Work, Dire Straits, Robert Palmer, The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Van Halen, Guns 'N Roses, the Eurythmics, and Bananarama. I was in heaven! There was more to music than Mitch Miller, Bible radio, and Pat Boone! I think I was able to listen to and watch MTV because I did it holed up in the basement away from my parents. I remember how white MTV was before Michael Jackson came along and shook everything up. He could not be ignored, and he alone changed the color of MTV for the better. I couldn’t stand "Beavis and Butthead" unless they were ripping apart music videos. MTV was for me then the way Internet radio is for me now. I discovered new artists and bought their music.


"Don't Call Me Baby" is a fast-paced, quick-witted, sexy novel about a young woman exploring her sexuality and the cultural morés she collides with on a daily basis. It's 1983 in Maryland and Catherine Stone is sex on wheels. She plays the field the way men have done for aeons. Not content to strive for her MRS degree like so many young women her age, she seduces men of all stripes - married college professors, theatre students, virgins, complete strangers who intrigue her. She has already cost one man his job. But she asks herself lots of questions on her search to enjoy her sexuality. Why don't other women enjoy their sex as much as she does? Why do so many women and men look down on sexually free women, calling them sluts while sexually free men are called studs and Lotharios? She bucks at the double standards! Catherine has made no commitment to any man. She's free to explore and she gladly does so. No man can tie her down and no woman's judgment will stop her from playing the field to her heart's content. Does she meet her match in a new man who introduces her to sexual bliss she had never before experienced? When she tries multiple partners and bondage for the first time as a submissive, she believes she's found the sexual bliss she is looking for - and with a man who not only introduces her to the fineries in life but also cares about her like no man ever has before.


Her stereo sat up against a wall, and she stacked her LPs next to it. There was nothing quite as enjoyable in the evening after a long day in classes than to sip a gin and tonic while listening to Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, David Bowie, and especially Peter Gabriel. She had enjoyed Genesis mainly because of Gabriel, and she had been a fan ever since he left Genesis in 1975. Now, in 1983, she grew to love his successful solo career even more. She liked how Gabriel felt secure enough in his talent to leave a successful band behind to go it alone, and he did it without burning any bridges. Catherine wanted to be able to move on in her life in that manner. So, she listened to Gabriel's music to remind herself of her dreams. Security, her favorite album by Gabriel to date, was released only a year earlier. She never listened to newer Genesis. Only the older version with Gabriel. She pulled out her LP of Security, and played it on the turntable. What a great way to enjoy her new digs!

She was happy to see that the small dorm fridge she had ordered sat in its corner, plugged into the wall. After filling it with bottles of cola, tonic water, and deli meats, she closed the door. Aside of her TV and stereo, she could not survive without a fridge full of cold drinks and snack food. She liked to wile away her evenings watching "The Twilight Zone", "Dynasty" and "Hart to Hart" while enjoying a light meal before retiring to bed for the night.


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