I am interrupting the promotional posts to tell you a little story.
As some of you know, I had (still have somewhat) a frozen shoulder. So I went to my orthopedic doctor the other day to get my usual six-week check-up on my shoulder. While there, the medical assistant, let’s call her Brandy, asked me what the first book in my series was about.
Like a good writer, I rattled off my tagline: A cat burglar prowls into the wrong house and discovers a serial killer’s lair. Simple enough to understand, right? That’s what I thought anyway.
I couldn’t have been more wrong!
Brandy’s face contorted, her lips pursed, eyes crimped. “What’s a cat burglar?” she asked. “A cat who steals things?”
There was a long pause of silence as my doctor and I stared at each other in disbelief. Then I thought, She could be a potential reader of mine. I certainly don’t want to offend her in any way. So as politely as possible I started to explain. I didn’t get more than three words out before she interrupted me.
Her face lit up like she just had a major revelation, and she blurted out, “Oh, like the Hamburglar!”
That was it. My doctor lost it. Laughing hysterically, holding his stomach, snorting– the whole nine yards.
Meanwhile, I was still trying to be polite, but having an extremely difficult time. “Uh, no,” I said calmly. “The Hamburglar is the guy who steals hamburgers from McDonald’s. A cat burglar is–“
“Why are you laughing?” Her foot stomped, scolding her boss. “I bet the girls at the front desk don’t know what a damn cat burglar is, either!” She stormed out of the exam room and marched up the hall to the front desk, where she proceeded to take a poll to see if anyone else knew what a cat burglar was.
My doctor ran into the hall, curious to see how intelligent his staff really was. I followed. I was curious too. After all, these people are in charge of my health!
Seconds later, we heard the answers. Let me tell you, they weren’t pretty.
“Oh, like a ninja!” one girl replied.
“No, not a ninja. The Hamburglar.”
Here we go again with the freakin’ Hamburglar.
“Both of you are wrong. A cat burglar is like Catwoman.”
“Close enough,” I hollered. I couldn’t take much more. Under my breath I said, “Seriously? Catwoman was the best they could do? My protagonist, Shawny, does not wear all leather. She does not have pointy ears and a long tail. And she certainly does not live in Gotham City and/or have anything against Batman. Unbelievable!”
I happened to look over at my doctor.
He was literally rolling around on the carpet, holding his sides, tears of joy streaming down both cheeks. He stopped for a moment and we exchange a befuddled glance. “I am so sorry,” he mouthed.
“Hey, it’s not your fault,” I said softly so the others couldn’t hear. “I do, however, think you might want to reconsider your staff choices. Maybe make the interview a bit harder?”
Brandy marched back over to us, her hands on her hips, wiggling in her mini-skirt and heels (no lie, that’s how she dresses in a doctor’s office). “See, I’m not the only one who didn’t know what a stupid cat burglar was. I told you.”
Stupid cat burglar? I let it go. Unfortunately, she had a point. I started to wonder, Did I just waste months of my life writing a series of novels about a protagonist that everyone will assume is either a cat who steals, the Hamburglar, or a ninja?
“I can’t wait to read you book,” Brandy added.
At this point I was really discouraged and had lost my patience with her. I can only handle stupid for so long; I’m human. “There’s a lot of big words in there. I don’t know if you’ll understand it,” I mumbled.
Again, she gave me the look. Like a lazy old basset hound who suddenly gets startled awake by a noise. The huh? wha? You talkin’ to me? look.
“I mean, absolutely,” I recovered. “I’ll even sign your copy. Have a great day!” And I headed down the hall.
My doctor hurried after me. “I don’t even know what to say,” he remarked, drying his tears, his face red from laughing so hard. “I’m so sorry.”
“Sorry? Don’t be silly. But let me ask you this… Does Brandy have anything to do with making decisions about my shoulder? Or my health in general for that matter?”
“No,” he stated. “That’s all on me.”
I sighed, relieved. “Great. Okay, I’ll see you in six weeks.”
Brandy must be rarity, I thought. She just isn’t the sharpest pencil in the pack, right?
Days later, I was on this site where they asked everyone to give their tagline. You put your genre down, too. Okay, I figured, I’ll play. So again I rattled off my tagline.
Not five minutes later, one of the blog’s authors corrected me. “If your story is about a cat burglar than you aren’t writing crime fiction. A cat, by its very nature, would put it squarely in the fantasy genre.”
Oh brother, I thought, here we go again.
Definitions by The Free Dictionary:
Ninja: A member of a class of 14th-century Japanese mercenary agents who were trained in the martial arts and hired for covert operations such as assassination and sabotage.
Hamburglar: A pint-sized burglar who first appeared in March 1971 and was one of the first villains on the commercials. His primary object of theft was hamburgers, hence his name.
Cat Woman: She is usually depicted as an adversary of Batman, known for having a complex love-hate relationship with him. In her first appearance, she was a whip-carrying burglar with a taste for high-stake thefts. Close, but no cigar.
1. A burglar who is especially skilled at stealthy or undetected entry of a premises.
2. A burglar who enters buildings by climbing through upper windows, skylights, etc.
3. A burglar who breaks into buildings by climbing through upstairs windows, across roofs, etc.
Yes, yes, yes!!! We have a winner, folks!