2. The Passion Thief

The Passion ThiefTHE BOOK: The Passion Thief.

PUBLISHED IN: 2014.

THE AUTHOR: Anne McCarthy Strauss.

THE EDITOR: Patricia D. Eddy.

THE PUBLISHER: Booktrope, Seattle, WA. Booktrope is a hybrid publisher that offers authors expertise and structure we need (like a traditional publisher) but also offers a system where authors have more creative control and better royalties – similar to self-publishing but without the cost. PRINT ISBN 978-1-62015-594-3 EPUB ISBN 978-1-62015-615-5.

SUMMARY: Betty and Stan Boomer have been married for just over twenty years. Stan is a terrific guy, but he’s been married to his job longer than he’s been married to Betty. All his energy goes to his work, giving Betty a fabulous lifestyle and leaving Stan snoring upright on the couch by nine o’clock most nights. Despite her job as a freelance globe-trotting journalist, Betty feels lonely and unfulfilled. She fills the emptiness with nightly drinking. As her alcohol intake increases, she finds herself searching the Internet for her college boyfriend Michael, the proverbial one who got away. When she finds him and reaches him by email, memories of their youthful passion reignite a lust Betty thought had dried up long ago. Michael responds to Betty’s cyber message, and temptation calls. While Stan’s idea of excitement is staying up past ten o’clock on a Saturday night, Michael has evolved into a flashy Las Vegas casino manager with three ex-wives. Which man offers stimulation and which one brings monotony coupled with reliability is vividly clear. Written with both torment and comedy, The Passion Thief defines the yearning many women feel to find more passion within or outside of their marriage. Ultimately, Betty must choose staying in her marriage, leaving Stan for Michael, or building a new life on her own.

THE BACK STORY:  “Having been married twenty years, I’m aware that my own marriage has changed over time, just as anything would change in a period of two decades. Love, luck and hard work have kept my husband and me together through serious sickness, job losses that lasted for years, and the ordinary difficulties of living with another person on a day-to-day basis. Most of my female friends are divorced for understandable reasons and the married friends who will admit it are not happy in their marriages. If they’re not unhappy, they’re either bored or imagining something more or something better. I’ve concluded that the number of couples who have been happily married for more than a decade or two is dismally low. Having reached that conclusion, I created Betty Boomer, a younger member of the boomer generation with the name to prove it. Married for twenty years to Stan, a great guy and outstanding provider, she is nevertheless bored, unhappy, and longing for the romance her marriage no longer provides. With technology making it possible for people to find about anyone from their past, Betty does just that, seeking out and locating her college boyfriend, Michael. Real people who haven’t looked up an old flame on the Internet are few and far between. I researched real-life stories and created a character based on a conglomeration of women who try to create a happy present by reaching back into their pasts. Of course, not all outcomes are the same. Betty draws the conclusion that she must stay with Stan, leave him for Michael, or build a new life of her own. The Passion Thief keeps the reader guessing who or what Betty will choose and how it will work out for her.”

WHY THIS TITLE?: “Like most writers, I believe that both the title and the cover are serious factors that strongly affect whether or not a prospective reader wiAnne McCarthy Straussll take a book down from a shelf or click on its image for an online purchase. I held a number of brainstorming sessions over the title of this book. The winner was The Passion Thief for two reasons. One, I think it is a compelling title. Second and, to me, most important, is that the title gives the reader the opportunity to decide who or what The Passion thief is. Is it time? The temptation of a long-lost lover? Or is The Passion Thief the institution of marriage itself? Each reader can decide for him or herself.

WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO READ IT?  There are many books written today about couples who renew their acquaintance after years apart. The Internet has made this possibility easy in many cases. Without spoiling the ending, I must say that the relationship and ultimate conclusion of the renewal of contact between the characters Betty and Michael is not what is typically found in books on this subject. The book might make the reader with a decision regarding whether or not to reach out through cyberspace to someone from their past.

REVIEW COMMENTS:

http://www.sanfranciscobookreview.com/2015/03/the-passion-thief/ “Betty Boomer is in her mid-40s. Dissatisfied with her marriage and the direction of her life, she decides to reach out to her college boyfriend, Michael. Michael, the flashy casino manager, is the exact opposite of her husband Stan, the workaholic banker. Any woman would be lucky to be married to the loyal Stan; however, the passion has long left their marriage. Betty flies to Vegas to meet up with Michael, finding the flame is still very much alive and things with him are exciting and unpredictable. The two begin a year-long, long distance affair, but when Michael asks Betty to leave her husband, she’s forced to decide between the two. While many have an aversion to books that deal with infidelity, — San Francisco Book Review.

“The Passion Thief is an excellent story of finding one’s self amidst the chaos of life. As we age, for women in particular, all of the variables in life that are beyond our control seem to culminate, leaving us to question where our priorities lie. While it is a work of fiction, the book is a testament to that. If anything, the book serves as a cautionary tale that the grass is not always greener on the other side. — Christina McPherson-Mock, TheAuthorsShow.com.

“I am one of the women who will admit that Stan sounds as interesting as watching grass grow. I would never have married him, but neither was I turned on by Michael. That being said, I definitely agree with Strauss when she writes about boredom in the bedroom (and beyond), and I admire Betty who had the courage to take that leap to find a more fulfilling life. When we reach a certain age, we tend to ask, “Is that all there is?” When that time arrives, we are definitely ready for a change. The author has produced a very well written book that had me laughing until the tears rolled, yet I wanted to cry when she described Betty attempting to make the best of a life some would envy, yet drive others mad. I loved the raw emotion, the reality of the characters, and the wonderful descriptions of some of Betty’s travel adventures. Overall, this was a great read and I’m looking forward to Strauss’ next book.” —  Linda Thompson, Show Host http://www.TheAuthorsShow.com

“Anne McCarthy Strauss has written a truly unique story about an unhappy marriage. She finds humor in an otherwise heartbreaking situation. I actually found myself laughing out loud at many points, despite the serious subject matter. The many unexpected twists and turns keep the reader guessing how protagonist Betty Boomer’s situation will be resolved until the book’s extraordinary ending.” – Patricia Mann, Author of “Is This All There Is?”

AUTHOR PROFILE: Anne McCarthy Strauss has been writing since she penciled The Princeton Street News, a weekly report on the lives of her Long Island, New York neighbors, at age ten. Today, she is a versatile novelist, writer, interviewer, researcher and public relations pro who focuses on shelter, alternative healthcare, technology and women’s fiction. After majoring in boys and Journalism (her own description) at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Anne pursued a career in corporate public relations and freelance writing. She is the author of A Medical Affair (Booktrope 2013) and The Passion Thief (Booktrope 2014). Anne has written for both consumer and trade magazines including Old House Journal, Waterfront Home & Design, Design Trade Magazine, Design New England, Design Industry News, Distinction, Log Home Design Ideas and Florida Design Review. She has been a regular contributor to Martha’s Vineyard Magazine and Vineyard Style. She also writes content for a number of technology companies. Anne lives in Saratoga Springs, New York, with her husband and their two unconditionally loving Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. She is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA) She appeared on HBO in the film Hard Times: Lost on Long Island (Blowback Productions, 2010). When not writing, she’s likely to be hiking, kayaking, painting, crafting, swimming, or spending time with her dogs. Whenever possible, she travels to Pawley’s Island, South Carolina for a retreat of uninterrupted writing. Anne is hard at work on her next novel and on a non-fiction book on long-term marriage.

AUTHOR COMMENTS: “Technology makes it possible for people to find out just about anything about just about anyone, whether or not they knew that person in the past. Many people today do this without giving it a second thought. The Passion Thief may encourage or discourage the reader from seeking out information that used to be private. And it might make some of us consider just how public we want our cyber profiles to be.”

JUST A TASTE:

FROM CHAPTER 1:

An Evening in Oldtown

Date: Friday, May 17, 2013

Location: Oldtown, Connecticut.

Miles Traveled: 0 .

Alcohol intake: 2 daiquiris, ½ bottle Chardonnay T.S.O.

Time since Orgasm: 16 months, two weeks, and four days.

A search engine and a bottle of wine are a dangerous combination. My husband Stan Boomer is one of those rare human beings that most would term real mensch. He is one of those guys who would do anything for anyone. Stan is the guy you call when you need a ride to the airport or when your mother needs to go to the doctor, and you’re out of town on business. If you ask to borrow his snow blower, he’ll come over to your house, and do the job himself.

Stan is kind to strangers; he takes the time to greet passersby walking babies or dogs. Not a bad bone in the man’s body. Despite being a Board Member and Chief Operating Officer at Oldtown Community Bank, he insists on personally managing the bank’s local branch in town. In that role, Stan is Jimmy Stewart come-to-life from the classic film “It’s A Wonderful Life.” Stan is not the kind of guy who deserves a wife who, drunk, Googles old boyfriends because her husband is tired from a hard day at work. But I’m not a woman who is sold on the idea of calling it a night at 9 p.m. And, so, after twenty-three years of marriage, it began.

At the time of our marriage in 1991, I was concerned that my new name associated me with the Baby Boomer generation whose older members were already well into middle age. When the word “boomer” became synonymous with “senior,” it became burdensome. I felt my name gave the same impression as “Betty Over-45” or “Betty You’re-Not-Getting-Any-Younger” or “Betty Older-Than-Dirt.”

I’d asked Stan to come home early that night—no Kiwanis Club or Chamber of Commerce meetings. No dinners with corporate bigwigs who did their commercial banking at Oldtown Community Bank, while I stayed home alone banging on my computer until midnight, trying to meet yet another impossible deadline I’d set for myself. (I’m a freelance writer—mostly travel pieces—who takes on way too many assignments.) No family business dinners with his dad and his brother, who are Chairman and President, respectively, at OCB, one of the largest privately held banks in New England. I wanted the night to be special. Good God, maybe we’d even make love.

I thought of slipping some Viagra into his cocktail but figured he’d know for sure when he got a spontaneous erection just as I was serving the soufflé. Then it would be anyone’s guess which would stand longer—Stan’s hard-on or the soufflé. According to the expiration date on his prescription bottle, we had only a month left to use ten pills. This was a battle against time I know we’d lose, but I, for one, was ready to go down fighting.

I decided against making a Viagra cocktail for Stan. We didn’t need to make love. If it happened without medical assistance, all the better. I just wanted to see my husband stay awake past 9:30 and perhaps have a conversation with me instead of gluing himself to the television like a patient on life support, sucking on a respirator for survival. The strange thing was that I was the one who was supposed to be experiencing a diminishing sex drive. I’d begun perimenopause, which was nothing more than a funny sounding word until it happened to me, three years earlier at forty-three.

Everything I’d ever heard about the approach to menopause told me that my sex drive would dwindle and eventually die. But for me, it was the complete reverse. For the first time in twenty years, I’d started to notice great-looking young guys. I’m talking about guys my daughter’s age. They were everywhere and they were hot. Where had they (or I) been these past two decades that I hadn’t even seen them? And what kind of pervert was I to be noticing them now? With my sexual urges in overdrive, I’d replaced the tee shirts and cotton underpants I usually wore to bed with silk teddies and satin nightgowns. Wearing them made me feel sensuous as hell. I came on to Stan on a nightly basis, but was lucky if I could keep him awake more than twice a month. And I figured those performances were just to placate me and keep me at bay for a few days.

God! I felt like a man. Am I being too hard on him? I wondered. He works huge hours. But I want companionship in my marriage—to say nothing of sex! I was so horny that I planned to pursue my husband with abandon that very evening. I’d prepared with a shower, makeup, and a tight black sweater with a provocative neckline worn over my Victoria’s Secret Angel Bra. A girl’s gotta keep her hopes up. And her boobs. I collected the ingredients for a pitcher of daiquiris, lining them up on the granite countertop as if they were the makings of a science experiment. Removing a crystal pitcher from one of the solid cherry cabinets that lined the kitchen, I deposited the ice procured from the freezer section of the stainless steel fridge. The kitchen was one of my favorite rooms in the large English Tudor home that we had gutted and customized to our (actually, my) taste in the twenty-two years that we’d lived there.

White rum. Check. Lime juice. Check. Simple syrup. Check. Depositing the ingredients into the pitcher, I mixed them with the gusto of Tom Cruise in the movie “Cocktail.” The contents swirled together like grains of colored sand in a cheap souvenir from the southwest. After about sixty seconds and a touch more lime juice, the daiquiris in the pitcher were the perfect shade of pale green.

(You can read the first two chapters in their entirety on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Passion-Thief-Anne-McCarthy-Strauss-ebook/dp/B00PM6556G/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1442678922&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Passion+Thief#reader_B00PM6556).

LOCAL OUTLETS: Barnes & Noble, Saratoga Springs, New York.

WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT: Amazon, Barnes & Noble.

PRICE: $3.99 to buy (free to subscribed to Kindle Unlimited) – Amazon $18.95 Paper Back List price:- Amazon $16.53 Paper Back List price – Barnes & Nobles.

CONTACT THE AUTHOR: Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/annemccarthystrauss Twitter handle: @annestr Email: annemstrauss@gmail.com

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writersbridgebridgebuilder

Recently retired after 35 years with the News & Advance newspaper in Lynchburg, VA, now re-inventing myself as a novelist/nonfiction writer and writing coach in Lake George, NY.

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