Sociologist and Author Margaret R. Davis’s Novel Depicts Shenanigans as Women and Men Climb Corporate Ladder

The Miranda Affair, a new novel by Margaret R. Davis

 

Sociologist and author Margaret R. Davis’s new novel, The Miranda Affair (published by Sand Hill Review Press, 2017) is a light-hearted yet serious depiction of the political shenanigans that take place as women and men in a large corporation struggle to climb the corporate ladder.

See how protagonists/rivals Katie Carlisle and Barry Bryce cope and triumph.

https://www.amazon.com/Miranda-Affair-Margaret-R-Davis/dp/1937818527/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1508798175&sr=1-1&keywords=The+Miranda+Affair

Please also read

“The Cost of Devaluing Women” in The New York Times Opinion section by Sallie Krawcheck December 2, 2017

[….] I changed firms again and moved another rung up the corporate ladder, and it felt a little less fraught to deal with the inevitable. I was able to say no to the senior government official who said, “How about we go up to my hotel room?” before obscenely wagging his tongue at me in front of my colleagues. I could knock the portfolio manager’s hands off my leg without too much fear of retribution.

These are stories…. But in the dizzying past few weeks, as this crucial moment of reckoning on sexual harassment continues, it’s clear that the harassment I was subjected to is not in the past….

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/02/opinion/sunday/the-cost-of-devaluing-women.html

 

So You Want to Write a Novel

The dream of writing a novel is a common one.  And probably most people sort of know what they’d like to be writing about.  Their own personal experiences, perhaps, or something out of history that’s fascinated them or maybe wild sci-fi theme.

But what is the best way to start?  Going to university to get a Master of Fine Arts degree is one way, but many people just don’t have the time and money for that.  And, perhaps surprisingly, there apparently isn’t much correlation between having an MFA degree and being a successful writer.

Most people take simpler steps.  Just sitting down to write is a good first step.  You soon discover though that you need more than this.  Writing is communication and to communicate well you need to learn the rules—the art and craft of writing.  There are many ways to learn the rules.

Rule #1:  Read, Read, Read. Not just the ordinary reading you do for fun but teach yourself to observe and analyze as you read.  Analyze the passages that really turn you on.  What is it the author has done to communicate effectively, to make characters come to life, to create a plot that pulls you into turning the page?

Rule #2:  Use resources like the Library and Internet. To craft a good book, you need to understand a lot about such facets of writing as plotting, building characters, point of view, tense.  Browse the reference section of a library on writing, look through the contents page to seek out these topics.  Alternatively, the Internet is a fantastic source.  You can feed in a phrase like “point of view literature” and see what comes up.  Probably almost too much information which is why a good book or two may be more helpful by summarizing and organizing the information for you.  (Try Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass.)

Rule #3:  Mingle with other writers. Take a class at a community center, join a book club where several people read and discuss the same book, go to authors’ events at your local library, join a writing critique group where writers meet to read their own work and have the group critique it.  Last, but not least, consider joining a writers’ club. The California Writers Club, for instance, holds regular meetings featuring guest speakers, can put you in touch with critique groups, has news about conferences, workshops, and contests.

Rule #4:  Develop a thick skin. To improve your writing, it is essential to open it to criticism from others.  You can get practice in this through writing classes and critique groups.

Other [yawn! boring!]  stuff it’s good to be comfortable with. These include   rules of English usage, grammar, spelling, punctuation—knowing when to say “whose” and when to say “who’s”; knowing when to use “I, he, she, we, they” and when to say “me, him, her, us, them.”  Don’t rely on Spell-Check; that doesn’t know the difference either.  This is one reason it’s imperative to get a good editor before submitting a book to a publisher.  But it’s a good idea to get a feel for this stuff yourself.  (Try, for example, The Elements of Style by William I. Strunk, Jr. and E. B. White and The Elements of Grammar by Margaret Shertzer.)

Sociologist Margaret R. Davis’s new novel, The Miranda Affair (published by Sand Hill Review Press, 2017) is a light-hearted yet serious depiction of the political shenanigans that take place as women and men in a large corporation struggle to climb the corporate ladder.

Order through Amazon, please click here.

Margaret R. Davis’s debut novel, Straight Down the Middle (Kelso Books, 2009) is set in San Francisco in the mid-1980’s at a time when the gay revolution was at its height.  It is a humorous, romantic, sometimes spicy story about a lesbian woman’s quest to have a baby.

Order through Amazon, please click here.

Why do writers write?

So You Want to Write a Novel.  This got me to thinking about why it is  that so many people would like to write a novel, or at least say they do.  I thought of several reasons.

It’s an easy road to fame: Some people think it would be easy!  Novelist Isabel Allende tells the story of meeting a brain surgeon at a party.  He told her, “When I retire, I’d like to write a novel.”  She countered with, “When I retire, I’d like to become a brain surgeon.”

You have an active imagination: You’re the kind of person who daydreams about the experiences of others.  You read a real life account of, say, a small plane downed in the Sierras with a single survivor, and this puts you right into the mind of that survivor and imagining what they are thinking and doing.

It’s cathartic:  Those people who keep a regular journal know it is incredibly beneficial to consign your thoughts to paper.  Writing fiction will always reflect your own experiences and feelings–and this can be both comforting and fun.

You can write the truth but disguise it as fiction:   Many debut novels are fictionalized life stories. Writing is cathartic, as I said before.  Writing your own life story is particularly so.  A couple of reasons to turn truth into fiction:  (1) to minimize the risk of embarrassing or angering other people who are part of your story; (2) to reduce the need to get every single fact (dates, times, etc.) exact.

To publicize a cause you believe in:  Quoting Isabel Allende again,  “You can tell the deepest truths with the lies of fiction.”   Everyone likes to listen to a story; not everyone wants to hear a lecture.  Often the most persuasive way to get people interested in your cause is to write a story about it.

Sociologist Margaret R. Davis’s new novel, The Miranda Affair (published by Sand Hill Review Press, 2017) is a light-hearted yet serious depiction of the political shenanigans that take place as women and men in a large corporation struggle to climb the corporate ladder.

Order through Amazon, please click here.

Margaret R. Davis’s debut novel, Straight Down the Middle (Kelso Books, 2009) is set in San Francisco in the mid-1980’s at a time when the gay revolution was at its height.  It is a humorous, romantic, sometimes spicy story about a lesbian woman’s quest to have a baby.

Order through Amazon, please click here.

Margaret Davis’s Book Launch Party for Straight Down the Middle

Party Bloopers!

On February 7, 2009 I held a book launch party for Straight Down the Middle. For me, it was a date picked at random; for the rest of the world it was Super Bowl Sunday.  What a blooper!  It was a lovely party, nevertheless.  We met in a beautiful reception room at The Peninsula Regent in San Mateo (courtesy of Ruth Silnes).  Family members helped me sell books and hand out cake.

Among the guests present were authors Luisa Adams (Woven of Water), Winifred McCaffrey (Gule Wamkulu—The Big Dance), Laurel Anne Hill (Heroes Arise), Joyce Robins (Aunt Lydia’s Trousseau), Teresa LeYung Ryan (Love Made of Heart), Geri Spieler (Taking Aim at the President).

Straight Down the Middle has received some wonderful reviews from readers.  Many of the full reviews are posted on Amazon.Com.  Some excerpts follow:  “[It] is the kind of a story that stays with you—a page turner.” (Ruth Silnes); “Margaret Davis writes a compelling story…I recommend this fine gift to any reader who appreciates a good story, a complex situation, and a heroic approach to the resolution of what has heart and meaning in life.  This book is a winner!”  (Luisa Adams); “A sweet love story.” (Holly Millar); “Thoroughly enjoyable…humorous and heart-wrenchingly human, Straight Down the Middle is a wonderful way to spend a day.” (Winifred McCaffrey); “Thank you for such a wonderfully entertaining book!…the writing is superb…” (Sarah Marion); “…A compelling, complex narrative…The Davis prose is fluid and rhythmic…  …Straight Down the Middle made this reader ask, ‘When will there be another story by the same author?’” (Gordon Seely)

Author Margaret Davis with Guests at Book Launch

Margaret Davis, Sociologist & Author of Straight Down the Middle.

Mate selection as social exchange

Mate Selection as Social Exchange

Recently, I was intrigued by a column in The Palo Alto Daily News (Feb. 26, 2010) by Malcolm Fleschner on the topic of “Should women settle?”  “Settle” as in “settle for what they can get in a mate” as opposed to “waiting for Mr. Right.”  The writer’s conclusion is that probably most women are willing to settle for a guy who’s good enough, if not the man of their dreams. After all, so many feminine romantic ideals hark back to Prince Charming stories that quickly fizzle in the cold light of real life.  And so many women, so popular wisdom goes, really do want to settle in another sense–into home and family-building–for which someone less than Prince Charming will surely do.

As a sociologist, this discussion took me back to college days where we debated Social Exchange Theory.  This theory offers a simple, if somewhat coldblooded explanation, of all social interactions–even a simple greeting to a stranger–as “exchanges.”  An even exchange, where my greeting of you is as robust as yours is of me, is more acceptable than one in which one party is giving more than he/she gets.

In this framework, mate selection would work as follows.  A man would assess what he has to offer in attracting a potential mate–such as, physical looks, height, strength, wealth, earning power, social class ranking.

Similarly, the female would assess her own value in similar terms.  Each will use this self-assessment to determine the pool of mates each could realistically hope to be able to attract and get.  Of course, males and females may value different things in the opposite sex–a man may be more impressed by a woman’s physical attributes; she may be more impressed with the male’s job and earning power.

So, this theory predicts that pretty well everyone “settles” in the long run–men and women alike–whether they intend to do so or whether they even realize they are doing so.

Sociologist Margaret R. Davis’s new novel, The Miranda Affair (published by Sand Hill Review Press, 2017) is a light-hearted yet serious depiction of the political shenanigans that take place as women and men in a large corporation struggle to climb the corporate ladder.

Order through Amazon, please click here.

Margaret R. Davis’s debut novel, Straight Down the Middle (Kelso Books, 2009) is set in San Francisco in the mid-1980’s at a time when the gay revolution was at its height.  It is a humorous, romantic, sometimes spicy story about a lesbian woman’s quest to have a baby.

Order through Amazon, please click here.