At our bi-monthly writing meeting, the discussion turned to the trials and tribulations, the angst, and the periodic hair pulling of putting together a story. Somehow the talk moseyed over to the topic of Nora Roberts. For those who don't know, Nora Roberts, with the release of Whiskey Beach in April 2013, has written two hundred and five books. Thirty-seven of which were under her pseudonym, J.D. Robb.
"I heard she's not human," said Hanna, whose eyes were still red from her breakdown minutes before after telling us about the battle she's been having with her present work.
She glanced around the cafe. Her voiced lowered to barely a whisper as she leaned forward. "She's an experimental android spy made by the military. NORA is actually short for Natural Observational Robotic Agent. But all her reports displayed such creative flair everyone wanted to read them and were trying to sneak copies out. Of course the military couldn't have that. "
"They tried reprogramming her, but it didn't work and decided to let her run on her own, monitoring how long she could operate before malfunctioning. They never expected her to be this good for this long. Plus the Department of Defense gets a percentage of the book sales, so they're real happy."
"But she smokes. She has to be real," said Mary.
"They added that for realism," replied Hanna.
"I don't think so." Mary continued, "I read Nora's an alien from a literary planet. She has two brains that work independently from each other and has two sets of arms. That way she can work on a couple of stories at the same time. She just picked up the smoking habit while on this planet."
"And where the hell did you read that?" asked Cyndi, whose voice whipped with disdain.
"From a reputable newspaper."
"Yeah, well I wouldn't call The Backdoor Inquisitor a professional journalistic paper."
"I didn't say I read. . ."
"Oh come on. I know you grab that rag every time you go shopping and that bit of info is just their speed."
Mary's fingers tugged at the buttons of her blouse.
"Okay ladies, let's calm it down here," Keira, always the peacemaker of the group, said as she flipped her hands up in a crossing guard gesture to stop them.
"I heard she has some kind of magical power," interjected Debbie, her timid glance darted back and forth between Cyndi and Mary.
"What, she just waves her magic wand and poof there's a novel sitting in front of her?," Cyndi shot back.
"Well, I didn't say I believed it," said Debbie, now wishing she'd kept her mouth shut.
"You're all wrong," said Tawny. "She has eight clones tucked away in a remote cabin, each turning out a different story. Nora, herself, only writes one book every three years."
Cyndi quirked an eyebrow.
"Really! I heard it from a friend, who heard it from a friend, who was made privy to it by her sister-in-law, who got it from her mother, who heard it from her hairstylist, who happens to be the same person Nora uses."
"Did you breathe at all through that whole sentence?" Cyndi stifled a chuckle.
Tawny's eyes narrowed. Her hands, resting on her lap, clenched into fists as she drew in a deep breath through her nose.
"Admit it ladies, we're just jealous and wish we could be as prolific," Keira threw in before more could be said. She sighed as she gazed at the sullen faces and nodding heads, then raised her coffee cup.
"To Nora, whatever she may be."
We lifted our cups to meet hers. "To Nora."