ROSEMARY HARRIS: My new book, The Bitches of Brooklyn didn't start out with that title. In its first incarnation it was a mystery entitled, The Fifth Woman. I loved that title. It was mysterious, intriguing.
And then I walked through an airport and saw Hennel Mankell's book, The Fifth Woman. And then The Sixth Man came out. The Fourth Witness. Suddenly everything sounded too much like my title.
On top of that, my agent said she liked the book but thought I should consider taking the murder out. (Hunh?) It was really about friendships, she said. Marriages. And it was funny. She annointed me the next Susan Isaacs (from her lips to you-know-who's ears.) But the title would have to change.
At one point it was The Bitches of Bushwick (a neighborhood in Brooklyn and a nice riff on The Witches of Eastwick.) The location may have changed but they've always been bitches.
Back in the day, it was an epithet. Joan Crawford's character doesn't even utter it at the end of The Women. " There's a name for you, ladies but it isn't used in society - outside of a kennel!"
Nowadays, it is. Skinny Bitch. Stitch 'n' Bitch. Don't trust the B*tch in 2B. Elton John sang that The Bitch is Back and The Stones thought love was a bitch. Miles Davis made a brew out of it. We've got Bitch Magazine, The Book Bitch, Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. In many circles, including the one in my book, it's a term of endearment.
And for goodness sake, we regularly kill, maim and otherwise abuse characters in our books. One would not think a simple one syllable word would be cause for censorship.
So, I was more than a little surprised when facebook refused to run my ad or promoted post for the free download of my book last week. This from the people who - on the same day that they refused my ad - ran a picture of a murdered Florida woman while her body was still warm. It also seemed inconsistent to me when facebook is riddled with the F bomb - even in people's page addresses. The ad kept popping up as The Of Brooklyn. Not very helpful. But Zuckerberg isn't taking my calls to explain.
I haven't crossed the rubicon yet in terms of using the F word in my books (and may never) but I have embraced my inner - and some would say outer - Bitch.
To paraphrase Margaret Cho - "any time anyone has ever called me a bitch, I've taken it as a compliment."
Whether you say Bitch, Bee-atch or B*tch, one lucky commenter will win one of these bitchin' tank tops. For yourself or your favorite bitch.