…make me write bad books.
Well, okay, let’s not write bad books. Even though Sean Connery says that women will sleep with you if you write a bad book, I’m not looking for that sort of validation. I am, however, about to step in the proverbial “pile o’ poo”.
You see, as a general rule, people will say just about anything they damn well please to an author and expect us to take it. If they don’t expect us to take it, then they will expect us to “explain ourselves” as if we owe them. This isn’t everyone, of course, but there is a sizable enough segment out there that it prompted me to pen this particular blog entry. The problem is, unless you sit there with a smile on your face, or wholeheartedly agree with them that you are a big doody-head because you didn’t write something exactly the way they wanted, then you automatically become an asshole. I’ve seen this happen to many an author. For the most part, it’s just a speed bump in the road of life, but there have been a few career busting sinkholes out there too.
Now, as far as reviews go, I don’t even read them. Good or bad, doesn’t matter. I pretty much feel I need to give them equal time, so I don’t bother with any of them. Why? It’s a waste of my time. The good reviews will make me feel good, but the bad reviews will make me feel bad. I’d rather spend the hour it would take to read the reviews fantasizing about The Evil Redhead. That makes me feel good. No bad involved. Well… Okay… But it’s the good kind of bad.
But I’m not actually talking about reviews here. I’m talking about the commentaries that happen at book signings, show up in email, or happen on social networking venues. The stuff like, “You need to have XYZ character do ABC in the next book,” or “Your pagans aren’t real enough because in MY community we all go by our magickal names, not our real names.”
I could go on and on, but I won’t. I’m actually here to run off at the mouth about one particular comment that I have received. While the comment in question hasn’t come from everyone, I’ve heard it enough times that I feel a need to address it here.
Before we go any further I’d like to point out that I’m not angry or upset about it. I’m just really confused. And when I say confused, I mean big ol’ WTF kind of confused. I should also point out that what triggered this blog is that I heard the comment again recently. If the young lady who made the comment happens to read my blog, I certainly do not want her to be upset about this. I am not – I repeat, NOT – being a big asshole here. I’m just nonplussed to the nth degree.
The comment itself takes many forms – everything from flat-out, angry and accusatory rhetoric, to a simple, offhanded remark. But, it always boils down to the same thing.
You see, starting with the sixth book in the RGI series, I introduced an antagonist named Miranda. Now, Miranda is a little different in that she is a female serial killer. But what’s more is that she is a rare sub-type, that being a female sexual predator. In short, she’s a “killer dominatrix” – in more ways than one.
Apparently, a handful of folks out there take exception with this. Not that fact that she’s a serial killer or that she is a rare sub-type of female serial killer. Nope… What bothers them is that she’s a Dominatrix. They are anywhere from angry to upset to just plain not sure what to make of the fact that this fictional woman engages in a BDSM Lifestyle and ends up taking it a little too far.
Okay. Good on ya’. You like vanilla, I like twisty cones. Not a problem.
But here’s the thing. The comment – whether angry or phlegmatic – always carries with it the following, “I really loved your other books in the series, but putting BDSM in them is offensive.”
Sometimes I get that direct quote; sometimes it’s just inferred. But, it’s always there even if the exact verbiage isn’t used. This is when I have my gi-hugic WTF? moment. Allow me to explain.
I write paranormal suspense thrillers about a witch who helps the police solve serial murders. In the first book, Harm None, there is a killer who skins his victims alive. In the second book, there is a killer who burns his victims alive. In the third book, Perfect Trust, there is a killer who rapes and kills women. In the fourth, The Law Of Three, victim gets eviscerated while still alive. In number five, Crone’s Moon, the killer is all about torturing the victims to death with electricity.
Are you seeing my point? If not, let me try to clarify a bit…
I am utterly perplexed as to how anyone could be offended by some woman dressing up in leather and spanking some guy, or walking on him in high heels, or making him bark like a dog, or whatever, prior to killing him (she is, after all, a serial killer and a sexual predator at that – meaning she’ll want to get off on it, or else why do it?), BUT the same individual(s) have no problem whatsoever with any of the other horrors my other antagonists have perpetrated upon their victims.
I can’t imagine that it’s just the sexual aspect. After all, sex was all over Perfect Trust. It just happened to be a male in control over the female victims, and getting his jollies with his own bizarre paraphilia.
So, if it isn’t the sex, then is it the fact that it’s a strong female archetype who is killing men?
You know… forget I even asked.
Honestly, I don’t think I’ll ever get it. Nobody has been able to offer me a reasonable explanation for their dislike of the Miranda Saga just yet, and I doubt they ever will. There are just too many contradictions.
Fortunately, it’s a small group.
More to come…