Sunday, November 18, 2007

Loyalty, Practicality, and Doing the Right Thing

I try hard to do the right thing. Unfortunately, I find that a lot of the time I have a really hard time figuring out WHAT the "right thing" is.

For example:

I was at a conference a while back. On panels. On more than one panel, over and over again books by one of my friends/acquaintances (who is one of the best people around and catches a whole lot of flack she doesn't deserve) were being ripped.

The problem: (1) I want to be loyal. (2) I want to be honest.

Some of the criticism was right in line with my own views. But I'M not the author. It's her playground, her rules. And honestly, if you don't like it, vote with your pocketbook--move on. Nobody REQUIRES you to read them. I honestly don't get the vitriol.

Same conference, different panel, I'm trying to explain how our books are kind of cross-genre, genre-bending. It's not that we are putting down any one group, we just aren't necessarily a good fit there. Again, don't like the books, don't buy them. No problema. Not everybody likes the same stuff. Which leaves more of what I like for me.

OH BOY OH BOYOBOYOBOY! You'd've thought I shot someone's Granny or kicked their puppy dog. Apparently there are RULES folks, and there are people who BELIEVE IN THOSE RULES! Thou shalt write what I tell you to dammit. You 'vil write it and you VIL LIKE IT!

Um, uh . . . no. Not so much.

I know there are tropes for every genre. If you write genre fiction, you have to at least acnkowledge they exist, and you risk offending fans of the genre if you stray too far from them. BUT (and I'm talking a BIG, FREAKING WORLD CLASS BUT HERE) YOU GET TO. Just don't portray it as *INSERT GENRE HERE*. For example, I (IN MY OWN OPINION) do not consider our books classic romantic fiction. We have too much violence, not enough angst (usually). I mean, we have a BODY COUNT in our books for heaven's sake. There are people who have alternative lifestyles and actually ENJOY them. There are also people who are happily monogamous and straight. Because, from what I've seen of real life, both groups exist. There are also people who are screwed up from almost every walk of life. We write some of those too. Now, we are marketed in romance, and shelved in romance in some stores. We are also marketed as fantasy and urban fantasy and shelved there in other stores. Neither offends me. But I think that the fantasy readers are probably confused by the romance level and the romance readers are frustrated at the violence.

I don't think you can make everybody happy. So I/we just write the best books we can and hope that people like them. I'm not deliberately offending people. But it is how I see it.

But I actually have had people in the part of the country where I now reside who have informed me that they are really worried about the state of my soul because of what I write.

Um. Well. Hmnnn. Thank you? I mean, I'm glad you care. But if you've actually read the books, you know that they're pretty much parables of good versus evil and, while evil puts up one (pardon the expression) hell of a fight, good wins.

And, another, final, example. As an author you get asked to read (LOTS AND LOTS OF) books by other authors to give cover quotes. This is a nice thing to do. It can really make a difference for the other author. And if the book is good, WHOO HOO, you betcha. But, um, what if the uh, um, book . . . sucks? I mean, REALLY sucks as in "I threw the damned thing across the room hard enough that it knocked the painting off of the wall" sucks? You want to be kind. You want to do your friend a favor. (And you may someday want a quote of your own---and karma, my friends, can be a bitch.) BUT you owe the people picking it up based on your name honesty. And I don't lie for sh**. AND I don't have a lot of time. Deadlines are perpetually looming, threatening to take over my life. So, in self-defense, I've taken a risky stance and am not doing cover quotes when I'm on deadline. (Since I'm practically always on deadline, that means I'm not doing a lot of cover quotes. Which may mean people won't do them for me.)

Okay, I've ranted long enough. I've gotta go anyway. The books, my friends, do not write themselves.

Best always.



Dayna_Hart said...

I think, Cie, I would enjoy sitting over a cup of coffee with you one day. (I'd say margaritas, but I'm a very cheap drunk and would like to remember the encounter.) I was nodding like a bobblehead through your entire post.

Vitriol, anger, hatred of any kind confuses me. Maybe I just don't have the energy to put out in such a negative way. (Karma, as you said.) Maybe I'm just lazy :)

I am a fantasy reader primarily, and I have to say that I like your books because they're cross genre. I've read a book recently which was all story...the emotional reactions of the characters were very was as if the story itself was too important to waste time with how the main character might feel about things.
And I've read romances where...well, they're so busy with the emotional stuff there wasn't enough story to keep my interest.

In your books, those are balanced, and I never quite know what to expect with your plots, but I know the ending will have a HEA.

Anonymous said...

Hi Cie,
I stopped by to check up on you! and say "HAPPY HOLIDAYS" too!

Teresa D'Amario said...

Hi Cie,

Could you drop me a line? I have a question about shape shifter and publicity,etc. email is