Monday, March 11, 2013

Authors Laying the 'Smackdown' on Other Authors

Amongst lawyers, doctors, teachers and others, the practice of professional courtesy is still astute. However, and sadly, in the world of writing, a small percentage of authors have forgotten that professional courtesy should extend to our craft, as well. It makes me sad.

In this new age of digital publishing and instant success of unknowns, abrasive jealous lashing is common place and not just by unknowns.

We are all well aware of Stephen Kings' slash of Stephanie Meyers, saying ‘She can’t write worth a darn.’ Really, Stephen? What is up with that? If you don’t like her work, say you don’t like her work. Zillion bestselling author or not, who are you to publicly say the woman can’t write? Millions of fans will argue that. What was the point? I’ll tell you, to me and like many others, it was jealousy. She was popular, eating up the charts at a time when he was not.

If that wasn’t the case, it sure looked like it.

Stephanie is not alone. Steve also jacked up James Patterson.

Famous authors dissing other authors at a height of popularity is not uncommon.

Here are some examples
Harold Bloom on J.K. Rowling (2000)
“How to read ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’? Why, very quickly, to begin with, and perhaps also to make an end. Why read it? Presumably, if you cannot be persuaded to read anything better, Rowling will have to do.”

William Faulkner on Ernest Hemingway
“He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary.”

Ernest Hemingway on William Faulkner
“Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words?”

Truman Capote on Jack Kerouac
“That’s not writing, that’s typing.”

Elizabeth Bishop on J.D. Salinger
“I HATED [Catcher in the Rye]. It took me days to go through it, gingerly, a page at a time, and blushing with embarrassment for him every ridiculous sentence of the way. How can they let him do it?”

Mark Twain on Jane Austen (1898)
“I haven’t any right to criticize books, and I don’t do it except when I hate them. I often want to criticize Jane Austen, but her books madden me so that I can’t conceal my frenzy from the reader; and therefore I have to stop every time I begin. Every time I read ‘Pride and Prejudice,’ I want to dig her up and hit her over the skull with her own shin-bone.”

(Funny, if you substitute Jane’s name with mine and her book with one of mine, this is very similar to a criticism I received from another author. One should hope we become as famous as these two)

Abusive and or angry critique of a fellow author is not prejudice only to those who have garnished success. Even the little guys get kicked as well.

Many hide behind anonymous posts on boards or reviews. Anyway it’s done, I think as authors, we need to stop and think before we do it. How is this going to benefit us? Is this going to come back and slap us in the face, either by a missed opportunity or a good old dose of Karma.

Before you say, ‘hey, I’m not just an author, but a reader, too, I can dislike a book,’ this is true. You can. I myself have disliked many books. But that’s my personal taste, if there is something so grave that needs attention, then I tell the author privately. I also mix it with praise on what I liked. I don’t take it to the public. Readers outnumber writers and they can handle the job of reviewing and slamming. In fact we write for them.

If you as an author don’t like being ‘smacked down’, don’t do it to someone else. If the book is that bad, readers will call it out. Find a way to tell the author the way you’d like to be told. I know, I know, I have heard it. “I’d rather hear the raw truth.” Good. But wouldn’t you’d rather hear in your email instead of seeing an author post it on facebook?

I firmly believe the readers aren’t sitting around cheering that disrespecting author. In fact, readers see right through it and it angers them. Especially if you jack up their favorite. Readers don’t read your negative opinion and say, “Oh wow, this writer is amazing, she knows how to spot trash.’ No. The readers gonna simply label you a jealous dick.

Stephanie Meyers CAN write worth a darn. She may not be this ultra descriptive writer who spends twenty pages on the inside of a person’s refrigerator but she weaves a good tale that has captivated millions.

Isn’t that what being a writer and storyteller is about? Telling a story that grips your audience. Not everyone is going to love it. In fact some will despise it. But leave the public broadcast of distaste to the readers.

When an author does that to another author, what are they trying to achieve? Stating you simply didn’t like the book, the characters weren’t for you, it seems implausible … that’s cool, but to go on a rant or say ‘he/she can’t write worth a darn’ is just wrong and in my opinion a violation of a the brotherhood on pens.

Aside from the fact you never know, that fellow author that you slam may be the next Stephen King. Also, as said before, Karma with writers is a horrible thing. Publicly say something shitty about another author’s work and before you know it, ten will do it to you. No kidding. Wait for it, it will happen.

If you absolutely feel you must speak your mind, then do it privately. As you know, we as writers get hit enough in the public eye. If you don’t know that or haven’t experienced it yet, oh, boy are you a newbie.

I am so grateful that the writers I have befriended are classy and would never do that to another author publicly. As my mom always said, tell me who your author friends are and I’ll tell you what kind of author you are. Ok, maybe she left out  ‘author’. But that holds true.

If you wanna publicly lay the smack down, instead of the pages of Amazon reviews, take it to the WWE. That’s the only place I know that talking ‘Smack’ about each other is the norm, then again, not without some serious ass whooping.

Hmm, perhaps we need to pit King against Meyer in a smack down write off.

We are the entertainers of tomorrow and today. We craft worlds to take people away. We should have each others' backs instead of stabbing it.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Why You'll Never See My Relationship Status Change From Single

Five years ago this month, my marriage fell apart. I didn’t see it as ‘falling apart’, I thought it was a blip in life. In hindsight, it fell apart. Perhaps when he said, ‘I don’t want to be a married man anymore’, I should have taken that seriously and wouldn’t have been so shocked when he actually left. To be honest, that break up devastated me. So many people said, “This is the best thing that happened to you. You’ll see.”

I thought they were nuts, but they were right. It was the best thing that ever happened to me. I rose from the ashes, and I grew stronger than I ever was. I focused on my writing and family, and though it took a long time, I finally became independent, self sufficient, and to an extent successful in something I love. Plus, I can check my oil. All of that, wouldn’t have been possible with a mate involved. Really, the success and career focus took a lot of selfish time. Time I otherwise would have had to give to a significant other.

So what brings on this super personal blog? An incident of course. A coworker/friend from DJing decided to play matchmaker with me. She introduces me to this guy. Said guy asks me out. Grrr. I don’t date. Really, I don’t, but since the coworker was trying … okay. First we were supposed to meet for drinks, but he had a kid issue come up. I’m cool with that. He then said, “Let me take you out to dinner on Saturday.”  I accept, Saturday we exchange texts on where we should meet and then … then I get a text an hour before hand saying, “I’m not hungry, let’s just meet for drinks.’. Seriously? I don’t like to go out, so don’t get me an ‘out’, and he did. I simply replied, ‘I don’t think so.’ And that was that.

I’ve been single for a while. Granted I met some really great guys early on after the divorce, but I wasn’t ready. After time, I’ll never be ready. I have compiled a list of reasons, maybe they can help you with that person you’re trying to date, or figure out why you are single.

Been there done that – This is pretty cut and dry, I have been married three times and failed three times, I think I got the message. And I hate failing.

Set in my ways – I am a creature of habit, I do the same things the same time every day. I hate change and I don’t like having to change my schedule to accommodate a date, let alone an entire relationship. I stay up late and rely on naps. I like spending time with the babies. I like my writing time. So anything that can’t be worked around those things … like a date .. is out. I’d have to squeeze you in between 8:30 and 12. But that doesn’t happen. They want my time for writing and my babies. I’m not willing to give that up.

Want to be me – a very nice, stable, attractive man recently pursued me. But he envisioned me as I am not. Always saying he’d like to see me dressed up. Not happening. I like my levis and tee shirts. I don’t wear skirts, only light make up. I’m going through perimenopausal, damn it, I hate anything tight on my body.  I did that ‘look good always thing’ screw that. I am who I am.

Deal breakers – I have a mental list you know. Even the best guy ruins it in my book when he does one of my deal breakers. They are, but not limited to: Throws themselves into my writing. Shows up unexpectedly. Tells me how much he likes me. Suggests pizza as a first date, Texts only a ‘K’. Tells me he sleeps in the nude. Brings up sex. Which leads to …

Men think of one thing – Remember the old commercial? How many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie pop? Well the new question is, ‘how long does it take for a man to bring up sex?’.  Really, seriously, they bring it up. Out of the blue. They feel obligated to tell you they think of you that way. Or how long it’s been. Dude, I get it. Sexual chemistry is important, but at my age, it’s short lived. I want more to rely on, especially after everything starts flapping in the wind. If I want to talk about sex, I’ll bring it up. Because if you do before I want to hear it … done.

Highs – There is that euphoric feeling of love. The highs of a good time. But in every passionate relationship there are low points. Sorry. Love sucks. And those ‘highs’ you feel when things are great are nowhere near as intense as the ‘lows’ you feel when things go bad. Don’t want to deal with that.

Long distance – I would be really willing to have a relationship with some that lived out of town, like a thousand miles away out of town. Maybe talk a couple days a week, text message to say hello daily and see each other whenever. That type of relationship would not invade my life.

Mercy Me – This goes pretty much with the highs. When you are in a relationship, you have to give your all. In doing that you are at the emotional mercy of someone else. I am not ready to do that. I don’t want someone’s pissy mood to make me pissy.  No thank you.

And finally, Number One …

They Aren’t Frank – In case you don’t know, Frank is the hero in my sci fi series. That series has 20+ books and no end in sight. Frank is my ultimate male, he doesn’t exist in this dimension because I created him. He’s not perfect, he’s hard headed, dumb, not real handsome, but he’s Frank. So unless a 6’3, bulky (Not muscular), dark haired, goatee sporting, low IQ, funny, hard headed guy named Frank steps into my life my life (Yes he should be named Frank), I’m afraid I’ll forever be single.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Seven Things all Writers can Learn from Taylor Swift

You’re probably thinking I have lost it. That I am digging deep for blog material if I can suggest that writers or anyone successful and starting out has a lot to learn from Taylor Swift. She’s twenty-three years old … really, what can be learned.
A lot.
I remember when Taylor first burst on the scene, a sweet teen age girl with loads of talent. So cute, we all just wanted to pinch her cheeks. Now a lot of America, over the age of twenty-one just want to slap those cheeks. The same girl who cried the blues because Tina Fey made fun of her, got on stage at the Grammy’s mocked an ex boyfriend and proceeded to sing the worst song ever written. You may argue that point, but the lyrics say it all, “Never, ever, ever getting back together … like ever.”
To be a legend in entertainment isn’t just selling. Popularity is fleeting, and while she goes up and down, eventually, Swift will have to leave the limelight to redesign herself. Her actions right now will determine if the buying public will welcome her back with open arms.
In her young life and she is young, she is doing things that can teach us all a lesson. I have compiled a small list. I am applying this to writers, but anyone can heed the Swift advice.
Burning Bridges – Miss Swift is doing a lot of that, especially lately. Her string of relationships that make their way into song lyrics, not to mention her outspoken nature about anyone that criticizes her. She teaches us that you never know. That person you step on or snub today can be tomorrow’s bestselling author. Don’t burn bridges.
You Can’t Let It Define You – What makes you successful today, what makes you tick as a writer, can’t be what defines you forever. You enjoy writing dark subjects, or comedy, eventually, it will get old. You need to grow. Miss Swift broke onto the scene crying about a broken heart and she still is doing it. Same songs different guy. This connects to …
Break the Mold – I know, this is coming from someone who has a 20+ series, but it isn’t all I write. I have penned over a 150 books. Most will never see the light of a Kindle because they suck … but I break the mold. Too many writers write the same thing, the same series, the same characters … only. They Taylor Swift themselves. Branch out, write new things, new subjects. People may not really buy them or read them, but at least you can say you are more than a series, a zombie and vampire writer.
Standards – Hold yourself to standards. This is short and sweet. If you become successful and to the point that people will buy your stuff no matter what, hold yourself to the standards of a good solid story. No ‘Never ever getting back together’ crap. Give every book the love it deserves and the passion your readers deserve. If it ends up sucking at least you really tried.
Take Criticism  - Don’t whine! For heaven’s sake, Taylor Swift is all over the news when someone makes a derogatory comment. I’m not talking about the occasional blip of complaint about a bad review. There are authors who slam reviewers for giving an opinion.  More than a blip, they take it to forums and so forth. Immediately these reviewers are trolls, implants and know nothing. When in actuality, most of them are honest, negative opinions. Deal with it.
Look Back and Be Proud – My daughter said it all when she said, “Swift is gonna be forty and look back at how she acted and be embarrassed’.  That goes with thrashing reviewers, snubbing people. I know I am guilty of not checking my Facebook messages or putting an email in the ‘to be replied’ file and not getting to it in a while. I’m trying, we should all try. So we can look back at how we acted in the beginning in be proud, not embarrassed.
Give back – I totally trashed Swift this entire blog, but I am going to praise her in this final Swift Lesson. For as immature as she acts, as young as she is, Taylor Swift is by far the most generous celebrity. Not only with her money, but her time as well. She volunteers all the time. She gives back. We can all take a lesson from that. If things are going well for us, help someone who is less fortunate. If we are having success in writing, and another writer asks for help, do you best to guide them.
And that’s it. I thank Taylor Swift for all that she has taught us.