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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Oh, Those Wretched Critics


It's true. I write, therefore there will be critics. So in my other job I write novels. A little fantasy, a little paranormal stuff, a little thriller, some mysteries. Check it out. If you've got a kindle, a nook, or whatever, you can see my stuff on amazon, barnes and noble, and smashwords. Love those websites.

As a motivator I made most of my stuff free for a short time. It seems to be doing well. Lots of people are downloading. Can't do it on amazon for some reason. So there the cheap ones are 99 cents. Not a bad bargain.

However, and oh, how I love the word, 'HOWEVER,' there are the critics.

Example. I have a novella on http://www.bn.com/ called Black Moon. Here's the description: Donovan is a werejaguar sworn to fight against his enemies, the dreaded werewolf clan - the Whitelaws. Isabella is an uncommon librarian, a member of the Committee. When she faces the Whitelaws to retrieve a very dangerous book, she encounters Donovan and their lives will never be the same.

Okay. It's not War and Peace, I know. It's paranormal romance. Very popular nowadays. I think there's 83 ratings on bn and it's downloading like crazy on smashwords. Yea, free enterprise. But some of the critics, oi vey.

An example from an honest to gosh critic: 'This is a short story not a book ergo the lower rating.'

IT WAS FREE, you dope. What did you want? Stephen King long? The bible long? Then it would have rated a whole other star. Man. This Anonymous, (may I say something about people who criticize and are too AFRAID to leave their names, the weenies,) person was also slightly offended about the sexual content. Yes, Virginia, there was sex in the story. Paranormal romance. What can I say? Was it porn? Not quite.

Let me explain. A few years ago I wrote this novella, not a short story, Anonymous, btw, for Silhouette Nocturne. They were looking for novellas in the 15,000 to 25,000 word range, featuring cool beasties and the like. So I did this one. Nothing particularly original about the setting, but I really like the action in it. You begin reading and it goes well. When Silhouette didn't snap it up, probably because they're inundated by thousands of would-be romance novelists, I let it lie until I decided to offer it for free as an ebook to get people to read some of my other stuff. Yea, me.

There the real and true origin of the novella (NOVELLA, look it up in the dictionary, Anonymous) Black Moon.

Now as a response I get a lot of comments. One favorite was about my grammar, I'm quoting here verbatim to get the best effect: 'Alot grammer errors.' Wow. Misspelling and grammatically incorrect in the same sentence. What a winner. Thank God for the First Amendment, let me tell you.

Please don't get me wrong. I don't mind if someone says there's a lot of typos. As a matter of fact, that makes me want to go back and edit the hell out of it, which I'm doing to one of the books I put out because I'm getting a lot of feedback about that issue. But come on, people, if you're going to criticize, be constructive, pul-lease. (And for those Anonymous people who said my work rocked, well, this obviously doesn't apply to you complete winners.)

As for the sex scenes in the book. I'm not sure what I should have done to warn people. Maybe put a warning system on the book. Here goes the romance warning system I've developed:

G - Good for even 8 year old girls to read. Does not contain sex, allusions to sex, or potty words (or as my daughter says toilet butt words.) Does not even contain the word, 'butt.' Does not have a cover of a half naked man, or a woman, if that's the case, or a woman lying at the foot of a man looking adoringly, or pantingly, up at him. Good for school marms, uptight Christians, and all people with big repressed issues coloring their points of views.

PG - May contain closed door sex. The couple goes in. The door shuts. Whoopee is implied but definitely not described. Definitely no premarital sex or bad words. Occasionally a crap or damn might slip out. May contain kissing and sometimes kissing where the tongue is slipped, or the French method is incurred. Good for church going folks who have a handy fan and for people who slip the book under their pillows at night. (You know who you are.)

PG-13 - Sex is definitely involved. It may be closed door sex or described sex. However, the penis is often referred to as his manhood, shaft, masculinity, valor, virility, weapon, power, potency. The vagina is a sheath, cleft, treasure, warmth. The actual sexual act is described but in somewhat vague terms and the couple nearly always climaxes at the same time. Lots of kissing, some cunnilingus, occasional implied fellatio. Nipples can be sucked in books rated PG-13.

R - Sex is always present and accounted for. The couple is hot for each other. The penis is a dick, cock, rod, shaft, root, and is often as hard as a rock, hard enough to pound nails, erection, swollen with lust, etc. Things go to town in an R-rated story. They fuck. Fuck is sometimes used in context in a R-rater. They may be married, but mostly they aren't, although they do fall in love despite all kinds of wretched circumstances.

X - Everything is described explicitly. Go ahead. Just be offended ahead of time. Should be included in the title. Black Moon (A Novella that will OFFEND Anonymous). Of course, Black Moon was NOT X-rated. It was more like a blend between PG-13 and R. I never called the hero's penis anything bad and the hero was definitely considerate of the heroine's oral needs. But this is objective and I'm certain Anonymous would like to have his or her say.

Anyway, here's my advice. If you find a book that has the following euphemisms for having sex in it, then it's probably not worth reading: a piece of crumpet, poking the pork through the whiskers, baloney hop, bandicooting, banging the shithouse door in a gale, bouncy-bouncy, giving the dog a bone, parallel parking, or spearing the bearded clam. None of which I've ever used in a novel, with the exception of The Life and Death of Bayou Billy, which is supposed to be slightly sick and wrong. (Yes, The Life and Death of Bayou Billy is rated X, but it's not a romance novel, so take that, Anonymous.)

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