to go vote.
to go vote.
Yesterday I blogged about the controversy surrounding LonCon’s naming of Jonathan Ross as the emcee of the Hugo awards ceremony. There hadn’t been much of a response to the announcement until a member of the concom resigned her position in protest to the announcement. Even then there wouldn’t have been nearly as much vitriol as there was except for one thing — she made the decision to take her issues with the con chairs public and published her resignation letter on her blog. From there, the usual characters of political correctness took up the cry and the twitterverse exploded.
I’m not going to rewrite everything I said yesterday. For one thing, a few folks might come hurt me if I put yet again the image of certain PC fanatic “folks” dressed as southern belles in their heads. However, if you missed what I said yesterday, you can find it here.
A couple of things have happened since my post went live that I do want to discuss. The first is that the concom member who posted her resignation online and sparked the controversy has now taken her post private. Funny that she didn’t do that until after Ross stepped down. Maybe she had no ulterior motive in posting something like that so everyone and their dog could read it. However, jaded as I am by the way a certain faction within SFWA works, I have to wonder if she did so because the motivating factor in writing the post in the first place did occur.
The second thing that happened was a fellow decided to educate me on how the whole situation was the result of mishandling of the issue by the concom and con chairs. After all, they could have spun all of this into a something that would have scored them public relations points. Of course, this fellow was doing it on a friend of mine’s Facebook wall where it would get more views, supposedly, than it would here because my friend is an award-winning author. My suspicions about his motivations appear to be confirmed because I suggested he come here, to the blog, to continue the discussion and, well, so far he’s a no-show.
I will admit that the con chairs and the concom mishandled the situation on a number of fronts. But to put the complete blame on them for not turning it into a pr plus is to live in a fantasy world. The vast majority of fandom had not even heard about Ross being picked to emcee the Hugos before the concom member issued her very public resignation. Then the usual suspects picked up the cry of “evil man!” and the whole thing blew up.
I bet if, without the fires being fanned by the PC darlings, you had gone to an average fan and asked if they knew who Jonathan Ross was, they’d say no — unless they were from England. Then if you said he’d been asked by Neil Gaiman to act as host, their reaction would be “Cool. He must really be a fan of SF/F.” In fact, if you look at a number of the tweets and Facebook postings, etc., from those who were protesting him being named as emcee, you will see that most of them had no idea who he was. They were just piling on because someone else said he was mean to women and made fat jokes.
Now that Ross has stepped down, the reactions are still coming in. There are those who say how wrong it was to have an emcee who was more well-known that the people who might win the Hugo (and am I the only one who sees the issue with that statement? If our award winners are that far out of the public awareness, don’t we need to ask ourselves why? Perhaps it’s because they aren’t necessarily writing books that people want to read. Hint. Hint.). Then there are those who say “good” because people who weren’t even planning on going to LonCon said they were glad they’d made that decision if he was going to be there. What?!? Now we have to worry about what folks who wouldn’t be there anyway thin? Then there were those who were glad because they were going and now they wouldn’t have to worry about what might be said.
I’m sorry, when did we become so dainty and delicate that we have to worry about things that might be said?
But it is the double standard that bothers me the most. It struck me again as I was watching part of the Oscars last night with my mother. During the opening sequence, Ellen introduced one of the nominees in the best supporting actress category, noting that she was the oldest nominee that year. Then she shouted at the woman what she’d just said, making a joke out of the possibility that she might be hard of hearing. So here’s a comic making fun of the elderly and someone who might have a handicap. But where is the outrage? I’m not seeing any of the PC dahlings shouting that Ellen should be sorry about what she did or that she should never again host the Oscars. Why aren’t they boycotting her talk show?
It’s that same double standard that condemns a man for telling an off-color joke at a con and then turns around and condemns a man for telling a woman to quit fondling his ass. Men have been the oppressors for so long — by their skewed vision of history — that now it is all right for the empowered women to do to them everything they think a man has done to the female of the species for so long. Of course, that same way of thinking is what brought us such gems of wisdom — and tongue is firmly planted in cheek — that all intercourse is rape for a woman. Yep, you heard it right. There are those “enlightened” women — and some men — who think a woman can’t enjoy sex and that it is nothing but rape every time it happens. I don’t know about you but not only no, but hell no. Rape is non-consensual and, for those poor little darlings, most of us actually do consent and enjoy the hell out of sex. So sorry if you don’t but don’t go around projecting your own issues on the rest of us.
All of this is indicative of the same idiocy of some cons requiring there to be parity on their panels. They actually require sexes to be equally represented on panels. In other words, if you have three men on a panel, you have to have three women. David Gerrold had a great riff on this on his Facebook page yesterday showing just how ridiculous this sort of thing is. His basic take was that if you have to have the same number of women as you have men, why stop there. Why not have the same number of handicapped as non-handicapped? Or different races or religions or whatever?
All Mr. Gerrold said he cared about was making sure the panelists were qualified to be on the panel. Thank you, Mr. Gerrold. I’ve been to too many cons where panels had one author who actually knew their topic and could discuss it and then others on the panel didn’t have a clue. That sort of thing does no one any good. Worse, I’ve moderated panels where that has happened and I’ve had to try to control those who don’t know the topic but who continue to try to prove they do.
I said yesterday that I wonder where the grown-ups are. I still do. I also wonder how long it’s going to be before those writers and readers who don’t give a flying fig about making sure they are walking in lockstep with the current PC mantra but who only want to write and read entertaining, well-written books simply say, “I’ve had enough” and leave organizations like SFWA to those who think they have a duty to educate us into the right-think way of life. When that happens, the “cool kids” will realize that they have no one left to bully and will turn on one another. While they are busy pointing fingers and passing blame, the rest of us will continue doing what we’ve done all along — writing books people want to read.
In case you missed it, yesterday had yet another — yes, another — blow up in the sf/f community. This time it revolved around the choice of a host for the Hugo presentation at LonCon. Since I wasn’t going to be at LonCon, I really didn’t pay much attention other that to wonder why this particular presenter was chosen. To the best of my knowledge, Jonathan Ross had no “creds” that would make him attractive as a host for the presentation ceremony other than being a British TV personality. I was wrong, as I found out later. He has written in the genre, was a TV/film critic who apparently had a soft spot for the genre and his wife is an award-winning author in the genre. So, yeah, he could be a good fit.
But no. Oh the hue and cry went up quickly that he was “evil”. Bad enough that the con chairs had chosen yet another white male to host the awards ceremony. But they chose one known for his edgy humor. He was an awful man who made fun of women and blind folks and and and. . . .
Funny thing is, when I started really paying attention to those attacking Ross and the con chairs for the choice, most of them appeared to be the dainty writers, male and female, form the US. The Brits were pretty much, “Okay. Move along.” The underlying opinion by those who weren’t up in arms about Ross seemed to be that he’d behave if asked.
But what got to me was how folks started taking about how they were really glad they hand’t planned on going to LonCon because now they’d have to rethink their decision because such a horrid man was going to be part of it. Someone commented that they knew of an author who wouldn’t be going because she was afraid of what he might say because she’d heard he’d once made fun of someone like her.
What really brought this home to me was an email exchange I had with several authors I respect a great deal last night. Apparently US authors and a segment of fandom are so precious and delicate that the mere presence of an author — usually male — at a con can keep them from going because he “might” say something “inappropriate”. I’m sorry, but really? Are we that fragile that the mere possibility that someone might say something you don’t like can keep you from attending a con or other activity?
I’m not going to say much about the process that went on to first name Ross as the presenter at LonCon nor am I going to say much about the fact he withdrew after the proverbial shit hit the fan. Yes, the con chairs did drop the ball in how they handled it but so did those who reacted so vehemently without getting all the facts. Each and every one of those on both sides of the controversy would do well to read Kris Rusch’s posts on the do’s and don’ts of social media.
One of the best responses to what happened, in my opinion, came from a Facebook comment. This particular commenter said that writers “flounce” and they do it in every way possible. According to the commenter, Ross-gate (as it is now called by some) is just the flouncers’ latest opportunity to flounce.
So, yes, I had visions of a lot writers — both male and female — dressed in their Southern Belle outfits, complete with hoop skirts and fans, having a collective attack of the vapors at the news that Jonathan Ross might be at that darlin’ LonCon. Of course, we all know that when a Southern Belle swoons, it is to gain attention. Which brings me to the commenters’ next statement. These “vapors” can be boiled down to the belle (or writer in this case) crying out, “Me, what about me? Look at me! It’s me! Yes, me! It’s me! Me over here! Don’t forget me! I’m here. Me. Yoo-hoo, it’s me!”
Was Ross a good choice? I don’t know. But I do know that I’m tired of these public temper tantrums with the name calling and the “I will never go to a con where he (insert the name of a conservative white male author or supposedly controversial comic) will be.” Should we approve of bullying? No. Should we approve or prejudicial behavior? Hell no. But isn’t that exactly what was happening here? Weren’t those condemning Ross — and the con chairs for extending the invitation to him — basing their responses on 1) comments he’d made AS A COMIC and without knowing if the con chairs had given him any sort of guidance on what he should say? and 2) their own prejudices because they wanted a woman or a person of color or a non-binary gender person (did I say that right?) being the presenter instead of “yet another white guy”?
I wish this entire thing had not played out in public the way it did. It should have been done behind the scenes because, guess what, this sort of public cannibalism is why so many people have such a low opinion of the genre and of SFWA and related organizations. But then, handling things in-house isn’t something SFWA and the GHHers are known for. So why should I expect it from the LonCon membership either?
Sigh. I’m really ready for the adults to take over.
Today is a day of mixed emotions for me. For the second time in his life, my son is leaving the country. The first time, I knew exactly where he was going to be when and when he’d be returning home. That trip was a school sponsored trip complete with teachers, fellow students and a few parents. This trip, so many years later, is different. My son is a man now and he is leaving the US in the service of the country. As he reminded me when we talked last night, he will be home — sometime. While I’ll miss him and miss knowing that he is only a few hours away by plane and less than a day away by car, I know that I’m one of the lucky ones. My son isn’t going to a post in a danger zone. He’s just going to be further from home than ever before.
So you’ll have to forgive me for not having a snippet ready this morning. My mind and my heart haven’t been in the writing mode for several days now. Instead, I’ve been doing my best not to let this change in my son’s station get to me or to my mother too much. It’s been hard because Mom is worried that she might not get to see her grandson again. I’d like to say it’s a foolish worry but she is over 80 and you never know what is going to happen. All I can say is that she’s been blessed with good health and the determination not to turn into “the little blue haired lady up the street”. I’ll try to have a snippet up later but it may be tomorrow.
My mix of frustration and worry hasn’t been helped by the fact that this past week has been the last week of early voting. I’m no greenie but, damn, how many forests could have been saved if the candidates had been limited on how many mailers they could send out? Seriously, when I picked up the mail yesterday we had no less than 15 political flyers of some form or fashion. Each one of them went straight into the recycle bin without me looking at them.
If you want to see a candidate turn white and look at you like you’ve grown a second — and possibly a third — head, tell him that you wish we had a limit on the amount of time when they could campaign. I had the pleasure of doing that the other day of doing just that. One particular candidate came over to talk with myself and another woman and I made the comment that I wished our elections followed their British counterparts a bit more closely. When he asked what I meant, I said I wished we had a one month limit on campaigning.
The look on his face as he registered what I’d said was priceless. If his eyes could have done the in-out boing-boing you see in the cartoons, they would have. He was flabbergasted 1) that any political campaign could be run in that short of a period of time and 2) that I’d dare suggest it. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised that soon after I’d uttered such heresy, the candidate went scampering off to friendly territory.
After having a discussion with my neighbor yesterday, I realized I really do wish the time candidates could campaign for the primary as well as for the general election was compressed into a much shorter period of time. By having campaigns going on for months and, in some cases, years, we don’t get the issues discussed. We get mud-slinging because voters will forget issues raised months before the election. At least that is what the politicians and their advisors think. So they dig and twist and, in some cases, outright lie about their opponent. Why? Because who doesn’t like a good scandal?
Compounding the problem is the fact we have elected officials splitting their time between doing their duties as our elected representative and campaigning for re-election. How many politicians have missed votes or committee meetings to be out on the campaign trail trying to keep their seat?
In other words, I’m tired. I’m tired of empty promises made during months’ long campaigns. I’m tired of political flyers filling up my mailbox. I’m tired of dirty tricks and attempts to mislead voters by PACs who copy long trusted voting information mailers in an attempt to push their bought and paid for candidates. I’m tired of people telling me to elect this candidate or that candidate to a state or local level office because they will deal with the federal debt or illegal immigration or because they are of the “right” religion or whatever. Sorry, but state and local political offices have nothing to do with the national debt — unless they are going to refuse federal funding for local programs. And, if they are going to do that, they’d better have a plan in place to replace those funds for the maintenance of the local infrastructure, etc. As for the religion thing, give me a break.
Of course, those saying that are also the ones who then try to back out of those statements all too often. They were misquoted or taken out of context or whatever. What they forget is that when they say these things in social media, they are out there forever. Even if they erase the message, it is in an archive somewhere and, believe me, their political opponent will find it.
So let’s get rid of the idiocy. Let’s get rid of campaign seasons that last longer than most TV show runs and limit the amount of time we get inundated with campaign promises that are never going to see fruition anyway.
Am I jaded? You bet. Of course, I also think there should be term limits.
to express my disgust and dismay at recent administrative and court rulings that have been making the news. One of the latest that had me shaking my head and wondering where common sense has gone was the administrative ruling that basically said a restaurant couldn’t run its venting fan because of complaints about the bacon smell. Yep, that’s right bacon. But it isn’t that the smell of bacon bothered business owners, customers and homeowners in the area. No, that was no problem. The problem came because the smell was upsetting to visitors to one of the neighboring homes. You see, these visitors are Muslim and the smell of bacon supposedly made them sick.
Now, I do my best to respect any religion but this is going a bit far. They do not live in the neighborhood. There is no compelling reason to stop the restaurant from venting their kitchen. I pretty much guarantee you that if the complaining visitors had been Jewish or Hindi or any other religion, nothing would have happened. But in this day and age of political correctness, because visitors — VISITORS who don’t live or spend substantial time in the area — are Islamic, a business has make changes that could possibly be detrimental to its employees and patrons.
But what really had me wondering when common sense left the room was the recent ruling by a California appeals court saying a school had the right to make students turn tee shirts with the American flag on them inside out. The basic set up was simple. This California high school has administrators who allowed some of the students to have a Cinco de Mayo celebration. For those of you who may not be familiar with Cinco de Mayo, it is the celebration of Mexican independence. Growing up in Texas, I’ve been around and have taken part in such celebrations. But down here, the celebrations don’t necessarily take part in schools and, if they do, they focus on the historical aspect of the day and the rest of it is left for other celebrations away fro the schoolyard.
But, for whatever reason, the administration of is particular school was worried about potential violence breaking out if students wore tee shirts depicting the American flag to school on that particular day. Now, if they were that worried about violence, why weren’t other steps taken as well? Why punish one set of students — students showing pride in the country where they live — and not the other? If the administration has such a tenuous hold on discipline in the school, why was any sort of celebration approved at all?
Now, don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against being proud of your heritage. I think it’s important that you know your family history and you appreciate the sacrifices your ancestors made to get here. I happen to think this is the best country in the world to live in. However, I also believe that this is the country you’re in now and it is this country that should be celebrated. Calling yourself Anything-American serves only one purpose — it causes divisions. It sets that group apart from the rest of the population. It is, in short, a form of divisiveness that does nothing to encourage the inclusiveness many of those same people are calling for.
It is past time for folks to quit worrying about stepping on the toes of political correctness and apply some common sense to what’s going on around us. If you have a concern that students might conflict and violence break out, then don’t allow the celebration on school property, at least not during school hours. If you have friends who are so opposed to the smell of bacon that they “get ill” when they come to your home that just happens to be next to a restaurant where bacon is a main menu item, then find somewhere else to meet. If you are planning an event that you fear might cause problems between the two groups, reach out to both groups and try to include them both in the event. Funny how a little education and understanding will go a long way — if you just take the time to do it instead of getting into lock-step with the PC crowd and forcing something down the other side’s throat.
Common sense and less of a sense of entitlement are needed in this country right now. I hope we see both returning and soon.
Yesterday afternoon, I stood out in the wind and cold — well, cold by Texas standards — as I helped campaign for someone I not only like but also respect a great deal in his run for office. This took place at a polling location I don’t normally go to — at least not to vote. I often go there to write. What I saw then, reminded me not only of how some candidates and their volunteers often turn voters off at a time when they should be wooing them but also what is happening in so many of our so-called professional organizations.
Because voting was taking place at the library, the magic “Do Not Cross” like was in place. Now, you’d expect candidates and their workers to respect the line, especially the candidates. Instead, I watched for more than an hour as one candidate and their workers crowed the line, intercepting every person trying to enter the line even when that person had already indicated 1) they weren’t coming to vote or had already voted or 2) didn’t want to talk to anyone because they already knew who they were voting for. At one point, there were four people from one “camp” crowding the three foot wide sidewalk making an obstacle course for anyone trying to enter the building. It was like watching the cattle lined up at the gate waiting to go home at night.
Now, I can’t speak for all those folks who were descended upon like carrion by the vultures but, for myself, the surest way for me to decide not to vote for someone is to have them waylay me even after I’ve said I didn’t want to talk. What they are doing isn’t guarding the gates, trying to keep the riffraff out. What those sidewalk crowders are doing is guarding the gates and keeping the dedicated voters from doing what they came to do. Sure, they eventually get past and inside to cast their ballot. But, by then, they are frustrated and often angry and will think twice about at least going to that particular polling place to cast a vote in the next election.
That is the same sort of gate guarding I see with professional organizations right now. It dawned on me that this is the case when I read a Facebook comment yesterday asking why SFWA always seems to be updating the requirements for short fiction markets to qualify as “pro” markets — always raising the pay requirement — and yet the organization hasn’t been as responsive when it comes to novel length fiction. There has been no adjustment to the advance requirements that must be paid by publishers in order for that “sale” to qualify as pro even though the standard advance as lowered, in some cases by more than half, from what it once was.
That lack of responsiveness isn’t helping new blood come into the organization any more than the “once qualified, always a member as long as you pay your dues” helps the organization. If SFWA, or any other writers’ organization, is to really represent the “pro” writer, it needs to make sure its members are pros. That means expanding the requirements for membership to include payouts that reflect what is happening in the industry today — including making reasonable requirements for those writers who self-publish or go with small presses. It means having a requirement for continuing requalification. Think of it as sort of continuing education requirements, if you will.
Sorry but I work at being a writer. I’ve made more in the last year than a lot of the members of SFWA have made in years. Yet I can’t qualify because I don’t have novel sales to the ever decreasing number of “qualified” markets they recognize. That’s not to say I’d join SFWA because, frankly, they don’t offer nearly the benefits I can get from membership to RWA and RWA has its own set of issues.
I guess what I’m saying is that if you are going to guard the gates, make sure you aren’t guarding them in such a way that you are keeping out folks who will benefit the organization while, at the same time, you keep the dead wood. Of course, my definition of dead wood most certainly doesn’t conform to that of some of those in SFWA right now. I happen to really believe in diversity and not just give mouth service to it. Diversity means admitting everyone, no matter what their ideas or beliefs, into the organization and not trying to run them out because they don’t fall into lock-step with the current cause du jour. Yes, you can have editorial guidelines for any organizational sponsored publication. But those guidelines should have their roots based in what the genre of the organization is and not in what the politically correct cause of the moment happens to be.
If you don’t keep an eye on who is guarding and gate and who they are letting in — or keeping out — you will find yourself in trouble. There will be insurrection or revolution. It is happening now with SFWA and organizations like it. Everyone needs to step back, take a deep breath and really look at what’s happening.
And then they need to ask if the leadership of the organization is really responding to what the membership as a whole wants or only a small part of it. Surveys aren’t necessarily the best way to get your information. Individual phone calls, face-to-face talks at cons, emails, video conferencing are all ways to get better information. Follow that up with an even-handed application of organization rules to everyone, not just those who cause trouble by not rolling over and playing dead when they aren’t following the vocal minority.
So far this year has been beyond busy, especially considering real life has done its best to throw roadblocks up at every intersection. Illness, mine and others’, repair issues for car and home, financial concerns — who doesn’t have them? — and business pressures all take their toll. But, like everyone else, I’m fighting through and can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I just don’t want some joker coming in and lengthening the tunnel before I can get out.
There are several things I wanted to comment on today. The first is sort of a fan girl moment for me. Starlog Magazine, which I think was one of the best sf magazines on the market, is now available for free download over at the Internet Archive. Go check it out, especially if you are a fan of the original Star Trek series.
The second thing I want to point out today comes from Open Culture. No, don’t go looking for the men in the white jackets to send after me. This is writing related. They have a post up about Raymond Chandler’s 10 rules of writing a detective novel. I’d seen these before. What struck me when I read them yesterday is how they still apply today and how, with just a little tweaking, they apply to just about every genre — at least if you are interested in writing a novel that readers want to read.
1) It must be credibly motivated, both as to the original situation and the dénouement.
In other words, the motivation has to make sense given the parameters of the story.
2) It must be technically sound as to the methods of murder and detection.
This can be adapted to fit any sort of mystery or suspense novel, or any novel with those facets in it. In other words, you have to do your research to make sure your cops or detectives or little old lady who decides she’s going to solve the mystery, is doing it right. If you say a cop or forensic tech is doing a certain test, make sure that it’s a test they did at the time your novel takes place and it is something that person would be doing. And, for the love of Pete, don’t bring in the murderer in the last chapter of the book for the first time.
3) It must be realistic in character, setting and atmosphere. It must be about real people in a real world.
Save your cardboard characters for those that are merely walk-ons. The waiter at the restaurant, the mother and kids your main character passes on the street. Your main characters and main supporting characters have to be three dimensional. It’s the same with your setting. This applies no matter what genre you are writing.
4) It must have a sound story value apart from the mystery element: i.e., the investigation itself must be an adventure worth reading.
YES! It’s called having a plot your reader will give a damn about.
5) It must have enough essential simplicity to be explained easily when the time comes.
That says it all.
6) It must baffle a reasonably intelligent reader.
This is probably the one rule that is most broken in mystery and detective novels these days. All too many start with an intro chapter from the point of view of either the bad guy or the latest victim revealing who the bad guy is or at least his motivation. Then all you have left is a procedural as we follow the main character along the road to revealing who the bad guy is and stopping him.
7) The solution must seem inevitable once revealed.
Note the “once revealed”. This doesn’t necessarily mean the end of the book but it does mean who did what when and why. At that point, all the red herrings you’ve thrown out need to be explained away or shown to no longer apply. Don’t leave your reader wondering if your main character caught and arrested or killed the wrong person. They won’t thank you for it and, more than likely, won’t buy your next book.
8) It must not try to do everything at once. If it is a puzzle story operating in a rather cool, reasonable atmosphere, it cannot also be a violent adventure or a passionate romance.
This doesn’t mean you can’t mix genres. You can. In fact, finding any novel that is purely one genre is getting harder and harder to find. But it means you have to choose what the main thrust — pardon the pun — of the book is to be. Is it romance or mystery, space opera or religious fiction? You get my meaning.
9) It must punish the criminal in one way or another, not necessarily by operation of the law…. If the detective fails to resolve the consequences of the crime, the story is an unresolved chord and leaves irritation behind it.
We are still a country of readers that likes a conclusion, especially a happily ever after. That doesn’t necessarily mean romance fulfilled at the end. But, in a mystery or suspense novel, it means we know the bad guy has been caught and the victim we’ve been routing for found and safe. And yes, I know I violated this rule, to a degree, in my last book because it ended on a cliff-hanger of sorts. However, the main plot line of the book had been resolved and the bad guy dealt with. The cliffhanger is a lead-in to the next novel.
10) It must be honest with the reader.
Oh hell yeah. If it isn’t, I guarantee your reader will not come back for more.
So, looking at your own work — or at books you really enjoy — how many of these rules are followed?
Sorry, but I have servicemen making too much noise to think. So I’ll be back later today with a post. In the meantime, check out my post on Mad Genius Club where I continue talking about the Lynn Shepherd attempt to convince JK Rowling that she should quit writing if she “loves writing”.
Let me start by apologizing for the blank blog Sunday. Yesterday, my body and my mind basically told me “no more” and shut down on me so I’d get some rest. Part of it is whatever it is I’ve been fighting for weeks. Part of it is nerves and being a mother. In less than a week, my son will be moving overseas with the USAF. I know I’m one of they lucky mothers. He’s going to Europe and not to the sandbox. Believe me, I’ve said more than a few prayers of thanks for that even as I’ve said prayers for every one of our men and women who are in the sandbox. But still, knowing he isn’t going to be within a day’s drive is starting to really hit. Anyway, I’m forcing myself to work through that and get back on my regular schedule.
Saturday, I did the “If you want my vote” post. That came out after reading several posts and news articles about the co-founder of the local Tea Party organization saying she would vote for someone based on their religion instead of their qualifications because, duh, a Southern Baptist is more conservative than a Methodist. It had nothing to do with the personal beliefs of the candidates but based on church doctrine. That, combined with some bullying tactics by one of the local Tea Party candidates, was the final straw and the post was written.
Then there’s the whole SFWA controversy, or should I say the whole SFWA controversy du jour? SFWA could actually do a lot of good for author members with some major tweaking. But it is so busy trying to become “socially relevant” that it’s destroying itself. You have one group of authors wanting the older writers to step aside because they are dinosaurs and have had their time. Oh, and they aren’t socially relevant any longer. You have publication of the Bulletin being suspended for six months (and I think it has been longer than that since it was last published but I could be wrong) while SFWA comes up with editorial guidelines and oversight. Then there’s the whole lack of recognizing self-published and small press published authors as professionals issue. Sure, SFWA has finally had a committee look at the issue and suggest guidelines for expanding their membership to these authors. But, so far, nothing has happened and it may be the end of the year before it does — if it does. After all, there is about to be a change in officers at SFWA who can slow or even stop the process. And how long has it been since RWA tackled the issue and resolved it quickly?
Finally came the post from HuffPo Europe where an author — and I use that term loosely — suggested that JK Rowling stop writing and let other, lesser known writers have their day. Oh, she’d let Rowling continue to write her children’s books. But how dare she write books for adults! The horror of it all. Didn’t Rowling understand that she was taking publishing slots and shelf space and review column inches away from other writers?
The sense of entitlement exhibited by the author of that post, as well as by some of those in SFWA who are telling authors who have spent their lives writing sf/f and promoting the genres, worries me. It is so very indicative of so many people in this country who feel everyone else owes them something. It is an attitude bred by our schools and by too many parents. It is something we have to find a way around and make sure the upcoming generations don’t repeat. I wrote more on it over at According To Hoyt today.
I guess I don’t understand that attitude. I was raised to go out and fight for want I wanted. I was told to always do my best. I might not win but I’d learn and that was what was important. That learning would help me do better the next time. So, for those who don’t want to pay their dues, so to speak, shut the hell up, actually try to write a story readers want to buy and read and then tell me if you should be asked to step aside so the next generation can take your place. I have a feeling your answer will be a resounding “No!”.
In other news, I got the cover for my next book — Hunter’s Home, book 3 in the Hunter’s Moon series written under the pen name Ellie Ferguson — last night. What do you think? I love it. Hunter’s Home will be out in a couple of weeks in both print and digital formats and I’m excited about it. Of course, it also means I have to put my butt in the chair and start working to finish Vengeance from Ashes so I can move on to Monday Morning Blues, the next books from the pen name. That will be a romantic suspense novel. Following it will be Nocturnal Revolt (working title) the sequel to Nocturnal Interlude.
(Since I posted a snippet on Thursday due to massive migraine interruptus, I won’t be posting one today. I’ll get back on schedule next week.)
Election season is on us and with it all the robocalls and polls and mailings. With all that comes the frustration and anger at being on the receiving end. So, here are a few observations for all those who want my vote.
1. If you have a robocall that says it is a short, one question survey and the recipient of the call actually agrees to take the survey, keep it at one question. If you don’t like their answer to the survey, don’t then rephrase the question to try to get them to answer the way you do. If I tell you I am going to vote for Candidate B, it means I’m “more likely” to vote for Candidate B if the election were to be held tomorrow.
2. Don’t call when I’m cooking dinner. If you do call and I tell you I’m cooking dinner, don’t have your volunteers continue to try to engage me in conversation. I’m busy. I do NOT have time to talk.
3. If you are running for local office, assume that the constituents of the district know the local area codes AND have caller ID. If I see an Austin or Houston area code for a call supporting a candidate for a district in the DFW area, I know you have a PAC making the calls or you’ve hired someone to do it for you. That leaves me with two questions — what are you going to owe the PAC if you are elected and why didn’t you hire a local company and support the local economy?
4. If you accept PAC support, make sure the PAC isn’t one that is constantly under investigation for ethics violations. If they are, distance yourself from them instead of embracing them. Otherwise, I’m going to wonder if your ethics are as compromised as the PAC’s appear to be.
5. If you are running for office, keep a rein on your volunteers and do NOT encourage them to go out and post false information on your opponent’s social media sites or to attack anyone who doesn’t come out in support of your campaign.
6. Going hand-in-hand with #5, if you are a candidate, don’t try to use your size to physically intimidate a potential voter because they don’t agree with you or your campaign.
7. Don’t assume that just because you say you are a member of the Tea Party, you are entitled to every Republican and Libertarian vote. You aren’t. In fact, some of us will actually look twice at all you say and make sure you are as conservative as you say. We will also look at your platform to see if it is actually workable. Then, if you have been in office, we will compare your voting record with what you say you have done and we will remember if they don’t mesh.
8. For the love of Pete, don’t say you are a lifelong conservative Republican. Sorry, you aren’t. Not really. Little three year old you didn’t know the meaning of the term. Instead, tell me why you have chosen the path you have and what it will do to help me and my state.
9. Don’t tell me we need to cut taxes without coming up with a workable plan to maintain necessary services. Tell me how we are going to maintain roads, public safety, education, etc., if we cut taxes. Show me that you have a workable solution.
10. If you tell me you are going to close the borders and deal with illegal immigration, tell me how. Then tell me how you are going to do it without emptying the state legal defense coffers when the feds take the state to court for their actions. Yes, illegal immigration needs to be dealt with. But you also have to have a plan for the fallout that will come as long as the current Washington DC atmosphere continues.
11. Finally, don’t think you will win my vote by badmouthing your opponent. If you are going to say he is a liberal, prove it. If you are going to say he will raise taxes, show me something in his history that indicates that. Just saying it and calling him names doesn’t and it makes me think you are nothing but a schoolyard bully.