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photo by Sheri Dixon

Monday, September 2, 2013

So. What's It About?

"You've written books? That's amazing! I'd love to read 'em- what're they about?"

I get this a lot, and the clear answer is, "You've just got to read them to find out".

Oh, it's not that I think they're the best combination of 26 letters and punctuation ever to grace a page because they're obviously not. I'm happy with them and proud of them but, yanno.

Here's the thing, though. Two of my books are pretty easy to pigeonhole.

"CancerDance- a love story" is a journal of our family's adventures in medical land- except for a few 'getting to know us' chapters it's written as it was unfolding and so it's all out there- the funny, the relieved, the terrified and the incredibly pissed off; all lying there nekkid and fresh and raw. I love it because it has a happy ending and I love it because it's not written from a 'to God go the glory' perspective or an 'and he taught us so much before he died' perspective (I hate those). We're normal people with average intelligence and limited funds and we just did the best we knew how. Still do.

Easterchicks Gone Bad is a compilation of the first 30ish articles I wrote for www.homestead.org so it's just that. Thirty different short stories about all sorts of homesteady things from alternative energy sources to cutting hair to hatching chicks and milking goats. Some of them funny and some torn straight from my heart as we ourselves faced trials and tribulations.

This is where it gets tricky.

When you publish books on Amazon, they ask you to categorize them- non-fiction, fiction, history, fantasy, romance, adventure, health and wellness, etc.

The following books are a clear and resounding 'none of the above'.

Here's what they're not.

They're not your average 'shit hits the fan' book. Not zombie books. Not shoot 'em ups. And yet they all deal with the breaking down of society and the events that would likely take place.

The problem is that none of the realistic scenarios will be historic, fantastic, romantic, adventurous epics.We're looking at the slow, plodding, crushing weight of a systemic collapse- not the astonishing literal earth-shattering explosion caused by one easily identified enemy who looks like a Bad Guy.

The problem is that the other day I perused an online event listing of authors 'getting their books out there' and they were all stuff I'd never read in a million years- vampire books, horror stories, soft porn romance, you know- fiction.

Our house is filled with books. Filled. With. Books.

Easily over 1,000. I'll wager not more than a tenth of those are fiction and 90% of those are classics like Mark Twain and Douglas Adams.

So we're flat not geared towards picking up a book for no reason other than to kill time.

Not that that's a bad thing. We just don't do it. Never have. Even Alec.

We ENJOY the social commentary books, the actual history books, the scientific discovery books.

That's some fun, there.

What that means when I write a fiction story, then, is that it's not pure fiction. It's social commentary and observation using fictitious characters in a realistic setting. Without zombies.

People who've read 'em say they like 'em. They say they're important and prescient and touching and human.

Because I'm a stickler for things like spelling and punctuation and grammar they are reasonably correct and proper. They're carefully crafted and the characters are created to be as real as you and me. Because they could be you or me.

They're not Rambo and they're not the Terminator. In fact, they're not even men. And they're for damn sure not the pistol packing, big-boobed, big-haired 'men with vaginas' who pass for the token females in other 'end of the world' books when women aren't in the story to be raped and killed or sent to the kitchen to make sammiches in between waiting to be saved by some big strong M.A.N...bosoms heaving.

They are courageous and they are survivors. They love men but their choices in life are not 'hide behind a big strong man or die' and they do not automatically give up control and swoon when a man "Oh, thank goodness! Finally!" comes on the scene.

So where the hell do I put these stories when Amazon insists on a category?

Weird as shit spots because I have to be honest. If I put them in with the other SHTF books I'll have more refunds demanded than books purchased, and reviews that'll curl yer eyebrow hairs for being 'naive' and 'too sugar coated' which is bullshit because they deal with homelessness and hunger and death and the FACT that the first ones to be hit the hardest whenever society shifts are the weakest. It's bullshit because I've lived abuse and homelessness and poverty and unemployment and I KNOW bad shit happens. But it's not the norm.

What scares the shit out of me is that people read the road warrior books endlessly and start to think that's the only outcome of collapse. When it's not. Historically- it's not.

But people don't read history anymore.

They read vampires.

So I followed the category list down to the end of the line and

"Almost Invisible- a different kind of survival story" ended up in 'homelessness'. Because that's what it's about. A little old lady with Alzheimer's who's homeless and what happens in her personal world and the society around her.

"American Evolution- adolescence of a nation" dropped squarely into 'alternate history' after being shunted into 'science fiction' because that's what it is. It shows a snippet of the lives of 4 generations of girls- Thanksgiving Day when they're eight years old. So it covers almost 100 years of societal evolution.

These last two are pretty quick reads- more novellas than novels. They're supposed to be. They're meant to encourage independent thought about what society is going through and where we are headed- I want the reader to come to his/her own conclusions and opinions and possible fixes for a broken species. It's not my place to write a 'how to fix shit' book. But I can get ya'll thinking.

Needless to say, they're a slow sell. While the SHTF and zombies and vampires and bosom-rending member-throbbing books are selling like hotcakes, people just aren't typing in 'homelessness' and 'alternative history' when looking for a nice easy quick read.

But I'm tellin' ya.

You totally should.

Sometimes your books should be more than mental chewing gum.

That's what TV is for.



PS- To read any of the above books, please see the big ol' book cover photos at the left of this screen

<-------- right there

and coming soon to an obscure category near you- "Unimpressive- the inelegant art of getting by".

I'm pretty proud of this one as well.

Peace, ya'll.





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