Coming out of the Wardrobe
Not a closet. I’m not gay, and that phrase is lashed to that.
But a wardrobe…
That could mean you’ve just left ‘Spare Oom’ , which, to judge by mine, is a place less attractive and more cluttered than Lantern Waste in Narnia.
In the traditional sf-fantasy world, coming out of the closet as homosexual is not unusual, and, rather than career destroying, may well open doors for you. I know at least half a dozen, and that’s without caring and trying to find out. Shrug. That’s not really my concern. You’ll also find homosexual characters in far more books that you will find authors professing to be that. When last did you see one as the villain, BTW?
But that’s not really what I was going to write about. I don’t care, personally, what an author does or believes in, or makes their characters do. Just as long as you don’t wake the children or frighten the salmon. In an open market-place, and we have that, thanks, principally, to Amazon and Kindle, and independent publishing, people will buy what they want to buy, and that will, in the end (both the in author numbers and earnings, and characters in their books) reflect the demographics and tastes of the readers.
Getting to that point, however, is probably going to be ugly. It’s the entire trumpet-and-thunder of vast herds of Wooly Mammoths in the room, with the increasingly ugly attacks on Amazon, on Indies, and on anyone who doesn’t toe the traditional publishing establishment line. Because it’s not about a few writers letting the market decide if they like them. It’s about their keeping power and control. Power to promote their agenda and darlings with that agenda, power restrict what you read, power to destroy an author’s career if they step out of the prescribed lines… and the fear that the self-proclaimed high priests of those prescriptions have of losing that power.
So: what is all of this preamble about, Monkey? Get to your point. You usually have one, although it’s hard to tell at times.
Well, it’s just this: I am coming out of the wardrobe as one of those people the traditional publishing industry – particularly in sf and Fantasy — love to hate, with the book I am self-publishing. It’s a book with Christian priest as the heroine, a Cozy, comfortable mystery story, set in the country, with the rather conservative values of the country (which are actually quite tolerant, as long as you leave them alone, they’re quite content to let you do your own thing.).
And yes, the picture is a link. And if you want to pay a lot more, you can order – and get – the paperback before it is available as an e-book, because I’m a klutz, not because I support paper.
I wrote this book for one simple reason (and, of course being me, several complex ones). I have given the entire income from it to my little Church on the Island. The Island is at least as nominally Christian as the US – which I see comes in 76%. Not something you’d guess looking traditional sf-fantasy, where I know far more Wiccans or atheists than openly Christian authors. Still, here, you’ll see that at funerals, ANZAC Day and to an extent at Christmas. I suspect if we had another disaster like our massive fires, nearly a decade ago, or real hard times (there are no empty Churches in Harare) you’d see the same. I know from my own experience that the bit about no atheists in the foxholes is very accurate. I was a conscript soldier, and I’ve been on enough grim rescues, with praying families, and prayed myself searching for lost children, to know that is almost always true. But in the meanwhile, Sunday to Sunday, it’s a very small group. Most of them are old. The church is important to them. They don’t have enough money to have a priest, or even to fly one in regularly to take mass. That is important to them. It’s important to me. They’ll take dawn service on ANZAC day, on Remembrance Day, and I’ll be there while I am still breathing, to pay my respects to the fallen, and honor those who served. They’ll bury me here, one day… if there is anyone left to bury me. They’ll be the ones making teas and comforting the grieving, as they do now, regardless of creed or color or background, or if you ever came to church. I’m a very mediocre Christian, of the C.S. Lewis kind (hence the wardrobe) that figures God’ll have to judge my efforts rather than my piety, because I’m a very rough diamond – a lot closer to coal than diamond. But I reckon that if I don’t support them when I don’t need them, they’re not going to be there when my family or friends or others do. They need help. I’m not one to sit on my hands and leave it to others to do the heavy work. I’ve put my money (which as you may gather, I don’t have much of) and my career where my big mouth is, because that is what I do and what I am.
This is effectively six months work – and income, that I’m handing over to try and help out. This, because I am not the inimitable John Wright (and he survives on genius despite traditional publishing disfavor), almost certainly blacklists me with everyone but Baen. Shrug. Sometimes you have to come out of the Wardrobe… even if my make-believe world smells rather of burned Marsh-wiggle foot.
To talk briefly about the book – It’s up for pre-order, as I’m hoping to build enough pre-orders to get it onto various Amazon bestseller lists. They must have a lunatic ex-Ichthyolgist list surely? Doesn’t everyone search under that?
Because I’d rather be up-front than irritate my readers. 1) This is not Science Fiction or Fantasy (of course there IS a fan in the book) 2) This is a cozy. A comfortable, small, rural set village who-dunnit story with no on scene blood-n’-guts. Think Agatha Christie, rather than Rats Bats and Vats. Yes, I know. It’s not exactly what I am known for. I’m a hack. Which means, actually, I am a professional writer, and not just someone who is good at their little passion. I can get into the head of a timid lady priest and write from her point of view. Hey, I believe this. Buy the book – a whole $3.99, read it and tell me I’m wrong (that way, the little Parish of the Furneux Islands gets $2.70 odd AND you get to tell me what a jackass I am. A win for everyone.) 3) The lead character is everything I am not. This is probably the hardest book I have ever written. Some people (well, Sarah) think it is the best book I have written. You probably won’t agree. Venture $3.99 for that pleasure. But please don’t expect it to be what Dave usually writes. 4) The lead character is a Christian priest. It’s not an overtly religious book, except that it is from her point of view, and she is, and by-in-large the people she deals with are her congregation. It’s a murder mystery, and as such I did fly it though a number of readers who aren’t church-goers. Your conservative mother would like it. Do buy her a copy. Your average SJW would detest it. Do buy them a copy so they can enjoy pillorying me (and yes, put another $2.70 in coffers –and get the pre-order list higher, and irritate them enormously by its success).
Goodness me. It’s snowing in here. And was that a faun? And surely that can’t be the SFWA committee pulling a sleigh full of Traditional Publishers all called Jadis…