My run up to Christmas (which, as Barbs and I are on Ambo call, is going to be a low-profile day.) has been a quiet one. I am way behind on mince-pies. My kids are elsewhere for Christmas, and I’d rather the day was enjoyed to the full by those who are surrounded by family then… Just one request – I don’t like call-outs and neither does any other first responder, so you all have a good time, but take care. And may you get sevenfold the joy you’ve given others this year.

So: GEORGINA is out. It is historical romance, (possibly ‘hysterical romance’ but only few parts are THAT funny) – ‘Regency’ except of course it is not (set in the final year of King William IV’s reign, so just post Regency). Regency is, however, a recognizable brand of historical, largely because it was made famous by Georgette Heyer, who, following on from Austen, effectively made the brand and dominated it. Now, of course there’s a lot of imitation — quite a lot of which is bed-room rather than drawing room. Whatever blows your hair back…

I have written all manner of genres. I read pretty much anything, and if I can enjoy it, I will try writing it. This one came out of an online argument with a woman who has a hard-science degree. Now, I know, there has been some ‘affirmative’ action in some quarters of tertiary education, but I kind of still expect scientists to be more logical than most. Maybe I am delusional. Anyway, said woman had written a sf novel, and submitted it to ONE publisher. Who had rejected it. In conversation she asked the editor why he had rejected her book. According to her, the editor in question said sf readers were not interested in books by women. It was therefore unsellable, and he had to pass. Therefore, apparently, all sf readers were misogynists, otherwise her book would be a bestseller. The publishers and editors aided and abetted this.

I thought I was talking to someone logical, and pointed out that there were a lot of successful female authors in sf, and that anyway, one could use a pseudonym, and I had made 76 submissions before selling anything. Well, how dare I? I didn’t use a pseudonym. I said I’d never felt the need, but would if I did. She said I didn’t need to because sexist sf readers, and editors and publishers bought men. The fact I’d submitted so many times was more about me (apparently only my testicles got me in the door at all. The other 75 times they must had the door slammed on them) than a refutation of her thesis.

In vain I pointed out that surveys of the Traditional Publishing world show males to be rare, and hetero white – let alone conservative – ones are the most endangered species in the world. In vain I pointed that an overwhelming percentage of new author sales to Traditional Publishers are female. Her mind was made up, and I was merely defending the misogynist sf readers, that would not let her brilliance shine. They were all male and all the bestselling authors in the genre were male.

I admitted that yes, maybe more sf readers were male – I really don’t know. But more romance readers were female (once again, the data shows that actually IIRC 20% are not) and openly male romance writers were very rare…

At this point I was informed it was that men were simply incapable of writing romance.

Now, I have always felt you could write anything you set your mind to, if you were at least half-way competent. So, it has been on my mind for some years to do this, just to prove I could. Talk is cheap. I always thought it would take some balls to try, and admit it, to be honest. This year, with the harrassment of my local council (It’s a war I am still fighting. When it is over, I will write it. They’ve taken petty obstructionism to levels that defy any sense. Like demanding I get an accredited professional hydraulic engineer design measures to prevent storm water flooding my home… which would take raising sea-level by 30 meters.) I’ve had a rough time concentrating on my sf and fantasy. I did some escapism into Heyer – and decided to write a pure comfort read escapist… historical ‘Regency’ romance. Just to prove I could stretch that far, and, while I was at it, learn a whole bunch of new skills.

The book has echoes, naturally, of Heyer – but there is a little Christie, and a little Mary Stewart influence too. The question remains: can this particular man write romance? Will anyone who knows it is written by a man read it? I think I answer the ‘I will pseudonym if need be’ question adequately.

26 thoughts on “Georgina

    1. OMG! You said the “Q” word to someone in public safety! Do you realize just how cursed you made him? I Gibbs Slap people who say that in the dispatch center.

        1. You shall be forgiven. It’s been almost serene in the call center this week. All the kids went home for the holidays. Hopefully Dave has a pleasant week as well.

  1. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and a hearty G’day to you and yours down under friend Dave. Would suggest if possible that when announcing a new work it would be helpful to embed a link to its Amazon page.
    Also, the new Mad Genius format makes it difficult to know who is posting each new blog entry. Yours easy as you start by mentioning Barbs and ambo service, but others not so much by context.

    1. Hi,

      I agree with Uncle Lar’s post.
      I was looking at books on Amazon today and searched Dave Freer and this book didn’t come up. I’m happy you mentioned it here, and I’d like to give you the click through too, so I can go order it.

      Have a quiet and pleasant holiday.

  2. Dave’s mention of this made me look, and buy, and read. Go thou and do likewise. [And don’t forget to review…] My husband and I are both active trout & salmon flyfishing types, so it was nice to see period-appropriate fishing in a Regency romance (among other things).

  3. Back when I flew air-ambulance, when a patient or family member apologized for making us fly on a holiday, I always said, “I’m very sorry that you need us, but I’m glad that we are here and able to help.”

    Here’s to a quiet, dull, uneventful Christmas shift! Book purchased.

  4. I hope you have a very quiet holiday. (I’ll be working between Christmas and New Year’s, mostly to keep myself busy.)

    I finished “Georgina” last night and enjoyed it very much. Posted a review on Amazon. The characters are great and very likeable. I especially enjoyed the background characters: the magistrate who was willing to admit he might possibly be wrong… the soon-to-be missionary who could have been a jerk but wasn’t. Your writing is like Heyer’s in that you paid attention to all the characters, not just the ones in the forefront of the action.

    The descriptions of Africa were wonderful, as well as the fishing descriptions. Well done all around.

  5. Oh, addendum – I agree that it would be better to change the format to move the author of each post to the top rather than the bottom.

  6. I’ll admit to being a bit curious about this particular female author and her story of being rejected because she wasn’t male. It doesn’t really line up with what I know of the publishing industry. You would think that, if the editor thought she had really written something saleable but only if she were male, that he would have suggested putting a male pseudonym on it. I suppose it’s possible that she managed to find the one serious, open misogynist in publishing, but I wonder if, “Sorry, I couldn’t buy it because you were female” is actually code for, “This is the most incoherent piece of tripe that’s ever appeared in our slush pile, but I know if I told you that, you stand here arguing with me all day about how it’s really brilliant. Thus, I’ll tell you that it’s because you’re a woman, you can prance off feeling like a martyr, and I’ll away from you.”

    Either that, or she just made it up.

    1. Back in the early 2000s, I read that women didn’t sell mil-sci-fi because no guy would buy stuff in that genre written by a woman. It’s not true, but I can imagine that guys would be a concerned at a woman wouldn’t get the military parts correct. (And then you have people raving about Honor Harrington and swearing that the author has to be a woman, because no man can write a believable female character . . .)

      I suspect the “here’s something I bet you suspect anyway now shoo” or the 100% fable versions are closer to the truth.

      1. Which was demonstrably untrue because Elizabeth Moon did that in the 1990s. Admittedly the Serrano books weren’t entirely MilSF but some of them certainly were

    2. I think she really got rejected, confronted the editor at a con -probably with ‘It’s because i am a woman, isn’t it?’ she since self published and out of curiosity I read the free sample. It’s turgid Mary Sue, badly written and with little chance of selling. But it is easier to say: yes, the wicked male readers won’t like it.

  7. Dave, did you read the Insty linked article about Anthropology in Ruins yesterday? I fear that we’ll soon have to write off much, if not most, of whatever comes out of that field if things don’t turn around soon. The whole point of recording conversations with the various groups is to preserve the information for later generations. That some feel that it somehow steals something from other people is not anything I can wrap my head around. I’m beginning to think that no science from at least the last half century can be trusted in its conclusions.

    1. No I didn’t. But suspect I have come across the concept: ‘your book tells my people’s story. How dare you.’ Only one of our people can tell it. The concept seems to center on the idea that a story can only be told once. The truth is, unless told it will be forgotten.

  8. LOL, well done sir! And I’ll put it on the TBR list. As a former VFD guy, may your Christmas be quiet and uneventful! And don’t take the watch for New Years… sigh… Merry Christmas to you and yours, wherever they may be!

      1. Yeah, a little stress is good for my writing. A lot tends to just shut it down. But maybe it can give you some slightly altered names for unpleasant people as needed.

        After they admit defeat and slink away, I hope. Soon.

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