My first venture into new genre is out now. It was meant to be straight Erotica but it turns out I can’t be as blatantly commercial as I thought. The novella ended up with greater depth than is normal in this genre. So it’s ‘Literary romantic erotica’ and yes I know that genre is not on Amazon but it’s what this work is.
It’s only $1.99 so hardly a great risk for the reader.
Genre writing sweeps all before it, Vampires and badly written soft-porn passing as fifty shades of erotica, bandwagons stuffed with cliché and publishers and gatekeepers undignified grasping at fast passing fashion. Literary Fiction spurned, boring! Too thought provoking. God forbid a reader might be provoked to thought or have their spirit stirred by the poetry of shared human experience.
Escape through empathy is not good enough, only fantasy and vampire lovers, cheap sexual thrills, gore violence and above all only fashionable in-thing-celebrity will get the gatekeepers slavering.
Bitter, me? No, just a little saddened by the state of the commerce driven world and so: Continue reading →
Daniel walked through the garden to the shoreline. The tide was out and he was able to slip out of his shoes and walk along the water’s edge. It was fine silt-mud this far up the estuary, but he enjoyed the feel of it squelching through his toes as he slowly made his way down towards the sea. The sun was gone behind the hills in the west but it was still a fine light evening with a lovely red glow to the sky behind the cottage. He stopped to look but found he was sinking and had to keep moving. Kris’s manipulation had eased his body and he felt more mobile with less pain when walking. His mind felt fuzzy and unfocused and kept flitting about from memories and images to speculations and questions about the future. Since he’d left hospital, he’d had no time to be reflective and hadn’t given thought to anything beyond the immediate and urgent concerns of their safety. Now he tried to think once again of what he would do next. His mind wouldn’t fix on it and kept flitting back to the recent past. He was aware of feeling something like irritation, as if being bitten by a small insect. A tiny pinprick but constant and growing more annoying every minute. He stopped again and tried to concentrate on what it was that was bugging him. He felt his feet begin to disappear in the soft mud but didn’t move. He closed his eyes and looked intensely inward trying to clear away the mud that was in his mind as well as round his ankles.
Then, like a light being switched on in a dark room, he saw it. It grew and enveloped him so he threw back his head and roared as loud as he could, again and again. The sound echoed around the estuary as a flock of shore birds rose chittering and squealing in alarm from the reeds beside him. He opened his eyes and saw them tile the sky around him. He was filled with a great rage and pure clear anger. He had gone back to Ireland to do a good thing – tell Lauren’s parents the news of her pregnancy. The bastards had dragged him back into their sordid vile tribal violence again. He felt contaminated and defiled by it and that filled him with outrage. He had felt no such thing when he had aimed his weapon at Jimmy and ended his life. Then he had felt nothing at all, an effective emotional numbness. Now, the thing that had been nibbling at him bit hard and made him scream in indignation. m so he threw back his head and roared as loud as he could, again and again. The sound echoed around the estuary as a flock of shore birds rose chittering and squealing in alarm from the reeds beside him. He opened his eyes and saw them tile the sky around him. He was filled with a great rage and pure clear anger. He had gone back to Ireland to do a good thing – tell Lauren’s parents the news of her pregnancy. The bastards had dragged him back into their sordid vile tribal violence again. He felt contaminated and defiled by it and that filled him with outrage. He had felt no such thing when he had aimed his weapon at Jimmy and ended his life. Then he had felt nothing at all, an effective emotional numbness. Now, the thing that had been nibbling at him bit hard and made him scream in indignation.
There is a tradition in literature that has been deeply under threat until the advent of Indi publishing. The tradition of novels that question the wisdom and normality of the day. Examples of these being: Steinbeck’s, Grapes of Wrath or any Joyce or Pushkin or Dostoevsky. That tradition of the subversion and undermining of the tribal, religious, political or social establishment in the novel; was deeply undermined by the contraction of the publishing industry in the past twenty or so years. The grip of a few international publishing and sales conglomerates was becoming overwhelmingly conservative and restrictive. Celebrity worship, meaningless pap, magic and fantasy dominated their output.
Non-mainstream or non-conformist work had little chance of making it past the all powerful gatekeepers. There were exceptions and those tokens are held to be examples of freedom but that was an illusion. Truly radical or overtly critical work was always marginalised at best and buried in the slush pile at worst. We writers conspired in this movement towards conformity by submitting to the idea that rejection by the gatekeepers was our shame. “Not good enough to be published by the establishment means not good enough.”
‘Conform, don’t speak unpalatable truths, don’t bite the hand that feeds you, don’t upset the apple-cart.’
Suddenly we are free of the gatekeepers, we can publish our work and bite as hard as we wish, well with certain reservations. We must still not upset the giant that facilitates this apparent freedom. And that freedom is still more apparent than real.
Having a radical non-conformist novel published means little if it is buried unseen and unread at the bottom of a pile of a million others. Struggling out from under that pile still remains a daunting prospect and one must still confront the powers of conservatism that seeks to keep us buried, marginalized and dismissed as: ‘Indi – worthless – self published – vanity – non-approved pap.’
It is time for we who choose this freedom to properly utilise that opportunity by losing our tendency to feel inadequate and apologetic. Above all we must stop using the derogatory and divisive language of the establishment. We need to do as the gay lib movement did with words like ‘fag’ and ‘queer’. We must take words like ‘self-published’ or ‘Indi’ or even ‘vanity’ and inject them with pride and remove all stigma from the idea of independence in publishing.
I call for an ‘Indi pride’ parade here on the world wide web.
Let’s not fall into the trap of petty tribal squabbles and arguments about which form of self publishing is worthy and which not. Yes some of this new found freedom will be abused by trash and ill conceived and poorly executed rubbish but that is the price we must pay for this freedom. We must rejoice in the opportunity, feed the giant and support each other in our efforts to surface in the fast and vast pool of detritus it produces.
Celebrate the possibilities and offer a helping hand to others who swim in this new sea.