Friday, July 6, 2018

Vacation

Sorry for the lack of posting, but I'm on vacation for the next two weeks.  I'll try to put some stuff up, but Disney World doesn't give me much time.  :-)

Upon my return, we'll be gearing up for the release of Wrongful Death!

Monday, July 2, 2018

Erasing History

For those who haven't heard, Laura Ingalls Wilder has apparently committed the horrible sin of being born in a different time and in an era that wasn't sufficiently woke enough.  Her Little House On The Prairie books have been a boon to children for generations, introducing youngsters, mostly girls, to the frontier of the late 1800s.  Millions of children learned to love reading based off of Wilders' books.  She was so impactful that there was even an award for children's literature given by The Association Of Library Services For Children that had her name on it.

Not anymore.

Apparently Wilders had some unflattering stereotypes in a few of her books, and the powers that be thought that this was too much to give an award named after the author for.  A lot of Wilders' work portrayed Native Americans in a bad light.  It obviously couldn't have been that, since told from the viewpoint of settlers, many of that time had a poor view of Native Americans, or that attitudes change from era to era.  Nope, Wilders was now an awful bigot who must be expunged from history.

Folks, this is getting out of hand.  One of the offending passages of pone of the novels reads: "There the wild animals wandered and fed as though they were in a pasture that stretched much farther than a man could see, and there were no people. Only Indians lived there."  It's horrible as she seems to imply that Indians are not people.  However, as anyone familiar with the passage and Wilders' work knows, Wilders herself was horrified when she discovered what people took from the passage and asked her publisher to change the wording to say "settlers" instead of "people," as noted when she said, "You are perfectly right about the fault in Little House on the Prairie and have my permission to make the correction as you suggest. It was a stupid blunder of mine. Of course Indians are people and I did not intend to imply they were not."

Still, that's not good enough for The Association Of Library For Children.  Wilders', a product of a different time, was expunged from history despite the significant impact she had on children reading.  It makes me wonder what other literary giants are next on the erasure list.  Mark Twain appears to be the most obvious given the noted challenges in Huckleberry Finn.  Ernest Hemingway wrote some stuff that many consider to be misogynistic and homophobic.  Even William Shakespeare wrote stuff, such as in The Merchant Of Venice, that can be considered antisemitic stereotypes.

How much history do we want to erase, and what does that say about our own legacies?  Two hundred years from now, what might succeeding generations think about our work?  Will our portrayal of stuff be considered wrongspeak?  Will we be similarly expunged from the record?  We need to get a grip on our being offended, for it's denying some of the best work of history and the authors that provided that literature.  I would hope we are all sufficiently self-aware to know how to separate great literature from some of the attitudes of previous eras.  If we're not, what are we doing reading in the first place?

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Another 5-Star Review!

Just thought I'd share that Salvation Day has yet another five star review!

"Truly a 5 star book. This is one of the most unique books I've read in a while, and once into it, I couldn't put it down.  RD Meyer has a keen eye for detail, and developed a main character for whom you simultaneously root for and against."

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Milestone!

RD Meyer Writes has hit the 100,000 visitor mark!  Thanks to everyone who has decided to check out my crazy ramblings.  :-)

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Sequel Skittishness

Until recently, I hadn't understood the nervousness authors feels when it comes to delving back into the worlds they created.  I just thought I'd be able to jump back into a story and readers would either continue to read it or not.  Well, based off of some success I've had with Salvation Day, I've started to feel a pressure I'd previously written off.

Without giving away too much to those who haven't read the book, Salvation Day is built for a sequel.  Yes, the story wraps up fairly neatly, concluding one story before starting another, but there is another story out there that the ending begs to be written.  Getting to work on it is my next big project, even if I haven't yet begun(I've been busy with getting a few other books ready to go).  I'm in the daydreaming part of the project now, which any writer worth his or her salt will tell you is just as important as actually writing it.

However, I can't say that it hasn't gotten me nervous.  The disaster I created with the initial sequel to Akeldama is still fresh in my mind.  I went into that story with one idea, and it spun totally out of control.  Worse yet, I thought I could totally change every character and be okay, not realizing what a moron I was for doing so.  That book will require a nearly complete re-write, even down to the title.  I don't want to make that mistake with the sequel to Salvation Day.  The story needs to be fresh but true to the original.  Salvation Day is a pretty intense emotional rollercoaster, and capturing that lightning in a bottle twice is going to be hard.

I've had a few things pop into my mind, and I should probably just start writing.  My wife read it and she loved it.  I know you're going to say that she's my wife and is supposed to be like that, but she's not a reader...at all.  I've tried giving her other things of mine to read, and she only got into Akeldama.  She got into nothing else, and she hasn't been a reader since we first met, so her not only getting through Salvation Day, but also demanding more, gives me a good gauge.  I figure if I give her my new pages, she'll help get me on the right track, as well as let me know when things get goofy.

Salvation Day hasn't gotten the most reviews, but it has gotten the most acclaim, and I've often said that it's far and away my best work to date.  I don't want it ruined by frivolous flights of fancy.  After all, we've already seen what that kind of idiocy can do to a successful brand...

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

What The Con Is Going On?

Okay, folks, I know I've said lots of times not to get into politics as a writer, but I view this more as simply an extension to that and chastising others rather than getting into it myself.  Far too many folks have allowed politics to get in the way of enjoying good writers and good stories.

A recent phenomenon has gotten lots of traction, and I'm referring to some conventions deciding to, for lack of a better word, erase certain authors from their ranks.  Some are so polarized by the personal political views of Larry Correia, David Weber, and John Ringo that they've besieged the conventions they were slated to be guests at and gotten the organizers to rescind their invitations.  These activists have organized boycotts, written letters, and basically thrown all manner of temper tantrum to prevent authors like these from being spotlighted.  Are these men secretly vampires who've infiltrated our society and are preparing to turn the populace into an unaware food source?  Have they raped and pillaged their way across the steppes of Russia?  Perhaps they enslaved thousands of children and are now operating a trafficking ring.

Nope...they're white men who are conservative/libertarian in their views, and they aren't shy about sharing that.

Say what you will about the wisdom of an author being so vocal about politics(I personally think it's not the best idea to alienate potentially half the audience before they even read your story), and disagree with their views all you like(there are lots of things I don't care for that I disagree with), but to treat them like they're the Spawn of Satan is ludicrous.

Let's put this into perspective - none of these writers have advocated to reopen gas chambers and poison six million Jews.  Nor have they ever taken girls captive to use as "wives"(read - sex slaves) for local warlords.  They aren't stabbing children, or running experiments on people regarding bubonic plague, or starving millions of people, or killing whole groups just because those folks wear glasses.

If your political views are so warped that you view anyone who disagrees with you, whether on the Left or Right, as some version of (Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Joseph Kony, Unit 731...insert favorite villain here), then you need some serious retooling of the way you view the world.  If you view anyone in these camps without rock solid evidence of actual vile things, then you are a moron.  Conventions like Origins and WorldCon have bowed to pressure to disinvite good authors because the whining of a few who can't stand that maybe someone might hold a different political opinion.  I thought we were here to find good stories, not get the lowdown on the latest machinations of the tax cut or how the North Korea Denuclearization Summit was going.  We aren't here to debate same sex marriage, the removal of statues, gun rights, or abortion - we're here to read a good book and share that experience with others.  Get off your goddamn high horse, step back from trying to go full-blown totalitarian on everyone, and figure out why the hate in your heart is so fierce that you can't enjoy a book without thinking everyone must belong to your circle of politics.

Fortunately, a few conventions are starting to fight back.  DragonCon recently parted ways with Charlotte Stormborn, who used to run the Literary Track at DragonCon.  She tried to muscle her way into getting authors she disliked off of the guest list because they weren't sufficiently woke for her.  And to show how truly inclusive she was, she wrote, "If you think there are some good arguments to be made for the inclusion of voices like Correia’s and Ringo’s ya all can also talk* to me.  *don’t talk to me, ever."  Not the most open-minded person when it comes to discussion.  Again, she's not running a progressive political forum in Seattle - DragonCon is one of the largest conventions for geeks like us in the country.  Like I said, though, fortunately, DragonCon parted ways with her when she tried this kind of bullshit, and the convention is better for it since they will continue to feature writers fans actually want to see.

ConCarolinas is another one fighting back.  They bowed to pressure this year and got slammed for being stupid.  Realizing their folly, ConCarolinas said they would no longer bow to this kind of madness(they disinvited John Ringo as the special guest), and they are inviting David Weber to next year's convention.  Of course this pissed off all kinds of temperamental children who just can't take it when folks they view as Nazis(they need a serious dose of history and a binkie to soothe them) get invited to their precious safe space, so I expect the fits will grow more intense.  However, ConCarolinas is now saying that enough is enough, and that award winning and talented writers deserve a space at conventions fans want to see them in.

People, get off your soapboxes and stop with the crying about folks who hold differing views.  This is about good stories, not who you think would best run the country/world.  I can't believe I even had to write this, but it just shows how childish folks can be when things don't go their way.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Characters As Blank Slates

If you've ever written a hero, chances are that you imagined yourself in that role.  After all, don't we all tend to think of ourselves as heroes of our own stories?  There is a danger in this, however, and that's taking for granted what the audience knows about the character, as well as giving our character too perfect of an appearance.

First off, we know ourselves better than anyone around.  We've peered inside our own thoughts, and we take for granted our outlook on the world.  One of humanity's biggest flaws is that each of us has a hard time understanding why everyone doesn't see the world the way we do.  That may or may not work fine for us as individuals, but readers don't always get into the main character's head unless we lay it out to them.  We need to remember to "give away" a bit more than we're used to when it's just us.  In order for readers to empathize with the main character, the reader needs to know more than we're used to letting on.  It's vital to impart mindset, motivation, and understanding to our readers that we might normally think everyone should just know.

Second, we have to write those main characters with a great deal of self-awareness, and we need to be honest about ourselves.  Far too many people can't see their own flaws, and if that translates into the main character, you'll end up giving everybody a character so perfect that no one will care.  People want to know the flaws as well as the bright spots of a character, so perfection rarely sits well since it's not something anyone can actually relate to(which is, ultimately, what we want readers to do with the main character).  But writing about our flaws is tough because it forces introspection, something most of us are bad at.

Can we overcome our own self-image and write characters that are relatable as well as heroic?  That's the true test of any author.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Checking Yourself

So, I'm a schmuck sometimes.  I keep forgetting that we, as writers, need to check what we write before we post it for the world to see.  Three days ago, I posted about my excitement in being awarded the IndieReader Discovery Award for Paranormal Fiction.  I was floating on clouds...until I realized that my headline said, "IDRA" rather than "IRDA."  I've fixed it, but it went out in my initial blog post, and it still lingers on my Facebook page.


I do this sometimes...I get so excited about something that I hit "enter" prior to fully going through it(another great plug for the necessity of having an editor).  It usually doesn't matter, but I did this to the world while announcing a friggin' award...as a writer.  Yeah, I look skilled...


I'll get past it.  In the big scheme of things, it's not the end of the world.  After all, Salvation Day is still an award winner.  That doesn't keep me from kicking myself over my idiocy.  Bleh!

Sunday, June 3, 2018

IRDA Award Winner!



I am thrilled to announce that Salvation Day has won the Indiereader Discovery Award for 2018 in the Paranormal Category!  I wish I could've been at the actual event for the announcement, but work keeps me busy here as I don't yet have enough sales to skip my day job altogether(maybe this will help that).

A tremendous honor, and I'm thrilled to have been selected.  I hope everyone enjoys reading the book as much as I enjoyed writing it.