Archive for October, 2013

Editors, oh editors, how thou force me to rethink everything!

It’s really difficult for me to relate to you the amount of creative energy, determination, courage, and plain old stubborn hard work it takes to write a book, especially the continuation of a series. It’s a lot, like powering a major city a lot. You can’t let your characters grow stale, yet they need to evolve in the world you created for them. Then there are the crimes wrapped around the characters, the culture that the characters relate to (or don’t, depending) the conundrums of the various relationships, and the proverbial monkey wrenches of past baggage crawling out of the woodwork to muck everything up. All that has to work together and keep people interested, more importantly, keep me interested.

I look forward to the editors sending me back their comments. I really do. It means the book is almost done. All that work will amount to something. All I have to do read, acknowledge, and mostly but not always follow the directions of my smart, insightful, passionate editors. That’s so much easier said than done.

First, there are the punctuation and spelling issues. I fully acknowledge those. Some are funny. When I’m in the full swing of a rewrite, I’ll post the mistakes that strike me silly on my facebook fan page. Some are hard, and even though the editors are probably right, I have to check to make sure. Modifying predicates seem to be a sticking point in this book. And don’t forget the evil commas, like irritating little ticks; so innocent by themselves, so destructive when there are too many.

Content is what gets my ire up. I’m personally invested in my content. Like any jealous god, I take umbrage of those who poke holes in my universe. That’s mine! Yet, logically I know it must be done. The editors keep me on task, even when I secretly resent it. It’s necessary for the sake of the story, and I want the story to be the best it can be. If I didn’t value anyone else’s opinion, I wouldn’t bother editing. I’d just spew out crap and sell it in the 99 cent section and see if I could make a few bucks. That’s just not me (sometimes I wish it could be. Life would be easier).

So, for the sake of quality and consistency and actually giving a crap, I systematically go through every page from every editor and give careful consideration to all the dreaded universe holes and work out how I can fix them. Thank you editors. You’re like the kicker on the football team. I don’t always appreciate you, but I wouldn’t be where I am today without you.

The Bullsh*t about victimless crime

I’ve noticed that my writing has moved to a place where I find myself examining global crimes in the microcosm of my own rural environment. Like all my other books, I engage in exhaustive research for these crimes, and I end up becoming enlightened in a horrifying manner, particularly about the notion of “victimless crimes”. I’m not exactly sure who coined that description. It must have been someone trying to justify a socially immoral act to placate themselves for their guilt. Personally I think the entire notion is crap.

Take drug use for instance. I know I’m going to get backlash from the dozen or so lurkers who actually read this blog. Great, leave a comment. It’s like finding Where’s Waldo in the sea of spam. Anyway, illicit drug use is not a victimless crime. Period. It’s just not. The entire process from making the drugs through distribution to consumption leaves a veritable sea of environmental and human destruction in its path.

Pick a drug, any drug (illegal of course. Alcohol, tobacco and the list of what you can find in your back yard opens a whole different can of worms) and you find a blood trail of turf wars, gang violence, cartel hit squads, organized crime, not to mention the lineages of broken families and vicious cycles of violence and poverty that swirl around the seedy underbelly that caters to the excesses of the privileged. I don’t care if you’re taking meth, pot, coke, heroin, or Oxy, it all comes from the same sources and leads to the same criminals. If you partake of these drugs, you are an accessory to atrocities that brought you this product.

Right now, I’m in the process of researching human trafficking, particularly sex trafficking. There’s another supposedly victimless crime, “the world’s oldest profession” if you will. However, the last time I checked, prostitution is not considered a profession if you are doing it against your will. Just like every other industry in the world, sexual exploitation has been taken over by large syndicates, and their human resource departments are more interested in kidnapping, coercion, extortion, and blackmail than they are in human rights. They are also everywhere: Criag’s list, the local “massage parlor”, truck stops, strip joints, and all over the internet.

The problem with this particular “victimless crime” is the recipients of the sexual acts can’t tell the difference between a legitimate “entrepreneur” and a sex slave. The pimps (for lack of a better term) work very hard to keep it that way. Victims come from every walk of life and every level of sophistication. They are monitored very closely to make damn sure the customer is comfortable in believing their product is being delivered very willingly. I used to think my hubby indulging in a trip to the strip club with his buddies for a bachelor party was a rather harmless venture. After some just one afternoon researching human trafficking, I don’t feel that way anymore.

Unfortunately for me, I don’t get to stand on my high horse anymore than the rest of you. With the global economy in full swing, we are all benefiting from human trafficking. There aren’t many things that I buy new (good ol’ LCS keeps most of that at bay) except for tennis shoes. Now every time I look at the shelves of shoes at the store, I wonder to myself about the little girl that got sold by her family to a sweatshop so she could make my shoes.

Look at the label on any of your clothing, and most likely you can add a coerced laborer into the process that went into making the garment that seemingly innocent label is attached to. Maybe they worked the knitting machines for the fabric. Maybe they were up to their elbows in corrosive dyes all day. Maybe they sewed your buttons with millions of others, stooped over a machine in a people barn with no A/C, no breaks, no money.

I always try to add some snarky nugget of wisdom at the end of each of my blogs, but with this topic, I just don’t have any. I’m just left with empty sadness. All I can say is we privileged few in the world need to examine our actions and ask ourselves how accountable we really want to be. Right now, most of us are just hypocrites.