This newsletter is about books, reading and writing; and of course, focused mostly on my books and writing. It is not about politics or government—okay you can now breathe a sigh of relief. However, the other day I was talking to a business acquaintance who has read some of my books. He made the comment that I sure had made the Republicans the bad guys; what was I some kind of Democrat. It caught me off guard. I am a Democrat and fully recognize the toxic environment that exists in this country around politics; but as I stated to him “I don’t write political books and have no reason to make the Republicans the bad guys."
He had been talking about Murder So Wrong which takes place in Oklahoma in the 1960s. Yes, there were Democrats and Republicans competing back then, but they have little to do with today’s political climate. In the 50s and 60s most Oklahoma voters voted Republican for national races and Democratic for local elections. The Oklahoma Democrat was really a Republican registered as a Democrat; and the local officials were almost all conservatives—even if they were Democrats. And believe it or not none of that was confusing to them.
As I wrote in Murder So Wrong the reason for the change from most people being registered Ds to most being registered Rs was the voting rights act. Civil rights and the Vietnam war were the two issues dividing the country during that time. Due to those issues and others the two political parties got all jumbled up and came out of this era looking very different than when it started.
In Murder So Wrong the “bad guy” owned the largest paper in the state and had ran Democratic politics for decades—but because of a fluke which involved one of the “good guys” becoming the state Democratic party chairman the other guy left the Ds and joined the Rs. It was that little fact (remember this story is loosely based on a true story) which caused my business acquaintance to accuse me of being disrespectful to the Republicans—which of course he is one. I told him I didn’t think a story about something that happened fifty or so years ago had much to do with today’s political world. He kind of smiled but I could tell he didn’t believe me—I was now one of the bad guys from the other team.
I live in Colorado where the largest number of registered voters are Independents. Now we all know most of those Independents are really Ds or Rs wanting to not be labeled as a D or an R. I bet a lot of those people changed their registration because of business or family or personal reasons so when asked what political party they belonged to they could say Independent with a smug smile knowing they avoided the evil eye of being the “bad guy." Maybe I will try that. Come to think of it, maybe we all should.
Yes, the latest reader review post is back. Mostly I get great reviews and it is immensely appreciated. On occasion I will receive a less than positive review; yeah, I know, hard to believe. Reviewers are tying to be helpful to their fellow readers and have every right to say most anything they want. The majority of my negative reviews are about language. Apparently I use vile language and have a potty-mouth–thanks for the review mom I will try to do better.
I think those reviews are very helpful to me and the potential reader. If certain words offend you then I don’t want you to read my books–because those words are in there; I don’t think there are a lot of them, but some readers seem offended by only a few. So it's best if you are warned by reviewers that the language might offend. I would do that myself if there was some mechanism like movies to attach a rating.
On the other hand I do get some strange reviews that offer little if any benefit.
The latest strange review has to do with an upset reader who complained because there were advertisements for my books buried in the text of the book–and she asked “who would do something like that?” My guess would be no one. An author would not, they would know it would be stupid and just irritate the reader. You might put something in the back but not in the actual book. So how did the ads get in the book? Beats me. I contacted Amazon but did not get a meaningful reply. But my guess is it has something to do with Amazon and their reader sticking ads in inappropriate places. Why would they do that? Once again just a guess, but it could be because they can-- and it works. One reader might find it offensive but another might just click and generate revenue for Amazon.
Let’s be clear. I don’t begrudge Amazon any revenue generating scheme they come up with–it’s their web site and they should be able to do whatever works for them. As an author if I take offense I have the option to take my greatly in-demand book business somewhere else. More than likely Amazon wouldn’t notice and it would only harm me–so, I will live with a few snags here and there.
It does seem unfair a reader now hates me for something I had nothing to do with. I’m sure that reader will be more than happy to share her thoughts about the idiot author hiding advertisements in his prose with anyone who will listen. They will collectively wonder what kind of moron does things like that–obviously a bad writer who thinks he can secretly steal money from unsuspecting readers. What has the world come to–plus he uses vulgar language.
Well, dear reader, I should apologize for whatever happened; after-all, the book does have my name on it. But let me assure you, I did not write a book with an ad in it. But like so much in life, apparently I cannot control everything that happens with my book once it ventures into the cyber world.