If you remember, about 100 years ago in blog time, Eugene got lambasted all over the bloggernacle for his book, Angel Falling Softly, for various crimes from “not very spiritual” to “sacrilege” to calls for his excommunication or at the very least, pulling his temple recommend. Eugene’s tab did not fit into the proper slot.
A while back, I came across a blog I keep a little eye on and had commented just to clarify a point. Yesterday I noticed that “Anonymous” had chastised me for acknowledging that my book is filthy (it is) and for dropping the F-bomb in the first line of the story. The chastisement was something along the lines of, “You call that quality Mormon fiction”?
Well, A) “quality” was used in terms of how well the book is designed by the publisher and how well it is constructed by Lightning Source and B) I don’t consider it Mormon fiction.
People have different tastes. Nice, sweet, nearly conflict-less LDS fiction wasn’t cutting the mustard for me with regard to sparkle and (dare I say it?) lust (which doesn’t have to be consummated, but could we acknowledge its existence?). Fiction by Mormon authors out in the wild might be my brand of wild but it’s short on philosophy and faith. Genre romance of any stripe, inspirational to erotica, suffers the same lack of one for the other, so it’s not us. It’s a general lack of crossover between faith and sex.
Slot B47c&&2kd existed, but there was no correlating Tab A47c&&2kd to put in it.
I, Random Reader, wanted my slot filled. I’ve been wanting it filled for a long time. And it remained empty, growing cobwebs. I wasn’t writing it, either, because I wanted to “get” published and you don’t “get” published with a mixture like that.
So I said, “Fuck it. I’ll write what I want.”
As far as I know, I only have 1 (count ’em, ONE) LDS reader who’s managed to get past the first page. That’s okay, too. I probably made a mistake in vaguely hoping I could find a small audience amongst my own who, like me, wanted something titillating and faith-affirming (er, maybe) at the same time. Or, at the very least, not anti.
What I didn’t expect was the positive reaction from non-members who found my portrayal of us as human and extremely fallible, struggling with matters of faith and sexuality, as sympathetic and relatable—and who found the addition of faith to these people’s lives just another layer of their personalities.
Eh, don’t get me wrong. Plenty of people haven’t liked it also, for various reasons including the politics and my prose style and the fact that my characters aren’t, well, very likable at times. But…I don’t like everybody else’s books, either, so no harm, no foul. Regardless of all that, though, who liked it, who didn’t, why or whatever, the fact of the matter was that for this consumer, the market had an empty slot. So I carved out my own tab. And lo and behold! I’m not the only one who liked the shape and size of that tab.
All the foregoing is to say that this past weekend, I was blessed to brainstorm projects with two religious types (one protestant, one Catholic and independent of each other) who also like the s(t)eamier side of genre romance. It doesn’t hurt that I love these two writers’ work already, but these two projects are so outside their creators’ norms AND they are outside of, well, everybody’s norms. And I love them for it. I would never have thought of these two ideas, but these ladies did and their tab fit my slot.
Now, ladies, hurry up and finish those things. I know this publisher, see…
19 thoughts on “Tab A, slot B”
Fuck it. I’ll write what I want.
It’s official. I’m saving up to get that tattooed on my person.
Oh, I feel the need for a Cafepress store…
Baby, your writing tab totally fills my reading slot.
Is the tab and slot imagery a clue that you plan to use Freud as a work around for the smutty bits?
I had no idea I was such an exclusive club…..
Oooh. Now I am intrigued.
Yeah, me too. They both better get their butts in gear and get ’em written.
Hush yo mouf. Euphemisms went out with the 1980s bodice rippers.
You’ve got at least two active Mormons that made it past the first page. I enjoyed it. One of the storylines was not meaningful to me, but the other two were both… useful.
Of course, as a divorced and remarried man, I’m okay with a more complicated view on sexuality.
Thank you. 🙂
(I’m DYING to know which one wasn’t, and why the other two were useful. DYING, I tell you!)
Sebastian and Eilis didn’t resonate with me like the other characters did. The conflict Bryce, Giselle, and Knox each felt about sex and religion was something I could relate to. I don’t relate to Justice much, and Eilis is very distant. Sebastian… I’m not sure why I don’t really like him. As you made clear, he’s ADHD and OCD, which are quite comprehensible to me, but he wasn’t someone I could enjoy.
I really felt like I could have skipped over Sebastian and Eilis and enjoyed the book just as much, without missing much of the plot, either.
Oh, and their sex is less compelling. 🙂
Wow, thanks for coming back to tell me.
Obviously, each reader experiences these people in a different way, and it’s always interesting to me to find out what resonated and what didn’t.
I will tell you, however, that the Jep Industries takeover (I hope you remember, where Hollander Steelworks absorbed it piecemeal) is the core of the conflict in Mitch Hollander’s book (book 3, MAGDALENE). If you liked/understood Bryce’s struggle, I think you’ll really like Mitch’s. He’s a widowed bishop (I know, I’m stretching that one to breaking point).
I hope you catch the vignettes. They’re just little insights here and there, stuff I wrote to solidify their characters in my mind.
And thanks again. I really can’t tell you how much I appreciate it. 🙂
How did you come to buy it, Franch? And has your wife read it?
I guess I’m number three, then, but you already knew that. and being a single LDS female, I can relate to Giselle in may ways (except for the bits about how she’s like a ninja. I will never be that fit.). I’m still holding out for your snippet(s) of her and Bryce getting active in church again and rediscovering their faith. :o)
I’m so sorry, S.E. I think of you more as a Diva than a member.
Giselle never lost hers. She just decided to take a different route for a while. As for Bryce, you’ll have to wait until MAGDALENE. 😉
I made it past the first page, and I’m still LDS…technically. I would’ve read the book even when I was a practising Mormon, but I’m not surprised that others don’t. And I don’t think it’s the subject matter that scares them away. I think a lot of LDS would love to read an honest novel with characters who recognise that the human animal is still an animal and that sexual instincts/relationships are complex, strong and don’t necessarily fit people’s image of niceness in the LDS world. They just don’t necessarily want the sex delivered to them in such overtly (and deliberately) vulgar language. LDS who will relate to or like that kind of in-your-face fuckery are a subset of the people who will respond to a novel where LDS characters struggle with (or abandon) their values in relation to sex. And they are a subset of the people who would welcome a book about LDS characters dealing with sexual issues in general.
I actually appreciated the first paragraph for that reason. I think it sends an immediate warning to the (LDS) reader that this may not be their kind of book, despite the professed religion of most of the main characters.
Geez, we’re racking them up.
Thanks, chosha. I’m really not into ambushing people, as I’ve been ambushed and hated it.
And then there’s Eugene’s book where people felt they were ambushed, but they were just not paying attention.
I honestly can’t fathom that people were scandalised by that book (Angel Falling Softly). I mean there’s conservative and then there’s just plain ludicrous. I think some people expect LDS writers to create stories where everyone is valiant and believing and made happy by the same things as everyone around them. They want the only conflicts to be external and caused by nothing or no-one LDS. Not only is that kind of story unrealistic and not believeable – it’s also incredibly boring.
I think what really knocked me for a loop was that the phrases “Mormon bishop’s wife” and “vampire” and “pushing every moral boundary” on the back of the book didn’t clue some people in.
I COULD NOT BELIEVE the number of LDS readers I saw across the web who claimed to NOT KNOW that vampire = sex.
(Which is one reason I think Edward Cullen is so damned attractive to the LDS 30-/40-something XX set. Meyer created the ultimate vampire for those who don’t know that vampire = sex. That grown LDS women could swoon over Edward and call for Eugene’s temple recommend at the same time is just mindboggling.)