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Views From The Captain’s Chair! Episode Fifteen: The Writer’s Obligation?

Captains ChairBlog

Ahoy, Mateys!

So, I had a great email exchange with a reader this week. It was one of those exchanges that helped me explain a little about my process. I have been granted permission to post the exchange, so I will. Then I’ll talk a little more about what it all means to me. I hope you all join in the discussion in the comments section. Keep it real and civil. No haters, yo!

From reader:

“I finished reading your book Z Burbia. I enjoyed it and the humor in it. Bought your second book. I hope you will be open minded when I say using insults in your book such as “fat fuck”, “fat cow” continue to bring a perception that fat people are lazy, ugly, and worth less than others who are not fat. Just to put it out front, yes I am myself overweight. The cause doesn’t matter. Fat people are fighting a perception battle that impacts their lives and families. This perception negatively effects their relationships, jobs and how society treats them as a whole. You,  I’m sure wouldn’t use derogatory wording with ethnic groups or physically or mentally disabled but people feel free to insult fat people for the sole crime of being over weight. I hope you understand my intent and that this isn’t a personal assault on you or your character. As an author you have the ability to shape our society. Thank you for taking the time to read this email. May you have success in all of your endeavors.
Sincerely, REDACTED”

My response:

“Thank you for reaching out and for this thoughtful email.

As a man that has yo-yo’ed my entire life, I personally get where you are coming from 100%. At my largest I was 265 (I’m 6 feet). I have a body type where I have to pay attention to what I eat or it goes straight to my gut. I get it, trust me. However, I am not my characters. In other novels I have characters that actually do put down ethnic/cultural groups and mentally disabled folk by calling them “nigger”, “spic”, “wetback”, “redneck”, “retard” and “faggot”. Yet I would never, ever use those words myself and would probably smack the shit out of someone that said them in my presence. But, as an author, I let my characters say what they say. They are “people” and people are flawed. I can’t have every character be perfect and golden or they wouldn’t be real. I hope you understand. And, let’s face it, my novels have murder, rape, cannibalism, religious cults, totalitarian regimes, serial killers, and some seriously disturbing imagery. I’m never going for huggy-feely with my words.

With that said, I don’t want you to feel like I’m blowing you off because I’m not. I write YA and middle grade novels also (soon to be released by Permuted Platinum) and those novels do not have any of that in there. Well, one does, but as a learning lesson and the offender is chastised brutally by his peers. For kids, I set an example, for adults I let them handle life on their own. My wife and I are very aware of what we say to our children so they grow up with healthy ideas on body image. Where I shape society, and the future, is with my kids and how I act in real life.


Again, thank you for the email and please know that I am very aware of the impact every single word I use can have. Sometimes, I go for the negative impact because that’s where I want the gut punch to hit. And because I like to face my own personal demons head on!

Thank you for reading!”

 

The reader’s response to my response was very nice and we ended it on a great note.

I think some authors would get upset about this type of email. If it was a different subject, I may have also. But like I said in my response, I totally understand the weight thing. I get it. Took me a long time to come to turns with my own body image issues.

Yet…

I don’t think authors should ever try to shape society with their writing. I just don’t. I think that compromises the work. Try too hard and it all sounds false.

But this is coming from a writer that currently specializes in pulp horror/scifi/adventure/thrillers. I’m here to entertain, not educate.

Ah, but if I offend, have I failed as an entertainer? That’s a question to ponder. If part of my audience doesn’t like something I’ve written because it hurts them on a personal level then am I doing my job?

Yes. Because you can’t please everyone all the time. It goes back to last week’s post. Read Rule 4 and 5. You’ll see what I’m getting at. As a writer, I have to know that some readers will not like my work, for whatever their reasons are. Dem’s da breaks.

One last thing I want to share is a quote from the reader’s response to my response. Here it goes: “I also thank you for changing how I will be reacting to fat remarks in books in the future.”

As readers, people have the power to change how they perceive novels and entertainment. Instead of getting all up in arms because their specific hangups/pet peeves/worries/phobias/fears/sacred cows have been mentioned/defamed/killed/cooked on the grill with a delicious vinegar based BBQ sauce, people should use these types of situations to start a dialogue and open discussions with others that don’t feel the same way.

That is how we change society, by taking our experiences and sharing them with others. If we are honest with ourselves then it is easier to be honest with others. And let’s face it folks, we could use a lot more honesty in this world, don’t ya think?

So sound off! Do you think authors have an obligation to reflect positive change in their novels? How about if the novel is more about the negatives of society and not the positives? Where does an author draw the line between appropriate and not appropriate?

If you have been reading my series of posts then you know I am not a fan of rules being imposed on writers. Or on anyone, for that matter. Not that I’m an anarchist, but, well…

Come on, folks! Tell me what gets to you. Tell me what you think writers are obligated to do. Or not.

Discuss!

Cheers!

 

Disclaimer: Views From The Captain’s Chair are just that: views. These are not laws. These are not set in stone. I could be totally wrong. I could be off my rocker (shut up). I could be full of S-H-I-T. I could change my mind next week. All of that is possible. Who knows? But if even just a little of this helps you then I’m happy with that. If it just makes you stop and think then I’ve done my job. Which I really need to get back to. Blogging don’t pay for the bourbon! Oh, and the whole Captain’s Chair thing? Yeah, I write in a captain’s chair. It’s true, Mateys! Got a question? Need some one on one? Shoot me an email, a DM, a PM (no BMs) or comment below.

Jake Bible lives in Asheville, NC with his wife and two kids.

Novelist, short story writer, independent screenwriter, podcaster, and inventor of the Drabble Novel, Jake is able to switch between or mash-up genres with ease to create new and exciting storyscapes that have captivated and built an audience of thousands.

He is the author of the bestselling Z-Burbia series for Severed Press as well as the Apex Trilogy (DEAD MECH, The Americans, Metal and Ash), Bethany and the Zombie Jesus, Stark- An Illustrated Novella, and the forthcoming YA zombie novel Little Dead Man, and Teen horror novel Intentional Haunting (both by Permuted Press).

New Releases!

I am very pleased to announce a couple of new releases!

First, allow me to introduce you to AntiBio. This novel is my return to military scifi. Now, a lot of my novels have military themes, elements, badass Teams ready to rip some bad guys apart, but this is the first one that isn’t a horror novel, but a straight up, high-tech, dystopian, post-apocalyptic, military  science fiction novel.

Phew. That’s quite a mouthful.

If you liked my Apex Trilogy then you will love AntiBio! And here’s why:

Anti1 Antibiotics.
They have failed.
All that’s left are the Strains- bacteria so strong they have brought the world to its knees.
But humanity has fought on, carving out pockets of civilization in a wasteland known as the Sicklands, creating the super high-tech Clean Nation cities.
And from the cities GenSOF has been born- Genetic Special Forces Operations. An elite military branch of the government that enlists men and women with specific genetic anomalies that allow them to be hosts to bacteria that even the Strains cannot defeat. Under the watchful eye of Control, GenSOF protects the Clean Nation cities from the ever encroaching Strains and the diseased inhabitants of the Sicklands.
But now Control has other plans for GenSOF, and possibly the Clean Nation cities themselves, and it is up to the operators of GenSOF Zebra Squad, and their cloned Canine Units known as bug hounds, to find out what those plans are.
Or die trying.

How ya like them apples? AntiBio is a crazy mix of Blade Runner and Damnation Alley. You’re gonna dig it!

The next new release is the audiobook for Z-Burbia 2: Parkway To Hell! It is currently available on Audible.com, but will also be on Amazon and iTunes shortly. Stay tuned for those announcements!

Oh, what’s that? You want to know what’s coming next from me? Okey doke!

May: Mega 2 (Severed Press) and Little Dead Man (Permuted Press)

June: Kaiju Winter (Severed Press)

July: The Apex Trilogy audiobooks

And so much more! I’ll announce the rest of 2014 as soon as my schedule is nailed down.

So go and spread the word about AntiBio and Z-Burbia 2: Parkway To Hell!

Cheers!

Friday Night Drabble Party!

Another Friday! Another Drabble! Another Party!

And there’s a night in there somewhere too.

Last week I gave you my “form” post. That was fun. What? Yes, it was. Don’t argue.

This week I will go straight to the drabble. Right after this message from our sponsor!

DeadTeamAlpha-EcoverDo you like zombies? How about guns and guts and lots of swearing? Are you sure, because when I say lots of swearing I’m talking about the f-bomb being dropped 455 times in one novel? Can you handle it? CAN YOU?

Of course you can, which is why you are going to read Dead Team Alpha! Look at the cover! That’s some awesome waiting to jam into your eyeholes and make sweet, sweet love to your grey matter!

Dead Team Alpha: If the zombies don’t get you then the intense amount of cursing will!

Now to the drabble!

Enjoy!

***

Ash Man

By

Jake Bible

 

“Four, five, six,” the man says, slapping the bills into my palm.

 

“The deal was for 1200,” I frown, knowing the missing cash will come out of my ass if I walk into Scotty’s with only this.

 

“The deal was for pure ash,” the man says, grabbing up a bag of grey powder from the table. “This ain’t pure.”

 

“Sure it is,” I smile.

 

Right,” the man says. “You think I’m a fool? I know cat ash.”

 

He cuts into the bag with a knife and snorts a small pile directly from the blade.

 

“Cat,” he says. “Not human. Cat.”

 

***

Cheers!

Disclaimer: Drugs are bad, m’kay?

New Novel: Dead Team Alpha!

Hello, Earth!

What is that you ask? Do I have a new novel by Severed Press out there in the wild, wild world of literary bits and bytes? Why, yes, yes I do.

DeadTeamAlpha-Ecover In the post-apocalyptic, zombie infested wasteland, there is one beacon of safety in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains: The Stronghold.
For decades, the inhabitants have fortified and defended the Stronghold from zombie hordes, building their society and culture on military precision.
And chosen from the best of the best is Denver Team Alpha. DTA is the elite strike force used to rescue survivors and refugees that have made it to the hellish wasteland of Denver below. But because of the unbelievable risks, and high mortality rate, DTA has come to stand for something else: Dead Team Alpha.
Now DTA will be put to the test as something far worse than zombies comes at them out of the wasteland.

Can ya dig it? I knew that ya could.

If you have read my Z-Burbia series then you’ll notice some links and connections between the two series. It was fun writing this, knowing the backstory already, but also inventing so many new things that have yet to be revealed. I love my job!

So, if you are so inclined, grab this puppy and have a read. It’ll be worth it, trust me.

Cheers!

Friday Night Drabble Party!

It’s Friday Night Drabble Party AND Valentine’s Day!

I love you guys soooooooo much!

And for Valentine’s Day I get to announce that Z-Burbia is $.99! THAT’S LOVE, PEOPLE! So get you a copy if you haven’t been able to before. Also, there are some great writers with special deals happening today! Check out the Eat Your Heart Out promotion going on for only a couple more hours. GO! GO NOW!

Let’s see, what else can I announce? Oh, right, I’ll be part of the Permuted Platinum list of authors! Have a read here, if you are so inclined. AND, the Z-Burbia Audiobook is out too!

Okay, I’m done. On with the drabble!

Enjoy!

***

Frosted Pain

By

Jake Bible

 

“Elk?” he asked, taking another bite. “Boar?”

 

“No,” she replied.

 

The delicateness, yet gamey flavor had him stymied. Hints of grass and oak, perhaps even just a little cloves. It tasted so familiar.

 

“Bison? I give up,” he said finally, patting his belly. “Tell me.”

 

“Hold on. I’ll get dessert,” she grinned, blowing him a kiss.

 

His mouth opened in a silent scream as she set the platter down. The frozen head of his lover stared at him, her once bright blue eyes nothing but frosted pain.

 

“Revenge,” she grinned. “Is a dish best served cold, don’t you think dear?”

***

Cheers!

Disclaimer: Well, that didn’t feel like 100 words…

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