SPECULATIONS

Writing, film, sculpture, music: it’s all make-believe, really.

Kate Bush

After I retired and before I started writing novels, I read romance novels almost exclusively, both straight and lesbian. What can I say – I love happy endings. Then about two years ago I started writing romance novels. Now I very seldom read, or at least finish reading, romances, unless it’s one I’ve read before and really like. I’ll start them, but by the time I get toward the middle I know how it is going to end (more than just an HEA), and how the author will get to there. Of course, since I don’t actually finish any of them, that is just my supposition. I could be surprised, but I don’t feel like it’s worth my time to find out. Remember, I’m old. Time is a finite resource for me.

Lately I’ve been almost exclusively reading urban fantasies. These books always come in series. I figure if you go to all the time and trouble of creating your own world with its own history and mythology, you don’t use it all up in a single story. Some of these go on forever with book after book after book. I don’t know about you, but I usually stop after no more than four or five books. Often they get repetitive, and just as often I get tired of reading about the same people doing the same things.

I have read most of the books in Niall Teasdale’s ‘Thaumatology’ series, and all of B. R. Kingsolver’s ‘Succubus’ books. Both of these have a lot of sex mixed in with exciting stories. And both are filled with seriously kick-ass women. What more could you ask for from a book.

Another author I’ve been reading, Annette Marie, has two intertwining series. The stories are in the same world with the primary characters in one being secondary characters in the other. The woman just doesn’t want to waste a perfectly good world.

All of this leads up to one of my linguistic pet peeves. Science fiction and fantasy novels have historical been categorized together and the term ‘sci fi’ is frequently shortened to ‘SF.’ I believe it was in the 60’s or 70’s that author Isaac Asimov used those initials and coined the term ‘speculative fiction’ to include both genres. It was his contention that these books were based of speculation about what the world could be or would be. It is now used a quite freely. Eliza Andrews,  an author I admire a lot and who is writing a wonderful lesbian fantasy series, uses this term repeatedly in her blog. I grit my teeth every time I read it.

With all due respect to Dr. Asimov and Ms. Andrews, all fiction is ‘speculative.’ If you look up the word ‘speculative’ in Google you will find it defined as “. . . characterized by speculation, contemplation, conjecture, or abstract reasoning:” If I am writing a fictional story, in any genre set in any time period, I am saying: “If these characters existed in these situations, this is what I speculate (through abstract reasoning) what would happen.” Every author creates her or his own world inhabited by his or her own characters. Some are just more closely aligned to the physical world than others.

Now I’ve got that off my chest. Thanks for listening to my grouch.

Writing Report: I published my latest book last month, my eleventh if you’re keeping count. It is titled Nothing in Common But Love. The book has been a spectacular – dud. It has been read some, not a lot, but as of today there has not been a single reader review. This is a death sentence for a book on Kindle. Readers want to know what other readers thought about a book before they invest the time or money in it. My speculation is that readers thought the book neither good enough nor bad enough to bother leaving a comment. I personally thought the book was reasonably good. There were two interesting leads and several engaging secondary characters, two of whom have appeared in other books. There is some romance, some sex, some humor and just a little angst. What’s not to like?

I am working on my twelfth book now, although it is going slowly. I’ve written about 17K words and I expect (speculate?) that it will be about 50K when complete. I am seriously considering putting it aside a while and writing a Christmas novella using the characters from my book Afternoon Delight. That story took place between Labor Day and Christmas of last year and was about a widowed bi-sexual woman, her new lover, her two daughters (one who disapproved of her mother getting involved with a woman), and a jealous sister. Their second Christmas would make for an interesting story. If I write it, expect some family dislocations and reunions.

4 thoughts on “SPECULATIONS

  1. Following. Your post spoke to me. I also struggle to find original storylines to read and DNF quite a few books. I also enjoy urban fantasy. A really incredible (not new book) that I can rec is Frost Moon by Anthony Francis. Set in Atlanta, wlw MC. I read it ages ago but it sticks with me.
    I haven’t written many books because I’ll stop if I feel an idea has been done too much like it before. I strive to put so much of myself in each story that I hope that makes something that sounds “typical” actually read as a unique experience. Anyway, like I said, you have a new follower.

    Like

    1. Thanks. I’ll check out Frost Moon. I know what you mean about an idea being ‘done too much.’ If I am using an old trope, I try to address it from a different angle, For example my last book, which almost nobody read, was an ‘enemies to lovers’ story, but it ended with them fighting, and acknowledging that they are always going to fight, but they enjoy making up.

      Liked by 1 person

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