Friday, July 3, 2020

In Memory of My Princess



 Today I had to do one of the hardest things a pet owner can do—I had to make the decision that it was time to say goodbye.

Missy was more commonly known as Princess because she ruled over the house was grace and dignity. Even the dogs feared and respected her.

I had the honour of serving this darling for pretty much my entire adult life. She was found in a dumpster in 1999. At 6 weeks old, the vet told my best friend (her original servant) that she wasn't going to make it. To put her down then.

Today, July 3, 2020, that first vet has now long been proven wrong. At 21 years old, she's lived a long time for a cat.


When she was still rather young, my best friend and I lived together and she chose me to be her servant for the rest of her life. Most of my adult life, she has been with me. Moving provinces, every short story or novel, she was there. Judging my words, sometimes getting the way... or occasionally just blessing my work with her mere presence.

She wasn't your typical cat. She loved belly rubs, she hated other cats, but tolerated the dogs. She came when I called her, meowed at me when I sneezed. She talked to me when I came home from work—often being the first one to greet me at the door.

I know my life will never be the same without her. I hope, wherever she is, she will still bless my writing and judge my editing.

21 years was a long time... And yet, I still wish it could have been longer.





Thursday, June 11, 2020

The Damage of JKR's Statement

Okay, before I post what is a very long post, I want to say something to those that are reading. This was written as a way to explain in basic terms why JK Rowling's statements regarding trans people and the trans community are so harmful and misleading.

I did not go overly deep in detail as I could have, nor did I respond to every single statement she said. For anything I did get wrong, I apologize profusely. I also don't normally weigh in on topics like this in my blog, but this is something that is very important to me. It's why I cannot remain silent.

This entire post stemmed from one person saying that they didn't see what the fuss was about, that JKR's statement seemed rather reasonable. So, I offered to break it down. Enough people have told me that what I wrote helped them to really understand why JKR's words are such an issue and why it has the LGBTQIA+ community so angry.

There will be no pictures to break up the words this time. And to all my friends, no matter what anyone else says — I love you, I see you, I accept you.

Now follows my breakdown of much of what JKR posted and my responses to it. For the full text of what was posted by JKR you can read that by clicking on this link.
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For people who don’t know: last December I tweeted my support for Maya Forstater, a tax specialist who’d lost her job for what were deemed ‘transphobic’ tweets. She took her case to an employment tribunal, asking the judge to rule on whether a philosophical belief that sex is determined by biology is protected in law. Judge Tayler ruled that it wasn’t.

The Maya Forstater scandal began with a statement regarding the construct of gender and that, no matter how you feel, you can only be the sex you are determined to be at birth. She also infamously made the statement that trans women are only “men in dresses”.

These are messages that are central to the struggle of acceptance for trans people. It is a rhetoric often used to dismiss who they are and not only comes from outside the LGBTQIA+ community, but far too often from inside the community as well. It has been a long battle for many trans people to get their identities recognized not only by those who should love them, but from those within a community where they should feel safe and free to be themselves.

All the time I’ve been researching and learning, accusations and threats from trans activists have been bubbling in my Twitter timeline. This was initially triggered by a ‘like’.

The ‘like’ that she is referring to is liking the comment by Maya Forstater regarding trans women being “men in dresses”. Her vocal support for Maya with the #IStandWithMaya hashtag as well as her like on that comment was the tipping point in the JKR saga.

She tweeted at the time “Dress however you please. Call yourself whatever you like. Sleep with any consenting adult who’ll have you. Live your best life in peace and security. But force women out of their jobs for stating that sex is real? #IStandWithMaya #ThisIsNotADrill”

A statement such as this once again, denies that trans women are women. That they are still nothing more than men in dresses. Despite her denial that she liked that men in dresses tweet by accident.

Months later, I compounded my accidental ‘like’ crime by following Magdalen Burns on Twitter. Magdalen was an immensely brave young feminist and lesbian who was dying of an aggressive brain tumour. I followed her because I wanted to contact her directly, which I succeeded in doing. However, as Magdalen was a great believer in the importance of biological sex, and didn’t believe lesbians should be called bigots for not dating trans women with penises, dots were joined in the heads of twitter trans activists, and the level of social media abuse increased.

Okay, here the narrative leaves from the truth because her following Magdalen Berns (NOT BURNS) happened BEFORE the I stand with Maya Fiasco. As it stands though, Magdalen Burns was extremely vocal in her belief that trans women are not women. While many claimed this alone cemented her position as a TERF (Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist), others also claimed that she had not yet firmly declared her stance.

However, the question remains — why did JKR want to get in touch with her? Someone so opposed to a community (LGBTQIA+) that she claimed to support

What did cement her position as being a TERF was the tweet I quoted above that negated the identity of trans people everywhere.

I mention all this only to explain that I knew perfectly well what was going to happen when I supported Maya. I must have been on my fourth or fifth cancellation by then. I expected the threats of violence, to be told I was literally killing trans people with my hate, to be called cunt and bitch and, of course, for my books to be burned, although one particularly abusive man told me he’d composted them.
Okay, anecdotal statements aside, people were angry after her statement. This was someone who had previously claimed support for a community where part of them were now being told by someone they admired that their identity wasn’t valid. So, yes, her statement was literally killing trans people. A huge celebrity someone so many looked up to suddenly telling you and others that your identity is lie hurts to the point that there would be those on the edge of suicide who will be pushed over the edge by things like this.

Nothing like finding out your personal hero doesn’t think you are, who you are. To have their voice lent to the many voices that are already slinging hate in your direction and telling you that you are not worthy.

What I didn’t expect in the aftermath of my cancellation was the avalanche of emails and letters that came showering down upon me, the overwhelming majority of which were positive, grateful and supportive. They came from a cross-section of kind, empathetic and intelligent people, some of them working in fields dealing with gender dysphoria and trans people, who’re all deeply concerned about the way a socio-political concept is influencing politics, medical practice and safeguarding. They’re worried about the dangers to young people, gay people and about the erosion of women’s and girl’s rights. Above all, they’re worried about a climate of fear that serves nobody – least of all trans youth – well.

Now, here’s the thing, there are people from all walks of life who are very anti-trans — both inside and outside of the LGBTQIA+ community. Though trans people have often been in the forefront of fighting for the rights of the entire community, they haven’t and still do not consistently have community support.

In terms of “socio-political concept”, what she is referring to is the difference between gender and sex. Once again, she is placing the idea of binary sex (which is not actually a binary, but I will talk about that later) being more important than gender. She is saying once again, gender doesn’t matter as it is not important. That the bits in pieces you are born with that are used to identify your sex at birth are absolute.

Okay, going to skip a bit as it doesn’t really need to be overly address or that I have already covered and go to this interesting statement of hers…

The fourth is where things start to get truly personal. I’m concerned about the huge explosion in young women wishing to transition and also about the increasing numbers who seem to be detransitioning (returning to their original sex), because they regret taking steps that have, in some cases, altered their bodies irrevocably, and taken away their fertility. Some say they decided to transition after realising they were same-sex attracted, and that transitioning was partly driven by homophobia, either in society or in their families.

A statement like this makes her stance against transpeople seem that much more reasonable. For many people who are not trans or do not know a lot of people who are trans, this seems like a legitimate. Does it happen? Yes. Does it happen that often? Not really.

In most places to be able to transition is takes a lot of work and can be prohibitively expensive. This is not an easy process to start, and it is not the snap of the fingers change. This statement exclusively plays on the worries of the fears of those who might be on the fence regarding the legitimacy of trans people.

A lot of the stuff that follows that paragraph to support and further sway people comes from studies that take correlations as causation. A great example of correlation equals causation lines of the debunked study on vaccines causing autism. Something people still believe, but has been scientifically debunked and even retracted by the scientist who published that study.

The more of their accounts of gender dysphoria I’ve read, with their insightful descriptions of anxiety, dissociation, eating disorders, self-harm and self-hatred, the more I’ve wondered whether, if I’d been born 30 years later, I too might have tried to transition. The allure of escaping womanhood would have been huge. I struggled with severe OCD as a teenager. If I’d found community and sympathy online that I couldn’t find in my immediate environment, I believe I could have been persuaded to turn myself into the son my father had openly said he’d have preferred.
Holy cow. Yes, transgendered people have a lot of issues with dysphoria (duh, they are in a body that doesn’t align with their gender) and are often told that feeling this way is wrong, being told that they are not valid, having their identity being negated at every turn is going to lead to a lot of issues — more so if they grow up in a homophobic household.

Most people who are not dysphoric about their body are not going to go through everything just to be what someone else wanted them to be. If that were the case, a lot of trans people would not transition and just be the son or daughter that their parents want instead of being thrown out on the street.

Once again, she saying that trans people are not valid, that it is only a whim. This is something that she doubles down, relating the struggles of many women to finding their own voice and the disconnect of strong feminine voices (mentally sexless) to being the same thing as being dysphoric.

The important thing to remember here is that the dysphoria of trans people isn’t that they simply feel like another sex for a period time or, as JKR put it mentally sexless, but their entire identity is at such odds with their physical and assigned identity at birth, that they are unable feel comfortable within their own bodies. (See above comments for the mental health issues that can stem for these things, especially in repressive or homophobic environments).

As I didn’t have a realistic possibility of becoming a man back in the 1980s, it had to be books and music that got me through both my mental health issues and the sexualised scrutiny and judgement that sets so many girls to war against their bodies in their teens. Fortunately for me, I found my own sense of otherness, and my ambivalence about being a woman, reflected in the work of female writers and musicians who reassured me that, in spite of everything a sexist world tries to throw at the female-bodied, it’s fine not to feel pink, frilly and compliant inside your own head; it’s OK to feel confused, dark, both sexual and non-sexual, unsure of what or who you are.
This statement sums up to the fact that she is comparing the societal message fo what a woman should be as the same thing as dysphoria. These are not the same. A lot of women do struggle with the societal ideal of what a woman should be compared to who they are and how they present themselves. Being a trans person, having that dysphoria has nothing to do with “feeling like you are more feminine or masculine” compared to a societal belief of how men and women should behave, believe and look like. Yet again, here she treats sex/sexuality and gender as the same thing. They are NOT the same thing.


I want to be very clear here: I know transition will be a solution for some gender dysphoric people, although I’m also aware through extensive research that studies have consistently shown that between 60-90% of gender dysphoric teens will grow out of their dysphoria.
Breaking up this next bit because there is a lot to unpack in this paragraph. First off, if dysphoria persists past puberty (ie - TEENS) then it is likely permanent. You can find stats to support anything and a lot of people aren’t going to question numbers that authority figures throw out, especially if they are in agreeance with what is being talked about.

There are two different classifications for gender dysphoria as per the DSM and ICD, one for children and one for teens and adults, which would apply after puberty. Not all children have dysphoria that continues into puberty, this may be where the stats she pulled are based on, but I am unable to find any reliable, unbiased sources to support her claims.

Again and again I’ve been told to ‘just meet some trans people.’ I have: in addition to a few younger people, who were all adorable, I happen to know a self-described transsexual woman who’s older than I am and wonderful. Although she’s open about her past as a gay man, I’ve always found it hard to think of her as anything other than a woman, and I believe (and certainly hope) she’s completely happy to have transitioned. Being older, though, she went through a long and rigorous process of evaluation, psychotherapy and staged transformation. The current explosion of trans activism is urging a removal of almost all the robust systems through which candidates for sex reassignment were once required to pass.
Okay, next part, she is throwing the fact that she isn’t anti-trans since she has trans friends. Much in the way someone cannot be racist because they have black friends. However, notice she puts in qualifiers for why this person counts, but other people with dysphoria and who are working transitioning are not valid in her mind. Their identity must not be real by those qualifications. It’s fine for some, but most people are totally not dysphoric.

A man who intends to have no surgery and take no hormones may now secure himself a Gender Recognition Certificate and be a woman in the sight of the law. Many people aren’t aware of this.
This is a UK thing. You can find more about the qualifications for it here (https://www.gov.uk/apply-gender-recognition-certificate), but it is not a “fill out the paperwork and you can walk around pretending you are another sex” simply as pie thing. It’s a lot more complicated and that statement is HIGHLY misleading.

Okay, not copy the next few paragraphs, but the intention of these are to bring the reader who might be teetering on the edge whether or not she is being reasonable or not back into the belief that she is being perfectly reasonable. Yes, this is still a rather misogynistic world, more so in some countries than others. Not many can disagree with that.

Then she follows that up with a statement, not for pity she says, but so that you understand how terrible things have been and why she must believe as she does. Despite her words, this is designed to gain sympathy for her, if not pity. Feeling sympathetic towards someone makes you more receptive to their message — whether or not you fully agree with them.

What follows is more claiming of support for trans people and a plea of “see how reasonable I am?” a simple thing to bring the entire article to a soft and gentle close. It’s honestly a great tactic because ending anything like this on a soft note also leaves the reader feeling more sympathetic to what is being asked of them.

However, the biggest thing to note is she NEVER once takes back her statements regarding sex being the ultimate decider of who you are. She doubles down in multiple ways on gender being a mostly fake construct and that dysphoria is not a real thing for the majority of people. There is no apology, no sympathy or understanding from her on the pain she caused to those are hurt by being told that they are not who they are.

In fact, everything is focused on making you agree with her and feel sympathy for her. As an author she should know, and most likely does, the power of words and how to use them. This also means that if a community says, “Whoa there, that is really a horrible thing to say or do for those who are still actively fighting for recognition in their own community”, and she refuses to listen or apologize knowing the power of her words, but instead only focuses on herself and making an argument for her POV — then you know that her heart and sympathies are likely not with the community.

Also, she did not address her most recent controversial tweet in response to the comment “people who menstruate” in which she appeared to mock it by responding “‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?”

This statement really reduces being a women as only a biological process. So trans men who have not had a hysterectomy are still women, trans women cannot be women because they cannot menstruate, and of course a statement like this excludes those with genetic issues that prevent them from menstruating as well.

Okay, final comment. I mentioned early I would address the binary sex that has been a long-held opinion of people when it comes to humans. We have two sexes. Male and female. This is not true and never has been true even if you only at phenotype instead of the genetic classifications.

Sex is actually a sliding scale. While there are extreme outliers that are wholly male or wholly female, and those who fall directly in the middle (known as intersex), most of us appear as a part of the sex binary but carry the genetic aspects of the opposite sex to varying degrees as well. It’s something that really shows up strongly when looking at reactions to medications that tend to affect women and men differently.

Anyway, the result is the same. Sex is not a binary, gender is not a binary and is not the same as sex.

Hopefully, this makes sense and helps you understand why JKR is facing the sort of backlash regarding her comments that she is and why those in the community are still hurt and angry about her comments and opinion.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Magic #13


Recently, I hit the mark of having 13 titles in which I been listed as a contributing or sole author and I'm rather proud of this. It's been a lot of work to get to this point, but I don't always have time to promote all my work.

So, here it goes, a little self-promo for this indie author.

I’m going to start with my latest novel. Feathers and Fae

This is a fantasy adventure about friendship, trust, and the lies we think we need to tell. This story is one that came as a surprise for me. I think one of my favourite things is the landscapes that my characters get to go through. Of course, if you ask my readers, their favourite thing is Bob the Yeti.  Read this for Bob the Yeti, if nothing else. Everyone loves Bob.

Being my first (and not last) traditionally published novel, I am exceptionally proud of this book which was picked up by Kyanite Publishing



Going back in time now, the first books I ever published were self-published. In retrospect, it may have been a mistake, but I tend to roll with my mistakes and make the best of things. For now, this series will remain a self-published series from the previous books to the future books that are planned.
The Saints and Sinners Series is an urban paranormal fantasy series that touches on other genres with the first book, Road to Redemption, leaning towards paranormal romance and the second book, Depths of Darkness, being strongly in the category of horror. 

This series and these characters are dear to me since they are what started me down the road with the determination to become an author.

Road to Redemption (https://amazon.com/dp/152015626X)
Depths of Darkness (https://amazon.com/dp/1726830608 )


When it comes to the next book that I want to talk about, it began when I woke up one day and decided to spend the year writing very short stories using the #vss365 tag on Twitter for prompts. This type of story is also known as microfiction. Then I took my best and made a book of them titled, Little Stories in a Big Universe.

I haven't promoted this adorable little book near as much as I should have, but if you want a little bathroom reader or something that is easy to put down and pick up, this is an ideal and reasonably priced little book.


Now, for the longest time, I was terrified of writing short stories. I didn't think I had the capacity for the brevity necessary. After working with the microfiction, I decided I needed to conquer this as well.

Thankfully, I found myself inspired by a shared-world anthology created by a fellow Canadian Author, Stephen Coghlan. This also helped me attack my fear of working in someone else's world. So, enter the Remnants Anthology. Published by Kyanite Publishing, this post-apocalyptic collection of stories is unique and amazing. 

I can honestly say that it's an honour to be able to count myself among the authors of this anthology. 



Throughout all of this, I was writing other things. The aforementioned Stephen Coghlan convinced me to try my hand at drabbles, 100-word stories. Having never heard of such a thing before, I was eager to give it a try. These drabbles are all published with Black Hare Press.

They are fun to write and just as much fun to read. I managed to get 5 stories in all but three books in this series of drabbles. 

It would have been nice to have been able to be in all of them, but I was in the middle of edits and launching Feathers and Fae during much of this time and I am only one person.

You can find those published in these anthologies:









And outside of the drabbles collection, there is one other book in which I have three drabbles with Black Hare Press that you can read along with many other incredible authors.

Of course, we aren't stopping at 13, nor is this where my list will stop this year. We are only halfway through and I have a few other things that I am eager to share with you as well as several stories out on submission. 

Expect to see a lot more from me over the next few months. And, well, the foreseeable future as well. I love what I do. Writing, to me, is as essential as breathing. 

Oh, I do have one more cover that I can show you. Another short story in one of the quarterly issues of the Kyanite Press

I wrote a story that was accepted for the apocalyptic themed issue coming out in late May 2020 (yes, this month). Shattered Worlds. (https://kyanitepublishing.com/home/catalog/kyanite-press-v2i3)


And I would love to share with you the cover for my upcoming novel, Falling Light which will be on preorder later this month, but it that cover hasn't been released yet.

So, any questions?



Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Review: Forgotten Storm by A.R. Vagnetti

This is a novel by A. R. Vagnetti and published by Kyanite Publishing. I had the privilege of being able to read an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) of this entertaining novel. Find out more about this story and where to purchase it here: https://kyanitepublishing.com/product/forgotten-storm/

So, as usual, I didn't do more than a quick scan of the back cover blurb before reading. One day I should learn to do that so I am not surprised by anything. Right on the Kyanite page for this novel, it says "This title contains graphic sexual content." 


Oh boy, does it ever. For now, we are going to put that aside and I will get to talking about it further down. This is your one warning that I will be talking about some of the sex and related scenes later on. 

Overall, this is a well-written novel with strong characters and good world-building. Nicole, our heroine, is a hell of a woman. She may be falling apart, but she's still ready to kick-ass and take names. I loved her. I was rooting for her. All the characters in this story were dynamic and strong. I had no problem getting a sense of the vast supporting cast in this novel.

You will not find much to disappoint you in the action-packed fantasy portion of the plotline. It flows beautifully and is well supported by the romantic elements. Speaking of which, I want to address that part next. If honest talk about sex or the BDSM community offends you, skip the next two paragraphs. 

One of the things that always annoys me when authors touch on anything to do with BDSM is that they get it wrong. One of the most important things within this community is consent, a close second to that is open communication. I was relieved to see that A.R. did make mention of this fact and is represented in this novel.

As for the sex scenes, well damn. They were high on the steam side and low on the usage of purple prose. It was also nice to see something a little different from what I'm used to seeing when I do venture into erotic romance (as it is not my typical read). So, once again, kudos to A.R. for not keeping it the straightest of vanilla. That was slightly refreshing to read.


While I went into this novel not expecting this amount of sexual content, it was appropriate for the world and society that A.R. created for the paranormal portion of the world. I definitely enjoyed reading this story and I think you might too. She did a great job and I am happy that I got a chance to read this novel.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Guest Post: Bridging the Literary Gap - B.K. Bass

B.K. Bass

I am honoured to be able to share my blog with this incredible author. I have always enjoyed reading his insights about being a writer, an editor, and about the art of our shared craft.

I hope you all enjoy this incredible guest post as much as I do.

***
In the world of literature, there is a line drawn in the sand. Those on either side stare across this no man’s land, eyes filled with anything ranging from curiosity to contempt. Some dare to step across. Some are bold enough to straddle the line. Some of us, probably more than we think, are ready to kick the sand over the line and end the feud once and for all.

So, who are these two divided camps? Genre fiction and literary fiction. But, what’s the difference?

Genre fiction can be defined in several ways, but most sources agree that it is focused on plot and written to appeal to a wide selection of readers. It also follows certain formulas and features certain elements known as tropes so that it falls into one of many categories; such as historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, or fantasy.1

Literary fiction is harder to put such a clear definition on, but the NY Book Editors propose a set of defining characteristics. They posit that literary fiction “doesn’t follow a formula, uses creative storytelling, explores the human condition, may be difficult to read, is character-focused, [and] has an ambiguous ending.”2

If you’re a genre author, you’re probably spitting out your coffee right now and screaming at the screen, “But, my book is genre fiction, and it does everything on that list for literary fiction!”

Congratulations, you’re straddling the line.

If the only thing that defines genre fiction is its formulas and tropes, and these books can readily incorporate the elements of literary fiction, wouldn’t literary fiction simply be non-genre fiction? Why do proponents of literary fiction feel they have a monopoly on character-driven stories, creative storytelling, and deeper themes? Who drew this line in the sand, and why is it there?

Many believe that the only purpose of genre fiction is to entertain, amuse, and provide an escape from reality. They may or may not look down upon literary fiction as trivial or childish; but in all likelihood, they do not pay it the same respect as its counterpart. Those who hold to this belief also view literary fiction as the only avenue to tell compelling stories that delve into the human condition, analyze our world and our place in it, and invoke an emotional reaction in the reader through a “symphony of words.”3

1874 Edition Book Cover
Some disparagingly call these people the literati, a term created by combining literary and illuminati to invoke the image of a clandestine inner circle of the literary elite. The term makes me think of a group of bearded old white men in smoking jackets, sitting in a proper English parlour, groaning over their snifters of brandy as the latest young adult paranormal romance novel climbs to the top of the New York Times bestseller list.

The question remains: why is there a distinction? There are many books that have crossed the line and can be considered both genre fiction and literary fiction, not the least among them being Jane Eyre, Crime and Punishment, Dracula, Gulliver’s Travels, and Journey to the Center of the Earth.4 So, if all these great classics—and many more, including contemporary works—are considered both literary and genre fiction, why should there be a difference between the two?

I’m one of those kicking the sand. I don’t think there should be a line at all. I’ll be the first to agree that there’s hacks out there just following the formulas to create marketable genre fiction, but isn’t entertainment itself a noble pursuit? Is not the betterment of another person’s life, if even for a handful of hours escaping our reality, something that should be applauded? And are there not authors writing “literary fiction” whose quality of work and purity of intention equally as questionable? Are there no “hacks” trying to break into the world of literary fiction? You know what I say? Good for them for putting some effort into it. I know people whom I couldn’t get to read a greeting card, so anybody who dedicates themselves to writing a book deserves some praise simply for giving it a go.

I say it’s all simply fiction. Perhaps some of it defies being slotted into a genre definition. What if I told you there was a genre for that? “Contemporary Fiction” or “General Fiction” are genre tags used by book distributors. Guess what, literati: your fiction has a genre too.

Choosing to write in a genre—or discovering your work falls into one—shouldn’t automatically exclude an author from delving into deeper themes, exploring the human soul, and provoking their readers to consider new ideas. In fact, I say many forms of genre fiction are better at this. People are more likely to be receptive to new ideas if they are enjoying the context in which they are presented. If you want to convince somebody to consider a different viewpoint on an issue, lace that into something they will find entertaining. They may or may not change their minds, but at least they’re more likely to read the whole thing. Looking back to the characteristics of literary fiction defined above, I say there’s nothing on that list which genre fiction can’t incorporate.

Releases October 25, 2019
I’d like to stand up and say I straddle the line. I’d love nothing more than to proclaim that I write genre fiction that is also literary fiction. Would that be pretentious? Maybe. So, I’ll let Crystal Kirkham speak for me in an excerpt from her review of my newest book:

“What Once Was Home stunningly combined the incredible speculative elements that I love about science fiction with the engaging personal stories and moving internal struggle that continues to draw me back to contemporary [literary] fiction.” [read full review here]

So, how does one mix the conventions of genre fiction with the characteristics of literary fiction? It’s much simpler than it appears. When you’re developing your story, whether this involves extensive outlining or simply sitting down and seeing what happens, remember that your genre conventions are simply setting the stage for your story. In What Once Was Home, the alien invasion and post-apocalyptic scenarios explored are simply the setting of the story. The plot, from surviving the first wave to the rebuilding of a community, is simply the vehicle that carries the story forward. The real story is in how the characters react to these circumstances. The real question is how one can retain their moral compass in the face of impossible decisions.

Your story and your question will be different, as will your setting and plot. Create a world in which to explore deeper ideas, and develop a situation that propels your characters into facing them.

Or, just write something fun. Fun, for it’s own sake, is a worthwhile endeavor. When I started writing What Once Was Home, that was my primary goal. The book itself surprised me. You may be surprised along the way to find your own “escapists drivel”֫—as those surly old men in that English parlour would call it—evolves into something more.


About the Author

B.K. Bass is an author of science fiction, fantasy, and horror inspired by the pulp fiction magazines of the early 20th century and classic speculative fiction. He is a student of history with a particular focus on the ancient, classical, and medieval eras. He has a lifetime of experience with a specialization in business management and human relations and served in the U.S. Army. B.K. is also the Acquisitions Director for Kyanite Publishing, the Editor-in-Chief of the Kyanite Press journal of speculative fiction, and the Writing Department Chair for Worldbuilding Magazine. You can find out more about B.K. at https://bkbass.com.


Works Cited

1. French, Christy Tillery. “Literary Fiction Vs. Genre Fiction.” Author’s Den. http://www.authorsden.com/visit/viewArticle.asp?id=18884. July 22, 2005. Accessed October 22, 2019.

2. “What is Literary Fiction?” NY Book Editors. https://nybookeditors.com/2018/07/what-is-literary-fiction/. Accessed October 22, 2019.

3. Petite, Steven. “Literary Fiction Vs. Genre Fiction.” HuffPost. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/literary-fiction-vs-genre-fiction_b_4859609. February 26, 2014. Accessed October 22, 2019.

4. Rothman, Joshua. “A Better Way to Think About the Genre Debate.” The New Yorker. https://www.newyorker.com/books/joshua-rothman/better-way-think-genre-debate. November 6, 2014. Accessed October 22, 2019.