Tuesday, May 3, 2011

How To Insult An Author

Ugly baby If you want to know how to insult an author, call her baby ugly.

That happened to me twice over the weekend while I was at the Malice Domestic Conference and at the Festival of Mystery.

Friday, I met a couple of friends at one of the VERY FEW seating areas at the Hyatt Regency in Bethesda, Maryland.  (Note to hotels:  If you host conferences, please add more groups of seats to your common areas so people who visit your hotel and have a need to network have somewhere to do it.)  One of the women sitting there (a stranger to me) called out and said, "I LOVE your books."  What author doesn't like to hear that (and beam with pride)?

So I said, "Thank you.  Have you read my Jeff Resnick books?"

The woman's smile disappeared, a her lips pursed, and she said, "I don't read THOSE kinds of books."

Maybe if I had had a decent night's sleep during the preceding 3-4 weeks, I might have handled her comment in a better way.  But it was the way she said it.  Suddenly I was my character Jeff Resnick, someone who has been beaten over the head and made to feel small, insignificant, and struggling for acceptance.  I've felt that way a LOT since November 18, 2005 -- the day the book first came out.

Of course, THOSE kinds of books contain a paranormal thread.

No vampires Now by paranormal, I don't mean Vampires, Zombies, Werewolves, Shapeshifters, yada yada yada. The paranormal element in my Jeff Resnick books concerns him being a tad psychic--that because he was mugged and suffered a head injury, he has become a little bit psychic.  He doesn't solve crimes BECAUSE of this ability.  Jeff is a former insurance investigator. He has experience solving crimes.

Most readers are unaware that I write more than just cozy mysteries.  Say, Fantasy?  Science Fiction, a little Romance.  Women's Fiction.  I ain't no one-trick pony.

My Jeff Resnick books can either be billed as psychological suspense or paranormal thrillers.  But the one thing they have in common (and I like to think all my work has in common) with my Cozy Mystery series is heart.  The only way I know how to convey heart is through characterization.  I've been told I do it pretty well.

So if you're one of those people who "doesn't read that kind of book," would you insult the author by calling her baby ugly, or would you simply smile and say, "No."

If you said no, I would have handed you a bookmark and said, "I hope you'll give it a try."