Dishing Junk: When Authors Write What They DON’T Know

Author’s names, book titles, cover and synopsis are all a product of this blogger’s imagination and are not based on any “real” authors or books. Any resemblance to existing authors or books is purely passive aggressive coincidence and should not be given much thought. Please pay no attention to the girl behind the curtain.

Today’s Dishing Junk is more of a musing, instead of its usual bitch-fest. A discussion, so-to-speak, about a topic that pops up in my head every now and again. Mainly when I’m reading a synopsis of a book, this thought that pops in my head usually leads to me NOT reading the book. But, am I doing myself a disservice? Am I being — wait — judgement? I am judgmental, I will admit it, it is a character flaw. It is why I don’t have a large group of close friends in my real life. You tell me your problems, I usually open my mouth and tell you what I think and not always in a nice cuddly bunnies sort of way. It usually leads to me losing friends. I know this about myself, I try to correct it…but it’s there. That judgmental nature inside my head. It applies to acquaintances and it applies to books. Let’s get off people and onto books, why don’t we.

I read a synopsis that goes, maybe something like this:

Snow Queen, bad covers

José Smith is a half-Mexican, half-black, half-Native American gay man living in the wilds of Alaska. For years he has been hiding his true sexuality from many people in his life, including his family. His family is from a long line of Native American medicine men and Voodoo priestesses…they wouldn’t understand his sexuality. José has also been hiding his love from his best-friend, Marco – who is a man-whore, but deep down inside loves his best-friend. Together they must piece together a murder mystery that points straight to Marco as the killer, whom the townspeople think is a Chupacabra, all the while exploring their love for one another – and the waitress Sophie who has stumbled into their path. Can they find love? Or will their blooming flame get frostbite?

I might have exaggerated that synopsis a bit, but admit it — you’ve seen worse…

The sketchiness of the synopsis isn’t what stops me, though. My brain suddenly says, okay, an über minority hero, cool. You don’t get many of them — and this one is over-the-top minority, he is even gay to round out the extreme nature of his minoritiness – make him a card carrying Republican and you just hit a .01%er. Nice to see some new perspectives, right?

I’m intrigued. Being a white-sort-of,  American, it is rather cool to read about different sub-cultures within the scope of my own world. Meaning, it is one thing about reading about the Indian culture — which seems so different from my American culture and then it is another to read about a group within my own scope of existence and looking out from different “eyes”. How do they see the same world? How does the world treat them differently then they treat me?

The piqued interest slams on the brakes though the moment I read the author’s name:

Annie Lynn {fake name}

And then her bio:

m224448233Annie Lynn is from a little town in Kansas, called Middletown, where she has lived all her life. Annie hopes to one day travel to the places she writes about, but for now she must visit only within her imagination. Annie is married to a wonderful man whom she met in high-school and they have three beautiful children. Annie loves to write m/m erotica and paranormal romance of the spicy variety. Annie’s most scariest high-light in life was when she visited Las Vegas and talked to a pimp without even knowing he was a pimp!

Am I being judgmental?

Am I wrong to think that @!%!&ing Annie Lynn could reasonably write a story about a minority gay man? Living in Alaska? How could she even know how to exist as a gay man, on top of that, as a minority man, then combine them together? The politically correct angel on my shoulder tells me I’m an asshole, because I think an overweight, white, housewife, living in Middle America couldn’t possible know what it is like to be a minority gay man, much less write from his perspective. Much less depict the Alaskan wilds in all it’s glory? Her only knowledge base is the fact that she enjoys watching MTV Real World and Yukon Men.

It would be like a person writing a story about seeing the ocean, when they themselves have never before set foot upon a shore. They might have watched a movie that depicted the ocean…they might have heard the narrator’s commentary, but could they actually convey TRUE thoughts and feelings, instead of regurgitated “other speak?” (Meaning an interpretation of other people’s thoughts and feelings with no real substantial feelings behind them.) Like, writing a research paper on a topic that you have no belief behind, you basically just regurgitate other people’s information.

I don’t want to read regurgitated other speak.

Again, am I being too hard on Annie Lynn? Should I just accept these novels for what they are? It’s a damn erotica novel RACHEL! What do you @!%!&ing expect?

Instead of being too hard on myself, I just casually reject these review requests. Later Annie Lynn. I won’t be reading you.

But, I swear, one of these days, I’m going to talk my friend, who happens to be gay, into reviewing a m/m romance novel, written by a female, for me. Just to get his perspective, is it real life? Well, as real life as any Romance novel can be. Unfortunately his ass doesn’t read, which is his character flaw. But, one day. Just wait.

Till then, I’m stuck being judgmental and 86ing some review requests, primarily based on the author bio.

So, I ask you dear reader, a few questions, pick one or just let me have it:

  1. Do you think an author can write “what s/he doesn’t know?” Especially in the form of a character’s perspective?
  2. Have you read a m/m written by a female? Do you think it was “real?”
  3. Do you read author’s bios before you accept review copies? Do their bios sway your opinion?

Rachel Rivera

Again – please note. EVERYTHING depicted in this post, from author name, to cover is FAKE. It is an “example” to use a real book/author I thought would be way too harsh. My opinions are also exaggerated. Remember, I’m dishing junk… 😉