Wednesday, October 3, 2012

GUEST POST: Janis Patterson and BEADED TO DEATH Release Day!

Today I bring you a special guest blog from Janis Patterson, multiply published (traditionally published several times over the years) mystery author! She was one of the 100 writers who founded Romance Writers of America (you can get her re-issued romances soon on Amazon, published as Janis Susan May.)

Her new book BEADED TO DEATH, a funny cozy mystery, was just released this past Monday, October first. Yay! But if we consider what she says below, we'd probably better HURRY to get it before someone goes out and censors it, bans it, or does whatever other nefarious thing the government would like to do to books and our electronic texts. I believe she makes some valid discussion points.

In fact, October is Banned Books Month. Let's go out and read a banned book that could destroy our minds and take control of our senses. One like TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD . . . CATCHER IN THE RYE . . . or (the clear winner) THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN, that Great American Novel with the dreaded "N" word in it (because that was the vernacular of the day, AND because Twain wants us to see it for what it is--NOT because Twain/Clemens was a racist, sheesh. Those dangerous books that ask us to think and move us to feel! Oh, the horror!

I wish they'd ban NICE WORK and MURDER BY THE MARFA LIGHTS. And certainly CAMILLE'S TRAVELS. Or even APRIL, MAYBE JUNE. That one will definitely inspire people to think for themselves. And we cannot have that, can we?

So let's listen to what our honored guest has to say and then go check out her book on Amazon. (Be sure to click on the LIKE button next to the title before you buy it and check out!)

Attack of the Bureaucrats
by Janis Patterson

I wonder what ever happened to freedom? I’ve been battling the Animal License Registration people for months now. Both my vet and I have told them that my dog received a three year rabies vaccination. We’ve told them that for two years. They received the documentation when it was first done. They also accepted that I was old enough to qualify for a senior exemption.

But not any more. They’re threatening me with a criminal citation. And they’re saying that all of a sudden I have to mail them a copy of my driver’s license. Really! After accepting my exemption before, now they have to have a copy? And in these days of identity theft I am to send a copy through the mail?

Really, what business is it of theirs how many animals I want to have? Government intrusion at its worst.

So what does this admittedly bad-tempered (but very truthful) rant have to do with writing?

The thin edge of the wedge.

If a petty bureaucratic agency can dictate how many animals I have, can ignore facts and demand that I put myself and my credit at risk, and can threaten me with criminal citations unless I dance through their ridiculous hoops, what else can the government do? If the time-servers at the animal services department can do all that and intrude so far into our private lives with impunity, how long will it be before there is a department of literary control?

The idea is worse than any horror story.

Just imagine. Every book will have to go through an evaluation process to see if it fits whatever standard is in play at the moment. It will have to be registered – not like with an ISBN, for ease of location and purchase, but to show that it has been approved for distribution to the populace. Then, if the political/social winds change, it can be de-certified and eradicated in a moment. The book that never was.

I don’t care for erotica. There are, however, many who do. There’s a lot of it out there, and that’s as it should be. I believe that people should be allowed to read what they like, be it erotica or sweet romance or mysteries or history or technological books or whatever. But… what if some bureaucratic automaton suddenly decided that a certain kind of book wasn’t acceptable and shouldn’t be allowed. With the pressure of the government and threats of punishment those unacceptable books would vanish. Nowadays we would of course cry ‘Censorship!’ and fight it.

We might even win -– this time. In the future… who knows?

Perhaps you think my premise preposterous or even paranoid. Perhaps it is – but just remember, they really can be out to get you even if you are paranoid.

Freedom to read what we want, to write what we want, is not something to be taken lightly, and should be guarded at all costs. I don’t have a magic pill or incantation to keep away a dire book-controlled future that may not ever happen. I don’t know a solution, save to keep writing and keep alert. The internet and the ease of self-publishing have done a great deal to destroy the old gatekeepers – for good or for bad – but there is no guarantee that such freedom will last.

It is our job as writers, as readers, to see that the freedom to read and write what we want to is kept alive.

So –- as a first step, I would remind you that my lighthearted cozy mystery BEADED TO DEATH was released 1 October. It’s a fun romp with a middle-aged bead artist who finds an unknown dead body in her living room and is suddenly plunged into a new world containing drug smugglers, an FBI agent who may or may not be rogue and a 7’3” nephew on the run from an unwanted basketball scholarship.

If I were cynical, I’d say get it while you can. Do I really think an apocalypse of book-control is coming? I most devoutly hope not.

But it is a possibility.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you! We must be ever vigilant if we are to retain the freedoms our forefathers fought for. I think we've already started down a very slippery slope.

    Hope the bureaucrats get straightened out soon.