Feeling the Heat

Great Zombie Jesus, it’s hot today. How hot? Well, let’s just say I poured some McDonald’s coffee in my lap to cool off…hehe…yep. Hot enough that I’m stealing cheap jokes from Futurama episodes and passing them off as my own. ;)

So, I’m sweatin’ and thinkin’ and sweatin’ over a very alarming statistic that’s cropped up over these last nine months: my Scare Rating. Usually it hovers around 60% or so, but this year it’s been darn near 98%! Most of it is book-related. In fact, I’ve actually had people remove me from their MySpace friends lists because they want “nothing to do with your crap.” I dunno. Did you think The Knack was over the top? Crap? In need of a good banning?

Here’s what Piers Anthony had to say:

The Knack, by Jesse Gordon, self published but worthy of traditional print. It’s a vampire story, and I’m not a vampire fan, but this strikes me as an original take. They do drink blood, but actually need any kind of fluid, even their own; it seems psychological as much as physical. They have sex not so much for sexual gratification as for the associated fluid. They do have special powers, but these are difficult to develop, and it’s not a happy state. Individuals are finely characterized, and the writing can be pretty: “As she moved through alternating spaces of evening darkness and frosted LED lighting, her hair a vibrant spray, a fiery beacon of femininity, she conversed on her cell phone.”

He seems to have “gotten it,” and for that I’m grateful…though it may just be because he’s read worse. ;)

Regardless of why my Scare Rating is so high, I’ve decided my next novel will be G-rated. One, the plot has nothing to do with sex, and two, I promised my kid sister I’d write something less…raunchy. Stories from the Steel Garden was supposed to be G-rated, but it ended up PG-13. The nudity thing didn’t go over too well, I guess—indeed, it probably would have been more effective to have had the workers wearing rags instead of nothing at all…but I love to exaggerate whenever possible, oftentimes to the point of sticking my foot in my mouth. It’s a Sagittarius shortcoming. Just ask my grandmother, my aunts and uncles, my old high school buddies—all of whom want nothing to do with me or my offensive little tales.

Meh. What do you think? Should I take it easy on the “for mature readers” thing for a while? Should I have given Bryson and Kyna an ounce of self-control? Should I have given Richard Doroschenko some fucking pants? Are those naked mannequins on the cover of “Babe” really more offensive than Satan Burger (see my MySpace post)???

These are the questions that flutter through my mind when the ambient temperature heats up my skull thusly….

Feedback: Okay, I’ve officially lost each and every one of my hangups thanks to feedback such as what follows below. You guys / gals are the greatest. (You too, Senor Perverto.)

“dont puss out man. u write how you wanna write. now you know how it feels in sacramento.” —Philip

“Don’t take shit from no one Jess. People who complain are usually doing so out of frustration of their own shortcomings or hangups. You just keep doing what comes naturally.” —Brian

“That’s so cool that Piers Anthony wrote a review :)

“You know, I’ve been pondering this. I like the disturbing factor, but I’ve been corrupted by the likes of Laurell K Hamilton and Monty Python. I am rather curious what would happen to your readers if they read more G-rated stories (is Time Chaser considered G?) – would they more apt to open their arms and then as they’re gnashing away at your books and inhaling the words on the pages, just start filling in with PG and PG-13…but movie directors don’t have to do that…huh. Somehow you found a boundary that you want to explore, but few want to explore with you. And the only way that I’ve found people easily crossing that line without a second thought is when things are amusing, like The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas and the First Nudie Musical…

“I don’t think you should have given Richard pants. If I were in that situation (hell, a couple of days this summer, even), I would’ve gone without pants. Nobody cared way back in the day. America just has a censorship problem running rampant…kinda like in Piers Anthony’s Demons Don’t Dream…

“Naked mannequins are now offensive, huh. They can’t stay clothed all the time!” —I dream of diesels

“Its not so bad man. After the first few chapters I totally forget about Richards round, muscular ass.” —Senor Perverto

“Yeah. It’s fucking hot. And I still want nothing to do with you. Oh but your writing’s cool though.” —Shadow the Black Dragon

“Cool, my friend, on the Piers comment! And hey, it’s your book. I’m sure you wrote it the way it needed to be written.” —Jonathan Fesmire

“Big thanks for doing what you do! You put out very well written books with so much truth in them that everyone who “wants nothing to do with you” needs to experience before they make judgment. I have many friends from all over the country that love to read books like yours because of the unabashed atmosphere. If you haven’t already done so, you definitely need to check out White Light by William Barton and Michael Capobianco. It should make you feel less self conscious about your so-called offensive little tales.” —David

“Hey, a little naked fiction never hurt anyone, right? If anything you’re probably a superstar among the nudist crowd. You might do well to air-drop a crate of Steel Garden books into a nudist colony!….Wouldn’t it be funny if you were doing a book signing and a whole bunch of crazed naked people came up to your table for an autograph?” —Britney