Posts Tagged ‘The Da Vinci Code’


If you’re a writer like me, you probably savor even the smallest compliment anyone gives your writing.

Like a starving beggar being thrown a crust of bread, I pounce on every favorable word, like interesting and intriguing and fun.  I dissect and analyze simple  sentences such as, “I really liked your book,” as in Is he just being polite or does he really, truly like and almost love my book and what’s he gonna tell other people about it and how does he think it compares to other books in the genre and…?

So you can imagine how I felt when I recently got emails from an overseas distant relative and another from an almost stranger/author, and they RAVE about The Compass Master.   As in “Talk about Dan Brown – he’s got nothing on you,” and “It’s so much better written than The Da Vinci Code!” and “I love the main characters, and I just can’t wait to see what happens next.”

Swear to God, my initial pleasure reaction was so bone-deep I was giggling and grinning like a brainless twit.  And of course I tell myself they’re right and it’s not just my imagination or flashes of desperate ego that whisper to me maybe I’m good at this craft.  And of course one reason I’m happily rolling around in these compliments like a goofy dog in the grass is because I know that any day now life will sucker punch me with a cold hard reality check, and I’ll come thudding back down to earth where I’ll go through yet another bout of insecurity and borderline depression.

This is why we writers understand what Mark Twain meant when he said, “I can live for two months on a good compliment.”

EXACTLY!  Who needs food?  Who needs shelter?  I got me some really hot compliments so I’m doing just fine.  Sure, this feeling won’t last.  If we writers know anything it’s the emotional bipolar torture writing can inflict on us.

But for right now, for some of us, today is a good day.

Scary People

on April 19, 2011 in Misc Comments Off on Scary People

In the last couple weeks I’ve learned that there are a lot of scary people out there.  I mean a LOT more REALLY SCARY people than I ever thought existed, and they’re more aggressive than I’d assumed, too.  And what’s starting to give me nervous hives is that when The Compass Master comes out one of two things will happen.  Either:

A)  Like the vast majority of self-published books, it will disappear and only one or two dozen people will buy and read it (thank you Mom and friends).  Or…

B)  Through some fluke of fate my book will get some attention, it will start to sell, which will then mean…

The crazy scary people will come get me.

I know this because my novel deals in part with religion.

The irony is TCM isn’t anti- or pro-religious faith.  Unlike The Da Vinci Code or The Templar Code, The Lost Tomb, etc. (TCM falls into the same genre), I don’t dismiss Christianity by downgrading J.C. to merely human or say he was married to Mary Magdalene.   However, my modern-day characters do deal with a definite downgrading of the Book of Revelation and with the Inconvenient Truth that women in very early Christianity acted as priests and bishops and Paul himself hailed one as an apostle.

So in TCM Layla must handle such evidence while trying to outsmart and evade dangerous members of an extremist right-wing American Catholic and Protestant force that’s trying to top them.  (This angle too is based on more hard fact than most people would like to think.   Ever heard of the Council for National Policy?)

See, the key word here is EXTREMIST.  We’re not talking about the vast majority of Christians, Jews, Muslims, atheists, pagans, Buddhists, Trekkies, Wiccans or whatever.  When it comes to personal spiritual beliefs or the lack of them, most people are pretty tolerant and respectful.  I have wonderful friends who literally sing in the choir at their church and others who can’t be bothered with any religion.  You could put them all in the same room and they’d get along just fine.

But crazy extremists don’t respect and tolerate.  They go on websites, blogs, public forums, letters to the editor, anything and everything.  They attack, insult, preach to, defame, cyber stalk, blackball, mock, you name it.  I truly had no idea how bad the cyber world of extremist religious  and anti-religious fruitbats was until within the last couple weeks when I ventured into articles on religious issues on major websites like Huffington Post and the Daily Beast.  I even made the great mistake of leaving a couple comments about certain points in  the articles.

Holy fruitbat shit.

I mean, suddenly I wasn’t in the nanny-patrolled world of the comment sections of the New York Times.  Suddenly I was in a dark, dangerous alley infested with rabid Jesus freaks and hard-core atheists ready to spit insults at anyone who doesn’t believe exactly as they do.  And a couple of them wouldn’t leave me alone.  They kept hitting the Reply button and typing in more snark or sermons.  All I could do was ignore them and try to go far, far away.  Which they REALLY don’t like.

I guess on the upside it’s whack jobs like them who gave The Da Vinci Code so much free publicity.   Remember when it was on the cover of Time (or was it Newsweek)?  Controversy sells, and the Code was the mother of all fictional controversies.   A lot of people picked up the book just to see what all the fuss was about.   So maybe good things are in store for The Compass Master.

On the downside I don’t have Dan Brown’s millions of dollars in royalties to retreat into fortified solitude.  On the upside, I now know how to fire a shotgun.