Let Me Tell You A Story

In case anybody cares, this is a special… I dunno what to call it, but it’s a sort of… blogerview-ramble with LKH about her new book. This is from borders.com, and if ANYONE still doubts that LKH is mockable, this is a good example of why she is.

I’m two weeks out from “Hit List”, my newest book hitting the shelves.

… and yet we STILL don’t know what the hell it’s about. Yeah, the publisher STILL has not, as of May 24, put up a friggin’ cover blurb instead of the vague ONE SENTENCE that could apply to at least two other books LKH has written.

 
Two weeks before the publication of a new book is like having given birth to a baby and being told, nope you can’t take it home, and really it doesn’t exists until June 7, 2011.

… except without the hemorrhoids, swelling, vaginal bleeding, sore tits, and other fun symptoms. And… seriously, this is not a very good metaphor, because the book DOES exist, but other people can’t see it. And it’s not like being released is the same thing as taking it home… this metaphor just sucks.

 
Before that all the hard labor, all the time, effort, sleepless nights, false starts, blind alleys, rewriting, editing, etc . . . isn’t enough.

I worked my fingers to the bleeding bones! I am a workaholic who has to be pried from her computer, lest she works until she collapses! Have I mentioned how hard I work?

 
I’ve written the book. I’ve typed ‘The End’, and my copyeditor, my editor, and myself have edited it.

My books are SO edited! We edit the CRAP out of my books, since I am a true prefectionist and do not loose any chances to improve my books! There is no chance that my books will go to press with a bunch of obvious glaring errors in continuity, spelling and/or grammar.

 
The art department, the marketing department, and every other department has done their best to package the book so it will look good on the shelves.

Goody! A chance to shit all over the cover! Yes, I passionately hate this cover. In case you’re wondering, the Anita Blake covers went through these phases in the United States (other countries have some similar phases):

  • 1st cover: “Something spooky and supernatural is happening near the St. Louis Arch. Also, the moon is red, which means sinister things are afoot.”
  • 2nd cover: “I am naked, pink, and apparently having some kind of body-twisting orgasm that may not be possible for the human spine.”
  • 3rd cover: “I like wine.”

So as you can see, the first round of covers were actually very good. They look a little dated, but they were very atmospheric, and they gave you a decent idea of what the series was about. Then came the naked rainbow covers, where multicolored naked women wriggle around having constant orgasms. And the last round were TOOL-PORN. Ooooh, fear the corkscrew!

So what is Hit List’s cover?

Yes, it looks like the art department did SUCH a detailed job on this cover. It looks like they were going to use a naked photoshopped picture of LKH (seriously, the face is just like her) doing her best Anita impression, but someone tripped and fell on the picture with a can of gold paint. They weren’t able to get most of the gold paint off, so they went, “Fuckit, people can see enough of the photo. We’re going to print with this.”

I mean, look at it! It looks like there’s a chibi Martian peeking out of the corner of the picture. And half of the woman’s head is missing, as are her arms. Why does the gold splatter look so random? I swear, this looks like someone whipped it up in photoshop in about half an hour.

Well, at least it’s truth in advertising: the woman on the cover is an idealized version of LKH, and she’s wearing a dog collar and crouching over a couch arm so someone can pork her from behind. Doesn’t that just scream, “Feminism in action”?

 
The publicity department is now on center stage as we gear up for interviews, personal appearances, and all things media, like this blog.

I hear a whip cracking. And not the S&M type.

 
But still the book is not quite out, not quite on the shelves.

… either it’s out or it’s not. Unless, you know, they’re adding some pages every few hours, and it will only be complete on the drop date!

 
I’ve done all this work, and I know it’s finished, but still it’s not real, not yet.

STOP NATTERING ABOUT THAT, AND WRITE YOUR NEXT BOOK! Most authors with a book coming out are busy on their next one, or the one AFTER their next one!

I’m not saying authors can’t be concerned or anything, but LKH apparently has nothing to do but sit around contemplating that, “Yes, I have a book coming out…. but it’s not REALLY here… woe is me… it’s not here yet… woe…”

 
I got my preview copies and saw the beautiful new cover. I’m holding “Hit List” in my hands, caressing the cover,

… no, it’s not my filthy mind that is imagining woman-book porn. If this weren’t LKH, I wouldn’t have thought that!

but it’s still not out on the shelves. It’s still not in the bookstores.

… except maybe the Canadian bookstores. Those diabolical Canadians! Curse them and their maple syrup!

(Note: in case you don’t follow LKH’s twitter, she once freaked out because a few Canadian bookstores were selling her book early, and she insisted this would destroy her chances of ranking high on the NYTimes list)

 
It’s still not where everyone else can read it, so it’s still not done.

YES. IT FUCKING IS. You’ve done your work, your editor MAY have done his/her work, it’s being printed, bound and shipped, so IT’S DONE. Over. Finito.

 
I got my box of “Hit List” last week.

… it must either be a very large book or a small box.

 
I gazed down at my contractually negotiated number of copies. (Yes, that’s right. One of the many things your agent negotiates for you is how many copies your publisher must send you of your own book.)

Excuse me, I have to find a picture to convey my emotions about this revelation. Ah, here’s one:

The books gleamed golden in the dimness of the box like old gold,

  1. The redundant description was redundant.
  2. “The golden books gleamed golden like old gold, goldenly.”
  3. Wow, I didn’t think she could top “gold like the metal of a piece of jewelry.” But she did! God help us all, she did.

 
some ancient treasure wrapped up and mailed to me.

I’m sorry, what is ancient about it?

 
I reached in, pulled out one of those smooth, shining, books, and it had weight; it was real, and yet it’s not.

YES IT FUCKING IS. Is this some sort of Schroedinger’s cat crapola? Either the book is REAL, or it’s NOT.

Somehow after over a decade

Yeah, try to downplay your age by pretending it isn’t much more than that.

 
until the book is sitting on the shelf in a bookstore, or on-line with a “buy now” beside it, the book remains in limbo. It’s real, finished, but until all of you can read it, share the story, it’s only half done.

Maybe instead of Schroedinger’s Cat, we should call this “LKH’s Book.” Even though it physically exists, she claims it isn’t REAL or FINISHED because it isn’t on store shelves.

I guess, in the end, I write as if I’m sitting around a fire in some long ago night. I look out at the circle of faces some lost in shadow, some golden with firelight, and I beckon them closer. I say the magic words, that people have been saying since before we drew on cave walls. I say, “Let me tell you a story.”

Yeah, ancient societies were probably a little more demanding about what their entertainment was. For one thing, they didn’t have any alternatives to storytime – it was listen to the oral myths, legends and stories, or sit in the corner picking bits of bark off the firewood. On second thought, maybe they would be desperate enough to listen to the tales of LKH’s self-inserts.

But still, I somehow can’t imagine LKH as a successful bard. She would always have a headache when storytime came around, it would take her FOREVER to churn out even a substandard story, and she would be forever moaning about how the gods hadn’t granted her the full story yet.

Yeesh. Just the idea makes me shudder.

 
Everyone can joke about the world’s oldest profession and even debate,

… but I will say it again: Prostitution is awesome!

Seriously, this woman is almost fifty and she doesn’t know what “the world’s oldest profession” refers to?!

 
but after we could hunt and gather, I believe one of the first occupations was storyteller.

… no, I’m pretty sure there were some other occupations in there as well. Like, say, LEADERS. Midwives. Babysitters. I could go on.

 
When you had full bellies from a successful hunt, what did you do after dinner with nothing but darkness and some of the largest, most active, brains that the planet had ever seen?

Uhhhh… wait, let me guess.

  1. Preserve food.
  2. Have sex.
  3. Tan hides.
  4. Make pots/baskets.
  5. Tell the kids to stop throwing mammoth organs at each other.
  6. Weave.
  7. Making medicines.
  8. Applying medicine where needed.
  9. Have more sex, because Uguh got eaten by a saber-toothed tiger and that just reduced your local population by 3%.
  10. Have a funeral for whatever is left of Uguh.

… and so on. And so on. Yes, I’m sure oral storytelling was vitally important, and it was often expressed in multiple art forms. But I’m pretty sure it wasn’t ranked #2 behind “get food.”

 
You shared your day, but most of the group had spent all day together.

… and I doubt it was very interesting anyway.

“What happened today, sweetie?”
“Well, I hunted mammoths, helped kill one, and dragged the carcass home.”
“That’s what you said a few days ago, honey.”
“Yes, I did.”
“So… nothing interesting happened?”
“Nope! I’m completely boring!”

 
They knew each other’s day, so what did they do? They told stories, of course.

Which led to the formation of the first Mary Sues in history:

“Once upon a time, there was a mammoth hunter. He was strong, handsome, and slew ALL the tribe’s mammoths since no one ran as fast or gracefully as he did. Did I mention that the gods all adored him and lavished magic powers upon him?”
“Yes. Yes, you did. Yesterday. Can you please tell us something ELSE tonight?”
“Why would you want to hear about anyone else?”

 
They entertained each other. Stories came first, and then singing; I believe, though I can’t prove that they both predate art.

ORAL STORYTELLING IS A FORM OF FUCKING ART. And why would she assume that made-up stories would be something they would value above visual art or rhythmic singing? Or carving?

And here’s something LKH has apparently never heard of:

Yes, this is Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. At the bottom are basic things like food, sex, warmth and a secure place to poop. Above that is more abstract but still psychologically necessary stuff like respect for/by others, feelings of security, having a job and family relationships.

Guess where creativity is? Yes! At the very top! Meaning, these are things that are NOT fundamental. Additionally, the top layer is not a “deficiency need” where a person will feel tense and upset if they don’t have those needs met. It’s a part of self-actualization, but ancient cave-dwelling hunter-gatherer species rarely got to be self-actualized!

 
There isn’t anyway to get proof of how long a story existed, or how far back a hero archetype has traveled through mankind’s consciousness.

Someone take the Campbell away from LKH.

Stories don’t leave bones behind, but I think that they do leave an imprint in us. Stories have soaked into our minds, our hopes, our fears, since the beginning of humankind.

I’m sorry, but what is going on here? What is she trying to communicate? She went from some sort of bizarre Schroedinger’s cat whine into ruminating on how cavemen made up stories! What the fuck does this have to do with her book? This IS meant to publicize her book! So what does it have to DO with her book?!

 
In a way stories can’t leave bones behind for the archeologists to find, because the oldest stories are in the bones, blood, and bodies of us all.

Is she trying to imply that her stories and characters are Campbellian archetypes? Because I’m pretty sure her series doesn’t follow the Hero’s Journey pattern.

 
We are the end product of those people that sat around the fires, so long ago, and listened to someone say, “I’ll tell you a story . . . ”

WOW. You’re saying that we are the descendants of ancient people? And that a few of those people were storytellers? I never knew that! WOW! Cosmic knowledge has been imparted unto us!

 
So, for me, until “Hit List” is on the shelves and everyone can read it, the book isn’t done.

So… she doesn’t feel that it is “done” unless people can read it… because cavemen used to tell stories to each other… and because we’re descended from those cavemen.

I don’t get it.

 
Until I can say, “Let me tell you a story about Anita Blake and a world where vampires, zombies, and shapeshifters, are real, legal citizens of the United States.”

“Except that the vampires don’t have Constitutional rights, meaning that they aren’t really real citizens or they would get stuff like a trial by jury. And the zombies aren’t citizens at all, especially since we haven’t heard anything about zombie rights since Book 2.”

 
“Let me tell you about love and honor, hatred and revenge, life and death, and laughter,”

“… and then when I’m finished summarizing the Lord of the Rings, I’ll tell you about MY book.”

 
“because policemen and emergency personnel have the funniest, damn stories.”

… but you won’t hear that, because Anita is too busy having pissing contests with them!

 
Though admittedly, it maybe an acquired sense of humor, but I acquired it years ago, or maybe I came with gallows humor as part of my sensibilities.

… sense of humor? Since when does LKH have a sense of humor?

I mean, her books used to be mildly amusing in a snarky way, but it was still a mean-spirited, bitchy humor. And when she TRIES to be funny, it makes you want to rip out your own brain.

HAHA. LAUGH, DAMN YOU!

Seriously, I don’t know where this “I have a sense of humor, which also makes me so dark and unique!” thing comes from. LKH has already demonstrated that she doesn’t catch on to jokes, can’t be funny when she makes her own, and takes herself dead seriously.

 
Let me tell you a story about the night made real, alive, and hungry.

  1. Nobody ever said the night WASN’T real. So why would it need to be MADE real?
  2. The night is simply the period when part of the Earth is aimed away from the sun. How can the absence of sunlight be made “alive”? What the hell would it LOOK LIKE?
  3. And similarly, how can it be hungry? Does the absence of sunlight during half of a 24-hr-period… want to eat people? How would it do that?

 
Let me tell you a story, about killing so many people in the line of duty that it begins to haunt your dreams.

… and then let me tell you a story about rolling over in bed, cuddling with your six naked boytoys, and deciding that since your brainwashed harem claims your shit doesn’t stink, it must mean that killing people is only “practical.” Also, God approves of your rape, murder and enslavement.

In two weeks, you can pick the book up, and when you read that first line, I’ll be there saying, softly, “Let me tell you a story.”

And I’ll be saying less softly, “Good, wake me up when the plot starts.”

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