Women have been slighted in any genre other than romance and children’s books for far too long. Even now we seldom get any recognition until we sell so many books we can’t be ignored and only for that one author. Women are so accepting of this we hide behind our initials in hopes that someone will pick up our books and read them. Why? Because as women we know that our chances of being read improves if the person buying a book doesn’t see an obviously female moniker on it.
There’s a video making it’s rounds on facebook regarding books for little girls. I know that the people who published this video are trying to sell their book and I applaud their efforts but not quite factual in their representation I don’t feel. But again, I salute their effort and what they are trying to do.
What we don’t have are enough books written by women in all genres of writing. How many of you will pick up a science fiction book written by a woman? How about a thriller? A true crime novel may not put you off if it is written by a woman but how about a fictional crime novel? And of course, my favorite, horror? You are far more likely to pick up a book with a man’s name on it or just the first and or second initials than you are one with a woman’s name spelled out across the cover. Don’t believe me, pay attention to which books you’re drawn to the next time you’re shopping for a book. The cover may grab you, but I’d be willing to bet you don’t take the time to turn it over or open the cover, to read what the book is about. Chances are you’ll stick it right back on the shelf. I’ve seen it myself. Hell, I’ve done it myself.
So, if you’re reading this, the following two excerpts of two different books I want you to think about which was written by a man or a woman. Actually, they could both be written by a man or both by a woman.
And the first entry is:
‘Again, he thought he heard his name being called but there was no one there. His name came again and this time the sound was louder, yet it had a softer tone to it. When he heard it the fourth time, he was drawn to it. Slowly he began to move in the direction he thought the sound was coming from. The soft sweet voice continued to call to him drawing him ever closer. He now could see the little dancing lights ahead of him. He thought they looked like brilliant little stars dancing in the wind.
Marcus was unaware when his foot stepped into the beginning edge of the lake. His mind didn’t register when the water level reached his knees. He continued to march steadily forward edging toward what he suddenly thought was paradise. If he could make it to that wonderful voice all his troubles would be over.
By the time the water was up to his chin Marcus was so withdrawn from his surroundings that anyone seeing him would have sworn that the man was out of his mind. They would never have known what to think when he suddenly stiffened and then screamed as something under the water reached around his legs and pulled him under the surface. For a couple of minutes, you could have followed the bubbles along the surface as the air left his lungs and filled with liquid. Actually, it wasn’t drowning that finished Marcus but the long deep gash that was torn down his middle. His intestines floated out from his body and rippled out behind him like the streamers at the end of a child’s kite as he was drug deeper into the depths of the lake.’
Now the second entry, I have to admit I shortened one word in it, I felt as a woman, some people might find it offensive. On this one I really leave you hanging because it only goes downhill from there for this poor Walter guy.
‘January 3, 1898
Walter was awakened by the sound of the door to his cabin being smashed in. At first, he thought that maybe a bear had crashed through it but the angry male voices that accompanied the deafening sound of his cabin being torn apart put that thought out of his head. Before he could get completely out of his bed, they were on him pulling him from it along with a tattered old quilt he was now entangled in. They tied his hands together and then taking him by the legs and ankles drug him out of the tiny alcove he used as a sleeping area and then through the rundown living space of the small cabin he called home.
He was hauled out the door through the carnage that had been the man’s humble home into the freezing night air leaving a deep rut in the thick layer of snow that had been falling all day. His only garment, his long johns, did nothing to protect him from the bitter cold as the heat from his body melted the frozen mixture as he was drug through the ice and snow. He didn’t even struggle against his captures because his brain still hadn’t caught up to the fact his life was truly in danger. He kept thinking that this was some kind of horrible joke or maybe even a mistake.
He recognized the man who was leading this insane attack. It was Jacob Smyth and he kept yelling something about Walter having killed his Becky Lynn. Becky Lynn dead? No, that wasn’t possible. He had just seen her not long ago when he had passed her and Jacob’s cabin earlier this afternoon. This had to be a joke.
“Jacob what are you talking about? What do you mean Becky Lynn is dead?” The snow now coated the worn cotton material that covered his body like another suit of clothing because the melting snow had begun to freeze to the long johns as his body temperature had started to drop. The consequential condition of his long johns helped to intensify the mind-numbing cold that was beginning to penetrate into his bones. His mind tried to rationalize what was happening to him still wanting to believe this was a bad joke these bungle heads were playing on him or a bad dream that he would soon awaken from.
“Shut your fucking hole you murdering bastard.” Jacob turned and spat on him.
That was when Walter understood for the first time this was no joke. He began to struggle and struggle hard then. His cries of outrage only serving to agitate the four men hauling him through the cold dark night. It was taking all four of them, two on each leg, to keep their prisoner from kicking free. Walter kept fighting not only his captures but the freezing wind that was sapping his strength more than the struggle with his crazed assailants. Somewhere off in the distance he heard the eerie sound of an owl making a screeching sound in the trees. He didn’t remember it ever sounding so loud before. The shrill call of that night bird seemed to pierce his eardrums and added to his misery.
By the time Walter had been drug for over a mile the cold was beginning to get to him and parts of his body were beginning to succumb to the abuse his body was taking from both the men and the cold. Even the thick blanket of snow didn’t protect him from all the broken tree branches and jagged rocks that lay below the surface of the wintery mix. At times his body would get caught or wedged into one of these objects and Walter’s abusers would jerk on his lower limbs until he was free. He had fought every inch of the way and now he was starting to feel the energy leave his body and lethargy was setting in.
“Come on you jackasses it will be here soon, and I don’t want him to die or pass out before it gets here.” The rage flowing through Jacob only served to give him more determination to continue with his murderous journey.
“Is Becky Lynn really dead?” Walter asked, his voice weak from the abuse to his body and bone chilling cold. The heavily falling snow that threatened to cover his face got sucked inside him every time he took a breath.
Jacob didn’t bother to answer. Yes, Becky Lynn was dead, but Walter hadn’t done it, he had. Jacob worked on the train and he was gone often days at a time on a run. When he got back into town this afternoon someone had told him that this “MF” was sticking it to his wife every time he was out of town.’
Yes, I have permission to use both. What's sad, is that those of you who read this won't bother to leave a comment.