TK Kenyon

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Edward de Vere, the Earl of Oxford, May Finally Rest

Truth be told, I'm a Shakespeare Authorship Agnostic.

Until a few years ago, I hadn't realized how little and shaky the evidence was that W. Shaksper, the guy from Stratford-on-Avon, wrote the plays and poems attributed to William Shakespeare. I saw a PBS special on Edward de Vere, the Earl of Oxford, and the authorship question in general and was hooked. It's fascinating. If Shaksper did not write the ouevre, Oxford's claim is backed by good evidence, and Oxford's life imbues the plays and sonnets with heart-breaking biographical subtext.

I could blather and bowdlerize for days on the authorship question and may at some point in the future, but for the sake of this post and it's conclusions, I'd like to gloss over it and just specify the following, if de Vere wrote the Shakespearean plays and the sonnets, then:
  • It seems from Oxford's own letters, signature, the sonnets, and the plays that in his youth and like so many others, Oxford had lofty aspirations to marry Queen Elizabeth I and become the King Consort. 
  • Henry Wriothesley, the 3rd Earl of Southampton (the generally acknowledged Fair Youth of the sonnets,) was Oxford's illegitimate son. 
  • Southampton's mother may well have been Queen Elizabeth I, who may be The Dark Lady of the sonnets. (Changes everything you thought about the sonnets, doesn't it?) 
  • While Oxford perhaps did not want to sully his good name by associating it with playwriting or the possibly treasonous poems ("My name be buried where my body is, And live no more to shame nor me nor you. For I am shamed by that which I bring forth, And so should you, to love things nothing worth.") he was obsessively interested in his noble and royal legacies. 
  • Oxford wanted his own offspring on the throne or, barring that, at least to inherit his own earldom. Oxford's oldest daughter and the heir for many years may have been conceived while he was in Italy, thus illegitimate and not his biological offspring, and so he tried to marry his biological but illegitimate son (Southampton) to his legal but not biological daughter so that his earldom would at least pass to his biological grandchildren. The purposed marriage is historical fact about Oxford and surely seems to be supported by the sonnets. 
One of the problems with Oxford's claim is that no Shakespearean manuscripts survive that can be attributed to him. (The same can be said of Shaksper of Stratford. Seriously. None.) While we'd all love to find a lead-lined, hermetically sealed casket buried deep under Castle Hedingham with all the Shakespearean manuscripts in Oxford's gorgeous Italianate handwriting and signed with his "Edward the VII" signature, along with a note that reads, I WROTE ALL THESE, YOU IDIOTS!, that is unlikely.

On FB, some people were lamenting a lack of Oxford's documents and where they might be hiding, and I got to thinking, what if Oxford gave them to Southampton, his historically documented very good friend and possible son? Who would have those papers now?

So I went looking for Southampton's descendants. (Full disclosure: I looked on Wikipedia. This isn't an academic dissertation. This is 30 minutes of idle time while The Kid was doing subtraction.)

Some background: I just finished publishing a book with a main character who is a modern-day European prince and, because I'm a little OCD, I traced my character's ancestors back 1000 years and mapped his relationship to most of the royal houses of Europe, including England's.

Imagine my surprise when, while researching the descendants of Henry Wriothesley, the 3rd Earl of Southampton, some familiar names started popping up.

Henry Wriothesley, the 3rd Earl of Southampton (Oct 1573 - Nov 1624) m. Elizabeth Vernon

Thomas Wriothesley, the 4th Earl of Southampton (Mar 1607 - May 1667) m. Rachel de Massue

Lady Rachel Wriothesley (c. 1636 - Sept 1723, a published author) m. William Russell, Lord Russell

Wriothesley Russell, 2nd Duke of Bedford (Nov 1680 - May 1711) m. Elizabeth, daughter of John Howland of Streatham

John Russell, 4th Duke of Bedford (Sept 1710 - Jan 1771) m. Lady Diana Spencer (no, not that Lady Di, we're in the early 1700's. This one was the daughter of Charles Spencer, 3rd Earl of Sunderland)

Francis Russell, Marquess of Tavistock (September 1739 – March 1767) m. Lady Elizabeth (daughter of William van Keppel, 2nd Earl of Albemarle)

John Russell, 6th Duke of Bedford (July 1766 – October 1839) m. Lady Georgiana (daughter of Alexander Gordon, 4th Duke of Gordon)

Lady Louise Jane Russell (Jul 1812 - March 1905) m. James Hamilton, the 1st Duke of Abercorn

James Hamilton, the 2nd Duke of Abercorn (August 1838 – January 1913) m. Lady Maria Anna Curzon-Howe (1848–1929), daughter of Richard Curzon-Howe, 1st Earl Howe

James Albert Edward Hamilton, 3rd Duke of Abercorn, (30 November 1869 – 12 September 1953) m.  Lady Rosalind Cecilia Caroline Bingham (1869–1958), daughter of Charles George Bingham, the 4th Earl of Lucan

Lady Cynthia Elinor Beatrix Hamilton (16 August 1897 – 4 December 1972) m. Albert Edward John Spencer, 7th Earl Spencer

Edward John "Johnnie" Spencer, 8th Earl Spencer, (24 January 1924 – 29 March 1992) m. Lady Frances Ruth Roche, daughter of Edmund Maurice Burke Roche, the 4th Baron Fermoy

Lady Diana Frances Spencer (Yeah, there she is. 1 July 1961 – 31 August 1997) m. Charles, Prince of Wales

     -Prince William, Duke of Cambridge (William Arthur Philip Louis, born 21 June 1982)  married Catherine Middleton
          -- Prince George of Cambridge, born on 22 July 2013
    -Prince Henry "Harry" of Wales (Henry Charles Albert David, born 15 September 1984

So, if all stipulated is correct, if none of the preceding were born on the wrong side of the sheets, and if all goes well, Edward de Vere, the Earl of Oxford has three upcoming chances for his progeny to take the throne.

I hope Edward is smiling, somewhere.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Joss Whedan's Way To Be Prolific

“I have a reward system. I am the monkey with the pellet and it’s so bad that I write almost everything in restaurants or cafes [so] that when I have an idea, I go and get chocolate." 
Awesome idea, Joss. A man after my own heart. No wonder everything you work on resonates with me so.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

An Open Love Letter to Amazon, or Why It's A Great Time To Be A Reader

When I was growing up, there was a small B. Dalton bookshop and an exceedingly small branch library that were close enough for my mom to take me to in the rather scary area where I grew up, at the Christown Mall. (The police still don't go near my neighborhood without air support. Really. The Alhambra District in Phoenix, AZ.) The libraries in my elementary and high schools were tiny and terrible. That was all I knew, so I stalked those two places. There were no independent book stores that I could go to. I'd pretty much read everything in the library by the time I was 10. I never read classics or anything particularly new. Our branch library had "Little Men" but not "Little Women." B. Dalton got new stuff in, but I wasn't allowed to buy hardbacks because the family budget was limited.  I had heard of a lot of books and writers that I had never seen, and of course the B. Dalton stocked little midlist and almost no backlist. I managed to find major writers at B. Dalton: Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, etc. I don't remember who else.

When I was in high school, the first Barnes and Noble opened near enough to us, at Metrocenter, and I went nuts. They had low-priced classics via the B&N imprint. I had never seen an actual book by Jane Austen or Tolstoy, though I had heard of them. I had heard of Sherlock Holmes but never seen any of Doyle's books. or Agatha Christie. Or any modern non-fiction science books. Seriously, I looked like Tinkerbell flying around in there. I got a part-time job to support my book habit. My mother worried about hoarding. I bought The Pugilist at Rest, a collection of short stories by Thom Jones, at the B&N at Metrocenter, and that book was the reason I applied to the Iowa MFA program, to study with Thom.

I found Amazon in 1995, within a month or two of its debut.  I still remember clicking through it for the first time. I had a panic attack. I actually had to walk away from the computer to compose myself. I was shaking so hard when I saw all those books that I had heard of,--classics, backlist titles, series titles that I had missed, so many books!--and I had to do was click, and they arrived. I found books that I should have known about but hadn't. They had every book by Jane Austen, Tolstoy, George Eliot, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, and so many other writers that I had heard about but never seen in print. I had heard the name "Nabokov" in a song by The Police, but I had never seen Lolita. I had never seen a book by Virginia Woolf. Shipping was free if you ordered more than $100 worth, and I always ordered more than $100 worth. And the prices were lower! I couldn't believe how many books I got for $100!

And now, Kindle. Free classics and other books. Lower-priced ebooks. Instant delivery. I read a lot of books that I adore but would have never been published by traditional publishers because they're too niche, and I am so in that niche. Over half the books I buy are "indie," or independently published. The five best books that I read last year were indie. (The five worst books that I read last year were all traditionally published.) I can carry 200 books in my purse.I can find new writers, lots of them. I can buy a whole series by a new writer, including stuff that was originally published a decade or more ago. I can read Aristotle's Poetics on my phone. I can instantly read full-color non-fiction on my (Kid's) Kindle Fire. I love my "old-fashioned" ereader Kindle because it strains my eyes less than a printed book.

Plus, no one can see my hoard, so I don't have a problem, right?

As a writer, I love and use Amazon.

As a reader, Amazon changed my life.

It feels like when I got a car for the first time, and I was free to drive anywhere you want to.

Or like when I got glasses for the first time, and I realized that trees have leaves, not just green smears, and that the streets went a lot farther than I had thought they did.

Or the first time I got a passport, when I thought, I can go anywhere on the planet, anywhere. I am no longer confined by mere borders. 

Or the first time I hooked my computer up to the internet (1994) and found a whole, new world through my text-based browser that I had never knew existed, where people shared everything they knew.

Or when soon after that, my then-boyfriend (now-husband) told me about a secret, magic mantra called Gayathri Mantra that he knew because he was a high-caste uber-Brahmin priest and had gone through a secret religious ritual and that he would never tell me, and so I found it in fifteen minutes online, with several English translations, to the point where I understood it better than he did. Man, he was pissed.

That's what Amazon feels like to me. It feels like blowing up boundaries. It feels like secret knowledge revealed.

I'm sure that I'm a typical high-volume reader, in that Amazon increased how much I buy and read because it increased the number of books that I have access to. Looking back, I cannot believe some of the crud that I read as a kid and even as a young adult because I had no access to better books. Back then, I even reread crud because I couldn't find anything else to buy. I still reread books, but I reread Orlando by Virginia Woolf, and I reread Lolita by Nabokov, and I reread Jane Austen and Tolstoy. And I read so many new, wonderful, varied books, a kaleidoscope of books, a whole world of books.

As great a time as this is to be a writer, it's a fantastic time to be a reader.

TK Kenyon

Friday, March 22, 2013

First They Came for the Guns of the Murderers

First they came for the guns of the murderers,
but I didn't speak out because I wasn't a murderer.

Then they came for guns of the rapists,
but I didn't speak out because I wasn't a rapist.

Then they came for the guns of the wife beaters,
but I didn't speak out because I wasn't a wife beater.

Then they came for the guns of the psychopaths and psychotics,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a psychopath or psychotic.

They never came for my guns,
because I’m a law-abiding citizen.

Once the pool of illegal guns dried up,
and it became harder for criminals and violent mentally ill people to get guns,
the crime rate dropped,
because those idiots tried to break into my house with just a knife,
and I shot those motherfuckers.

You know, I don't often discuss my political views because I'm a moderate with pragmatic leanings, and chances are, no matter color of the political spectrum that you inhabit, I probably agree with you on around 50% of your views. My mom is a Tea Party member, and she and I have lots we agree on. I have friends who are tree-huggin' socialist Occupy types, and we have lots we agree on. 

However, background checks for gun purchases are a pragmatic step, and the time has come to institute them. 

If you haven't committed a felony or don't have a violent mental illness diagnosis, why are you worried? 

The "Slippery Slope" argument is a fallacy. The Second Amendment protects the rights of law-abiding citizens to have and hold guns. Convicted felons and mentally ill people who are a danger to others are stripped of their constitutional rights, which includes the rights to liberty, representation through voting, and to bear arms. 

We have locked convicted felons in prisons and not allowed them to vote for centuries, but no one has taken those rights away from law-abiding citizens. Denying violent criminals and violent mentally ill people access to firearms will not impinge on law-abiding citizens' rights. 

While any one criminal or mentally ill person may still be able to access a firearm, reducing the percentage of the violent population who can access firearms will reduce the number of crimes. 

While I believe, deeply, that all of the above is true, I also maintain that the only thing that is going to stop or drastically reduce the number of violent crimes like Tucson, Newtown, and Aurora is the creation of a mental health system to identify, detain, and treat people who are violently mentally ill. 

We also need better treatments, both behavioral and pharmaceutical, for violence. If we can treat depression with pharmaceuticals, treating aggression is most likely possible. 

If pharmaceutical companies were given the right financial incentive, like mandatory medication for all incarcerated violent felons, I'll bet clinical trials would start next week, because I suspect that some medications that have already been approved would be effective. 

So, yes, I believe that mandatory, universal background checks will keep some guns out of the hands of some violent people. 

Then, we need to reduce the violence. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Conspiracy Theories: Iran, Libya, the CIA, and Jon Stewart

This is going to be a series of posts. I’ll write them as I can, but I hope to post them on Tuesdays.

Not So Far-Fetched

Some people believe that some of things that happen in RABID are far-fetched, like “Oh, that could never happen in the Real World,” kind of things.

The world is weirder than they know. It’s craftier, it’s wilder, and it’s scarier than they dream. They watch and believe the news programs that piecemeal the world into discrete, unrelated events and never look at the whole picture for various reasons (mostly money, time, and research power.)

The recent movie Argo is outlandish and unbelievable to them. (Amazing movie. Go see it.) It's based on this book, which is flippin' $0.99 for Kindle. 

Okay, so I am talking about the second gunman on the grassy knoll? Probably not. I don’t know what happened there, and I admit that the Jack Ruby stuff is all pretty weird, but I don’t know.

But the world is not as random and is not as clear and simple as any of the blithe, facile news networks would have you believe. The Daily Show, with their amazing research staff, gets more of it right than anybody else because they make the connections that everyone else misses or is too timid to say.

TK Kenyon is a Conspiracy Nut

Okay, so the scales fell from my eyes a long time ago. Here’s some of what I know and how I know it.

When I was in undergrad, many moons ago, I seriously considered working for the CIA. My mom, who she never met a spill-it-all conversation that she didn’t like, told all her friends that I, her daughter, that one over there, wanted to do secret stuff for the CIA.

Now, I didn’t want to go be a secret agent or a clandestine super-spy and ferret out secrets overseas or turn traitors or do undercover stuff. I had no desire to be Jane Bond. I just wanted to be a bookworm in Langley, Virginia. The job title for that is “Intelligence Officer.” I wanted to read field reports and interpret them, put stuff together, mostly about biowarfare, and write more reports. (I was a microbiology major in undergrad.)

One of my mom’s friends, after a long pause, told my mom, “She should talk to [my husband]. He,” and here was another long pause, “knows a lot about the CIA.”

Yeah, he did. Because he had worked for them for thirty years. He really did the clandestine super-spy stuff.

The Spy Who Told Me: Iranian Coup, 1953

(Must be noted: my friend The Spy passed away a few years ago, so I’m not worried about blowing his cover.)

The first thing that The Spy told me about was the 1953 coup d’├ętat in Iran that deposed the democratically elected Prime Minister and installed the Shah. Everyone knows this now, with all its sordid details, including how the CIA used the New York Times like a Bangkok butt prostitute.

The important part that The Spy told me was that the CIA had almost gotten the Shah installed, but then they had some counter-actions from Soviet-based intelligence agents. Basically, Soviet-backed demonstrations and riots in the streets forced the Shah to flee.

The CIA was about to declare the coup a failed attempt, but another agent (though I suspect that it was The Spy himself) went in and arranged counter-counter-demonstrations and riots, and the CIA-backed coup finally succeeded. They did this by influencing and paying off major imams and other leaders who could then produce a certain number of followers in the streets, whipped up to a predetermined level of frenzy.

The Spy noted with pride that the counter-counter-coup came in $100,000 under budget and several days early. 

How the World Works

The part that struck me and has stayed with me was when The Spy said that all these demonstrations that you see on the news, all these riots, at least the ones that get something done, are bought and paid-for by (usually) governments, sometimes other players.  

You talk to and pay the right people, and the crowds show up.

That is how clandestine regime change works. That is how civil wars and coups get started and run. That’s how embassies get attacked.

That’s how the world works.

Here in the US, we have fewer of these influencers, at least violent ones, though some of them include people like black activists (historically) Martin Luther King, Jr. and (contemporary) Jesse Jackson, the Koch Brothers' quiet funding of the Tea Party, or even political satirists Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.

If you can convince them or pay them off, you've bought yourself an army.

Imagine 215,000 People Who Can’t Take A Joke

Imagine if the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear had turned into a riot.

It was more of a free concert, but I had an underlying suspicion the whole time that Jon Stewart was restraining himself, dampening the crowd’s emotional instability, and making sure that it didn’t turn into a riot because there were a lot of people there, all of whom were sympathetic to whatever he said.

Imagine if those innocuous rock bands weren’t so innocuous, but they played songs that thumped on people’s heart strings and boiled their blood with indignation. Anything from “Proud to Be an American” to “Won’t Get Fooled Again” to “I Am America” to “The Big Money.”

Imagine if Jon Stewart had gone all Patrick Henry on that crowd of 215,000 people, shouting “Give me liberty, or give me death!”

Then, in the crowd, a hundred men at strategic points yelled, “To the White House! Follow me!”

It was only a few blocks away.

Imagine if some of the crowd, say 50,000 of them, had followed the instigators planted among them and started running through the streets and then scaled that flimsy wrought-iron fence around the White House.

Yes, the Marines have nice guns, but they couldn't shoot all 50,000 of the mob as they poured over the fences from all directions.

What would have happened once the mob was inside the fences?

How long would those pretty doors and windows have held if, say, some of those “spontaneous” demonstrators happened to have brought along lock-cutters or shaped charges that were supplied to them by Jon and Stephen’s friends, who in turn got them from guys they knew, all of whom had funny accents? (Probably Boston or New York accents.) 

Even a mob of 5,000 would have done the job.

Do you think that 5,000 people out of the 215,000 wouldn't have joined in?

Quite honestly, I'll bet that it would have been 200,000 people who converged on whatever the target was. 

That’s how the world works.

That’s how it happens.

That’s How It Did Happen.

And yes, a few months ago on September 11th, 2012, when a crowd of “demonstrators” attacked the US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, killing four Americans including US Ambassador Chris Stevens and burning the place to a shell, I thought, “A spontaneous demonstration against a stupid YouTube video, my butt. Who bought and paid-for those crowds? Al Qaeda? Iran? How long has it been planned?”

The Spy would have laughed at that rationale: A YouTube video. 

Now it’s coming out that there were some puppeteers pulling some long strings. I’m not surprised. I don’t know if they’ll ever tell us who it really was. Maybe 20 years from now when it all doesn’t matter any more, they'll tell us. 

More on what I knew and when I knew it next week.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Escaping My Ex-Publisher: What I Got Back

In 2007, my first published novel, RABID, was published by Kunati, Inc., a small traditional publishing company. I was thrilled because they had 50,000 submissions for their first round and chose 8 books for their first crop.

Yeah, 8 books out of 50,000 submissions. That’s some serious “gate-keeping,” huh?

I had been writing RABID for three years at that point. I had graduated with my PhD in molecular virology, done a postdoc in neuroscience at the University of Pennsylvania, and had a baby. My brain was scorched. I threw all my emotional baggage in that book.

Despite that, it turned out well, I thought and I still think.

It also turned out to be almost 200,000 words.

My publisher wanted me to cut it down to below 140,000, which I did. I think it came in at 139,996, which is below 140,000 words, and that’s the important point.

My publisher also edited the periods out of my name, kind of like e.e. cummings but with punctuation rather than capitalization, so I became TK Kenyon instead of T.K. Kenyon. I had been T.K. since sixth grade, when there were three “Terri’s” (of various spellings) in my class, so two of us got to choose new names. I chose “T.K.” When I sign my name, I use T.K., and yes, I tap out two periods in there. It’s funny that some people think it’s an affectation, since my publisher did it and I really didn’t have a say in it.

That’s common with publishers: they do stuff and authors don’t have any say in it. The periods in my name, 60,000 words of my first novel, etc.

I had to cut a lot of stuff out of RABID, including stuff that was important but was not the very most important. For example, there was a lot about the community, including some instances of ... hive mind, perhaps we should call it, that happened when several of the characters were together.

This was the po-mo structure of the novel: each scene was written from one of the viewpoint characters (Conroy, Leila, Bev, or Dante,) and had to include one of the other four characters, except that each character got one soliloquy when they were alone and at an important turning point in their lives. Bev’s soliloquy is the very first scene. Leila’s is the last scene. Conroy’s and Dante’s occur at important points in the book.

When all four characters were together, or at least three of them, the community’s hive mind become active. The viewpoint become omniscient and can duck into various minor characters’ heads. I wanted to speak about the gestalt that happens when people gather.

Anyway, that strategy was a casualty of the Great Revision. I went back and restored a lot of that in this version of the novel.

In addition to some additions for clarity and some emotional beats that were recovered, the new version of RABID is about 155,000 words.

Yeah, it’s pretty long, but it has a lot to say.

It’s not a book that everyone will like, which is why I posted this “quiz” a while ago to point you toward whether you should bother giving it a look. I just reread it five times in a row, which is a lot to read any one book. There are some parts in there that I am really proud of. There are some scenes that I’m surprised that I survived writing.

If you read it, I hope you like it. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Are You Cool Enough to Read RABID?

Here’s a QUIZ:

(1) How many graduate degrees do you hold? (Master’s or better to open.)
                (a) 2 or more.
                (b) 1
                (c) 0, but I have a professional degree (MD, JD, MBA, etc.)
                (d) 0, but I have a bachelor’s.
                (e) Other.

(2) Are you otherwise intellectually accomplished?
                (a) Heck, yeah. Extreme audodidact. I even know what “autodidact” means. I usually read around or more than a book per week.
                (b) I read everything. Around 40 books per year across a lot of categories and non-fiction.
                (c) I read deeply in 1 or 2 categories or genres, at least 1 book a month.
                (d) I read what’s on the NYT or other bestseller lists but not more than 10 books per year.
                (e) I don’t read that much.

(3)          Have you voluntarily read or seen something by the following authors? (Choose uppermost letter.)
                (a) Don DeLillo, Kip Thorne, Michael Frayn, William Shakespeare, Virginia Woolf, Kurt Vonnegut, Margaret Atwood, Jane Austen, Elaine Pagels, Vladimir Nabokov.
                (b) Chuck Palahniuk, Connie Willis, Nancy Kress, Abraham Verghese, William Gibson, Thornton Wilder, Carl Sagan, John Le Carre, Brian Greene, Michio Kaku.
                (c) J.K. Rowling, Neil Peart, Ray Bradbury, Phillippa Gregory, E.L. Doctorow, Harlan Ellison, Jeff Lindsey, Daniel Silva, Bharati Mukherjee, Graham Greene.
                (d) Orson Scott Card, J.G. Ballard, Arthur Miller, Stephen King, Nora Roberts or J.D. Robb, Mitch Albom, Richard Castle, Kingsley Amis, Lee Child.
                (e) None of the above.

(4) My religion:
                (a) Atheist, agnostic, Buddhist, or UU.
                (b) I don’t like churches because I know too much about them.
                (c) Catholic.
                (d) Other than Christian religion.
                (e) Conservative Christian, believer in angels or signs, or very spiritual or psychic.

(5) In my free time, I most like to:
                (a) discover new music that makes me think, experience other kinds of art, explore other lifestyles.
                (b) travel, watch the Science, History, or H2 channels, go to live concerts, live performances, lots of different kinds of movies, or dancing.
                (c) decorate my house, collect stamps or coins, watch the Food or HGTV Networks, listen to the same music that everyone else was listening to in high school.
                (d) play a sport, watch QVC, watch only rom-com or action movies, watch only reality TV shows, bass fish.
                (e) watch a lot of sports on TV, Bible study, go to strip clubs, drink or toke myself unconscious.

Here’s the grading scale:

- If you have at least 3 answers that are (a) or (b), you might like RABID.  

- If you have 3 or more (e) answers, you definitely won’t like it.
- The (c) and (d) answers were just other stuff that doesn’t correlate one way or the other.

I’m not trying to scare anybody away or be a snot. I didn’t write this to be elitist. (I don’t have to try. It comes naturally.)

More importantly, I have talked with quite a few readers who liked RABID and a few who hated it. I appreciate them all taking their time to read it. The people who “got” RABID and liked it generally are quite intellectually accomplished. They have impressive CVs. They read widely, and they read the hard stuff.

It’s not surprising that people who like RABID tend to read a lot of the same authors that I do.

The people who hated it don’t like their beliefs challenged or they don’t like to think too much.

I don’t want people to read my book and hate it or even to slog through it. So don’t read RABID if you’re not going to like it.

The world is full of books that are right for you. Not only are there more and more books being published now, but they’re more and more available than ever, and classics and backlist and out of print books are now easily available. Our reading choices have expanded at least 1000-fold in the last decade. That’s marvelous! That’s incredible! Go read something you’ll love!

You should read books that speak to you, that resonate with you.

Don’t read books that fit you badly. It’s like wearing too-small underwear or eating food that you don’t like, even if it is supposed to be good for you.

The novel that I’m writing right now, Selling Handcuffs, will be more accessible. It will still challenge you, but it is meant for a wider audience. If you won’t like RABID, I hope that you’ll wait for Selling Handcuffs and try that one. It will probably be out before Christmas.

By the way, those authors on #3? I am not “lumping myself in” with any of those incredible authors, but they’re my major influences. I’m also not denigrating the other authors in answers (c) and (d). I just looked at my bookshelves and randomly assigned names to these answers. I like all of them very well, too.

Thanks for reading,
TK Kenyon