I got home yesterday from the Oregon Christian Writers conference where I’ve been teaching all week and hanging out with writers. It was great fun, but when I got home, my brain felt like a bucket of sand.
Naturally, I did what any guy would do who needs a quick jolt of adrenaline. I watched DIE HARD. That would be the first DIE HARD, which has a very fine exploding helicopter scene. It did the job, and my mind started waking up.
This morning, I had emails from two nice ladies who were laughing out loud at my latest humor column, The Manly Guy and Christian Fiction, which talks about the critical need for more exploding helicopters and also introduces to the world the very important concept of “the Kindergarten Effect.”
I have no doubt this column will offend many people, but sadly, neither of the ladies who emailed me this morning were offended at all. One of them, Rosslyn Elliott, has already blogged about my column, under the titillating title Sex in the Christian Fiction Market.
If you are offended by my column, then please tell all your friends so they can be offended too. Feeling offended is an important American right, probably the most important right we have, so experience that feeling to the hilt.
Oh, and . . . have fun!
Amy VR says
Dang! I was really HOPING to be offended… but all I did was laugh! I am one of those moms who last fall sent her youngest child to Kindergarten, so I hope my writing will produce a couple of those 10K checks soon! Maybe I need to switch to Christian romance… hmmm….
The only thing that “bothered” me was all the talk of exploding helicopters… my husband and many of my friends’ husbands are helicopter pilots in the military… we don’t like talking about exploding helicopters! LOL!
Thanks for the great laugh!
PS: I loved your “Luna Lovegood smile” description… I could see it perfectly!
Megan DiMaria says
Randy, your article made me laugh out loud.
By the way, I LOVE contemporary novels with PINK covers. (Very big grin)
You also brought back fabulous memories of my plumber. He sounds very much like yours. Several years ago during a cold snap one of our pipes froze. It was during Christmas vacation and my high school son had just rented “Die Hard.”
I was freaking out about the pipe and really didn’t want the plumber to leave before it thawed because I was afraid it would burst.
My solution? I made a big tray of sandwiches and put “Die Hard” into the VCR, and then I invited the plumber to lunch. Mawhaha. Yes, I know I’m devious. At one point my husband called from work. I had to tell him I didn’t have time to speak, I was busy baking cookies for the plumber. (Yeah, I had plenty of ‘splaining to do when he got home.)
What can I say? It worked. The plumber stayed until the movie ended and my pipes have been fine ever since.
A prisoner of hope,
When Maclane launches a car into the sky and kills the helicopter mid-air in DIE HARD 4, I get all teary-eyed and tingly inside. Gets me every time.
In support of Randy and all the manly guys in the writing biz, and in order to foster goodwill between favored females and grousing guys and also to promote world peace, I will refuse to allow even a hint of pink on my next book cover AND I am going to boycott ALL pink and maroon books from now on.
Pam Halter says
Megan, you are devious and I’m going to remember that ploy for future plumbing problems!
Randy, my dad is a plumber and his name is Sam. He doesn’t read books either. Hmmmmmmmm . . .
Richard Mabry says
As one of those writers who had seriously considered writing under a female pen name (or using my wife’s name, preferably without her knowledge), I wasn’t offended by your column at all. It just made me a little sad…but then the chuckles started. Thanks.
Andra M. says
How ironic. Since I write science fiction, I’m thinking of using a male pen name – males are more inclined to read male authors vs female authors, especially in the science fiction genre. Why? Like you gigglingly described in your article, female writers in general avoid exploding helicopters.
While I don’t have exploding helicopters, I have plenty of exploding spaceships – and even an exploding building. Does that count?
I loved your article. Darn. Looks like I’m not a good American.
I’m still laughing at your article, Randy. But ain’t it the truth! The men who were dragged kicking and screaming into our church library by their wives treated anything by a female author like toxic waste!Just last weekend I was joshing with a male member of my Sunday School class. I asked if he would buy my book. Without knowing ANYTHING about it(No helicopters. Just an exploding planet), he started stammering and turned green.
Many of the women were very bored with romance, but kept coming because secular books and TV offended their values. They loved Dekker and Peretti and mystery. They also expressed a liking for fantasy, which was in short supply. I would like to see science fiction. Maybe the reason there are so many female authors is there are too many female editors?
Joanna Mallory says
Randy, thanks for the giggles (even though I agree with Richard that it’s a bit sad).
For the record, although I’ve never watched Die Hard, I love explosions (my kids reluctantly let me sit with them in the cinema to watch Iron Man, since on-screen explosions tend to make me cheer — it’s a genuine MRU)
I don’t read frilly pink books, nor is that the type of story I’m marketing. Don’t particularly even like the colour, since as the only female in my home I get stuck with all the pink stuff. Here’s my question: is the lack of mens’ fiction because men actually won’t read, or is it that men don’t read novels because all they see is pink? And what can we do about it?
Reminds me of Canadian author NJ Lindquist (female) whose series of novels for teen boys raised so many eyebrows, “Boys don’t read. And how can a woman write for them?” They’re great books, and I think she nailed the male point of view.
Bring on more suspense and science fiction/fantasy with a Christian world view. Surely we can use a few good men and good women there?
Sally Ferguson says
Hello Ted Rooney, 🙂
Your article in pink was a perfect example of how fiction is useful for us non-fiction writers too. The dialogue did a great job conveying the message and kept me hooked to the end. That is why I keep coming back to hear more.
But couldn’t you have come up with a name more pink than Ted? 🙂
OH. My. Word. LOLOLOLOLOL!!!! That was pure gold. And just add some math to the mix–as a hopeful Christian YA writer who doesn’t write teen romance–when you walk into our HUGE Christian book store, there’s not even a tithe of YA fiction compared to the adults and possibly to the childrens as well. And looking at whose name dominated the 3 narrow teen shelves, I want to change my name to Ted, too. LOL!
Lois Hudson says
Methinks Sam is a treasure well worth his ample weight, especially for the gender differentiated market analysis.
Surely that’s worth a dedication in a future novel – maybe that would earn a lower plumbing bill.
Bo & Cleetus says
Bo: Dern it all, Cleetus, that’s exactly what we’re talkin’ about at our new Interweb thingamabob … www.booksforguys.blogspot.com
Cleetus: That Randy fellah hit the nail on the head, he did.
Bo: I don’t know if anybody will find our reviews any interestin’ but that’s how we feel about the book industry. It’s just too sissified. So we’re tryin’ to scare up some discussion about the whole matter.
Cleetus: We’re guys, and would read books, but none of ’em are written for us.
Bo: That’s our motto.
Carrie Stuart Parks says
I hadn’t thought about using the plumber for advice. He doesn’t seem to be much of a reader, or plumber for that matter. He managed to send hot water into the upstairs toilet. Maybe it’s a guy thing to have a hot toilet in the middle of the night… Something to keep toasty warm while reading pink books.
He did fix it. The toilet that is.
Now I have a pair of screw-type pliers attached to the pipes. The glue fused with the pliers during the repair process.
Laura Ware says
Wow Randy, did you nail it. Some people seem to think that Christian fiction is boring. I don’t think it has to be.
Mary Hake says
Unfortunately, there seem to be many more women than men writing novels and attending writers conferences so that may explain the unbalance.
Do men want to know if the author’s a woman before they read a book? Or if the byline is initials do they just read without wondering?
Sheila Deeth says
I read about the Kindergarten effect. Why doesn’t it work for me? Okay, my kids are into (or out of) college, but still, I’ve spent my last four years out of work and writing, and four’s double the two in your article. Maybe it’s ’cause I have a secret preference for exploding helicopters over romance. Not that there’s any helicopters in anything I’ve written, but there’s not an awful lot of romance either.
David Benedict says
Randy… it’s a kick to see how you have fun with most everything you write, but in your new column you pretty much get to pull out all the stops–to your enjoyment and ours. And the comments here show how your zany wisdom brings out the humor writing juices in others. But even with the yuks your column has the unsettling effect of stirring up issues we all grapple with.
As a male reader (and writer-in-training) of Christian fiction , I realize that my tastes are drawn to male writers of same. Authors on my list in the last couple or three years have been Ingermanson (of course), Peretti, Jenkins/LaHaye, Dekker, Cavanaugh and maybe a couple of others.
But I have also gotten a lot of enjoyment from Bodie (not Brock & Bodie)Thoene, Donita K. Paul, and have to say I’m a downright fan of Brandilyn Collins (looking forward eagerly to her upcoming stand-alone Dark Pursuit). Her suspense book covers, though, are appropriately heavy in black with touches of blood red, slime green and bruise-purple. She acknowledges that she deliberately pulled back the tone and atmosphere of her Bradleyville series (I haven’t read those).
Good stories are multi-colored, and not usually pastel, whether written by men or women. It may well be that the Kindergarten Effect is more powerful than we have realized. So be it. But thanks for continuing to challenge us to learn to tell good stories without regard for gender.
M.L. Eqatin says
LOL, Randy! But there is one other fact: while the guys are out there working at careers, those women home with the kids need some semblance of grown-up fare, which they find by (drumroll) READING! A book can be put down to catch a toddler, you can hide behind it pretending to be absorbed while monitoring your teenager’s conversations, it’s portable and can be read in the car while waiting for the always-late kid from the carpool — totally versatile medium for moms. And unless you are the chaffuer in the movie Sabrina, who liked reading so much he took a job that gave him lots of time to sit around doing it, most men just don’t have as much reading time until retirement.
And they have to make enough to pay for the roof, the chow, the full-time day-care worker, laundry service, home decorator, shopping assistant, and meal preparation. (AKA wife.)Let’s not even get into tasks like homework or homeschooling.
This tradeoff between time and income means that the novel-reading population will always be heavily weighted towards the female. It’s biology. And it also means that women writers are a little freer to ignore the market and write what they want to, because they don’t have to put food on the table. A privilege I never forget to be grateful to my husband for providing me.
Fortunately for male writers, women are more likely to read books across genders than the reverse.
Kim (He's a bloke) says
Most of my life has been spent explaining that Kim is not always a girl’s name, so I sympathise on your name changing quest. But it was not until I read your article that I realised I could make it work for me.
All I have to do is write stories with titles where the first word is ‘Love’s’. The second word comes from this list, Abiding, Unending, Unfolding, Enduring. And the third word from this list, Joy, Legacy, Dream, Home.
Then I would publish them in pink covers with women in check gingham dresses and backwoodsy pine shacks and sometimes a pony.
Yeah, that should do it. And I won’t even have to change my name.
Randy Rooney is obviously a play on something American. All I can ever think of is Rooney of the Doodlebops, a Canadian show we happen to get over here occasionally aimed at kids. I confess i get a kick out of imagining Randy with a blue face and blue hair and enormous blue hands and feet…even if it’s not the ‘right’ play on words…lol!
Lynn Squire says
I happen to be one of those rare women that run the opposite direction from romances and pink covered contemporary woman’s fiction – give me some meat! LOL
However, I really enjoyed your article! So true – and I am one of those mom’s who will finally send my baby to kindergarten September 3, and then settle down with fingers on the keyboard.
For Karen or those of not American origen: We have a news magazine show on TV called 60 minutes with a social commentator on the end and his name is Andy Rooney. He can be very funny in a tongue-in-cheek sort of way and makes many humorous comments on his observations of life around him. Sometimes I flip the chanel over the last 5 minutes of the show just to catch his “wisdom” for the day.
Randy sez: My editor for the column asked me to “be just like Andy Rooney.” Truth to tell, I never watch TV and so I had to look up Andy online to get an example of his humor. I have no desire to try to “be just like Andy Rooney” or anyone else. So my columns are “just me being myself.” My editor believes that my columns are a lot like Andy, and they may be so, but I am not trying to imitate him or anyone else. If I can get us all laughing at certain absurdities in the publishing world, then I’ll be happy.
Joanna Mallory says
Randy, it strikes me it’s readers who might be disturbed by your article, not writers. Writers already know what you’re talking about. Readers, now… the caricature you gave us… she was funny, but oh my. It’s one thing to not be aware of books that don’t make it into the bookstore, but beyond that there’s no excuse. There are novels on my local Christian store’s shelf that don’t match my tastes, but at least I know they’re there. (And I’m glad they’re there for the people that will enjoy them.)
Mark H. says
Randy, I loved the article. And I share the dream of seeing more exploding helicopters in the novels we read…
Actually, I’m not picky. Exploding vehicles of any kind would do the trick.
Kim (He's a bloke) says
Look for “Chicken Soup for the Exploding Helicopter” in a Christian book store near you.
🙂 Do we still need to use these things?