There have been a few topics online of late which caught my interest. Normally I am not one to be offended by much. More often than not I've been called 'one of the guys' and to this day I climb trees and wear combat boots with my pretty princess skirts. Don't judge.
The first topic is Women in Horror Month. 'Why is this important?' say many people, including some women. See, that's the thing. I wish it WASN'T important. I wish all art was based solely on talent, that when I say 'Women in Horror Month' some people don't automatically assume I'm talking 'scream queens' and DVD cover models. Yes, horror actresses are part of the Women in Horror month, as are the Special Effects women, the audio women, the women on the film crew.... and the writers.
I wish for a world where I can say 'I write horror' and I don't get nervous laughter and sideways glances to make sure we're still in a public place, as if I'm somehow crazy. Jokingly I changed my answer one day to 'I write porn' and then it was my turn to look around while laughing nervously because the person seemed way too interested in what I had to say on the subject. Even Amazon labors under the delusion that I am a romance writer in spite of the fact I have never once published a romance.
So fed up was I with the reactions and subsequent non-interest in anything further I had to say about my work that I decided on an experiment. I resurrected a pseudonym I had used as a joke about 13 years ago, and I published a novella. A funny thing happened, or rather not so funny as far as ego is concerned. People loved it. People shared the links. People reviewed it without me even having to ask. My sales under my own name remained woefully stagnant while my alter ego's sales climbed, and that was before we signed on with Sekhmet Press for the full series. Had I not released the first book on my own and seen the math for myself, I could remain blissfully ignorant to the cold, hard truth: male writers are preferred for certain genres. Fine. Whatever.
So along comes women in horror month, and with it the trolls. Some days it's difficult to stay objective and remember that not ALL men feel the same as the few who open their hate holes. But damn those haters. Gleefully they stomp on women who dare to step out of the kitchen and do something more than the 'traditional role' (which by the way was destroyed when women had to work so the household income remains above poverty - but that's another discussion altogether). The worst part? Those same men who claim women just aren't as good at writing in a 'male' genre can't pick out a woman's writing versus a man's writing. My own alter ego is all the proof I need to back that statement up.
What surprised me was the level of hatred towards women in general in these 'discussions'. Honestly, it's pretty damned scary. These are the people who would be first in line to burn a woman at the stake I'm sure of it, and probably just for fun.
On the flipside of the coin, I've encountered a few women who dislike that I write under a male pseudonym, as if I can wave a wand and make equality for all happen. I wish. But no. To answer those who look down upon me for my male alter ego, it's a bit deeper than that, I'm afraid. Never judge a book by its cover, as the saying goes, right?
My pseudonym is not me hiding from the big bad world, nor is it me trying to 'trick' anyone. I'm very open about the fact I write under pseudonyms. My first titles are written under a pseudonym already (unless you think 'Suzi M' is actually my real name). So why is it a big deal if I have two other pseudonyms on top of my Suzi M? The impression I got was that I was somehow betraying my gender by writing as a man.
And that is where I have some real issue. The assumption that my writing stays the same and I just change the packaging. That would be like saying Front Line Assembly still plays industrial music as Delerium. It's not true. In fact, my writing styles between Suzi M and the others is so different as to have been seen as three separate people writing each story. Each pseudonym has its own style and voice, so wouldn't it be more of a betrayal to NOT write with a different voice when I'm putting on my mask?
And for those not familiar with Front Line Assembly or Delerium, here are some videos to demonstrate my point, and further drive home why I write under a pseudonym, i.e. two very distinct styles:
And then the same band, different musical project:
All that said, haters gonna hate. I know this. I don't have to like it any more than a hater has to like me or my plethora of man names. But I steadfastly refuse to piss standing up and I refuse to run back to the kitchen.