Where Does The Hate Come From?

I’ve been worried of late. Extremely worried.

Has anyone else noticed how the level of hate crime appears to be on the increase? I’m talking of all hate crime all over the world, although for me I’ve obviously been disturbed by the escalation within the LGBTQ sector.

Only a few days ago a female couple, one Uruguayan and the other American, were assaulted and robbed on a late night-bus in London, because they wouldn’t perform a sexual display for the gratification of a group of five teenagers aged 15-18. Thankfully, the injuries sustained by them, a broken jaw and a broken nose, weren’t serious physically, when you think what could have happened. It remains to be seen though what psychological damage has been inflicted on the pair, although initially they seem to be coping well. However, in the longer term it may well damage their relationship. I hope it doesn’t. It appears the morons were tracked down, with the help of CCTV, and charged with robbery and aggravated grievous bodily harm. It’s been treated by police as a homophobic attack. Personally, I hope they throw the key away.

We see across the world what seems an almost daily event, changes in various government’s policies rescinding the rights of LGBTQ citizens won by the democratic process in previous regimes. The announcements are usually given with a look of glee. Adoption, marriage both domestic – and partners from other countries, access to healthcare, and so the list goes on (not so far in the UK, thankfully).

Hopefully, any people reading this blog will not be discriminatory in their beliefs, but one can never tell. The fact is, discrimination is alive and raising its ugly head in all parts of the world, amongst the general populations. I believe there is no doubt it’s hate driven, but what I can’t understand is why it matters so much when the rights being given on bring parity, not advancement of any kind.

I wish someone would explain to me why it matters so much to another human being, what any other person does or doesn’t do. They are not being asked to care for adopted children, only their own. They are not being asked to pay extra taxes and the LGBTQ pay the same as anyone else. They are not being asked to feed anyone extra, or offer shelter and care. Gay people serve their country with the same national pride as any other servicemen/women and defend all of their compatriots with the same vigour, regardless of whom they sleep with – not just the gay ones in the population.

So, I ask again, why does it matter and what generates this vociferous hatred?

My guess would be mis-education. It is only a guess and I have no statistics to back-up my belief. Only 50 years of experience and people watching. Not watching in the Vogue fashionista style, but body language and facial expressions when gay people are mentioned in conversation. The number of times I’ve heard women say, ‘I don’t know how they can!’, and wanted to reply, ‘Have you asked them?’ but held my tongue. I’m sorry I kept quiet now. Sorry, because I had a chance to educate another person and missed out on the opportunity.

Ignorance, I’m sure, is the key. Holding uneducated parent’s beliefs from childhood through to adulthood until the next generation is born – then the continuity is lengthened again. Like a piece of string being unwound further and further. These misbeliefs have to be severed and a new thread begun. It’s the only way forward, as far as I can see.

However, laying the blame solely at the door of parents is entirely unfair. In the age of global communication it is easy for both children and adults to take on the views and beliefs of other groups inhabiting the planet. The machinery is in place at the touch of a button. LGBTQ hatred is just one aspect of them. In my opinion the worst offender in religious countries is the church. I won’t say the UK doesn’t have this problem, of course we do every now and again, but it’s mostly slapped down and we carry on the same as always. That’s because we are, I would say, now a mainly secular country with regard to organised religion, although I am glad to see an increase in some kind of spiritual following.

The Bible I’m afraid, has a lot to answer for. I can’t think of another book on the planet that has been picked over and torn to pieces (by both sides) as much The Bible. Quotes from it are thrown with vigour from one side to the other, claims and counter claims argued about. I bet this is the same for the other religious books too, but I don’t know for sure. In the end, it gets us nowhere, because these are beliefs. And a belief is…an acceptance that something exists or is true, especially one without proof.

This is the crux of the matter…especially without proof. Nobody knows for sure whether anything miraculous happened as described in, The Bible. It’s a collection of beliefs with real people thrown in, as far as I can make out. I’m not bible or religion bashing but just trying to clarify why I’m supposed to be doing something wrong. I’m a real person (hopefully a pleasant one) who lives a life of caring and loving other people in a a practical kind of way. If I can help someone, I do. I love my wife, whom I’ve been with for 44 years and wouldn’t change a day of it.

Yet, rather than take me as I am, a living and breathing, real-life, in front of your eyes person, I am judged under a system of beliefs – remember, the ones with no proof of anything. I and all gay people according to the haters are going to go to hell for loving the same sex (like we had a choice in the matter!). So, this is my point and it’s taken a long time to get to it… ‘Why are you concerned?’ I would say to the haters. Why does my everlasting soul and what happens to it, bother you so much that, you’d go to the trouble of trying to convince us (and would be gay people) that your path is best and my soul can be saved. My answer would be, ‘It’s my soul to do with as I please, and no concern of yours.’

I know my views probably won’t change anything, but someone somewhere might be having thoughts on the matter and I’d like the less seen version of my world given an airing. The old adage flying around Facebook says it all for me…’I don’t care whether you’re black or white, gay or straight, poor or wealthy, fat or thin, tall or short – if you’re nice to me, I’ll be nice to you.’ I care about people, not beliefs, and if everyone thought the same the world would be a much happier place to live, I’m sure.

Thanks for your time.

 

(If you are under any apprehension as to how bad things can get and have some time to spare, try watching this.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xMbfQ117Jts  )

 

It’s Finished!

Well, it’s taken some time, but I’m finally here. Over a 100,000 words later and my latest book, Best Served Cold, is out with the beta-readers.

I confess to being a dithering wreck, at this point. I’ve been transported back to the time I was awaiting the verdict on my first book, Run. The pressure eased with the others, as each one became a best-seller in its category, so that in turn bolstered my confidence a little, but there is always some degree of anxiety. Until you’ve been judged by a larger portion of the world than you’re used to, it’s hard to explain. Plus this one is a mainstream book, rather than an LGBTQ, so the portion will be considerably larger.

Out there is a part of you. Your brain conceived an idea which you’ve turned into words. You hope people are going to enjoy it; you hope it makes sense to someone who doesn’t know you personally; you hope you’ve succeeded in telling a tale worth reading. Most of all, you hope you’ve become someone’s favourite author. Once that happens, you’ve left something behind. You’ve made the grade. You have a legacy.

The legacy might not be a million pounds, or even a million books, but out there people are carrying around your time and the ideas you’ve shared. It’s a weird feeling, knowing that someone on the other side of the world is sharing your fantasy world, that they are taking time out of their day to give you the opportunity to entertain them. It’s a privilege and a pleasure, each and every time I put a book out there. I hope beyond hope, that people derive enjoyment from reading them. The thought makes me happy…extremely happy.

I don’t know when the book will be available. At the moment I am short-listing the publishers and their criteria. I’m staying away from digital only format, because I, for one, enjoy the feel of a book in my hand, and do buy paper versions if I think it’s a book is worth it. (I also like to obtain signed copies where and when possible). I have a list of four publishers at the moment, so I’ll send out what they want and hope I get an offer from somewhere. At the end of the day…I can only try.

I’ll let everyone know the outcome, succeed or fail. If it is a failure, then it will be a case of must try harder next time…and I will.

Thanks for taking the time to read my musings.

The Journey Begins

I’m New To This!

 

Having previously lucked out with my website, I’m trying something new because now seems the time for changes.

A short while ago my life changed forever. It began with the removal of my right lower leg, quickly followed by the removal of my left lower leg. However the post-op went badly wrong which meant the left leg being made shorter, to above the knee. Operation wise, everything has settled down, apart from a permanent list to port when I’m sitting. The mind-altering drugs have been swapped to something more palatable which means I can now write with some clarity. However, the prosthetic leg I’d had made for me was rendered useless, with the loss of the other. Given my age and other health problems there was no way I was going to be able to use two prosthetics. As much as I am a positive person, I know my limitations.

Progress was slowed as I became faced with a new set of circumstances. Gone was the hope of some independent mobility but instead I was faced with the prospect of being wheelchair-bound for the rest of my natural. Not the end of the world as we know it Jim, but the thought of being dependent on people to carry out even my most basic requirements did not sit easily with me. However I’m lucky beyond words. My wife Denise and sister Julie have taken up the baton, and they haven’t dropped it yet.

These changes coincided with my fifth book of lesbian fiction, The Harbinger, being published. Now I know the consensus of opinion is that my books can be read by anyone, which I don’t doubt, but unfortunately Amazon don’t have an “anyone’ category. You have to choose. I hold my hand up when I say I chose this category because the lesbian audience was the one I was aiming for. But things are never straightforward, are they? No, of course not. Young, middle aged, old? Erotic, mildly sexual or no sex? (I would like to add here, that I had a comment in a two star reviews that I hadn’t taught the reader anything new about sex! There I was thinking my teaching days were behind me.) Modern, historical, ancient? Trashy, not trashy? You get my drift. It appears I fall into all but erotic and trashy (thank goodness), depending on the book. Yes, I am an enigma. I write about real-life dilemmas that face all of us, in some way, all dealt with by lesbian characters. Now, I know I could have written them for purely heterosexual content but I wanted people to be aware of the extra problems that can occur for homosexual people. Being isolated from family in some way nearly always rears its ugly head. I won’t go into the rest but trust me, the differences do exist.

Until further notice, I’ve decided to call a halt on my lesbian fiction and have gone back to my original idea of crime, better known as murder and mayhem. I don’t know why I decided to choose lesbian fiction. I think at the time, it just chose me. So, I’m 20,000 words into the new book (Best Served Cold), which for me is the point of no return, so good or bad – it’s happening! I feel invigorated and challenged, which I haven’t felt in a long time. I just hope the books I have produced so far have been worth reading. It’s now onward and upward.

Along with the new book comes another change. I’m hoping to get myself a publisher. I know up to now I’ve self-published, with the fantastic help of friend and editor, Rogena Mitchell-Jones. However, I have to look to the future, bearing in mind I’m no spring chicken. Getting books out there is hard and time consuming work and at this time in my life I need to be spending some quality time with the people I love. My recent experiences have taught me this and it’s a hard lesson to learn. I’m going to try and organise my life in a more productive way and hope someone else will take the strain. I’ll have to see what’s offered, if anything. I’ll just have to hope there’s a publisher out there that enjoys my writing enough to take me on. If not a publisher, then an agent.

I hope my readers follow me on this journey. If not, can I say a heartfelt thank you for all the support I’ve received from everyone, so far..

It’s been an absolute blast.