Hard MAGA Power Vs. Soft Woke Power

by Shelt Garner

One thing I’ve gleaned from talking to my far more conservative relatives — whom I love dearly — is their abject fear of some future tyranny coming not from the hard power of the state but the soft power of “woke corporations.”

Of course, they’re complicit in the rise of the American fascist corporate state because not only do they not take the looming fascism of MAGA seriously, but they because they, in general, agree with that fascism it would all be a lulz.

Not until the hard power of the MAGA fascist state is used to not only deport 20 million undocumented people — which they want — but to also murder me in cold blood — which they don’t want — will they take notice of how there is a definite difference between hard and soft power.

So, what happens is, conservatives would far rather conflate issues and get REALLY WORKED UP over the “abuses” of the woke than they would have to give serious answers to questions like, “What happens when the massive infrastructure built out to deport 20 million people is used to murder people you love?”

They usually either don’t answer, make a joked to change the subject or piviot to the latest conservative talking point.

It can be very, very frustrating.

The rise of a MAGA fascist state in the US is not an abstract to me — I’m really beginning to worry that if Trump becomes POTUS again that I’m going to be murdered in cold blood by an ICE agent — or whatever — because I simply will not, can not shut the fuck up about how I think Trump is a fat fuck cocksucker.

But my conservative relatives — whom I love dearly — just lulz all this. As long is those brown families are torn asunder at the border they’ll be content. As long as a stray trans person doesn’t get a free can of But Light, they will be content. As long as the social safety net is gutted and only fools and poors pay taxes, they will be content.

The list goes on.

It will be interesting to see what my fate is. If I’m lucky, I will be able to escape the country should Trump win re-election later this year.

Tech Bros Picking On Gemini Are Really Beginning To Get On My Nerves

by Shelt Garner

There are PLENTY of VALID reasons for tech people to be angry with the output of Google’s Gemini. But, sometimes, they think up the most asinine things just to prove a point — they want the right to be hateful for no damn reason.

Why is it so important to tech people to have the ability to say the n-word to save the world or to be able to generate an endless amount of Nazi propaganda? It’s very, very annoying.

And, what’s more, it will all be moot when AI is so commoditized and personalized that if you want your chatbot to say the n-word to save the world, it will. You may not be able to share all your hateful vitriol, but, lulz, you’ll at least get to be a hateful asshole to yourself.

Ah ha! I’ve Finally Figured Out What Hollywood Star My Heroine Looks Like — Nathalie Emmanuel

by Shelt Garner

I’ve finally found who I’m thinking of in my mind as I write my heroine and her adventures in my first novel — Nathalie Emmanuel.

Nathalie Emmanuel

My hope is, of course, that I will write a heroine who is as interesting as Stieg Larsson’s Lisbeth Salander. It will be interesting to see how things ultimately work out. A lot of writing a successful novel is just dumb luck. So, lulz, I could write The Bible and because I’m a smelly CIS white male writing from a female POV at times….the woke cancel culture mob will pillory me.

The dream is to write a character as interesting as Stieg Larsson’s Lisbeth Salander.

I Think About Women Readers A Lot As I Write This Novel

by Shelt Garner

I do not purport to have any special insight into the female mind, but I do, at least, try to cater to that segment of the reading audience as I write this novel. I do this especially given the edgy, loaded nature of the novel.

I hope to write a novel that is as accessible as The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.

It’s not every day that your heroine is a part-time stripper.

Now, of course, if I was, say a transgender women writing this type of novel, then I probably be hailed as the second coming of Jesus Christ. But, alas, I’m just a smelly CIS white male — a middle aged one at that! — and, as such, slings and arrows and all that.

I have a vision for this novel and, as such, I’m prepared to take shit for what, of course, will be reduced down to “stripper solves a murder mystery.”


That’s not what’s going on! But no one is going to listen to me. Anything to do with sex and women — especially something out of the ordinary — is the thing that people will focus on. And that doesn’t even begin to address the issue of how Hollywood would market any adaptation of the novel should that miraculous thing somehow happen.


I’m really self conscious about how women readers might react to this novel to a fault. I have a few women “advisers” that help me when I feel a little bit nervous about this or that thing that I might broach in the novel while writing from a female POV.

But, like I said, I can only do so much. I’m a smelly CIS white middle aged male and a vocal minority of the reading audience will dismiss the novel the moment they see what I look like.

I Really Need To Think About Women’s Reaction To My Heroine Being A Part-Time Stripper

by Shelt Garner

A lot could go wrong with this novel. I definitely fear someone will steal a creative march on me, if for no other reason, I’m just taking too long. But there’s not much I can do about it. Rome wasn’t built in a day and it’s just taking me a lot longer than I thought to get as far as I have.

But what’s interesting to me is the very thing that makes this novel a bit…edgy…could also be what makes it a success. I am WELL AWARE that because of marketing and human nature that this very interesting situation I’ve come up with will probably be boiled down to, “stripper solves a murder mystery.”

Ugh. That’s not at all what’s going on, but, lulz, what can you do.

But I do think that my heroine is beginning to approach Lisbeth Salander levels of interesting. She could very well be something of an icon if I play my cards right. And the thing that I keep being reminded about is how the interplay between my heroine’s “normal” life of owning an alternative weekly and her “alternative life” of owning a strip club / stripping to relax is something I need to lean into if I’m going to introduce the idea in the first place.

That’s what people — especially women willing to humor me by reading the damn novel in the first place — are going to want to see the most of.

The daydream issue of how Hollywood might address this novel occasionally gives me pause for thought. The obvious way to market the movie is something along the line of the old Pam Anderson movie “Barbwire.”

Double ugh.

The point of the story is not the T&A element of the story, but that by heroine is a woman who has sexual agency and self confidence enough that she is able to be a stripper to relax without giving it much thought.

It’s everyone else — especially horny men — who are the problem.

Anyway, I continue to work my way through the first act of the third draft AGAIN. Hopefully, this time, I will still have momentum enough to make my way through the second and third acts when the time comes.

Modern Gender Politics & Pop Culture Are So Fucked Up

by Shelt Garner

There is a small — but vocal — group of the reading audience that simply can not, will not, validate the idea that I, as a smelly CIS white male, would, at times, write from a female POV in this novel.

And it’s only going to get worse the moment they learn my heroine is a part-time stripper.

And, yet, fuck it, we’ll do it live.

I am so matter-of-fact about the sex worker side of things that I think, within the context of the novel, that it won’t be seen as too terribly gratuitous. It’s just there’s a lot –a LOT — I can do with the whole stripper side of things to make the story really interesting and enjoyable so, lulz, why not.

And Barry — which dealt with an equally surreal professional life — was a success. But that was a comedy, so, I suppose it’s not a one-to-one.

And I am well aware that someone might steal a creative march on me, given how long it’s taking me to write this damn thing. As such, I really need to start to work on some backup stories.

If You Ain’t Got Haters, You Ain’t Poppin

by Shelt Garner

I usually make at least one person REALLY MAD randomly and by accident at least once a year. I’m overdue for someone to scream at me in a really personal way, as if they take personal offense to me being a listless daydreamer.

I assume whomever this person is, will be mad at me writing for years about a novel that I’m writing. That seems to be just the type of thing that some rando stranger who is paying attention to my life would get mad about.

And that doesn’t even begin to address what might happen if I magically somehow sell this novel I’m working on and I get even the barest amount of attention. There might be a LOT of people angry about my drunk ramblings. Or, maybe not.

Most of my drunk ramblings are center-Left in nature, so it’s probably going to be some drunk thing I did in Asia that ultimately destroys whatever success I might have because I wrote a novel that is as popular as The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. (That’s a delusional dream at this point.)

And, yet, who knows.

Maybe, just maybe, it will all be a lulz and people will breeze past my colorful life in Asia.

The Right’s White Hot Need To ‘Own The Libs’ & The ‘Media Narrative’

by Shelt Garner

One of the ways the browning of America and the increased economic and political agency of women have warped our politics is white Christian (men) get really worked out up about “owning the libs.”

Bari Weiss is among the conservatives who were “canceled” for not following the evil liberal “media narrative.”

This need to “own the libs” pops out in a variety of ways, but one of them is the idea that the evil liberal cabal is out to get people who don’t follow the liberal, mainstream “media narrative.” As part of this, many conservatives are bad faith free speech absolutist, when they are in fact, just annoyed that they can’t be racist and sexist.

They are also crybaby snowflakes who mistake their lack of engagement for being “shadow banned” when, in fact, their views just aren’t popular.

In my personal life, my conservative relatives — whom I love dearly — are quite haughty about how they’re free speech absolutist and if only the evil liberals would get out of the way, then EVERYONE would see how great and wonderful conservative ideals are.


The whole thing is a symptom of how fucked up the political world is these days. Everything. Is. So. Fucked. Up.

I Continue To Be On Edge About The Looming Querying Process

by Shelt Garner

I’ve vowed to sooner rather than later to take the querying process for my first novel a lot more seriously. At the moment, I’m on track to wrap up the novel around — hopefully — April. Then the plan is to begin querying no later than, say, September.

But it’s always possible that that deadline may slip and it won’t be the fall 2024 querying season that I take the plunge, but, rather the Spring 2025 season. And all of this is happening in the context of not only me Not Getting Any Younger, but knowing damn well that any literary agent who does due diligence on me might just throw up their hands with dismay at all the kooky things I’ve written about and done videos about over the years.

And I am the first to admit that if you don’t know me personally, I can come across as a drunk crank. Ok, I get it. But what am I going to do about it at this point? I am who I am and I have some quirks and sharp edges that might turn some (liberal white women) people off.

My heroine kind of looks like this in my mind as I write her.

I really need to stop stewing about querying and begin to take it concrete steps to be ready to go when the moment comes. But I also want to start to work seriously on some backup stories. I have at least three solid scifi novels rolling around in my head and all the hard work I’ve put into my first novel should speed the process of development up for these “back up stories” a great deal.

That’s the plan, at least.

Pondering The Precipice Of Querying

by Shelt Garner

Now I’m worried that deep in the bowels of the Internet aether I’ve annoyed the liberal white women that make up most of the literary agent class, even before I’ve begun to query my first novel. All I can say is — I mean well. And I’m generally a fan of liberal white women. (Even if I do sometimes use them as a class as something of a comic foil in some of my drunk political rants.)

But what I’m NOT a fan of is being attacked for being a smelly CIS white male writing from a female POV. Or being forced to debate how many of my characters can dance on the head of the Bechdel Test pin. And I am who I am. Come what may.

I don’t MEAN to annoy anyone, but I’m not going to fake who I am. And, in general, I think literary agents will find me endearing, thoughtful and interesting — if they’re willing to give me a chance.

And, yet, who knows. I still have a few more months before I finish a stable third draft of the novel. Then there will be the struggle to find — and afford — a manuscript consultant to take the novel to the next level. And all of this will be happening in the context of a Petite Singularity / Fourth Turning in late 2024, early 2025.

So….good times?