Sunday, October 27, 2013

What I Learned as a Self-Publicizing Author About Reality and Irreality

Sometimes you have to make stuff up as an author. And sometimes you can't make it up.

I'm in the throes of bringing out a new book. Entitled Savior, it's about a father and son battling the forces of evil. My bad guys are not your garden variety thugs. They don't just want to plunder and loot. They want to take over the entire world. I've given them an ideology, a veneer of thoughtfulness all the more creepy for its plausibility and basis on a real world cult. 

Called the Santos Muertos, or Dead Saints, the bad guys in Savior are more than just a super successful illegal drug manufacturing and distributing cartel. They believe that they herald the second coming of Mictecacihuatl, the ancient death goddess of the MesoAmerican people. The Santos Muertos organization is seeking an ancient Mayan tablet called the Chocomal. This tablet contains a code which they believe will allow them to build a doomsday machine and end the reign of Quetzalcoatl, which they identify with Western civilization. Now of course the Santos Muertos don't really exist. But the Santa Muerte cult does. This is a religious practice, condemned by the Catholic church, which has gained increasing numbers of adherents among residents of northern Mexico and the border regions of the United States. Adherents of the Santa Muerte build altars to a saint who does not exist in the Christian panoply. This saint, the Santa Muerte, or Lady Death, promises healing and favors in return for her veneration. 

I recently received an email from my editor questioning whether I might be in line for reprisals from the Santos Muertos for my depiction of their activities in Savior. I had to explain to her that they were not real, and that no, I didn't think any followers of the Santa Muerte cult would be Googling my address and moving me to the top of their most wanted lists. But you never know. With Halloween fast approaching, and my favorite holiday, Dia de los Muertos on its heels, I thought I would put it out there in a blog post. To anybody taking offense from my depiction of the Santa Muerte in Savior - it's just a book. I made it up. It's not real. But for anyone looking for a unique Halloween costume idea or themed event for Dia de los Muertos, check it out. And check out my book on Indiegogo. I'm looking for a boost. And I don't plan on building any altars to the Santa Muerte. Not just yet. But you never know. Ayudame santita.

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