The What?! You Say? Dropping the F-Bomb with Heath Lowrance

I just want to apologize today for the take-over that is about to happen. You know I’m a good guy, and I ride the straight and narrow. Never would I post something like the following unless it weren’t under great duress. When Heath Lowrance was looking for a place to hang his hat for a day, I thought it’d be full of insight? This? This is almost too much to accept. What’s about to go down, well… I never. Please forgive me.

I’d like to introduce Heath Lowrance, author of THE BASTARD HAND published by New Pulp Press and the follow up, CITY OF HERETICS from Snub Nose Press. Heath is a versatile writer who handles Western as easily as Crime Fiction, often blending the two together or with other sub-genres. He writes a regular blog (unlike me) at Psycho Noir. He’s contributed to Shotgun Honey and was one of the first to be under the gun in the Shogun Honey interview series “How’d You Get the Gun?”

The What?! You Say? Dropping the F-Bomb

I have really, truly, had it up to my eyeballs with grown-up readers who suddenly turn into pansy-ass Puritans whenever they see the dreaded “F-bomb”. You know the word I mean, yeah?

Fuck. That’s the one.

At first, when I’d see a negative review of a book I really liked on Amazon, and the one or two stars came solely from the reader’s inability to handle strong language, I’d only shake my head and move on. But I can’t do that anymore. Honestly, it just pisses me off.

What the fuck is wrong with these people?

These are people who, I assume, get up every day and go out into the real world and meet real people and do real things. They have no problem with books that depict strong violence, physical or emotional. They are able to function like normal living beings.
Until you use the word fuck. And then they lose their shit.

To give a book a poor review because you are somehow deeply affected by the F-word is asinine and childish. Especially if the book is terrific and moving and powerful. Or even if the book is just plain fun. For you to come along with your weird fetish about “clean” language is just so… frustrating.

Here’s an example: I just read the first chapter in Dani Amore’s new Western serial “The Circuit Rider”. It was great, great fun and I very much recommend it. But looking at the reviews, I swear, any rational person would lose their minds. More than a few called Dani out on using the word fuck. They really would’ve enjoyed the story, you know, except that those pesky characters talked like real people and all. One reviewer, I kid you not, actually wrote, “Did they even HAVE the f-word in those days?”

I’m not joking. Someone actually wrote that.

My new novel, CITY OF HERETICS, employs the f-word fairly consistently. I’m not saying I throw the word fuck in there like confetti or anything, and I don’t think there’s anything gratuitous about it, but if there’s a character who is likely to use the word, then goddamnit, he uses it.

“Well, foul language is an indication of a limited vocabulary.”

Really? Since when?

Firstly, the only language I consider “foul” is language designed to denigrate someone based on their race, or sex, or other personal attributes. Aside from that, there’s no such thing as “foul language”. Sure, there are words that are inappropriate for children, or for certain situations. But we’re talking about grown-up novels and stories here, written by grown-ups, for grown-ups.

Using strong language in fiction is not immature. Throwing a conniption fit over it, that’s immature.

About CITY OF HERETICS: it’s my new novel, just out from Snubnose Press. It’s about an aging gangster named Crowe, back in Memphis and ready to exact some vengeance. But along the way, he gets sidetracked by a vicious serial killer, and stumbles across a secret society of murderers posing as a very Old Testament style church. There’s lots of blood, lots of violence, and more than a little strong language. You are going to come across the word fuck in it. Numerous times.

Fuckin’ suck it up, okay?

20 Replies to “The What?! You Say? Dropping the F-Bomb with Heath Lowrance”

  1. I agree 100% with Heath about reviewing books based on their *foul language*. I take it one more step and say that I do not think there are any bad words. I am not a racist or homophobic, but I am not offended if I read these words in a book. I just want to read and enjoy a good story. If you start worrying about offending readers, you are taking away from the story. There will always be someone offended by something. The F-bomb is dropped frequently in this house by me and I don’t care. It is a word. It is only a word. Heath, you rock.

  2. I agree 100% with Heath about reviewing books based on their *foul language*. I take it one more step and say that I do not think there are any bad words. I am not a racist or homophobic, but I am not offended if I read these words in a book. I just want to read and enjoy a good story. If you start worrying about offending readers, you are taking away from the story. There will always be someone offended by something. The F-bomb is dropped frequently in this house by me and I don’t care. It is a word. It is only a word. Heath, you rock.

  3. Right there with you, Heath. I find it
    just stunning. First, I want to know where these people are living that they
    don’t hear a curse word during the course of their day. Secondly, I think there’s
    something utterly fucked up about the individual who has no problem reading
    books with murder and violence but gets upset when they come across a swear
    word.

    But you know, film is the same way. Look at MPAA ratings. One film can
    have nonstop violence and get a PG or PG-13, while another film without a
    single bit of violence can earn an R for more than four fucks—if the word is used as an expletive and
    not to refer to sex. I think it’s a residual Puritanical strain still flowing
    through the American psyche.

    About Dani Amore’s western, which I
    liked a lot too, I think the problem is that Westerns are such a niche market,
    and the bulk of the audience are still men who still think it’s 1950 and appropriate
    dialogue should read like a John Wayne script, “Well, aw shucks, partner!”

  4. Right there with you, Heath. I find it
    just stunning. First, I want to know where these people are living that they
    don’t hear a curse word during the course of their day. Secondly, I think there’s
    something utterly fucked up about the individual who has no problem reading
    books with murder and violence but gets upset when they come across a swear
    word.

    But you know, film is the same way. Look at MPAA ratings. One film can
    have nonstop violence and get a PG or PG-13, while another film without a
    single bit of violence can earn an R for more than four fucks—if the word is used as an expletive and
    not to refer to sex. I think it’s a residual Puritanical strain still flowing
    through the American psyche.

    About Dani Amore’s western, which I
    liked a lot too, I think the problem is that Westerns are such a niche market,
    and the bulk of the audience are still men who still think it’s 1950 and appropriate
    dialogue should read like a John Wayne script, “Well, aw shucks, partner!”

  5. I don’t get why people have such a problem with this, unless you live in a convent the F word is just part of everyday life. And just so as you know City of Heretics fucking rocks.

  6. I don’t get why people have such a problem with this, unless you live in a convent the F word is just part of everyday life. And just so as you know City of Heretics fucking rocks.

  7. “Did they even HAVE the f-word in those days?”

    They did, but apparently they didn’t use it back then the way it’s used today:

    http://nymag.com/nymetro/news/people/columns/intelligencer/n_10191/

    That being said, using more contemporary speech patterns can make a story more accessible to modern audiences. DEADWOOD’s Al Swearengen wouldn’t have been nearly as entertaining if he called everyone who pissed him off a “corksnapper.”

    As for giving a book a bad review because you don’t like the language in it, that’s akin to giving a thumbs down to a book because it’s in a genre/subgenre you don’t like. If a book’s not your bag, set it down and move on. You don’t give a book a bad review unless you believe it was genuinely poorly written.

    But that’s just my fucking opinion.

  8. “Did they even HAVE the f-word in those days?”

    They did, but apparently they didn’t use it back then the way it’s used today:

    http://nymag.com/nymetro/news/people/columns/intelligencer/n_10191/

    That being said, using more contemporary speech patterns can make a story more accessible to modern audiences. DEADWOOD’s Al Swearengen wouldn’t have been nearly as entertaining if he called everyone who pissed him off a “corksnapper.”

    As for giving a book a bad review because you don’t like the language in it, that’s akin to giving a thumbs down to a book because it’s in a genre/subgenre you don’t like. If a book’s not your bag, set it down and move on. You don’t give a book a bad review unless you believe it was genuinely poorly written.

    But that’s just my fucking opinion.

  9. If I don’t hit a fuckin f bomb or 2 in the first few fuckin pages of a fuckin book then i dont read the fuckin thing

  10. Where these reviews written by professional critics or just assholes with opinions? If some actually paid them for their reviews…they should be terminated immediately! That being said, there is no word in the English language (that I know of) more descriptive than “FUCK”. It’s uses are endless! If I’m not mistaken, I believe it also has Med-Evil origins (1400’s). What I want to know is how is it possible to write an adult novel and NOT use the word FUCK?

  11. Where these reviews written by professional critics or just assholes with opinions? If some actually paid them for their reviews…they should be terminated immediately! That being said, there is no word in the English language (that I know of) more descriptive than “FUCK”. It’s uses are endless! If I’m not mistaken, I believe it also has Med-Evil origins (1400’s). What I want to know is how is it possible to write an adult novel and NOT use the word FUCK?

  12. I loved this post, Heath! Been the victim myself of these “reviewers.” Here’s one from someone named “EileenS” who gave my novel JUST LIKE THAT a 1-star. Her review was titled: Language is in the gutter–not my cup of tea. She says: “I tried to read this book, got through about 8 chapters and just gave up. If you took out the vulgar language there was nothing left (no ending punctuation). Well, EileenS, it’s clearly marked as a road trip/prison novel so you might have gotten a clue that there’d be a fuck or two in it…

    That aroused my curiosity so I looked up her other reviews. She’d posted seven. Three one-stars, two two-stars, and two three-stars. Not much seems to tickle her fancy…

    In reviewing another book, she said, in part: “I thoroughly enjoyed the books theme, but found the lack of editing and english check thoroughly distracting, for that reason alone, I give it a
    3 star, otherwise it would have been a 5. I thought a 7 year old could
    have done a better job of editing. At first I thought it might have
    been a bad translation, but decided it was just an awful editing job.
    My congratulations to the first time author, but a word of caution, have
    someone with at least an idea of editing check your next e book.

    Excuse me, EileenS, but if you’re criticizing a writer for their lack of editing and “english” you may want to check your own prose. Here’s your review after editing…

    I thoroughly enjoyed the books (book’s) theme, but found the lack of editing and english (English) check thoroughly (might want to find another word since you just used this one) distracting, (Comma splice) for that reason alone I give it a 3 star (three stars or a 3-star), otherwise it would have been a 5. I thought a 7 year old (seven-year-old) could have done a better job of editing. At first (no comma) I thought it might have been a bad translation, but decided it was just an awful editing job. My congratulations to the first time (first-time) author, but a word of caution, (Comma splice) have someone with at least an idea of editing check your next e book (e-book).

    Maybe EileenS should offer her considerable talents as an editor to the author she just trashed… I also wonder how a reader enjoys a book’s “theme.” That’s basically the TV Guide logline… Kind of an odd thing to “enjoy…”

    It’s instructive sometimes to take a look at the other reviews these folks are posting. Whoever the fuck they are…

  13. I loved this post, Heath! Been the victim myself of these “reviewers.” Here’s one from someone named “EileenS” who gave my novel JUST LIKE THAT a 1-star. Her review was titled: Language is in the gutter–not my cup of tea. She says: “I tried to read this book, got through about 8 chapters and just gave up. If you took out the vulgar language there was nothing left (no ending punctuation). Well, EileenS, it’s clearly marked as a road trip/prison novel so you might have gotten a clue that there’d be a fuck or two in it…

    That aroused my curiosity so I looked up her other reviews. She’d posted seven. Three one-stars, two two-stars, and two three-stars. Not much seems to tickle her fancy…

    In reviewing another book, she said, in part: “I thoroughly enjoyed the books theme, but found the lack of editing and english check thoroughly distracting, for that reason alone, I give it a
    3 star, otherwise it would have been a 5. I thought a 7 year old could
    have done a better job of editing. At first I thought it might have
    been a bad translation, but decided it was just an awful editing job.
    My congratulations to the first time author, but a word of caution, have
    someone with at least an idea of editing check your next e book.

    Excuse me, EileenS, but if you’re criticizing a writer for their lack of editing and “english” you may want to check your own prose. Here’s your review after editing…

    I thoroughly enjoyed the books (book’s) theme, but found the lack of editing and english (English) check thoroughly (might want to find another word since you just used this one) distracting, (Comma splice) for that reason alone I give it a 3 star (three stars or a 3-star), otherwise it would have been a 5. I thought a 7 year old (seven-year-old) could have done a better job of editing. At first (no comma) I thought it might have been a bad translation, but decided it was just an awful editing job. My congratulations to the first time (first-time) author, but a word of caution, (Comma splice) have someone with at least an idea of editing check your next e book (e-book).

    Maybe EileenS should offer her considerable talents as an editor to the author she just trashed… I also wonder how a reader enjoys a book’s “theme.” That’s basically the TV Guide logline… Kind of an odd thing to “enjoy…”

    It’s instructive sometimes to take a look at the other reviews these folks are posting. Whoever the fuck they are…

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