First of all, I have to apologize to those readers who’ve told me they are waiting for this book with bated breath. It’s behind schedule. WAY behind. And it got even more behind in the past few weeks due to a health emergency in my immediate family. (Everyone is alive and relatively well, thank heavens, but it was touch and go there for a while.)
I was planning to dive diligently back into Damaged Goods now that the worst of the familial crisis is over but yesterday, as you may have heard, Smashwords sent out a notice to all erotica authors indicating that, due to PayPal’s terms of service, certain types of content will no longer be permitted in ebooks sold through Smashwords. Unfortunately, two areas that are prohibited feature in my books–dubious consent (which, to many eyes, is no different than rape) and, in Damaged Goods in particular, underage sex.
If you’ve read the blurb for Damaged Goods, then you know its heroine was sex trafficked as a child. There is no way I can tell this story without writing about her past. Her past includes child rape. I can’t just gloss that over or change that without gutting the story I want to tell.
Sex trafficking of children is a real phenomenon. It happens. More than most of us would like to imagine. As an author, I feel it’s my right and my duty to expose this dirty underworld and bring it to people’s attention. I have no intention of glorifying or excusing what happened to my heroine. But at the outset of the story, she doesn’t necessarily see herself as a victim, and a significant part of her character arc involves her coming to understand that what was done to her was wrong and deserves punishment. This undoubtedly means that some people will read the early parts of the book in her point of view as “apologistic.” That is not my intent, but it raises the specter that Smashwords will not permit me to upload and sell my book there and through the other outlets they distribute to.
And so, I have a decision to make. Is it worth my time and effort to complete a book that I might not be able to sell? This is a story I very much want to tell and one that I feel has real social relevance, but I am very concerned about running afoul of the censors.
I don’t yet know what my decision will be. Once I do, I’ll be sure to let you know.