Saturday, March 31, 2012

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Lost In Translation

I read a great blog (My Friend Amy) yesterday about differences between The Hunger Games as a movie and The Hunger Games the book. The blog explores whether some of the story's significance and impact is (or will be later) lost in translation from paper to the big screen.

While I have read the books (and LOVED them!), I have not yet seen the movie. But I have found this to be true of many books where characters' change comes about mostly internally, not necessarily by way of action. During the flourish of movies based on Stephen King books, I almost always found the movie never did the story or characters justice. The movies were not bad, they just didn't give the full effect of his stories.

What do you think? Is something lost in translation from book to the big screen?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

I Need a Hero ! ( Cape Optional )

Come on! Admit it!

Those of us "of a certain age" had the hots for Christopher Reeves from the first moment we saw him in those tights and cape. Turns out he was a hero in real life as well. The way he handled every day after the tragic riding accident that took his mobility and eventually took his life made him a Superman no mere film could capture.

I'll be forever grateful to Gerard Butler and the film 300 for
introducing my nephew to the wonderful world and history of ancient Greece. A few simple questions to his "history nut" aunt and he dove into Homer's The Iliad and The Odyssey and from there became so fascinated by the history of Greece he has been studying the language of ancient Greece at the University of Alabama. The film 300 produced images of Gerard Butler no doubt used by romance writers everywhere as inspiration, computer screen savers and just plain nice scenery. I mean, really ! You could do a whole load of laundry on those abs !! The actual Battle of Thermopylae produced heroes who lived the axiom "Spartan, come home with your shield, or on it." Gotta' love a man like that.

So what is a hero, exactly?

Does he have to have super powers? (A romance novel hero had BETTER have super sensual powers,but we won't get into that here.)

Does he have to be "drool worthy" good looking? (I give Gerard as Leonidas 5 out of 5 drooling towels. Hugh Jackman as Wolverine too.)

He has to be brave, of course! I don't care how many times I see shots of those firemen going up the stairs at the World Trade Center while everyone else is running out, it still gives me chills. There are all sorts of bravery. What sorts make for good heroes?

My own father fought in Korea. At the age of eighteen he and his unit were ambushed by Korean and Chinese forces. They were pinned down with no way out. My father drew fire onto his position so the rest of his unit could retreat. Then he went back for three of his comrades who were injured and hauled them back to the fall back position. His commanders wanted to give him a bronze star. He refused. "You don't get medals for doing your job." Did this make him brave? Probably. But I didn't know him then. The man I knew worked every day to look after his family. He never treated my mother with anything less than appreciation and respect. We weren't rich, but he made sure we had what we needed and he taught us the world didn't owe us a thing. Anything we wanted we could have, so long as we EARNED it. He is forever my hero for the things I saw him do every day.

So, tell me, my fellow writers, what makes a hero? What sort of hero appeals to you in a romance novel? What flaws are a deal breaker for you? And who are some of the most surprising or unique heroes you've encountered in romance novels? What made them so memorable?

Sunday, March 25, 2012

REJECTIONS: Is it you?

It's not you, it's me.

Ever hear those words in a break-up, or when someone is trying to soften the blow when they tell you something? 

Believe me, it's you.

There is something in you that doesn't resonate with the other person. It can be a personal relationship-What do you mean you don't like me calling you 'squishy butt'?, it can be in business,-so you're saying bootie shorts and thigh-high boots are not professional wear?

This is not about flinging yourself into the abyss of despair--it's about recognizing that if its YOU, that it's not always a bad thing. Not everyone is going to like what you write, what you wear, and what you read. No matter what you do, you won't be able to change that.

Rejection is not always easy to swallow, even if the words are kind, especially in the writing world : Your story didn't resonate--I'm not sure I can represent you adequately....etc. Those are kind. They are not saying things like: You suck--I want to put a fork in my eye when I read this. (can you imagine if you received something like that?-now that would totally throw me over the edge).

What you can control is YOU.

Rejections, while painful, can give you good information. If you get comments like: The characters didn't seem fully developed.  I didn't find the protagonist likable.  Don't curse...or cry. (Yes, chocolate is acceptable). Take a step back and examine it. Who are you targeting? Did you get more than one person say the same thing? Don't change your story with every comment, but what you can do is take some craft classes, talk to your Critique Partners, get a beta reader (that isn't your best friend).  Look at the story with a critical eye.  You know your story. If you're happy with it...keep it, if not, change it. 

Just because it's you--doesn't mean that it's a bad thing, because somewhere out there is someone who likes YOU--and that is worth waiting for.

So keep writing.

What have you discovered about rejections? What is your best advice.

Friday, March 23, 2012


July 10 Release
This was such a great post from the fabulous Jennifer Echols dated 3/27/06, I felt we needed to see it again since we had a spot available.  Enjoy...

Some of you may be curious about making the jump from adult to YA romance (YA = young adult = teen). I have been writing both for quite a few years. I was writing YA when YA wasn’t cool, when the market was severely depressed. But to say it has picked up in the past few years would be an understatement. So, even though my agent signed me on the basis of an adult romantic comedy, it didn’t really surprise me that my YA romantic comedy sold first. My friend Marley Gibson, a native of Troy, AL, also has been writing adult and YA, and her first sale 10 days ago was a series of four YA novels. Even some who have already made it in the adult genre are giving YA a spin.

So you think YA might be your ticket into publication too? Here are some things you need and don’t need, imho, to make it as a YA author.

You need to like YA books. If you haven’t read YA ever, or since you were 15, give it a try. You might start with an author who also writes adult books you enjoy, like Alesia Holliday/Jax Abbott or Nicole/Niki Burnham. Or you might try the YA version of the adult genre you like best, like romantic comedy, chick lit, or paranormal.

You need to like teenagers. You don’t necessarily need a close relationship with a teenager currently. They think you are old and weird, and unless you can withhold their allowance, they probably are not going to tell you what you want to know anyway. But you need to *wish* they would tell you about their lives, because you think they are so cool. You should find their relationships interesting, their contributions valuable, and their problems heartbreaking, even though you think you could solve their problems in a second if they would only listen to you, which they won’t, because they are teenagers, and you are old and weird. In short, you should be able to empathize with them.

You need to remember being a teenager. Strangely, the people who tell me they don’t remember this part of their lives are all twenty-six. I am not twenty-six, but I remember in excruciating detail how I felt sitting next to Jeremy Ledbetter† in band in the oboe section (all two of us). Me, a little ninth grader, pining away the entire year for this super-cool, cute, smart guy who played Satan in the senior play. Every day Holly Pemberton, the last-chair flute who sat next to us, hid a new Harlequin romance behind her music stand. Every day, Jeremy stole it and read me the sex scene. *fans self* I probably will never write a YA novel about an oboe player, because I would put myself and everyone else to sleep. But I have already written a YA novel about having a crush, and believe me, I drew from experience.

You do not need an up-to-the-minute understanding of teen culture. Yes, it would help if you turned on MTV once in a while, but I have found that fashion and slang are largely regional. Besides, your up-to-the-minute understanding is going to be old news by the time your book gets published.

Most of all, you need a great story, well-told. My YA novels run about 55,000 words, and my adult novels are about 100,000. The YA hero and heroine obviously are younger, and I trade in sex scenes for make-out scenes. Other than these differences, I treat my YA and adult novels exactly the same. I plot them using the same methods (1. write; 2. freak out; 3. whine to critique partner; 4. write), and I craft them with the same care. YA novels may be a good bet for publication nowadays, but they are not a shortcut.

†Names have been changed to protect the guilty.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Time Passes Soooo Quickly

In two days I will pass another milestone, age 61. I look back and see just how blessed I've been. Many trials and heartaches, but many more joys and triumphs. With two days to go I'm reviewing the past 12 months. My wife and I survived the April 27th tornadoes unscathed. In August I experienced both a great achievement, having my first book MIRRORED accepted for publication by Astraea Press. Then the sorrow of my wife of 39 years needing a hip replacement. Over the next 8 weeks my wife Christine and I road the rollercoaster of her good health/bad health. Her cerebral palsy won the battle and now she will live in a nursing home the rest of her life. Christmas brought another round of the good and the bad. Good news was that Astraea Press released my book on December 30th. The bad new was that an unlicensed driver rear ended me on Christmas day. The insurance is still working on that. Easter is approaching and I will take my wife out of the nursing home for a few hours to go to church and then out for Easter dinner. Two great joys await me in May. On May 5th Heart of Dixie is having their Readers Luncheon and I'll be hosting an author table. Then on Sunday May 6th Christine and I will celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. As you can see, I'd rather remember the good things in life. They are what makes getting older worth while.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Dishing about Readers' Luncheons

Our sister chapter, Heart of Dixie, is hosting its Fifteenth Annual Readers' Luncheon with New York Times Bestselling Author Lora Leigh on May 5.  Several Southern Magic authors will be in attendance. To whet your appetite, past luncheon coordinator Kathy Bone was gracious enough to agree to give us the inside scoop on what goes into putting on a luncheon.

You chaired the Heart of Dixie Readers’ Luncheon for the last four years.  What advice do you have for a first time Readers' Luncheon attendee so that she gets the most out of her experience?

Hi Heather!  Coordinating the Annual Heart of Dixie Luncheon has always been fun, but the most enjoyable part of the luncheon is the joy you see on each attendee's face and getting to meet authors from every romance genre.  I feel very blessed that I had the chance to help make attendees, including myself, happy doing that for four wonderful years.  The luncheon's success, however, is really due to HOD's volunteers.  Without having such a great group behind me and for me, I would have never been able to do what I did during that time.  ;) 
Advice for a first-timer?  I still remember my first luncheon as if it was yesterday.  My advice to first time luncheon-goers would be to relax and have a great time no matter which author's table you chose!  I remember how out of place I felt, easy for an introvert like me, when I walked into my first luncheon room.  Bags were in every chair.  Weren't there any seats left, I thought?  I'm embarrassed to admit that I asked an HOD member that very question and discovered that not only did the bags in the seats mean that seat was free, but those bags were goody bags for every attendee.  (Every attendee gets a gift for coming?  Say it isn't so!)  Imagine my surprise.  Shangrila, I tell you!  But I was new.  I was alone.  I didn't know anyone there so I sat at the first table I came to, next to Rita Herron, a fabulous Georgia Romance member.  She was gracious enough to answer all my questions about her writing, where she got her ideas, and more.  Because I allowed myself to experience the unknown, to jump outside my box, I came away from the luncheon a great big fan and immediately joined Heart of Dixie to begin my own writing journey.
Going out on a limb, being flexible and adventurous, opened my life to a wonderful world of friendships and fun that I'll never forget. So first-timers jump in with both feet.  You'll be so glad you did! 
What was the biggest challenge you experienced in chairing the Heart of Dixie Readers' Luncheon?

My biggest challenge?  Well, I've had quite a few of those.  Let's see.  I'll start with ACK!  Then I'll add a sidebar of UGH!  LOL! 
Seriously, when I assisted Kimberly Lang in 2007, my two youngest kids were still in High School, very involved with sports and cheerleading. 
During my first solo luncheon in 2008, my youngest son graduated and entered West Point.  That same year, my oldest daughter graduated from college weeks before the luncheon and my father passed away months before the luncheon.  
My youngest daughter graduated while I coordinated the 2009 luncheon and my youngest son was going through a terrible time. 
In 2010, I ended up in the hospital for three days one week before the luncheon with a rare reaction from  headache medicine my doctor had prescribed for me.  Bruised up and loopy, undergoing tests for everything from migraines to MS, I did my best to coordinate that luncheon, while entering contests and preparing a full request, at the same time.  (Thankfully, MS was ruled out!) 
In 2011, I was still suffering headaches 24/7.  No amount of medicine could dull that pain.  And then the worst happened, our dearest friend and fellow chaptermate Beverly Barton passed away weeks before the luncheon.  And to make matters worse, an F5 tornado plunged Alabama into chaos.  Without electricity, Internet access or phone service, I had to drive into Huntsville just to reach my Registration Chair to try and tell over 180 people the luncheon had been canceled.  Here's where a luncheon committee pays off quadruple-fold.  Due to Cheryl Crisona's dutiful service, we were able to reach as many attendees as we could and reschedule the luncheon for mid-summer.  But nothing could soften the terrible loss we'd experienced by losing Beverly last year. 
Yes, I'd say I've had a great many challenges, not the least of which was learning the importance of having an informed committee to pick up the slack if anything goes wrong.  I'm forever grateful to my fellow chaptermates at HOD for helping me serve as Luncheon Coordinator.

What was your greatest success?

Hmmm... You ask hard questions, Heather!  LOL!  I would have to say my greatest success is seeing the smiles on attendee's faces when they enter the luncheon hall and when they leave.  Nothing can replace the joy you've given someone else.

I'm sure you have some great stories about your experience with the Readers' Luncheon. What's your favorite?

Oh!  There are stories of what didn't work.  I'll never forget the year that our guest speaker didn't get to eat because her chicken came to her table, half frozen.  ACK!  Or the times the caterer tried to serve food too early.  Or trying to stay healthy enough to do my job and scrambling to reschedule a luncheon at the last minute.  The list goes on. 
My favorite would have to be bringing my deepest wish for our attendees to life, hiring a young, muscular hunk to pose for historical romance pictures with attendees! 

Putting together for a readers luncheon must be great preparation for when you take the seat at your author's table.  Where are you in your writing journey?

I grew up writing poetry, but I've always wanted to write historical romance.  I first started writing western historicals but then, loving Regencies, tried writing them myself about four years ago and have finaled in some contests.  I have a few series going and one of those, has been with Harlequin for 19 months.  Keeping my fingers crossed!  Also, thanks to the Harlequin Mills & Boon New Voices Contest, I'm trying my hand at writing a contemporary Harlequin Presents.  Surprisingly, I'm having the best time of my life writing this book!

If we wanted to find you on the web, where should we look?

I have a website at:
I'm part of a group blog called Okay, Listen Here, Five Southern Authors Have Their Say,, shared with fellow authors Jean Hovey, Stephanie Jones, Cheryl Crisona and Lesia Flynn.  I blog on Tuesdays so I hope you'll stop by and say 'hi!' 
You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, and too!  I'd love to see you there!  ;)

For more information on the Heart of Dixie's luncheon, go to 

AND, don't forget that Southern Magic's annual Readers' Luncheon in November 3 with keynote speaker Sherrilyn Kenyon and welcome speaker Dianna Love.  For more information, go to (it is NEVER too early to buy your tickets).

Saturday, March 17, 2012

2012 Linda Howard Award of Excellence Final Results

  1. Tycoon's Sweet Temptation by Christine Glover
  2. Loving the Lone Rancher by Jennifer Stroka
  3. Her Prisoner of Love by Christine Glover
  4. Shared Secrets by Pam Montavani
  5. Forbidden Fantasy by Christine Glover
Single Title
  1. Climb to Freedom by Sheila Athens
  2. Mr. Good Enough by Jamie Ferrell
  3. Stealing Gran's Booty by Jamie Ferrell

  1. His Charming Seductress by Louisa Cornell
  2. Beauford's Run by Pat Eckhoff
  3. The Price of a Gentleman by Louisa Cornell
  4. The Winds of Fate by Elizabeth Bysiek
  5. Touch the Sky by Sharon Drane

Romantic Suspense
  1. Burning Rubber by Wendy Campbell
  2. Speaking of Murder by Edith Maxwell
  3. Overboard by Chris Bailey
  4. In Safe Hands by Lee Christine
  5. Flowers for the Casket by Annie Whittaker
Young Adult
  1. Lifer by Rebecca Sampson
  2. Ashes of the Phoenix by Callie James
  3. Camp Awakening by Bonnie Starling
Unique Genres
  1. Dark Moon by Leisl Leighton
  2. By Another Name by Callie James
  3. Enchanted by the Duke by Linda Brown
  4. How to Divorce a Vampire by Mim Jean Pamfiloff
  5. Seer's Blood by Leisl Leighton
  6. Paradox by Isis Rushdon

Write Magic
  1. Incandescent by M. V. Freeman
  2. Price of a Gentleman by Louisa Cornell
  3. Tycoon's Sweet Temptation by Christine Glover
  4. His Charming Seductress by Louisa Cornell
  5. Ashes of the Phoenix by Callie James
  6. Overboard by Chris Bailey
  7. Forbidden Fantasy by Christine Glover
  8. By Another Name by Callie James
  9. Her Prisoner of Love by Christine Glover

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Call: beta version

I was walking my puppy at lunchtime along a city thoroughfare that boasts three restaurants in a single block, dodging concomitant pedestrian traffic, and listening to an audiobook, when my cell phone’s marimba beat signaled an incoming call.*
I struggled to switch off the CD player, prevent the puppy from bowling over a woman in heels, and unlock the phone’s keypad before the call was diverted to voicemail.
The number was unfamiliar. But the area code was New York.
My breathing switched to the he-he-he panting taught in childbirth classes.
The caller identified herself as the assistant to an editor I’d queried.
Her I.D. had the same shock value as a starter’s pistol. My heart took off at a sprint. My brain wrestled the facts into order.**
This editor had rejected my manuscript months ago.
Was this a modern miracle? Had she rescued my manuscript from the shredder? Couldn’t sleep at night until she heard more about my planned series?
Oh. Wait. Right.
She’s a final round judge for the 2012 Linda Howard Award of Excellence.
As a category coordinator, I’m thrilled to learn the finalists’ rankings.
They’ll be announced this weekend at the Gulf Coast RWA chapter’s Silken Sands conference. If you’re reading this Friday morning, I’m en route to Pensacola Beach with the results.***
So The Call wasn’t for me. At least I got the practice. Maybe when my call comes, I’ll won’t be quite so incoherent.
Be on the lookout for the announcement of the Linda Howard winners!

* 38 words! I was trying for an obnoxiously long sentence!
** You can find more emotional responses in the very cool Emotional Thesaurus.
*** I know. You wish you were with me. I wish you were here, too.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Book Giveaway

So I'm a little too swamped to think coherently about something either funny, informative, or even interesting to say. Instead of rambling on aimlessly, I thought I'd do a little giveaway.

How would you guys like an ARC of Susan Mallery's upcoming Barefoot Season?
Thought you might.  :O)

Here's the blurb:

Michelle Sanderson may appear to be a strong, independent woman, but on the inside, she’s still the wounded girl who fled home years ago. A young army vet, Michelle returns to the quaint Blackberry Island Inn to claim her inheritance and recover from the perils of war. Instead, she finds the owner’s suite occupied by the last person she wants to see. Carly Williams and Michelle were once inseparable, until a shocking betrayal destroyed their friendship. And now Carly is implicated in the financial disaster lurking behind the inn’s cheerful veneer. Single mother Carly has weathered rumors, lies and secrets for a lifetime, and is finally starting to move forward with love and life. But if the Blackberry Island Inn goes under, Carly and her daughter will go with it. To save their livelihoods, Carly and Michelle will undertake a turbulent truce. It’ll take more than a successful season to move beyond their devastating past, but with a little luck and a beautiful summer, they may just rediscover the friendship of a lifetime.

All you have to do to enter is leave a comment with your name, email, and tell me what book you're excited to read this summer other than this one! I'll pick a winner on Saturday.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Paying It Forward with A Tale of Two Djinns

To make it in this book business, you need a lot of things: hard work, perseverance, luck and kindness. I know I needed all of these to be where I'm today: celebrating the publication of my second paranormal romance novella, A TALE OF TWO DJINNS.

While the first three are pretty self-explanatory, what exactly do I mean by the kindness? Several things:

1. The Kindness of Librarians: growing up I was a loner of a child and libraries were my favorite haunts. I knew several librarians and they made the time and effort to introduce me to many wonderful books that fueled my dream later in life.

2. The Kindness of Authors: Writing is a hard business and there have been times when I considered giving up and just be happy being a reader (since I love reading, that was okay with me). However, authors I admired and writers I made friends with at Southers Magic and other loops where there with encouraging words or a needed kick-in-the-behind. They kept me going.

3. The Kindness of Readers. When my debut novella, The Djinn's Dilemma, came out last year I was decidedly nervous. Would anyone read my story? Did anyone even know I exist? The best part of being a published author has been receiving notes from my readers. Readers who not only took the time to read my story, but also to let me know what they cared for my characters as much as I did. They gave me the courage to keep writing.

So for all those words, kindnesses and more, I would like to pay it forward by donating fifty percent of the proceeds of A TALE OF TWO DJINNS to UNICEF. I need your help. I hope you will consider picking up A Tale of Two Djinns, and if you enjoy the read, I hope you will tell others about it. Thanks in advance. I hope together we will make a difference.

SO what kindnesses kept you going?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Long Summers Past

Sorry. Been so busy that I even forgot to post.  Yesterday, I celebrated with my dad his 81st birthday. It's hard to believe he's that old as I'm sure he thinks the same thing. Don't we all?

Being with a parent and siblings, you find yourself talking about things from when you were a kid. I was fortunate as I had a great childhood, and yesterday reminded me of a post I did four years ago on my own blog.  So I thought I would share.

I bet all of us at one time or another stared at billowy piles of clouds drifting on a sunny day and fabricated in our mind’s eye snowmen, elephants, dogs, and magnificent castles. As a child, heck, even as an adult, it is one of my favorite pastimes.

My childhood was one long summer. It’s funny but I don’t remember a lot about school but the summers I remember in clear detail. Playing in the woods, building tree-limb forts, catching lightin’ bugs, minnows and tadpoles, climbing trees, and floating in Smith Lake on a Beany and Cecil float. Cecil was my favorite sea-sick sea serpent.

We spent our summers and a lot of fall and spring weekends at that lake. I would gaze at the dark green water, imagining large man-eating catfish and waterlogged coffins--all depending on what tales old Mr. Hightower would entertain me with that day. My sister and I found Indian arrowheads by the red wagon loads. I always wondered why watermelons didn’t pop up in the yard like dandelions after we had one of our seed spitting fights.

At night, bonfires next to the lapping water were for ghost stories, singing and burning marshmallows. Lights from other homes would shoot across the moving water, giving my imagination more fuel as I speculated about the lives of the people on the other shore. Laughter was magnified by the vast openness of the water and the cicadas’ song filled the air, lulling me to sleep each night as I curled up in the top bunk with my little roll-out window open.

Ahh, with a childhood like that, how could I not be a writer?  I'm really surprised that I grew up at all. Then again some people may argue the fact.  LOL!

What wonderful memory from your past possibly helps your imagination today to write your romantic stories?  Memories of hide and seek (mystery), Red Rover, Red Rover (action/adventure), etc.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Ten Reasons It's Great To Be A Writer.

1. We get to make stuff up. That’s what we do. In fact, lying and exaggeration are a necessity. And, if we’re really lucky, we get to do it for a living!

2. We get to listen to the voices in our heads without worrying that the men in the little white coats will come and get us.

3. We’re never bored. Wherever we are, in whatever situation we find ourselves, we have our stories to keep us company. We are always thinking about the last scene, the next scene, a new character, or the next book.

4. We are never alone. We carry our friends with us everywhere we go. Granted, they’re in our heads, but that’s beside the point. And we get to make new friends with every new book.

5. We can study people with impunity. And if someone gets weirded out and says, “Hey, creeper, what are you staring at? The words “I’m a writer” make our stalker tendencies magically okay. Unless you say something like, “Nice camel toe, lady. I'm using you and your vertical smile as inspiration for a character in my next book.” Then RUN.

6. We get to hang out with other writers and talk writing! Seriously, I never get tired of dishing about writing. And we get to throw around terms like POV, dialogue tags, plot arc, and black moment so that we sound uber intelligent and kewl.

7. We get to do rude things to people without fear of prosecution or a lawsuit. My oldest daughter was tortured by a girl in high school, and I turned her into the villain in one of my books. And I murdered her in the next. Whittled her to pieces bit by bit. Bwahahaha! Never mess with a writer!

8. People think we’re magic. Seriously. People who aren’t writers are impressed and mystified by us. They shake their heads and say things like, “Wow, I don’t see how you do that. I could never write a book.” We belong to this exclusive little society: The Writer Club. Folks that don’t write think the stories flow out of us without effort. They have no idea that writing is like hawking up a bob wire hairball. Shh, let them think it’s a divine gift and not plain old hard work. It adds to our mystique.

9. We get to paint pictures with words. And reading for pleasure is research!

10. We will never grow old, not as long as we write and create. Writing keeps our minds nimble and our imaginations fired. With the power of words, we can conquer worlds, build empires, and find adventure and true love, no matter what our age. We are the lucky ones!

What are some reasons YOU think it’s great to be a writer?

Monday, March 05, 2012

The Yin and Yang of Book Reviews

 I’m about a month away now from the launch of my debut novel, Royal Street, and for the past couple of weeks, reviews have been popping up around the print and web review spots—including, thanks to the placement of the book on NetGalley, to a lot of Goodreads reviewers. I know the pace will pick up as the magic date of April 10 approaches.

I'm truly humbled by the people who take the time to read the book and post their comments. But seriously--I need to get a grip.

Everyone warned me. Everyone said, “Don’t read the reviews.” But about two weeks ago, I found myself obsessively checking Goodreads on the average of, like, four times a day. How many people have “added it” to their “to read” lists (as of five minutes ago, 663). How many have rated it (as of today, 34)? How many wrote reviews (so far, 32)?

It has become a sickness. The first nasty review jolted me. How embarrassing! What did I do wrong? How could my publisher have made such a mistake to release such an obviously horrible book as mine? I slinked around the office all day, sure people would flock to the review by M*** on Goodreads who couldn’t even finish the book because the two-dimensional characters were bland clich├ęs with no personality.

I've been blessed with really good reviews from the book trade journals, so why am I obsessed with Goodreads? It's a sickness, I tell you.

Then I saw an exercise on another blog that resonated with me—I wish now I could remember where I saw it, to give it due credit. (If it was here and one of you guys wrote it, sorry. Remind me!) But the author did some funny review excerpts that really brought home the message…and put it all into perspective. Not everybody’s going to “get” us. Not everybody’s going to like what we write. It's amazing that they take the time to read our work, and maybe they'll like it and maybe they won't. The world will not end.

So, here’s some early Goodreads yin and yang for Royal Street. It makes me laugh, and if I can’t stay away from reading those darned reviews, I might as well laugh, right?

"Amazing characters in a unique setting."
"The characters were two-dimensional and underdeveloped."

"The plot developed and unfolded at a snail's pace."
"The plot moved along at a fast pace, keeping me so engaged I couldn't put it down."

"(DJ was) boring and indecisive, and pretty much devoid of emotion."
"Sympathetic, entertaining DJ is the perfect narrator for a lively tale jam-packed with action, magic, and intriguing plot twists."

"Relationships are juvenile and lacking any kind of sexual tension."
"The book is edgy, with complex relationships full of love, mistakes and subtle 'friendly malice.'"

"While (pirate) Jean Lafitte is supposed to be a colorful, larger than life character, I found him dull."
"Jean Lafitte was a riot. Really great secondary character I developed the hots for."

Well, you get the picture. Now...gotta go check the numbers on Goodreads. *tiptoes away*

Friday, March 02, 2012

But does it work?

I cannot help but be fascinated by this.

Let me know if you give it a try! :-)

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Crossing Over

Like everyone else, I was excited to read last week that J.K. Rowling plans to release a new book. While specifics are not known right now, we do know it's aimed for an adult audience. Arguably, this is no big deal for Rowling as Harry Potter readers span generations and many of her younger readers are now reading more mature material.

But what about an author on a different success level than Rowling (let's face it, she's on a whole another level than most)? I recall a few well-known authors changing genres, but I do not recall it being successful. Can any writer find success crossing over after buildings a readership in another genre? (Mind you, by publishing under the same name. Pen names are a whole different ball game.) Or is their fate sealed with one genre?