Reviews are none of my business. They are the reader’s business, and their right. My readers can do no wrong.

photoAuthor writes book. Book is published. Book is read. Book is reviewed. Author reads reviews. Author is happy to see some great reviews. Author is devastated to see the bad reviews. Author begins to stew on those bad reviews. Author cannot think of anything but those bad reviews.

In the extreme, the author may comment back to the reader, telling her just how wrong she is to feel the way she feels about the book. Another author quietly sits, reading and re-reading the bad review—looking for a message, a theme, something-anything- that will tell them just where they went wrong and how they can fix it so they never have to feel this way again. And there is the author who laments on social networking how much a review has hurt him, made him feel small, made him question what he is doing and why, and will everyone hurry over and write a good review, and maybe even tell the bad reviewer how they suck for their opinion?–>(Oh, please do not do this, author!)

Author begins to lose sight of just how much it is really none of the author’s business what someone writes about their personal experiences of reading a book.

51dZqZYheqL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_I stopped reading reviews a long time ago—right after my first book (Tender Graces) came out. Oh, I was reveling in the great 5-star reviews! I was feeling on top of the world when suddenly there amongst those 5-star reviews appeared a 2-star. Oomph! Kicked in the stomach feeling, a sickening crash—dark clouds amass, the world is coming to an end! Or wait a minute. Why would I not expect that to happen? Of course it must happen! I made a decision right there not to read that review or any other future reviews, good or bad, hightailed it out of Amazon, and never looked back.

Because it’s none of my business what a reader writes in a review of my book.

I went back to work. With each new book, I kept my promise to myself not to read reviews, and it has served me well. Kept my sanity—well, most of it. Being an author isn’t the easiest thing as it is—we worry about a lot of Stuff. A whole lot of Stuff. Massive amounts of not so crazy along with really stunningly crazy Stuff. Any Stuff that I can toss out of my worry barrel (I started to write “jar” but we all know it’s a gigantic barrel) is one fewer thing to obsess over. Right? Right! Especially if it is not in my control.

If it is not in our control, why are we still trying to control the uncontrollable?

Some will say we authors must read reviews to learn something about ourselves and our books, but I personally disagree. The review is not for the writer, bmarm bakeryut instead for the reader. If a book is good it will have good reviews, and it will have bad reviews. It will be hated by some readers and it will be loved by others. But guess what? If a book is badly written it will have good reviews and it will have bad reviews. It will be loved and it will be hated. One reader’s filet mignon is another reader’s can of dog food. We cannot all have the same tastes and likes and dislikes. Opinions are what make this world so interesting. Opinions and variations of character and thought and being sparks discussion and lively debate. It’s why there are so many books out there in so many different genres or even the same genre but with different stories and characters and thought and action and place and time and circumstance–so many people with so many different brains to stimulate to please or not to please, whatever the case may be.

We authors need to get out of the way of the readers’ opinions.

Really, an author who cannot handle the really bad review should never go look. It’s personal, but not Personal in the way some authors may experience it. It’s personal to the reader and how the book makes her feel, or how the book makes him experience what is happening in that created world.

The review has nothing to do with Me The Author.

Me The Author is not important. We may think we are, but we are not important at all. When a reader reads our words, they should not be thinking of the author. When they put down the book, then perhaps we come to their mind, we hope fondly; yet, even then, we are an amalgam of the words and characters and language and world we created, along with what the reader imagines us to be. We are not who we think we are to the reader, and that can be a beautiful thing to consider, no matter the outcome. We have reached out and touched another living being, even if they skewer us and grill us to a crusted crisp.

DSC09985My readers can do no wrong.

Readers do not recognize their power—they don’t realize how much we authors really do want to hear from them when they are touched by or enjoy our work. However, if a reader does not like one (or more) of my books, or maybe even hates hates HATES my work, why would I be angry with that reader? They have a right to love or not to love or even to detest my work. They have a right to kiss my book and lovingly set it in a place of honor on their bookshelf, or beside their bed where they can read it again and maybe again.  And, yes,  they have a right to throw my book across the room and scream that it is the biggest pile of dogshit they’ve ever read in their entire lives and they’ll never pick up another of my books again!

When I write a book, my thoughts are on my reader—will she enjoy it? Will he love my words? Will they be swept away by my characters’ stories? I want to please my reader. I want to make them happy. I want them to love me, because I love them. But I can’t write to please everyone—you do know that is impossible, right? To please everyone? Sure, some books are written that go on to make a gazillion bucks, but go to Amazon and look up a very popular book that’s making millions and there you will find readers who think that book sucks, and sucks so bad that they poured gasoline on it and set it on fire then pee’d on it to stop the flames and then stomped on it with dog-crap covered boots then swept up the nasty pile and buried it fifty feet underground where they never have to be reminded how they’ll never get the time back they wasted on that book!

I will always write with all my heart, everything I have, give readers all I got. I will send out my words and hope for the best. It is my gift to my readers. It is a hope to reach other readers. And no matter how they receive that gift, it is their right to express themselves however they want to without my interference.

It is wrong wrong wrong to make readers feel bad for their opinion.

It is not cool at all to correct them for their “wrongness.” It is uncool to try to sway the reader to change their mind and thus change their review. It super uncool to make them feel guilty enough to take down the review. It is super duper uncool and demeaning to the author profession to tell other readers to go defend that author and their work and make sure to tell that bad reviewer how they mightily suck–ATTACK!—-> (No no no do not do this, Author, please do not).

Our characters and words are no longer all ours once we send them out into the world—they are then everyone else’s. And that means sometimes the characters and words will be cherished and loved, and sometimes they will not and will not so bad that there are scorch marks left on the pages.

Welp, suck it up, Author, or get out of the way. 

DSC_0174I get out of the way. I’ve never had readers send me “bad” mail. I’ve never had any reader treat me terribly. I’ve never been attacked by readers. I’ve had very positive experiences. Perhaps there are some reviews on my books that spit in my eye, but why would I care to know about it? That reader will likely not read me again and will find someone else who more fits them. I cannot capture everyone in my literary net and force them or guilt them into loving me. And I should not morph myself into some kind of Every Reader Pleaser.

So you readers out there—I adore you. No matter what. You can do no wrong. Even if you throw my book out the window and vow never to read my words again, you are still required–you are needed–you are wanted. And for those of you who have loved and then hated and then loved me again—thanks for sticking around! For those of you, dear readers, who love all of my work: Why, thank you! I love you, too, and I’m sure I’ll disappoint you at some point—ha! But it won’t be because I give up–I promise to do my very very honest honorable hard-working sincerest best, and that’s all I can do.

So, readers—go on out there and write your reviews! Write your best; write your worst! Just keep reading us. Just keep trying us out. Just keep us alive with your attention. Without you, readers, we are Nothing. N-o-t-h-i-n-g. That’s the truth. You will never do any wrong. The power is in your hands. I hope you will use it wisely and well. Meanwhile, I’ll get back to work and stay out of your way.

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Stop. Sit in your chair. Open a word doc (or pull out pen and paper) and Begin

We not only have holiday company for a few days at the little log house at Killian Knob, but I am up against a deadline, or two! The post below is a repeat post from 2009 but bears repeating. And it applies to more than just writing!

As for me, I am right now doing some last minute edits on the final Graces novel in the Graces Trilogy. The contract is signed. A date of March/April is planned for its release, and as well, Bellebooks/Bell Bridge Books is re-doing Secret Graces’s cover so that all three Graces Sagas bookcovers are similar, so they look like a trilogy (I had a lot of mixed letters/comments on the original cover for SG-some hated/some loved). I can’t wait to see what SG and the third Graces novel covers will look like – I still become excited; I still am giddy about it all.



And as well, Rose & Thorn will go live January 15 – we are busy preparing the winter issue. My New Years Holiday will be busy, but in a good kind of way.

So now –

What someone wrote in a comment one day: “You know all that is what kind of halts mein writing. It just overwhelms me and then I block. I like blogging because Ihave the feel of freely writing. I guess it is a bit of a quirk.”

Never never never never never never never never never nevernever never never never never NEVER NEVER NEVER let anything stop you fromwriting if this is what you want to doand you are ready to discipline yourself to it—no one else on this earth orbeyond should stand in your way: no advice from well-meaning writers, no rules,no nuttin’.

 Trust me when I say that if you really want to write anovel, or stories, then you must practice your craft and the only way topractice is to just sit down and write. As you practice, you will figure outwhat works for you, what your “voice” is, what your “tics” are, what yourweaknesses and strengths are, what delights you and urges you on and whatfrustrates you and makes you want to stop writing. You will find out your ownpersonal style of writing in both how you write and what you write.

 But listen! If you are happy writing blog posts, what iswrong with that? If you write a successful blog and people come to your siteand leave happy interested comments, areyou not a success? Are you not writing for an audience who loves coming byand seeing what you have written?

 When I began writing Tender Graces, I didn’t have a clue whatI was doing; I didn’t even know how to write dialogue! But I had desire. I haddiscipline. I had want. I just wrote and wrote and wrote and wrote and thingsbegan to come clear as to my own style and voice and what made me feelcomfortable. I wrote 200,000 words and most of those had to be trashed orre-cast or fiddle-dee-deed, but, boy did I have fun, and boy did I learn muchabout what kind of writer I’d be. I was writing for an audience of one: Me.That is free-ing, let me tell you!

 Don’t let the “rules” or advice of others stop you or scareyou or make you feel as if you are somehow lacking if you don’t write in acertain way—just write and in the writing find out who you are, what kind ofwriter you are, what you love to write, and how you will write. I can’t stressthis enough. Find what makes you happy and do it.

 If the writing feels strained and you want to back away fromit, then find out what is hindering you: Are you writing for someone else? Areyou listening to too many writers (like me!) give advice and it confuses you?Are you straining towards something that isn’t meant for you?

 Stop. Sit in your chair. Open a word doc (or pull out penand paper) and Begin. Just have some fun, see what comes out. Who cares if youhave so-just-very-little; who caresif there are many adverbs and presentparticiples and dangling participles andsimiles and blah blah blah blah—how will you know what you want, or whereyou want to go, or how far you will take things, until you sit down and begin?How will you know what makes you happy until you write it without restraint?

I had to get to acertain point in my writing before the advice I read made sense –Hear that:I had to know how to sit down and writeand find out what kind of writer I’d be before all the “rules” began to makesense, and only then could I use them, manipulate them, have fun withthem—and I’m still having fun, and I’m still learning my craft—there is alwaysroom for growth, never become complacent even if you are a best-seller.

You all would laugh your arses off if you could see some ofmy first attempts at writing stories. So what? I laugh too! Haw! But I also seehow far I’ve come, how much I’ve learned and how much more I can learn.  Lawd, even some of the works I’ve had published I want to go in and change the heck out of them!

Sit. Breathe. Tune out the voices. Have fun. And, write howand what you want, and where and for whom you want. Be sincere.

Dig it out from the you that is uniquely you.
See y’all Friday for Links Day! Hope you are having a wonderful holiday.

Me, the future You: R E S P E C T! Your life

The furthest thing from a young woman’s mind is that time far off into the future when she will be fifty(+) and menopausal. Who has time to think about such things when your baby is crying, your toddler is reaching for a sharp object, and your eight-year-old just threw up all the pizza, cake, and, I’m not kidding—sushi (sushi?)—he had at a birthday party where the parents spent more to please Bobby or Suzy than what you spend on two-weeks worth of groceries? Or when she’s heading out the door to work, tossing down a piece of toast and a hot cup of coffee. Or whatever it is this young woman is doing to Live Her Life and do what she must do because so much of our lives is spent doing “what we must do.” (And I’m not leaving out the guys here, you can take out “menopausal” and add your own lists and dos and etcs here just as well!)

However, what I wish a big sister had told me in my teens, twenties, and thirties is this: how you treat yourself and how you ask to be treated by those around you will forever affect the person you will become—Me, the Future You. Who are you—I mean, the real you, not the Mommy You or the Wife You or the Worker You or the Partner You, but the Woman You, the one you must face in the mirror from now until, well, until you can no longer look into a mirror. For one day in your future you will look into that mirror and see the woman you have become from the experiences you have now. As your big sister, I want to tell you to care for yourself. To expect more of yourself, yes, but to expect more from others as well. That Respect should be a part of your daily diet—both taken in and given out—physical and mental/emotional respect.

When is the last time you patted yourself on the back for a life well-done? Have you been perfect? I bet not. Has every day been a gloriously sunshine-filled day of joy and happiness? Probably not. Have you lost your temper, been in a foul mood, screamed at your kids/partner/husband/coworkers/boss/employees/parents?, stomped around as if you were the two-year old? Maybe. But if this didn’t happen at least some time in your life, I’d wonder what you were trying to prove, or hide from yourself and others. We’re all human, and we all need to give ourselves a little break now and then to consider just how hard it is to raise a family, work to make a living, be married, be single, be independent, be dependent, caretake, be caretaken, etc etc etc, in other words: Life. Since you will one day be me and then beyond, I give you permission to love yourself, one day, one choice at a time.

And if you are already at the Me stage, it’s not too late to take everything I wrote and apply it liberally. Never too late to make a change, or go for that goal, or let go of one, etc etc etc, yup, in other words: Life ain’t over after 50, 60, 70, 80, beyond. I promise. We can make every excuse in the book—and they are all written down, believe me, in one fashion or another, nothing new under the moon—but ultimately this is our only life and how we decide to live it and how we decide to treat ourselves and others will determine how satisfied and at peace we are, how much respect we gain and give out. And when we fall on our ass, well, get up, brush the dirt off, and go on, who cares if someone saw you fall on your ass? You can betcha they’ve fallen on theirs but only you weren’t around to see it!

And remember, friends and family aren’t perfect either . . . they fall on their asses regularly too! But we can help them up just as they can help us up.

here is the only perfection:

Now go do the day!

PS – This is the LAST day of the Summer Sunshine Deals at Amazon (that page takes you to where TG happens at this moment -and that can change and does -to be No 1 on a list-which as I said below, if you put in enough criteria, you just may end up No 1 on a list *laugh*). After today, Tender Graces, and the other 600ish titles will revert to their regular prices. Thank you for your support! I guess we’ll see where all this leads. I have also found I am terrible at “self promo” – I suck at it – I become so uncomfortable talking about these things that have to do with “buying my books” – ungh ungh! But, happy to pass on savings, yes, that’s always a good thing!

Three Videos: Mountain Storm, Whale Back Rock, Nekkid Reading

Mountain Storm taken from my porch

Whale Back Rock short (I’m going to do a reading there this summer, maybe nekkid *teeheehee*) Whale Back Rock, if you don’t know, is taken from my SWEETIE novel.

Recorded before I re-achieved my (almost) “Michelle Obama Arms”of course haw! :-D

And in general:

I’ve also been here at Amy Nathan’s blog: women’s fiction writers: no heroes. no zombies. no high heels. well, maybe high heels. Stop by and check out her blog.

and will be here later for Diana Estrella’s Micro-Ficion Muse (lawd!)

See you all on Wednesday with my regular Wednesday posting. Wednesday happens to be the last day of the Sunshine Deals on Amazon – TENDER GRACES is $2.99 until then, then it reverts to its regular pricing. I like passing on the savings, however, who wants some author hollering about her book -y’all know I am funny about that – see y’all later and have a good great day! :-D

Tender Graces Sale through Amazon Kindle Summer Reading Program Promotion

I’m peeking back in here only to tell you that Amazon Kindle put Tender Graces (and other books, too, of course!) on their Amazon Summer Reading promotion. So, for only fifteen days (beginning yesterday I guess), Tender Graces price is set by Amazon at $2.99 instead of $9.99.

So, friends, if you are interested in reading it, now’s the time to do so at its lower price.

You all know I rarely do any “self promotion” thing on here, and I never ever say “buy my books y’all!” but, I do want to pass this on.

And, well, dang it, I admit it would really be cool to see Tender Graces back in the top five as it was about a year ago – that was so exciting! I was actually No 1 over Kathryn Stocket’s The Help for a few days – *whoop!* — so yes, I’d be thrilled if I was back there, but even being in the top 100 or top 50 is pretty danged cool

Anyway – I guess I’ll see how it all turns out, this promo they are doing. I know that Bellebooks had to “nominate” titles, and then based on how well a title has done on Kindle they decided which books to pick – so, I’m excited to see what happens in the 15 days!

This is the Promo Page – I’m under “Literature and Fiction* It’s their “Sunshine Deals” ;-D
Thank you all for your support – *muwah!*

PS – NOTE – I have tried again to stop by your places and leave a comment and still blogger is acting up – giving up in frustration, but, I will be reading at least your blogs a few at a time as I’ve been doing! I’m sure I’m not the only one having problems!

UPDATE: Thank you for your support !- Tender Graces is now in the Kindle Top 100 Best Sellers in Literary Fiction – I appreciate all of your support! On to number 1? Well, maybe not, but a girl can dream–it has happened before, maybe it’ll happen again . . . lawd! :-D

Random, and not so random, Links, Videos, and Photos . . . Rose & Thorn & Handsome Men in Showers & et cetera

Today’s links/videos/photos will be done lickity spit, because Angie Gumbo Writer, I, and our wonderful staff are working hard this week to ready the winter issue of The Rose & Thorn Journal and our newsletter. We hope you will stop by and say so long to the writers and poets from our fall issue. Send a note if you enjoy a story or poem or the art- or let us know what you think about R&T.

Our newsletter will go out to email inboxes on January 15, the day the issue goes live. If you haven’t signed up, we hope you will–it’s free and your emails are protected.

Also, our R&T Blog is chock full of gooey-good-stuff – about writing and writers and books and literature and people and places. Today R&T staffer Dr. Adnan Mahmutovic’s (author of Thinner and [Refuge]e and more) review and interview of Jo Cannon’s Insignificant Gestures will be up at the R&T blog. We’ll be posting Adnan’s interviews and/or reviews about once a month. We’d love to have you subscribe to the blog while you are there! And I had to put that Dr. there in front of my friend’s name – he worked so hard for that Ph.D. Go Adnan!

Because I love my publishers, Bellebooks//Bell Bridge Books and want to impress them with how hard I work and for them to think I am loved by multitudes, *laughing* I’ll post this link again if y’all want to go check it out on BB’s new blog and my first post with them . . . Bullies, Outcasts, Prejudice and SWEETIE

Though I am doing well on Kindle, I’d love to see more of my books in bookstores and in libraries, so I encourage you to ask for them in your local bookstores and libraries if you are so moved- my dream would be to have my books in every library – oh! I love libraries and librarians. Epecially when he talks about them:

Diane still has the week-long give-aways, and a signed copy of Tender Graces is still up for grabs last I looked.

[I still can’t remember how to make the links open to a new page, so sorry. I am quite surprised blogspot doesn’t have this feature included. I know somewhere we are to put a target=”_blank” but danged if I can figure out where/how.]

Danged if this video doesn’t make me laugh every time.  The look on Mrs. Lincoln’s face as ole Abe takes his time . . . laughing!

That’s it for now, folks. See you all Friday! Now I’m going to finish my coffee before a snowy walk in the cove.

target=”_blank” . . . where oh where does this go? dang.

PS! I almost forgot – Small Footprints’s Art Tist (click pic) painted this from one of my photos! Oh, I do love this: