Two writing friends are launching their books today.
Liesa Malik - Faith on the Rocks
Read her blog post here - http://liesamalik.wordpress.com/2013/06/19/its-book-launch-day-thank-you-thank-you/comment-page-1/#comment-345
Mike Befeler - Care Homes are Murder
Both are available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble
For the past five years, a snake has inhabited my garden. I bought a bale of straw for mulching one spring, and the snake took up residence in its shelter. The straw moved - the snake stayed. During the winter, the snake vanishes to hibernate. I only see it during gardening season.
Without fail, when I see the snake I leap ten feet in the air and scream. Logically, I know this is the same garden snake I see every spring. Garden snakes are also known as garter snakes. They do have venom, but lack the quantity or delivery system to kill humans. The snakes are potentially beneficial, eating mice and bugs - as long as they don’t eat too many earthworms.
Speaking of which, earlier this spring I was turning a garden bed and ran across an earthworm nearly as big as a snake. I believe I was justified in jumping and screaming then. A giant worm is unexpected. The garden snake, on the other hand, should be expected. I chide myself every time I react badly to a sighting of my gardening friend.
Maybe I shouldn’t, though. Think about movies. The dramatic music clues you that something is going to happen. The camerawork alerts you. Then the event bursts onto the screen. You know it’s coming, and you’re still startled. On the other hand, humor is based on a twist. The laugh comes when your expectations are turned upside down. “I didn’t see that coming!” So I’m still undecided on whether it’s expectations met or the unexpected that is more startling.
Another time I was startled when I shouldn’t have been was several years ago after seeing the movie Signs. Okay, maybe terrified is more truthful. I pulled into my carport and saw an alien. It was a rug and mop I had placed there earlier in the day, but until I remembered the facts, I was prepared to flee. And maybe never come back.
Imagination or instinct, not sure which. It overrides rational thought every time.
There may be no way to get over my extreme reaction to seeing the garden snake. I know it’s out there somewhere. I should expect to see it suddenly slither across a raised bed or through the strawberries. Yet if I tend to my garden today and the snake makes an appearance, I know I’ll react as I typically do – startled by the expected.
There are plenty of other silly things that startle me. Like opening a door and discovering someone with a hand raised to knock. Starting the car after my husband has been driving and being blasted by loud music. A bird flying in my face. Those are arguably unexpected events, and justifiably startling.
Other situations we should logically be prepared for – like getting splashed at a water park. A dog watching us through a fence as we walk by suddenly erupting in barks. Or anything involving a ten-year-old. Yet I am still caught off guard by these situations.
Which startles you more – the expected or the unexpected? Do you have any silly experiences of being startled?
I attended Left Coast Crime in March. At dinner one evening, I was shocked to learn that a diner at my table had corn smut smeared across her meal. She didn’t send it back to the kitchen. She ate it. The same stuff that plagued my heirloom corn crop a couple summers ago. Just goes to show you, one person’s gardening blight is another’s gourmet delicacy.
I really didn’t have much ground upon which to stand, considering that my husband calls one of my favorite juices “pond scum.” It’s green. Sure, it looks horrible, but it tastes fine, and has tons of vitamins and minerals. “Have you tried it?” I asked him. He twisted his face into a grimace and nodded his head. The same face I made when I ate a slice of his dried seaweed. Yuk.
Life experience teaches me that one person’s opinion may not agree with my own. So why are positive book reviews considered essential to a novel’s success? Have you ever read a book that got rave reviews, made the NYT bestseller list, yet did not meet your criteria for a good read?
I once bought a book because of a bad review. The reviewer was revolted by overt Christian references. Duh. It is marketed as a Christian cozy mystery. So I bought Miss Aggie Goes Missing by Frances Devine, mostly out of curiosity, and enjoyed a fun read. On the other hand, I read Water for Elephants, an acclaimed bestseller by Sara Gruen, and was not impressed. The circus and historical setting were interesting, but I just didn’t care about the characters.
My novel makes its debut in December. I am anxious about my story’s reception by the reading public. Will “they” love it, or hate it? Will a few reviews in highly visible places sink it or propel it to decent sales? Is my novel corn smut or a gourmet delight? Time will tell.
Each of us set our own criteria for what we want in a book before we make a purchase or check it out from the library. If you like hamburgers, you won’t seek out a vegetarian restaurant, or vice versa. After that, we might consult reviews. And if someone gives a bad review of a restaurant, you might never give it a try. Unless you know they wandered into the wrong establishment for their particular tastes, like the reader turned off by religious material in a Christian novel.
In the meantime, I’d like to know how disgusted or delighted you have to be to give a book review. Do you write reviews, or pass along verbal recommendations to reading friends? What is your rating system? How much do reviews influence your reading selections?
And maybe I’ll give that seaweed another chance.
Subscribe to this blog: