Summing it up for 2011 & looking ahead to 2012

Just a really quick year-end round-up, because these people were all so kind to put Miserere on their best of lists:

Over at Staffer's Musings, Miserere took #5 on The Juice Boxes-Best SFF Debut of the Year-2011 alongside some other super 2011 debuts (I'm not telling here, go read the list).

Kristen at the Fantasy Cafe listed Miserere as one of her Favorite Books of 2011 and her favorite debut.

Last, but certainly not least, Miserere won honorable mentions on several book blogs. Even Paul Goat Allen gave Miserere a nod as one of 2011's outstanding debuts at the B&N Book Blog.

I want to thank all of book bloggers who reviewed Miserere in 2011. I know there was some really excellent genre fiction published last year, but without your help, Miserere wouldn't have reached the audience that it did in 2011. I hope to eventually meet some of you at cons. You all just made my debut year very special and I thank you!

I also had the opportunity to meet (online) and enjoy the fellowship of a host of debut authors, all of them wonderful writers, all of them fascinating people. I look forward to meeting some of them in person at cons in 2012.

I'm working hard on the final draft of The Garden, and I hope to start Dolorosa (Miserere's sequel) soon.

I think in 2012 I will continue to take risks with my stories. I want to broaden my worldview and hopefully yours too. More than anything, I just want to entertain you and make you forget your troubles for a few hours.

Happy New Year.

Here's to 2012 ... the Year of the Dragon.

authors and reviewers

If you missed yesterday's blogosphere brouhaha between an author and a book review site, consider yourself lucky. I won't be posting links here, because truth be told, both sides have gotten a bit shrill and it's turned into a cat-fight.

I do have a couple of thoughts on the matter, and I feel qualified to speak, both as a reviewer and as an author with a debut novel. I read both the review and the author's rebuttal. The review was not professional, but the site never claimed to be a professional book review site. It appeared to me that these individuals were reviewing and discussing books they liked or disliked. Period.

The author really should have let the whole thing go. It was obvious from the review that the reviewer was basing her opinion on personal issues she had with the characters. Now, instead of one bad review sitting out there in cyber-land where it would have eventually shuffled to the bottom of the heap, the author has turned everyone's attention to that one bad review. Unfortunately, it will be the review that everyone remembers when this author's name is brought up.

I've been reviewing books for our library's book blog since 2007 (and no, I had no idea I had been doing it that long until yesterday). Most of my reviews are for books I like or love, and I do that for two reasons: 1) I don't see the point in promoting bad books; and 2) there are too many good books out there for me to waste my time writing about bad ones.

I also read other book review blogs and subscribe to quite a few. When I read other people's book reviews, I look for the objectivity of the reviewer. If the review is snarky and sounds more like a rant than a review, I blow it off and don't pay any attention to it. I think most people are like that. The author who went off on her own rant would do well to remember that.

As an author, I would be kidding myself to say there will be no bad reviews for Miserere. Not everyone is going to like my novel and that's okay. I will be reading reviews, because I want to know what flaws the readers see in the story. I'm smart enough to know the difference between someone's personal opinion and a serious technical flaw in my work.

Most authors are.

I think we all need to take a deep breath here and realize that while not all book review sites are going to provide a balanced review, they are entitled to their opinions. Likewise, authors have complete control over how they respond to those opinions.

Usually, it's best just to stay silent.