If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

October Interviews

10/07 M.E. Browning, Shadow Ridge

10/14 Alexia Gordon

10/21 Adam Meyer

10/28 Barbara Ross, Jane Darrowfield and the Madwoman Next Door

October Guest Bloggers

10/03 Kathleen Kalb

10/17 S. Lee Manning

10/31 Sharon Dean

WWK Weekend Bloggers

10/10 Jennifer J. Chow

10/24 Kait Carson


For The Love Of Lobster Tales by Shari Randall is now available to download free for a limited time. Go to Black Cat Mysteries at: https://bcmystery.com/ to get your free copy! Thanks for the freebie, Shari.

Keenan Powell recently signed with agent Amy Collins of Talcott Notch. Congratulations, Keenan!

KM Rockwood's "Secrets To The Grave" will appear in the new SinC Chesapeake Chapter's new anthology Invitation To Murder, which will be released by Wildside Press on 10/6.

Congratulations to our two Silver Falchion Finalists Connie Berry and Debra Goldstein!

Paula Gail Benson's "Cosway's Confidence" placed second and Debra Goldstein's "Wabbit's Carat" received Honorable Mention in the Bethlehem Writers Roundtable 2020 short story contest. Congratulations, Paula and Debra!

Susan Van Kirk's Three May Keep A Secret has been republished by Harlequinn's Worldwide Mystery. The WWK interview about the book can be accessed here. We're so glad another publisher picked up this series.

KM Rockwood's "Burning Desire," and Paula Gail Benson's "Living One's Own Truth," have been published in the anthology Heartbreaks & Half-truths. Congratulations to all of the WWK writers.

Please join Margaret S. Hamilton's Kings River Life podcast of her short story "Busted at the Book Sale" here. Congratulations, Margaret!


Friday, October 26, 2018

Bad Reviews

Bad Reviews:

Image from Pixabay
There is no escape from bad reviews. In some ways, I feel relieved when I first receive a review that is less than stellar on something I’ve written. It’s not that I like it, but I know it’s going to happen. It’s like getting the first dent in a new car.  The way I write and drive, it is bound to happen.  
After some time I relax my jaw and loosen my stranglehold on whatever object had the bad karma to be close at hand when I read the review. I calm down and try to see what I can learn from the feedback. Sometimes the reviewer nails my writing on a weak spot. Maybe I was unclear. Perhaps I left out something that was absolutely evident to me since I know the character’s life history, foibles and why he or she mistrusts men who wear bowties but relies on women wearing bowler hats. On one occasion I learned that high schools no longer operate the way they did when I was in high school. Apparently, it is now passé for a wrangler to tie his horse to the hitching post outside the school, stomp the dust from the cattle drive off his boots and come in looking for he schoolmarm carrying a bunch of poesies.  
Sometimes I learn that reviewers’ comments are based on their opinions and peculiar likes and dislikes. A good friend of mine got a very bad review from one person who disliked the heroine’s nickname. Really that was the only criticism mentioned.
I once got a bad review based on the title of my book, Murder Manhattan Style. The reviewer described my title as deceitful. This person admitted the mystery stories took place in Manhattan but they were not set in the high society Manhattan setting of the reader’s imagination.   
The truth is that nobody is as critical of my work as I am. I know where the stitching is coming loose on the seams, where coincidence is the only reason for the reader to go from point A to point B and when I’ve forced an indignant character to do something he or she would never willingly do.
My biggest critic is me.


Annette said...

Warren, I love your comparison of the first bad review to the first dent in a new car. You know it's coming. You dread it. But once it's there, oh well.

You're stronger than I am though, reading the bad ones and trying to learn from them. The only thing I've learned is I can have 50 5-star reviews but the lone 1-star one will throw me into a funk. For self-preservation, I stop looking at them after that first "dent."

Jacqueline Seewald said...


The first time one of my novels received a bad review I was crushed. But then I realized that there were a lot more readers who enjoyed my writing. I myself won't write a negative review. If I thought a book I was asked to review was really bad, I would just refuse to write anything about it. Why hurt another writer? Usually, I can find a lot of positive things to say about my fellow authors' work.

Grace Topping said...

I think it would be impossible not to get an occasional negative review. People’s taste are so varied, so someone is bound to not like a particular book, etc. It is sad when a reader gives a bad review for something that is out of the writer’s hands—like an Amazon delivery problem.

Tina said...

I don't read any reviews, not even the good ones, except ones from respected professional reviewers. To paraphrase Ashley Judd, I have decided that other people's opinion of my work is none of my business.

Margaret S. Hamilton said...

I agree with Grace--readers bring preconceptions and emotional baggage to a review. If the protagonist reminds them of a bullying teacher (or worse) or the plot touches upon a traumatic situation, they're going to write a negative review.

Kait said...

Well said, Warren. I have mixed feelings about reviews and I'm fascinated that readers claim not to be influenced by reviews at all, but Amazon algorithms are allegedly based on them. It's a tooth-grinding situation. I've had my share of bad reviews and good reviews. I prefer the good one.

KM Rockwood said...

No book is going to please everyone, and any book that aims at that is likely to be insipid & bland.

When I'm thinking about buying a book, I always read the bad reviews first, and frequently discover that the things people are complaining about don't bother me. In fact, sometimes they seem to be an asset in my mind.