After my last blog about passive voice, I had initially intended to do some more studying and wax poetic about some new point of grammar, such as the horrible comma. However, two things stopped me.
One: I don't have a grammar book published later than 1963, and I sort of think comma usage has changed since then.
Two: I got the latest issue of Romantic Times (http://www.romantictimes.com). For those who have never seen this magazine, it is a lovely monthly publication for booklovers and has book reviews on all kinds of romance-related genres. And…in the June 2008 issue, they reviewed SMUGGLED ROSE!
I was shocked and amazed. Then I was shocked that I was amazed, because, hey, my publisher worked very hard to get my book reviewed by them (thank you very much, Cerridwen Press).
Now, I know authors are supposed to be above all that sort of thing and not pay the least attention to reviews. However. Authors should not pay attention to reviews when they are lousy. Otherwise, they should pay a great deal of attention to them and brag incessantly.
Writing is a lonely, frustrating, and often demoralizing task that frequently leads to nothing more than a series of slaps and blows about the head. If you had an ego when you started, in a few years, chances are good that you'll either have no ego left or it will be so hardened that even Superman couldn't puncture it. So many of us are pathetically grateful to get even a single nice phrase, even if it's just a whiffle-waffle: well, it doesn't totally suck.
So when you happen to walk the half-mile to the mailbox, pick up your issue of Romantic Times, flip through it and see your name… It's no wonder that you feel a little faint. You close your eyes. You take a deep breath and steel yourself for the worst. It's just a review, you tell yourself. It doesn't matter. It's just one person's opinion. Get a grip.
Then you see… FOUR STARS!
And a rather nice review beneath it! To quote just a line or two:
Corwin's wonderful story is much like the traditional Regencies that readers sorely miss. The hero and heroine are a fine match, and the secondary characters add a lot to the story. The ending is exciting and quite nicely done…
There's more, too…
Then you let that breath out and start shaking. You realize this isn't just one person's opinion—your book is GOOD! And now—everyone will know—your book is GOOD!
So you go home and discover you don't exactly have any champagne to break out. And you're out of beer, too. And in fact, the only thing you have is some very old cooking sherry that's mostly dried up sludge in the bottom of the bottle. So you cook a few hamburgers to celebrate and remind yourself that next week, you can always go back to ordinary. And you might even cover the curious use of commas in your blog.
But for tonight…well…I think a little R&R is in order.