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Ode to the Three Star Reviewer
This is a love letter of sorts. Anyone who's ever bothered to check out my blog, Facebook or twitter sites knows that I'm positive, assertive and command a great respect for my readers (and all other supporters). Some authors won't make the ballsy move to say anything about reviewers because we're terrified of offending anyone by accident and getting labeled as one of “those” authors. Well, no need to worry about that, guys. I'm not one of “those.”
I'm a normal chick whose day job is writing. I'm a wife, a mother of four, and daydream from mind to paper. It's not complicated. I'm not here to spread negativity so rest assured, the words that follow are positive, truthful and from the heart. It's all good.
This month I'd like to touch on reviewers. I love my readers; I am one. I read about 3-4 books per week and understand my taste intimately, select accordingly and won't go past 10% [eReader] on any work unless it engages me. Since I'm a niche writer... well, that typically means I don't like “broad” work. However, there's exceptions, like BEAUTIFUL DISASTER. I loved that work and its wide appeal cannot be denied. The one that took the rug out from underneath me was the wonderfully dark, poignant and clearly controversial CJ Roberts masterpiece, CAPTIVE in the DARK. Wow. Just- wow.
So- I understand your pain. I read, I select, and I... critique.
What? You don't like everything you read? The short answer is: no.
However, as a writer, your constructive criticisms are helpful. I won't lie: I adore the fives stars, the one stars are tough... the three stars are [typically] informative. As an artist I don't “learn” much from that wide pendulum, though I appreciate every review. Appreciate doesn't mean like or dislike, it's a nod to the time it took that reader to voice their thoughts in a tangible way. Stephen King once said: “The worst advice? ‘Don’t listen to the critics.’ I think that you really ought to listen to the critics, because sometimes they’re telling you something is broken that you can fix.”
Okay, King is The Master. Since we write, we need to listen to our readers so we can continue to improve our work: the craft of writing. Everyone's time is valuable and I don't ever dismiss readers who share their thoughts.
I love hearing what resonated in my work; I need to hear what didn't work just as much. Some things compromise the work and I can't alter those, but I can add things that readers need.
My break out dark romantic suspense, A TERRIBLE LOVE is a case in point. When I read some reviews where readers wanted to hear more back story, and just more “why,” I fleshed that out in the companion, A BRUTAL TENDERNESS. However, the intrinsic character's personalities must remain true to who they are, a product of what shaped them in the past, and what the present is feeding them. I usually use the rule of “3s.”
If I hear the same criticism three times (or the same “love”) I will emphasize the latter and improve the former.
I'll speak for all those who write: if you care about your words, you care about who's reading them. Altering your work to improve it for your reader while remaining true to your style isn't cheating, it's progressing.
Thank you so much for reading our work. Without you, they're just words on a page.
BRANDON is the sequel to CONSTANTINE of The SIREN Series.
Brandon, a Druid male warrior, has sought the call of the Mother, the sea’s endless summons something he can no longer ignore.
Leaving the Reaper vampire stronghold, he seeks those females who share his blood and unique calling. Brandon enters a battle between the mixed-blood Constantine, Kane of demon descent and Madden—a Mer who has the answers to the mystery of his lineage.
Left with more questions than answers, Brandon is shocked when he discovers a female that is mixed as he.
Can Brandon find answers to the questions that plague him? Or will his protection for the one female who calls to him circumvent the resolution he craves? When males from the opposing sects hunt him for what he possesses—can he call on his Druid counterparts to save everything he cares most about …
Constantine smirks at his expression. “That's splendid, fish fuck. If you think I be without claim, come and get her.” Con laughs, looking at each pale face, dark eyes like obsidian coins in their faces. “Who wishes to be amongst the first to taste the Encourager?”
Five of the Mer retreat. The Faction hold still—waiting for the others to be the first meat the Encourager finds. They have tasted of such ancient methods and found it bitter.
Con's smile becomes a grin. “Eh? No takers? Excellent.”
“Constantine,” Ember says from behind him, the tunic pulls taut against his chest from the tightening of her grip.
His eyes sharpen in the gloom.
A Druid moves into the opening between trees and sea and Constantine whips the Encourager.
“Do not get any clever ideas about a rush, my Druid friend.”
He cracks the tip of the Encourager and it sings in the stillness between the groups, snapping upon the final second with a metallic pop.
The Mer flinch, the Faction remaining like statues.
The Druid male vampire does not.
The Mer are not near as cowed as Con would like, their knuckles bleeding to white around the grips of their tridents.
Con's gaze shifts to the demon, Kane.
“Do you be with us or against us?”
“I am with anyone who would save a breeder,” the young Druid male says.
Kane's anger tightens his eyes. “Aye, I am with you, mixed-blood.”
Constantine rolls his eyes. Prejudice devil. A dark chuckle escapes.
“It is three against five, you will not have Ember. You cannot defeat us with the Mother this near.”
“What of the Faction who mill about?” Constantine asks Madden.
Madden gestures to the tumbling waves at their back. His face says give up.
Like Hades I will.
Marata Eros (a pen name for Tamara Rose Blodgett), is the NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY bestselling author of A Terrible Love. Marata has more than thirty-five titles in multiple genres including Dark Fantasy, Dark Romance as well as her highly successful Dark Erotica series.
Marata lives in South Dakota with her husband, children and fur kids. She is an ardent reader of many genres. Tamara enjoys interacting with her readers via Twitter, blog and newsletter as often as possible. Please stop by and say hi :)