Category Archives: reviews


It was an ambitious morning. I got up at 7:30 or so, had a lovely cup of Tanzanian peaberry coffee laced with Kahlua and Faretti (Faretti tastes like biscotti. Italian cookies without all those annoying crumbs), and sat down to look at the latest revisions from the editor in Missouri.

I thought I could get the last fifteen chapters done today. Ah, no. I keep forgetting that editing, in some ways, is more challenging than writing. It’s not just a question of analyzing the edits and accepting all the changes, it’s a chance to revise, expand, describe, make connections between the sentence fragments Zo sometimes things in.

It’s exhausting. It’s a good kind of exhaustion, it’s certainly been a productive day, but it appears 5.5 hours of it (this does not include the break for pancakes) is enough to turn my brain to tapioca pudding.

So, I’m taking a break with some Red Sox baseball and came her to WordPress with a very special announcement:

All the edits for Snow Job are back. I will be announcing a publication date by the 2nd of August.

One of the nice things about indie publishing is you can go pretty quickly from final manuscript to the market. There will be another revision, then there’s formatting, and then the actual publishing. I’ll be looking for reviewers–ideally other authors, or perhaps some people with review blogs. Busy as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs, in other words.

I’m thinking I need a logo . . .


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biting the hand that feeds you

My dear friend Opal, aka the Akamai Reader showed me a page that I’m really glad I read. I’m not familiar with Parajunkee, since the Bloody Murder books contain no paranormal elements (though I do plan to spend some time at the New Orleans Voodoo Museum on my next trip to the Big Easy so you never know!). Still, it’s a good read and I think any author or reviewer can take this post .

Scroll down a bit. Look at a couple tweets, preserved for all eternity, even though they’ve been deleted from the Twitterverse.

Really, Tiffany Reisz? Really?

I haven’t been in the indie business that long, but I’ve submitted enough books for review that I think I can fairly say I have sufficient sample size. Reviewers are readers first. Readers. People who love nothing more than curling up with the written word. How do you dis someone like that? Authors, especially us indies, need reviewers like gin needs tonic (and lime, gotta have lime). They get the word out, they highlight the good. Yes, they also point out the bad, but is that so awful?

One of my reviewers on Amazon said Bloody Murder was the very definition of a cozy mystery. Now if I were a fan of hard-boiled stories like thos of the late Raymond Chandler, or  liked my action seriously gritty and violent like James Lee Burke, I would know to turn away and look elsewhere. It’s an issue of preference, not quality.

When someone points out a flaw, I tend to have one or two of three reactions:

  • I meant to do that. Moving along now.
  • Oh shit . . .
  • I can make it better/more clear in the next book.

Usually it’s the latter two.

With those two comments, Reisz has shot herself in the foot. What reviewer is going to touch her new books now? I can’t see anyone but her loyal fans doing so now. Who wants to be called DumbCunt?

And if a reviewer is a failed author, so the hell what? If they don’t feel they can write, or someone they respect has told them they can’t write, what’s wrong with them making a contribution to the book world in the form of a review. Hell, a failed writer knows just how hard it is to put a story together.

Still just because all poodles are dogs, doesn’t mean all dogs are poodles. Reviewers come in as many flavors as authors do.

and we need each other.

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I couldn’t have said it better

In some ways I’ve been lucky. My reviews on Amazon have been great, my reviews on B&N and Goodreads have also been good.This means Amazon is much more likely to put  Bloody Murder on someone’s recommended list.

In this blog entry, which I urge you all to read, Ann R. Allen talks about book bloggers and reviews. This goes hand in hand with one of my previous posts talking about the changes in the ways people buy, review, market and sell books. It’s an exciting thing to be part of. Readers and writers are being hear more.

Now, I know some people who will compare this trend of reviewer blogs and “everyman” reviews to Yelp. For those unfamiliar, Yelp is a site where “real people” give you “real reviews.” It’s mostly for restaurants, but I’ve also seen reviews for shows, doctors, pet shops and other merchants. Yelp has pretty much become its own microcosm on the internet, in that you really have to know how to search and what to search for to get what you need out of it. An example is someone who visits an Ethiopian restaurant for the first time. Reviews for a first-time visit to an Ethhopian restaurant are filled with dismay that you are not given utensils, but rather you use the injera (the soft spongy steamed bread) to pick up your food. As for myself, I’m familiar enough with the cuisine that this kind of review does nothing for me. I want to know who makes the best kitfo or awaze tibs (if you’re curious and in the NYC area, I recommend Queen of Sheba).

While I often compare books to food–heck, Bloody Murder  takes place in New Orleans, I’m also doing a bit of writing about food–there’s a bit of a difference. For one thing, most reviewers tend to specialize in only a genre or two. This gives them familiarity with the best and the brightest, the new and the classic.

Another difference I see between indie book bloggers and “everyman” food reviews is the sense of community out there. Yelp has its forums and its special events–I’ve been to a few and some of the food has been knock-down fantastic. The culture, however, is generally a little younger than my forty-something, and tends to be more gourmand than gourmet. In looking for reviewers and ways to publicize my work, I have seen a feeling of community, of mutual support, a way to help out one’s fellow author.

I’m starting to think of it as a gourmet pot luck. But I’m also rather hungry.

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Why I won’t pay for reviews

If you’ve checked in with the Bloody Murder Books blog once or twice, you’ll have noticed an increase in the links to indie author sites and to some independent reviewers. The indie community is really something else, and I’m learning more about it each day.

Today, I was looking for review sites and advertising rates on an e-book newsletter that shall remain nameless. I found a link there to Book Rooster, where they will distribute review copies of my book to a select group of people who are readers first, then reviewers.  They are not a “pay for review” site, but they do charge $67 for their distribution fee.

Why should an indie author, actually, why should any author pay for a review? Traditionally, reviewers have been paid by the publications their reviews have appeared in. The industry is changing and I’m excited to be part of this change. There are great sites like the Indie Exchange, which work to bring readers and writers together. There are a multitude of independent reviewers out there, who are making quite a change in the book industry. Take a look at this article, which details a little more.

Thank you for reading, and if you haven’t already, don’t forget to enter to win yourself a copy of Bloody Murder. Just click here  to enter


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