Sunday, August 26, 2012

1 Star Reviews and What You Should do About them

Stupid, hokey, awful, unbelievable, stinks, worst book ever, gibbering descriptions, ridiculous, dumbed down.

Yes, these are words used in the few 1 Star reviews I've received for "Sundered."

Why would I share them with you? Because we all get 1 and 2 star reviews, no matter our genre, writing ability, years in the business or how dang nice we are as people, we get them. And if you want your  books to be read by a lot of people, get used to the idea that those people will share their opinions with you and you can't make everyone happy.

Now, on to the good stuff.

Young, green and impressionable or sensitive authors take note as arguing with reviewers is a SERIOUS NO-NO so don't do it.There is only one thing you can do as an author when you receive reviews like this . . . .
Write another book; prove them wrong, and your fans right.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Rampaging cows, gardens and . . .life?

My veggie garden is one of the few domestic things that I do well, and enjoy. Between my day job and my writing, I don’t have a lot of time for any extra’s. But I make time for our veggie garden because what it produces not only fills our bellies with healthy, tasty food; it gives me a sense of accomplishment. Starting the seeds way back in early March, sometimes even late February, I tend to them, watering and keeping the weeds under control.

Most of the seeds take some time to get going, but by May we start to eat out of the garden. Radishes, peas, beans and sometimes even some early lettuce is the start of our summer garden fresh eating.

My husband has cows. Young, naughty, “teenage” cows. More on this later.

With the garden in full swing last week, I was excited. We had family coming and the veggies were ready to be eaten. Corn, carrots, raspberries, strawberries, boysenberries and onions; green and jalapeƱo peppers, cucumbers and tomatoes were on the cusp of perfection.

Did I mention that my husband has cows?

The DAY before our guests arrived, I got up early, fed and watered the livestock and stumbled back towards the house in a half awake daze. So it’s perfectly understandable that my initial reaction to my decimated garden was one of complete and utter shock. It looked as though a tornado had ripped through, stealing all my veggies and tearing everything up.

The cows had broken into my garden overnight and stripped it bare. Not only had they eaten everything to the quick, they had actually climbed into my waist high raised beds leaving their footprints as evidence to their heinous crimes. Bent signs and a ripped fence with a tuft of black fur on it was all they’d left behind. Not a single, edible piece of anything was left for us. The little buggers had even cleaned out my compost pile which had some volunteer veggies in it.

Once I’d woken my husband up (nicely of course, after all, it was his cows) and he’d patched up the hole, I threw in the towel as far as my garden went. For the next week and a half while the company visited, I didn’t touch my garden. No water, no weed picking. After all, it was completely ripped apart, eaten, trampled and empty of anything left. It was done and so was I.

Then last night, I decided to take a peek in the garden, why I don’t know.

One string of cucumbers had survived, the corn that had been bent, broken and stripped of all its leaves where it wasn’t pulled out, was making an attempt to grow.  I grabbed my hose, watered and pulled weeds, astounded at what I was finding. Everything was still fighting to live.

What has this got to do with anything besides cows and gardens?

Well, just this. No matter how many times the “cows” trample our “gardens” as long as we are still fighting to grow, to feed that which is important to us, there is no such thing as a loss. I may not get all the veggies I’d hoped for, but next year will be better. I’ll build a better fence, and learn from the mistakes of this year. Which will make next year’s garden only bigger; with nicer veggies, and more to share with others.

It’s the same with life, writing, art or whatever it is that seems to be a struggle for us. As long as when the “cows” come in and trample all our precious seeds and starts we buckle down, learn the lesson we needed to learn and continue on, next year will be better.

And if not, I only have one other solution.

Eat the cows.