Monday, July 18, 2011

Bad Review - Good Review - Much Ado

Okay. I know I'm about a month late for my monthly blog, but it wasn't until my publisher (Becky Coffield) at Moonlight Mesa Associates, Inc. called me today ranting about a review she came across on the internet, that I felt compelled to write a blog again.

The review in question was apparently written by a man I don't know but my publisher does, and was written about my first Western, Saving Tom Black. Guess the guy didn't like it. Not everybody's going to like everything, I assured Becky. But that wasn't the issue with her.

Her issue was that he seemed like he went out of his way to degrade my first book. Her position is that good critics/reviewers pass on the books they don't like instead of trashing them. Especially when the reviews are on the web, she reminded me, where billions of people have access to them. How much did this review cost my publisher's fledgling publishing business? Maybe nothing. Maybe a substantial amount. How much did I lose in royalties? I don't really care. I don't do this for the money.

Between the rants and raves, I found myself feeling proud that I had a publisher who really showed her support for me and was willing to "go to the mats." Or whatever that expression is. I tried to remind her that we'd had tremendous reviews from a senior reviewer at MidWest Book Review and from Steve Myall at Western Fiction Review. Marshall Trimble liked the book so well he was disappointed when he didn't get asked to review the second book. None of this seemed to make my publisher feel any better.

I'm probably thicker skinned than Becky, but I see the reviewer as probably a flawed character who feels superior by making others (or their works) look bad. Nevertheless, I now know I've got a publisher who, as Stoney Bowers says, "has my back." It's good to have someone on your side, whether you think you need them or not. I never doubted this anyway. I admit Saving Tom Black is far from perfect, but people have sure liked it!

Becky claims that most critics are just parasites who live off the creativity of others. Not sure I'd go so far as to say that, or agree with that, but there you have it.


I'd personally like to thank Steve Myall at Western Fiction Review for his great review of Canyon of Death. Steve pointed out things in my book that even I wasn't aware of when I wrote the dang thing! Thank you, Steve. I have a feeling you'd pass on a review before you'd trash someone's work. I appreciate you professionalism and your interest in my titles!


High Country Killer, my fourth Jake Silver book, is coming along. I'd say I'm about 1/4 into it. It's becoming a much more complex book than I'd originally planned on. That's the fun part of writing, though, is when the characters and story take over and take the writer in their direction.
I hope to have the book finished by mid to late 2012. Promised my publisher I'd do that.


I hope folks will stop by Moonlight Mesa's vendor booth in Pinetop over Labor Day Weekend. I'll be there and will enjoy signing a book for you or just talking with you.



  1. Glad you liked my review of Canyon of Death Jere. My other half, Helen, is currently reading it as she read, and enjoyed, the previous two books in this series. Oh, yeah, I do pass over books I don't find to my taste.

  2. I think that's the only decent thing to do. I know not everyone is going to like what I write. Most people do, though, who like Westerns and I feel fortunate that way. My first book had flaws, I'm sure, but the flaw this guy picked on was inane. I think, to be honest, he was mad at my publisher for not taking his book. Anyway, Becky was far more upset about it than I was. By the way, I do appreciate your reviews, Steve. I'm always heady after reading one! Many many thanks.