“Put some cupcakes in this freaking paragraph” and other nightmares…

So I know I shouldn’t crow about reader reviews, but screw that. I LOVE reader reviews. One of my favorites is a review I received on Goodreads from someone named Reza for Appassionato (Dream Marked #1):

“This was totally weird. And I usually like weird, but this was. . . weird. So weird, I don’t know why I gave it four stars. But I did really like it despite how weird it was. (Have I written the word “weird” enough times for you to get the idea?)”

Every time I read that review I laugh. I’ve felt that way about quite a number of books. That review actually makes sense to me and I love it. I mean, sometimes I don’t know why I like a book. Sometimes the novel is just, well, weird, but it’s still intriguing enough to finish it.

Novels that I thought were weird but liked anyway (spoilers ahead, be warned):

  • Guilty Pleasures by Anita K. Hamilton (Like, whoa. Pick up that shapeshifter wolf and take him home with you! And yeah, the vampire too!)
  • Prince of Ice by Emma Holly (Um, what the hell is that on his . . . That was weird. But HOT. Gimme more!)
  • Faith & Fidelity by Tere Michaels (Wait, severe depression, death, and kids? Seriously? This turns into a MM romance? Wow.)
  • Wizard’s First Rule by Terry Goodkind (Nice guy gets a sword. Nice guy is the MOST IMPORTANT DUDE in the land. Nice guy is GRAPHICALLY tortured? I was OBSESSED with this book. I love this book. I watched every episode of the crappy tv series based on this book.)
  • The Quantum Rose by Catherine Asaro (Oh hey! It’s a fantasy romance novel! Which totally is awesome right up until the CRAZY genetic math-type stuff I still don’t understand. But the novel is still awesome.)

So, you can see that I don’t mind a review calling my book weird. I can deal with weird. I embrace weird.

My most recent reviews came for Risk Is A Four-Letter Word. I ADORE them. If I could snatch them up off the Amazon page and hug them, I totally would do that. Most of the time I’m positive my writing is complete and total crap. It’s so crappy it animates itself and tells me so: “Hey, what the hell are you doing, writing such repulsive dialogue? Make it snappy! Put some cupcakes in this freaking paragraph! Anything to spice things up.”

When my prose starts dissing me like that, I tend to get a wee bit paranoid about the quality of my work. Ask any writer. She’ll agree with me. We’re a bunch of neurotic, paranoid, depressive, manic, crazy chicks with brutal imaginations. So, when a great review for one of my books hits the interwebz, I tend to freak out celebrate.

My favorite part of those reviews:

“Erin hits it out of the ballpark again. This was a really fun, fast read.”

Even terrible reviews are useful, by the way. Lest you think I only appreciate good reviews, let me explain: I appreciate anything that tells me where I went wrong. If a reader says something that’s totally bizarre, mean, insane, that’s less than nice, I generally think to myself: “How do I avoid this confusion in the future?” I’m always trying to improve my work. I know that not everyone will enjoy the plot or characters, but I can at least craft the words so that my intention is clear. I’m not out to confuse readers. Rather, I want to AMUSE readers. For me, romance novels should be an escape from the trauma of real life. That’s what I’m shooting for with every word.

Oh, by the way, look at the cool banner that I totally forgot to brag about. Evernight is awesome.