The Guilty Party

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Reviews, You Just Never Know

One of my writer friends, Lexi Revellian, who has had wonderful, well deserved success with her novel, Remix, had her book reviewed at  a site called BCFReviews. This is a British based site with lots of reviewers, and the one who reviewed Remix gave it a splendid writeup. There was no way for me to tell whether that particular review helped Lexi's sales (Remix has amassed over 16,000 sales in little more than half a year, a remarkable accomplishment for any indie writer), but I figured it probably didn't hurt. And since the vast majority of my sales have been in the UK, I contacted BCFReviews to see if they might be interested in checking out Boomerang.

After a wait of a few weeks, I received a response. Yes, the same reviewer who had read Lexi's book had expressed interest in mine. Paperback version required, no ebooks. That meant I had to purchase a copy of my own book (no, I don't get free copies) and pay to mail it to the UK. Total cost over twenty-four dollars. Close to three months passed before the review appeared. And I only knew about it because it came up in a Google alert, BCF did not alert me. And it's easy to guess why. She did not like the book at all. The review, which is all of two paragraphs long, it uniformly negative. She found it difficult to get through and felt it was unsure of its intentions, wavering uncertainly between comedy and "serious." There were too many characters and she had problems keeping it all straight. Lord help this woman if she ever tackles War And Peace.

Review at BCF.

But whatever, everyone has their own likes and dislikes and I just lucked onto a reviewer who likes her stories straightforward and her characters few. Fair enough. Just wish I hadn't spent the equivalent of the royalties from about seventy ebooks to get briefly dismissed by Kell Smurthwaite.

And then yesterday I receive a note from lovely Lexi asking if I had seen another review that had just popped up on the web. I clicked on the link and found a very nice, rather effusive and yet constructively critical review on a blog called "The No Hoper" run by a gentleman name of Iain Manson, an author himself. Lovely comparisons to writing gods Douglas Adams, Tom Sharpe and even Evelyn Waugh. The points Ms. Smurthwaite found off-putting were no problem for Mr. Manson, he recognized the risks I had taken and felt they had been negotiated with skill. Very nice to hear.

Review at The No Hoper.

It certainly lifted my spirits and it didn't cost me a dime.

I don't think I will pay for any more reviews.

Go Ye Forth and Do Likewise.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Garden

Been a while, hasn't it? Shame on me, but there just hasn't been much of anything I've felt blogworthy for quite some time. But a couple of days ago while putting in the Spring/Summer version of the vegetable garden I thought, "Hey, how about doing something with this?" And so that's what we're doing.

My vegetable garden is modest in size, maybe five by twenty-five or so (purely an estimate, I've never really measured it) and honestly most of the time it is either neglected or disappointing. But this Fall/Winter crop of Rainbow Swiss Chard and various lettuce varieties  has done pretty well and so I am feeling hopeful for the coming seasons. So hopeful that I put in tomatoes. And I haven't had a decent tomato crop since I don't know when. Either they get fried by the sun or eaten by the birds or just shrivel up and die all on their own. Maybe, just maybe, this year will be different.

Anyhoo, this is the plan. Once a week or so I will take photos of each of the beds and we (both of us, just in case you're still out there) can follow the heartening progress or heartbreaking deterioration of my horticultural efforts. The bed you see above is likely not long for this world as it has the chard and a row of leaf lettuce that is sure to expire once the temps hit the high notes, which won't be long.

Here are the other beds.

Just to the left of the chard and lettuce we have the nevereverever say die mint plant up front, with cilantro, Greek oregano in the middle and a couple of tomato plants in the back. I intended to purchase a couple of heirloom tomato plants of the Rutgers variety (the name sounds cool), but somehow picked up one Rutgers and one hybrid called Ace 55. When the cashier pointed it out I got another Rutgers. I apparently neglected to make clear that I didn't want the hybrid, because she rang it up too. I didn't notice until I had already planted one of each side by side in this bed and then wondered why I had another tomato plant in the tray. What the heck, we'll see how they do next to each other.

Here are three pepper plants. The two in the back were simply labeled at Yellow Bell and Red Bell. The one in the front is Santa Fe Grande.

The mass of various lettuce types is doing okay now, but it likely isn't long for this world. Till it fries we're getting salads everyday.

In the back of this small bed are two basil plants. That is one thing I have had good luck with these past several years and for that I am grateful. Love pesto. Now if I could only grow Parmesan cheese.

In the corner is the blackberry bramble. This is from a cutting my parents gave us years ago from the blackberry plant in their backyard. We grew them at our home in Chandler and took a rootling from that to put in the ground here in Mesa and most years it does okay. May is when it usually gives us berries. Some crops are better than others, but any time you can go in your backyard and pick fresh berries is a better day.

Can't forget the grape vine we just purchased. Thompson Seedless. Supposedly these will grow and produce in the hell that is the Arizona summer. We'll see. Sure would be cool.

I hope you are doing well. Thanks for dropping by.

A Bit About Me

My photo
I am a writer with a longtime interest in photography. I'm a dad, husband, photographer, and not very good guitarist. My first novel, Boomerang, is available in both paperback and ebook form at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and As a matter of fact, my second novel, The Baer Boys, can be found at exactly the same places.