Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane Widler Wenzel co-author Rainy Day Thought. Diane generally posts on Wednesdays and Rain on Saturdays. There may be extra days or changes as situations warrant. Comments are always welcome and appreciated as it turns an article into a discussion.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

I know... another review, but give it chance...

Previously, I have mentioned how beneficial reviews are for writers. The happy ones, of course, feel best, but even the unhappy ones are pluses for a writer. Usually, they are the only live connect a writer has to readers. The bad part is not being able to argue with a reviewer and tell them-- wait, this is why that action made sense.

Quite some time back, I had submitted one of my books to the only professional place where I have ever asked for a review (only did it with two of them). Literally I never remembered to look back for the review. But recently I had noticed they had it listed as a book I submitted. I went looking and there was it was from 2013.
"While out in the desert working on her latest landscape painting, Rachel O’Brian sees something off in the distance - something that shouldn’t be there. Going off to investigate, she finds a nicely dressed man taking his dying breath. Later that day a Border Patrolman knocks on her door and she is knocked for a loop. This rugged-looking man has her heart racing and her body tingling, which has never happened before. 

"Border Patrolman Jake Donovan, shows up at Rachel’s door to investigate the body in the desert.  He soon realizes that the man’s death is tied to a bigger crime ring and possibly to someone in his past. Ramirez has a debt to repay and he doesn’t take kindly to being betrayed. He has also sucked Rachel’s father in to his illegal dealings. Setting his sights on Rachel he plans to make her his wife, regardless. Rachel however, has made Jake Donovan her prey, and she plans on making him hers, if they can survive the madman and his unstable mind.

"Ms. Trueax sure knows her way around the Arizona desert! Her attention to detail regarding the landscape, and sunsets is so spot on it makes an Arizona girl homesick! The relationship between Rachel and Jake is a bit unrealistic, and one that falls into the insta-love category. It’s also unlikely that a woman who is extremely close to her father would marry without him being present. Rachel and Jake are both strong characters, and with a bit more realism and a little more editing, this story would be as stunning as the sunsets the author paints."
That was a pretty nice review for Desert Inferno. Wish I had read it way back then. It didn't get as many stars though as I would have liked based on the reviewer's character analysis that falling in love at first sight isn't as believable and the heroine would never actually marry without her father there. I could not make my case to the reviewer (even if I had read it back then), but I can here. 

One thing I should add first. Romances are primarily stories about relationships. They are of the hero and heroine, of course, but also secondary characters. The writer is always looking to make the relationships feel very much like real life. The question for a reviewer or the author is-- whose real life?

I fell in love at first sight. I met him in college. I went home that night and wrote in my journal that I was in love and had met the man I wanted to marry. Now he was attracted but certainly wasn't thinking love. He probably would have been scared off if I had let him know then. I didn't. I also wrote in the journal that while the attraction was instant, I wanted to know more about him before I knew if it would really be a permanent relationship that I would want. We didn't actually marry until two years later as we were in college and economics were a factor. 

My in-laws met during WWII. She said she saw him and thought wow. When he noticed her, it was the same for him. One month later they were married. My husband said he asked his mother about the courtship since it had been so fast. She was in her 90s by then. She said-- It was hot. Woohoo! They didn't marry with their parents there although they were still alive. Their marriage lasted over 50 years and was still happy when he died and then she a few years later. We also celebrated a 50th wedding anniversary last year-- with no idea how long ours will go but we have no intention of ending it-- today anyway ;). 

In Desert Inferno, Rachel felt that kind of instant attraction. Bang, but she wanted to get to know him to see if they had what it takes. She had to be the one to push for it to happen. His doubts were greater than hers. She had never felt this way before, and she was relieved she could feel it as she wasn't a girl. Now if he'd turned out not to be the man she thought he was, it would have ended. Artist or not, she was a practical lady.

As to the other objection, Jake was antsy enough, that Rachel was willing to marry him whenever he said yes. Her beloved father had been remote and acting strange when he was around. With a very sudden wedding, she was married in Scottsdale with the aunt who had helped raise her after her mother died. She had never wanted a big wedding. She was twenty-eight and ready to marry without a father's permission. She figured they could have a second wedding if her father had a sentimental reason to be there. Ritual though wasn't a big deal to her. 

Despite the reviewers unhappiness with those two features, this was a good review with a mix of think about-- you can be better and attaboys that always make a writer feel good-- less stars or not :). Some think if they can't write lengthy reviews, they should not write any. That's not how I see it. A short and pithy review is appreciated also.

Okay, for awhile, I promise I won't do another review blog, but when I said I'd be writing here about writing, I meant it. Reviews and what others think matter. It's like valuing comments in a blog. Every blog writer loves them, but we don't all get them. Readers really should think about putting their comments out there, anywhere they can, as what they think is true-- for them. It's of value.

The cover changed since that review but the story has not. I liked its other cover, but the new one, above, more suits Jake's uneasiness and Rachel's belief this would work. It takes awhile for him to come around to her opinion. Below is the one the reviewer saw when she read the book. I liked it but it doesn't really show as much of the dilemma Jake faces when a beautiful woman, out of his league, decides he's the one. :)


Linda Kay said...

Hi there...I'm editing right now based on some feedback from a thorough review. Can't yet get my head around it.

Rain Trueax said...

I think the big thing is to listen to a review, think about what troubled that reader, but not lose track of your voice or your original goal for the book. Reviews help a writer but they could also suck all originality out of their books if the writer listened to each one given they often don't agree.