writing

Is it worth admitting you made a mistake and trying to fix it?

Marilyn

Have you ever noticed most people are far quicker to criticize than to praise? I know it’s probably human nature, I even do it myself sometimes without wanting to, but since I was subjected to this treatment more than the average person, I learned not to be so quick to judge.

I became a writer six years ago, and like in any other job, I learned along the way. Even Nora Roberts and Stephen King have bad books. Nicholas Sparks admitted he will never publish his first two novels, because they were not as good as his later work. Unlike him, I published nearly everything I wrote. I don’t know if that’s unfortunate or not, because I learned everything I know about writing from actually making all the mistakes in the business. Sometimes I made them more than once, just to be sure I learned my lesson.  😒 But some readers don’t understand that one can become a better writer only with time and practice. Writers are human, like any other people, and no book is perfect. I’ve managed to revise most of mine, and among them is Unabridged, a romantic comedy that was a bestseller at the time of its release in 2015. Back then, the first edition received mixed reviews, and while it got a lot of five-stars, there were plenty of one-star ratings and comments from readers. Some of them were mean for the sake of meanness, but others raised valid points, which in the end helped me make Unabridged a better book.

This year I have finally managed to rewrite it with the help of my great editor, Susanne Matthews, and republished the new edition with a new cover to match.

I was happy about my accomplishment, and naïve enough to talk about it in one of the author groups I am part of. To my surprise, one of the members asked me in a somewhat harsh tone why I had published Unabridged in the first place if I thought it wasn’t that good. Her question took me by surprise, especially since this is an author of average romance with terrible cheap-looking covers (see, I have a mean streak too, but I try to keep it tamed! 😜 ). Anyway, I answered frankly, the way I always do, and told her I published the book because at the time I was proud of my accomplishment, I wanted to share it with the world, and yes, I needed to make money from my writing—because the damn bills won’t pay themselves, no matter how much I sweet talk them. What shocked me the most though was that no one in that group thought of saying a nice word about the fact that I admitted my mistakes, and that I cared so much about what readers thought I decided to rewrite my book.

Some of the reviewers said Unabridged was mean and judgmental, yet here I was, in the real world, among real people, on trial for admitting and fixing a mistake I made. WTH? I certainly did not expect any medals, but I hardly expected to be judged for being less than perfect.

In the end, this was a good lesson regarding the way people think. And although I have read several terrible books lately, some of them from my favorite authors, I decided not to leave any bad reviews. Because I know that writing a book, even a bad one, is a tremendous effort, and I’m in no position to cut off wings I haven’t built. Life is too full of drama as it is, and I agree with Marilyn Monroe: imperfection is beauty. Who wants to be perfect? It must be boring as hell.

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Funniest love declarations in books

Howdy, everyone! Sorry I’ve been MIA for a while, but I’m working on several projects at a time. I must say, trying to build a bilingual career on two continents is unexpectedly exhausting, and the rewards are slow to come!

Anyway, the idea for today’s post came to me – as most brainstorms do – last night, when I was about to fall asleep. I’m just rereading (for the 7th or 8th time) Nora Roberts’s “Angels Fall”, a book I particularly enjoy, and the excerpt I’m about to reveal made me laugh out loud, as it does every time. The story’s main characters are Reece – a troubled woman who’s trying to escape some deep traumas, and Brody – a man who’s apparently an unfeeling jerk, but who develops a soft spot for the heroine in which many women will find themselves.

Love you worse 2Unlike the typical, syrupy love stories, their romance is more interesting and unusual. So, with this in mind, here is my Top Three Funniest Love Declarations in Books:

#3 is a scene from the very Queen of Comedy, Janet Evanovich and her well-known screw-up heroine, Stephanie Plum, forever torn between the love of two men, Ranger and Joe Morelli:

“How could you be tired? It’s eight o’clock. It’s time to get up! I’m leaving. Don’t you want to kiss me good-bye?”

Nothing. No answer. I whipped the sheet off him and left him lying there in all his glorious nakedness. Morelli still didn’t move.

I sat on the bed next to him. “Joe?”

“I thought you were going to work.”

“You’re looking very sexy . . . except for Mr. Happy, who seems to be sleepy.”

“He’s not sleepy, Steph. He’s in a coma. You woke him up every two hours and now he’s dead.”

“He’s dead?”

“Okay, not dead, but he’s not going to be up and dancing anytime soon. You might as well go to work. Did you walk Bob?”

“I walked Bob. I fed Bob. I cleaned the living room and the kitchen.”

“Love you,” Morelli said from under the pillow.

“I l-l-l-like you, too.” Shit.

 

 ~Eleven On Top, JANET EVANOVICH

 

#2 presents Claire and Jamie Fraser, the famous characters from “OUTLANDER”, the equally famous odyssey written by Diana Gabaldon, which has inspired Starz to create the TV series with the same name. This is when Claire first declares her love to her new husband:

“Oh, Jamie, I do love you!”

This time it was his turn to laugh. He doubled over, then sat down at the roadside, fizzing with mirth. He slowly fell over backward and lay in the long grass, wheezing and choking.

“What on earth is the matter with you?” I demanded, staring at him. At long last, he sat up, wiping his streaming eyes. He shook his head, gasping.

“Murtagh was right about women. Sassenach, I risked my life for ye, committing theft, arson, assault, and murder into the bargain. In return for which ye call me names, insult my manhood, kick me in the ballocks and claw my face. Then I beat you half to death and tell ye all the most humiliating things have ever happened to me, and you say ye love me.” He laid his head on his knees and laughed some more. Finally he rose and held out a hand to me, wiping his eyes with the other.

“You’re not verra sensible, Sassenach, but I like ye fine. Let’s go.”

 

~Outlander, DIANA GABALDON~

 

And now…Periods love

 

#1, the excerpt that has started this post, and one of the many reasons I love Nora Roberts’s books, full of edgy humor, among other things:

“I love you. I’m in love with you.”

She heard absolutely nothing for ten full seconds. And when he did speak, she caught the faintest trace of fear mixed in with the annoyance.

“Hell. No good deed goes unpunished.”

She laughed, rich and full and long. And the warmth of it soothed her raw throat, her raw nerves. “And that’s why, I must be out of my mind. Don’t worry about it, Brody.”

 

~Angels Fall, NORA ROBERTS~

 

I hope you enjoyed this post, and if it put a smile on your face, as it was intended, feel free to share the fun! 😉

Why bother?

We’ve all read books we liked at one time or another. And books we disliked. But how many of you bother to leave a review? I confess I’ve read thousands of books so far, but before I became an author myself, I didn’t even know much about reviews, how important they are to a writer and why.leave a review

I don’t know about other authors, but I learn very much from each review I receive. I learn what the readers like and dislike about my writing, I realize mistakes I wasn’t aware of making and learn to value the good points of my writing style. Simply put, reviews continuously help me grow as an author. Even the critic ones (I never call them bad) have helped me judge my writing and see it through someone else’s eyes.

I always try to make criticism constructive, but it’s important for an author to know which reviewers make a valid point. Some writers get depressed and discouraged when they get a negative review. I rarely do. Instead, I try to pick the bits and pieces that make sense, and separate them from the reviewer’s personal opinions. For instance, a reader who is a BDSM fan will never like my anti-BDSM comments. I can’t help that, nor can I let it change my own opinions. But when several readers have complained about some of my sentences being too long, I did try to rectify that, without changing my distinctive author voice.

And that’s why I began writing reviews myself for the books that have made an impression on me, whether it was good or bad. It’s not only to voice my opinion about the story, but also to help those authors improve and grow, just like I am doing all the time.

If my readers are happy, that makes me happy. So if you’ve already read my books or want to give them a chance, I would truly appreciate if you stopped by and let me know your thoughts. Each and every one of them matter. ❤ ❤ ❤

Melinda De Ross’s Amazon page: http://goo.gl/2nH9cC