Melpomene: Can you blame me? Kitties, a dog, enough chocolate and Cheetos to feed an army. Not to mention the free-flowing coffee.
JH: Uh, yeah. Whatever. So, Mel, my fellow Criminal Minds and I are discussing our favorite reviews and why they’re our faves.
Mel: Oh oh oh! I have one. When Willy debuted Macbeth, everyone said it was his “best tragedy to date,” “a tour de force,” and “an elevation of the morality play to new heights.”
JH: Willy? You mean Shakespeare?
Mel: No, the one with the candy factory. Duh. Of course I mean Shakespeare. Hey, speaking of morality plays, wasn’t your book compared to one?
JH: Yes, but not with the same praise as Willy’s – I mean, Shakespeare.
Mel: I remember now. It was Publishers Weekly, right? *rifles through a huge file folder* I should have it in here somewhere.
JH: You carry reviews around with you?
Mel: Only the good ones, and by that I mean, the ones that are either really good…or really bad. Yours was the latter. Ah ha! Here we go. *clears throat*
"Holmes debuts with the first in a derivative paranormal mystery series featuring Federal Bureau of Preternatural Investigation enforcer Alexandra Sabian, a vampire charged with policing the undead populace of Jefferson, Miss. When someone begins killing and mutilating vamps in ways that send Alex flashing back to her father's murder, Alex's ex-fiancé, Varik Baudelaire, is dragged out of retirement, reassigned to the FBPI, and sent to help her on the case. With all the tension between human and vampire populations exposed, the story reads like a badly conceived morality play on racism, including 1960s vampire demonstrations for equal legal rights, which they earn in a scant seven years. A dash of religious zealotry and flimflammery adds little flavor. Holmes does deviate from tradition in that her vampires, while light-sensitive, are not night creatures—in which case, why bother?"Wow. That’s gotta sting, huh?
Mel: Oh, come on! It’s like some random stranger walking up to a proud new parent, taking one look at their swaddled bundle of joy, and running away screaming as if Hades himself were biting their butt cheeks.
JH: Okay, I admit it hurt at first, but now I just laugh.
Mel: Laugh…uh huh… Dear CM Readers, Jeannie has finally gone ‘round the bend.
JH: I have not! I simply noticed the inaccuracies in the book’s description and realized the reviewer had – for whatever reason – failed the grasp the central conflict. He or she had also missed the mark on the vampire mythos. For the record, the vampires in Blood Law aren’t undead but the result of an alternate evolutionary track.
Mel: But, you’re not supposed to laugh. You're supposed to search your soul.
Mel: You’re supposed to become bitter and vow to never write again. At the very least, go through a process of self-realization and contemplate the immortal words of Socrates, who said, "... I drank what?" (+10 bonus points to anyone who recognizes this classic movie reference.)
JH: Why? I’m not bitter. If anything, I’d actually like to thank this anonymous reviewer. If this hadn’t been the very first review I saw for Blood Law, I don’t think I would’ve handled the subsequent reviews nearly as well. Since I was forced to develop a thicker skin very quickly, it makes reviews like the one from Suspense Magazine all the sweeter. Listen to this:
"Rarely surprised, I was utterly stunned when a glance at the end of the book revealed that 'Blood Law' was actually Jeannie Holmes first novel. Not written like a novice, Holmes pens absorbing plotlines and smoldering characters like a pro in 'Blood Law'.Mel: Ooooo… *applause* Brava! I knew you had it in you. But then again, I did give you the idea for Blood Law.
Working as an Enforcer for the FBPI (Federal Bureau of Preternatural Investigations) in a tiny Mississippi town, vampire Alexandra Sabian has fought to thrive beyond her family history and her race to develop a tentative relationship with the humans. Maintaining order--in a town where the human to vampire ratio is almost equal--is noticeably complicated and the challenges are aggravated by the obvious contempt of the local Sheriff.
Disturbed and discouraged by her inability to solve her current case--a serial killer hell bent on staging gruesome crime scenes featuring headless vamps--Alex makes the call to FBPI headquarters to request forensic backup. She might have sided with her human counterparts had she known that her past and former fiancé would arrive to haunt her.
The words virtually drip with sexual tension as Alex and Varik reunite in the search for a killer and Holmes, although new to the scene, never lets the temperature drop. The race to finish will make any fan of dark urban fantasy stand in line for the next installment."
JH: Thanks and no, you didn’t.
Mel: Watch out for the crocodiles.
Mel: Just thought I’d warn you about the crocs since someone is swimming in De Nile.
JH: Oh, ha ha. Anyway, the Suspense Magazine review is a fave because someone understood the conflict, the mythos –
Mel: Your creative vision.
JH: Exactly! It’s validation. I understand not everyone will like what I write, and that's fine. I haven't liked every book I've ever read either. When I read the negative reviews, it only makes me more determined to do better next time, to dig deeper.
Mel: Hmmm…so if you could say one thing to all the people who’ve criticized you, what would it be?
JH: I’d have to quote Christina Aguilera and say, “Thanks for making me a fighter.”
Mel: *grins* That’s my girl. Now...for the really important question: Where are the Cheetos?