Wednesday, April 27, 2011

How to read reviews from Doug Corleone

In contrast to the recent bizarre reaction to a review that we've probably all read (, here's a sensible, refreshing take on book reviews, straight from Doug in Hawaii.

Douglas Corleone is the author of the Kevin Corvelli crime series set in Hawaii. His debut novel ONE MAN'S PARADISE was the winner of the Minotaur Books/Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel Award. A former New York City criminal defense attorney, Corleone now resides in the Hawaiian Islands, where he writes full-time. NIGHT ON FIRE is his second novel. Visit the author online at

A Tale of Two Reviews

On a Sunday night, not so long ago, I sat with my eyes glued to the Publishers Weekly website, my virtual finger poised over the “refresh” tab.  I was anxiously awaiting the review of my second novel, Night on Fire. 

When the review finally appeared, I quickly scanned the paragraph for buzz words.  My eyes caught on “appealing” and “amusing,” and I sighed with relief.  Not because I thought Night on Fire was a terrible book -- on the contrary, I think it’s quite good -- but because Publishers Weekly had been the only trade magazine to pan my debut novel, One Man’s Paradise, a year before. 

Every writer knows the power of a bad review.  Bad reviews strike us square in the gut and knock the wind out of us.  Because a bad review can sink a good story (or a bad one, for that matter).  Bad reviews also hit us writers in the back pocket (or wherever else we keep our wallets). 

Some writers claim not to read their reviews, and I have no reason to disbelieve them.  But I think most writers do indeed read their reviews; I know I do, and I always will.  Unfortunately, the positive reviews – even the glowing ones – seem to have little emotional effect on me, while that single bad review I received from Publishers Weekly last year continues to keep me from sleep on some nights.  The good reviews I read once; the bad review I’ve memorized.  And it’ll remain smack dab in the center of the Amazon page for One Man’s Paradise for the life of the book.

I’m sure criticism doesn’t affect all writers equally, but I’d wager that for most writers, it weighs more heavily than praise.  And maybe it should.  After all, criticism, be it constructive or destructive, can be a powerful motivator to improve our craft.  That should be the goal of all writers, no matter where they are in their career.  Sure, it’ll take a dozen or more positive reviews from Publishers Weekly to counterbalance that single negative review, but at least that gives me something to strive for.  In the meantime, I invite readers to judge for themselves. 


Monday, April 25, 2011

CHOKE has arrived!

My free author copies arrived, so I looked online and there it was!

It is awesome to hold a book that is full of my words. I can't get over it. I'll come down eventually, but meanwhile this is a powerful, wonderful high.

If one were to want a copy, one could visit either BN or Amazon. Last time I looked, BN had a better price, but I know they fluctuate often. It should be available at Mainly Murder Press on May 1st also.

PS. This is a collector's copy until the typo on the back cover is corrected. Someone spelled Saltlick wrong. This is copy I did not proof, in my defense.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

No Show

Move along, folks, there's nothing to see here.

I had a guest blogger lined up for today. You'll notice he's not here, in spite of my three emails, to which I got no reply.

So I'm winging it today. I found this incredibly witty piece on being stood up this week.

Since my release date is fast approaching--May 1st!--I do hope I have more people come out for my readings than poor Francine Massey did. But I know this happens to writers all the time, so I'm under no illusions that it won't happen to me. Maybe I'll feel that I've gone through a rite of passage and I'm now a Real Writer then.

I'm catching a plane tomorrow, so I'm posting today. I'll also hope I have a better flight than these poor people!

This week, Chicago (to see my niece's new baby), next week Malice Domestic!

Photo by Conrad Nutschan used under GNU Free Documentation License

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


I'm not starting a newsletter. At least not today. It's the 13th!

I know I've always said 13 is my lucky number (engaged on it, married on it), but I don't want to tempt fate. Those two events were awhile ago. Maybe my lucky number is now 42 or something.

But I AM going to do one. I guess. Don't writers have to do them?

I'm having such a hard time deciding how to do it, though. I love the fancy ones like Cozy Chicks and Mystery Lovers Kitchen and I love the very plain one from Simon Wood. I know I don't like to read light print on a dark background, so I won't do that. My cover features orange prominently, so I should have something orange.

Running out of news isn't a problem for the foreseeable future, but am pondering how to impart news in a lively, interesting way. I've written a humorous book and I love to make people laugh. The newsletter can be an extension, another way to entertain people. So should I include jokes? Funny pictures? No, I want to hold pictures to a minimum since they make loading take longer. And with my ancient, creaky computer, I can appreciate slow machines and long loading times!

Since the book will be out soon, I'd better make some decisions and get a letter started.

Picture (public domain) : First issue of the Boston News-Letter, regarded as the first continuously published newspaper in British North America. Published April 24, 1704.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Left Coast Crime OR Chile Con Carnage

I love my t-shirt from LCC! I loved being there, too. If you've seen pictures posted by other attendees that include me, you'll see a big, silly grin on my face. I couldn't get over the fabulous feeling that I was at a mystery confab as a legitimate mystery book writer for the first time.
(The mighty Agamemnon likes the t-shirt too.)

I know, I've been a published short story writer for a few years, as others have pointed out, and even got an Agatha nomination last year for a story dear to my heart. But a "book" writer is a different person. Some people envy those of us who don't have as hard a time with a short story as we do with a novel, but, believe me, we short writers envy the long ones just as much!

This gathering was in Santa Fe, in the Land of Enchantment, and took place in the historic La Fonda Hotel. My family has vacationed in Santa Fe often, and we've eaten at La Fonda (back when the central restaurant was outdoors), and I've envied those who could afford to stay there (our family usually camped on vacation with all the kids), but this was my opportunity to get all the way inside the place. And I love it!

From the auction (where someone bought my basket!) 

to the panels (where people laughed, and came up afterward and said they liked them), 

to the Guppy lunch (what a great gang!)

to the banquet (where I bravely hosted a table and people signed up and sat with me)--it was all amazing.

I didn't get the names of two of my table mates and I'd like very much for them to email me! Here I am with Gigi Pandian.

Below, Gigi again and Michael Dymmoch (who took half these pictures)//(don't know the names of 2) & Pat Gulley

Pat and her friend again, and Jeanne Munn Bracken form DL (who brought me a DL pin)

Cae and Billie from Killeen TX//and  the other gal I don't know

I'm seriously thinking about doing LCC in Sacramento next year.