Before I get started today, I just want to remind everyone about this months FAB pick Liza Palmer and point you to the contest! dee has posted a great interview with Liza and some terrific dish, so be sure to check it out!
A few days ago, Jane over at Dear Author posted this Letter Of Opinion - What It Means To Be A Fan . The timing of that post could not have been more timely for me. You see, the book I'm getting ready to dish is a book that I almost didn't buy. I have read this series since Book 1, and fell in love with Abby Cooper immediately. I dished the previous book here and enjoyed it immensely. So why was I having such a difficult time plunking down my money for this one when I should have been running to the store the day of its release? Because after I dished Insight and went to Laurie website to look around I saw that she wasn't accepting e-mail from fans anymore, claiming she was too busy. For some reason, this really put me off.
Now, I can't explain my thinking there. I just thought it wrong. So what if you're busy? A note saying "Hey, I may or may NOT be able to respond to your e-mails, but if ya want to send one my way because you liked my work, hey that would be swell!" I think that would have been better. I think I just felt like a dejected fan. What? You don't have time for my praise? You don't have time for me even though I plopped down cash for your book? It was silly, I know, but hey, I'm human. What's weird is that I wasn't even fangirl over Laurie's books. I enjoyed them, looked forward to reading them every time a new one was released, but until I actually dished her book and linked to her site, I hadn't even been to her web space. Heck, I love author blogs and didn't even know she had one until that day.
Ultimately though, my love of the Abby Cooper-verse was just too great to ignore and I caved and bought the book. I loved the book. Aside from the fact that Abby and her PI buddy Candice used more slang than ever before and Abby lied to her boyfriend Dutch pretty much throughout the entire book, I still LOVED the book. I still LOVED my time in Abby's world. The mystery was great, the pacing was fast, the writing was solid. I LOVED the book. You hear it though, don't you...
BUT, this dish (or what I'm passing off as one) almost didn't happen because I again went to Laurie's website to check things out. I wanted to see if she had once again opened up her e-mail to fans. I'm not planning on sending her a fan letter mind you, I just felt it important that if I WANTED to I could. Whew, e-mail was once again being received. HOWEVER, I discovered something else while reading Laurie's blog - I really don't care for her personality.
Perhaps it has something to do with an exchange she had with one of her fans on this post where Laurie had just blogged a book and recommends it. The fan doesn't like the book, she's very fair in her assessment of the book. Says she enjoyed the author's voice, but not the book. Laurie responds with this - "Wow, Kathy, I have to say, I don’t think I could disagree with you more! (And I’m not really sure that I like that you’ve slammed my recommendation on my personal blog….but I guess I have to concede that I did open it up for discussion, didn’t I?)
Sigh, okay, my thinking about your review is that you missed the point here: The really incredible thing and the overall larger points I think Anne makes so brilliantly lie in her honesty. She is heart-wrenchingly honest about what a miserable, self-destructive failure she was for much of her early life. And she offers no excuses. But as I read the book, I understood that when she gave birth to her son, she quit the drugs and quit the drinking. The bulimia she got help for a year later, so by the time her son was two she was getting back on track.
Further, as I understand it, her son, Sam is now 19, in college and is doing GREAT! So….your thinking that she destroyed her child doesn’t hold water with me. I had one clean and sober parent who was a wretch…and she did far more destruction than a loving yet flawed Anne Lamott.
And I can’t help but think that your review smacks of some pretty negative judgment for Anne’s addictions…what did you think she was going to do, there, Kathy? Just say no? I’ve known some recovering addicts in my time - a few of them are people I admire greatly, and I believe one of the bravest things someone can do is to try and get clean - because how many scientists and doctors need to make it clear to us that addiction is an ILLNESS, it is not something you can take a little multi vitamin for and it’ll go away. You say you wanted to shake her….I’ll bet she wanted to shake herself a whole lot more, and if that had been a method to get her clean I’m sure she would have done it. But that’s not how it works - REASON does not work with addicts. They have to find their own way and when they do, when they get there - trust me, it is a freaking miracle.
And you know, I think you’ve done here exactly what so many of the other reviewers did, you judged - which kinda pisses me off, because it’s the EXACT thing we writers are wary of when we pour a little piece of our soul out into our works. We don’t live in a Leave It To Beaver world, life is not pretty, and when someone offers you a taste of exactly how grim and guttery it can be…well, I would just hope that you could see beyond your own judgments and value it as an incredibly brave account that gives no excuses. I think Anne takes full ownership of her shortcomings - if she didn’t she wouldn’t be so gut-wrenchingly honest. She would have sugar-coated it and it would have been fiction. But she didn’t, nope, she gave you every awful detail while still finding the humor. And through all of that struggle to come out of her darkness, Anne kept going back to her faith…because she’s trying to show us that God loves alllllll of us, no matter how shitty we’ve been to ourselves or each other - His door is always open and you don’t have to be a good little Christian to get an audience - you can be a total screw-up and still be His groupie.
And THAT, Kathy, was the point of the book.
Again - I stand behind my recommendation, I’m sorry you didn’t get it, but I found it brilliant, beautiful, amazing, and oh, so very brave."
My mouth literally hung open on that one. On one hand, I can kind of applaud Laurie for standing behind what she loves, on the other, I think she acted in an incredibly unprofessional manner with that.
But it wasn't just that comment that had my scratching my head. I found myself appalled that Laurie actually states that if you send her an e-mail that let's her know you did not like her book, and she feels the e-mail is nasty, she reserves the right to post it AND YOUR E-MAIL address publicly. Um, OK. In fact, while reading Laurie's blog, I found several instances where she felt put upon by that fact people who did not like her book felt the need to say something. She even boasts about sending a scathing reply to some one who tore apart a mistake she made in a book and that the person who sent the initial e-mail felt so badly she apologized.
When I had bought CRIME SEEN, I also purchase the first book in a new series by Laurie, WHAT'S A GHOUL TO DO? and after my little jaunt through her blog I almost didn't read that one. But, thankfully, I had read Jane's post and was able to step back and think about it. I decided that yes, I can get all Fangirlish over some authors, I can stalk (erm, I mean) read their blogs, join their Yahoo! Groups and buy every one of their books and love them no matter what. But I don't have to do that with every author I buy and enjoy. I can still enjoy the book whether I know nothing about them and their personality, know a little about them and can't stand the public persona, or know everything I can possibly find out about them because I'm their fangirl.
In the end, I read WAGTD, and I'll probably be at the store buying the next one the day it's released in March, because I LOVED that book, too (I'll do an actual dish on that one in the next few days). I'll continue to read Laurie's books, because she's one hell of an author and her books keep me turning the pages and even have me laughing at times too. I don't have to like how she views things. I'll continue to read her and be a fan of her BOOKS as long as she writes them as good as she has been.
And, since I went off on my tangent tonight (we'll blame it on the cold meds I've been taking, I still can't get over that nasty head cold) but still expressed how good I thought the book was, I'll leave you with the Cover and BCC.
Crime Seen by Victoria Laurie
WELCOME TO A KILLER WORKWEEK
Abby Cooper, psychic intuitive, is finding that gunshot wounds are bad for business - especially since she never saw the bullet coming. She's been recuperating under her sexy FBI agent boyfriend Dutch Rivers's watchful eye, but Abby's not the kind of girl who can tolerate mush supervision. So when Dutch asks her to check out a few case files, Abby can't pass up the chance to recharge her intuition - and her independence.
When she accidentally comes across a closed file that's dead wrong, Abby knows she's got to bring the real killer to justice. With an innocent man in prison and no new evidence to free him, her only choice is to go undercover at the murderer's shady mortgage firm. As a vision of the crime scene plays in her head, and she races to trap the bad guy, Abby realizes that corporate life is even tougher than it seems - and the hours can be deadly.