Adair Lara in You Know You’re a Writer When . . .

‘You had to scrawl “Writing is fun,” on your computer with a Sharpie.’

I was recently reminded that I haven’t written in this blog since . . . well, for a very long time. Did you miss me?

It’s not like I haven’t been writing. During that period I have written and published a novella (Shipwrecked on Sappho’s Island), edited and published a collection of short stories (Curious), and am working to complete another novel (probable title: The Woman in the Window).

And I’ve read a whole bunch of books.

But for now, I have several questions that have been bouncing around in my head.

Odd Punctuation: I’ve read several sci-fi series by an author named Niall Teasdale. I don’t know if Niall is male or female, there are no clues on this in his/her bio section. (my bio is the same) He (or she) claims to have been born near Hadrian’s Wall, without saying whether it was the English or Scottish side. What has me curious is the fact this writer uses apostrophes (single quotation marks) to indicate quotations. For a quote within quote, he/she uses the normal (double) quotation marks. I have read a lot of authors from the U.K. and don’t remember ever having seen this in any of their works. Is this common and I just haven’t been paying attention? Perhaps it’s a Scottish thing? If anyone knows, please clue me in.

Reviews; readers’ and otherwise. I will have to be honest, I don’t write very many reader reviews. If I like a book or a series a lot I will write one. I also write reviews for books I thought were terrible. An example of this is a book I quit after three pages. Page two had a paragraph made up of a single sentence, a sentence with over one hundred words. The author also insisted on using the word ‘magi’ as a singular noun. I felt it was my duty to let potential buyers know the book was unreadable and the author nearly illiterate.

Another example was a book co-written by a married couple in which the protagonist’s age went from thirty-eight to forty-two, depending on who wrote that particular chapter. I had to conclude that, like many married couples, those women didn’t communicate much. Pointing out the problem was my attempt at marriage counseling.

I also seldom review a work that has a plethora of reviews already posted. The first time this happened was when I read a book by a new-to-me author and liked it a lot. As is normal, the author requested reviews, saying that she was an independent writer and reviews were critical to attracting new readers. I dutifully went to the Amazon page to write one and found that there were already fourteen-hundred reviews. I didn’t think I had much to add.

I wish I had the problem of too many reviews. My first books got several reviews each – mostly positive, thank you very much. My last several books have gotten none. There have been a few ratings, without reviews, which is extremely frustrating. C’mon people. Tell me what you think. Reviews are not only important in getting new readers, they also let the author know what he/she is doing right and what needs to be improved.

As an aside, the worst review I ever got was from a Trump supporter after one of my characters refused to consider buying a house next door to a one with a MAGA sign and a confederate flag in the yard. The reviewer, who identified herself as a gay female, was outraged that I would dare suggest Trump supporters could be racist or homophobic. Who knew?

The other thing I have been wondering about is how books are selected by professional book reviewers. I’ve been reading book reviews for many, many years (okay, since the 1960’s – did I mention I’m old?). I enjoy reading them, and sometimes learn something. It is to be expected that the New York Times Book Reviews, and others of that ilk, select books from ‘important’ authors. But how are the selections made from genres such as sci-fi, romance, and lesfic? It’s understandable that the best writers in these genres will be reviewed, but there are a lot of prolific, and very good, authors whose books never show up. Many, but not all of these, are independent authors. Do publishing houses push certain books? I just don’t know. In full disclosure, I have published thirteen novels and novellas, none of which have, to my knowledge, been professionally reviewed.

Okay, enough whining. Now on to the important part.

Writing Report:

In my last post I said I was going to write a Christmas novella. I didn’t. I tried, but never finished it. I got about halfway into it and just didn’t care for where it was going. One of my characters was turning into a real bitch, which had to happen to make the story work. And then, of course, at the end she would ‘see the light.’ I couldn’t work up any enthusiasm to write it.

Instead, I wrote an erotic novella, Shipwrecked on Sappho’s Island. It was fun to write and, in my opinion, fun to read. Not that anyone left a review to let me know that. The other time I’ve written about the Sappho’s Island Retreat, a (fictional) resort exclusively for women who love women, was the novella I wrote last year around the same time, Kitty-Kat’s Holiday. Maybe a vacation at Sappho’s is going to be a holiday tradition for me.

I also put together a collection of twelve short stories and published them under the title Curious. These are stories I wrote over several years and posted on eroticstories.com, using various pen names. They have all been revised and updated for inclusion in the collection. There are several stories included of which I am quite proud. One is about a woman seduced by her husband’s intern,  “The Intern.” Another is set in Victorian England entitled “Les Biennes Society of London,” which I think is one of my best. The collection concludes with my favorite title ever, “Fucking Lesbeaux: a Love Story.”

My latest project is a new novel. Tentatively titled The Woman in the Window. It is an age gap romance that begins with two women watching each other undress from facing hotel windows. I’m nearly 40K words into it and plan to get it completed and published by the end of this month.

I promise I’ll not wait so long between blogs.

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