Army Life

I reported to my new unit this week. It wasn’t a major move or anything, I just walked upstairs to the new battalion. But it’s interesting because my mental shift hasn’t occurred yet and it really needs to. Us is not my new unit. Them is my old unit, not the other way around. We had a change of command and it turns out the new battalion commander and I served in First Cav back in 03-04. Not sure if him remembering me is a good thing or not because, well, instead of being a mouthy captain, I was a mouthy staff sergeant. But he seemed nice enough about it so we shall see.

As I move into my new unit and prep to take command again, it’s dawned on me that I really miss being a commander. Not just that, but I miss my folks from my old company. They weren’t just my subordinates. They were my team and they really were a hell of a good team. My first sergeant put up with so so much from me, my XO knew how to figure out what he could stall on because I’d forget and how to keep up with what was going to piss me off versus what he could tell me later. My ops sergeant, hell, she was a young sergeant going on First Sergeant. She was pure awesomeness in so may ways, but the most important was her honesty. I could count on her to give me a no bullshit assessment and when you’re a commander, you sometimes wonder if people are just blowing smoke up your ass because, well, you’re their boss.

I miss my old team too because I knew who I could trust, who I had to watch and who I could count on. It was familiar. Now, moving upstairs, I have a new team I’m moving into. The biggest thing I have to do is not compare them to my first team. They will be a different team. There will be different things that are good and different things that will frustrate me but it will still be my team. I told the other commanders in my new unit that I’m looking forward to being a commander again. One of them looked at me like I was crazy and asked why?

Why do I enjoy command? Because I get to make a difference. I get to say I can help you with that. Or I get to say you don’t get to be a Soldier any more. The minute I start believing I can’t make a difference, it’s time to hang it up. So on that note, I am looking forward to this again.

Authors Behaving Badly

In the writing world, it seems that 2012 really is the year of the apocalypse. There have been several major dustups about reviews, googling one’s self, authors gaming the review system, reviewers attacking authors.

I’ve joked with several authors that I can’t wait to be an episode of authors behaving badly because hey, there’s no such thing as bad press, right? Well, not exactly. I do think there’s bad press in these cases and here’s why: depending on what’s been said and no, I do not lump all episodes of authors coming out and talking about reviewers or whatever into the same boat, it leaves a thought in the back of my mind about the author. Most of the reviewers, I won’t remember. I may remember the specific review but I won’t remember in 6 months (probably either one but that’s a whole nother issue).

So there’s a couple of things that come to mind about the whole thing. First, remember what Nora Roberts said at RWA 10 during the keynote luncheon and I’m paraphrasing badly here: “Get over it. Reader A is going to love your book for the same reason Reader B is going to want to burn it”. And second, Laura Kinsale wrote a great post about reader reaction getting into an author’s head. The point she made was that writing is first and foremost, the author putting a story on paper. Yes, each reader will take something different from the book but at the end of the day, the author must write what she feels the story needs.

I can relate to this. For the last few months since Because of You came out, I haven’t been able to get reader comments out of my head. So I’ve made a conscious effort to stay off Goodreads, Amazon and BN review sections. If you’ve liked my book, thank you so so much for reading it and for telling people that you liked it. And if you didn’t like it, I’m so sorry it missed the mark for you but thank you for reading it and giving it a shot and for telling people that, too. Honestly, I’m grateful that people are even reading it. I’m grateful for having had a book that people read. That doesn’t mean that a couple of negative reviews haven’t stuck in my head, but not for the reason people might think. One review said holy crap this author repeats herself enough. We get it.

Why would that one stick in my head? Well, because I *do* have a problem with repetition. So I’ve got to work on that as a writer. I can’t fix anything about Because of You now. All I can do I keep this in my head as I get ready to revise my next book.

Authors, ask yourself, why are you googling reviews and reading them? What do you get from that? If it ends up pissing you off and causing you to obsess about why the review was wrong, unfair, unjust, lies, whatever, maybe there’s a better use of your energy? Are you looking for ways to improve your writing? Maybe there’s something to that then but you’re going to get such a vast overload of information, you might be better off finding a good critique partner.

That’s the wrap up for this week. Don’t forget that you can still enter to win a copy of a hard copy ARC of Because of You at Goodreads.
You can also enter the Romance at Random Reader Rally and leave comments all over the place to win lots of free books!

And Back To You is up for preorder!