My second book in the 90s Club cozy mystery series, entitled The 90s Club & the Whispering Statue, has gone through two critique groups, two editors, numerous drafts and I’m getting ready to launch. This is when the fear hits.
Is it good enough? Will it sustain the reader’s attention? Are my characters developed enough? Does the plot make any sense? I am a worse critic of my own writing than the cruelest jibe expert.
It’s time to get out my copy of Rotten Reviews and Rejections* and read the nasty comments reviewers gave to such famous authors as Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, and Shakespeare. The book is full of examples. Of Charles Dickens’ Bleak House, George Brimley in the Spectator said: “More than any of its predecessors chargeable with not simply faults, but absolute want of construction…meagre and melodramatic.” William Winstanley, 1687, said of John Milton: “His fame is gone out like a candle in a snuff and his memory will always stink.” The San Francisco Examiner rejected Rudyard Kipling with: “I’m sorry, Mr. Kipling, but you just don’t know how to use the English language.” Of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, the New York Herald Tribune called it “A lugubrious and heavy-handed piece of propaganda.”
A reviewer once said of a Laura Lippman mystery that her latest book showed her development as a novelist. I, too, am growing as a novelist. Each book is the best I can do at that moment. I hope the next will show stronger character development, more intricate plotting, and a greater sensitivity to the human condition. But right now, this is where I’m at.
I’ll be speaking April 17 at Charlestown Retirement Village in Baltimore on writing, publishing and my 90s Club mystery series. I’m looking for other speaking gigs as well. On April 27, we will have an exhibit at the Amelia Island, FL, Book Festival.
I continue to be astounded at what people in their 90s and 100s are doing in the world. My friend Pat sent me an article about a 100-year-old woman who’s a computer whiz at her retirement community and also creates its gardens. Pat met her at a birding lecture, where she wanted to know what flowers to plant to attract birds. They were sitting next to each other and walked out together. Pat thought she was maybe 70 or so and then came across the article that she sent to me.
Know someone who is turning 90? Give them a copy of my book, The 90s Club & the Hidden Staircase. They’ll enjoy the light touch and positive outlook on old age. High school or college reunion coming up? The 90s Club series is a wryly humourous gift for attendees. Contact me for a 50 percent discount off the cover price for orders of 10 or more. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
About The 90s Club & the Hidden Staircase: The 90s Club at Whisperwood Retirement Village discovers a simmering brew of thefts, murders, and exploitation bubbling beneath its active lifestyle in this cozy mystery, the first in a series by Eileen Haavik McIntire. Except for the evil underfoot, the mystery accurately presents life in an upscale retirement community while spoofing stereotypes about the elderly. “A must” for readers of cozy mysteries” – Midwest Book Review.
* Pushcart’s Complete Rotten Reviews & Rejections, edited by Bill Henderson and Andre Bernard. Pushcart Press, Wainscott, NY, 1998.