The Joy of Being a Writer

Okay … so I debated with myself for a couple of days as to whether or not to write this post. I didn’t want it to seem as though I was tooting my own horn or boasting or whatever. Because honestly, nothing could be further from the truth. I have a really hard time believing that people are reading my little romance story and enjoying it. But I had an experience a few days ago that left me astounded, and I just had to share it. I was in a  hotel room in Atlanta (there for my nephew’s wedding), when I just happened to go to Amazon.com to look at the buy page for Pierced Ever After. And, as the book has only been available for about two weeks now, I was surprised to find that it already had two reviews posted.

You know, every writer dreams of having some big-name reviewer or a well-known, best-selling author give a glowing review of their book. One that they can take a snazzy one-liner quote from and attach it to their inside cover. It makes for great promotion. And maybe … if I’m very lucky … someday I’ll get that attention. But, when I was writing the Pierced books and first began toying with the idea of self-publishing them, I remember telling my husband that I just wanted people to read my story and love it and fall in love with the characters. I wanted the story to touch someone. I wanted readers to connect with it and be moved by it.

Lofty dreams, I know.

Both the reviews on Amazon were fantastic. But one of them filled me with such joy, I called my mom and my two aunts (who were all in hotel rooms just across the hall from mine) and made them come read it as well. Then I did something really crazy. I sent an email to the reader who had written the review and asked if I could share it on my blog. And again … I’m aware that this makes me appear boastful and cocky, and I apologize for that. But I saw my first dreams for my story realized in that Atlanta hotel room when I read that review, and I just want to shout it from the rooftops:

I just finished a marathon session of the second (Pierced by Love) and third (Pierced Ever After) books in the Pierced Trilogy by Lashell Collins and I am blown away by this story and am already missing Samantha and Josh. This story could have easily ended after book two, going the route of most romance books in that after the dangerous situation has been overcome the story is all too quickly wrapped up with a supposed HEA that more often than not feels very rushed. After all that emotion and time invested in the characters, I want to delve into and experience their HEA with them, not just have the author tell me that, “Trust me, they lived happily ever after,” after giving us a short epilogue. What Ms. Collins has written in Pierced Ever After is basically (IMO) a book-length epilogue that explores the characters very deeply, and we really get to know them on a personal level, and not just the H&h, but the supporting characters as well.

Their HEA is not without obstacles and we get to experience with Josh and Sam how they are able to overcome them. We see them grow tremendously over the course of this book (especially Josh) and since it is written in alternating first-person points of view between Samantha and Josh, we learn about them right down to their souls. I normally am not a fan of the first-person style of writing, but this is one of the very few books I have read where, for me, it really worked and I actually liked reading this style of book. To me, that means that Ms. Collins is a very gifted writer and I am hoping that we will be reading more from her soon, especially more of Josh and Sam, as there seems to be a teaser at the end of the book that hints of more to come. So, if you are a romance fan, and I mean ROMANCE (whew!) you can’t go wrong with the Pierced Trilogy. ~ Kathy (Amazon reader review)

A reader fell in love with my characters and connected with the story. It touched her. She was moved by it. And I was moved by her words. They made me want to go hide away with my laptop and do it all over again! They inspired me to keep writing! Knowing that at least one reader out there was moved by something I had written; that someone enjoyed and appreciates my efforts. That is the joy of being a writer!

My Two Cents

So, I don’t often write reviews of the books I read. Not sure why exactly, I just don’t take the time unless it’s a book that’s really touched me in some way. But I’ve got this shiny new blog and not exactly sure what to fill it up with. Surely my random thoughts alone would certainly bore most of you. So, I thought I’d shake it up a bit and toss a review into the mix. Plus, I just finished a book that my heart and mind don’t seem to want to let go of yet. I can’t stop thinking about it so I thought, why not put my two cents out there? And don’t worry, it’s spoiler free! Here we go…

Rhythm in Blue by tfc Parks – 5/5

Blue

Ok, let me just start by saying, wow!

Typically, when I read a romance novel, I want to fall in love with the main characters. I especially want to fall in love with the hero. But while I did not fall in love Rick Rowland in this book (sometimes he can be a little unlovable), I sure did come away from this story caring about him a great deal. Lurking behind the haze of sex, drugs and rock and roll that Rick is constantly lost in, is a good and decent man. Flawed, like the rest of us, and constantly tormented by his demons. But a good man nonetheless. I worried about the consequences of the choices he was making and I felt myself really pulling for him as if he were a close personal friend of mine. I wanted his life to work out.

Shelby, on the other hand, I just wanted to throttle! I realize that she was very young and immature when they first met but, I spent most of the book wanting to shake her and ask her what her problem was! At first, I just couldn’t understand how she could misinterpret Rick’s actions and intentions so badly. Then, of course, we finally learn that she didn’t misinterpret anything, she was just young and stupid at the time (who hasn’t been) and made a huge mistake. A mistake that she allowed Rick to carry around with him for years. And the resulting pain Rick felt each time he saw her was palpable.

But don’t misunderstand me. I loved this book! In fact, to say that I enjoyed this book would be a huge understatement. I was OBSESSED with this story. From the moment Rick and Shelby met, I was completely obsessed. I could not put this book down. And when I was forced to stop reading in order to deal with “real life,” I wasn’t just be disappointed, I was fighting mad! I just wanted to keep reading!

There were a few editing/proofreading missteps in this one but, not enough to hinder my enjoyment of this story. Also, I really wish there had been an epilogue. I sort of felt left hanging at the end. Yes, they do get their HEA but, it would have been nice to see a glimpse of their future, and also to find out what happened with the band.