Thursday, July 07, 2016

plus ça change...

Found a post from 2004 when I was still on Critters. This is some of the contradictory feedback I got on one of my first stories, "Galatea."

  • Master Tan's broken English is great, very authentic/is stereotypical and inconsistent 
  • The conflict between Justin and Quinn is great, well done/there is no discernible conflict in the story 
  • The development of Quinn's character is moving and believable/she's a horrible, unsympathetic person 
  • She's a rip-off of Supergirl/Dark Angel/Kill Bill/Le Femme Nikita 
  • It's a strong, character-driven story/nobody's motivations make any sense.

I guess keeping a diary can be useful after all, if only to remind oneself that feedback from the peanut gallery isn't all it's cracked up to be.

Sunday, July 03, 2016

Review of CURSE at Tangent Online!

Wow, this has been a week of unexpected treats. First the Daily Deal from (which put Curse at their #1 bestseller slot, temporarily displacing the Game of Thrones and Outlander series), and then the review from Down Under at SQMag, and today Dave Truesdale emailed me with the news that his review at Tangent was going live today:

"What a great stage-setting, atmospheric opening paragraph to The Curse of Jacob Tracy, the debut novel by Holly Messinger. The plush, masculine, Victorian-era appointments describing the library hint at the exotic, of perhaps a once aristocratic European opulence reserved only for the fabulously wealthy. With a sense of foreboding, our interest is piqued. Why does Trace not look into any dark corners, why do big old houses hold nasty surprises for him, who is this enigmatic Miss Fairweather, and why is he in her house in the first place? We're hooked. 
... If you are a connoisseur of supernatural horror, I have a feeling you're going to love this one. I look forward to the further adventures of Jacob Tracy; he's an everyman hero for whom we are happy to cheer."

My author ranking at Amazon had been looking a little depressing lately, so all of this was a great boost get six months after the publication date.

Carry on!

Jacob Tracy review in SQMag

This review of THE CURSE OF JACOB TRACY in the latest SQ Mag is maybe the most lucid and insightful I've seen. 

I was especially intrigued by this bit: 

"The first half or so of the book, it felt as though she had yet to fully engage with Jacob’s voice, but heading toward the climax to the end, the author’s presence totally fades into the characters and setting, letting them tell the story."

That's pretty perceptive, because I was aware myself of the stiltedness of the first 3-4 stories, being strung together as they were from the old short-story format, which has different pacing and demands of character development. The last third of the book, Horseflesh, was the hardest to rewrite and took the most revision, but once I quit fighting it, it settled into itself and flowed. Trace changed a lot between those first 5 stories and the end novel, because my understanding of him and the kind of story I was telling changed a lot.

This bit also made me perk up my ears, so to speak: 

"it felt as though the author started, then shied away from, any romantic elements whatsoever. I realize romance is something some authors don’t want to be associated with, but this girl enjoys a great love story in any genre and at the very least a natural progression of romantic elements, even if it’s not the focus of the plot."

All reader responses to a work of fiction are to some extent a Rorschach test, but none more so than the romantic bits. All you folks who've read CURSE, I'd be curious to know what you thought of the romance in the book, or lack thereof. Did you want more? Less? Do you think Boz was right about Miss Fairweather having the hots for Trace? Comment below.