The Romance Reviews

Monday, July 28, 2014

Chocolate Frosting by the Spoonful

I’m having a pity party. A full-blown, eating ready-made chocolate frosting from the container by the spoonful, moping, whining pity party…

Why the pity party? BECAUSE I CAN!

Seriously, because I can. Because my proverbial, literary hide should be a whole lot tougher and I really thought it was. Because when someone leaves a review on my Amazon page that leaves me scratching my head and asking myself if that reviewer even read the book, my first instinct is to rip into said reviewer with every weapon at my disposal, call them out into the middle of a dusty street and suggest they slap leather. (Unfortunately, that’s illegal and I really do not look good in prison jumpsuit orange—or any shade of orange, for that matter.) My second instinct is to curl up in a ball, whimper like a frightened puppy, and eat ready-made chocolate frosting from the container by the spoonful. My third instinct is to do what I do best, and that’s write. (Lemme finish this container of frosting, first.)

My hackles come way up when it’s suggested I ripped off the plot line of an old movie, even if it is a John Wayne movie, as much as I love The Duke. As any of my former students in college freshman composition will tell you, if I even think a paper is plagiarized, I’m on the war path and may God Almighty have mercy on your soul. For the record—here are the similarities between that John Wayne movie (Angel and the Badman) and The Devil’s Own Desperado. Wayne played a character named Quirt Evans. My character’s name is Colt Evans. Quirt is a shootist who gets shot and ends up at the home of a family of Quakers. Colt is a shootist who gets shot and ends up at the home of a young woman raising her younger brother and sister. (I wonder how many Western novels, romance or not, have an injured gunfighter showing up on the doorstep of the female protagonist. Oh, wait…it’s a standard trope of the genre, actually.) Both men hang up the iron by the end of the movie/book and stay with the female protagonist. End of the similarities. Quirt never agonizes over the decision to take up hanging onto a plow. Colt knows he can’t hang up his revolver because he knows that it’s a question of when and not if his past finds him and he not about to leave Amy and her younger siblings in the line of fire. There are no battles over water rights in my novel, I’ve got a young woman orphaned by gunmen raising her younger siblings, and her father was a gunman who hid his past behind a preacher’s collar. The only things quaking in my novel are aspen trees.

This reviewer also said that I was using idioms in the wrong context so that they meant exactly the opposite of what was implied. Riiiiiiiight…NO. I had two multi-published and highly respected Western historical writers read the final draft before I started to shop it to publishers. One of those writers has won the Spur Award twice and was short listed for the Pulitzer. She was checking my idiom usage and the slang of the period. I trust her judgment.

Oh, and the comment about needing an editor…maybe I should tell MY EDITOR at my publisher that I need an editor. She’ll probably get a chuckle out of that.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I still have some chocolate frosting to eat before I go write my hero and heroine out of a particularly nasty situation.

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