Christmas Reviews or The Evil Empire? Which Would You Face?

Christmas at my house means Star Wars. This year we had Star Wars coffee mugs, t-shirts from Vader and more video games than I can count. We even had Star Wars hot chocolate. Scout Son sagely informed me that there are only three Star Wars games that we do not currently own. He wasn’t asking for them, mind you, he’s analytical. He knows these things and feels the need to share.

Christmas came for me when my daughter got an Amazon gift card. After all the gifts were open, she went to the computer to carefully consider her purchases. Funny how when it’s their money the kids have to think about what they’re buying. When it’s my money, it’s how fast can we get the stuff into the cart.

So, she’s carefully shopping. Except for one thing. When she opened up our Amazon account, she looked at me and said, “Mom, can I buy your book?”

Merry Christmas to me! My kid wants to buy my book! Umm…hmm… My daughter wants to read my book?

Don’t get me wrong. I know she reads romance novels, and I’m fine with it. But now she’s going to read the one I wrote. That just seems like it’s skating on the line of Too Much Information. But it was so sweet, I couldn’t say no.

Luckily, Snarky Daughter reads about five books at a time, so there’s a really good chance I’ll never hear about this again. And it helps my sales numbers. Heaven help me if she decides to review it. Worse, what if it doesn’t hold up? What if she doesn’t like it?

Have I mentioned that writers are neurotic? Yes, it takes guts to put our books out there for people to read. But the reality is, once it’s out there, we can sort of ignore its existence and just accept the checks when they come in. If we don’t think about the fact that people are reading the books, we can get through the day.

On Christmas Eve, I got the email from Amazon that someone had reviewed The Heiress and Her Fake Fiancé. Remember that feeling you got in school when your teacher handed back the big assignment, but you hadn’t looked at the grade yet? Multiply that by 1,000 and you’ve got what a writer feels when they get a review.

I got the email in the middle of canceling a credit card, baking cookies, and last-minute wrapping. In the middle of all the holiday hoopla, I was not prepared to face a review. Who am I kidding? In the middle of winning the lottery I wouldn’t be prepared to face a review.

Please have it be someone I know. Please have it be someone I know…

Armed with a Hot Buttered Rum, I clicked on the link. Paranormal romance author, Regan Black, reviewed my book. I looked at the stars. Woo-hoo! A five-star review! And with that, I closed the computer and went back to making cookies. No, I didn’t read it right then. I couldn’t. Seriously, I had about a million more packages to wrap, and fingers to burn making pralines (another story) before I could go to bed and hope the reindeer dancing on the roof didn’t wake me up.

I did finally face the review, which is lovely, by the way. Even knowing it was going to be good, I still had pralines in hand. You never know when you’re going to need them! Because facing Darth Vader is easier than facing a review.

I should know. We face him daily, thanks to Santa.

Happy Holidays!


Matchmakers Abound in My World

Matchmakers abound in my world these days, whether it’s Grandma “Gran” Violet in my upcoming release, The Heiress and Her Fake Fiancé, Amy in Regan Black’s The Matchmaker’s Mark, or Snarky Daughter’s friends. Or mine, for that matter. They’re everywhere!

“I know this guy. He’d be perfect.”

Sound familiar?

The all mean well. Even the bumbling 14 year-olds “helping” love along. Now truly, Regan and I are both happy these people exist in the world as they give us central characters in our books.

Writing about Gran was the most fun I’ve had in ages. Probably because I wasn’t her latest victim. Yes, Gran has a history. But Jess and Matt are definitely her toughest match to date. The problem with a matchmaker with a history is her victims know her tricks and will do anything to avoid them.

Like all matchmakers, Gran thinks she can force a man to move along before he’s ready. As an impatient woman, I understand the urge. Poor Jessica’s been waiting for Matt to get it together and notice her as something other than a 12 year-old for ten years. Luckily, when Gran drops her on his doorstep, Matt finally notices.

One of the best parts about being a romance writer is that I get to be a matchmaker all the time. No one gets hurt because I’m playing with the lives of characters, and I get to have all the fun. Although my characters are about as happy with the meddling as I am when it’s done to me. I like to pretend that I control everything in my books, but characters are just like real people. If you start taking them down a road they don’t want to go, they’re going to dig their feet in. Usually you can work with that. I mean, their reactions are honest. Who wants someone else making decisions for you?

But characters like Gran and Regan Black’s Amy are what bring layers to our stories. They make the stories believable. Because we’ve all been there. Even Snarky Daughter was recently a victim when over-zealous friends couldn’t wait for a young man to act on his feelings.

Unfortunately, 14 year-olds don’t know how to handle these situations as gracefully as 40 year-old men do. As we get older, we learn how to ignore matchmakers, laugh at their antics, or divert their attention to other victims. Whatever works. (Hey, I’m not noble. I freely admit to pointing a matchmaker toward another victim.)

Jess and Matt don’t have those choices since Gran is playing multiple games at once. Add in Jessica’s meddling father and you’ve got a whole lot of trouble for Jessica and Matt to juggle while Matt tries to find a wife who wants to stay in Blakely, their home town, and Jessica tries to figure out how far away she has to run to escape her family.

Grandma Violet is the reason Jess’ parents got together. Now she’s working on Matt and Jessica. If she’s successful, with them or her own love life, will she retire as Blakely’s matchmaker?

I doubt it. Let’s just hope she doesn’t bother Snarky Daughter. She’s got her hands full with two real-life matchmakers already.