Critiquing The Critics

I love getting reviews of my work. No matter what you hear, no matter the humility, no matter the idiot ego, working writers DIG reading what other writers (yes, critics are writers by trade too!) have to say about their chops. They can wave a dismissive hand all they want and pretend not to care, but they’re not fooling anyone. They care. Trust me, they really, really care.

And when they get a bad review (it’s happened to me approximately two times), it hurts.


(You suck! Ha! Ha! Ha!)

Oh, we’ve got thick skins and we slink along seemingly unphased and try to act like it doesn’t matter, but we don’t write these books to have them slagged. We want you to like us. That’s why we write what we write. We hope it works and entertains (and changes the world or whatever).

When a negative review rolls in, I pick apart my work and wonder what it is about a particular piece that a particular reviewer can’t seem to stomach. It eats me a little.

But then, I cheer myself and think that if I have to wonder, and the critic in question hasn’t laid out any firm, concrete problems, I can breathe a little easier. That I can’t understand a critic that can’t understand me, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It just reaffirms that we aren’t right for each other. C’est la vie.

It’s the articulate critics that do me in. Clarity stings.


(So true.)

Lucky for me, one of the best writers in the on-line critic game, Adam Groves of, seems to enjoy my work. He’s said some awfully nice things about my first two novels (I WILL RISE, AS FATE WOULD HAVE IT). Same for my collection (BLOOD & GRISTLE) and a goofy, little novella I published with Delirium earlier this year (BLEED FOR YOU).

The guy isn’t made of praise. He dings what he believe needs to be dinged. I’ve been fortunate enough to garner mostly glowing critiques, and I love reading how awesome I am at this, or how effective I am at that (and, yes, I even appreciate reading about my work’s shortcomings), but mostly, I enjoy Mr. Groves’ reviews because the man can write his butt off.

He is uber-articulate. And he attacks works with an intelligent, literary gusto missing from most online review sites.

Browse his reviews – you’ll actually get smarter (I promise).

Start with his latest – a review of my sold-out Bloodletting release, DEATH & DESIRE IN THE AGE OF WOMEN.


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