Saturday, January 17, 2015


I might be taking a break from writing, but I haven't taken a break from thinking. ;-)

Simply put, I want to see the rating system for books disappear, primarily from Goodreads. I wouldn't mind seeing it disappear from privately-owned review sites, too. Those stupid stars (or marmosets or dandelions or whatever) have caused more grief and contention than anything else in the bookworld -- or at least the corner of the bookworld that I frequent. Over the past decade, I've seen countless writers go temporarily insane over star numbers. I've seen citizen reviewers manipulate those star numbers either to pimp or to punish authors. I've seen author buddies abuse those star numbers to show support for each other. I've seen authors rate their own work. The whole system is hopelessly, absurdly corrupted.

Moreover, books can't be evaluated like cars and appliances. Their worth can't be conveyed on a scale of one to five. Reading, like sex, is a highly subjective experience. The only way to express the nature of that experience on a reader-by-reader basis is through words. WORDS. (Can you imagine people slapping stars on each other's genitals following an intimate encounter? Heh.) At least Amazon requires you to post a review along with your rating. I'm still not sure if the book must be a "verified purchase" or not, but their system is far preferable to the way Goodreads does things.

Serious readers want and need honest reviews, not mere ratings and certainly not juvenile games played with icons. A review can be a few words long or a few paragraphs long. One needn't possess the vocabulary of John Updike to express one's satisfaction or dissatisfaction with a book.

Sunday, January 11, 2015


Dear Friends,

I'm taking a sabbatical of indeterminate length. 2014 was a "D" year for me: a year of disappointment, disillusionment, discouragement, and depression. There are many reasons for this. I'd considered laying out those reasons -- part of me feels my readers deserve to know -- but the further I got into my litany of let-downs, the more self-indulgent the exercise seemed. Who wants to hear somebody, anybody, whine ad nauseam? Blech.

So to hell with specifics. In a nutshell, my confidence is tapped out. I need time to take stock of my writing career. (Actually, "writing career" is an oxymoron in my case.) Dozens of criteria are indicative of an author's critical and/or popular success. Over the past year or more, I haven't measured up to any of them -- a fact I can no longer ignore. In addition, there are aspects of publishing and promoting within the m/m romance genre that have drained me of incentive.

If I do regain some shred of mojo, if I manage someday to weave more tales and publish them, I don't know when or under what name or in what genre. For the time being I simply need to withdraw and reassess my capabilities and expectations. I also plan on reading a lot, but most likely not romance.

By the way, I've turned off comments. It isn't my intention to harvest sympathy and reassurances through this post. I merely wanted to let my loyal readers (and jeez, how I treasure you!) know what's going on. I've also cut back drastically on my Internet presence, although I still check in periodically at Facebook and Twitter, mostly for fun. (I've come to know many wonderful people through social media and don't want to lose track of them!) My blog will remain, albeit in a largely dormant state. If I have something to spout off about, or an announcement to make, I'll put up a post.

Thank you all so much for reading my books. Please take care of yourselves, and have a fulfilling 2015!