We all complain about Facebook, don’t we? And then, one day, someone says something so incredibly wonderful I feel like hugging it (hard to hug social media, but I can try) and definitely Gretchen. I review her books … but she reviewed me. Literally, bringing tears to my eyes.

From the day I read her first book (Double Whammy), I knew Gretchen Archer had “it,” that ineffable “something” that makes a writer an author. Her first book wasn’t perfect, but it had the heart of the winner and the soul of the future. She created characters that have grown and changed and become increasingly real. There are very few authors who get characters well enough to allow them to change in a normal way, with flaws and all and moreover, to put them through all those experiences that make us human. Her characters are never repetitive, never dull. They aren’t always doing the same thing, book after book.

What a pleasure to follow an author and watch her mature. I love you too, Gretchen!

Double Dog Dare will be available on March 20, 2018! 

Good morning, Players!

Gretchen Archer

If you have a minute, please read the review of Double Dog Dare Marilyn Armstrong posted here (look down) yesterday.

I *met* Marilyn and her husband Garry after Double Whammy released. Literary reviews (reviews written by people in the industry who know what they’re talking about) of your first book are terrifying/exhilarating/soul-crushing, and for me, in the mix of reviews, one stood out–Marilyn’s. They tell us, they warn us, they mean business: don’t contact reviewers. I did. Just the one. I had to. I had to thank her, because of all the reviews, Marilyn got me.

It’s not that she gave Whammy five fat stars and loved it to the point of me printing and framing the review, it was that she liked it (which, with Book One, is quite enough), allowing me a big sigh of relief. But more than liked it, Marilyn saw its possibilities–my potential. She was the one savvy reviewer who picked out the elements of Whammy that gave it the promise to go on and be a successful series. She was the one reviewer who took the time to (inadvertently, sneakily and stealthily, within the review) give me advice. Very good advice.

Marilyn Armstrong reads between the lines.

She gave me the courage to keep writing. Her honest review was perfectly in line with how I truly felt about my own book.

I’ve loved her every minute since.

Thank you so much, Marilyn. For your deep understanding of publishing, characters, plot, prose, and me. xo

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17 replies

  1. That’s so special!


  2. You’re a loyal follower of Gretchen, Marilyn. It means a lot to have this positive feed back.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow. She’s right! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was really touched. I love reviewing books … but I take them seriously. I hate giving anything other than a good review. If I can’t say something nice, I usually give no review. Authors ARE sensitive. John Scalzi still isn’t talking to me because I said one of his books wasn’t quite as good as a previous one … not that it was bad, but I thought it could be better. He definitely took it the wrong way.

      I tiptoe through the minefields 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      • Yeah — I’m not really that sensitive. I understand that, with most of the books I’ve written, the audience who will LOVE is pretty small. Most of the bad reviews I’ve gotten have displayed incomprehension OR dashed expectations. People thought a book about the Crusades or the Middle Ages would involve sex and violence, like TV shows or romance novels. I figured out — when I was writing Martin of Gfenn, and listening to people’s reactions when I told them about the story as I was writing it — it wasn’t going to be for everyone. BUT I do wish a reviewer could insert him/herself into the equation and say, “This isn’t what I was expecting and it’s just not my cup of tea,” rather than dissing the book. It would even be more helpful to people reading the review. “This isn’t my cup of tea. I like stories with a strong romance theme” or “I like happy endings, and not to spoil the story, there’s no way a story about a leper could have a happy ending.”

        I think my all-time favorite negative review is the one where the person was upset because there were a lot of Bible quotations and discussions about religion in a book about the Reformation. THAT reviewer I wanted to throttle, not because my feelings were hurt, but because (on some level) I felt she had no right to write about my book.

        I figure if you’re going to put it out there, you have to be able to walk away from it. That’s why it wasn’t all that easy for me to publicly publish the hiking book. ❤


        • Audience who will LOVE them… sheesh…


        • I did my best to not take it personally, but it was hard because it was deeply personal, typos and all. There are many things about it I would change if I went back, but I’m not going back. It is what it is, flaws and all. I wish my one book writing effort had been better. Oh well.

          I have often commented in reviews that the book was probably not my kind of book — maybe some other reader would like it better. Sometimes, that’s true. Sometimes, it’s my polite way of saying I found it dull. But. There seem to be a lot of people who think “dull” and “literary” are the same. If they don’t have to struggle through the text, they don’t feel they are really “getting” something out of it. Those are the people who keep the boring book industry in business.

          Liked by 1 person

          • I think commenting that it’s “not your kind of book is a sign of integrity.”

            Your book is/was extremely personal and difficult. I can’t read it for personal reasons. I can’t go through someone else’s parental horror stories in the kind of emotional/intellectual exercise that is reading, particularly because I know you and consider you a friend. That’s not a problem with your book. That’s MY issue and, hopefully, you understand. I have a friend here in CO who was also abused by her dad and I understand (from my own experience with my “mom”) that is in the background of our existence, those of us who’ve had non-parent parents. ❤


            • If I hadn’t written it, I probably wouldn’t read it either. I also won’t watch any of the TV shows that deal with abusive parents, especially the ones where the abusive parent apologizes and reforms because THAT does NOT happen. It infuriates me when they make that the warm and mushy moment at the end of the show or movie.

              Liked by 1 person

              • No they don’t apologize. In the recent dream I had where my parents were chasing me, my dad kept saying, “She’s sorry! She wants to tell you!” As I ran in crystal slippers I thought, “That’s a con.” I think my mom tried to like me at various intervals in our “relationship” but deep down, she didn’t like me and wanted me to be someone else. She was plain out mean, abusive, physically and pyschologically, and when I came home after her funeral and my friend sang, “Ding dong the witch is dead” I was shocked, but not at the song. At the way my friend had seen through my mother’s facade in the times they’d met. No. The last thing my mother said to me was unspeakable and my aunt basically pulled me out of that hospital room and said, “You’ve done what you had to do. You don’t ever have to go back.”

                Not only do they not feel remorse, we never completely heal. Sucks, but it’s true.


                • When my father (finally) died, I felt nothing except a minor level of grief that he left all the money to the kids who sucked up to him. People kept asking me if I felt OK. Only Garry and my son got it because THEY knew him … and also wanted nothing to do with him.

                  The family knew. Everyone knew. But the cousins were great suck-ups — I think at least one of them was also abused by him. He had a go at everyone over the years. What a horror show.

                  Liked by 1 person

      • I love Gretchen’s words and sentiments. They’re well founded. She’s lucky to have someone who not only “gets” what she is saying but is able to verbalize – in Max Perkins’ style – what needs to be done, if anything.

        I must confess I like sharing a little of the peer glow you get from Gretchen. It’s so very neat.

        Liked by 1 person



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