My Secret Life

I know that when I arrive at the office in the morning, I look more or less normal. I’m a few minutes late, car keys still in my hand as I give the receptionist a half-apologetic wave and head back to the small cubicle that is my home for about nine hours a day, four days a week. I fire up my computer, get some coffee, and start to do the things I am paid to do. It’s not so bad. The work is mildly entertaining, the pay is good, the coffee acceptable. I do hate the windowless cube, but I’m luckier that most. I have a secret life.

I’m late because when I woke up this morning, a young man from Romania took time out of his own busy life to post a review of my novel z2. It was a very short review, with five stars at the top and the remark that my book was now “officially among” his favorite SF books. His favorites? Do you how many are out there? How many great ones? My whole life I’ve wanted to write science fiction and now somebody says this? I think they could put me in a cement box for the next nine hours and I’d survive on the joy alone, and I am really claustrophobic.

Green 1Yes, I know that reviews are meant for fellow readers, not for the authors. I do get it, and so I will keep the joy deep inside myself. Seriously, though, how can I not care at all?

I’m also late because a young woman in Indonesia won my novel c3 in a giveaway and took the time to write an almost 1000 word review and posted it this morning. She gave me five stars as well, and used my novel about young women who triumph over human traffickers as a spring board to look into the problem in her own country. Her research fills most of the review and it is impressive.I hear a possible advocate for better education and enforcement in her voice, and I am proud to have written something that has moved her to feel so passionately. I have tears in my eyes and I want to thank her for listening, for caring, for getting it, but of course I cannot do that.

Writers are not supposed to respond to reviews. It makes perfect sense. Reviews are to alert other readers about what is good and bad about a novel. Who in the world is going to write one if they risk getting in an online argument with the author for doing so? I certainly wouldn’t. So, no response.

Instead, I sit in my cube and sip my coffee. I check my office email then I move on to the project at hand. Few people here even know that I write books. Today, I’m smiling inside, thinking of two random people across the globe who I have managed to touch against all odds. It’s a secret life, but it keeps me very happy.

 

Review of “Defriended” by Ruth Baron

This is not an easy needle to thread, and when I heard that I knew someone who knew someone who had written a fairly successful young adult horror novel, I decided to give it a try. I am so glad I did.
DefrieindedRuth Baron has written a thoroughly enjoyable book. Given that I am neither a big fan of horror stories nor of tales of unhappy misfits, this is high praise. It helped that the protagonist, Jason, has a better sense of humor and more common sense than most. Not only is he likable, but his world is filled with both teens and adults who are basically decent people who sometimes behave poorly. It’s not a story that makes you cringe or a world you can’t wait to leave.
The horror aspects center around the creepiness of a dead friend on Facebook and while there are scenes you might not want to read while alone on a dark stormy night, Baron shows class as she avoids inserting anything truly disgusting just for shock value.
If I had one quarrel with the book it was that the friendship between social klutz Jason and popular Rakesh was hard to believe. Many a charismatic kid has ditched his or her best grade school friend when they turned out to be a social liability in junior high. Okay, I like to think that kids like Rakesh exist, and Baron really tried hard to convince me that they do, but I’m not sure I believe her.
What surprised me most is that the book is also very much a crime novel, and a well done one at that. There are only so many options to explain a Facebook relationship with the dead, after all, and most if not all of them involve some kind of a crime. Baron crafts a clever solution to the situation and adds a twist or two to keep the reader guessing. It’s a fun read for mystery lovers of any age.
Check out the novel on Amazon or on Goodreads.