Monday, May 16, 2011


Today I received a less than glowing review for The Holly and the Ivy She gave it 3.5 out of 5, and that hurt. I've always been a people pleaser--not a healthy personality component, but there you are.

I was so glad the reviewer liked the writing, and the setting, and the characters. But she was hoping for a passionate love scene, and was disappointed that, instead, it was a sweet romance. She also felt the ending was abrupt.

My thought process went something like this:
1) My story is great. She doesn't know what she's talking about.
2) My story stinks. I'll never write another.
3) I can see what she means about the gymnasium scene. I could have ended it differently.
4) I was lucky to complete that story at all, considering the state of our life, and my husband's condition, at the time I was working on it.

I took me less than ten minutes to get from point 1 to point 4. I'm getting quicker at re-framing; have done a lot of it in the last year and a half, mostly about real life instead of a book review. I think if you can re-frame "My husband is dying of a cancerous brain tumor and the person I've been married for 28 years is being slowly destroyed" to "My husband has cancer, but thank goodness he has forgotten that, and although he is tired, he is not in pain," then you are starting to get the hang of re-framing. We do it a lot at our house.

If you would like to read the review in its entirety, click on this link.

Note to the world: Most of my books are sweet romance. I do not want to mislead anyone into buying something of mine with the expectation of a passionate love scene. The closest I've gotten to that so far is in Midnight in Legend, TN, and it's not very close at all. I'm not saying I won't write one, but I haven't. Fair enough?



  1. I like the idea of re-framing, and for the record, I've only read your blog for a couple months, and I figured out you write sweet romance. Not that it's her job, but I don't think the reviewer did her research.

  2. Uh, HELLO LADY, we have SWEET MAGDALENA here! Jeez, she didn't do any homework at all, did she? Have You ever written a sex, sex scene? I can't remember one. That seems rude to ding you for something like that.
    You make my heart ache Magdalena, and I really admire your outlook. Stay strong a keep reframing, you do a great job at it!

  3. Thank you for the words of encouragement, Cherie and JM! I did not mean to disparage the reviewer--probably very lucky to get a review at all, and I doubt a reviewer has time to go around and check out blogs. Seems like it would be a job of constantly reading the stories in the "to-be-reviewed" queue. I imagine it's bigger than most of our personal TBR stacks!

    And no, JM, not really. It's difficult to imagine me writing one of *those*, isn't it?


  4. Mags, my heart breaks every time I think about your situation. Thoughts and prayers, gal.

    So sorry about the review. Don't take it personally. I once got a three star review from someone who had nothing bad to say. She was simply trying to bring down my star rating and the end of the review was a promo for her own books. LOL!

    Most of the small presses have the sensuality level right there on the page for the buyer to see. I wish the big retailers, like Amazon, would also do this. I've often had to resort to reviews to find out the heat level of a book I'm interested in reading.

    Hang in there, kiddo!

  5. Thank you for the kind words, and for sharing the story of that review, Devon. YIKES.

    I really appreciate your stopping by--and again, congratulations on the recent release of "Angel in the Rain." So exciting for you, and I love the new cover!