It has finally happened!

As evidence by the fact that I received a rejection letter in the mail this week, and subsequently experienced no amount of self-wallowing, I have officially deemed myself the possessor of a thick skin.

In other words, I have reached the pinnacle of unpublished authordom.

Further evidence came in the form an email Saturday morning from a publisher that I had queried some time ago. Before even opening the correspondence I went straight to the notebook where I record my manuscript submissions and promptly scratched this publisher’s name from the list. Boy was I surprised when I opened the email and it was not denying my submission, but accepting it.

Hummm . . . what to do now? I mean, it should be obvious, take the offer, but now that I have become duly comfortable with my station at the most southern tip of the literary food chain, do I really want to mix it up by starting over at the bottom of another?

I’ll get back to that when I have a definitive answer. For now I wanted to write a few reviews on some of the books I’ve been reading.

But before I get started, I’d like to clarify a few of my pet-peeves.

First: Stories that start out with a bang and then loose momentum, flattening out as the story unfolds. It’s so frustrating to keep reading, hoping to recapture some of that original spark, only to get to the end and be let down—reminds me too much of my single years.

Second: When authors rush the ending. I mean, we as readers invest so much time and energy in the plot and characters, come to care about them and their quandaries, and when the ending is rushed, it just doesn’t seem worth the journey.

Third: Books that just roll along at the same pace. It’s like bike riding in Florida—sure it’s easy but where’s the challenge, the adventure?

Over Christmas I read two books, Susan Wiggs, Lakeshore Christmas and Kristin Hannah’s, Comfort and Joy.

Lakeshore Christmas was a classic tale of opposites attracting when a crass, former child star teams up with a frumpy librarian to direct the town’s Christmas pageant. Although the story was blessed with witty dialog, the plot was basically flat and I never really got when or why the two fell for each other.

Comfort and Joy, written in first-person, present tense—a no-no I’ve always been told—is by the author of one of my favorite novels, Between Sisters. If there are any new writers out there wondering how to construct a great opening, read the first few pages of Between Sisters.     As far as Comfort and Joy, I really liked the story, and there was a great twist about three-quarters of the way through, but she rushed the end and that was a little disappointing.

If you like Southern Fiction, read anything by Mary Kay Andrews and you won’t be disappointed. Recently, I read Hissy Fit, which I believe is one of her first novels. It wasn’t just about a bride who catches the groom in a compromising position the night before the wedding and throws, you guessed it, a hissy fit, but also about healing old wounds, solving the mystery of her mothers abandonment, and finding new love, all while re-designing a crumbling antebellum mansion. It’s chalked full of story and a bit long for a women’s fiction/chick lit, so she had no choice but to rush the ending. Still, I recommend reading it. This book was lots of fun.

David Baldacci’s, True Blue, is a crime novel about a gritty DC detective who finds herself just getting out of prison after being set up by . . . well, he never really gets to that. There is another crime/mystery that she investigates and ultimately solves with the help of her police chief sister and a handsome lawyer but the two crimes never intersect. The same sort of goes for the chemistry between the two main characters. I think they were fond of each other but . . . I generally like Baldacci and this novel was good, at least I didn’t really find myself skimming, but I can’t really encourage everybody to rush out and read it. Like this review, the story had a few holes.

Until next time!