Disappointed Expectations – and Another Kerfuffle

You may have heard of the controversy concerning Lori Foster’s latest book, My Man Michael. This book is part of the SBC Fighter series, a contemporary series, albeit one with mild suspense elements, about mixed martial arts fighters — but this one’s a time travel/futuristic. I must admit that my first thought was “Huh?” (My second was “What a cool cover.”)

Many fans are furious, and the rage has exploded across Amazon and message boards. Some of the responses go too far, attacking the author instead of the book (sigh). Yet I can see why fans are disappointed. Straight contemps are hard enough to find, and many contemp fans hate paranormals. So imagine fans’ shock when Book 4 turns out to be a TT/futuristic. Most of all, readers are upset because the cover gave no warning that this one was different from the rest of the series. (Some readers figured it out from the excerpt on Lori Foster’s web site, but not all fans are on-line or know where to find excerpts.) I know I’d be annoyed if I picked up, say, the latest Mercedes Lackey book, expecting a fantasy novel, only to get a mainstream novel set in Cleveland. Or if I started reading a Harlequin Presents, only to get a story about a hero who traveled through magic portals. When we pick up a contemp, or a paranormal, we do so because we want that type of book. Sure, readers want to be surprised, but not that much. It’s like eagerly opening a box of Godiva, only to find that it contains Laffy Taffy instead. Eww!

According to a blog post about dealing with disappointed readers, Lori Foster didn’t expect the reaction to be like this. Authors just tell the story they have to tell, and sometimes forget the big picture. Authors never go in thinking “Ha! This is going to throw my readers for a loop!” But after reader expectations have been set, maybe it isn’t a good idea to change horses in midstream. Also, you’d think the publisher would have taken steps to warn readers — just label it as a futuristic/TT or even suggest that Lori Foster publish it under her L. L. Foster name. Instead, they gave it a cover similar to the previous book in the series. So readers looking for contemps(not to mention trying to meet expectations set by reading the other books in the series) were upset, and readers looking for TT/futuristic passed it up.

There’s a thread on the Let’s Talk Romance Novels Forum about controversy and whether it’s good business for authors. Is this a controversy? You bet it is. Will it help the author in the long run? Who knows? Before this controversy, I didn’t know there was a series about mixed martial arts. The controversy might also sell books, and Lori Foster could win new fans who like futuristics. But what’s going to happen with the next book in the series? Let’s say it’s a contemp. Will futuristic fans pick it up, only to be disappointed when it’s a contemp? Will contemp fans be afraid to give it a chance?

People often complain about series that change tone or even subgenre in the middle. For example, many fans are upset that the Black Dagger Brotherhood books shifted from paranormal romance to urban fantasy. What about any other series that changed genre in the middle? And if this happened to your favorite series, what would you do?

-Anne Marble

Editor’s Note: On a related note, it has come to our attention that Lori Foster has posted on at least one blog saying that we “don’t like” her. That is most definitely not the case. I don’t think any of us know her personally in order to have that sort of opinion, and our opinions with regard to her work have been all over the board, as a cursory glance at her reviews here would show.

In addition, with regard to Foster’s allegation that a reviewer (who she does not name) was forced to write a critical review of one of her books, I can state that this has never been our policy. Both when Laurie Gold owned the site and after the four of us (Sandy Coleman, Blythe Barnhill, Rachel Potter and I) assumed ownership, the choice of a book’s grade has been left up to the reviewer. I know that my editor has on several occasions put up reviews of mine that she would have graded differently and I do likewise with the reviewers I edit. If someone turns in a glowing review of a book, but then gives a C grade, the editor may ask her to explain the C in the body of the review so readers know why that grade is there, but no editor on staff here would force a reviewer to give a book a certain grade.
-Lynn S.

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45 Responses to Disappointed Expectations – and Another Kerfuffle

  1. Janet W says:

    I’m not an industry expert but I would have to say controversy doesn’t necessarily equal increased sales. Doesn’t it depend somewhat on what kind of buzz is forthcoming? The $64,000 question I suppose is whether controversy gives a longterm bounce to sales. Looking at some Amazon numbers around two books published last month, by SEP and SB, it wouldn’t seem so, or at least not necessarily.

    Seems like you have to have a pretty thick skin here at AAR: it isn’t the first time I’ve read an author or her fangrrrrls weigh in on the “unfairness” of your reviews. I don’t agree: clearly even with La Balogh, you’ve had the temerity <<>> to extend some rather low grades to a few of her books. Which gee, makes you a good source of information, imo! Blaming websites, blaming reader’s prejudices — why couldn’t she have adopted Slaughter’s playbook, clearly the Tylenol Solution for authors with a Kerfluffle on their hands, explain, put it on their website and bottom line say “Don’t read it if you don’t want to” but don’t attack them. Maybe say “I wish I’d pulled a JD Robb” or something. Readers are understanding if people treat them with a modicum of respect: perhaps she could have said some of this wasn’t entirely in my control.

    OK, my two dollars, way more than 2 cents!

  2. SarahT says:

    I read the thread you linked to at The Goddess Blogs. I’m amazed so many readers and reviewers still think giving a romance novel a bad grade is unacceptable! If I think a book sucks, I’ll say it.

    That said, I do object to some reviewers on other sites/blogs who seem to delight in tearing authors to shreds for the entertainment of their readers. I don’t think it’s necessary to use sarcasm and derision to get the point across.

    As for the Lori Foster kerfuffle: the book should have been clearly described as having paranormal elements. Authors have every right to change subgenre if they so wish, but they owe it to their readers to inform them that they are buying a different product to what they might have been led to expect. Otherwise, it’s false advertising.

  3. Leigh says:

    Again, this seems an conflict between an author’s right to write (sheeeeeeh, you would think I could think of two other words, beside right & write . . lol) the book that she wants vs. readers expectations.

    I am sorry, but if an author is writing series books then her/his whole sales strategy is the continuity of the books. We are introduced to characters over and over, and the books have the same theme. The author sets up reader’s expectations, so for them to change any of that in my opinion is like breaking a unwritten contract with the reader.

    I didn’t realize how unique it was for Karin Slaughter to give away spoilers about her book. Now I have a whole new appreciation for her intregity. I elected not to read the book. She gave me that option up front, rather than wanting to SURPRISE me, and I respect her for that. I do still have an issue with trust and reading her books. Because if she can kill off one character, then she might do it again. But that is my issue, and not the author’s.

    Personally, I think that series books have been a gravy train for authors, and what a few of them are doing is jeopardizing that. As of right now, I have no desire to start any new series books. I have a new appreciation for authors like SEP, who bring back characters in subsequent books, but the books are loosely connected, and can easily be read as a stand alone books.

    I am not sure that authors understand that writing books is about an relationship between the author and the reader. Maybe they once knew that as a new author, but as they grew in popularity they lost sight of it.

    Dearauthor had an excellent article about the author/reader relationship:


    ‘I’ve come to view the author / reader relationship as a dance of sorts, an epic journey with two partners who depend upon each other for success. The reader places her trust in the author that the experience of reading the book will be a positive one. . .

    Some authors have led me down paths that I bitterly regret. I regret the time spent with them. I regret that subsequent journeys ruined past joy I experienced with them. These are authors that I stay away from.

    Some authors have taken me down a journey that I love so much that I run from the exit to the entrance to start it all over again. If I see readers standing around at the front, I’ll run over to them and direct them to this awesome journey. Sometimes I’ll even pay their entrance fee. ”

    I can chose as a reader to use the only real option available to me, buy or not buy the book. And recently I have made my dissatisfaction known by not buying.

  4. BevBB says:

    Oddly enough, it doesn’t really surprise me that something like this would happen with Foster–and I read her regularly. In fact, I just finishing up a recent rereading glom of some of her books.

    The reason it’s not surprising, though, is that whilst doing my rereading and updating my list of her books, I realized that a couple of her books from her Visitation series that I never got because they’d originally been released in trade still haven’t been released in paperback as far as I can tell. It’s just downright odd to have two books out of a series of seven or more be trade, the rest not and yet no one ever think to release them in mass market?

    Don’t know if they’re from the same publisher as this one but if they are, it certainly seems as if someone isn’t keeping on top of things.

    And don’t even get me started on how convoluted her backlist is in terms of figuring out the real order of her books. Oye. She’s had so many releases over the years that that is definitely not the problem.

  5. tjf says:

    I had read the first three books in Lori Foster’s SBC series and really liked them. When I heard that Mallet’s book would be released soon, I was looking forward to reading the 4th book in the series. However, when I learned that the book would contain time travel/futuristic elements, I decided to take a pass on reading it since I am not a fan of time travel romance novels. While I am not upset about the author changing her direction with this book in the series, I can understand why some would be.

  6. Diana says:

    I wonder if Ward has really shifted genres or if it’s one of those things that’s perceived as truth because it’s been said on message boards. Lover Enshrined, the most recent book in the series, IMO had all the elements of traditional romance. Granted, it was also heavily “urban fantasy” in tone, but the romance (such as it was) was there. It wasn’t all the different from the first book in the series, so I’m scratching my head at anyone calling foul. Brockmann’s controversial DoN clearly disappointed a vocal segment of fans, but I don’t know how anyone could say that romance wasn’t central to the book. Regardless of how anyone felt about the couples, I just don’t see it as shifting genres. DoN wasn’t essentially all that different from The Unsung Hero or any of the other early SEAL books.

    I’m feeling disappointed at the loss of SEP and Barbara Samuel because they’ve gone too far off into women’s fiction or chick lit or I don’t know what.

    I think sometimes what we may think of as the author crapping out on us may be not-her-but-us. Tastes change and really how many books can I read in the same style, theme, and voice and not get a little tired of it. I’m willing to take my share of responsibility for not liking a book. I read reviews and message boards so I pretty much know what I’m buying before I hand over the cash. Many of those who were so vocal about DoN KNEW about the infamous switch before they subjected themselves to the horrors of reading it. Share the blame! LOL!

    I haven’t read Lori Foster in years, but obviously she’s in the Authors With Proprietary Fans Club. I don’t think Foster, Ward, and Brockmann owe their fans any apologies if following their muse displeases loyal fans. An explanation, yes. It does seem that any professional writer who would like to keep selling books would know that you don’t go on the internet and whine and definitely don’t insult your readers!

  7. Laurie Gold says:

    Somebody’s fibbing.

    During the decade in which I was the publisher for All About Romance, no reviewer was ever asked to changed a grade, either to make it more critical…or more glowing. There have been instances when a review did not “match” the grade, at which point discussions commenced with the reviewer, resulting in either the review being changed or an agreement with the editor that indeed, the reviewer had waffled when writing or grading. In no instance did a final grade EVER go online that the reviewer did not agree to. End. Finito. No more.

    Now that I am no longer in the public eye, I can add this: Lori Foster is among a handful of authors who dissed AAR for years. Indeed, whenever a positive review for one of her books – and one for another author, who shall remain anonymous – crossed my in-box, I would grit and bear it as it was posted and finalized. Why? Because AAR’s reviews were and are unbiased based on personal reactions to any author. To restate: No matter how much I personally dislike her writing or find her cry-babying obnoxious, I kept my opinions to myself. And that happened something like THIRTEEN times (that adds up to 13 positive grades for her short stories or romances during my tenure as AAR publisher)!

    So I leave it at this: somebody’s fibbing in the allegation that “a reviewer (who she does not name) was forced to write a critical review of one of her books.”

    This is the first public statement I’ve made since resigning as AAR’s publisher, and I’m going public now only because I’m so angry that this sort of allegation continues to be made. It’s nothing but crap.

  8. Janet W says:

    I’m sure all my friends are saying, “Write a hundred times, in your best cursive: I shall comment no further on DoN” … but hey, altho I almost 90% agree with everything Diana said, just a few thoughts. Author explanation, perhaps not necessary, but certainly gracious. And if not explanation, at a bare minimum, try not to infer (and I KNOW YMMV) that some readers are a tad obtuse for not reading the tea leaves adequately about the HEAs, particularly if they’re “poll struck”. Yeah, graciousness … probably not a great idea to say things on your bulletin board like “whup” and give your mods carte blanche (a lovely Regency phrase that is still with us) to track critical voices throughout the internet.

    About Unsung Hero (my forever almost fave, right after Kenny’s book), we’re just going to have to agree to disagree. Tom, Sam, Alyssa (who was mentioned in Unsung Hero as having all the qualities necessary to be a SEAL except that one special appendage) … I see a lot of changes in her writing. Of course still Romantic Suspense but not I’m not quite getting the Military Hard Charge I used to.

  9. Diana says:

    JanetW, I agree totally with you that Brockmann’s books are simply not as good as they used to be. Those early SEAL books were about REAL MEN and I ate them up. I lost interest and my emotional investment when her characters started thinking and talking like the coolest kids in the seventh grade. My point was that she hasn’t essentially changed genres IMO, she’s just not doing it as well.

  10. Kelly Bishop says:

    Where the heck was the editor/publisher in all of this??? Didn’t it occur to them that it MIGHT be a good idea to clue the readers in on the new turn Foster took with her book?

    I think it’s more the fault of whoever designed the cover & blurb on the back. If it had been made plain there that it was a TT, there wouldn’t have been such of a hissy fit about it. Foster is not responsible for marketing mistakes, although she probably should have pushed them about it.

  11. Lori Foster says:

    Hey all! I hope it’s okay if I pop in. (If not, just let me know.)

    BevBB – the publisher of the books you mention is different. They were from Kensington, and I’m told the books weren’t reissued into mass market because they were still selling quite well as trade.
    That said, one of the two you mention WILL be in mass market in November of this year. I have no idea if the other one will follow. Guess we’ll find out!
    Since I’m now with Berkley (present publisher) I don’t stay in close contact with Kensington. Still love them, still respect the decisions they made for my books, but they’re busy with their currently producing authors, I’m sure.

    It’s true that I never once thought readers would be upset with a TT. The idea came to me, and as I always do, I wrote it. I created a shirt for myself that says, “Blame it on the Muse.” :-) (See, I DO keep a sense of humor about this – which is not to say that I’m sorry for disappointing SOME of my readers.)

    I know many say it’s not clear on the cover that it’s TT, but at least a month before it came out, I saw a blog that was “WTF” about the book, saying the backcover blurb was clearly TT. So… I dunno. Obviously for many it wasn’t clear. For others, it was very clear.

    Also, anyone who has read my L.L. books would know that My Man Michael would NEVER fit in there. My straight romances, whether TT or not, are focused on the romance with humor and families and friends.
    L.L. is far grittier, with violence and language and a sub plot that has nothing to do with romance.

    However, the next single title romance will be straight contemporary again. No TT. ;-) That’s a decision my MUSE made long ago.

    To clear up something I said about a reviewer changing her review… that’s 100% true *as far as I know.* It was a while ago, and with as many books as I write, I can’t find anything specific, but the reviewer sent me a review that was okay. Never very glowing, but okay. Then a day later she sent an apology saying that she was knew to the site, and when her review was looked over, she was told she needed to be more critical, and the review dropped from whatever it was, to that with a minus.
    No biggie. I KNOW how the site works, and I have no issue with it.
    But it IS true.
    Unless the reviewer was outright lying, which I can’t imagine.
    - Just saw Laurie’s explanation, where a grade didn’t match a review, and that could easily explain it – but that’s NOT how it portrayed to me.
    Again, no biggie at all!

    And Laurie, saying I’m a cry baby is one of the many, many reasons I say I’m not liked at your site. ;-) That sort of thing has a way of getting around, and I heard plenty of things, plenty of times. Most think me a pretty nice person. :::Shrug:::
    Honestly, I haven’t even looked at the site in forever, and I had no idea I was mentioning the site enough to be memorable. I visit a lot of places on the web, but not the AAR site, and I don’t even think about it. I only saw this blog posting because it showed up in a google alert.
    After 70 some books, I have no problem at all with negative reviews, and because I don’t send my books to AAR to be reviewed, none of it matters much to me in the big scheme of things.

    Diana, I always apologize to readers when they’re disappointed. The economy is such that no one should feel cheated after spending their money. I never, ever write a book *not caring* if the reader will liek it or not. Unfortunately, I know I can’t please everyone. And I do follow the muse wherever it leads me – and sometimes that means upset readers. It’s all part of the writing gig.

    Happy reading to all!


  12. Debbie says:

    I just took a peek over at the Goddesses blog. More than any man, those are the women who keep the glass ceiling in place for all of us. If “nice girls” never write a negative review, does that also mean that “nice girls” don’t give a negative employee evaluation or never criticize a vendor because “we should be encouraging them instead of tearing them down?” And why is a good review fair and valuable, but a negative review “only one person’s opinion?” Ever hear of intellectual honesty, girls?

    Of course I’m not suggesting that a reviewer be critical for the sake of being critical, but if we are going to discuss or comment on books at all, we should be prepared to evaluate, not gush. The comments over at Dear Author and also on the AAR message board discuss things that a reviewer might consider disclosing in the interests of fairness. Once armed with this information a discerning review reader should be able to make her own judgements.

    Finally, and this really set me off, how dare that woman attack Laurie Gold’s integrity and that of the current publishers of AAR who are long time contributors?! AAR may not be to everyone’s taste, in its former incarnation or its current one, but anyone with two working brain cells can perceive that fairness and integrity have always been the byword here.

    Boy, am I irritated…

  13. Diana says:

    Lori, just to be clear…I said I DON’T believe that an author owes her fans apologies for following her muse.

    OTOH, there’s a difference between defending what you write and blaming the reader for “not getting” what you write. As I said, I accept my share of responsibility when I’ve picked a book that disappoints.

    Authors ranting about readers (consumers) and reviewers on public boards leaves a bad taste in my mouth and strikes me as poor marketing strategy. Author internet behavior does affect my buying decisions. Wherever this discussion goes, you should remember that that you started it with the accusations that you made on a public blog.

  14. Lori Foster says:

    Hey Diana, I know! I got your post. I was just saying that I do apologize because I do feel bad – not that it’s “owed” exactly, but I can certainly understand disappointment. As a reader myself, I’ve experienced it before.

    I certainly didn’t mean for anything I said to sound like an accusation. I KNOW the AAR site is well loved by many. It’s mega popular. And I wasn’t accusing when I shared something that DID happen. It could have been a misunderstanding that the reviewer had – because she did say she was new – but I only know what she herself told me.

    All in all, it’s just not a big deal. I don’t mind negative reviews (although I didn’t like it when one person said she’d like to beat me up LOL) and thought I’d be happier if everyone loved my books, that’s not going to happen.
    So… it’s all just part of being an author.



  15. Katie Mack says:

    First off, I have to address something that has been bugging me on each site I’ve read regarding “critical” reviews. Reviews by nature are a critique, and the word “critical” itself does not mean negative or positive. It means analyzing something. The results may be positive or negative.

    Second, I have to admit that I get peeved at those who claim AAR is too negative, or tries to trash authors/books. One of the reasons I have become such a devoted fan of AAR is because I feel that all the reviews are good. By good I mean that the reviewer explains why s/he graded the book the way that did, and whether it’s positive or negative, it is above all informative for the reader.

    When a reviewer simply writes a review that says “Loved it!” or “Hated it!” that doesn’t help me much as a potential reader. There have been times where I’ve read a C review here at AAR, but gone on to purchase the book because the reviewer gave me enough information to determine that I wouldn’t be bothered by what bothered them. And the reverse it true too. There have been A books I’ve avoided for the same reason.

    The bottom line is, AAR provides one of the best romance critique sites on the web. Not all of the reviews are going to be A’s, because not all books are just the best thing you’ve ever read. Most books are average, because, well, that is the definition of average. And a look at AAR’s Reviewer Scorecard demonstrates that AAR’s reviews happen to look a lot like a bell curve–which is exactly what you would expect from unbiased and objective grading.

  16. Karren says:

    I am new to this site, and just ran across it. This seems to have gone from a discussion about a somewhat controversial book to a Lori Foster bashing. While I am sure everyone feels justified in voicing there opinions, I begin to discredit those opinions when they begin to appear as personal attacks. I am not sure why everyone is so upset about the post by Lori Foster. It seems to me that she simply explained a comment and how she feels about the reader response to her current book. Am I missing something, or is there a bit of animosity here that has absolutely nothing to do with writing style?

  17. Anne Marble says:

    Sorry, but I don’t see any bashing here — and I’m really sick of being labeled a “basher” just because I’m part of this site. When people have discussions, they’re not “bashing” someone just because they disagree with something they say. Also, I don’t see personal attacks here. Mostly, people are discussing how the book should have been marketed, reader expectations, beliefs about reviews, and even the latest discussion about Suzanne Brockmann’s new book.

    In the case of My Man Michael, readers do have a right to question the marketing. I think the publisher fell down on the job with this book because it should have been marketed as a futuristic. Maybe it will sell more copies now that more paranormal/futuristic fans know about it. At the same time, the core readership may feel misled. Who knows how that will impact their future choices? This is something both authors and publishers should learn from. Instead, I really hope people don’t try to circle the wagons and shoot arrows at the readers who were upset with the book.

  18. brecken says:

    bashing? well I wouldn’t agree with that characterization. I think a consumer has a right to express their displeasure if they are disappointed with something they’ve purchased

    However, that said, I find Lori Foster’s desire to offer explanation, and her diplomacy in the midst of all this unrest, the mark of a true professional.

    After the authorial snit of last week, which complete with it’s sarcasm and arrogance (paraphrasing: “their my books I write them for me, get over it”) Lori Foster’s candor and offer of explanation and intention, were simply refreshing, not to mention, assured readers they matter to her!

    I’m a fairly regular Lori Foster reader, although I have not tapped into the SBC series as yet … but those Winston guys?

    ohhhh my! ;)

    Lori, thanks for taking the time, we appreciate it!

  19. tjf says:

    Anne Marble Says: I think the publisher fell down on the job with this book because it should have been marketed as a futuristic. Maybe it will sell more copies now that more paranormal/futuristic fans know about it. At the same time, the core readership may feel misled. Who knows how that will impact their future choices?


    I would agree. Had the book description on the back cover not been quite so circumspect, I think that readers would have been in a better position to make an informed decision about whether or not to buy and read the book. Now, is that solely the publisher’s responsibility? How much input does the author have with respect to the book description? Could the author have said that she wanted the book description to provide some indication that it was a futuristic/ time travel? I have enjoyed most of Lori Foster’s books, so this “blip” (if you can call it that) will not affect my choosing to buy her books in the future. If her next book interests me, I will buy it.

  20. Lori Foster says:

    Tif, my publisher is very good to me, so I’m almost positive if I’d asked for a different back cover blurb (one that stated more clearly that it was TT) they would have changed it for me.

    But like I said, it just never occured to me. NOW I see the light, but before now… nope. It honestly didn’t seem like a big deal to me. But then I tend to wallow in muse and not really come up for air until it’s a done deal.

    The process is such that by the time the publisher is formulating a blurb, that book is almost a lost memory for me. I’ve already finished a new book and am thinking about one to write after that. I just trust the publisher to do the job. Now, please don’t take my comments to mean that the publisher DIDN’T do a good job. It’s not my area of expertise and they’re pretty darned polished at what they do.
    And as I said, LOTS of people got that it was TT from that blurb.

    I think one misunderstanding here is that a huge faction of readers were disappointed. Some were, and they have posted on Amazon, and on blogs, etc… And I’m FINE with that. I love to hear what readers think.
    But, not to make light of any reader’s opinion, the Amazon readers are only a drop in the bucket of my overall sales.

    I truly care about every reader, and I hate to see anyone feel cheated, but OVERALL the book has done great. Every day I get easily 10 to 15 emails from readers who really enjoyed the book and hope I’ll do a sequel.
    (As of right now, I don’t have a sequel planned.)

    All in all, I’ve found this fascinating and a great learning experience for me. As an author, I view my own books very differently than a reader might.

    Will I lose some contemporary readers because of this? Maybe.
    Did I pick up new readers? Most definitely.

    Actually, every book has been a learning experience for me. And for the most part, it’s been a really fun ride.

    On a side note, if I don’t get back here, please don’t think I’m dodging anyone. My dad, who is 85 and has congestive heart failure, went into the hospital yesterday and we’re still not sure how he’s faring – though I’m optimistic. So I’ll be at the hospital a lot, then I have a deadline March 1st, and another June 15th.

    Hugs to all!


  21. Leigh says:

    “However, that said, I find Lori Foster’s desire to offer explanation, and her diplomacy in the midst of all this unrest, the mark of a true professional.”

    I agree. Her willingness to come here, and give her side of the story does seem very professional and classy. . .

    And personally, I find it nice that an author can say:”Diana, I always apologize to readers when they’re disappointed. The economy is such that no one should feel cheated after spending their money. I never, ever write a book *not caring* if the reader will like it or not.”

    I don’t know enough about the history between AAR, Laurie & Lori. . . but if I was teaching lessons 101 in how to contain a kerfuffle. . . The first step would be to do exactly what Lori Foster did. . .

  22. tjf says:

    Lori Foster Says: And as I said, LOTS of people got that it was TT from that blurb.


    Yes, I can see how the way the blurb was written, although subtle, could have led people to assume it was TT. Anyway, while a TT book isn’t for me, I will look forward to the next book in the SBC series. Thanks for taking the time to respond, in spite of having far more pressing things on your mind.

    P.S. I hope you Dad is going to be ok.

  23. Leigh says:

    from Katie Mack’s post:

    ‘The bottom line is, AAR provides one of the best romance critique sites on the web. Not all of the reviews are going to be A’s, because not all books are just the best thing you’ve ever read. Most books are average, because, well, that is the definition of average. And a look at AAR’s Reviewer Scorecard demonstrates that AAR’s reviews happen to look a lot like a bell curve–which is exactly what you would expect from unbiased and objective grading.’

    I agree. . . While I might not agree with the grade, the reviewers gives me enough information to explain why the gave it.

    I have been an on and off poster for 8 years, and like you this is my go to site for reviews. I honestly can’t say enough good things about this site.

    I have discovered new authors, made new friends, and talked to my heart’s content about books, books, and more books.

    Thanks guys, for providing us with such a profesionally run place to come to for relaxation, fun, and thought provoking issues. . .

  24. MaryK says:

    Well, it pretty much depends on your definition of critical doesn’t it? I mean critical can mean “a tendency to find and call attention to errors” or it can mean “characterized by careful evaluation and judgment.” A reviewer who was not “critical enough” was probably being too general. AAR is not about general reviews, that’s why I like it.

    I have no patience for people who think careful evaluation and judgment is uncalled for.

  25. Michelle says:

    I do not find it professional for an author to participate in a public thread on a romance board (not this site) to complain about negative reviews. To imply that the people who wrote negative reviews didn’t even read the book, don’t have a right to post a negative review or claim that it is a conspiracy does not leave one with a favorable impression.

  26. Belle says:

    Do people every get confused by Nora Roberts’ different types of books? Some have NO paranormal elements; some have many.

    I don’t think I’ve ever been confused about whether they would have paranormal elements or not, but I don’t pay much attention since I really don’t much care either way.

    Have any of you who like or avoid the paranormal ever been misled by a blurb or blog about a book of hers?

    I’m talking about ones written under the Roberts name, not the J. D. Robb ones.

  27. Lori Foster says:

    Michelle, if you mean me, I have defended readers’ rights to post negative reviews. I only (and half jokingly) complained about one person who wanted to “beat me up” and a few readers who told me that my next book better be contemporary, “or else.” Or else what?
    But I haven’t complained about negative reviews.


  28. Amy says:

    I have been a reader on the AAR website for several years. I do not always agree with the review grades (for instance, you were way too generous on NR’s last trilogy! and stingy on SEP’s latest), but have not ever found a better end review in terms of content and quality anywhere online.

    I have a suggestion for any author who would make suggestions that imply AAR acted inappropriately:

    1. Do not take a half-way position. If you are concerned, take it to the editors. But do not let it fester for years, bringing it up to justify your behaviors. That just leads to shadow boxing, defensiveness on all sides, and frankly irritates the heck out of me. Provide the proof, and deal with the consequences.

    Or 2. Stop bringing it up. Especially where it can cause sensationalism, speculation, and feed the rumor mill monster.

    I for one want to be reading romance, not gossip.

  29. Donna says:

    Lori said: “On a side note, if I don’t get back here, please don’t think I’m dodging anyone. My dad, who is 85 and has congestive heart failure, went into the hospital yesterday and we’re still not sure how he’s faring – though I’m optimistic. So I’ll be at the hospital a lot, then I have a deadline March 1st, and another June 15th.”

    Oh, Lori, I feel for you. My 87 year old mother fell on Sunday and broke her hip, and is on-call for surgery. I’m having such a hard time concentrating, which is why I am posting, while I’m supposed to be trying to get rewrites done. I had to move my February 28th deadline to March 15th, knowing there was no way I was going to make it.

    Peace out, all; it’s just words. I posted a ‘Mrs. Giggles Does Not Wuv Me’ post on my blog, having fun with it. It’s just words.

  30. Lori Foster says:

    Donna, I hope your mother pulls the surgery without any complications.
    My dad actually got to come home today. He has bad bronchitis, and that with his age and congestive heart failure… well, it takes a toll. But the treatments have him back on track. All he really needs now is plenty of rest and TLC.

    I’m honestly not aware of any animosity from me toward AAR. No, I would never mail them my books to review, but I don’t think I’ve mentioned them often, and only replied recently in response to an existing comment. I AM allowed an opinion, just as Laurie Gold is in calling me an obnoxious cry baby. No biggie.

    And in the thread where I commented, I went on to say, “…some of the discussions at AAR are fantastic, and I love their various polls.”

    So I hope everyone doesn’t think I was dissing the place or the people. I don’t really diss anyone. For sure, I would never call anyone an obnoxious cry baby. To each her own.

    Anyhoo… I thought it was a great blog.
    I hope everyone has plenty of good reading experiences to carry them through the weekend. ;-)


  31. Amy says:

    Donna, with all due respect words are not “just words”. I appreciate your trying to diffuse a difficult situation, but posting that people are cheats and dishonest…those go beyond simply being words. Unfortunately, them be fightin’words! :)

    I didn’t post my earlier comment earlier to vent or support venting. Nor did I want to prolong conflict. I think that is what is already happening. I posted a hope that either the accusations be justified, or that they would be forever dropped. I think that is a reasonable hope and should not be glossed over. It would be good if all the parties directly involved act on it.

    As for Lori and Laurie. Well… That is something that appears to be personal and of long-standing. I don’t even want to get involved, but I am sorry for it.

    (PS: I too have a loved one in the hospital right now. It’s not easy for anyone. So I was glad to hear that Lori’s dad is back home.)

  32. Amy says:

    Donna, I popped over to your blog. Thanks for suggesting it.

    The reason I get a bit intense about this particular issue is that I was burned before. Disgruntled coworkers have done a number on me through the grapevine. No concern for facts, policy, procedure–just a pity fest because their supervisor was “mean”. Even if they had warnings, offers of help, etc. So unsubstantiated anything that is making the rounds tends to make me cranky. No one is a winner when that happens.

  33. Lori Foster says:

    Amy, hugs on your own hospital worries. I hope your loved one is soon well and back home!

    I didn’t know Laurie and I had anything longstanding, so it’s news to me. But I have NO animosity toward her at all. I think she’s done a remarkable job with AAR. A site of this size requires a lot of hard work, I’m sure. I respect her for that.

    I hope everyone else is enjoying good health – both personally and with their family and friends.



  34. Claire says:

    I remember reading a Silhoutte Intrigue once and all off a sudden it went off into paranormal territory and I was not expecting it. I was disappointed because I generally don’t like this genre and it was a wtf? moment I was not expecting. I reread the back later to see if I had missed the clues and yes there it was a hint about it but from my reading of it at the bookstore I missed it. I am more careful now when I buy a new book to make sure I’m getting what I want. It was definitely confusing bc this was a few years ago I guess right when the popularity of paranormals etc went way up. I would think publishers, editors whoever makes the back cover would want to make it clear what the book is about. I am more leary of Sil. Intrigues now bc of this.

  35. Donna says:

    Amy, I think my ‘just words’ comment was in light of life and death decisions; perspective and all that. I would never minimize anyone’s feelings about conflict. Sorry about your workplace trouble!

    Lori… glad your dad is better. My Mom’s surgery is likely not until next week now, but she’s feisty. I’m optimistic.

    FWIW, I believe AAR has never ‘made’ any reviewer grade a specific way, and I accept Laurie’s explanation. It sounds like the reviewer was not acting in a professional way to complain to an author about internal policy, or her interpretation. I’m assuming if she felt ‘pushed’ that way, she would have quit.

    But really… Lori’s offhand comment “Well, they don’t like me much at AAR, so I don’t go there often. A reviewer there once told me that her review of my book wasn’t critical enough and the “higher ups” made her change it.” is just reporting what she was told. I don’t know her well enough to know if she is ‘misremembering’, so I can’t comment on her veracity or lack thereof. I know if you read into it, it does sound like a jab at AAR’s honesty, which I’ve already said, I believe in 100%, but it just sounded like the kind of comment that was tossed off the cuff.

    Am I naive? Is there an anti-AAR thread in anything else Lori has said over the years? I don’t know.

    So, I’ll still go with… peace out.

  36. Laurie Gold says:

    In answer to Donna, and Leigh before her, I direct you to http://www.likesbooks.com/editorial.html – it’s from what I like to call the Robin Lee Hatcher Fiasco in 2002, and should help give some perspective and history to all this.

  37. Lori Foster says:

    Wow, that was a long time ago. I scarely remembered it until I reread it all. I was 43 then, I’m 50 now, and often I look back and think I would have handled things differently. But I still agree with what I said in relationship to all that. I think it was very badly mishandled.
    And I wasn’t the only person responding, or the only person taking that stance.

    I’ll just say again that I hold no animosity toward Laurie Gold. 7 years is a long time ago, imo. And since those days, I’ve pretty much steered clear of AAR.


  38. Donna says:

    Regarding the RLH thing… I do remember it now. Looking back on it, I still can’t figure out why people thought Laurie was wrong to discuss RLH’s words about Romance writing on a (gasp) website/forum about romance writing and link to the article in a non-tabloid newspaper? And folks thought she should have checked with RLH before talking about it… really?


    Peace to all!

  39. Lori Foster says:

    Donna, if you were badly misquoted, saying something that you would deny ever saying, and someone started a controversy with it without ever checking with you to see if it was true… I daresay you might feel differently.
    I know at the time it was a hot button for me because I had been so badly misquoted many times. These days, I rarely do any type of interview except one where I can email in my answers, and the interviewee agrees to let me see any changes made.
    If I offended Laurie at the time, I can apologize now.
    But I still think anything that controversial should be investigated before it’s shared. Or maybe that’s just me.
    To each her own!


  40. SarahT says:

    No disrespect to Lori Foster but I would assume an interview in a reputable publication was accurate and not feel the need to call up the interviewee for verification.

    I realise that interviewees can on occasion be misquoted and have their remarks taken out of context. In this case, however, the newspaper printed no apology or retraction and no further action seems to have been taken on the part of Ms Hatcher. That leads me to believe that the newspaper stands by the accuracy of its interview.

  41. Lori Foster says:

    My concern (at the time – but it’s a dead issue for me now) is that AFTER Robin said she was misquoted, no one (from here) bothered to get her side of it.

    I don’t know if the newspaper printed an apology or retraction. It was so long ago, I had forgotten all about it.

    But again, it was ages ago and I’m not interested in rehashing the past.

    Happy Monday to everyone.


  42. Leigh says:

    Happened to visit Mrsgiggle.com today, and evidently she and Lori have had issues in the past.


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