When Authors Upset Readers


I don’t rant often. At least not in public. But people who know me know that I have two big beefs with two big name authors.

Mr. Stephen King: Good ole SK and I go way back. Hell, he was a large part of the inspiration for me taking pen to paper to begin with. I cut my horror teeth on books like “IT” (which incidentally is still one of my favorite books of all time). For one reason or another though, it took me years to pick up The Gunslinger, which is the first book in his Dark Tower series. I think it was because it felt too fantasy/western-ish for me. (What- no vampires? No possessed cars? No kid with telekinesis? Next…)

What happened next surprised the crap out of me. The intertwining story of Roland, Jake, Eddie, and Odetta drew me and captivated me. I couldn’t stop. There are seven tomes in the series (some rather massive), but I plowed forward reading day and night. I read pretty fast, but it still took me almost two weeks to reach the pinnacle of the story in the last book. Then it was over, and I wanted to scream and throw things at the wall.

Not because it was over, but because of the way that King wrote the ending. I HATED it. I couldn’t believe that was how he chose to close out the epic plot. I felt sick. My mind was full of these characters, and what had been done to them. I was heartbroken for days.

And even though this happened in 2009, I’m still ticked off about it.

Mr. George R.R. Martin: I started reading Game of Thrones before it debuted on HBO- which I think mainstreamed the series. It took me a little while to get used to George’s writing style (particularly due to the continual violence against the female characters), but I was intrigued by the Stark family and growing tentacles of plot that followed each of the main characters.

Then (*spoiler alert*) he went and killed off poor Ned Stark at the end of the first book. I remember putting my iPad down thinking “WTF JUST HAPPENED?”.  Dumb me, I continued reading the next book.

You know the old saying “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me?” Well, I let old George fool me more times than I cared to count as each of my favorite characters (and I had to keep promoting new ones to that VIP status) fell to George’s killer pen. Finally, at the end of book 4, I said enough was enough. I won’t read anymore of the books because there isn’t really anyone left that I truly give a crap about.

Even Jimmy Fallon gets it.

You’re not fooling me again, George.

I’m a lot smarter about all of this stuff these days. With the internet, you can find out what’s going to happen throughout a series ahead of time, and then you can decide if you want to invest the time and energy to take the chance on it or not. (I’m looking at you, Charlaine Harris and Veronica Roth.)

So why the rant?

As frustrated, annoyed, angered, ticked off, hurt, sad, and bitter I am about these two series, I can’t deny one simple truth. I’m all of those things because the author was able to tell a story that sucked me in and got me emotionally invested. I connected with the characters in that magical way that makes them feel almost as real to me as the people around me. In the moments I spent with them, there’s no where else I’d rather have been.

That is a magical thing. And one that you don’t expect the author to abuse.

Right or wrong the author is the one that gets to make the decision on where the story goes and what the characters do. They invite us into their head and their worlds. They are sharing their creations with us, even though I feel quite possessive of them myself  (as if the story was written just for me). The only thing I have control over is whether I will continue to give them my attention or not (which is actually a pretty powerful thing when I think about this from my author perch).

Me and SK will continue to be buds. He’s proven himself with his other books that continue to entertain and delight me. Me and George are likely on the outs for good, but I’m not really sad at all about it.

Do you have a favorite author who did you wrong? Tell me about it in the comments!

Happy Reading…

A Few Of My Favorite Things

This is Day 8 of my 31 Days of August Awesomeness Blog Challenge. Want to know more? Check out the inaugural post here.

If you have Julie Andrews from the Sound of Music singing in your head right now, then we have something in common. 🙂  Maria had her favorite things, Oprah has her favorite things, and as I was pinning things over on Pinterest, I decided that I should share a few of my favorite things too.

The things that really get people excited and passionate can tell a lot about them. I can only imagine what my list says about me.

Apple products: Okay, I admit that I’m an Apple fangirl. I have an iPad, an iPhone, and a MacBook Pro. Oops, I almost forgot about Apple TV.  I don’t quite know how it happened, but I think it was the original iPad that really sucked me in. I am on the go a lot, and travel quite a bit for the day job, so there is no way to put a cost on being able to be mobile and still be connected. Plus I trust Apple stuff- they make cool products that last forever if you treat them right. (You may remember I mentioned in my Day 6 post about my camera sucking? It’s from my iPhone 3GS- so I’m not always an early adopter. Just most of the time- lol.)

Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc: If you are looking for a solid white table wine, then this one is a winner every time. It’s crisp and hits just the right notes on the palette, and it’s extremely  affordable, usually ranging anywhere from $10-$13 depending on where you pick it up.


Pampered Chef stoneware: I know how to cook, but I don’t really do it a lot. My husband enjoys cooking much more than I do, so I pretty let him run the kitchen. However, back in 2003-2004, I ran across this little home party that was selling kitchen products and I bought my first stone. Then I signed up to sell it (pretty much so I could get the discount to buy everything I wanted). Six months later, my kitchen was FULL of Pampered Chef products. Many of those stones we still use almost everyday, and they are beautifully seasoned (which means that they are almost black). I didn’t own a metal pan again until last year when my husband forced me to buy one as overflow for cookie baking.

Bath and Body Exotic Coconut Lotion: I use this everyday along with the shower gel and body spray. What drives me a little batty is that they don’t carry it in stores around here year-round because apparently it’s one of their “seasonal” scents. Thank goodness for the internet!

Stephen King’s The Dark Tower books: I cut my horror teeth on Stephen King when I was in grade school. I devoured everything he wrote (good thing the guy’s prolific!) and have continued to follow his dark journeys as an adult. But I didn’t read the Dark Tower books until just a few years ago, despite the fact that the books leading up to the last book have been around for a long time. I read like a banshee, but even I was slowed down by each massive tome. When it was all over, I cried. Literally.

I promised just a few of my favorite things, but I’m sure I’ll have more to share as I’m pinning away. If you like some of my favorites too, be sure to let me know in the comments below!

Why I’m Still Afraid of the Dark

Confession time. I’m 36 years old and I still jog up the staircase at night after turning off the lights on the floor below. I’ve got an inner dialogue going on the whole time that sounds something like this:

“This is so stupid. You are way too old to act like this. Seriously, what (or who) do you think is going to come after you? The boogeyman?”

Followed quickly by:

“Man, I need to get to the gym.”

That second part is a self-deprecating story for another day.

Let’s focus in on the fact that I turn into a ten year kid in my own house by letting fear almost completely overrule every rational thought in my head. When it comes down to it, I’m not a fan of the dark. I don’t find it particularly comforting, and instead it has always represented in my mind a place where things that want to hurt you hide away until you are completely vulnerable. Then those things will lunge out and grab you with no remorse and reduce you into a crying, terrified, now-I-need-therapy mess (that is, if you weren’t completely spirited away into another universe of course).

You may chalk it up to my early discovery of Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers and the like. Or the fact that I read every Stephen King book I could get my hands on somewhere between fifth and sixth grade. My middle school mind was shaped by these big uglies who had their terrifying agenda of revenge and often stalked their prey at night. You know, when everybody was sleeping. I got older and even though I knew that none of these things were real, I was even more drawn to them (ahem, vampire junkie anyone?). But that fear of the dark remained.

Then as a grown-up, I learned a shocking truth. You don’t need a Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, or Michael Myers to come along and do evil things. Human beings, the ones that exist here and now in the real world, are just as capable of the dastardly awful things that I saw in movies and read about in my fiction books. I learned that there are people out there who don’t know me, but given the proper motivation (in their minds anyway) would hurt me without hesitation or provocation. Usually you can’t see those people coming either. They hide behind normal faces in normal places. They could be anywhere. That fear becomes even more pronounced as you transfer it to those that you love.

You may wonder how a big old scaredy cat like me could write horror or any other kind of spooky story about things that go bump in the night when I feel this way. Part of the reason is because regardless of how I feel about the creatures themselves, I still get a little bit of a thrill out of being scared inside a safely contained fictional environment. I’m the first person in line to see movies like Resident Evil (and all of its sequels) and the remakes of my favorite horror movies from when I was a kid (even though they are almost always spectacularly bad). I think the important words there, in case you missed them, were “safely contained” and “fictional”. When I’m in control of the words going down on the page, those things hold no power over me. In fact, I could erase them without a second thought. No, those fictional baddies don’t scare me.

But movies like Blood Diamond and Tears of the Sun stress me out and put me in a melancholy depression for days – because even though the story may be fiction, the truth behind the story is not. What human beings can do to other human beings is ghastly and deeply disturbing to me. In the end, that’s why, at 36, I’m still afraid of the dark. It’s not because of the monsters inside my head or that I find in other writers’ work; it’s the real monsters out there that I know exist. I hope they never find my doorstep, or yours. But in the meantime, you’ll still find me looking over my shoulder when I climb those stairs at night.