Cockles Aglow

There’s nothing that warms the insecure, neurotic little cockles of an author’s heart than positive book reviews. You see, we work for hours upon countless hours alone, just us and the voices in our heads, and then we set these stories loose in the world for other people to read and, usually, we’re never really sure whether the things we thought were funny/scary/intense/emotional/etc. are going to land that way for other people.

And sometimes they don’t. There is not a single book out there that doesn’t have at least one bad review. Taste is subjective, and sometimes your writing just absolutely offends someone or, (worse yet?) does nothing for them. To this you can only shrug and move on. As my dad used to say, “The poop is in the pudding,” which I’ve always assumed meant the damage was done and you might as well keep on rolling.

Anyway, I got a review of Bai Tide that was such a rave, I’ve been aglow all day. It’s from book blogger Sara the Introvert, who had this to say of Bai Tide:

Bai Tide was a welcome and pleasant surprise. I love TV shows like Quantico and Criminal Minds. I’m just a sucker for a good crime or spy story. I’m also a sucker for stories that feature people who aren’t white dudes…I also loved how Mitchell handled writing the section of the book that takes place in North Korea. It’s so easy to make fun of North Korea or to make light of the situation over there, but I think she painted a real picture of it. There was nothing to suggest that she was making fun of the country; on the contrary, it seemed like she was trying to do the country justice.”

You guys, Sara gets it. All the things she pointed out as her favorites are my favorite parts of the story, too. I love that my hero isn’t a white dude with a waxed chest and sculpted jaw. I love that he has to go toe-to-toe with female spies and often gets his ass handed to him. I’m pleased and punch that she felt I did North Korea justice.

That was my goal. That was why I spent so many hours researching North Korea, giving myself nightmares in the process. It’s why I consulted native Korean speakers to get the Korean bits of dialogue correct. It’s why I haunted Google Maps so much I could probably navigate around Pyongyang pretty easily.

North Korea is a human rights travesty and, as easy as it is to make fun of North Korea, the people who are suffering and starving at the mercy of a tyrannical, paranoid despot deserve better.

So anyway, this review made my whole day. You can click here to read the whole thing; it’s a good read.

(By the way {or should I say, Bai the way? Heh heh heh}, Bai Tide is available in print with the kickass new cover, and it’s only $10.95!!! Check it out!)

Happy Cinco de Mayo, my friends! Hoist a margarita for me tonight!

Jurassic Lark

It’s been a busy couple of days for me in blogger land! I had two guest posts go up on writing blogs within a day of each other. If you’re of a writer-ly bent and have some time to burn, head on over to Writer Unboxed to read my advice on handling awkward author situations, or click on over to Live Write Thrive to learn how to craft suspense in a novel. I’m really proud of how they both turned out, let me know what you think!

I was also interviewed on A.C. Fuller’s podcast Writer 2.0 last week (told you it’s been busy!) and the resulting episode is really fun. We cover all sorts of interesting topics like why my first book, PWNED, sucks, whether North Korea is a real threat, and a bonus conspiracy theory about beloved 30 Rock characters. Check it out, if only to hear how often (and loudly) I laugh.

It's okay if I touch you. I'm gonna tell the others later that our presence must be antiseptic, but I'm special and the rules don't apply to me.

“It’s okay if I touch you. I’m gonna tell the others later that our presence must be antiseptic, but I’m special and the rules don’t apply to me.”

In non-Erika-is-everywhere news, Wes and I watched The Lost World (a.k.a. Jurassic Park 2) and you know what? I remember that movie being a lot better. And making some sort of sense. Then again, I was a child when I saw it for the first time so that might explain the disconnect.

Seriously, though, unless a twelve year old wrote that script, how did that ever pass muster at a major studio? And for that matter, how did Crichton feel about them turning his awesome female lead character, Sarah Harding, into a self-righteous imbecile?

I mean, one minute she’s feeling up a baby Stegosaurus while she arrogantly assures Malcolm she’s been living around predators since she was twenty, the next minute she’s bringing a baby T-Rex back to their trailer and then acting all shocked when the baby’s parents come looking for it and beat the crap out of all of them. Afterward, she concludes that her actions changed the T-Rex’s perceived territory boundaries. Why didn’t she think of that before absconding with their baby? It’s okay, she had a lot on her mind, what with wearing a jacket stained with baby T-Rex blood through a jungle. It’s hard work making it that easy for vengeful two-story tall predators to find you so they can eat you.

I remember The Lost World being a solid, entertaining read. I even recall liking it better than Jurassic Park. Here’s hoping Jurassic World is able to live up to the legacy of mind-rupturing awesomeness set by its predecessor. I seriously still, to this day, get goosebumps listening to the Jurassic Park theme music. Amazing.

Save us, Chris Pratt. You’re our only hope!

What People Are Saying About Bai Tide

This could be you.

This could be you.

The weekend is coming up, and you know what? You look a little tired. I bet you could use some relaxation time this weekend. Know what I recommend? Wear some comfy clothes, buy something warm and comforting to drink at your favorite cafe, and then get lost in a good book for awhile. Maybe a book with a beach? And some gun fights, to keep you from drifting off to sleep in public? Oh, and definitely a chase scene in an armored school bus through a desert canyon.

Yeah, you’re definitely gonna need one of those.

Lucky for you, I have just the thing: Bai Tide! My own book! I know, I know, absolutely shocking that I’d recommend my book, but seriously? I wouldn’t if I thought it wasn’t worth your money.

I’ve been really gratified by the feedback I’m getting from readers and reviewers alike. There was Txting Mr. Darcy’s review that came out earlier this week, which had this to say:

“Erika writes thrillers for those of us that wouldn’t necessarily characterize ourselves as thriller-readers. If I was stranded at an airport and forced to choose between the latest sugary YA Vampwolf Saga or Steve Berry, you can guess which way I’d go.”

You know, that’s actually exceptionally high praise. Getting someone to hop genres is no small thing, and I’m pleased as punch to have created a thriller that’s enjoyable to readers who don’t necessarily consider themselves “thriller readers.”

Next, there was Dwell in Possibility’s review that just came out today. Bonnie writes book reviews for inquiring minds, and most of the books she reviews are more literary in nature. Imagine my delight, then, when she had this to say about my explode-y little espionage thriller:

“I like Mitchell’s writing. She’s great with a turn of phrase, and she captures the small moments really well. The book is written in the first person, although thankfully not in the present tense which I increasingly find obnoxious to read, so we spend a lot of time with Bai/Alan’s thoughts. This works out well, since Mitchell develops his character effectively by making him vulnerable enough to be a compelling character but not so vulnerable as to be difficult to accept as an intelligence officer. Also, Bai/Alan has a great sense of humor, dry and self-effacing, so it’s fun to read what’s going on in his mind.”

That first sentence is just about the nicest thing a reviewer can say. It’s simple, she likes my writing, but isn’t that all an author wants? To write prose readers can actually stand to read for a whole book?

The rest of her review is rather artful, actually, well worth reading. She manages to summarize the plot without giving anything away, which is amazing because it’s a twisty plot. Really, the whole plot is predicated on the reader knowing only exactly as much as Bai knows throughout the story, and any additional information might very well ruin the whole darn thing.

Hats off to Bonnie for sidestepping that whole problem beautifully!

Both of these ladies are seasoned readers, and I trust both of them to be honest in their reviews. If they enjoyed Bai Tide, why wouldn’t you? Check it out today, and have yourself a relaxing weekend!

Bai Tide’s First Review!

Bai Tide cover - smallI know I’ve been playing it cool around here about the whole, “I have a book coming out next month” thing, but that’s because I’ve been busy, uh, getting the darn thing ready to come out so that when the release date rolls around I can actually, like, sell it to people.

One of the best parts about publishing a book is getting to see how people react to what you’ve worked on. Especially when you’re trying something new. If people don’t get it? Eh. That’s to be expected. If someone reacts exactly the way you hoped they would, and they love it? Well, sweet googly moogly and heavens to Betsy, that’s just the BEST.

Bai Tide received it’s first review today and…It’s a rave! A Bookaholic’s Fix reviewed the book early (such are the perks of being a book blogger) and had this to say:

“While I love the James Bond movies (especially the ones with Daniel Craig) and TV shows like Burn Notice and Chuck, I’ve never really read any books from this particular genre. After reading this one, I think that is going to change.”

To read the entire review (which is just music to my ears), click here.

The book doesn’t even come out for a month, and it’s already off to a great start!

A Ringing Endorsement from Yours Truly

513n+LHT-AL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_When you’re an author, sometimes you’re lucky enough to make friends with other authors. If you’re really lucky, those other authors have been writing longer than you have and you can learn from them.

I have found in fellow author Karen Burns both a mentor and a friend. We’re critique partners, which means we send each other chapters of our in-progress works and give no-holds-barred critique feedback. We know each other’s characters so well, we know intuitively what they will or won’t do.

Her book, Rules For the Perpetual Diet, just came out. Because I’ve gone through every single chapter of that book with a fine-toothed comb, I can say with certainty that it’s an excellent book. It’s clever, terribly interesting, and not in any way typical. The writing is solid, the characters are unique, and the setting is spot-on perfection. (A large part of it takes place in Paris {some of it under Paris} and Karen’s descriptions are perfect because she’s spent many months exploring Paris.)

If you’re in the market for some solid, well-done fiction, I can’t recommend her book highly enough. Trust me: I’m a professional.

Click here to read reviews or purchase it on Amazon!