Readers Lovin’ ‘Beware the Spider’ & Want More

Reviews of Beware the Spider poured in over the last several weeks, and I’m gratified that even reviewers with legitimate critiques liked the story.

Thank you to every reader who reviews the book, and note that I take feedback seriously.

Here are a few things reviewers had to say (edited drastically to make them look punchy):

Carol enjoyed her reviewer’s print copy so much “I bought an ebook copy to be able to highlight and have with me on my Kindle at all times.” (Full review on Goodreads.)

Sara Marie Gordon called it “fast paced, action packed, and a unique storyline.” She took it camping, and it kept her up late. (Full review here.)

Seraphia, a Vine Voice* reviewer on Amazon, called Beware the Spider a “fascinating supernatural thriller.” (Full review here.)Amazon Books (@amazonbooks) | Twitter

(* Amazon Vine™ Voice , an invitation only program that gives Amazon reviewers advance access to not-yet-released products for the purpose of writing reviews.)

Donna Page called it “very good sci-fi.”

“I will definitely read the next one,” she says. (And, yes, there will be another next year.)

NOTE: Sci-fi? Thriller? Supernatural? Just what are the Black Orchid Chronicles? I’ll be addressing the genre “issue” soon in a blog post. It’s definitely a vexing problem and may be limiting the number of readers the books reach.

Lisa and Gina are excited about the next Black Orchid Chronicle, too.

“I will be reading more,” Lisa says. (Read her full review here.)

Gina says, “This was an engaging, intriguing novel with a unique storyline–one I became engrossed in and want to read more of. ” (Full review on Goodreads.)

Reader Jessica Bone says I’ve got “a fun writing style that allows you to experience what his characters are and leaves you breathless wondering what will happen next. ” (Read her full review on Goodreads.)

Finally, Amazon reviewer Bon81230 was breathless:

Fast paced and action packed …

(Read her full review here.)

You can find direct links to the full reviews on the Beware the Spider Reviews page on my Web site.

If you’ve read and enjoyed Beware the Spider, please share a review. It’s how authors get known.

Thank you, all.

Reviewer Can’t Wait for Sequel

Jane Cairns, the person behind the Mystery Reviews + Writing blog, reviewed The Mark of the Spider, Book 1 of the Black Orchid Chronicles.

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She calls it ” a good beginning to this supernatural series” and says:

I look forward to reading the second installment and learning the ongoing fate of Arnett, Campion and T.

You can read the entire review here.

Progress on the Sequel

The rewrite of Flight of the Spider: Book 2 of the Black Orchid Chronicles is almost done, despite accidentally destroying the manuscript once and discovering 10 pages of material I intended to remove still survived.

I’ve deleted 98 pages of material, dropping the word count from about 76,500 to around 73,000.

That translates into rewriting about 100 pages of the original.

I promised to deliver the completed manuscript to beta reviewers on Feb. 1. Yeah, I didn’t make that deadline. It’s looking more like mid-February. (More on the value of beta readers later.)

Once I hear back from the betas — they get four weeks to read and report — I’ll know when it will be ready to publish.

BTW, I’ve already written 200 pages on Book 3 of the Black Orchid Chronicles, tentatively entitled “Spider’s Revenge.”



Awards Judge: Hotel Constellation A ‘Fascinating Memoir’

Writer’s Digest informed me that my Viet-Nam era memoir, Hotel Constellation: America’s Secret War in Laos, missed the top prize for memoirs in its 2018 self-published book awards.

But it did give me a heckuva good writeup as a consolation prize. The judge called it “a fascinating memoir written by a seasoned writer.

Hotel Constellation got a 5 — the highest rating on a scale of 0-5 — on five of the six criteria judged. It stumbled on “Plot and Story Appeal,” which I grant is a really important factor. It rated a 4 out of 5.

Here is what a judge of the 25th Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards wrote: (This is the complete review, unedited except to correct the spelling of the name, Branfman.)

Hotel Constellation - 3D

Hotel Constellation opens with a good self-description of a stubborn young man absolutely bent on going to Vietnam, obsessed with entering the country and studying for a year at the Buddhist University in Saigon. He arrives in September of 1970. The level of danger involved in his enterprise, for which he has prepared for an entire year, can be seen in his father’s taking out a $5,000 life insurance policy on his own son. Mr. Haase Sr. knew he would not be able to afford to ship his son’s cadaver back should anything go wrong. Wrong, in fact, was how things went from the first moment Haase disembarked from the plane. He ended up being shipped off to Bangkok, from which place he worked on finding a way back in to Vietnam. I really felt for the author’s frustrations in Laos. The story about Branfman forced departure from Laos is interesting, especially when the reader considers it might have been engineered by the U.S. Embassy. The author explains a great deal about the Meo people. He also shows that he had a most original life in Laos. It is ironic, however, that he felt things were happening everywhere except where he was. I like the pictures: they bring a nitty gritty ethos to the memoir, none more convincingly than the shot of the author interviewing Jane Fonda on the tarmac of Wattay Airport in July of 1972. I liked the reasons the narrator gives for his going to Vietnam—to prove to his father that he was “not a coward, not afraid to face war just because [he] opposed this one” (251). This is a fascinating memoir written by a seasoned writer who shows that our ideals at 20 influence choices that impact us for a lifetime and may, as in the case of Haase, give us rare perspective.

Thanks to Writers Digest and congratulations to all of the self-published winners.

Hotel Constellation is available in ebook and paperback formats.

Get your ebook now at: Amazon | AppleBarnes & Noble | Kobo | ScribdSmashwords

Also available in paperback at Amazon.