Thursday, January 3, 2013

the saddest day of the year and some review news

The tree is gone and all of the ornaments and decorations are packed up. Including that Santa Clause and the nutcracker that sat out on the piano this entire past year because I forgot to pack them up the previous Christmas. Everything is plain again. But the room is bigger now.
Okay, so it's not bigger, but there's no longer a tree in it, and, even though the tree was in the corner, it was a tree in the house, and that takes up some room.
But it's all gone, now, and the tree is outside in a big, black can looking so much smaller than it did when it was in the house.

I think I managed not to clog up the vacuum cleaner with pine needles this year.
Of course, I thought that last year, too.
And the year before.

In some ways, it's a shame we have to start the year by putting away all of the celebrations and make everything plain and normal again.
Then, I remember the year that my mom left the tree up until well after my birthday, which is in February, and how it had almost just become this part of the house that we all just accepted and no one noticed anymore.
We have to have that discussion with our kids every year, about how it's a good thing that Christmas is not every day, because, if it was, they would stop enjoying getting presents. It would be one of those things that my daughter would try to get out of because she wanted to go out to play, and the younger boy would be too busy playing Minecraft to bother with.

So, yeah, today was the day of ending the big Christmas event and packing everything away. A sad day.
But not so sad. It's time to get back to regular life again. Time to do some more writing. Almost time for the kids to get back to school, and that will not be a sad day. At least not for me. My daughter's ready to get back, too, even if the boys are not.

Well... so that's that. 11 months to go...

In other news, I have some reviews I'd like to highlight. Mr. Alex Cavanaugh himself read The House on the Corner during the holiday and had this to say about it:
"Once it got to the Imagination Room and the troll, it was incredibly compelling."
I can't really argue with that, now, can I? His whole review, which is fairly short, is located here along with his four star rating.
One other thing that Alex said is that the he found the character of Ruth to be the "most annoying creature in the world." I take that as a huge compliment, because it means I really did the job I set out to do in creating the characters for the book.

I really love hearing from people which character was their favorite. Ruth tends to be favored more among the younger readers, but it's not younger female readers, just younger readers as the boys favor just as often as the girls. Adult males have tended to prefer Tom. Sam has a good spread among all ages. I find it interesting and can't wait to see what people think as the story progresses.

The other review I want to highlight is one left for Shadow Spinner by a fairly high ranked reviewer on Amazon. The complete review is posted on "The Tunnel," but let me just share this one little bit here:
"The thing that really distinguishes this book and elevates it to the category of very happy find, is the careful and realistic way that Mr. Leon builds up the tension, the dread, the reveals and the threat in this story."
Then, he adds:
"There is room, though, for a thinking man's fantasy-father tale. There should be signs and portents. There should be odd things happening around the edges. Mom should be a little damaged and a little mental. Suspicious things should happen and there should be a slow unfolding of what's going to happen and what might happen. That's what you get here.
And you get it with real style."

Getting good reviews from anyone is great, and there is something special in having a friend genuinely like your work. You know, that person you hand it to and say, "I hope you like it," because you really hope that person likes it, and, when that person does it like, it gives you a little glow inside. But there's something else entirely when someone you don't know at all leaves a great review for you. It's an entirely different type of gratification.

So... it may be the saddest day of the year (Thursday, January 3, as I write this), but, you know what? Maybe everything's not so plain after all.


  1. That's awesome, Andrew, congrats! I know what you mean. I love getting great reviews. Makes a bad somehow seem good. With my 99 cent sale over, I just received a small flood of them myself. Made me glow all over. I'm glad you're getting some good ones, especially from Alex. Just seems to mean more coming from the Ninja Captain! As for the tree, I can't wait to get it down this weekend. I want my house back from all the Christmas clutter. Happy New Year, Andrew!

  2. You've talked about the importance of a review being honest and about the integrity of the person giving the review. With Alex, I'm quite certain you got both.

    Packing away the detritus of the holiday can be loathsome indeed. But less loathsome than having a dead tree in your living room :)

    Now back to work with you Mr. Teacher!!

  3. Everything does seem a bit dull after the Christmas tree and decorations have been cleared away, but then I think they lose their sparkle after the big day anyway - that's why our tree goes up on 1st December :) I usually have to buy something new for the lounge in January to brighten it up a bit...

    Congratulations on the reviews - they obviously loved your books. What a great way to start 2013!

  4. You wanted to make her annoying? You are pure evil. Ruth is the reason some animals eat their young. And why I'm not a parent!

  5. I took my stuff down on New Year's. If XMas were every day we'd all be broke because nothing except movie theaters and Chinese restaurants would be open.

  6. Christmas usually ended on the Epiphany in my house (when the Wise Men finally reach town). It's always weird to end this season. Although it's funny, because most Christmas songs really don't have anything to do with Christmas, they're about the winter season, so I don't know why we stop listening to those (or START listening) because of Christmas.

  7. Congrats on the review!!! I never enjoy looking at my regular home decor after taking down all of my tacky Griswald Christmas items. Perhaps I need to go tacky all year?

  8. Congratulations on the review. I too liked the imagination room. Ruth made me want to pull all of my eyebrows out. I hate screaming kids.

  9. A great review really is great! Congrats. I spend tons of time around kids and toddlers myself. Ruth just seemed like a kid to me.

  10. Congrats on the great reviews! We will be parting with the season tomorrow.

  11. Nancy: Your book's on my list, I'm just not sure how soon I'll get to it.

    Anne: Yeah, the dead tree thing is no fun.

    Amanda: Well, I don't know. The kids were still lighting up the tree first thing every morning up to the day we took it down.

    Alex: I wanted to make her realistic. If that tells you anything.

    PT: Perpetual Chinese food? Hmm...

    Tony: Well, I don't really listen to those anyway. I don't care for most of them, including Jingle Bells.

    JKIR,F: Hey, that sounds like a plan! Take lots of pics of it for us.

    Michael: Well, she really didn't do a lot of screaming. Just manipulating.

    Rusty: Me, too. Mine, specifically.

    G_G: Thanks! I hope it's a good parting.

  12. My stomach is in knots right now, because one of my critique partners LOVED my new book, the other couldn't read it. It is now with a beta reader. Of course, the one critique partner doesn't read the genre and only likes books with sex in it. It's a clean YA, so totally not her thing.
    You are so right, there is always that one that you HOPE love the story.

  13. Hey Andrew! I actually like it when all the christmas stuff comes're right, if christmas were every day we would all get frigging sick of it pretty quickly..and the kids would start hating it. They'd probably start by 'forgetting' to leave the milk and cookies out for Santa, and progress to engaging in fisticuffs with anyone dressed as an elf, or wearing a Santa hat. I can't believe I actually said 'fisticuffs'...Happy New Year!

  14. Ciara: Yeah, it can be tough, which is why it's most important to write something that you're happy with. If you like it, it kind of doesn't matter if anyone else does.

    Eve: My kids wouldn't forget; they'd just eat the cookies and claim they were trying to keep Santa from getting too fat.

  15. My decorations come down tomorrow, 6th.

    Wonderful to get positive reviews for your work.

  16. It's always so sad putting the tree away. BUT it's only 354 days til Christmas!!

  17. Jo: It is!

    OE: Yeah, but I have to get through all of the birthdays, first, so I'm not actually ready to start thinking about Christmas again, yet.

  18. Congrats on the positive reviews. I'm in Christmas-is-over denial, but I'll soon take the tree down.

  19. Elizabeth: My mom used to say that the tree should never come down while it was still alive (drinking water). We had one up into February one year.