Saturday, June 02, 2018

Great review of Unexpected Strangers

Because I missed getting my stories out into the world, I started collecting a few of them in small themed packs of work under the "Nocturnal Screams" banner.

Each of the mini-books in the "Nocturnal Screams" series has between 12,000 to 16,000 words of stories (usually three tales), along with the "behind the story" notes - something I enjoy reading myself in other authors' works and have received compliments about in the past.

While I normally enjoy seeing that one of my books has been reviewed (social proof is great), I tend to not put a lot of stock into them (other than that it is important to have reviews). Reviews mean that people are actually reading the books. The reason I try not to focus on reviews is I find that many reviews are vague little "it was okay" with two or three stars, and if you start taking those things to heart, you'll drown in writerly self-doubt. And writers have more than their share of that.

And if you pay too much attention to one star reviews, well, that's a death knell. Not every book is for everyone, and, rather than take those to heart, I usually just have to consign myself to the understanding that I or my publisher or a bookseller (or however it happened), did something wrong to get the book into the absolute WRONG reader's hands. IE, the targeting was somehow off and the wrong person (ie, NOT the ideal reader) picked it up and had a bad experience with it.

In any case, reviews are necessary, but not something one should focus on.

Heck, if I get just a handful of three or four star reviews, I consider myself blessed.

But this morning I woke to find a wonderful four star review of a recently published collection called Unexpected Strangers. Volume 5 in my Nocturnal Screams series. And I couldn't help but bask just a little bit in that.

This in depth and well-thought out review from Silver Screen Videos is quite complimentary, while recognizing imperfections, etc. was six full paragraphs.

Here are some excellent pull-quotes from it:

In addition to the three short stories in “Unexpected Strangers,” author Leslie provides several pages of “behind the scenes” material. For each story, he describes how he came to write it, including a description of his creative thought processes in detail, as the three stories gradually took shape from rudimentary early ideas. For anyone who is interested in possibly becoming a writer, or in the writing process itself, this extra material is a solid companion piece to the stories themselves.

. . . and also this . . .

All three are well constructed, well written, and quite entertaining. Further, most people will probably be able to finish all three stories, with bonus material, over the course of a lunch hour. And, while it didn’t bother me that none of the stories were really scary in any sense, that shouldn’t deter anyone who likes either horror or suspense fiction. You will probably find that “Unexpected Strangers” makes for unexpectedly good reading.
Of course, one of my favourite lines from the review is this delightful compliment about the story "Captive Audience."

The author contends that his stories are reminiscent of old “Twilight Zone” episodes, but this one could more easily have come from the pages of “Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine,” and I mean that as quite a compliment.

For those who aren't familiar, Hitchcock is, and has long been one of the most prestigious thriller/mystery/dark fiction magazines available.

And, for the sake of 100% transparency, so you can read, the good, the bad and the ugly, (the reviewer does a great job of calling out things that they don't like about some of the writing - all quite valid points that I can appreciate - here is a link to the item page where you can read the full review.

If you're curious to check out the first in the Nocturnal Screams series, Night Cries (pictured below) is free on all major retail platforms.

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