Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Dear Reader

I'm always a bit of a basketcase the week following a release. I'm one of the least literate people I know when it comes to recreational drug use (despite having gone to art school), but I imagine it's the emotional equivalent of mixing substances. Take an upper—the excitement of sharing your work with the world—and a downer—the first lousy review—then another upper—a high-profile write-up—and another downer, and so on until you're reduced to a sweaty, shaking heap. It cycles you through a weird circuit of joyous, slapped, vindicated, paranoid, heartbroken, then after a couple of weeks, a healthy baseline of "Well, I did my best and a lot of people enjoyed it," and you cease to actively worry what people think of you once more, focus firmly locked on the next book.

Monday morning I woke in a particular deep rut in the downer end of the cycle. A long training run cleaned me out of much of my chemical funk, but over the last few days, I got a boost from another source, one which warmed my heart instead of merely flushing out my brain.

You can has!

It's lovely getting kind reviews from strangers, but when one actually takes the time to write directly to me, not an audience of their friends and online acquaintances…? For swoon! Yesterday I received three kindly reader e-mails—not bragging, it just felt really cool, like people out there could sense I needed an injection of a happy-making drug. I even got an e-mail from a frustrated reader who couldn't get their review to appear on the B&N website, and wondered if I'd heard of this issue before. Wow. So not only were you nice enough to take the time to write up your thoughts about my work, you're actually willing to troubleshoot a vendor website to see it posted? Dag! You can has OSSUMEST READR EVAH badge.

But no one reader e-mail is superior to any other. I get the same thrill and egomaniacal glow whether it's a sentence or an opus (or indeed a tweet), whether you gush profusely or politely enumerate your criticisms. Well, as long as you butter me up first before laying down the complaints. I'm not that well-adjusted.

Readers nearly freak me out with their kindness. I'm always surprised when they thank me for the book. The book is no biggie—I write those for myself. But readers…they're the ones who pay for my work and invest a few hours of their lives with my odd and prickly characters. I want to reach through the digital ether and shake them and scream, "NO, THANK YOU!" but thankfully I'm not clever enough to mastermind the technology to make that possible. Instead I respond with an e-mail of my own (always straightaway because I'm so outrageously touched), with whatever's on my mind in the moment.

I keep a folder in my mail system called "Fan / Hate Mail." I've yet to get a single piece of the latter—not even for any of my erotica alter ego's spuriously moraled tales. In it I have every kindly message I've yet received (for either of my authorly identities). And so I say to Pamela, Michelle, Danielle, Cat, Erica, Marianne, Cindy, Lanae, Judith, Tricia, Tiffany, Clicia, Carol, Anne, Kate, Tammy, Andrea, Jeff, Victoria, Arlene, Kathy, Jessica, Christine, Tara, Abigail, Dana, Petro, Bobbie, Elaine, Hailey, Amy, Joyce, and KK (to date):

Thank you so, so much. You really have no clue how much it means to us lowly writers. It's a big part of what gets us to peel away the covers and scuttle to our keyboards each day.

My very best,


  1. I love this post! So nice to see how an author feels about reader mail and the fact that you have all the names listed just shows how much it really did mean to you.

    I've gushed on twitter and I'll do it again here - I really loved the book and it was so hot!

  2. Tricia - that's me!

    And now I'm realizing I've read your two most recent books, and stalked your website (okay, 'stalked' might be too strong, but I do subscribe to your RSS feed...)' and havent said a peep about either book. Which is crummy, since I really enjoyed both, so much so that I stayed up laaaaaaate to finish Reluctant Nude, and was sleepy at work all the next day.

    Hmm, maybe you should apologize for being such a good writer. ;)

  3. Hi ladies! And thanks again! If only I'd kept track of all the kind tweets readers have sent…though that level of bookkeeping might take me beyond appreciative to full-on narcissistic.