Roxanne Bland

I am a genre-bending novelist of fantasy, science fiction and romance. My motto: Reality is highly overrated.

Tornado A’Comin!

Okay! The marketing folks called me today, and said they’re about to launch me to the world at large. I have a feeling that between my job and this venture, I’m not going to get much sleep. Ah, well. It’s for a good cause–developing a market for my novels.

Speaking of novels, The Moreva of Astoreth is getting a new look. Why? The current cover, though I like it, is earning me demerits in the marketplace. One reviewer actually took a star off her review because of the cover. So instead of a five-star review, I got a four. Another reviewer said to please look beyond the cover, because there’s a really good book inside. We’re not talking Amazon reviewers, either. These are pros. So it behooves me to take notice, and do something about it.

The Underground: Invasion is at the editing stage. I may change the name to just Invasion, because in working will my illustrator, I can see how it could be confusing. It certainly confused him, until I started referring to it as Second Edition and Invasion. But I rather fancy U:I. Still, Underground doesn’t figure in this book, so it may be inappropriate to have it. We’ll see.

So here’s the new cover for The Moreva of Astoreth.

Whatcha Up To?

Been a busy month. The CUTV News Radio shows ended at the beginning of July (had another show on the 23rd but that was something entirely different). I’m working with a computer graphics artist on a new cover for The Moreva of Astoreth. This will be the third one. Why, you ask? Because as much as I like the cover that’s there right now, I’m getting demerits in reviews and contests because the reviewers and judges think a better job could have been had. Not getting such issues with The Underground: Second Edition. So you do what you gotta do.

Finished the first draft of the manuscript for The Underground: Invasion. Did an editing pass and sent it off to the beta. Now doing more rounds of editing (completed one this morning). One more pass–I thought of the stuff I’d like to change–and it’s ready for the pros. If all goes well, I’ll have this book out by January 2018 at the latest. I’d like to have it out before Christmas, but I’m not going to rush it. Besides, when you’re working with other people, you never know what delays you’ll come across.

I think I’ll try my hand at a short story as a bonus in Invasion. My idea isn’t enough to make for a novella or even a novelette, much less a full novel. Anyway, it’s set about a thousand years in the future, maybe just 500, I haven’t decided. Haven’t decided whether I’ll do it, either. We’ll see.


Just Askin’

I’ve had any number of reviews for the Moreva of Astoreth–eighty-something, by my last count (there have been a few more since then). Most of the reviews are excellent. A few are outright stunning in their praise. That’s great. That so many people loved my story makes me feel that writing is worthwhile.

That said, I’ve received four bad reviews. I don’t mind bad reviews in general. They can make many good points, which can only help a writer–especially this one–to improve the next time around. What gets me about bad reviews is this: Why does the reviewer have to be so damned snarky? If you didn’t like the book, or see there’s room for improvement, say so, and that’s it. That’s enough. The snark detracts from the review, detracts from its helpfulness. What writer wants to read a snarky review? I certainly don’t. If I’m a bad writer, say so. If I’m a good writer, but I need to learn some things, say so. The snark is unnecessary. To my mind, it also says something about the reviewer, and it’s not positive.

So again. Why do reviewers handing down a bad review have to be so snarky?

Just askin’.


All About Me

Today’s radio show was interesting. The host called me about a half-hour before and said he wanted to talk not about my books, but me. My childhood, what it was like. What my high school was like. What college was like. Law school. Did I have regrets about not staying with music (yes).

I think I was as open as I’ve ever been. I’m normally a very private person, and talking about myself like that makes me uncomfortable. But I wasn’t this time. Maybe it was because I was by myself. I mean, I was on the phone in my office, not in a studio. I can’t imagine saying those things if I was on TV, or being videotaped.

So what was my childhood like? In many ways, it was wonderful. Living in Washington, D.C. in the 1970s was such fun. I used to save my lunch money and take the bus downtown. I’d wander through the Smithsonian, I’d wander through the federal buildings. And it was all in my backyard. Mind you, I was 10-12 years old. A kid. Can you imagine letting your child do that these days? Absolutely not. But it was a different time, and the world was a different place.

For high school, I went to Duke Ellington School for the Performing Arts. By then I was an accomplished pianist, and it was a no-brainer that I’d get in. Again, in many ways, it was wonderful. Playing music almost all day. I learned to play… Continue reading

You’ll Either Love It Or You’ll Hate It

Just had to share this.

I received a 5-star review on Goodreads for The Underground: Second Edition. The review was thoughtful and insightful, the way all reviews should be. In it, the reviewer said “you’ll either love it or you’ll hate it,” depending on  whether you can “meld” with my world and find something “strangely different” about my characters. Later, she said pretty much the same thing–you’ll either love it or you’ll hate it–depending on whether you can stomach the profanity, violence and graphic erotic content.

This is what I have been trying to tell readers with the warning posted on all online descriptions, and the warning–in big red letters–on the book itself. In short, if you can’t handle it, move along.

I’m also running a giveaway on Goodreads. When the review appeared, the number of entries shot up. I suppose the entrants’ curiosity was piqued by the review. But whoever wins, if they hate it, they can’t say they weren’t forewarned.

A Different Kind Of Review

The Underground: Second Edition, just received another 5-star review. But this one was different. The reviewer, instead of focusing on the writing, the plot, and the characters, focused on the story itself. Her observations were insightful. What I’m especially pleased with is that she said, point blank, “you’ll either love it or hate it” depending on whether a reader can “meld” with my world, and accept that there’s something “strangely different” about the characters–not to mention the profanity, violence and graphic erotic content. I feel a sense of relief that someone is telling readers that this book is not for everyone. This is what I tried to do with my warning in the description. In short, if you don’t think you can handle it, move along, move along. I don’t want any one and two-star reviews because the reader couldn’t take it.

I’m also running a Goodreads giveaway. Why I keep going back into that shark pit, I don’t know. But I find it interesting that after this review went online, giveaway entries shot up. I’m sure it’s because the review has piqued readers’ curiosity about the book. Speaking of reviews, I’m trawling for them on The Indie Reader. Mostly for The Moreva of Astoreth, because, well, I don’t think most of these reviewers are ready for The Underground: Second Edition. Only one reviewer so far has asked for it. I hate chasing reviews. It’s so tedious. But it must be done.

I’m also entering both books into a contest.… Continue reading

CUTV News Radio Interview – Part 4

Join me this Friday, June 9th live for the 4th installment of my 8-part interview series on CUTV News Radio at 2 PM Eastern! This one will be close up and personal–I’ll be talking about the influences in my life that steered me, and are still steering me, on my writing journey.

Here’s the link to the show:

If you can’t join me, as always, the show will be archived on my website, for later listening!

Should Authors Pay For Reviews?

Whether authors should pay for reviews is an ongoing debate.

First, we have to acknowledge that there are two types of reviews: editorial reviews, and reader reviews. Editorial reviews–like those from Kirkus, Clarion and others–are paid reviews. They are not cheap, either. These are the reviews that you might see on an Amazon page, under editorial reviews. Of course, not all editorial reviews cost. Midwest Book Review, for example, does not charge for reviews. Your book also might not get reviewed, either. So if you really, really want an editorial review, chances are you’re going to have to pay for it. Nobody seems to have a problem with that.

It’s the reader reviews that causes such angst. There is the camp that is philosophically opposed to paid reader reviews. It cheapens the review process, they say. Paid reader reviews lose integrity. Money taints the review because it’s an incentive to give a good one, rather than an honest one. The other camp says that readers should be paid for reviews. After all, they’re giving their opinion, just like a lawyer would to his client. Ah, the first camp says, but that’s different. In that case, you’re paying for the opinion of a professional. Readers are not professionals; they review books because they love to read. But isn’t giving a reviewer a free book a form of payment? It certainly costs the author to provide a copy. Or is this more of a barter system: If you agree to review my… Continue reading

Something On The Air On Friday

Hello, all–

I’m back for another radio interview Friday, June 2 at 2 PM Eastern! This week, I’ll be talking about book reviews. I hope you can join me. As always, if you can’t, the show will be available for later listening on my website, Here’s the link  to tomorrow’s show:

Balticon 51

Back from Balticon 51! As always, I had a wonderful time, of course. I was especially pleased to be rooming with my friend, Lisa Hawkridge. She’s so delightful!

Made three book sales from the Broad Universe dealer’s table. So gratifying when others are interested and want to read my books.

And I thought this rather funny: a woman came up to the table and handed me a card, introducing herself as a rocket scientist from Johns Hopkins. It was her first con, and she was there to perhaps get some ideas for projects Johns Hopkins might initiate. The only thing I could think of was to somehow make the ion drive commercially viable, but NASA’s working on that. But she seemed to be having a good time.

My various science t-shirts were a hit!

The only mar was that I had to work. So if I wasn’t at the dealer’s table, I was in my room, pounding the keys. And I worked all night. The good news is that I got more done than I thought I would. I’ll have finished the article sometime today, maybe tonight, but I won’t be up all night as per my usual. Maybe I’ll even get some writing time in!

You can bet your booty I’m looking forward to Balticon 52!