Tag Archives: #review policy

And…We’re Back

Don't faint, or anything.

Don’t faint, or anything.

Well, it hasn’t been three years, although it certainly seems like it. Jaime Mahoney (of Better Holmes and Gardens fame) and I have finally finished our book! When we first came up with the idea, in February of 2012, we had no idea how large an undertaking it would be, but finally, last week, we delivered all 580 pages, plus illustrations, to our publisher, Wessex Press.*

And none too soon. The Clean Police are here.

And none too soon. The Clean Police are here.

It was, excepting the occasional day of frustration and panic, a wonderfully rewarding experience in which I learned how little sleep I actually require, and the kids learned that clothing can, in fact, be reworn. For weeks. I also discovered what a remarkably patient, supportive, and tolerant husband I have, and how thankful I am that his job provides work clothes.

One of the most excellent benefits of writing this book is that, while conducting research, I had the opportunity to read or sample dozens of wonderful Sherlockian or Sherlock Holmes-related books. Through them, I gained a much greater appreciation of how incredibly broad our niche can be, and of what it means to be a “well-read Sherlockian.” There is so much great stuff out there, guys!!!! 

And I cannot wait to share it with you.

A Note on Policy:

I first conceived of this blog as a place to review pastiche, and that’s still going to be its primary focus.  However, be prepared for a good deal more non-fiction and Doyleana in the coming year. I have several series I need to catch up on, and there were some review requests which came in during the little hiatus that I will try to fill, although I have no idea when those reviews will appear. If you have a book which you would like me to review, feel free to send a request, via comment, but at this time, I am not really sure that I can promise to meet a particular time frame. Also, please be aware that a review is not a promotional service. Every reviewer walks a tightrope between being fair to the writer and honest with the reader, and in the end, our loyalties must lie with the latter. If you request a review from me, and I feel that, for whatever reason, the book will not appeal to most Sherlock Holmes fans, either due to quality or content, I will not run a piece on it.

I have also decided to revamp the “star system.”  Most of us, I think, are not static as Sherlockians; we grow and change, both in our knowledge of, and our appreciation for, certain topics. Although I don’t review it here, I am ridiculously obsessed with fanfiction, which has given me a greater appreciation of AU; I have also become more aware of some Canonical debates. At the same time, I realize that many people who read Sherlock Holmes pastiches are looking for continuations of the Canon, Watson-Voice included. Therefore, I am going to review each book with a dual star rating, like the one I used for Margaret Park Bridge’s My Dear Watson. One star will be for general content, story elements, pacing, interest, historical accuracy, etc–the quality of the story itself. The second star will be for Canonical content and accuracy (as far as I can determine). In this way, the reader who is simply looking for a good story and does not care about chronology or who Watson’s wife is will not be dissuaded by a low star rating, while the person who will have a stroke if the jackknife is not in its proper place will be warned off. I think this approach will better serve both writer and reader, as well as saving me hours of hair-pulling angst.

I will be starting off the new review season with a look at two series we’ve been following in the blog. An October-esque anthology will follow, along with a new essay collection. After that, who knows?

It will be a surprise.

It will be a surprise.


*I am not going to use this blog to promote the book.  Because I love you all. However, I will say that we are anticipating that it will be released in January–or (given its size) sometime in the spring.


Filed under Administrative, AU (Alternative Universe), Canon Works

Review Policy and Interview Questionnaire

“I can’t believe “Creeping Man” got only three stars, Holmes!”

Unfortunately, due to the demands of career, family, and my rather-too-thorough way of reviewing, I cannot personally review every book with a connection to Sherlock Holmes. I have therefore come up with a system which I hope will allow authors to share their books with potential readers in a more timely fashion. Just follow these easy steps to have your book featured in this blog:

1. Ask yourself: is this the right blog for my book? 

  • Is it about Sherlock Holmes?
  • Does it contain exceptionally violent scenes?  I’m sorry, but while some violence is obviously expected in a crime adventure, extremely graphic gore is really not what a lot of readers are looking for in a Holmes story. Certain exceptions are possible, for non-fiction or “Holmes v. The Ripper” stories, as no one should be surprised by either.
  • Does it contain graphic sex scenes, or is it erotica? I know a lot of people enjoy reading and writing these, but if so, this is not the blog you’re looking for. Again, most of my readers don’t look for much sex at all in a Holmes story, and would rather it be implied if it has to be there.
  • Have I made my book the absolute best it can possibly be? This is important. When you’re putting your work before the public, you want to be sure you’ve edited and revised it–not just for spelling and punctuation errors, but for factual mistakes, continuity problems, pacing issues, character and plot believability, etc. It’s so tempting to rush your first or second draft to Amazon, but it’s not usually wise. Even though books featured this way will avoid a “star review,” you may receive reader reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, IHOSE or other places, and you want those to be good.

2. It is? Yay!  Now answer these interview questions. They cover your book, as well as your life as a writer. Please answer at least 10, but feel free to answer as many as you wish–or to add one of your own. You answers may be edited for spelling, grammar, or comprehension, or to get rid of sweary language, but you shouldn’t see much change. The order of the questions in the interview may be adjusted for flow; here they appear in no particular order.

Interview Questions

1.  How did you “meet” Sherlock Holmes?

2. What is your favorite Canon story and why?

3. What is your favorite Sherlock Holmes pastiche and why?

4. What is your favorite movie or television portrayal of Holmes and Watson, and why? Were you inspired by any particular one of them?

5. When did you decide you wanted to become a writer/

6. Why did you decide you wanted to write about Sherlock Holmes?

7. What inspired you to write this particular book?

8. Can you provide a brief synopsis of your book?

9. How closely does your book hew to canon? Why or why not? Was this a conscious decision, or did it just happen?

10. What did you most enjoy about writing your book?

11. What was the hardest part about writing your book?

12.  Where did you get the idea for this book?

13. Do you have a particular writing process? Would you like to share it with us?

14. Are you involved in any Sherlockian groups?

15. Did your book require a lot of research? If so, did you uncover any especially interesting facts?

16. Are you using Watson as a narrator?  Why or why not? If so, did you find it difficult to mimic his voice? Did you use any particular “tricks”?

17. Can you share some of the reviews you’ve received for this book? (Please note: these should not be reviews from your family or close friends.)

18. What is your favorite moment in this book?

19. Who is your favorite character in this book?

20. Did you find that using Conan Doyle’s characters made this story easier or more difficult to write?

21. Did you include any original characters? Can you describe them for us?

22. What is your writing philosophy?

23. Any advice for aspiring writers?

24. How did you feel when you first saw your book–in actual book form?

25. How would you categorize your book? Is it mystery, thriller, horror, romance…?

26. What sort of reader is most likely to enjoy your book?

27. Where can readers get a copy of your book?

28. Add a question of your own!

3. Once you’ve answered your questions, send a copy of them to me via e-mail at wrsherlockian@gmail.com.  Please include an image of your book cover, and, if you are amenable, a picture of yourself (it does not have to be fancy). 

4. I will format and post your interview as soon as possible. My idea is to let each interview have at least a week as the main post before I put up another. 

And there we are! I have high hopes for this new approach–but will likely be tweaking it as necessary. Thanks for your patience and participation!




Filed under Policies and Housekeeping