I've just completed my latest Prodigal Online Offer Program [TM]. I've completed many POOPs before, but never this disappointing.

A POOP is when I basically list two or more of my short-stories on a simultaneous basis at a deep discount (in this case, free) on Amazon Kindle, in the hopes of generating some name recognition and general good-will-towards-men. But God-dang-us, everyone! This POOP was the worst. I always hope...usually in vain...for some reviews. And I welcome all opinions, as long as they're cogent and well-thought out. Hey, I'm pretty careful about the quality-control of my work, but if a story that I write just sucks, well, I want to know about it. One star reviews don't bother me, as long as they're sensible.

Perhaps it's human nature to categorize things in extremes. We either say "this is the greatest thing since the invention of sex while eating a hot-fudge sundae during the SuperBowl in the middle of it raining doughnuts and rubies" or we say "this is so bad a cockroach would vomit at the sight of it". A vast percentage of reviews (and not just those on Amazon) are really a reflection of the personal tastes and peccadillos of the reviewer, not a thoughtful analysis of the work presented. Some people write reviews as a full-time hobby. Others read and watch and enjoy their whole lives without ever venturing an opinion to anyone living outside their own head.

There are probably a dozen reasons why people are this dichotomous. And I don't want to sound like a whiny ingrate. I understand that a person has to take time out of their busy day to write a review at all, even a bad one. But I implore anyone reading this: remember that someone is at the other end of that review. If you are going to be critical, do so with some thought behind it.

Don't say: "this book sucks because Amazon screwed up my order!" Honestly, what sense does that make? It gives no usable information to either the author or the public in regards to the work. And I've lost count over how many times I've read something to the effect of: "this author writes pretty well, but I just don't like the subject...1 star!" To me, 1 star indicates something that is deeply and irrevocably flawed...something that should have never seen the white of a Kindle screen.I don't really care for the Romance Genre, but I am not going to claim a Joanna Lindsay sucks simply because I don't like the genre. Why would I even write a review if that was the case? It's all just so...weird.

For those of you interested, my latest POOP generated a bad review for my story "Fine Eats at Cordelia's". The odd thing is, it's one of my better stories. Now, I know I can't be objective, but all you other writers out there know what I mean when I say I hit all the right notes (or at least most of them). I don't think "Cordelia's" is perfect, but it is probably not on the same level as Robocop 3, Big Rigs Over The Road Racing, or the latest 50 Shades fan fiction. The ironic thing about the whole subject is "Cordelia's" was meant to poke fun at the vacuousness and arrogance behind our modern review culture. I guess the reviewer just didn't 'get' it. Oh, well. I thank them for reading it anyway and hope they read my other work.

The lesson is: if you are getting negative feedback that seems to be nonsense, treat it as such. Reviews don't really matter, but giving up does. Repeatedly being a failure on the football field - and coming back for another go - says more about your character than the finger-wagging of a thousand professional benchwarmers. Like Cool Hand Luke, you just gotta keep climbing back to your feet and keep throwing punches at Dragline, even when you got nothing left in you.

Until then, see you at the next POOP.

Have a great week, everyone!

P. S. -- I read that James Horner died recently in a plane crash (apparently he was the pilot). He was a master composer and filled many of my writing sessions with emotion and drama. Along with John Williams and the late Jerry Goldsmith, he was part of the 'Big Three' of movie soundtracks. People like to poke fun at some of his overused motifs, but I think it's unfair. He found something that worked and he used it, like a musical tool he invented to get himself out of a creative pickle. Favorite compositions of mine include The Land Before Time, Braveheart (buy this album NOW!) and the soundtracks for Star Trek 2 and 3 as well as Apollo 13 (my all-time favorite of his). The best selections of his work would easily find a home alongside the Classical Masters of long ago.

For your enjoyment:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S7end66UPiI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-dEcqb5jIXY

Godspeed, Mister Horner.