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In the last two days I’ve received a five star rating and a five star review on A Most Malicious Murder. Let me tell you why that is a massive, MASSIVE relief.

I know I’m a good writer. That’s not arrogance — that’s me being published since 1995, repeatedly selling stories and novels to publishers (I’m indie now as a financial decision, not because I couldn’t get stuff published the traditional way), and getting reviews from complete strangers saying that they love my stuff. Okay, so I’m competent with words.

But AMMM was my first novel under my own name. Moreover, it was in a genre I had never written in before (alternate history mystery). Mystery has its own set of rules and tropes which I had to learn pretty damn quickly while I was editing, and alternate history requires a buttload of research in order to get it right. So with AMMM I was in real weenie-shrinking territory, to paraphrase Bill Murray — I had to hit all the mystery points and I had to get the history right even as I twisted it out of true. And while I thought I’d done a good job with it and my editor assured me that it was a good story and people would enjoy it, I couldn’t be sure until it was out there doing its job with readers.

Now it’s out there, and I’m getting good feedback, which means I can finally release this breath that I’d been holding since August 31st (you would not believe the color my face turned — I went straight past Rampage Raspberry into “Um, poke her and see if she’s still alive” Umber). Which bodes well for future books (right now I’m torn between the time travel novel with Lewis Carroll and Alice Liddell, the novel where an evil Ancient Egyptian queen wreaks havoc on Dallas, or the space opera retelling of Sense and Sensibility).

In the meantime, however, I think I’m going to relax with a refreshing adult beverage. Because I earned it.