Friday, June 29, 2012

Not Everybody's Flavor

Drum Roll please!
As promised, I have the very lovely Tart Hart Johnson as my guest today.
Take it away, Hart!

Not Everybody's Flavor

First I want to thank Lady Gwen for having me!  I really appreciate the chance to get around to other blogs and I've so recently discovered Gwen's ability to channel Tart, if you will! So before I get started, I want to ask ALL of you to do a little rain dance for Gwen and our friends in Colorado. And YES, a proper rain dance MUST be done naked—if you want something from nature, you have to request it au natural, ne? Otherwise it's only so much wiggling. That, though, illustrates my point a little...

I knew it was coming. It HAD to come.

See, I try to be NICE almost all the time, but I really make no apologies for not being a person who can behave. In fact I admit I am annoyed when people claim they WANT to be someone who behaves. (Proper behavior? Who needs it?!) So I shouldn't have even been a little surprised when my first negative review this week was about my slutty, swearing characters *cough* (never mind that NOTHING is on the page—the sexual references are ALL allusion (and unsubstantiated at that)... when Annie swears, it SAYS “Annie swore.”  The word 'freaking' is used a time or two... (I so thought that wasn't really swearing!  I swear!--DOH!  There, I did it again!)

And I (meaning my book, not me personally) have a whole lot more sexual frustration than shutting the door and letting the imagination run wild... as for the actual on-the-page sex?  A few attempts (with clothes on) to cop a feel... But okay... too much... I hear you (or rather her).

So yes. I confess to not living up to rated G standards... wait... I've seen rated G movies where the adults shut the door... and where there is a stand in for swearing that isn't really swearing... but whatever. I get that the SPIRIT of my characters really WANTS to be PG13 and I have to use some tricks to keep them in the Cozy Mystery PG parameters... And that an intelligent person may well spot them as tricks... allusion, innuendo, naughtiness... Guilty. On all counts.

I guess what I REALLY am reminded is... not everybody likes the same thing. Being who I am, I seem to draw friends who would be far MORE annoyed with a 30-something sleuth who was 'saving herself' (I threw up a little just writing that, to be honest—I don't believe in that—use it or lose it, Amiga—not that I can't respect that decision if made with sincerely rather than because of expectations, but I will certainly have to bite my tongue to not say 'oh, for pete's sake, that is such a bad idea!') And those friends (the ones who are used to me being naughty and just a little outrageous) are all cheering on any of those little hints at shenanigans.

But I GET that the other sort are out there... that want to believe that at least in fiction, storks bring babies and holding hands is high romance.  I respect the taste differences, particularly as my own taste runs in the middle. I ALSO have erotica friends who keep asking when the hanky-panky is going to get spicy, only they don't use the word hanky-panky... (erm... sorry friends, wrong genre).

And I could have encountered a bad review related to the WRITING instead of personal preference as to how people ought to be—THAT would have caused some self-doubt. THIS... this is just a nice reminder that we all want slightly different things. Heck, there are even people who don't like chocolate. INSANE people, to be sure, but they exist. I don't pretend to be chocolate. I am more like dried ginger... sweet and sticky at first taste, but with a bit of a kick and a fair amount of 'well I've never had THAT before'. Some people love me right away, for some I'm an acquired taste, and for some I am just not a flavor they will ever acquire. I'm okay with that.

I guess the message is we need to stick to who we are. We will never ever please everyone.  People will run into us who DON'T like us, but they will bounce off. The people who DO like us will keep coming back. So chin-up, friends!  We can DO this thing!

The Azalea Assault

Cam Harris loves her job as public relations manager for the Roanoke Garden Society. It allows her to combine her three loves, spinning the press, showing off her favorite town, and promoting her favorite activity. She's just achieved a huge coup by enlisting Garden Delights, the country's premiere gardening magazine, to feature the exquisite garden of RGS founder, Neil Patrick. She's even managed to enlist world-famous photographer Jean-Jacques Georges. Unfortunately, Jean-Jacques is a first-rate cad—insulting the RGS members and gardening, goosing every woman in the room, and drinking like a lush. It is hardly a surprise when he turns up dead. But when Cam's brother-in-law is accused and her sister begs her to solve the crime, that is when things really get prickly.

Alyse Carlson is the pen name for the author some of you may know as Hart Johnson. She writes books from her bathtub and when she isn't writing, does research for a large, midwest University or leads the Naked World Domination Movement (your choice).


The Azalea Assault is available at:
Barnes & Noble Paperback or Nook
Amazon Paperback or Kindle

(pretty much any book store and some big boxes)

And Alyse/Hart/The Tart can be found at:


Thank you so much for being my guest today, Hart! And for the very much needed RAIN DANCE!!!


  1. Hart, you can't please everyone. Sounds like you handled those scenes just fine. It's unrealistic to think people don't do those things. I tried to keep my own values in my YA books, but if there are people out there who don't believe college kids engage in sex or drink, then they are living in denial.

  2. Wasn't it one of your Presidents who said that you can't please all the people all the time? Cam and Annie are real people, and do all the stuff people their age should be doing. If readers object to that, what can you say?

  3. Diane-I completely agree--and my values come through, too, I think... I mean I have a higher value on full honesty than Cam does, but I make sure her fibs bite her sometimes to get across how I feel about it... But yes, a character who was abstinent at 30, I would feel was stilted. Just how i see it.

    Natasha-thank you! I really did try to make them realistic for still-single 30-somethings. I think I hit it. But even among real people, there is a lot of variability...

  4. Ahh... hmm. I agree with you, though, if it was a negative review about the *writing*, that would be one thing. But slutty? Swearing? It's just ... Well, maybe this person has a vivid imagination. And maybe this person is Angela from the office: "I hate being titillated." LOL! :D

    We love you~ <3

  5. There's swearing?! OMG Hart, I swear I didn't know...

    Thanks for the bare naked rain dance, we sure need it!

  6. Yeah i was going to say, if you were going to get a negative review, at least it's due to the reader's personal preferences and likes, as opposed to anything you can control. You can't please everyone, and nor should we try!

  7. I'm dumfounded. I didn't come across anything morally upsetting in Azalea Assault. Not one to beat a dead horse...but it seems the issue lies with the reviewer's personal preferences and really has nothing to do with your book. At least you've made it big time...#hatersgonnahate

  8. i loved seeing your book at barnes and noble!
    and a little scandal is good publicity!
    too many opinions out there, but let 'em talk!

  9. Boo to unNAKED reviews!!! Nevermind lovely Tart!!! Ignore adversity and just carry on! You're doing great! take care

  10. Leigh-HA! Doesn't like to be titillated! poor woman!

    Gwen-See, there! You swore too! *snort*

    Sarah-well it technically IS in my control... though if I wrote rated G stuff people who know ME might be disappointed...

    Cherylyn-exactly! But it's always so SHOCKING when someone doesn't LIKE me! *shifty*

    Tara-YAY! And that's a great way to think about it!!! I've got SCANDAL!!!

    Kitty-yup. Highly dressed. I might even call it itchy and binding. Like tweed.

  11. It's easy to say, "Just ignore it" but when it happens to YOU, it's not that easy. Negative comments hurt you, make you mad. But as everyone else has said, everyone has an opinion. Some are like under arms: they stink. So, let's here it for the scandal. I've been involved with one before. They all lied about me, so don't worry. Hehe:)

  12. Hmmm that's weird. I read it and didn't see anything inappropriate at all. Certainly not like a lot of stuff out there, and I'm pretty sensitive to that. What a strange comment for someone to make on your book. Hope they don't read my new novel, it has sex and swearing, unlike any of my previous, and I'm a little concerned about offending those who read and liked my previous books.

  13. I totally agree - you have to write for people who get your writing and not worry about the rest. I've noticed that even when the inappropriate language is substituted for something else in G-rated movies, those are the lines my three-year-old repeats.

  14. You are so right, Hart. Just can't please everyone. And I'm with you, I thought "freakin'" was safe ground, along with "Frack!"

  15. Ink-yeah, lies are BAD. This was at least an honest review that made it clear it was a taste thing. But I'm sure at SOME point the other will happen. There are always those people you hope never realize you WROTE a book.

    Karen-so glad nothing caught you! I really hoped to walk that PG line and I am glad to hear you read it that way! It IS hard to think about former readers and new books. I keep hoping my different names will keep that clear for me.

    Tonja-yeah, the language thing, I think needs to be 'unobtrusive' and depending on the genre and story sometimes unobtrusive is IN and sometimes it's OUT. I have a book about teens in a mental hospital and I can tell you, if I used any drats or fudges it would take people OUT of the story.

  16. I had a couple of similar negative reviews turned off by langauge and sex. I showed some of my friends and my favorite response was, "Honestly, if I saw that review it would make me want to read it more!"

    It's hard though. I want everyone to love my book but have to remind myself what a boring world it would be if everyone did!

  17. Angela, I haven't tried "frack" but I definitely use "freaking" in my YA's. You'd think it'd be okay for a cozy mystery as well.


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