Tag Archives: Book Reviews

Weak and Wounded reviewed by FEARnet

Weak and Wounded

Kevin Quigley over at FEARnet has posted a review of my new mini-collection of short stories, Weak and Wounded, which very well may be the best review my work has ever received.

Here is a little bit of the review:

Weak and Wounded plunges us into small worlds, in which people live desperate lives and struggle with impossible decisions.  Loss permeates every page: these people survive the deaths of parents, children, spouses, and siblings, only to find that survival might be a fate worse than death.  But the power in these pages comes not from what our protagonists suffer, but how they suffer it.  How they continue to go on….  By tying these stories together by theme, feel, and intent, Freeman has created a work of collected fiction that stands as one piece.  Each story beats with its own punctured heart, but taken as a whole, Weak and Wounded is even better than the sum of its broken and damaged parts.

If a reader ever asks you what I write about, you might want to point him or her toward the full FEARnet review.

The signed Limited Edition of Weak and Wounded sold out in one week after it was announced, but there will be affordable trade paperback and eBook editions next year.

New short story collection Weak and Wounded reviewed by SF Site

Weak and Wounded

Mario Guslandi over at SF Site has just posted a glowing review of new mini-collection of short stories, Weak and Wounded, which will be published next month.

Here is a little bit of the review because some readers might consider certain points in the full review to be spoilers:

Brian James Freeman is a brilliant writer whose horror stories do not rely upon vampires, zombies or werewolves, as the present collection (a slim book reprinting five of his previously published stories) clearly demonstrates. In these stories he portrays one of the true horrors afflicting human existence, namely the pain, the hurt and the emptiness created by the loss of loved ones. Freeman describes that horror with skill, insight and finesse, leaving behind a deep sense of sorrow and anger for the atrocities of life… Whether you’re a horror fan or not, it doesn’t matter: anyone fond of good fiction addressing and probing the deep secrets of the human soul will be enchanted by the sheer beauty of those stories.

The signed Limited Edition sold out in one week after it was announced, but there are still three copies of the Deluxe Lettered Edition left available from Cemetery Dance Publications and there will be affordable trade paperback and eBook editions next year.

Hellnotes Review of Blue November Storms!

I’m pleased to report that Wayne C. Rogers over at Hellnotes has reviewed Blue November Storms and it’s probably the most glowing review I’ve ever received.

Blue November Storms Audiobook

Here is just one selected section that made me blush this morning, but I hope you’ll read the entire review and pass it along to any of your friends who might be interested:

I have to admit that what Blue November Storms reminded me of was one of the old episodes from the sixties’ version of The Twilight Zone television series. This is when some of the greatest writers in television (Rod Sterling, Charles Beaumont and Richard Matheson) were creating masterpieces on a little known TV show that would later alter the lives of hundreds of future authors.  Brian James Freeman, like the authors above, creates and structures his stories at a pace that starts off slowly and then gradually works its way to an exploding climax that has the reader making a mad dash to the finish line.

You can read the rest over at Hellnotes.com.

Purchase the Trade Paperback:
Amazon.com • Barnes & Noble • Cemetery Dance

Purchase the eBook:
Amazon.com • Amazon.co.uk • Barnes & Noble • iBookstore • Kobo • CemeteryDance.com

Download the Unabridged Audiobook:
Amazon.com • Audible.com • iTunes

How Do You Deal With Reviews?

A collector on the Cemetery Dance forum asked: “Do reviews impact/affect you differently between your CD gig and your author gig? Or do you just shrug these off for both?”

Typewriter

I basically have two rules when it comes to reading reviews of my own work:

1) If the review is good, don’t pat yourself on the back; the reviewer was probably just feeling generous.

2) If the review is bad, for the love of God, DO NOT RESPOND unless your response is NOT going to make things worse.

Guess what? When it comes to rule #2, if you’re a writer and you feel the need to “defend” your work, you’re probably just going to make things worse.

But when it comes to reviews and comments about my work or what we do at Cemetery Dance, I try to evaluate what has been said for validity and valuable/useful information because you can always, always get better.

When someone critiques the books we publish at Cemetery Dance, I ask myself:

Is there something we overlooked or could do differently/better on future projects?

Is this note from someone who always complains about everything we do, to the point it seems to be the person’s hobby? (We have a few of those.)

Is this note simply from someone who doesn’t know how the small press works? For example, this was a real email I woke up to the other day: “Why didn’t you have Stephen King sign 10,000 copies!?! then everyone could have one!?!”

For my writing, again, I look at the source and I try to learn anything I can that will make the next story better if there is something to be learned.

If the person says, “There should have been more vampires!” in a story that wasn’t about vampires, you just kind of ignore that.

If the person says, “the middle was a little slow” or “the ending happened too fast” or “I didn’t understand character X’s motivations” — those are notes you can mentally file away for consideration. The reader may not be right, it could just be their personal tastes at play, but if more readers say the same thing, you can keep those points in mind for future projects. (Or even a future revision of the same work, which I’ve heard is all the rage.)

For bad customer reviews on Amazon, I consider whether the review is well-written (“this suxs!” vs a thoughtful dissection of what didn’t work) and I look at what else the person has reviewed. My genre? Different genres? Are they all bad reviews? What does the reader actually like?

Maybe my book just wasn’t a good fit for their reading tastes or maybe I dropped the ball in some fundamental way. You can learn a lot from a well-written one star review. In fact, that’s where I go first when evaluating other books.

You’re never going to please every reader. Books aren’t supposed to please every reader. Everyone has different tastes. Sometimes it’s just a swing and a miss, you know?

So how about you? Do you read your reviews? How do you approach them?