Some interesting reactions to my books

I’ve been interested, honored, and highly amused (respectively) by three reactions to my books over the past few days.

First, a few days ago BuzzFeed published an article titled ‘21 Conservative Writers To Read At The Beach‘.  I was surprised (but pleased) to find my books listed at number 18 on their list.  I don’t consider myself a ‘conservative‘ so much as a small-ell ‘libertarian’ (in the US sense of that term) with several elements of classical liberalism (again, small-ell) in the mix;  in other words, somewhat right of center, but avoiding extremes on both sides of the political equation.  Nevertheless, I’m glad the author saw fit to include me among writers such as Karina Fabian, Larry Correia, Sarah Hoyt, Kate Paulk, John Ringo and Tom Kratman, all of whose books I’ve read.  I’m honored to be numbered amongst them.  I hope some of BuzzFeed’s readers will see fit to take up its invitation, and take my books on vacation with them.

Next, fellow independent author Alma Boykin chose to review my memoir of prison chaplaincy, ‘Walls, Wire, Bars and Souls‘, on her blog.  I’m very grateful to her, as that book has sold slowly and the publicity is therefore welcome.  (The slow sales weren’t unexpected, of course – unlike my novels, it’s in a field which doesn’t attract strong reader demand and deals with a subject that many people find at best uncomfortable, at worst really off-putting).  Nevertheless, it was a labor of love for me to write it, in the hope that I could help at least some of those confronting the world behind bars in the USA.  I hope her review will help some of them to find it.  Thanks, Alma!

Finally, I laughed so hard that I almost snorted hot tea through my nose when I read this recent one-star review of my first novel, ‘Take The Star Road‘.

Comparing this atrocity to the work of Heinlien (sic) is like comparing festering garbage to a meal at a Michelin Star restaurant.

Without a doubt, the worst book I have ever attempted to read. The narrative has all the skill of a seventh grader writing about their summer vacation. I am offended that anyone had the gall to charge actual money for this pig slop. It was so wretched that I gave up on it after the second chapter. Do yourself a gargantuan favor and do not buy this trash masquerading as literature.

This is about a book that has so far, as I write these words, attracted 91 five-star, 67 four-star and 23 three-star reviews, as opposed to 8 two-star and a mere 4 one-star reviews (including the one above).

I have a pretty good idea who wrote that review.  If I (and others) are right, it’s someone who’s been identified as a troll by several other authors of my acquaintance, some of whom instantly remarked (when they learned about the review) that it has all the hallmarks of his grammar, vocabulary and phraseology.  I don’t know for sure, but I thought most of you would find it as entertaining as I did.  Fortunately, most of those who’ve read the book clearly don’t agree with him – it’s still the top selling volume in my Maxwell Saga series.

I’m working hard on Maxwell Book 4, which will hopefully be published in September.  Book 2 of the Laredo War trilogy is scheduled for December, God willing.  Thanks for your support for my books thus far, and I hope you enjoy the next ones as much as you’ve clearly enjoyed the earlier volumes.



  1. Funny one-star review. Be glad you are prominent enough to attract trolls. It means you are making an impression. I really don't think it makes much difference when compared to all the good reviews.
    I have one one-star review, from a guy who apparently didn't bother to read past the first chapter. Everything he said was true, of the first chapter. He felt cheated because the blurb didn't seem to match the content of the book. I only have a few reviews, so each one is precious.

  2. Ignore anonymous reviews, reviews from persons who have no other reviews to their names, and generally, reviews that don't have "Amazon Verified Purchase" attached. He who won't stand behind his words is a coward, and should be ignored in any case.

    Concerning a review from a reader who didn't get past the first chapter, there can be some value in such a review even so. No less a figure than William Faulkner said so about his most famous novel, The Sound And The Fury, which a lot of readers threw aside in disgust…because of the first chapter. So there's reason to ponder such comments, at least.

  3. IN more than 40 years of reading and thousands of books, I have only had one that I did not finish reading.

    In reviews I try to mention specific errors of fact, and printing/formatting problems. Things that I would want another reader to be aware of before buying.

    My opinion of style and technique must be inferred from the rating I give the book.

  4. It's not exactly the height of literary achievement – first novel and all that – but I wouldn't compare it to anything written by a twelve year old.

    I think Mr. Machado needs to visit His quality-o-meter needs calibrating.

  5. I guess I'll give it a read…just finished Terms of Enlistment and enjoyed that. Didn't care too much for Ark Royal, 3 stars for me. I had been away from SF for a long time, time to catch up.

  6. I finally read Walls, Wires, Bars and Souls a couple of weeks ago. It was most definitely a worthwhile read and I highly recommend it. It is readably well-written and from an almost unique viewpoint. The reader gets the facts – balanced – plus a dose of compassion and even a little hope.

  7. I can't wait to read the next books in both of your series. I was sad to see the next one won't be out until September, but then I realized that is only a couple months away!!!

    I have been slowly digesting your memoir. My mother has been dealing with the repeated attempts at parole by the serial rapist who attacked her back in the 1970s, so I was most interested to see your point of view on what its like behind bars. Thanks for publishing this work as it has been very good reading up on the system.

  8. Does Amazon keep tabs on the average ratings given by people who rate more than a few books? I would think that would be an informative statistic to note next to each such review.

    When I was in the US Army in the mid-1970s, Officer Efficiency Reports (OERs) were done by the immediate superior and his superior officer. Each of those raters were then rated by their average ratings given, so that those who more often gave very high or very low ratings did not screw up the whole ratings idea. (Hint: most tended to rate high. Out of a possible 120 points, getting less than 112 indicated that this officer needed to look for other work.)

  9. Your new book is also, recently from what I can tell, on the Kindle Ads that work as screen savers for the paper white. (At least it's on mine but like 90% of my books fall under sf/f so maybe not every paper white.)

    That could attract trolls.

  10. Chris, you can click the reviewer name and it takes you to other things we've reviewed, plus our ranking (how many people have found our reviews helpful). It's not foolproof, but I've found it pretty useful.


  11. If the reviewer is so infatuated with Heinlein perhaps he was unhappy with the lack of incest in your works?

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