Thursday 7 February 2013

Review Celebration - Rose Anderson

Ack! The day almost got away from me. Sorry folks. I wrote "here" as one date, and wrote "there" as another. It's not good to employ the "here or there" in an author's life. As Tolkien's Bilbo Baggins says, "I feel... thin. Sort of stretched, like... butter scraped over too much bread." 

Please excuse the font insanity. I tried to fix it. :(

Hermes Online

I came to this career of mine through a series of odd events that I won’t go into now. After Siren accepted this little longshot, I was told most readers usually dislike the first person point of view that I’d written in because there’s not enough escapism. As a reader, I like it. To me it’s the difference between a biography and an autobiography. Who better to show me the life and what it feels like than the one who’s living and feeling it? I wasn’t prepared however, that my Vivienne planned to lead me headlong into an erotic romance. Up to that point, I’d never even read one.
Most things I write are inspired by life and Hermes Online was no different in that respect, *grin* but now how you’d think. I’d had a disappointing event occur, one I tried very hard to keep from happening. A unique old landmark was coming down in my area and although I tried, I had little influence to stop it in the end. At the time I was feeling pretty miserable because the whole thing hadn’t needed to happen the way it did. I sat before my laptop and typed out this sentence:
“What a day,” I grumbled, feeling mentally exhausted and strained to my soul.
I stared at these thirteen words and wanted someone to understand the depth of what I was feeling. Before long my despair found an outlet. My character Vivienne understood and commiserated. The deeper I delved into her world and the more I wrote her life into being, the more her sense of helplessness matched mine, only hers was fiction and mine was based in fact. It didn’t take long for me to want better for her so I set in motion an unlikely love story with a hint of divine meddling. (Freudian that!) Vivienne’s life would transform from drab hopelessness to one brightly colored and crackling with potential for happy ever after. That’s the beauty of creating literary worlds. I had control over a weighty issue in her world and could change the outcome. My world doesn’t always allow for that.
I’ve learned a lot since that day Vivienne and I went for a ride. Hermes Online was a CataRomance Sensual Reads Reviewer’s Choice Winner. The following are just my topmost favorite reviews. I have lots of favorites from the past two years. It’s very gratifying to have your creativity praised. Especially nice because people never have to say a word. They choose to. Some of these are amazingly long. I so appreciate them all. Lining reviews up like this, it's interesting to see how a single story is interpreted by many. :)

Here’s the blurb:
Imagine if you will, a story begun in the halls of Mount Olympus long before this modern tale was conceived. It was a time when the god Hermes flew on his winged sandals and carried messages from the gods to the mortals below. And between that time and this, couriers became postmen and handwritten letters became bytes. It is said the gods still speak to those who listen...Left bruised and brokenhearted after a cruel breakup, Vivienne Bennet finds herself mired in a world of self-doubt. To her surprise, she receives an email that challenges her to rediscover the sensual woman she once was. Together Vivienne and the enigmatic man known only as S embark upon the world of anonymous Internet communication where emails lead to erotic chat, where cybersex leads to Skype, and C2C sends both into the arms of a love they'd believed lost forever.

My Very First Reader Review Ever
More than a gripping tale of an online affair, the vivid imagery of the scenes leap from the pages. The intense eroticism created within the mind of author is presented in such a way that the story is felt rather than read. Your pulse will quicken as you are swept away. And then such an exciting conclusion when... Sorry, you'll need to read that for yourself.
From Dr. Judith at The Book Binge:
Does it feel too farfetched to think of today's connections through the internet as messages from the gods?  Certainly it is now possible to get email from the farthest reaches of the planet in a matter of seconds.  Perhaps it is our contemporary connection to the long-forgotten gods and their messenger Hermes. No more farfetched than some of the sci-fi fantasies that have become reality in just the past three or four decades.  That being said, it certainly felt like a message from some benevolent god when Vivienne began experiencing the positive responses to an erotic short story that she posted on the net.  She had been a different person when she wrote it, and even though she posted it with no expectation that anyone would pay much attention; she was especially drawn to comments by the illusive "S" whose response seemed to be more personal and self-affirming than the others.  Even the words he used to address her as "V" began to call to a person within her that she had begun to believe had been crushed to death by the disregard and cruelty of her ex who had walked out on her, dumped her even as he blamed her dullness for his infidelity.

Now don't get the wrong idea that Vivienne was a gullible gussy and a woman who was so hungry for affirmation that she put herself carelessly in the clutches of an internet scumbag.  As carefully as possible, Vivienne began to respond to S, limiting her comments so that he would have to reveal himself as much as he was asking her to do so.  Little by little they expanded their comments to become erotic encounters, all of them slowly but surely peeling away the layers of self-doubt, hurt, unhealed wounds and the persona of a frightened and apologetic woman she had assumed.  As their encounters became more and more personal, Vivienne experienced a kind of self-expression that even amazed her, and as she and S became more and more comfortable with one another, she agreed to opportunities for revealing herself, even to the point of meeting S halfway between their locations.

This is a story that is not necessarily intended to laud the romance possibilities of meeting someone online.  I don't think any considerate person would be unaware that such opportunities should be carefully explored with an eye to the many cases of fraud and crime against women and teens that have become all too commonplace.  Rather, I think this story is more about the way that the kindness and warm expressions of appreciation for Vivienne's writing and verbal skills began to unfreeze her from a self-imposed tomb of pain and self-doubt.  That it slowly began to morph into a series of small changes of confidence was almost more than she could have expected, but it brought out the best in her, helped her to re-connect with the sensual woman she was, turned out to be a result she could never have expected.

Vivienne is like so many who have become the walking wounded and this story brings that to life in this character. Told in a poetic and creative way, this series of encounters seemed to tap into not only my love for a great romance and happy endings, but I was enthralled with the writing itself. Ms. Anderson brings such a spirit of inventive thinking to this story and it reminded me that I had truly enjoyed her first book which I read some months ago.  Once again she has envisioned a story that might not have been real, but may indeed be the kind of "romance" many would view as a fulfillment of a long-cherished fantasy.

I have to admit that I would never have thought of internet email and chat as metaphors for messages from the gods. But for this character and for millions of others, email can bring a serious connection to people who feel disconnected from people around them.  In Vivienne's case, it was a life-changing experience. And it is a testimony to the power of words that can arouse the true self as it did with her.  Even those of us who are incredibly invested in the print media forget the power of words to hurt and destroy as they can do just the opposite.  It was words that slowly tore Vivienne away from connection with her true self just as it was S's kind, loving, complimentary, and eventually erotic words that gave Vivienne a new lease on herself, on love in general, and ultimately on S in particular.

This is unlike any story I have ever read and I appreciate the opportunity to read and review this book.  I admit to being just a little concerned for Vivienne when she began this exchange with S, worrying that she was getting herself into a situation with this man that would further hurt her.  I suppose that is the cynicism that has become the norm for many of us relative to the internet.  But I was most pleasantly surprised and found the story one of those "feel good" kinds of reading experiences.  I think romance fans will find this a creatively different and most enjoyable read.  I highly recommend it.
Clare from Coffee Time Romance
Vivienne had fallen into a rut in the year since the breakup of her last relationship. As many of us do when life deals lemons, we pine for better times. We look back at that one hot relationship that didn’t work out and think “What if?” Throwing caution to the wind one night, she posts an erotic story she wrote on a free site. People say nice things and one man challenges her to do a little more via the privacy of email.
I liked this story. It’s a throwback to the old style romanticism. Nobody leaps into bed with a stranger. While they titillate one another with erotic emails, they get to know each other. Because it’s told through first person point of view, we don’t get to know S as well as we might. I admit I didn’t trust him not to be a serial killer, and I definitely bit my nails when she agreed to meet him in person. However, it needed to be done because I was a little tired of them not having actually met. Once they meet, the pace of the narrative picks up and sparks fly.
The best thing about this story is the ending. The plot twist definitely appeals to the romantic in me. It’s a thoroughly sensual read and a feel-good story.
From Sherry at The Heart of Romance
Have you ever been through a bad break up that leaves you feeling empty and undesirable? If you have then you can certainly relate to Vivienne, our protagonist, in Hermes Online. It was bad enough that Vivienne caught her longtime boyfriend cheating on her but she was floored when her now ex-boyfriend accused her for his indiscretion because she is dull in bed. I know, the nerve. As you can imagine, Vivienne is feeling quite bad and her confidence is all but lost. Only the love of a good man can take away that level of pain, and thankfully for Vivienne, her journey will end in the arms of the man of her dreams.
Anderson completely won me over early on in the novel. First, I love the format of the book. There is a lot of email correspondence between Vivienne and her mystery man, and even some instant message and Skype calls. Anderson makes it so easy to follow the dialogue that I never once felt lost or confused as to who was doing the talking, and was able to enjoy the story unfolding without any interruptions. I was also very amazed at the story itself. There is a huge (but not unrealistic) transformation between Vivienne at the beginning of the novel and the person she grows into by the end of the book. I love that Vivienne, although scared, took risks. Sometimes when women get hurt, it is easy to be angry and bitter and never take anything more than a calculated chance, but Vivienne did the opposite, refusing to stay in her miserable state when she finally found a man worth taking risks for. Vivienne is a strong, well rounded heroine, and I enjoyed reading about her journey very much.
I will warn that as with many Siren novels, there is a bit of steam to this book. But, as a romance novel reviewer, I find that seduction scenes just aren’t satisfying if the emotional component of the story is missing, but Hermes Online definitely has all aspects that make up a fantastic can’t-put-it-down novel. Hermes Online gets my highest rating, 5 of 5 stars, and is guaranteed to set this summer on fire!

I especially love peer reviews.

From Fellow Author Tony Sweeney
Where to start…?  It’s not often a story actually hits home but this one certainly did. It’s an erotic story to be sure, but in many ways, it’s also a very sweet love story…of a woman and her Prince Charming in this day of impersonal, Internet connections.  Rose Anderson’s tale touched me because I met the man I love online, and though we never got as graphic as Vivienne and S, we chatted, we met, and we stayed together until he passed away.
This was one story I didn’t want to put down until it was finished because I had to know, without waiting for another night to pass, whether Viv and “S” would meet and what would happen if they did.  Would he be as she envisioned him or would the real man be a disappointment after the way her mind had painted him? Knowing the quirks of writers these days, I kept expecting there to be some twist at the ending, that “S” would turn out to be a fifteen-year-old boy or a serial killer or something just as devastating.  Without giving a Spoiler, let me say that attentive readers will spot that one sentence telling them how the story’s going to end.  Look for it, but if you don’t find it, it doesn’t matter.  You’ll enjoy what happens anyway. An excellent story.  A lovely story.

From Fellow Author Jane Leopold Quinn
Hermes Online by Rose Anderson is such a special story told in a completely unique way. Vivienne is you or me, if we had the gumption. She takes defeat and rejection, wallows for a short time, then does something about it. She explores her sensuality, satisfies her curiosity, and indulges in an online connection. Discovering her true self frees her to become the woman she was meant to be. Short and sweet, highly sensual and revelatory, you can't miss with this beautifully written story.

From Fellow Author Michelle Hart
This story was fantastic from beginning to end. It is a fun fantasy many women will enjoy! I'll definitely check out this author's next book. I loved this book. This is wordsmithing. Ms. Anderson's style is poetic and visual. Who would not have fallen madly in love with S? I did. Don't miss this book. It reminded me to put poetry in my life. I'll be reading this book again, and I await more of Ms. Anderson's work with baited breath. Read this story. You'll love it.

Ps...Lindsay, this was a wonderful idea. We so often get bogged down by poor or nasty reviews. Painful things always linger for some reason. It's nice to remember we're appreciated too. Thanks!


Lindsay Townsend said...

Congratulations on these amazing reviews, Rose! I've tweeted it.

Rose Anderson said...

Thanks Lindsay. This really is a great idea. Sorry about that font business by the way. I tried everything I could think of to make it uniform.

Barbara Elsborg said...

Wow, those are great reviews!!! Congrats, Rose.

Jane Leopold Quinn said...

Needless to say, from the inclusion of my review of Hermes, I loved the story. You are a unique writing talent, Rose Anderson! Keep 'em coming! ;-)