Monday, November 4, 2013

I Wanted to Hate Night Owl

I'm ashamed of myself.

On Saturday I started Night Owl, hoping it would be bad. Really bad.

You see, I had something against the author.

I didn't know the author personally. In fact, I had never even heard of M. Pierce or Night Owl. But I was aggravated by something Pierce said in a blog post about the way authors price their ebooks.

And I was fist-clenching, teeth-gritting jealous.

This was an author who came out of nowhere with a debut novel that rocketed to the top ten in the Kindle store pretty fast. Reviews of Night Owl are amazing.

I was convinced M. Pierce was a pen name for an established author or an agent. One who had connections. One who had a built-in fan base. Or maybe a Big Name to blurb the book. In other words, M. Pierce wasn't starting at the bottom, like me.

So I got the free sample on Kindle (yes, I'm cheap) and started reading, hoping that the writing would be bad, the editing shoddy, the smut recycled from every other alpha male book out there right now. Then, I reasoned, I would not feel so bad that I do not sell a million books a day. Because at least I know how to use punctuation.

I poured a glass of wine, gave a final harrumph, and started to read.

Two pages in, I was hooked. And furious.

How DARE Night Owl be so fucking good? How DARE M. Pierce write so well? How DARE the characters be so interesting, the setup so intriguing, the smut so hot?

Take that, Night Owl!

I bought the book (99 cents on Amazon) and poured more wine.

As I read on, I was even more convinced that M. Pierce was a fake name for a big author who wanted to write erotica anonymously. The writing was too confident, too sharp, too unapologetic. Cocky, even--but in a good way. No fumbling, frilly prose or shifts in verb tense. No misuse of apostrophes. No excessive dialog tags choking the characters' conversations.

I. Was. So. Mad.

The next morning, I stalked M. Pierce's blog like a hawk, determined to figure out if he or she was really Stephen King. (Not gonna lie, that's really what I thought.)

Imagine my surprise to discover it's really just a fantastic, hard-working writer who wrote a good book that took off. And that M. Pierce is funny, honest, self-deprecating, and generous with advice to other indie authors.

Damn, that's annoying.

I felt horrible. And guilty. So I wrote Pierce an email saying how much I was enjoying Night Owl and admitting that I'd hoped it wouldn't be as good as everyone said it was. I even confessed my stalkerish behavior.

And then, AND THEN, to make me feel even worse, I get an awesome email back, and we've since struck up a nice conversation about writing and publishing and other random things.

I can't wait to finish Night Owl, and if you like well-written erotic romance, I urge you to pick it up--you'll love the fresh twists on the genre, and the sexytimes are just as hot as anything I've read. Matt, one of the two main characters, is completely under my skin today. He's actually not all that likable in many ways, and it's a credit to Pierce that I kind of can't get enough of him.

I wanted to dislike the author and the book. Serves me right that they are both amazing.


  1. I love this honesty!!! I know we ALL feel like that more often than we'd like to admit!

    I'll be buying NIGHT OWL. :-)

  2. Thanks, Jessa! It's a great, sexy read. :)

  3. Omg I thought M. Pierce was Stephan King too. I still think the author is an estsblished writer and I think they are male. I love all the intrigue though and Night Owl is my best read of the year.

    Great post Melanie.

  4. Thanks, Claire! It is a fantastic read, no doubt.

  5. Melanie -- this blog post is amazing. I feel like we're kindred spirits. Many times I've opened a popular book in this same frame of mind, hunting for reasons to retreat into a feeling of superiority, wanting to salvage some personal dignity. I think it's what some writers need to do to stay alive while we're writing in the cold. I'm so honored that you're enjoying the book, that you took the time to reach out to me, and that I can have you for a friend. You're a good writer. The things you attend to -- dialog tags, tense shifts, punctuation -- are the same things I attend to. Little things that matter a lot. Anyway... I should write you an email instead of getting all sentimental in the comments on your blog. Thank you for this post, really. - M.

  6. Thanks, M. You're too kind. And talented. And sweet. So now I have to be like Matt and say I hope I never see your picture, because if you're also really good-looking, I will have to hate you again. ;)


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