How to Handle Negative Criticism by Cindy Lynn Speer – Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/ gift card. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

How to handle negative criticism

Sometimes you will get some really odd criticism. Reviews, for example, that complain about the book not downloading right or having a glitch in it. If you see a review where you can do something to help the reader, I think you should try and bounce it back to your publisher so that they get what they paid for (and maybe they will make that one star review a little nicer) but if you can’t fix things, you just have to ignore it.

I sometimes talk about how you cannot control what people think or what they do about their thoughts. Consider, for a second, your absolute favorite author. I promise you, there are people who hate them with a furious passion. There are people who think my prose is like chewing tin foil. That’s not their fault or mine, it just is. Not everything in this world is everyone’s cup of tea. Think about the people who enjoy your stories, the others don’t really matter because there is nothing you can do about it. Again this is not an indictment against someone who didn’t like your work, but why grind your guts over things you cannot change?

But, internet criticism is always easier to deal with than face to face criticism. If someone says something to you, weigh the person first. Are they a well-meaning friend? Are they someone who is invested somehow in your success, whether they are your editor or someone who likes you and would like to see you do well? Or are they a stranger? I try and get the idea of what they are trying to accomplish as I listen to their words, because that will help you separate the well-meaning from the people who like cutting others down.

Then, I think, does their criticism have merit? Is it something I have heard before? Can I go back and fix it? If it is someone invested in my success, I admit, they get a little more weight, because their agenda is for me to do well. Also, if I hear the same piece of criticism over and over (and it is something specific) I figure that is a flaw I need to fix.

If your book is published, printed, and done — then consider whether this is a problem you will have in future works and you will need to fix.

If you think it is worth fixing, fix it. If you cannot or do not…smile, thank them, and walk away.

If you are like me, you will feel embarrassed and weirdly guilty. The best thing to do is to remind yourself that you did your best and that all is well. Once you’ve extracted any possible good out of their comments, forget it and walk away.


A truly original, spellbinding love story, featuring vivid characters in a highly realistic historical setting.

When Tasmin’s bethrothed, William, is accused of murder, she gathers her wind sprites and rushes to his home town to investigate. She doesn’t have a shred of doubt about his innocence. But as she settles in his chocolate shop, she finds more in store than she bargained for. Facing suspicious townsfolk, gossiping neighbors, and William’s own family, who all resent her kind – the sorcerer folk from the North — she must also learn to tell friend from foe, and fast. For the real killer is still on the loose – and he is intent on ruining William’s family at all cost.

The Chocolatier’s Ghost: Married to her soul mate, the chocolatier William, Tasmin should not have to worry about anything at all. But when her happily ever after is interrupted by the disappearance of the town’s wise woman, she rushes in to investigate. Faced with dangers, dead bodies, and more mysterious disappearances, Tasmin and William must act fast to save their town and themselves – especially when Tasmin starts to be haunted by a most unwelcome ghost from her past…literally.

The Chocolatier’s Ghost is an enchanting sequel to Cindy Lynn Speer’s bestselling romantic mystery, The Chocolatier’s Wife.

Enjoy an Excerpt from The Chocolatier’s Wife:

Time was, in the kingdom of Berengeny, that no one picked their spouses. No one courted—not officially, at any rate—and no one married in a moment’s foolish passion. It was the charge of the town Wise Woman, who would fill her spell bowl with clear, pure water; a little salt; and the essence of roses, and rosemary, and sage. Next, she would prick the finger of the newborn child and let his or her blood drip into the potion. If a face showed in the waters, then it was known that the best possible mate (they never said true love, for that was the stuff of foolish fancy) had been born, and the Wise Woman could then tell where the future spouse lived, and arrangements were made.

For the parents of William of the House of Almsley, this process would turn out to be less than pleasant.

The first year that the baby William’s finger was pricked and nothing showed, the Wise Woman said, “Fear not, a wife is often younger than the husband.”

The second, third, and even fifth year she said much the same.

But you see, since the spell was meant to choose the best match—not the true love—of the heart the blood in the bowl belonged to, this did not mean, as years passed, that the boy was special. It meant that he would be impossible to live with.

On his seventh birthday, it seemed everyone had quite forgotten all about visiting the Wise Woman until William, who knew this of long habit to be a major part of his day–along with cake, a new toy, and a new set of clothes–tugged on his mother’s skirt and asked when they were going. She stared at him a long moment, tea cup in hand, before sighing and calling for the carriage. She didn’t even bother to change into formal clothes this time, and the Wise Woman seemed surprised to see them at all. “Well, we might as well try while you’re here,” she said, her voice obviously doubtful.

William obediently held out the ring finger on his left hand and watched as the blood dripped into the bowl. “She has dark brown eyes,” William observed, “and some hair already.” He shrugged, and looked at the two women. “I suppose she’ll do. I’m just glad ‘tis over, and that I can go on with my life.”

“For you, perhaps,” his mother said, thinking of what she would now have to accomplish.

“Do not fret, mother, I shall write a letter to the little girl. Not that she can read it, anyway.” He petted his mother’s arm. He was a sweet boy, but he was always charging forward, never worrying about feelings.

The Wise Woman rolled out an elegantly painted silk map of the kingdom and all its regions, his mother smoothed the fabric across the table, and then the Wise Woman dipped a brass weight into the bowl. Henriette, William’s mother, placed her hands on William’s shoulders as the Wise Woman held the weight, suspended, over the map.

Henriette held her breath, waiting to see where it would land. Andrew, her younger son, had his intended living just down the street, which was quite convenient. At least they knew what they were getting into immediately.

The plumb-bob made huge circles around the map, spinning and spinning as the Wise Woman recited the words over and over. It stopped, stiffly pointing toward the North.

“Tarnia? Not possible, nor even probable. You must try again!”

For once, William’s mother wasn’t being stubbornly demanding. Tarnia, a place of cruel and wild magic, was the last place from whence one would wish a bride. They did not have Wise Women there, for anyone could perform spells. The Hags of the North ate their dead and sent the harsh winter wind to ravage the crops of the people of the South. Five hundred years ago, the North and the South had fought a bitter war over a cause no one could quite remember, only that it had been a brutal thing, and that many had died, and it led to the South losing most of its magic. Though the war was long over and the two supposedly united again, memory lingered. “I have cast it twice.” The Wise Woman chewed her lower lip, but therewas naught else she could do.

“Not Tarnia, please?” Henriette, usually a rather fierce and cold woman, begged.

“I am afraid so.” The Wise Woman began cleaning up; her shoulders set a little lower. “I am sorry.”

William, staring out the window at the children playing outside, couldn’t care less. What did it matter where anyone was from? She was a baby, and babies didn’t cause that much trouble.

“Only you, William,” his mother said, shaking her head. “Why can you not do anything normal?”

This was to be the tenor of most of their conversations throughout their lives.

About the Author:

Cindy Lynn Speer has been writing since she was 13. She has Blue Moon and Unbalanced published by Zumaya. Her other works, including The Chocolatier’s Wife (recently out in an illustrated hardcover to celebrate its 10th anniversary) and the Chocolatier’s Ghost, as well as the short story anthology Wishes and Sorrows. When she is not writing she is either practicing historical swordsmanship, sewing, or pretending she can garden. She also loves road trips and seeing nature. Her secret side hobby is to write really boring bios about herself.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon Author Page

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  1. Thanks for hosting!

  2. James Robert says:

    Thank you for the excerpt and giveaway.

  3. I really enjoyed reading the guest post, thank you!

  4. That is very good advice. It’s difficult to learn how to take criticism gracefully, but life becomes so much easier in general once you do.

    Congratulations on your new book.

  5. Great advice about criticism! Shake it off and move on! Great post!

  6. kim hansen says:

    Sounds like a great read.

  7. I liked the excerpt.

  8. It’s useful, thoughtful advice!

  9. bernie wallace says:

    Who is your favorite literary character? Thanks for the giveaway. I hope that I win.

    • Cindy Speer says:

      Hmm. Cinderella, because she works hard and means well, generally, and the moral of her story seems to be hard work and a sweet nature are rewarded. 🙂

      Thank you!

  10. Linda Romer says:

    The Choclotier’s wife sounds like a good read. Thank you

  11. Lisa Brown says:

    I enjoyed reading the excerpt to get to know your book; best wishes on the tour and thanks for the chance to win 🙂

  12. Happy Friday! Thanks for sharing the great post – I enjoyed reading it 🙂

  13. I would love to read this book! It is good for your encounters with family, neighbors, co-workers!

  14. bernie wallace says:

    What book would you like to see a sequel to? Thanks for the giveaway. I hope that I win. Bernie W BWallace1980(at)hotmail(d0t)com

  15. Hope you are having a wonderful weekend! Looking forward to checking out this book!

  16. bernie wallace says:

    What is the most overrated book that you have ever read? Thanks for the giveaway. I hope that I win. Bernie W BWallace1980(at)hotmail(d0t)com

  17. Great post I really enjoyed the books.

  18. I have really enjoyed following this tour and look forward to checking out this book!

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