Author: Andrea Smith and Eva LeNoir
Publisher: Self Published
Two dominant males, two worthy adversaries, in a business that takes no prisoners will soon learn that fate refuses to be ignored.
Troy Babilonia is best known as Babu, a renowned literary critic with his own online column. He’s followed by thousands, and considers himself a living god in the literary world. He has no filter, and for that his flock of humble followers are forever grateful. If it weren’t for Babu, his followers wouldn’t know what to read. He has zero tolerance for weak-minded attention seekers, nor does he have respect for the self-proclaimed geniuses of the indie world. His advice to all indie authors is never break the cardinal rule in this cutthroat business. Ever.
Larson Blackburn is an indie author. In his opinion, his extraordinary genius is loved and worshiped throughout the literary world – until one egocentric critic tries to obliterate his career. He broke the “cardinal rule,” and now he’s paying the price. But he doesn’t plan to go down without a fight.
Black Balled is one of the best novels of 2016 in my opinion. If you’re either a published author, or an author wannabe, or a reviewer, this compelling, realistic work of M/M fiction is a must-read/listen. NOTE TO PUBLISHERS: some of the most unique, colorful, creative, and best-written novels I’ve read over the past five years were indies; i.e., self-published novels.
I can understand, perhaps, why publishers sent “Not for us” replies to the authors’ queries, if they sent them. Why you ask? Because Mses. Smith and LeNoir take an accurate, no-holds-barred, balls-out (sorry ladies) run at the publishing biz, and the glut of internet vitriol. As with many writers, I’m guessing Mses. Smith and LeNoir chose to self-publish simply because they get a larger slice of the pie by doing so.
Anyway, Black Balled features an antihero reviewer who writes under the pseudonym “Babu.” He’s an egotistical, narcissistic demagogue – much like that fascist Herr Donald. (Heil Trumpler.) The difference being Babu is a handsome, sexy, likable character in spite of being a total asshole. The MC author, Larson, breaks the ridiculous cardinal rule of book reviews; i.e., he replies to Babu’s mean-spirited review of his latest novel, and is subsequently “black balled.” WTF?! Who came up with this mindless “cardinal rule?” If a critic posts a negative review, he or she should be prepared, as am I, to hear from the author and his/her fans. After all, authors have the same rights as reviewers vis a vis expressing their opinions. Gotta problem with that? If yes, don’t write slash and burn reviews of novels you’ve barely read, which is most often the case. BTW, those “barely read” occurrences are glaringly obvious to authors and those who’ve actually read the novel from beginning to end. I’ll add that many so-called “gods of book reviews” should either find another hobby, or get laid. But I digress.
Mses. Smith and LeNoir’s characters are highly-developed, colorful, and interesting. Ya just gotta love all of ‘em irrespective of their flaws. Larson has OCD, and is conceited. Babu is an arrogant horse’s ass. The novel’s villain, Elly, is Larson’s slutty ex-wife whom you’ll love to hate.
Mses. Smith and LeNoir weave a wonderful tale of the publishing industry from authors, to critics, to agents and those who work behind publishing’s closed doors. The incredibly accurate coverage of writers’ ongoing battle with “reviewers” will have you laughing and angry as hell. And the erotica will have you fanning yourself. Mses. Smith and LeNoir’s imaginative, clear, concise writing style jumps off the pages with Joel Leslie’s oral interpretations.
I never write synopses of the novels I review, and I dislike reviews that provide such needless information. The publisher’s summary/blurb covers all that information. I prefer to comment on plot, pacing, character development, emotions stirred, how/why it’s a compelling read, et alia. And while I’m on a rant, each time I read a review claiming a novel is OTT almost trips my gag reflex. It’s fiction for fucksakes! Would you prefer utterly bland novels? Those who seemingly hate every novel they review should consider this: nobody gives a damn about your “honest” opinions – try writing fair, objective reviews by applying criteria you develop and consistently use. In doing so, your readers might find your review worth reading.
I listened to Black Balled from beginning to end without removing the ear buds. I urge you to take a look at an indie that stands toe-to-toe with anything released by the “big five” and/or publishers of the M/M genre. The authors provide two bonus chapters that will make you smile – I guarantee it. Highly recommended reading/listening. Bravo, Andrea Smith and Eva LeNoir!