Book Reviews for Sliced Vegetarian

Do you know the feeling when someone says something nice about you? When that kind and generous comment gets back to you?  Don’t you get excited and look in the mirror with your chin up? Imagine if those compliments meant money.  In the publishing world, they do.

Sliced Vegetarian Front Cover

Thank you, Sandra Dallas!

Authors live (and sometimes die) by the reputations they build (author platform) and the reviews they get for their books.  That’s part of why we go to book conferences and conventions, we give talks to any group interested, and we “shamelessly self-promote” wherever we can. We also try to make friends with authors a little farther along in their careers, because, a) it’s fun to have a friend who shares your interest and does it so well, and b) sometimes you can ask that friend for a review/blurb for your book. It’s all important, and all marketing.

So you can imagine how thrilled I am this week.  I have reviews to share with you on Sliced Vegetarian!  My publisher and I sent Advanced Reader Copies (ARCs) to review publications and famous people to see what they think of the book.  Here are some results:


Do you know Sandra Dallas?  She is a New York Times best-selling author and book reviewer for the Denver Post.  Ms. Dallas started her career as the first woman bureau chief for Business Week, still a thought leader in business under the Bloomberg Press Conglomerate.  In other words, this author is a big deal, a really big deal.

I contacted her about a year ago to do a blog post for Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers.  We spent a pleasant 30 or 40 minutes together at the end of which she was kind enough to ask about my writing.  When I told her about Daisy Arthur she encouraged me to contact her when my ARCs came out.  Shamelessly, I did.  I didn’t really expect her to remember me or her offer, yet she accepted my ARC and wrote a very nice blurb:

“Sliced Vegetarian is one meaty little mystery. Readers will adore Daisy Arthur and her cast of dogs and detectives as she fights for justice for her special needs friends. There’s both charm and suspense in this satisfying cozy.”

My publisher jumped all over this and you can see the result.  A portion of this quote is on the cover of Sliced Veggie.  How cool is that?  An almost total stranger helping a little person in publishing out.

If you like reading good books, please visit Sandra’s website.  She has thirteen novels set in the West, award-winning non-fiction, and even two children’s books.


Have you read the Birdwatcher’s Series of mystery?  If not, you’re in for a treat.  Chris is a rising star in the publishing industry, and it’s my true honor to call her my friend.  We collaborate on projects for our local chapter of Mystery Writers of America, and I always enjoy our time together–including going to her birthday party this past week–at a HORSE RACETRACK! Fantastic.

Anyway, one of the things I admire about Chris is that she truly reads the books she reviews.  Even though she was swamped with edit deadlines on one of her novels, she took the time to read my book.  Here’s how her review starts:

“Cozy mystery readers will love Daisy Arthur, a heroine with heart and spunk.”

Chris and I, along with two other writing friends are going to have a book “baby shower” at the end of August. I’ll try to remember to write a post about a party where the hosts act like mothers-to-be of our new babies:

  • Stone Cold Case by Catherine Dilts
  • Tea and Treachery by Patricia Coleman
  • Dark Waters by Christine Goff
  • Sliced Vegetarian by yours truly

I think it will be a party to DIE for–heh, heh, heh.


Ellen is the president of our chapter of Mystery Writers of America, and a super cool leader, friend, and most importantly, mystery writer.  You can imagine how grateful I was to receive this comment from her:

“No matter how you slice it or dice it, Sliced Vegetarian is a tasty treat for cozy mystery readers.”


While its thrilling to get “big press,” I believe the home-town paper has even bigger clout.  When “local author does good” kind of stories appear, people in the area are bound to look out for a read where they have a real interest in the setting as well as the story.

I’ve never met Ms. Ellingboe, but I can tell from the several column inches she generously gave to my review that she truly read the book, and wrote the review in such a way that my good guy even said it made him want to read the story (he is NOT a cozy mystery fan).  Thank you, thank you, Ms. Ellingboe!


While I didn’t get a review in this on-line publication, I have been added to their author list. This is hugely important because Stan and Lucinda have a fantastic following of readers, with a twice-monthly newsletter on new mystery books, book give-aways, and everything mystery.  If you like to read mysteries, this is the place for you.


Yippee! Yahoo!  To get a mention in the big guy’s reviews is a terrific feather in any author’s cap.  For Sliced Vegetarian, I received mentions in both Publishers Weekly and Booklist Review. My publisher was able to pull positive quotes from each and I am dancing on Cloud Nine.


My publisher let me know that Thorndyke Press, a sister company of Five Star Publishing, is acquiring rights to publish Sliced Veggie in large print.

Do you know anywhere else I should send an ARC?  I always appreciate making a new connection in the mystery writing world.

Have a great and creative week.  I’ll be on vacation next week but will return on July 8, with more writing experiences.


Daisy Update: Publishers Weekly Review, New Cover Art & More …

Publishing is such an exciting adventure! I’m thrilled to update you on Daisy’s progress.  After some of your feedback, Faith on the Rocks has an updated cover, Publishers Weekly has weighed in on the content, and Writer’s Digest has indicated they’ll be doing an article on yours truly. Wow! Can you tell I’m ecstatic?  Here are the details:

Publishers Weekly

PW is one of the “big four” in the book review business, according to Slate Magazine.  “It plays Coke to Kirkus’ Pepsi” said author Adelle Waldman in an article about the book review business.  To get a good review from PW is a big step in promoting your book.  Here is the quote I received via my publisher yesterday:

Publishers Weekly Review 4/5/13
This title publishes JUNE 2013
. . . entertaining first novel . . . Gabe, the single father of one of Daisy’s special-needs students, lends some romantic interest . . . cozy fans will look forward to seeing more of Daisy.
If you’d like to see the whole write-up please visit this portion of the Publishers Weekly site.

Another Review – Joan Johnston

For those of you familiar with Joan Johnston, New York Times best-selling author of such books as Wyoming Bride, A Stranger’s Game, and Outcast, this prolific and generous writer agreed to read my book.  Here is her review statement:
“Malik shows great promise as a debut novelist.    Her characters are fun and quirky, and I kept chuckling right through to the end.  A great read!”

Edited Faith on the Rocks Cover

I think the final straw was when a religious zealot thought I was “one of them” and handed me a save-the-world kind of flyer.  I’ve passed on your cover comments about Faith on the Rocks not conveying the mystery portion of the story, and my publishers at Five Star Publishing, bless their hearts, responded.  Hope you like the edits:

Writer’s Digest Mention

I’ve subscribed to Writer’s Digest since 1979 or so. When I was younger I read about how subscribing to WD had helped many an aspiring author get into print.  Today, WD has a section called “Breaking In” for first novelists.  My picture and book will be a part of this section in the July/August issue, thanks to editor Chuck Sambuchino.  Whoo Hoo! I think this fulfills a huge dream I’ve had since I bought my first WD book, “Magazine Writing Today” by Jerome E. Kelley.  I can still see that book sitting on the shelf at The University of Michigan’s bookstore, “The Cellar.”  It took a few paychecks to save enough extra funds to invest the $9.95 for my dream to take really off.  Even before that, I’d bought WD magazines off and on for years, and submitted children’s stories (without success) while I lived in England.
Today, fame and fortune may not quite yet be mine, but there is a big part of the “dream-fulfilled” feeling to my life.  And thanks to you, your feedback, and your support, the dream lives on. I’m on chapter 24 of Sliced Vegetarian and plan to finish the first draft of this book in June.

What I’ve Learned

For those of you who aspire to writing, keep going.  I’ve been dabbling with this craft since I wrote the Weed Tree Camp Newsletter and edited Vaughn Elementary’s monthly “newspaper” in the mid 1960’s.  If I can do this, so can you.
Writing is a craft worth learning, a voice worth letting out to the world, a dream worth pursuing. and a hope for tomorrow. As human beings, we have been given the gift of story, and it is up to each of us to tell our own portion of that story.
Have a great writing day.