Reflection, Review and Reason No. 4 to keep writing

It has been an interesting few months. My second book, Terminal Romance, so different from my first in both theme and expression, has received good feedback from readers and reviewers. But the language used to describe it is so different to that of 29 Ways to Drown, that I have to stop myself from grabbing the poor reviewer and demanding to know who is the prettier, more popular book. Unfair, I know.

That said, I am pleased. More than pleased. Relieved. People seem to get it. If I had to write a list of the things that keep me writing, an audience ‘getting it’ would be right up there, number 4 after fame, fortune, and to be unconditionally worshipped.

As far as reflecting on the process of writing, it is still early days. Especially, as I found myself detaching post-publication a lot earlier than I did some years ago when I launched my first collection. This is partially due to spending so much time writing the bloody thing that I was ready to sink my teeth into something new. So that’s where I am now — relieved, but also excited about the next book. It makes things like sales and promotion initiatives fall by the wayside. There is much I want say about ebook marketing, particularly in relation to social media but that’s another post for another time.

Now for the review, from Lauri Ramey of Calstate. There are other reader reviews if you want to hunt them out on Amazon.com.

One last thing, I want to thank everyone who read before and after copies of TR and who thoughtfully provided me with feedback. Also to those who have not yet read (no pressure, no pressure), thank you for being supportive. No date yet for when the print version will be out, but once I have more details, I’ll post launch dates.


“The constructed nature of identity and the challenges of love are major themes in both traditional and modern fiction. Niki Aguirre’s superb new collection, Terminal Romance, suggests that social media and current technologies may offer new ways to play out these dilemmas, but have not improved our self-awareness or romantic relationships. The characters in these stories are ceaselessly, even compulsively social, yet tragicomically isolated. With great subtlety, insight, humor, and poignancy, Aguirre uses email and social networking to show her characters’ endearing optimism as they fail to be understood and find lasting love. New media is used cleverly by the author—as the characters’ means of contact, and as ironic metaphors for their miscommunications—to show humanity in a light that feels both contemporary and classic. The book is comprised of sixteen vignettes, each one a self-contained and satisfying gem. The title is a double entendre: these tales of doomed romances were constructed at computer terminals. Read as a collection, the short stories’ interlinking plots and recurring characters provide the suspense, narrative surprises, and depths of characterization typically found in novels or novellas. The overarching plot, characters and themes—focused on a female writer’s commission to go on a year of dates set up on Internet chat sites, and blog about the experience—add up to a guilty pleasure packed with startling profundity. Aguirre is a master of dialogue, detail, and understatement, whose male and female characters are equally memorable and vivid. Only connect, writes Forster. In this book, the characters incessantly connect with others to the best of their abilities. As reality and virtuality collide, a main impediment is their inability to connect with themselves. Terminal Romance powerfully illustrates how our methods of communication inevitably reveal our identities, desires, and responses to unfulfilled dreams.”

Lauri Ramey
Director, Center for Contemporary Poetry and Poetics
California State University, Los Angeles

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