Especially in the wake of the Online Review-Gate “scandal,” I find myself in the odd position of being inherently distrustful of glowing reviews on Amazon, and yet jazzed to have them come in from all over the net.
My book has maintained a 5-star rating on Amazon since it was first made available for sale. Several of the writeups are from friends that contributed to the crowdfunding campaign that made it a reality, so high rating should be somewhat expected. But as time has gone in they are starting to come in from “Marlon Randos.”
Here are the two latest blurbs to be added to the Amazon page.
An eclectic collection of stories that take you for a short but exciting ride that sometimes catches you off guard when it throws you out on the street and left wanting… but really, when you think about it, you know the story had to end there… then instead you’re anxious to move on to the next adventure.
Although Secrets and Lies languished on my bookcase for well over two years before being read (cut me some slack, I have a toddler!) I finally started reading it, and as other reviewers have said, I wish I’d picked it up a long time ago. I think the thing I like best about these stories is the narrative voice that ties them all together. Often I found myself mentally cheering that voice on. Read this book if you’re the type of person who views the world as sadly hilarious and the people in it as frustratingly flawed, but loveable anyway. Or just read it because the stories are short, witty, and good.
That second one is actually from someone I know from college—Monica Garcia, the author of a collection of semi-experimental short fiction called Hate Mail that I highly recommend picking up—but I’ll still take it.
Though I wouldn’t say I’m actively hoping for a less than stellar review, it would be interesting to see, just so long as its legitimate. The other half of Online Review Gate is people that pan things for the sake of panning things or because they just don’t like who is behind them and actually have no knowledge of the thing they are panning. And that’s weak sauce.
For those just tuning in, The Dog House, the first story in my book, Secrets and Lies, was recently adapted into a short film in Boston. It will hopefully be hitting the festival circuit in fall.
Until then, you’ll have to get by with the just-released poster as a teaser.
Or the short story it was based on.
Just saw a new reader review of my book posted on Amazon, and though Secrets and Lies has gotten nothing but 5-star rankings, I wanted to share because this may be the best review yet.
A lot of times something that is “independent” can be seen as garbage. An unsigned band, a low budget movie….after all, if this book was that great, why wouldn’t it have a major publisher behind it?
Josh Gross blows this line of thinking out of the water with “Secrets and Lies.” A culmination of short stories that bounce between hipster cliches and broken dreams; this collection runs from one emotional extremity to the next, with no regard for reader comfort. And it’s this dangerous style of writing that turns the “corporate book publishing machine” off…..this book at times is an uncomfortable and unstable read. And that’s what makes it amazing.
After all, this is not a set of stories that end with a happy ending. This is not a children’s book where the villains are served their just desserts. These are not fables where the hero gets the girl and we learn a lesson. These stories showcase the heartbreak of life and young adulthood – and are deeply personal snapshots of a generation struggling to define themselves.
Let’s all thank Josh for creating a stimulating and honest work; as we already have a culture drowning in mindless fluff and escapism.
All I can say is wow. Maybe it is not a very writerly response, but still, wow. I continue to be grateful for the kind things people have said about my work and for the opportunity to create work that can inspire that sort of reaction. And you know, wow.
For those who do not already know, the first story in my book, The Dog House, was optioned to be made into a film by a Boston-based filmmaker of my aqaintance named Kim Rideout.
The film will be her senior thesis for film school at Boston University.
And, her script adaptaing my story was so effin’ good it won a women in film prize from the Adrienne Shelley (Director of Waitress) Foundation.
That film is starting production any day now and has launched a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter to cover some of the costs of location fees. I am a big proponent of crowdfunding, especially in situations like this, where it can be used to pre-purchase something. Heck. I even threw down $25 bucks.
Contribute here. Or else live in regret for the rest of your days. No pressure.
By day, a large part of my job is to be professional critic. Not everyone approves of what I have to say, which they make abundantly clear in their web comments. I think that part of it is that they think it’s me dishing it out and never having to take it, which isn’t true. I love “taking it.” I am of the opinion that something is discussed because it’s worth discussing, so even when criticism is negative, it grants legitimacy.
That’s why now that my book is getting into the hands of readers, Read the rest of this entry
Hi loyal readers. Just wanted to let you know that my book, Secrets and Lies, is now available at three stores in the Boise area: Hyde Park Books, Rediscovered Bookshop and Bricolage.
It will also be available at the November edition of Story Story Night at The Rose Room.
If you have suggestions for more stores that might carry an independent author like myself, feel free to name them in the comment box.
The team here at The Josh Gross sent out a few advance copies of Secrets and Lies to start generating some buzz. Here’s what the advance readers had to say about it.
“There is nothing timid about Secrets & Lies. Josh Gross dives headlong and with no holds barred into stories both tragic and absurd. Relationships bloom and falter, leaving the reader by turns laughing and cringing, and populated by characters desperate to escape the feeling of disconnect we all share.”
Amanda Turner – The Writer’s Block KRBX 89.9
“Gross walks the fence between the dreams of Western American youth and the nightmares of our older selves with these fine stories—a razor’s edge that you will recognize as the one buried deep beneath the detritus alongside your mother’s old house.”
Nathaniel Hoffman – Journalist
“Gross’ reflections on love, on loss and on the unending–and often unsatisfactory–search for ultimate truth will resonate with anyone who has ever tried to navigate the maze of life.”
AmyAtkins – Boise Weekly
“…from inconvenient hauntings to broken relationships, Josh Gross’s book explores it all with casual whit and careful execution. Even the classic argument-inducing topics – abortion and adultery to name a couple – are treated in a manner that is at once cavalier and compassionate.”
Anna Demetriades – Board Member, Story Story Night
“Josh Gross has the uncanny ability to balance the absurdly comical with the profoundly emotional. The biggest challenge for me as a filmmaker in adapting his work will be externalizing his ingeniously written inner monologue while preserving its depth.”
Kimberly Rideout – Filmmaker
We talked about the importance of pissing people off, the future of atheist gangsta rap and briefly mentioned my book for 40 minutes or so. There were also a few brief readings from sections Mrs. Turner especially liked. Next time she says I can bring my ukulele. Overall, it was great fun and I hope to come back to the show again for future publications.
If you missed it live, you can check out the podcast here.