Friday, October 17, 2014

SHADOWS OF GHOSTS author Stefan Haucke on How to Handle Negative Criticism (+Giveaway)

Welcome to my stop on the virtual book tour for Shadows of Ghosts by Stefan Haucke, a Fantasy YA book available now. This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Click on the banner to visit other stops on this tour.


Shadows of Ghosts carries readers to Enara, a kingdom at war with itself, where for centuries centaurs have been treated like animals because of their horse-like lower bodies; they've been forced to work as slaves in the southern agricultural provinces, and have been bought and sold like livestock. But a strong abolitionist faction has convinced many that centaurs' human torsos, heads, and intellectual abilities make them humans, who should be liberated from slavery and granted the same rights as any other person.

After four years of being forced to live in a remote village and having to keep his real identity a secret, Cal Lanshire, days away from his thirteenth birthday, is given the best birthday present he can imagine. He is told the war is almost over and he will soon be allowed to return home.

But then an old acquaintance unexpectedly arrives with news that changes everything. Cal's father, the king, has been assassinated.

Suddenly the outcome of the war and the very fate of the kingdom depend upon Cal being able to reach the capital where he will take his father's place.

With only his crafty best friend by his side and an escaped centaur slave to guide him, can Cal make it through an enchanted, hostile wilderness, past the assassins sent to kill him, and back to the capital before it's too late?


Cal walked on the bridge. With each step he took, he could feel the wooden planks under his feet gently bow from his weight, and he could feel the bridge casually sway like a dance partner each time he moved. The wind that was keeping the mosquitoes away seemed stronger now that he was on the bridge. Somehow he felt both afraid and overwhelmingly calm.

“Hurry up, slowpoke!” Mont shouted.

A beam of sunlight pushed through the clouds, and at the same moment Cal felt the planks disappear from under his feet, he felt himself being thrown to his right. One of the bridge’s rope handrails had suddenly snapped, and this caused the bridge to violently twist to one side. Cal had the strangest sensation that he was flying. He felt as if he was ascending to the sky, not tumbling downward.

The water slapped him, stinging his face, and then quickly engulfed him. He was blinded by the water’s murkiness; he could barely see the filtered light from above. His clothes absorbed the water and made him heavy. He felt as if invisible hands were reaching out in the darkness, grabbing his clothes, pulling him down. He was tempted to relax, to allow himself to sink. But no, he wasn’t ready for the darkness. Cal kicked his legs, bringing himself up toward the light.

When his head broke through the surface of the water, he inhaled and blinked the dampness from his eyes. Ellsben was waving wildly at him and shouting, “Swim! Cal, swim, swim, swim!” Mont was running toward the river, but Ellsben grabbed him by the back of the shirt, stopping him. Mont screamed Cal’s name.

Several long, black snakes slithered into the river. Once the snakes were in the water, Cal could no longer see them, but he knew they were coming toward him. On the other side of the river, behind him, he knew snakes were also slithering into the water.


How to Handle Negative Criticism 

Every book has received negative reviews. When your book is published it will receive some negative reviews. That's guaranteed. You can't please everyone. What is the best response to a bad review? No response. Ignore it. You have nothing to gain by publicly responding to a negative review. In fact, you have a lot to lose. If you publically respond to a negative review you will look thin skinned and, depending on how you respond, probably unprofessional.

When you receive a negative review, remember you are in good company. Here are some of my favorite negative reviews of classic works of literature.

1.  Samuel Pepys who kept a detailed diary of his life in London from 1660 - 1669, had this to say about Shakespeare's A Midsummer's Night's Dream: "we saw Midsummer's Night's Dream, which I had never seen before, nor shall ever again, for it is the most insipid, ridiculous play I ever saw in my life."

2.   This is what a reviewer in 1856 thought of Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass: "But what claim has this Walt Whitman to be thus considered, or to be considered a poet at all? We grant freely enough that he has a strong relish for nature and freedom, just as an animal has; nay, further, that this crude mind is capable of appreciating some of nature's beauties; but it by no means follows that, because nature is excellent, therefore art is contemptible. Walt Whitman is as unacquainted with art as a hog is with mathematics."

3.  Mark Twain was not a fan of Jane Austen's writing. He particularly hated Pride and Prejudice. This is how he felt about that book: "Every time I read Pride and Prejudice I want to dig her up and beat her over the skull with her own shin-bone."

Never let a bad review get you down. Benjamin Franklin said, "In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes."  I want to add, if you're a writer, "In this world nothing can be certain, except death, taxes, and receiving some negative reviews of your work."

AUTHOR Bio and Links

Stefan Haucke, driven by the desire to learn about other cultures and the need for adventure, has traveled to over twenty nations. He rode a camel near the pyramids in Egypt, swam with sea lions in the waters of the Galapagos Islands, climbed the Great Wall of China, hiked near the Acropolis in Athens, went dog sledding in northern Michigan, and photographed polar bears in Canada.

Along his many travels, Stefan has successfully worked as a deckhand, a shepherd, a dispatcher for an emergency services unit, an electric meter reader, and an office manger. He has also found the time to study the literature and history of ancient Greece, Russia, and the United States, and loves reading folktales, fairytales, and urban legends. He also enjoys astronomy, and on clear nights can be found gazing at the stars and planets with his telescope.

My website:

My GoodReads page:

My Book can be purchased on: Amazon | Kindle Edition | Barnes & Noble | Indie Bound - Independent Bookstores


Prizes for the tour are as follows:

• One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/ gift card.
• One randomly chosen host will receive a $25 Amazon/ gift card.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Loved the blub!

    Thank you for this opportunity!

  2. Thanks for the advice!


  3. Ha! I've never heard that about Jane Austen and Mark Twain! That's excellent :)

  4. I like the part about how to handle the negative criticism.

  5. I enjoyed the guest post. It just goes to show that reowned authors are not universally liked.