February 2018 Reading List

Before I get into what I read, I want to mention that starting this month I will be changing my blog schedule around a bit. This is mostly due to working hard on my current writing project and not having the time to do that and continue the blogging schedule I had planned.

So instead of posts on Friday, I will be posting on Tuesday. I’m also limiting myself to two planned post a month. That means they could be a post about my latest story project or my current handmade craft. Thanks for understanding, I love you guys!

Now, back to our regularly scheduled post…

Sadly, I didn’t get much reading done in February because I’ve been working hard to finish that book project I mentioned above. What I did read didn’t impress me much. Below I have two books that I did like, for the most part, and would recommend. Ones a non-fiction book for writers that I re-read and the other is a paranormal romance.

Stages of a Fiction Writer: Know Where you Stand on the Path to Writing by Dean Wesley Smith

Book Description: With more than a hundred published novels and more than seventeen million copies of his books in print, USA Today bestselling author Dean Wesley Smith knows how to write fiction. And he has traversed every stage of writing along the way.

In this WMG Writer’s Guide, Dean takes you step-by-step through the stages most fiction writers go through and how not to lose hope along the way.

Want to enjoy your writing more and let your storytelling evolve in its own time? Then learn from Dean’s experience and discover what to expect at each stage of a fiction writer’s career.

My Thoughts on Stages of a Fiction Writer: I definitely loved seeing the different stages of an fiction writers path laid out in this book. If read with an honest and open mind, it can give flagging writers a lot of hope for the future and even a few pointers in the direction that best suits them.

Dark Prince: Author’s Cut (Book 1 of The ‘Dark’ Carpathian Series) by Christine Feehan

Book Description:  Dark Prince returns in a new, author’s cut special edition. #1 New York Times bestseller Feehan revisits her classic tale of paranormal romance—the breathtaking story of a beautiful hunter with extraordinary telepathic abilities captivated by the powerful allure of a tormented prince of the mysterious Carpathians—expanding the beloved story by 100 never before seen pages! Here is your golden opportunity to experience the first book in Christine Feehan’s remarkable Dark saga as you never have before, whether it’s a glorious re-entrance into this writer’s mystical, unforgettable world…or your very first visit!

My Thoughts on Dark Prince: Okay, there were points in the book that I really, really liked and other parts were I wanted to slap the vampire upside the head and stake his ass. And I don’t mean that in any BDSM fetish way. I really wanted to kill him sometimes for being stupid. But overall, I liked this paranormal romance.

It also gave me ideas for my own book. And I don’t mean story ideas, but more “ways to republish old stories” ideas.


Happy reading to ya’ll!

January 2018 Reading List

I know that it has been awhile since I posted one of these and I’m going to blame it on the fact that I haven’t been reading all that many books or stories lately. I guess I could have posted about all the online articles I’ve been reading because there are a ton of them, but I really didn’t feel like writing a post that could be considered the equivalent of a novel about them.

First up this month was…

The Right-Brain Business Plan by Jennifer Lee

I actually re-read this book since it’s been awhile and so much has changed in what I’m doing and how I want to do it. While I’ve decided not to run a business for several reasons, I still like the idea of having a plan or focus for my year.

For the creative brain that snoozes when it comes to creating a business plan (mine!), this book takes the boring out of making plans and makes it fun. There are lots of activities to do and examples to see. Besides who doesn’t want to do a little cut and pasting while making a visual map of their business plan.

The Dimensions Trilogy by Barbara Joan Russell

This trilogy won’t be out until March 24th, but you can jump over to the author’s website to sign up for her mailing list to find out when it will be. I’m lucky to know the author so I was able to get my hands on the books before they are even published, mostly because she wanted me to design her book covers and help her with the book descriptions. Since the best way to do that was to read the books, she let me.

While light on the fantasy in the first book, the series soon picks up speed in the fantasy department and keeps you wondering what’s going to happen next. This is definitely a novella series I feel comfortable buying for my girls and would suggest to any parent whose kids aren’t interested in picking up giant tomes to read.

Secrets

Secrets, Book #1 in the Dimensions Trilogy, Barbara Joan RussellRaven, Montana is a small town, secluded from the rest of the world, where nothing exciting ever happens. But high school senior, Jessica Riley has never felt like she lacked anything. Well, that is, except for that one special boy who can make her life complete.

When she meets Steve Montgomery, the newcomer, the void she always experienced with her past boyfriends is finally filled. With Steve, she has everything she’s ever wanted.

There’s just one small problem…

Steve didn’t come to Raven to fall in love. He came to escape a dark past, something that didn’t originate in this world but has a definite hold on it…and on him. As much as he longs to be free from it, it’s followed him, and it’s about to threaten anyone who gets close to him.

And unfortunately for Jessica, he cares about her a little too much.

Stalker

Stalker, book #2 in the Dimensions Trilogy, Barbara Joan RussellRaven, Montana is a small town where nothing exciting used to happen. But forces from another world are pressing in, and those forces will make Raven anything but boring…

Jessica Riley now knows Steve Montgomery’s secret. She knows why he says they can’t be together. And logically, it makes sense. But one thing she’s learned from her past relationships is how rare something like true love is. It’s something that only happens once in a lifetime. So when someone finds it, they need to fight for it. And she’s determined to fight for Steve, no matter what the cost will be.

While Steve loves her, he can’t let her risk everything just to be with him. She doesn’t understand how dangerous his father is. His father has plans. Dark plans. Plans that don’t include Jessica. And he’ll stop at nothing to get his way.

Steve Montgomery was trying to escape his past, but dark forces from another world have followed him to Raven. He wants to fight it, but how can he when those forces threaten the girl he loves?

Showdown

Showdown, Book #3 in the Dimensions Trilogy, Barbara Joan RussellRaven, Montana, a place once thought to be boring, will send Jessica Riley and her friends into another world where the rules are vastly different than the ones they’re used to…

Steve Montgomery has finally given his father what he wants. He has joined his father into the Seventh Dimension where his father is determined to establish his reign.  But Jessica is just as determined to get Steve back, and her friends have agreed to help her.

As soon as they get to the Seventh Dimension, Steve’s father sends them all through portals that will take them to different words, worlds they could never have imagined in the quiet and safe town of Raven. Worlds of magic. Worlds where time doesn’t have any meaning. Worlds where anything is possible.

And it’s up to each one to find their way back to the Seventh Dimension before Steve’s father will have his way. Because if he succeeds, then Steve will be lost forever, and Jessica can’t allow that, no matter what challenges she has to face.

Write to Market (Deliver a Book that Sells) by Chris Fox

This was a book that a fellow writer sent to me last year when I was having difficulties deciding what I wanted to do and even what to write. While I started it last year, I didn’t finish it. Last week I pulled it off my book shelf and started reading it again.

Now the plan to make money with my writing hasn’t changed, as in I’m not planning to make money, I just want to write the stories in my head and share them. But this book had some really good information about writing and publishing that I found invaluable.

Evermore (The Immortals Series) by Alyson Noël

The last book I read this month was a YA Paranormal Romance that I borrowed from the library. I got about five books by various authors in various series for research into YA fiction in preparation for writing the Sara Greenway Series.  I figure if I find a book I like among them, I’ll read the rest of the series.

Among them was a book by Alyson Noël titled Evermore. For those who love a little more romance in their YA, this might be a series that you would enjoy. While it had a premise that I found intriguing, it won’t be a series that I will continue reading.

Here’s a description:

After a horrible accident claimed the lives of her family, sixteen-year-old Ever Bloom can see people’s auras, hear their thoughts, and know someone’s entire life story by touching them. Going out of her way to avoid human contact and suppress her abilities, she has been branded a freak at her new high school—but everything changes when she meets Damen Auguste.

Damen is gorgeous, exotic and wealthy. He’s the only one who can silence the noise and random energy in her head—wielding a magic so intense, it’s as though he can peer straight into her soul. As Ever is drawn deeper into his enticing world of secrets and mystery, she’s left with more questions than answers. And she has no idea just who he really is—or what he is. The only thing she knows to be true is that she’s falling deeply and helplessly in love with him.


Happy Groundhog Day and  reading to ya’ll!

April 2017 Reading List

The last few years I’ve been gravitating more toward shorter fiction. With a busy schedule and my habit of reading every book I read to completion, the shorter work feeds my reading addiction for the day but also allows me to do the other things I need to get done daily. Most the books this month are serial fiction of novella or short story length.


Ripple Effect: Episode 1 & Episode 2 (A Dark Hitman Erotic Romance Series) by Keri Lake

I haven’t gotten around to reading the other two books in the series, but I do plan to finish this 4 part series. Now a moment of warning, these novellas are a little more on the darker side of life and have an unrepentant hitman as the hero…anti-hero? who is in lust with the heroine who hasn’t had the easiest life.

Anyhoo, while I found the excerpt on these books interesting and different, I bought them mostly for research for a character I’m working on and research on serial fiction. And while I still find the characters fascinating and would love to pick the brains of the author who wrote them (albeit not literally pick her brains because that would be gross and bloody), I would not suggest these books to everyone because like I stated above they are very dark, both in characters and in themes.

I occasionally enjoy darker fiction, but I’m more interested in the changes happening in the two characters and wondering where the story is taking me. Although I do have an inkling, I really want to see if I’m right about it or if Keri is going to throw me another strange twist.

How to Write Serial Fiction & Be Ready to Publish it in Less Than 24 Hours by C.R. Meyer

If you are a frequent visitor to this site you may have noticed that I’m on a serial fiction kick lately. The biggest reason is that I want to experiment with the medium because as a reader it’s the type of books I like to read and as a writer I have hundreds of ideas roaming around my head and not enough time to write them. I’m also a writer who loses interest in a book if I have finished it within a month or two.

How to Write Serial Fiction & Be Ready to Publish it in Less Than 24 Hours is one of two books on the subject of writing serial fiction that I picked up last month. Now if you are interested in writing serial fiction and willing to part with your money, then I would suggest this for the fundamentals on writing serial fiction that it has, but if not you can find a lot of the same information in this book online.

Just steer clear of anyone who suggests chopping a novel into smaller chucks. True serial fiction is where each book tells it’s own story, novel chapters have a hard time doing and your readers will feel cheated if you do this.

The Debt Collector (Season One) by Susan Kaye Quinn

I ran across this serial while researching how authors write serial fiction. These are 9 short stories about a debt collector who collects debts in the life energy of the people he is sent after.

It was really interesting to see the change in the main charter Lirium as he comes out of his selfish world to help those who can’t fight back and moral dilemma of a world where “your life-worth is tabulated on the open market and going into debt risks a lot more than your credit rating.”

I’m looking forward to reading the second season. 😀

Writing Serial Fiction in the Real World: A Simple, Tongue-in-Cheek Guide to Writing & Publishing Episodic eBooks for Profit on Amazon (Book 5) by Robert C. Worstell

This is not a bad book on writing serial fiction but it was kinda bare bones advice. The bulk of the book was about publishing to market and making a profit from writing serial fiction. At this point I didn’t find the information that helpful because I have no intentions of writing to market. I’m writing for myself and hoping that by sharing the stories that others might like my stories as well.

That said, there was some great advice in the book about creating a publishing schedule and promotion that I plan to use later.


Keeping Track!

This year one of my goals is to read at least 50 fiction books & 5 non-fiction books. So far I have:

January 2017: I read 5 fiction books and 1 non-fiction book.
February 2017: I read 7 fiction books and 2 non-fiction books.
March 2017: I read 12 fiction books and 1 non-fiction book.
April 2017: I read  11 fiction books and 2 non-fiction books.

Total Fiction read this Year: 35 books.
Total Non-Fiction read this Year: 6 books.

I hope you had a happy April and wishing you a better May!

March 2017 Reading List

So this list is longer than usual. It was a nice change and I really loved reading the longer novels that have been in my to-be-read pile for years. I usually reserve the weekends for sure reading because once I start a book, unless the writing is horrible, I have a horrendous time setting it aside to sleep, eat, or write. (Two hours sleep really doesn’t look good on me. Think of a cross of the Hulk with The Junk Lady from The Labyrinth.)

Chance at Love Series by Ruth Ann Nordin

Right now The Convenient Mail-Order Bride is free and I believe it will stay that way, so if anyone wants to try it risk free. Go grab it! You’ll like it. 🙂

While the first book in the series was published in 2016, I waited to grab the entire series until the last book was published for two reasons: 1) I knew once I started reading I wasn’t going to want to stop reading until I finished the entire series (I devoured 4 books in two days) and I really didn’t want to have to wait for the next book to be published, and 2) I didn’t want them to get lost among the 1,000+ ebooks on my Kindle (I happens often). Since I know that most of Ruth’s series are 3-4 books long I knew it was safe to grab it now.

Now I’ve been looking forward to this series—even though these books aren’t what I normally like to read—since Ruth told me about it and hired me to create the covers the Chance at Love Series. Why don’t I usually read these types of books? Well, I don’t usually read Historical Western Romance or any form of historical stories. Also, much of my reading can be considered erotic, the sexy bits in these books are more tame and sweet

From the start of The Convenient Mail-Order Bride I liked Phoebe and her mother. When she answered the mail-order bride ad I was hoping for the best even though I knew from the description that her groom-to-be Abe hadn’t posted the ad. When he learns of her predicament, he’s decent enough to to take them in and pay for them to return East despite her protests that she wants to stay with him despite him being a half-breed. Abe tries to make it clear he doesn’t want a wife and he’s sure that when she learns about life on the Frontier she’ll be more than happy to leave.  I cheered right along with him every time she proved him wrong.

Note: By accident, I switched books 2 and 3 around while I was reading and read the series out of order. Yes, I did notice my mistaken within the first few pages of book 3 but I really wanted to know what Allison and Travis were going to do and so I didn’t stop reading. I would not suggest doing it this way because it will be really confusing. Each book can be read as a standalone, but really each one builds on the other. The only reason it worked out for me was because Ruth and I have talked about these books and I even hashed out ideas with her. I knew what was going to happen with parts of plot and I was reading more for the surprises I would finding as these people’s relationships. 😀

The Mistaken Mail-Order Bride is all about mistaken identity. Neither Eric or Caroline thought to ask the other their name when they head to the preacher and due to a sick child Caroline brought with her and an impatient witness, no one catches the issue until they are signing the marriage license. Eric decides to make the best of the situation and I have to say that I loved Eric for his decision it. Caroline is a sweet woman willingly to learn and I think the perfect woman for him. I enjoyed seeing them both grow as individuals and in their relationship.

By the time The Accidental Mail Order Bride starts, Travis has appeared in the series at least twice. Now I love Beauty and the Beast type books, especially when the beast is sweet and adorable, which is probably why I refused to stop reading when I realized I skipped a book. I wanted to know more about Travis and Allison. Allison was the woman who arrivedto marry Eric much later than she planned and she ended up being perfect for Travis. She starts out reluctant to marry him, and after the preacher tells her the latest gossip, I believe I would be a little scared but for totally different reasons. Travis compounds the problem with his fear of women and his need to hide his scars. I really enjoyed the interaction between Allison and Travis and didn’t want the book to end.

The one thing I love about Ruth’s writing is that she finds ways to redeem some of her more deserving villains. Carl is one of those villains you can’t help feeling sorry for throughout the series but it takes marrying Juliet for him to start seeing that maybe life isn’t so bad. I loved Carl’s growth throughout The Bargain Mail-Order Bride as he learns to deal with his inner demons given to him by his neglectful father, miserable mother, and hateful dead wife. But it’s when Juliet’s secret comes out that he willingly gives up his empty dreams for the woman he loves.

Brides of the Kindred, Books 10-13,  by Evangeline Anderson

I’m going to lump these books into one grouping instead of individually. If you’ve been reading The Reading List posts you’ve probably noticed that I’ve been a little addicted to this series this year. Part of the reason is the reader in me wants to know what’s going to happen next while the writer part of me is taking notes and thinking “This is an awesome idea! Wonder how I can use this.”

Evangeline Anderson has done a great job of layering her series in such a way that you’re invested in the next characters in the series before you’re done with the book. I find myself having to know what happens next to those characters. Now this isn’t a novel concept, I just like the way she pulls it off so nicely.

Now some of the books I absolutely love the characters and story plots. There are other books in the series that I’m not so fond of characters or the sexual situation. And yes, there is a lot of sex going on, they are after all erotic romances, but there is also some fun story plots. This month I ended up reading: Devoured (#11), Enhanced (#12), and Cursed (#13).

In Devoured, I really felt bad for Tess who was just trying to hide from her evil ex-husband and thought the Kindred’s idea of a brothel would work for her. Not because she wanted to work there but because the robots weren’t going to say anything about her being there. After getting trapped in the lounge area, she ends up with Garron, who is understandable upset by her deception because of what he said to her when he thought her a robot and what could have happened to her. She is unwittingly returned to Earth and placed in the hands of her ex husband. When Garron learns of her troubles, he does what he can to protect from her from the evil bastard she was married to and from the beast lurking inside himself.

Enhanced brought back fond memories of watching Star Trek Voyager with the family, and there were times that Six reminded me a little bit of Seven of Nine. That’s about where the similarities end. Mei-Li doesn’t want to be claimed by the Kindred male any more than he wants to claim him, but to keep the peace among Earth and the aliens who saved them, they each do their part. Mei-Li finds herself on an unemotional world of cyborgs where feeling is against the law. I had to laugh at the interaction of Mei-Li (who is far too passionate for the cold cyborg) and Six (who is trying to do everything by the book and who is far too innocent in many ways). At least Six didn’t remain unemotional.

I really liked Stravos in Devoured and was glad when he got his own book, Cursed. Stravos is among the cursed Kindred and can feel the pain of others, Charlie is an agent in charge of hunting down the Kindred who didn’t leave Earth. When he is captured on Earth by Charlie, neither one of them expected the consequences. You see, Charlie has problems with the aliens on her planet and I really don’t blame her for her anger but it was nice to see she has her priorities straight when she was able to put aside her hatred to go on a mission with Stravos to stop their common enemy and save both races from a man Hell bent on destroying them all.

The Star King (The Star Series, 1) by Susan Grant

I really found a fondness for Rom and Jas in The Star King. Rom is one of those men who refuses to play by the rules, especially when lives hang in the balance, and pays for his defiance with banishment. Jas is an divorced wife with grown kids, an ex fighter pilot, and a successful artist whose not completely happy with her life. When aliens contact Earth and she goes to Rom seeking answers and even a little adventure in space. The twists and turns in the book kept me wondering if they were ever going to get together. Which I knew would happen because it’s a sci-fi romance and they always have a happily-ever-after. 😀

The Star Prince (The Star Series, 2) by Susan Grant

Ian, Jas’ son and successor to the King of the Galaxy, is on a mission of great importance when he hires Tee’ah as his pilot. Princess Tee’ah is being stifled by the rules of her royal life and she’s out to live her life for once. With enemies hunting for them both, strange malfunctions happening with the ship, a hunter sent to find Tee’ah and return her home, I was worried that they would never get their cute asses together. Maybe I should have been more worried about the galaxy hurtling toward war.

The Miracle Morning for Writers: How to Build a Writing Ritual That Increases Your Impact and Your Income (Before 8AM) (The Miracle Morning Book Series) by Hal Elrod and Steve Scott

First, there are several books in this series and if you aren’t a writer and would still like to read the book, I would suggest one of the others. The original book is The Miracle Morning but they have one for salespeople, marketers, real estate agents, families, relationships, etc. They all have the same basic information from what I can tell, they just go the extra mile to gear each book towards individuals, business people, or families.

I really recommend this for writers as it doesn’t just deal with creating a writing habit but also hits on improving your writing skills, advice on publishing business, writing tips. and maximization of your day that will help you increase your income, your output, and the value you provide to the world.

The Star Princess (The Star Series, 3) by Susan Grant

I found The Star Princess fun and kind of sad. Not because the story was sad, more because the billionaire alien Prince Ché is being forced into another arranged marriage with a woman that he doesn’t love within a certain deadline, and even though he’s not quite aware of it, he’s already falling in love with another. When Ché escapes to Earth to sow some wild oats and shows up on Ilana’s doorstep, Ilana is determined to loosen him up by setting him up with a few friends and winning the bet she made with her brother and Ché friend. I enjoyed Ché and Ilana’s attempts to not be attracted to the other, but really, when does that ever work in a romance. 😀

Vampire’s Mail Order Bride (Nocturne Falls Series, 1) by Kristen Painter 

Welcome to Nocturne Falls, the town that celebrates Halloween 365 days a year. 

I so want to be a tourist at Nocturne Falls! Halloween is an awesome holiday! Although, I’m not so sure if I would feel as safe once I knew that the vampires, the werewolves, the witches, the gargoyle are real there.

But for Delaney, there couldn’t be a safer place for her to hide from the mobster hunting her then amongst the “monsters”, especially with the groom-to-be of the mail order bride whose place she has taken. And there couldn’t be a better woman for Hugh then the bride his grandmother arranged for him, even if she isn’t the “right” woman.

I found myself laughing at the humor sprinkled throughout most of this book.

The Champion of Baresh: Star World Frontier Series, 1 (The Star Series, 4) by Susan Grant

Confession, I only read The Champion of Baresh because I really, really wanted to see Klark get his happily ever after. He might have been a booger throughout The Star Prince and The Star Princess, but he redeemed himself at the end of The Star Princess and he deserved some happiness for it.

I found Jemm and Klark well-suited for each other with their love bajha (a fighting sport) and the attraction that grew between them, but there is this really pesky problem that Jemm didn’t think about when she tried to trick Klark. She has a secret that isn’t just scandalous, it might just ruin Klark’s plans to win the galactic title and restore his family’s honor that his misdeeds have tarnished, turn his beliefs about women upside down, and possibly alter the course of their worlds forever. But that doesn’t seem to stop Klark from setting out to win Jemm’s reluctant heart.


Keeping Track!

This year one of my goals is to read at least 50 fiction books & 5 non-fiction books. So far I have:

January 2017: I read 5 fiction books and 1 non-fiction book.
February 2017: I read 7 fiction books and 2 non-fiction books.
March 2017: I read 12 fiction books and 1 non-fiction book.

Total Fiction read this Year: 24 books.
Total Non-Fiction read this Year: 4 books.

Happy reading to ya’ll!

April 2016’s Reading List

While I no longer review or rate books I read, I’ve still had people ask me what books I’ve read, and liked or didn’t like about them. I decided that it might be fun to post what I’ve read in a monthly post with a sentence or two beside some on books on what I liked or didn’t like about a book if I think it might benefit others.

This month I didn’t have a lot of time to read other authors’ books. I’ve been reading through and editing My Lord Hades, An Angel in Tartarus, and Love is Blind to correct editing mistakes and prep them for their relaunch. I also needed to read through The Rebel’s Bride to figure out where I veered off course and Escaping Hell so I could start the rewrite of it in May.

Hopefully, I’ll get around to reading more of my To-Be Read Pile this next month. 😀

On a Barbarian World: The Phoenix Adventures by Anne Hacket

About the book: When an independent deep-space scout crash-lands on an unknown alien world, the last thing she expects is to find herself claimed by

Aurina Phoenix spends most of her time zooming through uncharted space and gathering intel for her family’s deep-space convoy, but her life takes an unexpected detour when a meteor shower brings down her ship. She finds herself on a barren, low-tech planet inhabited by dangerous beasts…and lands in the arms of a brawny barbarian warlord.

Markarian warrior Kavon Mal Dor is known for his skill in battle. He lives to protect his clan…and to avenge the murder of his father. Every move he makes is part of his grand plan for revenge, including finding a legendary sword and marrying a warlord’s daughter. But when a beautiful skyflyer crashes into his world, she is the one thing he never counted on.

Fighting their incendiary attraction, Aurina and Kavon make a deal: she’ll help him find the sword and in return, he’ll give her the emergency beacon she needs to get home. But as the search for the sword plunges them into a dangerous adventure they find themselves consumed by a powerful passion and questioning everything they’ve ever wanted.

My thoughts on the book: I loved the premise of an independent female pilot meeting a barbarian warrior and the ensuing clash between them. The trouble that Aurina gets herself into while on the strange planet had me laughing. There were times that I wanted to smack the characters upside the head for stupidity but on the whole the problems were understood and easy to forgive.

Among Galactic Ruins: The Phoenix Adventures by Anne Hacket

About the book: When astro-archeologist and museum curator Dr. Lexa Carter discovers a secret map to a lost old Earth treasure–a priceless Fabergé egg–she’s excited at the prospect of a treasure hunt to the dangerous desert planet of Zerzura. What she’s not so happy about is being saddled with a bodyguard–the museum’s mysterious new head of security, Damon Malik.

After many dangerous years as a galactic spy, Damon Malik just wanted a quiet job where no one tried to kill him. Instead of easy work in a museum full of artifacts, he finds himself on a backwater planet babysitting the most infuriating woman he’s ever met.

She thinks he’s arrogant. He thinks she’s a trouble-magnet. But among the desert sands and ruins, adventure led by a young, brash treasure hunter named Dathan Phoenix, takes a deadly turn. As it becomes clear that someone doesn’t want them to find the treasure, Lexa and Damon will have to trust each other just to survive.

My thoughts on the book: I really, really liked Damon character, more and more throughout the book. Lexa wasn’t my favorite character, but she was well paired with Damon. I disliked some of the main characters reaction to things. They seemed more forced for the sake of plot then how the characters should be acting.

Writing into the Dark: How to Write a Novel without an Outline by Dean Wesley Smith

About the book: In this WMG Writer’s Guide, Dean takes you step-by-step through the process of writing without an outline and explains why not having an outline boosts your creative voice and keeps you more interested in your writing.

Want to enjoy your writing more and entertain yourself? Then toss away your outline and Write into the Dark.

My thoughts on the book: I stumbled upon this one because of Dean’s blog and decided to give it a whirl. Even though I doubt I’ll every be one of those writers who writes into the dark, I found some of the information insightful and possibly helpful. Who knows I might try writing into the dark and surprise myself.

Happy reading,


What books are you reading?

Battling over Book Reviews, Should it happen?

I want to start out by thanking those who have questions for using the SPAL question form to ask those questions. You guys have some really good questions and I have fun looking up the answers for the questions I don’t know and sharing the information I do know and don’t think to share because I take it for granted. It also makes it so much easier for us to tailor our posts to your guys needs.

While on vacation I received a question in my inbox and was going to write this big long post about it. Then I looked at the 200+ emails sitting in my inbox that I have left to go through and answer, plus a few book cover designs that I need to do and finish for clients, some websites I need to update and complete the construction of, a story to finish, a 60 Day Writing Challenge that starts Monday, a sick kid to cuddle with, and a house that is starting to looking like a poster child for Hoaders and realized that I really don’t have the time.

So rather than try to write the post, I’m going to cheat and post the question:

I’ve seen authors and reviewers fighting over book reviews. Is there a time when the author should reply to a review?

Joleene asked people to weigh in on the topic and some of you did.

My answer to the question is: No.

Battling over a book review is stupid and childish. I’d put my kids on time out for such behavior. Readers will put you on the do not read list. Even some of the loyal ones. Replying to book reviews is equally suicidal.

I don’t care if the review is good. Don’t thank them. Most reviewers don’t appreciate it and most readers find a lurking writer creepy.

I don’t care if the review is bad. Write a scathing letter you never plan to send. Rant to your best friend about the unfairness of it all. Cry over a few shots of Whiskey or a half-gallon of ice cream. Just don’t respond to them. If you want to wait until after you calm down to complain on your blog about your greatness and how mean the reviewer was, just remember they have Google Alerts and followers too.

They only review you should ever respond to is the one you ask for. Good or bad, thank the reviewer for taking the time to review it for you.

I can hear the “But Stephannie” right now. No, buts.

Writing is a Business, unless you are doing it for a hobby. If writing is your hobby and you have no intentions of making it a business, by all means reply to the reviews. Just don’t expect people to be happy about it. People will attack you for it. If this is your business, then playing by the rules is a must. This doesn’t mean allowing people to walk over you, but pick your battles and reviews are not a battle you can win.

  1. Reviews are people’s opinions and reading is tastes are subjective. What one person loves, another may not. I also don’t see the point of picking a fight with someone over their opinion. It’s pointless and it’s not going to change anyone’s mind. Trying makes you look like a crazed, maniac author that will find themselves talked about on Facebook and Twitter while they may watch their books sail off the shelves for a time, others are disgusted by the display and potential readers are lost.
  2. Good reviews can sometimes look like a bad review. An objective reviewer will balance the good and the bad. They will show the author their weaknesses and their strengths. They aren’t looking to be a smart ass or a megalomaniac. They are writing the review for the reader. As writers, all we see is the negative and want to scream “You didn’t understand my vision!”
  3. People are mean and reviews can sometimes be ugly. As a reader, these types of reviews from set my teeth on edge. I discount them for the heartless, cruelty of a reviewer with a personal vendetta against the writer. They are no better than the school bully that uses the geek kid as a punching bag only to have the teacher ignore it because she didn’t see it happen. They are the ones that take great lengths to publicly flog the author, rake their flaws through the coals, have little to nothing nice to say, and attack the author personally.

My best advice is to never look at your reviews. Don’t read them and don’t let people tell you about them. You’ll be happier for it. Why? Because there is too many negative critics who aren’t helpful in their reviews. There are too many hookey reviewers that make me wonder what they got for writing the review. There are too many gushy reviewers that go on and on about the greatness of the author to the point that I start to think “stalker.” And then there is the reviewer that write a review that attacks the writing and writer in a way that screams “personal vendetta.” You don’t want to get mixed up in that scene. It will kill your career.

Now that I wrote a post about 700 words longer than I planned, what do you think? Should the battle of book reviewer and author be happening? What do you think when you hear about such things? Should writer’s reply to reviews?

Outwitting Writer’s Block and Other Problems of Pen by Jenna Glatzer

Buy at Amazon.com

 

Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Lyons Press; 1st edition (October 1, 2003)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1592281249
ISBN-13: 978-1592281244

“If you’ve ever found yourself staring at the blank page all day, or cleaning out the refrigerator for the fifth time in a week just to avoid seeing that taunting, blinking cursor, then you’ve experienced writer’s block.

Outwitting Writer’s Block will help any writer break through the dreaded block and become a more creative and better writer than before. Filled with exercises designed to jump-start creativity and encouraging tips from fellow writers and instructors, this book is like Drano for clogged creative pipes.” ~From the Back Cover

My Review of the Book

A few years back I bought this book, not because I was having the dreaded writer’s block, but because the small blurb in the book catalog mentioned that the book had “tips and tricks” to make me a more productive writer and that was just what I was looking for. So I bought the book, read it in a day, took notes, and have kept it as a reference book at my desk ever since.

I’ve employed some of the techniques she mentioned, such as the messy notebook, writing down ideas and start drafting them instead of letting them sit in my brain until I forgot them, weekly objectives, treating writing like a job, thinking like a writer, and having a mascot to inspire me. I loved her chapter on kicking the Critic of his pedestal and those that address the most common causes of Writer’s block.

 But there is so much more to the book. She teaches writers to let go of the guilt and burdens of writing myths that they have placed on themselves, or let others place on them. She talks about relaxing techniques to overcome the anxiety of writing and “not being good enough.” She talks about knowing when an idea isn’t going to work as opposed to just needing a new approach, or changing the genre. The book is filled with exercises designed to jump-start creativity and encouraging tips from writers and instructors. She provides tools for analyzing the causes and cures for the nefarious Blank Page syndrome, such as stress, lifestyle changes, depression, etc.

I loved this book and highly recommended it to everyone. Jenna Glatzer’s writing style is entertaining, encouraging, and informative. She offers a wide array of methods to stave off Writer’s Block and other problems of pen, which makes it useful to everyone, because when one method doesn’t work for you there are others that you can try. There is something there for every one.