Tuesday, April 30, 2019

The Dreaded Review

Posted by: Cindy Spencer Pape

A long time ago, I was asked to submit an article to be posted with a book review. I’ll admit, I was a little surprised. An article? On a review site? What if the review was a bad one? Would everyone point and laugh at my article as well as my book? Reviews are a dicey thing, after all. Authors love them and dread them. A few even have the backbone to utterly ignore them, but not most of us. I’ll let you in on a little secret here. (wink) A lot of authors are pretty insecure about their work. A bad review can send us scurrying back into our cave, wondering if we should ever write again. A good one has us dancing on air. Most of us find them more than a little scary.

Can a good review help a book sell? Undoubtedly. Can a poor review keep a book from selling? Maybe. Certainly a bunch of bad reviews will make a reader think twice about spending her hard-earned dollars. So reviews can be important. They’re not just there to stroke or crush our fragile egos. Ultimately, they are not the be-all and end-all of a writer’s existence, but they do have an impact.

One of the first things an aspiring author is told is to develop a thick skin. This is not a business for the faint of heart. We all face rejections from editors and agents. We’ll all, sooner or later, get bad reviews. It’s all part of the business of writing. Creative people, though, tend to be very emotional sorts. We put a lot of our own emotions into the product—especially if you’re writing the kind of novels that are about emotions, such as romance. That makes it awfully hard when someone tells you it stinks. Even if they say so in a kind, professional manner.

So what can we do? We all know the answers. We can learn from our mistakes. If one reviewer dislikes a book, it may just be a matter of taste. If two or more say the same thing, it’s a good indication that there may be a problem. It lets us know what we can work on to do better with the next book. Mostly, though, we have to smile, thank the reviewer for taking the time and effort to read our books, and deal with it. Yeah—it hurts. The difference between a professional and an amateur is the ability to cope with the hurt and get over it.

And apparently, sometimes we have to write articles. Even if we’re much more comfortable penning fiction.

On a final, super-important note, reviews have become even more important since I wrote this a few years ago. Especially reviews on sales sites like Amazon, iTunes, B&N, etc. Their algorithms count the number of reviews when determining whether to do things like post your book on reader feeds, as in, "If you liked this book, you might try this one by Cindy Spencer Pape. It doesn't have to be good, it doesn't have to take much effort. "It was okay," works as well for us as a lengthy critique. So if you love your authors, please help us keep doing what we love to do. Whether it's one star or five, just leave that little review!
****

Cindy Spencer Pape firmly believes in happily-ever-after and brings that to her writing. Multiple award-winning author of the best-selling Gaslight Chronicles, she has released over fifty novels and stories, which blend fantasy, adventure, science fiction, suspense, history and romance. 


Cindy lives in southeast Michigan with her husband , family and a lot of dogs. When not hard at work writing she can be found restoring her 1870 house, dressing up for steampunk parties and Renaissance fairs, or with her nose buried in a book.



Monday, April 29, 2019

HERE BE NEWS for April 29, 2019

Posted by: Dani Harper, Author
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
In Case You Missed It:

Monday, April 22 

"HERE BE NEWS" - All the latest from the gang at Here Be Magic.

Tuesday, April 23 -

NEW DIGS– Author PG Forte offers a sneak peak at her new website – including the new covers for two of her series.

Thursday, April 25 -
SINCE WE'RE NOT SNAILS” – If you could live in any building in the world, which would you choose? Author Jenny Schwartz reveals her choice.

Saturday, April 27 - 
"IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY NIGHT..." This week's Bring It Back(list) feature is “STORM WARNED” by Dani Harper.  Like faeries? These ones are for grownups! Enjoy an excerpt and learn more about the Grim SeriesScroll below for details.
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Bring It Back(list):
..................................

Every story in the
Grim Series can stand alone
Book 3 of the Grim Series
By Dani Harper
Available in paperback, Kindle ebook and Audiobook

When Caris’s unearthly musical talent attracts the attention of the Wild Hunt, the Welsh farm girl is stolen away to serve as a faery grim, a herald of death. Two centuries later, she’s finally escaped back to the human world—and into the present-day life of a reclusive and heartbroken American musician.

Music was Liam’s whole life—until a crushing betrayal left him desperate to flee the public eye. Yet long-dormant passions awaken within him after a powerful storm strands a beautiful, strong-willed woman on his isolated farm. When a Fae prince bent on ruling both human and faery realms threatens Caris’s life, Liam must decide if he can finally believe in love again, not just for her sake—but for the sake of two worlds.

Read an EXCERPT on Here Be Magic:


You can check out and purchase ANY of Dani’s books on her Amazon Author Page: 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Saturday, April 27, 2019

It was a Dark and Stormy Night... a Bring It Back(list) feature by Dani Harper

Posted by: Dani Harper, Author
With a title like "STORM WARNED",
you know the weather in this story
is going to be interesting...
An excerpt from
STORM WARNED
Book 3 of the Grim Series:

The sound of shattering glass woke him, and for a moment Liam didn’t know where he was. Another crash from somewhere above cleared some of the sleep from his brain, but the roaring in his ears continued. Wind, he realized suddenly. A hellacious storm was shaking the entire house to its century-old foundations. He’d fallen asleep in front of the damn TV again, but it was off and so were the lights. Power must be

Twin bolts of lightning struck close by, and instinct had him diving for the floor behind the couch just as something exploded in the yard. Before he could take another breath, thunder battered his senses until he was forced to clamp his hands over his ears. The floor beneath him vibrated and shards of glass and wood rained down around him. And something huge, dark and heavy came crashing down beside him like a damn refrigerator, narrowly missing him.

This is Book 3 but 
every story in the series
can stand alone.
When the tumult finally died away, lightning continued to flare and flicker, enabling him to see part of a tree impaling the living room wall, stripped of all branches like a giant’s spearand right where Brewster the Mooster had always hung. Uncle Conell’s ancient trophy had been named by a three-year-old Liam, and was practically part of the family. Now the searing flashes of light revealed the enormous stuffed head upside down mere inches from to Liam’s hiding place. Its monstrous antlers had been driven into the floorboards, and one glass eye hung free like something out of a horror movie.

Every window in the room had shattered, and the force of the wind drove the rain sideways through the opening, the furious drops soaking everything.

Cautiously, Liam rose and felt his way to the kitchen where a collection of candles, flashlights, and battery-filled lanterns collected dust on top of the fridge. He grabbed a lantern, and tucked a small penlight in his pocket, but with the near-continuous flashes from the storm, he quickly realized there was little point in turning either light on. No point going upstairs eitherthe sound alone was enough to tell him that the windows were gone up there as well, and he couldn’t do anything more about that than about the broken glass that blanketed the living room. 

Suddenly the house shook hard enough that pictures fell from walls in every room, as if to underscore that this was no ordinary thunderstorm. Tornadoes were rare here but not unheard of, and Liam decided to err on the side of caution, taking shelter in the bottom of a solidly-built hallway closet. 

Whose bright idea was it to put the door to the damn cellar on the outside of the house?

Image: Bigstock.com
From the back cover:

When Caris’s unearthly musical talent attracts the attention of the Wild Hunt, the Welsh farm girl is stolen away to serve as a faery grim, a herald of death. Two centuries later, she’s finally escaped back to the human world—and into the present-day life of a reclusive and heartbroken American musician.

Music was Liam’s whole life—until a crushing betrayal left him desperate to flee the public eye. Yet long-dormant passions awaken within him after a powerful storm strands a beautiful, strong-willed woman on his isolated farm. When a Fae prince bent on ruling both human and faery realms threatens Caris’s life, Liam must decide if he can finally believe in love again, not just for her sake—but for the sake of two worlds.

* * * * *

LEGEND  LORE  LOVE  MAGIC


The fae are cunning, powerful and often cruel. The most beautiful among them are often the most deadly. Hidden far beneath the mortal world, the timeless faery realm plays by its own rules—and those rules can change on a whim.

Now and again, the unpredictable residents of that mystical land cross the supernatural threshold…

In this enchanting romance series from Dani Harper, the ancient fae come face-to-face with modern-day humans and discover something far more potent than their strongest magic: love.

Available in paperback, Kindle ebook and Audiobook
You can check out and purchase ANY of Dani’s books on her Amazon Author Page: 

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Since We're Not Snails

Posted by: Jenny Schwartz
Snails, those lucky slitherers, have no problem deciding where to live. They bring their houses with them. If you could live in any building in the world, which would you choose? Don't be practical!

I thought of the British Library. Books, books, glorious knowledge!

Then there's the Sydney Opera House - for the location and performances.

There's also the whole Night at the Museum idea. Very cool that some museums, like the Smithsonian are making that possible with sleepovers.

Or a wilderness retreat, although how to choose between all the glorious possibilities, I don't know. Lions in Africa, tigers in India, echidnas in Australia. LOL see, Australian wildlife isn't all out to kill you!

Maybe a cave home, like those in Matera, Italy or Cappadocia, Turkey. Or the hobbit house in New Zealand.

But I think I'd be happiest in a lighthouse. I can't decide on which one, but the romance of it, the sense of isolation, and the underlying metaphorical idea of seeing clearly all appeal.

My romance novella, Light Kisses, has a hero with a lighthouse. It's free on Amazon till Sunday April 28. Link: https://www.amazon.com/Light-Kisses-Jenny-Schwartz-ebook/dp/B00Y20A1PS/



Tuesday, April 23, 2019

New Digs

Posted by: PG Forte
So I mentioned last month that I was re-doing my website. It's not quite operational yet--there's a tiny issue with migrating my business email, which is associated with my old host. Yikes! I'm at the point now where I'm seriously considering publishing the new website as pgforte.xyz and not mess with the dot com site at all.

Crazy like a fox? Or just plain crazy? You decide!

HOWEVER, I am loving my new site. Which you can get a sneak peek at here:



Inked in OakTown has all new covers. And the Oberon series, which is on hiatus while I try and figure out how much work needs to go into bringing them up to date, has a whole new look--including covers, banners, and new products in my store. 

This is the fourth set of covers for these books, and I think they finally have a cohesive look that accurately mirrors the stories.  The Arts & Craft font, in particular, is exactly what I always envisioned for the town of Oberon. 

Now, if I could just find time to update and re-release them in between trying to write and publish NEW books...





 

Monday, April 22, 2019

HERE BE NEWS for April 22, 2019

Posted by: Dani Harper, Author
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In Case You Missed It:

Monday, April 15 

"HERE BE NEWS" - All the latest from the gang at Here Be Magic, including two new releases.

Wednesday, April 17 -
THE SOUNDTRACK OF WRITING” – Some authors need silence to write and others listen to music. Linda Mooney reveals a type of music that has become the soundtrack of her creative process. 

Thursday, April 18 -
CAN ORGANIZING HELP YOU CREATE YOUR OWN STORY?” – Author Maureen Bonatch discusses how some things serve a purpose for a time in our lives, but may not serve the person we are today.

Saturday, April 20 - 
#IndieApril: Try New Authors for Free! – Find out how to get a free copy of Shawna Reppert’s novella “Raven’s Blood” plus learn ways to discover new authors without spending money – and without encouraging piracy!

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Saturday, April 20, 2019

#IndieApril: Try New Authors for Free!

Posted by: Shawna Reppert

Okay, so those of you who lurk in the writers’ and readers’ Twitter attic may know that there’s push to support the hashtag #IndieApril. Some of you may like the idea of supporting indie writers but aren’t sure you want to risk your hard-earned cash on an unknown when you could buy another book from someone you already know you like, or at least someone a publisher that you’ve heard of has vetted. I know how you feel (although I’ve been equally disappointed on occasion by both indie and traditionally published books, for what it’s worth.)

Anyway, in honor of #IndieApril, I thought I’d give you a list of ways to try out indie authors for free (without encouraging piracy.)

First one I can think of is one that many people know about, but forget to avail themselves of—the ‘look inside’ feature available on most books on Amazon. You can read a small section of the book before you decide to buy. No, it’s probably not enough to show you if the writer can handle plot structure or bring a plot home with a satisfying and dramatic ending, but it will tell you if they are a competent writer with a style you enjoy and characters you’d like to spend some time with. Just look on Amazon for the novel you’re considering. Go to the product page and click on the ‘look inside’ icon you’ll see near the cover image. If you look closely at the page, you may also see the option to download a sample. Also, for you Kindle Unlimited readers, keep in mind that many indie books are enrolled in that service (almost all of mine are). Authors are paid per read page when you ‘borrow’ a book, so no need to fear that you are somehow depriving the author when you use the service.

Another risk-free place to look for new authors you might like to try is Book Funnel. While some authors use this as a way to vend books for sale, it is also a place you can find authors giving away books and stories as a way to encourage you to give their writing a chance. Sometimes you may have to sign up for their newsletter to get the freebie, but you can always cancel later if you find the author is not to your taste. If you want to see how it all works, try it out here and get a free copy of Raven’s Song, a novella in my award-winning Ravensblood urban fantasy series. (You will have to sign up for my newsletter, but I don’t spam and I try to include deals from other genre authors in each newsletter, as well as exclusive unpublished vignettes and stories from the Ravensblood universe.) Instafreebie/Prolific Works offers a similar service, only readers can browse for new authors or sign up for email notifications.

Another popular way to find free and discounted books is to sign up for BookBub. You will get a daily email of select books, a mix of traditional and indie books curated for quality and filtered to your stated genre preferences. Freebooksy, Bargainbooksy, and Fussy Librarian are lesser-known lists that offer similar services.

So, there you go. You are out of excuses. Go find a promising indie author to try and celebrate #IndieApril!


Shawna Reppert is an award-winning author of fantasy and steampunk who keeps her readers up all night and makes them miss work deadlines.  Her fiction asks questions for which there are no easy answers while taking readers on a fine adventure that grips them heart and soul.  You can find her work on Amazon and follow her blog on her website (www.Shawna-Reppert.com).  You can friend her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter, where she posts an amazing array of geekery.  Shawna has on occasion been found in medieval garb on a caparisoned horse, throwing javelins into innocent hay bales that never did anything to her.


(My website is currently undergoing renovations. Please check out my newer, fancier, easier-to-navigate version here in a few days!)
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