Category Archives: Reviews

Trilogy winner and a review that’s not a review

Yes, that blog post title sucks, but I just couldn’t bring myself to title it Winning! like I really wanted to.

Anyhoo…

I’m happy to announce the winner of the e-book of the Zellie Wells trilogy is Brenda Demko!  Yay, Brenda!

Thanks to everyone who stopped by during the blog hop and left a comment.  I love hearing from y’all. Also, big thanks to those of you that followed me on Twitter and Facebook and signed up for my newsletter and blog.

So, I went to see Young Adult yesterday. (Pardon the segway, I was up very late last night with my wheezing daughter…and I had a hard time putting down the book I’m reading .  Bad combo!) I wanted to see this movie the second I discovered it existed because it’s written by Diablo Cody and directed by Jason Reitman- the Juno team. I totally loved Juno and could care less if it’s not cool to like Juno anymore.

Besides that, I had a few other reasons for wanting to see it.  I really dig Patton Oswalt – he’s so funny and truthful – I just think he needs to be in all movies. He did not disappoint in Young Adult. I also, obviously, wanted to see it because it’s about a YA author.  Lastly, I’ll admit there was a bit of a nostalgia thing going for me – the characters are my age and I wanted to see if they knew what they were doing yet. Like going to a high school reunion at someone else’s school.

In a nutshell, Young Adult is about Mavis Gary, an author who ghost writes a Sweet Valley High-type series. Mavis’ life is in the crapper and she goes  home to Mercury, Minnesota after being gone for a long time to win back her high school sweetheart, Buddy – who happens to be married and has a new daughter.

We’re supposed to hate Mavis, she’s in Charlize Theron’s body after all. She’s also an alcoholic and her emotions are in arrested development. She’s that popular girl who said hi to you once in the girls bathroom and asked for a stick of gum.  You’ll always remember it and she forgot it while it was happening.  Mavis disses her hometown, disses her parents and generally doesn’t care how her actions affect anyone around her.

Like I said, we’re supposed to hate her.  We’re supposed to think, “Ha ha popular chick, welcome to the real world.”

But I didn’t. I actually had a lot of empathy for her. I got that juxtaposition between having high school be your glory days and having those glory days take place in a town you couldn’t wait to get out of. I understood why she would dwell on the past. For me, as a young adult writer, your head is in that space more than most people.  You can’t help but have a hard time adjusting to adulthood because you spend a lot of time “pretending” you’re still seventeen.

You’re also used to rewriting your history a little bit in your books, so I found it believable that Mavis thought she could go back home and rewrite the ending to her teenage love affair.

Anyway, I don’t have much more to say about it.  It’s a good movie and I recommend you all see it, but it’s not sunshine and rainbows.  It depressed me in a weird, self-reflective way that I’m sure is not a normal reaction. 🙂

The strangest thing, after I went to see Young Adult, I picked my kids up at my parents house and they’d gotten into a box of my stuff in their garage.  My son handed me a scrap of cloth, which turned out to be the front of this guy’s skateboarding t-shirt I’d had up on my bulletin board since the 8th grade.

I don’t know what to do with it.  I can’t throw it away.

 

For a real review of Young Adult go here.

Reviews and the self-published author

I’m in a strange mood today – we’ve just come back from a trip to the mountains and as we got lower in elevation and the more the snow melted away, the weirder I felt. Like our vacation didn’t happen. Also, I’ve been eating nothing but sweets for three days. 🙂
I felt like writing something about reviews and when I logged on to Twitter this morning, I saw this tweet from The Story Siren:
“sending me an email lecturing me for not reading/accepting self pubbed books, makes me want to read them even less.”
Let’s talk about etiquette.
Most of the book bloggers that write thoughtful reviews and don’t trash or over enthusiastically praise (in other words, the ones you want to read your book) have a review policy. Take the time to read it, folks. If they say they don’t read self-pubbed books and you are the author of a self-pubbed book, don’t query them for a review. If they say they don’t read e-books, don’t send them a PDF and complain that you’re too poor to send them a hard copy. Follow the rules.
Your book will not be the one to change their mind. People have to come to things in their own time and the best way to slow down that process is tell them that they’re wrong about something and need to change to suit you. Move on to the next book blogger, there are literally hundreds of them. The indie book collective has lists by genre of book bloggers that read self-pubbed and accept e-copies. That’s a great place to start.
I can’t state this next bit enough – if you receive a bad review, don’t engage the reviewer. This applies to both book bloggers and customer reviews on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBooks, etc. If the review is inflammatory or doesn’t say anything critical about the actual book (I’ve just received a one-star review on Glimpse that only said, “how many pages are in this book?”) then you can ask Amazon or Barnes and Noble to remove it. Otherwise, just let it be.
Readers are smart enough to make their own decisions about whether or not they want to read a book. They will read the good and bad reviews and come to their own conclusions. Rest assured, some people will love your book and some people will think it’s awful.
The work you have to do on yourself as a writer is to get to the point where you don’t care about either. Not all good reviews are going to be, uh, good. Sometimes they’re three word, exclamation point-ridden silliness. Sometimes they say: OMG!! Luv it!! Not all bad reviews are going to be bad. Reviewers that give you low end stars, but write a thoughtful review outlining what they didn’t like about the book – these reviews are not a detriment. Also, I find that most of the time these reviewers will include a line or two about how your book was “not their cup of tea.” Fair enough.
I’m not going to pretend that I had a thick skin about reviews when I first started out, I definitely did not. I do now, because I’ve realized that while reviews are important for getting your name out there and attracting people to take a look at your book, they’re not that important otherwise. No need to stay up at night worrying about them. The people that like your book and review it positively will stick around to read your others, the people that don’t like your book and review it negatively will move on to someone else.
Our job is to entertain the people that want to read our books and to not waste time trying to win over the rest.
This blog is cross-posted on the Death by Chocolate blog and the Pacific Northwest YA Authors blog.

Spazmatron 5000 and #ROW80

Good morning! Okay, it’s 11, but I got to sleep in until 9, thus my morning is still new. I slept for ten hours last night and have maybe never needed it more. While I was jealous of all the Halloween parties my friends and family were attending, I woke up this morning refreshed and not hung over, so there is a plus to being a boring grown-up once in a while.

Have I mentioned that Glimpse is Free on Amazon?  (Like, EVERYWHERE.) Sorry for being so annoying, but I just can’t help it!  I’ve had over 5K downloads since Friday evening and it’s making me a spazmatron 5000. Right now it’s holding steady at #16 overall in Free and is #1 in both Contemporary Fantasy and Science Fiction, Fantasy, Magic.  Can you all frickity-frackin’ believe that?

Thank you SO much to everyone for tweeting about it and posting on Facebook and other places – www.woot.com – who knew?  I have no doubt that all of you made those 5K downloads happen.

If you’re over me and my spazziness, take heart, I’m sure someone will write a review on Goodreads soon calling me a no-talent fuck-up and then I’ll go back to being my normal, sedate self. 🙂

*snort* That is so not true.  Is this your first time reading this blog?

ROW80 Act-shun!:

Wrote the pants off of my pen name short story this week and got that puppy edited, beta read and published on Friday and Saturday. My alter ego is pleased that she’s already sold a handful of copies.

Added another 253 words to my Death by Chocolate story last night – mostly pumping up the description and adding more back story to the first scene.  Nothing on Dissent or the Glimpse pilot this week.

Worked on the pen name website, PacNWYA website and wrote a blog post for the DBC blog.

I’m taking the day off from writing today, because at this point I wouldn’t even let a hoarder into my house I’m so embarrassed by the state of it.  The kids laundry is done, but I haven’t done my own laundry since the beginning of October!

Thanks, Sarah, for the 8 new pairs of hand-me-down jeans. I couldn’t have survived or clothed my lower half without them.

I’ll talk at you all again on Wednesday, but will be missing next Sunday’s check-in as I’ll be at the beach with my ladies doing 8-counts, drinking cheap beer and eating Combos.

Happy Halloween and thank God October is almost over!

 

Let’s hear it for #Row80

Yes, I’m going to see the new Footloose tonight.  My greatest hope is that it’s like Original Footloose and Step-up had a baby.

The only thing I’m conflicted about is that I find both Kevin Bacon and Kenny Wormald attractive.  Do I have enough room in my pop culture heart for two Ren’s?  I’m sure it will depend on how much wine I have with dinner. Pastini’s Summer Sangria certainly improved my overall enjoyment of Daniel Craig in Cowboys and Aliens, so Wormald’s got a chance. (He totally wants my approval.)

ROW80 – Monday – came up with my short story idea for the Death by Chocolate anthology and had a RBR event in the evening. Tuesday – worked on my pen name story for a couple of hours. I cut two paragraphs and wrote another scene, but I haven’t been keeping track of word count because I don’t work on it that often. Wednesday – 345 words on Dissent. Yes, DoS #5 has a title! I’ve yet to come up with a good subtitle. Ass-kicking Lesbian Angels just doesn’t seem like the right fit. 🙂 I might get a few more words in on it today, but the kids are being clingy monkey children at the moment and not letting me concentrate.

I’m hoping to get some work done on the Glimpse pilot tomorrow before doing the second to last RBR stop at the Beaverton Library.

On the marketing front, lowering Glimpse to 99 cents on Amazon and BN seems to have done what I wanted it to – get more people reading the Zellie books!  Glimpse got a nice new review, the first its had in three months, so that’s happy.

Later days…

Mid-week #ROW80 check-in

Quick check-in today: 500-ish words (over, not under) on Takeover on Monday. Two and a half more scenes on the Glimpse pilot yesterday.  Monday and Tuesday seem to be the days I have the most time to fit writing in. I’m aiming for more work on Takeover today.  Thursday, Friday and Saturday are non-stop busy!  Oh, crazy summertime.

Today’s the last day to sign up to win one of two paperback copies of the Zellie Wells trilogy on Goodreads.

Book you should move to the top of your TBR pile: Darkness in the Blood by Vicki Keire.  Don’t be dumb like me, read it sooner than later. 🙂

Thanks to everyone who has reviewed Glow.  It doesn’t look so sad and lonely anymore.

New covers, an interview and #ROW80

Behold.  The Zellie Wells trilogy has all new covers!

I finally gave in to all the pressure from the road and transparent building haterz and put Zellie on the covers. 🙂  I’m quite pleased with them and think my sister did an awesome job.

I’d been reluctant to put a person on the cover because I didn’t want to influence reader’s ideas of what the characters looked like. (That’s also why I don’t spend much time describing them except initially.)

For me, I know that when I’m reading a book, most of the time what I picture the characters looking like and the suggestion of what they look like on the cover don’t jibe.  Maybe I’m weird that way. (In my mind, Peeta from the Hunger Games is the brunette and Gale is the blonde.)

But, then I got this Land’s End catalog in the mail and there was Zellie right on the front.  The exact Zellie that’s in my head and she was posing with a cute brunette Avery-in-his-twenties to boot! My sister had someone to model her drawings after.

It was meant to be.

Thank you, Universe!

Another great thing that happened to me this week (don’t worry, it hasn’t all been roses) is that author Angela Carlie asked if she could interview me on her blog.  She does a series on Fridays called (Someday) Famous YA Author.  She asked great questions and is a super cool person.  You guys should totally read her books. You can read my interview here.

And now for the dandelion part of my week.

ROW80 update: Glow’s not finished yet.  I had my butt in the chair writing on it all week, but I hit a wall on Thursday. Chapter 19 made the Chapter 11 debacle look like a day at the fair. I rewrote it seven times between Thursday and Friday and then I had to give up and watch Kyle XY and eat cookies.

Things went better on Saturday.  I managed to get my act together and fix 19 and then bust out 20 and 21.  I’m halfway through 22, which is the big action-y showdown and then all that’s left is the epilogue.

I really wanted to get Glow out in June because my sales are tanking, (I’ve sold as many books this month as I was selling per day in March) but it looks like it will be out in July. This means the next DoS story will probably be out in August instead of July.

And then I’m taking a three-week vacation because I be burnt out.

On the upside, the tanking sales have forced me to do some actual marketing. 🙂 I tweeted about The Toilet Business in a, hopefully, not annoying way all day today.  That effort garnered me a new review and two copies sold. Yay!

Okay, that’s all the blabbing I can handle for today. I apologize for the paragraph I used the word “out” in 16 times. I was going to schedule this post to go live at midnight and it’s 12:13. Time for bed!

Just read this book and #ROW80 update

Hi.  Yeah, so I said I was only going to update on Sunday.  Well, I found some things to chat about on Wednesday, so here I be.

Work on Glow is going great.  I wrote 1,745 words yesterday and just about finished chapter 9.  I thought I was done with it, but then I decided to add one more little scene, which I’ll do this afternoon.  I gotta say, this loose outline thing is pretty awesome.  I just read the summary and write the chapter.  Of course new things come up, but I’m finding that it’s not screwing up my outline too much.  Hmm.  Is there such thing as a paplotanster?

I finished one of the new essays for the essay book on Monday and will try to start another one today. Looks like I’m going to need more new essays than I thought because I’ve combined several of the older ones.  That’s cool.  They’re fun to write. I get way more writing done on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, so I’ve been saving Glow for those days and working on other stuff on MWF.  I’ve been taking Sunday off and that’s nice.

I was chatting with another writer on Goodreads about how neither of us thought we were very good at writing reviews.  Maybe I don’t try hard enough or I just want to write from a purely emotional standpoint for once?  I don’t know.  I suck at it.  Our joke was that we wished we could write: Just read the damn book already.

And that book would be Tommy Nightmare by JL Bryan.  I’m not quite done with it, but it’s even better than Jenny Pox (which is 99 cents right now) and I loved Jenny.  These books get classified as YA (I’m guilty) but they aren’t really.  The characters are older teens/early 20’s.  Just read it.  It’s good.  I don’t lie about these things.

Happy Wednesday!

Brought down by a smiley face

There’s a lovely review of Glimmer by Michelle from Indie Paranormal Book Reviews up on her blog right now.  It’s great to have Michelle review your books, because not only is she fair, but she’ll tell you if she finds any typos or formatting issues.

She found one typo in Glimmer (score!).  I had written the word crowd as crowed.  I always wonder what was going on in my head when I make a typo like that.  I mean, it’s not as if I was trying to spell mesothelioma or something.  Crowd.  Was it, like, five in the morning and the kids were distracting me? Had I not cracked my first diet cola for the day? Or did I just have a huge brain fart?  I have been known to spell my own name wrong on occasion.  The other day I had to write a check for $11.50 and I spaced on how to spell eleven. 

Yeah.  Maybe I’m over sharing.

Michelle also told me about a minor formatting issue that I’m surprised other people haven’t complained about.  Apparently, in the letters that Zellie and Avery write back and forth to each other all the smiley face emoticons come off as question marks or question marks in boxes.

In a million years it would never occur to me that that would happen.  So,  if you’re awesome like me and have smiley face emoticons in your manuscript remember to turn off the Auto Correct on your emoticons.

Something tells me Jess C Scott never had this particular problem. 🙂

Crowd and 🙂 are all fixed in the Smashwords and Barnes and Noble versions of Glimmer.  I’m getting my energy up to go deal over at Amazon.  Since I just changed the descriptions on all of the DoS stories over there, I’m sure they love me and my weekly reuploading of my books.  Hmm.  Maybe at some point I’ll annoy them enough to get the KDP phone number!  If I do, I’ll make sure to share. 🙂

One Year

It’s my indieversary!  And stop haterz, self-publishversary just doesn’t sound as good, okay? 🙂

Whatever you want to call it, I’ve been a published writer for a year! A year that started and ended just before my birthday, so, to me, age 35 will always be the year I got my act together and finally started doing what I wanted with my life.

I’d like to thank my readers for buying my books, writing reviews, and helping me realize my dream of making a living from writing.

A big awkward girlie high-five to all the book bloggers who have reviewed my books, interviewed me, spread the word and held contests.  I appreciate the support you’ve given me and I hope you all know how instrumental you are in helping to build my writing career.

To all the writers I’ve become friends with this year, let’s have a convention or something.  And by convention, I mean a big party where we all drink beers, quote Buffy and get to hang out in person.  You guys are the best.  Thanks for showing me the ropes and commiserating and having my back.  Thank you for writing books that don’t suck and feeding my reading habit as well. 🙂

Soooooooo many thanks to Sarah, my BFF. Thanks for the editing and suggestions and chats on FB and all the Busch Light/ Masterpiece Theatre evenings.  If you like what I write, then I know it’s good enough. 🙂

Eleventy-billion hugs and kisses to my sister for lovingly and repeatedly telling me to get off my ass and write a book already.  Thanks for believing in me!

And to my family – my crazy kids, my long-suffering-at-his-horrible-job-so-I-could-make-a-go-of-being-a-writer husband, my fantastically supportive parents – I love and appreciate you all more than you could know!

I don’t really have anything brand spankin’ new to give away right now, but if you all would like an e-copy of Day of Sacrifice Vol. 1-3, simply leave your e-mail in the comments and I’ll send you the Smashwords code.

Thanks to everyone for making my first year as an indie author a fabulous one and here’s to the next year being just as great!

#ROW80 part deux and other good things

Round two of ROW80 starts on April 4th.  To sign up, go here.  I’m not saving anything up for it this time as I’ve already taken a little break before starting work on Glow, so I’ll just keep working on that. 

So, yeah, GOALS: Finish Glow.  Edit Glow. Send Glow to betas. Edit Glow again.  Publish Glow.  That is it. I’m all about the Glow, people. 🙂

Except: My brain is crazy and I had a fab idea for a rom-com at 3 in the morning the other day.  Thus, there might be some noodling on The Five Engagements of Ruby McClure and I’ve also got the 4th DoS story, Takeover, to bust out at the end of this round.

But THAT IS ALL.  Really. I’m not working on anything else!

Now for some links to things that other hardworking folks are doing:

Jessica Subject is a writer and book blogger who is celebrating the blogoversary for her blog, Mark of the Stars this April.  There will be author interviews, reviews, guest blogs and giveaways aplenty. The schedule is here. My post is on April 25th.  I’ve offered up e-copies of all of my books for the massive month-long giveaway.  There are soooo many good things to win!

Today over at Electrifying Reviews, you can enter to win a paperback copy of Angela Charlie’s debut, Dream Smashers!  It’s international, y’all!

Keyboard Hussy, (otherwise known as Evelyn Lafont) is having a party on Facebook to celebrate the release of her new book The Vampire Relationship Guide, Volume 1: Meeting and Mating. Check here for all the deets.

And, if you get the chance, please remember to tell everyone you have ever known that likes to read e-books that Glimpse is 99 cents for the month of April on Smashwords, Barnes and Noble and Amazon.  That would be swell of you.

Now back to working on Glow.  I finally got all the characters out of their respective cars.