Thursday, April 26, 2018

It's Hard to Let Go by @lcrandallwriter


I love writing, no matter what I'm writing. I've done my fair share of reporting on school board meetings, lost turtles, the latest in nanotechnology, community arts, and why a candidate wants to be mayor. But writing fiction is my soft spot. I feel so connected to things like flow, creativity, and heart while writing, so it boosts my spirit, even when the writing is challenging.

I also fall in love with my characters, and don't want to let them go.  My Fierce Hearts five-book series is an example of me not letting go. I think fondly of my characters and I've written two short stories spin-offs regarding the colony of were-lynx featured in the series. Today I'm thinking of Asia Blue, the adult child of an alcoholic mother, and Conrad Pike, a rich son of wealthy parents, and a were-lynx with an empty life. These are the heroine and hero of Heartfelt, Book 3 in my Fierce Hearts series.

Here's the blurb:

The daughter of an alcoholic single mother, Asia Blue learned young that if she wanted to survive, she'd have to take care of herself. Tough and independent, she never encountered a challenge she couldn't conquer...until Asia discovered she was a were-lynx. Befriending sexy fellow were-lynx Conrad Pike and finding a colony helped her adjust to the startling revelation and get through college.

Now an investigative reporter, Asia faces an entirely different sort of problem when her mother goes missing and she suspects the mysterious Nexus Group...who seem determined to wipe out her colony. She reaches out to Conrad, now an investment banker and serial heartbreaker, for assistance, and they must once again join forces to save their colony--and her mother.

Will this strong-minded duo risk opening up their hearts and owning up to their long-simmering attraction?




Find Heartfelt on Amazon and other retailers. I hope you feel the characters' pain, their passion, and their triumph.

Do you have an characters you wish authors would return to?

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Author Confessions: Reviews by @JoanReeves #GemsInAttic

Let's Talk About *shudder* Reviews

You may think this post is where an author mentions her best book review ever--or maybe her worst. Both of those guesses are incorrect.

Instead, let's be honest and tell readers how we really feel when we get a nasty review.

This post about what an author would like to say to the reviewer who left a review or a comment that was, well, mean.

We've all seen the movie Mean Girls. Do you think those mean girls grow up to be snarky reviewers? *LOL*

Bare Your Authorial Soul

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. We've all been told that, probably by our parents when we experienced our first "word injury," but the truth is that words do hurt.

Leo Rosten said: "Words sing. They hurt. They teach. They sanctify. They were man's first, immeasurable feat of magic. They liberated us from ignorance and our barbarous past."

Wow. Words do all that! You notice that in that quotation, the second power Mr. Rosten attributes to words is that they hurt. Sometimes, when I read reviews--not just my own so I'm not whining--I'm a little shocked at how some people get off on leaving hurtful comments. I guess they rejoice in exercising the power of anonymity that the internet grants.

The authors who participated in this do not name the book that bears the puzzling/hurtful/unearned review. The covers shown are some of their other books for your consideration.

Joan Reeves


I'll be brave and kick this Author Confessions off instead of going last as I usually do. I have to be honest. The review really didn't hurt my feelings. I guess I've reached the point in life where stuff like that doesn't bother me, but it does puzzle me.

As an author, I always look at reviews from the standpoint of: Will this review make a browsing reader into a buying reader?

Joan's Latest Book
The title of the review wouldn't compel me to buy the book. I probably wouldn't even read the review. I'd just move on to another book.

I had a glowing review on a romantic comedy described as a romp. The reader wrote about how funny it was, how the characters were delightful then gave the review this title: About as deep as a puddle.

Huh? That's like saying, "Oh, what a pretty little girl." Then slapping the child.

To the reviewer, I'd say: "I don't understand why you read a romantic comedy and expected it to be--what? Dramatic and deeply profound rather than the lighthearted, fun, and entertaining break from reality that it seemed to be for you?"

Lynn Crandall

Lynn is the author of Dancing with Detective Danger.

Both broken, can these former lovers trust love again?

My Puzzling Review

Overall, I enjoyed this book. There were a couple of plot points that didn't work for me, but as a whole the book is written in an easy-to-read style. I was particularly intrigued with the story about Sterling's sister and her dead husband's ghost. I liked the romantic side of that, but my more practical side kept arguing the point that it's not a healthy way for her to live. It did add an interesting element to the story though and the overall theme about love.

Sometimes reviewers make me wonder if they read the book. Sometimes I want to ask them why they read the book. Maybe the blurb was good or maybe they didn't actually read the book.

To this reviewer I would say, I'm glad overall you enjoyed the book. But do you understand that most people have dysfunctional beliefs and defensive patterns they have to work through? Do you understand I portrayed loss in an imaginative way because the book is fiction?

This book received another review that was so critical and harsh it really perplexed me how the reviewer managed to read the whole book.

I'd done my research with experts, so I could have gotten quite defensive and all finger-pointy. But I still loved the characters and their story, so I just shrugged and said, Oh well.

Nancy Fraser

I love the April topic!

Nancy is the author of Eye of the Pharaoh.

Will an unexpected trip to 1920's Egypt be their downfall or, will an ancient guardian keep them safe?

What would you say to a reviewer who left a puzzling or hurtful review?

Hmm ... that’s a tough question. I was raised with the old adage, “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all,” so I’d likely say nothing.

I’ve learned you can’t please everyone all the time.

I’ve also seen far too many authors respond to snarky reviews and, unfortunately, hurt their career in the process.

If the reviewer’s comments were truly puzzling, I might privately ask for clarification ... and I stress “privately.” As for hurtful, I’d pull up my big-girl panties, pour myself a Bailey’s over ice, and do my best to ignore it.

Bonnie Edwards

Bonnie is the author of Finding Mercy

Bonnie Edwards, Earthy, Irreverent . . . Lovestruck

My Experience With Reviews

Sometimes puzzling reviews do more to sell books! Like: "This book is full of sex." (thanks for mentioning this on my erotic romance title) And "This book is long..." (thank you for saying it's not too short!) So I guess I find the silver lining in most less-than-stellar reviews. At least, I try to.

Follow Bonnie on Twitter: https://twitter.com/BonnieEdwards and Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Bonnie.Edwards.Author and About Me: http://about.me/bonnieedwards

Liz Flaherty

Liz is the author of The Happiness Pact.

Best friends since they were born on the same day Tucker and Libby form a pact: she’ll play matchmaker to help him find the woman of his dreams and he’ll lead her on the adventure she desperately needs. 

I don’t read too many reviews anymore—unless someone messages or emails me and says, “Did you see—” in different tones of aghast, and then I go look. But this one was on my second book.

It was two stars, and the reviewer said, “I didn't really enjoy this book. It seemed rather childish. I don't get the five-star rating others gave it but if you like really dumb stories - go for it!”

Ouch. Oh, ouch, that “dumb stories” thing hurt. Years later, it still hurts. And I guess what I’d say to her is, “I’m sorry you wasted so much time not only reading the book but coming up with something scathing within the constraints of your vocabulary to say about it. I’ll bet it took you weeks.”

So, maybe she was right about the childish part. 😊

Kathleen Lawless

Kathleen is the author of Callie's Honor.

Callie was glad her husband was dead. Except now she has a new man to deal with. 

Puzzling Review

“Lawless develops well-drawn characters and amusing dialogue in a story that sizzles with constant sensuality and passion. A satisfying resolutions completes this superior sexual novel.”

And then I get 3 out of 5 stars which drags down my average. I really wonder what this reviewer is looking for. Or is 3 the new 5?

Bottom Line

Authors really try to learn from reviews. I've seen a lot of glowing reviews lately that have 3 stars. Is Kathleen correct? Is a 3 the new 5 when it comes to reviews? What do you think, Readers?


Joan Reeves is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Contemporary Romance. All of her books have the same underlying theme: It's never too late to live happily ever after. She lives her HEA with her hero, her husband, in the Lone Star State.

Visit Joan online: Blog * Amazon * BookBub * Facebook * Twitter. Want a free ebook of one of Joan's popular romance novels? Just click here to sign up for Joan's mailing list.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

About revisions... @Liz Flaherty

I wrote this about four years ago, but since I haven't changed my mind the least little bit, I'm re-using it. If you've read it before, thanks for your patience!

Oh, my gosh, I love revisions.
Last week and the week before, when I talked to my editor—a couple of times; he had a lot of things to tell me—I kept saying Really? in a squealy, whiney, don’t wanna do it voice. I know I did. Not that I’m proud of that particular voice, but since I’ve been hauling it around my whole life, I may as well own it. And I said, at the ends of these conversations, “Okay, I can do this. Thanks for the help.” And then I hung up and looked at my laptop and said Really? in a squealy, whiney, thankfully silent voice.         
          Then I went to work. And I have had, it must be said, some of those stone days John Denver sang about. I have stared at the screen of my laptop until dust motes danced merrily before my eyes before settling into the bunnies under the desk. I have chewed my thumbnail down to an uncomfortable nub. I have done laundry before I had a load, washed dishes by hand, and cooked meals when there were leftovers to be had. I have thought, I can’t do this. I may as well call and renege. Because I...just...can’t.
          I also had some days that were diamonds. I had lunch with friends, dinner with
friends, saw some of my kids, went places with my husband, sewed on my youngest grandchild’s quilt, and laughed every day. More than once. And I wrote some, revised some, thought Maybe this will work. Didn’t call and renege or even want to.
          And then there was this morning. It is Sunday, when I never work on the manuscript, when I look at Facebook and email and maybe work on a weekly column or a bog post and then go to church.
          Except today I didn’t go to church, because all of wonderful sudden, it worked. No maybe about it. Nope, it really worked. This does not mean my editor will be as thrilled as I am. He may say No or Try again or What were you thinking? I can’t control that. But for now, it is fist-pumping time, because of course I can do it—I just did!
          I love revisions.
          

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Carriages for history buffs by @BonnieEdwards #GemsinAttic

In January I visited the Coach Museum in Lisbon, Portugal and took some photos of amazing coaches, carriages, sedan chairs, and more. If you read this blog regularly you'll recall my gushing fangirl blog in January about my year with Elizabeth Hoyt.

Hoyt regularly takes her characters out in carriages, sedans, and phaetons. I was overjoyed to find these beautiful specimens on display. 

Royal Carriages were often wedding gifts from a bride's family.
I don't write historical romance, so I wasn't doing actual research, just gawking in awe, so I didn't take notes of the years these were built. But at least one of the carriages in the museum was from the 1500s.

It was interesting to this car buff to note the sizes of the wheels and how the suspension changed to leaf springs from leather straps. All very cool to this untrained eye. 

Some traveling coaches even had beds that folded out from under the seats. Another photo I have shows a small round table inside the coach, presumably for playing cards or eating a meal.


A Phaeton.
The Phaeton seems like an early version of a sexy, little sports car meant to attract women, as much as anything. This one looked maneuverable, lightweight and more easily handled than something as heavy as a duke's carriage. Note the small rear seat for a chaperone or maid or footman. Also the driver's seat was raised, presumably so the driver had a good view of the road. 





On this golden Royal carriage, the rear wheels are huge and the front quite small. The small front wheels helped with turning this land barge. (really...what else can you call it - it's massive)
The weight of the statuary would require a team of eight,.
Coachman, in my mind, had to be highly skilled and rather well-paid to keep these monstrous vehicles on the road. 

All the carriages had the coats of arms painted on the doors.









 Ornamentation came from paint rather than plaster figures.

Sedan chairs, built for one passenger, also announced the wealth and standing of their owners with gold and gilt. Sedan chairs had to be light enough to be carried by footmen.

See the plainer chair in the background.





Multi-published author Bonnie Edwards lives with her husband and pets on the rainy coast of British Columbia. Her earthy, irreverent, love stories sometimes have a paranormal twist, like curses and ghosts, other times not. But her books always entertain and guarantee a happy ending.
With four ongoing romance series (Tales of Perdition, The Brantons, and The Christmas Collection) and contemporary family novels in her newest series, Return to Welcome, she rarely spends a day without writing. She has written novels, novellas and short stories for Kensington Books, Harlequin Books, Carina Press, and Robinson (UK) although now she publishes her work herself. Look for more exciting releases throughout 2018…
For more info and sample chapters:
Sign up for her newsletter:  http://oi.vresp.com?fid=4ecdcb6889

Monday, April 16, 2018

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Audio Books in the House!

So, how does one spend a rainy Saturday morning when the urge to write hasn't begun tapping you on the shoulder?

You pour yourself a hot cup of coffee (or tea, if that's you preference), and mull through a handful of auditions from voice actors who've applied to narrate your latest book.

One of my publishers, The Wild Rose Press, has recently entered the world of audio books. All authors were given the opportunity to submit their current book, or books from their back list, for consideration as an audio book. So far, over two dozen author have taken advantage of this new venue, myself included.

Because I'm already published in audio through Decadent Publishing, I knew exactly what to expect in the first phases. I put five of my Wild Rose titles up for audition and, much to my delight, got multiple auditions on all of them. And, even more exciting, the auditions came rolling in all at once. So, there I was, curled up in my reading chair, coffee firmly in hand, and my laptop next to me ... just listening ... one after the other after the other.

My conclusions:

  • It's really weird to listen to a perfect stranger interpreting the words you've written.
  • Nobody knows the characters the way you do and, nine times out of ten, they don't sound anything like you imagined.
  • Male narrators are preferable when the majority (or all) of the book is in the hero's point-of-view. They're also more adept at narrating romantic suspense. The danger to the hero and heroine sounds more ominous with the help of a deeper voice.
  • You receive more auditions on novellas than full-length novels.
  • This was a great way to spend a gloomy morning!
If you'd like to know exactly what an audition sounds like, you can listen to a sampler of Do You Want Me, one of my Decadent Publishing titles, by clicking on the link.

And, though I can't share the audition files on the new books, I can give you a hint of what's coming next. I've chosen a wonderful gentleman narrator for Time and Again, my futuristic/time travel/romantic suspense from The Wild Rose Press.

On the lighter, sexier side, I've also chosen a male narrator for my erotic romance novella, Kilty Pleasures.

My vintage (1960's) sweet romance novellas, BewitchedOnly Yours, and Paging Dr. Cupid will all be narrated by women.

As both authors and readers we owe it to ourselves to expand our experiences. Personally, nothing beats the feel of a book in my hand. However, I also know that audio books (especially short novellas) are a great way to pass a long drive or workplace commute.

I'd love to hear reader/author opinions on audio books? Do you listen? And, if so, when?

Until next month, happy reading, writing and...hopefully...listening!

Nancy

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