Grimsley Hollow Returns

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Fourteen months.

That’s how long it took to have the Grimsley Hollow books re-edited, revised, and new cover art made. Fourteen months and a little over $1000, all because the owner of a small press publishing company got upset when I decided not to resign when my contract was up.

Was republishing the series worth the heartache, time, and money?

I had my doubts. In all honesty, I almost didn’t bother. If not for a few author friends and a handful of dedicated fans, the books might still be collecting dust on the shelf.

But the series wasn’t finished, and that bothered me. Not to mention the anger I felt at having the owner of a worthless publishing company tear apart something I worked so hard for. The Grimsley Hollow series had an important message to share. I believed in it.

It was difficult – almost like starting over from scratch. Having new covers made was the best part. Revisions were the worst. Since they were my first books, penned when I was green and didn’t know the rules of writing, there were a lot of mistakes. The publishing company (and I use that term loosely) that had them before promised “professional editing,” but didn’t provide it for my books due to lack of money, among other things. Even before the professional edits were completed, I cringed when reading my manuscripts. I didn’t have time for complete rewrites, but felt conflicted over how much to change. I didn’t want to make the books unrecognizable, yet knew there was much that needed revising.

After talking to fellow authors and some soul-searching, I decided to correct all the editing issues and perform light rewrites on passages if needed. Grimsley Hollow is where I put down roots – where my journey as a writer began. To completely rewrite the series, to erase all the mistakes, would be to wipe out my past. Where would I go when I need to look back at how far I’ve come?

Because many have been so patient and understanding, I’ve decided to run a #ChristmasSale as a way to show my gratitude. For the rest of December, the first book in the series, The Chosen One, is only 0.99 to download. The second book (a short story of approximately 14,400 words), Eve of the Beginning, will be permanently priced at 0.99.

The paperback books should be ready by December 20th or 21st. At that time, I will make an announcement and issue a special coupon where the books can be purchased on Createspace at a discounted price. There will also be a few #giveaways and surprises throughout January.

Here are the Amazon links:

 

Grimsley Hollow-The Chosen One-web

 

Eleven-year-old Gage Gilbert is autistic, loves Halloween, and has no friends. He longs to share real adventures – not just those conjured in his head.

A mysterious key leads him to Eve, a young witch from another world called Grimsley Hollow. It’s a place where all magical beings live in safety and peace, but their realm is in trouble. Gage is the only one who can save them from a nefarious witch who has taken control.
And the human world is next on her list.

With Eve’s help (along with a potty-mouthed pixy, a trouble-making werewolf, a half-vampire, and a couple of dragons) Gage travels to Grimsley Hollow and together, they embark on a journey that will change them all.

It’s a deadly race against evil, where extraordinary creatures stalk the land under a harvest moon and nightmarish monsters take form.

Gage wanted friends and adventure, but had no idea they would come at such a dangerous price.

Purchase The Chosen One

Eve-Web

Grimsley Hollow is home to all magical beings who once inhabited Earth. A malevolent force destroys the tranquility and respect which reigned between the different races for centuries; and a young witch named Eve is the only one empowered with the truth.

Eve’s journal records events which lead her and a few extraordinary friends to seek the only one who can help them survive: The Chosen One.

Eve of the Beginning is the second book in the Grimsley Hollow series and a prequel to the first book, The Chosen One.

Purchase Eve of the Beginning

Siren-Web

Grimsley Hollow is under attack again. Is Inari trying to seize the Key of Opa and take control of Grimsley Hollow or is she under the power of someone even more insidious, greedy, and evil?

Siren has been kidnapped in hopes of drawing out his family and friends, especially twelve-year-old Gage, who holds the Key of Opa and all the power of Grimsley Hollow. The Daoi, a group of rogue werewolves, is enlisted to aid and abet. They would love nothing more than to sink their teeth into Siren’s pack.

When danger hits too close to home, Gage and his friends have no choice but to travel to Hemming Woods and confront the devil and his minions on their own turf – Dark Hollow.

There is nothing stronger than the bond of friendship, nothing more enduring than the ties of family, and nothing more powerful than a boy who has discovered his own self-worth and the magic that comes with believing in himself.

But Gage must hurry. Siren is not the only one depending on him now.

The Search for Siren is the third book in the Grimsley Hollow series.

Purchase The Search for Siren

One last thing, if I may. Because I had to republish the books, I lost ALL of my reviews. There were over fifty for The Chosen One, twenty-four for Eve of the Beginning, and sixteen for The Search for Siren. Now, I am unable to promote the books on certain websites because I lack the number of reviews required. I would appreciate some reviews if you all have the time – even a few words would do.

Thanks so much for hanging in there with me, for the words of encouragement, but most importantly, for refusing to give up on Grimsley Hollow and keeping it close to your hearts. I love you bunches!

Grimsley Hollow Series

Wow! It’s been a while since I’ve blogged and I do apologize. I’ve been crazy-busy trying to get edits done on four books. Here’s a little update for you all and thank you for being so patient!

I became an aunt again this past week. One of my youngest brothers (one of the twins) and his lovely wife became parents for the first time on October 23rd. Welcome to the family, Mazie Grace Storey. I love my lil’ pun’kin and yes, she always smiles. :)

 

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The first draft of the second book in the Celadon Circle series, Refracted, is done. Right now, it is simmering on my desk while I wait for some expert opinions before I hack away at it and try to tame the beast. After, it will go to my editor and beta readers.

The first book in the Grimsley Hollow series, The Chosen One, is with my editor for a final proofread. Then, I’ll write the dreaded synopsis (Goddess help me). My cover artist will design the spine and back cover and it will be ready for publishing.

I am halfway finished with the final edits for the second book in the Grimsley Hollow series, Eve of the Beginning. I still have the synopsis to write before my cover artist finishes up.

The edits for the third book in the GH series, The Search for Siren, are waiting for me. I just have to implement them, do some revisions, synopsis, and get the rest of the cover art finished.

I still have a ways to go and I’m not making any promises as to when the GH series will be republished. I can say that I’m trying my best to get them up before Christmas but…

Life does love to throw curve balls when I’m expecting sliders.

I want to share the new (front) cover art for the books with you. Thanks to the brilliant minds of Silviya Yordanova from Dark Imaginarium Art and Design and Hristo Kovatliev from Book Cover Design-Hristo Kovatliev, I think they represent the world of Grimsley Hollow perfectly and couldn’t be more pleased! I hope you love them as much as I do.

GH 1 cover

 

Eve Front

 

Siren Front

 

Book four in the GH series, The Longest Days of Night, is also in the works. :) Stay tuned for more info. and I promise to try and blog more!

Reviews: The Ugly Truth

For #authors, #reviews are life-giving blood. This is especially true for #Indie authors. #Book reviews can encourage readers to take a chance on an unknown writer or send them running to the nearest New York Time’s “bestseller” faster than butter melts on a hot biscuit. We may not always like or agree with the content, but a writer without reviews is a writer who is not selling.

We’ve all witnessed authors who make complete arses out of themselves after receiving a negative review. They are as sweet as pie until a reader complains and then turn bitter and tasteless. Some even go as far as commenting on reviews, arguing with the reader because they put a book out for the entire world to read and – DEAR GOD – someone didn’t like it and left an opinion!!! How dare they?!

And yes, there are some readers who are vindictive and leave bad reviews simply because they can – most of which have nothing to do with the content of the book because they didn’t bother reading it. Unfortunately, authors (and I use that term loosely) are guilty of this, too.

Of course, we can’t forget about the “confused” reader. You know the one. He/She downloads a book with the title, Poetry in Motion, realizes after the first few pages that it is a book of (you guessed it) POETRY. They leave a one-star review stating they didn’t know this was a book with poems, and then return it for a full refund because Amazon is generous like that. “Confused” readers often buy books in genres they normally hate to read because, other than breathing and bitching (pardon my French), they have nothing better to do.

It’s true that reviews tend bring out the worst in people – authors and readers alike. A while back, I read a post on Facebook which led to a discovery many authors may not consider regarding reviews…or lack of them where their books are concerned.

“Bob” is a well-known Indie author in my Facebook community. He is generous to a fault – always going the extra mile to help other writers when he can. He reads many Indie books, leaving glowing reviews in his wake, even when the books don’t necessarily deserve them. He spends much of his time sharing and promoting others and is popular among his peers.

Bob posted that he needed more reviews for his books and reached out to the Indie community for help. Seeing as he was kind enough to read and review one of my books, I thought it only fair that I return the favor. I downloaded one of his novels and copped a squat in my favorite recliner to read.

I managed 25% on my kindle before giving up and deleting it. Bob didn’t have many reviews and, after forcing myself to turn page after page, desperately searching for something (anything!) positive to keep me reading and coming up empty, I had a pretty good idea why.

Poor Bob’s story was about as gripping as an insurance seminar. There was minimal dialogue between characters. No description at all. It was, in a nutshell, paragraph after paragraph of Bob TELLING the readers what he wanted them to know. It read like stereo instructions: First she did this. Then, she did this. Next, she did this… No “showing” – even a simple facial expression was hard to come by. I could have spent my time counting the number of ice cubes in my freezer and been more productive.

I felt guilty. I wanted so badly to repay Bob’s kindness but never review books I can’t finish. A week later, a fellow author I admire and respect commented that he was reading the same book. I sent him a message and asked that he let me know his thoughts. Perhaps I missed something. Maybe I was too quick to judge Bob’s work.

The author replied to me the same night…with the same opinion. He, too, was unable to finish the story.

Bob felt that his fellow authors were being selfish with their time. He spent countless hours reading and reviewing their books and yet, they were too busy to do the same for him. I believe the reason Bob lacks reviews is because his peers – the ones who care for him and appreciate all he does for so many others – don’t want to hurt his feelings.

Some authors don’t mind leaving honest reviews for books written by those they know on a personal level, even if they aren’t five-star. I’ve done so myself. Still, nine times out of ten, a reviewer worth their salt can find at least one positive aspect to comment on. Unfortunately, the only part of Bob’s book that didn’t make me cringe or yawn repeatedly was the cover art.

Other authors refuse to review any books where they can’t leave a positive review, especially if the writer is someone they know. They also believe everyone else should adopt this way of thinking. I don’t necessarily agree with that. I believe every reader, regardless of their profession, is entitled to leave an honest review. If an author can’t take the heat, they shouldn’t publish their work.

Still, most of the reviews Bob does have for his book are POSITIVE. This tells me that:
A. Some readers liked the book and I need an eye exam.
OR
B. Many of the reviewers know Bob personally and threw honesty out the window for the sake of friendship.

But I digress. My reason for bringing up Bob is to remind authors not to jump to conclusions. Sometimes, people aren’t being lazy or selfish when they don’t leave a review – they’re being kind.

I also want to tell my peers that it’s okay to have an opinion on the books you read. It isn’t a sin to leave a lukewarm or negative review as long as it is constructive. Padding a review or leaving a glowing recommendation for a book you really don’t think deserves it only serves to mislead the writer and make YOU look like an idiot – especially when others take your advice and spend money on the book only to discover that it sucks. If you are afraid of reprisals, then you shouldn’t review at all. How can we gain respect as writers if we leave five-star reviews for books riddled with editing issues and other mishaps?

Because of actions such as this (and much worse), I no longer support an entire publishing company and their group on Facebook that I used to be on good terms with. After reading a few of their books (all of which have numerous positive reviews from other authors signed with the company), only to discover that many of them are poorly edited and in need of major work, I decided to distance myself from them. Every book is padded with positive reviews by authors signed with the company to help boost sales on release day. I’m fairly sure many of the authors don’t even bother to read the books beforehand. This is dishonest and really leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

So, this is my hodge-podge take on reviews. If you review a book, be honest, constructive, and tactful with your words. Don’t attack the author. What worked for you? What could use improvement? Was the book well-edited (remember, no book will be perfect but there should not be so many mistakes that they disrupt the reading of the story). Be the type of reviewer that makes writers come to you with requests to read their books.

Stay classy, my friends. :)