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. :)

The World is a Vampire – and Some Writers Are, too

First of all, let me apologize for not blogging much lately. I am so far behind with everything. The kids started back to school on August 8th, I am desperately trying to finish book two of the Celadon Circle series – Refracted, I have at least five #bookreviews to write up, and a #newsletter that is due to go out on August 27th that I have not made a single dent in. Yeah; as usual, my plate runneth over (and not in a good way).

With all this going on I have found it difficult to even decide on a topic to blog about, but one kept coming back to me, showing itself in examples (both good and bad), and I knew I needed to “talk” about it.

I have discovered during the past few years of my writing career (yeah, it’s a stretch to call it a career, but let’s go with it) that people you can depend on come and go, even among #Indie authors. For those who have stood by me through thick and thin, I consider them my closest friends, even though most of them I have never met.

Most of my friends live in my computer in a group I admin (along with a few other peeps) called Books Untamed. This group is mostly #IndieAuthors, some #readers, and a few #bloggers. We support one another, share good news, talk each other off ledges, and learn from each other. Members come and go, especially when they learn that we don’t allow very much promotion, but the core group that started it all has basically stayed the same. They are my best friends, my second family, and I love them dearly.

I am lucky to have such a strong foundation to lean on. Some authors don’t and yes, I have been in their shoes and do know what it feels like to give, and give, and GIVE, and barely get anything in return. From the members of Books Untamed, I learned the value of “Pay It Forward,” and that is what we do – not only for each other but for other authors, as well. Still, we remember that there must be balance. Everyone must pitch in to make it work. There are some authors who love to milk the cows dry and move on. I am finding that many of these type also band together in groups. They love getting new members to share their promos and books, yet rarely give anything back.

One positive in all this is that, eventually, some members of these groups wise up. I recently had a conversation with an author who had such an experience. Week after week, I would see her promoting the authors of this group, yet rarely seen any of them reciprocating. I felt it wasn’t my place to say anything. I was once a member of the same group. Thankfully, my extent as one of their “cows” didn’t last long. I saw what was going on and (pardon my French) shagged arse. All I will say is that they used her to an extent that went beyond their norm and I am so happy that she is no longer among the vampires.

Another incident I witnessed was not surprising, seeing as how I know how this author “works” (in actuality, she doesn’t – not really), but was sad nonetheless. This particular writer loves to ride coattails. She will be your best buddy as long as she is gaining something (promotion, free services such as illustrations or editing, or POSITIVE feedback), but the moment that stops, she is off and running to the next person she can use. I noticed via Facebook that she had become chummy with the vamps and knew it was just a matter of time before she joined their clan…and she did. You see, the vamps still have plenty of members (cows) they can milk and of course, this appeals to those who ride coattails. You would think by now that “seasoned writers” would know that in order to make it in the publishing business, you have to work, and work HARD. All of this running has gotten her nowhere. It’s a vicious cycle that never ends.

Now, what does all the rambling mean? I guess my point is that, as writers, we all have the choice to decide what type we want to be. Do you want to be an author who pays it forward? Do you want to surround yourself with positive people who strive for success without compromising their principals? Or do you want to be a vampire who takes and takes and never bothers to give back? Which do you think will be more productive? I try to be the best person I can be no matter the context. I’m not perfect but I do know the value of having people share my work, and I try to return the favors. It’s only right. We all want to be successful. We all want to make a name for ourselves. The question is, what are you willing to sacrifice to make that happen? Your time? Your friends? Your morals?

It’s your choice.