New Book Release- The Takeover

New book release from Rachel Ann Nunes:

“I’m excited to announce that The Takeover, the fifth book in my pen name urban fantasy series is now available. If you’re signed up for my monthly newsletters (and not just the new release list), you already know it was on preorder. But the print and all ebook platforms are live as of September 30th. I’ve included the links and the book description here for your convenience, and you can read a sample chapter here. The ebook is $4.99 and the sale price for the print is $11.96 (price could change depending on vendor). Below that, you will find links to two multi-author book sales that my older books are involved in. Since sales are the best way I have of finding new books to read, and many of these are free or 99 cents, I wanted to pass that on to you (you can never have too many good books!).

I’m working on more contemporary romance now, and will send out a new release when they’re available. As always, thank you for your support!

Takeover—One Last Chance for Humanity

Since the announcement of Unbounded existence, the mortal world has quickly polarized. One faction wants all Unbounded—Renegade and Emporium—dead. Others worship them as gods who have come to save the world and bring it immortality. The tension between these groups is ready to explode.

Meanwhile, the Emporium has a new player, one who has upped the stakes in the battle for humanity. Many innocent mortals are sacrificed as the Emporium Triad grabs for control.

As Erin Radkey, Ritter Langton, and their Renegade allies struggle to stay one step ahead of the enemy, their increasing abilities are tested to the limit—as is their trust in each other. They have only one chance to change the game, to save humanity. A desperate plan that requires an ultimate price no one can bear to pay.

But everything is not always what it seems, especially in the world of the Unbounded. “

PrintKindle, NookiTunesKoboGoogle

Two Fantastic book sales

Bookmarked Bargains (all LDS authors) – sign up for chance to win a $175 Readers Party Pack!

Huge multi-author sale (all books rated PG-13 or less)

New Old Books

My BFF and I went out to a couple estate sales on Saturday afternoon. The second one took us to Milan and it was a lovely day for a drive in the country. We found a few small things and among mine were these books, arranged in order of publication.

Ups and Downs and Back to Vertical are signed by the author, H C L Jackson. I scooped up the six without looking at what they were about. Today I started to search for Jackson and discovered that these books are about Detroit. They are small stories from The Detroit News column, Listening In on Detroit. Published by a local publisher, Arnold-Powers, Inc, the stories included go as far back as 1931 and go to 1945.

I can’t really find any information on the author but I think I’ll contact the paper and see if they can help me. I was going to post them up immediately on Ebay but now I think I’ll read them first, then we’ll see.

This will be an interesting look into Detroit’s past.

I took the pictures with my laptop so don’t expect greatness, the first book is The Paper Bag.

WIN_20151011_12_00_53_ProWIN_20151011_11_55_54_ProWIN_20151011_12_00_30_ProWIN_20151011_12_00_17_ProWIN_20151011_12_00_40_ProWIN_20151011_11_59_50_Pro

Practicing My Positivity- Lacey Crowe Style

Yesterday I reblogged K J Charles and linked to Scarlet’s blog on BL wherein an author, Lacey Crowe, blogged about only positive reviews and remarks. Spread the joy around.  Well, I’m gonna give it a shot, just for you Lacey.

Turns out Lacey is an editor and reviewer besides being an author.

 

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This gives me pause because what happens when a total disaster is submitted? Does she say anything relevant or pass it by with a polite but useless to the author thanks-but-no-thanks?

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I applaud the sentiment while wondering how she handles the reality. The reality being most books don’t rise to the lofty heights she seems to be looking for and some books read like they were written by someone who slept through their English classes and dashed off their baby, uh, book while drunk. Then there are those authors who are confident they are the next Dickens or Steinbeck or have written a groundbreaking book like the world has never seen and desperately needs.

How is Lacey going to handle all these authors in a positive manner? And is a positive manner really helpful in some of these cases? These are relevant questions but right now I’m going to practice my positivity.

Let’s look at a review of Lacey’s book, here’s one from Amazon:

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And here is the same review, same reviewer on  Goodreads:

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A glowing review. It just leaves out a couple pertinent details. But first I’m renaming Paul. He is now Paul the Positive Pigeon. Paul is here, and he says:

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“Poo-poo”

Oh-oh. When Paul the Positive Pigeon poos instead of coos there is trouble in River City. What has Paul found? Look at that screenshot that is titled “What We do”.  We. Lacey has a partner. Uh-oh. Could it be?

Why, yes, it positively is.

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Here they are on their BBR&E site.

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Here they are performing together.

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Here they are- married. That’s right, not only business but life partners. Now go back to that review, “This one, however, was well worth my time and money.” Uh, Jason, your  wife made you buy a copy? Somehow I doubt that.

Whoops, that wasn’t so positive. How about this, I’m positive that omitting your business and personal relationship in such a positive review will not be looked on by others with positivity. I’m also positive that Amazon does not allow these reviews. I am further positive that this kind of positivity will arouse feelings of resentment and envy in other authors who have not stooped to doing this because they follow the rules for any number of really positive reasons and they could use another 5 star review but they won’t step over that line like you did. This behavior is neither professional nor positive.

I’m also positive that you can learn something from Lacey and Jason even if it is only what not to do.

Being Edited, or How to Take Criticism

Scarlet on Booklikes posted a blog tonight about an author’s opinions on criticism and why only positive comments/reviews should be posted/written/expressed. I am not a fan of that viewpoint. Then I read the following by author and editor K J Charles. This I can agree with, many years ago while attending a workshop in New York the late, great Ibrahim Farrah told us he only criticized the dancers he recognized as having talent and that would use his criticism to improve. Those he found not to have talent or that would ignore any criticism of their technique he would just ignore. Why ever would he waste his time with anyone who wouldn’t take criticism?

No pain, no gain.

So here is Charles’ blog, enjoy.

Let’s start with the obvious: nobody likes it.

Any aspiring author will read plenty of blog posts telling you to suck it up / not be a special snowflake / fall on negative criticism with cries of glee. You should like criticism. Love it. You should be like a kung-fu movie monk, immersing his hand in boiling tar to become stronger. Etc.

That’s just bobbins. Even unjustified criticism can hurt like hell; even trivial throwaway comments can sting for years. Negative criticism feels bad because it’s negative; you shouldn’t feel even worse because you aren’t Superman about it. Take your emotions out (BUT NOT ON TWITTER OKAY), give them an airing to the cat, scream in the bathroom. Face how you feel. Because, all the people telling you to suck it up? They feel just as bad when they get their MS slammed. And if they don’t, if they indeed have asbestos hands for criticism and shrug it off, I’m afraid I question their commitment to their work. I don’t care is a fine thing to say but if you actually don’t care about your book, I’m pretty sure I won’t either.

Negative criticism is a painful and unpleasant necessity. The problem is that as a species, humans tend to believe that painful unpleasantness should be avoided at all costs. Wasp stings hurt like hell, so we kill wasps. That god-awful friend of a friend zeroes in on our every failing: we spend the party on the opposite side of the room. We avoid painful experiences. And thus authors may decide not to have their MS read by anyone other than their mum and a few trusted sycophants friends (which is a fabulous way to get more negativity than you can shake a stick at when the book publishes). They try to control reviews. And even the most sensible of us often try to deal with negative criticism by persuading ourselves it’s wrong.

It’s human nature. The king surrounds himself with courtiers who assure him that his subjects adore him, even while the mob is hammering at the palace doors. We don’t want to hear this stuff, because it hurts. Unfortunately, you need to face the negatives to improve, and we all know it.

So, a few tips from me in my capacity as an editor who hands out criticism, a writer who has to take it, and a human being who screws up.

Constructive v Negative

People make a big point of how criticism must be constructive. Reviews should always be constructive, apparently. (For the record, this is arrant nonsense. The reviewer is not a post-publication beta reader.) Nobody should say “this is bad”, we are told, they should say “this is how it can be better.”

Well, yes/no. An editor or beta reader who’s just there to sneer is a waste of time (a full blog post on this topic here). But actually, not all readers know how books can be made better. That’s quite a complicated skill: we call that person a development editor. It’s perfectly reasonable to say what’s wrong (“I just felt the hero never got sympathetic”) without identifying which chapters and conversations were the lost opportunities.

And sometimes things are bad. Sometimes the correct editorial response is, “You should cut this chapter”, “You should cut this storyline” or “I’m afraid this MS doesn’t work and we decline to publish.”

Here’s the thing: most people hate giving that out. It is very hard to be the bearer of bad news, particularly because so many people shoot the messenger. (I rejected a book once at work and the author was still blanking me at a conference five years later.)

Some people are just malicious, of course. But sincere well-meaning negative criticism is hard to write and deliver, and it should be considered seriously. If you don’t feel like you can tell the difference any more, ask a writer friend for a second opinion.

The more it hurts, the harder you should look

“If it isn’t hurting, it isn’t working” is bobbins, just ask an anaesthetist. But I am aware that the crit that makes me flinch most is the stuff I was worried about on some level. If you tell me, “I hate your crappy badly written book,” I’ll merely hope you get a disfiguring skin disease. If you say, “The book falls into obvious halves because of the clunking character arc,” I will be up all night rearranging scenes in my head because you’re right. (You bastard.)

“Well, they’ll just have to like it.” (Hint: they won’t.)

It takes a fair bit of nerve to write, and a lot of self belief. You need be true to your story, follow your dream, all that inspirational poster stuff. However, if you conflate that with believing your book is perfect, you will have a problem. The time to tell yourself “haters gonna hate” and sail serenely by the negative reviews is after publication, not at editing stage. Without negative criticism, you won’t get better.

But this is my book!

As an editor, I believe passionately that the book is the author’s: her voice, her choices, her style. However, sometimes it is the author’s badly written or unpublishable book. As an author, I won’t make changes that go against the spirit of my book and the soul of my characters, but you better believe I’ll listen if my editor/readers tell me things that suggest I’m failing in what I was trying to do, or the words I chose to do it.

What, me?

The edits received in the stoniest silence of all are the ones that cut at the writer’s goodness as a person. This scene seems to me to be verging on rape, and I don’t think you intended that. This comes across as racist. A lot of readers will find this offensive. People struggle to accept that they’ve been hurtful. Authors tend to be high-empathy people and women in particular are socialised to be nice. Most of us don’t want to accept we’ve been crass or prejudiced. And it is human nature to reframe the story in a way that shines a flattering light on our own character. I’m not prejudiced or ignorant: you’re just oversensitive. God, lighten up!

I’ve caused offence with clumsiness, and been called out for it. I did not enjoy receiving that criticism, any more than I expect the complainers enjoyed making it, and it would be a lot easier to reassure myself that I’m a Nice Person and the complainer is oversensitive, rather than accept that I’m not actually the super-considerate person/writer I’d like to think.

But I’m really not. And if I want to be better, as a writer or a person, I have to look hard at painful criticism, not in a defensive spirit but with an open mind. Because denying I was wrong will not help me do better, but listening thoughtfully might.

***

We all get stuff wrong. There’s nothing wrong with getting it wrong. Just grit your teeth, swear at the cat, and make an effort to get it right next time.

Free New Release- Beyond Regeneration

Beyond Regeneration - Jenny Schwartz

My new science fiction romance, “Beyond Regeneration”, is just out AND free till Monday! You can grab it now on Amazon. I’m just so excited. Compliments on the cover will be happily received — I designed it! If you don’t like the cover, please download the book anyway! LOL

Amazon US http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0169S6H44/
Amazon UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0169S6H44/
Amazon Australia http://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B0169S6H44/

It’s complicated. Charley Rowdon knew Dr. Jack Bradshaw years ago, before the accident, before she lost her left arm. Before her husband died. Jack is an internationally respected regeneration specialist, and he’s just made the breakthrough of the century: using QNA to grow non-human bio-enhancements on people, including himself. Think superhuman senses, claws, and even, wings.

However, when, as a journalist, Charley accepts Jack’s invitation to accompany him to his private clinic, a luxury resort on the beautiful south west coast of Australia, she finds more than medical science and altered humanity.

Murder, espionage and a scientific development that Jack never ever predicted will challenge Charley to shed her grief and fear, and solve a mystery beyond imagining.

But as Charley regenerates her life, how much will she risk by loving again?

“Beyond Regeneration” is a novel of old grief and new beginnings. The science is fabulous, more fiction than fact, but the emotions are real. This is the story of a woman badly hurt by life who finds the courage to embrace the unbelievable, and love again.

Review- Double Dragons: BBW Paranormal Romance (Dragons of New York Book 1)

Double Dragons: BBW Paranormal Romance (Dragons of New York Book 1) - Terry Bolryder

[reblogged from Spare Ammo]

I read this back in August and forgot to post a review after the new laptop arrived. Bolryder seems to be a popular author but after reading this I have no idea why because she has managed to make dragon shifters boring by employing just about every tired trope in existence. I have every expectation that she’ll use the rest.

Orphaned at an early age heroine just drifting through her dreary life

As a librarian no less

Leaps into a dangerous situation after deciding not to call the police

Not one but two too handsome men rescue her

And they are rich beyond the dreams of Donald Trump

And dragons

She’s special

They’re conflicted

They sleep together almost immediately but…

And there’s all this stuff they can’t tell her- yet

We meet our heroine, the librarian, and she immediately does something that anyone with a working brain cell would never do. But she’s just that special. The good (?) news is that she is rescued by our heroes, bold and brave dragons.

Except that these two spend most of this book talking about their feelings. They are the two most boring dragons I’ve ever read, no, they are more like two really big emo-lizards. Their treasure must be pallets of Kleenex and signed first editions of every self-help, feel-good-about-your-sorry-self book ever published.

In 127 pages these three meet, talk, she meets a couple of their friends, more talk, more talk, they go to rescue one of the friends, one gets injured, she saves him, they “transform” her because she in the “one”.  I realize it sounds more exciting when I summarize but believe me, it isn’t exciting at all.

Then there is the sex. Here is the sentence that sums up the sex best, “In his mind, he saw himself filling her to the hilt, making her eyes bug out in pleasure.” Nope. No eye-bugging-out sex for me, thank you very much.

If you are looking for strong, exciting, fierce, sexy dragons then keep moving because these are not the dragons you’re looking for.

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