Everybody Isn’t Doing It- The Reblog

You all know that excuse, you  all have heard it. You’re cruising along through some online discussion about this or that and what authors shouldn’t do to promote their books when, BOOM, some fool drops those words your mother hated to hear, “But everybody’s doing it!”

It could be about rather important but honest things like not getting a professional editor but it’s usually about such things as buying reviews or spamming discussions. I swear the post actually whines.Everybody does it.  How can I get noticed and sell my book(s) if I don’t? Everybody does it. (You can hear the whine, right?)

Got news for you, cupcake, not everybody does it. Why? It’s simple really, some people are just honest and believe that hard work and talent will eventually bring them the rewards of their labor, some just believe in following the rules and searching for acceptable ways to get notice, and some are scared of getting caught.

Because getting caught brings about a special kind of attention. Sure, you may get some sales and “pity” reviews because there are always those who seem to think that people are being mean to you when they express their displeasure for your actions by writing about it or giving your book a negative review.

“It isn’t about the book,” they protest, but it really is.  Every act of lying, scamming, cheating to get your book noticed is exactly about the book and  the author. You may have written the Great American Novel, probably not because most writers in this group seem to barely rise above mediocre,  but you have also shown your naked butt in public and it is not a pretty sight. You are not to be trusted.

You have tried to cheat your potential readers, you have tried to cheat your fellow authors. Why would we want anything to do with you?

For the rest of your career this will follow you like a loyal dog, right there at your heel where everybody can see it. From now on your every action, every review, and in the case of plagiarism, your every book will be scrutinized closely and even if it seems acceptable the doubt will linger.

There will always be those who will support the poor beset author, defending them, trying to minimize their misdeeds like an overly fond parent defending their child when s/he’s caught stealing a car or defending them because they themselves have done something they shouldn’t and are hoping for a little tit for tat when they are caught.

So if you have to defend your actions by claiming everybody’s “doing it” you might want to reconsider those actions because most assuredly everybody is not “doing it” and those are the authors readers, reviewers, and bloggers are going to support.

Ruth Mahala Burlingame

Review- The Lost Cats and Lonely Hearts Club

Screenshot (114)While covering a story, feisty network reporter Madison Shaw gets more than she bargained for when she rescues a box of orphaned kittens. Suddenly the glamazon of the Manhattan news room is doing two am feedings to keep these furbabies alive!

This is certainly a change of pace for the high maintenance workaholic she’s become and taking care of the kittens makes Madison realise how far off track she’s come—after all, she was a stray once too…

When a video of her caring for the kittens goes viral, she knows her image as a hardnosed reporter is shot to hell. What Madison doesn’t expect is the media circus that propels her and the kittens to stardom. And the domino effect that has on her, her career and her love life—especially when she meets sexy Officer Nick Marino!– Amazon

Labor Day is coming up and here is the perfect last beach read of the season. One woman on the wrong road to success and happiness finds the true path by rescuing four stray kittens.

Look, it is what it is- fun, nothing more. A perfect book to pick up, put down, and pick up again. You can see the predictable plot twists coming but that doesn’t make less enjoyable. It’s designed to give you happy, warm fuzzies and it does.

There are bad guys who get what they deserve, the hot, good guy who gets Madison, the best friends who each get a kitten (and  their own books), and Madison who gets everything a book heroine should get.

This is the perfect example of what a 3 star book should be. Read it.

Review- Twistered

Screenshot (113)My name is Dorothy. I live in Kansas. I’ve seen a few tornadoes in my day, but nothing like the one that dropped my dead ex-husband, Wade, on my doorstep in a crushed motor home. Wade looked almost as beat up as the RV when he spilled from the back door, his red sneakers sticking out.

That was just the beginning of a crazy Memorial Day weekend when I won a big contest (complete with cash and a car), was accosted by a studly FBI agent, uncovered an old case of blackmail, discovered my ex-love might still love me, dealt with the Wickeds motorcycle gang, managed the annual charity dog show…and nearly died from a gunshot wound.

I almost had the feeling that I wasn’t in Kansas anymore….– Amazon

I read this book well over a year ago and never got around to a review. For me a cozy mystery is a light, entertaining read and Twistered is precisely that but with a, pardon the expression, twist.

The twist is Wilson’s adept marrying of a modern mystery in a fictional real world setting with the characters, settings, and plot points of the Wizard of Oz book, movie, and actors. She does it brilliantly, at times subtly, at times brashly, and she does it in a way that doesn’t interfere with the flow of the story.

She even manages to include monkeys.

The only problem for me was the ending, I’m picky about my endings, and this one seemed to drag on just a little too long but not enough to ruin the whole experience. An excellent example of what a carefully crafted cosy should be.

Racism, Sue, and Suzan

Hello, Dear Readers, I am trying to get myself back into a blogging frame of mind. Not easy but I’m trying. Today, however, I am reblogging Teach Me Tonight‘s excellent post on the past and present racism of Sue Grimshaw and how she is perceived by people on both sides of the issue.

As Twitter filled with authors and readers wondering what possessed two separate small publishers to hire her as an acquisitions editor,  one, Jack’s House, let her go but the other, Glenfinnan, has doubled down on the insistence that Grimshaw is a Nice White Lady and not at all what so many people have the receipts for.

Glenfinnan’s CEO, Suzan Tisdale, even went live  to give us 12 cringe worthy minutes defending her bestie. This link will get you to the post. THen Teach Me Tonight posted her blog with some history of Grimshaw’s past behavior and a transcript of Tisdale’s defense including screenshots of people’s reactions posted on Twitter.

Racism and the Corporate Romance Buyer: a “little fiasco” involving Sue Grimshaw

There’s been a lot of discussion about readers and publishers and who has the greatest role in blocking the publication of particular books/preventing them becoming a success. There’s also been discussion about how the RWA awards (which can help boost an author’s career) might be shaped by racism and homophobia.

Recently, another type of player has been under discussion: the corporate book buyer. In particular, Sue Grimshaw. In 2007, Grimshaw was interviewed at Dear Author and the importance of her role was explained: Link to post.

The next day Vivanco posted a second piece, Shaping Submissions via Omissionswhich details how Glenfinnan’s submission requirements keeps any sort of diversity out.

Both posts provide a clear picture of the effect of a pattern of behavior that should no longer be socially, ethically, or morally acceptable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Penguins

It’s Penguin Awareness Day.

Brian Bilston's Poetry Laboetry

They were sighted off the south-east coast,
drifting in towards the port;
their boat, a snapped-off block of ice,
melting slowly in the warmth.
 
By the docks, a crowd had formed itself;
mob-angry, it looked on.
Placards were thrust. A chant began:
GO BACK TO WHERE YOU’RE FROM.
 
‘They’re just economic migrants,’
declared a spokesman for the right.
‘They’ve come to rob us of our jobs.
It’s as clear as black and white.’
 
‘Tragic,’ said the Home Secretary,
mock-sadness suppressed his smirk.
‘We’d let them stay but here’s the rub –
they have no paperwork.’
 
‘They’ll undermine Our Way of Life!’
The warnings raged on Twitter.
‘They stink of fish.’ ‘They’ll rape your wife.’
‘There’s bombs beneath those flippers.’
 
‘PENGUIN CLAIMS “MY HOME IS MELTING!”’
The Sun printed in disgust.
‘But whose fault is THAT – except THEIR OWN?
What’s that to do with US?’

View original post 24 more words

Review- Soul Taker Part I

Okay, Dear Readers, here is the first review of the new year.

After long years in the line of duty as a ‘Soul Taker’, Kate is worn out. 

When she gets a new job offer from the ‘Powers Above’, she accepts her new job as a Guardian gratefully without knowing that her teacher is one of the most powerful beings in existence, the Archangel Raphael.

Along with Raphael, she takes on her new task and the connection between them grows.

Raphael helps, protects and supports Kate, but suddenly, she becomes a target for the Demons of Hell.

Raphael realizes that Kate means more to him than he expected, which causes him to fight furiously against danger. If he fails, Kate’s future will contain eternal darkness, evil, and torture. ” Amazon

138 pages of if not quite hell definitely not heaven. There is a typo in the dedication, the dedication. The author lists DSM Publications as the editor and this man has a lot to answer for, but not as much as the author who has compiled a hot mess of at times almost incoherent, simplistic, predictability.

This is a book about angels supposedly but Alexander’s angels, or Angels since she insists on capitalizing the word, are merely badly drawn human characters with wings. There is nothing grand or glorious, fierce or fearsome about these angels, excuse me “Angels”. They are merely Angels because the author says so.

If you want angels read Nalini Singh’s Guildhunter series or Thomas E Sniegoski’s Remy Chandler series. These are angels.

So our heroine is Kate, a Soul Taker, which is an Angel who goes around gathering up the souls of the dying. (Remind me to tell you about this amusing little series about a woman who delivers souls to their proper destinations) I’m not quite sure how she does it because it’s never fully explained but when we meet her she’s tired of it. It depresses her. Mind you, Kate wanted to be a warrior Angel but gathering souls depresses her. I wonder what she thought warriors do, tickle their enemies into surrendering?

As Kate is wandering around gazing soulfully and sighing her boss happens along and offers her a new position as a Guardian. Of course she accepts it at 3% of the book, so why is it called Soul Taker? Making sense is not a strong point of this book.

“I was nearly in tears, found myself lonely, sad, bullied.” Ye-ah. Whatev. Never does she explain this. The girl is over 300 years old and she doesn’t have a friend? And bullied? How? Where? Don’t ask because you will not find an answer here. “I loved my looks, I had only wished that, once in a while, someone would take the time to look behind my mask of pure beauty and try to fathom my feelings, emotions, brains, guts – and whatever else was there.” Cue soundtrack, “Feelings”. “Whatever else was there”? What? Brain matter? Blood? Veins? Hair?A vacuum between her ears? I’ll take the vacuum for a $1000, Alex.

“My lips pulled back from my teeth, and I took in the clean, fresh air like some drowning helpless victim.” Uhhh. Okay, the clean, fresh air where? There is never any clear description of where these Angels spend their time when they aren’t gathering or guarding or fighting or whatever else. On earth, in heaven, on a fluffy cloud? Your guess is as good as mine.

Let us just say that her world building has a condemned sign on it.

Back to Kate. She accepts the position and her now former boss introduces her to her new boss or teacher or mentor or something. It’s the archangel Raphael and he dresses like a cowboy. Do not ask why. He’s also a hugger. And not George Clooney. I can’t believe I read this.

So he says they’ll be working together for the next 3 or 4 years and we will now stop. The timeline in this hot mess was nonexistent. You can be reading along and suddenly days, weeks, month have passed. But she seldom tells you, you have to stop and figure it out from the text. I think the timeline is well over 18 months but I can’t be certain.

So Rafe whisks her away to show her the job which is the only time , how much time I don’t know because to the nonexistent timeline. There’s a night watchman, a castle full of soldiers, two churches, the castle again, a hospital. It’s disjointed, confusing, and unintentionally hilarious. “I nudged the younger man, who suddenly got up, walked over to the others and explicitly declared: “Madame, Doctor- you WILL perform the surgery and do it properly! I, Sheldon Foss III, will fully cover this woman’s surgery and her hospital stay!”  Ye-ah. No. There are a couple more examples of what the author fondly believes shows the inspirational calling of her Angels but they follow in the same overwrought pattern. “He smiled at me with winning charm and asked, with a dark and manly voice as if he was some kind of doctor: “How are we today, Sweetie?” A dark and manly voice? As if he was some kind of doctor? What the hell?

“”And still, you’re answering so convincedly.”” Her editor’s name is Don Massenzio.

Now here is something I haven’t seen before:

If it looks like the word contemptuously has an attached link, it does.

I had been wondering if Alexander perhaps didn’t speak English but she claims:

Let us continue. So we see her job and then Mr Dark-and-Manly-Voice grabs her. It’s a demon. You would think it would be hard to not write an interesting demon but somehow Alexander manages it. I weep. And here I will recommend R J Blain’s Whatever For Hire, Blain’s Satan is deliciously funny and witty and devious.

Torture ensues, mainly of the reader but a little bit to Kate. She is rescued, damn it. When she wakes up there is an IV in her arm. An angel. I guess divine healing isn’t what it used to be. I hope she has good insurance. When she recovers she rehabs in a fully equipped gym. And once again I ask where? Heaven, earth, fluffy cloud?

A good writer can get away with some iffy stuff but a bad writer just makes it light up like neon in Vegas.

So she recovers and now is moping around when an angel visits and informs her she’s in love with cowboy Rafe. “I grabbed his shirt with both hands as I did never want to let him go again”. Did I mention she had an editor? And he charges for this.

“Before I had time to answer two things happened nearly simultaneously. Thunder, lightning followed by the little airplane Raphael had saved falling from the sky”. Thunder, lightning, plane falling, isn’t that like, you know, three things? Not the first time this author has had a problem with her numbers.

“The weight pressed me down, but there was neither nothing nor anyone there.” She gets attacked and faints. A lot. There is a reason for this, the attacking not the fainting, she’s a special little snowflake. You know, one of those characters so special that you just want to vomit. “”I was informed that this very special ability and unique part of personality needs a lot of strength as well as modesty. That’s why no Archangel has obtained it except for Angels with not only the right humble character, but also the will, strength and loyalty to our Creator. This is you, Katie! Our Father has had very disappointing esperience with vanity and envy. He counts on you to not betray him or his gift. Your experience has shown he made the right decision. You are a unique gem amongst Angelkind”” Kate is so, so special.

“This Archangel was the teensiest bit intimidating. he had the features of a wrestler, mocha colored skin, nearly black eyes and his wild ebony locks were falling onto his shoulders.” Scary black man? And then, describing another angel: “”You have never seen him joking around as Darth Vader – or wearing Jeans, Flip-Flops, and a pink net shirt, acting as if he was gay.”” I can’t even. I won’t even. You shouldn’t even. Remember this is YA.

“”We both might need a coffee – and the best is at my place.” Then several paragraphs later, “”I’m on my way to Aylah’s place to have a coffee with her” And I’m not sure where Kate’s place is because she had a fight with Rafe (she’s “brave” for shouting at him) and she was bemoaning she had no place to go.

So things roll boringly along until Rafe informs her she’s pregnant. He has to tell her much like that other angel told her she was in love with Rafe. “The entire Hall was decorated with blue flowers and golden tresses.”  Hair? Angels decorate with hair? Oh, A.J., that word does not mean whatever the hell you think it does. Did you know she had an editor? Oh, the flowers and hair were for her wedding, a little something that the Archangel who didn’t want to tell her he loved her while her teacher because he didn’t want her to feel pressured because of his position sprang on her without so much as a by your leave. He did gift her a beautiful new dress so I guess that makes it okay. Afterward Rafe tells her he wanted to legally bind himself to her and, and, angels. Legally bind? Sounds like they had a ceremony at City Hall. These. Are. Angels. Or at least the author wants us to believe they are.

“And even though Raphael treated me like a raw egg from time to time,” The deathless prose!

So basically Kate wanders through this “book” being told all the major things she should be able to figure out if she had half a brain, has a baby, keeps getting attacked by demons and the Devil, is a special little snowflake, and dispenses rainbows and uplifting words of wisdom at the drop of a purple pen.

“”And we both fathom, no matter how many women there were, ‘the one’ was not among them. The one who will touch you, hug and kiss you, full of love and dedication and any time of the day, she was not one of them. And still, love will find you! Your lady of heart will meet you when the time has come.””

Gives that endorsement the side eye.

So I recommend Singh or Sniegorski or Blaine and just leave this shambles of a “book” alone. Here endeth Part I. You remember my post about second chances, well now, that is Part II.

Second Chances

I believe in second chances. I think almost everybody deserves one. Contrary to what some people believe I will give someone the benefit of the doubt almost every time and I struggle when it becomes apparent that the second chance looks to be in vain.

I wanted this one to work, I thought it would but it looks like the path traveled before will be the path traveled again. I guess if you can surround yourself with enough people that tell you you did nothing wrong and all those people who “attacked” you, who “harassed” you, who pointed out your missteps and mistakes were just being “mean” and “jealous” then you can move comfortably ahead down that same path towards the inevitable.

I admired your restart, your dedication to what you built, but maybe the red flags were there in the timeline. You have worked hard but for what end? 

No self-awareness, no professional growth, no fucking clue.  

Book review soon.