The Art of Writing a Review …

Great tips on reviewing a book for a fellow author. (Yes, I’m still happy to gift you my mystery, Planted, in exchange for an honest review!)

So, you’ve read a great book lately have you? Maybe even found yourself a new “keeper” author. Can’t wait for that next great read?

Like any other entertainment professional, authors need encouragement. Validation over and above the initial sale. Where do we get that much-needed encouragement? Through an honest review.

'The end. Well, time for bed. What are you writing?'
Tips for leaving a review
:

  • Most importantly, a review can be short. Don’t feel like you have to recap the entire book. That’s the sole purpose of the posted blurb. Two to three sentences outlining your reaction is more than enough. And, of course, set the ‘star’ ranking.
    • Example: “I usually don’t care for secret baby stories, but this one was different. Cody was the smartest, cutest thing ever. Sometimes adults are so stupidly blind, but that’s what makes love grand! Great story.”~ 5-star Amazon Review for Home is Where the Hunk is
  • If you do choose…

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Diehl and D’Avanzo Mix In Student Research

Wanted to share my current reads with fellow LCRW writers . . .

The Penningtons Investigate

Colleges have come a long was from the old Lecture/Recitation model of education. Today’s undergraduate students learn valuable life lessons in the field through civil engagement, and they get hands-on real-life experience by participating in their professors’ research projects. As an author and avid reader, I’m enjoying the new crop of academic mysteries that show students gathering and analyzing data and engaging in other aspects of timely scholarly research.

Two authors are stand outs: Lesley A. Diehl and Charlene D’Avanzo.

Diehl’s character Laura Murphy is a psychology professor in upstate New York. In the 2016 mystery from Creekside Publishing, Failure is Fatal, Laura’s ongoing study in sexual harassment on campus is at the heart of the story. A student is murdered, and the description of the murder is one of the anonymous responses to the study’s current round of data gathering. This is not a grisly or grim tale, however, as Diehl’s humor…

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Inspired by life with enhancement and modification to increase interest.

Jean Verno asked me to post this for her.

 

Inspired by life with enhancement and modification to increase interest.

By Jean Verno

 

Where do I get ideas? The most common and least complete answer is “from life”.

My stories begin with an image usually sparked by a something, song or an overheard conversation, a person or action that catches my eye.  A unique location or photo will give me a feeling that something interesting happened here, and I am drawn into spinning what fantastic event it would have been

Sometimes I will see a person in a public place and wonder how they got there or into that circumstance and before you know it, I have made up an impossible story. I never know where my imagination will go but the characters end up quite different than the original.

Give me a title and I’ll make up a story but if I have a story first, I struggle to find a title.

A story is told about the writer* who left journalism to become a novelist. When asked why he chose to leave a successful career for the unpredictable life of fiction he gave this answer.  “I was covering a major fire, it lasted all night and tragically lives were lost. I realized then that what I wanted to do was to write the story with a more satisfying outcome.” He went on to write very successful novels in which, ironically, many lives are lost.

In fiction, we can make things come out the way we want them too, mostly. Sometimes your characters just insist on following their own paths. Still, it is the author who decides which way the story ends.

Once I get these flashes of imagination I am usually sort of left hanging and then the work begins. It is like turning on the stove with a vague idea of cooking something. Now you have to assemble ingredients, decide what to add where, and how much. Should you chop or slice the onions or just use the dried flakes? How long should you cook it so that it is done perfectly, not raw and not overcooked? How should you serve it to best enhance the whole meal? And a big question, how do you let the world know that your wonderful creation is there and ready for them to consume with pleasure? And, hopefully look forward to more.

Getting ideas for stories is the easy part. It is the developing, plotting, refining, editing, adding, removing reediting, and on and on, that is the real work. That is the crafting; that is what leaves blood on the keyboards.

Life, after all is what you make of it but most people don’t make stories, poems or books. It is only those of us who believe that we can improve on the common experience by twisting it and twirling it and coloring it to our fancy that do.

*If you want to know who, email me. I couldn’t find the original source so I didn’t use his name.

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Where I Go To Find a Story

Kat asked me to post this for her:

 

The attorneys I work with have helped me with legal documents surrounding child custody and wills for my current WIP.

Kat asked me to post this for her:

My first volunteer job eventually morphed into a paying job with a victim advocacy agency. On the job training taught me the ins and outs of how to perform a sexual assault forensic exam. I also participated in numerous protest marches which served as the basis for Raising Kane, my contribution to the most recent LCRW anthology.  ( Life, Love, and Lust )

I once pumped a religious connection in order to furnish an alibi for the accused in my second novel, Try Just Once More. It involved the intricacies of how to get around the secrecy of the confessional.

Informational brochures sent to me as a donor to Doctors Without Borders and Amnesty International have given me a wealth of information which I hope will serve as fodder for future novels/novellas.

I used the internet to research the modern day underground railroad, information used in Caper Magic.

Vacation spots have served to offer me some terrific settings for Try Just Once More and Caper Magic.

Personal experiences with a rotator cuff repair and gastric bypass were included in my novella The List. A ruptured appendix is featured in my current WIP

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Character Interview: Lyssa Doughty from Katie O’Boyle’s “Waking Up To Love”

The “other half” of the soulmates from my new release: You’ve read Kyle’s interview. Now it’s Lyssa’s turn! –kate

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Waking Up to Love by Katie O’Boyle (Book Review)

4 Stars from J. Lynn Rowan for Kyle and Lyssa’s love story! And don’t miss the giveaway, a copy of Waking Up To Love. https://jlynnrowanliterature.wordpress.com/2015/10/31/waking-up-to-love-by-katie-oboyle-book-review/

J. Lynn Rowan

Happy Halloween, all!

I have a completely non-spooky post in store for you today. It starts with a review of a new book release and ends with a giveaway!

Intrigued? Read on.

Waking Up to Love

by Katie O’Boyle

WakingUpToLove200

About the book

Kyle Pennington broke Lyssa’s heart when he let her go, rather than interfere with her budding career. An ocean away now, Lyssa has fallen under the spell of golden-tongued Rand Cunningham who’s in a hurry to marry her. But Kyle is miserable without her and is willing to risk everything to get her back. Will Lyssa wake up in time to ask who she really loves?

Waking Up to Love is on sale now at Amazon.

My Review

Waking Up to Love, the fourth book in the Lakeside Porches series begins as Lyssa, the heroine, is faced with a tough decision. She’s been offered the chance to interview for…

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Editng, Edioting, Editing, by Char Chaffin

Sound advice from an editor at Soul Mate Publishing!

Hi Everyone! I’m on the road with Mr. Don (the most romantic man in the world), traveling to our winter home in South Texas. And as usual I’m not only dealing with spotty internet but also the Mother of all editing deadlines, so I thought I’d post part of a presentation I created for RWA-Australia. A subject near and dear to my heart:

How to Edit for Querying Success! Or, How to edit your work so it sparkles… (before you submit to a publishing house)

As an Acquisitions Editor, I look for quality, passion, a story that will absolutely sweep me away. I want that alpha hero who isn’t perfect, the strong yet flawed woman who will complete him, and I want them to be brave enough and smart enough—and in love enough—to save each other. Along the way I expect a riveting tale I can’t set down, not even…

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Interview with Author Brittany Touris

Allow me to introduce Brittany Touris, author of the debut novel, “Stars Melt to Milk,” available in hard copy and electronic at http://www.amazon.com, http://www.barnesandnoble.com and the Kindle version at IBookstore.

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stars melt to milk

JB: Good Morning, Brittany. Another busy day scheduled today?

BT: Of course. I worked my part time job this morning and am taking care of some other work right now. There’s always more to do!

JB: I’ve read some really great reviews of your book on Amazon. How do they make you feel?

BT: It’s always great to get good reviews. I especially appreciate honest reviews. Ones that can point out the books strengths and weaknesses. Getting feedback is the best way to improve and reach my readers. But of course seeing that people enjoyed the book is always nice.

JB: How has this book changed your life? Or has it not changed it at all?

BT: In a practical way, not much has changed. I still have a lot of work to do before I see my writing changing my life in concrete ways. But I have felt a shift in my mindset. Now that I have a novel published, I’ve felt more of a pull towards being a fiction writer. Before I was mostly known as a “social justice blogger” to people—it’s how I thought of myself too! Now I feel more like a novelist who also blogs about social justice issues.

JB: I really admire how you dedicate your full day, every day, to your writing. Almost every writer I know has a problem with setting aside time just for writing. How do you manage that and still maintain creativity?

BT: A lot of writers set a certain word count goal for the day, others get on a routine schedule, others set a certain amount of time. They’re strict with themselves. I don’t do any of that—although I’ve tried all of it. I write when I’m inspired and give myself general tasks to complete. There really aren’t any tricks to dedicating yourself to something, you just have to tell yourself to do it.

JB: You’re scheduled to present at Rochester’s Fringe Festival later this month. Tell us about that.

BT: I’m going to be giving a talk at the Rochester Fringe Festival on September 23rd at 7pm at MuCCC.  (Multi-use Community Cultural Center, 142 Atlantic Ave., Rochester, 14607) It’s free and will last about a half hour. I’ll also be selling and signing my book. Here’s a brief description of the program:

Young Rochester-born author Brittany Touris chronicles the struggle and allure of being a local artist. Through her own tales, as well as those of other artists in the community, she shares some insights and oddities about “making it” with an unconventional career in this city.

JB:       What is the Fringe Festival, anyway?

BT:      The First Niagara Rochester Fringe Festival is one of the many Fringe Festivals worldwide. Since its start in 2012, it’s attracted more than 30,000 attendees. Its focus is on the arts—all kinds of arts. You’ll see a lot of eccentric and creative pieces. It’s truly inspiring and I’m incredibly excited to have a part in it this year.

JB:      In your novel, Stars Melt to Milk, you have two, three really, characters who are struggling with the reality of Life and all its demands, rewards and punishments, the third character in a peripheral sense. Do you have a favorite among them? If so, why?

BT:      It depends on what you mean by favorite. Janis is definitely the character to admire. She’s strong and passionate and never gives up. I relate to her artistic inclinations and the way she views life. So I definitely love Janis.

Ray was always a really interesting character to me. He was the one man in the book who was as kind-hearted and passionate as Janis, but he was just a kid. I like to think sometimes about what he’d be like in five or ten years. Maybe we’ll see him in a possible sequel? I just feel like there’s so much to explore with his character that I haven’t yet.

Charlie, however, was my favorite to write. Despite most people liking Janis better, I genuinely think I did a better job writing Charlie. He stirs more of an emotional response in readers from what I’ve noticed—even if it is negative. A lot of times while writing I found myself bursting out in laughter at something Charlie did or said. It’s all just so … Charlie. I think I’ll look back in years to come and really appreciate what I did with Charlie’s character.

JB:       I’ve heard you say that you’re beginning to work on another novel. Is it a sequel to Stars Melt to Milk? Or…?

BT:      I haven’t started work on a sequel for Stars Melt to Milk, although I’d love to some day.

I’ve actually begun work on a series, titled The Gold Dust Odyssey. I suppose I’d have to place it in the adventure category, but that’s debatable. It’s about a young woman, exploring a series of fictional realms, taking a philosophical lesson from each place.

JB:       There’s no doubt in my mind that the writing/reading world will hear more about Brittany Touris. How and where can we keep in touch with you and your progress?

BT:      You can get updates via email by subscribing to my blog on oshitbritt.com. Also like me on Facebook (Brittany Touris), follow me on Twitter (@oshitbritt), and follow me on Tumblr (oshitbritt.tumblr.com). Be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel too! I’m trying to hit that 1,000 subscriber mark by the end of the year.

JB:       Thanks so much, Brittany, for your thoughts on the creative process that so many of us call writing and for letting us peek into your writing persona.

BT:      It was my pleasure!

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Madelyn’s in the House! Please Welcome Madelyn Hill to the Blogathon!

An Author from our area!

Madelyn HillToday I have Madelyn Hill at the Blogathon! And she’s got a fun giveaway, so stay tuned for that.

Madelyn, welcome! Tell us all about you! What would you most like your readers to know?

I’m currently a teacher in New York State, prior to teaching I was a stay at home mom and before that a Mechanical Engineer. I’m married with 3 children – 2 in college (EEEK!) and my youngest in high school. We love sports (I’m a soccer mom!), cooking, hanging out, and going to the movies. If you want to know about a movie, ask me!

Are you one of those writers born with a pen in your hand and ideas flitting through your mind, or did your interest develop later?

I like to think I was born with a book in my hand, but my mother told a slightly different story. I wrote since…

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How to Hook

Yup. You read that title right. I am going to teach you how to successfully hook.

First of all, you don’t just want your story to be pretty, you want it to be hot. The kind of hot that makes your reader sweat with anticipation. Don’t lose him to another book by filling your first page with wimpy words and a long-winded backstory. Dress it up with active words, give it some fantastic legs to stand on. You want to set this sucker up right. Make your reader take notice and not want to put your book down. He’s paying good money here, don’t make him feel as if he’s wasted it.

Your first sentence must make him want more. Just give him a small taste of what’s to come…don’t give it all away at once. Why buy the book if he can get the plot for free? But give him a little something of what you know he wants. A small tease. A smoldering sentence. Then lay it on thick for your first few pages. Let him know what he’s getting into. Who he’s going to be with for the next few hours, and promise him a good time using a few well-placed words.

Do this, and I guarantee he’ll want to pick up your book and take it home. And when he’s done, hopefully you’ve made it so good he’ll want to come back for more.

And that, my friends, is how to hook.

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