Monday, May 26, 2014

Books I'm Looking Forward to Reading

Well, it's another insomnia night so how better to fill the time than to do a post on Farts? And this will be a complicated post, with pictures and links and all that stuff. I'll be copying more or less verbatim from my Amazon preorder list, so please do bear with me.

Okay, this is what I've got listed:

Crown of Renewal (Legend of Paksenarrion) by Elizabeth Moon. Releases May 27, 2014

Shield of Winter (A Psy/Changeling Novel) by Nalini Singh. Releases June 3, 2014

Devil's Game (Reapers Motorcycle Club) by Joanne Wylde. Releases June 3, 2014

Grim Shadows (Roaring Twenties) by Jenn Bennett. Releases June 3, 2014. This is book two in the series.

The Escape (Survivor's Club) by Mary Balogh. Releases July 1, 2014

The Promise by Kristen Ashley. Releases July 8, 2014

Magic Breaks (Kate Daniels) by Ilona Andrews. Releases July 29, 2014. OMG, I can hardly wait for this book!

Murder in Retribution (A New Scotland Yard Mystery) by Anna Cleeland. Releases July 29, 2014

Unbinding (A Novel of the Lupi) by Eileen Wilkes. Releases August 5, 2014

Evernight: The Darkest London Series: Book 5 by Kristen Callihan. Releases August 26, 2014. Or so it said originally. Now it's 'not available', but I've signed up for an alert.

Forged by Desire (London Steampunk) by Bec McMaster. Releases September 2, 2014

Shifting Shadows: Stories from the World of Mercy Thompson by Patricia Briggs. Releases September 2, 2014

Reaper's Stand (Reapers Motorcycle Club) by Joanne Wylde. Releases September 2, 2014

Night's Honor (A Novel of the Elder Races) by Thea Harrison. Releases September 2, 2014

Archangel's Shadows (Guild Hunter) by Nalini Singh. Releases October 28, 2014

Burn for Me: A Hidden Legacy Novel by Ilona Andrews. Releases October 28, 2014

Vixen in Velvet (The Dressmakers) by Loretta Chase. Release date June 24, 2014

Looks a little long, but remember release dates are mostly in different months, so I should be okay. Can you tell I love PNR?

I'm at the age where it's real dangerous to wish time away, but I have to say some of these books would be worth it. All authors are my autobuys. I have no idea if this is a long autobuy list, but I don't care. Love every one of them and I'll add Grace Draven to that list. I'm reading a serial on her blog and can't wait until I can have my own copy; already own Master of Crows and Entreat Me (a beauty and the beast story).

**Blogger is not letting me post bookcovers, I do apologize. But hopefully the links will work and you can view them on their page. The links are colored in the draft but not on the post. Why?? Anyway, the links are the book titles. I also apologize for the formatting. I can't seem to fix it. Think I'll go back to bed ...

Under Construction

If the blog starts looking a little weird, I'm just doing a little work on it.

I don't mind feedback and if there's something horrible, tell me please.

(And I know the books need blurbs and links and I'm working on it.)

Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

Mollie read the book first. Then I read it.

Mollie rated the book 11 on a scale of 1 - 10. I would give it a strong 9.

Basic premise: Hazel is a teenager with cancer.  It's stage 4 thyroid cancer. Her life is centered around being sick. She attends a college class, and with her mother's insistence, she goes to cancer support group. She meets Augustus Waters (Gus) there and he immediately is smitten by her.

Hazel and Gus become involved, as friends and kind of boyfriend/girlfriend although that develops more throughout the story. Gus' cancer is in remission although he lost a leg to it. There's also a great friend Issac who has a rare form of cancer that claims his eyes (Isaac = eyes sick).

There's a strong subplot about a book called An Imperial Affliction that matters the world to Hazel.

I wasn't as into the thought of the book because dying teenagers aren't my cup of tea but this was about something else. It really was about understanding the universal terror of death and not leaving an imprint on the world.

It wasn't a sob-fest, both Mollie and I teared up but neither of us cried. It opened conversation and I really liked how it presented illness. Hazel and Gus both have had enough sickness and lost enough friends to the disease to have a wonderfully jaundiced view point about it.

These are not Love Story cancer patients.

I told Mollie to pick the next book we're going to read. Should be interesting.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Right Book Can Change Your Life

I love to read. I could define my stages of life by the books I read: Little Women and anything Frances Hodgson Burnett in grade school. Stories about brave girls who faced the turmoils of life. In my junior high years I began reading more grown up books and would devour anything in my parent’s library which explains why I read The Exorcist, Portnoy’s Complaint and a lot of Sidney Sheldon.

When I went to college I began reading literary fiction and classics. I poured through Somerset Maugham, John Steinbeck and all the old, white men of letters. Unlike a lot of people, I don’t think reading any of those books was a mistake. They were brilliant and I loved them.

In my twenties I began to read a lot more diverse books from Anais Nin, Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Alice Adams, A.S. Byatt. I moved from the old, white men of letters to the diverse world of literary women. Two Girls Fat and Thin by Mary Gaitskill rocked my life because I felt like she climbed inside my skin and stole my stories. Toni Morrison wrote of a mother (was it in Song of Solomon?) who bit into her child’s cheek because her love was so strong and she wanted to eat him (which years later inspired a really good poem I wrote).

Books provided an emotional backdrop and still do.

Imagine my horror to have a child who didn’t relate in the same way to books. She reads and enjoys books but her connection wasn’t deep. She never really got lost in the books.

Then came The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.

She began talking about this book a couple of months ago. Told me I should read it because it has romance in it. She never said she wanted to read it, only that I should. I was slow on the uptake there. But I finally got her the book for her birthday.

She read it in two days.

We discussed it last night and my heart overflowed: my daughter read a book that opened her world and changed her. It finally happened and it was amazing to see.

We talked about different things in the book: teenagers having sex, having cancer, being in love, and dying.

For the first time she was presented with a romantic relationship and it felt right to her. My anti-love daughter talked about how much these two characters enriched each other and how it was okay for them to express themselves physically because of their situations. We talked about their fear of dying and fear of leaving someone behind.

She let this book be the catalyst to talking about how much it hurts to even think of losing someone you love, a conversation we need to have.

She wants me to read the book and I promised to start it this weekend. I doubt it’ll have the same impact on me (although I might be wrong) but it means the world to her and if it continues to open more doors then I want to walk through them with her.

Thank God I saw this happen. It was truly one of the most joyful mother moments I’ve experienced.

Sunday, May 18, 2014


Did I miss something or has Dear Author decided to no longer do First Pages?

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

My Baby Turned 13

And Mama went a little nuts.

When I turned 13, I had a Bat Mitzvah and it was a big freaking deal. I can't help but feel that 13 is a magical age because it's the beginning of the teens, it's closer to high school and the start of growing out of childhood.

In Mollie's case there have been growing issues including the joys of a body's changes, her own independence (she moved out of my bedroom and into her own) and her own awareness of the choices she gets to make that will impact her next year of schooling (or more).

I wanted to do something special for her and decided to create a scavenger hunt. She loves having her gifts hidden and having clues to find them.

So I picked her up from school and she got her first Batman balloon. And her first clue which announced that the Birthday Bandit had struck, stealing her gifts and birthday favors and hiding them throughout Tukwila (our town).

We were on the hunt.

Although our first stop was Burger King so she could have some chicken strips. We went through the drive thru and I ordered the special birthday meal. Mollie freaked but they were awesome and served her chicken strips and another Batman balloon.

Then she solved her first clue to go to Family Fun Center.

We arrived and she saw Batman balloons on a counter. She went over and they handed her a card to start playing. She had to earn tickets to get her gift from them and so we played.

And we got some tickets too.

 A whole lot of tickets.

Over 1000 in fact.

She turned in her tickets and got to select prizes and then was surprised when they handed her a wrapped present and an envelope with her next clue.

The next clue was a picture of her on a former Halloween with a gentleman whom we adore who works at the local Community Center.

He was Shaggy from Scooby Doo. Mollie was death. 

Good times.

So we headed to the community center where more Batman balloons waited along with a puzzle she had to solve. And solve it she did.

She then got cupcakes and a gift/clue. It was a Game Stop gift card (kisses to you Carolyn!!) and she was delighted.

So we went to Game Stop.

Game Stop, although a wonderful place, wouldn't let me set up in advance. So there was no waiting balloon. But there was a clue hidden that she had to find and it was hard. Since I switched out a cover on a game and put it on the shelf. Took her awhile but she found it and turned it in for her next gift and clue.

The video game in front was the fake game and the one in back was her gift.

The next clue was to the library but they refused to let us do anything there (they weren't the least bit nice) so she solved that clue but instead of going there I gave her the next clue. It was moderately disgusting.

Yeah, that's hair.

We were on our way to the salon. And someone special was waiting for us there.

Yes, that's a huge flipping Batman waiting for Mollie at the salon.

She got her shampoo and cut and was delighted.

We were both tired at that point and went home.
She opened the rest of her presents and I crashed for an hour and she played a game. Then we went to the Chinese Buffet for dinner and we're home now. We're stuffed, tired and happy.

She gave it a 9.5 out of 10 and only because the balloons started to go flat too quickly.

Happy Birthday my darling girl. 13 years of love. Can't wait for the next 13.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day


Thursday, May 8, 2014

Reviewing the Reviews

Oh my little poppets of prose, I’m so proud of how much you’ve learned sitting here at my feet. You know how to write a book, how to design a cover, how to bring it to people’s attention.

But we’re not done yet. Because if you do all I’ve taught you, then someone is going to review your book. It might be on Amazon, Goodreads, on a reviewing blog or in their yearly family Christmas email.

What you must remember, more than anything else, is that nobody and I do mean NOBODY understands your book as well as you do.

I’m going to lead by example here and show you a snippet of a review and subsequent conversation on one of my own books, THE COUNTRY CONTESSA.

The review stated: “Although certain aspects of the book were appealing, Ms. Green should do more research of time periods if she’s going to write historicals. At no time in Regency England did the ton engage in jello wrestling for eligible bachelors. Young women of gentle breeding did not greet each other by saying ‘Wassup bitches!’ and horses and phaetons did not stop at traffic signals in old London.”

Seriously. A reviewer wrote that.

If you ask some people, they’ll tell you that a writer should never ever ever respond to a review. But those people are readers. And you know that readers think they should be allowed to read a book however they want and the author shouldn’t be part of the equation. Like, seriously.

If it wasn’t for the author, there’d be no book. Duh!

So of course, it’s up to the author to help the reviewer understand the aspects of the book they obviously didn’t comprehend.

Which I did for the reviewer of THE COUNTRY CONTESSA.

Said I: “Although your review certainly understood the emotional points of my character’s journey, I was upset that you criticized the historical aspects of the story. Reviewers should understand that all books are a fantasy shared by the author with her readers and nobody expects accuracy in a romance novel.”

Said he: “Thank you for responding. I understand that romance is a fantasy for women as is obvious from the heroes with the 15 inch shlongs and the girlie understanding of the heroines many mood swings. However, a basic understanding of the time period is not too much to expect from an author as well. I would point out that having the Contessa running through a field wearing a Laker’s jersey might be something that would drop the reader from the story as they tried to shake the image loose in their beleaguered brains.”

Said I: “Look cretin, I stand by what I wrote. And my many fan girls are currently readying themselves to converge on this site and tell you what a tool you are. And who can prove they didn’t wear Laker’s jerseys in Victorian times? Huh? It’s not like you were there. So there!”

My point was made. And my seventeen sock puppet accounts that closed down that stupid site after 105 comments calling the reviewer a tool proved my point.

Not to mention, sales soared. I went from selling an average of three books a month to selling an entire twelve that month. Woo-hoo! Big time baby!

So don’t be afraid to engage readers and reviewers. Especially if you need to tell them what to think about what they read. After all, without your input, they might have their own mistaken opinions and we can’t have that.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Social Media and You

Oh you dear, brilliant, almost a writing sensation YOU!

You’ve written your 37,000 word opus about the sixteen year old salamander shifter and her quest to save the world from the evil newts, her desire to get her first kiss from the wildly misunderstood bad boy, indy rock star/boxer Moody Mike Malone and her persistent yeast infection which smells funky and makes her change her underwear every third page….

You have a cover that features soulful salamander eyes super-imposed over a picture of frolicking teens…

Now you got to take to social media and sell that thing.

That’s where an ego the size of the Grand Canyon comes in. Also Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, your personal blog and every other bit of social media there is.

People won’t buy your book if they don’t know it’s out there. The best thing you can do is let people know by telling them. Constantly.

“Hey all! I just released ALL MY YEASTY YESTERDAYS on Amazon. Right now. Only 12.99 for ebook and you can read all about Felicity Fairweather and her dangerous life running from the fae while being romanced by the hottest bad boy virgin on the planet!!”

“Hey All! Did I mention ALL MY YEASTY YESTERDAYS is on sale right now? I’ve worked really hard on it and my mom says it’s the best salamander shifting she’s ever read!!”

“Um… my book. It’s out now. ALL MY YEASTY YESTERDAYS. When you read it you’ll see how hot it is. Kind of like a mix of Divergent and Twilight with some Hunger Games thrown in. And salamanders.”


That’s effective social media usage right there but it could be done better. Here’s my suggestion:

"Yo People With Brains, Taste and Large Sexual Organs! My book ALL MY YEASTY YESTERDAYS is being made into a movie by my 14 year old cousin's company and it will debut on You Hoo Tube tomorrow. I'm a freaking star!!!!"

See the difference?

"Do you know I've gotten over 5 Amazon reviews? And they're all 5 stars. And the nasty bitch who suggested they were all written by the same person because the all misspell doopleganger  is just a mean, nasty bitch whose jealous of my success. And I mean you, Aunt Irna!!"

Yeah, that's the way to do it. 

Tomorrow we'll discuss reviews. How to handle them. Especially if they don't really like your precious. 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Cover Art That Grabs The Reader

Okay you multi-millionaire writing machine, it's time to discuss book covers.

The book cover is the first thing the reader sees so you need to grab their attention.

The above is a bad choice.

It looks cheap and like something your seven year old could do if he wasn't busy hiding his cauliflower in the litter box.

You need something that has a little more class, while still suggesting sex and all the dirty little secrets inside the covers. And over the covers. And on the floor next to the covers. And with cops who are undercover.  And with ... oh hell, I'll stop now.

The above cover lays it out. We have male bum, a suggestive title and a clever blurb.

And it looks like your mother in law did it between her bingo games.

"But Sensei," you might be saying, "I don't want male buttocks on my precious."

Fine, we have choices.

See? Romance, erotica and the promise of pie.

See, you can pay a lot of money for a decent cover. Or you can be like me and get pictures of Lea swooning over some Swiss guy and force her to make you book covers to promise your silence.

But if you don't have blackmail pictures and you went to some cheap stock picture place and bought yourself a picture.... do the other thing I do and offer the 12 year old five bucks to make a cover.

What can I say?

My kid has talent and I'm just some anonymous writer looking to make a buck and take the kid to McDonalds.

Tomorrow we'll discuss social media and selling your novel.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Be A Best Seller (Just like me!!)

Every now and again it comes to my attention that the world is clamoring for knowledge, the kind of knowledge that only I can provide. Or eight million other indy writers who are making no money and garnering no fame but damn if we all don’t have some opinions about the others who are just like us.

So I got some opinions I want to share.

No, not opinions. Knowledge. Suggestions. Whispers in your ear.

I’m going to make you famous.


Understand that success in writing begins with following trends. Even if you’ve longed to write a story about a middle aged flight attendant who misplaces her diaphragm in every city where she lands: DON’T! Nobody wants to read about middle aged women and they certainly don’t care about the hostesses in the sky. Unless she’s a shifter. Maybe a walrus shifter who only turns when being pleasured anally.

Or maybe not.

But that’s not the point here.

The trend is more toward NA or YA or 36AA. So your heroine has to be young. And innocent. With a secret. A big, dark, juicy secret. And she’s a shifter. Not a walrus though because I already used that one and you can’t copy or I’ll badmouth you all over social media and beyond.

So you have your seventeen year old heroine who was born with cleft toes and an outie belly button which in the GLUGNSIGH prophesy means that she’s the holy one whose vaginal secretions when smeared on the Holy Dong of Justice can free the enslaved brownies. And their boxes of mint cookies. (Or is that the girl scouts? I get so confused. I was a blue bird myself but I don’t think they exist anymore except for that recording with Paul McCartney and the Wings. Which was one of the lamest songs ever.)

Now that you have your NA (ACP…haha) you need a love interest. Generally he’s a tormented 23 year old millionaire who runs a business that he does no work at and has abs of steel, mother issues and a shlong that would have been in the Guinness Book of World Records but the photographer forgot the camera with the panoramic view. (Is that the right Guinness or is that the ale? I’m confusing myself now.)

Nobody cares too much about the story as long as there’s lots of sex, oodles of angst and a poorly written caricature of the heroine’s mother which is obviously the author’s mother issues played out in Disney 3D.  (Bad metaphor but exactly the kind you can use for your story.)

Don’t worry about spelling or punctuation or anything involving craft. Readers nowadays want stories that have innocent heroines with magical secretions, they don’t want well written, properly edited books. And they understand that the need for you to get your poorly written, highly priced dreck into their hands quickly is a true gift because you’re thinking only of your readers.

(I know this because my book about the fire hydrant polisher and the dog walker, You Had Me At Woof, is proof that this advice works. I have over 200 one star reviews at Amazon. And 199 returns on the title.)

Tomorrow I’ll explain covers, copyediting and formatting your book for sale.

Now start writing you brave little beasts of bestselling brazenness!